Renting a Car in Costa Rica

Renting a Car in Costa Rica

Renting a Car in Costa Rica

I hope everyone is doing great wherever you may be. I’ve been busy planning my husband David’s big 80th birthday party. Several friends will fly down for the epic event and have asked if they should rent a car in Costa Rica.

I figure you’ve wondered about it too. How accessible are cabs? Can I Uber in Costa Rica? Are there rental cars at the airport or should I have the concierge from the vacation home I rented take care of it for me? Which rental car company is best? These are all great questions. Let’s dig in.

Should I Rent a Car?

To rent or not to rent? That depends on what kind of vacationer you are. Do you plan to get to your vacation villa, unpack, kick back with a cold tropical cocktail, spend time at the pool, and escape from everything? Because, if that’s the case, I’d say you don’t need to rent a car in Costa Rica.

Besides, when you stay at the Discovery Beach House, you’re close to everything. Why leave a car sitting in the parking area when you just want to lay on a float in a pool and hang at the beach. The beach is a 30-second walk from your back door. Stores, ATMs, restaurants, bars, and shopping are just a 2-10-minute walk from the villa.

Taxis

Costa Rica TaxiTaxis are readily available on the main road. Uber is in San Jose but hit and miss in our area of Manuel Antonio. If you’re adventurous and want a local experience, take the public bus, it’s easy. The public bus stop is right outside the Discovery Beach House gate. Buses pass by every 20 minutes, except for Sundays when they’re on a minimal schedule. It’s only $.60 to ride into town and takes maybe 15 minutes. It’s a cultural experience.

Do I Need a 4×4?

If you’re the type of vacationer who likes to get out and explore, then I suggest you rent a car in Costa Rica. You may want to visit nearby towns or get off the beaten path. You don’t need to rent a 4×4 vehicle unless you plan to visit rural areas of Costa Rica.

How Are the Roads?

The road conditions in Costa Rica have vastly improved over the past few years. The roads around Manuel Antonio are great in comparison to other areas of Costa Rica. When you’re off the main highways, there are still potholes that can swallow your car. So be careful and don’t be in too much of a hurry. Remember the maximum speed limit in Costa Rica is only about 50 mph. If you’d like to know more about driving around in Costa Rica check out my article “Costa Rica Map Tips: One Inch Does NOT Equal Five Miles.”

Mandatory National Insurance

The mandatory national insurance is the biggest complaint we hear from guests renting a car in Costa Rica. Online websites don’t include the mandatory national insurance in their online quotes. Imagine your surprise when you think you scored a deal on a car, then come to find out, it’s much higher than what the website says. The national insurance can add $10 to $25 a day (it depends on what type of car you rent) to the total cost of the rental.

Our concierge has received many phone calls from panicked guests at the airport asking for help. Their deal turned into a not so great deal fast. That’s why we suggest you let our concierge book your rental car. Our concierge service is free for our guests. We only work with reputable companies. We send them so much business, if any little thing pops up, we get priority.

INS a Costa Rican Monopoly

There’s one company that offers car insurance in Costa Rica. The company “INS” (National Insurance Institute) has a monopoly here. Don’t get tricked into purchasing international car insurance for your Costa Rica vacation. Unless your insurance is from INS it isn’t valid in Costa Rica. You’ll either lose your money or have to ask for a refund when you return from your Costa Rica vacation.

Reputable Car Companies

If you book your car on your own, make sure you use a reputable company. Don’t book with a company you’ve never heard of, no matter how good the deal seems to be. If something does happen, you want to make sure you have someone in the office that can help you.

Basic or Full Coverage?

Basic or full coverage is separate from the mandatory national insurance. I like the idea of full coverage because if anything happens (stuff does happen sometimes), it’s nice to know you’re covered.

Most major credit cards include full coverage on cars rented with the card. Call your credit card company and double-check. That’ll save you quite a bit of money and give you peace of mind with your car rental. Basic coverage is just that, basic. Most guests never have problems with basic coverage.

Rental Car Deposits

You’ll need a credit card for the deposit on your rental car in Costa Rica. Rental car deposits range from $300 to $1,500 depending on the company and the type of car you rent. If there’s no issues, the rental car companies will return your deposit within three business days after you return your vehicle. Keep that in mind if you need access to the deposit money after your vacation. Similar to the US, you’ll need a valid driver’s license and be over 25 years old to rent the vehicle.

Now You Know

I hope that by now, I’ve answered most of those daunting questions you had about how to rent a car in Costa Rica. As always, our concierge is here to help you with your Costa Rica vacation planning needs.

See You Soon

We look forward to your vacation with us. If you haven’t read my other articles, please check them out here. Please follow us on Instagram @discoverybeachouse. For more information or to check our availability, visit our website at Discovery Beach House. Watch our YouTube Channel for more details on Manuel Antonio, the best spot to vacation in Costa Rica.

The Boruca, Costa Rica’s Unconquered Tribe

In my last article, Land’ ho Costa Rica History and the Last Unconquered Tribe, we talked a little about indigenous tribes. Costa Rica has a rich history of native tribes who have lived in the area about 10,000 years before Columbus arrived.

Out of Costa Rica’s 4.5 million population, about 114,000 are indigenous people from ancient tribes making up about 2.4% of the population. These tribes have retained their customs, culture, language, and rituals throughout the occupation of the Spaniards to present day.

The Mighty Boruca

In this article, I’d like to feature the mighty Boruca tribe. The Boruca are the only indigenous tribe of Costa Rica not defeated by the Spaniards. The Boruca are also known as Brunca, Brunka, and Borunca. The Boruca live on a land reservation of about 140 km2 in the South-Pacific region of Costa Rica. Costa Rica law established reservations for indigenous tribes to live. The Costa Rican government allows the tribes to self-govern on their reservations.

Boruca Scared the Sh*t Out of the Conquistadors

If you recall from my last article, I described the first Boruca and Spanish conquistador encounter in the jungle. The Boruca masks were terrifying with distorted scowling faces and jaguar-like fangs. Their bodies were painted in bright colors or covered in animal skins or banana leaves.

When the conquistadors first saw the Boruca tribesmen, they ran. The Boruca charged the conquistadors and chased them back to their ships. Legend has it the Boruca warded off the conquistadors for four days. That must have been such a sight to see, the brave conquistadors running for their lives.

Dance of the Little Devils

The Boruca celebrate each December 30th to January 2nd with the Dance of the Little Devils. This festival represents the Boruca chasing off the Spaniards. The Spaniards, represented by a bull and the Boruca the “little devils.”

Day 1

This multi-day festival starts with the warriors hear of the approaching conquistadors; they hike up into the surrounding hilltops to keep a lookout. While on the mountain top they call on the spirits of their masks to help them ward off the invaders. The warriors, to simulate animal skin wear burlap. They ordain themselves with beautiful feathers, paint their bodies in bright colors and wear their masks. The warriors energized with the spirits of their masks return to the village ready to defend their land.

