Hotel Review: Park Inn By Radisson, San Jose, Costa Rica

We only had one night in San Jose before flying to Panama.  Normally, we would have stayed out near the airport at whatever hotel had the best points rate but we got a mistake rate for this hotel on FlyerTalk for 5000 points plus a nominal amount of Colones.  I think they loaded the Colones rate in the USD field or something like that.  Thankfully they honored the rate and several of us got a nice bargain before they corrected the rate.

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Escape to This San José, Costa Rica Hotel’s Ideal Location
Situated three blocks from Paseo Colón, the city’s main avenue, and walking distance of downtown, the Park Inn hotel’s location in San José is perfect for vacations and business trips. Sample local and international cuisine at RBG Bar & Grill, and enjoy a dip in the shimmering outdoor pool. After a long day exploring San José, Costa Rica, this hotel’s comfortable accommodations are just what you need to relax. In-room amenities like free wireless Internet access and 42-inch flat-screen televisions make it easy to unwind after your adventures in the city. This hotel’s property in San José provides you with all the features you need for a perfect stay.

We found the room to be just as described on their website.  It’s basically a normal budget business traveler type of place but OK for a night.  We aren’t really that interested in cities, especially when you have the natural paradise of Costa Rica to see.  The wifi was slow but that’s par for the course in most hotels.

The location is downtown, a short taxi ride away from any of the bus terminals.  From the airport, take a Tuasa bus, then hop out at the Pizza Hut and walk a few blocks to the hotel.  Don’t stop and buy a pizza, they cost around $20 for one pizza!

IMG_1349 IMG_1350 IMG_1351 IMG_1352 IMG_1353 IMG_1388 IMG_1390Our room was large, clean and had all the necessities.  We were also pleasantly surprised to see a complimentary rubber ducky!  The view of the city was nice and the breakfast buffet (included in the rate even for awards) had a great variety of typical breakfast foods.  We were happy with it, and so are most people on Trip Advisor.

Gateway: San Jose, Costa Rica

San Jose, Costa Rica is a pleasant enough city but it pales in comparison to the many delights to be found elsewhere in the country.  There are lots of hotel chains here so good opportunities to use your points but please don’t hang around the city just because there are some good Pointbreaks!  Get out there and see Costa Rica!

GETTING THERE

You will need a Central American award ticket and all the major alliances have flights to SJO.

IMG_0976STAR ALLIANCE

United Airlines has flights from Chicago, Houston, New York & Washington

US Airways (due to merge with AA in early 2014) has flights from Charlotte

Air Canada has flights from Toronto

Copa has flights from Guatemala City, Managua, Panama City, San Pedro Sula & Tegucigalpa.

Avianca-Taca (incl Lacsa) has flights from Bogota, Caracas, Guatemala City, Lima, Managua, Mexico City, Miami, Panama City, San Pedro Sula, San Salvador & Tegucigalpa.

ONE WORLD

American Airlines has flights from Dallas New York & Miami

Iberia has flights from Madrid

SKYTEAM

Delta has flights from Atlanta & Los Angeles

Aeromexico has flights from Mexico City

GETTING TO & FROM THE AIRPORT & AROUND TOWN

Of course taxis are always an option and once you are in town they are reasonably cheap, around $3-5 in Colones.  You can also use the Alajuela bus to get from the airport to the Alajuela terminal for around $1, then use a taxi to your final destination.  If you have arrived from elsewhere in Costa Rica, all bus lines will finish here.  You may need to change terminals to go elsewhere in Costa Rica.

IMG_1346 IMG_1347 IMG_1399When leaving Costa Rica, be sure to save enough cash to pay the departure tax.  You could use a credit card but it will post as a cash advance.  Be careful with the ATMs as some of them have low maximum withdrawals of $400 so if you need more than that you have to do multiple transactions.

IMG_1401 IMG_1402The duty free & shopping area in the airport as you depart have a nice variety of shops selling the usual duty free booze, cigarettes, perfumes and some nice handicrafts.  There were some sales on the jewelry, buy 2 get 1 free.  I was a good customer here!

IMG_1403 IMG_1405 IMG_1406 IMG_1407 IMG_1408 IMG_1409 IMG_1410WHERE TO STAY ON POINTS

As you may expect with a large capital city, San Jose is well supplied with chain hotels at reasonable prices.  Unless you get a really good deal on a city hotel, I would stay near the airport for convenience.

CLUB CARLSON

Park Inn – 38,000 points

Country Inn & Suites – 9000 points

HILTON

Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton San Jose-Airport – 30-40,000 points

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cariari San Jose – Costa Rica – 20-30,000 points

HYATT

Hyatt Place San Jose/Pinares – 8000 points

IHG

6 options including a Holiday Inn Express near the airport for 15,000 points and an Intercontinental for 30,000 points.

MARRIOTT

Courtyard San Jose Airport – 15,000 points

STARWOOD

Aloft San Jose – 7000 points

Sheraton San Jose – 7000 points

We only spend one night here at the Park Inn because there was a mistake rate posted on FlyerTalk for 5000 points.  Otherwise, we would have stayed at either the HIX or Hampton Inn near the airport.

WHAT TO DO IN SAN JOSE

(Emphasis on things of interest to birders)

Visit the Ara Project at Alajuela if they haven’t moved to Punta Islita yet.

Visit parks to see Crimson-fronted Conures frolicking in the trees.

Wet parrots near the Hampton Inn

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The next morning was nice and sunny so we saw dry Crimson-fronted Conures & a few pigeons near the Alajuela bus station.

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Hotel Punta Islita (Near Ara Project) Available With Marriott Points

The Ara Project had been located in Alajuela for years but were recently served an eviction notice.  They eventually found a new home on Punta Islita and have been working hard to get a new breeding centre and release site up and running.  They are anticipating a “reveal” with a new website on 15 Dec, 2013.

The good news for miles & points collectors is that the nearest hotel, Hotel Punta Islita;  to their new location is available with Marriott Reward points.  It’s a beautiful property and a great place to take the whole family as there are plenty of activities to occupy those who are less interested in bird watching.

Hotel Punta Islita Spa

Hotel Punta Islita is easily accessible from both Liberia International and San Jose International airports. Local 40 minute flights service the regional Islita Airstrip, including private charters. For those who prefer to drive, Hotel Punta Islita can be reached through a good road network connecting with Costa Rica’s main cities. Land transportation takes about two hours from Liberia and about three and half hours from San Jose.  Here you see the location (red star) in reference to the cruise ship port of Puntarenas, the airport at Alajuela & the capital, San Jose.