Preparing For Travel

As of December 31, 2002 all Canadian, US and EU citizens who travel to Costa Rica for tourism and pleasure purposes need a valid passport. Please check your passport to make sure you have at least 6 months validity from the time you enter Costa Rica. If not, you should get a new passport before you come to Blue Osa. A visa is not required.

There is a departure tax when leaving Costa Rica that must be paid at Juan Santamaria International Airport. This fee is $29 USD and is payable in either colones, U.S. dollars, or Visa/Mastercard.

Please note that as of January 2018, most airlines are including this fee in the price of the tickets.

The tropical climate here makes it very comfortable to wear simple, lightweight clothing and footwear. Quick-dry clothes and tennis shoes, sandals, and water shoes (Tevas, Crocs) work best. Central Valley is characterized by warm, breezy days, with highs between 82 and 92 degrees, and lows in the range of 70-80. Keep in mind that Ser La Luz is at a higher elevation so evening temperatures, depending on the time of year, can go into the low 50's at night and in the mid to upper 80's during the day.

Here is a good, basic, ideal packing guide, based on a week-long​ stay here:

– For yoga retreats or yoga teacher training, a notebook and pen for taking notes or a small journal is usually considered essential.
– 3 or 4 tank tops or lightweight T-Shirts
– Bathing suit
– 3 or 4 pairs of shorts
– Sunscreen is available locally.
– Bug spray is available locally.

You do not need any shots or vaccines before visiting Costa Rica. However, we always suggest speaking with your Doctor and referring to the World Health Organization’s website before traveling anywhere.

Safety

Generally, Costa Rica is quite safe. Like any place, normal precautions and care should be taken depending upon where you are visiting.

Violent crime is rare in Costa Rica. Petty crime tends to be more common.

Big cities, or beach resort areas and any place with a concentration of tourists is more likely to draw thieves and such.

Since Ser La Luz is located in a rural farm country area, we are lucky that we don’t have encounters like this.

Yes, our property is very secure. The area around Ser La Luz is also safe to walk around in and many people (male and female) enjoy a walk or run in the surrounding neighborhood and the many hiking trails that are around us.

A common concern is with mosquitos.

All our rooms have doors and windows.

However, we do not have a lot of mosquitos at Ser La Luz. There are no concerns for malaria or other diseases in our area.

A short 15 minutes away is the Grecia Hospital that has a 24 hour Emergency Room.  There are  also many clinics open during the day and some with emergency numbers after hours.

 

Medical care in Costa Rica is of very high quality and considered to be the best in Central America. San Jose especially has excellent hospitals, medical facilities and doctors that attend almost exclusively to foreign residents and travelers.

We do have "city" water that is tested regularly.  We were not 100% certain about the quality of water when we first arrived here and we brought a complete water filtration system from the USA.  The local water is completely safe to drink and our added filtration gives comfort to many travelers.  When going out to restaurants the water is perfectly fine to drink.

Weather

Costa Rica is a tropical country located between 8 and 11 degrees north of the equator. It has twelve micro-climates, three different rainfall regimes and many micro climates.

Although Costa Rica is considered to have a stable climate, it is important to note that different temperature and weather conditions may be experienced within the same day, or within short distances, due mostly to the rugged terrain of this mountainous country. There are two well-defined seasons: the rainy/green season (invierno) and the dry/summer season (verano), with one main difference between them: rainfall averages. Dry season runs from December to April and the green season from May to November. Rainfall averages for the country may reach the highest point during the months of September and October — approximately 650 mm per month. Seasonal changes don’t bring significant changes in temperatures, although nights may be cooler in some areas during the rainy season. Mornings will most commonly be sunny all year round.

We are just 10 degrees north of the equator at an elevation of about 4,800 ft.  We have an onsite weather reporting station and the highest temperature we have seen in 3 years was 88 with the lowest evening temperature being 53 degrees.  During the rainy season it is very interesting to see the clouds moving in.  We are literally in the clouds.

Because the Central Valley is blessed with wonderful weather year round, there really isn’t a “best” time to visit. Though most guidebooks list the ideal time to travel to Costa Rica as December through May, we enjoy a stable climate year-round.

Of course, don’t try looking for that information via online weather reports. The nearest reporting weather station is at a much lower elevation.  Our on-site weather station does report to the "Weather Underground" but with an unstable internet at times, our information may not be displaying. FUN FACT: The 19,730 miles (about the size of West Virginia) that make up Costa Rica actually house 20 different climate zones! The bottom line?

The time to visit is whenever you want!

