COSTA RICA FAQ TRAVEL QUESTIONS

Puerto Viejo Costa Rica 

Where is Puerto Viejo Costa Rica?
Puerto Viejo de Talamnca is located on the southern most tip of the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. Where the jungle meets the sea,  Puerto Viejo is a colourful surf and fishing village,  full of life, character, music, culture and more. 

With a population of roughly 25,000, Puerto Viejo offers a unique culture that can only be found in this part of  the country thanks to the diversity of Indigenous Br Bri and JAMAICAN decedents.

Puerto Viejo is known for it’s laid back attitude, blasting reggae music, flavourful dishes made with coconut milk,  locals playing dominos,  the dense and tropical jungles, turquoise waters, miles and miles of beautiful beaches, an  abundance of wildlife and endless actives and daily adventures.

The town itself or the “downtown” is convinienty  located right on the water. Many restaurants, bars and shops are pretty much built on the reef.

The world famous surf break and bar SALSA BRAVA, is perfectly located at the edge of town, built right on the beach as you are heading south. Depending on the season, the ocean may look calm and flat and like there is nothing, but when the season changes, you won’t be able to miss it!! You will be seeing the locals surfers and spectators alike at the beach waiting for the show.Huge  Hawaiian style waves will be sure to catch your attention.

 The road out of town,  heading south, stretching for the next 20 km,  will lead you to several smaller communities and beaches such as PLAYA COCLES, PLAYA CHIQUITA, PUNTA UVA, MANZANILLO.  Heading out of town towards the north you will find  neighbourhoods and beaches such as PLAYA NEGRA, HONE CREEK and CAHUITA.

With dozens of secret pockets, from PLAYA NEGRA to GANDOCA,  comfortable accommodation, bars, local shops and delicious restaurants, you will quickly see why this place is so special.

 

Puerto Viejo - How to get there?
Getting to Puerto Viejo is fairly easy. Especially with technology today like GPS, MAPS and WAZE.

Whether you are coming from San Jose, Bocas Del Toro or somewhere else in Costa Rica, you will find a safe and comfortable way to get there.

Usually taking  the public bus is the most economical option (12$), but not always the most practical. Once you incorparate taxis to and from hotel or airport ($20-30 each way) in San Jose, and then again when you arrive to Puerto Viejo to get you to your hotel. Then the additional time that is added to the trip with extra stops on the bus, it’s isn’t always worth saving those few extra dollars.

Shuttle Bus in Costa Rica
In my experience I found the shuttle services offered in Costa Rica are an extremely comfortable and affordable way to travel the country from door to door. No taxis or Ubers in between.
Interbus/Caribean Shuttle in Costa Rica
Are the two companies offering this service:

https://www.interbusonline.com

https://www.caribeshuttle.com

Even tough they are quite similar, they do vary in price, time and route. They offer routes to and from San Jose, Arenal, Bocas Del Toro, Manuel Antonio and more.

Renting a Car in Costa Rica
If you like to move at your own pace and like to explore some of the hidden gems that the bus route won’t take you to then you should look into renting a car.  With apps like GOOGLE MAPS and WAZE  it is quite easy to get from A to B. I do suggest to  be alert and aware  when driving in Costa Rica. The roads in the city are organized mayhem, and the container trucks and busses run the highways. Travel at a safe speed, don’t be in a rush like everybody else,  be ultra aware of other drivers. 

Depending on location, mudslides and land slides could be a hazard. Mainly on the Zuriqui, the main highway through  BRAULIO CARRILLO NATIONAL PARK. This is one of the most spectacular drives in Costa Rica. As you head east from San José on to PV the Zurquí tunnel transports you from the modern world of the city into the magical world of the rainforest and cloud forest. Because the elevation is quite high you will most likely encounter fog or precipitation.

 If it occurs that the Zurqui is closed, there is an alternative route via Turrialba. Also an epic drive,  when getting a glimpse of the Turrialba Volcano, but this trip will add 2-3 hours to your trip.

When on the highway, again travel at a safe speed and be aware of busses and large container trucks. 

In addition, for those who love the off the beaten track, get yourself a 4×4 as you might find yourself driving through rivers, mud and avoiding pot holes.

When coming from San Jose to Puerto Viejo it takes about 4-5 hours via Guapiles, while via Turrialba is 6-7.  Getting out of the city may be an adventure, but thats why we have WAZE. Once you are on the highway there is zero chance of getting lost. There will be signs guiding towards Guapiles, Moin, Limon, Cahuita then finally Puerto Viejo.

