Filipino Backpackers: Living in Costa Rica as Tourist 2014
Trip Going To Costa Rica
Here is another trip I wanna share with you guys. This is the farthest trip I ever tried because my destination is in the northern part of the world. Costa Rica is located at Central America. Filipinos can visit this country without a visa, all you need to have are round trip tickets and passport. Only few hours from USA and 36 hours from Asia including lay over through KLM airlines.
I have written a topic about my experience with Philippine immigration officers blocking me to pass through in the airport, so if you are interested with my story just click here.
So, after passing through the immigration section at the departure area, I literally ran very quick going to the gate because I was the last passenger to board and it was so embarrassing for me to give inconvenience to the other passengers on board for being the cause of delay. I can say that it was not my fault but the Philippine system which is so annoying. 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' stress when traveling and exiting the country.
Moving forward, we departed the Philippines and arrived to Taiwan. I had 2 transits going to Costa Rica through KLM airlines. In Taiwan, we just waited there for 2 hours to refuel the plane for our next trip going to Amsterdam. Going to Amsterdam, was a long flight, it seems like no ending. My ass was really literally in pain for sitting long hours. When we arrived in the Amsterdam airport, many passengers who are most likely working in the said country went straight to the arrival area while myself went to the boarding gate for my next trip to Panama. Only few people remained in the transit area when we reached Schiphol. Most of my co-passengers are going to Panama and I observed that time that I was the only one going to Costa Rica. I waited for 8 hours long lay over in the transit area of Amsterdam airport. After long hours of waiting, I boarded again to another plane of KLM airlines going to Panama. It was only a short trip for few hours when you check your ticket but it seems like forever. Another pain in my ass sitting long hours again until we reached the Panama. The food in the plane was really delicious and I enjoyed every meal I had. It was my first time to travel in a plane for a very long trip.
While in Amsterdam, I met another Filipina passenger. She's going to Panama to get married with an American living there. We had the same flight from Amsterdam. We parted ways when we reached Panama I was in a hurry to go to my boarding gate going to Costa Rica since it was really a short lay over so I waived goodbye to her.
My flight going to Costa Rica was in a different plane which is a COPA airlines that is a partner of KLM airlines. It was a smooth short flight with small snack in the plane. Just like flying from Manila to one of the provinces in the Philippines.
When I arrived in Costa Rica, my boyfriend was already waiting for me at the arrival area. His flight was from USA but he arrived earlier than me though we had the same day flight coming to Costa Rica. So after we met with hugs and kisses, we took a taxi going to Coca Cola station in San Jose which is a bus station going to Jaco and other places. He checked-in in a hostel prior to my arrival for a night of stay and this place was next to the bus terminal. We planned to rent a place in Jaco because we both love the beach. The next day, we took the first trip going to Jaco.
My life in Jaco.
We decided to stay longer than our planned schedule in Costa Rica. Since, the plane tickets are not really cheap that's why I needed to enjoy every minute of my stay in the said country and make the most out of it by staying over there for a longer months.
In our first month, we stayed in a nice fully furnished studio at the center of Jaco where you can walk around going to the beach, restaurants and grocery stores. The owner named Kenneth was really a friendly and nice person but he couldn't speak English. There was a tica who's living next to our studio room who can speak English so, she became our translator every time we talk to the owner. Kenneth has a caretaker who is also a tenant over there, his name is Adolfo, a Nicaraguan. Unfortunately, he is not a nice man, he always talks about people and nonsense things that make us uncomfortable to stay around him.
We transferred to another town which is very near to Jaco. It was in Herradura but located at the border between Jaco and Herradura. We rented a small Cabina over there, a fully furnished one bedroom house owned by American couple Mike and Rona. We stayed there for about 3 months.
After our stay in Herradura, we rented another place this time in Alajuela located in Santa Barbara Heredia. We stayed over there for another month but we missed the beach so, we decided to go back to Jaco the next month and stayed the rest of our months over there. The total months I stayed in Costa Rica was 10 months. How did I survive in the Costa Rica and stayed for 10 months? Check my hubs about crossing the border of Costa Rica and Nicaragua for renewing my stamp every 3 months HERE.
In Costa Rica, they use colones as their currency but people in most places accept US dollars except the bus drivers. There are stores that are cheap and there are really expensive especially when they see that you are a foreigner. They have price for ticos/ticas and price for foreigners. Don't expect cheap price in Jaco and Herradura. I observed that it was cheaper in Alajuela than in San Jose. But San Jose is cheaper 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 in both sides and the signboard in front is Jaco. If you want to drop off at Herradura just tell the driver to drop you off at the Herradura Plaza. You don't need to worry in Jaco because they have bus terminal over there.
UPDATE: Now, the terminal is in 7/10 bus station in San Jose. Just take a taxi and it will cost you 2000 colones from Coca Cola station if not metered, but if metered it will just show 1500 colones on the meter.
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.
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 that all passengers are ticos they go straight to San Jose without passing by the airport because they have short cut route. So, you better inform the driver ahead of time.
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 and you need to pull the string to inform the driver to stop. Inside the bus they have string on top beside the window to pull. 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 backwards as always so you don't have to stand up once they have those kind of passengers coming in. 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. But there are some bus that has no seat number, just choose the seat you want.
They also have motor bikes in Costa Rica. It is not a motorcycle or scooter, it is a bike and then they put a 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 tourists around $20-$50 a night except big hotels which is twice the rate.
I had many memorable moments in Costa Rica, it was really a peaceful living experience. Thank God for such an experience to cherish and to look back when I get old.
Please read more of my hubs, if you enjoyed reading this. Thanks for reading.
Check out the videos below:
Are you going to visit Jaco beach in the future?
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