Getting there: All international flights come into the capital city San Jose. From there you can rent a car (Google rental cars for CR and they will all come up to compare rates) or hire a van and driver, or fly on either of the two local air providers (see link to Sansa Air). There is also public bus service from the Coca Cola bus station in down town (not generally recommended). It is approximately a 2 1/2 hr drive from the San Jose Airport to Quepos on the recently completed highway. Our house is about 5 min up the main road towards Manuel Antonio National Park. We provide our guests with maps and info on how to get to the house. Cabs can be called to the house or a driver arranged by Andres.
Phones and internet service: there is a phone at the house for local calls and you can also use your calling card to call internationally. Make sure you bring your country code for your card, operators speak English. We now have wireless internet at the house so bring your laptop!
Tours: I think it's best to wait until you get there. Have Andres help you out with the best tours and advice on where to go. He works with all the ever changing tour operators at Si Como No Hotel and is up on the best options. He can also line you out with cabs, or a van driver with a cell phone to take you around as much as you like, with service right to the house.
What should I bring? Remember this is the tropics and you can live in your bathing suit. An umbrella is all you need to keep the rain off, or just get wet cuz it's warm rain. There are sometimes a few bugs, but never real bad, still insect repellent is always a good thing to have along. Skin so Soft bath oil works well for the evening no-seeum's which can be bad at the beach or estuary and in some of the open air restaurants. We have beach towels you can take to the sand. Bring lots of sunscreen and a hat and long sleeve light shirts for sun protection. Binoculars are nice to have, as well as your own music, (CDs and iPod) and reading material (we have an eclectic mix of both). If you have small children or non-swimmers it might be good to consider bringing a life jacket. Our pool has a long shallow bench for kids.
Security issues: There are security bars on the windows and doors and we have a locked secure room for your valuables. Our caretakers live on the property and are always there in the evenings. You should be aware that petty thievery is common and you need to keep an eye on your valuables, especially on the beach and in your car just as you would traveling anywhere. In general Costa Rica is very safe, but you need not make your self an easy mark. Costa Rica now requires a passport of all foreign visitors, check with your airlines or travel agent on the status of this new law.
Restaurants and nightlife: Quepos is a fun port town with many restaurants and bars, where you are more likely to be around the locals. Along the road to the National Park there are many hotels with bars and restaurants serving all kinds of food at all different prices and atmosphere. Informal clothing is fine at even the most upscale restaurants. Down along the beach there are many small establishments serving very reasonable food and drinks as well as music. You can get typical Tico breakfasts as well, right next to the beach or in most of the restaurants. Quepos is well known for it's nightlife: on any given night you can usually choose from live Salsa bands to the very popular discos that play a mix of latin and gringo dance music. We give our clients a list of suggested places to eat and party or look at our guest's comments in the guestbooks.
What rental equipment is available: The public beach has about every rental you might need: beach chairs and umbrellas, boogie and surfboards, sea kayaks, snorkels and masks (bring your own if you have them, although water clarity is often limited). The surfboard selection is often limited and abused, there are usually quite a few short boards, but rarely long boards (wax is often not available and the leashes can be bad). Jaco, an hour north has a much larger selection. I will give surfers directions to the better surf breaks in the area.
What is there to do? Besides some of the worlds best beaches to hang out on and warm water to swim and bob in there are many tours: sea kayaking, canopy, rafting, horse back, dolphin watch, sunset sailing, naturalist walks, and boat tours of lsla Damas estuary. There is world class sport fishing from the harbor where you can charter first class boats to the billfishing waters or cheap pangas by the hour to fish the coastal waters and estuaries. Most operations have plenty of gear, but if you are a fly fisherman you might want to bring your own if it's for in-shore fishing. Sometimes snook and rooster fish can be caught right in the Quepos harbor. From our house you can hike to the top of our neighboring hill for superb 360 degree views of the coast and great wildlife from Plino's tower. We highly recommend a lot of pool time, catching up on reading and spacing out on nature (with the help of the blender, etc.)
Money issues: most places take credit cards, although Visa and Master Card are preferred, especially if you need cash advances (done in all the banks and ATM machines). You don't need to change money before you get to Costa Rica as everyone will take dollars (no travelers checks however) and they are usually good about giving you proper change in colones. It is a good idea to know the rate of exchange before hand and to carry a pocket calculator. Tips are often added to your bill (10%, ask the waiter or cashier, but it's nice to give them some cash (10-15%) as not all tips make it back to the server. There is now a 13% tax on food as well. In the less sophisticated places t's considered impolite to give you your check before you ask for it so don't just sit and look bored at the end of your meal, speak up. Ask your taxi driver before hand what your ride will cost to insure no surprises. Tico's don't bargain (unless it's trinkets on the beach) so don't try to get them to lower their prices like you do in Mexico.
Cooking and extra services: Anna is a great cook and will make tipico Costa Rican food for any meal or appetizers. I leave it up to her as to what to charge as people's requests vary so much She usually asks what you would like (ie. fish. chicken or beef; rice or potatoes and veggies) and then she will ask you for an approximate amount to go to the market to shop. She will give you receipts for the food and maybe the cab ride and then charge you a very reasonable amount to cook it up. She usually cooks down at her house unless you would enjoy having her cook for you in the main house. There are usually wonderful fresh fruits and vegetables available, as well as very fresh fish (Mai Mai tuna and snapper are at the market but prices are no comparable to the US markets). Or you can go with her for a little cultural adventure. She speaks limited English, but you'll communicate just fine. She also does extra washing and will do more maid work. Once again I leave the fee up to her, but most people tip her more than she asks for. Anna is a grandmother and will also watch your kids for you.