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Is it safe to walk to hotel after getting off airport bus?

San Jose, CA
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Is it safe to walk to hotel after getting off airport bus?

I'm staying at Holiday Inn Aurola in downtown.

I'm trying to decide whether to cab it from SJO airport or take the bus.

It looks like the bus from the airport will drop me off at Parque de la Merced? According to google maps, it's only 1.4km to the hotel.

Is it safe to walk up Calle 12, then across av 3 to Calle 5? I land at 4pm next Sat, so by the time I get out it'll be 5-6pm.

Otherwise, I'll take cab. It looks like it's ~$25 one way? Orange or red cab?

Slovenia
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for Costa Rica
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1. Re: Is it safe to walk to hotel after getting off airport bus?

Personally, I would use a taxi. Looking for a bus after a long flight is not very high on my to do book while traveling. On airport taxis are dark orange, in the city dark red with yellow triangle. There was a booth at the exit where an airport taxi could be asked for. Or there will be some airport personnel outside to help you.

Costa Rica
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2. Re: Is it safe to walk to hotel after getting off airport bus?

It would be safe to walk to your hotel - but I agree with Xelas -- I would just take a taxi. It's so easy and convenient (if more expensive).

The "official" airport taxis are orange and the only ones you will find on the airport property. A nice gentleman will ask you as you exit the terminal.... "Taxi?" Just say yes and he will direct you to the next available taxi.

Edited: 13 April 2013, 14:20
Pensacola, Florida
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3. Re: Is it safe to walk to hotel after getting off airport bus?

I totally agree with the advise already given. You do not want to be walking around with luggage in hand at night in downtown San Jose. The only time that I have ever been the least bit concerned was walking around in this area at night with my wife. I wasn't concerned myself, but with the wife and all the "panhandlers" hitting you up for money, it will make you aware that being a visitor, you do stick out. With luggage in hand, you are a moving billboard that you are a tourist that has just arrived. Don't invite a mugging, take a taxi.

San Jose, CA
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4. Re: Is it safe to walk to hotel after getting off airport bus?

Just a follow up to my own question.

Since I only carried a back pack, I decided to be adventurous and took the bus from San Jose airport to downtown. It was very cheap (535 local currency and the bus does not accept USD); I changed 2 USD with the bank in departure level.

The area around the bus station is quite bustling and I never felt unsafe at any time. It was an easy 15 min walk to the hotel and good opportunity to explore town.

San Jose, Costa Rica
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5. Re: Is it safe to walk to hotel after getting off airport bus?

Take a taxi...try not to walk with suitcase in town...is like telling bad guys here we come!

roadadvisor

Texas
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for Arenal Volcano National Park, La Fortuna de San Carlos
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6. Re: Is it safe to walk to hotel after getting off airport bus?

Glad it worked out for you.

Canada
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7. Re: Is it safe to walk to hotel after getting off airport bus?

After dark there is a lot of unsavoury activity and characters in the little park right across from the Holiday Inn. Stay away.

Tampa, FL
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for San Jose, Costa Rica
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8. Re: Is it safe to walk to hotel after getting off airport bus?

I would have to somewhat disagree with some of the previous posters. Working backwards starting with Canatico. The little park in front of the HI, Parque Morazon, has HAD a very bad reputation in the PAST for unsavory activity and characters after dark, but that's kinda old news. It STILL might not be a place you'd want to push your luck LATER at night but is really not all that dangerous in the early evening when this traveler would be passing by. For one thing, the added presence by the municipality of police officers on site, has greatly increased the safety of the park (not sure the same could be said for some of the surrounding areas). Additionally, as further proof of that park's safety in the earlier evening, there is what is known as the "kissing park" rule-of-thumb, which basically goes like this: for urban parks in Latin America IN GENERAL, if you see young couples sitting on the park benches holding hands and doing what young couples do in the evening out of the house and away from parent's eye's (as opposed to groups of young thugs), then you can probably assume the park can't be that dangerous. OTOH, once you see the decent local citizen's abandoning a park in the evening then it is probably a good time for you to get out of there as well. And one can normally see such couples hanging out in Morazon Park at least until 8PM or even later.

OTOH, I'd agree with RA, that what the locals can get away with is not always the same as what a gringo can, or at least a gringo obviously sporting all his valuables by lugging a backpack through downtown. I'm not saying it can't at all be done, at least during the day or perhaps the early evening when shops are still open and the streets haven't been completely abandoned to the riff-raff. In fact, I've done it once or twice with no ill effect. But it certainly does at least increase your risk somewhat. At the very least, you'd need to be extra mindful of your surroundings, on your guard against bumping into pickpockets and very careful that you have everything completely zipped up and sealed. But why bother having to concern yourself with such things, or hauling heavy luggage, when a taxi from where the bus lets off near Merced to your hotel 10 blocks away will only cost an extra $1-2. If you want a good opportunity to explore town, just wait the extra 5 minutes it takes a cab to take you the rest of the way to your hotel, then go out walking AFTER you've deposited all your luggage safely in your hotel. I agree with Hattie that it would still be reasonably safe to walk from the bus stop to your hotel, at least in the early evening that we were talking about, but it would be easier dealing with your luggage and not having to worry AT ALL about security by just taking a cab. Where I disagree with her is that means your only other choice is to take a taxi all the way from the airport.

Which brings me to my last point. Hattie and Xela made it sound like your only options were either to take a bus to downtown and walk the rest of the way to your hotel OR take that much more expensive taxi all the way from the airport, but I think the best option is actually a combination of bus and local downtown taxi. If one is landing at 4PM, the latest one would probably make it out of the airport would be 6, much more likely before 5PM. But even at 6PM there would still be plenty of daylight to find the bus to SJ that stops right smack in front of the airport every 5-10minutes. Most likely one would arrive at the small terminal downtown near Merced by 6PM at which point there would be absolutely no shortage of those dark red taxis with the yellow triangles ready to whisk you safely away to your hotel's front door within seconds of stepping off the bus. Total cost to you for bus and taxi $2-3 vs. $20-30 for the taxi from the airport

Canada
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9. Re: Is it safe to walk to hotel after getting off airport bus?

Good to hear that the park has improved, but I wasn’t really speaking to the OP as he or she has already made the trek. – More to others who may read the thread. That’s why I said “after Dark” I still wouldn’t chance it myself.

10. Re: Is it safe to walk to hotel after getting off airport bus?

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