Why Staying at a Hotel in Costa Rica is better than Airbnb
hotel vs air bnb

You want your trip to Costa Rica to be as perfect as possible and your accommodation choice can be a big factor in the overall quality of your vacation. We completely understand! Choosing between Costa Rica hotels or an Airbnb can be a difficult, but crucial choice to make. 


There are pluses and minuses to each accommodation choice, but we believe that staying in a hotel in Costa Rica is almost always the better option for your vacation. Here are seven reasons why…. 

1. Hotel reviews tend to be more honest

When traveling to a foreign country, such as Costa Rica, you will likely read reviews before booking accommodations for your trip. We have found that typically hotel reviews are a lot more honest than Airbnb reviews. 


See, with a hotel, people don’t feel as much pressure to write a positive review if they did not enjoy their experience. When writing a poor review you are typically saying something bad about the facilities or overall service you received rather than criticizing specific employees you interacted with at the hotel. 


With Airbnb, people feel more internal pressure to give high ratings. It can be very difficult to leave negative comments about someone as a host and their property after you have met face to face and had multiple communications with online. 


That means when you go to book your own stay in Costa Rica you should take Airbnb reviews with a grain of salt. In general, these reviews tend to be inflated in comparison to the overall experience. 

2. Checking in to a hotel is typically much simpler

When booking a hotel in Costa Rica you will likely be given the name of the hotel and detailed directions. It is then up to you to arrive at the most convenient time for you. There will always be an employee happy to help you at the reception desk.


When staying at an Airbnb, you will likely be meeting up with somebody to get the keys to your accommodation. This can be difficult to arrange. It can be hard to predict exactly when you will arrive somewhere in Costa Rica due to occasional road work and traffic. You also never know how good your cell phone reception will be to communicate with them while driving to state your arrival time.


There is nothing worse than landing at the San José international airport after a long day of traveling, arriving at your Airbnb and discovering you have no way of getting in and you can’t get in contact with the host. This may sound like a worst-case scenario, but trust us, it happens.  


Another issue which can make checking in to an Airbnb difficult is getting proper directions on how to get to the property you rented. See, there are no addresses in Costa Rica. It sounds crazy, but it’s true. 


With a hotel, it is easy to enter the hotel name into your GPS unit and be directed there. With Airbnb, you will need to follow the directions provided by your host. 


This does not always go as planned. We have heard of people getting their rental car stuck after being directed down the wrong road in a rainstorm, travelers waiting for several hours for the response from a host after not being able to find the entrance to their Airbnb, and more. When staying at a hotel this is far less likely to occur. 


Plus, when checking out you will have to go through some of this again in order to drop off the keys to your host. At a hotel, you just have to walk to the front desk to return your keys. 

3. Two words…..hotel amenities

You often won’t find an Airbnb with breakfast, a swimming pool for guests to use, room service, and a cleaning person. These little luxuries go a long way when you want to make the most of your vacation. 


It is nice to know that after a day at the beach or hot springs you can come back to a nice clean room and that in the morning there is a delicious Costa Rican breakfast waiting for you in the hotel dining room. 


This also extends to basic things like having soap and shampoo in your hotel room. Typically, Airbnb listings do not provide these same amenities. That means that these toiletries are one extra thing you need to pack from your home country or buy once here. 

4. It is easier to see what you are getting

When choosing a hotel it is easy to look at a hotel website and see exactly what you will get by staying there. For example, it is possible to read about all the amenities and see pictures of what your room will look like. 


With Airbnb, it can be difficult to figure out exactly what the place will be like. The descriptions can be rather vague. Sometimes you may think you are booking an entire house and it turns out you are actually staying in a guest room in a family home. 


We have also heard of things such as guests thinking they booked a place with a private pool and it turns out that there are several rooms on the property that all share the pool. 


Or, we have heard of people booking an Airbnb in La Fortuna and the pictures on the listing show views of Arenal Volcano. In actuality, the property is located in the woods without any views. Pictures can be deceiving!

5. Costa Rican hotels are much more highly regulated

Whether you are planning to stay at luxury hotels or even a budget-friendly hostel, hotels in Costa Rica are regulated on a much different level than Airbnb is. 


At the moment Costa Rica is working to put laws in place to regulate Airbnb throughout the country. However, these laws are not yet fully in place. 


That means, as of now, Airbnb hosts are not subject to any of the regulations that hotels need to have. These regulations include regular inspections, safety requirements, etc. 

6. Hotels can often set up activities for you

Most hotels are established businesses in the town they are located in. This means that they often know all the best activities. 


Often, hotels have a concierge desk with someone who is happy to arrange things such as sunset horseback riding on beautiful beaches, national park tours, relaxing resort spa days, or whatever your activity of choice happens to be. 


When staying at an Airbnb you are more likely to be on your own to find the best activities and to arrange them. 

7. Your travel plans are secure

We, unfortunately, have heard many horror stories of Airbnb hosts canceling a guest’s reservations at the last minute. Of course, this becomes a bit of a nightmare to find a quality alternative accommodation option right before your vacation. This is especially a problem during Costa Rica’s dry season when everything books out early. 


When staying at a hotel, this is far less likely to occur. Hotels know how many rooms they have and are not likely to overbook. If something comes up and one person can not work the entire hotel will not shut down as an Airbnb might.  


For help booking your Costa Rica hotel, feel free to contact us here at Caribe Fun Tours. Our experienced travel experts know tons of excellent hotels throughout the country at a variety of price points from cozy boutique hotels, adult-only resorts, to budget-friendly options; we are here to help!  


Email us at: info@caribefuntours.com

Or give us a call at: (305) 846-8417 (US & Canada) or +506 2756-8118 (from in Costa Rica)

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