FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
A few tips to help you plan your trip.
Q. Do we need to rent a vehicle?
A. We highly recommend that all visitors to the Santa Teresa area rent a vehicle of some sort, whether a rental car (4×4 recommended, especially in the rainy season) or ATV. Either rent for approximately $50-$75/day for a multi-day rental. Unlike other beach communities, Santa Teresa is very spread out along 10 kms, and to be able to take advantage of the many wonderful restaurants and stores along that stretch, it is nice to have your own wheels. This is especially true if you decide to stay at Villas Hermosas, as we are on the outskirts of town, making our beach and property much quieter and dust-free, but these amenities are a bit farther away. We are happy to call cabs for you, if you choose that route, but they are not as dependable and quick as they could be. If you decide on the rental car, in our area you will find www.alamocostarica.com, www.budget.co.cr, and www.toyotarent.com.
Q. What do we do about food/drinks?
A. We do provide a free full breakfast to our guests, but do not offer other meals. To keep our property as quiet and private as possible, we opted to not put in a restaurant or bar on the grounds. Also, there are so many great hotels in the area offering restaurant/bar service that we decided to do something a little different. All of our villas have fully-equipped kitchens, and there is a poolside bbq for guests’ use. There is also pizza delivery available from noon-onwards to the property, as well as a delivery company that will deliver food from any restaurant in town, in addition to groceries, pharmacy items, etc. We are lucky enough to have some amazing chefs in the area, who will come to Villas Hermosas to cook private gourmet 4-course meals for groups of any size, and who design the menu specifically for you and your likes/dislikes (average price $82-90/head). If you are looking for a family-style, less elaborate private chef there are less expensive, simpler options available as well. Please ask us for details. As for drinks, we are happy to bring a bartender on for our large groups, but do not have one on staff full-time, in order to keep your villa rates low. We do sell beer, pop, wine, ice cream, and other snacks on the premises, or you are welcome to bring them from outside.
Q. Where is the closest restaurant/bar/store to Villas Hermosas?
A. We now have four great restaurants, two with bars, within walking distance to the hotel, from 150-400mts away. There is a small supermarket in Playa Hermosa about 1km away for basic items, but the selection at the supermarkets in town is better.
Q. Is there yoga/pilates available in this area?
A. There are numerous yoga classes in Santa Teresa, for every skill level. The large majority of the dojos are beachfront or ocean-view, making them a lovely setting to practice. There are several pilates mat classes also offered, as well as pilates studio in town (with apparatus). The closest yoga studio to Villas Hermosas is a 200 meter walk down the beach in a lovely beachfront dojo.
Q. When is the best time of year to come?
A. Our high season is Mid-November-April. These are our dry summer months, and you can usually bank on beautiful weather at this time. As these months progress it becomes drier and hotter, and you will be unlikely to see any rain during this time, especially from January-onwards. Our rains begin anytime in May/June, but you are unlikely to see rain all day, every day. July is known as our “Indian Summer” and you can usually count on sun in the morning, clouds in the afternoon, and rain and amazing thundershowers at night, and August is like May/June. Sept/Oct can be very rainy, which is why we close for those months. The green season is a great option for travellers, as there are more economical prices, less people, exceptional sunsets, green and lush gardens, and you are unlikely to be completely “rained in”.
Q. What is the best way to get to Villas Hermosas?
A. There are several ways to get here: renting a car and driving yourself, flying to Tambor (45 minutes from us), via shuttle (private or public), or any combination of those. Obviously, flying is the fastest and easiest, and the flight is beautiful, but the drive/ferry ride is also very nice and a great way to see the Costa Rican countryside. For full details on how to get here, please see our website at http://villashermosas.com/about_directions.html.
Q. Can we use our credit card everywhere?
A. You can use your credit card (Visa or Mastercard) here at the hotel, all grocery stores (just be sure to bring ID), and some restaurants and stores, but not all. You should be prepared to bring some cash with you into town, to be on the safe side. We provide a safe in each villa.
