Frequently Asked Questions

Hotel Aguas Claras

TOP 5 QUESTIONS

We want you to feel confident about your future travels during these unprecedented times. That is why we’ve implemented our Zero Risk – Zero Hassle Guarantee.

We have temporarily waived all pre-payment and cancellation policies for stays before December 20th, 2020, and you can cancel any time before your visit. We will contact you 30 days before your check-in to reconfirm that you are still planning to come and will ask you for your credit card details one week prior to your stay.

Our cancellation policies beyond this period vary by season:

Holiday Season – Dec 20th – Jan 5th

  • If a reservation is cancelled after the Holiday deposit has been paid, the deposit will be reimbursed if the reservation is cancelled within 45 days prior to the arrival date.
  • If a reservation is cancelled between 45 and 30 days prior to the arrival date, 50% of the reservation will be charged.
  • If a reservation is cancelled between 29 and 15 days prior to the arrival date, 100% of the reservation will be charged.
  • The above policies apply to modifications or night reductions made 45 days or less prior to the arrival date .
  • If there is a “no-show” 100% of the reservation total will be charged


High Season – Jan 6th – April 30th, Nov 1st – Dec 19th

  • If a reservation is cancelled 30 days or less prior to the arrival date, 100% of the reservation will be charged.
  • The above policies apply to modifications or night reductions made 30 days or less prior to the arrival date.


Green Season– May 1st – Oct 31st

  • If a reservation is cancelled 15 days or less prior to the arrival date, 100% of the reservation will be charged.
  • The above policies apply to modifications or night reductions made 15 days or less prior to the arrival date.

In all cases:

  • If there is a “no-show” 100% of the reservation total will be charged.
  • In the event the cancelled room is resold, reimbursement will be made in full.

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.

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). A little rainfall can be expected throughout the year, but rest assured that days on the Caribbean Coast are seldom washouts. Tropical showers come and go quickly, and help to keep Puerto Viejo’s climate pleasant. In contrast to Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast, July is the wettest month in Puerto Viejo while September and October are the driest.

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.

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.

Hotel Aguas Claras

HOTEL RELATED

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.

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, swimming or enjoying a fruity cocktail or two. For those who wish to stay in, we can arrange couple’s massages at Casa Gandhi. As for those who’d rather explore, we have complimentary bicycles available. What’s more, with the aim of creating a relaxing, intimate experience, we are a predominantly adults-only hotel. (We only host families with children above the age of 12.)

Read more about honeymoons and romantic getaways at the resort here.

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 8, and offer a number of family-favorite activities in the vicinity – think surf lessons, snorkeling at Cahuita National Park and visits to wildlife rescue centers. Browse our activities here.

Hotel Aguas Claras is not an all-inclusive resort. Rooms rates include a complimentary a la carte breakfast, but should guests stay in for lunch, dinner or drinks, all food and beverages consumed will be charged at check out. We find that this offers our guests more flexibility to explore the wide variety of restaurants in Puerto Viejo town if they wish.

If you would like to discuss tailored full or half board options, please reach out to us!

As much as we love animals, we operate a no pets policy in order to minimize disruption to the ecosystem in which we operate, and to the wild animals including sloths, monkeys and iguanas that call Aguas Claras home. Thank you for your understanding.

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.

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 Costa Rica’s Caribbean charm. There’s also plenty to do in the Puerto Viejo area. Check here for our tours and activities.

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.

We cannot guarantee specific rooms or bungalows, 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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. Good food is for everyone.

Yes. 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.

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.

We’re set within lush grounds, so it’s common to see playful wildlife such as monkeys and sloths around Aguas Claras. Keep your eyes peeled especially in the mornings for exotic birdlife in the treetops including different kinds of toucans and the Green Macaw.

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.

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 Aguas 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 arrange surf classes from Aguas Claras.

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 at Da Lime.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The electrical current in Costa Rica is 110 volts. The sockets are American-style: standard US two prong plugs (or three pronged if grounded).

Aguas Claras is independently owned by a Costa Rican Artist-Mother and daughter team, 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.

Read more about the Cayuga Collection here

Hotel Aguas Claras

GENERAL QUESTIONS

Costa Rica is the ultimate tropical getaway. Home to rainforests, cloud forests, active volcanoes, and both Caribbean and Pacific beaches, the opportunities for exploring – or relaxing – are endless. Despite its small size, Costa Rica holds approximately 5% of the world’s biodiversity, making it a dream destination for wildlife lovers too. Sloths, monkeys, scarlet macaws, toucans, quetzals and more are easily spotted in the wild.

Getting around is also hassle-free. Domestic airlines like Sansa, Skyway and Aerobell connect all the regions of Costa Rica. The longest internal flight route is under 1 hour. Roads and highways are well-maintained too, and driving between destinations is unlikely to ever take more than 4 hours.

Importantly, Costa Rica is also considered a safe travel destination. We don’t even have a national army!

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.

Ask any Costa Rican where they’d go for a long weekend and 9 out of 10 will say the Caribbean Coast. That’s because this side of Costa Rica has a particularly relaxed atmosphere and feels totally undiscovered in comparison to elsewhere in the country. In fact, Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast feels almost like an entirely different nation – and beachside Puerto Viejo is undeniably the best place to soak up its distinct, colorful vibe and raw nature.

If you’re after a totally different perspective on Costa Rica and a more under the radar experience, this is where you’ll find it. The food is different – it’s fragrant, spicy and coconut-infused. The people are different – they’re equally pura vida but speak patois alongside Spanish. The nature has more of a raw charm and when it comes to music, it’s of course reggae over reggaeton.

Ultimately though, the real charm of Puerto Viejo is in its pristine, non-commercial beaches – a rare find in this day and age. But if you need a little more convincing, Puerto Viejo might just be the sloth-spotting capital of Costa Rica too.

Yes. Puerto Viejo is a small beachside town with thriving tourism and 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.

In addition to Puerto Viejo, there are many other popular destinations that are worth a visit. We recommend visiting 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.

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.

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.

There is an emergency clinic in Puerto Viejo town, about 5 minutes from the hotel by car, and a major hospital in Limon, approximately 1 hour away. Additionally, San Jose is just a 35-minute flight away and has excellent hospitals and doctors often educated in North America and Europe. Our staff are trained in first aid just in case.

If you don’t speak Spanish, not to 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.

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!

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