There are a few differences between homes used as Costa Rica vacation rentals versus the ones that people live in year round. This article will show you five of those differences, helping you understand how your vacation life may be different from your full-time life in Costa Rica.
Costa Rica has long been known as a hot-spot for eco-travel in one of the most naturally beautiful, biodiverse, and friendly countries in the world. Sure, there are lots of gorgeous, tropical destinations to choose from all over the world. Costa Rica stands out, however, for it’s peaceful nature and its environmental regulations that protect its important resource for tourism. International tourists love to visit Costa Rica because they feel the truly tranquil vibes that are especially prominent in areas like our Southern Zone. This accessible region has remote vibes because of the low population and the lack of strip malls, high rises, and all-inclusive resorts. But everything you could want from tourism exists here. And a growing market of vacationers love that Costa Ballena vacation properties tend to be spaced out, private escapes, making for a more intimate tropical holiday.
There are also those who have visited Costa Rica and our Southern Zone region enough times to know that this is where they want to be for good, or even for an extended now. They’ve been charmed by the experiences that vacations in Costa Rica have gifted their lives. They want more of that enriching feeling that you get from living in a place where time seems to run slower, experiences are more deeply savored, and simpler living is filled with a special charm.
The thing is, many of these people won’t know that everyday life is not exactly the same as vacation life in Costa Rica. Errands take longer because there aren’t stores and services on every corner. Wait times are longer for the same reason. This surely does not bother most of us who have made the choice to live a more peaceful, tranquil life in Costa Rica, for better or for worse. What does bother some of us is that we didn’t know that what makes a great vacation home in Costa Rica does not necessarily make a fantastic everyday home.
Still, vacation homes have their place in the current buyer’s market, too, for people who want to continue visiting Costa Rica over the years while earning a rental income when they are not using the property. And vacation renters want to be impressed. So whether you are looking for something that will make a great rental property or you want a full-time home in Costa Rica that you can live in comfortably, here are a few differences for you to know about what makes a great vacation home vs. a great forever home.
Having a large pool vs. having a small pool
Nothing is more impressive than walking onto a property and seeing a massive, bright blue infinity pool with sparkling tiles and water that reaches out into the horizon of the Pacific. People who vacation in Costa Rica will pay the big bucks to have an extravagant pool area with an enchanting terrace surrounded by sumptuous gardens. This type of setting makes for impressive photos that will capture their favorite holiday moments.
And yet, nothing is more annoying than having a huge pool to clean for yourself every couple of days with tiny tiles and lots of grouting to scrub regularly. Pool pumps are not cheap to run so without the rental income it’s hard to justify that extra work and extra money it costs to maintain something so grand for just two people. And as gorgeous as it is to have a garden surrounding your pool, the leaves and petals that will be dropping in the water constantly — especially during the rainy season — will become a regular nuisance.
Verdict: Leave the grandiose pool to the renters and opt for a small, easy maintenance pool for the long-term pura vida lifestyle.
Kitchen size isn’t everything to everyone
When you’re staying on holiday in Costa Ballena, whether you’re in Dominical, Uvita, or Ojochal, you are going to have access to so many incredible restaurants, bars and cafes with such exquisite-sounding menus that you’re going to have a difficult time not eating out every night while you are here. Although daily dining out is not the cheapest lifestyle, the restaurants in Costa Ballena serve some of the most fresh and delectable cuisine on the planet. There may not be many well-known dishes that come out of Costa Rica but what this country is known for is the freshness of the ingredients and the diverse international culinary flavors that take advantage of the high-quality local produce. Not only do we have French, Italian, Mexican, Japanese, and American cuisine. here you can find some of the best iterations of these styles.
In spite of all of the options for dining, when you live here, you’ll want to cook for yourself. What else are you going to do with all of those beautiful fruits and veggies that you can’t help but buy from the farmer’s markets every week?
Verdict: When building a vacation home in Costa Rica, whether it’s for yourself or for rentals, save the extra large kitchen room for more entertainment space. Simple yet elegant and functional is the best way to go, unless you have a huge space and budget to go wild. And when building a kitchen for everyday life, consider making this space your zen place. Take advantage of the beautiful environment and place your prep space where you can look out at the magical views, taking in the natural light and breezes.
Having lots of seating is prime for rentals
When it comes to entertaining guests, vacation rentals in Costa Rica are the most comfortable if they have a lot of varying spaces to seat numerous people. Bar stools in the kitchen, a dining nook overlooking the gardens, and a formal dining space, whether inside or outside, plus lounge spaces galore (think hammocks and oversized chaises) — these are the things that make for a fantastic tropical escape. You’ll want your guests to be able to shift from indoors to out with ease and to find ample territory to take in the views with lots of shade and airflow.
Live-in homes benefit from many of these same features as a vacation home. The one thing that you may specifically want from a live-in home is a bit of extra indoor space. This may be for your entertainment system if you love to watch movies every night. Or maybe you have a hobby that takes a bit of extra table space. Make sure you choose a property that has a perfect space for the things you love, rather than trying to fit your hobby in afterwards.
Verdict: Think about your guests when picking spaces that will be good for sprawling out and relaxing with a view. Living in Costa Rica, you will want to cozy up in a special nook every evening as soon as it gets dark after 5 so think hard about what your perfect cozy space should look like.
Lot size and landscaping
Vacation rental guests in Costa Rica want the immediate heady effect of walking into nature when they enter your property. Homes that blend well from indoors to out, using refined natural materials, floor-to-ceiling glass, and cultivating plants indoors will provide the right effect and create a magical environment. Most tourists in Costa Rica renting a vacation home do not necessarily want sprawling, landscaped grounds. They will likely be going on waterfall tours, nature hikes, and riverboat trips to take in the various Costa Rica ecosystems. Of course, if you do have an acreage with well-maintained paths that lead to natural features, like your own private waterfall and swimming hole, your guests will absolutely rave about your property. But simply having a beautiful view from the home with impeccable tropical gardens and landscaping surrounding it is enough to thoroughly wow visitors.
We all love gardens in Costa Rica. And those of us who live here and are blessed enough to have a large acreage absolutely love to manicure it all ourselves. We choose all of our favorite tropical flowering plants and create colorful living arrangements. We plant every variety of fruit tree that we can grow here from seed. And we make small vegetable gardens in the shade, cultivating roots, beans, herbs, and edible weeds. This may not be the best climate to grow everything but it truly is an incredible climate to find joy in what you can.
Verdict: Go big for your guests in the forefront but keep your lot small for easy maintenance, still focusing on maintaining privacy. Splurge on the perfect lot if you want to really enrich your quality of life in the long run.
Permanent homes in Costa Rica have a lot more storage space
Those who stay here for any extended length of time will soon realize that there are those creature comforts that you simply can’t live without. You will want your own chainsaw and maybe a table saw because it is annoying to try to find someone in a pinch who can help you out so you’ll want to build a garage for that. And although there aren’t drastic changes in the seasons, there is a time of year when, even along the coastal regions, you’ll want a long sleeved shirt or two. All of a sudden a closet is in order. Not everyone’s needs are the same but after any length of time, sprawling out becomes a fact of life. Vacationers come with a suitcase and don’t really worry about putting their things away into closets. Costa Rica vacation rental owners will hire maintenance people for their property or a property manager who takes care of all of those needs, including bringing their own equipment. This means that a typical vacation rental may have a pool pump house and not much else for extra storage, beyond your traditional cupboards and cabinets.
Verdict: You can always add on to a structure but it’s good to note the homes that have extra storage space will simply be easier to move into for the long-haul, rather than the beautiful but slightly less functional vacation rental home.