Posted on 12/31/2019

Don't Travel with the Big Guys: 7 Reasons to Book with a Local Vacation Rental Company

As you plan your Costa Rican vacation – the Tamarindo tours you want to experience, the flavors you can't wait to taste, the accommodations that inspire your dreams – one of the very first decisions you'll make is all about the logistics: Where will you reserve that vacation? Usually, that decision comes down to two major players: The Big Guys – major travel agencies, publically traded companies, etc. – or The Local Guys: small companies, rooted in their communities and overflowing with local know-how. At the outset, we'll cop to our bias: At Stay in Tamarindo, we're firmly in the latter category. We are firmly a local company. The Big Guys don't throw their weight behind us. We don't have huge marketing departments or major advertising dollars to throw around. We do have heart. And, therein lies the truth behind our bias: We know local and, therefore, we understand its distinct advantages. After all, we live in Tamarindo. We visit our rental homes. We do quality checks on all our recommended Tamarindo tours, excursions, and attractions. So, yes, we're biased. But if you'll give us a chance, we're pretty confident you'll end up biased, too.

Reason #1: No Extra Fees

Look, we all know that when it comes to vacation, your trip balances on much more than price alone. Of course, all things being equal, you'd prefer to pay less for your dream vacation home. For the Tamarindo tours that tick items off your bucket list. So, did you know that in 2016, VRBO, Airbnb, TripAdvisor and other big companies began charging a service fee in 2016? The percentage rate fluctuates – who knows how or why? (exact details are undisclosed)  – but is usually pegged to the 9-15% range. So, let's put that to real numbers: If you're renting a luxury 3-bedroom home at $500/night, a week's rental ($3,500) could cost anywhere from $315-$525 in service fees. Now, let's bump up to one of our larger luxury rentals in Tamarindo: An 8-bedroom private resort, at $1,500/night, could run you $1,500+ in extra fees. That's $1,500+ for no added value. That's $1,500 you could put toward your favorite must-experience Tamarindo tours. That's $1,500 you could enjoy at Tamarindo's superb restaurants. That's $1,500, period. Don't waste it on service fees.

Reason #2: You Have Access to Local Experts

It takes just one bad travel experience to realize the value of a local expert. Sure, your standard, run-of-the-mill travel website could slap together Tour 1 and Tour 2 into a document called "Your Itinerary," only a local expert understands the on-the-ground logistics of it all: when it gets dark, what roads are closed (or could be flooded, while you're here), when your bucket-list bird species are most easily spotted, when the airport rental car kiosks close, what... well, you get the drift. Bottom line: There are a lot of nitty-gritty logistics, when it comes to your Costa Rican vacation. Here's an example: A travel agent can book airport transportation that drops you off in downtown Tamarindo; Cris books you private airport pickup and a shuttle to Tamarindo with all the bells and whistles: special attention en route – startling photo ops, local delicacies, and wildlife sightings, anyone? – and drop-off at your vacation home's front door. It's a smooth experience, guaranteed, every time. You can't get that with the Big Guys.

Reason #3: And Personalized Concierge Services

When you book a Tamarindo vacation rental with Stay in Tamarindo, you reserve more than just a great vacation home: your booking also includes full (and FREE) travel concierge services. Cristina – you'll soon know her as Cris – is our knowledge, friendly, and incredibly expert in-house concierge. Not only does she know greater Tamarindo – that's Tamarindo, Langosta, Hacienda Pinilla, Flamingo, and Potrero – like the back of her hand, but her job (and passion) is to get to know you that well, too. Yes, our concierge services really are free. Want to know how it works? The short answer is that, as soon as you reserve your vacation home, Cris will get in touch about Tamarindo tours, attractions, and other things to do and experience. From there, she'll tailor your trip to yourspecific interests, activity levels, and wish lists. Want to know more? Here's the long answer.

