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FILIPINO BACKPACKERS: Living in Costa Rica
Costa Rica Trip
Here is another trip I wanna share with all of you. This is the farthest trip I ever had because it is part of the northern earth. Yes, Costa Rica is located at Central America. Filipinos can visit this country without visa, all you need to have are round trip tickets and your passport. Only few hours from USA and 36 hours from Asia including lay over with my experience going there via Taiwan, Amsterdam, and Panama.
I wrote already about my experience with immigration officers blocking me to pass through so, if you wanna check my worse experience dealing with officers in Philippine airport just click here.
So, after I passed the immigration section in the departure area, I ran immediately to my airline gate because I was the only passenger they were waiting for and it was really embarrassing especially to the foreigners in the plane for being the cause of delay. I can say that it was not my fault but the Philippine system. Or maybe I was not lucky enough to have a smooth exit. Many Filipinos are suffering for this kind of system we have in the Philippines and special mention to the people working inside the airport who are really cruel and unreasonable, who are really the cause of Filipinos' misery.
Moving on, we departed the Philippines going to Taiwan. I had 2 transits going to Costa Rica through KLM airlines. In Taiwan, we just waited for 2 hours in their airport because they need to clean and refuel the plane for our next trip going to Amsterdam. We took same plane we had from PH. It was a long flight in the air when we travel to Amsterdam, it seems like no ending. My ass was really in pain literally for sitting long hours. When we arrived in Amsterdam airport, most of the passengers with us are workers and residents of Amsterdam, they went straight to the arrival area. Only few people remained in the transit area when we reached schiphol. Mostly my co-passengers are going to Panama and I can say I was the only one going to Costa Rica. So, we waited for long hours in the transit area of Amsterdam. It was 8 hours lay over. We boarded again to another plane of KLM airlines going to Panama. It was only a short trip for few hours supposed to be but it seems like forever. Another pain in my ass sitting long hours again until we reached the Panama country. The food in the plane was really delicious and I enjoyed every meal we had. It was my first time to travel in a very long plane trip.
In Panama, I met another Filipina passenger. She's going to Panama to get married with American living in Panama. We had the same flight so we talked about ourselves while we were still in Amsterdam airport. We parted ways when we reached Panama because I need to be quick in searching my gate number going to Costa Rica since it was really short lay over so I said goodbye and goodluck in a hurry.
My flight going to CR was in different plane which is COPA airlines partners with KLM airlines. It was a smooth short flight with small snack. Just like flying from Manila to one of the provinces in Philippines.
When I arrived in Costa Rica, my boyfriend was waiting for me in the arrival area. His flight was from USA, we had same day of arrival but he arrived earlier than me. So after we met with hugs and kisses, we took taxi going to cocacola station in San Jose. He was already checked in a hotel for one day and the hotel was next to the bus terminal going to Jaco beach. We planned to rent a place in Jaco because we love beach. The next day, we took the first trip going to Jaco.
My life in Jaco.
Because of my experience with the immigration officers in the Philippines we decided to stay longer than our planned schedule. Plus the plane tickets are not really cheap so I need to enjoy every minute of my stay in the said country and make the most out of it.
We stayed in a nice fully furnished studio at the center of Jaco where you can walk around in the beach, restaurants and grocery stores. The owner was really friendly. His name is Kenneth but he can't speak English. We befriended with another tica who's living next to our room. She can speak lil English so she became translator of the owner. Kenneth has a caretaker too who is also a tenant there, his name is Adolfo, a Nicaraguan but we can say he is not a nice man, he always talks about people or nonsense things.
Anyway, our stay in Jaco lasted only for one month. We transfered to another town very near to Jaco. It is in Herradura which is the border between Jaco and Herradura. It was a small cabina, fully furnished owned by American couple Mike and Rona. We stayed there for 3 months.
After our stay in herradura, we rented a place again this time near the capital city in San Jose. The place is near the airport, it is in Santa Barbara Heredia. We stayed there for one month only because it was far from beach and since we missed the beach we decided to go back to Jaco. So we went back to Jaco and stayed the rest of our months there. The total months I stayed in Costa Rica was 10 months. How did I survive in the country and stayed for longer months? Check my hubs about crossing the border of Costa Rica and Nicaragua at Penas Blancas for renewing my stamp every 3 months HERE.
In Costa Rica, they use colones in buying and paying. But they accept US dollars everywhere except with bus drivers. There are stores that are cheap and there are really expensive especially when they see that you are a foreigner. They have tico price and foreigner price. Don't expect cheap price in Jaco and Herradura. I can say they have cheap price in Alajuela better than in San Jose. But San Jose price is better than in Jaco.
How to go to Jaco by bus? You take the bus at cocacola station. Pay your ticket at the ticketing booth worth 2445 colones that is $5. The bus has Garabito print out the sideways and the signboard in front is Jaco. When you want to drop by Herradura just tell the driver to drop you off at the Herradura Plaza. You don't need to worry about stopping at Jaco because all the passengers will be dropped off in Jaco terminal.
How to go to Airport from San Jose by bus? The terminal is on another side but still walking distance from cocacola station. It is located in front of the park across the San Juan de Dios hospital. The signboard is Alajuela. It will pass by the airport. The fare is 500 colones or $1. It is the same bus you are going to take when you wanna visit Alajuela or wanna come to Santa Barbara Heredia.
From Jaco to Airport? When you go to airport from Jaco, just tell the bus driver to drop you off at the airport because the bus will pass by in that place to drop passengers before going straignt to San Jose. Sometimes, when they see all passengers are ticos they go straight to San Jose without passing by the airport because they have short cut route.
Going to Santa Barbara. Just take the bus going to Alajuela from San Jose. In Alajuela, you need to walk going to the cemetery because across that place is the bus going to Santa Barbara.
What else? They have bus stop in each place where you drop off or where you take a ride. Inside the bus they have string on top beside the window to pull when you wanna stop the bus in a particular place. Other bus like in Santa Barbara, they use red button near your seat. The first rows of the bus are for disabled, pregnant, with children, or senior citizen so you better choose the third rows onwards always so you don't need to stand up once they have those kind of passengers coming up. When you take the bus from terminal, you already have your seat number printed in your ticket so you don't have to worry getting a chair inside if too many people.
They also have motor bike. It is not a motorcycle or scooter, it is a bike and then they put motor. Mostly people use bikes without motor for transportation but those without car and bikes they take bus. We always take bus not taxi because their taxi fare is too expensive. So do not take taxi from San Jose going to Jaco, it will cost you $60 to $100 compared to $5 bus fare.
What are the activities we can do? Swimming, surfing, rainforest adventure, sight seeing, boating, fishing, horse back riding, golfing, crocodile viewing and a lot more.
We rented fully furnished place around $250-$500. The studio type is $250 to $400 while two bedrooms with swimming pool is $500 a month. We didn't rent a hotel in Jaco because expensive for our budget. They usually charge tourist $20-$50 a night except big hotels which is twice the rate.
I had many memorable moments in CR, it was really a peaceful living experience for me. Thank God for such an experience.
Please read more of my hubs, if you enjoyed reading this. Thanks for reading.