General Travel Questions:
1) Are US dollars/credit cards accepted?
The colon is the currency here in Costa Rica. Not all of the restaurants and businesses in the area accept credit cards, but all accept US dollars and colones. Plan to bring small US bills because few places accept $50 or $100 bills.
2) Can I exchange my money at the hotel?
We keep a small amount of cash on premises. There is an ATM machine located at the bank where visa only is accepted. You can also walk inside to exchange your money to buy colones.
3) What is the airport departure tax from Costa Rica?
Departure tax is $26 which can be paid in US Dollars, colones or with Visa credit cards. There is an ATM at both Liberia and San Jose airports.
4) Where is the closest gas station?
The closest gas station is on the way to Nosara, which is about 5 minutes away.
5) Is passport/ID/License required?
A passport, which needs to be valid for at least 6 months from the time of entry, is required for entering Costa Rica from another country.
6) Where should we stay in San Jose if we have to spend the night to catch a flight or bus the next day? Answer?
7) What should I pack?
Nosara is hot year round, there is no need for a wardrobe of long sleeves or long pants. We recommend bringing one pair of long sleeves and pants for that very occasional cool night, or if you’re here during rainy season. Otherwise, pack swimsuits and board shorts, sarongs, flip flops, t-shirts and tank tops, casual summer dresses, (avoid high heels as our roads are not paved and are very bumpy!) and a hat for shade. To avoid heavy luggage you can buy bug spray, sunblock, shampoo & conditioner and all toiletries at the Mini super right down the road. Bring a camera, and if you need to stay connected, bring your laptop or PDR to link to our free Wifi.
8) What else is there to see in Costa Rica?
Volcan Arenal and Monteverde are two areas most often visited by guests looking for something more than just a beach trip. These are great stopovers to or from San Jose. A third option is our favorite recommendation for a great escape: a rustic lodge in the mountainous area of Volcan Tenorio and the Rio Celeste: La Carolina Lodge. Experience a stay in a lodge with minimal electricity and meals cooked in the traditional way, on a wood fired stove while relaxing in a homemade wood-fired hot tub alongside the cool river. During the day, horse tours are arranged on the indigenous country-side and daily hiked to the Rio Celeste and natural hot spring. The Caribbean side and Osa Peninsula are other completely different experiences worth checking out if you are in Costa Rica for two weeks or longer, if you only have a week, keep your stay to one area as travel times are longer than what you’d expect, and you don’t want to spend your whole vacation driving.
9) How are the “bugs”?
Since we have nestled ourselves into the surroundings of nature, and consequently, renting space amongst the wildlife, we need to remind ourselves daily that we are the visitors in this animal kingdom. Though we cannot guarantee that you will be seeing all of the animals found around the Nosara area, you will surely come across some interesting species during your stay. Along with the “cute” animals, come the insects, some small and some larger. Spiders are abundant and they weave their webs at the speed of light. None of the spiders are venomous even though they may sometimes appear to be. You might also come across some scorpions which do bite hard, but are not poisonous. Tolerance of this ever present animal population is a necessary compromise in order to enjoy it here.
9) Do I need to worry about mosquitos?
We do get mosquitoes here at the beach, mostly at sunset. They are worse in the rainy season, but like everywhere, some people are more susceptible than others. If you’re prone to getting bit, you can either bring a bottle of bug spray with you, or you can buy it here at the “Mini” down the road.
10) What is the difference between the green season & the dry season and when is the best time to visit?
Both seasons offer wonderful advantages and disadvantages depending on what you are searching for: The dry season (Dec-April) offers the most amount of sunshine and peak swells with consistent off-shore winds ideal for surfing. This season is considered our “summer” which tends to be more crowded than the green season. The days are hot and sunny and the nights are cooler with crystal clear star viewing and occasional Guanacaste winds.
The green season (May-Nov) offers slightly cooler days as intermittent rain showers are present. Nights typically have a cloud cover making it a bit warmer than the dry season and rainy nights are common. May through mid-June, the much needed rain “turns-on” and refreshes the land. Downpours of up to 8” of rain in a day are not uncommon which is a spectacular phenomenon to experience! Monkeys and humans alike rejoice with howls of relief during these epic rains! Rains are typically heaviest during the nights however it can continue into the day. Mid-June through mid-August is known as a “mini-dry season” when it rains every few days but the sunshine presides. The beaches are mostly desolate and this is a popular time for soul searching and extended vacations. The rainiest months are Sept/Oct in which we are closed along with most of Nosara.
11) Do I need shots to travel here?
No shots are necessary for travel to Costa Rica.
12) What is the temperature/ weather like?
The Guanacaste area in general can expect warm, breezy days, with highs of 82 - 92 degrees, lows 75 - 85.
13) What happens in the case of an emergency?
