The Gilded Iguana frequently asked questions
Planning your vacation
Where exactly are you located?
We are located on Playa Guiones North, in the town of Nosara on the Pacific Ocean.
What’s the weather like?
We experience Green season from May through October. There is always some variability, but mornings are usually sunny and warm, with rains rolling in during the afternoon and evening. The rains are warm, and can come and go quickly, so there is usually time throughout the day to enjoy different activities. Temperatures can range from 70 – 90 F. June, July, August are great traveling months since the rain is cooling down the temperature. October tend to be our wettest months, when rains can sometimes last the whole day.
Our dry season lasts from November to April, and you can expect consistently hot sunny days and warm nights with temperatures ranging from 75-95 F.
When is the best time to go?
Green season is great for people who want to experience lush green vegetation, quieter beaches and town, and don’t mind the occasional rain storm. Dry season is preferred by those who are looking for consistent sun and an escape from the northern winters, and don’t mind the local environment being drier and a bit busier.
Are kids welcome?
Our hotel is welcoming kids of every age. Kids can freely move in a secured environment. We have a kid’s pool for toddlers. The main salt water pool has an easy access ramp for kids. Ask for our first floor rooms that are more easily accessible with little ones. Don’t forget to ask for a kids crib when booking. We sell kids toys and clothes in our hotel store, Iguana shop. The restaurant has special kid items on the menu and high chairs for seating.
Is there a babysitting or nanny service available?
We’ve partnered with experienced local nannies that provides babysitting for an hourly charge. For a full day outing, Nosara Day Camp offers day programs that include activities, transportation and a meal. We offer mountain bike tours for kids starting age 16 and surf lessons starting age 6.
How far are you from the beach?
Playa Guiones North is just a five minutes-walk away from the hotel.
You can stop at our Surf Club, that is even closer to the beach, grab a smoothie and check surf tides. For a day at the beach, you can rent a “beach pack” including a beach trolley, 2 beach chairs and 1 umbrella at our front desk. Playa Guiones is part of the protected Ostional Wildlife Refuge, so you’ll notice there is no development located directly on the beach.
Are there shops and amenities in the area?
The Gilded Iguana is based in the vibrant part of town where you can find some small shops, a number of restaurant & bar options, other hotels that are within easy walking or biking distance. The town of Nosara is about 20 minutes away, and has a few typical Costa Rican restaurants, a supermarket, and gas station.
Is smoking allowed?
No, our rooms are non-smoking. Costa Rican law prohibits smoking in any public place (including our property).
What should I pack?
It gets hot in Nosara, so pack lightweight clothing. Casual and comfortable are key. In our on-site IGUANA shop you find a wide range of beach and surf clothing as well as traveler necessities like sunscreen, bug spray, and other personal care products.
- Passport: A valid passport is mandatory to enter Costa Rica. It is a good idea to look up the travel requirements from your particular country of residence.
- Bathing suits
- Walking/running shoes
- Cool, light clothing (long pants and sleeves are useful for adventure activities and evenings)
- Sunscreen + bug spray
- Prescription medications
- Camera (binoculars may come in handy as well)
- A converter is needed for European electrical plugs: Costa Rica has U.S. style 110 volt outlets
What is the Cancellation policy if I am booking directly on your website?
From Jan 7th to December 19th (During the year)
- 30 days prior to arrival: No Charge
- 29 to 8 days prior to arrival: 1 Night Penalty
- 7 to no show – Full Charge
Dec 20th to Jan 6th (Peak season)
- 60 days prior to arrival: No Charge
- 59 to 30 days prior to arrival: 1 Night Penalty
- 29 days to no show: Full Charge
Travelling to Nosara
What is the best way to come to the hotel?
By plane: Nosara (NOS) is our local airstrip, and flights on the domestic carrier Sansa can be as short as 20 min from Liberia (LIR) and 45min from San Jose (SJO). The planes for these connections are small, prop-engined aircraft.
