What is and isn't included in the rental payment?
Access to all of Casa Colibri except the laundry area and the closet marked “Private”
Access to all the community’s common areas and facilities, including the community pool
Sheets, pillows, pillowcases, blankets, towels, wash cloths, shampoo, conditioner, bar soap, toilet tissue
Pots, pans, cooking utensils, blender, coffee maker
Refrigerator, blender, toaster, steam iron, ironing board
Dishware, glassware, flatware, cloth table napkins, paper towels
Bottled water for drinking (5-gallon jug replenished as necessary)
Housekeeper/chef: whether you take the meal plan or bring your own food, she will prepare your meals, set the table, clear the table, wash the dishes, glasses, cookware and flatware and put them all away (but see "what isn't included" below, if you have more than four people in your rental party and do not take the meal plan). She will keep the house clean, including the bathrooms and bedrooms and will make the beds.
What isn’t included:
Food and beverages (see the Meal Plan page)
The $15.00 USD daily cost of a housekeeper helper if you have more than four people in your rental party and do not take meal plan. This is because the housekeeper/chef cannot prepare meals for up to eight people, clean up, etc., and also attend to the daily housekeeping chores. The food plan comes with a helper when there are more than four in the rental party
TV or audio devices
Surfboards and boogie boards (usually available at the gatehouse)
WiFi Internet (see "Is there internet access" below)
Propane heating of the private pool (provided on request at $25 USD per day).
If you have more than four people in your party and do not take the optional meal plan, the cost of an assistant housekeeper is $15 USD per day, payable directly to the Rental Manager.
Is there internet access?
There is no WiFi as such, but Casa Colibri has 3G cellular access* in some parts of the villa (the strongest signal is in the master bedroom), with no limitations and at no cost to renters. 3G allows Internet access, at slower than U.S. speeds but adequate for email and light browsing.
Mexico data plans are now offered by many U. S. and Canadian cellular carriers, either at a reasonable additional cost, or already included in your existing plan. The 3G signal varies over the course of the day, with best receptions early AM’s and late PM’s when the cellular towers are not overloaded.
We highly recommend that you contact your cellular carrier and activate a Mexico data plan that meets your needs. This way, you will be able to access the Internet on your cellular devices, or you can use your smart phone as a mobile WiFi “hotspot” so that you can access the Internet on non-cellular devices such as laptops and tablets.
If you plan to run an Internet-dependent business while you are at Casa Colibri: do not rent this villa, as Internet connectivity cannot be guaranteed.
*Access is best in Master Bedroom and around the dipping pool. At busy times of day, such as mornings and evenings, when the local cell towers become overloaded, the 3G signal can sometimes weaken or vanish. The villa is in rural Mexico, where cellular service is still in its infancy.
Is the electricity supply reliable?
Before you choose to rent Casa Colibri during the months of June, July and August, please consider the following: These months are hot, rainy and humid with frequent thunderstorms and power failures, the same as occur up and down the Riviera Nayarit. While our community has a backup generator, it is intended for lighting, refrigeration, floor and ceiling fans and household water pressure. The generator does not support full operation of appliances, particularly air conditioners. This means that nights can be quite uncomfortable during a power outage.
If you cannot accept the possibility of power blackouts and limited power backup during the summer season, do NOT rent Casa Colibri.
Do U.S. cell phones work there?
Most U. S. and Canadian cellular carriers (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint) "piggyback" over the local cellular networks (TelCel, MoviStar, lusacell). Coverage along mountainous parts of the highway system is spotty, however.
What about money?
The national currency of Mexico is the peso. There are U. S.-friendly ATM's at the Puerto Vallarta airport and at the big box stores (Sam's Club, WalMart, Chedraui, the MegaComercial), all along the highway on your way up to Punta el Custodio. All ATM's offer the same exchange rate on a given day, and charge reasonable fees. Most have instructions in Spanish and English. The closest ATM to Casa Colibri is in Zacualpan, about 25 minutes away by car.
Can I use credit cards?
Major U. S. and Canadian credit cards are accepted at the big box stores, and in many tourist stores and restaurants in and around Puerto Vallarta, but once you are well north Puerto Vallarta, the economy is pretty much cash only, in pesos. Some enterprises will take dollars, but at a poor exchange rate,
What about travelers' checks?
Not recommended. Travelers' checks are rarely accepted by local businesses. They can be cashed at banks, but the process is long and complicated.
