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fly into san jose at night: how close to stay? security?

Vancouver, Canada
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fly into san jose at night: how close to stay? security?

Hi,

We (myself and my boyfriend) will be flying into san jose for a holliday in costa rica. we haven't booked a hotel yet, how far is reasonable to go on the first night? I've heard it gets dark early, and it's not advisable to be on the roads after dark.

are there any security/safety issues that should be considering given that it will be late?

thanks!

Tampa, FL
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for San Jose, Costa Rica
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1. Re: fly into san jose at night: how close to stay? security?

Its not safe for a driver who is unfamiliar with the area to drive on a dark country or twisty mountain road at night because of the poor road conditions in the more remote areas (potholes) and the (remote) possibility of running into livestock. The main roads around the SJ area are much better lit and in better condition than those in more remote parts of CR. Plus you probably won't be doing the driving yourself but rather will probably take a cab to whereever you're staying that first night. So I wouldn't really worry too much about this.

The main security/safety issue is if you're out WALKING at night in some dangerous urban area and there is no reason you'll need to do that.

England, United...
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2. Re: fly into san jose at night: how close to stay? security?

It gets dark around 5pm - 6pm. We tried driving the first time we went to CR and regretted it. The problem is not security but the lack of lighting anywhere, random animals on the road, people on the roads and potholes like you've never seen. Add that to the fact that some other drivers don't have their lights on and it's dangerous. Unless it's very short distances perhaps in small towns, I wouldn't recommend driving. On our second trip we got the hotel shuttle to the hotel at night and collected our car the following morning, in the light.

There are airport hotels really close, check out Hampton Inn or Holiday Inn Express. They are both only a few minutes away (free shuttle bus) and car hire is very near to them (within walking distance).

Good luck and have fun.

Tampa, FL
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for San Jose, Costa Rica
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3. Re: fly into san jose at night: how close to stay? security?

Again, what Bintag seems mostly to be referring is driving out in the COUNTRY. They do have street lighting (as well as lighting from dwellings and open businesses) in urban areas like Alajuela, Heredia, Escazu and downtown as well as along the major highways leading into those towns. And, apart from a few stray dogs that should know enough to stay out of the way, no wild animals or livestock that are going to be crossing any of the roads in those urban areas. Even potholes and rough pavement, while some exists, is not going to be as prevalent in the heavily populated heart of the country as it would be in the more remote areas near the natural destinations that bintag was visiting.

Also, if I read you correctly, you asked if it is "advisable to be on the roads" rather than is it okay to drive and I'm guessing that you'll probably be taking a cab to your hotel your first night anyway rather than incurring an extra day's rental charges. It may not be the best idea for some gringo driver who has driven down there to drive around the at night particularly the first night he is there and before he has had time to familiarize himself with the environment at least a little bit, but these tico cabbies certainly know how to drive after dark in their own backyard.

Atlanta, Georgia
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4. Re: fly into san jose at night: how close to stay? security?

Hi, I would avoid San Jose. Horrible traffic! Lots nice smaller hotels in and around airport and Alajuela area. Gets dark at 5:30 p.m. Please read my travel blog on C Rica. Im on the web costaricalearn It's all categorized for easy reading. I talk about all aspects of C. Rica Travel. Look at the category travel tips where you will find information on safe travel within Costa Rica. Have a great trip! Ann

San Jose, Costa Rica
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5. Re: fly into san jose at night: how close to stay? security?

Prolijo and the others are totally correct...driving in the dark in our country roads is not good idea if you are not familiar with our roads!

You better stay in some hotel near the airport...like Hampton, Holiday Express , hotel Aeropuerto...all them offer free shuttle...get a nice shower go to bed and next morning you can hit the road!

Just buckle up and enjoy the ride in PARADISE!

guanacaste
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6. Re: fly into san jose at night: how close to stay? security?

you are right, driving here is kind of scary until you get the hang of it, so if you are coming in late, stay by the airport, then rent your car next day, i would drive during the day only, it is better, what date are you arriving? do you have your itinerary? arenal or monteverde, rincon de la vieja and then something on the beach , like conchal, flamingo or manuel antonio is what lots of poeple do. check www.guachipelin.com for rincon de la vieja info, thx

Tampa, FL
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7. Re: fly into san jose at night: how close to stay? security?

What I think some of you guys are missing is she never really said they planned on renting a car and driving themselves.

If they are, they should wait until the next day, for economic reasons as much as security/safety or illumination. And if they're not renting that night but having someone else drive them to their hotel, that driver should be perfectly capable of driving them wherever they want to go.

It doesn't HAVE to be right next to the airport either. If they're not planning on going out that night and plan to rent first thing the next morning before heading off to points NORTH or WEST then they probably should stay near the airport. But if they want to go out that night, want to check out SJ a little bit the next morning before heading off, plan to catch an early bus to Monteverde the next day or want to take the rafting tour to get to Arenal/Fortuna, then they might want to stay downtown or at least in Escazu. At that time of night, we're probably only talking about 15 minutes longer to get to their hotel (and of course a few bucks), but that might be worth it depending on their situation.

Vancouver, Canada
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8. Re: fly into san jose at night: how close to stay? security?

Hi,

first of all, thanks for everyone's reply.

We had not planned to rent a car (we may change our minds after we've made more plans on what we are doing while there, but wouldn't rent one for more than 2-3 days). At any rate, the first night we wouldn't be renting it. I just asked because I read things about driving, but wasn't sure about how easy it might be to get a taxi to go very far the first night, how far taxi drivers are willing to go at night versus the day, or are there busses available (we've never been to central america before). Also, do I need to worry about getting ripped off by a taxi driver just because it's dark?

We arrive in the evening because all other flights were much longer due to layovers (there are no direct flights). Otherwise we lost two days to travel instead of just one.

I just wanted to know if there are security issues about catching cabs, anything to look out for, and if I should stay close to the airport.

I think we're going to stay near the airport, and try to get a hotel with transfer, then hit the road first thing in the morning.

thanks again.

if anyone has suggestions about what I do once I'm in costa rica, I've made another post:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g309293-i1208-k282…

Moncton, Canada
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9. Re: fly into san jose at night: how close to stay? security?

Look at Casa Bella Rita. You'll be picked up at the airport by a friendly face, so no worries about finding a cab etc., and you'll feel like you've arrived in Costa Rica by staying there intead of a Holiday Inn type place that has no local flavour. There's a great soda across from Rita's if you're in need of food or they can advise you on some other great places to eat.

Vancouver, Canada
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10. Re: fly into san jose at night: how close to stay? security?

I looked into Casa Bella Rita, and it looks beautiful, and I like the idea of local flavour versus something generic like the best western, but it costs quite a bit more than we were hoping to spend. I was looking to spend about $50/night for a private double occupancy room. Casa Bella Rita is over 100. Maybe the last night or two before we leave we could spoil ourselves, but I'd hate to start at that rate, and then move to cheeper accommodations for the rest of the trip and end up feeling disappointed.

Can anyone suggest something more in our price range??