There are a variety of restaurants, gas stations, fruit stands etc if you need to stop. All will be safe and friendly towards tourists.

Fly in Costa Rica
The quickest and most efficient yet most expensive way to get to Puerto Viejo is on a short 45 min flight from San Jose to Limon. From there you’ll have a 45 minute drive to  Puerto Viejo and Casa Oshiis.

SANSA AIR https://flysansa.com/

 

Money Exchange in Costa Rica
The Costa Rican currency is colon or colones; At the current moment you will get around 560- 590 colones to the dollar. 

US dollars are widely accepted especially in tourist areas and most businesses will give you a fair exchange rate.  Do NOT exchange money at the airport upon arrival.  They change a large commission and  low exchange rate. You have a better opportunity at local banks or exchanges 

I find it easiest to travel with both US$ and colones cash, stopping up at ATMs where needed. That being said, leave majority of your cash safe at the hotel to avoid petty theft.

All ATMs will dispense Costa Rican colones and most will also offer you the choice of withdrawing US dollars as well. Puerto Viejo only has 2 ATM in the entire town; Banco National and Banco Costa Rica.  Be prepared to possibly wait in line  depending on the time of day. I would also suggests not to  wait till the last minute to withdraw cash as they could run out of cash on busy weekends,  unable to rejuvenate until Monday morning.

I also suggest to check with your bank before you leave to see how much they will charge you for each withdrawal.

Most large businesses will except credit cards, sometimes at an additional charge. Travel with colones/dollars for the smaller  restaurants, shops or market places.

If you are  thinking of travelling with Canadian dollars or Euros, I would recommend exchanging before you leave. Exchanging at a bank may result in larger commissions and long lines. Who wants to spend the day lined up at the bank when you’re in paradise. 

How is the Weather in Puerto Viejo Costa Rica?
The Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, has one of the most dense and rich rainforests in the country.  This is due to the humidity and moisture in the air. It is this moisture that allows Puerto Viejo to remain green and lush all year round. Regardless if it’s dry or rainy season. 

Puerto Viejo is usually sunny with a bit of clouds to keep it cool and maintain a fresh breeze from the mountains. You will not find yourself in a blistering heat in the Caribbean coast as you would the deserts of Guanacaste. Even on the hottest of days there is enough shade along the coastline to remain refreshed.

 This area has the reputation of being rainy, even according to the weather network!

In my experience this is rarely accurate. It might rain in the morning or evening, but rarely rains all day, every day, even in rainy season.  The rainforest in the South Caribbean Coast is actually one of the driest places in Costa Rica when you look at total rainfall over the year. Best thing is to connect with a local who is onsite to get an accurate weather update. 

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Oshiis Experiences

Who is the Oshiis Surf & Adventure Experience for?

This lifestyle experience is for anyone, male or female from the ages of 5- 105 years of age. We welcome all spirits who are ready to ignite their passion for life and are excited to try new and adventurous things.   Never surfed or kayaked before? No problem!! No experience is needed on an Oshiis trip. We only request that you come with an open heart and open mind. Ready to challenge yourself and to grow as an individual.

Is Oshiis Adventure Experiences right for me and my family?

Imagine being able to show your children the world in a safe, fun, active and educational environment. We offer a stress-free holiday with Zero planning. Just pack and go!! We provide opportunities to deepen your relationships with your family while exploring new places and creating memories. Our Experiences are about learning new things about  different cultures and communities. Embrace Diversity!

Is Oshiis Adventure Experiences right for me and my friends?

Are you looking for a memorable experience to share with your team, a group of friends or loved  ones. We offer a stress-free holiday with Zero planning.  We’ve created a perfect platform for you to deepen your relationships with your people as well as yourself through surfing, daily adventures, delicious food, exotic drinks, dancing to live music and overall having an epic time!

Is Oshiis a good experience for my partner and I ?

Are you an adventurous couple looking to create unforgettable memories, while learning new things about yourself, your partner, a lifestyle, a  new culture, and a community? Look no further…

We can customize the ideal packages that suites your specific needs and checks off your bucket list at the same time. Let us make your travel dreams a reality!

Is Oshiis a good experience for solo travellers?

