I think Margarita’s Guesthouse is the best-kept secret near the San Jose airport. I only heard about it thanks to a chance encounter with Jimmy, a retired New York firefighter who sat down next to us on the flight down to San Jose.
The lines on his face told the story of an interesting life. I asked, “How did you end up moving to Costa Rica?” I got the story of his life, a wife who left after the kids had grown, children still in America. He’d worked in Panama as a young man and thought what the heck, so he left New York, and settled in Costa Rica twenty years ago. He’d just been back to New York to see his daughter.
He said, “You should stay at Margarita’s Guesthouse, she’s only ten minutes from the airport and she has the best food. I have dinner there every night.”
“We already have reservations at a hotel in San Jose, but maybe on the flight back we could stop there.”
Two weeks before our flight home I looked up Margarita’s Guesthouse on the internet. It was in Alejuella, just ten minutes from the airport. A room cost $30 per night for just breakfast, or for $40 one can get three meals included. I sent an email inquiring about a room and mentioned that Jimmy had recommended her.
I didn’t hear anything back so I called Margarite. She answered right away in excellent English. “Certainly you can have a room or two.”
“Do you want my credit card number or anything?”
So I just gave her my name and email address. I didn’t get a confirmation email, so when we left on a Sunday driving down, down, down towards San Jose I was nervous, but surely she won’t leave us out on the street.
The GPS guided us there with hardly a hitch, we even managed to stay on paved roads. We knew there would be tolls so I had my colones ready at each toll booth. When we got to Alejuella the traffic really picked up. Motorcycles eaved in and out of the cars and trucks. When the road changed to one lane it was punch and shove, if you were polite and let people in, you’d just stay in the same spot forever.
GPS said, “You’ve arrived at your destination.” We turned left and parked. We got out of the car, but couldn’t find any entrance to the building surrounded by gates.
There was a lovely little sign, saying ring the bell:
The front was busy with traffic, and houses lined the street, with gates, but her house was an oasis of green. The tables looked out on a luchious backyard.
We didn’t get to enjoy pristine white of a Minnesota winter until the next morning.
My brother complained, “You’re only here for eight days, I’ve got six more weeks until spring even starts.”
Tomorrow I’m headed for Tokyo. I’m not looking forward to twelve and a half hours in the plane, after a short visit there I’m off to Australia again. Gotta fly while you can.