Here’s my totally unsolicited San Jose itinerary + tips for you!
- Use Uber rather than deal with taxis. You won’t get ripped off or have to haggle prices and you can ‘share’ your ride with people at home if anyone’s nervous about your safety. (At home I prefer Lyft, but it’s not really available in San Jose.)
- Stay in the city rather than the suburbs! San Jose super walkable and easy to get around. We stayed right in the heart of downtown, but Barrio Amon is beautiful, walkable, and a bit quieter. If I could do it again, I’d stay here!
- If you’re up for it, rent a car so you can take day trips out of the city. You’ll have to get insurance (your American car insurance won’t cover you here), but even with full coverage, it shouldn’t be more than $30 a day. We loved having the freedom to go where ever we wanted.
- Attempt the Tres Cruses hike. It’s sort of terrifyingly steep, but even if you just do the first half, you’ll get some amazing views and exercise.
- Visit the Toucan Rescue Ranch. Their Sloths & Coffee tour is $60 per person but ABSOLUTELY WORTH EVERY PENNY. You’ll see your fill of sloths and toucans, as well as an ocelot, an oncilla (the world’s smallest jungle cat!!), and an animal I can only call ‘a tree otter.’ Also, the ranch is a rehabilitation center not a zoo, so you can rest easy knowing that your money is supporting a great cause.
- Head to volcano Irazu, 1.5 hours outside San Jose. Take a million photos of the lake inside the crater and all the clouds you’re above. Bring a picnic or stop at one of the restaurants on the way up. On your way back to San Jose, stop in Cartago and see the basilica and the Santiago Apóstol Parish Ruins – an unfinished church that’s now a public park.
- Drive southwest and check out the beaches of Jaco. We liked Playa Mantas and Playa Blanca (which are technically connected to each other at low tide.) On your way to Jaco, stop at Crocodile Bridge to see 15 giant, wild crocodiles sunning themselves in the river below this overpass. After a day at the beach, check out the sunset from El Miro – the ruins of an old restaurant, now covered in graffiti – a great place to watch the sunset.
- In San Jose proper, we loved all the street art, the amazing bakeries, the corner fruit vendors, and the wild parrots that (noisily) congregated in the parks. The National Theater is gooooorgeous and if it wasn’t their off-season, we’d totally have sprung for tickets to a show. We stumbled onto Cementerio de Obreros and loved exploring it.
Links for you!
This is SUCH a great idea if you need design input on your home without the traditional interior designer price tag!
The last curious man:
My wife came home one day, and she said, “Look. There’s a really nice woman at the newspaper. Her son is a writer. She wanted you to take a look at his work,” which seemed…adorable, right? A mother’s ambition for a son. I took this manuscript out of its yellow envelope, not expecting much. I started to read. It was about a young cook, working at a pretty average steak-and-frites place on lower Park Avenue. I called this guy up on the phone. He answered it in his kitchen. I said, “I’d like to publish this work of yours in The New Yorker. I hope that’s okay.” That was the beginning of Anthony Bourdain being published. I don’t know if there’s any way to put this other than to say he invented himself as a writer, as a public personality. It was all there.
I really, really loved this essay from my girl Alex: There’s always a simpler way.
I read most of this on my flight home and had to subtly cry into my scarf.
I loved the black walls in this hour tour.
A family in six acts.
My mother-in-law throws a party. There are grandparents, aunts and uncles, neighbors, and the next generation of cousins, a phalanx: eager voices and strange, improvised games. I drink a whiskey in the back garden. The adults discuss every Californian’s favorite topic: the route they took to drive there. It’s all novelty to me, the continuity of grown-up cousins and young cousins. The day grows cool. We cannot find my younger son. I usually know just where he is: attached to me. There is panic. He’s discovered, in his aunt’s bed, content and watching cartoons, wholly at home among his people.
Hope you had a lovely week! I’m excited to get back to my routine and write some great things for you!