FAQS & INFO

FAQS, TRAVEL TIPS, & GENERAL INFORMATION

On this page we have answers to many of our commonly asked questions for your convenience.  Please take a few minutes to read over this page and email us at  info@puravidacasas.com if you have any other questions!

GETTING TO THE HOMES

LOCATIONS: 

Our Costa Rica vacation homes are situated on the CentralPacific Coast of Costa Rica about 2 hours South from the Capital City San Jose.  They are conveniently located in Playa Esterillos ~15 miles from the touristy crowds of Jaco and ~20miles Manuel Antonio. They are all very close to many beautiful beaches; Playa Hermosa, Bejuco, Esterillos, Heradura, Escondida, and to all the Activities the area has to offer.  The roads to the homes are in excellent condition so travel will be easy to and from the airport.

Here is the link to our site with some area maps so you can see the distance of the home to the beach and such:

http://www.puravidacasas.com/gallery/location/

TUCANA LOCATION:

Google Map Link

This home is located in a surfing/fishing town called Esterillos Oests and has a local vibe and beach culture.  The home is CLOSE TO THE BEACH but tucked back a little, providing you the experience of both the beach and the rainforest.  It’s about 750 meters to the beach, which is roughly a 10-15 minute walk and a few minute drive.  Walking is possible and good excercise but we recommend renting a car or arranging transportation with a shuttle service for convenience to and from the beach.  After several hours at the beach it’s nice to get back to the house with in a few minutes by car, hope in the outdoor shower and jump in the pool to refresh.  Having a car, though not necessary to have a wonderful and comfortable vacation, opens up so many more opportunities to explore the surrounding area that offers so many possible activities and adv

entures.  Depending on how adventurous you want, it gives y

 

ou the freedom to fit more in and see as much as possible of the Pura Vida life.  Having your own mode of transportation will also give you the freedom to go into town for an evening at one of the areas many nice restaurants or grab groceries at the local supermarket to have a peaceful meal in the comfort of the home.

EXOTICA & OCEANA:

Google Map Link

Casa Exotica & Oceana are located in a surfing/fishing town called Esterillos more specifically Playa Bejuco and has a relaxing local vibe and beach culture.  The home is CLOSE TO THE BEACH but tucked back a little, providing you the experience of both the beach and the mountain rainforest with AMAZING 360 views.  It’s about 1 mile to the beach, which is roughly a 30 minute walk and 5 minute drive.  Walking is possible and good excercise but we recommend renting a car or arranging transportation with a shuttle service for convenience to and from the beach.  After several hours at the beach it’s nice to get back to the house with in a few minutes by car, hope in the outdoor shower and jump in the pool to refresh.  Having a car, though not necessary to have a wonderful and comfortable vacation, opens up so many more opportunities to explore the surrounding area that offers so many possible activities and adventures.  Depending on how adventurous you want, it gives you the freedom to fit more in and see as much as possible of the Pura Vida life.  Having your own mode of transportation will also give you the freedom to go into town for an evening at one of the areas many nice restaurants or grab groceries at the local supermarket to have a peaceful meal in the comfort of the home.

FLYING:

  • ARRIVAL CITY: San Jose, Costa Rica (Not California!) Airport name: Juan Santa Maria Airport Code: SJO.
  • From LAX: we recommend the direct red eye (TACA or American). You can also fly from SJO to Quepos (Natureair.com) for $55 (1/2 Hr)
  • DEPARTURE TAX: When you leave, you have to pay a departure tax (abt ~$26/person) at the airport before checking in (Credit Cards OK)

FROM THE AIRPORT TO YOUR VACATION CASA:

 The trip from the airport to our Costa Rica Vacation Rentals is a scenic 2+ hour drive on the newly finished Highway (good condition).

  1. Have US arrange it all for you!  Airport Shuttle,  Rental Car & or Personal Driver:  Traveling in a foreign country can sometimes be a bit confusing especially if you arrive later in the evening and are unfamiliar with your surroundings.  Let us take all the worry away by having us coordinate your transportation for you.   We can arrange many different Travel options for you from Airport Shuttle Services, Car Rentals, and Personalized daily Driver services for your entire stay.  Please email us @ info@puravidacasas.com for more information and specific pricing and rates.
  2. RENT A CAR AT AIRPORT: Rent from any of the major US companies. (Budget, Hertz, Alamo etc. as they have offices at the main airport exit terminal.
  3. AIRPORT SHUTTLE: We highly recommend either having us coordinate it for you or using one of our recommended shuttle services so that you can relax and enjoy the scenic drive to the homes. Once you have arrived at the home it is also possible to have a car for the remainder of your stay dropped off at your Villa. Here are several Shuttle services we recommend if you wish to arrange it yourself:

DRIVING DIRECTIONS:

