A Travellerspoint blog

Prelude: do you know the way to San José?

Costa Rica, day one

View Costa Rica 2022 on ToonSarah's travel map.

In the garden of the Hotel Bougainvillea, taken the next morning

When we originally booked our BA flights from Gatwick to San Jose in Costa Rica the departure time was mid-morning. We decided that rather than have an early start to get to the airport on time we would stay the previous night at the airport's Premier Inn, as we had done for our much earlier departure to Seville last November. Then BA changed the flight time, putting it back by two hours. We could have cancelled the hotel but in the end we kept the booking and travelled to the airport the evening before our departure. It meant we didn't need to worry about possible train disruption, and with a long flight ahead of us we could at least shorten the first part of the day's travelling.

The next morning we had a light breakfast in the hotel's Costa coffee shop before going across the road to the airport. Although a bit quieter than usual perhaps, it was noticeably busier than when we had been here back in November. And once we'd dropped off our bags and gone through security the cafés seemed as busy as ever. Clearly people are travelling again.

We had a while to wait before boarding but everything went smoothly, and we took off on time. Apart from the need to wear face masks, it all felt pretty normal and comfortable. And we were super excited to be off on our first long-haul adventure for two years!

Flying over the Bahamas

The roughly eleven hour flight passed slowly, as the novelty of being back in the air evaporated into the usual mild boredom. An average sort of meal was served soon after take-off, I watched a film (Six Minutes to Midnight), read a bit ... For most of the flight there was nothing beneath us but ocean and clouds. So I was excited when, with about two hours to go, some of the islands of the Bahamas (I think) could be spotted far below! But that excitement was short-lived; the clouds had returned as we passed over Cuba, and then there was a lot more sea to cross before we reached the mainland of Central America.

We landed about 30 minutes early, which was good, although we had to wait a little while to disembark as we were called a few rows at a time. Immigration was very quiet, baggage claim rather busier, but we were soon outside and being met by a driver, Sigi, who drove us the 30 minutes or so to our hotel for the night, the Hotel Bougainvillea. Of course by now it was dark so we could only get a little impression of the country - small roadside businesses, others rather larger including US chains such as Cinnabon, the lights of San Jose off to our right.

Our comfortable room at the Hotel Bougainvillea

We checked in and persuaded our weary bodies to stay awake long enough to enjoy a beer and some nachos, as well as catch up on a few messages. By around 10.00 PM local time, 4.00 AM London time we were more than ready for bed!

Posted by ToonSarah 17:54 Archived in Costa Rica Tagged hotel flight costa_rica

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The song references a different San Jose, but I've always liked it applied to the San Jose in Costa Rica. Most of the time I find east to west jet lag a little less of a problem than west to east. Of course the west to east ones are usually overnight - and a really short overnight which may be the problem.

by greatgrandmaR

Hi Rosalie - yes I knew that about the song of course but couldn't resist using it as it was stuck in my head on this day! I tend to find that I get less jet lag going towards my holiday destination than I do coming home, regardless of direction of travel, because of the adrenalin of going on a trip!

by ToonSarah


by greatgrandmaR

Lovely blue skies over the Bahamas. I'm excited to see what Costa Rica is like.

by irenevt

Thanks Irene, I'll post more soon!

by ToonSarah

I've always thought that being near to departure point is good. If you can't start the holiday is ruined. I have had delays in the middle , i can cope with that. Looking forward to next blog. Alec.

by alectrevor

I agree, I hate the stress of being delayed on the journey to the airport even though we always allow loads of time for it. Much better to do it the day before if possible :)

by ToonSarah

what a day! I must admit that I am also looking forward to my first flight again in more than 2 years ... it is but a short one, but hey, I am not complaining at all! :) :)

by Ils1976

Looking forward to read about rest of the trip! :)

by hennaonthetrek

Thanks Henna and Ils :)

Ils, we started short too, with our trip to Seville last autumn - I think it's the best approach :)

by ToonSarah

It is good to hear that your long haul flight was uneventful - we are taking our first post-Covid foreign trip in June. It would have made more sense for me to start reading your blog from the start rather than the other way round, but hey! Looking forward to more.

by Grete Howard

Beer and nachos at that hour? I'm impressed.

by planxty

It was c 9.00 PM local time Fergy, just perfect beer and nachos time!

by ToonSarah

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