There are times when we love meeting new people on vacation. But we don’t always want to spend time with hundreds of them at all-inclusive resorts.
Don’t get us wrong, we’ve had great times at resorts. But when traveling to the Caribbean, or any hot destination for that matter, there’s nothing like waking up to the sounds of the ocean, the birds in the trees, and sight of your own pool. Until just a few years ago, I thought renting a private villa was reserved only for the wealthy. But it turns out that when you split the cost among a group of friends, it’s often the same as, or even cheaper than a resort! Of course, Bryan’s savvy searching certainly bags us great deals. He checks many sites before narrowing down the options like Homeaway, Flipkey, Tripadvisor, Airbnb and googling, “local villa rentals.”
If you haven’t taken the plunge yet, we highly recommend it. You may never travel the same way again.
Here are our top 6 reasons to stay in a private villa:
1. Truly get away from it all. Hotels and resorts have one thing that you really want to get away from while on vacation: people. While we’ve met many great folks from around the world while diving, hiking, taking the bus, and relaxing on the beach, sometimes we just want some peace and quiet. Private villas have nothing but you and the people you actually want to be there.
2. Private pools. Most of the villas we’ve stayed at have private pools which is a great luxury. Remember the part about the people? Personally, if there are a bunch of teens playing water volleyball in a hotel pool, or kids splashing around in their water wings, I’ll just vacate the area ASAP. But being able to wade into your own pool at any time of the day undisturbed by anyone else is an extravagance I thought I’d never be able to experience, and something for which I’m especially thankful on these kinds of vacations.
3. The view. Usually villas are built in places that have incredible views so you can relax on your deck with a postcard view any time you want.
4. Experiencing the community. Hotels and resorts often have a bus service that picks you up at the airport and drops you off at the hotel where you remain the entire time until they pick you up and take you back to the airport. This can be a great escape, and something we both have enjoyed in the past. But without experiencing the local culture, it can feel like an artificial vacation that could be had anywhere. A villa forces you to go shopping for food at local markets, experience local cuisine, and interact with locals, allowing you to embrace more of what it feels like to be an islander.
5. Cooking your own food. Now, this may be a reason why some DON’T want a private villa, but for us, cooking our own food not only saves money but you get to try working with local produce that you may never try otherwise. We will still go out to dinner occasionally, but we usually pack a bunch of tea and spreads so we can have relaxing mornings by the pool with tea and toast without having to spend a lot to go out for breakfast. You also get to have private meals with amazing views without leaving home!
6. They’re cheaper. Whether it’s just the two of us or in a group, we often get a villa that is only about $100 US per person per night. When you factor in food, excursions, and transportation, the total cost may end up similar to 5-star resorts, but knowing that private holidays aren’t more expensive keeps us heading back to private villas.
Of course, there are many things to take into consideration when staying in a private villa as well; namely, you have to fend for yourself most of the time. And when renting a car, you’ll have to have a designated driver and be comfortable with different rules. But the rewards of staying on your own are ample and you end up with a one-of-a-kind vacation.
We’ll be posting more on all of these villas and locations in the future, but do let us know if you want us to address anything specifically. If you have found some amazing villas you’d like to let us know about, please comment!