Frequently Asked Questions
Rates, Payments & Cancelations
Where can I find the most current rates?
You can find the current rates on our Rates & Specials page.
What is the cancelation policy?
We strongly recommend that the guests purchase a travel protection insurance policy that covers trip cancelation, delay, interruption and other circumstances. No refunds will be given for these situations.
Late check-in and/or early departure for any reason, including but not limited to inclement weather, does not warrant the refund of any payments.
If a client cancels a reservation 90 days or more prior to the scheduled check in date, owner will refund all amounts already paid to the owner.
If a client cancels 61-89 days prior to the scheduled check in date, the client is eligible for a certificate equal to the value already paid towards the booking of a new reservation within one year, based on availability.
If a client cancels a reservation 60 days or less prior to the scheduled check in date, the owner is not obliged to refund any amounts already paid.
If a client cancels at any time for Christmas and New Years weeks, the owner is not obliged to refund any amounts already paid.
What are the payment options?
Payments may be made by wire transfer, personal check, *Paypal or Venmo. This will include the total price for the nightly/weekly rate plus 13% Costa Rica sales tax and additional chef services (if requested). Upon receipt of 50% of the total payment and the signed contract, the reservation is then considered to be “confirmed”.
*Note: If paying via PayPal, to avoid fees being charged back to us, pay from your PayPal balance and not from your checking account or credit card. Choose the Friends & Family option. Confirm no fees are charged prior to submitting payment. All fees will be charged back to the Renter. If you choose to pay through PayPal with your bank account or credit card, please add 3% to the total.
Do the houses have washers and dryers?
Yes, guests have access to a washer and a dryer located in the laundry room next to the kitchen in the main house. Please do not wash shoes in the washer. This will damage the unit. Also, please do not place any items in the washer or dryer that have sand on them. If sand is found in either unit, we will withhold a portion of the security deposit for repairs. Keep in mind that your rental includes daily housekeeping (except Sundays). Flor will wash, dry and fold any clothes that are left in the clothes hampers in each room occasionally. If items are not left in the clothes hampers, they will not be washed. Unless it's imperative for you to use the washer and dryer, we would hope that you could relax a bit more on your vacation and allow the staff to do that kind of work for you.
There is not a washer/dryer located in the guest house, Casita Romantica.
Can I change the dates of my reservation after I have paid?
If your reservations are 60 or more days out from check in, you may change the dates of your trip, granted they comply with Saturday changeover and our nightly minimum for that time frame.
What are the nightly minimums?
Our nightly minimum is 5 nights all year with the exception of high season. High season has a 7 night minimum, which begins mid-December and ends the last week of April or first week of May each year.
If I cannot adhere to the Saturday check in and check out, what are my options?
To keep our calendars clean across all booking websites, we do not make exceptions to the Saturday changeover day. However, you do have the option to book in the transition or green seasons with a 5-night minimum. This way, you can check in anytime between Saturdays and stay for only 5 nights.
Is there a per meal or per day price?
No. Our chef is a private chef for The Villa Mariana only. If you decide not to use his services each day, he will be "on call" for your group and will be paid for the entire week. He can cook up to two meals per day for:
Up to 6 days of a 7 night Saturday to Saturday stay (you choose the chef's full day off between Sunday to Friday)
All days for a 5 or 6 night stay
For more information about our chef, visit our Chef Services page.
What is the typical cost of food for chef meals?
If you plan to order lobster, steak or mahi mahi often, your grocery bills from the chef will be more than if you order less expensive items like chicken salads or typical Costa Rican dishes. Your cost of groceries will depend on how large your group is and what the group is ordering as well. We have found that the daily range per person can end up being $10 per day on the low end and $20 per day on the high end. We highly recommend giving your budget to the chef upfront.
How do I pay the chef for the supermarket bills?