There are doctors that live in Nosara who are on call 24 hours, and also a walk in clinic open during the daytime that is a 10 minute walk from the hotel. The nearest hospital is an hour’s drive to Nicoya. In the event of a serious emergency, a plane can be chartered to get to a hospital in San Jose with modern equipment and internationally trained English speaking doctors.
1) What time is check-in and check-out?
Check in is at 2pm. If you arrive after our restaurant closes (10 pm), our security guard will show you to your room. Check out is at 11 am.
2) What does the name “KayaSol” mean?
“Kaya” has many meanings in countries throughout the world: enlightenment, wisdom, everlasting, eternal and sea. In Sanskrit, Kaya is used to implicate the “body” that changes with the various stages of spiritual development. “Sol” is translated as the sun and the soul. For our purposes, KayaSol unites all of the above meanings to describe the spiritual experience of many whom find Nosara: they become enlightened. Kaya is also the name of our first born daughter.
3) Are children allowed?
Absolutely! We have 3 lively children of our own, all of whom have contributed to making KayaSol kid-friendly. We have a complimentary “pack and play” crib for guest use, two high chairs in the restaurant, a great pool with waterfall fun and a great kids menu. The freedom and raw elements of the jungle and beach enliven your child’s imagination to play until exhaustion which guarantees a deep night’s sleep! Also available with advance notice are our tried and true nanny’s so mommy and daddy can enjoy their vacation too!
4) How early do I need to book a room at the KayaSol Surf Hotel?
If you are planning on arriving during high season (Dec-April) you should book at least a month or two ahead, more if you’re planning on visiting during Christmas and New Year’s. During green season (May-Dec) season you can generally get a room without a reservation.
5) Are groups accepted?
Yes, we can accommodate up to 40 people in our various room types.
6) How close are you to the beach?
KayaSol Surf Hotel is located on the beach. However, there is a Maritime Zone Law in Costa Rica which doesn’t allow construction on the first 200 meters (656 feet or 218 yards). Thus, the beach is within a two minute walk of the hotel. None of the hotel rooms on the beach have a beach view.
7) Do the rooms have A/C?
We currently have 3 studios with a/c and have plans for larger rooms in the future.
8) Do the rooms have TV/Cable?
No. We aim to provide an opportunity to “un-plug” from television and the everyday routine.
9) Is there telephone access in the rooms?
No. Nosara Net located right down the street has a variety phone and internet option to stay in touch.
10) Is there laundry service?
Yes, leave your clothes with us in the early morning and you will have them back in the late afternoon.
11) Is there hot water?
Yes, showers in the bathrooms have hot water.
12) Am I allowed to smoke on the hotel premises?
Costa Rica has passed a very strict non-smoking legislation. It is prohibited to smoke in public places. Please beware that you are not going to be able to smoke on our premises during your stay as we are dedicated to being “smoke free”.
13) Is there Internet access?
Yes, we have free WiFi access which reaches the pool, restaurant and all rooms.
14) Is there a dress code for dinner?
Absolutely not! “No shirts, No shoes, NOSARA!”
15) Is the food and water safe?
Yes, the food and water at KayaSol and most spots in Nosara are safe. We also offer filtered drinking water from our tap which you can use refill your bottles.
16) What are the taxes charged for the rooms?
All taxes are included in the pricing of our rooms. There are no additional charges.
17) What are the taxes charged for food and beverages?
There is a mandatory 10% service charge and a 13% sales tax. An additional tip on top of the 10% for servers is welcome but not required.
18) Is there a store nearby?
Yes! The best store in Nosara! The “mini-super” is only 100 yds from KayaSol Surf Hotel. The mini has everything you could possibly need and more! It is a pharmacy, liquor store, convenient store and super market specializing in products from around the world.
19) Is there Yoga nearby?
Yes! Yoga is one of the biggest draws to Nosara which has become quite a progressive, spiritual community in the last few years. The world renowned Nosara Yoga Institute, offering both teacher trainings and on-going classes is a beautiful 20 minute beach and jungle walk from the hotel. A variety of yoga classes are also offered at The Yoga House and The Harmony Healing Center which are both a 5-10 minute walk from the hotel. The newly constructed Pilates Studio is located at Tica Massage just 10 minutes away offering pilates, yoga and an eclectic work-out gym offering Russian kettlebells and gyrotonic machines. Blue Spirit Spiritual retreat center is a 20 minute beach walk to the south, and Costa Rica Yoga Spa is a 10 minute drive to the north.
20) Can I book surf lessons at KayaSol?
Yes! We work with a fabulous surf school and it can all be arranged once you are down. Please see the questions under “Surf” below.
21) Can I rent a surf board?
Yes! We have many styles of boards to choose from and it is typically more affordable than bringing down your own boards (daily, weekly and monthly rates) due to the high airline prices.
22) Do I need to reserve tours before arriving?
Not necessarily, although during Christmas week, the Miss Sky Canopy Tour can be quite busy so we recommend organizing that ahead of time.
1) How big is Nosara?
