Frequently Asked Questions

Top 5 Questions

What should I pack for Costa Rica?

Our dress code is informal. We encourage you to bring lightweight, casual clothing fit for Caribbean resort life, sunscreen, a bathing suit, and sturdy tennis shoes or hiking boots for any activities. If you’re visiting during Green Season, we recommend also bringing a light rain jacket. Don’t worry about bringing spare clothing, since we offer a laundry service.

What is the weather like in Puerto Viejo?

We’re located in the tropics and close to the equator. In Puerto Viejo, temperatures are high year-round with the warmest month being August (72°F-86°F) and the coolest January (68°F-84°F). Rainfall can also be expected throughout the year with July being the wettest month and September and October the driest, in contrast to Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast.

Do I need a visa to travel to Costa Rica?

Below are some general visa guidelines, but please check with your airline or travel agent to confirm your legal requirements for entering Costa Rica. All visitors to Costa Rica need a passport valid for at least 6 months at the date of entry.

  • Visa not required for nationals of the USA, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea (Rep), Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad & Tobago, Uruguay, and the UK and its dependencies for stays of up to 90 days.
  • Visa not required for nationals of Antigua & Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Chile, Dominica, El Salvador, Estonia, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Iceland, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Mexico, New Zealand, Philippines, Russia, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent & The Grenadines, San Marino, Singapore, Slovak Republic, South Africa, Suriname, Taiwan, Turkey, Vatican City and Venezuela for stays up to 30 days.

Do I need any special shots or vaccines?

No immunizations, shots, inoculations or vaccinations are required to enter Costa Rica. However, it would be wise to check with your personal physician for individual recommendations.

How do I get to Hotel Aguas Claras?

Aguas Claras can be reached either by plane (scheduled domestic flight or charter flight) or by car from the capital city, San Jose. You can find more detailed information on traveling to the resort on our dedicated How to Get Here page.

Hotel Related Questions

Is Hotel Aguas Claras suitable for a honeymoon or romantic getaway?

Yes. Our boutique beach resort is the perfect spot for romance and post-wedding relaxation. Days here are well spent oceanside or by the pool, either swimming or enjoying a fruity cocktail or two. For those who want to stay in, we can arrange couple’s massages at Casa Gandhi, and for those who wish to explore, we have complimentary bicycles available. What’s more, with the aim of curating a relaxing, intimate experience, we are a predominantly adults-only hotel and only accommodate families with children above the age of 12.

Is Hotel Aguas Claras family friendly?

Aguas Claras is a place where privacy, calm and comfort are essential components to a renewing vacation for all of our guests. With that in mind, we are delighted to welcome families with children over the age of 12, and offer a number of family-favorite activities in the vicinity such as surf lessons, snorkeling at Cahuita National Park and visits to wildlife rescue centers. Browse our activities here.

How early should I book?

This depends on which season you’d like to stay at Aguas Claras. Generally, for High and Holiday Season, we recommend booking up to 6 months in advance. Our property is small and can get booked up fast. Weekends are popular with Costa Ricans coming from San Jose especially in the months of September and October which are the driest on the Caribbean coast.

How long should I stay?

Stay as long as you can - it can be hard to leave paradise! We recommend staying at least 4 nights to fully soak up the Aguas Claras experience and the Costa Rica’s Caribbean charm. There’s also plenty to do in the Puerto Viejo area. Check here for our tours and activities.

Do you offer transport?

Yes. We can arrange all domestic transport for you. Transportation options include short 35-minute flights from San Jose, helicopter and charter travel, private shuttles transfers and car rentals. You can find more information on traveling to Aguas Claras on our dedicated How to Get Here page.

Can I request a specific room or bungalow?

We cannot guarantee specific rooms or suites, but in all cases, we’ll do our best to accommodate any requests you may have. Our reservations team will make sure that they recommend the best accommodation to meet your needs and preferences.

What is there to do around Puerto Viejo?

