Dinner & Drinks to Take Place Here: La Cocina de Len~a & El Pueblo!

San Jose Travel Blog

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Teatro Nacional, Avenida 2, Calles 3/5...a 'must see', so I guess we will be seeing it at some point! :D

From 7/ 7:30 p.m. onwards, we are going to be meeting for dinner and drinks here:

'La Cocina de Lena' in El Pueblo Commercial District Shopping Centre.  Afterwards, 'El Pueblo' becomes the hotspot in San Jose for bars and nightclubs, all open, all night! :D

Get a Taxi here by asking for El Pueblo...BTW, this is where the Ticos get dressed up in their finest, so wear something comfy, but smart :)

Here's the link to the Restaurant, which comes highly recommended! 


Check out the Group package meals...like set meals for groups...they sound awesome!

Afterwards, we may head off to a bar/ club or two and witness first hand, some of the reggaeton bumping and grinding that Costa Rica's youth are famous for :D

El Pueblo Reviews here :D:




I can't wait :D

martiana says:
It was an idea that came to me in the shower, like all the best one's do :D
No, seriously, I just needed somewhere to store all the ideas which I come up with our 'Masterplan' :D
Posted on: Aug 19, 2008
martiana says:
Glad you like Mark!
Posted on: Aug 19, 2008
travelman727 says:
Kelly, what agreat idea to start a Costa Rica Meetup blog :-D
Posted on: Aug 18, 2008
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Fight Club's secret HQ (!) and location of our stay in San Jose - Costa Rica Backpackers Hostel.

Here's a place to put all the bumpf relating to our San Jose TravelBuddy Meetup on September 16th!

This will be my first ever Meet and to say I am excited would be an understatement!  I am already almost apoplectic with excitement over just going to Costa Rica again!  (This'll be my fourth trip in four years!). 

You do know that this Meet may very well push me over the border between sanity and insanity?!  You may well have to 'Section' me, in a nice Costa Rican Hostel and pay for a nice young Costa Rican man, (good genes, no debt), to 'nurse me' back to full health...(will be a long and rocky Costa Rican road to recovery, no doubt!) :D

I hope my excitement rubs off on you and adds to the excitement you all currently feel about your trip here.  For my part, I am really looking forward to seeing the country I love, through fresh pairs of eyes and from new perspectives!  I know you will love Costa Rica and I hope I do it sufficient justice, when showing you around!

Check the below entries for info on venues and plans for the morning, afternoon and evening of the 16th, plus random blogs relating loosely to the Meetup as I think random thoughts... :D

Can't wait for September :D

Kelly :)

La Cocina de Lena..all decked out in traditional Costa Rican thingummijigs :D

*** A Morning & Afternoon Tour of Sensational San Jose ***

So, here it is...the itinerary you've all been waiting for!  Sorry it's been some time coming.


Just some general info on the tour first. 

I have planned for us to do the majority of this tour on foot.  Mainly because you lose a lot of the atmosphere of San Jose, if you are not on the street and amongst the people.  It's around 4km in total, which is just under two and a half miles.  There are plenty of opportunities to take a break along the way.  Depending on how long we spend seeing some of the sights, I envisage this section of the tour taking between 2 and 3 hours to complete at the most.

Outside one of the courtyards at El Pueblo...
  This still leaves us with plenty of time to eat and visit the Children's Museum in the afternoon.


Tour will start at 9:00am, meeting at the Costa Rica Backpackers Hostel, which is located on Avenida 5, Calle 21/23...contact/ location info here:  http://www.costaricabackpackers.com/costa%20rica%20backpackers%20about%20us.html

Please make sure you have had breakfast before you arrive!  We can stop for snacks en route, but won't be eating a proper meal until around midday.


Either the original, or a copy of your passport as you may need it during the tour for museum entry/ random police checks e.

'La Parroquia' or 'The Ruins' in Cartago.
t.c. e.t.c.  Sod's law is, if you don't have it, you are bound to need it!
Comfortable shoes and clothes, a camera and some spending money.  Also a waterproof jacket unless you are feeling brave! 

*** PLEASE DON'T BRING ANYTHING TOO VALUABLE WITH YOU *** - We are visiting a couple of spots notorious for pick pocketing...to be honest, it is pretty hard to avoid every area where this a risk, so be sensible when deciding what to bring.  Avoid jewellery or expensive watches and keep cameras and money tucked out of sight.  Stick with the rest of the group as much as possible at all times...common sense prevails! :)

:) A note on money, (see also my rough costing per person below)...
This Tour shan't cost the Earth, but please bring enough money to last the day, (and evening, if going straight out for dinner)!  Either that, or bring the means to withdraw cash from an ATM/ pay using a card so that you don't run short!


