What are my options for traveling to Santa Teresa from San Jose?
There are four options: bus, taxi, shuttle or flight (small plane). There is a public bus that runs daily to and from San Jose and Santa Teresa (around 15$). Private taxi’s can be arranged to work on your schedule, however it is approximately $300 for up to 4 people. The shuttles leave in the morning and arrive mid-day (around 50$). There are numerous 25 minute flights each day into Tambor (around 100$); this is the quickest and easiest option. Keep in mind, that the bus and shuttles can not make it up our hill, so you have to walk up with your luggage to the hotel. See our “How to Get Here” page for more details.
What is the best time of year to visit this area?
Our high season is Mid-November through April. These are our dry summer months, and you can usually bank on beautiful weather at this time. As these months progress it becomes drier and hotter, and you will be unlikely to see any rain during this time, especially from January-onwards. Our rains begin anytime in April/May/June, but you are unlikely to see rain all day, every day. July/August is known as our “Indian Summer” and you can usually count on sun in the morning, clouds in the afternoon, and rain and amazing thundershowers at night. Sept/Oct can be very rainy, yet peaceful and relaxing if you enjoy spotting wildlife and reading (we are not open during this time). The green season is a great option for travelers, as there are more economical prices, less people, exceptional sunsets, green and lush gardens, and you are unlikely to be completely “rained in”.
Do we need to rent a vehicle?
Although Casa Marbella is centrally located, we recommend that visitors rent a vehicle of some type (even for just a day or two) if you want to explore the other nearby beach towns. There’s a lot to explore in the Mal Pais area and having your own wheels will help maximize the area’s potential. You can choose between a rental car (4×4 is recommended, especially during the rainy season) or an ATV. We can book the ATV and arrange for it to be delivered to the hotel for no additional charge. If you decide to rent a car we can direct you to one of the agencies in town; in our area you will find: Alamocostarica.com, Budget.co.cr, and Toyotarent.com.
How far is the beach, shops, restaurants etc.?
The beach is about 150 meters away, which you can walk to in about 5 minutes. There are numerous shops, restaurants, supermarkets, bars etc. all within a short walk from the hotel. We also have a private entrance to the restaurant next door, which is open daily for breakfast and dinner (Sundays closed for dinner).
Where are the best swimming beaches there?
Santa Teresa is one of Costa Rica's most beautiful white/gold sand beaches. There are many swimmer friendly beaches, especially at low tide. Most beaches are sand, including the one in front of Casa MarBella, but there are areas with rocks/reef. There are tide pools hidden in these rocks that are perfect for relaxing in.
Where can we rent surfboards/ boogie boards?
We have a wide selection of rental boards on site. Long boards, fun shapes, fishes and high performance short boards are all available and rent for $10 - $15/day. Boogie boards are $5-7/day. There are also numerous surf shops in town if you don’t find something you like here.
Is there a bank/ ATM in town?
There are 2 banks and 2 ATMs in town. You can take out $USD or Costa Rican Colones. Generally, it is better to take money out on the weekdays when they are re-filled daily. If you wait till the weekend, the ATMs are more restrictive on how much cash you can take out and on busy weekends can run out of cash.
Can we use a credit card everywhere?
As with a lot of businesses here in Santa Teresa, Casa MarBella does NOT except credit cards. Cash only. When traveling with cash, try to avoid bringing $50 and $100 dollar bills, however we have no problem accepting these bills for payment. Otherwise, these bills are difficult to use unless at the bank. However, all supermarkets, some restaurants and some shops accept credit cards. Expect to pay an additional 13-17% extra if you decide to use your credit card in Costa Rica. If a store takes credit cards, it will be either Visa or Master Card or a debit card with these logos.
Is Yoga available in the area?
Yes, Casa MarBella offers private yoga classes on our open-air deck, which over looks the Pacific and nestled in the treetops. Private lessons cost approximately $60. There are also yoga mats available for self-practice. In addition, there are numerous open yoga classes in St. Teresa for every skill level. There are also several Pilates mat classes offered, as well as a Pilates studio in town with apparatus. Ask in reception for recommendations.
Do we need to book tours/activities in advance?
All tours can be booked upon your arrival. Nothing fills up that quickly, except during the peak Easter and Christmas weeks. We can arrange any tour for you (at no extra charge) right here at Casa MarBella.
What should I pack?
Passport is required to enter the country. US citizens have 90 days to stay in Costa Rica. If you leave the country for 72 hrs you can return to Costa Rica for another 90 days. It is legal to carry a photocopy instead of your original passport. Keep your passport in a safe place and have your copy ready if you are driving a car.
Sunscreen is a must. Good sunglasses and a hat for sun protection. Strong non-slip flip flops and tennis shoes if participating in outdoor activities. Good swim suits and T-shirts. No jeans or long sleeves are needed most of the year in this area, however if you are traveling to other places in the country you might want them. First Aid kit and bug spray. A small flashlight comes in handy in many situations. Pack light because it is hot. Bring your favorite music and books to help pass the time.
Do we need to bring a converter for our electrical devices?
The outlets are the same as North America. (110).
Is it safe to drink the water?
We do not recommend drinking the tap water in Santa Teresa unless it is filtered. We installed a water softener and UV purifier, making the tap water safe to drink at the hotel. There is bottled water available at any of the nearby supermarkets, but to reduce plastic consumption and save money, we recommend you use our tap water.
Is theft an issue?
As in most tourist destinations, there is some petty theft. We have a security guard on duty though at night and safe boxes in the rooms. If you exercise common sense, then you should have no problems. For example, do not leave valuables on the beach and then go for a swim. And don’t leave valuables in plain sight in your rental car.