Once again for our trip back to Texas we elected to go through San Jose, CR (cheap airfare on SWA) and once again we took a Tracopa bus from David (because we knew the drill). This time the bus was quite new and air-conditioned. The only thing that made the ride the least bit uncomfortable was the road, the Pan American Hwy.
The bus trip from David, Panama to San Jose, Costa Rica took a total of 8 hrs. It was an hour just getting through the border at Paso Canoas, of which maybe 10 min was spent actually conducting official business. Most of the time was just waiting around.
I took advantage of the wait time to check out the bus stations here, both for Tracopa and Tica Bus. Everyone seemed to acknowledge that one could leave from Paso Canoas instead of David but no one knew how to buy the tickets at the border. I now have that knowledge.
After several hours on the road, there was a stop of about 30 min for lunch, where one gets a first impression of Costa Rica prices. A very basic cafeteria style lunch for two was almost $15.
After another couple hours, there was a short potty break. And at about 7:15PM local time, we arrived at Tracopa’s St Joseph bus station, near downtown San Jose. Another 30 min or so and a $25 cab ride put us at our hotel.
While Jan checked us in at the hotel I went over to check out the WalMart next door. Imagine! A WalMart in Central Ameria. The store was huge. And so were the prices. A real disappointment. Panama is much cheaper, but the selections are far fewer.
The Courtyard Marriott had thoughtfully placed bottled water in our room available for purchase at $3 and $5. So it should have been no surprise that they offered a Continental breakfast for $11. Next time we will return to the Adventure Inn.
There were a few changes we noticed at the international airport. Jan wanted to hurry and pay our exit tax as she remembered this to be a minor bottleneck. Turns out it’s now included int the purchase price of the ticket. Also, the lines to get through security were substantially longer, but still modest by the standards of most airports. As we arrived almost 2 hrs early (her idea) all we had to do now is wait.