We asked this on our first trip to Costa Rica and the answers will definitely vary. What to bring? It varies on where you are going, what activities you will participate in, excursions and tours or the beach.
We are at around 4,800 ft above sea level – and coming from Tampa, Florida area – this is WONDERFUL!! Our temperatures run from the upper 50’s SOME evenings to the low to mid 80’s SOME days. Temperatures do vary like anywhere else. The good news here is NO FREEZING Temperatures.
We have been outside during the daytime, early evening and late evenings and have NOT noticed many bugs. You will see bees, wasps and those types of bugs. But not the swarms of nats or mosquito’s like in other places.
DO I NEED A PASSPORT OR A VISA TO TRAVEL TO COSTA RICA?
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 it is not, you should get your passport renewed before you come to Ser La Luz. A visa is not required.
WHAT TO BRING
- Sunscreen – because we are so close to the equator the sun is definitely stronger – you can carry on a 3 oz or smaller can in your carry on luggage.
- Sweater or light jacket
- Umbrella for when it does rain (we do have some available for use).
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Swim suit – IF your retreat is planning a day at the beach or you want to enjoy our jacuzzi
- OFF Bug Spray – or any other type of bug spray that you like
- OPTIONAL — Yoga Mat — some Yogi’s have a special Yoga mat that they just LOVE!! So bring it!
- an extra suitcase just in case you do some shopping for some amazing souvenirs.
Costa Rica Retreat @ Ser La Luz does provide TOWELS FOR THE JACUZZI AND SHOWER + BED SHEETS. You do not need to bring these items.
Colones is the official currency of Costa Rica, although US dollars are widely accepted.
Items and activities purchased at Ser La Luz can be charged to your room and paid with a credit card at the end of your stay. The amount of local currency that you need depends on how much you intend to spend on extra purchases outside of the property.
For Americans, it is not necessary to convert any money to local currency (colones) as many businesses (NOT ALL) happily accept U.S. dollars (however, expect your change to be in colones) – many of the small mom and pop restaurants do not accept U.S. dollars and some do not accept credit or debit cards.
In fact, we suggest that you do NOT change any money and bring several smaller bills so you do not receive any change. The current rate of exchange fluctuates around 550 colones for every 1 US dollar.
You do not need any shots or vaccines before visiting Costa Rica unless you are coming in from Nicaragua.
ALSO — let your Credit or Debit card company/bank know that you will be in Costa Rica and ask for a “travel alert” to be put on your card. This way they know you are in Costa Rica and you can use your cards while on vacation.
ATM’s do dispense dollars OR colones (at the current days exchange rate)
We SUGGEST that you use an ATM to take out cash. Doing an exchange at the airport they will give you UNDER the days exchange rate. ATM’s are in downtown Grecia, Sarchi and most other places. Many businesses will allow you to use your credit or debit card while on Vacation.
Special Notice: We strongly advise you NOT to bring US one-hundred-dollar bills on your trip to Costa Rica. Central America has been inundated with false bills and you will find everyone, including the banks, unwilling to accept them. In fact, the banks may confiscate them. Stick with smaller denomination bills, traveler’s checks or credit cards.
A further note about US bills in general–Be sure the bills you bring are in good condition. Small tears or missing pieces will render them useless in this country.
What Else You Need To Know
Morning Silence As a yogic practice at Ser La Luz, we practice silence in the mornings until 7:30 (unless a group leader requests a later time) and ask all of our guests to observe this quiet time with us. The morning silence ends with a 10 minute singing bowl that is played in the dining area.
Ser La Luz offers a free WiFi service. This service is available in the main area. Since we practice mindfulness, the internet is turned off in the mornings until 7:30 am in 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 pm until 7:15 pm. We do not have any computers available for use.
Laundry service is available at Ser La Luz. The cost for this service is $15 per load. Please request laundry service the night before and after breakfast you can bring your laundry up. We will strive to have it ready for you by early evening.
Ser La Luz provides our own environmentally friendly soap and shampoo that is produced locally. If you do bring any of your own soaps or shampoos, please try to ensure that they are environmentally friendly, as we are working to protect our delicate eco-system.
Smoking – While Ser La Luz promotes a non-smoking environment, we do provide designated smoking areas. There is NO SMOKING allowed in the rooms, and there is no smoking allowed in the common areas.
Power voltage in Costa Rica is the same as the United States so no adapter is necessary. Ser La Luz is operated mostly with solar power and we need to conserve energy. We ask that you share our desire to conserve power and water during your stay with us.
AC or HEAT is NOT provided at Ser La Lu. Our elevation and climate make it comfortable where neither are required. For those chilly evenings we do have extra blankets in your rooms for your use.
Communication – Sometimes some phones will work and sometimes they won’t. Ser La Luz does provide a phone service for $2/minute and this service can be arranged with Michael. While Wi-Fi service is free, we do not have any computers available for general use.
Wine, Beer, Cocktails – Because of the difficulties in maintaining a minibar service at Ser La Luz, there are a few local mom and pop stores that do sell some beer and wine. We do not allow privately bought alcohol in the dining area or at the jacuzzi.
JACUZZI – we request that no glass bottles or glasses be brought around the jacuzzi area. Most rooms contain plastic drink ware and we ask that you please use those when around the jacuzzi area. In case of a glass breaking in any of the common areas, please notify us immediately so that we can get the glass cleaned up.
Drinking Water – While our water has been tested to ensure your safety, we have installed a complete water filtration system so all water on site is safe to drink. As we do not allow open cups in the yoga room, we do invite our guests to bring a water bottle.
Credit Cards – The cost of eco tours, spa treatments, and other incidentals will be charged to your room and is payable at departure. Ser La Luz accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express. Cash is always the preferred method of payment when settling your bill.
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. 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 your credit card. We do suggest bringing enough cash for any tips, or extra services/shopping you may do outside of Ser La Luz.
Then how much cash should I bring?
Because we do not accept credit cards for tips, we do encourage you to bring some cash with you. Our suggested cash amount is $250 to $400.
A safe can be found in your room. We have provided an electronic combination safe for your FREE use in our room. There are instructions in the room so that you can program the safe to a combination that you will easily remember. IN CASE OF EMERGENCY …. we do have a master-key and code that only Michael and/or Ed have access to.
Please use the safe in your room. If any items such as credit cards, cash, wallets, jewelry, or any valuable items are left lying out in your room, our staff will take a picture, report it to the office, and will NOT enter your room to do housekeeping or any other services.
Emergency medical treatment is available, if necessary, in the Grecia Hospital. In the event of an extreme emergency airlift to hospitals in San Jose is also available. For minor needs, any of the local pharmacies in Grecia are staffed by professional people who will be glad to help you. Unfortunately your medical insurance can not be used here, it is always advisable to purchase travelers insurance before your arrival.
Emergency Contact Information – The best way to contact us is ALWAYS through email. If you call us to ask questions or try to make a reservation, we WILL immediately direct you to our website. This is for emergency information only.
The best way to reach us is via email. Our phones do not often work because of our elevation. For emergency contact, our local cell phone is 011-506-8549-2936 OR via our USA Number 813-708-6337 – the USA number goes through our Skype connection. Always email us in addition to calling.