|Subject: Re: Costa Rica in Nov--lots of advice needed|
If you want to stay closer to the airport in Alajuela I recommend the Hotel Rosa de America ... lovely place, breakfast included, and is within walking distance of restaurants (Tico and others), the bank, etc., the owner will bend over backwards to help, and it's only an $8 taxi ride to the airport. They can arrange day trips and tours, as can most hotels. In San Jose I stayed at a mid-range B&B (it's not fancy, but comfortable), the Hotel Aranjuez, which offers a terrific breakfast buffet in the garden dining area, is only 10 minutes walking distance to town, and will arrange many day trips and tours. Taxi to the airport is about $14.
I've also heard really good things about the Pura Vida hotel, also in Alajuela, but didn't get to stay there as it was fully booked. But I don't think I could have done better than the Hotel Rosa de America.