Is the Potrero area safe?
Yes, this is a safe area. Don't leave your bags and valuables out and don't wander into the jungle alone, but if you stay on the roads and beaches and keep alert, you'll be fine.
How far are the restaurants? Where should we go?
Most of the restaurants are less than 4 KM (2.5 MI) from our place. Check out our board in the kitchen for more info and hours.
The good news is, there's lots of local markets with a selection of food, drinks, beer and wine, and fresh fruit nearby.
How do we get around in the area?
Walking the beach is the fastest way to get from here to there, especially at low tide (we have a tide chart in the shared kitchen). You can also can rent a car, golf cart, taxi, or bikes, too.
What are the roads like to drive?
Most of our roads are paved now, and a few have a pretty narrow shoulder, so if you're walking, walk against traffic and maybe bring a flashlight in the dark (or stick to the beaches). Speed limits are usually 60 KM/hr (50 MPH), but those windy corners make the trips longer. Plan your trips accordingly. Also: keep your eyes out for howler monkeys!
Do we need to rent a car to get around?
You don't have to. We have two or beaches within walking distance, and food places (bars/restaurants/grocery stores) are about a .5 to 1.0 KM walk. If you want to get around to the little towns or do some adventuring, you might want to rent a car.
Otherwise, you can also rent a golf cart nearby for the week for about $225 USD.
Do I need rental car insurance?
Your VISA should cover most of the insurance you need, but you need to take out basic insurance in case of an accident or theft. Double check your policy or call and ask an agent to make sure. There are different levels of insurance, so it's good to understand the differences. Be patient: it takes time to confirm everything. We're not liable, but we want you to be safe.
Should I take the bus?
That depends: if you don't mind waiting a long time, there are city buses to Flamingo and nearby beaches. No one really knows the schedule. We'd recommend walking, getting a car, or taking a taxi if you really need to.
How do I catch a taxi? How much?
We don't have official taxis, but we do have names of locals that we use as a taxi. The prices depend on whether they're waiting for you or not, and where you're headed. They will quote us a price when we phone. For example, a ride to Tamarindo (for 3 hrs and return trip) is $50–60.00 USD.
Is there a shuttle or charter? How much does it cost?
We can set up an Airport shuttle for you. Just send us your flight details and we'll take care of it. The cost is $25.00 USD per person for shared transportation, or $95.00 USD for a private trip up to 5 people.
I ran out of underwear/shirts/shorts. Do you do laundry?
Yes, we can definitely help with that. Let Ligia know in advance and she'll wash your clothing. Make sure to separate any delicates or non-drying things. Here's a handy Spanish phrase for you:
"Puede se lavar mi ropa por favor?"
How much should I tip? Here? For food/taxis/tours etc.?
Just the answer you dreaded: there really is no rule.
For the maid and gardener: It's a personal thing, but on average, we suggest maybe $20.00 USD (or equivalent Colones) per week. It's totally up to you.
Keep in mind: restaurants often include the 13% tax and 10% service fee (aka tip), so read the bill carefully. We recommend tipping a little extra for great service as the people work hard and this area is greatly supported by tourism.
For tours/taxis: throw in a $10 or $20 USD and they'll be very appreciative. But again: up to you.
Got anything to read?
Yes we do! Help yourself to a book in the theater room, and leave your old ones behind. We've got a ton of novelas to stimulate the brain while you're lounging by the pool.
If that doesn't do it, we've got a ton of tourism magazines and brochures, and tour info for you.
How much is a Colone worth? Wait, was it a Colone?
Colones are the national currency and currently 520 Colones = $1 USD.
There are three bank machines nearby (one in Italian Village for emergencies; the other two are near Super Massai, the grocery store near Flamingo). They're called Bank of National and BCR. The daily limit is about $100 USD equivalent, but you're allowed two transactions per ATM (or bring multiple VISA/Mastercards for more withdrawals). Don't leave your card in the machine or you may be waiting days to get it back. And don't forget $30 USD/15,000 Colones for your exit visa!
Where's the best place to snorkel? Dive?
You can snorkel anywhere, but the best places are by the rocks on any beach.
Be CAREFUL! Sometimes there are riptides and the rocks are pretty sharp. You can take a snorkel trip on the Lazy Lizard catamaran if you really want a great experience. We can book that for you.
Diving is best at the Dive Center in Flamingo.
What kind of wildlife will I see?
If you're a nature person, keep your eye out for howler monkeys, macaws, coatis (look like raccoons), geckos, spiders, toads, and every kind of bug. In the water, you might see dolphins, whales, stingrays, manta rays, crabs, leatherback turtles, and tuna or sea bass. The locals can get a little wild on karaoke night, but that doesn't count.
Do you have the Internet?
Yes: all common areas and all rooms have Wifi (we give you the details in your welcome package). Sometimes it might be a bit slow or inconsistent, but hey, you're in the jungle. You should be looking for monkeys or something.
Where do I get groceries?
We have at least four small grocery stores in walking distance, but they're fairly small and stock is limited compared to your Costco or Walmart.
There is a large one close to Tamarindo that has an excellent selection. Please check your prices: the things that are imported (like chocolate, American foods, some meats, and speciality items) are very expensive.
Which tours are the best?
We can help you book a tour depending on what kind of action, adventure, or wildlife experience you're looking for. There's a ton to choose from. Here are some of our favourites:
What are the best tours to do?
1. Lazy Lizard: Snorkel sunset cruise on a catamaran
2. Rincon de la Vieja: horseback, zip line, tubing down the river, hot springs and lunch
3. Palo Verde: Bird watching, crocodiles, white faced and howler monkeys, iguanas and other wildlife.
4. Tabacon: this is a one or two day trip; beautiful hotel, unbelievable hot springs and breakfast. Let us help you book it.
5. ATV tours
6. Sports fishing
7. Kayaking: we have Hobie kayaks and a guide that can take you
8. Whitewater rafting
What's the dog's name? Is he nice?
Our Border Collie's name is Soma. He's getting a bit older now, but might join you on some walks down the beach. He's friendly and loves people, chasing shadows, and running alongside you when you jump in the pool.
Are your beds comfy?
You bet they are. We use a Marriott supplier, so you know our mattresses are comfy.
Is the water safe to drink?
The water is super clean in this part of Costa Rica. You can drink from the taps and eat the ice, too. Food standards are great in the area as well, but always take care to refrigerate your leftovers.
What are the tide levels?
Here's a tide chart: http://costarica.com/weather/tides.html?cityUrlTitle=flamingo
We also post the local tide chart in the outdoor kitchen so you can plan your day. The beaches are easier to walk when it's low tide.
Are there bugs?
Yes. This is Costa Rica. Bring repellent and if you're allergic, bring some Benadryl.
What should I bring with me?
We have you covered. We supply all your amenities like soap, shampoo, beach towels, hair dryer, bathrobes, dishes, basic food items (like spices and sauces). You'll want to get grocery and specialty items yourselves.
Bring lots of sunscreen. It's hot here and you'll get lots of sun.
Bring specialty items (contact lens solution, prescriptions, natural body products). Plan for super warm weather—you won't need a sweater unless you're trekking into the mountains at La Fortuna. Bring a few swimsuits as that sand really gets in there. Don't want you chaffing.