Las Olas Surfing for Women
February 2020  Photo credit ©LasOlasCamilla Fuchs

Surf Retreat Prep

¡Hola!

We can’t wait to surf with you! Below are details about your upcoming surf retreat.

We recommend that you print this information and bookmark it in your phone. Special information about traveling during COVID is at the bottom. Please review carefully.

 

Do Not Forgets

✔︎ Passport with six months remaining before expiration after the last day of your safari

✔︎ COVID vaccination card

✔︎ Airline ticket or confirmation number

✔︎ Cash, ATM card, and/or credit card with PIN (alert your bank that you are traveling to Mexico)

Essential Phone Numbers

Las Olas USA Team
Talk +1 831 625 5748
Text +1 831 238 8683

Las Olas Mexico Team
USA number (talk or text): +1 831 402 5703
Mexico number (talk or text) +52 322 170 0337

Hotel front desk Daily 7am to 10pm CST +52 329 291 3010

Hotel fax +52 329 291 3018
Be sure sender includes “Las Olas” and your full name at the top of the page.

Emergency Communication
• Your best emergency communication tool is your mobile phone. The local cellular system is excellent, but be sure to contact your carrier before you leave to get the best rates and services.
• If you have trouble getting through try adding +1 before US numbers and +52 before Mexican numbers
• Ask your carrier how to access your voicemail from Mexico.
• If you have an emergency, don’t hesitate to let us know. We can help you get in touch with folks back home.

Non-Emergency Communication
• If you bring a smart phone, consider turning off cellular data and data roaming while at Las Olas or you may be surprised with a large bill when you return.
• There is plenty of free wi-fi at the hotel and around town to communicate online via email, Facetime, Whatsapp, etc.
• Some mobile carriers allow free wi-fi phone calls.

Set Up Phone Service Preflight
Contact your mobile provider for their best international plans. Most include unlimited calling between Mexico, Canada, and the U.S.

AT&T
Verizon
T-Mobile
Sprint

¡Bienvenidas a México! (Welcome to Mexico!)

• Upon arrival, you’ll receive Mexican Immigration Visa and Customs forms to complete and present to the agents at the Puerto Vallarta airport.

• Your address in Mexico is: Las Olas, Ciudad (City): Sayulita, Estado (State): Nayarit.

• Until further notice, you will be scanned for body temperature and requested to complete an online COVID survey.

• IMPORTANT: The Immigration agent will keep the top portion of your Immigration form and return the bottom portion to you. Keep this with your passport. It’s essential for exiting the country at the end of your trip.

• As you exit baggage claim, you’ll pass through a short corridor with sales people asking if you need a taxi or hotel. Some will offer tiny margaritas. Don’t be tempted. They are not Las Olas greeters. Just offer a quick “No gracias” and move on to the exit.

 

Time Zones

10am PST California (behind two hours)

12pm CST at Las Olas in Mexico

1pm EST New York City (ahead one hour)

 

Airport Meet Up – Flap’s Cafe

At your arrival, we’ll meet you at Flap’s Cafe in the Puerto Vallarta airport.

• International arrivals: Exit the customs/baggage claim area, stay in the airport, and meet us at Flap’s Cafe, past the restrooms near Domestic Arrivals.

• Domestic arrivals (Mexico City, etc.): Flap’s Cafe is straight ahead as you exit.

• Early arrivals: If you’ve arrived before our scheduled meeting day, let us know and we’ll send you a meet up time at Flap’s Cafe.

• At Flap’s Cafe, you can use the ATMs or currency exchange booths to change dollars into pesos. You can also get wi-fi access to check your email.

• Like in any public place, don’t leave your luggage unattended.

Travel Delays/Changes

If we don’t meet at the scheduled time, we may alert your emergency contact person or local authorities for assistance. So please let us know of any travel changes promptly by calling the numbers above.

Dining

Your surf retreat includes daily breakfast, first and last dinners, and lunch on road trip day. For other lunches and dinners, choose between dozens of excellent restaurants ranging from fish tacos to fine dining, all within walking distance. Our crew will be happy to share their favorite spots and local secrets.

Dinero (money)

There are plenty of tempting boutiques, beach vendors, cafes and cantinas throughout the pueblo. You can get by on tasty tacos for 30 pesos each or spend a lot more on signature margaritas and fancy jewelry. In short, if you’re a shopper (and you know who you are), bring extra dinero.

• We recommend bringing your ATM card and US or Canadian currency to exchange into Mexican pesos.
• Don’t bring traveler’s checks–they are no longer accepted.
• ATMs are located at the airport and around town. Ask us for the most reliable kiosks. As always when traveling, frequently monitor your account for unusual activity.
• Most merchants in town accept dollars, but the exchange rate may vary and change is returned in pesos.
• Visa and Mastercard are accepted at many shops and restaurants, but don’t expect the beach vendor or taco guy to accept credit cards.
• Some US and Canadian banks require pre-notification before they allow foreign transactions, so check with your bank in advance. Credit/debit cards usually have a toll-free number on the card for easy contact, but toll-free numbers to the US and Canada generally don’t work from Mexico. Ask for a regular toll number in the event you need to contact your bank while on safari.

Tipping
• Tipping for services including housekeeping, front desk, baggage handlers, taxi and boat drivers is included.
• Tipping for massage (100 pesos/$6), dinners out (15 – 20%), and excellent surf coaching is at your discretion.

