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There are over a hundred vacation rentals in Manuel Antonio. Our homes have the highest percentage of return guests. Come stay with us and find out why.

We never rent out our home to more than one group at a time. You are able to enjoy the private pool with just those in your group.

Casa Mono Congo
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Frequently Asked Questions
Didn't find your answer? - call us: 1-800-282-3680 (USA & Canada)
US phone +1 773-472-7127•CR PHone +506 2417-3286

Costa Rica Information

Arrival and Departure Information

Activities

House Information

Dining Out & Tipping

Safety and Health

General information about Costa Rica.

  • Costa Rica is located in Central America, between Nicaragua on the north and Panama on the south. It's capital city is San José.
  • Time is -6 hours from GMT. (Same as Central Standard Time in the US.) - No Daylight Savings time. The sun rises at 5:45 AM and sets at 5:45 PM +/- 15 minutes year round.
  • Over 32% of Costa Rica's land is protected, compared to 0.1% of the land in the U.S.
  • Population is 4 million with nearly 1.5 million living in the Central Valley around the capital of San José.
  • The majority of Costa Ricans are descendants of Spanish immigrants.
  • Costa Rica's government is a democracy similar to the U.S. with 3 branches of government.
  • The literacy rate (96%) and life expectancy (75m 80f) are similar to the United States and Canada and much higher than most Latin American countries.
  • Agricultural exports include coffee and bananas, but tourism continues to grow as a contributor to economy.

Do I need a passport or visa?

  • It is now a requirement that all persons entering Costa Rica carry a valid passport (expiration date must be no less than 3 months to 6 months from your entry date) to enter the country.
  • You also need a pre-paid airline ticket for exit Costa Rica (in other words, you can't fly into the country on a one-way ticket and take a bus to another country and fly out from there - if you would like to do this, buy a "refundable" ticket for your exit flight from Costa Rica and then cancel it and get your refund when you exit the country by bus).
  • Citizens with valid passports of the U.S., Canada and most Western European countries are allowed to stay in Costa Rica for 90 days without a visa.
  • Click here for up-to-date information from the Costa Rican Embassy. Back to top.

Why travel to Costa Rica?

  • Only .03% of planet surface but 6% of world's bio-diversity. The country provides a huge opportunity to view fauna and flora that you will never see again in a lifetime. The landscape of Costa Rica remains unspoiled by humans.
  • Polite and well-educated people are the standard in Costa Rica. Its people are very friendly and helpful. Back to top.

Is Costa Rica a good place to vacation with children?

  • There are plenty of exciting activities and educational opportunities for all ages. Experiencing the fauna and flora of the Manuel Antonio area will be an experience your children will not soon forget. Activities include canopy zip lines, rafting, horseback riding, hiking, swimming, sailing or enjoying the beach. Back to top.

When should I visit Costa Rica?

  • The country is relatively unspoiled by tourism and foreign greed. Now is a great time to visit.
  • The dry season is December through April. A mini-summer also exists July and August. September and October average the heaviest rainfalls (see chart).
  • During the “green” season, for the most part, you will experience sunny mornings and afternoon rains.
  • Temperatures are consistent year round but vary by elevation within the country. Back to top.

Why choose the Manuel Antonio area of Costa Rica?

  • The Central Pacific Coast offers many activities for you, your family and your friends.
  • Manuel Antonio remains green in the dry or high season and doesn't experience the strong "Papagayo" winds of the north Pacific area.
  • Temperatures are consistently in the mid- 80's Fahrenheit throughout the year.
  • Manuel Antonio National Park is one of the smallest parks, but offers the most variety of wildlife.
  • The beaches of Manuel Antonio are the most popular in Costa Rica. Locals from San José travel to the area for the weekend.
  • Sport fishing is extremely popular in the Quepos area.
  • All activity stops around 5:45 PM to experience the most beautiful sunsets you will ever see.
  • Despite its small size and great popularity, Manuel Antonio has managed to remain one of the premiere nature spots in the country. The rain forest and mountains literally meet the sea here and the ecosystem is teeming with land, sea and air species. If there is one place to visit in this country and be assured of seeing animals in the wild, this is it. Just a couple of hours walking the park's trails are likely to present various colorful and majestic birds, white-faced monkeys, two and three-toed sloth, coatis, pacas, brilliantly colored land crabs, a variety of multi-hued butterflies, and interesting insects. In all, over 100 species of animals and nearly 200 species of birds have been identified in this park.
  • The squirrel monkeys, white-faced monkeys, howler monkeys, sloths, and many other animals are also frequently seen from and sometimes on our terrace. Back to top.

