You can exchange your dollars for Colones, but everyone in Cost Rica loves dollars. 1 dollar = about 575 but the rate changes daily. So when buying something, remember 1000 colonies is about $2.00. We usually get Both US dollars and Colones from our local bank before we leave. You can use credit cards for most things in most stores and restaurants, but bring one with no foreign transaction fees. One warning…stores will NOT take US bills that are heavily worn, have any kind of tear or parts of the bill missing, or any kind of stamps or writing on them. We usually go to the bank and ask for new or almost new bills to carry with us. THERE ARE NO ATMS OR BANKS IN EL CASTILLO. Last chance is in La Fortuna.
In restaurants, activities and most shops, there will be people who speak English. But the average person on the streets probably will not. Most of the time, someone nearby will be there to help. Most restaurants have internet so you can log on using your personal phone. We use a lot of sign language, our phone translators and so on, and always manage to get by. The Costa Rica people love tourists who try to communicate with them. We laugh a lot, and have never met a rude person in our travels.
There are no street addresses in all of Costa Rica. So most directions are made by landmarks, towns or places along the way. But the towns rarely have a sign that tells you where you are, so even these kind of directions are confusing and sometimes misleading. Also, there are several towns by the same name in Costa Rica. If you have a Garmin GPS that takes a micro memory card, we suggest buying a Costa Rica map card (we got ours on Amazon). You can also get them used on eBay, less expensive. The GPS map card costs between $35 and $50. If you rent a car, they will have them available, usually for $10 a day. Most places have their GPS location listed, and that is a good way to find places. We had only one bad experience…the GPS address of one B and B we were given was not close to their actual GPS address.
As you rent your car, ask for directions to HY 1, the InterAmerica Highwqy. Tell them you are going to San Ramon. OR if you have a GPS…we hope you do…set it for San Ramon.
Once in San Ramon, you have turned onto on HY 142. Change your GPS
to La Fortuna.
You will stay on 142 all the way to La Fortuna. This is a beautiful drive and you will see many climate zones of Costa Rica as you drive. You will cross two mountain ranges. Take your time and enjoy the drive. As you enter La Fortuna, plan to stop and pick up snacks or any food you may want for your stay. Soda, beer, wine, dinner food if you plan to cook here. You will be able to find basics in a small store in El Castillo, but the selection is far better and less expensive in La Fortuna. There are several stores here, we suggest Super Christian on the left, just before the city square on the right. It is on the corner.There is another Super Christian on the way out of town on the left.
Continue on 142, passing through La Fortuna. It is about 15 miles to your next turn off.
You will pass many huge resorts…notice Baldi Hot Springs on the left as you go past…Just past Baldi, Look for Los Lagos on the left. Our suggestion for a great half day of fun plus a good 3 course meal…more later. A few miles down the road you will pass Tabicon Hot Springs on the right. Continue on 142. Soon, on the right, you will see a small blue building, a tourist police station.
On the left is the road to the National Park. Take this road. Keep your eyes open…we have seen sloths, anteaters, chayote, Great Curasows, Magpie Jays, and many other creatures along this road.
Follow this road past the entrance to the Arenal National Park, to a big 90 degree turn to the left.
We know, the road is terrible. And it will not get any better for the rest of your trip. Enjoy the experience. ...the rest of the details on our where we are will be available once you have confirmed your reservation.
MEET Kelly FIRST
Go into El Castillo and start to drive up the hill. Just as you see the road start to turn right, turn left into the restaurant, La Ventanita. Kelly is the owner. He will welcome you and take you to our house. He will also do a walk through of the house, explain how things work, provide tickets for anything you may have booked with him already and help with your plans for the duration of your stay.
Remember, we are a B&B, so you get a hot home cooked breakfast every day, cooked right in your own kitchen at a time you select each day.