Here’s a little secret for you. Airbnb in Costa Rica is one of the most affordable and enjoyable ways you can travel the country. We created this guide to Airbnb in Costa Rica to give you an extensive overview of how to book an Airbnb, helpful tips, the pros and cons of Airbnb in Costa Rica, and our experience.
Now let’s get to the guide to Airbnb in Costa Rica……
What is Airbnb?
If you are new to Airbnb, here’s a brief overview for you. Airbnb is a website which allows people to rent out their property (room, tent, house, villa etc) to customers on a short-term basis. It is a great service because it allows you (the customer) to search for an accommodation based on your specific desires.
You can rent out a shared room, a room in someone’s house, or a private home. This all depends on your preference. We usually opt for a private home because we like our own space. If you are a solo traveler it can be nice to have a room in someone’s house so you have an insiders perspective into the area. Obviously renting a room in someone’s house tends to be cheaper.
To get started on Airbnb you first need to sign up for an account. It’s pretty easy. Just click this link here so you can claim your $25 off your first stay from us. You will be directed to a screen that looks like this.
As you can see, if you have a Facebook or Google account you just click for quick setup. You can also sign up with your email address.
Once your account is set up it’s time to start searching for your perfect Airbnb in Costa Rica!
Finding the best Airbnb in Costa Rica
One thing I like about Airbnb is that you can search for a particular spot in Costa Rica, for example, Manuel Antonio.
You can also keep your search broad and search all of Costa Rica.
Next you can choose the dates, the number of guests, the room type, and more filters such as if there is a pool, how many bedrooms you would like etc.
When searching for a place in Costa Rica there are a few things you should consider.
– Where exactly is the Airbnb located? All listings have a map feature. This is not an exact pinpoint of location (for safety reasons) but rather a radius in which the property is located in. This is important because sometimes listings will say things like “close to the beach” and when you look at the map you will realize close to the beach means a 15-minute drive.
– How are the reviews/ how many reviews are there? I hate to be this person because everyone has to get started somewhere, but I only stay in Airbnb’s with several reviews and they must, of course, be positive reviews. Here is an example of a place that is clearly doing something right.
– What is the cancellation policy? Every Airbnb host sets their own cancellation policy. It’s important to note if you can get a refund if something comes up, or not.
– What are the sleeping arrangements? Some places will say things like “sleeps 10” but when you look at the sleeping arrangement section you will realize that 6 of those spots are on pull out couches. Definitely, check this before booking.
-What is the total price? This is something that really annoys me about Airbnb. On a listing it might say it is $25 per night and you think “wow that’s awesome!” but when you look at the total it will be $50 per night because there is a cleaning and service fee. Because this is different per listing, you need to check every listing specifically to see the total. Sometimes the more expensive listings end up be cheaper if they have lower service fees.
-What is the minimum stay? Some places have a minimum stay. Occasionally this is not actually listed and you have to enter your specific dates to see the minimum stay.
Our suggestions for using Airbnb in Costa Rica
We’ve stayed in a lot of Airbnb’s in Costa Rica and here is what we have learned.
– Get a place with a nice outside area. You will most likely spend most of your time there. In our minds, bonus points if there is a hammock or two.
– Most people who host on Airbnb in Costa Rica are foreigners. This is good in some ways because they usually speak great English, but they may not have a ton of great tips for local activities.
– Make sure you arrange how you will get the key and exactly where you have to go ahead of time. We had a situation recently where the address listed on Airbnb just sent me to the middle of the town and the phone number listed on the Airbnb listing was an old number. We eventually figured out where to go, but it was my fault because I had not confirmed exactly where to go ahead of time with the host.
– Make sure you have a phone so you can contact the host if necessary. In the situation I mentioned above, I was able to email the host and he responded quickly so we were able to find the location. If your phone is unlocked for international use you can pick up a prepaid card from a phone company called Kolbi next to the baggage claim area in the San Jose airport. This will make it easy for you to send emails if necessary.
Also, if you rent a car through Adobe with our discount here, you also get a free phone to use for local calls. As long as the phone number on the listing is not wrong (which I think that was a pretty rare occurrence), you’ll be able to call the host.
– Stay at a place with a kitchen. One reason we usually opt to stay in an Airbnb is that we like to have a kitchen. Food is expensive in this country guys! We like to save money by cooking our own meals.
Thomas also tends to go fishing whenever we are on the coast. It is nice to have a freezer to keep the fish frozen and a place to cook what he catches (because he always catches tons of huge fish 😉 ). Also, it is nice to have a fridge to put drinks and stuff in.
– Search on Booking.com as well. I’ve discovered that most listings on Airbnb in Costa Rica are also on Booking.com under another name. I’m guessing that you are not allowed to have a place listed on both Airbnb and Booking. People get around that by just changing the name. To see if the same listing is on Booking, just enter the area and the general price range and scroll through.
I say to search both sites because sometimes the prices are a bit different and I want you to always find the best deal possible. Just note that some properties on Booking say “13% tax not included in quoted price.” Check for that before thinking it is cheaper on Booking.
– VRBO is also a good option. VRBO is a site that is similar to Airbnb. Usually, there are fewer options than Airbnb, but it is always worth searching VRBO Costa Rica as well.
-Message the host if you have any questions. Most hosts on Airbnb in Costa Rica are pretty great about responding right away if you have any questions or concerns.
Our experience using Airbnb in Costa Rica
We have had really good luck with Airbnb throughout the world and in Costa Rica. It’s our favorite way to stay in unique places. We’ve stayed on a houseboat in Amsterdam, in an apartment on South Beach in Miami for New Year’s Eve, in the middle of the jungle here in Costa Rica, and more.
Here in Costa Rica we have also had amazing experiences.
As I mentioned above, one of the reasons we love Airbnb is because it gives you the possibility to stay in some really cool accommodation options.
Alright, that’s all for our guide to Airbnb in Costa Rica. Please leave any comments or questions in the comment section below. We love to hear from you! Also, don’t forget to sign up for Airbnb here to get $25 off your first stay.
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