The dependency on world market prices for coffee and sugarcane is strong – this is why income created by tourism is very important for the inhabitants of Longo Mai. Many host families offer guest rooms or cabinas (rooms with individual access) with full pension. The tourism commitee, represented by Doña Edith, is responsible for the assignment of a host family. Newcomers are asked to pay her a visit upon arrival. As of 2010, the daily price for lodging and three meals was 6,000 colones (approx. 12 $) for long-term visitors or 8,000 colones (approx. 16 $) for a short stay of less than 14 days. Visitors are asked to pay in colones, because exchange rates vary and for the families colones are easier to handle. Prices are continually adjusted to inflation. Most families will happily wash your clothes, usually charging a little fee. Information about the people and the place is free and so are the latest village rumours. ;-)
The village phone is situated in front of the lower pulpería, next to the road (blue phone box). From within Costa Rica, it is possible to receive calls at 2771 6342 – it makes sense to agree on a time before calling, so that nobody has to search the village for you. Calling within Costa Rica is cheap, but it is very expensive to call abroad. The internet café “El Balcón” in San Isidro offers a cheap internet phone (Another option is Skype in the Longo Mai internet café).
On January 1, 2010, a little internet café was opened in Longo Mai (one laptop with mobile internet access). It's available daily from 2 PM to 8 PM and upon request.
Some groceries and cigarettes can be obtained in the pulperías. For a wider selection and for alcohol it is recommended that you go to San Isidro. Visitors are asked not to drink excessively in the street, as this leaves a very bad image. Also, drugs (including alcohol and cigarettes) should not be made accessible to children and teenagers.
The water supply of Longo Mai comes from a clean spring, whose water output, however, is insufficient during the dry season (December – May) and occasionally during the other months. When the water is low, the drinking water is taken from the river, whereby a possible bacterial contamination can cause digestion problems. Some families have filters. Also, you can boil the water or expose it to the plain sun in transparent PET bottles for at least six hours (see http://www.sodis.ch). Another possibility is to add lime juice and wait for 30 minutes or pastillas de cloro (chloro pills) may be added.
Keep in mind that Longo Mai is a tropical place. Protect yourself from the sun and drink sufficient water. Water (Rains in the mountains can cause rivers to swell rapidly), wind and lightning are other potential sources of danger. Earthquakes are usually rather light, injuries are unlikely. In case of a strong quake, protect yourself under a table or door frame – the earth quakes usually last only a few seconds.
When you leave the finca, store valuables and money inside your clothes. Instead of your passport, it is sufficient to take a copy of the first page and a copy of the permit/entry stamp along. It is best to leave the original in a safe place as you need it only for border crossings, banking transactions and such. Also in Longo Mai there have been thefts, so always lock your door and keep an eye on your belongings when you are out (e.g. never leave your camera/wallet unattended at the river)!
Health: In Longo Mai there is a large variety of medical plants and numerous people have great knowledge of their usage. In San Isidro there are many good doctors and the emergency room of the hospital in San Isidro is available for emergencies.
Public transportation in Costa Rica is very good, you will encounter a tight network of local, regional, trans-regional and international buses. The Longo Mai bus stop, which is located two kilometers from the village center at the Interamericana, is served from early morning until late evening from both directions. A detailed bus schedule and other handy information about Longo Mai are available for downloading. Right-click on the symbol below and choose "save as".
Last update: July 2010