Gambling in Costa Rica

The casino was crowded and noisy with tourists. Since we were the last ones to arrive at the gate because of our delayed flight they had to check our carry-on baggage with the luggage we didn't have locks and nomally what we carry in that bag are fragile or valuable things. Ground crew at STS is always good. It seems to me that the airport is located in a mostly residential part of San Jose, which may explain why the players were obviously locals. Flights Vacation Rentals Restaurants Things to do. The Cocal hotel looks like a nice place with lots of rooms and amenities.

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However, in Mexico, most of the major cities, including Mexico City, are inland. Not only is it not close to an ocean, but I don't see any major rivers or lakes around it either. The same goes for Costa Rica. It is a small country with great beaches on both sides. So why is most of the population living in the sprawl of San Jose right in the middle? My best theory, until this trip, was the military advantage of the higher ground. However, after experiencing the hot humid coast and the nice cool interior, I'm changing my theory to the weather.

At least when I was there in early March, the weather in San Jose was just perfect. Low eighties during the day and partly cloudy. From what I know of the weather in Mexico, it is a similar situation there. Sorry to get so off topic, but hopefully the above rambling will be useful in how to pack and dress in Costa Rica.

Meanwhile, if any history professors should read this, I'd be interested in your thoughts. Many of the San Jose casinos are located in a cluster on or near Avenida 1, between Calles 3 and 8. Be warned if you're on Calle 4 or 6, you're not in the casino district. In San Jose, they put the even-numbered streets on the west side and the odd-numbered ones on the east side. With the avenues, they are odd on the north side and even on the south side. The general casino area is rather seedy, with hundreds of prostitutes on the streets and in the bars and casinos.

Some casinos go right along with the "red light" atmosphere while others don't let it get through their front door.

The casinos further outside of the center of town get more patronage from locals and are much more quiet. That said, here are my comments on the 10 casinos I managed to visit during my visit, in alphabetical order. My apologies to those I missed.

While still in downtown, it is several blocks west of the main cluster of casinos. I was there late on a Sunday night, and it was quiet and sparsely occupied. The tables and machines were in a room larger than necessary for the quantity of games, so there was plenty of elbow room. There were a few prostitutes inside, but for the most part, they seemed to have given up on business for the night. One of them kept trailing me and smiled whenever I looked in her direction.

The games offered were blackjack, rummy, canasta, roulette and pai gow poker. The manager was an American who spoke perfect English. Unfortunately, this was the first casino I visited in Costa Rica. Had it been the last, I would have lots of good questions for him, answers to which would have improved this article.

He was extremely friendly and made it quite clear that I was welcome at any time. However, it is an oasis away from the commotion of the rest of that part of town.

The building itself looks colonial. Inside, the casino is dimly lit and romantic. Compared to other casinos, it is pretty large. The first floor has a restaurant, bar, and 12 table games surrounded by a bar.

The second floor is mainly slots with a larger bar, including a pool table. Table games offered are blackjack, rummy, craps, roulette, canasta, Three Card Poker three card tute , Caribbean Stud Poker tute and pai gow poker. Yes, they have craps, the only table I encountered in Costa Rica. If you're looking for a quiet escape in downtown San Jose, I highly recommend it.

Colonial Casino web site Crown Plaza This hotel casino is about five miles from the airport, on the way to central San Jose. As you would expect of a Crown Plaza, the casino was more upscale than the average casino in Costa Rica. There was lots of signage in Spanish about various promotions going on that were obviously targeted to locals.

Games offered were rummy, blackjack, Caribbean Stud Poker tute , pai gow poker 3 tables and canasta 2 tables. It is associated with the adjacent Garden Court Airport Hotel. I've also played at the Fiesta casino in Panama City, which was obviously part of the same chain. It seems to me that the airport is located in a mostly residential part of San Jose, which may explain why the players were obviously locals.

A high percentage of the floor space was dedicated to slots, but there were six table games. Perhaps there were more in the VIP section, but the door leading there was locked.

The Fiesta is the only casino I encountered that offered live music. On an elevated stage near the entrance, there was a five-member band playing what was, to the best of my knowledge, salsa music. Now, I'm not a music expert, but this band seemed darn good.

I felt a little sorry for them, because nobody seemed to be paying much attention. In fact, they had been playing for a while before I even realized it was live music, as the stage is easy to overlook.

Games offered at the Fiesta are Caribbean Stud Poker tute , rummy, canasta 2 tables , pai gow poker and blackjack. See above for their video poker and video keno pay tables.

Fiesta Casino web site Horseshoe This small casino is kitty-corner I don't want to hear corrections from anybody saying the correct English is catty-corner — kitty-corner sounds better from the Casino del Rey at Calle 9 and Avenida 1. While the signage is obviously the same in style as the Horseshoe in Vegas, I tend to doubt they have anything to do with each other. According to other web sites, the Horseshoe evidently used to have a few table games, but no more.

