Trip Information & FAQs

Scarlet Macaws Luxury Costa Rica Vacations with Pura Vida HouseInformation to help you plan your trip to Pura Vida House and Costa Rica, and answers to your frequently asked questions.

The Villa

Check in/Check out:  3:00pm check in; 10:00am check out. Exceptions may be made when we don’t have guests arriving the same day; just ask!

What is Provided: Linens, towels, beach towels, soap, shampoo, conditioner, hairdryer, toilet paper. (For group weeks when packages are purchased, we will let you know additional items that are included.)

Driving Directions: We will provide you with detailed driving directions and instructions on entering the villa via email before your trip.

Getting Around: You can rent a car or golf cart to get around within Hacienda Pinilla Resort. We have two 4-person golf carts available for rent, and can arrange more from Tamarindo if needed – these are a fun way to get around the resort and see more wildlife!

Electrical Outlets: Electric outlets are the same size and currency at the US; 120 volts, 60 Hz.

Internet: Pura Vida House has free Wifi; router is named Brisas 46, password is puravida

Drinking Water:  Drinking water is safe in most all places in Costa Rica, and definitely within the resort. We do have refillable water filters in the villa as well for better tasting water. No need to buy bottled water unless you prefer.

Villa Chef Menus:  Here are some of the guest favorite menu items: Spanish paella, fish tacos, rice and shrimp, shredded beef tacos, typical Costa Rican “casados” (rice, beans, salad, sweet plantains and your choice of meat – chicken, beef, fish or pork), Brazilian pot pie, Moroccan chicken, etc., lots of choices.  He can accommodate any food preferences and/or allergies.

Grocery Stores: There are a number of grocery stores just outside the resort in Villarreal and Tamarindo. Our favorites are Automercado and Megasuper for the best selection. Inside the resort there is a stand alone mini-market and a mini-market in the JW Marriott. Directions to the grocery stores can be found in our driving directions or by plugging their names into Waze; directions to the Pinilla markets can be found on map in the villa instructions.

Megasuper is more of a typical local grocery store, it has many/most products you are used to from back home, but not all. Has fruits/veggies, meats, groceries, and a limited selection of wines/beers/liquors. Automercado has a few more of the special product you may be used to from home – gluten free,  larger selection of prepared foods, wines/beers/liquors.

Driving in Costa Rica
Driving in Costa Rica, especially in Guanacaste, is fairly simple and safe. Most roads are two-lane, and GPS (especially the Waze app) work well. Drivers pass often, and you need to watch out for narrow roads with little or no shoulder; but there is little or no road rage.

Before Your Trip

Packing List

We recommend downloading the Waze app to use as your GPS while in Costa Rica, it works the best of all apps and GPS devices here.

We recommend downloading and connecting with us through WhatsApp before your trip, so you can be in communication with us real time, no matter where we all are! (More information on how to connect with us in the driving directions we will send.)

Immigration Form: When you enter Costa Rica they ask you to fill out a piece of paper which asks, among other things, where you are staying in the country. You can simply write “Hacienda Pinilla”

Airport Departure Tax: Most airlines now build departure tax into your ticket price so you don’t need to stop to pay at the airport.

Information on Costa Rica and Tamarindo Area

Language: Spanish is the official language of Costa Rica. However in our area, most places you’ll be able to get by with English.

Money: Costa Rica Colones are the official currency of Costa Rica, but US Dollars are nearly (and often times more eagerly) accepted. ATMs will disperse both; and there is an ATM located within the Hacienda Pinilla resort at the JW Marriott. ATMs within the major grocery stores, and those at a bank branch are also safe to use.

Tipping: Tipping is included in Costa Rica for everything, including meals at restaurants. If you feel that someone went above and beyond to provide a great service, we’re sure they’ll greatly appreciate a small tip, but it’s not required.

Restaurant Recommendations: Some of our favorite beach-front restaurants in Tamarindo are La PalapaNogui’s and Pangas. Also great for lunch and/or cocktails up through sunset is Lola’s, just down the beach from the Beach Club at Avellanas beach. A great high-end option is Villa Deevena in Playa Negra. Please let us know if you’d like us to make reservations.

Spas: There are two spas located within Hacienda Pinilla, the spa at the Beach Club, and the spa at the JW Marriott. Outside the resort, there are also a few spas outside the resort, including Altos de Eros, and Coco Beauty Spa.

Alcohol/Liquor: If you plan to buy beer, wine, or Costa Rican/Nicaraguan rum, you are best to buy these in a local grocery store. However if you would like any other hard liquor to consume during your vacation, it can be expensive in Costa Rica. Buy it ahead of time at the Duty Free in your departure/layover airport, or there is a small duty free store in the baggage claim area of both of Costa Rica’s airports where you will find it much cheaper than the grocery store.

Cell Phone Service: Most US carriers offer some sort of international calling or data plans. Contact your provider before your trip to see what they provide. Our villa, most public spaces in the resort (Beach Club, golf clubhouse tennis courts, restaurants) as well as many restaurants in the area all provide wifi.

Churches: There is at least one Catholic and one Christian Church in Tamarindo that offer services in English. Their websites are here for more information:

Pura Vida House is the best and most personalized vacation experience with Costa Rica house rentals in the country. See why we have over 400 5-star reviews! We will help tailor your Costa Rica vacation exactly as you want it!