Punta Mona is remote, that is what makes it so special! Once you land in San Jose and meet up with the group there will be a bus to transport us to Puerto Viejo. This is about a five hour ride but we will be going through some beautiful cloud forests and Caribbean scenes to get there. The journey is long but it is beautiful, amazing scenery and friendly people, with a little patience and a positive attitude it will all go smoothly, only adding to the magnificent experience!
Puerto Viejo is a fantastic beach town to spend a few days in! Some great places to stay are: Pagalu, Café Rico, Jacaranda, Casa Verde, Cariblu, Playa Chiquita Lodge, Walaba Hostel and so many more. There is great food, culture, music, shopping, surfing, yoga, botanical gardens, tours, animal sanctuaries and so much more. Often people like to enjoy a day or two here before and/or after the trip.
Manzanillo is the last town on the road on the way to Punta Mona. Manzanillo is an Afro-Caribbean fishing town with a gorgeous beach and a great restaurant, the famous Maxi’s. In Manzanillo we will meet friendly characters that will help us by land and boat to get to Punta Mona. The hike in is around 2 hours and will be guided by Tino, who is always full of smiles and stories. Depending on the weather it can be easy and dry or a bit more challenging with mud, I suggest bringing some kind of boot to maneuver in. The sights on the hike are impressive and it is our first good look at some of the wildlife and flora of the region.
General Health and Vaccines
I always recommend bringing a basic first aid kit of every day necessities: ibuprofen, benedryl, tums, pepto bismol. A good multi-vitamin and probiotic are also great additions to support the body through travel. Though Malaria is not considered a problem in this area it is always good to avoid the bugs, bring a good bug spray (preferably something natural). You will be provided with mosquito nets for sleeping. If you feel more comfortable with it you are welcome to take Malaria medicine while you are here, consult your doctor for a prescription. Punta Mona is full of some really talented herbalists, as well as a jungle full of world-class medicinal plants and a pharmacy-worth of herbal medicines, so you will not be short of medical assistance if the need arises.
What to Pack
Keep it simple! You will be in the sun and warmth, there is no need to bring a big suitcase. Remember you will be traveling quite a bit from San Jose to Punta Mona so it's best to have something that you can comfortably carry (duffel bag or backpack is recommended). Aside from the obvious shorts, tanks, sandals, bring a pair of shoes for hiking (be warned they may get muddy), a few pairs of comfy pants for yoga and hanging out at night, one or two long sleeve shirts for night, sunscreen, beach hat and sunglasses, raincoat (rain pants if you have them), bathing suit, towel. I would suggest bringing clothing that is lightweight, it can be wet and rainy so you want things that can dry easily. Please make sure to bring only natural, biodegradable toiletries as everything you use will make its way back into the earth. This is a Sustainable center, so please try to respect their way of living. If you bring feminine products please try to bring ones that don't require plastic applicators. Limit the number of products you bring in that are not reusable.
As for electronics, there is limited wifi access to be used only if a real need arises. Punta Mona is solar powered so there is electricity but it is important to be aware that it is limited, so charging of electronics is possible but please be conscious of your use! Also, it can be very damp and humid at times, be prepared and make sure your electronics are protected with plastic bags and cases!
You will not need cash once you at at Punta Mona, but you will likely want it on your travels to and from Punta Mona for food and gifts. You can bring cash and change it, or you can use an ATM once you get here. There is a counter to change money at the airport just before you exit the building on the left. You can change money there if you'd like, but everyone accepts dollars ($10s or $20s are easiest). There are ATMs in the airport as well as in Puerto Viejo, this tends to be the easiest option. The exchange rate fluctuates and is between 520-570 colones to the dollar - so roughly when you're thinking about it in your head about 500 colones to a dollar.
Don't forget to call your credit card and debit card companies to notify them that you will be out of the country, so they don't shut your card down!