Do I need to speak Spanish?

  • The official language is Spanish. Most people in San José and Manuel Antonio/Quepos speak English too. You can also find people who speak German, French and Italian.
  • Knowledge of the basics hello (Hola) and thanks (gracias) goes a long way. Try to learn a few phrases and numbers before you come.
  • English is spoken in most areas where tourism exists. Back to top.

How can I retire / live in Costa Rica?

Where can I study Spanish?

  • There are several Spanish schools in the Quepos/Manuel Antonio area. They are all highly qualified schools and you may even receive college credit by studying at these schools.

Can I use my Cell Phone in Costa Rica?

  • Your best bet is to buy a pre-paid phone chip ( Your phone must be unlocked. Talk with your phone provider. We use GSM phones like AT&T and T-Mobile. Other US phone providers have programs to loan you a "world" phone)
  • This information changes so frequently, that the best way to check this is to call your cell phone provider and ask them to check if their cell phone can work in Costa Rica. This may take some time, so be prepared to talk with your carrier for a while to find out the correct answer.
  • The carriers we know work here (if you tell your provider in advance) are for GSM phone users for AT&T Wireless, T-Mobile, Cingular & Cincinnati Bell Wireless at 1900 MHz may use the roaming service (but you must first make arrangements with your carrier two weeks before your travel dates). Please check with your carrier and the Grupo ICE website for updates.

How do I get to Costa Rica?

  • Most major airlines fly into San José (SJO) or Liberia (LIR) from their hubs in the U.S. and Canada. Some European flights are direct, but most connect through the U.S.
  • We highly recommend flying to SJO. LIR currently has no domestic flights to Quepos and is a 5.5 hour drive from LIR to Quepos vs. a 3 hour drive from SJO to Quepos. Back to top.

How do I get from San José to the Manuel Antonio area?

  • You may rent a car, we can hire a van to pick you up, or fly to Quepos from San José. From Liberia, you may rent a car or fly through San Jose to Quepos.
  • Travel by car from San José to Manuel Antonio will take from 3 to 4 hours, depending upon you driving skills and speed. See our directions page. Plan to drive 5+ hours from Liberia.
  • We can hire a van driver to pick you up at the airport and deliver you direct to the house. You can ask call us or send us a request on our reservations page and we'll be happy to help you.
  • Several daily flights leave San José International Airport to Quepos. You may book these flights online. Sansa flies out of a small hanger just 100 yards/meters to the west of the international Airport SJO. Nature Air flies from closer to downtown San José: it takes a minimum 20 minutes to take a taxi from SJO to the Nature Air airport; but, if you spend a night downtown before coming to the house, it may be more convenient . Back to top.

What is the street address? or Directions for the Taxi

  • Costa Rica has no street names except in the downtown areas of cities. Even then, there are few street signs giving the street numbers. So, how do you tell a taxi to take you to an address when there is no address?
  • Taxi drivers get directions by landmarks. Even landmarks that no longer exist. The most famous being 300 meters west of the Coca Cola plant in San José. That plant moved over 20 years ago, yet everyone uses those directions. Same thing in smaller towns. In Quepos, directions can be given using the bull ring as a reference, but that was torn down 15 years ago.
  • Directions to give your taxi driver in Quepos to get you back home:
  • Tome el primer calle en la mano derecha después del Hotel Villas el Parque. (Calle está abajo del Hotel Villas el Parque.) Maneje 350 metros al oeste. Baje el primer camino en la mano izquierda. Géminis del Pacifico es la casa azul más baja y Casa Mono Congo es la casa morada en el fondo de este calle.
  • We suggest you print these directions out.

If I rent a vehicle, what should I expect?