How to we get from the airport to Casa Colibri?
The rental manager, Ismael Franco, who speaks excellent English, contracts with a safe and reliable van service: the driver will meet you as you exit the airport customs area and will drive you to the house. He will be happy to stop on the way up for you to use an ATM, buy sundries such as sun blocker or bug spray, liquor or other incidentals. Ismael will arrange for the same service to drop you at the airport on departure. Rates are reasonable, and are by the size of the party: 1-3 people: $140 USD, 4-6 people: $170 USD, 7 to 9 people: $195 USD. Prices may vary somewhat based on the price of gasoline. Pick-up service must be pre-arranged with Ismael. His email is: firstname.lastname@example.org. His cell number (from the U. S.) is +52.1.327.103.9984
Should we rent a car?
There are many car rental agencies in and around the Puerto Vallarta airport. If this will be your first time coming to Punta El Custodio, renting a car is not recommended. Most flights arrive in the afternoon. After going through immigration and customs, picking up the car rental and stopping along the highway to shop, it will be sunset. In the tropics, dusk is very brief, and then it is pitch dark while you are on rural roads, with essentially no shoulders. There is foot and bicycle traffic at all hours, livestock along the highway, and no lighting outside of towns. The last turn-off from the highway to Punta el Custodio is easy to miss in the dark. Besides, you don't need a rental car to get around: Ismael can arrange local transportation for sightseeing, shopping and other activities at reasonable rates. Just let him know the day before.
What about medical care for emergencies?
Basic first aid supplies, including an EpiPen, are available at the Gatehouse. There is a good emergency care center in La Peñita, 45 minutes south, where the staff is familiar with "tourist emergencies." For serious conditions, Puerto Vallarta has several well-equipped modern hospitals and access to excellent, English-speaking medical staff, including most specialties. By U. S. standards, medical care in Mexico is almost ridiculously inexpensive.
What about bugs?
If you are a bug-o-phobic, our part of Mexico is not for you. There can be no-see-ums at dawn and dusk, and their numbers vary with the tides and phases of the moon. They go for your neck, wrists and ankles. We recommend long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks and scarves for dawn and dusk protection. Bring insect repellent. Although open to the air, Casa Colibri has very few no-see-ums. Mosquitoes are unusual.
Various flying insects breed in the summer and can be numerous at night. These insects, some of them large flying beetles, don't bite, but if you our your family find this frightening, it's better to come at another time of year.
Can I bring my pet?
Pets are not allowed, although we will consider exceptions under special circumstances and with prior permission.
What about tipping?
Our staff, employed by the Rental Manager, will work very hard to make you comfortable and meet all your reasonable needs. We recommend tipping for good services rendered. Please consider tipping Moña, our housekeeper/chef, about $5.00 USD per adult guest per day. The housekeepers' salaries bring home about $100 USD/week, and several are single moms. Many work for the benefits, which include free medical care via Mexican social security, paid vacations and other perks not commonly offered in our area.
Is the community pool heated?
No. It is far too expensive to heat an outdoor pool of this size over the winter months. However, the water temperature, even in winter, is usually about 75° F.
Can Casa Colibri’s private pool be heated?
Yes. Casa Colibri's private pool can be heated at your request. Because of the high cost of propane, there is a daily charge of $25 USD for heating the pool. Please ask the Rental Manager the to have the heater turned on the day before you want it heated. The heating charge will apply starting the following day.
“Wonderful place to relax by the ocean."
We have rented Casa Colibri twice now and it is wonderful. Beautiful open-air main palapa lets you relax indoors and outdoors at the same time, with a great little pool for a quick dip (or longer for the kids!). Rooms are nicely decorated and comfortable, with plenty of room for your stay.
Fresh squeezed orange juice and breakfast ready as soon as we arose. All rooms maintained in spotless condition with artfully beautiful personal touches everywhere. Each room is separated from the others and with the open air environment, each maintains privacy but one can still hear the surf hitting the rocks in the evening.The lush tropical grounds are kept trimmed and gorgeous.
It doesn't get much better than this. Everything from the house to the landscape of the area was so beautiful. It is in a remote area where you are free to do as you please. No fighting crowds at the beach or small restaurants at the bottom of the hill if you'd like to step out for something different. It was as if paradise was all yours and you didn't have to share with anyone.