Frequently Asked Questions and Guest Info

Carolina

Check in/out: For 7 night packages check in is Saturday @ 5pm, Check out is Saturday @ 10am.


Flying in and Getting Around: Fly into San Jose (SJO), the capital. (See airlines list below.)

Drive time to Los Suenos is about 1.3 hours. I don't recommend driving yourself, but if you do, make sure your flight arrives by 2pm. Costa Rican roads are not well marked; so don’t drive after dark. (Many guests who braved it during daylight have gotten lost, adding an extra 4 hours to their drive.)  


You can get to Los Suenos by:

1) (RECOMMENDED) Hiring our driver Chino who’ll meet you at the airport (his big van is about $155 each way). He can stop at a really cool restaurant on the way over for a great Tico style lunch. My assistant in CR (Carolina) can arrange for this for you.

Email: cgomez@uniqueservicescr.com.

Phone (U.S. #) 254-247-1430


2) Rental cars are available through National, Advantage etc. (adventuresome & approx. $100/day plus fuel, taxes etc.). Processing time at the airport rental counters is about an hour on a good day.


Note: Renting a car in CR can be a dangerous proposition.  Unlike renting a car in the States, renting in Costa Rica presents unique challenges.  1) Insurance: If you're like me, you typically avoid purchasing the damage and collision policies offered by the car rental company.  Especially if you are paying with a major credit card that offers that coverage as a perk.  But, note they WON'T insure cars rented outside the U.S.  And, if you have an accident in CR without insurance, the authorities won't allow you to leave the country. 2) Driving in CR is an adventure.  The roads are NOT marked.  Drivers are aggressive.  Roads are narrow and most lack shoulders.  And they are pitch-black dark at night (no street lights).  Check out the use of our SUV as an option (see below) for getting around town.


3) Helicopter rental is available for about $2100; ask Carolina for the current rates. Flight time is about 18 minutes to Los Suenos.


Getting around the resort & town: The surfing town of Jaco is seven miles from the resort ($30 cab ride round trip). Our Suzuki Gran Vitara is a very handy option.  It seats up to seven plus some gear.  We make it available to guests for $500/week plus the fuel you use.  Compared to renting a golf cart and paying for taxis to town, the Suzuki is less expensive and much more comfortable. (The car is in the carport at the condo, Carolina has the keys).  Select this option on your reservation agreement. (Requires damage protection insurance below).


Damage Deposit Options:

You have three options for making the damage deposit:

1. We'll authorize your credit card for the damage deposit in the amount of $1500 for the condo

2. You may send a cashiers' check for the required amount.

3. You may pay a 1-time fee of $99 for Damage Protection Insurance that covers any damage to the condo and the car up to $5,000.  (Let me know via email if you want this option and I'll send you an email to purchase directly from CSA Travel).  The insurance policy is required if using the automobile.


Keys:     Carolina will give you 2 sets of keys for the condo.  Each set has 2 keys, 1 for the front door, 1 for the walkway gate which leads from the southwest end of the Colina complex to the Marina drive (along the small creek). FYI: Don’t lose the keys.  If you do, security measures dictate we have to change the locks.  And it’s not cheap.  Parts, labor for all are $190.


Eating in or out: There is a full kitchen in the condo if you want to eat in. We’ve stocked a supply of common condiments and spices.  There is a barbecue grill about 100 paces away at the pool area. If you plan on eating in, have our driver take you to the AutoMercado grocery store on your way in. It’s a modern grocery store and has a good selection of food items.


There are five restaurants on the grounds, however I recommend sampling the variety of great restaurants outside the resort.  Several restaurants and grocery stores deliver to the condo, too.


My Favorite Restaurants


1. My favorite eatery is down the street toward the beach: Hotel Poseidon. Best tuna steaks in the world! Always fresh yellowfin, cooked just right. Huge portions- $14. Don't forget the salad, simply awesome.


2. The Tsunami Japanese restaurant in Jaco has fantastic sushi (Crunch Roll!), and it has AC.


3. The Wishbone makes great burritos, tacos and fajitas with all fresh ingredients. Plenty of food at reasonable prices. Across the street from Tsunami.


4. The Green Monkey is Carolina's favorite.  Near the bank in in Jaco.  Varied cuisine, great Tico chef trained in Louisiana.  Two dollar margaritas.


5. La Ostra.  (The Oyster).  Near Villa Caletas. Great seafood.  


6. Wednesdays don't miss the all you can eat Lobster Feast at El Hicaco, just down the street from Pancho Villa's. Endless grilled Lobster, potatoes, veggies, meats, chicken, shrimp, salad bar, sushi bar and desert bar. $60pp.


