The flight from PHL to SJO was a treat...in other words, smooth with no issues. It's a little over 5 hrs from pushback to deplane time. San Jose is in the Central time zone, so I picked up an hour!!
Immigration at SJO was slow. The line was over 200 deep. I also exchanged a little money and purchased a cell phone after the big wait. All told, it took about 1h 30min from the time I got in line until I hopped into a taxi. The ride from the airport to my hotel in Escazu (small suburb?) was around 20 minutes. The taxi fair was about $30. For your $30 you get a free dose of car sickness compliments of the cab driver. The Intercontinental hotel is 11 km from the center of San Jose. The hotel is well staffed, very clean, and modern. My room over looks the pool area.
The city and neighboring area sits in a bowl. The mountains and hills that surround the city have cloud cover most of the time. The city itself has been blue skies to cloudy so far. Temps have been high 70s low 80s with a strong breeze all day long. The breeze makes it cool enough to carry along a light jacket, just in case.
I hopped on the bus ($1.00 each way) to head into town to get a taste of the local scene. It's a mixed bag. Some areas were very nice and others were a bit down trodden. I strolled through the Mercado Central. There were many vendor stands with all type of goods. Plenty of fish and chicken vendors. It appeared as if there were plenty of "made in Costa Rica" items available. It's so hard to tell what's real and what's from China.
A few tips that old Pained has uncovered.
1)Spanish is the native language. English is around, but not everywhere. If you decide to purchase a local cell phone, be sure to have the sales agent set the phone up with English. Also, the manual for the phone was in Spanish only. I had to look up an English language manual on-line to figure the darn thing out. Oh, the phone cost around $40 and is preloaded with time to call back to the U.S...200 minutes, I think. If you need more minutes, they're cheap and can be added all over town. The phone has been working just fine.
2) This is the third time that I've been in a country that is fairly close to the equator. The length of daylight doesn't change all that much. The sun goes down here in March around 5:45...Even in the summer months, the daylight hours never exceed 13. The sun will go down between 5:11 PM to 6:02 PM all year long. It feels odd. In Philly, the sun stays up until 8:45 or so in the summer.
3) There are what seems to be thousands of birds around. They stay mainly in the trees but leave little presents from time to time. Their songs are beautiful and loud. I've been trying to get a few pictures, but they hide out of sight very well.