Reason #4: Guaranteed Personalized Service

Let's start with a question: Would you rather email your travel questions to info@ some OR email/call/text someone who's name you know – and who knows your name in return? Or, let's put it another way: Let's say your flight is delayed. Or that your luggage was lost. Or, just that you decided to stop for a late lunch and are going to be 30 minutes late to the wildlife refuge (but don't have your guide's personal phone number). Now, do you want to be at the mercy of the anonymous info@ email inbox, or would you prefer to call your personal contact, who knows you, your itinerary, and every other detail about your trip? Obviously, we'd all prefer the second. But, personalized service is more than just someone who knows your name: It's someone who goes to bat for you. Someone who will answer the phone after-hours and go the extra mile. Someone who will get to know you and your wishes. Someone who will always put your first. Personalized service means someone who's not behind an office desk in the U.S. (or elsewhere). Someone who is here, in Costa Rica. Someone who speaks Spanish. Someone who will handle everything – well, personally. Not "someone," but a real person who cares about you.

Reason #5: Alternative (Read: Not-Your-Average) Recommendations & Accommodations

If you could choose between a cookie-cutter vacation or an exceptional trip, which would you choose? Again, the answer is obvious. But perhaps, not for the obvious reasons. Sure, it's fun to say that you're taking a trip that no one else has before. But, the real joy of a not-your-average trip is that it's all about you. Anyone can peruse a travel guide book or website, and then build an itinerary that perfectly matches those recommendations. It takes a local company, like Stay in Tamarindo (gratuitous plug!), to understand the Tamarindo tours, experiences, and accommodations that will truly transform your travels. And still, it's about more than that! Because any seafood-lover can google "the best seafood restaurant in Tamarindo," but it takes a local company – local experts, real people – to slide in alternative, just-opened, recently-launched, not-advertised-online (very common in Costa Rica!) accommodations and recommendations. And, did we mention? As guests of Stay in Tamarindo, you'll receive a personal invitation to download our custom app before your arrival. This app contains all the information your need to know before, during, and after your stay. From arrival tips, directions to your vacation home, property tips, and area information, to restaurant, event, and activity recommendations – our app has everything you need to spend more of your vacation having fun!

Reason #6: In-the-Know Recommendations for Tamarindo Tours & Restaurants

While we're on the topic of personal, local recommendations, let's expound. Because there is no recommendation like the personal recommendationof someone who lives right here, in Tamarindo. We know when that restaurant closes (permanently or just for the season). We know which canopy zipline tour is more exhilarating – or more kid-friendly. We know which surf lessons are best for beginners (or most challenging for advanced surfers). We know where you might spot that sloth or crocodile. We know which guide to call for your family-friendly [kid-enthralling, adult-delighting] national park tour. We know what vacation home is most private, or most suited to entertainment, or best for ocean views. We know it all. We know. And, that's really what it all comes down to: When you book with Stay in Tamarindo, you reserve an in to all things local. Tamarindo is our backyard and we'll make it your home, too. Even if you're only here for a week.

Reason #7: It's Sustainable

If you're familiar with the tenets of sustainability, then you'll know that local is one of the most important. When you reserve your vacation with a local company,you're directly contributing to the local economy: You're spending your vital tourism dollars with a company that employs locals. A company that makes personal connections with the best tours, attractions, and activities – often, local companies themselves. A company that prioritizes Costa Rica and Tamarindo, not an international bottom line. Stay in Tamarindo embodies the local aspect of sustainability. We love and contribute to our community. We make all those personal connections that matter. We get to know local guides and local businesses. We employ people who live here (and love our region). So, book local and feel good about your choice. Know that your travel dollars make a difference. Book local and know that you leave Costa Rica a little richer (and very much enriched) than when you arrived.

Easy Button!

Back up a few paragraphs, and we may have mentioned that planning your trip – choosing your Tamarindo tours, accommodations, and experiences – can be a wee bit challenging. That's true – until you hit our epic easy button: Book local. Reserve one of our hand-picked, carefully curated vacation homes, and you'll have access to our free concierge services. Well, that and everything that comes with it. From transportation logistics and activity planning, private chefs and best-of Tamarindo tours, special occasions and spa services, we eliminate your stress. Again, we emphasize: at no added cost. Ah, the beauty of booking local... So, we think there's just one thing left to do: Get in touch! We look forward to getting to know you.
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