What is the weather like?
This area of Costa Rica basically has two seasons: the Dry Season (December through April) and the Green Season (May through November). Rainfall is the main variable.
During the dry season, there is less rainfall. Humidity is lower and there is normally a breeze to keep you cool.
From May to September there is more of a chance of rain. Very often this rain falls at night or in the afternoon. Temperatures are slightly cooler especially in the evenings. A light blanket on the bed may be needed.
October and November are the rainiest months and Casa Vida Verde is usually closed.
Temperatures remain nearly constant all year round with temperatures averaging between 80 and 90 degrees during the daytime and in the mid-70's at night. Most people find it necessary to cover up with a sheet or thin blanket for sleeping.
The coastal waters are an almost constant 74 degrees all year long.
Do I need to speak Spanish?
It is not necessary. Carlos and Sianne both speak English and the local tours and guides all speak English too.
Is the water safe to drink?
Definitely. Casa Vida Verde gets it water supply directly from well on the property and tastes delicious. Just to be extra sure, one tap in the kitchen has a filter unit on it and you can restrict your drinking to water from this tap only.
Do I need any special shots?
Nothing is recommended for this area.
What medical facilities are available?
There is a clinic open 24/7 in Puerto Jimenez. There is a hospital in Golfito and for serious emergencies; there is an air ambulance service which will get to a choice of hospitals in San Jose.
Are there safety issues?
None specifically for Costa Rica or the Osa Peninsula. The usual cautions that you would observe anywhere are all that is necessary. Given the open design of the house, we recommend that valuables are kept in the provided lock boxes at night and when you are away from the house. In addition we ensure that someone is on the property at all times.
What about insects?
There are many insects around but they are not a huge nuisance. Remember there is a whole food chain out there and there are plenty of animals and birds intent on eating all insects found. Most encounters with insects are part of the spectacle of being in the rainforest and are not a problem. That said, it is a good precaution to have insect repellant on, particularly in the early evenings. Also, the beds are all insect proof with quality mosquito netting and the family suite is a screened in room to provide extra protection. However, if you are very concerned about the possibility of insects being around you then it is possible that the open air living at Casa Vida Verde is not the best environment for you.
Who can assist us with the planning of our trip?
Contact our Agents, Osa Tropical, and let them help you coordinate your travel plans. They can assist with airport transfers, San Jose hotels or further afield, they can book internal flights for you, make sure a reliable taxi or guide driver meets you or arrange a rental car for you. They are the experts with years of experience ensuring that guests are looked after not only in the house but during the whole of their visit to Costa Rica.
Who will be able to help us during our stay?
Our managers, Carlos and Sianne live on site with their two children. Both speak English well and are there to ensure that your stay is as enjoyable as possible. They know the area very well and are very experienced hosts. Our guests report that nothing is too much trouble for them.
What visas or travel documents are required?
Although, it is your responsibility to ensure that you have the right documents for travel, our Agents can advise regarding the required documents and put you in touch with the right people to ask questions where necessary. For instance, if travelling on a US passport, you can call the Costa Rican Consulate at (202) 328-6628 from 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM, EST with any questions. As a general rule, do make sure your passport is valid for 30 days after travel has been completed.
Do I need to rent a car?
No you do not need to. If you are happy to walk locally we recommend you getting a taxi to other locations. This can be easily arranged by Carlos. The taxi drivers know the area well, will often spot animals and birds that you would miss and can look after the driving while you enjoy your surroundings. However, if you prefer to have your own vehicle this can be sorted with pick up and drop off in San Jose or Puerto Jimenez.
What is there for kids to do?
Plenty. Even the most jaded and screen addicted kid will marvel at the sight of monkeys playing in the trees. Bugs, slime, mud, rocks, birds, hermit crabs, the natural world around them will captivate their curiosity. Away from the house and garden, kayaking, swimming, surfing, tree climbing, waterfall hikes and zip lining are just some of the incredibly popular activities available. A visit to the Wildlife Sanctuary will give them an encounter with animals unrivalled by any zoo. This is an ideal place for children to explore and learn about the rainforest. Nearly all tours welcome children and, where necessary, babysitting can be arranged. However, we should note that due to the open design of the house, we do not recommend it as a good choice for a family with children under the age of 3. Parents of toddlers would not be able to relax!
Can I use credit cards or US Dollars?
Cash is king in Matapalo. The higher end restaurants will take credit cards as will the supermarket. Everyone else prefers cash. Tour operators may charge extra for using a credit card. You can pay with US dollars or Colons and can get either currency from one of the 2 ATM’s in Puerto Jimenez. Traveler’s cheques are not very helpful here.
What about food?
If you self-cater then you can arrange to have groceries delivered. If you would like to have a cook for daily or evening meals, please ask when you book and it can be arranged.
There are also many eating out options. Within a short walking distance there is Encanta La Vida, a small hotel with dining available if booked ahead. Within a half an hour walk there is Martinas, an open air funky bar and restaurant serving lunch and dinners, and Lapa Rios, an eco-tourism resort with gourmet dining and a fabulous view. Further afield by car or a possible calorie burning hike, is Bosque del Cabo, another resort with dining to match its views. Head into Puerto Jimenez and there are many options for eating including Carolinas for all day casual and local food and Pizza Mailit in the evenings for the most awesome pizzas and pasta.
