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Find the answers to your questions here, including information about travel, food, costs & payment and planning.

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General FAQs

Frequently asked questions

TRAVEL

How do I get there?


By Air: By Air: We recommend flying into Liberia International Airport - Daniel Oduber Quiros (LIR), which is about 1 hour and 20 minutes from the hotel. If you arrive a day before or have an early departing flight, you can stay right next to the Liberia airport. We recommend the Hilton Garden Inn CLICK HERE ->>

You can also fly into San Jose airport (SJO) and get a transfer from there (it is a 3.5 hour drive and $220 each way for a transfer) or if you prefer you can get a domestic flight to Liberia 1h20 flight and $50-100 each way CLICK HERE ->>

If you are coming for one of our retreats, see specific retreat details for transportation from Liberia Airport that is included.

By land: If you are in the area already or are planning to drive here, we recommend using Waze for your directions (Google Maps sometimes does not recognise roads around Costa Rica or takes you on a strange route, wheras Waze is more up to date). You can find us on Waze or Google Maps under “Tula Vida”.

If you want to find a place to stay in this area, we recommend

Living Forest Retreat Center and Lodge (https://livingforestlakearenal.com) or

Mystica Lodge & Retreat(http://www.mysticacostarica.com)




Do I need to rent a car?


If you would like to rent a car there are plenty of rental car locations at Liberia (or San Jose) airport. Note: you are required to purchase car insurance in Costa Rica, so make sure it’s included if you get an online quote (it sometimes seems cheap online and then when you try to book it, or when you arrive at the car rental place, it is more expensive so better to check before you book).




What are the travel requirements to get into Costa Rica?


Costa Rica is currently requiring the following to enter the country:

  • a completed health questionnaire; and

  • health insurance for unvaccinated travellers.

No COVID-19 test is currently required to enter the country. In addition, you must have a passport with at least 3 months’ validity at the time of entry to Costa Rica.

You can find the latest information HERE ->>




Do I need health insurance


If you are fully vaccinated for Covid-19 you are not currently required to have approved medical cover for Costa Rica, but if you are not vaccinated then cover is required (see below).

Health questionnaire: Everyone is required to fill out a Health questionnaire within 48hrs before travel and you will receive a QR code that will be scanned at the airport on your day of travel.

You find the form HERE->>

If you do need health insurance cover, any existing or other policy you have may already be sufficient, but you will need to check this in accordance with the requirements. If you need further cover, some insurance provider options are below.

Trawick

CLICK HERE ->>

INS

CLICK HERE ->>

Sagicor

CLICK HERE ->>

BlueCross BlueShield

CLICK HERE ->>




Do I need traveler’s insurance?


See above re health insurance requirements for Costa Rica. In addition, please purchase traveler’s insurance that covers trip interruption in case of any adjustments to or interruptions of travel plans. You can purchase that online before you come.




What if I need a COVID test to fly home?


If a COVID-19 test is required for your return (it currently is for entering the US and Europe), nearby facilities are readily available for this and we can arrange it for you. There are testing locations in the local town or at Liberia airport before you fly.




Do I need a passport?


You do need a passport to travel to Costa Rica. Make sure the expiry date of your passport is at least 3 months (or more, to be safe) from your date of travel. We recommend making a copy of your passport so you have it just in case.





FOOD

What is the food like in Costa Rica?


Food in Costa Rica is typically fresh and healthy and often includes rice and beans - the most typical “casado” plate is made up of rice and beans, meat or fish or veg, grilled plantain, salad and a fried egg! For retreats, meals will be home-cooked and healthy or in traditional local restaurants.




What meals are included in retreats?


Please see specific retreat details to find out what is included. If you like to eat snacks throughout the day (e.g. energy bars or nuts) please bring those with you, they can be hard to find in Costa Rica.




What about dietary restrictions?


We can accommodate your food preferences and dietary restrictions, so please let us know upon registration for retreats if you have any food allergies, preferences or special requirements so we can plan accordingly.