7. Adventure Dining.  A mountain dining experience, American menu... all food and drink included for a fixed price.


Drinking the Water:      The water is safe to drink.


Tips:      Your restaurant bill will probably include a 10% service charge or propinas (tip). I usually add another 5-10% if I’ve received exceptional service.


Paying for things:      The Costa Rica currency is Colones. The exchange rate is approximately 500 Colones to the US$. Everybody takes US$, and most stores and restaurants accept major credit cards. Make sure you call your credit card company and advise them you’re traveling to Costa Rica so they don’t lock out your card.  Travelers’ checks are only good at major hotels. It’ll be helpful to bring a small calculator. Boat crew tips should be made in US cash, please.


ATM:      There is a 24-hour ATM at the bank at the Marina. It dispenses dollars or Colones.  Alert your bank that you’ll be traveling in Costa Rica so they’ll authorize your ATM and credit card charges there.


Pack lightly:      There is a washer/dryer in the condo so you can wash clothes during your stay (plus dishwasher, icemaker, full sized refrigerator/freezer).  Shorts are welcomed in all the restaurants.


Family Friendly/Noise:      The condo complex is family friendly and enforces noise and other rules.  See the Condo Association rulebook.  


Pool:      The pools across the driveway are spectacular. Enjoy the grill, icemaker and swim up bar. BYOB. (See pool rules in the notebook).


Gas Grill:      The gas grill at the pool works well. Snap the regulator valve on the tank and open the side valve. Adjust the burners until you hear the gas flow (use the long lighter in the kitchen junk drawer).


Smoking:     No smoking in the condo.  Smokers may use the back porch.


Drapes:  Close the drapes please to keep the condo much cooler by shading out the afternoon sun.


Beds:

Master Bedroom: King

Guest Bedroom: 2 Full

Living Room: Sleeper sofa & 2 Queen Air mattresses

Mattresses and the pumps are in the hall closet.


Phones:

The condo has hi speed Wi-Fi and you can use apps on your phone or laptop to make and receive calls.  I use the SKYPE, VIBER, and Facebook Audio apps to make calls.  (There are also lots of Wi-Fi signals around the resort and in town too).  You may also use your US based cell phones.  Note that roaming charges will apply.

  

Wi-Fi:      Carolina will give you the password.  


Passports:     Are required to visit Costa Rica.  Expedited service is available through sites such as

www.passportdocs.com. This company helped me get mine renewed and back to me in 24 hours.  Make photocopies of your passport (photo page and entry stamp page) using the copier in the master bedroom.  Leave your passports in the lockbox and carry copies with you.


Security:     There is a document safe in the master bedroom closet.  Use it for passports, currency and credit cards.  Make sure the doors and windows are locked (use the PVC conduit at the foot of the sliders and windows).  Don’t leave valuables in the room when gone (just to be safe).


DVDs in the condo:     Feel free to watch our DVD collection, please return them to their storage case.


Music in the condo:     The DVD player also plays CDs.  The audio cord on the stereo receiver will plug into your iPhone or MP3 player’s earphone jack.


Freezing fish:     Bring zip lock bags and you can take fish home.  You can buy a small cooler at the Maxi Bodega store in Jaco.  Plan on freezing fish at least 24 hours before taking it home.


Beach Club pass:      The $3 million beach club is accessible with the passes we’ll leave for you (on the key ring). The Beach Club is on the road to the marina, just past the creek. There’s a nice white sand beach, pool and showers about 200 yards from the condo. Just make sure you leave the passes when you’re finished and don’t lose them ($100 replacement).


Critters on the back porch:     Pick up some dry cat food at the market and put out a bowl to attract the birds, pesotes, raccoons and the wild cats that roam the grounds.  Also, the tree out back is home to lots of iguanas.  How many can you spot?


Daily Cleaning:     Daily maid service is available for $35/day (or $150/wk.).  She will clean, do the dishes, wash and fold your laundry leaving the condo in immaculate condition for your return from a busy day of activities.  If you want this option, check the box on your reservation agreement.  Please pay Carolina for this in Costa Rica.


Cancellation/Reschedule/Transfer Policy/Extensions

(Trips Donated to Charities):

Cancellations: No refunds will be provided.

Reschedules: We will gladly reschedule your stay at no charge if you change your original reservation six months (or more) before your arrival date (subject to availability). If you change dates between six months & 75 days prior to arrival the fee to reschedule is $700. Reschedules made fewer than 75 days prior to occupancy are subject to a fee of $1700. Note: Reschedules must be made into the Green Season only (Apr-Nov). 