  • An International Drivers License is a great thing to have, but it is not necessary.
  • Subcompacts to Luxury 4x4s are available to rent but we recommend renting a 4x4, especially if you plan to travel the back roads where high clearance is necessary.
  • 4x4s rent from $65 to $120 per day (includes Basic Insurance that may not be waived). Add $10 per day for full coverage no deductible insurance.There is a wide variation in prices among the rental agencies, so shop around. (we can get you the best rate in Quepos)
  • If you're going to drive from San José, make sure the agent reserves a car for you in San José, COSTA RICA (SJO). We know of two cases where the reservation and/or agency didn't exist because the reservation was made for San Jose, CA.
  • Seat belts are the law in Costa Rica - the fine is $500 for not wearing your seatbelt.
  • There are several speed traps along the coastal highway from San Jose to Quepos.If it says 60 don’t go over 70 kph.If a police officer is on the side of the road and waves you down, you are expected to pull over. Don't give them your driver’s license to keep and don't pay them. Take the ticket to your rental agency and pay it there.
  • Maximum speed is 100 kph, but there are very few places where this is possible. Speed limits are posted on signs or painted on the road itself. Be aware of school speed zones that are 25 kph. Most roads are 60-80 kph and you'll be lucky to go 40 kph on dirt roads. Take your time on the drive, relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
  • Bridges are everywhere and some bridges are one lane. At these bridges, there is a yield sign (ceda el paso) on one side of the bridge. Traffic from one direction must yield to the traffic from the other side. On busy days it can take some time to go over a well-traveled bridge.
  • Costa Ricans (or Ticos) are like everyone else behind the wheel of a vehicle. They may be the most polite people we know, but in control of a car, they can be aggressive. The mountains and hills make most roads necessarily curvy with many blind corners. Passing in a blind corner is a common trait for drivers. Be safe.
  • Branches in the road are an indication that there is an accident ahead or a car is stalled in the middle of the road. Use caution.
  • Many roads have no shoulders, so stopping in the middle of the road to fix a flat or pour water in a radiator is common. Back to top.

Where is the vacation home located relative to other activities?

  • The vacation home is located on a quiet side road but right in the middle of the Manuel Antonio area. You can walk to 10 restaurants, a couple spas, a butterfly farm, and a casino. We are located 2 miles from Quepos and 2 miles from Manuel Antonio National Park. Both are a 10-minute taxi ride that will cost $4 or $5. The bus costs about 25 cents and runs frequently. The 4 mile stretch between Quepos and Manuel Antonio National Park has many restaurants and activities. The beach can be accessed at the National Park or by taking a 20-minute hike on an access road near the home. Back to top.

I just want to relax: is there a spa close by?

  • Yes, there are a number of spas close by. The Spa Uno has many different kinds of therapies available and they'll come to the house. They will help you unwind from the rigors of your hectic life and speed up the process of letting you slow down to the Costa Rican pace of life. They also have a line of wonderful organic skin care products, Raw Botanicals, made right here in Quepos.

How do we gain access to the vacation home once we arrive?

  • Once your itinerary is set, simply notify us of you expected arrival time. If you are flying to Quepos, our house manager will meet you at the airport. If you are driving from San José, he will meet you at the home. Upon arrival, he will give you a tour of the home and all of its amenities. You will be provided with his home and cell phone numbers. He is available to serve your needs upon request. Back to top.

Is the home air conditioned?

  • Yes, the 4 bedrooms each have air conditioners. The vacation home experiences a great Pacific Ocean breeze and the ceiling fans provide additional air circulation. Most people prefer not to have the a/c on so they can hear the roar of the Ocean and the sounds of the nighttime jungle. Back to top.

Do I need an electrical adapter?

  • Costa Rica follows the U.S. standards of 110/220V AC 60Hz. The vacation home is equipped with standard U.S. flat-prong type outlets and will accommodate your electrical needs.
  • However, if you stay in some remote area, you may need a round prong adapter for your flat prong device; the voltage is still the same. Back to top.

What type of weather can I expect?

  • View Table of Weather Statistics
  • Average high temperatures are 85-90°F (26-32°C) on the Pacific Coast during dry season (December-May). Low temperatures range 65-70°F (18-21°C)
  • During the green season (June-November), mornings are sunny with clouds coming in during the afternoon. It might rain during the afternoon, but most likely will rain during the night. Back to top.

What activities are available during the day?

°Sunning °Diving °Hiking °Surfing
°Sunset sailing °Sea kayaking °Jungle canopy tours °White water rafting
°Snorkeling °Bird watching °Horseback riding °Sport fishing
Our house manager will schedule any tours that may interest you. Our recommendation: schedule tours for the morning, siesta during the early afternoon and relax by the pool or beach as you wait for sunset. Back to top.