What about groceries?
The only supermarkets are in Puerto Jimenez and we suggest that you order ahead or plan to shop on your way into Casa Vida Verde. After that, when supplies run low, Carlos can arrange to have groceries ordered and delivered to the house.
Is it possible to get ice?
Some modern conveniences are hard to give up! If you just need ice for drinks, then the freezer section of the American style fridge will provide a good supply. However, we do recommend, especially if you are a larger group, that you also buy a couple of bags of ice from BM and then place them in the cooler at the house. This provides additional cool storage for beer and wine etc and means that the fridge is more available for food supplies. A couple of bags will usually keep beer etc cool for about 3 days.
Are gratuities included?
Most restaurants will include 10% on the bill. In all other circumstances gratuities are discretionary.
Is the house air conditioned?
No, this is not available. The house is open and is designed to take advantage of the cool air movements coming down the hill behind the house. Most guests find this very comfortable and fans are provided in the bedrooms for the occasional time when the breeze weakens.
What electronic devices can I bring?
This is a time for leaving the modern world behind as much as possible! Some modern essentials are inevitable though and this includes cameras, cell phones and a laptop for skype. We have an Bluetooth player if you wish to bring your own music. Some families travel with a DVD player. We do request that you do not bring hairdryers and curling irons, anything that needs to heat up, as this uses too much power. In the jungle you don’t have to worry about what your hair looks like. The outlets are standard North American for 110V applications. If you have a question about a particular device please ask.
Can I make phone calls?
No landlines exist in the area. However, cell phone coverage has been expanded and the Matapalo area now has 3G and sometimes 4G coverage. As you come through the airport you are now able to purchase a SIM card for use in Costa Rica. Check with Osa Tropical for the latest information regarding Costa Rican SIM Cards and compatibility with certain phones. As a back-up, Carlos and Sianne both have cell phones and can assist you with any local calls you may need to make.
Is there internet?
Yes, but sometimes no. We provide the best Wi-Fi we can buy but it is only adequate at best. Due to the data plans available and dilution through heavy demand, expect only to be able to use it for e-mail, social media updates, reservation confirmations (international flight check in and others), weather check, surf reports and simple browsing. Don’t not expect to be able to get software updates, video streaming (Youtube, Netflix, Skype video calls, etc.), or upload big files. We highly recommend purchasing local SIM cards with a data plan as a back up data source for your personal use, either at the airport on your arrival in San Jose or locally through Osa Tropical. If all else fails and internet is needed, you can always visit the offices of Osa Tropical in Puerto Jimenez and they will be happy to help you.
Included in the rental is a cleaning service every other day and sheets and towels are changed regularly. Should you require something daily, or have your laundry done as well, this can be arranged with Carlos and Sianne for a reasonable fee.
What supplies are provided in the house?
We provide all linens, towels, kitchen towels and toilet paper, biodegradable shampoo, conditioner and shower gel, liquid soap, dish detergent, and other staples for the kitchen.
We have some games and books together with information cards on the flora and fauna of the area. Our visitor information book also has additional details in it.
Some herbs and spices for cooking are grown on-site and Carlos can supply you with these as available. In addition many different fruits grow on the property and Carlos will share with you whatever is ripe and ready for you to enjoy.
How do we get to Casa Vida Verde?
First get to San Jose:All international flights go through San Jose, Costa Rica's capital city. Most major airlines fly to San Jose, including Continental/United, American, Jet Blue and the Latin American airline, Taca.
You will need to plan overnight stays in San Jose unless your international flight arrives before lunchtime (in the dry season) or departs mid-afternoon. Although the internal airlines operate out of the international airport, timing and possible delays due to weather make it prudent to plan at least a 4 hour window between an international flight and a internal flight arrival or departure. Also bear in mind that the number of internal flights outside the high season reduces significantly. Our Agents can recommend the right hotel in San Jose for your needs and budget.
Then get to Puerto Jimenez:
Then get to the house:If you fly into Puerto Jimenez, the Agent will arrange to have a taxi waiting to take you to Casa Vida Verde. If you drive in, plan to take a break in the town. This is the time to stock up on groceries if you have not preordered as you will soon be in the middle of nowhere! Puerto Jimenez also has restaurants, a 24 hour clinic, a pharmacy, two banks and several internet cafes. Whether by taxi or rental car, your final leg into Matapalo will take from 35 to 50 minutes depending on the condition of the road. It is a distance of 18 kilometers but the road is unpaved with several rivers to cross and not all of them have bridges. Your adventure begins here! As you drive in you may see signs of the wildlife all around you. Chances are you will stop to view monkeys or macaws close at hand. When you reach Casa Vida Verde, our Managers will be there to welcome you and help settle you in. When you are ready, they can give you an orientation of the house and the neighborhood. Now is the time to relax, unwind and recharge, you are now in your own corner of paradise!
Please note that our agent will assist you with travel plans as far as possible. However, your travel arrangements are ultimately your own responsibility. If something goes wrong and things change we will assist where possible but are not obligated to give compensation based on not showing up.
What should I bring?
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