Mosquito repellent – CDC says synthetic lemon eucalyptus effective.

Here at DoceLunas in Jaco, Costa Rica, we are on sloping well drained ground, but we still get a few mosquitoes. We are working on our own natural mosquito repellent mix using several botanicals. It is hard with a small sample size to be sure it works, but it seems to be somewhat effective to wear citronella or lemon eucalyptus.

While there is not a reliable study showing that the pure botanicals are effective, a recent US Center for Disease Control publication suggests that lemon eucalyptus may be, because CDC says synthetic lemon eucalyptus is effective.

From CDC:
Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or PMD (chemical name: para-menthane-3,8-diol), the synthesized version of OLE. Products containing OLE and PMD include, but are not limited to, Repel and Off! Botanicals. This recommendation refers to EPA-registered repellent products containing the active ingredient OLE (or PMD). “Pure” oil of lemon eucalyptus (essential oil not formulated as a repellent) is not recommended; it has not undergone similar, validated testing for safety and efficacy, is not registered with EPA as an insect repellent, and is not covered by this recommendation.

So there you have it, use Repel and Off Botanicals and you don’t have to use DEET anymore!

Here is a link to the CDC report:

Mystery image from Jaco hotel

Can you tell us what you are looking at in our mystery image taken at Jaco hotel DoceLunas?

an eye like image. what is it?
Mystery Image

Let us know and get a 30% discount off your stay valid through December 1st, 2015! Three hints: Hint 1 –  “No, I cannot tell you what that is.” may be a correct answer! Hint 2 – We will also accept incorrect answers -for instance “It is an alligator!” It is not. There are no alligators in Costa Rica, but if you come down, we will show you some crocodiles. Hint 3 – it is not a crocodile. THIS is a crocodile: crocodile near Jaco Costa Rica.

Local sourced chestnuts from the hotel gardens

We have preserved the canopy here at DoceLunas for its ecological value. Our sustainable approach to eco=tourism provides a lovley habitat and food for both wildlife and people. Birds and wildlife from the jungle covered mountain that borders the property come to visit our trees, some of which hang heavy with fruit and some of which bear edible nuts.


Here our bartender Shirley shows us a plate of roasted chestnuts in front of Costa Rican Chestnut Tree – Castanea Sativa that bears delicious sweet chestnuts that can be roasted and eaten. In England they are popular street food. In the U.S., they are used mostly for stuffing recipes around Thanksgiving and Christmas, and we use them in our stuffing here too, but they are great in salads. DoceLunas home grown organic chestnuts are available by special request when in season at our local source restaurant, Eclipse.

We also have manzan de augua, which taste kind of like a tart cross between a pear and an apple,  guanabana, cas, star fruit, and mangoes -so many mangoes! The monkeys from the mountain love them. Once they are ripe, the monkeys come every day from 5 am to  around 7 am.

Our human guests enjoy the fruit from the trees on our property raw, in smoothies and fruit salads, and in home-made local source ice cream.

Come check us out! Whether you just want to relax in a serene natural environment, rest up between surfing or partying in Jaco, or want to hone your yoga practice, we’ve got the perfect spot.

Our commitment to environmental preservation and sustainability makes us a great choice for a yoga retreat in Costa Rica.


Come to Costa Rica and change your brain with Mantra Singing

Here at hotel DoceLunas in Jaco, Costa Rica we like to do yoga. We offer free classes for our guests twice a day most days of the week (yoga schedule varies so please confirm with for any particular day). Most of our yoga classes begin and end with the chanting of an ancient mantra, OM, or OM Shanti Shanti Shanti.

Scientists have recently discovered that singing as a group lowers stress and relieves anxiety. We still don’t “know” exactly why, although the ancient vedic tradition of yoga going back thousands of years posits that the vibrations create a sort of magical connection to the vibration of the universe.

That is a little hard to demonstrate with our current understanding, but we do know that physical reality is mostly empty space filled with fast moving particles that in themselves have wave like properties of vibration. (I think. Hey, i am no particle physicist.) But we do know this: when you sing as group, your body responds to the experience by producing more endorfins (that will make you feel euphoric) and more oxytocin (that will make you feel the literal power of love).

Here is an article from Time Magazine about the study: Time singing and stress article.

So make a plan to come down and join us for some relaxing time in paradise and sing a few OMs with us. While you are bringing your plan for a Costa Rica yoga vacation to fruition, you can set up a group OM chant in your own neighborhood.

Namaste, and Pura Vida

from hotel DoceLunas.

Our Yoga page for Costa Rica Yoga Retreats and classes.
Yoga Centers Directory – Global guide to yoga instructors, studios, ashrams and retreat centers!