It is now slots only. My last visit the entire place was closed. Somebody guarding the door said their computer server was down, although I tend to think their power went out, because all the lights were off, including on the marque. Horseshoe web site Morazon Despite playing in this place for at least an hour, I'm still not sure what the name of the casino is. It seems like a little casino on Avenida 1, a block west of the Rey. Signage inside would lead one to think it is called the "Europa" casino, but there is another Hotel and Casino called the Europa several blocks away.

So, I don't want to call it that, lest I confuse you. The value of this is 0. While there the casino manager caught me writing some notes in my notebook and asked what I was doing. I told him truthfully who I was, gave him my card, and told him I was taking notes for my web site. He seemed to not believe me, and kept shadowing me. At one point I asked to write down the pay table of a side bet in pai gow poker, clearly posted on the table, but he said "no. The casino is brightly lit with bright blue carpeting.

Once I attended a lecture in casino interior design, and the speaker said blue is a terrible color for casinos. I'm guessing nobody from that casino was in attendance.

Palma Real The Palma Real casino is located in the Sabana section of San Jose, which is quieter than downtown and features a large urban park. It is located on an evidently unnamed street, which connects to Calle Luisa. The casino neighbors, and bears the same name as, the Palma Real Hotel. The casino itself is three stories high and obviously caters to Asian locals. The six table games consisted of five pai gow poker tables and one canasta. Most tables were filled to capacity with local Asian players.

The slots, meanwhile, didn't seem to be getting as much attention. I would not make the Palma Real a priority for anybody interested in gambling.

The only reason I stumbled in was I had a business appointment nearby and just happened to notice it. Let's start with the facts: It is located at the intersection of Calle 9 and Avenida 1, in central San Jose.

It is associated with the Hotel del Rey. There are lots of hotels and bars in that area, in what you could call the red-light district of San Jose. When I mentioned I was going to Costa Rica, one of the first things every male who had been there before told me was, "You have to visit the Casino del Rey. I have not seen so many working girls in one place since the Veneto in Panama City. The difference is that the Veneto is about twice the size.

While the Casino del Rey has a respectable casino with six table games and slots, I don't think many people go there to gamble. Much of the square footage is divided between two bars, the hotel lobby, and a common-space area with tables and chairs. When I was there on a Friday night, about 10 PM, the place was teeming with prostitutes.

The ratio of working girls to men was about 2 to 1. I would estimate there were roughly of them crowded into this small venue. Despite their overwhelming numbers, they were well-behaved and didn't bother me, except the usual attempts to make eye contact, which I'm terrible at avoiding.

As if anyone cares, the table games offered are rummy 3 tables , Caribbean Stud Poker 2 tables and roulette. As mentioned in the video poker section above, there is a It wouldn't surprise me if lots of other gringos make the same claim, as the little town is inundated by tourists. You'll find no shortage of bars, souvenir shops and surfing outfitters. There are three casinos in the greater Jaco area, and each are unique in terms of location, clientele and atmosphere.

Following are the details: Cocal The Cocal is centrally located in Jaco, right on the beach. Few streets in Jaco have names, including the one the Cocal is on, so I can't give you an intersection. In the unlikely event you have trouble finding it, I'm sure every cab driver in town and there are lots of them goes there all the time.

The Cocal hotel looks like a nice place with lots of rooms and amenities. Compared to the size of the hotel, the casino is small and very crowded with tourists. The main section is for table games with a smaller section for slots. There is also a small bar. The second floor has two live poker tables. Games offered at the Cocal are rummy 4 tables , roulette and Caribbean Stud Poker tute.

The slot machine area had about 30 machines. The casino was crowded and noisy with tourists. I played rummy for about an hour, and I had one of the rudest dealers I've ever encountered in my 25 years of casino gambling. A friend of mine with me said to the dealer something to the effect of, "What's your problem?

We all left the table at that time, but lingered around the bar. Another friend of mine tried to order a drink at the bar, but the bartender said our entire group was banned, so we all left en route to the Amapola casino, which I'll get to soon.

I've never been kicked out of a casino in my life, and I wanted to test if I really was. So, about two hours later, I returned to the same irritable dealer. He gave me the stink eye, but nobody stopped me from playing. You'll find some prostitutes lingering around the bar and slot machine area at The Cocal. However, that is nothing compared to what awaits you if you depart via the door in the slot machine room, leading to the swimming pool and a much larger bar. This area is a cornucopia of prostitutes.

Much like the Casino del Rey, the ratio is about two working girls to every guy. Unlike the Casino del Rey, these girls are pretty aggressive and don't mind initiating a conversation and, occasionally, touching men within arm's reach. Maybe I was there on a slow night a Monday , but they all seemed pretty desperate for business.

Close to the entrance is the Marriott hotel and casino. The casino is the usual size for a Costa Rican casino: However, as you would expect of a Marriott, it is much more clean and modern. Unfortunately for them, at least the two times I was there, the place was almost empty. Normally I don't socialize with strangers at the table, but there is something that just isn't fun about playing in an empty casino.

