Hotels and Lodging

The Tourist boom over the last five years has made the hotel situation somewhat tight at times. To compensate, new Hotels are opening monthly and private families are converting their homes into bed and breakfasts as quickly as they can. Some North Americans are joining this bed-and breakfast boom, financing their retirement by renting out spare bedrooms. In smaller communities, hotels and ecotourism facilities are racing to accommodate demand. Today you can often find a room in isolated places where camping was the only choice before.
The tightest housing market is during Christmas .New Year season. Not impossible, just fight before you leave for Costa Rica, even if for only a couple of nights is a good insurance This is where the Tico Times comes in handy; many tourist hotels advertise prices and have fax numbers. After you arrive, you can check around and locate something suitable to your taste and/or the size of your pocketbook. For medium- priced hotel rooms from $45 to $65 a night during the tourist season make reservation in advance.
Around San Jose, Hotels in all sizes and flavors, with expensive rooms costing $100 a night and up, cheap rooms under $15.1 looked at one for under $10 on my last trip, but shivers ran down my Spine when I peered into the gloomy1ooking room with dirty linen on the bed. For my personal tastes, a $20 room would be my bottom choice, yet many of the younger set and the backpacker brigades believe that anything over $8 is far too expensive. My wifes preferences fall into the $40 range or above. Away from the Meseta Central, fewer hotels are available and rooms are somewhat expensive for what you get. This is changing as competition grows tighter. Nevertheless, Ive found satisfactory accommodations for as little as $30 even in such out-of-the way places as Nosara or Cahuita. Understand, what may be satisfactory for me could be unthinkable for someone else!
If youre on a budget as we long-term travelers usually are dont expect luxury. You may pay a good price for a room with a private bath, only to discover that the shower is plumbed for cold water only. When they advertise hot water, you will often find one of those rinky-dink electric heaters attached to the shower head. This contraption has a lever that can be set to one of three positions. The position that says off is the only one that works all the time. This encourages short but exhilarating showers, ideal for anyone considering celibacy. The secret is to let the water flow at its lowest possible volume and hope for the best.
Inexpensive hotels habitually use low-wattage light bulbs, so weak you have trouble reading in bed. The solution is to carry a 60-waft bulb in your luggage and substitute it whenever you feel like reading. (Make sure you arent into a 12-volt system!) Other items you might keep in your bag are a drinking cup, a roll of toilet paper, and some nylon string and clothespins so you can wash out undies. Very important: a set of earplugs. Ive suffered through several nights made impossible by inconsiderate people partying all night or standing outside my door making plans for the next days trip at two in the morning! One additional item is one of those spiral insect repellent things, called spirulas, which perch on a metal stand and burn like incense. Light one an hour before bedtime to discourage mosquitoes.
Should you be stranded out in the country, unable to find a place to stay, your ace-in-the-hole is the local pulperia. This is the Costa Rican equivalent of a country general store it also serves as the social center of the community. Drinks and snacks are sold, as neighbors congregate to exchange news and tidbits of gossip as well as purchase necessary items ranging from matches to machetes. The proprietor of the pulperia can often find you a room with a local family. This is a unique opportunity to see how country folk live in Costa Rica, but dont expect luxury. A pulperia is also an excellent place to inquire about real estate. If anything is for sale or rent in the neighborhood, the proprietor will know, and probably knows the bottom-line price as well as the asking price.

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