A slice of Costa Rica to share Additional information

Here is more information for people interested in sharing the home-sit we got in Costa Rica!

** More details to come: first version of this text. It’s online to help people to decide before buying tickets 🙂
I will certainly have to add information.

Availability

It’s on the first come, first served basis if there is more than one interested person/family for a given period.

As soon as someone gives me his travel dates, supported by airline tickets: I will write here that the chosen room is not available.

The place!

It is near the small village of Cocal Amarillo. On Google Maps, if you’re looking for Punta Saleas Lodge, it’s very close to here.

The GPS coordinates are: 8.429161, -83.10306

The roads around are all dirt and rocks.

To get here:

– Flight tickets to San Jose, Costa Rica. The tickets cost us $ 375 each, for comparison, from Montreal.

Then you have three options:

– take a domestic flight ticket to Golfito. Starting at $ 70 US + taxes with NatureAir .
And then, take a taxi from Golfito, about 1 hour drive, $ 40 (contacts available!).Probably one night in a hotel in Alajuela, where the airport is. The airport for domestic flights is right next to the international airport.

– take a taxi from San Jose, $ 280. About 6 hours drive but you decide the schedule and the driver can stop when you want whether it be for dinner, go to restroom or supermarket before arriving here (There is convenience store in the village but you  have more choices in a larger city.)
This is what we did (see our text here ) and we have a good contact from an official taxi driver who is ready to pick you up when you arrive at the airport! Unless you need a good night’s sleep after a day on the plane ??
If so, sleep in Alajuela : you will avoid all the traffic of the capital which is not the most pleasant to visit anyway.

– take a bus from the Tracopa terminus in San Jose. Tickets about $ 20 each. Book an hostel near the bus terminus: in this area here .
From this terminal, you can either take the bus to Golfito (same destination as the domestic flight) or to Paso Canoas (on the Panama border).
The advantage of going to Paso Canoas is that it is possible to go to the grocery store directly in this city on the Panama side (no need to cross the border! ) Which is, according to the owners of the place , less expensive than grocery stores in Costa Rica. I bought groceries in both countries and I can’t confirm this: I found that the prices are quite similar. There was a better selection of fruits and vegetables on our way here in Rio Claro’s Supermarket (near Golfito) in Costa Rica.

It’s about 7-8 hours by bus to Paso Canoas + 2 hours taxi ($ 50).

Look at the bus timetables on Tracopa’s website: the one to Golfito leaves at 6:15 am, while to Paso Canoas, at 10:15 (which means that the arrival here is late in the evening, it is night at 6 pm in Costa Rica).

Our expectations

Household
I will personally make sure that your room will be clean when you arrive. I expect you to clean your room when you leave. The same goes for the kitchen and the common areas. There is no housekeeper …

I will give you the list of what is missing in your room: it probably lacks sheets, blankets or pillows in some rooms. I have to check with the owners.

Commitment: someone here 100% of the time!

It is very important for the owners to always have someone on site. We have to talk to each other before leaving the premises for a duration X. We have a lot of flexibility on this subject, we really do not wish to be absent for long periods every day: after almost two years on the roads in our motorhome and boat, it was our wish to take a break and just appreciate the time passing by. On the other hand, we want to be able to go to the beach the four of us together or go to the nearby town to do some shopping once in a while! Also, we will have a small trip to Panama to do to renew our visa (explanation to read here ) in November and it would be our wish to stay there for a few days. So we will need your commitment at this level: if you commit yourself, we will count on you to ensure a presence if we’re gone (even if it’s only one hour).

Other security aspects

Dogs often bark at night (especially in the evening): we have to make sure that it is not an intruder on the property. So we could also share this responsibility and the hyper-powerful flashlight that comes with it! They bark mostly after the dogs in the vicinity but it is a request from the owner to make sure that there is no thief or stalker.

With the same idea, you have to lock the kitchen and the tool storage at all times when there is nobody in these places.

Important to know!

Grocery

There are two small grocery stores in the nearby village (2 minutes walk), they offer basic commodities. I just discovered today a farm where you can find fresh cheese, milk and possibly eggs.

There is a truck with vegetables that come here on Saturdays apparently! I can’t wait to meet him!

For other grocery stores with processed « North American » products, you will possibly have to go in Paseo Canoas (Panamanian border) or in other cities that I have not had the chance to discover yet! For Paseo Canoas, it’s a $ 60 US taxi  ride and the driver is waiting for us while shopping. There is also possibility to take buses, I have not yet tried this option.

Hot water

There is no hot water. But you must know that even I who hate to take « cold » showers have not suffered: in fact, the water is not really cold … it’s even a bit warm if you choose the right time of the day!

Beach

Costa Rica is not known for its beautiful white sandy beaches … Directly in front of the property, the beach is 30 seconds walk. The sand is black and the beach is full of pebbles and driftwood: I like it, I did beautiful discoveries already! A little further (a 10 minutes walk on the beach), there is a small bay where it is really nice for the feet to swim: beautiful soft sand … again dark gray 😉

The water of the Pacific is great!