Day 2

Day 2 begins with someone dressing up in the bull costume. The bull costume is covered in burlap, draped over a large box with a mask of a bull’s head. It’s somewhat cumbersome to wear, and it takes quite the beating. Due to this, the bull costume is worn by different people throughout the festival.

The Boruca paint their bodies in bright colors and don masks representing different spirits. The little devils, chastise, chase, and hit the bull. During the first couple of days of the festival, the bull knocks down the devils and thwarts their attacks. On the evening of the second day, the warriors drink chicha.

Chicha is a strong traditional alcohol drink made from corn. The Boruca believe chicha gives them powers to defeat the Spaniards. I guess when you have a few cocktails, you can feel invincible. The Boruca certainly did.

Day 3

The morning of the third day, the “Cacique” (Chief) and elders of the tribe walk through the village and bang on drums, play flutes and blow into a conch shell. The elders call the warriors of the village to come out and fight, then drink more chicha. They summon the spirits of the masks, drink more chicha, and become more emboldened. They then chase down the bull and the attacks worsen. Wouldn’t you hate to be the person dressing up in the bull costume?

Day 4

The final day of the festival, the warriors drink more chicha, then cover themselves with banana leaves to make themsleves appear to double or triple in size. They change their masks and attack the bull again and again. The attacks become more and more violent. It almost turns into a drunken brawl with all the chicha they drink, and that’s why the last couple of days of this festival gets a bit violent for the people participating. The ceremony culminates when the devils finally kill the bull and save their heritage.

Boruca Today

Today the Boruca live a peaceful life in the Talamanca mountains of Costa Rica. They still embrace their traditions, language, and culture. The Boruca tribe mostly relies on Ethnotourism to sell their crafts to sustain themselves.

Ethnotourism is pretty much what it sounds like. It’s when you travel to immerse yourself in another culture. Cool, huh. When you visit the Boruca you can arrange a homestay to see what’s it’s like to live in that culture. My husband David, daughter Dawn, and I have done it all over the world. We’ve stayed with weavers high in the Andes and on Lake Titicaca in Peru. We’ve also stayed with farmers in Bhutan. If you’ve never tried it, I highly recommend it. It’s enlightening, makes you humble, and makes you grateful for many things you’ve taken for granted in your life.

By now, I hope you’re ready to bring your tribe to visit the mighty Boruca tribe, the only indigenous tribe who remained unconquered by the Spanish during their control of Costa Rica.

See You Soon

We look forward to your vacation with us. If you haven’t read my other articles, please check them out here. Please follow us on Instagram @discoverybeachouse. For more information or to check our availability, visit our website at Discovery Beach House. Watch our YouTube Channel for more details on Manuel Antonio, the best spot to vacation in Costa Rica.

* Danza De Diablitos | Photo Credits: Tilyian Morrin, Peace Corps Volunteer, (Festival of 2017 – 2018) | https://www.borucacostarica.org/danza-de-diablitos

Costa Rica Flights, San Jose Airport (SJO), and What You Should Know

Costa Rica Flights, San Jose Airport (SJO), and What You Should Know

Costa Rica Flights, San Jose Airport (SJO), and What You Should Know

You take a deep breath and you feel your pulse racing with excitement. You just booked your Costa Rica vacation rental. Congratulations! You’re stoked and walk proud for the sweet deal you got for your family. This Costa Rica family vacation is going to be the best vacation yet!

What will you do about your flights? When is the best time to arrive? Where do you pick up your rental car or private shuttle? No worries. I’ll help you figure out best arrival times and how to get around the airport in San Jose. The San Jose (SJO) airport is actually in Alajuela. Did you know that?

Now Arriving, Costa Rica

You’ve probably already searched every travel site on the Internet to find the best Costa Rica flight deals. There are a ton of them out there and now is a great time to book. It’s important to consider your arrival and departure times. It depends on where your Costa Rica vacation villa is located. You may have to leave at the crack of dawn to arrive at the airport in time for your departure flight. Many airport services are not open when your flight arrival or departure times are too early or too late.

Earlier Arrival, Later Departure

Airport Arrivals DeparturesWhen guests stay at the Discovery Beach House, we always suggest they arrive early in the morning or midafternoon. Now, I understand sometimes that can be tricky. An early arrival will give you plenty of time to get through customs, grab your baggage, stop at duty-free (save money on much cheaper alcohol), get your rental car or find your private shuttle, arrive at your vacation villa, and still have some of your first day to enjoy.

My strategy is to power through the first day after a red-eye flight, so I don’t feel like I’ve lost an entire day on travel. The key is to get a few hours of sleep, so bring a sleeping mask, ear plugs, or a sleep aid to make that happen.

Try to avoid arrivals or departures at rush hour. There’s nothing worse than being super excited to get to your vacation rental then having to sit in traffic for two hours. If you arrive after sunset (about 5:30 pm), it’ll be dark. It isn’t easy driving around an unfamiliar country during the day, let alone at night. If you’re in a private shuttle, you’ll miss the beautiful scenery on the way to your destination. The best strategy is to arrive late morning to midafternoon and depart midafternoon or after rush hour.

Getting Around Costa Rica’s San Jose Airport SJO

You’ve finally landed, now what? San Jose airport (SJO) is very easy to navigate. When you get off the plane, follow the clearly posted signs first to Immigration then to the customs agents. Someone will be there to guide you. You’ll need your passport, so have that handy. There are two lines, one for nationals of Costa Rica and a second for everyone else. Make sure to wait in the right line.

Next in Line

A customs agent will call you to a window. If you’re traveling as a family or couple, you can go to the same window together. If you’re individuals in a group, each person needs to wait until called to a customs agent’s window. The customs agent asks you some questions about your trip or where you will be going. Be patient if the line is long and always be nice no matter how tired you might be. Usually, this line goes quickly and very smoothly. Once you have your passport stamped, it’s time to pick up your luggage.

Where’s My Luggage?

Baggage ClaimA short walk down a hallway from customs is baggage claim. Like most airports, look for the carousel with your flight number on it and wait for your luggage to come out. There are luggage porters who help you carry your luggage for a tip. If you have a lot of luggage, it’s worth it. Super-secret insider tip (shhh): if you hire a porter it will also streamline your customs experience. Customs agents are reluctant to tear through luggage handled by porters as it may affect their tip. Having a vacation rental home in a foreign country means I often bring back several household items I can get cheaper in the U.S. The porter puts my heavy bags on the conveyor belt, reloads them onto his cart, and wheels the whole shebang outside. This can be a life saver if you’re traveling with family and a wife who likes clothing options, like me.

