Discover home exchange with HomeExchange Members
Having gone on 17 exchanges and becoming 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. Click on the photo below to see Sue’s beautiful home, and keep reading to get her first-hand accounts of her trip to Costa Rica!
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.
"GuestToGuet members are travelers, not tourists"
What was the conversation like with your 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.
Your arrival: How was the house? Did you meet your host? Did they give you any gifts or tips for visiting the area?
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.
How did exchanging your home influence your vacation, compared to a traditional vacation rental?
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.
"HomeExchange is without a doubt the best way to travel"
Bonus question: What is the best memory from your trip?
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" - Sue Halsey-Brandt
Want to know more about the ambassador program?
Click here to learn more about it, and don’t hesitate to contact us if you want to participate!