We could be finished anywhere between 5 and 7 p.

The beautiful Castle facade of the Museo de Los Ninos/ Centro Costarricense de la Ciencia y la Cultura.
m, (17:00-19:00), Cartago visit dependent.  (See Itinerary)  If we finish earlier rather than later, you will have time to go back to the hostel and get changed if you wish, or to find a place for pre-Meetup drinks if you're ready to go straight on to the evening's planned entertainment! 

Our Tour will end at 'El Museo de los Ninos', which is Calle 4, North of Avenida 9.  You can get a taxi from here to take you back to your hotel/ hostel or straight on to a watering hole of your choice for the evening!



Here is a brief run down of the day's events...

We'll start at the Costa Rica Backpackers Hostel as this is where most of us will be based.

Gotta Love Harry Potter...and I do, unashamedly, here at El Museo de Los Ninos!

From here, first stop will be:

:D PARQUE NACIONAL DE COSTA RICA - location of the Monumento Nacional.  There is also a statue located nearby of Juan Santamaria; the national hero who was famous for driving the American William Walker out of Costa Rica!
:D EL MUSEO DE COSTA RICA is nearby - I haven't planned on us going inside, but if enough people want to, we can try to recoup some time from elsewhere on our tour.  ($4 p/p)

Next we'll head for:
:D LA PLAZA DE LA DEMOCRACIA - There are some souvenir stalls here selling traditional Costa Rican wares for the discerning tourist! ;)

On to Avenida Central, which runs the length of Central San Jose, we'll take a bit of a detour to check out:

:D PARQUE MORAZAN - This park is famous for being the 'most notorious prostitution centre in the country', (!), as well as home to a concrete gazebo called 'El Temple de Musica', 'The Music Temple', which is regarded by many as the symbol of San Jose.

Esteban and I travelling on the Bus network of San Jose - cheap and reliable...how very 'uncentral american' of them!
& it's neighbour...
:D PARQUE ESPANA, where there are more statues dedicated to Costa Rica's heroes along with a couple of important buildings...

:D EL EDIFICIO METALICO - is a bizarre building made entirely out of sheets of metal that were bolted together.  The whole thing was fabricated in Belgium and then transported, piece by piece to San Jose in the 1890's.
:D EL MUSEO DE JADE - The Jade Museum houses the World's largest collection of American Jade.  I've not planned on entry, but again, if everyone wants to go inside, we'll try and recoup time from elsewhere on the tour.  ($2 p/p)

After our time checking out the parks, we'll continue our stroll down Avenida Central, coming to:
:D LA PLAZA DE LA CULTURA - Referred to as the 'geographical heart' of Costa Rica, this is a beautiful plaza which is also home to Costa Rica's most impressive public building.

Great photo op's at the Children's Museum!
:D EL TEATRO NACIONAL - The National Theatre of Costa Rica was bought using profits gained from the countries first sale of coffee to wealthy Europe in the 1890's.  It is home most famously, to a painting produced in Italy, depicting coffee and banana harvests.  The image was later reproduced on the now defunct five-colon note.  We'll take a quick tour around the building, which costs $3 per person.

In Central San Jose, we'll stop off to take photos of...
:D CATEDRAL METROPOLITANA - which is modern, although classically inspired and one of the most popular places for the locals to attend Sunday Mass.

From here, we'll take a walk along Calle Central, turning left into Avenida 1, passing the...
:D CORREO CENTRAL - San Jose's central Post Office and also home to a Stamp Museum.

'Donde este un Costarricense hay libertad' - 'Where there's a Costa Rican, there's freedom'. Pura Vida :D
..again, not scheduled a stop here...we'll just take a look at it as we pass by!
As we carry on walking, we'll find ourselves sandwiched between two major Banks flagship 'Skyscraper' branches: Banco Nacional and Banco Central.
Heading straight on, just past Calle 6, we'll finally come to our lunch spot...


:D EL MERCADO CENTRAL - The Central Market is full of stalls toting traditional Costa Rican wares like leather, coffee, snowglobes (!) e.t.c. as well as food stands that sell Costa Rican 'comida tipica', (typical food).  We'll have lunch here on the cheap, (between $2 and $4 for a full plate of Costa Rican loveliness)!


