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San Jose accomodation

Boston...
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San Jose accomodation

Here comes another question:)

I'm trying to find a hotel for only one night in a safe neighborhood that is close to a bus station. I plan on catching a morning bus to Puerto Viejo the next day. Trying not to spend unnecessary $$ for a taxi.

Thanks

San Jose, Costa Rica
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1. Re: San Jose accomodation

Check the Hotel Villa Tournon it is ok and not expensive

Pittsburg, Kansas
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2. Re: San Jose accomodation

I will recommend Taylor Inn B&B. It is 3-4 blocks from the National Theater and Gold Museum and Jade Museum. I booked our first two nights on Hotels.com but the owner Jorge Taylor gave us a much better rate when we stayed longer and when we came back at the end of our trip. Breakfast is not lavish but very adequate. It is in Barrio Amon on Avenida 13 between Calle 3 and 3b. It is easy to miss because the sign is very small and on the side of the building. It is actually an old house so has a nice ambiance. Jorge speaks perfect English and is there most of the time.

All taxis in San Jose are metered and cheap. There are a few bus stations so you have to know which one has buses to Puerto Viejo. Quite likely Coca Cola but I couldn't say.

Boston...
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3. Re: San Jose accomodation

Thanks for your replies.

Are these places (Taylor Inn and Hotel Villa Tournon) close to the Caribe Sur Bus Terminal? What about Aranjuez Hotel? Google maps show that is only 2 miles? Is the distance accurate? I would like to spend a night at a hotel near the Caribe Sur Bus Terminal so I don't have to spend $$ for a cab.

Tampa, FL
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4. Re: San Jose accomodation

The Puerto Viejo bus leaves from the Caribe Terminal which is on Calle Central the NORTH side of downtown (just east of the distinctive looking Children's Museum so you can spot it on a map), not the Coca Cola area where most of the other bus stops are located. Fortunately that also happens to be a much safer neighborhood than the area around Coca Cola.

The Villa Tournon IS one of the closest hotels to the Caribe Terminal, but it is not really that economical with standard rooms listing at $95/nt + tax (though a quick web search did find a discounted $70/nt rate) and not the greatest reviews here on TA. The Taylor Inn is actually about the same distance as the Tournon and a bit less expensive with double rooms listed at just $60/nt + tax (and available for as low as $40/nt on Hotels.com). It ranks 22nd out of 47 SJ B&B's here on TA. BTW, not that it might matter that much but if the Taylor is on Avenida 13 than it is more like 7 blocks from the National Theater which is on Avenida 2, not just 3-4.

The minimum taxi fare, which covers the 1st km, is just a bit over $1. At that rate and for that short a distance, the quality and cost of the hotel should really be much more of a concern than whether or not you'd save on cab fare. Even if you select a place that is little further from the terminal you're probably not looking at more than an extra buck and maybe an extra couple of minutes driving time.

Also within the minimum fare range of the taxis (just a block further than the Taylor), you'll find the Britannia ($60/nt on Hotels.com but ranked similarly to the Tournon) and the Inca Real ($75/nt and ranked only slightly ahead of the Tournon). A block further than that are the Dunn Inn (standard rates starting at $59/nt + tax and ranked much better at 20th out of 77 SJ hotels) and the Tiquicia B&B (highest rate $45/nt for their dlx and ranked even ahead of the Taylor at 6th out of 47 SJ B&B's). And 2 blocks south of that is the Santo Tomas (std rates starting at $48/nt and ranked 13 out of 77 SJ hotels here on TA).

All those hotels should be well within minimum taxi fare range of the Caribe Terminal and in not a horrible area, Barrio Amon. The possible catch is that they're all (with the possible exception of the Dunn) located on its western fringe bordering a really not so great area (personally I'd never walk any further west of there after dark and I'm relatively daring compared to most others).

If you want something that is in a somewhat safer part of Amon, you'll need to go a couple of blocks further east, which will take you to the highly popular Don Carlos (std rates starting at $80/nt + tax for a double and ranked 14th), the Hemingway (std dbl rate of $45/nt but ranked only 36th out of 47 B&B's) or the Castillo (std rate $55/nt + tax and ranked 30th out of the 77 hotels). And moving 2-3 blocks even further east into the Otoya neighborhood (but probably still within minimum cabfare range) there is the Cinco Hormigas Rojas (highest rate of $60/nt and ranked 33 out of 77).

If you don't mind using a commonly shared bathroom (B&B style), you can get a simpler private room for even lower rates at either the Cinco or the Tiquicia. Personally, if I were looking for something really economical, reasonably safe and fairly close to the Caribe Terminal, I'd probably give the Tiquicia a try, but every body has their own preferences and priorities.

Tampa, FL
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5. Re: San Jose accomodation

Oops, just saw your post about the Aranjuez. Two MILES sounds like a REALLY high estimate to me. Are you sure they didn't say 2 KILOMETERS. My guess is that it is actually something just over 1km from the Caribe Terminal as the crow FLIES and still probably something less than 2kms as it would be DRIVEN. You'd probably be looking at a $3 cab ride at WORST. To locate it on a map look for the Calderon Guardia Hospital (2 blocks south of the Aranjuez on Calle 19)

San Jose, Costa Rica
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6. Re: San Jose accomodation

Dear siechnice

Hard to even try to said anything else...if somebody in this forums knows San Jose is my amigo Prolijo...he knows San Jose even better than many locals and that includes me...