  • General Directions: Follow signs to either Los Suenos Resort, or to Jaco.
  • From Airport: Take the Highway toward San Ramon (autopista de San Ramon) for about 15 Km (10 mi)
  • Exit when you see the sign to Los Suenos and Atenas. Turn left and stay on that main road all the way through Atenas and then to Orotina.
  • After Orotina, follow the signs to Jaco/Los Suenos/Quepos (2 forks).
  • Just before Jaco, you will reach Herradura, where you may want to stop at the Auto Mercado shopping center to get a few groceries . See Grocery Shopping.
  • Continue on the main road past Jaco for another 18 km (12 Mi) or so, until you see Del Pacifico (large shopping center and condominiums on the left.)
  • Go though the main entrance and stop at the guard house to register.
  • Continue driving 1/2 mile up the hill. The houses are on top the highest ridge.

Welcome to your Costa Rica Vacation Home!

View of Del Pacifico’s town center & Condos off the main road.

GENERAL DRIVING INFO FOR COSTA RICA:

Watch your Speed… and wear your seatbelt — Ticos Ticket!.. When cars from the other direction flash lights at you, that means there’s either cops or a hazard ahead. Slow down…!

Normal road speed: 60-80km/hr (40-55 mph)
Villages or inhabited area: 40 km/hr (25 mph)
Zona Escualar (School Zone): 25 km/hr.(15 mph)

FOOD SERVICE & LOCAL RESTAURANTS

We want your stay with us to be EASY and REALAXING so we offer tasty & affordable in home PERSONAL CHEF SERVICES with meals including: Appetizer, Entree & Desert ranging $15-$25 pp/pn, as well as personalized GROCERY & BEVERAGE stocking service.  Some of our Guest opt for an all inclusive type of service while others like to have a combination of these these services offering them the flexibility of going out for a few dinners to enjoy the local vibe as well.  Whether you choose to do it your self, have partall or all inclusive food service, we know you will be well fed while you are staying with us!

For more info about our IN HOME CHEF SERVICES Please click the link below:

http://www.puravidacasas.com/gallery/food-service/

Esterillos Restaurant Recommendations:

The Esterillos and Surrounding area has many local restaurants to choose from while you are staying with us. Many of these can be viewed on our site on the locations page where we have local are maps. Some of our local favorites include:

Los Almendros: (5 min) $

http://www.losalmendrosrestaurant.com/

Pelican Resturant: (5 min) $$

http://www.pelicanbeachfronthotel.com (has pool tables which is fun)

  

Alma Del Pacifico Pavillion Resturant: (5 min) $$

http://www.almadelpacifico.com/dining.php.


Restaurant Playa Bejuco: (5min) $$

http://www.hotelplayabejuco.com/dining.php

Surrounding Area Restaurant Recommendations:

If you are up for the beautiful 15-20 min drive to Jaco Beach area there are many wonderful restaurants to explore a few of our favorites include:

Villa Caletas Restaurant: (30 min) $$$

http://www.hotelvillacaletas.com/anfiteatro

Taco Bar: (15 min) $

http://www.tacobar.info/

Taco Bar Jaco

Caliches Wishbone Restaurant: (15 min) $$

http://puravidaguide.com/costa-rica/caliches-wishbone-restaurant/

DIY Cooking & Grocery Shopping:

For those that would like to have more of a do it yourself experience ie: shopping for your own groceries and cooking meals at home, there is a small Local Supermarket (shown on the locations map page) that sells most basic items but for larger and more specific brand name shopping we recommend the “Max X Menos” store on the frontage main road in Jaco Beach or the “Maxi Pali” off the highway in Jaco Beach which is about 15-20 min from the house.  If you are spending the day in Manuel Antonio, Parrita, or Quepos there are also many stores along the way to also get food and beverages.

ELECTRICITY:

Same as in the US.  No need for adapters.   Eelctricity is however 4x MORE EXPENSIVE! so please be conservative, especially with the A/C as the homes come with a pre determined Electricity allowance (see contract for details)!  Thanks.

AIR CONDITIONING:

All of our homes are designed and built to not need AC as it is naturally ventilated with high ceilings, large fans, and opening windows with screens to keep cool durring the day.   By keeping the doors open, fans on, and the screens closed our guests have always been very comfortable in the home.

Tucana AC Specifics:

  • AC units in Bedrooms
  • No AC in Living Area but there are large high power celling fans to keep things comfortable

Exotica & Oceana AC Specifics:

  • AC in all Bedrooms
  • AC in all living areas

MONEY:

No need to change your US Dollars.  They are accepted everywhere (they’ll give you the change in Colones).  If you want to get a better rate, we recommend you go to the Mas x Menos grocery store to exchange your dollars.  Exchange rate is usually  around 500 Col = $1.

