Long stay accommodation options
Replies: 6 - Last Post: Nov 22, 2012 9:54 AM Last Post By: wiremu
Nov 21, 2012 10:36 AM
Long stay accommodation optionsHi, everyone. Excellent forum here, big thanks to the regulars who continue to contribute excellent information for us doe-eyed travelers.
I'm going to CR for three months (mid Dec to end Feb), and looking for some insight.
Here's what I'm looking for:
1) Destination suggestions
2) Accommodation sources (only found Craigslist & Tico Times so far, not much out there). The "vacation rental" sites I've found are geared towards short-terms stays of up to a week. I.e. $$$$$
About me. Very active, youthfully middle-aged. Like mountain biking (not likely on this vacation though, not lugging my bike down there), hiking, climbing. Swimming/snorkeling are fun too, but not high on my priority list. Not into surfing, diving, or partying. Hiking and wildlife viewing are the top priorities.
Areas that look interesting are: Lake Arenal (likely base out of La Fortuna), Manuel Antonio (though it looks a bit small for spending more than a week there), and Monteverde. There is no area I "have to see". From what I've read, there are a hundred such places, so I'm completely open to other areas I haven't mentioned.
I'm looking for a place I can stay for the entire trip, or break it up into two locations. Not looking to travel around and see the entire country, but to have a home away from home. An ATM in town is essential, as I won't be bringing a stack of cash. Looking to spend less than $400/month on rent (furnished 1 bed or studio) if possible, tough I understand that I may have to spend more.
Any input appreciated.
Nov 21, 2012 11:04 AM
1Check VRBO.com, I do a 3-4 month stay ever year and usually base in the central valley. You will find the interior has cheaper long term rentals than beach areas. A typical Tico town in the central valley would be something like Atenas, with a lot of expats and still not that far away from beach areas & other activities.
Nov 21, 2012 11:24 AM
2your best bet for longer-term accommodation is to wait until you get there. book a room someplace in an area you are interested in. then, once you are there, you will have a chance to look around and ask around. most of this kind of thing is done by word of mouth rather than advertising. vrbo and craiglist and ticotimes will be your most expensive options.
once you are there, you can look at neighborhoods, make sure a rental is what they say it is and not next to a disco or machine shop.
with your budget, "boots on the ground" is the way to go. you can find a small furnished place in your price range, but you will need to do a bit of on-site research.
where you go will depend on what you are looking for. take these things into account: climate, access to expats, things to do that interest you, general cost of living for the area.
you will find lots of expats in the arenal area and monteverde. manuel antonio is VERY touristy and not someplace i would recommend. monteverde tends to be very wet and cool certain times of the year. arenal has a more mild climate and there's that big lake....
depending on what you are looking for, i would try some non-touristy areas such as puerto viejo de sarapiqui or turrialba.
keep in mind that weather in costa rica is generally associated with elevation: the higher you go, the cooler and more rainy (generally) it will be.
i wouldn't worry too much about atm's - they are everywhere. and if you were to pick some tiny, rural village without an atm, it will be easy to get to one.
make some decisions about climate, expats, things to do, etc and then just book a room there for a couple of days. ask at your lodging (at the desk, the maids, the gardener), taxi drivers, at restaurants, just walk around or ride around and look for empty places. if you can make friends with a costa rican who speaks english, that would be great. otherwise, you can just tell the staff at your lodging what you are looking for and they can point you to someone who speaks english and would be willing to help you look around.
the more spanish you speak, the better off you will be. if you don't know spanish, start now. take an intensive course. you can always make that the first part of your three months - a two-week, intensive language course. i like intercultura in samara beach - but there are others.
Nov 21, 2012 4:42 PM
3Thanks for the great replies.
At first glace, I'd agree with wiremu on VRBO. Everything I see is priced for nightly/weekly stays. Mostly resort type places. I'll check it out again in a few days.
I think the "boots on the ground" approach may unfortunately be way to go. I was trying to avoid this because a few nights in a hostel/hotel can add up pretty quick, and soon you're spending $100 and several days of vacation time looking for a place that only saved you $100 in rent. On the plus side, at least you get to see first hand what you're getting for your money and can make an informed decision.
I've also read a few places that Juan Antonio might be too touristy for my tastes. Thanks for seconding that. May take a weekend trip there during my visit, but not likely longer.
Hadn't read anything about Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui or Turrialba. Thanks for the suggestions, I'll look into them.
Climate isn't a big concern. I'm from Vancouver, BC, so I'm used to rain & cool weather or hot & sunny. I'm coming down to escape the winter, so as long as it isn't snowing, I'll be happy as a clam :)
I've started learning Spanish on my own. Should have a decent understanding when I arrive, but will be far from fluent. I'll definitely be looking to take a course once there.
Nov 21, 2012 4:57 PM
4no need to spend a lot on hostels and food. you can probably get by for about $30-$40 a day for food and a place to stay. in general, you will probably find that costa rica is not cheap. food is pretty expensive and car gas is over $5 a gallon. so be sure you have enough money to last your 3 months.
you might take a look at the forum at http://www.arcr.net a lot of resident of costa rica participate and you can ask any questions or just learn a lot from reading.
Nov 22, 2012 9:09 AM
5Thanks for the link, I'll certainly spend a few hours on there.
I know CR isn't super cheap, but it's way cheaper than Vancouver. Not worried about money. When I go on trips I like to plan as much as I can up front to save as much as possible, because I know I'll have plenty of unplanned expenses.
Nov 22, 2012 9:54 AM
(4 star Hotel)
From US$255.95 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$118.06 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$125.63 per night