I have no idea about your really budget...but I will go To Hotel Aranjuez or Don Carlos.....and of course take a taxi ...not nice area to walk around with backpacks ...

TERMINAL DEL CARIBE, Avenida 11-13 y Calle Central

Autotransportes MEPE

San José : (506) 257-8129, Limón : (506) 758-1572, Puerto Viejo : (506) 750-0023

You can even try to call them up and ask them for a hotel recoomendation!

roadadvisor

Edited: 14 November 2011, 05:53
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7. Re: San Jose accomodation

If you dont mind me asking, how will you purchase your bus ticket in advance, so you are sure to get a seat? I will too be following your itinerary. It would be nice if i could purchase it now.

Edited: 15 November 2011, 04:26
Tampa, FL
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8. Re: San Jose accomodation

Joe, there are ways you could purchase your tickets now on-line but IMHO they come at a ridiculous premium. For example, http://www.costaricabustickets.com/ can book your bus ticket to Puerto Viejo for you if you pay them $55/pp. Granted for that fee you also get pickup and delivery service from your hotel and other (IMHO minor) advantages but it still seems like quite a lot to me to charge for the convenience, defeating one of the key reasons for using the public buses in the first place.

For comparison, Grayline offers tourist shuttle bus service (which also includes hotel pickup and drop-off but without the need to go to any bus terminal) for just $44/pp. And if you purchased the bus ticket yourself the current fare is only 4725 colones (~$9.33/pp). Even if you add a couple of dollars at either end for a cab to/from the station or bus stop (which can be split between your party), you're still looking at considerably less per person if you opt for booking it yourself.

Granted there are other non-financial advantages of using some sort of agent. For example, you secure your seat well in advance without having to go there yourself and there is also something of an uncertainty factor in knowing where you need to go to do what you need to do or how to do it (especially if your spanish is weak or non-existent).You might also find this service attractive if you plan on catching a bus as soon as you arrive in CR and need to make it to your destination that same day. Lastly, if you're traveling over the border, you may need some sort of document to show that you have the means to leave that country (your return plane ticket usually suffices for this) . But IMHO for the most part, these issues are not as big a deal as some people who haven't gone through it would think.

Here is why:

1) Most people arrive in CR too late in the day to make it to their next destination by public bus any way. This may not be true for closer destinations such as Fortuna or Quepos, but is certainly true for getting to Puerto Viejo for this OP. In fact, many travelers are often forced to spend their 1st night somewhere in the SJ/Central Valley area regardless of where they plan to go next or how they plan to get there. And IMHO having to spend 1 night in the SJ area is really not the end of the world experience that some around here make it out to be. Its true that most people come to CR for its wildlife not its urban nightlife, but does that mean you can't take advantage of whatever SJ has to offer for the short time you have to be there?

2) If you're spending the night in the SJ area and plan to catch a bus early the next morning, you can simply purchase your tickets the night before. It is an easy 2-3 block daytime walk to the Caribe from the Taylor B&B, but even if you hop in a cab to go there to buy your tickets, you're really only looking at maybe a half hour of your time and an extra $2-3 for the r/t cab ride.

3) Alternatively, you could ask your hotelier if they could have someone go purchase the tickets for you. That might cost you $5? in tip, but even if it were $10 that is still far less than what those on-line sites would charge you.

4) You should probably purchase the day before just for peace of mind IF you can, but even if you can't its really not the end of the world since if you can't you can simply plan on getting to the bus station an hour before your planned departure and in all likelihood not have any trouble whatsoever getting seats.

5) Except during peak periods such as weekends and holidays, most buses usually don't sell out. This is particularly true on routes like to Puerto Viejo because they have so many daily departures. This means that even if you were to arrive at the last minute you'd likely still manage to get a seat.

6) Even if due to some ill-luck the bus you planned to take were sold out, you'd manage to get a seat on the next bus. Again because there are so many departures to PV, this might mean you'd have to wait 30-60 minutes for the next bus (and possibly have to go through Limon).

7) Speaking some spanish certainly helps in navigating the bus terminal but you really barely even need basic pidgin spanish for that. Can you say "Donday la bentana por Puerto Viejo?" (or be able to read Puerto Viejo on a sign), repeat Puerto Viejo at the window and hold up the number of fingers indicating how many tickets you want, then hand the clerk a 5K note for each and take back the change? There are also signs on the front of each bus indicating its destination and usually guys calling out the destination to gather passengers (and help them with their luggage) in the moments before the bus departs. That might seem a little daunting to some, but isn't that part of the adventure? Or if that is too much adventure for you, then maybe riding the public bus really isn't for you any way.

Edited: 15 November 2011, 09:54
Boston...
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9. Re: San Jose accomodation

Again, thanks for taking your time to answer my question.

It looks like Aranjuez Hotel is close to the Caribe Sur Bus terminal. I have a problem solved - we will stay there. TA reviews are great and breakfast buffet they offer is very tempting.

Prolijo, do you know how many buses leave Puerto Viejo daily? I found a bus schedule online and it looks like San Jose-Puerto Viejo departures are not that frequent - only four times per day. See link below:

puertoviejosatellite.com/transport.php#bus

Is area aroung Aranjuez hotel safe to walk around in the evening (6pm-9pm)? I'm asking because we might go out to grab something to eat.

Thanks. Four more days:)

New York City, New...
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10. Re: San Jose accomodation

great help Prolijo! You are an asset to Trip Advisor!