What meals are included in other experiences?


Experiences that are shorter than a full day will not include meals. For experiences that are a full day (or longer), we will agree the meal plan with you (typically we will eat lunch at Tula Vida and breakfast/dinner will be offsite).




Are there any local restaurants nearby?


Yes there are some great options nearby, ask us for recommendations.





COSTS & PAYMENTS

What are the payment details & policies for retreats?


To make payment:

We will send you details to make payment when you reserve your spot on a retreat. There is no charge for a payment by bank transfer (US$ or UK£ or Costa Rica) or by Zelle (US$). For payment by Paypal (which includes credit cards) there is an additional 5% transaction fee.

Sales tax:

Costa Rica recently changed the law requiring businesses to charge 13% sales tax on services (as well as goods), so we have to add this to the cost of our retreats (as it is charged to us by all our service providers).

Cancellation policy:

If you cancel and we are able to fill your spot, you will receive a full refund minus a processing fee of 15%. If we are unable to fill your spot, for cancellations more than 30 days before the retreat date you will receive a 50% refund and for cancellations less than 30 days before the date we cannot offer a refund.

If circumstances limit your travel that are beyond your control (such as COVID-19 related restrictions or natural disaster), your payment will be applied to a future retreat.




What are the payment details & policies for group, family, individual experiences?


To make payment:

We will send you details to make payment when you book a group, family or individual experience. You can pay by cash in-person, by bank transfer (US$ or UK£ or Costa Rica), by Zelle (US$) or by Paypal (which includes credit cards) - there is an additional 5% transaction fee for Paypal payments to cover their fees.

Sales tax:

Costa Rica recently changed the law requiring businesses to charge 13% sales tax on services (as well as goods), so we have to add this to the cost of our retreats (as it is charged to us by all our service providers).

Cancellation policy:

For experiences of more than 1 day, we will ask for a deposit to hold those dates for you.

If you cancel more than 72 hours in advance, you will receive a full refund minus a processing fee of 15%. For cancellations less than 72 hours before the experience we cannot offer a refund.

If circumstances limit your travel that are beyond your control (such as COVID-19 related restrictions or natural disaster), your payment will be applied to a future experience.




What is the tipping culture like in Costa Rica?


As the majority of visitors to Costa Rica are from the US, there is a US tipping culture in the tourism industry here (i.e. tips are commonplace and people tip based on the level of service/satisfaction, typically between 5-20%). Tips are appreciated in both Costa Rica colones or US$.




Should I bring US$ or local currency (Colones)?


Both US$ and Colones are accepted in the vast majority of places in Costa Rica. In smaller places the exchange rate may not be as good for $ but it is not necessary to get Colones from a practical point of view. Note that large bills ($50 or 100) are not appreciated when paying for low value items so it is good to bring smaller bills with you, especially for tipping. If you do want Colones, you can get them from the airport currency exchange or ATMs.




What are the payment details & policies for Mindful Mornings?


You can pay for Mindful Mornings in cash on arrival. It is good to book in advance to attend as spaces are limited.





PLANNING YOUR TRIP

How has COVID impacted Costa Rica?


Costa Rica has handled the pandemic in a responsible manner. The country is open to visitors without restriction. Many activities take place safely outdoors and there are hand-washing / sanitising stations outside every enclosed space. It is required to wear a mask for going into shops, restaurants (while not eating or drinking) and enclosed spaces.




Do I have to get a COVID-19 test?


A test is not required to enter Costa Rica. However it may be required for re-entry to your home country and, as mentioned in the Travel section above, there are easily accessible testing facilities (including at the airport) which operate efficiently and we can assist with this process.




Will I have to wear a mask?


A mask is required in indoor spaces only. Given the year-round warm weather in Costa Rica and the nature of our retreat or horse activities, most/all of our activities, meals and common spaces will be in open air spaces and a mask will not be required. However you should bring a mask as it will be necessary for entering restaurants (before eating), shops and for the airport/flight.




