Costa Rica Quickly: Where to Stay When Flying Out of San José

A Hotel with a Familiar Name—Marriott—Proves Perfect

Romance in the courtyard of the Costa Rica Marriott San Jose Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Romance in the courtyard of the Costa Rica Marriott San Jose
Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Planning a visit to Costa Rica, I begin to understand how confused visitors must be when they come to New York: It is both a city and a state, and the major airports are not in Manhattan, the place where tourists are likely to be planning a visit, but in a different borough, Queens. It all gets a bit confusing. I feel the same way as I look at a map of Costa Rica. There is a province of Limón and also a city of the same name; there is a province of Alajuela and also a city named Alajuela. Although we are flying in to San José, we apparently just think we are—the airport is actually on the outskirts of Alajuela.

Located close to the San Jose airport, the view from a guestroom in the Costa Rica Marriott San Jose is surprisingly pastoral. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Located close to the San Jose airport, the view from a guestroom in the Costa Rica Marriott San Jose is surprisingly pastoral. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

All of this becomes more important because my time in Costa Rica will be short and my flight back home a very early one, meaning that the place I stay the night before I leave is going to have to be a conveniently close to the airport. I want to make sure I am booking a stay in the right place.

Coming across the Costa Rica Marriott Hotel San José, I think I must pretty much be choosing the right place to stay for what will be a very short night, although with my limited Spanish and even more limited understanding of where exactly I need to be going, I am not 100 percent sure. I guess this will just be an adventure. I might be in the Queens of San José, or I might not. I will either be close enough to the airport to make our early morning departure or not.

Two tired travelers visiting Costa Rica Marriott Hotel San José wish they had more time to enjoy this space. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

A tired traveler visiting Costa Rica Marriott Hotel San José wishes she had more time to enjoy this space.
Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

I am very close to the airport. The hotel is in San Antonio de Belén. As I arrive at twilight, exhausted from a day of hiking volcanoes and touring coffee plantations and looking like I have, I find a gracious and accommodating staff who are just as polite to this dusty traveler as they are to the sparkling guests attending a wedding onsite. Nothing tells me that I have chosen the right place like seeing locals enjoying it too.

Although close to the airport, the place is a resort with tennis courts, a pool, multiple choices for dinner, and a combination coffee bar and gift shop open around the clock that also sells postcard stamps.

This place is almost too nice for a 12-hour stay, but I hope to go back.

—Lori Tripoli

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