Landing Pads

When coming to Costa Rica we have usually spent our first night in Alajuela, near San Jose and just around the corner from the airport. Since our first visit, we have stayed at the Hotel Aeropuerto on several occasions.


We were drawn by its quaint simplicity, air conditioned rooms and fully gated security system. We fell in love with the little bar, where we had our very first taste of local brews and typical cuisine.


When we first walked into the bar, it was empty and we commented on that fact. The server spread his arms, grinned widely and said, “Si, just for you!” And that, my friends, is the way of Costa Rica.


You shouldn’t expect food swimming in buttery sauces and overly seasoned, with huge plates of bread on the side here. Things are best in their purest forms and they know how to prepare pork, chicken and fish to perfection on a grill in nearly all of the restaurants we have visited. Beef is a bit different. Not corn fed or fattened up, you won’t likely be prepared for the texture and flavor of the beef unless it is marked as Angus or imported. We have grown so accustomed to the abundance of fresh fish and pork that we hardly notice. Most meals come with fried yucca or their own wonderful little golden potatoes, usually mashed, and a combination of fresh vegetables, along with plantains. There is a yummy squash that is prevalent here and is almost always in the veggie combination.


The grounds are lovely, well kept and many different trees and flowering plants are designated with signs and botany information. Every day I am here I see something new. The pool sits under shade of an old,giant mango tree and as a result, don’t expect perfectly clear water, but it is clean and definitely cool! This is an older hotel with upgrades but definitely not an Econo Lodge or Holdiay Inn.

As a side note, we have, since our semi-permanent move here, begun to stay at another hotel, nearer the airport and within walking distance to the new-dare I say it-Wal Mart. Unfortunately, folks, there are some things which you simply cannot find easily here unless you make an occasional trip to the land of screaming children and endless “deals”. This store, however, is a unique experience for us. Clean, well organized and far fewer of those screamers, it has a full bakery where you use silver tongs to dish up your selections, placing them on a silver tray. Then you proceed to the bakery counter where the server there bags and prices them for you-with gloved hands, of course. 🙂

At any rate, be sure to check out both hotels if you find yourself landing in San Jose too late to make the journey to your final destination that same day. or


Happy Landing folks! And if you are using the airport taxi service, be sure to ask for Alexandro Villalobos. Always remember the only official airport cab service drivers are in the orange vehicles. The red ones are Alajuela city cabs.

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