Oshiis is perfect for Solo travellers!! Whether you stay at Casa Oshiis or join the Oshiis Surf & Yoga Group Experiences, you will be welcomed by new friends instantly. At Casa Oshiis you’ll  have your own personal guide for your time there. A insta-friend who has all the local knowledge and secrets, and the Group Experiences you’ll be welcomed by an entire group of like minded individuals!! Jump on board! 

We can customize the ideal packages that suites your specific needs and checks off your bucket list at the same time. Let us make your travel dreams a reality!

Is there an age or weight limit for your adventures?

At Oshiis we welcome individuals from all walks of life. People of all ages have safely glided on the ocean , soared through the tree tops on zipline,  rafted over roaring  rapid rivers, hike to waterfalls along rainforest trails, learn the culture of the indigenous  people, and kayaked through mangroves and the open sea. However, it’s important to recognize that each activity may require something different from our participants.  

 

-Surfing –  Ages 5 & up 

-Kayaking – Ages 5 & up

-Waterfall Trek – Ages 5 & up

-Chocolate Farm – Ages 5 & up 

-Zip Lining – Ages 5 & up 

Not suitable for pregnant women, persons weighing more than 120 kilos or not in a good physical condition.

-Whitewater Rafting Ages 12 & up

Not suitable for pregnant women, persons weighing more than 120 kilos or not in a good physical condition.

-Animal Tours  Ages 5 & up 

-Horseback Riding  Ages 5 & up 

Where are Oshiis Preferred Destinations?

HOME BASE- Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Esterillos, Costa Rica

Cambutal, Panama

Bocas Del Toro, Panama

Each location has something  unique and different to offer.  Contact us to find out more..

What’s included in Casa Oshiis?

The  Casa Oshiis itineraries are designed to accommodate all different types of travellers and budgets. 

Our base booking begins with renting Casa Oshiis by night.  

From there, you are able to add a variety of daily adventures with your personal guide and lunch  included. Depending on how many days and which adventures, price may vary. 

The house also included bicycles for our guests to get around like the locals. 

We also provide the option to have a private chef, who will create a variety of native and world cuisine using fresh and locally sourced ingredients.  

 If our guests require transportation requests,  we are able to arrange shuttle services to and from San Jose or other destinations.

What’s included in Custom Adventure Packages?

Our Custom Adventure Packages allows our guests to have a completely  bespoke experience, according to your wants and dreams. 

You choose your preferred destination and we will create an adjustable itinerary where you will have the option to choose from a beautiful boutique home or hotel, meals  and you daily activities.

How many days is an Oshiis Experience?

As each of our itineraries is unique, we can offer experiences of  2-14 days. 

This  would  depend on each group or individual.

Our Oshiis Surf & Yoga Group Experiences are  7 nights and 6 days of epic adventures and memories.

Where will I stay during my time with Oshiis?

Our home base is Casa Oshiis in Puerto Viejo, Limon Costa Rica.

Otherwise we partner with a variety of boutique homes and hotels, coast to coast.

We like to provide options and flexibility for our guests. 

Some of our partnerships are with Le Cameleon, Villas Del Caribe, Encantada in Esterillos and many more…

Does Oshiis accommodate large groups?

Yes, we can accommodate groups of any size and budget.

Will my food be included?

You have the option to have all or only some of your meals included. $45 per person  per day  will included 3 meals, either prepared by your personal chef or exploring local hot spots.

Does Oshiis Rent Bicycles?

No, But there are bicycle  included when staying at Casa Oshiis. 

For all custom adventure packages bicycle rental can be included.

Our Services

What are the benefits of booking my trip with Oshiis Surf?
  • Stress free Zero planning holidays
  • Eliminate Uncertainty
  • Exceed Expectations
  • We encourage guests to be free,  have fun, return to inner child like playful states 
  • To learn new things about yourself, other people and cultures
  • Challange  your grit, resilience, and personal growth
  • Aid in discouraging and defeating personal self doubt
  • Assist our guests to  gain perspective and view from a different lense
  • We showcase different authentic lifestyles and cultures
  • Wellness is integrated into every aspect of our Experience 
  • To make new friends
  • Deepen relationships with new or old friends, coworkers or family members
  • Opportunity to grow in to the best version of yourselves
  • Opportunity to practice mindfulness and self awareness
  • Try new and exotic fruits and foods
  • Guaranteed to see wildlife 
Do I need travel insurance?

 Yes. Better to be safe than sorry

What languages do you offer your experiences?

English, Spanish, French, German

How can I get a discount on my Oshiis Adventure Experience?

