Tips for Vacation Rentals

Heading to Costa Rica for an experience of a lifetime, but don't know where to stay? Planning your trip can be very exciting but can also be quite frustrating. If you have never been to Costa Rica, you will be amazed at its beauty, but staying in the right place can be equally as important as the activities you plan. There are several different options to choose from, including hotels, villas, condos and houses. Picking the right place(s) can make or break your trip, so we at Costa Listings have put together some tips to help assure you find the right accommodations.

Photos are your best friend when it comes to evaluating a property.

This is the link that "transports" you to the property. Be weary of rentals that do not list photos, or have poor quality photos. If they don't put care into their listing/ad, they probably don't put care into the upkeep of the property - or worse, they don't want you to see the property.

Read the descriptions.

Some property owners are great photographers, so it is important to look at several photos and read the descriptions thoroughly as well. This is where you can find the amenities of each place, such as air conditioning, private bath, personal safe, etc. The last thing you want, is to travel to, what you think is a nice place, to find it is 30°C at night, and there is no A.C.

Decide what you want to do.

You may have heard recommendations of what activities to do and where to do them. So, plan your itinerary, and then evaluate how close you want to be to each of those activities. For example, if you visit Monte Verde to view the lush cloud forest. You may want to stay in Santa Elena, which is a small town with restaurants, bars, a grocery store, and more. And, then you can drive to the canopy tours, the Reserva Biológica Bosque Nuboso, and the other attractions in the area. Or, you may feel it's important to stay close to the Biological reserve and really immerse yourself in the dense forest for a truly unique experience. Most books give information about the proximity to the major attractions, but if all else fails, ask them.

Call them to chat.

It is not uncommon to find a place that did not properly advertise themselves and to find a secret gem. However, if you call them, you may be able to gain a lot more information by asking the questions important to you. You can discuss restaurants, the best activities in the area, what the weather is like, etc. Many times a recommendation from a local is much more valuable than what you can read in a book or online. Print ads do not have personality, but people do - so talking to a live person could give you an accurate idea as to how the place will feel. You may have a lot in common with an owner, or learn their story, which could make for a pleasant time in between your activities. Sometimes the best part of a trip is the people you meet.

Be flexible.

Sometimes it is useful to have a flexible schedule in case the accommodations you choose have been booked for your dates. See if you can come up with different scenarios of dates to visit certain areas. Costa Rica is a fairly small country, so juggling your itinerary may allow you to see all of the sites, and have a more enjoyable trip.

Testimonials may be priceless.

Once you've narrowed your search to a few choices. Do some research to see what other people say. There are several resources online that allow people to express their opinions of their vacation accommodations. Many of these people were in the same situation as you, and probably used very similar, if not the same, means to pick a vacation rental, so they will react to whether the ads were accurate or not. If you see several positive reviews, it is probably safe to assume you too will have a pleasurable experience. Good luck and happy vacationing!

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