Frequently Asked Questions

What should I bring to the center?

Essential Items:

  • Flashlight
  • Emergency contacts (doctor’s info and the name of someone we may contact in case of emergency)
  • Towel
  • Natural toiletries (soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.)
  • Comfortable walking or hiking shoes
  • Bug repellant/citronella
  • Sunblock with SPF 30 or higher
  • Bathing suit
  • Lightweight casual clothing – natural fabrics recommended 
  • Sturdy hiking shoes along with sandals
  • Water bottle

Suggested Items:

  • Travel alarm clock (or meditation timer)
  • Books
  • Journal and pens
  • Camera

What is the address of Alya Retreat Center?
In Costa Rica addresses are usually give in terms of how many meters the place is from a landmark. Street names are not commonly used. Alya Retreat Center is 1.8 kilometers south and 1 kilometer east of San Juanillo. 

What is Alya Retreat Center’s cancellation policy?
Cancellations 14 days prior to arrival date will receive a refund minus a 25% service fee. Cancellations 13 – 3 days prior to arrival will receive 50% refund. Cancellations within 72 hours of arrival are not eligible for refunds. To avoid the service fees, you can have a full credit refund that is valid for 12 months.

Does Alya Retreat Center have handicap access?
Unfortunately, due to the terrain, Alya Retreat Center cannot accommodate those in wheelchairs. The walking paths have varied grades and those with crutches may find it difficult to navigate, especially after it has been raining.

What do Costa Ricans call themselves?
Costa Ricans call themselves Ticos.

What do I do in case of emergency?
Dial 911 for an ambulance, the fire department, or the police.

Does Costa Rica require any vaccinations?
Most travelers to Costa Rica do not get any vaccinations or take any special medications. Children traveling to Costa Rica should be up to date on all routine immunizations.

Can I drink the water?
Water at Alya Retreat Center is safe to drink. The quality varies depending what part of the country you are in. If you plan to explore Costa Rica, it is recommended that you ask if the water is safe to drink.

Tell me about the shower and toilet?
All showers at Alya Retreat Center have hot water. We do have a very sensitive septic system which is why we throw toilet paper and feminine products in the trash bins provided in the bathrooms.

What is the currency in Costa Rica?
The money in Costa Rica is called the colon or colones for plural. As of July 2016, all stores and vendors will accept US dollars but they offer a poor exchange rate of around c500 to the US dollar. The best is to exchange your currency at a bank for the best rates and then the airport. Banks are open Monday through Friday and the nearest bank is 40 minutes from Alya Retreat Center in the town of Nosara. It will be better than using dollars. To check the current rates, visit XE Currency Converter. It is also recommended that you do travel alerts with your credit cards and bank card to ensure use in Costa Rica.

What is the electricity in Costa Rica?
North America appliances are compatible with Costa Rica’s electrical system (110 volts) and outlets (parallel two-prong). Australian and European appliance require a two-prong adapter and a 220-volt to 110-volt transformer. It is recommended that you bring a surge protector for your computer.

Do I need a visa to travel to Costa Rica?
US citizens need only a passport to enter Costa Rica and a return plane ticket home or to another country for stays up to 90 days. You’ll be refused entry if your passport is due to expire in less than three months. Keep your passports safe while traveling throughout the country as theft does occur. Also bringing a photocopy of the data page of your passport can be very helpful! If your passport is stolen, first call the police to make a police report and then call your embassy.

How about Meals/Groceries?
You’ll enjoy delicious local tropical fruit while in Costa Rica. The large super market in Nosara offers pretty much everything you can think of. There is an organic farmers market on Tuesday in the town of Guiones. Alya Retreat Center has relationships with local farms and can help you pre-order fruits and vegetables for either delivery or pick-up. Cooking meat is discouraged at Alya Retreat Center and vegetarian meals are recommended. Alya Retreat Center also offers a meal plan if you want to eat fresh organic meals or experience a juice cleanse/detox. Let us know if you are interested and we would be happy to discuss a dietary plan during your stay.

Is Costa Rica safe?
While exploring Costa Rica it is recommended that you stay alert. Thieves like to prey on tourist. Do not leave valuables unattended – even in a locked vehicle. Costa Rica is very safe, but there are those who will still exploit travellers. Here are some suggestions: Don’t flash expensive jewelry or watches. In cities, don’t carry/show an expensive camera or lots of cash. Distribute your money or valuables between your bags and pockets. Keep your hand on your wallet if you are in a crowd or on a bus. Lock your car doors at all times. Never leave your belongings unattended, including at the beach.

How about Taxes?
The airport departure tax for tourists is $29, payable in cash (dollars or colones) or with a Visa or Mastercard. Costa Rican business charge is 13% sales tax called the IVA. Hotels charge a 16.4% fee covering service and tax usually on top of their posted rates. Restaurants add the 13% IVA tax and 10% service fee to meals. By law, menu prices are supposed to reflect the final price you pay, but some establishments ignore the requirement.

And Tipping?
We encourage you to leave a tip for the staff and their hard work throughout your stay. $10-20 would be a reasonable gratuity for an individual guest to add to the staff pool.


Thank you and ¡Pura Vida!