Is it safe to drink the water?
Most tourists have no problem adjusting to the water in Manuel Antonio and Costa Rica. We have an local, excellent water treatment plant that provides drinkable water to the tap. Bottled water is available everywhere, but we ask you to consider the impact on the environment when making your choices. Ultimately, your comfort and health are the prime concern.
What if I don’t speak Spanish?
Luckily Manuel Antonio is a major tourist destination for English speaking tourists and expats. You can generally accomplish simple transactions like banking, ordering meals, taking tours, etc… with success. Taxi and bus drivers often speak at least broken English.
There are several good private teachers and schools available if you are interested in starting or furthering you education by taking classes. www.Duolingo.com and other on line schools are also good if you want to get down some of the basic phrases. Google Translate, www.spanishdict.com or www.sayhitranslate.com are very useful tools to have on your phone.
What if I only know broken Spanish?
We say “Use it!” They generally appreciate and will try even harder to understand you and any genuine efforts to communicate in their native language. They also may start talking rapidly, which you won’t understand, but it can be good for a laugh.
Will I see monkeys?
Almost every day, although in the dry season from January to March some of the wild life has to retreat deeper into the jungles to thrive so it is a little less abundant. The squirrel and white faced capuchin monkeys frequent the property to eat from the trees. Coati mundis, iguanas, Jesus Christ lizards visit, and the toucans and red macaws call out as they fly over.
Can I feed and pet the monkeys or sloths?
The answer is NO! We offer 11 reasons to not pet or feed the wild animals. Volunteering at KSTR or Titi Conservation Alliance can change your experience, if that is a goal of yours. Find more information on the two organization by clicking their links.
Are there bugs?
Yes, yes and yes! While we do our best to give you a haven in the jungle, Costa Rica supports over three thousand known insect species on our tiny landmass. This sub-tropical jungle is a living, breathing organism. Ants and mosquitoes are the most common “annoyance” for most guests. The mosquitoes are comparable and certainly not as bad as many areas in the US and Canada. Consider bringing personal bug spray. It is pricey here and organic options are harder to find. The interiors of Tico Tico are treated with organic repellents, and the gardens with sprays that are more effective in the heavy rainfalls we receive. That said, if you leave food or crumbs about your villa, you will likely experience the amazingly efficient clean up team, known as “las hormigas.” (the ants)
If things such as; iguana lizards, geckos, coatimundis, friendly daddy long legs, beetles, mosquitoes, flying cockroaches, leaf cutter ants, brown and black ants and the like, are a personal concern for you and cause undue stress, it is possible the jungles of Costa Rica may take some time to adjust to or need to be reconsidered. We have, need and appreciate our small creatures and the vital work they do to make the jungle thrive.
Do I need to get any medical shots?
We are not doctors, so we can not advise you. To our knowledge Costa Rica has no required shots. Dengue is rare in Manuel Antonio, and closely monitored by the government. Some people get the Yellow Fever shot series, most don’t.
You must make this decision based on your own medical research.
Is there medical care in the area?
Quepos is lucky to have many medical services that are important; a small hospital, clinics, doctors’ offices, dentists, optometrists, chiropractors, lab, and some specialists that come several times a month. We also have many holistic practitioners, yoga and massage therapists. Two and a half hours away, the capital of San Jose is host to multiple hospitals and doctor options; specializing in more advanced care. Ambulance service is available and flights can be a quick solution.
Can I get my prescriptions filled in Costa Rica?
We have many pharmacies in Manuel Antonio. However, to fill certain narcotics and prescriptions requires a paid visit to a doctor. Some common meds are simply over the counter. Medications are relatively expensive here. Even Aspirin is sold per unit. Whether or not your insurance will cover your purchases here is something you would need to check direct with them; most DO NOT, except in emergency situations.
The most common solution is a three to six month supplies brought with you. This generally requires some work with your provider in advance of your trip.
