We’ve always done an all-inclusive vacation when we’ve traveled to the beach. It’s just made things easier as a family as we have small children. An all-inclusive resort gives you food ALL DAY LONG, a clean room everyday, no need to carry money, daily activities, no need for a car, and pretty much you can check you brain at the airport and just enjoy a stress-free week of fun and sun and no worries. Which is why we’ve always done all-inclusive vacations. Who wants to think about allthethings on vacation??? Also, who wants to COOK? Or do laundry? Or clean? Or grocery shop? Or find SNACKS??
Well we decided to rent a house instead during our vacation to Costa Rica - and I’ll admit I was a little leery about our choice. Because cooking. And laundry. And mama wasn’t about to lose beach time to head back to the house to strap on an apron to fry-up anything in a pan!
We found our rental house through VRBO.com – we had great luck with ‘Vacation Rentals By Owner” before for a trip to New York City and South Padre Island – so I did a search and found what I knew would be the perfect place for us.
We rented a ‘multi-unit’ house in Playa Guiones called Villa Belitza. It is amazing. It sleeps 12(in my opinion 10 privately and comfortably) and has three separate units for more privacy and peace if some like to go to bed a bit earlier(or if you have little kids). My parents joined us, so the set-up was perfect. The house has an amazing and private pool in the back set right into the jungle and we spent our afternoons lounging here. There is tons of seating outside and we took every meal outdoors. There’s a grill and bar area and the grounds are immaculate. The house amenities give you all the comforts of home – well appointed kitchens, comfortable king-sized beds, modern bathrooms and everything is so clean and new! The owner and the caretaker were very responsive to all emails and inquiries and so easy to work with too.
The best part is that the house is ‘beach-front’ with a private path through the jungle to the waves, which is nearly impossible to find in the Nosara area. One things we loved the most about the Nosara area is that there are no high-rises, major developments, and there is no building allowed within 200 meters of the beach. When you are on the beach you look back and see just sand and jungle. It’s so quiet and peaceful here with just a few families, surfers and yoga-lovers. It doesn’t have the crazy pace of some of the more popular spots in Costa Rica. It’s still so natural and laid back.
But the best part – as the one who cooks and does the majority of the cleaning typically – the house rental includes twice weekly cleaning and bed changing AND you can hire a cook for about $10 a meal – who will also do your grocery shopping. UM YES! Maria was fabulous and I wish we could’ve had her cook every night. It was such a treat to not have to worry about cooking and she made us a feast of local favorites each night she joined us. It felt like such a splurge – but it wasn’t – and it was so worth it.
The house we rented in the Nosara area was also made more affordable because we rented it during a ‘shoulder season.’ Peak season in the area – which is the dry season – starts the last week of November and goes until April. So we rented in what is still considered ‘value season’ which is the end of the wet season. Therefore our rental cost was less than HALF what you would pay in peak season. Our risk of paying less for maybe some rain really paid off as we had very little rain while we were there.
I’m not sure I would do an all-inclusive resort again after renting a house. Even after renting a car, buying groceries and having to do a bit of cooking ourselves, we spent much less in two weeks than we have for a one week vacation to Mexico to an all-inclusive, and MUCH less than we would’ve spent at Disney for just 5-7 days…and we did so much more! And because we had to shop and explore more – we experienced so much more culture and visited more local places. I’m not sure I could just hang at a resort for seven days again.
If you head to Nosara, Costa Rica – check out a house rental(especially Villa Belitza) – but give us first dibs as we are for sure heading back!
Do you prefer all-inclusive resorts or do you love to rent a house and explore on your own?
I promise I only have ONE more post about our trip to Costa Rica…and then I will retire as a travel blogger and go back to talking about boring stuff like motherhood and shopping. And my cat. …In the meantime you can read more about our trip to Costa Rica by clicking on the links below…