Frequently Asked Questions
Please click on the questions below to read their answers, or scroll down to see all. Please contact us if you have a question that you don’t see here.
- Why do you collect sales taxes? Other owners/agencies don’t.
- Do I need a Passport or Visa to enter Costa Rica?
- Is any vaccination or immunization required or suggested?
- How do I get from the airport to the rental property?
- Do I need a car to get around? Do I need a 4WD?
- How safe is Jaco? Can I walk at night without a problem?
- Which currency is most commonly used in Costa Rica?
- Are ATM’s available?
- Are Credit Cards accepted?
- Do locals speak English? Do I need to speak Spanish to get by?
- Can I use my cell phone in Costa Rica?
- What voltage and type of electric plugs are used?
- Are internet cafes and Wi-Fi hot spots available?
- Can I make international calls from the rental home?
- Is the water safe to drink?
- Can I bring my pet?
- Is smoking allowed inside the rental homes?
We collect because it’s the law. The reason why others may not be collecting sales taxes is because tax enforcement in Costa Rica does not compare to that of other more developed countries.
The local sales tax legislation, though vague in principle, has been interpreted in court to apply to all transient (short-term or tourist) lodging accommodations, including private condos and villas. The term transient is interpreted as any stay of up 3o nights or less.
Costa Rican law is very clear in that if the item sold is in Costa Rica (in this case the rental property) then Costa Rican laws apply. So, even if the transfer of money is done entirely outside of Costa Rica, the Costa Rican sales tax would have to be collected.
However, many homeowners (and some rental agencies and property management companies) are either ignorant of this or simply decide to “take the chance”, particularly when the collection is done outside of Costa Rica.
By the way, we also enforce that all of our homeowners file their Costa Rican income tax return.
Sales tax and Income tax are an important source of revenue for the Costa Rican government, who, lacking oil or mineral resources, relies on them to provide its people the infrastructure they need.
By renting with us you make sure you are contributing to the development of this wonderful country which has decided not to have an army.
Do I need a Passport or Visa to enter Costa Rica?
Citizens from the USA, Canada, Mexico, Europe and Central America are not required a visa to enter Costa Rica and can simply present a valid passport with expiration beyond 6 months. All other nationalities please check with the nearest Costa Rican consulate.
Is any vaccination or immunization required or suggested?
Except for the vaccination against yellow fever in the cases outlined below, none is necessary. All you need is a good insect repellent and solar protection.
Vaccination against yellow fever
All persons who, before their entry into Costa Rica, have been in countries at risk, should be vaccinated against yellow fever. This must be proved by an “International Certificate of Vaccination Against Yellow Fever”, which is valid from 10 days after vaccination.
Exemptions: Persons on their way to Costa Rica that have only been in transit through countries at risk (at airports, ports and border posts), are exempt from the requirement of vaccination against yellow fever.
Also exempt from the immunization requirement are persons who, having been in the countries considered at risk, before entering Costa Rica, have remained for a period of at least 6 days in a country that is not at risk and have not developed fever during that period.
The countries at risk are:
- In America: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, French Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago.
- In Africa: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Sao Tomé and Príncipe, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zambia.
Please check with the corresponding Costa Rica consulate website for your country.
How do I get from the San Jose airport to the rental property? How long is the drive?
It is a scenic 1:15 hour drive from the San Jose airport (SJO) to the Jaco area, mostly on highways.
RENTAL CAR: Many guests rent a car at the San José airport, and we can assist you with that. The road is completely paved so, unless you want to off-road, a regular 2WD is sufficient. Check-in is at the property and we will send you driving directions, so be sure and bring those along with you.
PRIVATE VAN: This is the easiest option for you since there is no waiting and no chance of getting lost, especially if arriving late (it gets dark around 6 PM). We can arrange for an air conditioned Private Van or Coaster pickup by a friendly, English-speaking driver either at the airport or at your hotel. You would be driven to our rental office to register and then to the rental villa or condo. You may do a short stop along the way. Click here for details.
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: We do not particularly recommend public buses as they are usually crowded and take too long to arrive. If you are a group of 4 or less and would like to save and still travel comfortably we suggest checking the shuttle services offered by interbusonline.com. If you are a large group your best choice is to hire a private van.
AIRPORT TAXI: This is the most expensive option and not necessarily the best. If you decide to take this option make sure you buy your ticket at the booth, never directly with a driver. This way you know the driver is licensed and insured.
Do I need a car to get around? Do I need a 4WD?
The answer will depend on the location, the activities you would like to do and the places you would like to visit, such as Manuel Antonio and the beaches along the way. Many tours and excursions, such as the canopy zip line tours, offer transportation from and back to the rental unit.
If you would like to have the freedom to go anywhere anytime then the answer is yes.
Most roads are paved or at least graded so there is no need for four wheel drive. Driving on the beach is illegal.
Public buses are unfortunately still low quality, usually crowded and schedules are limited.
Taxi cab service availability depends on the location.
There are car rental agencies in Jaco, Herradura and Los Suenos so you may rent locally and for only the time you need.