After lunch, we'll grab a Taxi to
:D EL MUSEO DE LOS NINOS - for the afternoon.

And Cartago's Central Square...
  The 'Children's Museum' and also the National Art Gallery are housed in this former penitentiary, built in 1909.  It's 'fairytale castle' facade and the exhibits inside, (including dressing up, recording your own single, experiencing a simulated earthquake and taking a tour of a house built on a 20 degree slope!), make this a must-see, for hilarious photo opp's and frivolous fun!    Entry costs $2 per person, with closing time on a Tuesday being 4:30p.m.

:) IF WE HAVE TIME... :)

Then we'll grab another Taxi back to the Bus Stop in San Jose for buses to Cartago.
It's a 40 minute ride there and back though, so unlikely we will get the chance, but, if we do, I'll take you to see...
:D 'THE RUINS' - An old Church in Cartago that was levelled by an Earthquake and never rebuilt.

La Basilica de Nuestra Sen~ora de Los Angeles - One of Costa Rica's most important Holy Pilgrimage Sites.
  Inside the Church walls, they have landscaped a beautiful garden.
:D LA BASILICA DE NUESTRA SENORA DE LOS ANGELES - The most important pilgrimage site for Catholics in all of Costa Rica.  Thousands flock to Cartago every year to see 'La Negrita'; a miniature model of the Virgin Mary which was said to have appeared on that spot in Cartago.  Holy water is available to take away, to which many have attributed miraculous healing powers. 
:D 'Donde Este Un Costarricense' Streetsigns - We'll see these, all lit up.  Famous Costa Rican liberty quotes, strung up above the streets in Central Cartago.

A lot of 'if's' there, I know.  If we do go to Cartago, there will not be much time between sightseeing and the events planned in the evening.  If everyone is cool with that, then I am cool to take you! :D


This is a VERY rough approximation, not factoring in your shoe fetishes or need for a particularly ornate Costa Rican snowglobe.

Ok, so this isn't in San Jose, but I liked the flag!
..I'll overestimate everything, just to be on the safe side! :D (Would you expect anything less from me?!!! ;))

~ National Museum of Costa Rica - $4 p/p (Not planning on entry unless requested by all).
~ Jade Museum - $2 p/p (Again, no entry planned for this one either unless requested).
~ National Theatre - $3 p/p Entry planned.
~ Museo de los Ninos/ National Gallery - $2 p/p Entry planned.

~ Between $2 and $5 depending on how hungry you are!

~ Between $2 and $6 depending on how much you want to eat and drink.

~ Taxi to 'Museo de Los Ninos' - approx. $2 p/p at most I think.
~ Bus to Cartago - $0.50 p/p (40 mins, every 5 mins).

= TOTAL of between $11.

Cultural it most certainly is :D
50 and $24.50 per person PLUS SPENDING MONEY!!!

Any questions/ suggestions/ comments, please post here for me to read and respond! 
Thank you :D



Just to recap, here is what we are doing that evening...

:D MEETING AT 'LA COCINA DE LENA' for dinner.  (Get a Taxi to 'El Pueblo' Commercial District!)
They serve the finest Authentic Costa Rican food in San Jose and who knows, maybe even all of Costa Rica?!!! :D

Their website is here if you want to check them out! 


Afterwards, we will meander amongst the fine establishments at 'EL PUEBLO', stopping at those which we take a liking too.

One month to go!
..general merriment will ensue and a further marvellous time will be had by all! :D :D :D


I forgot to mention that some of the clubs and bars in El Pueblo, do have a dress code, so in order for everyone to be comfy, we may have to schedule in a stop at the Hostels/ Hotels between the morning and evening's events!  Also, please can everyone remember to bring either a photocopy, (better), or their original passport as proof of ID/ Age?!  Thank you :D


I feel like I am going to take off with excitement now!!!!! :D

See you all there! :)
Kelly x

martiana says:
We aim to please :D
For a small fee, I'd be happy to...(for 'small', read 'Yacht' and for 'fee', read 'million dollars'!)
Posted on: Aug 26, 2008
travelman727 says:
Kelly, you are the BEST!! I need you to coordinate ALL of my adventures :-D
Posted on: Aug 25, 2008

Just thought I would place a quick entry on here to let you know where the majority of us are staying in San Jose!

Mark, (Travelman727), Derek (derekbilldaly) & I (Martiana), will be staying at the COSTA RICA BACKPACKERS HOSTEL...more info below...