The closest International airport is, Liberia International (LIR). This airport is two and a half hours away. Our front desk team is happy to help you arrange a pick up from the airport to the hotel. The majority of the trip the roads are paved. For the last 30 min of drive you are on a dirt road. You should count for around $140 per trip in a comfortable, air-conditioned Mini Van. San Jose (SJO) International is a five-hour drive. Our front desk can arrange for a pick up. The trip fee is $240 for a Mini Van. The Mini Van can carry a group of 4 to 6 people with a piece of luggage for each person.
A valid passport is mandatory to enter Costa Rica. It is a good idea to look up the travel requirements from your particular country of residence
Do you recommend any private charter for direct flights to Nosara?
Yes, we recommend Carmon Air, based in San Jose for private charters. Please check their website http://www.carmonair.com/ or ask our front desk staff to organize any arrangements.
Where can I book surf lessons or mountain bike tours?
At The Gilded Iguana we propose in-house activities managed by our own certified professional team.
We are running a Surf club & school where you can get surf lessons for all levels and rent boards. Please check out our Special “Puro Surf” and “Learn how to Surf” package. Our Mountain bike team is expecting you with a wide selection of Mountain bikes and Beach Cruisers. We organize bike tours in the area. Please check out our Special Mountain Biking Pro package.
Staying at The Gilded Iguana
When is check-in and check-out time?
Our rooms are ready from 3pm on. Check-out is expected to be by 12pm. Our front desk is occupied 24/7.
Do you have WiFi?
We have high speed fiber optic at the entire hotel property and the Surf Club.
What methods of payments do you accept?
We accept any local and foreign credit card including Amex, Visa, Mastercard etc.
Can we use credit cards outside of the hotel?
Major credit cards, mainly VISA and Mastercard, are accepted by many places outside the hotel. U.S. dollars are accepted by most places in the area, and it’s a good idea to have some cash on hand for smaller purchases.
Is there an ATM nearby?
There is an BCR (Banco di Costa Rica) ATM at the Nosara gas station (10 min drive). It is best to come to town with some cash even if the majority of restaurants and stores accept credit cards.
Are you pet friendly?
We love animals but unfortunately can’t accommodate pets.
Are there TVs in the room?
Is there laundry service available?
Yes, we have a wash and fold service available that uses biodegradable detergent. No dry cleaning.
What activities should we explore outside of The Gilded Iguana provided activities?
Please check out our website under Experiences and Tours. At Specials you can also book special packages directly while you are booking your hotel room. Watch out for the Adrenaline package, our favorite! Our front desk staff will provide you with more in-depth information and will help you with bookings and reservations.
Is there a place to buy toiletries and other goods?
You can buy personal care items at hour onsite IGUANA shop.
Are the hotel rooms equipped with safes?
What is the best time to visit The Gilded Iguana for Surfing?
Playa Guiones offer over 350 surfable days each year that offer ideal conditions for surfing, surf coaching, for all levels, throughout the year.
It very rarely gets prohibitively big or small. Costa Rica offers more consistently surfable conditions, even at the worst times of year, than most places do at their best
In Nosara, the dry season months of December to March can be a more crowded as North American tourists escape the winter. We like a lot June, July and August. These months offer the most consistent swell window of the year also the pleasant afternoon showers keep the heat down and mean that the jungle is at its most beautiful, lawish green. A typical season sees knee to head high surf from November to March, then shoulder to overhead surf between April to September. This is a mean average however, so it is perfectly possible for any given week in August to be smaller than any given week in December.
The wind, which blows mechanically off shore every morning from November until May, usually turns on shore mid morning and then offers an evening glass off about 50% of the time. In the greener months of June to October the wind is less predictable but the surf is glassy in the morning an incredible 75% of the time and a lunch time shower will often cause the wind to die off in the afternoon, giving us smooth conditions once again. This is another advantage these months have over the more arid months of December to April. In the greener months, when it doesn’t ‘glass off’ in the afternoon, then we still have fun beach break surf, offering plenty of manoeuvres opportunities.
Health & safety
Do I need medical insurance?
Yes, you do. You should always have medical insurance whenever you travel abroad. Your medical insurance must cover you while you are doing an activity. It must also cover you in the event that you require emergency evacuation or repatriation.
