Having gone on 17 exchanges and become a HomeExchange ambassador, Sue perfectly embodies the spirit of home exchange. She and her husband are both retired and spend time enjoying the outdoors, music, and of course, their travels. Sue has a lovely home in Vancouver, Canada that she offers for exchange on HomeExchange.

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Where did you go on home exchange?

We went to Costa Rica for five weeks.

How did you choose your destination and home exchange?

We chose Costa Rica because we wanted to experience some sun during the cold Canadian winter. Also, the flight is relatively short, about 8 hours. As well, we love going to places where the culture and language is different from Canada.

"HomeExchange members are travelers, not tourists"

home exchange travel - Sue in costa rica

What was the conversation like with your HomeExchange host?

We actually arranged four different house exchanges in sequence in Costa Rica so that we could travel throughout the country and see as much of it as possible. I purchased a Costa Rican map and plotted a tentative route encompassing the main areas we wanted to explore. Then I began to email HomeExchange members along the route to see if they were able to accept a house exchange for points. Those that could were very enthusiastic and helpful. We finalized four different house exchanges along the route which covered about four of the five weeks. I ran out of points so for the additional week we found accommodation in a variety of situations once we were there.

paradise home exchange in costa rica

What happened when you arrived at your Costa Rica home exchange?

We arrived late at night and by the time we got through customs and picked up our rental car it was 11:30 pm. We phoned our hosts and said we could come the next day but they INSISTED on coming to the airport so we could follow them to their two bedroom apartment. They were wonderful and we stayed there for three days with them. They gave us lots of ideas of what to see and do in the area.

At the other three exchanges we met one of the hosts, but not the other two. However, both had arranged how we would access each place and communication was excellent. No one left gifts, but in one case we were encouraged to enjoy oranges, grapefruit, sugar cane and chicken eggs from the property. We left gifts for the hosts we actually met, a bottle of Canadian Maple Syrup.

Traveler Sue home swapping in Costa Rica

How did exchanging your home influence your vacation?

HomeExchange is without a doubt the best way to travel. It is an inexpensive, and totally authentic cultural experience where you get to live the way the people from your host country do. Often times you meet, not only the hosts, but the neighbours or colleagues of your hosts who may invite you for a meal or visit and it is so much fun. HomeExchange members are travelers, not tourists.

Tell us about what you saw during your trip.

During our five week Costa Rican visit, we had an extensive array of memorable experiences. Costa Rica is a small, but fabulous country with amazing flora and fauna. We saw capuchin and howler monkeys, anteaters, sloths, gorgeous butterflies and hummingbirds, scarlet macaws, toucans and hundreds of other beautiful birds, peccaries and coatimundi, and many frog and lizard varieties in the wild, plus stunning flowers of every shape and colour. We saw many waterfalls and swam in the ocean and waterfall pools. We visited several animal rescue centres and saw Jaguars, pumas and tapirs.

We have had many amazing memories, but here are two:

— Seeing capuchin monkeys and scarlet macaws daily from the porch of our beach cabana on the Osa Peninsula in the south of Costa Rica

— Completing a 15.2 k hike in Corcovado National Park, seeing anteaters at close hand and swimming in a waterfall pool at the halfway turnaround point.

"All in all, a fabulous trip made even better by utilizing HomeExchange accommodations"

Travel with HomeExchange