Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Travel Review: House Rental in Playa Bejuco, Costa Rica

Traveling with children is an adventure all on its own, but traveling with a child who has food restrictions makes things just that much more complicated.  I want my children to see the world, but I know that in order to keep my son safe, some extra planning is required.  When my husband and I decided to take a family vacation to Costa Rica, we explored several options for accommodations before deciding on renting a house. 

The house we rented in Plays Bejuco, Costa Rica

We made that choice for a few reasons.  Price was certainly a consideration.  We paid $650 a week for a three bedroom house with a private pool and a short walk to the beach, much less than we would have paid for an all inclusive.  Since the baby still takes two naps a day, I didn't want one of us stuck in a hotel room half the time.  Equally important to our decision was our older son's food restrictions.  Gluten and dairy free make for a complicated navigation of a hotel buffet.  We figured we'd probably be buying or preparing most of his own food anyway, and decided that it would be simpler to do that in a house.  Finally, the privacy issue.  This was the first family vacation we were taking since the baby was born, and we wanted our own space, with our own pool, to just hang out and be a family. 

We chose a house in Playa Bejuco.  It's located along the Pacific coast between Jaco Beach and Manuel Antonio National Park, on a beautiful slice of beach that was deserted most of the time.  The house was a three bedroom, three bathroom home, with modern appliances, A/C, and a private pool, located in a private community right off a main highway.  There are a lot of houses for rent in Costa Rica, but this one was affordable and located in close proximity to many sights. 

We rented a car for the trip, and had no trouble navigating the highways from the airport to the house.  It's about two hours from San Jose, between Jaco Beach and Manuel Antonio National Park.  There's great surfing, national parks, fishing, crocodile watching, shopping, volcanoes, and extreme sports all within an hour long drive from the house.  Since we had two small kids with us we didn't do everything, but we still managed to do quite a bit. 

We viewed the crocodiles from the Tarcoles bridge and explored the market at Jaco beach.

Crocodile in the Tarcoles river
Fruit & vegetable shopping at the market

We drove down to the surfing community at Dominical.  We trekked 18 km through Manuel Antonio National Park. 

Monkeys in Manuel Antonio. 

Visited the mountain church in Escazu.  Checked out the Children's Museum in San Jose.  Ate at several small restaurants, met some local people, and bought souvenirs from the man carving them as we shopped. 

Calamari rice at a seafood restaurant near Jaco

We couldn't be happier with our decision.  The grocery store in the town about ten minutes away had pretty much everything we needed, although we made the longer drive to Quepos once to buy baby formula and a few more specialty items.  I would strongly recommend renting a car if staying here, but the roads are well maintained and easy to navigate.  We felt very safe in the community, and the maintenance and security staff were friendly and helpful.  There is a community pool, BBQ area and tennis courts, in case you feel like being social.  The beach is beautiful, and although we didn't spend as much time there as we would have liked because of the baby, it was incredible.

The owners were friendly and answered all of our questions before we agreed to rent, sending us a comprehensive agreement with many useful tips.  The house had free WIFI, a phone, a Blu Ray player, board games, and guide books.  The house is not directly beachfront, but it is a short walk, and the private pool with a small shallow pool attached was perfect for my family.  If you're looking to be in the middle of the action, this might not be the house for you.  If you're looking for relaxation, comfort, and privacy, this house is perfect.  It's far enough away from town to be secluded, but close enough to everything to be convenient if you have a car. 

Disclaimer:  I'm not affiliated with the owners in any way, and I'm not receiving any compensation for this review.  This is my personal opinion based on my experience during my stay in May 2013.  The price we paid was the going rate for the time of year we chose, the year we traveled.  Check their listing for up-to-date pricing.   

For more information about the property, you can view their listing here:  VRBO

Some more photos of the house & our trip:

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