If you don’t use the services of a luggage porter, there are carts you can use for free. The carts can’t be taken past the luggage scanning machine unless you have a porter. After that you’ll have to carry your luggage. Baggage claim is small and very easy to get around.

Duty Free

We suggest if you want to have any favorite alcohol on hand, you should buy it at duty-free. You can buy alcohol all over Costa Rica but at duty free it’s tax-free and sometimes half the price! Shopping at duty-free will save you at least 13% – 50%.

I prefer the second duty-free shop after baggage claim.  The second shop has the same great deals as the first one, but it’s less crowded.  The first duty-free shop is normally packed (elbow-to-elbow room) because everyone instinctively goes to what they see first.

Remember, you’ll have to show your airline ticket and passport to prove you didn’t sneak in the back door for a deal.

Leaving San Jose Airport (SJO)

After you’ve done your duty-free shopping and have your luggage, you’ll need to give that form to the person at the luggage scanner. You’ll put your luggage on the scanner and pick it up on the other side. On the other side are the kiosks for rental car companies. The airport is tiny, so the rental car lots are located off-site.

If you have a private shuttle, you’ll find your driver waiting outside as you exit the airport. Be warned!  There are a ton of taxi drivers and people bidding for your attention and business. it can be a bit overwhelming. Look around for someone with a sign with your name on it, that’s your shuttle driver. If you haven’t arranged transportation or a stay at a local hotel, no worries. There are people who will let you make a call on their cell phones. Tip them $1 if you do. Tip more if they help you a lot.

Now You Know

By now you may be ready to book your flight for your Costa Rica adventure. Don’t worry, you’ll navigate the airport like a pro, armed with this new knowledge, and get to your vacation rental home in the shortest time possible because you picked the best arrival time!

See You Soon

We look forward to your vacation with us. If you haven’t read my other articles, please check them out here. Please follow us on Instagram @discoverybeachouse. For more information or to check our availability, visit our website at Discovery Beach House. Watch our YouTube Channel for more information on Manuel Antonio, the best spot to vacation in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica 50 Shades of Green Energy

Costa Rica 50 Shades of Green Energy

Costa Rica 50 Shades of Green Energy

Costa Rica Electricity 99.56% Renewable Energy

Have you immersed yourself in research for your Costa Rica vacation? Have you noticed recent articles or posts about how green Costa Rica is? I don’t mean the usual 50 shades of green you think of when you picture Costa Rica.

Let’s talk about energy, green energy. Few people know Costa Rica now runs almost 100% off renewable energies. For most of 2018, Costa Rica ran off renewable energies, about 99.56% of the time. Renewable energy isn’t new for Costa Rica. They got a head start on this trend in 2014. Costa Rica’s goal is to be carbon neutral by 2021.

I’m impressed such a small country can make such a significant impact on the environment. Costa Rica is a great example for other countries to follow.

Volcano Power

Costa Rica uses geothermal energy from volcanoes to generate electricity. They harness the heat from volcanoes to make steam; the steam turns turbines to generate electricity. How cool is that?

Blowing in the Wind

As you drive through the cloud forest on your way to Lake Arenal, you’ll pass wind farms perched on hilltops. Costa Rica also uses windmills to crank out energy. Not much grows up here, so this is a perfect place to harvest the power of the wind to generate electricity for Costa Rica.

Dam It

After the cloud forest you drop down into the Arenal area. There’s a massive hydropower plant here. The dam holds Lake Arenal reservoir in a beautiful green valley at the base of the Arenal volcano. Close your eyes (only if it’s safe to) and imagine a Jurassic Park type volcano. Arenal volcano is a tall cone-shaped volcano that juts out of the valley with a bright green jungle that covers one side; the other side has lava charred black sections from past eruptions. It’s such a beautiful winding drive around Lake Arenal, you should take the trip if you get a chance. This hydropower plant generates most of the electrical power for Costa Rica.

Discover Our Green Side

By now, I’m sure you’re impressed with what this peaceful, beautiful country is doing. Costa Rica is well on its way to prevent the use of single-use plastics like straws, utensils, and plastic bags. Some restaurants now use avocado pits, bamboo, and reusable metal straws. We think this is great for the wildlife and environment here.

We ask when on your Costa Rica vacation you think green too. You can do simple things like, opt for the better sunscreens that don’t hurt the oceans or reefs in our area. Don’t buy bug repellents that smell like awful chemicals. The chemicals are not good for your skin and worse for the environment. Instead, use sunscreens with natural ingredients such as lemongrass, citronella, and lavender, which are great repellents for bugs and mosquitoes. Plus, you’ll still smell nice. Who wants to smell like a DEET chemical factory? I once sprayed my bare feet with a product that contained DEET. That night when I took off my flip flops, my feet looked like I still had my flip flops on! The DEET caused the black dye to stain my feet, which couldn’t have been a good thing, ya think?  Even a simple act like buying better sunscreen or repellents can have a positive impact on our beautiful environment.

At Discovery Beach House, We Do Our Part!

We do our best to be green. When my husband, David, and I built the Discovery Beach House, we wanted to have the lowest impact on the environment possible. We installed our own private waste treatment plant to ensure we wouldn’t contaminate the grounds or the beach. We took care to locate our villa so we wouldn’t have to cut trees. We planted 75 new trees, which is one reason the monkeys love to visit us almost daily. The trees are their jungle highways and how they get around the Manuel Antonio area.

As our guest, we have individual recycle bins to help you contribute to being green by placing cans, plastics, organics, or glass in the appropriate bins.  We make sure they go to the proper recycling company. We can all do a small part to help keep Costa Rica beautiful and green.

Green Gardens

Beautiful gardens surround our Costa Rica luxury villa. When you visit us, we encourage you to take a moment to stop and smell the tropical flowers. We plant native trees and vegetation the local wildlife loves. Hundreds of local tropical flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds and make the Discovery Beach House’s gardens their home. Be sure to breathe in that fresh clean rainforest air on your stroll.

See You Soon

We look forward to your vacation with us. If you haven’t read our other articles, please check them out here. Please follow us on Instagram @discoverybeachouse. For more information or to check our availability, visit our website at Discovery Beach House. Watch our YouTube Channel for more information on Manuel Antonio, the best spot to vacation in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica Travel Tips

Costa Rica Travel Tips

Costa Rica Travel Tips

Do you plan to visit Costa Rica with your family this year? Statistics show 73% of the fun and excitement of a Costa Rica vacation is the preparation. However, the preparation can overwhelm some people. If you’re like me, you search YouTube and other Social Media up down and all around for tips. By now you’ve probably researched so many sites, you can’t remember what you were looking for in the first place.