We love travel insurance. For an extended visit to a foreign country, it is an inexpensive emergency backup plan. Policies are not perfect and it is important to read them carefully. Most will provide free emergency travel back to your original city in case of a health emergency. Do not assume what the policies will cover. For example, two guests both used Allianz. One had an emergency heart surgery a week before his scheduled leave to Costa Rica. It was denied as pre-existing, which is stated in the policy. One client got shingles the week of her departure to Costa Rica and she received a full refund on what items qualified. We have no affiliation with any insurance agency, we are just playing mom here.
How often do I have to leave the country?
Most tourists are granted 90 day access. Your allowed time is assigned when arriving at customs and will be stamped in your passport. We suggest you look at the stamp and make sure it is legible. Customs has the right to assign any amount of days under 90 that they feel is appropriate. You have the right to ask for 90 days if that matches your travel documents.
How do I re-new my visitors stamp if I have an extended stay?
Non-residents are expected to leave to another border every 90 days. Panama and Nicaragua are typical destinations. There are groups, buses and individuals who make these runs together quite often. See our Rental Policies page for more detailed information.
Are there Embassy’s?
None are in Manuel Antonio. San Jose hosts every major Embassy and Consulate office. As info changes often we suggest www.embassypages.com/costarica
Is there A/C?
Yes. Every studio has a new energy efficient A/C unit, but one item to know is that electricity is the most expensive utility in Costa Rica. Each studio has a ceiling fan, portable fan, and a small screened rear patio to allow for additional energy friendly ventilation.
Our goal is to one day be fully solar powered property.
What utilities are included?
Each studio has basic cable TV in Spanish and with some English speaking channels, wi-fi, water, trash and electricity for the short term rentals.
Do I need a power converter?
No. Costa Rica is 110V just like the US and Canada. Tico Tico Villas has a completely updated electrical infrastructure. We do provide a surge protector for each studio. You may want to bring an extra one or an extension cord. Both are handy when traveling
Can I get better cable TV?
Yes, said the cable provider. If you are staying more than two months it is possible to upgrade your studios personal service. A small deposit and additional monthly fee for the level of service requested would be added to the monthly studio rate. 30 day’s notice is needed for the turn off service, hence a two month minimum. See Rental Policies for details.
Is the internet service reliable?
We have two 10G providers for the property. By using both of the local agencies we find we have good service 90% of the time. It is the tropics of Costa Rica; nature happens.
Facebook, Skype, and Netflix are available here, but downloads can be slower. At peak holidays like New Years, Christmas, Easter and World Cup the country, it seems, literally runs out of broadband at peak times. You are in one of the most beautiful peninsulas in the world, we think, sometimes it’s better to savor and enjoy the sunset, than share it on Facebook. LOL!
Is there hot water?
Welcome to Costa Rica! Each shower includes the infamous “ insta hot” shower heads that work very well. They are just a bit off putting if you have never seen them before. Despite being jokingly referred to as “suicide showers.” They are safe and energy efficient. Cool showers are an enjoyable norm, in our sub-tropical jungle. Insta-hot units for the kitchen sinks are on the 2016-17 upgrade list. The common paste dish soap is effective with cold water for cleaning dishes.
How do I make a reservation deposit?
We have a Paypal option and a US Corporate Bank of America account that can accept deposits by electronic transfer, money order or personal check. Personal checks are accepted only for reservation deposits. See Rental Policies for complete details.
How is my reservation confirmed?
After we receive your reservation request with dates and room preference, we will confirm availability and studio rate with you by email. You will then receive a “Welcome New Guest” list of necessary information with details of documents and actions needed to complete the reservation.
Can we communicate by phone or Skype?
We can FaceTime on an IPad and Skype. We are available on WhatsApp and IM on Facebook. We also have US numbers that are we utilize. All the most current information is listed at our Contact Us page.
What if I need to cancel?
We respect your choices and circumstances and will do our best to be sensitive to personal issues as they occur. However, we ask you read our Rental Policies section for complete details. As a small complex of Studio Apartments, in a tropical destination with a high demand season, we ask that you understand how difficult it can be to re-book a studio. Our guest requests come in months in advance, and if we have no offerings our potential guests generally book elsewhere or choose other destinations for the season.