When is the best time to visit Central Costa Rica? Each month is exceptional in it’s own way. Here’s what you can expect when you visit:

 

December marks the beginning of the tourist season in Costa Rica. The temperature is nearly perfect and everything is green and vibrant from the refreshing rains in September, October, and November. As a transitional month, December involves some rain (although lately with climate change, we have had almost no rain in December over the past few years). In our area it is also the season of the Christmas Winds.  Hold on to your hat and pleases make sure the doors are closed behind you.  Our strongest winds we have recorded were in the mid 40 mph range.  Higher elevations experience stronger winds.  Visit during the first couple weeks when there are fewer people but all of the benefits.
Average High Temperature: 28°C/82°F

January through April is summertime in Costa Rica.
Average High Temperature: 30°C/86°F 

May and June transitions from the dry season to the green season. The weather changes and we are blessed with the occasional afternoon showers. The moisture cools the air, creating comfortable temperatures. Less people visit Costa Rica during this time, so you can avoid crowds.
 Average High Temperature: 28°C/82°F

July and August and even September are the best-kept secrets in Costa Rica. Warm, sunny mornings and rain-cooled evenings are a welcome break from summer in the United States and Southern Europe. This is also a popular time for Costa Ricans to vacation in the Pacific region, and it’s your opportunity to mix with the locals if you decide to visit the beach for the day. 

Average High Temperature: 28°C/82°F

October is a little more rainy but still very pleasant. With heavier rainfalls at night, the mornings in the the afternoons are often filled with beautiful crips clear skies leading us into a beautiful refreshing rainfall in the late afternoon. Some of us foreign locals take great pleasure in being here during 
Average High Temperature: 28°C/82°F

November starts the transition from the rainy months. Everything is lush and green. There is still a some amount of rain, but it is less than half the average rainfall in October. The last couple weeks of November are a great time to visit Costa Rica if you are hoping to have the place to yourselves and still experience nice weather and fun outdoor activities. 
Average High Temperature: 28°C/82°F

Reservations

Rooms here at Ser La Luz tend to fill up two to six months in advance, sometimes even earlier. If you know the dates you would like to stay with us, we suggest that you inquire now to ensure space availability and to make your reservation as soon as possible to guarantee the dates you want. Also, we would like all of our prospective guests and clients to know that we do not recommend staying for less than five nights here if you are leaving or arriving by plane. From our experience, a minimum of five nights is needed in order to experience all that there is to do and see while staying at Ser La Luz.

We consider ourselves a "Boutique Retreat Center" and cater more towards the smaller groups of 15 people or less.

Check-in time is: 2:00 PM
Check-out time is: 10:00 AM
For guests leaving later than 10:00 AM, or arriving earlier than the 2:00 PM, we are more than happy to keep your luggage secure and safe for you as you wait for your room to be ready, leaving you free to enjoy Ser La Luz.

Being an all-inclusive retreat, Meals included in your stay: Dinner on the day of arrival; breakfast, lunch and dinner on each full day; and breakfast on the day of departure.

Meal time are typically

7:30 Breakfast
12:30 Lunch
6:30 Dinner

If you do miss a meal such as breakfast due to an early flight, there is always fruit available “to go”.

Our kitchen is not available for special meals.   Two of our rooms do have small kitchenettes in them that you are able to use.

Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express cards are accepted at Ser La Luz.

 

Should you be in need of cash, the Banco Nacional and Banco De Costa Rica in Grecia does have ATM cash machines. However, we suggest bringing whatever money you need with you, as all of our rooms are equipped with secure safes for your valuables. 

Please be aware that we ONLY accept cash TIPS. It is not possible to use your credit card for cash TIPS.

Yes, we accept U.S. Dollars. We do not accept any other cash currency at Ser La Luz.

Cancelation Policy for General Individual Reservations and Packages 

 

• Reservations canceled ninety days (90) or more prior to the date of arrival will incur a 50% penalty charge on the deposit amount paid. The remaining 50% may be used for a future reservation.
• Reservations canceled less than ninety days (90) prior to the date of arrival, the deposit/monies paid will incur a 100% penalty charge and is non-refundable.

Payments made for a retreat 

All fees paid for retreats and workshops are non-transferable and non-refundable. In paying for a retreat with Ser La Luz, you agree to these terms.

Tipping

Tips for services rendered are very much appreciated by Ser La Luz’s hardworking staff. At the end of the week, you may leave a cash tip in our tip box. All tips will be pooled and divided evenly among our staff who work in the kitchen, garden, office and housekeeping. If you would like to tip individually, you may do that also at check-out. As a guide, may we suggest a tip of $20 -$40/day.

Likewise, tips for individually booked spa treatments and eco-tours are left to your discretion.

Please note that we only accept cash tips. We are unable to process tips through you credit card. We do suggest bringing enough cash for any tips, or extra services/shopping you may do outside of Ser La Luz.

Because we do not accept credit cards for tips, we do encourage you to bring some cash with you. There is a farmers market in Grecia as well as a variety of gift shops around.  Most restaurants accept credit and debit cards but some of the smaller mom and pop places "may" not.  Our suggested cash amount is $250 to $400.

Other FAQ’S

We do not suggest converting ANY money!

It is really not necessary to convert any money to local currency (colones) as most businesses happily accept U.S. dollars (however, expect your change to be in colones).