Before you throw your hands up and scream, “I quit,” I have some Costa Rica travel tips to help your vacation be the best one yet.

What to Pack for Your Costa Rica Vacation

Keep a few things in mind when you pack for your trip. Outside of San Jose, most places are informal, so leave your prom dress, tux, and travel iron at home. You’ll stand out if you show up overdressed. Many vacation rental homes have an iron if you need one, but no one cares if your shirt has a few wrinkles. You won’t need your bling or diamond crusted heels in Costa Rica. A nice comfortable pair of sandals or flip flops will work just fine. Tennis shoes, water shoes, or secure sandals with a heel strap are a must if you plan to enjoy a zipline tour or other adventure tour. Most tour operators won’t let you participate if you don’t wear secure shoes. If your rhinestone-studded flip flop flies off your foot while gliding through the rain forest canopy, there’s no way to stop and search for it in the dense vegetation below.

What to Wear in Costa Rica

Choose light fabrics and breathable cotton blends. Pack shorts, sun dresses, and casual collared shirts or t-shirts. Heavier fabrics will be hotter and make you sweat more. They’ll also take longer to dry in this humid climate. You’ll want a few swimsuits for your Costa Rica trip. It’s no fun having to wear a semi-wet swimsuit under your clothes after a day at the beach or after an adventure tour. Bring a pair of long pants and close-toed shoes but save them for the flight to Costa Rica and the flight back home.

It’s the Humidity

Everyone perspires here. Hey, it’s the tropics, so don’t worry if you sweat or “glow” while you stroll through the farmer’s market or head for a restaurant. I like to think of it as nature’s moisturizer. Everyone’s skin looks younger here. When I visit family in California and go to brush my teeth that first morning, I look in the mirror half asleep then jump back in shock, “Damn, who is that woman who looks ten years older than me? Did an elephant crawl under her skin while she was asleep!?”

A couple of extra shirts to change into after a hot day of exploration is a must. A cold or cool shower will help you adjust to the humidity and make you feel invigorated. If the thought of taking a cold shower makes your teeth chatter, I understand. If it gets below 75˚, I shiver and reach for a sweater. Try this for a starter; at the end of your shower, turn the water down as cold as you can handle it. You’ll feel cool and refreshed.

Protective Gear

By now you’ve got to be tired of having frozen your butt off after this recent winter that broke all records. Some parts of you probably haven’t seen the light of day for a while. Be sure to pack some good sunscreen for your trip. You can buy sunscreen here in Manuel Antonio and around Costa Rica but it’s expensive.

Bring a strap for your sunglasses to keep them on your head while on a tour or on the beach. The waves of Manuel Antonio beach have snatched hundreds of glasses right off the faces of beach goers. I just had a friend lose a pair at the beach last week. He did get a pretty sweet body surfing ride first. The straps are cheap, and you’ll be happy to have your sunglasses during the sunny, warm tropical days here.

Costa Rican Rain

Bring along a dry bag to store electronics and important documents if you travel during the rainy season. Here rain can appear out of nowhere. You’ll be happy to have something to protect your valuables from getting wet if you’re caught by a surprise downpour. You’ll find a compact pocket umbrella very useful on your travels during the rainy season. FYI — it can still rain here in the dry season, but it doesn’t last very long. If you’re looking online for weather forecasts for your Costa Rica trip — beware — they’re mostly wrong. They usually say 80% chance of rain or thunderstorms, but that just means it’s raining somewhere in Costa Rica. Ask your concierge if you have any questions about the weather.

Exchange Your Money in Costa Rica

There’s no need to exchange US dollars for colones before you get to Costa Rica. Nearly everywhere accepts US dollars and you receive a much better exchange rate at local banks than at the airport or banks in the US. Beware of money exchange windows at the airport that say, “no commission.” They may not charge you a commission, but they give you a dismally low exchange rate. Also keep in mind you can get colones at the many ATMs throughout the country.

Last Minute Details

Where is my passport? Oh no! Did it expire? Did I double check flight times? Do we leave at 12:00 P.M. or 12:00 A.M.? Did I lock the front door? Uh oh, can’t remember if I gave the emergency contact information to the dog sitter.

Don’t stress out by leaving important details for the last day. Give yourself plenty of time to plan and remember to enjoy the process. A vacation should leave you feeling refreshed and with your batteries charged, not drained from bungled last-minute details before you even leave. I hope these tips will help your Costa Rica vacation or your Costa Rica family vacation be the best vacation yet.

We look forward to your vacation with us. If you haven’t read my other articles, please check them out here. Please follow us on Instagram @discoverybeachouse. For more information or to check our availability, visit our website at Discovery Beach House. Watch our YouTube Channel for more information on Manuel Antonio, the best spot to vacation in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica Map Tips: One Inch Does NOT Equal Five Miles

Costa Rica Map Tips: One Inch Does NOT Equal Five Miles

Costa Rica Map Tips: One Inch Does NOT Equal Five Miles

You know that sticker on your car’s side mirror that says things are closer than they may appear? I think all Costa Rica maps should have a sticker that says, “places are waaay farther than they may appear.”

I bet in your excitement over your vacation stay at the Discovery Beach House in Manuel Antonio (or wherever you decide to vacation in Costa Rica) you eagerly broke out your map, felt the crisp paper slide between your fingers as you noisily unfolded and laid it flat on the table. Your eyes quickly scanned the map looking for every must-see place you’ve ever heard about.

Like a ship’s navigator you began plotting your course. Then you spotted the map’s legend in the corner showing you that “[________]” is five miles. A Dr. Evil laugh slips out from between your lips as you predict, “Ha, I can see all of Costa Rica in one week, yes!”

Costa Rica Travel Times

Think again. Costa Rica’s geography and terrain can make travel times a wee bit longer than what you’re used to back home. Here “[________]” can equal three hours of driving time. For example, the distance between the airport in San Jose and Manuel Antonio beach is only about 100 miles (180km) as the toucan flies. Easy peasy right? Not necessarily!

At times the road will hug a mountainside like an old friend. Then suddenly, the road starts winding like a snake being chased by a wild boar through the tropical forest. But wait — up ahead it stretches out straight along the amazingly beautiful azure coastline. You finally reach the Pacific coast, then Manuel Antonio, where you roll down your window and deeply inhale the smell of the sea and the salt air.

Road Signs You’ll Find in Costa Rica

BTW — don’t get too excited when you see speed limit signs that say “80km.” Remember, distances here are measured in kilometers not miles — a kilometer equaling 0.6 miles. Pretty much the entire country has a maximum speed limit of 80km (about 50mph). Be sure to calculate a maximum speed of around 50mph into your drive times between places. Unexpected traffic jams, iguana crossings, cows on the road, weather or other delays can turn that four-hour trip into a six or seven-hour trip.

