Travel Questions

How far is Tambor Airport?
About an hours drive away.

How much time to I need to give myself if I’m flying out of San Jose?
We suggest if your driving to the international Airport that you give yourself 7 hours prior to your check in time.
If you’re flying the 30min flight to San Jose from Tambor there’s daily flights so we recommend that you give yourself at least an hour from when you land in San Jose.

If I’m flying in from Liberia is the best way to get to Mal Pais via the ferry in Puntareanas?

Yes, the state of the roads are much better on this route and its less complicated than trying to drive down the peninsula.

How much is the ferry?
About a dollar fifty per person, and $10 per car. Please be careful as there is people scamming tourists out of money on the Puntareanas side so don’t give money to anybody except an official ferry employee.

Can I drive from Mal Pais to Tamarindo/Nosara/Samara or vice versa?
Yes, but road conditions can change overnight so we recommend that people drive to Puntarenas and take the ferry across and then take the Inter Americanna Highway heading north. This way is less complicated, plus the roads are better and it has signposting all the way.
It looks straightforward to drive up through the interior of the peninsula when looking at it on a map but that’s far from the truth.
If you do decide to take the alternative route/the non ferry route please check on the roads with locals, as the roads, like we previously mentioned can become impassable overnight.
Please note that the second and third options are out from May-November, and we cant offer any more information on what reads below, so the rest is in your hands.
Driving times can vary between 3-6 hours.

1. From Mal Pais you need to drive to Cobano then continue driving west to a town on the east cost of the peninsula called Paquera, from there head north to Playa Naranjo and continue north to a town called Jicaral. Then from Jicaral you need to go north to Nicoya, from here you can drive west to Samara or Nosara, or north to Tamarindo via Santa Cruz.

2. When arriving in Cobano from Mal Pais, alternatively drive directly north east to Jicaral, which is on the eastern side of the peninsula, but check with locals in Cobano to see if you can pass this way which cuts out the Playa Naranjo route. From Jiciral head to Nicoya, here you can drive west to Samara or Nosara, or north to Tamarindo.

3. In the dry season you can also pass on the western side of the peninsula on the costal route but this is only possible to drive this way from Dec-April when the rivers are dry enough to allow you to pass, to do this you also need to know when low tide is as you need to drive on the beach south of Playa Coyote, so check ahead.

Can I take a bus from Mal Pais to Tamarindo/Nosara/Samara or vice versa?
It’s not possible to head up the Peninsula by public bus. So you will need to take a bus to Paquera and then take the ferry to Puntarenas and then go up and around via Liberia as the roads through the peninsula are not passable by coach.
But private shuttle buses offer the trip up through the peninsulas interior which cuts out the ferry crossing, this costs around $40/$45 per person and can be arranged through the hotel.

Do I need to rent 4x4 Jeep to get around Mal Pais?

We have had guests that have walked, taxied, cycled and even hitched to get around so a rental Jeep is not essential. But having a 4x4 Jeep or quad makes exploring the whole area a lot easier as there’s no real centre to the town as everything spreads out over a 10km stretch of costal road.

How far is Moana from Playa Carmen, Santa Teresa?
About 1.5kms, or one mile from Playa Carmen. From Santa Teresa we’re about 3 miles but the roads are bumpy so it can take 10-15 min to drive there.

Money Questions

Is there a bank/ATM in the town?
There is now a new bank & ATM in the town of Mal Pais. You can withdraw colones or dollars. The next nearest bank is in Cobano which is a 25 min drive from Mal Pais.

Are dollars readily accepted?
Yes, everyone here will take US dollars.

What dollar bill denominations should I bring?
We can take $100 bills here in the hotel but restaurants and bars won’t accept them, better to bring $20´s.

Can I pay with Travelers Cheques at the hotel?
We don’t accept traveler’s cheques here at Moana, but you can cash them locally.

Can I pay for tours by credit card?
In most cases no, but we have agreed with the tour operators to allow our guests to pay for all tours on check out.