What is the weather like?


Costa Rica has many micro-climates and the weather is very changeable so you will most likely see both sun and rain at various times during your trip. In our corner of Costa Rica, there is usually a nice, cool breeze and limited humidity so it does not get too hot. Weather is typically in the 70s-80s Fahrenheit and there may be rain showers on and off (e.g. at night or in the afternoons) depending on the time of year. It can sometimes be in the 60s at night so bring a sweater or a few layers.

We like to work outside in all weather - rainbows included! - so be prepared with both rain gear and sun protection! For more information on weather (although never very accurate!) CLICK HERE ->>




Is there cell phone service or internet?


The local hotels and Tula Vida have Wifi. You can also purchase a cell phone plan through your carrier directly in order to have access to data, or buy a Pay-as-you-go chip upon arrival in the airport. We recommend being as ‘unplugged’ as possible while here, so that you can truly take in the experience.




Do I need an adaptor for the electrical outlets?


Costa Rica uses the same electricity system as the USA (110 volts) so plugs fit that size. Note that if you have sensitive electronics, you should bring your own surge protector. The electricity is generally stable but there are sometimes brief “bumps” in the service so it is better to be cautious.




Do I need local currency?


The local currency is Colones, but most places take US Dollars and you can tip in USD so you do not need to have Colones. If you do want Colones you can get them from the airport currency exchange or ATM.




Are there a lot of bugs?


It is a tropical environment that is biodiverse, so we do have bugs - please bring bug spray and long-sleeved shirts/pants for outdoor horse activities.




Can I drink the water?


Yes, the water at Tula Vida and the local hotels is safe to drink. We recommend bringing a refillable water bottle so you can hydrate throughout your stay.




What else can I see in Costa Rica?


Costa Rica is known as one of the world’s most beautiful places because of its unique wildlife, jungle scenery, and pristine beaches. The country possesses approximately 6% of the world’s biodiversity and is the birthplace of ecotourism. There are 12 different life zones, 20 national parks, 26 protected areas, nine forest reserves, eight biological reserves and seven wildlife sanctuaries. For more information see our page 'THE AREA' CLICK HERE ->> Or visit this site CLICK HERE->>




What time is sunrise / sunset?


The sun rises between 5 & 6am and sets between 5 & 6pm all year round as it is close to the equator. The clocks do not change in Costa Rica.

You will find your body relaxing into this natural circadian rhythm, waking with the light and feeling tired with the dark (perhaps earlier than you are used to). The colours and sounds of the rainforest at dawn and dusk create a fairytale experience.





WHAT TO BRING

Do I need to bring anything for being with the horses?


Closed toed shoes are required to be around the horses. The horses live in grass fields so you may walk in some mud – we recommend wearing rubber boots which are cheap and easy to buy here (in any hardware store – look for a store called Colono which is in most towns) or we have a selection you can borrow if you prefer (check with us on sizes). Being out in nature, it is usually more comfortable to wear lightweight, long pants and shirts and boots to protect from the sun, rain, mud, bugs, long grass etc. It will either be rainy or sunny (as always in Costa Rica!) so bring good raingear and sun screen, as well as insect repellent.




What should I bring for a retreat?


  • Sturdy sneakers and/or hiking boots
  • Sturdy waterproof sandals or river shoes (optional)
  • One or two swimming suits
  • Good rain gear
  • Light jacket, layered or sweaters (sometimes we have chilly days or nights)
  • Lightweight long-sleeves and pants (to wear when with the horses)
  • Dry bag or plastic bags - for keeping things dry / wet clothing
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen - with high sun protection factor, such as SPF 30-40
  • Medication and allergy medicine if applicable
  • Face mask for wearing in shops and restaurants
  • Sunglasses and/or a Hat (we will be out in the fields sometimes)
  • Day pack
  • Flashlight
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Cash for tips
  • Easy to carry snacks, energy bars
  • Surge protector for sensitive electronics (optional)
  • Horse-riding helmet if you have one – we do have helmets if you don’t want to bring your own




What should I bring for an individual experience?


