Costa Rica Day 1

Today we arrived in San Jose from our connecting flight in New York with my travel partner, Eva. We’re taking a guided tour with Gate 1 Travel that includes Tortuguero, Arenal, and Manuel Antonio.

It was pouring when we arrived. We are staying at Hotel Balmoral which has an excellent downtown location on Central Ave, a pedestrian-only street. We asked for a recommendation on where to eat and were told that Tiera Nuestra is good. It was about 5 blocks from the hotel, close to the “park.” We wandered and couldn’t find it. We ran into some “policia” but they weren’t familiar with the restaurant. After more wandering, we ran into the same policia a second time, and this time they knew! They had asked where it was and happened to run into us again. We got confused because the “park” was a small area with some trees…

While trying to find the restaurant, we visited a craft market  but most of the products looked mass-produced. I’d read not to buy any wood products unless they were from sustainable-harvested sources, and couldn’t tell if these were so.

Finally made it to the restaurant–there were 5 waiters and no customers! I ordered fajitas and caffe con leche. The caffe was brewed tableside! It was so cool. The ground beans were in a cloth bag that was suspended over a silver pot. The waiter poured hot water over the cloth and the coffee flowed into the empty pitcher. He poured some of the coffee into a mug with cream and it was the best coffee I ever had. It didn’t even need any sugar. My fajitas were also excellent and served with pureed black beans, fried plantains, and homemade tortillas (I asked for no rice to save calories). Cost $14. Our waiter was very nice, too.

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Our awesome waiter at Tiera Nuestra
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Lunch at Tiera Nuestra
Caffe con leche in San Jose
Caffe con leche in San Jose
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Chicken fajitas, fried plantains, black beans and homemade tortillas.
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Eva and Dawn–travel buddies!

It was still raining when lunch was over. We wandered back to the hotel and stopped in a supermarket to buy bottled water. Brought it back to the room then decided to go to the Teatro Nacional. It was pretty in the lobby and cost $7 to go inside. The line was short but very slow so we decided to skip it.

I went into another store to buy an umbrella and on the way out, a security guard stopped me and asked me something in Spanish but I didn’t know what he said. Another customer said, “She doesn’t understand.” The security guy opened my umbrella, then closed it and handed it back to me. Still mystified, I left the store. Once outside, I opened the umbrella and noticed one of the tips was broken. The woman from the store appeared and motioned for me to go back to the store. Finally I understood! They’d both been suspicious I had bought a broken umbrella. I went back to the store and got a different one. It was so thoughtful of everyone to be so concerned I had a crap umbrella.

For dinner, we went back to Tiera Nuestra since we knew it was good, and where it was now. I had black bean soup. We went back to the hotel after dinner, we were tired and have to be ready to go in the hotel lobby by 6:00 AM tomorrow!

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Pedestrian-only street, Central Avenue
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Teatro Nacional
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Interior of National Theater
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Pretty building in San Jose
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Black bean soup

Go on the next part of the journey!

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