There are days when the waves are strong enough, perfect for the surfer in you! On those days, the children play in the sand, with the driftwood or to make paths in the small stream that pours into the ocean.   On other days, the waves are just perfect for kids! Bring your boards 🙂

Insects

Costa Rica is a concentrate of wildlife. Yes, there are insects. Yes, there are some in the rooms. Geckos who make their little sound in the room, the giant centipedes, ants or the hairy spiders (my husband saw his very first tarantula yesterday when mowing the grass!). My daughter Charlotte was bitten by a bee the day we arrived.There are a few biting insects that sometimes disturb us: small red ants for walkers (closed shoes are sometimes a good idea) and, about flying insects, mosquitoes or no-see-ums (species of firebrands) .

Maybe we should put some mosquito repellent, we do not do, but we use the nets that are above our beds to make sure they are not too insistent during our sleep!  (Some rooms do not have one! I will tell you if you have to buy one before coming here,  if you want to use them.)

Rainy season

The green season! It’s green, it’s blooming! And sometimes it rains. At the moment, we had a few showers at the end of the day. I have never visited Costa Rica during the rainy season but Dian, the owner, told me that it is often like this: a little two hours rain at the end of the day. The rain seems to fall more frequently in the mountains farther from the coast.

The rainy season will be in full swing in September and October. For some, this is the ideal season because it is less hot. It’s up to you to see if you like the rain 🙂

Cellular and Internet

The company for internet is Movistar, SIM to buy for your cell phone (make sure your cell is unlocked before coming).

You can purchase the SIM in several small shops displaying the Movistar logo. I bought mine at the airport ($ 5) but I bought a new one $ 1 in a business in Paso Canoas. So, not very expensive!

To activate the card, send the message ACTIVAR + your name + your passport number to the number 1696.

(Step that nobody told me about and I had to buy a SIM card again, so do not forget 😉)

I bought a prepaid package at 6,250 colones (about $ 12) for 2 GIG of data that we can recharge when we want online by adding funds by credit card.

The speed test:
Download Speed ​​3.5 Mbps. Upload Speed ​​2 Mbps.
I hope it suits your need 🙂

We did a video chat with a family and, although the video image cut on our side, I thought it was pretty good! At least as well as when we were in Florida …

Purchases to be made

As for the food, we could talk about it later (a few days before your arrival) but there is already several spices in the kitchen, sugar, condiments … no need to have everything in double! Do not forget to buy during your first grocery: toilet paper, laundry soap (there is a washing machine here and clotheslines), …

If you want to do gardening with us, gloves and boots might be a good idea.

If you want a net above your bed, it’s missing in some bedroom! I need to validate! 

If you come, we would like to order some stuff that you could bring for us if it’s ok with you and you have room in your luggage!

Waste management

Attention sensitive ecologist soul: here, we have to burn most of our non-compostable waste.

We put the glass, plastic and metal containers apart and we have to ask someone to pick them up … I do not know what the person is doing with these containers … he may burn them, who knows? !

Also, put the toilet paper in the trash: sensitive sewer system. That is the way it is in all Latin American countries, to my knowledge.

Swimming pool

There is a swimming pool in the picture! But it does not work! If this is a project for you, would the owner be tempted to refurbish it ?! 😉

Tourism

For our part, we simply wanted to take our time, observe nature, do some gardening, think on what we will do after our nomadic lifestyle, focus on our kids and make projects with them. We did not a lot of research about other tourism opportunities in the area but here is what I know (for now):

The area of ​​Pavones (village nearby) is known for its long waves perfect for surfing.

National Parks are nearby: Parque Nacional Piedras Blancas, Reserva Forestal Golfo Dulce, Humedal Nacional Térraba Sierpe, Parque Nacional Corcovado.

The latter is on the Osa Peninsula , where it seems that nature still has all rights. It would probably be possible to make a small expedition there for 2-3 days.

Playa Zancudo (one of the most beautiful beaches seen in Costa Rica according to a blog reader who is also a blogger ) is a few minutes drive away (I guess).

The border with Panama is a two hour drive away, possible to make a trip to this country too.

Rooms in the other building

Regarding the other rooms (not the yellow cabin), you have to walk a little more on the ground near a pitiful building, the equivalent of a garage / barn. It is not dangerous just less pleasant to the eyes. 😉

Photos of the rooms

Cabina Amarillo
Two double beds and en-suite bathroom. The best choice for families, already booked in November and December (waiting for airline tickets for confirmation but I have faith!).

Rooms in the red building
Two rooms with double bed and bathroom to share

Outside balcony with view on the Pacific. The two bedrooms are to the right, the bathroom is the white door.

There is also a dorm with 6 single beds (but there are only 3 mattresses available at the moment), the bathroom is the same, on the other side with the white door.

So much for the other details!
If you have any questions do not hesitate!