The journey from Managua, Nicaragua to San Jose, Costa Rica took 9 hours by bus. It was definitely a pleasant ride.
Not too far from the border on the Nicaraguan side, I was very surprised to see a wind farm in operation. I didn’t realize there was much activity here in Central America, but maybe there just isn’t much activity from my former company. These turbines are from a competitor. Still, great to see and very unexpected!
I was a bit concerned at the border. You are supposed to have your onward ticket (plane/bus) upon entry to prove you are planning to leave. I didn’t have one since I don’t know exactly how long I’ll be here.
The immigration official asked the American guy a few people in front of me some questions and he had to prove onward travel. When I got there he just looked through my passport, saw many stamps, and stamped my passport. No questions asked. Nice!
Not too long after entering Costa Rica, this rainbow was visible from the bus. It was nice to see, and was especially welcoming after quitting Nicaragua.
I was in San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, for two full days. Unfortunately, it rained both days. On the second day it basically rained the whole day. The rainy season here should be ending pretty soon, but it’s still going strong right now.
Comparing Managua and San Jose is like comparing night and day. San Jose is clean, “modern”, and efficient. It’s just like an American or European City, which is why I put modern in quotes. A city need not be like an American/European city to be modern, but it’s what I’m used to.
The infrastructure is good as well. There are city buses, public garbage cans on the street, walk/don’t walk signals in the city center, etc.
Avenida Central is a pedestrian street running through the center of the city. It’s an enjoyable walk down a street filled with cafes, restaurants, and stores. For some reason San Jose is filled with shoe stores. I’m not sure what that’s all about.
The city itself is very, very green. There are parks everywhere and I really enjoyed all the greenery.
Costa Rican food is similar to the rest of Central America. But they seem to eat more casado – a mix of rice and beans. I like Central American food so I enjoyed all the local dishes I tried.
As Christmas is not too far away, there are lots of decorations up. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen Christmas decorations in a hot country. When I lived in the Persian Gulf, they had elaborate Christmas displays and decorations in the malls. But it’s still strange to see decorations including snow in countries that don’t get cold, let alone snow.
When I was in San Jose, people were protesting outside the Costa Rican Parliament. I’m not sure what they were protesting about. I couldn’t tell based on the signs they were holding. Of course, it was 100% peaceful and they were pretty relaxed.
Coffee is grown here and definitely consumed here. It’s amazing! Below are a coffee monument showing the baskets coffee was traditionally placed into and a store that sells freshly ground coffee. You can imagine how amazing that store smells when you walk past it..
Plaza de las Artes was one of my favorite places in San Jose. There is a big open area with pigeons and there are always kids running around chasing after them. It’s great to see such innocent joy. Some people bring food for the pigeons and they can be quite aggressive, as you can see below!
I couchsurfed in San Jose and Laura was my host. She is from Finland and was an awesome host! I thank her deeply for her amazing hospitality!
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About Adam Pervez
In mid-2011 I left my cushy corporate job and took the plunge into a life incorporating my passions of traveling, writing, volunteering, learning, educating, and telling stories. I study what happiness means to others, offer what I can from my engineering/MBA background as a volunteer, and try to leave each place better than how I found it. Read more.