The National Geographic Traveler describes San José in this way:
Perched among a crescent of mountains, San José enjoys an enviable setting in the heart of the Meseta Central at 1,150m (3,773ft). The compact city of 300,000 enjoys what National Geographic dubbed one of the three best climates in the world, with temperatures that hove around 21C (70F) daily year-round.
San José clings to a provincial feel despite sprawling suburbs that now claim 1.3 million residents – one-third of the nation’s total. San José can never be called colonial quaint. The city was founded as late as 1727 and has relatively few colonial architectural glories.
The main commercial boulevards are little strips of America, with neon signs blaring the offerings of fast-food outlets, car dealerships, strip clubs and shopping malls. In many ways it remains a working-class city where social life is based around the local corner store.
KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
After finishing up our travels in Panama, Ecuador and Peru, we found ourselves with an extra week before we wanted to be in Mesa to see Audrey and pick up our car. We wanted to find a place to spend that week, somewhere in Central America seemed the most interesting, though we could have gone to Florida as we’ve never been there before.
After looking at all sorts of flights to and from various destinations, we settled on Costa Rica. We felt we didn’t want to run around too much sightseeing, as we were facing a long driving trip from Mesa, AZ out to Los Angeles and then up the Pacific coast all the way to Canada. However, we didn’t want to spend the whole time in the capital, San José either, so we settled on two nights upon arrival, and two more nights after some time at a beach resort.
Anil managed to find a great guesthouse on AirBnB for our time in San José, and then we located a secluded resort on the Pacific Ocean for our four nights at the beach. The owner of the guesthouse picked us up at the airport; he told us to look for a tall man wearing an Indian kurta/pajama. He drove us through the busy streets to his lovely home in the suburbs.
The next morning after a stunning breakfast of fresh fruits, typical Costa Rican pinto gallo (beans and rice) and great coffee, he invited us to join him on his weekly Saturday morning market trip. He stocks up on fresh fruits and vegetables for the coming week and always returns with armloads of tropical flowers for the house. I was stunned to learn that he can fill the house with flowers for only $10 US.
Darryle, our host, helped us to arrange for transport to the resort after our second night at the guesthouse. We booked the return trip as well, making it easy to get back and forth in a shared air-conditioned van.