El Pueblo (the village)

• A refreshing change from typical resorts, you’ll experience a unique surf town experience in this tropical fishing village.
• Listen to the chatter of the pescadores (fishermen) as they put out to sea in their little panga boats each morning.
• Chat up the coming swell at the surf shop on the beach.
• And practice your Spanish by saying “Buenos dias” as you pass in the morning and “Buenas tardes” in the afternoon.

Las Olas Is Us

From our first day over two decades ago, Las Olas has been a place for women to improve their surfing. We’ve never strayed from our mission.

Of course, you’ll meet amazing people during your time with us. Expect plenty of diversity, new bonds, and a welcome recharge with plenty of positive support.

Your Villa

• Each villa is unique in its organic design and tropical beauty. We’re quite confident you’ll be enchanted.
• Most are built into the hillside above the surfbreak, so expect some stairs.
• Villa assignments are based on the type of room booked and number of guests in your party, if any.
• If you’re sharing your villa with other Las Olas guests, expect to make some new friends.

Health

• Since you’re visiting a foreign country, you’ll experience a variety of food, water, and weather conditions, like intense sun and dehydration.
• There are no guarantees against illness while visiting Mexico, but we’ll give you tips on how to avoid exposure at our safari orientation.
• Although we don’t get a lot of mosquitos, they are around and can be carriers of diseases. Common brands of bug repellent are available in the Las Olas clubhouse and around town or you can bring your favorite in your checked baggage.
• If you have a sensitive stomach, ask your doctor or pharmacist for their recommended travel medicines.
• In general, practice good hygiene, use sunscreen and bug repellent, drink plenty of liquids, and pace yourself.

 

Departure Day

• At the end of your retreat, allow three hours to get to the airport– one hour shuttle time plus two hours for international check-in.
• Don’t worry, we’ll schedule your shuttle so you won’t end your trip with a frantic dash to the check-in counter.

Start Mentally Surfing Now

• Leave stress at the office. Start your decompression now. Use your travel time to transform into beach-mode.
• Pre-surf, surf, and apre-surf is laid back. Distracting technology, packed schedules, and rush hour traffic is absent here.
• The pace is like a gentle swing in a hammock or a slowly forming wave.
• Enjoy hanging with mellow neighbors, take in the breathtaking scenery, and float in the warm ocean waves.
• Ice cream on the plaza is heavenly, so treat yourself early and often.
 

¡Vamos a surfear!

Let’s go surfing! As always, feel free to contact me with last-minute questions. 
 
¡Buen viaje! (Have a wonderful trip!)
 
Jackie
Guest Services
 
Las Olas
We make girls out of women.
 

Traveling During COVID

Returning to the U.S. from Las Olas in Mexico currently requires a negative COVID-19 test result to board your flight. The test  is performed by our local physician at least 24 hours before your departure. A cotton swab is gently wiped around the inside of the patient’s nose and the sample is sent to a lab. Results generally return within a few hours.
 
We’ll provide a print out and email copy of your negative result. This will allow swift passage at the airport.
 

But what if I test positive?

There isn’t a widely adopted contingency plan, but there have been very few, if any foreign travelers who have been restricted from returning due to COVID, so it appears everyone is getting out on their departure day. In fact, 250,000 international passengers passed through the PV International airport this July. All provided a negative COVID test result before boarding.
 
But what if? 
 
If a Las Olas guest tests positive she’ll be relocated to local accommodations  or close to the airport at her own expense until she can provide a negative test at departure or wait out the quarantine of 10-14 days and get a physician’s clearance. 
 
Since we provide COVID testing at least 24 hours before guest departure day, a positive test result could result in the guest moving that night if her roommates test negative.
 
If a guest develops symptoms that require medical attention, Puerto Vallarta has excellent hospitals catering to international travelers. They are less expensive than the U.S. and Canada, but usually require payment-in-full at time of service. Health insurance coverage from back home may or may not provide reimbursement. Ask your agent what’s covered before traveling.
 
What can Las Olas do to get you home quickly and safely?
 
• We can find suitable accommodations and organize transportation for any guest testing positive for COVID. We’ll communicate with the management about the situation and help make it as easy as possible to settle in. 
 
• If a guest would like to re-test (recommended), we can organize local testing services.
 
• We can help with international communication, airline re-booking, shopping for necessities, payment systems, transportation, organizing food delivery, and other needs while in quarantine.
 
• After obtaining a negative result or at the end of quarantine, we can help organize transportation to the airport, if necessary.
 
• IMPORTANT: Expenses incurred outside the normal services provided by Las Olas will be the responsibility of the guest. This includes transportation not included in your surf retreat, lodging after the retreat, food, general expenses, and medical costs.
 
Please consider the following options before attending Las Olas in Mexico.
 
-Obtain travel insurance that explicitly covers COVID related expenses and losses. 
Some insurance companies are classifying COVID a “known hazard” making it more difficult or impossible to file a claim. We highly recommend visiting yonder.com or insuremytrip.com and review products covering extended stays due to COVID. 
 
-Consider rescheduling to a later Las Olas surf retreat. 
We didn’t think we’d be still talking about COVID for nearly two years, but here we are. At Las Olas we’ve made it easier for our guests to reschedule at no additional cost from us. If you think it’s too soon to travel, we understand. If you decide to reschedule to a later date, let us know as soon as possible so we can book the best villa.
 
-Don’t let down your guard.
Whatever you’ve done to protect yourself from transmissible diseases, keep doing it! Physically distance when you can, wash your hands and keep them from your face, wear a mask when around people, and get vaccinated!
Las Olas Surfing for Women