If I ran the place, I would consider hiring some shills to act as players, just to get the energy level up.

The Marriott deserves a "shame on you" for their awful Rummy rules. Normally rummy carries a high house edge anyway, compared to blackjack, of 1. However, the Marriott changes the standard rules to prohibit surrender and re-splitting aces, as well as hitting a soft This increases the house edge to 1.

I encountered no other casino in Costa Rica offering anything close to such terrible rules in rummy. Apparently due to its distance from everything, both the casino and hotel were very quiet during my brief visit.

Again, most streets in Costa Rica aren't named, but there are three roads leading into Jaco from highway 34, and the Amapola is off the southernmost one.

Be warned that lots of other websites refer to the casino at the Amapola as the "Jazz Casino. When I finally found the place the next day, thanks to a taxi driver and the name of the hotel.

I didn't see signage anywhere indicating any particular name of the casino. This may be the smallest casino I found in Costa Rica. Exiting I was again given the once over The seat in economy is truly an endurance test. No way to go to sleep. Flight delayed 4 hours including change of aircraft and departure gate at PHL. Not sure why this flight was delayed inbound. But it made the departure late by over 30 minutes. JFK to Barcelona was delayed as well. Their computers were down in Atlanta.

So everyone had to have their name hand typed into a computer when boarding. Then the pilot said that our bags are usually weighed and computerized for even distribution on the plane. That system was also down, so we sat on the runway waiting for that problem to be fixed. When we arrived at Barcelona, I unpacked and discovered a jacket and pants in my luggage were wet. The only place that could have happened was at JfK during their rain storm and the luggage weight issue.

Don't know who messed up with my luggage if Delta connection or China airlines. Staff and crew very nice and professional. Aircraft clean and apparently well-maintained. Spirit pilot stated that after a 2 hour ground delay due to lightning that we would be first for take-off. While waiting on the runway apron for the third hour of delay, 5 American Airline planes took off, passing NK at the runway holding line.

Spirit pilot stated that he had to get approval from someone before in Spirit's control to authorize. If other airlines can take off there is no reasonable answer that Spirit can provide for a delay like we experienced.

This will affect my selection of airlines in the future. The plane had a certain smell, not sure if it was the plane or someone in particular though. The flight I booked was not this flight! I am very disappointed! Waited 30 minutes onboard at the gate before departure in a VERY hot plane.

We were traveling with a 6 year old, and there were only 3 kids movie choices. More of the same. Because of all the initial buffonery when we get to the gate for the connecting flight they us that my wife didnt have a seat and the flight was full. Everything, especially the useless gooks and spics on the phone. I will pay more if needed to fly with a competent, professional airline.

It will be a delight watching you go under. Seats are always a pain in the butt Wifi has never worked for me -slow and keeps dropping. We paid extra for seats with more leg room and got the same as everyone else. Our departure was delayed. The plane had some sort of fragrance regularly coming thru the ventilation that irritated my sinuses and made me ill.

The water for the only service on the flight for coach anyway was warm and tasted odd. Cabin temperature was too warm multiple logical arguments can be made for cooler temps over warmer. Quality of food served on Paris to Toronto leg was superior to the Toronto to Paris leg. Super fast turn around, great in flight crew Tonya was very nice.

Barely any wait time to get my bag upon landing. Love the free beer and wine, of course. The plane was late and we were boarded and in the air in about at the most. Ground crew at STS is always good. Flight was fine, a bit bumpy on the landing. Great sunset and view of the full moon. The crew was rude and unaccommodating. The flight left over an hour after the scheduled departure. The plane was cold an dirty.

The plane was so small and uncomfortable. People care more about chickens having adequate space in their cages more than humans have space on an airplane. The flight was very smooth. Liked that pillows and a blanket were provided. Liked the free entertainment with some good movie and TV choices to help pass the time. Ended up with a terrible cold and sore throat. Probably won't fly anymore, if I can help it! The flight attendant for this flight she was really nice and friendly good!!

The aircraft was late we stay in the aircraft for 1 hour not doing nothing cuz the in flight entretenimient was block until the aircraft was out to take off.

Efficient and respectful staff. Treat to have wine with the pasta dish that was served. I am only 5' My feet can not rest on the floor and the headrest does not adjust for me. It makes for a most uncomfortable 18 hours from Lima. The flight attendants they have attitude really bad I think u guys should check your employees. They did not tell me the gate or print info so plane left me and they try to charge more.

There was a flight delay. That would have caused me to miss my connection. The airline switched me to another airline and did not notify me. Caused me to run all over the airport and waste extra 4 hours in waiting. We compile tonnes of data for you Our service lets you quickly and easily compare results from hundreds of travel sites at once. Prices on airline seats, hotel rooms and car rentals can change frequently.

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