Is there an on-Site Manager?
Yes. The US owner or representative is on site to monitor the care and running of the property. We are family owned and operated. We do have flexible “office” hours as this is Costa Rica and sometimes the beach is just too tempting. Pura Vida is a way of life, not just a saying.
When is check-in?
3:00PM. We strive to have studios ready in advance and will accommodate an early check-in when possible.
When is check-out?
12:00pm. As our goal is to not inconvenience incoming guests, we ask your cooperation with this policy.
Can I have guests?
All guests must be legally registered if spending more than one week total per year. This is for the safety and security of all guests. See Rental Policies for complete rules.
Can I have pets?
At this time we have a NO pet policy. Tico Tico, once completely remodeled with a specific area for pets, then that policy will be subject to review. PAWS is a local agency that is always looking for volunteers to support. Get some puppy loving at their offices, and be a big help at the same time.
Is there a laundry service?
We offer a wash, dry and fold service for a per kilo fee. There are options in Quepos. Unfortunately there is no such thing as a laundromat or automat in Manuel Antonio. At this time our property does not offer a guest use laundry. An iron and ironing board are available for guests to use in their rooms from housekeeping.
Can I request a change in the bed sizes?
It may be possible to change some Studio’s bed configurations. Please ask when making your reservation request. Additional fees may apply.
Do I need to bring my own linens?
Your studio receives a set of towels per person and a fresh change of the bed sheets once each week with the weekly cleaning. We provide a good quality cotton sheets and towels, a complete list is in the Rooms description. If you have a preference, or have a favorite pillow, you might want to pack them.
Are meals included?
As an apartment property we do not provide meals. Each studio is complete with a well-stocked kitchenette with microwave, dishes, mini refrigerator, etc.. So it is easy to prepare meals with food from the abundance of new local markets and weekly seaside Farmers Market. Many offer delivery services for a few dollars.
Where is the bus stop?
At the front gate; to go to Quepos and across the street to go to Manuel Antonio National Park and the beaches. Every 30 minutes from 5:30 am to 9:00 pm. It is approximately .65 cents to ride one direction.
Is there parking?
We have a limited amount in the on street parking lot. During the day it is shared with the retail market on the property. Parking is first come, first served, but as most of our guests do not drive cars, it has been a non issue to date. Please be advised that leaving valuables in your auto is not advised. We are not responsible for parked cars or their belongings. To repeat; Do Not Leave Valuables in your auto.
Will I be greeted when I arrive?
We look forward to greeting each of our guests on their arrival. We will do our best to be flexible in accommodating late arrivals or special requests. When we present your keys to your studio and the property gates we want you to feel informed and welcome at Tico Tico Villas. We will ask in advance for your travel information, to make this step easier.
When do I get keys?
Once you have been properly checked in and everything is in order. You will receive room and gate keys. We don’t ask a key deposit, but do have a going away gift if you do return them as expected.
Can I smoke in the room?
Our rooms are non-smoking. Costa Rican Non-smoking laws are enforced in bars, restaurants and all public buildings. There are acceptable areas to smoke. We ask your cooperation and politeness as the studios do share common spaces. See Rental Policies for details.
How do I get from the airport or travel to Manuel Antonio?
There are many options to travel within Costa Rica:
By Air: Quepos/Manuel Antonio share a small airport with service from our carbon footprint free airline Sansa and Avianca. They provide a 20 minute flight direct from the Juan Santamaria International Airport in the capital city of San Jose, CR. The views of mountains, country villages and ocean from the air are memorable. Fares run between $50 to $100 each way, depending on dates. Seniors receive discounts. Luggage allowed is 30 pounds, additional weight is $1.00 per pound, just FYI. We can arrange the Quepos Airport transfer by Taxi to Tico Tico Villas. At this time we do not have a Tico Tico shuttle service available.
