FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
1. Can I rent for an extended period of time?
Our homes are intended for short term vacation rentals only. Maximum rental period is 14 days.
2. What can I expect in this area?
As most travel guides describe it, the Costa Rican Southern Caribbean Coast is the right combination of picture perfect beaches, spectacular wildlife and proverbial laid-back attitude, spiced-up with a surprisingly active local music and restaurant scene. The area is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, offering countless low ecological impact activities. This part of the country enjoys a lower level of development when compared with the Pacific Coast, and might catch by surprise unsuspecting travellers expecting all inclusive or high end resorts. While this type of accommodation options are also available, they are very few, hence the true laid back attitude of locals and travellers alike. We invite our prospective guests to do a thorough research of the area and ensure it has the basic requirements to meet their wants and needs, prior to making a reservation.
3. How do I get there? Is a car needed?
A rental car is not necessary, but would offer you more flexibility. You can get here from San Jose by public transit, door-to-door shuttle service, driving a rental car, by private transfer or by river rafting (we can arrange that for you!). The public transit by bus is convenient, reliable and inexpensive. As a rule of thumb, you will have to chose flights landing in San Jose no later than 1-2pm to either catch the last bus of the day to Puerto Viejo or drive safely. Similarly, if you want to leave Playa Chiquita on the day of your flight, you will have to catch a flight departing no earlier than 1-2pm. For flights outside these windows, you may need to spend the night in San Jose or have limited options for transportation. Please inquire if you have any specific questions about transportation or if you would like us to book your transportation.
4. What is the weather like? Do the houses have air conditioning?
'The only thing that is constant is change"...this could not be more true about the weather in this part of Costa Rica. Overall, this is a tropical rainforest environment, with not so distinct dry and rainy seasons. One can expect that the average daily temperatures will be around 30°C (85°F) and 20°C (70°F) at night throughout the year. The amount of rain varies, however most precipitations come in torrential showers followed by sunshine. There is significant humidity in the air at all times. Similar to 97% of vacation homes owners in the area, we did not find air conditioning necessary. The houses are built with air vents for natural ventilation and have certain (screened) windows open at all times. The average nightly temperature of 20°C (70°F) is comfortable for a restful sleep. For the occasional hotter evening, ceiling/wall fans are available in every room, and blankets are available for slightly cooler nights.
5. What is there to do? What activities are available?
Most travellers come here to enjoy the beaches and to explore the amazing flora and fauna of the surrounding rainforest. The area is also popular with surfers and yoga practitioners. It is a perfect spot for a romantic getaway, as well as a convenient location for a family vacation. Some of the most popular activities are snorkelling the coral reef, zip-line canopy tours and jungle hikes, river rafting, visiting the nearby wildlife rescue center (located within 15 -20 min walking distance from La Selvatica) or night time turtle watching, to name only a few. On a rainy day, you can relax with an a amazing body treatment at nearby Jungle Spa, play a board game (chess, checkers and few other games are available), read a book, catch up on your emails or make travel plans using the free wifi internet, cook a nice dinner, meditate, etc.
6. Do I need local currency?
The local currency is the colon (plural colones). As an easy reference, 1 USD equals approximately 600 colones. US Dollars are widely accepted in most tourist areas all over Costa Rica. From our own experience, we found that what works best is to use our credit/debit cards to withdraw colones at ATM's. You can do this as soon as you land at San Jose airport, while waiting for your checked baggage – there is an ATM right by the baggage carousels. It is probably safest to withdraw just enough cash for the first few days of your trip (for example the equivalent of $150-$200) and avoid carrying to much cash on you while travelling. Once on the Caribbean, you can use the ATM's in Puerto Viejo. You can also withdraw cash from your credit card directly from the bank tellers (you must have your original passport with you). Credit cards are increasingly more accepted by tourist businesses, however it is safe to always have some cash on hand. The next door grocery/mini-department store where you will probably shop for most food, beverages and other needs accepts all types of credit cards.
6. Are there jungle creatures around?
Our homes are located between the rainforest and the Caribbean Sea, in a lush environment also home to howler monkeys, toucans, sloths, lizards, frogs, snakes, spiders, bats, ants and many other neat creatures. Some of these could be watched right from the comfort of your porch! We try to blend in as much as possible with the natural environment and to be passive and respectful observers of the surrounding wildlife. We are fortunate to have a rather limited mosquito population.
8. Is La Selvatica the right place for me?
We offer two vacation homes, with the extraordinary added benefit of on-site hosts, who are able to assist with expert local information (in English), as well as provide an added layer of security.
Casa Grande is a good option for people who enjoy larger living spaces, and also for families with (up to two) children. Guests of Casa Grande enjoy a large porch, complimentary use of bicycles and laundry service (provided by our caretaker). Casa Mango is a perfect option for a couple or single traveller. We found that our homes are especially attractive to travellers aiming to embark in an eye-opening experience of nature, wildlife, different culture and relaxation. We do not offer services similar to those found in high-end hotels or all inclusive resorts. The area is enjoyed by independent travellers and it is better suited to travellers not adverse to being in occasional and relative close proximity with geckos, spiders, humming birds, agoutis or any other creatures which inhabit the nearby rain-forest. This area is NOT a bug-free zone.
9. Are there restaurants and shops nearby?
La Selvatica is located within 2 minutes walking distance from the main road which treks along the coast. This means we are also within few minutes walk from a couple of grocery stores, a handful of good restaurants, a couple of yoga centres and a few other shops. You can shop nearby for most basic necessities. For more choices, there are plenty of shopping options in Puerto Viejo. Another great shopping option for local produce and plenty of other goods is the Saturday market, taking place weekly in Puerto Viejo.
10. Is the area safe?
The area is at least just as safe as most places in the world. The Southern Caribbean and Costa Rica can be enjoyed with no worries, when common sense safety procedures are employed. Petty theft is not uncommon. The local business owners community is very active in promoting safety for tourists, and this should not be interpreted as an indication that the area is unsafe. Our property is fenced (gates locked by guests) and there are safety window bars. Both houses have safes and guests are encouraged to store all valuables there, when not in use. We also advise our guests to bring a couple of passport copies to carry with them, while their original passports are safely stored in the lock-box. There are on-site hosts and two resident dogs, for added security. Always take only the minimum with you when going to the beach, especially if you anticipate spending lots on time in the water. It is best to take a separate walk to the beach for taking photos, then leave the camera in the lock-box and enjoy your worry-free day at the beach!