Q. Are US dollars/travellers cheques accepted?
A. US dollars are widely-accepted in our area, and stores/restaurants offer a fair exchange rate (note that you will receive your change back in the local currency, colones). We do not recommend bringing many $100’s or $50′s, however. Due to counterfeit issues a lot of places will not accept them. Do not bring travellers cheques unless you want to exchange them at the bank for cash yourself. The banks put a hold for several weeks on travellers cheques deposited by merchants, so most will not accept them.
Q. Is there a bank or ATM in town?
A. We now have 2 banks and 2 ATM’s at the crossroads of town, about 6 ½ kms away.
Q. Can we drink the water?
A. We do not recommend drinking the tap water here, unless it is filtered. Brushing your teeth, washing your vegetables, etc. is fine. We provide water coolers in each villa, and provide free drinking water to our guests.
Q. Is theft an issue?
A. As in most tourist destinations, there is some petty theft in this area. We have a security guard on from 6pm to 6am, and safes in all rooms. Do not leave your camera on the beach and go surfing, or leave your passport in the car and go eat lunch. Be smart and you should have no problems!
Q. Do we need to book my tours or activities ahead of time?
A. Unless you wish to book a specific activity on a specific day, the majority of tours can be booked when you arrive. Nothing fills up that quickly, except during the peak Easter and Christmas weeks.
Q. Do we need a converter for our electrical appliances?
A. The outlets here are the same as in North America.
Q. Do you have a computer for guest use?
A. Yes, we have a computer in our office for our guests to use, free of charge. We also have free wi-fi on the property if you’d like to bring your computer or PDA from home.
Q. Will my cell phone work?
A. Sorry, we are in a black zone for cell phone coverage here in Playa Hermosa. If you have roaming your cell phone will work in some spots in town, but not here in Hermosa. They are supposed to be putting in a new tower nearby, so this may change soon, but these things don’t generally happen quickly in Costa Rica. We have a phone in the rancho by the pool for free local calls, and we sell calling cards for $10/each in the office if you need to call internationally.
Q. How much do meals cost?
A. We have such diverse dining in our town, and Santa Teresa has become quite the destination for “foodies”. You can find anything from $6 ‘casados’ at local Tico sodas to $30 entrees and everything in between. There is something for every taste and budget.
Q. Where can we rent surfboards/boogie boards?
A. We have several short boards and fun shapes for rent here at Villas Hermosas for $10/day. If you are looking for something very specific or a longboard, there are numerous surf shops in town and we are happy to help you find exactly what you are looking for. Boogie boards rent here on the property for $8/day.
Q. How far do we have to go to surf or swim?
A. You can surf or swim 100 meters down the beach. Playa Hermosa is long, flat, and sandy, with several different breaks for surfing. It is great for beginners or experienced surfers. There are also numerous other surf spots up and down the Mal Pais/Santa Teresa coastline.
Q. What time is check-out/check-in?
A. Check-out is at 11am. Check-in is at 3pm.
Q. Is Santa Teresa/Villas Hermosas a good fit for me?
A. In the not-so-distant past our area was only visited by the most hardcore travelers, searching for quiet locations that were considered off-the-grid. There was very little here in the way of accommodations, restaurants, stores, or amenities, and that suited those travelers just fine. In fact, many of us decided to make that town our home! But, as Santa Teresa has grown exponentially in popularity over the years there has been an influx of all sorts of travelers to the area. While most visitors to our hotel and town find our undeveloped, remote, ruggedly-beautiful, funky surftown a welcome change from the big plush mega-resort-lined crowded beach towns, no location is perfect for everyone. How could it be? If your vacation ideal is a big resort with lots of amenities, paved roads, and fancy dress-up restaurants, our town and hotel are likely not great fits for you…unless, of course, you’re looking for a big change of pace. If ease of travel is a big factor in your decision there are many other beautiful beaches in Costa Rica that are within a very short drive from an international airport, baring in mind that the easier it is to get to, the more crowded that beach will be. However, if you welcome the idea of quiet beaches, raw jungle, unpaved main roads, beautiful, friendly laid-back locals from all over the world, amazing foodie-worthy cuisine, and incredible year-round surf, then you should definitely look into our little piece of the planet.