Hello everyone! Dan and I traveled all over Costa Rica in January, but now we’re back with a ton of adventurous stories to share over the next few weeks, starting with our first night in San Jose, Costa Rica.
Our First Night in San Jose
We arrived to Costa Rica in the late afternoon and spent our first night in a victorian hotel called Fleur de Lys in San Jose, the capital city. With all the mixed reviews about San Jose (some travelers claimed the city was dirty and unsafe, especially at night), we decided not to venture outside our hotel. To be honest, we had seen enough from the chaotic taxi ride coming in and were happy to have made it alive! For such a laid-back country, the people here drove so aggressively! But for those who are braver than us (most of you), the National Museum of Costa Rica and the National Theatre are both a 15-minute walk away.
Our Hotel Review
Hotel Fleur de Lys was an adorable 3-star hotel and need I say, PINK. Very very PINK. Except for the interior, which disappointed me. Each room was named after a flower native to the country. Ours was the Guaria Morada, which happens to be Costa Rica’s national flower!
In Costa Rica, you get more bang for your buck compared to the Western countries. We received a queen-sized bed, a balcony, a private bathroom, closet space, a television, free wifi, and a living room, complete with a mini fridge, all for less than $100 USD during their peak season in January. Our space was relatively clean except for one mishap, which you can read about below.
In addition, Hotel Fleur de Lys has their own restaurant, which meant we did not have to risk getting lost in the city to find food. Another thing that needs to be mentioned is the nearby train, which runs from early morning to late at night. Light sleepers may have trouble getting some rest with all the noise.
An Unwanted Guest
Within the first hour, we encountered a ginormous cockroach—at least three inches long—running around our bathroom floor! We sacrificed one of our glass cups provided by the hotel and tossed the
little big guy right off our balcony. Welcome to the jungle?
Little did we know, that was not the worse of the unexpected
guests pests that we’ll come across on our two-week trip in Costa Rica. A few days later, we had to wrangle an angry scorpion out of our cabin in Monteverde. Also, we housed two geckos in Tortuguero, but they were cute, so we don’t consider them pests.
Recommendations on Where to Stay
Hotel Fleur de Lys is a well-known establishment in San Jose and was recommended by our travel agent. This place is great for the average traveler who wants something in-between a budget hostel and luxury branded hotel.
Overall, we would not recommend staying or driving through San Jose. The only reason we stayed in San Jose was because we arranged to get picked up by Mawamba Lodge for a tour of Tortuguero National Park the following morning.
If you have a choice, we would recommend staying in Alajuela, which is actually closer to the airport and popular destinations like the Poas Volcano and the Arenal Volcano. You’ll run into less traffic, less crime, and maybe less cockroaches?