Dear Costa Rica Retreat participants ~
We are SO GLAD you will be joining us for our Costa Rica Retreat 2018!
Please keep yourself informed by reviewing all of this information from Blue Spirit. I know it is a lot of information, but it is all very informative and it will truly support you with your retreat experience!
Please let us know if you have any questions – you can email Jackie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to seeing you soon!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
How much money should I bring? Do I need to exchange currency before I come?
You won’t need the Costa Rican currency “Colones” for our time in Blue Spirit. US dollars and credit card will cover our needs. Just be sure to let your credit card company know that you will be traveling to Costa Rica for these dates. We recommend that you bring about $200 USD for the week in Blue Spirit – in small bills. If you plan to travel after Blue Spirit, you can exchange currency as needed – most hotels have excellent exchange rates. Also, US dollars are widely accepted throughout Costa Rica. It is just helpful to have small bills of $20 bills or less. There is an airport tax of $29 USD on the way out (some airlines have this included in the ticket) and you can simply use your credit card – or pay cash if you prefer.
For those of you coming from Canada, Bulgaria, or other countries outside of the US: Credit cards will serve your needs for most things at/around Blue Spirit, and can be used for almost everything except for tipping massage therapists and tour guides. For these purposes, people with money from other countries will need to exchange the money to US$ (or colones, Costa Rican money). They can do this at the airport (recommended at the airport in their country of origin – as the airports in CR can have a high exchange rate).
What is the schedule like on arrival day? For the rest of the week?
Our group will be meeting at 4:30pm on Saturday 6/30 at the front lobby (where you will check in when you arrive). We will do some introductions, and then at 4:45pm we’ll give you a little walking tour of Blue Spirit – ending up at the ocean! So please feel free to wear your bathing suit and bring a towel / sarong to that first meeting at 4:30pm so you can take a little dip in the water at the end of our walking tour. And if you arrive a little late, feel free to meet us at the ocean around 5pm!
What will the weather be like?
Do I need to bring a jacket?
Yes, it is recommended that you bring a light jacket for the evening. You can also bring a very light rain jacket or poncho if you would like, although Blue Spirit provides umbrellas for walking between buildings on the Blue Spirit Grounds.
What else do I bring?
Beach towel / sarong, alarm clock, watch, sunscreen (natural is preferable, such as zinc), shorts / tank tops / t-shirts for yoga, a light jacket for evenings during rainy season, sun hat, bathing suit, water bottle, natural bug repellent (can be bought at Blue Spirit), camera/batteries/charger (outlets are the same as in the US – so no adapter is needed), your special medication, hiking sandals, easy to slip on/off sandals, and jeans for horseback riding. We recommend bringing a flashlight, especially if you are staying in an eco-cottage or a tent. During rainy season, or in case you plan to travel around the Central Valley and San Jose during dry season, pack a light raincoat or rain-poncho. Blue Spirit does have some hairdryers available at the Front Desk for guests to borrow.
About the beach towel: Blue Spirit provides towels in your rooms for showering use, but they don’t have towels we can take to the beach. Instead of bringing a bulky beach towel, we recommend that you bring a very thin sarong – like a large scarf. It is very light, packs well, and does the job! If you forget a towel / sarong, or don’t want to pack one, you can purchase one at the onsite store. Towels are $8. Sarongs are $22 and come in a little cotton bag that is handy for the beach!
Yoga mats: Blue Spirit provides plenty of yoga mats, so you don’t need to bring one.
What is the Time Zone in Costa Rica?
In addition, Blue Spirit shares this additional information with us:
Please remind your participants, that each of them is responsible to reserve their seat on the inbound and outbound shuttle vans by completing the online form under the ‘Shuttle Reservations’ link on the Blue Spirit website:
- Blue Spirit has multiple shuttles picking participants up at the Liberia Airport on Saturdays ONLY from 12-4pm and then 7-8:30pm. Shuttles will depart as they fill during these hours.
- Please go to this link to make your reservations for the Shuttle between Blue Spirit and Liberia Airport http://www.bluespiritcostarica.com/shuttle-reservations
- When you arrive it will take about 30 to 60 minutes to go through immigration, customs and baggage claim. Once you have retrieved your luggage and passed customs, your shuttle organizer will be waiting outside the only terminal exit at LIR. The organizer will be wearing a Blue Spirit T-shirt and will greet you with a sign that says BLUE SPIRIT.
- The shuttle will depart when it is full and all the arriving guests are in the shuttle – we don’t leave anyone behind – so you may need to wait a few minutes until everyone is in the shuttle.
- If your flight is delayed, rescheduled, AND ESPECIALLY if you miss a connection:
- please contact Blue Spirit at +1.845.684.2007; this is a US number where you can reach Blue Spirit.
- If you have any issues while you are in Costa Rica please contact us at our local number 2656.8300.
- When you schedule a shuttle throughBlue Spirit, we will have all of your flight information and will be tracking flights, so we will keep track of delays or re-scheduling and there will still be a shuttle waiting for you at the airport.
