International flights take you to San Jose (SJO) or Liberia (LIR). Due to the fast growth of tourism in Costa Rica, airlines have added dozens of direct flights from US and Canadian airports, allowing even for smooth long-weekend and low-fare trips. From Europe you can fly in straight from Madrid, Paris, Amsterdam, Zurich, Frankfurt and London with good connections and very reasonable fares. Transfers through Panama City are also common and easy.
Almost no western nationals need a visa to enter Costa Rica for a stay up to 90 days. Upon arrival you will be asked for an address you will be staying (hotel name and city), how long you will be staying and sometimes your profession. Occasionally they may require to see a return ticket.
The drive from San Jose to TheXT10 takes about 4 hours with light traffic. If that feels stressful, a couple of domestic airlines, such as SANSA and Aerobell, can fly you from San Jose to more than a dozen of small airports around the country, a one-way ticket normally ranging from 70-90 US$. The closest airports to TheXT10 is Palmar Sur, about 30 minutes drive, and Quepos, about 90 minutes drive.
Most visitors to Costa Rica rent a car, since exploring the country is difficult without one, (unless you have arrived on a managed tour). Important: YOU NEED a 4WD (4×4) car in order to arrive at TheXT10, (even the smallest one will do), since the last mile up the hill is a typical Costa Rican country road with too little maintenance. (If you arrive any other way, we will be happy to try and pick you up from one of the highway stops close by).
Renting a car in Costa Rica can be a frustrating experience. Many businesses are not transparent on their insurance policies (see next section), and a deposit on your credit card can be up to 2’000 US$. Our best experience has been with National (natcar.com) and Alamo (alamocostarica.com), while others recommend Adobecar or Avis.
The car rental company can pick you up from the airport, or if you stay in San Jose over night, some of them will deliver the car to your hotel.
Since some visitors to Costa Rica have bad first experiences with car rentals, this deserves some insight. The Liability Insurance (INS) you cannot get around. Most rental companies also require that you take a Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and you probably want it. Many credit cards (and some good travel insurances) may cover the CDW internationally, which is good, but the Costa Rican rental company will usually require a stamped confirmation policy/letter from your insurer before they accept it!
The further confusion is that many rental agencies lump the cost of one or more types of insurance into the rental cost, others combine the government insurance in their CDW or LDW coverage, and some seem to intentionally confuse the three types in order to make their rates appear better. Therefore, make sure you know exactly what you have booked!
If you have come to stay in one place and relax, you may decide against a rental car. Then there is nothing wrong at all with using public transportation. The long distance bus service is efficient, comfortable and very cheap. Take a bus from San Jose (normally with a “Tracopa” bus) to Uvita or Palmar Norte (both stops are some 30 minutes from TheXT10) for just 20 US$! There are also comfortable and reliable (pre-booked) shuttles directly to/from the SJO airport. Rides from San Jose will take around 4 hours, while a ride from Quepos usually takes just over an hour. Upon request, we can agree on a pick-up from one of the bus-stops.
Preparing your luggage for Costa Rica is not much different than for any other tropical destination. (BTW, no specific vaccinations are required). Our recommendations: If you plan a stay in San Jose or elsewhere on higher altitudes, bring a pair of long pants and a light jacket, since it can get both windy and chilly especially during night. At TheXT10 you need hardly any clothes at all, except for venturing out or when the breeze starts to feel fresh at night. Bring the sunscreen, repellent, deodorant and other toiletries that YOU “swear on”, since you may not find the desired products easily here. If you are adventurous and plan for rainforest hikes or similar, you know what’s important, but at least check on appropriate footwear!
Costa Rica has many different climate zones, so do not confuse cloudy mountain regions with the Pacific beaches! Important is to know where you are going, and during which season. As for the South Pacific Coast, Costa Rican “summer” is mid-November to April, with endless sun, no rain and day temperatures at 90°F/32°C. May to August is the early part of the rainy season, meaning you will usually have bright sunshine 6am- ~2pm, then there can be more or less rain late afternoons and at night. The heaviest rain period lasts from mid-September to early November, but again this means that most days you will have clear sunny skies at least until noon, while rain in the evenings and at night is almost guaranteed. In our region, temperatures go down only by a few degrees during rainy season. Less than 80°F/27°C is very rare. If you are suspicious about the rainy season, be aware that you still usually have perfect beach weather half of the day. And in fact, after the hot hours of the day it is usually very refreshing with rain at night, after all this is what keeps Costa Rica green!
The route to get here is usually over the “Costanera” Highway: driving from San Jose in direction Puntarenas, then turn south towards Jaco and follow route 34 the rest of the way down to Coronado de Osa. This includes several highway tolls charging a couple of dollars (good to have some local Colones in cash!). There is also an alternative route through the mountains from San Jose to San Isidro on Interamericana 2, which takes you down to the coast in Dominical. Both ways have their charm, but most people want to get down to the ocean asap., and many of our guests will stay in Manuel Antonio as part of their vacation.
The currency of Costa Rica is the colón (CRC), but the US$ is frequently accepted and tourist businesses often quote their prices in US$. Exchange money for Costa Rican colones upon arrival at the airport or at any larger hotel. There is no need to exchange money at home, since agents will give significantly worse rates, if they even have CRC available! You can also use an ATM when arriving in Costa Rica (airport luggage hall or banks around the country), which is a much easier option and less time consuming than going into a bank. Occasionally lifting cash with your debit card is better than carrying lots of cash and exchanging it. American Express, Visa and MasterCard credit cards are accepted throughout the country. Now, if you decide to mainly rely on US$ cash and credit cards, it is still necessary to get at least some pocket money in CRC for things like highway tolls and small businesses outside of San Jose.