Is it safe to swim in the Pacific Ocean?

  • There are very few lifeguards at the beaches. Most beaches are fine for swimming, but there are also many places that can have strong undertows. Always be cautious.
  • Flotation devices are not a substitution for swimming ability. Strong breezes and tide changes can cause dangerous drifting.
  • Inexperienced swimmers should stay in wading deep water.
  • Be careful around surfers.
  • Keep an eye on your children at ALL times!
  • Don't swim alone.
  • Be aware of rip currents in the area you are swimming. Rip currents have a noticeable difference in water color, a gap in the breaking waves and foam or other objects moving steadily out to sea.
  • If caught in a rip current, DON'T PANIC! Swim parallel to the shore until you are clear of the current. If you can't break free of the rip current, let it take you out beyond the breakers. Then swim diagonally toward shore. Never try to swim against the current. Back to top.

How do I book a tour?

  • Our house manager will handle all of your tour questions. Just ask! We want your stay in our home to be enjoyable, so leave all of the details to us.Back to top.

What activities are available at night?

  • Star gazing
  • Open-air restaurants
  • Discos
  • Casinos
  • Relaxing by the pool
  • Listening to the wildlife
  • Movie Theatre (in English)
  • Renewing old friendships and making new friends. Back to top.

What restaurants are nearby? What is the price range?

  • There are a dozen restaurants within a short walk of the vacation home. The price range is from expensive to moderate.
  • For lower priced traditional food, take a taxi to Quepos and dine with the locals. You will be provided with detailed restaurant reviews upon arrival. Back to top.

What do I tip? -or- Is service included?

  • Service of 10% is included in the restaurant check. Some restaurants include service & tax in the menu prices.Others do not.
  • If you receive excellent service, consider adding another 5-10% for your waiter.
  • Taxi drivers do not expect tips.
  • Tips for the house staff (maid and gardener) are recommended and depend upon how many bedrooms you use and if you ask for laundry service.
  • Tip for the house manager is also recommended depending upon how often you utilize his services.

Is the area safe for tourists?

  • Most crime in Costa Rica is limited to theft and this occurs much more often in San José. Fortunately, random acts of violence have not made their way to Costa Rica.
  • Never leave your valuables unattended on the beach or visible in your vehicle. Lock your valuables in our house safes.
  • Extremely valuable jewelry has no place in Costa Rica. Leave it at home.
  • At night, take a taxi if you are alone or a long distance from the vacation home.
  • The U.S. State Department has a web site listing travel advisories for foreign countries. The statement on Costa Rica has basic travel safety information: U.S. citizens are encouraged to use the same level of caution that they would exercise in major cities or tourist areas throughout the world. Back to top.

Do I need to worry about bugs and insects?

  • Generally no. It is the rain forest, so bugs do exist. However, during the dry season, they usually aren't a problem.
  • If you are annoyed by bugs where you live, bring bug repellent with DEET just in case. Back to top.

What currency is used?

  • Official currency is the Colón. The exchange rate on 29 March 2011 was 495 Colónes for US $1 (and has remained in the 500 / $1 range for years). Quick calculation - multiply by 2 and remove 3 zeros. (Ex: 500 * 2 = 1000, remove the zeros = $1. 10,000 = $20, 5,000 = $10) You can find out the current rate by going to - or - Banco de Costa Rica Exchange -or- BCCR Economic Indicators
  • Bills exist in 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000 and 20,000 (try to avoid the 20,000 - most stores don't have change for that big of bill) denominations. Coins are 5, 10, 20, 25, 50, 100, and 500.
  • US Dollars are accepted in most tourist areas if the bills are new and not torn. Don't bring US bills larger than $20.
  • Major credit cards are accepted in most tourist areas. Smaller local restaurants accept local currency only.
  • ATMs are available at Banca Promerica and BCR in Manuel Antonio (walking distance from the home) and several locations in downtown Quepos. Back to top.

Is the water safe to drink?

  • Unlike Mexico, Costa Rican tap water is safe to drink.However, if you would prefer bottled water it is available in all groceries and restaurants. Back to top.

What if I become ill during my vacation?

