Mi Casa Hostel [firstname.lastname@example.org] is a great bargain.
I stayed a week in May 2013 and will go back for a longer stay in a few months. Located in a mostly residential neighborhood just north of Sabana Park, it has clean rooms, a restful garden and great staff. The double rooms with bath come in two slightly different sizes. The larger ones have a double bed and a stacked bunk bed. The smaller ones have just the double bed. I like the stacked bunks to store stuff. The ensuite bathrooms are spotless, and have plenty of hot water. Rooms on the second floor open onto a long balcony that overlooks the garden. Those on the first floor open into the garden. The garden has a few tables on the grass. On one side of the garden is a bar area; on the other is a spot with comfy chairs and a hammock. Both areas are under roof and shady. A huge mango tree and lush vegetation surround the garden. The kitchen has a stove, microwave, refrigerator, coffee maker, dishes and the usual utensils. Mornings from 7:30 (8:00 on Sunday) the ever-smiling Marialita makes pancakes; you get two. There is a pool table, plenty of lounging space, a TV and computers with an active Internet connection, and a small multi-lingual library, with books, magazines and tour brochures. The ever-friendly and helpful Karina, Michael, Vinicio and Jose will help you with logistics and suggestions.
One note, though: there is a soccer field just over the wall from the hostel and the activity can get pretty rowdy at times. What would a trip to Latin America be without soccer? Enjoy it.
Five minutes away (out the door, turn left, up to the corner and turn right and walk half a block) is a convenience store (next to the dress shop) with the usual: sandwiches, drinks, munchies. For more serious purchases, it’s a longer walk…maybe 10 minutes. Go out the door, turn left, walk up to the main street, turn left again and walk down to the main intersection. (Note: that ‘main drag’ is the Pan-American Highway, aka Calle 42.) Cross the intersection and go left. A short distance down the street is Mas x Menas market.
The bus to the airport stops right in front of Mas x Menas market. The ones marked Arajuela go to the airport. Karina says to take only those that say Arajuela-Aeroporto, but I took one that simply said Arajuela---after checking with driver that it did in fact go to the airport---and got to the airport in about 35 minutes. The fare was about 500 Colones, MUCH better than the $25 a cab will charge. I have heard that just about any bus from the airport that says San Jose will eventually get to Paseo Colon a very major street back a few blocks from Mas x Menas, but I’d check with the staff at the hostel.
Eats? I saw a sign advertising a breakfast and lunch place down the street (to the right as you exit the hostel), but I never looked for it. Other eats? Out the door, turn left, down to the street, left again and find a burger joint and RostiPollos. RostiPollos did not impress me, but if you want a great place to eat, keep going up to that main drag (Calle 42), cross it, turn right and walk down to Soda Tapia. It’s open 24/7 and has great food. Try an arreglado. Imagine a round hamburger roll make out of a many layered croissant-like pastry sandwiching a whole mix of things, including refried beans. There are half a dozen versions. Also try cas (either con agua, or con leche) for a refreshing guava-like fruit drink. Their arroz con pollo plate is also a winner. And, they DO have ice cream. There are lots of eating places further down Calle 42, including Pollo Campero, a Central American version of Kentucky Fried Chicken, if you crave salt and fat.
You can get downtown San Jose easily from Mi Casa. Go back up to the main drag, Calle 42, turn right and walk to the big street, Paseo Colon. Turn down Paseo Colon and go down a few blocks. There will be bus stops on the right side of the street. The bus labeled Sabana-Cementeria will take you down town for 190 Colones. It goes straight down Paseo Colon, crosses Calle Central, goes a few more blocks, and then turns right at about Calle 7. Get off anywhere along Paseo Colon. Paseo Colon is one way and I never did find where the bus stops that does the trip in reverse. You can get back to where you started however. Just hop on the Sabana-Cementeria bus going in the same direction you took to get downtown and it will eventually get back to Calle 42 just a block or so south of Paseo Colon. It stops at the end of a street that dead ends at Calle 42. The park is right across the street.
By the way, you can take a shortcut through the Parque Sabana going to and from Mi Casa.
So, Mi Casa is a great spot, close to buses and food, and with good, clean rooms, a friendly atmosphere, and great people. I swapped travel tips and did my hammock thing for 7 days. I will go back. If you have questions, get in touch.
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- Also Known As:
- Mi Casa Hostal Hotel San Jose