The chef will be buying only the items needed to prepare the food for that meal (or day, if you give him the order for the full day all at once). The chef will present all of the receipts to you each day or every couple of days. He can convert the Costa Rica colones to the US dollar. You can also take the receipts from him and convert into US dollars, then pay him in US cash or Costa Rica colones (your choice). The chef sometimes has a handheld credit card machine as well for Visa and Mastercard, but check with him first if that is your preferred method of payment.
Food & Alcohol
Can the concierge pre-stock groceries before we arrive?
Yes, feel free to ask Hazel to pre-stock the house for you with everything that you may need prior to your check-in.
Are there other supermarkets close by if we run out of any groceries?
If you have a car, we recommend BM Supermercado. It is 2.5 miles from the house and has the best and largest selection of products. Their prices are also the least expensive for quality products that we have found in the area. If you do not have a car, the local supermarket, Super Joseth, will deliver groceries to the house as you need them. The phone number is listed on the wall in the kitchen. Please make sure that someone is in the kitchen or dining room during delivery to open the electronic gate once the delivery representative rings the bell. You can pay in US$ or Colones, just keep in mind that you'll get Colones in change if you pay in US$.
Also, the chef will be happy to call the grocery store for you and order anything that you need delivered. He can pay for the items once they arrive and can add them to your supermarket receipts for payment later.
Any tips on purchasing alcohol like beer, wine and liquor?
This is one tip that I like to give to our guests because it can save you a FORTUNE if you have a house full of drinkers! Not only can you bring your own alcohol in your checked luggage (buy rum runners at rumrunnerflasks.com or on Amazon and fill them up, then disperse them throughout your luggage), but you can also buy up to 5 liters PER PERSON at the duty free shop in the SJO airport once you arrive. Please...OVERbuy at duty free. If you run out of liquor while you are there, you'll have to make a run. In Manuel Antonio and Quepos, prices for liquor are about 40% more than what you'll find at duty free in the airport. Wine is a great deal at duty free (you’ll sometimes find 2-packs for a great price), but it is also easily found at decent prices at the local supermarkets in town. When you arrive at the SJO airport, go through the passport control line and you'll go through the duty free shop to get to baggage claim. You and your luggage will go through a scanner before exiting the airport. This is why you'll want to adhere to the "up to 5 liters of alcohol per person" rule before you leave baggage claim and head to the exit.
If you are all beer drinkers, then great! The local beer (Imperial) is at every corner store and supermarket in town for a very good price.
How much should I tip the Villa Mariana staff?
We provide some basic guidelines below for a group of about 10 guests, however, many groups base the tips on their experience and how large the group is (less work vs more work for the staff).
Housekeeping: general rule is $3 per person per day with a minimum of $175 per week
Groundskeeping: general rule is $3 per person per day with a minimum of $175 per week
Chef: general rule is $5 per person per day with a minimum of $300 per week
Concierge: general rule is $5 per person per day with a minimum of $300 per week
While we have provided these guidelines, tipping at The Villa Mariana is ALWAYS at your own discretion.
You'll want to prepare to hand cash directly to each staff worker (either in US$ or Costa Rica Colon), keeping in mind that they have normal working hours and days off. Be sure to catch them when you can!
Do the restaurant bills normally include gratuity?
Yes, gratuity is included. As always, if you had excellent service, feel free to add a bit extra to your bill.
How much should I tip the tour guides on an excursion?
We suggest adding $10 per guest to the tip jar at the end of an excursion. For example, if you are a couple, you would add $20 to the guide's tip jar.
House Layout & Amenities
What are the sleeping arrangments?
See our sleeping arrangements here.
Is there a TV at the house to watch sports?
Yes, there are 8 total TV's at The Villa Mariana.The living room TV in the main house is the largest at 46" and is equipped with cable and Apple TV for our guests.
Do the houses have WiFi?
Yes, WiFi is available in both of the houses. The network name and password will be listed on the wall in each home in the kitchen. You'll notice that we have Fiber Optic High Speed Internet and TV, so everything is lightning fast if the power in Manuel Antonio has not gone out and the router/modem are all working properly.