Why do I have to send a signed reservation form?
This is required by the banks here in Costa Rica in the case of a no-show, as they will not process a card without the matching signature which complies with our terms and conditions contract.

Should we make a money transfer to pay for our room?
We advise against it, as the charges for doing this are very high and also in the case of a refund you will be charged a second time. This service applies more to Costa Rican citizens.

Climate Questions

How long does rainy season last?
You’ll probably read that rainy season is 6 months long, May to the beginning of November. Don’t let this put you off in coming though, as rainy season for the most part is an odd rain shower during the evening one or two nights a week.
Its know as rainy season not because it rains every day for 6 months solid, but because there is the occasional shower and there’s such a contrast to our dry season when you wont have a single drop of rain for 5-6 months. Rainy season is not 6 months of downpours that people tend to associated with a tropical rainy season, only the month of October fits that bill.

Does it rain all day during rainy season?
In October it can do, so we close the hotel. But rainy season (May to the beginning of November) is a cooler and quieter time to visit Costa Rica. The plant life is green, beaches are deserted, and nights are cool.

What clothes/things should I pack?
Bring light clothing for this part of the country, as its hot here all year round. But if you plan on visiting the central highlands or San Jose you should bring a jacket as the temperature drops a lot at night. A couple of things you should try to pack are a flashlight and a rain Mac.

Miscellaneous Questions

Are there restaurants near by?
Yes, and some are within walking distance. Also located within a range of a few kilometers away you can find plenty of different varieties of restaurants to choose from, Italian, Argentinean, typical, seafood, Japanese, etc.

Is the water safe to drink?
Yes but bottled water is obviously better tasting. Also ice and fruit are perfectly safe to consume in Costa Rica.

Is Mal Pais only for surfers?
No at all, theres big rolling beaches to relax on, nature trails, great fishing, canopy zip lining, horse riding etc.

Is the beach in front of the hotel swimable/surfable?
It is a pebbly beach, but it is swimable and many locals do in fact surf it, but Playa Carmen which is a mile away is a better beach.

Can we rent surf boards?
Yes but just not through the hotel. There several shops near by that hire out boards, for around $8-$10 a day.

If Im arriving after 7pm will I be able to check in?
The front desk closes at 7pm. If you are arriving later than this time its better to let us know so we can arrange to have somebody check you in. Also the staff live on site so there’s always somebody here.

How far is Montezuma from Mal Pais?
About 35mins drive

Can I enter Cabo Blanco from the Mal Pais side?
No, you need to drive about 30mins away to the Montezuma side to access it.

Do we need vaccinations?
Its better to check with your local medical agency, but in this part of Costa Rica malaria tablets aren’t required.

Does the hotel have internet access?
We now have wireless internet in the hotel plus there’s plenty of internet cafes located near by.

Can I smoke in the rooms?
All of our rooms are non smoking but you can some on the deck out side your room. We took this decision as we don’t want the rooms to smell of smoke and also for safety reasons as the rooms are built mainly from wood.

In which guide books can I find Moana Lodge?
You can find us in The Rough Guide or the Moon Guide to Costa Rica, 2008. For more listings you can go to our Press Page.

What voltage of electricity is used in Costa Rica?
Normally speaking its 110 or 115 volts, but you’ll find in some places they use 220volts.

What tips should ensure that I have a secure and enjoyable vacation?
As in any country in the world, some disappointing things can happen. It is easy to relax on your vacation, so please be aware and follow the following recommendations.

Make a photocopy of your passport and leave the original in your room safe. You do not need to carry your passport unless you are changing traveller’s checks.
If possible, take just one credit card with you and leave the other in the safe. Also, do not carry all your cash with you.

Never leave your luggage or your belongings unattended in any place and at bus stations particularly.

If you rent a car make sure you don’t leave luggage or a jacket or anything “appealing” inside. Please remember to make copies of your passport and airline tickets and store them in a safe place.
Have a nice trip.

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Hotel Moana  |  Mal País, Costa Rica  |  US Toll Free (reservations only) 800 314 6901  |  Tel +506 2640 0230  |  Fax +506 2640 0623  |