When you see signs that say “Ceda” that means “Yield.” Make sure you pay attention to avoid close calls on the road. When driving here, stop at signs that say “Alto.” When you see a sign that says “Puente Angosto” be careful, there’s a narrow bridge up ahead. Many of the narrow bridges here have just one lane, so yield to oncoming traffic if a “Ceda” sign is on your side. Don’t be in too much of a hurry and wait your turn if there’s traffic to cross the bridge.

Don’t Panic

Heaven forbid you should have an accident in your car but here are some tips just in case. It’s very important to not move the car. Fight your instinct to get the car out of traffic, even if you’re blocking all the lanes, stay put. It’s against the law to move your car before the police arrive at the scene. Take some pictures of your car and the other car for your records. Have the rental contract handy. Call the rental company, if you can, to report the accident. If you’re concerned about driving in Costa Rica, it might be a good idea to get the full coverage for your rental car. That way, if anything does happen, you’re covered, and it will give you peace of mind. Our concierge can help you find the best prices on rental cars for your stay.

GPS

If you have an unlocked cell phone, you could buy a Kolbi SIM card at the airport for $5. Have the person activate the data so you can use the GPS feature. You can also buy an international plan that covers Costa Rica. That way you have Google maps or Waze to help you find your way. We’re still a rural country dotted with rainforest-filled valleys and mountains. Sometimes cell service is not always available but then you’ll miss so much if you’re married to your cell phone while on vacation.

By now you’ve got to be ready to plan your Costa Rica adventure. Armed with your new Costa Rica map knowledge, you’ll be able to make the most of your Costa Rica vacation time. Remember, when planning drive times that even though it’s just an inch away on the map; it might be a three-hour side trip to see the biggest papaya tree in Costa Rica.

We look forward to your vacation with us. If you haven’t read my other articles, please check them out here. Please follow us on Instagram @discoverybeachouse. For more information or to check our availability, visit our website at Discovery Beach House. Watch our YouTube Channel for more information on Manuel Antonio, the best spot to vacation in Costa Rica.

Things to Do in Costa Rica and Manuel Antonio

Things to Do in Costa Rica and Manuel Antonio

It’s no wonder Costa Rica tourism has taken off over the last few years. Costa Rica’s geography and natural wonders draw tourists from every continent. The climate is perfect for those yearning to escape the cold and nasty grip of winter. There are a ton of things to do in Costa Rica. I’d like to share some of the best things to do, mainly in the Manuel Antonio area.

Costa Rica Tours

If you’re planning a Costa Rica family vacation or your first trip to the country, we can help you set up everything to make this the best vacation yet. Our concierge service at the Discovery Beach House is included with your rental and will make Costa Rica travel packages and itineraries for you. We will help you select tours that are the best for your group and adventure levels. Speaking of adventure, let’s jump into the tours.

Costa Rica tours come in a wide range of activities, from a relaxing boat ride through mangroves looking for wildlife, coffee plantations tours, jungle night walks, butterfly gardens, ziplines, or rappelling down a cascading waterfall. No matter if you’re the adventurous type or just wanting to chill out and relax on vacation, there’s something for everyone. That’s one reason we love the Manuel Antonio area so much. It has 24 of the 27 tours Costa Rica has to offer, all in one convenient and breathtaking place.

A very popular tour in our area is a full day waterfall tour. This tour is great for the whole family and adventure seekers alike. You visit four different waterfalls located along the Southern coast ending at the remote Playa Ventanas beach. At the waterfalls you can swim, climb up with the help of professional guides, and jump off into the fresh clean pool below. Our guests come back from this tour so pumped up and energized. They can’t stop raving about it.

We also have a waterfall zipline tour. You’ll zip from platform to platform up a valley until you cross a rope bridge. Now you’re at the top of the waterfall. Your heart races, you grin from ear to ear with excitement, then you grip tight as you swing over the top and rappel the waterfall. How many can say they’ve rappelled over a huge waterfall? There are several zipline companies that are great in our area. Depending on your adventure level determines who we recommend. Be sure to talk to your concierge about any tours you’d like to do while on vacation at the Discovery Beach House.

Manuel Antonio is for nature lovers!

Manuel Antonio National Park has plenty of nature for you to see and experience. The Discovery Beach House is visited daily by wildlife including the adorable Red-backed Squirrel Monkey and the playful Capuchin Monkey. You’ll be shocked at the amount of wildlife you see while enjoying your world-famous Costa Rican coffee in the morning sitting by the pool. I know David and I still get excited when we see so much wildlife right in our own backyard.

A short drive inland is a birder’s paradise. Or how about tantalizing your taste buds with a tour of tropical and exotic spices on a vanilla farm tour? Feel like a kid again as you stand with hundreds of brightly colored butterflies fluttering about you at the butterfly garden. Boat or kayak through mangroves filled with water birds, lizards and monkeys.

Costa Rica sunsets are an awesome occasion!

Our concierge can help set up renting a 27’ boat with built in GPS to follow and you’re the Captain of your own boat. Explore where you want along the picturesque coastline of Manuel Antonio. You can also have a captain provided, so you can sit back and enjoy the view.

One of my favorite tours is a catamaran sunset tour. You motor out and look for dolphins and whales as you enjoy unprecedented views of the majestic coast. You can snorkel in a protected bay and jump off the catamaran or take a ride on the wild side and shoot down its waterslide. The best part comes after dinner when you motor out to watch the sky transform into magnificent hues of mango, crimson, sapphire, and lavender. It’s an amazing way to watch the sunset here.

Do you want to do a little sport fishing or catch tonight’s dinner for your group? We can help schedule with reputable boats that follow sustainable fishing practices.

By now you must be searching your calendar for dates to take a Costa Rica vacation. I’m sure you’re excited about all the fun things to do in Costa Rica after reading this. I hope I’ve sparked or rekindled a sense of adventure in you. Manuel Antonio has so much to offer, we’re sure you’ll fall in love with the area too.

We look forward to your vacation with us. If you haven’t read my other articles, please check them out here. Please follow us on Instagram @discoverybeachouse. For more information or to check our availability, visit our website at Discovery Beach House. Watch our YouTube Channel for more information on Manuel Antonio, the best spot to vacation in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica Vacation Rentals: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Costa Rica Vacation Rentals: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Are you having a hard time deciding on a Costa Rica vacation rental? If you’re planning a family vacation or just looking for vacation rentals in Costa Rica, the task can be daunting. A lot of properties will pop up when you do your search. Which one is the perfect choice for you? In this article I’ll go over a few different things to look at to help you pick the best option for your vacation.

I’ve traveled to and from Costa Rica a great deal over the past 20 years, so I’ve experienced the good, the bad, and the ugly. Let’s start with the ugly and work our way back to the good and end on a high note.