Do the houses have Apple TV?
Yes, as of July 2018, Apple TV (generation 2) is available in the upstairs bedroom at Casita Romantica guest house and Apple TV (generation 4) is available in the living room at The Villa Mariana main house. Feel free to log in using your own Apple ID, but be sure to log out before you leave.
Should I pack a hair dryer?
No, it is not necessary. Each of the 6 bathrooms at The Villa Mariana have their own hair dryers.
What type of electrical outlets does Costa Rica have?
The electrical outlets are the same as in the United States.
Do I need to bring beach towels?
No, we have plenty of pool towels (located in the basket in the dining room) and plenty of beach towels (located in the back bedroom above the TV). We recycle the nice pool towels once they have been used for a while and are faded and they ultimately become our beach towels. Please refrain from taking the nicer pool towels to the beach.
Is there daily housekeeping?
Flor, the housekeeper, keeps the house tidy throughout your stay and works each day from 8am-4pm with Sundays off. You can feel free to pack light and throw your clothes in the hamper. They'll be washed and folded on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Flor has been with The Villa Mariana for 9 years and knows the house like it is her own.
Are the houses safe for the elderly or children?
This is completely subjective and should be at your discretion. Be sure to take a look at the photo gallery before making your decision to rent the property. There are no parts of the property or houses that are wheelchair accessible. There are stairs, balconies and swimming pools on the property. Children are certainly welcome but must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Children may not be left unattended on the premises.
Location & Getting Around
How far is The Villa Mariana from the nearest airport?
The Villa Mariana is located 154km or 95 miles from the SJO airport (Juan Santamaria Airport). This equates to a two hour shuttle ride or a 50 minute flight+taxi from the SJO airport to the property.
Is it best to rent a car and drive, take a shuttle or book a ticket on a small plane to get to The Villa Mariana?
As the owners, we highly recommend using the van service (our concierge will book this for you), which takes about 2 to 2.5 hours door to door from the airport to the house. This transportation service could not make the process easier! Just show up at the airport, look for the sign with your name on it and you’ll be completely taken care of from that point until you arrive at the SJO airport to fly home! The driver will make a stop at Crocodile Bridge, the halfway point, for everyone to see the crocodiles, get some snacks, drinks and use the bathroom. Feel free to check out the NatureAir flight option from SJO to Quepos as well, but consider the baggage limitations on these small planes, as well as the taxi charges from the Quepos airport to the house. The time savings is only about 10-20 minutes when compared to the shuttle.
Do you recommend having a rental car at the house?
Our concierge can coordinate having rental cars delivered to the house on the first day that you need them. The cars can also be picked up by the rental car company at the house when you are ready to send them back. We try to make it as easy as possible for our guests. You can literally sign all of the papers from your bathing suit at the dining room table! Keep in mind that most of the excursions that you go in will include transportation, so you will not need cars during that time. You will, however, want to have a car or take taxis when going into the town to go shopping, go to restaurants, the beaches, etc. Rental cars are extremely easy and are a very inexpensive way to travel around the town. Our favorite drivers are listed on the wall in the kitchen.
How do you recommend getting around in Quepos and Manuel Antonio?
We have taxi cab numbers on the wall in the kitchen. They are inexpensive and easy to use and they take US$ (but they give colones in change). If there is a day where you would like a rental car (or a few days of your trip), Hertz can drop a car off at the house and pick it up when you no longer need it. You can do all of the paperwork at the dining room table. Just let Hazel know if you want to get a quote. You can walk to Quepos, but you cannot walk to Manuel Antonio (because the main road is narrow and too windy/hilly with lots of traffic). If you want to go to the beach, Dominical to hike to the Nayauca Falls on your own, restaurants, etc, you’ll need to take cabs or have a car.
Things to Do
What excursions are available?