Be awed, be awesome in Costa Rica

Do you want to be more awesome? By that I mean, to be more awesome from everyone else’s point of view, to be more generous and helpful. I know I do, perhaps mostly just because I believe that is one of the most reliable paths to happiness.

People in Costa Rica are pretty awesome, in that they are mostly generous and helpful and principally focused, in a wise way, on their true well-being  and in the well-being of others.  Recent research in the US suggests an explanation for the general awesomeness of people in Costa Rica – they are in awe, therefore they are awesome.

The researches split subjects into groups and showed one group normal blah kind of stuff and the other group got to look at awesome things, like towering trees. Here, in a nutshell, is what they found:

“The researchers said they believe that awe induces a feeling of being diminished in the presence of something greater than oneself. It is this diminished sense of self that shifts focus away from an individual’s need and toward the greater good, they wrote.”

This idea resonates with my personal experience of what English enlightment philosphers and painters called “the sublime” – mostly natural things that are beautiful in a fierce way, in a way that makes you feel a little small.

That is  perhaps why everyone in my family is a mountain climber, and it is what sends us all into the depths of the jungles. And when we emerge, or climb back down, we come with our needs not so much fulfilled as eliminated. Gazing at the mountains, with their immoveable needlessness, or the tropical giants reaching toward the sky, we are moved to contentment.

I love staying at DoceLunas because the owners have preserved the canopy and the trees tower above the property reaching dizzying heights. They are awesome; I am in awe. And I don’t need anything right now. I have a little time to help you, if you have a word press or SEO or programming, or general Jaco Costa Rica question.

Check out this Toucan I saw in one of our shorter, but still very awesome ancient Banyan tree!

Toucan at DoceLunas
Toucan at DoceLunas

How about you? How do you feel about awe? Would you like to come experience some in Costa Rica? We have some awesome watefalls and natural parks and a really awesome sea shell collection that we keep on the beach. We are running a 30% off speical on our already low prices right now, so come on down and experience the Pura Vida!

Study: Awe, the Small Self, and Prosocial Behavior Paul K. Piff APA


Jaco – Learn to Surf Like Slater

Wow! It has been a terrific week for surfing in Jaco. January and February are typically the smallest months of the year in terms of groundswell, but we have been seeing 3 ft open water swell this past week, which can produce head high waves in Jaco.

superdynamiceditLearning to surf a walled up wave in Jaco

The waves on Playa Jaco tend to run pretty fast and short, in the range of five second and fifty yards or less.  They break pretty close to the shore (100 yards or so) and the currents are very manageable, so all they they are a bit short and fast, its a good beach for beginners to learn to surf. You get a lot of take off practice in Jaco – call it the “Slater effect.” Florida surfers get similar (although not as good) conditions and some attribute Florida surfers’ domination of pro surfing to the relatively high wave count and short rides.

This blogger got 25 or 30 rides in a hour a few days ago, but lately, the waves have been opening up for rare 100 yard 20 and 30 second rides. Fast, but open, occasionally head high…from “weak point training” on multiple rapid close out takeoffs to sweet rippable open walls, it’s been a great week in Jaco!

Jaco Costa Rica FAQ

Here are some frequently asked questions about Jaco, Costa Rica.

Q: How far is Jaco from the Airport?

A: It takes about 1 hour and fifteen minutes to drive via the new Autopista Del Sol Highway from SJO – Juan Santamaria Airport in Alajuela near San Jose to Jaco. Here is a map of the route from SJO Airport to Jaco.

Q: What is the temperature like in Jaco?

A: Daytime highs range from the low to the high 80s, with the warmest weather from January to April. Overnight lows on very rare occasions dip to the high 60s but are typically in the 70s.

Q: Does it rain a lot in Jaco?

A: In September and October, the height of the rainy season, it can rain hard for several says. From January to April, it hardly rains at all in Jaco, but central Pacific Costa Rica remains green. May, June, July, and August along with November and December there are occasional rain showers that may last a few hours, but most days are clear or partly cloudy with no rain. We have lots more information on Jaco, Costa Rica weather and climate here and the most accurate current weather forecast for Jaco here.

Q: What is there to do in Jaco?

A: Ummm… Everything? Jaco is famous for its surfing and nightlife but there are also lots of other activities and adventures to have here in The Gateway to the Central Pacific; click below for more details.

