Trip Planning

While still a third-world country, the infrastructure in Costa Rica is much better than in other Latin American countries. In Jaco, you can find ATMs, high-speed Internet, grocery stores, pharmacies, surf shops and more. So should you forget something, you’ll generally be okay. In this part of the website, we’ve provided some basic information to help you plan your trip, but feel to email us at info@vistaguapa.com, should you have any specific questions that we haven’t addresssed here.
Pura Vida!


Weather:

Costa Rica has two seasons, the rainy season and the dry season. The dry season lasts from December until April and is called summer by Costa Ricans. In the highlands of Costa Rica, they can register only one or two rainy days per month during this time. The rest of the year is the rainy season, or winter, during which time torrential rains often fall in the afternoon. In Jaco, the temperature changes very little around the year, and even in rainy season, there are days with little or no rain at all. Most days, the sun shines in the morning, and dramatic thunder showers roll in during the evening, creating a fantastic show from the bungalows of Vista Guapa. Don’t be fooled by the weather indicators for Costa Rica on Yahoo! or other websites. These sites usually indicate the weather for San Jose, which, situated at 1,150 meters altitude, enjoys some of the lowest temperatures of the country, from 15° C (59° F) to a maximum of 26° C (78° F). In contrast, on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, temperatures tend to range from 23° C (73° F) to 34° C (93° F). No jacket required.

Flights:

Getting to Costa Rica is relatively easy these days, as there are a number of direct flights from American cities such as Charlotte (NC), Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Miami, New York, and Los Angeles. To get to Vista Guapa, you can either fly into the San Jose International Airport or, if flying locally, into the airport in Quepos.

Ground Transportation:

For our package guests, we provide a free shuttle to and from the airport. For other guests, we can arrange transportation to and from the San Jose airport for an $80 charge. Taxis from the airport generally charge approximately $100. The drive from the airport is approximately one and a half to two hours, depending on traffic. For the guests using our shuttle, if other guests are arriving within the next 3 hours, we do request that the earlier arriving passenger wait with our driver for the other passenger/s to arrive. If you arrive late at night or leave early in the morning, we recommend guests stay at the Hampton Inn at the airport, and not stay in San Jose which is actually half an hour from the airport and generally a crowded city.

Getting Around:

We are happy to drive our guests twice a day to the best surf breaks in the Jaco/ Hermosa/ Herradura area. We will also provide transportation for our surf students to the lessons. The town of Jaco is a 15-20 minute walk from our camp and a very easy bike ride. Bike rentals are available in Jaco. A taxi into town costs about 1200 colones (approx $2-3). There are rental car agencies in Jaco, if you would like to rent a vehicle for the day. For guests planning to do a lot of touring outside of surfing, we would recommend that you rent a car for the week in San Jose, where the rates are likely to be cheaper.

Driving Directions to the Camp:

From the San Jose Airport: Head away from San Jose (south) out of the San Jose airport. About 11km from the airport you will need to exit to your right, following the signs to Atenas and Manuel Antonio National Park. There are also signs for the Best Western Jaco. Continue to follow the signs to Atenas until you have passed through the city of Atenas. You will then need to follow the signs for Jaco and Manuel Antonio National Park. The road is well marked and there are only a few turns. When you pass Punta Leona, you are approximately 10km from the turn off for the camp. As you approach Jaco, you will see signs for the Best Western and the Lighthouse restaurant. At that intersection, you will make a right off of the main street. About 150m on your right, you will see a sign for the Vista Guapa Surf Camp. Turn right at the sign and follow the road until it forks. Stay to the left at the fork and follow the road around to the camp



View Directions to Vista Guapa in a larger map


What to Bring:

Jaco is very casual and consistently warm, even when its raining. You won’t need a jacket or any nicer clothes, but you might want light-weight long pants to protect against the bugs in the evenings. We are an upscale surf camp, with air conditioning and high end accommodations, so we provide the basic amenities such as pool and beach towels, room towels, shampoo, conditioner, soap and offer other items such as t-shirts and surf gear (wax, rash guards, board shorts) for sale in our gift shop. The currency is local colones, but most places accept US dollars and credit cards. We have safes in the rooms for your valuables; petty theft can be a problem on the beach in Jaco, so we recommend you only carry what you need for each day and leave the rest in the safe in your room. Our packing list is reasonably straight-forward, but hopefully helpful:

  • sunscreen (at least 30 spf)
  • bug spray (with deet)
  • sunglasses
  • hat
  • reading materials (lots of downtime in the hammocks)
  • beach shoes (the sand gets very hot)
  • bathing suit, surf shorts and rash guard
  • camera and extra film
  • bike shorts (there are great mountain biking trails)
  • hiking shoes or sandals (there are great trails for hiking)
  • passport, ATM card, small wallet

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