Their website address is:


For $12 (shared dorm), or a little more for a private shared room, you get a whole load of free facilities, including a Pool?!?  A frickin' Pool?!?  In San Jose?!!!! :D

You can book online, paying a 5% deposit when you book and the rest on arrival.

I will be there between the 14th and 16th September inclusive as will Derek.  Mark is joining us for the 15th and 16th of September.  See you at the Bar for the Pre-Meetup Meetup on Monday night, (15th)! 

Kelly :)

martiana says:
I know...it's a bargain! You haven't seen my most recent post though, have you Mark?!
You're gonna hate me! I found an even nicer Hostel for the same price with 'shiny guidebook's' help!
Gutted :D
Itinerary up! Hope you like!!!
Kelly :D
Posted on: Aug 25, 2008
travelman727 says:
Kelly, thanks for the tip! For only $26 US, one or two of you can have your own private room :-) Pretty good deal with your pool, bar and free internet thrown in :-D
Posted on: Aug 25, 2008

Hi All,

If you'd like to wear a badge to the meet, here are a few quick designs...see the pics section at the bottom of this Blog!

Save to your computer and then open with your photo publishing software.  Select the design you want, resize and then print :D

Voila!  See you in September!

Kelly xx

*** UPDATE ***

I have ordered enough to make 10 TravelBuddy badges for people attending this Meetup.  If you are definitely going to attend, please R.S.V.P to the event via the Forums link/ Sensational San Jose Meetup thread.  I will then make up a badge for you to wear.  If you really do not want a badge, please indicate on your RSVP post to the forum!  Thank you :D


Tuesday, 19th August 2008

I have ordered a Lonely Planet Guide to Costa Rica!

It is shiny and untouched by human hands!  :D  I am so excited I just had to tell someone!

Will be here in approximately three days with itinerary to follow shortly after!

Retail therapy is going some way to relieve the boredom of being in England, whilst I wait for the day of my flight to Paradise to come around!

What are you doing to keep yourselves amused between now and then?!?!

Kelly x

martiana says:
Badges are here :D
I will make them up over the course of the next week!
K x
Posted on: Aug 23, 2008
martiana says:
I have a kit to make 10 badges for the day. I'll make one for everyone as a souvenir...if anyone is attending who really doesn't want one, can they please let me know via here or the forum?! Thank you :D
Posted on: Aug 19, 2008
travelman727 says:
Kelly, I love your TB badges. I trust your judgment; it would be great if pick a design you like and bring enough paper badges for our group. You bring them and I'll bring the sharpies :-D
Posted on: Aug 18, 2008
Teatro Nacional, Avenida 2, Calles…
Teatro Nacional, Avenida 2, Calle…
Fight Clubs secret HQ (!) and loc…
Fight Club's secret HQ (!) and lo…
La Cocina de Lena..all decked out …
La Cocina de Lena..all decked out…
Outside one of the courtyards at E…
Outside one of the courtyards at …
La Parroquia or The Ruins in C…
'La Parroquia' or 'The Ruins' in …
The beautiful Castle facade of the…
The beautiful Castle facade of th…
Gotta Love Harry Potter...and I do…
Gotta Love Harry Potter...and I d…
Esteban and I travelling on the Bu…
Esteban and I travelling on the B…
Great photo ops at the Childrens…
Great photo op's at the Children'…
Donde este un Costarricense hay l…
'Donde este un Costarricense hay …
And Cartagos Central Square...
And Cartago's Central Square...
La Basilica de Nuestra Sen~ora de …
La Basilica de Nuestra Sen~ora de…
Ok, so this isnt in San Jose, but…
Ok, so this isn't in San Jose, bu…
Cultural it most certainly is :D
Cultural it most certainly is :D
One month to go!
One month to go!
San Jose Nightlife & Entertainment review
A Reference Point for El Pueblo - Evening Entertainment for the Sensational San Jose TB Meetup on September 16th 2008
El Pueblo is a recreation of an old Spanish colonial village, set around square courtyards. Inside the village are a mix of dozens of sounvenir shops… read entire review
San Jose Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
A Reference Point for La Cocina de Lena - Evening Meal for the Sensational San Jose TB Meetup on September 16th 2008
The Real Costa Rican Woodstove, since 1977. To fully enjoy Costa Rica and its extraordinary food, stop by La Cocina de Leña. This fine restaurant off… read entire review
San Jose
photo by: Isoinspira