QUICK CONVERSION TRICK:

  1. Take the Colones amount*     2. Drop the 000s   3. Multiply by 2 

 C 1.000                            1                              $2

 C 2.000                             2                             $4

 C 4.000                            4                             $ 8

 C 5.000                            5                             $10

    *Remember in Spanish the “,” is a “.”

TIPPING:

An average wage in Costa Rica is $2/hour so please keep tips commensurate!  (Avrg tip: 500 – 1.000 Col).   In most restaurants, a 10% tip (servicio) is already added to the bill.  DO NOT TIP over that!  Gringos have inflated the Tico way of life, please be smart!

PASSPORTS:

 MAKE COPIES OF YOUR PASSPORTS PRIOR TO THE TRIP, AND MAKE A COPY OF STAMPED PAGE AT THE MANAGER’S OFFICE TO KEEP IN CAR AT ALL TIMES FOR POLICE CONTROLS.

Keep original passports in the BEDROOM SAFE as passport theft is a concern

CHECK-IN PROCEDURES:

 Unless arranged prior with manager,  Check-In is AT MANAGER’S OFFICE*  IN JACO, NOT at the house .  

 Check in time:

After 3:00 pm.   PLEASE ARRANGE AHEAD-OF-TIME FOR EARLY OF AFTER HOURS CHECK-IN.  We will try to accommodate you.  For after hours, please make arrangements with manager to get the Key Code.   The manager will meet you at the house the next morning.

 Note: For after-hours check-in, you may wish to get your groceries at the super Mercado in Herradura then go straight to the house.  You can also ask the manager to stock up for you (fee applies)

 Directions to Manager Office:

From the main highway turn right to go into Jaco Beach.  The office is located on Jaco Beach’s Main street where all the boutiques and restaurants are.  The office for  “Rock Property Managementalso  “Beach Home Costa Rica” is on the 2nd floor of the tall Beige Stone Building almost across the street from the MAS x MENOS grocery store.

Keys:

There is a Lockbox at the front door.  The code will be given to you at check-in.  LEAVE THE KEY IN THE LOCK BOX AT ALL TIMES  ($200 fee if lost)

Security Deposit: 

At check in, you will be asked for the $1,000 security deposit.  It is not a charge, only a hold against incidentals.  The manager will take you to the house and will show you around and give you an inventory of everything in the house. When you arrive, please inspect the house for cleanliness.  If ANYTHING is not acceptable, do not hesitate to let the manager know immediately.

Guest Registry: 

At check in, you will be also be asked for the names of each individual in your party.  Manager will go with you to introduce you to the house.

STAYING CONNECTED: WIFI & Phone

WIFI INTERNET:

 Our homes to have WiFi/3G Internet*. 

 Bring your own laptop/iPad

LAND PHONE:

 US # VONAGE LINE

FREE CALLS TO/FROM USA & CANADA

 Only in 

Villa Oceana: (805) 277-0921  -&-  Casa Exotica: (805) 277-0931

 Please you tell friends  NOT TO LEAVE MESSAGES.  Instead they can email or call you on your Costa Rican Rental Cell Phone (incoming calls are free) or call the Manager.  

 ————————————–

CELL PHONES IN COSTA RICA  (REQUIRED!)

To make calls to the US from the houses you will need to use your SKYPE account on your laptop.  (Casas Exotica and Oceana also have a US VONAGE line with FREE Calls to US/CAN) However,  SKYPE uses the internet and will not work in case of Electricity shortages  which are common in Costa Rica.  This is why WE REQUIRE that you also have a COSTA RICA CELL PHONE. 

  1. You can purchase a basic Costa Rica Cell Phone at the airport with a prepaid card or
  2. if your US Cell is UNBLOCKED you can simply purchase a Costa Rican SIM Card , also at the airport)

 Having a Costa Rica cell phone will also keep you connected with Gabriel when on the road which could critical.  For that reason, and the other reason (shortages) we feel a Costa Rica Cell phone is a NECESSITY and is REQUIRED.

 ————————————–

SKYPE CALLS:

 Set up a SKYPE account PRIOR to the trip and use 

YOUR OWN LAPTOP. IPAD OR SMARTPHONE 

 NOTE: Unless you have a SmartPhone with Skype already installed on it, we RECOMMEND THAT YOU RENT A COSTA RICA CELL PHONE with your car rental (abt $10/week only!). Electrical shortages are common in Costa Rica.  When they happen, you will lose your Internet connection and will not be able to use the VONAGE line, nor SKYPE.  At those times, your ONLY WAY to communicate with the manager will be your COSTA RICA CELL PHONE LINE.

EMERGENCIES: CALL MANAGER

 1 + 801  938-3494

From US vonage line:

 2643 – 2266 (Busines Hours )

8886 -1941 ( after  hours)

From CR Cell Phone

 DO NOT CALL 911 as First Responders will be dispatched to USA address on account!


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