We suggest strongly that you do not change any money. Bring many small bills so you do not have to receive any change in colones. The current rate of exchange fluctuates and is around 550 colones for every 1 US dollar.

We currently do not have a gift shop.  There is a nice variety of stores in the downtown Grecia area that you can buy gifts in.  In our immediate area there are 2 mom and pop stores for other personal care items that you may need.  If you are looking for something in particular, please let us know and we can suggest stores in Grecia that may have what you need.

Yes we have yoga mats available.

Our yoga studio is fully equipped with yoga props: chairs, blankets, sandbags and blocks.

Although Ser La Luz is an ideal location for a family vacation, we discourage you from bringing children less than five years of age along with you as we do not have any babysitting services on property or children’s day-care. With that being said, however, we accept children of all ages and welcome families of all sizes.

Ser La Luz offers a free WiFi service. This service is available in the main areas. Since we practice mindfulness, the internet is turned off in the mornings until 7:30 am during our practice of morning silence (which also ends at 7:30 am.) The internet is also turned off again at dinner from 6:30 until 7:15 pm. We do not have any computers available for use.

 

While there are no phones in the rooms, guests are more than welcome to make calls at our office.

International cell phone service here at Ser La Luz can be sketchy, at best. Sometimes some phones will work, sometimes they won’t. We suggest you check with your service provider and ask them specifically about service in Costa Rica. With our higher elevation cell phone service can come and go.  The same for internet.  We currently have 2 different internet providers to provide our service.  One is via cable and the other is a dish receiver.

We do invite you to leave your cell phones and lap tops at home and “unplug” from your life while you are on your vacation or retreat. We suggest you take full advantage of this remote paradise to concentrate on the peace and wilderness experience. Come, disconnect and decompress!

Ser La Luz is Spanish for Be The Light.  Michael is an interfaith minister and is the founder of Be The Light Metaphysical Chapel in Florida, USA.  When we saw the translation for Be The Light we decided to use that to name our property.  Since we are located in Costa Rica we combined the two to come up with Costa Rica Retreat @ Ser La Luz.  So we use Ser La Luz to shorten our name.

Pura Vida (POO-rah VEE-dah), used by Costa Ricans since 1956, literally translated means “Pure Life.” Contextually, it means “full of life,” “purified life,” “this is living!” “going great” It is used as a greeting, a farewell, and to express satisfaction.

 

The phrase has become widely known in the United States and Europe. Some foreigners view the phrase as an expression of a leisurely lifestyle, and a disregard for time. However, Costa Ricans use the phrase to express a philosophy of strong community, perseverance, good spirits, enjoying life slowly and celebrating good fortune, whether small or large.

Pura Vida also means “I am doing alright”, “I am doing perfect” and “thank you”.

Expats who adopt the expression properly get a big smile in return. It is an acknowledgment of the Costa Rican attitude towards life.

The Hawaiian equivalent of Pura Vida is “Aloha!”

Laundry service is available at Ser La Luz. The cost for this service is $25/load. Please request laundry service the night before and drop off your laundry after breakfast.  It should be available for you to pick up around dinner time.

At Ser La Luz we take a lot of pride in our food and what we service. Our guests have given us high ratings on Trip Advisor, and we continue in our commitment to serve fresh, healthy and tasty food. Our vegetarian-oriented meals are served family style. Although we typically provide a buffet style presentation, the meals provided are not all you can eat and are proportioned accordingly. Since we are not a full service restaurant, we do not offer individual choices from a menu. If you do have any dietary allergies, please let our kitchen know and we will do our best to accommodate you. Ser La Luz is devoted to serving the freshest food possible that is delivered daily to our kitchen. This is truly “farm to table dining”.

 

While the Ser La Luz staff can make some adjustments in the menu to accommodate some requests, we are unable to accommodate individual orders. Ser La Luz does not provide Kosher Meals.

Because of the difficulties in maintaining a minibar service at Ser La Luz, we are unable to provide for the consumption of outside food, drinks or alcohol. If you still choose to consume privately bought alcohol please do so in the privacy of your room. We do not allow privately bought alcohol in the dinning area. We thank you for your understanding and compliance.

Ser La Luz does not have air conditioning. We are a low impact, mountain retreat center, and we work rigorously to reduce our carbon footprint and our impact on the surrounding environment. So while it may come as a shock to some that Ser La Luz does not have air-conditioning, we have found that the vast majority of our guests are always quite comfortable.

At Ser La Luz, we focus on rest & relaxation and peace & tranquility; by communing with nature and getting back in touch with ones inner self. There are no hair dryers or curling irons available at Ser La Luz. Ser La Luz is operated primarily by solar power and as such, we have minimal power usage. Ser La Luz does have standard North American power outlets, so you may recharge your phones and camera batteries.

We also do not provide room service or wake up calls.

Everyone is welcome at Ser La Luz. Additionally, there are many ways to practice yoga. Simply sitting on a chair watching the morning sunrise in silence is a form of yoga practice.