We just returned from an incredible trip to Manuel Antonio in Costa Rica. Through a friend's recommendation, we connected with Amy Irving at My Vacation and we are so happy we did. Maria, who works with Amy, scheduled us with daily activities of our choosing. Manuel Antonio is rife with tourists and there are countless companies that offer similar adventures (zip lining, rainforest walks, surfing, kayaking, etc.), but the people Amy partners with have real integrity and offer up solid knowledge, serenity and hospitality that went above and beyond. We felt SO lucky to have connected with Amy--it really formed our whole vacation in such a positive way.
The villa itself was very well maintained daily by a rotating group of housekeepers--things were tidied up, beds made and changed, laundry done, kitchen cleaned. So nice to come home to after a day of activity. The kitchen was well equipped (including a filtered water cooler/dispenser), bedrooms were very large and had nice linens and furniture, views were INCREDIBLE, so beautiful! The small pool was nicely maintained and covered by the deck on the floor above it, which gave our kids something fun to do when it rained. We enjoyed the cooking from Chef Glenda and her son Melvin, and they were so nice and friendly, but do note that groceries in Manuel Antonio are very expensive, usually doubling the cost of the chef services. Villa guests are supplied with 4 pre-paid cell phones for local use--a great idea!
Hazel, our concierge answered a variety of questions via text, ranging from calling food delivery to the villa on nights when we didn't want to budge, to rearranging day-trip schedules. She was so incredibly helpful and a real safety net when renting a villa in a foreign country (especially with children).
Lots of monkeys come right up to the porch--super fun to watch and on 2 different days, we watched a sloth just a few feet away on his favorite tree just next to the house.
Keep in mind that Costa Rica is a developing country, so there are some quirks that occur from time to time (most of the town lost water for a few days as a main water line was worked on--we lost it on 3 separate, non-consecutive days). That's life in Costa Rica, but it was more than made up for by how generous and truly warm Costa Ricans are.
We booked this trip only a month before our arrival and could never have put together activities as well chosen as what Amy, Maria and Hazel arranged for us. When they make a recommendation, stick with it--they are so well connected and really only work with the best people and companies. This was our best and most unique family vacation, but the villa would also be fantastic for a group of friends without kids. Hopefully, we'll return someday! Thank you, My Vacation!
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