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TRAVEL GUIDE

Open and print our Casa Travel Guide


GETTING THERE

- "In-Season" 12/15-4/15 there are direct flights from many major airports to Costa Rica. Check your favorite airline or travel site.

- Fly to San Jose (SJO), the capital of Costa Rica. This international airport is 12 miles west of the city.

- Book a commuter flight (20 minutes) from San Jose to Quepos via Sansa Air (flysansa.com) $56 plus tax each way. The Sansa Terminal is a one (walkable) block to the left as you exit from the SJO airport.

- Alternate commuter airline is Nature Air (natureair.com) though their terminal is a 15 minute cab ride from SJO

- OR there are buses to Quepos from San Jose for around $5. You can also rent a car for under $50/day or hire a taxi for around $150 but negotiate and agree beforhand. It is a spectacular drive to Manuel Antonio through the mountains, though the 50 mile drive can take 3-4 hours.

- A valid passport is required. A visa is NOT required.

THINGS TO BRING

- Light casual clothes, nothing dressy is required, sturdy shoes and socks for trekking, zip lock bags to store snacks (more on that later), some of your favorite CDs and several copies of your passport to stow in various places just in case.


COMING AND GOING

- When you arrive at SJO, grab a bite if you need one or a bag of Costa Rican coffee at a Cafe BRITT store before heading to the Immigration Desks.

- At Immigration, get in one of the "visitor" lines. You will present the declaration form you've filled out on the plane and your passport.

- Head down the escalator to retrieve your luggage. Next, you will go through Customs. Turn in your declaration form and have your luggage inspected.

- There is a Currency Exchange near the exit. Colones is the currency. With tourists and ex-patriots so prevalent, dollars are readily accepted as well.

- Get ready for warmer weather and a throng of gentlemen hawking taxi rides. If you are heading to the Sansa Terminal, smile past the throng (no, no gracias...) and wheel your way on the sidewalk to the left about a block, just past the fire station and left through the fenced Sansa parking lot.

- Yes, they weigh your luggage AND YOU! but don't announce your weight or your birth date over the intercom. 55 cents for every pound of luggage over 25.

- Yes, it is a little plane. Yes you are flying over huge mountains. Yes the view is spectacular.

- Yes, you are landing in the middle of a palm plantation. Yes, the waiting room is a thatched pavillion. Welcome to paradise. Check in at the little desk and confirm your arrival and taxi pick-up.

- Tom or one of his representatives will take care of getting you to our house.

- Yes, Quepos is a little rough and tumble, but on closer inspection, while everyone may not be rich, they are hard at work, friendly and speak some English. There is little or no panhandling. The shops and restaurants are worth exploring. There are all the essentials, SuperMas (market), Farmacia (drug store) and main bus terminal. The avenue down by the seawall is pleasant with more cafes, the Milagro coffee bar, internet cafes, cigar (yes, cuban) store, galleries and boat dock/marina.

- There are ATMs, and yes they are generally patrolled by policemen. Quepos is safe, but like any city or town, keep your valuables close, be careful at night or don't walk alone. Keep a copy of your passport and the stamped entry page with you just in case.

- When you depart Quepos call ahead for a taxi to the airport.

- At SJO there is an exit fee to be paid before checking in. $26. Largely to fund the airport infrastructure. (In the states, they hide similar taxes in your fare so don't lament, except that you are departing paradise...) Pay with cash if you have any left, as it is an ATM charge that may come with a bank service charge on your credit card bill.

- If you have an early flight out of San Jose, you may want to book a room for the night before in one of the nicer suburbs of San Jose, in Alajuela or Heredia, that are close to the airport. If you want a taste of downtown San Jose, try Hotel Doral, Hotel Presidente or the Aurola Holiday Inn which are near museums, theaters and restaurants in the heart of the city. Downtown San Jose is in the central highland mountain valley of Costa Rica. It is metropolitan and bustling with the flavor of some midtown Manhattan mid-rise madness, older European vistas, formal parks, winding residential enclaves and commercial sprawl all whipped up into a major city.