By Taxi: A typical way to travel in Costa Rica. We can pre-arrange a dependable, often English speaking driver to meet you at the airport with a private or shared ride. We encourage you to Contact Us in advance. Once outside the city it is a tranquil 2.5 hour ride through the mountain pass and along the coast and past the palm plantations to arrive at your Tico Tico studio. Cost varies for dates, size of vehicle needed and time of day. Average is $150 per trip or $ 50 per person for three people.
By Shuttle: With a quick taxi transfer to the nearest San Jose airport pick up point; you can board a shared shuttle bus with a direct drop at Tico Tico Villas. The shuttle has specific hours of service and is not always an option without a wait or overnight stay in Alajuela or San Jose. It is excellent for returning from Manuel Antonio to the airport. The rate is average $50.00 per person. We can book your pick up. Please Contact Us before your arrival date.
By Bus: Bus service in Costa Rica is efficient, inexpensive and comparably as safe as any other civil country. To arrive in Manuel Antonio requires a taxi ride from the airport to the main Tracopa bus terminal ($25- $30 taxi ride can be pre-arranged or self-negotiated.) Quepolandia has schedules and rates as available, but are subject to change. Assigned seating for the approximate, 3 hour ride, with a ten minute mid-way stop and you arrive in Quepos. The same bus then leaves the Quepos terminal with a stop in front of Tico Tico Villas. To return to the San Jose airport there are multiple buses and route options each day. Cost is approximately $30 a taxi transfer and $9 for the bus ticket each way.
By Rental Car: Not for the faint of heart. San Jose is a city of two million people where traffic rules seem a suggestion and it is a bit of every man for himself. That said, with a mapping app like WAZE or the map app on your international phone, it just becomes part of the adventure. Traveling the country by car is safe and enjoyable and provides a freedom to explore at your own pace. Gas is pumped for you and the price at about $6.00 per gallon is controlled by the government, so it is not necessary to look for better prices. Just be sure and ask for “regular”. ALAMO, HERTZ or ADOBE are all good auto rental options. The agency’s reservation departments and front desks are generally English speaking. For worry free driving, we highly suggest full coverage. Most US insurance companies won’t handle international claims, and the agencies will bill your credit card direct for any damages to the cars. Coverage rates can be negotiable. Be sure and ask if a discount or bundle rate is available.
How do I book tours?
We are happy to book tours and transport for you. It is best to book at least several days in advance, but often last minute inspirations can be accommodated. During peak season tours can book up far in advance. Please Contact Us to book a tour.
What is the currency of Costa Rica?
The Colon is the official currency. US Dollars are accepted in tourist destinations and by most hospitality services. This current exchange rate link may prove helpful. www.coinmill.com/CRC
Do I need to exchange money before I arrive?
It is up to you. US Dollars are readily accepted for immediate needs. It is possible to exchange money at the San Jose airport. It is not the best rate, but to get a little walking around colones it won’t cost much more in the long run. A hotel lobby is a better option than the airport. The best rate is at banks like BCR or Banco National where you can exchange dollars or make ATM withdrawals in dollars or colones. An actual passport is generally required to make any transaction in a bank or exchange, sometimes a copy works, but not always. Use of a cellular phone for anything while waiting, or wearing sunglasses or a baseball cap are generally not allowed in the banks. Don’t take that personally. Costa Rica takes pride in their safe and secure banks. See our Travel Tips so you can be prepared.
Can I open a banking account in Costa Rica for my pension check or requirement?
Yes. It is possible, but does take some effort and steps. We have contacts at Banco ProAmerica in Manuel Antonio which can make this easier to accomplish.
Can I work in Costa Rica?
Only with a government issued work permit which has many requirements to obtain. That said, many people live abroad and continue to work via internet, or with under the table small service or local businesses. We are not attorneys and can not offer suggestions. www.therealcostarica.com/residency_costa_rica/working_costa_rica.html and www.ticotimes.net are suggested resources for travel and retiring questions concerning residency and long term visits.