San Jose City Guide
OVERVIEW: "Do you know the way to San Jose" was a hit song recorded in the 1960s by the very talented and beautiful Dionne Warwick. I'd bet a full shilling that she wasn't talking about San Jose, Costa Rica. San Jose is the capital of the country and the economic hub of all things not involving tourism. It's not bad. Not great, but not bad.
WEATHER: Tropical rainforest (18-30 °C). Rainy season May-November, but often cloudy all year.
SAFETY: Moderate. Crime certainly exists in San Jose, but it's mostly kid's stuff like purse snatching or robbing at knifepoint (the latter rarer). Don't worry about becoming a victim of senseless violence in San Jose because it probably won't happen. Keep an eye on dat necklace tho.
MUST DO: Take a nap. You've probably just had a long plane or bus trip, so treat yourself with a bit of a sleep when you get to your apartment, hostel or hotel. You'll need the energy for the night.
RENT AN APARTMENT IN SAN JOSE: $450.00. In this case, assume city centre to mean "nice area" because there isn't a whole lot to rent near the centre of San Jose.
HOSTEL DORM BED/NIGHT $10.00-$15.00
NIGHTLIFE IN SAN JOSE: 7/10
Enough to keep you feeling content. I'm not fond of the way the nightlife is allocated in San Jose. You basically have three or four different areas you can go to, but they are so far apart you essentially have to commit yourself to one per night to make the most of things. I'd recommend the Escazu district, as well as downtown San Jose. If you can, check out both. There's also the Santa Ana district, which is pretty upscale, and the San Pedro district, where the university is located.
I recommend: Castro's Bar. A down to earth place. May have just a few too many tourists though. If you like to leverage your exotic factor, hit the districts away from downtown.
BOTTLE OF BEER: $2.00
CHANCE OF HOOKING-UP IN SAN JOSE: 6.75/10
You have a better chance here than in Panama City, although I've given the two cities the same rating. Here in San Jose, being proficient in Spanish isn't as crucial as it is in Panama City, nor is status. You'll find that girls in San Jose are open and friendly with foreigners, but also accustomed to them. This means that you might not get the head-turns from girls that you'd get in, say, San Pedro Sula, so expect to have to build a bit of rapport first, 'cause blue eyes and light hair 'aint gonna be enough here. Now that I think of it, your best chance to take this city would probably be to daygame the university and hit the clubs in San Pedro in the evening. Wish I'd thought of that earlier...
***ONLINE DATING: Latin American Cupid allows you to talk with girls and set up dates before you arrive in the country. For this reason, I recommend it.
ARE GIRLS HOT IN SAN JOSE?: 6.75/10.
Worse than Panama City, but better than Managua if we're using our Central American measuring stick. Girls in Costa Rica are taller and lighter-skinned than what you'll find up north. Similar to Panamanian girls except for there are no blacks in San Jose, and the richer girls here typically aren't quite as pretty as the Panamanian dolls.
If you want to meet women in Costa Rica, you will need to speak some Spanish. The Pickup Spanish Program is the only course of its kind, designed specifically to teach you Spanish for meeting Latinas in Latin America.
GROCERIES: Milk (1L)= $1.40 Loaf of Bread= $1.50 Eggs= $3.20 Water (1.5L)= $2.10 Cigarettes= $3.00
JOB OPPORTUNITIES: People are always looking to learn English - specifically business/service English - because it is essential for getting a job. You could be their teacher.
TAXI: $3.00-$5.00. More if they can get it.
NOTES: I'll give a brief impression of Costa Rica here since my two city guides failed to dig very deep. I would say that as a tourist destination, Costa Rica has seen its day. There was a time, twenty years ago, when it was cheap, safe and beautiful. And while it still may be beautiful on the beaches and in the jungle, it's charm has since been eroded by the constant flood of gringos and inflation, a by-product of the aforementioned. I'd opt for Panama instead, although that place too will no doubt endure a similar trajectory. You might say I'm being too hard on it - not even my own overall ratings reflect my criticism - but for a country that is constantly having its johnson stroked for how great it is, there isn't all that much good to say about it anymore.
OVERALL RATING: 6.5/10
*More city guides from Costa Rica here!