So, we were lucky enough to get a Jet Blue flight that was direct to San Jose, Costa Rica from Orlando, Florida. It was a three hour flight, but we gained an hour as Costa Rica is in the Central time zone. We arrived safely around noon, got through immigration, got our bags, went through customs, and started looking for someone holding up a sign with our names.
We found a young lady, and she put stickers on us with Pacific Trade Winds, the travel agency. Outside we didn't see our driver, so we got directions to the nearest bank inside the airport and exchanged some cash for Colones. Today the exchange rate was 528 colones to the dollar. I packed away the colorful money into my hidden money belt.
Unfortunately, although Costa Rica is a safe country, petty theft is a problem, so we have been cautioned to stay alert and not stand out too much. I left my wallet back in the U.S., Linda has no jewelry, we brought only a small Chromebook laptop that will fit in most hotel safes, Linda has hidden pockets in a travel vest and a money belt of her own, and I changed the "Nikon" strap on my camera to make it look less conspicuous.
After getting our colones, we went back to the main exit where there were lots of drivers with signs, and lots of people hawking taxi rides. We were told to ignore the offers of a taxi, and only go with someone holding up our name and flight number.
When the other taxi drivers saw our stickers, they didn't bother us as much and, in fact, some of them tried to help us find our driver. Eventually, we saw the guy with our sign.
Esther & Steve were supposed to arrive only 45 minutes later, so we thought we were all going to be on the same shuttle. Nope.
We arrived at our hotel in San Jose, the Country Inn & Suites, and got a room overlooking the lush courtyard and pool.
Soon, we were bird watching from our room while we waited for Steve & Esther to arrive.
The afternoon rains came, and we eventually heard from our travel partners. Their day wasn't quite as smooth as ours, but they made it.
We got together for a late lunch/early dinner at the open air restaurant by the pool at the hotel.
Safe and sound and together.
Costa Rica has consistently warm temperatures, but it has two seasons - the wet season and the dry season. We're here at the tail end of the wet season which has fewer tourists and cheaper prices. And we knew to come prepared for rain.
After getting a bite to eat, we put on rain jackets and walked a half block to a Fresh Market grocery where there were other shops and restaurants.
After that, we called it a night. We have to get up early in the morning for an all-day tour, our first of the trip, but the only one we'll have in San Jose. Let the adventure begin.