Creepy Crawlies – Bugs Are a Fact of Life at Any Tropical Vacation Rental
September 24, 2015
Dealing with Reality of Bugs and Pests on Your Tropical Vacation
You’ve sat up late at night looking at the photos of your gorgeous beachfront luxury vacation rental in Maui, Oahu, Punta Cana or some other lush, green and balmy tropical paradise. The photos of the home are enticingly bright and cheery, staged with wine and cheese on the patio and bubbles in the Jacuzzi. But wait, what’s that little thing crawling in the corner over there in that otherwise perfectly art-directed tropical scene?
Tropical climates are a draw for all of us who live in more temperate zones. When the days get short and the temps drop, being able rent a vacation home or hotel room in some ever-sunny tropical land offers a welcome break from the drab days of winter.
But there are certain realities that come with visiting these sunnier and warmer climes. Whether you are renting a five bedroom luxury beachfront home in Maui or an epic gated Caribbean villa in Punta Cana, you will likely see or have to deal with creepy crawlies (aka pests) sharing your space at some point during your stay.
Pests are just a fact of life in the tropics. The lawns maybe perfectly manicured, the floors and surfaces impeccably clean, the sheets soft and plush, but make no mistake, you are not alone.
Costa Rica Bug Blizzard
Once, my family and I rented a beautiful, fully staffed vacation villa in Costa Rica. The home was impeccably maintained, and had live-in chefs as well as bar and cleaning staff. It was an amazing place, with a large yard and lush tropical foliage all around.
One evening, after a rain, the home was inundated by flying insects. There were so many swarming around the house that it looked like a blizzard in the outside lights. The bugs covered the veranda and, of course, more than a few made it inside before we locked everything down. But they were gone the next day for the most part. There were also large lizards and other funky creatures slinking about, but again, this just came with the territory and we carried on and had a great time.
Good Luck Geckos - Not All Invadors Are Bad
Most tropical places typically have lizards or geckos that sometimes love to hang around house walls. You should know that in many places, a gecko in the home is considered good luck, probably because they eat bugs. So don’t shoo them out if you happen to notice one scampering up a wall when you’re watching TV. Look at him as a protector of the fort.
There is No 100% Protection from Pests
Luxury vacation homes represented by reputable vacation rental agencies like Exotic Estates are vetted and cleaned from top to bottom after, and sometimes during, each visit, depending on the length of the stay. Of course, from time to time, the homes are also treated for pests. But no matter how much care the property manager gives the property, it will not eliminate the possibility of little visitors.
Consider, many homes come with outdoor pool and patio areas that flow seamlessly into the interior living spaces. As you enjoy the ease and pleasure of indoor/outdoor living, so too do the little critters who make the yard and landscape their home.
Weather Can Impact the Amount of Pests
Sometimes if there is unusually wet and damp weather, you will find more bugs hanging around. And almost everyone who has ever traveled or lived in a tropical place has experienced turning on a light in a dark room only to find a large insect sitting there out the open, staring right back at you. Most vacation home managers have even fielded frantic calls from guests who are not used to seeing tropical insects, which can be large, but there is little we or anyone can do. The manager can set up traps or spray, but truthfully, it simply comes with the territory.
There have been cases when unusually wet weather has also lead to a boom in the mouse population in an area. In these cases, one house can seem overrun while another nearby barely sees any increased presence at all. It’s fairly random, and if there is a serious issue, of course traps will be laid and pest management firms called. But often these scenarios are unforeseen and managed on the fly. A home can be fine when it’s inspected, and the next day be overrun when a guest arrives for check-in.
Know the Terms of Your Contract
Most vacation rental contracts will include a clause that specifically speaks to pests, and how the appearance of pests does not warrant refund or termination of the contract. This is simply because it is out of the manager’s control. Bugs, lizards and even little field mice are a normal part of life in many places and the people who live there accept them as a price of living in paradise.
Hence it is very important that you read and understand the terms of your agreement, as this will be final. You can ask for help in the form of a trap or perhaps some spray, but you will not get a refund.
A Benefit of Working with Agencies
A benefit of working with an agency like Exotic Estates rather than going direct to an owner is that we have a collection of vetted homes. Sometimes, if you are very unhappy, or if some unusually “buggy” situation happens, your agency may be able to arrange (pending the cooperation of the owner) a move to another similarly priced property in the area. Be mindful, they are under no legal obligation to do so, but will always try their best to assist as a matter of customer service and goodwill. Nobody wants you to leave unsatisfied or feeling as though you did not receive the best service possible given any circumstance.
Facts of Tropical Life
Basically, when you rent a vacation home in a tropical place, even the most luxurious vacation villa, you may encounter a bug or two.
The bug can be a cute grasshopper or a scary looking centipede. Uusally, they pose no danger and are just a nuisance, but they can startle and will typically scamper off before you have to deal with them.
The bottom line is when you sign a contract to rent a home, you are essentially agreeing to become a resident in that place for the duration of your vacation, and that means accepting the realities of the ecosystem there, whether it be a beautiful song bird or a funky looking bug waiting for you on the veranda.
For most of us, the beauty of the tropics is worth the price of a few bugs on our vacation.