If you are ready to head down here to what we locals simply call “the best place on earth,” or Medellin for short, you’ve got to know about the fantastic opportunity for staying in a vacation rental.
When you choose a vacation rental instead of the typically cramped (and more expensive) hotel options, you open up a host of attractive options that might not have been possible! And if you’re ready to embark, this article may prove to be your most important pre-flight checklist. Right now, we’re going to share with you some of the battle-tested tips that we’ve picked up along the way, as well as some insider info that other well-seasoned travelers have shared with us.
When you finish this article, be sure to grab a FREE copy of how to spend your first 7 days and 7 nights in Medellin that we’ll share, at the bottom of this page.
So, you’re coming to Medellin? on vacation? for work?
No matter why you’re headed to Medellin, if you’re planning to rent a house or apartment for your next trip or family vacation, the big question becomes where do you begin? With an amazing increase in the popularity of vacation rentals we’ve also naturally seen a multiplying of available resources on the Web. This is typically the case any time there is a new service coming available. We are currently in the growth phase, and we expect the pretenders to be eliminated, eventually, and we’ll next experience a “settling period” where the best providers win out and things become easier. Right now, looking at options can sometimes this can be more overwhelming than useful.
After all, if there are thousands of properties listed online and in real estate offices all over this city, so how can you find the one that’s right for you? Not to worry, we’ve put together the great resources that follow to help you in your process of achieving the goal: to find the perfect vacation rental here in Medellin, Colombia!
Our goal is to make this process easier for you by pulling together our most useful tips and Web resources for finding and getting a great deal on your next vacation rental, all on this page. We’ll tell you where to begin (and end) your search, when to reserve your property and what questions to ask the homeowner before your stay – the basics you need, plus a few others that you might not have thought of.
Start here and you’ll be well on your way to finding the house, bungalow or oceanfront villa of your dreams, so you can sit back and enjoy Medellin, with out the hassles others experience.
First Decision: Where the heck are you staying?
When you know which neighborhood you’ll be in, you can really narrow down to see which homes work for your dates. (We list our favorite neighborhoods for you). The listings for all Medellin neighborhoods are well organized and will help you narrow down the areas that appeal to you most and what you can expect to find there.
On the other hand, if you’re not quite sure where you’re going yet, start with a list of potential needs, and work backwards. If you’re going with a group, find out what the top five most important amenities are, for each of your travelers. Looking at that list, it should be relatively easy to cross off a few things and narrow down your choices. Keep going down the list until you get the number of potential options to the top three.
Then take a vote!
Being able to communicate easily and directly with homeowners, is a big part of gaining trust and familiarity with the place you’re heading. Besides that, home owners are usually eager to share first-hand knowledge of the areas where they have properties.
Not all sites are created equal
Remember, your best bet is to compare rates, amenities, views and conditions before entering into a rental agreement. Keep in mind that certain sites are simply a forum for owners to list their properties, while other sites serve as rental agents and take a more active role in the process. You may pay slightly more when booking through an agent site, but they may also be more willing to step in if something goes wrong with your property.
We always recommend a third party who plays an active role in keeping you 100% happy.
While there are many worldwide sites for vacation rentals, don’t forget about smaller sites that offer rentals specific to Medellin; often you’ll find properties listed there that you wouldn’t find on the bigger sites. Local real estate offices can also be a great resource, especially if you live within driving distance of your destination and would like to tour properties in person with a real estate agent.
Ditch the Hotel: 10 Cheaper Ways to Stay
Tips for Finding a Rental
I know, it’s crazy, but many people begin planning their summer vacations here in Medellin right after New Year’s Day, and earlier. Doing this gives you your choice picks for where you want to stay, as well as which days. Also, here we are beginning to find loyalists — people who rent the same house for the same block of time year after year. For the largest selection, start early and ask about early booking discounts. Sometimes you’ll find that in exchange for the security of having their property rented, an owner and agent will offer a discount, sometimes as much as 10 percent.
Know What You’re After
Need to bring the dog? Make sure pets are allowed. If you have small children, ask about baby gates for the stairs. Often people with an older family member who isn’t very mobile want to locate a property without many steps. Suppose you like to have cookouts? Ask if the grill is in good shape, where to get propane and if there’s a good butcher in town. Things like this are easily covered, again, when you take the time to make a comprehensive list of the things you like to do, when you’re away from the house.
Get the details in writing and bring them with you to be sure everything is as promised. And if something isn’t as you expected, snap a photo of it, so you can have evidence of what was missing or askew. Also, be sure you have the name and phone number of someone you can call if anything goes wrong during your stay. We also recommend having more than one contact, or at the least, more than one way of getting in touch with that person.
Wait It Out
Sadly, the bookings here in Medellin always outstrip supply with considerable demand. For this reason, the closer it gets to the high season, the more agents and owners are all scrambling like mad to fill their houses. Planning and booking vacation rentals around this time takes considerably more patience, timing and flexibility as dates can disappear as quickly as they appear.
If you are OK with flexible dates and you don’t get real picky on amenities, you may find significant savings on your vacation rental by searching at the last minute. Just don’t get your heart set on a particular property and remember that this is an inexact game of chance. Of course, with other people’s work schedules and busy lives, this strategy is best reserved for those who are quite flexible on dates, and are not necessarily good for larger groups.
Read the Fine Print
Here’s when you take out your magnifying glass and read the fine print of your contract. Before you make a rental commitment, be sure you understand what it involves. Start looking as far in advance of departure as possible so that you can absorb all the finite details of terms and rules, physical layout, furnishings, cleaning and repair services (if any), local transportation, proximity to services that you need, financial arrangements and obligations, deposits, liability and property insurance, and whatever other details come to mind. Minimize your risk of unpleasant surprises when you arrive and when it’s far too late to back out.
Many vacation rental sites now offer reviews and feedback from past guests. Read these carefully and reach out to the homeowner about any questions that might arise.
Keep in mind that renting a house or apartment is not like booking a hotel room — it’s a binding contract between you and the homeowner. In the event you need to cancel, you may have to do so within a week or even 30 days for a full refund.
Lastly, you may want to check with local rules and be sure you’re not renting a home illegally—that is, in a time unspecified by the local government. For instance in Medellin, some buildings have a 30-day minimum stay.