- The ride from Liberia Airport to Blue Spirit is between 2 and 2.5 hours.
- For your departure from Blue Spirit after the retreat is over, there are several group shuttle services departing Blue Spirit between 4:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m on Saturday morning. You should plan to be at the airport two hours before your flight departs. Please note: The exit tax which you pay upon departure from Costa Rica is $29, and can be paid in Costa Rican Colones, US Dollars, or credit cards.
Blue Spirit Eco-Sphere
- We ask all guests to NOT bring any soaps, shampoos, bug repellent or personal care products that may have harsh or antibacterial chemicals from home. Blue Spirit provides at no charge luxurious organic bath products with essential oils that do not interfere with the proper functioning of our living water treatment plant, which relies on living bacteria and chemical sensitive microorganisms. Please leave these products in the room at the end of your stay. Blue Spirit sells natural bug repellent at the onsite store by the eating area.
- Our water treatment plant processes all wastewater from toilets, showers, kitchen, etc. into safe gray water. All gray water is used to keep our gardens green and lush throughout the year via our drip irrigation system.
- Check in time for all rooms on Saturday is 4 pm. If necessary, Front Desk gladly stores any luggage before the indicated check in time.
All meals are buffet style, and served in the dining hall at the following times:
Breakfast – 7:00am to 9:00am
Lunch – 12:00noon to 1:30pm
Dinner – 6:00pm to 7:30pm
- Blue Spirit cuisine focuses on gourmet vegetarian cooking made from organic (as available) or locally grown produce. Fish caught from local waters is served 3 times a week.
- Creating our Blue Spirit menu, we took eventual food sensitivities (gluten, dairy, etc.) into consideration, so there are plenty of options to choose from at each meal.
- We kindly ask all guests to not come in bathing suits to the meals, and to wear footwear in the dining hall as a safety precaution.
- All tap water at Blue Spirit comes from deep wells and is completely safe to drink. All our water goes through a carbon and UV light filtration system and is regularly tested.
- We recommend that guests bring their own reusable water bottle from home, or can purchase one at Blue Spirit store.
Internet & Wi-Fi
- Wi-Fi service via your laptop or smartphone is available at no cost. There is also a guest computer available at no cost in the Lobby.
- Please note that Blue Spirit cannot guarantee connection to all types of laptop computers nor provide technical support for Wi-Fi access.
Amenities at Blue Spirit
- Blue Spirit Café offers fresh fruit and vegetable juices, super food smoothies, freshly baked goods, raw food snacks, coffee specialties, and in the evening organic wines and beers. All purchases at the Café will be charged individually, and can be paid with cash or charged to the guest’s room.
- Blue Spirit Store has a selection of Costa Rican arts and crafts, along with books, jewelry, yoga clothes, CDs, personal and sundry items, as well as local Costa Rican coffee and super foods for you to take home. Please be aware that any sales of clothing, music (CD’s), books, jewelry or other items to retreat participants should be channeled through our Gift Shop. You can buy natural bug repellent at the store.
- The Infinity Pool, filled with natural salt water, is 24 hours open – please be mindful of the ‘Quiet Hours’ (10pm-7am), if you choose to bathe at night. Please ask for a pool-towel at Front Desk. For everyone’s safety, we ask that no glassware (bottles, glasses, or containers) be brought to the pool area. If any glass breaks in the pool, it is Blue Spirit’s policy to close the area for up to 48 hours while our maintenance staff performs a thorough cleaning.
Guest Rooms, House Keeping, and Laundry Services
- Please let reception know if there is anything in your room that needs attention.
- Respecting ecological concerns, we choose to change linens and sheets only once per week – unless you request additional change during your week’s stay. If you should need to have your towels laundered, please bring them to the Front Desk.
- If Housekeeping comes to clean your room and they see cash, jewelry or other valuables not in the safe, they will immediately leave the room. Your room will not be cleaned until all valuables are properly stored. Please note that Blue Spirit is not responsible for any missing personal belongings on the premises.
- Blue Spirit does not provide laundry services for retreats lasting one week. We suggest guests bring enough clothing for their weeklong stay. Guest may hand wash and air-dry their garments if desired. Bio-degradable laundry soap can be purchased at Blue Spirit’s store. If your program lasts more than 1 week, Blue Spirit will provide affordable wash, dry & fold laundry service options (not dry cleaning). We highly recommend guests hand wash their own delicate, non-colorfast items. Blue Spirit will not assume responsibility for damaged items.
- There are approximately 60 full time Costa Rican local staff, working daily to make your stay pleasant and safe, in housekeeping, kitchen, gardening, security and more. Blue Spirit adds a per person discretionary charge of $60 to your room bill for staff tips – which are distributed equally to all of our Costa Rican staff. This is only a suggested amount that you may change to whatever you feel most appropriate.
- Tipping for wellness therapists, Café staff and tour guides are separate from general staff. If you do wish to leave a tip for them, you can tip the therapists in cash at the time of your treatment, or you can leave it in an envelope with the therapist’s name in the locked box at reception. Café staff has their own tip jar.
