Costa Rica – Rest Of First Day, San Jose

I have a pretty great son.

After landing and getting to the Hotel Grano De Oro in San Jose, we went out to see what we could see. The answer, unfortunately, was “not much,” because it was Easter Sunday, and many of the businesses are closed for the last part of Holy Week. We knew this would happen; it was a function of the timing of our flight and of Jack’s spring break. But it really is amazing how a Catholic country will roll up the sidewalks on an Easter Sunday.

photo of Jack in a tree in San Jose, Costa Rica

Our first monkey-sighting in Costa Rica 😉

So Jack and I went to La Sabana Park here in San Jose, just blocks from the hotel. It’s a huge public park, with a track (for people, not dogs or horses), pickup soccer (er, I mean “futbol”) games, and a bunch of other stuff. On the way, although we hadn’t seen any monkeys quite yet, we came across this, and my very own monkey-boy had to…well ===>

Then we continued along to the heart of the park. People were walking around the racing track (made for humans, not dogs or horses). Others were playing pickup games of soccer. Street vendors were selling little things (including a chocolate bar that Jack bought along the way), and the locals were just generally enjoying their Easter Sunday off in the nice – and already fairly warm – San Jose afternoon weather. So…in the midst of that, what do you expect Jack would seek out? If you know Jack, you’ve already figured it out! Follow me after the jump to see if you were right:

I was so proud of Jack for overcoming his trepidation at the language barrier and the general unfamiliarity of the scene and asking those Tico kids if he could join their game. They were very nice, even though they spoke about as little English as we did Español. A good time was had by all – even your humble videographer – as you can see.

Then, we walked the few blocks back to the Grano De Oro, showered up and went downstairs for a fairly early dinner. I say “fairly early,” because although Costa Rica is only one time zone behind Georgia, they don’t observe daylight savings, so it’s two hours earlier. That means a dinner at 6:30 will feel to Jack as if it’s beginning at 8:30 – his usual weekday bedtime – and ending even later.

The Grano De Oro is a staggeringly beautiful hotel – the fanciest one we’ll stay in here in Costa Rica, by far. Costa Rica is one of the greenest – in the environmental sense of the word – countries on the planet, and the Grano De Oro lives that commitment. In addition to separate in-room bins for recycling and trash and a permanent plaque in the bathroom urging guests to consider not having towels changed every day, the hotel was also designed with natural features in mind. There were many areas of natural light open to the sky – courtyards – including one located dramatically in the center of the restaurant. There was also a gorgeous, curated garden located in another open-to-the-sky portion of the hotel:

(view this album on Flickr)

After taking all this in, we had our dinner in the hotel restaurant. Jack’s first instinct was to have spaghetti (though I suspect he would have been surprised – it was in a puttanesca sauce). But when I told him there was Degustacion de Conejo – rabbit – on the menu, he had to try that.

And he absolutely LOVED it. I wasn’t sure he was going to at first. In fact, I ordered the pasta in case we had to switch, but I wound up eating all the pasta myself. Jack is now a rabbitholic. ;o) We finished up dinner, headed back upstairs, and were in bed by 9 (which was, after all, 11 by our bodies’ clocks).