There’s plenty to experience around Aguas Claras, whether that be relaxing at the beach, learning to surf, or exploring the surrounding rainforest on guided tours. We’re just 25 minutes from Cahuita National Park which houses the largest system of coral reefs in Costa Rica, and are within easy reach of multiple wildlife sanctuaries too. Around Puerto Viejo you’ll also have the opportunity to visit indigenous reserves and waterfalls, or simply peddle into town on our complimentary bicycles to soak up its colorful charm.

You can browse some of the activities we offer here.

How far is town? What’s there?

Puerto Viejo town is 5 minutes away by car, or a short 20-minute bike ride along the scenic coastal road. There you’ll find a number of little boutiques, eateries, coffee shops and bars to while away your afternoons in the Caribbean.

Is it easy to get around without a rental car once in Puerto Viejo?

Yes. Everything is very close by. We are close to Puerto Viejo town, and any tours you might wish to take are all within a short drive. The preferred way of getting around is by bicycle as the coastal road is flat and well paved.

Is there air conditioning in the rooms?

Yes. Our rooms have full air conditioning and large ceiling fans too.

Is there internet or phone service available?

Yes. There is complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the resort, and cell phone reception is good. Both international and local calls are also free of charge for guests.

I have special dietary requirements. Can you accommodate my needs?

Yes. We are committed to cooking delicious meals for each and every one of our guests, and strive to accommodate all food allergies. Our menus feature a number of vegetarian and vegan dishes, and a great many Costa Rican dishes – being corn rather than wheat based – are naturally gluten free. To discuss specific dietary requirements, feel free to get in touch and ask us about accommodating your needs. We believe that good food is for everyone!

Is the water safe to drink in Costa Rica?

We provide safe drinking water for guests free of charge at the resort. We have a sophisticated water filtration system installed and provide you with reusable stainless steel water bottles during your stay.

What’s the bug situation like?

We’re lucky to be located amidst beautiful tropical gardens. With this in mind, all sorts of wildlife – including insects – can be encountered. Depending on the time of year and time of day, there may be periods where you’ll see mosquitoes, especially after periods of extended rains. It’s a good idea to apply insect repellent especially for activities in the rainforest.

Will I see any wildlife at Hotel Aguas Claras?

We are lucky to be set within lush tropical gardens. That means it’s not at all uncommon to see playful wildlife such as monkeys and sloths around the Aguas Claras grounds. Keep your eyes peeled especially in the mornings for exotic birdlife in the treetops including different kinds of toucans and the Green Macaw.

How close are the beaches? Are they safe for swimming?

Steps away from the hotel, Punta Cocles is our closet, directly accessible beach. Its light clay-colored sands are the perfect spot to enjoy sunrise, and at low tide with the reef exposed, the warm tide pools are great for swimming. You can also snorkel at this beach. We provide all the gear free of charge.

How’s the surfing in Puerto Viejo?

It’s great! Puerto Viejo has been home to some of Costa Rica’s most legendary surf competitions in the past and there are waves here for varied experience levels. Playa Cocles which is a 15-minute walk or 3-minute drive from Agaus Claras is a great option for beginners and improvers, while for the pros, there’s the nearby surf break known as Salsa Brava too, which is considered the most intense wave in Costa Rica. We can set up surf classes from Aguas Claras.

Are there other dining options in the area?

Puerto Viejo town has a great variety of restaurants and coffee shops if you wish to eat out during your stay. We’ve got everything from local Caribbean restaurants, pizzerias and fine dining Italian, to Argentinian grills, oceanfront lounge restaurants, and a number of tropical bars. Ask us for top tips and recommendations!

What time is check in / check out?

Check in is from 2pm. If you should arrive earlier at Aguas Claras, we will do everything possible to have your room ready. However, if you do have to wait for your room, you won’t have to wait to start your vacation: go ahead and hit the beach or order some lunch!

Check out is at 11am. If you would like to leave later in the day, please let us know and if possible, we’ll be happy to accommodate you.

How do I pay and do I need local currency?

While staying at Aguas Claras, all your expenses can be charged to your room. When you check out, we accept US Dollars, Costa Rican Colones and all major credit cards.