Transfers: You may transfer a donated trip (featuring the condo only) to another party at the following fees: Into Green Season: $400.  Into High Season: $1100.

Extensions/Upgrades: Fees to extend or upgrade donated trips (condo only):

   Extension/Upgrade                      Into Green Season (May-Nov)        Into Peak Season (Dec-Apr)

     0 to 7 months................................................$  700..................................................$1200                                          

     8-14 months..................................................$1100..................................................$1900

Call for pricing for stays during the Christmas and Easter peak weeks.


Cancellation Policy (Paid Packages): From receipt of deposit to 61 days prior to arrival, all cancellations, for whatever reason, receive a 20% penalty from the total combined package cost.  Cancellations received within 60 days prior to arrival are 100% non-refundable. No refunds are available for unused portions of packages or no-shows.


Kids:     Los Suenos is a family-friendly resort. There are children-only activities, and in-condo Nannies available to watch the kids while you play. Contact Carolina about these.


Electricity:     120 v. same as US. The power in Los Suenos goes off occasionally, so plan for it. The Internet gear is on battery backup; it will beep when the power fails.


TV/CD/DVD:     There are cable TVS and DVD players in the master bedroom and living room. Feel free to watch our collection of DVDs, but please leave them in the condo. There is a small stereo and CD player too.


Trash:     The trash bins are located directly across from Building 12. Trash bags are in the laundry closet.


Consumables:     You’ll find laundry detergent, dishwasher soap, paper towels, toilet paper and other supplies in the laundry closet. Use what you need, please leave the rest.  Bring bar soap & shampoos or pick them up at the grocery store on your way in.


Books:     We have a small library, feel free to read a book or leave one.


Condo Problems:     Call Carolina at Unique Services on the local phone: cell 8888.4794.


Weather:

Dec-May: Sunny (bring plenty of sun screen and long sleeve shirts).

May-August: Sunny mornings and scattered afternoon showers

Sep-Oct: Rain most afternoons, peaking in October with an average 23” rainfall monthly

November: Transitions back to the dry season.


Time Difference:     Costa Rica does NOT have daylight savings time. So from Oct-mid Mar CR is 1 hour behind the US east coast, and two hours behind from mid March-Oct.


Fishing

Early is best: The boats we use are the best in the fleet.  That means they are the first to book.  You should make your fishing reservations as soon as possible.  If you have a particular boat in mind, check with Carolina to verify their availability before selecting your condo reservation dates.


The boats we have in our fleet are licensed for 6 guests.


Plan on being at the dock at 6:45am.  You’ll be back by 4:30pm.  Every person on the boat will need a Costa Rica fishing license, $15 per person, good for 1 week.  Buy this at the charter dock (cash; bring a copy of your passport/s.)


NOTE:  Please be on time, as the crew arrives early to rig baits & the boat for the day.

Fees: All fishing fees must be paid in cash or by wire transfer prior to fishing.  Once Carolina has made your reservation, if you cancel for any reason you will be subject to the boat's cancellation policy.  (Which are typically 100% of the fee if you cancel within 60 days of your fishing day).  So please make your date selections carefully.

Fishing options:

Runs to the offshore fishing grounds are approximately 45-90 minutes each way (22-30 miles).  Offshore species include marlin, sailfish, dorado (dolphin fish), tuna and wahoo. Note: There are no practical half-day fishing options given the time required to make bait and running times to the fishing grounds.


The 26 Rock has snapper, grouper, rainbow runners, small Dorado, Amberjacks, small tuna and wahoo.  This is 22 miles from the marina.  


The inshore rocks and the bay shoreline are home to Roosterfish, Seabass, and Corvina, best caught in the green season (May-Nov).  I recommend spending the time necessary to catch live bait for Roosters.  Bring #14 Sabiki gold hook rigs for catching bait as these rigs are tough to find in Costa Rica. (Blue Runner size).  And bring weights (3 oz. w/swivel work best.)


It’s recommended you talk with the captain the day of your arrival about your best fishing options.


Bottom Fishing: There are a few outstanding grouper and snapper spots (180’).  If you want to bottom-fish, these rocks hold some huge fish.   Bring some egg sinkers (4-8 oz) and some bank sinkers (6-10 oz.). Good captains impose a 5 fish limit. Catch & release is difficult due to the depths, so please bring a venting needle.


Trolling:  Most troll ballyhoo and practice catch and release on billfish, using circle hooks exclusively except when pulling lures.  Some boats find live bait and mix it up.


