Hotel Presidente is about 30 minutes drive - $25/$30 Taxi cab drive from the airport into the Avenida Central in downtown San Jose. It is located on a foot only street mall with many shops and vendors.
I choose the location to be downtown since I had a friend with her first time to Costa Rica. In my opinion it is THE best, nicest, option in the downtown area. I wanted to show her downtown – the National Theatre – which also has a real old quaint coffee shop worth visiting with AMAZING coffee. From there is the Gran Hotel with looking at – and many of the parks and historical items around. This is the only way to experience the local Tico’s in their environment, get a feel for their culture, and shop local, and see the sites and experience downtown San Jose.
Right next to the hotel there is a full Clario, ICE Kolbi, Movistar stores are right there for local SIM cards for cell phones so no hassle for the airport kiosk if your staying here.
We stayed here upon our first day of arrival and last day before departing. The staff was amazing – welcoming – extremely helpful and courteous, helpful with any requests we had and arranged a taxi to the airport for $30.00.
The hotel has a tour desk that can arrange a local coffee tour, and arrange any other activities in the area – water rafting – and help arrange other locations and provide great information.
Rooms are very reasonable and you will get a more modern updated, extremely updated room w/ AC, very clean. There are different room options at various price points, small rooms for the budget traveler $69 to $89 and larger rooms – and suite with a tub jucuzzi and living room area with multiple TV’s – spacious for $180 something. Rooms come mini-frig, safe and WiFi, clock radio but we opted for I-heart radio with the free wifi with our Samsung G4.
The hotel lobby has two computers opposite to check in that are free and for use to check internet and print boarding passes, check flights, and surf whatever you need on the web.
If you are booking pre-request or upon check in - request to be on the opposite site of the street mall. Our first day/night stay we were on the mall side and during the day there was the noise of hussle and bussle and street venders just yelling, and some guy playing some turtle flute thing – so annoying. And late at night like 1 a.m. some guy playing trumpet. When I called down to make him stop they say he does that often. So just a warning. The hotel has put in double pained windows but still some noise existed. Just keep in mind bring ear plugs just in case.
On my departure day/night I made sure I was on the other side, No NOISE, quiet and got great sleep.
The higher up and opposite the mall side ask for room room 407, 507, 607. These rooms are also away from the 2 small elevators. Tile floors if your near the elevator you may once in a while hear people rolling luggage on tile floors passing by but I barely noticed.
Water pressure shower and sinks were great and no problem with hot water – it took a bit and it backwards from the US turn to warm water.
Prices include breakfast – costa rica rice/beans, toast, scrambled eggs, bacon, cereal, yougart, orange juice the usual breakfast. Tip – we got from another group - If you request at no additional charge you can ask the bartender for a omelette – or fresh pancakes made to order. $25 Savings.
You can walk up and down the street literally find KFC, Mc Donald, Taco Bell, Quizno’s on and on – or local Tico Pizza Hamburger places, local restaurants if your on a budget. Or across the street the Patio and more eating out food $35 lunch for 2 people, offering gormet pizza, nachos, local chicken rice beans, overpriced but a better option than fast food probably. The food at the hotel is more reasonable and probably better just not as many options.
There is NO COST parking – 2 small lots and the staff can help with car parking which lot – if you call in advance and ask for assistance when you are close. If renting a car I recommending mapping out directions and clearly mapping your route – since it can be tricky to find the parking lot – and there is one way streets – you have to circle around, and the parking lots on the one way street closed to the hotel on the walking mall side ON Calle 7. If coming from the airport you have to make a left on Calle 11 – then left on Avenida 1 – then left on Calle 7 and parking lot is on left and right just past the Avenida Cental walk cross walk on the left a large gate just ask as you come to the first gate on the left and ask for hotel parking, usually past the taxis parked there.
The area in front of the hotel is safe and even at night – and hotel provides security guards at the entrance of the mall and offer free umbrellas, and guards also at the back entrance.
There is a area 3 blocks from the hotel for souvenir shops in a tented mall area – and you can buy there at the hotel uniquely painted and designed piggy banks that are very nice.
One last tip. You use to be able here to pay the airport departure tax of $28 USD – and charge it to your bill. No longer – you have to do it at the airport and you should have cash for your departure or you will get charged big using you ATM or Credit Card as a cash advance. Pay your departure tax before checking in to your airline, they will ask if you have the airport tax receipt. You will thank me for this one.