Manuel Antonio National Park

Off-shore Deep Sea Fishing


Near shore fishing

Whitewater Rafting

Tortuga Island Boat Ride and Snorkeling

Whale Watching 

Zip Line Canopy Tour

Canopy Tram

Sea Kayak or Outrigger Canoe Trips

Surf and rivermouth fishing

Carara National Park

Horseback Riding

Surf Lessons on Jaco Beach

Crocodile Tour


Turtle Egg Laying and Hatching

Yoga Classes

Jaco Hotel DoceLunas exclusive Waterfall Tour

Mt Biking – beginner to expert

Scuba Diving

As you can see, there are quite a few fun things to do around Jaco!

Q: Is Jaco a good place for a wedding or a honeymoon?

A: Definitely! As you can see  above, there is a huge range of activities so wedding guests or honeymooners can enjoy a wide variety of tropical adventures for all ages and interests. And you are already familiar with the ideal wedding venue – hotel DoceLunas. Check out our affordable Costa Rica wedding package prices here.

DoceLunas wins Fodor’s Choice 2015

Fodor’s, the leading name in travel information, today announced that Jaco Hotel DoceLunas has been recognized as the 2015 Fodor’s Choice selection for Jaco. This distinction designates DoceLunas as a leader in its field for service, quality, and value in the 2015 year.


Every year, Fodor’s writers experience, examine and evaluate thousands of hotels, restaurants and attractions in their travels across the globe. While every business included in a Fodor’s guide is deemed worth a traveler’s time, only those offering a truly remarkable experience are given the Fodor’s Choice designation.

As a 2015 Fodor’s Choice property DoceLunas will receive special recognition in the next Fodor’s guidebook to this area and on the Fodors website.

As always, we are honored to receive this annual award and we were especially pleased by the notice the staff received, along with the comment on our unique pool.

“This property has by far the nicest swimming pool in Jacó, not to mention an amazing staff.”

Thanks Fodors ! And may we add, as the Fordor’s award winner in Costa Rica’s gateway to the Central Pacific, Jaco Hotel DoceLunas offers an ideal Costa Rica wedding venue and it’s  a great spot for a romantic and private honeymoon in Costa Rica.

ps.. We have also won a couple other awards over the years —

Traveler’s Choice Awards from TripAdvisor
2011 Top Twenty Five Best Hotels in Central America
2012 Top Five BestHotels and Spas for Relaxation in Central America
2012 Top Twenty Four Best hotels for Budget in Central American
2012 Number Eleven Best Hotel Overall in Central America
2013 Number Eight Best Small Hotel in Costa Rica
2009-2014 Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence
2007 Fromer’s Guide Editor’s Choice
2007 Fodor’s Guide Editor’s Choice
2007 Lonely Planet Pick
2013 Huffington Post World’s Best Affordable Destination Spas – Number Five
Thanks to the editors of Frommer’s, Fodor’s, Lonely Planet, Huffington Post, and our guests who reviewed us on Tripadvisor!

Building an Aquaponics system

Aquaculture – growing fish in a contained system, creates waste that will harm the fish if it is not removed, but this same waste that is poison to fish in sufficient quantities is food for plants. We are building a new aquaponics system at DoceLunas that combines hydroponic plant growing with aquaculture fish raising.  We believe we are the only hotel in Jaco implementing aquaponics.

Our system will allow us to grow vegetables in an irrigated bed connected to a fish pond. The nutrients in the waste from the fish are taken up by the roots of the plants, some of which float on rafts while others are planted in gravel.

We have already installed a big tank to keep the fish in and built a system of pumps to aerate and circulate the water into the small concrete enclosure that we built to hold the floating plants and the gravel beds. Today we tested pH for the first time. Depending on who you read, 6.2 to 6.4 or 6.8 to 7.0 is the optimal range.  As you can see, we are a little overly basic, with a pH of around 7.4, so we will need to add something to the water to make it a little more neutral.

ph Test Kit
ph Test kit used to check water for aquaponics system

Science of surf stoke

What is it about surfing that makes it so much fun from the very beginning? What is it that keeps us coming back year after year? From tiny grommets to geezer legends in their 70s and 80s, just about everybody who gets in the water can feel the stoke.

Surfers  describe the feeling with mystical reverence, and while it has come to have a watered down and non-surf specific meaning (I’m stoked for some unhealthy fast food!), “the stoke” is a great way to describe the feeling that is almost unique to surfing. The stoke is what makes your hair stand on end as you ride to the beach while it is still dark, anticipating those offshore winds and perfect swells you saw in the forecast. The stoke is also what makes you want to hop back on that soft top and try another foamer after you fall flat on your face and bop your nose on the wisely selected forgiving top, making you laugh through the tears.

The stoke is out there, for sure? But what is it exactly and what makes it so compelling? To answer this question, we can look to behavioral psychology, neurology, chemistry, physics, and primatology.  Stay tuned for more. Or just hurry down and come surfing with us and feel the stoke for yourself!