Guanacaste, Costa Rica - 30 July 2012 - Here below are things you should consider before selecting a home. A PLACE OF YOUR OWN Like anything else related to lodging, home rental is an option that works best in certain circumstances. It's best for large groups and multiple families, although a couple with one or two children will have fun in a nice private residence.
It is also best for stays of five days or longer. Most rentals require a minimum three-night stay and in peak season it can be as long as five. Most homes are well stocked with all of the utensils, linens and paper goods you will need. They will usually even have some basic nonperishable food items such as cooking oil and seasonings.
1) Please make sure you know where the closest shopping center or supermarket is and open hours. In Costa Rica if you land after 8 pm in Liberia you will not have supermarkets open at that time so it is better you request a grocery shopping delivered to your home or private residence.
2) Especially when you don't rent a car and you have transportation set up, please make sure you have restaurants walking distance or restaurants that can delivered food to your home. If the idea of preparing meals on vacation is a buzz-kill in the highest degree, then stick with a hotel. START WITH A PLAN Once you have decided where you are going on your vacation, it's time to hit the listings.
3) Keep in mind that Costa Rica is a small country, however there are many different activities and a large selection of traveled destinations they have depending what you are looking to do: Relaxing, Surfing, Snorkeling, Diving, Fishing, Exploring, Hiking and more. For instance Playa Grande during High Season is the best destination to look for turtles Las Baulas on the beach and waves are not huge and good for everyone. Choose from detached family homes, townhomes, condos or apartment, depending on the size of the group.
4) The most desirable (and affordable) homes are booked early - satisfied customers will make an annual trek to the same place - so to get going at least three months ahead. You will need to know exactly how many adults and children will be staying. Some contracts even ask for each guest's name and age.
5) Think about what you will be doing on this vacation. Will you be out of the house sightseeing all day? Do you have elderly parents or very young children who will need special care? There are many nice and wonderful locations in Costa Rica, but in case you are travelling with people who needs special care you need to make sure they can have assistance in case they need it. Pharmacy nearby, clinic, hospital. Are the bedrooms upstairs or downstairs? Are there many stairs to get in the house? Bathrooms are accessible? Do showers have steps?If you are doing a family reunion, you can check on our site or ask Sabrina the list of the perfect Family Reunion homes. If you are travelling with your 80 years old grandmother, you don't want to have her sleep on the sofa for the entire stay. Are children of all ages welcome? Also the location makes a big different you don't want to have your children spend a vacation in Costa Rica during rainy season in a house with no swimming pool. Is it a non-smoking/allergen-free (no pets) home? Or alternatively, are pets allowed? How close are attractions, restaurants and grocery stores? Are they reachable on foot or do you have to drive? Are there enough bathrooms? How many guests can the dining room accommodate? What about outdoor seating? What is the security/cleaning deposit and what are the rules for getting it back?
6) Price. The nice thing about rentals is that very often the price is negotiable. While hotels will sometimes upgrade your room or run specials, with rentals it's all about a deal to be made between renter and owner. So ask if the price is negotiable. You are in a better position if the booking date is just around the corner and the owner is "motivated."
7) Photos. When it comes time to make a decision, the property with the most photos wins. Nothing sells a rental like great photos, of every room if possible. If you see six different views of the distant ocean from the second floor deck -- and nothing else -- then you have either a clueless homeowner or a very unattractive house. Many listing sites allow a dozen or more photos.
8) Amenities. Often a family, and especially multiple families, will want more than one TV. Are there instructions for using the DVD player? Is there an iPod player? Are any of the games (such as a billiard table) off limits to kids? Is there WiFi access and if so, is the access code listed conspicuously?
9) Exact Location, Neighborhood. If you are renting near the beach, a great deal of criticism in home reviews is not about the home itself but of misinterpretation of what "a short walk" is -- especially with beach chairs, coolers and kids.
10) Contact numbers: The manager or home owner and cell number; a repair office if something goes wrong; local police, fire and hospital; and perhaps a friendly neighbor or two. "When I stay in a hotel, I want to get out of that hotel," says vacation home renter Jennifer Nielsen of Palo Alto, Calif. "When staying at a (house), it's much more relaxed and feels like home."
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