Being Eco-Conscious and Mindful
- All toilet paper and sanitary products need to be disposed of in the wastebasket next to the toilet. The bins are emptied daily, or please let us know immediately if you would like your bin cleared. The bacteria that is necessary to run our treatment plant can’t eat toilet paper, so this waste just clogs the system. One of our maintenance staff members has to manually remove any paper from our septic system – please help them keep this task to a minimum.
- We ask for your help conserving energy by turning off the lights, A/C, and electric fans when you are not in your room.
- Please help us conserve the precious resource of water by limiting your time in the showers – be conscious bathers.
- Please respect ‘Quiet Hours’ from 10pm to 7am. Smoking and Open Flames
- Smoking is not permitted at Blue Spirit with the exception of on the beach, outside of the Blue Spirit grounds. Guests who wish to smoke must dispose of the cigarette butts in the trashcans next to the beach gate.
- For reasons of fire safety Blue Spirit does NOT allow candles or incense burning in any of our guest accommodations.
- Any candles or incense being used as part of a retreat activity in a Yoga Hall must be in an approved container and must never be left unattended.
Lock Box and Lost & Found
- Don’t leave personal items unattended in the common areas – any unattended items will be collected and turned in to the Lost & Found at Front Desk.
- With the exception of the platform tents, all rooms have complimentary safes for guests to store valuables in. Guests staying in the Tents can store valuables in the safe at Front Desk.
Complimentary Blue Spirit Shuttle and Local Taxi Service
- Blue Spirit provides a complimentary weekly shuttle service (usually on Wednesday) into Guiones beach town. This is an opportunity for guests to explore the beach town’s boutiques and restaurants. To take advantage of the free shuttle, be sure to arrange your weekly retreat activities to accommodate this. The free shuttle has limited space (12 per trip) so guests need to sign up at Front Desk to reserve their spot.
- Taxis into Guiones beach town can be reserved in advance via the Front Desk. The taxi company we use has standard rates for most commonly used routes.
- Only registered guests are allowed into Blue Spirit. To maintain our privacy and security, please refrain from inviting anyone to the property. If you do wish to bring a guest, please speak with Faculty Support about making arrangements.
- Visiting guests may dine at the restaurant at an additional cost, with advance notice. All visitors are requested to leave the premises by 10pm.
Before You Leave…
Check Out & Departure Day
- For the outbound shuttle service, there will be a list at Front Desk on Thursdays before the Saturday departure: all guests who want to use the shuttle need to confirm or add their flight time! The Front Desk Manager will determine the departure times for the different shuttle vans, so that all guests can arrive at the airport with ample time for the corresponding customs and ticketing procedures.
- All guests should settle their room bill for any incidentals (e.g. massages, café items, gift shop purchases) incurred during their stay by 4pm on Friday.
- The Friday prior to a group’s departure, all open accounts will be closed so that guests must pay for any Café items with cash.
- Pack Lunch, To Go: Blue Spirit offers a Pack Lunch available for purchase at the Café. It includes freshly prepared roasted veggie sandwich, fruit, trail mix and a cookie. To reserve the Lunch Pack guests must pay in advance on the Friday prior to departure and pick up on Saturday morning.
- Check out time is 10am on Saturday. If necessary, Front Desk gladly stores any luggage after the indicated check out time.
- We ask our guests to leave their packed luggage and all belongings outside their room at least 30 minutes before their scheduled departure time. Once the room is completely empty, the door needs to be locked, and the room key needs to be returned to the Front Desk. We will then send a staff member to bring your luggage and belongings to the Front Desk area.
- All room keys should be returned to the Front Desk. There is a $25 charge for lost or unreturned keys.
- Nosara has become known as a peaceful and vibrantly creative international community that attracts nature lovers, surfers, yoginis and families alike.
- The community spreads along 3 unspoiled stunning beaches – Playa Guiones, Playa Pelada, and Playa Nosara – with private houses, little hotels, and excellent restaurants hidden among lush tropical greenery. The 3 beaches are protected as a turtle refuge, and almost half of the land in the entire area is protected forest where no tree may be logged, and a moratorium on hunting wild animals stretches back for over 20 years.
- Blue Spirit is located on the South end of Playa Guiones. The North End of Guiones is where the surf break is. The Sound End is rockier so not appropriate for surfing. On the other hand, our side of the beach is perfect for Stand Up Paddling, Kayaking, Snorkeling, Swimming and lounging in the tide pools during low tide.
- The actual village of Nosara is 6 kms inland, alongside the Río Nosara. It’s a small traditional Costa Rican town with grocery stores, traditional restaurants, churches, schools, post office, a disco and the ubiquitous soccer field. There is also the landing strip for local daily flights to and from the capital, San José. Most of the tourist-oriented things to see and do in the area are located in Playa Guiones and Playa Pelada.
Blue Spirit FAQ’s: http://www.bluespiritcostarica.com/faqs