Sign up for our mailing list and receive 20% off your next booking with us. Good until March 2021

How do I pay for my Oshiis Adventures?

For the security and safety of our guests we do all transactions through PayPal

What is your cancelation policy?

We understand life happens and plans change. You will be able to cancel your trip for a full refund 1 month before check in. Within 14 days we will return 50% , less than a week will be non refundable.

Arrival & Departure

How long can I stay in CR?

Most countries can stay for up to 90 days in Costa Rica. Citizens from certain countries are only allowed to stay for a maximum of 30 days. Please refer to the Costa Rican embassy website and find your country to confirm.

What documents do I need to visit to CR?
  • You must have a valid passport for the entire length of your stay. Your passport must also have at least one blank page for Costa Rican customs to stamp.
  • You must have an airline/bus ticket leaving Costa Rica within 90 days. If you plan to stay longer than 90 days you must apply for a tourist visa.
  • Citizens from the United States, Canada and most European countries don’t need a visa to enter Costa Rica. To find specific visa requirements or restrictions for your home country, visit the Costa Rican embassy website.
  • If you are travelling with children, please have a copy of birth certificate, and a notarized letter from other parent. 
Do I have to pay a departure tax?

Yes. This fee can be payed at the airport. The departure tax counter will be open and can be collected in U.S. dollars, Costa Rican colones, or Visa debit/credit cards.

Some hotels may offer a service  to pay the departure tax ahead of time, ask your front desk. Otherwise, paying at the airports usually takes about 10 minutes.

Where are Costa Rica’s airports?

There are two main international airports in Costa Rica, the Juan Santa María International Airport (SJO), which is in Alajuela, about a 4 hour drive to Puerto Viejo,  and the Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (LIR), which is located in Liberia. 

Passing through customs at either of the international airports is relatively stress-free. After collecting your luggage, you continue through a checkpoint where officials pass baggage through an X-ray machine. After this, you’ll be able to leave the terminal and travel to your final destination. Usually travellers can expect it to take 45 minutes to exit the airport after they land.

 

There are also many domestic airports throughout the country. 

Limon’s domestic airport offers regular daily flights to and from San Jose through Sansa Air. With a short flight time of 45 min. This will be the quickest and most efficient option to get to the Caribbean Coast. 

Food and Serice Etiquette

What is Costa Rican food like?

From coast to coast you will find tasty treats. 

Costa Rican food is a variety of wholesome ingredients like rice and beans, fresh fish and seafood, eggs and chicken from the patio, yucca and plantain from the garden and exotic fruits you can pick right from the tree.

On the Caribbean coast,  compared to the rest of the country,  you will find a lot of different and exotic dishes only served on the Atlantic,  using local ingredients such as chile panamaños,  coconut milk and wild cilantro.

As rice and beans are a staple in Costa Rica, there are 3 main ways of serving.

 

  1.  Gallo Pinto- Usually served at breakfast, a mix of rice, beans, red pepper and onion. Served with eggs, sweet plantain and cheese.
  2.  Casado- white rice, black or red beans, fish or meat, plantain and salad.
  3.  Rice & Bean- Mainly served on the Caribbean coast, this delicious staple is where the rice, beans and herbs are stewed in coconut milk.
Caribbean Coast “Comida Caribeña”
  • Ron Don
  • Rice&Beans with Fried Snapper or Caribbean chicken
  • Patty/ Plantain tart
  • Pan Bon
  • Churriadas
  • Sopa de Mondongo
  • Fried Chicken
  • Chichemé 
Costa Rica “Comida Tipica”
  • Arroz Con Pollo

  • Tamales

  • Empanadas

  • Ceviche

  • Chicharones

  • Olla De Carne- Beef Soup

  • Enyucados

     

Beverages
  • Hiel/ Agua de sapo (Natural Ginger Ale)
  • Agua Dulce Con Leche
  • Sorrel/ Jamaica Flower
  • Batidos (Blended Juices of Fresh Fruit- Tamarind, Guanabana, Mango, Passionfruit, Cas, Watermelon, Strawberry)
How much should I tip service staff (drivers, guides, servers, bar etc)?

Just like many parts of the world, Costa Rica’s  service employees depend on tips to supplement their income as wages are quite low. But just like in other parts of the world,  If you don’t feel that your service was top-notch then you shouldn’t feel obligated to tip. 

If your guide, driver or server  enhance your experience then we encourage you to tip based upon how much you think that they deserve – generally, 10-20 percent is fine.