Pay attention to the response time

It’s a good sign when someone gets right back to you when you inquire about a Costa Rica vacation rental. For example, at the Discovery Beach House we usually respond within an hour. If you send an inquiry and it takes four days or a week to get back to you, that’s a bad sign. Think about it, if they don’t respond quickly, how will they respond if you have an issue with their rental? If an air conditioner breaks down or you’re accidently locked out, will they take four days to respond? You don’t want to waste precious vacation time dealing with bad customer service.

Now we move to the bad

If you’re looking at a luxury villa, the listing should have several quality photos. If it doesn’t, that’s an ugly and move onto the next one. There are too many amazing places here to settle for a bad one. When you look for vacation rentals in Costa Rica, think about what kind of rental you need. How big is your group? Where are the Costa Rica vacation rentals located? How far off the trodden trail is that villa? Will you need to rent a car to get everywhere? Is there enough parking for the number of cars you rent if you come with a large group?

How close is the vacation rental to the beach? Beware of vacation rentals that claim to be right on the beach when they may only have an ocean view, however spectacular that view may be. Ask, “are you directly on the beach or do I have to drive there?” and “when you say walking distance, exactly how many minutes does it take to get to the beach?”

How close is it to amenities like super markets and tours? It’s good to figure out on the map where your vacation rental is in Costa Rica compared to the activities you want to do.

By now you must be wondering about the good vacation rentals in Costa Rica

Costa Rica vacation rentals have become more popular than ever. I think the more personalized service you receive at a vacation rental in Costa Rica beats a hotel any day. For the good, check to see if concierge service is included with your booking. Is there a human you can call and speak to on the phone? If you have questions before your Costa Rica vacation, they should be there to answer them all in detail. Do they help schedule your transfers, book tours, reserve personal chefs, and help you plan spa treatments?  Do they include daily maid service, or do they charge extra? Do they have a full house staff or are you just left to fend for yourself after check-in?

The Discovery Beach House has a personal concierge that works with you before your Costa Rica vacation. She’s there for you before, during, and after your arrival. If you need anything, just give her a call. Our concierge can help you book a rental car or can provide private door-to-door transportation from the airport right to our villa. We do all this for free for our guests. We love our clients and go the extra smile for them.

Our staff keeps your villa in tip top shape always. They also love to point out monkeys, sloths, and iguanas that visit our gardens, so you’ll never miss out on daily wildlife visits with our staff as your wildlife spotters.

FYI, the Discovery Beach House is perfectly located right on the main public beach in Manuel Antonio. You’re within walking distance to restaurants, Manuel Antonio National Park, bars, super markets, ATMs and gift shops. Public transportation is equally convenient with public buses passing by every 20 minutes or our concierge can call a taxi for you.

Our staff always delivers five-star customer service. Always.

I hope this helps you decide on which vacation rental in Costa Rica to choose. When you get a chance, check out the Discovery Beach House. If there’s anything we can do to help, please contact us via our website.

We look forward to your vacation with us. If you haven’t read my other articles, please check them out here. Please follow us on Instagram @discoverybeachouse. For more information or to check our availability, visit our website at Discovery Beach House. Watch our YouTube Channel for more information on Manuel Antonio, the best spot to vacation in Costa Rica.

Best Beaches in Costa Rica

Best Beaches in Costa Rica

So, you’re looking for the best beaches in Costa Rica? You’re in luck, Costa Rica beaches are some of the most beautiful in the world. The variety of beaches here range from secluded jungle beaches, hidden coves, stunning bays, and mile-long empty beaches, to resort and tourist-packed beaches.

Before we get started, I want you to close your eyes for a moment and forget the craziness of your day. Inhale the scent of salt air slowly and deeply, feel fine powdered sand caress your toes, and listen to the waves crash on a deserted beach as a warm tropical breeze grazes your cheek. Ah, don’t you feel better already? If you’re planning a Costa Rica trip, then experiencing the beautiful beaches of Costa Rica is a must. Here’s a quick overview of some of the best beaches in Costa Rica.

Caribbean Coast

Let’s start our journey on the Caribbean Coast. The Northeast beaches in Tortuguero are a must if you’re a sea turtle lover. Each year several species of sea turtles make their migration to lay eggs on these remote beaches. South of Limon are Playa Cahuita, Puerto Viejo and Playa Manzanillo. The national park in Cahuita is a beautiful Costa Rica beach that is dotted with hundreds of sand dollars. Puerto Viejo is a favorite among surfers. It’s fun to sit at a local beach restaurant sipping on a fresh tropical drink watching the surfers find that perfect wave. Playa Manzanillo is a secluded beach at the end of a dusty, bumpy dirt road. It’s well worth the drive given the possibility of just you and a couple dolphins enjoying the water. It’s a beautiful rainforest beach with abundant wildlife. The warm crystal blue water and coral reefs are great for snorkeling. I think it’s one of the best beaches in Costa Rica on the Caribbean Coast.

Pacific Coast

Are you ready to head over to the Pacific side? Okay, let’s check out Playa Flamingo in the Northwest of the Guanacaste region. Playa Flamingo gets its name from the pink hue of the white sand beach. That’s right, a pink sand beach. Although it’s very subtle, it’s still pretty amazing. Can you imagine how beautiful an aquamarine wave breaking on a pink sand beach is? One caveat, this beach is a lot more touristy than other Costa Rica beaches and quite busy during the high season.

Playa Conchal is another one of Costa Rica’s best beaches. This beach is not as busy as the more popular Tamarido beach nearby. Conchal beach is great for the whole family. The warm tropical water is calm, so not many surfers are here. Hidden beneath the turquoise water are a couple coral reefs. This makes Conchal a perfect place to take a swim and do some snorkeling. Or you can relax with a good book and work on your tan.

Located on the Southern tip of the Nicoya peninsula is Montezuma. This beach is lined with beautiful dark volcanic rock, which makes Montezuma unsafe to swim but it’s a favorite spot to catch that next ride of a lifetime among surfers. This lush jungle beach is great to look for hidden gems in the many tide pools at low tide. Just remember to take only photos and leave only wet footprints.

In your search for the best beaches in Costa Rica you’ll need to stop by Playa Uvita and the Whale’s Tale. Playa Uvita hides a secret that can only be discovered during low tide. As the water recedes during low tide it uncovers a natural sand bar in the shape of a whale’s tail. If you’re making a day trip from the Discovery Beach House, ask your concierge when low tide is. You won’t want to miss seeing this phenomenon of nature.

Playa Ventanas is a stunning beach located in a big cove with beautiful rock features in the Southern Pacific zone. On the right side of the beach you’ll notice two “ventanas” (windows). Over the centuries the powerful ocean waves have worn away two long holes through the rocks. These ventanas can be walked through only during low tide. The dark volcanic rock with lush green rainforest and azure water is something I never get tired of seeing. I’m sure you’ll love it too.

