FAQs

What to Bring

Here are some suggestions that have come up to help you better plan for your stay.

For travel:

  • Packing your favorite power bars & dried foods is always a good idea, these items are harder to find here. Keep some in your carry on to avoid paying extra at the airport for food.
  • Reading materials – books, phrasebooks, local guides and magazines

For the Rooms:

It depends on how much cooking you plan to do, but here is a few suggestions for your first trip to the store:

  • Large bottles of Water
  • Coffee and filters for the coffee makers
  • Paper towels or napkins
  • Granola, Crackers and Cookies
  • Fruits – especially ones such as apples and bananas
  • Liquid Dishwashing Soap / Sponges
  • Cooking oil / butter / salt

For Surfing:

Be ready for strong sun and the wet tropical environment. The climate can vary seasonally but you can surf in board shorts year round.

  • Boards – In general the waves are powerful beach breaks and having a smaller board allows you to get under the waves easier. In general people are riding boards in the 5′ or 6′ range with a preference for rounded squash tails or pin/thumbtail designs as many of the local breaks are powerful waves. There are also many local area shops all with used boards that are still in good condition. Ask us and we will help suggest which boards to bring or help you find the board you are looking for when you get here. We also usually have a few boards for sale in the quiver upstairs, just ask to see them upon arrival.
  • Day bag – Optional but useful. When traveling around in Central America boards do get bumped around a lot. Many people elect to bring a bag to cover the board during transport. Reflective materials work best, or light colors.
  • Fins for solid waves – Better to be prepared than spin out. We often experience solid swell conditions. When the waves are bigger you may be happy you brought that extra set of fins.
  • Sunscreen, SPF 30 or higher is recommended.
  • Rash guards
  • Surf hats – come in handy when the sun is out strong.

For Fitness Activities: Always Important to bring comfortable workout clothing and alot of it!  Comfortable Tennis Shoes, Hiking Shoes and Walking Shoes.  A Hat Because The Sun Can Be Strong Here, and A Yoga Mat.  (we do provide yoga mats – but also know it is nice to bring your own).  

For Personal Add-On Tours:

Consider the types of tours you will be taking. In general is wise to have a pair of shoes. Jeans are a good idea if you are considering the horse tours. Our reservation form allows you to check which tours you are interested in which allows us to help you better plan your vacation in Costa Rica.

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO LEARN TO SURF? 

Surfing is an activity that is very difficult to accurately measure and requires many different elements and a great deal of practice to perform competently. Riding a very buoyant long board is easier and best for beginners until you get the hang of standing up!  The whitewater part of the wave that forms after the wave has already collapsed is the best place to start to learn how to balance on your board.  After that – standing up on blue or green part  of the  wave will take time, a lot of practice, tons of conditioning and balance. First, you have to be able to paddle fast enough to catch the wave – which is very different from catching the whitewater which pushes you) forward; and then, you also have to have the right timing and balance to stand up. Learning to surf – takes time and practice!  Physical conditioning will help speed up the learning process. Only one way to learn:  Just do it.

HOW FAR IS PLAYA HERMOSA FROM SJO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Surf Inn Hermosa is located approximately one hour and a half from the SJO International Airport. Airport Pickup can be arranged – All we need is your flight itinerary.

WHAT DOCUMENTS DO I NEED TO TRAVEL TO COSTA RICA?

A valid passport for the entire length of your stay. Verify your passport has at least one blank page for Costa Rican customs to stamp. Also have a prepaid airline ticket or bus ticket to leave Costa Rica within 90 days. If you want to stay longer than 90 days, you must apply for a tourist visa. Citizens from the United States, Canada and some European countries do not need a visa to enter Costa Rica. If you are from a country besides the U.S. and you have a tourist visa to visit the United States, you do not need a separate tourist visa to visit Costa Rica. Be prepared to provide proof that you have access to at least 100 US dollars per month of your stay. You must have proof of a yellow fever vaccination if you arrive from Sub-Saharan Africa or South America

IS A PASSPORT NEEDED TO ENTER COSTA RICA?

YES:  A valid Passport is needed to enter Costa Rica.

HOW LONG CAN I STAY IN THE COUNTRY?

Citizens from most countries can stay for up to 90 days in Costa Rica.  Citizens from some countries are allowed to stay for a maximum of 30 days, although they have the option to apply for an extension once inside the country.

CAN I ENTER COSTA RICA WITH A ONE-WAY AIR TICKET?

All visitors must have an entry ticket as well as a departure ticket, whether it is by air or land.

IS AN INTERNATIONAL DRIVER´S LICENSE NEEDED?

An International Driver’s License is not needed to enter the country. However, if you want to drive in Costa Rica – you must have a driver’s license. Anyone over the age of 18 can drive with a license from their own country – but only for a period of three (3) months. If you want to rent a car, you will be asked for your valid driver’s license and you must be over the age of 21.

CAN I GET MARRIED IN COSTA RICA? WHAT ARE THE NECESSARY DOCUMENTS?

It is possible to marry in Costa Rica, the required documents are: a valid passport or valid travel documents and a sworn statement (affidavit) signed in the presence of a Costa Rican lawyer (if divorced, you will need the document of such divorce from your country or wherever the divorce was granted).

