Practical InformationWIFI, Telephones, Footwear, and more
Remember we are on a river that needs to be crossed regularly. I usually recommend some type of heavy soled, non-leather sandal, good walking shoes/boots and light weight slip on shoes for inside the house. Also, you may want to try using our rubber jungle boots. They are fairly well built and are perfect for the terrain. If you do want to try these , you will need a few pairs of high socks. I use baseball or soccer socks. The boots range in size from 36-45 EUR. They run fairly narrow in width.
The house shoes are for your comfort in the house but we do not require that you wear shoes inside. We do discourage dirty shoes in the house and most shoes are very dirty after a few minutes on the property——we really are in the forest. This policy helps keep the floors from getting wet and slippery and also helps keep the mud and sand out of your bed. We know that some guests have medical reasons for needing to keep their shoes on, so we do make exceptions but bringing an extra pair of shoes is preferable.
Notes on electronics and power:
First of all we use USA style outlets.
We run everything on solar power, including all our refrigeration and communications equipment, except our hot water showers which we run on propane. 12V lighting is available 24 hours a day although we try to conserve at night. 120V AC is available for charging from about 10 am-3 pm.
In the last several years more and more people are traveling with electronic devices and we are just not equipped to handle heavy or continuous use of these devices. Our new updated system has a much larger capacity than before, but a few heavily overcast or rainy days—— or the possibility of equipment failure due to the extremely humid climate—–still forces us to be conservative. We are in a mountain valley, with the forest on all sides of the lodge, so we do not get a lot of sun. Please plan accordingly. We have always been able to keep everyone’s camera batteries charged, but if possible, bring extra batteries for cameras so you have fresh batteries for the mornings. Normally we only charge batteries during daylight hours. Extra memory cards are also a big help eliminating the need for extended computer use.
If you are bringing a computer or other electronic device please arrive with as full a charge as possible and plan on using only when absolutely necessary. IF there is an issue with power(rare), refrigeration, camera batteries and house fans have the first priority.
Wifi and connectivity:
This is a great chance to unplug and enjoy the natural world. We discourage use of computers since many of our guests are here to get away from them. With that said, we do have WIFI available for several hours around mid-day. In emergencies we can make it available at other times as long as the service provider is up and running. The signal is not strong enough for anything heavy like picture uploads, heavy mail programs etc., but usually will suffice to send a basic email to those you need to stay in contact with.
Telephones are another issue. We have a weak 3G signal on the upper story of the lodge at one spot where text messages can be received and sent. It works on some phones and not on others. Near my office there is a better signal, when our amplifiers are turned on (daylight only), but it is still not dependable. For the same reason we discourage heavy use of computers, we prefer phones to be turned off or in airplane mode so as not to disturb other guests just in case a stray call gets through.
It is always a good idea to have travel insurance. Travel expenses are often pre-paid. If your plans need to change due to health, family emergency etc., drivers, guides, and lodges, who are often fully booked during the high season and have turned down many reservations, are unlikely to happily give a refund. The local airlines sometimes will give you a credit but no refund. High season is short here and needs to cover expenses for many slow months. Please see our cancellation policy on the reservations page.
Pharmacy and hospitals
In the 18 years we have been open, never has a guest needed professional medical care, but it is good to know what is available. In the town of Puerto Jimenez there are two pharmacies and one clinic with a few overnight beds, basically capable of first response and dealing with emergency or basic medical needs. It is run by the national health system which requires participation, so cash may be necessary to receive treatment (there is a ATM in town). Across the gulf, 35 minutes by boat, there is a well equipped hospital. The pharmacies usually have a private doctor available. Most drugs may be purchased easily, if necessary.
San Jose has great private hospitals. The standard of care is world class and possibly better than what one gets in their own country although some newer drugs, equipment and technology may not be available. Rates vary from extremely reasonable (the norm) to much higher than expected depending on the procedure, doctor or facility.
In recent years several guests have asked us about the use of CPAP machines. We usually do not run 120 V at night, only 12V. We often can rig up something with our small portable inverter and a car battery to provide 120 power or leave the main inverter on for the night. The last option depends on how full we are, sunlight, guest power usage, etc. and is not to be depended on. Travelers who need this equipment should seriously consider purchasing one of the various travel CPAPs available these days. These run on rechargeable batteries and often come with their own solar charger. ANYWHERE you are in Costa Rica, there is always the possibility of a blackout, sometimes for many hours to days, so being self sufficient is the way to go.
Travel health concerns
After living here for over 23 years, I find that tropical disease is not a major issue, at least in our area. But yes, travelers do have to pay attention. There is professional information available online from the CDC. We do try to keep tabs on what is going on locally and can probably give more site specific updates.
Most of our guests do NOT take any prophylactic for malaria. We have not had any malaria on the peninsula for quite some time and it was never a major problem. Please check for yourselves, but I am led to believe that the mosquito that carries this disease only flies 1 km in its lifetime, so we are relatively safe even if there is an issue in the populated town of Puerto Jimenez, ~8 kilometer from us.
Dengue is another concern. We have had minor outbreaks in and around Puerto Jimenez in recent years but the diurnal mosquito that carries this disease, as well as Zika and Chikungunya, apparently flies no more than 500 meters (normally just over 100 meters) in its lifetime. There are few dwelling within this range from the lodge. None of these diseases have been in Dos Brazos in the recent past. Regardless, if there are mosquitos around, it is a good idea to protect yourself with repellant.