Award Winning Beach

I’ve saved the best for last; Manuel Antonio Beach at Manuel Antonio National Park. This is the best beach in all of Costa Rica in my husband David’s and my opinion. But don’t just take it from us.  Forbes rated it as one of the top beaches in the world and TripAdvisor rated it the best beach in Central America. It was love at first sight for us. If there were ever a beach to have a love affair with — this is it. Here the mountains and jungle mingle seamlessly with the shore in an elegant union of pristine rainforest and volcanic black rocks that crop up along the soft sand beach. The colorful shells scattered on the beach add to the magic.

By now you must be dying to get your toes in the sand on one of the best beaches in Costa Rica. Think of how exciting it will be while you watch monkeys swing and jump from tree to tree or a mama sloth and baby sleeping above you on a branch. Manuel Antonio National Park has the rainforest, peaceful hidden coves, and beautiful white sand beaches. There is a ton of wildlife in the area, so you’ll be sure to see some while on your vacation at the Discovery Beach House.

Alright, I’m ready to kick off my flip flops and go for a sunset walk on the beach with David and our dogs Frida and Diego. Thanks for coming along with me on this tour of the best beaches in Costa Rica. This list is nowhere near a complete one of all the beautiful beaches here. Costa Rica has over 1,800 kilometers (1,100 miles) of shoreline with gorgeous beaches strung like pearls the length of each coast.

By now, I hope you’re so excited about your Costa Rica beach vacation, you can’t wait to book your flight. If you haven’t read my other articles, please check them out here. Please follow us on Instagram @discoverybeachouse. For more information or to check our availability, visit our website at Discovery Beach House. Watch our YouTube Channel for more information on Manuel Antonio, the best spot to vacation in Costa Rica.

10 Fun Facts about Costa Rica You’ll Love

10 Fun Facts about Costa Rica You’ll Love

I find Costa Rica amazing! For such a tiny country, there’s a lot packed into it, from its resplendent wildlife, gorgeous beaches, lush rainforests, picturesque mountains, sweet people, and more. There’s beauty everywhere you look. I always enjoy learning something new and interesting about Costa Rica, so here are a few fun facts about Costa Rica you’ll love.

  1. You can drink the water. When people talk about Costa Rica, many think we’re on an island or Costa Rica is a third-world country. Not at all. We’re pretty advanced down here. There’s pure, clean drinking water in all the cities and surrounding areas. So, you can take that water purifier out of your suitcase, order ice in your drinks, and brush your teeth with tap water with no problems. It’s nice not worrying about the drinking water on vacation. Save space in your luggage for souvenirs.
  2. The national dish of Costa Rica is “Gallo Pinto,” literally meaning, “Spotted Rooster.” This is normally a breakfast dish of rice and beans (usually black beans) stir-fried together in a pan. Gallo Pinto is served with your choice of scrambled or fried eggs, and a slice of local white cheese or sour cream. Some places add a piece of toast and give meat options like bacon or sausage. While on vacation here, ask your concierge where to try the best Gallo Pinto. You can also have your concierge book a private chef for you and your family to enjoy local and international cuisine. There’s nothing like waking up to the smell of fresh brewed Costa Rican coffee and a big plate of mouthwatering Gallo Pinto to start your day off right. It’s delicious.
  3. The national animal is the White-Tailed Deer. I know, right! Probably not what you were expecting. I was surprised myself to learn it’s a White-Tailed Deer. You’ll find it on the 1000 colon bill. I thought it was a Howler Monkey or another primate. We’re lucky at the Discovery Beach House because the White-Tailed Deer can be found nearby in Manuel Antonio National Park. You’ll melt when you see its sweet innocent face, perked ears listening intently. and white fluffy tail bobbing.
  4. Costa Rica is GREEN. It isn’t just green with lush tropical rainforests, it’s environmentally-friendly green. Ticos know the natural beauty of Costa Rica is one of its biggest assets. They produce a whopping 90% of their electricity using renewable energy. They’re also proactive and have banned the use of many single-use plastic items, which is great for the wildlife and environment. The Discovery Beach House is part of the solution and has clearly marked recycle bins for easy disposal.
  5. Costa Rica has five active volcanoes. Costa Rica was dramatically forged from fiery volcanoes. Although there are no active volcanoes in Manuel Antonio, there are several near San Jose: Irazu, Turrialba, Poas, and Rincon de la Vieja. If you’re exploring other parts of Costa Rica, each of these volcanoes has a dazzling national park worth a visit. Plenty of dormant volcanoes pepper the landscape throughout Costa Rica.
  6. You can watch the sunrise on the Caribbean and see the sunset over the Pacific that night. Pretty cool huh? You’d need to rent a car to do this. You could watch the sublime sunrise on the East coast then jump in your car and drive over to the West coast in time to have a cocktail and watch an unforgettably vibrant sunset. It’s a gorgeous drive with vivid landscapes to fill your senses with wonder. The drive takes about six to nine hours depending on where you go on the West coast.
  7. Costa Rica holds 5% of the world’s biodiversity. Costa Rica has only about 0.03% of the earth’s surface. However, it packs a whopping 5% of its biodiversity into a teensy-weensy area. We enjoy oodles of wildlife right in our beachfront backyard at the Discovery Beach House. Sip on a delicious freshly brewed cup of coffee, take in the warm morning sun, and voilà, a troop of Capuchin monkeys show up to play around the pool. The baby monkeys are the cutest, most adorable creatures on the planet when they wrestle or play leap frog. They’ll mesmerize you. I’m always delighted and grateful when a troop traipses by. I’m sure you’ll love the monkey show too.
  8. Costa Rica has no military. They abolished the army December 1, 1948. Seventy years later, they have no regrets regarding the decision. I think this is a great reflection on the Costa Rican people. They’re peace-loving, non-confrontational, and choose to live a stress-free lifestyle. This leads to the next fun fact about Costa Rica.
  9. Costa Rica has one of the top five “Blue Zones” in the world. Blue Zones are special. They are areas of the world where people commonly live well into their 100’s. Researchers believe part of the reason they live so long is a healthy diet, positive social interactions with both family and community, and overall life satisfaction. Notice they didn’t mention what type of car they drive or job they have. Here, a simple, happy life has more value than material things. The Nicoya Peninsula is Costa Rica’s Blue Zone.
  10. Costa Rica is the happiest country on earth according to several polls. I think the previous three Costa Rica fun facts help with the overall happiness Costa Ricans share. I know I’m my happiest here in this tropical paradise. For me, there are too many reasons to list why Costa Rica is the happiest country in the world but one more worth mentioning is the ready smile on a Tico’s face. I miss it when I travel. Costa Rica isn’t a rich country by any means; however, its people find value in a happy, family-centered lifestyle. To them a rich life has a more grounded and enduring meaning.

