One Week In Costa Rica with a Ten Hour Layover in Guadalajara

My wife and I spent our tenth anniversary in the country we had our honeymoon, Costa Rica. I found a crazy deal on air from Ontario, California to San Jose, Costa Rica on Volaris Airlines, $260 round trip, per person. That comes with a 10 hour layover in Guadalajara on the way and a 6 hour layover on the way back. I didn’t really mind since I’ve never been to Guadalajara and wanted to check it out.

Luckily I was able to meet with the Guadalajara Tourism Board the week before our trip at a Travel Massive event in Venice Beach. They set us up with a guide on our 10 hour layover. Jorge picked us up at the airport, showed us around the city, took us to a great restaurant, and told us so much about the city and the landmarks. It was an excellent way to spend our long layover and get a feel for Guadalajara.

From the short time there, I really want to go back for at least a week and explore the city much more, hopefully I can go sometime next year.

Then it was off to San Jose, we finally landed and had the dreaded customs line which took an hour, with flight after flight lining up and only 5 windows open, or maybe it was 4. Such a painful and slow process that could be fixed with a few more people working. I remember 10 years ago it took over 2 hours, so a slight improvement in 10 years, but still really sucks.

I used Starwood points for a free room at the Aloft way outside of downtown, but closer to the airport. I tried to get a sim card and exchange some cash, but the sim cards are a total rip off at the airport. Also the exchange rate places have horrible rates. The worst airport I’ve been to in a long while ripping people off, it shouldn’t be this bad.

So I couldn’t use Uber since I didn’t want to pay roaming on Verizon, so I changed $20 US and got a taxi, which cost the whole $20 in Colones for not too long of a ride. I think Uber would have been $8, so we got ripped off on the taxi ride.

This was about 24 hours of traveling with no sleep, since we had the red eye from Ontario, spent the day in Guadalajara, then finally got to our hotel and nothing was open except the McDonalds next door. Not the best anniversary dinner, but we were exhausted, ate and went to sleep.

The next morning we got an Uber to Walmart for some supplies, I found a sim card for $2.00 US, crazy cheap! Then we got an Uber to the Hotel Rio Perlas about 2 hours from San Jose in Cartago. We stayed there two nights in a log cabin, such amazing grounds with hiking trails, waterfalls and rivers running through the property.

We then took an Uber to the Poas Volcano Lodge with was a couple hours away, spent 2 nights there in an amazing room, this place is so nice! They have some cool hiking trails and a dairy with cows. We had some really good meals here, relaxed and really enjoyed the place.

We couldn’t order an Uber since there were no drivers available this far out of town, so we got a driver recommended by the hotel which cost about double what the Uber would be, but we had no choice and got to our hotel in Downtown San Jose.

We stayed 2 nights in a great area near the main shopping and walking street, excellent location for us to get some good food and see the main parts of the city.

Thanks to Get Your Guide for setting up our Bites and Sights tour, we saw a couple markets and a lot of the historic places in the city.

It was then time to head home, it was such a horrible ordeal dealing with Volaris, the whole day had issue after issue, extremely upset with them and I would highly recommend NEVER flying with them. It’s not worth the cheap price, i would have paid much more to not have to deal with them. I won’t go into details, but I may make a video just about why not to fly with them.

Anyways, we finally made it home, extremely pissed off, but other than that last day we had a great trip.

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