WHAT IS THE FOOD LIKE IN COSTA RICA AND HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

Costa Rica is blessed with tasty foods – mainly comprised of fresh vegetables and fruits, grains, fish, seafood, chicken and meat. Typical breakfast is “gallo pinto”, a rice and bean mixture with eggs and corn tortillas and runs about $6. For lunch- the typical plate – called “casado” can be found thruout Playa Hermosa and the Central Pacific zone. Generally, it includes white rice, black beans, fresh salad, vegetables and a choice of fish, chicken or meat and runs about $8. For dinners – options vary $8 – $20 a plate. In Playa Hermosa within walking distance from the Surf Inn Hermosa – there are several restaurants to choose from, two little convenience stores, one bakery and two pizza shops. In Playa Jaco – a 5 minute – $12 taxi ride – there are many international restaurants offering great food including American, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Mexican, Costa Rican and Indian.

If you like cooking, the accommodations at the Surf Inn allow you to cook in. There are tons of fresh fruit and vegetables that you can find at the local markets and you can buy fresh fish from the seafood shops in Jaco.

CAN YOU DRINK THE WATER IN COSTA RICA?

The water is potable in most parts of the country. However, bottled water is recommended during times of rain.

WHAT IS THE COSTA RICAN CURRENCY?

The colon is the currency of Costa Rica. US dollars are widely accepted and credit cards may be used as well.

ARE THERE ATMs THAT ACCEPT AMERICAN / FOREIGN ATM / CREDIT CARDS.

There are no ATMs in Playa Hermosa. In Jaco Beach – a 5 minute $12 taxi ride away – there are many ATM machines that accept Visa / MC / ATM Debit Cards

CAN I USE CREDIT CARDS IN COSTA RICA?

At Surf Inn – you can use AMEX, MC or VISA – In surrounding areas, most major credit cards are accepted. Also, you can locate ATMs throughout the country.

WHAT TYPE OF VACCINATION IS NEEDED TO ENTER COSTA RICA?

Costa Rican authorities require a yellow-fever vaccine certification from travelers of the following countries: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leon, Sudan, Bolivia, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Guyana, even if your were only transiting through any one of these countries. 

DO I NEED A PLUG ADAPTER FOR MY BLOW DRYER?

Costa Rica´s outlets are 110 volts, with a standard duplex outlet.

WHAT ARE THE NECESSARY DOCUMENTS TO BRING PETS INTO COSTA RICA?

All cats and dogs entering Costa Rica must have a health certificate from a veterinarian and endorsed by a veterinarian service. A physical exam must be conducted two weeks prior to the date of the trip. The required vaccines are: distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus and rabies (for animals over 4 months old).

WHAT IS THE COST OF THE EXIT TAX?

The exit tax, via air is US $29.00 and US $7.00 by land payable in US dollars, colones or credit card at the Banco Crédito Agrícola de Cartago, Banco Lafise, or the Banco de Costa Rica. Some airlines already include this fee in the airline ticket; therefore, we recommend you consult your airline. Fee can be payed at the airport. Starting at 3:00 AM the departure tax counter will be open and can be collected in U.S. dollars, Costa Rican colones, or Visa debit/credit cards

HOW DO I GET A WORK VISA?

You can apply for this type of visa at the Costa Rican Consulate in your country.

HOW DO I APPLY FOR LEGAL RESIDENCY?

There are various ways to legalize your stay: – temporary resident – retired – governmental international mission – For more information contact the Costa Rican Immigration Office: migration www.migracion.go.cr 

WHAT IS THE SALES TAX IN COSTA RICA?

There is a 13% sales tax on the price of goods. Restaurants also have a 10% service tax.

CAN I USE MY MOBILE PHONE IN COSTA RICA?

If you want to use a mobile phone in Costa Rica, you must have an UNBLOCKED cellular phone and purchase a prepaid SIM card. You can also visit the different telephone companies throughout the country; they offer different options for prepaid cards, including internet access.

WHAT ARE THE COUNTRY´S INTERNATIONAL AIRPORTS?

Costa Rica has four (4) international airports: Juan Santamaría Airport in Alajuela, Daniel Oduber International Airport in Liberia, Tobías Bolaños International Airport in San José, and the Limón International Airport.

WHAT IS THE AREA CODE FOR COSTA RICA?

Dial 00-506-number. For assistance on international calls dial 1024.

IS GASOLINE SOLD BY THE LITER OR GALLON?

Gasoline is sold by the liter.

IF I RENT A CAR, CAN I DRIVE IT TO NICARAGUA OR PANAMA?

Rental cars are not allowed to leave the country.

HOW MUCH MONEY SHOULD I CARRY?

Really depends on what you plan on doing. In general, it is best to carry $50-$100 most of which should be in small bills. One hundred dollar bills are not accepted in all locations. In most areas, if you run out of cash – you can find a local ATM machine or bank.

CAN I PAY WITH DOLLARS OR CREDIT CARDS AT THE GAS STATIONS?

Both options can be used as a form of payment.  Although some gas stations do not accept American Express.

WHAT TIME ZONE IS COSTA RICA

Costa Rica is located in US Central Standard Time Zone – and does not observe daylight savings time.

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