Pura Vida Travels - A Guide To Travel In Latin America

Hola! I spent the end of April and beginning of May in San Jose, Costa Rica. I took a little time to see the sights while I was there and thought I would share the pictures that I took. May 1st was Labor Day in Costa Rica so everybody celebrated in true Latin American fashion by taking the day off. Being the typical obnoxious gringo that I am I pretended I was media and joined the parade so I could get some better photos. It was the most fun I've had in a looooong time.

Some of the photos need a little explanation. The photos of the streets I took show an oddity I've never seen anywhere else in that they just pave right around the trees and then leave huge ditches next to the sidewalk. Some of them were 3 feet deep. You really need to watch where you walk there because another oddity is manhole covers are often missing. The photo of the cab drivers pushing their cabs I found amusing. They don't start the cars unless they have to because gas is $5/gallon.

I wish I could have taken pictures inside the church. It was one of the most beautiful churches I've ever seen. I walked around inside but there was a mass going on so I thought it would be a little rude to start taking pictures. The yellow church wasn't open but it was built in the early 1800's. I wish I could have gotten inside but all the doors were locked.

The pics of the money didn't come out to well but you feel rich there when you are walking around with 100,000 in your pocket. (about $200 US)

Well, if you are looking for an interesting place to vacation Costa Rica may be for you. It's safe, clean, and the people are the most friendly people I've ever met. You can even drink the water there. (I did and I'm still alive) I can't wait to get back there and see more of the country.

Pura Vida!!

The currency in Costa Rica is called the Colone. The exchange rate is around 500 Colones to $1 US. It takes a little used to the denominations but the easist way to do it is to remember that a 1000 Colone note = $2, a 5000 = $10, and a 10,000 = $20.
One of the things I find truly bizarre in San Jose is the fact that there are trees growing right in the middle of streets that they just pave around. Another thing to notice is the huge ditches between the sidewalk and the street. ALWAYS watch where you are walking because you could step off a curb into a 3 foot ditch if you're not careful. Also, manhole covers are often missing so pay attention.

The main street in San Jose (Avenida Central) is a pedestrian walkway. There are many shops and restaurants and on weekends there are sometimes bands, art festivals, etc. It's a great place to people watch.

Barrio Amon is a nice upscale neighborhood right on the edge of the city of San Jose. There are lot's of nice hotels and restaurants in this area.

If you like beautiful women then Costa Rica is the place for you because they are literally EVERYWHERE and they seem to like dorky gringos like me.

I was in Costa Rica for Labor Day which is celebrated by everyone taking the day off and having a big parade. The parade was interesting with lots of people marching and handing out union literature. Seeing as this was my first visit to Central America I was a little unsure about how "safe" I was in this environment but I didn't have any problems.
I made a trip to the Don Benigno cigar factory and took a tour. This was the first time I had actually seen people hand roll cigars and it's a fascinating process. The cigars are outstanding and you get a free one if you go to the plant. I got the feeling that not many gringos go there because they looked generally surpised when I showed up at the door. It's located near the US embassy in Rohrmoser. It's best to get directions in Spanish before you go there because it's not the easiest place to find.


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