If you want to hook your own fish, let the crew know.  Otherwise, the mate will set the hook and hand you the rod.  If you want to set your own hook, make sure you keep your eyes on the spread.  It’s important you beat the fish to the rod for the required drop-back.


Clothing:     The dry season sun is EXTREMELY intense.  I always wear long sleeve shirts, sun gloves, a Buff over my hat and Costa 580 sunglasses.  I like sunscreen with 50pf that doesn’t burn the eyes.  Rain is common in the green season and rare in the dry season, but it pays to bring a light waterproof jacket just in case.


Boat location:     The boats are in the marina at the Charter Boat dock.  (Carolina will show you the boat upon your arrival at the resort.)


Crew tips:     Typical tips for three-man crews are $300/day total, in U.S. cash please.  Typical tips for two-man crews are $250/day. You may give the tips to the captain and he'll divide them with his crew. If they provide you an outstanding experience, feel free to tip them more.


Fish to Eat:     The bounty of Costa Rican waters provides the opportunity for guests to catch and keep fish for table fare. We encourage guests to keep a reasonable amount of certain species of fish to eat.  (We release all billfish revived and alive per Costa Rica conservation laws.)


They'll gladly keep, clean, filet and ice your catch of tuna, dorado and bottom fish (e.g. snapper, grouper, corvina) provided fish are longer than 20 inches.  You should bring a supply of Ziploc bags from the grocery store if you want to keep fish.  Many local restaurants will cook your catch.  You may also bag and freeze fish to return to the states.


If you don't want to take fish home, release all fish after you've caught enough to satisfy you and the crew's needs.  We practice conservation and act as good stewards of the resource.  (It's customary to offer the crew a portion of your catch to feed their families.)


What else to do:

Canopy/Zip line Tours

Golf

Rafting

Volcano Tours

Four Wheeling

Surfing/ Surf school

Shopping

Horseback riding


Contact Carolina and she’ll set up any tours for you.


Carolina (The Jewel):     Tips for my assistant Carolina are a pleasant gesture of your appreciation of her help.  Suggested: $100-$150 for the week or 15-20% of the packages she arranged for you.


Language:     Many Costa Ricans (Ticos & Ticas) speak a little English. At Los Suenos, all the wait-staff do. Bring an English/Spanish dictionary and try a little Spanish. They’ll love you for trying. Tico/Ticas are friendly, warm and gracious people. They all smile and enjoy life…you’ll enjoy being around them.


Airlines

Jet Blue www.jetblue.com

Excellent service, fair pricing.


Spirit Air www.spiritair.com

Ft. Lauderdale, good rates (check out the $9 club), nice planes, but they will nickel & dime you.


Southwest Airlines www.southwest.com

From Ft. Lauderdale, Houston and Baltimore.  New service began in 2017.  Weekdays now, weekend service begins in Nov. 2017.


United Airlines www.ual.com


American Airlines www.aa.com

Direct from Miami


Continental Airlines www.continental.com

Thru Houston


Delta Airlines www.delta.com

Thru Atlanta


USAIR www.usair.com

Thru Charlotte


Copa Airlines www.copaair.com

Orlando or Miami thru Panama City (very nice airline)


Iberia Europe www.iberia.es


LTU www.ltu.com


TACA www.grupotaca.com

Direct from Miami (Costa Rican national airline).


Avianca www.avianca.com


Is Medical Care available on site?

Yes. The Los Sueños CARE Clinic provides emergency treatment and preventative medical consultations to the Los Sueños community.


The clinic is located within the resort property, and is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., seven days a week. Multilingual doctors are also on call 24 - hours to attend to patients at the clinic, in their residences or on board their yachts.


If further treatment is required once the patient is stabilized, the Clinic will arrange for transport to the renowned CIMA Hospital in San Jose via its new, fully-equipped ambulance or by private airlift if required.


Also, the local pharmacies have MEDTECS that can administer injections, and non-narcotic prescription drugs are available over the counter in Costa Rica.


How Environmentally Conscious is Los Suenos?

As the first authorized marina in Costa Rica, Los Sueños is subject to stringent environmental monitoring by government agencies.


Los Sueños Marina regulations expressly prohibit the flushing of holding tanks within the facility; fish cleaning or fishing from the docks; and the transport and use of hydrocarbons and other chemical substances within the facility. Any vessels in violation of these rules are immediately expelled from the facility without exception. The resort is proud of its eco-friendly environmental policies…from the marina throughout the entire facility.

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