Our family planned a once in a lifetime vacation to Costa Rica. None of the family members had been to Costa Rica, so we were very detailed in our research. We were told by numerous individuals, all of whom had vacationed in or lived in Costa Rica, that the place to be is Las Catalinas.
After much review of many properties in various areas in Costa Rica, we decided on Villa del Sol. We viewed the pictures that were presented on line. The pictures on line presented Villa del Sol as a beautiful home with gorgeous views. One concern was that there appeared to be construction in one of the photos. We inquired about the construction, as this is not something we wanted to have as a part of our view from the home. There were other homes we could have chosen. We were told that there would be NO construction during the time of our stay. We were told that the construction would be complete.
Upon arrival at our home for 9 days, it was obvious to us that the construction was clearly not complete. In fact, what we experienced for the next 9 days was a continuous construction site, along with all of the noise, directly in front of our beautiful view. At least 100 workers arrived at 6:50 am every morning and did not stop working until 5:30pm. Some of the workers actually lounged outside of our house starting at as early as 6:00 am as Villa del Sol was at the entrance to a gated section of the property. I was the earliest riser in the house and I was startled to see this on the first morning of our stay.
Although the village of Las Catalinas and our dwelling were beautiful, the overwhelming and continuous construction noise far outweighed the total experience. There were jack hammers, yelling and screaming, as happens on a construction site, along with every other tool and piece of machinery used in constructing a dwelling. At 5:30pm, when the constant noise stopped, we could actually enjoy being in the house.
In addition to the construction directly in front of our home, the “path” that we had to take to reach the village of Las Catalinas was a series of unfinished sets of stairs. There were 5 sets of dirt stairs that we had to walk down and back up in order to get to and from any of the resort’s amenities and the beach. It was a very dangerous path down and up. One of our family members was unable to leave the house several days as he was unable to navigate the stairs too often. Along the path after the stairs, there were at any given time an additional10-15 construction workers who were working on finishing a bridge and other structures.
In addition to the above, we had issues with the house itself. The first night the lights over the grill area stopped working. Apparently the breaker tripped. In addition, the panel for the hot tub was broken. Technicians were sent to address the issue. We were told that the breaker had tripped but that if it happened again, we would not have access to fix it as the panel was in a locked area. In addition, we were told that the hot tub panel would need to be addressed by the manufacturer. We had to call on the technicians 4 more times to turn the lights and hot tub on. We had to have the house fumigated for scorpions on the 4th day.
We communicated on a daily basis about what we were experiencing, along with pictures and videos with sound. We heard from no one on property to address our concerns.
Had we known about the construction prior to booking this house, we would have picked another home and possibly another location.
At this point in time, we do not recommend renting Villa del Sol.
Unfortunately, what should have been a wonderful family vacation in the beautiful town of Las Catalinas, did not turn out the way we had hoped.
We booked Villa del Sol based on the gorgeous photos we saw online. But what you cannot see in those photos is that the house is surrounded on all sides by 10.5 hours of continuous construction at the top of a dirt hill with uneven, unfinished stairs.
Each day we were confronted by: drilling, buzzing, hammering, yelling, a continuous flow of trucks and supplies, hundreds of workers, dust, and dirt. All taking place in a 180 degree view from the back of the home where we sat every day to attempt to take in that view you see in the photos. It should have been stunning and relaxing. Instead we didn’t get a moment’s peace and quiet and the view is marred by beams and dust and machines.
This is along with the fact that the construction continued from the home all the way down a very dangerous path that had to be travelled by all of our family to get to any of the amenities: beach, restaurants, Beach Club, coffee, main reception, and even if you just wanted to take a walk around the area. The path was down a hillside, made out of dirt with uneven steps, wood planks sticking up along with uneven large nails, and no railings. There are approximately four sets of steps, all unfinished, including the one at the house. These step had to be used every day to go anywhere.
All of this with no explanation from anyone. We made multiple inquiries before we booked the home, about any possible construction, as one of the photos seemed to show an unfinished area. We were assured, many times that this would not be the case – NO construction would be taking place during our stay. All on-line sites that we have seen since our stay concerning Villa del Sol, have removed the photo we saw and the current photos show no construction at all, which couldn’t be further from the truth.
We also made mention that my husband would need to have some accessibility due to medical reasons. He needed to be able to easily access everything that was a part of our stay at Las Catalinas. Again, we were given every assurance that this would be the case. Due to the dangerous path down to the amenities, there were times that he stayed back because of the difficulty in using the path. And even if he wanted a ride from the concierge, the paths simply don’t lead all the way to many of the amenities and he would still have to do a lot of walking.
Additionally, there were some issues with the home itself, including many electrical failures due to a blown box, and the hot tub not working. Technicians came in an attempt to reset everything connected to the electrical problems but the repairs didn’t stick.
We reached out about these issues on day one of our 9 day stay, and every day thereafter. We were patient and just want the problems to be addressed. We sent many photos, and videos complete with sound, to show the experience we were having on a daily basis. We were offered no remedy while we were there and no resolution has been offered since ending our stay.
If we had known any of this before we booked our trip, we would have chosen a different home and possibly a different location as the construction completely surrounds Las Catalinas, particularly this home which is set-up and away from the main community.
My advice is to find a different home to take your family vacation in Costa Rica. Villa Del Sol is not ready for your stay.
Las Catalinas is beautiful, no doubt about it. As is this home.
BUT it is literally surrounded at all sides by nonstop construction (starting at 7am and ending at 5:30pm) on homes and villas that are being built. My family and I stayed there for 8 days and for each and every one of them we looked out upon a cloud of dust and dozens of workers hammering, sawing, pouring concrete, and yelling back and forth as we attempted to "relax" by the pool.
Not only that, but the entire community is undergoing so much construction that even walking down the very steep hill and the unfinished dirt steps down to the beach was incredibly challenging. It's even a bit awkward because you have to walk through all the construction and the workers stop and wait so that you're not literally covered in dust.
What's more?! The "hot tub" didnt work the entire time we were there. Someone was sent to fix it the second day, couldnt figure it out, and that was that. There were issues with lights and electricity. AND we had to have the home fumigated for scorpions!
When booking this home we were specifically told there would be NO construction (there was a photo showing a bit of work being done so we asked about it directly - that photo has since been removed from the VRBO listing). To say it affected our trip is an understatement. It woke us up every morning, made it utterly impossible to relax on the deck and by the pool, and made the walk to the beach far more challenging for my father who uses a cane.
Had we known, we wouldve booked elsewhere.
We tried to communicate with Las Catalinas the entire time and we have yet to receive any word of how they wish the remedy this situation.
I highly advise you book elsewhere.