The following recommendations assume that you will stay home most of the time but would like to go to a restaurant or do a tour occasionally:
- Jaco: not needed, you can walk to almost everything, cab service is plentiful and cheap, supermarkets offer home delivery service.
- Los Suenos: not needed, you can either walk or take the Los Suenos shuttle within the resort, cabs are available, supermarkets offer home delivery service, an alternative is to rent a golf cart to move within the resort.
- Playa Hermosa: recommended, cabs take longer to get there, supermarkets offer home delivery service.
- Playa Esterillos: recommended, no quick cab service, no supermarket home delivery.
Note on Taxi cabs: the official taxis in Costa Rica are RED, not yellow. Take only those, they’re insured, pay their taxes, and charge you with a meter (“maria”). We strongly discourage you from taking any other.
How safe is Jaco? Can I walk at night without a problem?
It’s safe and yes, you walk at night without a problem. The streets are well lit and we’re happy to say that Jaco is much, much safer now than what it had been many years ago. The Federal and Municipal governments have done a tremendous job by incorporating new police forces that have cleaned much of the petty theft that used to occur. We now are protected by a friendly Municipal police force and a Tourist police force that patrol the beach and town and keep the bad guys away.
The same precautions as in any popular tourist destination should prevail. Costa Rica in general has a very low level of violent crime anyway, however care should always be taken with your valuables. A safe box is provided in your rental home for this purpose.
Which currency is most commonly used in Costa Rica?
The Colon (pronounced kawh’lawn, Colones in plural) is the Costa Rican currency though US Dollars are widely used and accepted. Euros and Canadian dollars can be exchanged at the airport and in some banks. You should try to exchange at a bank to receive the best rate. There are exchange offices and banks on Jaco’s main street.
Are ATM’s available?
Yes, there are several ATM machines located in Jaco, Herradura and Los Suenos and most dispense your choice of local colones or US dollars. Look for bank branches for BAC San Jose, Banco Nacional and BCR on Jaco’s main street and at Plaza Herradura, and the Scotiabank ATM located inside Mas X Menos supermarket in downtown Jaco.
Are Credit Cards accepted?
Yes, credit cards are widely accepted in Jaco and surrounding areas, particularly Visa and Mastercard. We at BEACHHOME Costa Rica accept ALL credit cards, including American Express and Discover.
Do locals speak English? Do I need to speak Spanish to get by?
Many locals have learned to speak some English, but of course some basic Spanish never hurts. There are some Spanish schools in Jaco in case you would like to brush up your Espanol.
Can I use my cell phone in Costa Rica?
Some providers offer roaming that works in Costa Rica, so check with your cell phone company for rates and availability.
At the airport, in the arrivals lounge, you can easily buy an inexpensive local SIM card.
Also, some car rental companies like Adobe Rent a Car offer you a local cell phone for a very low price during the rental period.
What voltage and type of electric plugs are used?
Electrical outlets in Costa Rica are 110v just like in North America. However, although most wall outlets are being switched to 3 prongs, if your device uses a 3 prong plug, we recommend bringing an adapter which converts from 3 to 2 prongs.
Are internet cafes and Wi-Fi hot spots available?
Yes, free Wi-Fi in restaurants is common in Jaco. There are several internet cafes in Jaco, Playa Hermosa and Los Suenos.
Can I make international calls from the rental home?
The phone lines are blocked for international calls. However, you may make international calls on the unit phone by buying an inexpensive prepaid calling card at a local supermarket. You may also use your computer and the unit’s internet connection to call internationally. Finally, the call centers on the main street in Jaco offer international calls at reasonable rates.
Is the water safe to drink?
Jaco’s tap water is perfectly OK to drink. However, we recommend drinking bottled water instead of tap water because of the high mineral content in the latter. This mineral content, though perfectly safe, may upset your stomach if you are not used to it. Small quantities such as in ice cubes will not affect you. A few of our rental homes and condos have their own filtration and purification system, please inquire. Most bars and restaurants use purified water for their ice cubes.
If you decide for bottled water, please recycle.
Can I bring my pet?
We have a few rental homes that will allow certain breeds of dogs. In these cases, dogs should not bother other people and should always be kept on a leash. A pet cleaning fee may apply. Please use our Property Search feature to see which rentals allow dogs. For most homes we do not allow pets for the comfort of our other guests.
Is smoking allowed inside the rental homes?
No, all of our homes are smoke-free. Smoking in private homes can be done outdoors and on terraces, as long as the smoke does not enter the unit. There are penalties for smoking inside and for leaving cigarette butts around the property.
Smoking in condominiums is strictly limited to private balconies, as long as the smoke does not enter the unit. Heavy penalties can be imposed by government law for smoking in indoor and outdoor common areas, including parking areas.
Disclaimer: the information contained in this page, though deemed accurate, may change at any time. Neither BEACHHOME, Rock Property Management S.A., its employees or affiliates shall be held responsible for any loss or damage incurred from the use of this information.