Tico population is approximately 4,000 people. The influx of Americans and Europeans is approximately 500 people.
2) Why Visit Nosara?
Nosara has the best of both worlds: it is a quaint beach community off the beaten track with all of the necessary conveniences. Wifi, shops and restaurants abound but can also be easily ignored if you choose to escape. The natural flora and fauna are so abundant in this region alongside the ocean that many people instantly feel a strong connection to nature and themselves. Great surf, long sandy beaches, diverse wildlife, wonderful people and the freedom of a laid back lifestyle allow people to find what it is that they came down searching for. Yoga, horseback riding, river and waterfall trips and zipline tours are all right here in Nosara. It is most common for our visitors to immediately start daydreaming about how they can live down here as well!
3) What is there to do in Nosara?
Surfing is the big draw to Nosara, but there is more to do than just surf! At low tide there are beautiful tide pools towards the South end of the beach, great for playing in with the kids. Build a sand castle, throw a frisbee, or join in a casual game of soccer. Runners love our 4 mile (6k) stretch of flat beach early in the morning or at sunset, if you’re not into running, walking it is a beautiful way to spend an hour or two. There are also many great activities and tours that can easily be arranged on last minute’s notice; horseback riding, ATV tours, Zipline, kayak/SUP nature trips up the river, hike to the waterfall in town or Biological Reserve behind Playa Nosara. The turtle refuge in Ostional is one of the world’s largest turtle nesting beaches known as the “arribada”.
4) What animals might I see while in Nosara?
You’ll likely see our “resident” Howler monkeys, iguanas, coatimundis, raccoons and hummingbirds, all on our property at KayaSol. At the beach you might see turtles (especially if you go to Ostional, but occasionally on Guiones as well), pelicans, plenty of fish, crabs, and on a river tour you might see crocodiles, caymans, flamingos, and herons.
5) Is it safe to swim at the beach?
It is a surfer beach with strong waves and occasional rip tides. There is no lifeguard. People swim at their own discretion. There is a large tidal influx so in general High tide is more difficult for swimming. At low tide there are many little pools that form and a large stretch of low water to play in. Low tide is a child’s dream playground! Safer swimming beaches are within short driving distance from the hotel.
6) How is the local break?
Our local beach is ideal for learning and getting good waves for both long boards and short boards. It is a sand bottom which is great for beginners. It also has shifted to 3 main peaks which can get pretty juicy with the right tide and swell direction making it a playground for advanced surfers. The vibe is so mellow and fun, and it rarely gets too crowded. The most crowded days are over Christmas and New Year’s and even then it is nothing compared to So. Cal crowds! A 5 minute walk north takes you to a peeling right when the swell is too big for Guiones to hold. Within an hour’s drive either to the north or south there are reef breaks with more power for more advanced surfers, as well as many secret spots in between.
1) Who can learn to surf?
The surf schools teach a wide variety of people of all ages. A typical lesson might include young children whose parents want them to learn in a safe and closely supervised way, teenage boys or girls who want to become surfers as quickly as possible or young to middle aged tourists on vacation who want a fun activity. They have successfully taught people from 7-60 years old to stand on the surf board!
2) How long does it take to learn to surf?
Everything possible is done so you will stand up on your first lesson! However, surfing is a journey and, like most of life's challenges, to surf well you need time, practice and guidance. It depends on your strength, flexibility, co-ordination and of course your dedication! We get nearly every able bodied person to their feet in their first lesson. We recommend at least a package of three in close succession to get the very basic technique and safety concepts. A package of five will give you better understanding of how to read the ocean. Of course, all surfing packages should be followed up if you are not getting to the beach frequently. Private surf lessons are ideal for people wanting to take it to the next step catching great waves and executing cool maneuvers.
3) When can I learn to surf?
Group and private surf lessons are held every day.
4) When is the best time to surf: morning or afternoon?
Both are equally amazing with fairly consistent wind conditions as mornings tend to have off-shore winds and evening wind dies down to stillness. A lot depends on the tide as there is a 10 ft. tidal change here because we are so close to the equator.
5) What time is low tide?
It changes daily. High and low tide arrives approximately one hour later than the day before it - it's all to do with the Earth's rotation around the Sun, and the Moon's rotation around the Earth. To check this month’s tide chart click here.
6) What should I bring?
Surf schools supply everyone with surf boards and accessory equipment. Just bring your
swimwear, towel, sunscreen and a your stoke!
7) What are the waves like at your location?
Our local beach is ideal for learning and getting good waves for both long boards and short boards. It is a sand bottom which is great for beginners. It also has shifted to 3 main peaks which can get pretty juicy with the right tide and swell direction. Within an hour drive either to the north or south there are reef breaks with more power for more advanced surfers.
8) Do you have any tips or advice before I take a lesson?
Yes! Know how to swim confidently.
9) Can I bring my own surfboard?
Definitely! However, if you have never surfed before, we recommend using our equipment. The boards are soft for safety and easier to ride.