By now I bet you can’t wait for your vacation at the Discovery Beach House. I know you’ll love learning new things about this beautiful little place on your visit. It really has so much to offer in such a small package.

We look forward to your vacation with us. If you haven’t read my other articles, please check them out here. Please follow us on Instagram @discoverybeachouse. For more information or to check our availability, visit our website at Discovery Beach House. Watch our YouTube Channel for more information on Manuel Antonio, the best spot to vacation in Costa Rica.

Is Costa Rica Safe? Travel Tips

Is Costa Rica Safe? Travel Tips

Is Costa Rica Safe? Travel Tips

Yes, Costa Rica is safe.

There’s been a few recent incidences in Costa Rica on the news lately. Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the people affected. Although it is not the norm, if you watch your local news, they might give the impression it’s full of crime and tragedies. It’s not.

I want to take a few minutes to ease your minds if you have any concerns about vacationing here in paradise. As I said, Costa Rica is safe. Here are some tips on how to help ensure a safe and fun vacation in Costa Rica. It’s mostly using your common sense while traveling. Many tourists arrive and fall in love with the beauty, wildlife, people, laid-back lifestyle, and Pura Vida. Sometimes tourists feel so relaxed, they let their guard down, and do things they may not usually do while at home. Like many places in the US or Europe, there is petty crime. No matter where you live or travel, thieves always look for easy targets.

For example, let’s say you have our concierge arrange a car rental from your local car rental company, say, e-mietwagenkreta.de for you at the airport. If you prefer, she can have your car delivered right to your door at the Discovery Beach House. Before you load your bags in the car, take off the airline luggage tags. Nothing says new tourist arrival like bag tags flapping around.

As you drive there may be places you want to stop and park the car. Make sure to roll up the windows and lock the car before you walk away. It seems simple but many people get excited because they see a sloth or a beautiful waterfall. They jump out of the car and take pictures. They come back and a bag might be missing because they didn’t remember to secure the car. Not saying it will happen but taking simple precautions can help you avoid a problem. I still sometimes forget to lock my doors or roll up my windows, and fortunately my stuff is still there when I get back.

If for some reason something does happen, you can always call our concierge. She’ll do her best to help you.

Furthermore, if you’re coming from abroad, I’d suggest using a site like PharmaVaccs to determine whether you need any vaccines before you arrive. Costa Rica is a beautiful place, but there is always a risk of falling ill when travelling, so looking after your health while on vacation is incredibly important.

When going to the beach, use common sense. You don’t need to bring your bling to the beach. At home, you probably wouldn’t set all your stuff down and then have everyone in your group leave to take a long walk down the beach. It’s good practice to keep an eye on your stuff and don’t walk away.

Now those of you staying at the Discovery Beach House shouldn’t worry about this as much because the villa is right on the main beach. If you need anything, you can walk a few steps and get what you need. Or if you want to take a nice long beach walk, set your stuff inside the gate and enjoy your walk.

At the Discovery Beach House, we have taken steps to make our guests feel safe and comfortable. We have a 24-hour guard who patrols the grounds while still giving you the privacy you want on vacation. Our staff is like family to us; they love what they do and would never steal anything from our guests. They’re highly respected, paid well according to country standards, and love their jobs. Most of the staff have been working with us between 10 and 17 years. They’re here to help you have a carefree vacation. We also have safes if you would like to keep smaller items secure. Your concierge will show you how it works.

I hope this helped ease some concerns about the safety of Costa Rica. Every year Costa Rica receives over 1.5 million tourists. Nearly all of them have an incident-free vacation. The odds are in your favor of having your best vacation ever in Costa Rica.

We look forward to your vacation with us. If you haven’t read my other articles, please check them out here. Please follow us on Instagram @discoverybeachouse. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact us. Check out our YouTube Channel for resources on Manuel Antonio, the best spot to vacation in Costa Rica.

Key Tips Upon Arrival at Your Foreign Destination Luxury Vacation Rental

Key Tips Upon Arrival at Your Foreign Destination Luxury Vacation Rental

Key Tips Upon Arrival at Your Foreign Destination Luxury Vacation Rental

Last year you spent hours looking at holiday apartments and the time has finally come to go on your holiday. It’s been a long year, right! You’ve waited all year for this moment and you’ve been excited about it ever since you booked the trip. You’ve arrived at your luxury vacation rental home, or in an exhilarating Global Basecamps foreign location. Things are bound to be a bit different from home. Either a rental agent, concierge or homeowner will be there to Meet & Greet you. But there’s more involved than just handing you the keys. Follow these tips to get the most out of your Meet & Greet and maximize your experience at your home-away-from-home.

Actively Participate in the House Tour

All the adults in your party should accompany your greeter on the house tour.What usually happens is just one person goes on the tour while the rest of the party wanders about checking out the different rooms. Leaving 90% of your group uniformed about important details in the house is a recipe for disaster. Work as a team and eliminate the possibility of being left in the dark literally because the one person who knows what to do when the electricity goes out just ran to the grocery store.

Check the Lights

Ask to be shown where all the light switches are. Building standards vary from country to country and you don’t want to be groping around in the dark for alight switch. Try all the lights and make sure there are no burnt out bulbs so they can be replaced before you need them. Power outages may be a common occurrence in some foreign countries, so you’ll want to ask about the location of emergency lights, flashlights, candles and matches.

Check the Air Conditioners

Your luxury vacation rental home will likely have air conditioners. Turn each one on briefly to make sure it works then review the functions with your greeter. The last thing you want to happen on a scorching hot day is to discover an air conditioner doesn’t work and the technician can’t come over until tomorrow.

Know Your Kitchen

The most complicated room in the house is the kitchen as it usually has several appliances. Some foreign countries, especially Latin ones, use propane gas stoves. You’ll want to know how to light the stove and oven if you plan to use them. If there’s a barbecue grill ask how it works if you’re unfamiliar with the model.

Ask Questions

The operative phrase here is “ask, don’t assume.” Don’t be afraid of sounding dumb if you aren’t sure about something. Your greeter is there to help and inform you. Getting your questions answered during the tour can save you several phone calls later. Everything won’t be exactly like it is at home. Be sure and ask for contact information in case something goes wrong. Also ask for local emergency numbers for the hospital, police and fire department. Chances are you’ll never need them but it’s a good idea to have them close at hand, if nothing else, for peace of mind. So, encourage everyone in your party to be an active participant during the Meet & Greet. Learn all you can about the house and check that everything is in working order. Be sure and ask plenty of questions and you’re bound to have a great experience at your luxury vacation rental.