When going on tours or visiting the town of Puerto Viejo, carrying some small US Dollar bills is recommended as well as some local currency. Most businesses and restaurants accept US Dollars. Euros and other currencies are not commonly accepted in Costa Rica.

What’s the tipping etiquette?

Tipping is exclusively at your discretion. As all of our staff contributes to your stay at Aguas Claras, general tips are divided among the whole team. This excludes service staff as by law they automatically receive 10% of all food and beverage purchases. If a particular member of our staff provides exceptional service, you may request a special envelope from the reception and leave a tip for them individually at check out.

Can I smoke?

Costa Rica has passed strict non-smoking laws which prohibit smoking in public places. Regrettably, you will not be able to smoke on our premises during your stay. Thank you for your understanding.

Who owns and operates the hotel?

Aguas Claras is independently owned by a Costa Rican artist, and the resort is operated by the Cayuga Collection. This Costa Rica based hospitality management company is dedicated to managing and developing sustainable and luxury hotels and lodges in Latin America.

General Questions

Where is Puerto Viejo Costa Rica?

Puerto Viejo is located on Costa Rica’s south Caribbean Coast. It’s easily reached from San José by plane, private charter or by car. For more information on where we are and how to get here, you can visit our dedicated How to Get Here page.

Is Puerto Viejo Costa Rica safe?

Yes. Puerto Viejo is a small beachside town with low crime rates. It is safe to explore the town by foot, to take cabs and to visit ATMs. Exercising the same common sense as anywhere in the world will ensure that you only take away great memories from your stay on Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast.

What other places should I visit in Costa Rica?

In addition to Puerto Viejo, there are many other popular destinations that are worth a visit. We recommend visiting some of the country’s active volcanoes (Arenal, Poás, Irazú, Rincón de la Vieja), Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast, and for a very natural experience, a trip up northwest to the cloud forests of Monteverde is well worth it. Manuel Antonio National Park – Costa Rica’s most popular – is also a must-visit, as well as the famous Whale’s Tail in Uvita. It’s the whale-watching capital of Costa Rica during Green Season.

If you’d like some advice on where to combine with Puerto Viejo, we’d be happy to give you some ideas. You can also check out our sister Cayuga Collection properties and design the perfect combination of retreats to suit you.

Where should I stay in San Jose on travel days?

If you’d like to explore the center of San Jose, we recommend staying at Hotel Grano de Oro. This tropical Victorian mansion is within walking distance of the capital’s main attractions and it’s conveniently reached from San Jose’s Juan Santamaria International Airport.

Do I need travel insurance?

We advise taking out comprehensive travel and medical insurance to cover yourself and any dependents/travel companions for the duration of our stay in Costa Rica. As a minimum, this insurance should include:

  • emergency evacuation expenses
  • medical expenses
  • repatriation expenses
  • cancellation or curtailment of trip
  • damage/theft/loss of personal luggage, money and goods

In case of medical emergencies, most Costa Rican doctors and hospitals expect payment in cash, regardless of whether you have travel health insurance or not. If your health insurance does not cover you for medical expenses while you are abroad, you should consider supplemental insurance. It may also be worth finding out in advance if your insurance plan will make payments directly to providers or if they reimburse you later for any overseas health expenditures.

What if I don’t speak Spanish?

If you don’t speak Spanish, don’t worry. At Aguas Claras we speak excellent English, and are happy to teach you some Spanish phrases too. Apart from in the most rural areas of Costa Rica, you should have little problem with language barriers. Many Costa Ricans have at least a basic knowledge of English and on the Caribbean Coast many locals speak “broken” English which is a local Caribbean dialect.

How can I offset my CO2 emissions?

Carbon offsets are voluntary donations that can be made to compensate, or offset, greenhouse gas emissions from transport, electricity use, and other sources. In an effort to promote sustainable development and tourism, the Costa Rican Ministry of Environmental Affairs has created a program in which tourists can compensate the carbon emissions from their international flights by investing in programs that preserve and reforest natural areas within Costa Rica. You can find more information on the program’s website (http://www.fonafifo.go.cr/) or ask us!