  • Sturdy closed toed shoes or rubber boots (see above question about what to bring for being with the horses)
  • Good rain gear
  • Lightweight long-sleeves and pants
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen - with high sun protection factor, such as SPF 30-40
  • Sunglasses and/or a Hat




What should I bring for a group or family experience?


  • Sturdy closed toed shoes or rubber boots (see above question about what to bring for being with the horses)
  • Good rain gear
  • Lightweight long-sleeves and pants
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen - with high sun protection factor, such as SPF 30-40
  • Medication and allergy medicine if applicable
  • Sunglasses and/or a Hat
  • Refillable water bottle
Easy to carry snacks (e.g. in case children get hungry)





ACTIVITIES

What activities do you offer at Tula Vida?


We offer longer all-inclusive retreats as well as transformational horse experiences (one-off or on a regular basis), including: individual experiences (typically 1-2 hours), couples or small group experiences (half, full or multi day), family experiences (half, full or multi day).

We also offer classes in mindful & connection based horsemanship – ask us for details




What do horse experiences involve?


Activities are dynamic and we tailor them for you personally to support your individual learning process, according to feedback from the horses.

All exercises are expertly facilitated. An example activity is learning to build a relationship with your horse through non-verbal communication on the ground so that he follows you freely without any lead rope. De-briefing will offer unique insights into what your horse has to teach you.

No prior horse experience is required and all levels are welcome. Most activities are on the ground.




Who are horse experiences for?


Anyone who has been drawn to this site, is curious and has read this far should take the plunge and give themselves this experience! You will be amazed at how powerful it is.

No prior horse experience is necessary – all levels are welcome. Tula Vida horse activities will be mainly on the ground.




What is Equine Facilitated Sand Play?


Sand Play is a cutting edge healing modality, a creative and powerful way to process what lies outside of your conscious thinking mind in a safe, supportive way. The client chooses from a large collection of figures and builds a miniature “world” in the tray of sand that reflects what is going on in their lives, allowing them to process inner thoughts, struggles, and concerns through the figures. By making changes in their make-believe world, clients are often empowered to make similar changes in their real world.

Gretchen Morgan, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, is an extremely experienced holder and trainer of sand play therapy and has trained thousands of clinicians in the art. In 2018 Gretchen, together with Sally Nilsson (and Deborah Legg) explored combining the power of the sand with the wisdom of the horses and created Equine Facilitated Sand Play (in which they now offer trainings in Costa Rica):

“Horses have an incredible capacity to sense what is going inside us, which is what Sand Play is accessing too. When we introduced the horses to a Sand Play process we were amazed how interactive and engaged they were, not just being a calming and supportive presence but seemingly able to indicate – and even choose - figures that turned out to be hugely significant for the client.” Gretchen Morgan, LCSW

Equine Facilitated Sand Play is a profound experience, awakening your consciousness and inner feelings. Working with the sand, supported by your horse, can reveal and shift whatever is asking for your attention to heal.




Do you offer or practice therapy?


No, our Tula Vida horse experiences are coaching and not therapy. Eric Kolesar and Sally Nilsson are both Certified Professional Coaches and Certified Instructors in Eponaquest Equine Assisted Learning.

Sometimes we co-faciliate with therapists (such as Gretchen Morgan in our Heal the Healers retreats) who do provide a therapeutic aspect in those experiences.





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Tula Vida horses are wise and experienced teachers of mindfulness, natural balance, energy management and self-discovery.  The vibrant, joyful magic of this corner of Costa Rica enables the natural world to soothe, nourish and restore you as only nature can. 

 

Join one of our retreats to find a supportive, beautiful and fun environment to go a little deeper into healing and self-discovery with transformational results.