Is there any medical emergency room close by?
Yes. 10 min away from The Gilded Iguana location is a medical emergency room that is open 24/7. The doctors are speaking fluently English and are well versed to treat you.
Is there any pharmacy in Nosara?
A pharmacy is a 15 min drive away from the hotel in the town of Nosara, close to the gas station. We are carrying a couple of first necessity items at the IGUANA shop (anti-inflammatory, disinfection, etc).
Is the water safe to drink?
The water in our area is completely safe to drink. The water is coming from the local water company. On our property we have a state-of-the-art filtration and treatment center. However, the hotel offers to guests filtered water in water coolers outside of each room that can be refilled at your convenience.
What about bugs?
The entire Gilded Iguana hotel property is equipped with a natural anti bug misting system that creates a natural barrier. In addition, we carry organic bug spray at our hotel store and recommend to bring a pair of light weight pants and long sleeve t-shirt. There is a limited risk of Mosquito transmitted illnesses including Dengue and Zika in all of Costa Rica.
Do I need to get any shots before travelling to Costa Rica?
The vast majority of our guests do not get any shots before visiting Costa Rica however you can read the latest US governmental advice here: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/costa-rica
Is the area safe?
Yes, our town is safe, and there is a local police station. We advise against leaving valuables, particularly electronic goods, on display and/or unguarded when travelling around Costa Rica particularly on the beach while you are swimming.
At the Gilded Iguana we have our own security guards that watch the hotel and Surf Club property 24/7.
Are there sharks?
There hasn’t be a recorded shark bite on Northern Beaches.
What are the customs about tipping in Costa Rica?
In general, it’s customary to tip in Costa Rica, but not required. A 10% gratuity is automatically included in all restaurants, but customers typically add an extra 5 -10%, especially if the service exceeded expectations. In hotels, a good rule of thumb for tipping housekeeping is $5 – 10/ night. Drivers typically receive a few extra dollars for short cab rides, more for longer trips, and tour guides/instructors are customarily given around $10 per individual on the tour. You can leave a tip upon check-out that will be divided amongst The Gilded Iguana staff members.
When is Costa Rica’s “wet season”? and what is it like?
May, June, July, August & September all typically see afternoon showers. It’s usually only October where the rain can be prohibitive but even then the waves are more consistent than most other countries, even at their best times of year.
Occasionally we have a big weather system that covers the whole of Central American for a few days with rain. This can happen any time between May and October. Even if that does happened, it’s only a few days out of your week and it doesn’t affect the surf, only the sunbathing.
June, July & August are the months where the swell is incredibly consistent (which you can see from the historic surf data on Playa Guiones on MagicSeaweed). We typically have sunny mornings followed by just an hour or two of rain in the early afternoon. Actually, the rain can have the effect of cooling as well, meaning that the midday winds often drop. It is also the time when the jungle is lush and green, and Costa Rica is at its most beautiful. The term “wet season” is really just comparative because we have no rain at all from December until May.
What wildlife am I likely to see around The Gilded Iguana?
Howler monkeys are a daily appearance although you will hear them before you see them. Coatis, armadillos and iguanas are all common as are hundreds of thousands of other species. We are surrounded by some of the most bio diverse jungle in the world.
What about turtles?
We are located adjacent to the Ostional beach with a status of wild life refugee in protection of the sea turtles. While the mass nesting events occur on the beaches of the North (Ostional), we do have regular single turtle nesting and turtle hatches for most of the year. Ostional beach is a 10 km drive. The peak nesting season is September through November. During these months, the mass arrivals normally occur a few days before the new moon. The hatchlings pop up from the sand about 45-54 days later to make their way to the sea. We have packages available for an eco-tourism experience.
Can I contribute to the local community?
You can ask the front desk to put you in contact with Veronica Monge, our Community Manager, who is happy to inform you about the initiatives that are the most impactful for the local Tico community.
Do people speak English or Spanish?
You do not need to be able to speak any Spanish for your stay at The Gilded Iguana. Our staff speaks English. In fact, most people who live around Playa Guiones do speak at least a little English.