Your Survival Kit for Staying in Zancudo
- Passports are required for all visitors to Costa Rica (it's also a good idea to have a photocopy as well in a separate part of your luggage).
- Carry your driver's license if you plan to drive.
- Don't ASSUME things will be like they are in the U.S., Canada or Europe (or anywhere else).
- Credit cards are NOT readily accepted in Costa Rica, especially outside of San Jose and large chain resorts at the more developed beaches.
- Many remote locations don't have ATM machines. If you are reserving a hotel ahead of time, they can give advice about the nearest bank or cash machine.
- Golfito has an ATM at Cooperalianza, which is across from the hospital.
- Some businesses (even the Best Western) don't accept traveler's checks. The reason is that Costa Rican banks hold them for 30 days before releasing the money. If any checks in the same series are stolen, American Express will deny payment to all checks in that series.
- U.S. cash in smaller denominations (like $20) are accepted at many shops/restaurants, but it's best to carry clean, crisp bills without any ink spots or writing on them.
- Don't change money on the street in San Jose.
- During bus travel, don't leave your money in a bag that is stored above your head or at your feet - keep it on your body.
- It's a good idea to print out a conversion chart showing what a variety of colones are worth in your own currency so you can judge prices quickly. Try http://www.oanda.com/convert/cheatsheet.
- There are no phones in the rooms at the Sol y Mar.
- Prepaid U.S. phone cards do not work reliably, and some are fairly expensive.
- You can use the restaurant phone to make brief collect or credit card calls (be aware that the per-minute fee is quite high). It's a good idea to give the Sol y Mar number to call you back. From North America, you need to dial 011-506-2-776-0014. If you dial 1-506-776-0014, you'll get a number in Eastern Canada.
- Costa Rican phone cards for international calls are available from banks and sometimes from the Sol y Mar. Calls to North America and Europe are quite inexpensive - to the U.S. the rate is about 20 cents per minute.
- We have wireless internet available at the Sol y Mar. We do not provide a public terminal, so you need to bring your laptop, PDA, etc. to use the internet.
- Wireless internet is FREE of charge for clients of Sol y Mar.
- There are a couple of internet cafes in Zancudo, but they are not open every day of the year - check in advance for hours and dates of operation.
- There is high speed internet access in Golfito, but that requires at least a half-day trip from Zancudo to check the internet.
- There are no TVs in the rooms, but we have one in the bar for the all-important sporting events (we have DirecTV for die-hard fans) and sometimes news in the morning.
- 110V [same as the U.S. and Canada].
- Each cabina has electrical outlets.
- This is why you're coming here: it's warm year-round (including the ocean, which most describe as bath water).
- We get an afternoon breeze pretty much every day, so Zancudo is a pretty comfortable place for an afternoon nap.
- We are at 8 degrees north of the equator, and the sun is STRONG!!! If you want or need to be out in the sun, wearing a hat is advised. You'll want to bring good sunscreen from home.
Medical Travel Kit
- Sunscreen (at least 15 SPF).
- Mosquito repellent (with 25% DEET or less - natural products don't work that well).
- Aspirin (hangovers happen).
- Anti-itch cream (Benadryl Clear/Caladryl Clear or the no-name equivalent) for sunburn or insect bites.
- Benadryl (anti-allergy) pills if you are really prone to mosquito bites and the following itch bothers you greatly.
- Band-aids (large and small).
Other Things to Bring
- Books, books, books ... Zancudo is a great place to read and locals really appreciate books left behind for our book exchange.
- Flashlight (it gets dark early) with spare batteries and bulb if you are here a long time.
- Alarm clock (battery) if you have to get up early for a flight or whatever.
- Sunglasses and hat.
- Thongs or Teva-type sandals.
- Extra camera battery.
- Sarong to lie on the beach - the cabina towels pick up the sand and it's really difficult to launder them afterwards.
- Casual clothing (shorts, tank tops, t-shirts, sundresses).
- Lightweight long pants and long-sleeved shirt for evenings (and socks, if you're really sensitive to bugs).
- The nearest hospital is in Golfito (30 minutes by boat) - there is another one in Ciudad Neilly, which is one hour by car.
- There is a small clinic about 30 minutes by car from Zancudo in the town of Conte.
- There is a well-stocked pharmacy in Golfito. Some basic items (aspirin, cold medicine, repellent) are available in Zancudo.
- One large store is about 20 minutes walk from Sol y Mar.
- A smaller store is 10 minutes walk from Sol y Mar.
- The Sol y Mar has a gift store with beach-type clothing (sarongs, sundresses, pants, shirts) for sale.
- The nearest post office is in Golfito.
Fruits & Vegetables
- A small truck delivers fresh produce twice a week and will sell to anyone who wants to buy.
- Mosquitoes can be annoying some evenings. It is bug-free in the daytime. The best protection is provided by repellent and/or light-weight long clothing (and socks for some people).