  • According to the World Health Organization, Costa Rica ranks 36th in the world's health systems. The United States ranks 37th! Many of the doctors in Costa Rica have been trained in the United States. There are a number of doctors in the Manuel Antonio area who speak English.
  • A new, modern hospital is located near the Quepos airport.
  • Dial 911 for Fire, Ambulance, and Police. Back to top.

What immunizations are required before I travel to Costa Rica?

  • No immunizations are required or recommended for US and Canada, but consult your general physician before you travel.
  • If you're traveling from a South American country you probably will need a YELLOW FEVER Vaccination shot no less than 10 days before you enter Costa Rica - check with the Costa Rican Embassy for up-to-date information
  • As with any travel, check to make sure your inoculations are up-to-date. When was your last Tetnas shot?
  • Back to top.

What should I pack (clothing and other items)?

Airline Tickets & Itinerary Binoculars EarPlanes (search on web)
Passports & photocopies of passports Camera and Charger Medications
Driver's license Video Camera Prescription glasses
Rental car confirmation number Guide Books Suntan Lotion
Emergency number list Pocket dictionary Snacks
Phone access codes (to dial your home country) Sandals (hiking boots if planning on hiking) Sunglasses
Light weight clothes that protect you from the sun Caps and Wide-brimmed Hats Swimsuits
  • Minimum SPF 15 suntan lotion is also a must at our latitude (9 North). Don't burn yourself the first day and ruin your vacation.
  • Leave the formal clothes at home with the expensive jewelry. Dinner attire can be casual slacks or shorts.
  • You can leave your passport in the safes in the home and carry a copy of your passport (you must have a copy of your passport at all times.)
  • These are available at the home but you might want to bring your own:
Alarm Clocks Beach Towels & Wraps Candles
Flashlights Playing Cards Umbrellas

I want to keep in touch by email. Is internet access available?

  • Yes, the home has a computer and internet access. Make sure you bring down your access code and password for any e-mail you want to retrieve.
  • As an alternative, there are several internet businesses in downtown Quepos. Back to top.

How can people contact me while I'm there?

  • There is a phone and a computer at the home. From the US, Casa Mono Congo 011 (506) 2777-5145.
  • International Dialing code is: 506 local phone number Casa Mono Congo 2777-5145.

What are national holidays of Costa Rica?

Fixed Holidays
1 January
New Years Day
19 March
St. Josephs Day (San José only)
11 April
Heroe Day (Battle of Rivas)
1 May
Labor Day
29 June
Sts. Peter and Paul
25 July
Guanacaste Annexion Day
2 August
Virgin of Los Angeles Day
15 August
Mothers Day (Assumption)
15 September
Independence Day
12 October
Columbus Day
8 December
Immaculate Conception
24 December
Christmas Eve
25 December
Christmas Day
28-31 December
Christmas Holiday
Floating Holidays
8 April 2012
31 March 2013
Semana Santa (Easter Week)

Isn't Departure Tax Included in my Airfare? (Rate hike Nov 2011 to $28 pp)

  • No. Everyone must pay $28 US (or the equivalent in Colónes) before you leave the country by plane. The fee you may see on your airline ticket receipt is for runway fees the airline must pay.
  • We suggest you pay by CASH (US$ or Colónes). You can pay by your credit card but please note that it will appear as a CASH ADVANCE and your visa provider will charge you interest and your normal minimum cash advance fee. When you enter the departure terminal, walk through the passage and turn right or left - there are two counters to pay your exit fee. There's a row of people at computers to process exit visas. If you don't have a credit card you'll need cash in dollars or colónes. The personel at the computers will type in information from your passports and give you your paper visa. You'll need to fill out the back of the paper form by hand before you go to your airline for check in.
  • There now are ATM machines outside of the departure lounge where you can obtain cash to pay this tax.

Do you accept credit cards?

  • Yes, we currently accept all types of payments through PayPal (you do not need to sign up). We also accept money orders, travelers checks, and business and personal checks (in $US)
  • Amex Logo Discover Logo MC Logo Diners Club Logo Visa Logo Back to top.

Dear Pete & Terry
What a wonderful encore visit! The house is even lovelier than I remember - or maybe it's just the Costa Rican lifestyle!
We enjoyed it all - especially the sailing trip & rainmaker tour. [Your entire staff] took good care of all of us - Marisol's cooking is outstanding, and what a delight to talk with.
Hope we get an opportunity to return.
Pura Vida! - Trish