You’ll be surprised at how much you WILL NOT want to leave the property once you get there. However, since you’ll be in Costa Rica where there are TONS of other activities to do, you’ll want to take advantage of that as well. Depending on what you all do, excursions can be $85 per person to $140 per person. Deep sea fishing and renting a private catamaran for a relaxing day can be priced out for you. Our concierge will assist you in booking the best excursions and activities in the area. There are plenty of adventure tour companies in the area that will also provide transportation to and from The Villa Mariana and most of them include at least one meal, sometimes two meals if they are all day excursions. You can choose from ATV tours, canopy tours, ziplining, white water rafting, tubing, rappelling, spice tours, buggy tours of the palm plantations and catamaran tours. The Marina Pez Vela is within walking distance (if your group is okay with stairs down and then back up). Also, the best fishing tours will leave out of this marina.
Once you book the house, you'll be introduced to the concierge to begin assisting your group in planning your time in Costa Rica.
How far are the beaches from the house?
There are several beaches within 1-2 miles of the villa. You can get to the private beach behind the house, Playa La Macha, by foot if you like to hike — no cars are allowed down to this private beach. It takes most groups about 25 minutes by foot, depending on physical activity level. All other beaches can be driven to within 3-5 minutes. Playa Espadilla is our favorite; at low tide, you can drive your car on the beach and find a great place to park and bring all of your beach gear! Playa Manuel Antonio is the most popular beach in the area where you can easily rent chairs, loungers and umbrellas. There are also plenty of surf instructors, massage therapists and food vendors along this stretch of beach.
Is there a place to hike or work out that is close by?
If you plan to do workouts while on vacation, Quepos is a great place to do just that! Here are a couple of workouts that we love to partake in:
1) “The Hill” - this is BRUTAL if you wait too late. We recommend doing this workout prior to sitting down to your chef-prepared breakfast. Take a gate fob with you and make your way to the front gate for the property. Open the gate and turn left. Start making your way down the hill. When you arrive at the bottom of the hill at the Super Enano store (you can buy bananas here for SUPER cheap, by the way!), turn around and make your way back up the hill. Some people run, some jog, some walk, and some just barely crawl! It’s a great workout as long as you get out early before the sun is too hot. We challenge ourselves by doing “The Hill” 3x before breakfast. Feel free to come up with your own goal.
2) “The Hill + The Steps” - take it one step further and add in the steps down to the marina (down and up) in between your hill workout. The steps are located halfway down the hill on the left side of the road when you see the view of the marina. It’s absolutely beautiful right here! Take in the view and get in an awesome workout at the same time!
3) Playa La Macha - this is the private beach that sits behind the house, but it’s a hike to get there. Depending on your physical activity level, you can get to this beach within 20-45 minutes (my 72 year old dad who does NOT ever work out got down to the beach in 45 minutes and back up in 55 minutes). If you workout a few times per week, you can easily get down to the beach and back up to the house within 45 minutes, but be sure to do some body surfing in the ocean once you get down to the beach to make it a full hour! To get there, go outside of our front gate. Turn left. Make your first left along our fence line. That dirt road splits at the back of our property and you’ll stay to the LEFT. At that point, you’ll want to stay to the right when the trail splits a couple more times. You should begin to hear the waves and see the water, where you’ll see a trail to the left to get down to the beach. Be sure to check the tide schedule online before you head down to the beach to make sure that you’ll actually have a beach!
4) There is a gym located in Manuel Antonio (MA Fitness) that has everything you need for a great strength/cardio workout. The phone number is 2777-6767 (which you can dial from one of the phones in the house).
5) There is a new walking trail that Juan has been building on the property over the past few months. It starts behind the guest house (walk around the deck to the back of the house and follow the steps) and ends at the back of the main house. Feel free to check it out!
Can we request a yoga instructor or massage therapists to come to the house?
Yes, absolutely! Just contact Hazel, the concierge, and she will plan this for you.