In the Land of Pure Life (Costa Rica)

On a Friday night in the third week of December, we took a red-eye flight from San Francisco to San Jose, Costa Rica. Though I am not a big fan of flight journeys, I felt it went by fast because I was dozing off most of the time. This is one of those strange trips where I was planning and booking tours and hotels until the very last minute. So the excitement hadn’t kicked in yet. I was pre-occupied with thoughts about whether my tours were confirmed or not.

While the flight was about to land, I noticed that San Jose was green; no kidding. So beautifully lush. Kind of reminded us of St. Lucia, only different was that the San Jose airport was much bigger. The lines were unbelievably long at the immigration counter, but luckily they moved quickly. Immigration was a breeze; US is probably the only country that doesn’t treat its visitors well even when you present all the documents needed.

We knew exactly what we wanted to do after we completed immigration: buy a sim card from the airport and get USD exchanged for local currencies. As planned, we stopped at a kiosk inside the airport to get a sim card. I had already read elsewhere that the currency exchange rate is very low inside the airport. Someone had suggested coming out of the airport, turn right and enter the airport again to go the second floor, where the exchange rates are a tad better.

So, we walked outside the airport looking for another entrance into the airport and specifically to the second floor. While searching on the curb side, a taxi driver came by and asked if we needed help. He highly recommended exchanging local currencies at a bank where they offer a a much better exchange rate. He said that the exchange counters inside the airport were a rip-off. Well, we anyway needed a taxi to take us to the hotel in Alajuela and he offered to give us a ride.

Streets of Alajuela
Streets of Alajuela

We checked into the hotel, which was small, neat and comfortable. After quickly refreshing ourselves, we asked the hotel receptionist to recommend a good restaurant for dinner; a restaurant that offers local Costa Rican food. He recommended that there was a good number of restaurants just a few blocks from the hotel.

Church in Alajuela
Church in Alajuela

We saw a number of pizza places and though I was so hungry that I could have eaten just about anything, I still wanted to wait and have good Costa Rican food. We asked a few other locals around with our horribly broken Spanish and they suggested that we check out Spoon.

Finally, we found the Spoon restaurant just behind a complex. We got ourselves seated near the outdoor area and ordered a juice, rice/beef. The juice was just middling. The entrée was delish, delish, delish. The rice was perfectly cooked and so juicy. The beef tenders were soft and the sauce was yummy.

Rice and Beef
Rice and Beef

We rounded up our dinner with a tres leches. Oh dear god, that was the best tres leches I have ever had in my life so far. The cake was spongy and the milk itself had a different kind of sweetness. Simply out of the blue!

Tres Leches
Tres Leches

After a sumptuous and satisfied dinner, we walked back to our hotel. Tired and sleepy, we just called it a day.

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