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10 Tips for Selecting the Perfect Costa Rica Vacation Rental


Planning a Tropical vacation full of lush jungles, secluded beaches, and friendly people but not too expensive? Costa Rica is the place to go! But where do you stay, a resort or a private villa? Do you want long lines, crowded pools, kids running up and down the corridors? I think not.

Selecting the best Costa Rica vacation rental can be the difference between a great vacation and one where you feel like you are 'doing without'.

Many vacationers consider the Costa Rica vacation rental as 'just somewhere to stay' since most of your time will be spent in or on the water, or enjoying local attractions. Don't make that mistake. There is no reason to settle for less when, with a little planning, you can find a great Costa Rica vacation rental that you'll enjoy as much or more than the other parts of your vacation.

Remember, your vacation home is where you'll be sleeping, waking up, having many of your meals, and resting.

If it rains or is unseasonably hot outside, you may end up stretched out reading a book to while away the day or wanting to watch one of your favorite movies on the DVD - assuming there is a comfortable sofa. And when you meet new friends, you'll want someplace nice for entertaining. Shouldn't your vacation rental be a pleasant get-away with the amenities that make vacations a real treat? "A home away from home"

Here are 10 tips to for selecting the perfect Costa Rica vacation rental:

1. The single most important factor is whether or not you can "see" actual recent photos of the interior and exterior of the vacation rental. It's one thing to read a great description - and some of them are quite 'complimentary' (sometimes overly so) - but you need to see what you are getting.

With the Internet, a website is the quickest most convenient way for you to get information on prospective Costa Rica vacation rentals. If there are no pictures, you'll know right away to keep looking. Brochures, books and guides are nice, but may have out-dated information.

2. List the amenities that are important to you, the ones without which you will feel incomplete. Next, jot down those that are nice to have, but not deal-breakers if not available.

With these lists as a guide, you'll be able to quickly eliminate those rentals that won't meet your needs. Your list might include proximity to the water, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, type kitchen (full versus fridge and microwave), outdoor amenities such as decks and BBQ grills, ocean views, private pools, outdoor eating areas, tennis courts and other items important to you.

On your secondary list, you might have things like a hammock for lazing about, or pool waterfall for the relaxing sounds. Exterior stereo speakers, to enjoy your favorite music around the pool. Ice makers to mix your favorite drinks, especially in the heat of the day.

3. List the activities that you want to be able to enjoy while on vacation. A morning activity like scuba diving, snorkeling or canopy tour then coming back to the villa to relax may be a high priority for you.

You also need to consider how close you want your vacation rental to be to the attractions.

Some people feel that a great vacation is being able to walk or bicycle everywhere. Others don't mind a short drive, and still others think nothing of getting on a freeway to enjoy attractions.

4. Identify your first, second and third choice of dates for renting the villa.

With several dates, you'll save time when making arrangements.

If you find a villa that you really want and you have some flexibility in scheduling, having alternate dates ready allows you to book right then, saving yourself the time and hassle of having to re-check everyone's schedule and call back - and risking losing those dates in the interim.

5. Call the telephone numbers for the vacation rentals that seem to meet your needs and speak directly with either the owners or the person who is handling the property.

Be prepared with a list of questions. This allows you to compare apples to apples, and keeps you from forgetting something important during the conversation.

It also gives you a feel for the person who will be your contact should you rent the villa and then encounter a problem. If you don't get a warm, friendly welcome to your inquiries, don't expect anything different when you have a problem.

6. Ask what amenities are included.

You may learn of something that's not on your list but is perfect for your plans.