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. Other Choices

Low-cost hotels just before Los Yoses and San Pedro includetiny

Ara Macao Inn

(Calle 27&Av Central, 50 meters/164 feet south of Pizza Hut La California, .506/233-2742, tropical breakfast, $).Well worth considering if you’re looking for cheap digs. On a quiet side street in a restored, early century home with colonial styling. The congenial hosts here will hold your luggage while you wander the countryside – a big plus.

Hotel Bella Vista

(Av Central between Calles 19 & 21, . 506/223-0095, restaurant, breakfast included, $) was the very first hotel we stayed at in San José, many years ago. Unfortunately, it hasn’t changed much since then. The beds are hard and the rooms lack outside windows, but the location is good and the numerous wall murals are still there and still as fascinating as when we were students (our standards are a bit higher now). Friendly staff and low prices make it an adequate crash pad for a night or two until you get your bearings. Read about the Toruma Youth Hostel on page 94. It might also be a good option for the east side.

Apartotel El Sesteo

one block south of Sabana Park (. 506/296-1805, $$), is a truly excellent value for families or friends traveling together, or for people who want to stay long-term around San José. It is a hotel of spacious apartments with kitchens and a central pool.

A popular low-budget hotel in downtown San José is the Pension de la Cuesta (Av 1, Calle 11&15,.506/255-2896, breakfast included, $). You can’t miss it – it’s a pink and purple Caribbean-Victorian mansion, with a sunny communal area that fills with fellow cultural travelers. Plenty of artwork on display.

La Mansion (Av 10 & Calle 9, . 506/222-0423, www.amigam.com/mansion, restaurant, $$) is a very interesting upstairs corner hotel that boasts “tranquility in the center of the city.” Restored traditional old building, six blocks from the National Theater.

An excellent choice near La Sabana Park is the Hotel Sabana B&B (.506/232-2876, www.costaricabb.com, $), “run by a Costa Rican family who will shower you with attention.” In a modern suburban home in a quiet neighborhood, this B&B is super clean, pleasant and stylish. From Restaurant El Chicote (a famous steakhouse that’s well worth a visit) go one block north, a quarter-block west and two blocks north. It’s the next to last house on left.

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