Here’s my interview with Darcie Connell about her experience doing an apartment rental in Quito, Ecuador. Don’t miss her list of other places she’s rented vacation apartments, complete with the amounts she paid, at the end of the interview.
1. Please tell us about your apartment, the location, when and how long you rented it for.
My husband – Adam Costa – and I stayed in a three bedroom apartment in Quito for two months in early 2012. It was a little north of town and very off the tourist trail. To get to the historic area of Quito it was a 20 minute taxi or 30 minute bus ride.
While we lived there we were working full-time and launching Trekity.com – a daily newsletter for women who love travel. So we were very focused on getting our work done and not on the normal tourist activities.
I contacted several properties on all three websites and loved with this one on VRBO. I contacted the owner through the VBRO website and informed them of the dates we needed.
They contacted me with further info and pictures so I could get a better understanding of the property.
I always ask questions about the landlords and so I can get a feel for their personality and if they are trustworthy.
In this case, the “apartment” was the middle level of a four story home with completely separate entrance from the rest of the home. The home belonged to a family – all of whom lived there – and the daughter acted as the landlord. They were all very nice people so I knew the experience would be great.
The total was $800 per month with a $150 refundable deposit. The rent did not include cleaning, but did include airport pick up and drop off.
I always try to negotiate the price down, especially for one-month rentals. However, in this case she was set on the price and I found it to be more than reasonable for other rentals in the area so I didn’t push it.
Everyone has a different budget and if you’d asked me if I could spend $800 a month on accommodations a year ago, I would have laughed out loud. Heck, I backpacked South East Asia on less than $20 per day.
But now, we in a different situation and the price seemed reasonable. Plus you really get what you pay for.
4. Did you try any strategies for finding a rental that didn’t work e.g., you tried airbnb but the prices were too high.
We ended up going anyway without having accommodations secured ahead of time and stayed in a guest house. During that time we worked with a local property manager who helped us secure an apartment within a day. However, there were only three to chose from within our price range. Guess we were lucky!
5. Did you experience any unanticipated problems, either with your rental or the location? e.g., noisy roosters woke you up early everyday or bad bug bites?
The rental was awesome and very comfortable. We had everything we needed, clean bedding, vacuum, TV, and even excellent internet. Though, the internet did drop a couple times, but we called upstairs and they re-set it for us and we were back up and running.
6. Now that you’ve done your rental, what would you do differently? What would you do the same? Would you recommend where you went as a good place to spend a month?
I loved living within the home and the views were amazing. But in hindsight it would have been nicer to be closer to the city or to have learned the bus routes earlier during our stay.
I would highly recommend the apartment, but they’d have to keep that in mind.
7. What advice would you give to other travelers looking for a reasonably priced apartment in the same location? For example, look in X neighborhood between X and X.
It all depends on what you’re looking for. For us, we needed a quite and large living area to work so being close to the tourist activities wasn’t as important.
However, I don’t think most people would be in our same situation.
I can’t really recommend other neighborhoods because we didn’t live there, but I HIGHLY recommend taking a trip to Teleferico – the world’s second highest cable car that takes you up to over 12,000 feet (4,000 meters).
8. Other than the rental we’ve focused on, if you’ve done apartment rentals in other places, what were some of the best ones? e.g., one month in the X neighborhood of X city for X price.
We rented seven apartments over the year. Here’s an overview of what we got.
- San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua – Small 1 bedroom for $500/month
- Corn Island, Nicaragua – Small studio right on beach for $900/month
- Antigua, Guatemala – Lovely 1 bedroom for $700/month
- Quito, Ecuador – Huge and new 3 bedroom for $800/month
- Lima, Peru –2 bedroom in Miraflores for $1,200/month (very last minute and we probably overpaid)
- Mendoza – Cozy 1 bedroom in great location across park for $600/month
- Buenos Aires – Awesome 1 bedroom in Recoleta for $900/month
About the interviewee: Darcie Connell is the founder and CEO of Trekity.com – a daily newsletter for women who love travel – and TravelBloggerAcademy.com. She’s traveled the world for the past 10+ years and has extensive experience finding accommodations. Follow her on Twitter.