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An Insight Into Innsitting

This morning I am looking out at the lush green mountain highlands just north of Boquete, Panama. I look straight down from my chair on the deck and I see the Caldera river flowing towards town. Peeking up, I see Volcan Baru, a dormant volcano and the country’s highest point at nearly 3,500 metres. Apparently on a clear day you can see both the Pacific and the Caribbean from the summit. We haven’t quite made it up there yet – but I am sure we will eventually. We are still too busy enjoying the coffee which was grown, harvested, and roasted in an organic plantation only 3 kms away. Vida es dura, no?

View from our balcony

The place we are currently living in, soon to be reopened as The Cascades, is one of 10 units located in a tropical garden just up the mountain (we love the bike ride down, but coming back up is hell). We have our own kitchen, a walk-in closet, a hot water shower (with plenty of room for dancing….if you are into that sort of thing), an open air balcony where we are witness to the thousand shades of green…. heck, we even have a spiral staircase!

Our Boquete home at the Cascades

And did I mention… it’s FREE?

Such is the life of an innsitter.

So… how did we get ourselves into such a situation? And who are these crazy people who would trust us with their place?

Innsitting, or more commonly housesitting, in its simplest terms, is an exchange between two parties where one party offers accommodation to the other, usually in exchange for a little maintenance, looking after a pet, or the security of knowing there is a warm body inside the place.

We had first heard about the concept just over a year ago from our friends Dalene and Pete at Hecktic Travels. They have been housesitting their way around the globe for a couple of years, and it has provided them with some incredible opportunities. Not wanting them to have all the fun, we decided to investigate things a little further.

We subscribed to all four of the different sites recommended by Dalene and Pete, but far and away Trusted Housesitters proved to be the most valuable for us. It is a clean, easily navigatable site and most importantly, appeared to have the most housesitting opportunities available.

We have been thinking about the idea of housesitting since we left. It was an option for us in places like Israel, Spain, and Morocco. Once we even pondered going to Australia solely for the purpose of a housesit.. but nothing quite fit the bill, until now.

We were in Guatemala when we first saw the posting. We were headed to Panama anyways to see Shawna’s parents, so what was the harm in checking it out? We stopped in Boquete on our way to Panama City (the inn owners actually paid for our flight to Boquete, a hotel room, and dinner that night)… if they wanted us to say yes, they were definitely playing their cards right!!

This American couple had recently invested in this property after it had been damaged and left vacant after a flood back in 2010. Most of the renovations had been completed, but now they were just looking for a couple to occupy the place as they slowly started to put the final touches on the renovations. Boquete is an incredibly safe place, but if you leave a place completely vacant night after night, eventually some crafty criminal will come up with a plan. And so that was our role… we needed to give the place a ‘lived-in’ look, and make sure we spent our nights there (where else were we gonna go… this place was free??!!). Other than that, we were simply asked to enjoy the beauty of Boquete.

Caldera river

As with most of our decisions, it was made over a Merlot. I admit, we were both a little skeptical about the town itself. It is a beautiful place, but it is a place where Americans and Canadians go to retire (a Panamanian Arizona or Florida, really). But yes, we agreed that we would stay until mid-August and help them out as best we could. A least this would give us a feel for the ‘retirement lifestyle’… :)

And that, is innsitting in a nutshell.


The cool thing is that you may not even have to go across the world to do it. There are a ton of homesitting opportunities in Canada and the US as well! (this makes the assumption that most of our readers are also located in North America, Google Analytics says this is the case.)

Have a look! It just might make for an interesting twist on your next vacation. Also, be sure to check out Hecktic Travel Housesitting 101 post for a few finer details. And of course, if you are in the Boquete area, be sure to book yourself in at The Cascades (website coming soon!)

We love housesitting, how about you?

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9 Responses to “An Insight Into Innsitting”

  1. Dalene July 14, 2012 at 2:48 pm #

    Thanks for the shout-out guys! So glad that this is working out for you – sounds like you scored quite a deal!

    We accept payment in merlot, btw. :)
    Dalene recently posted..We are Tropical Zombies

    • Skott July 15, 2012 at 2:29 am #

      You name the grape… we will be sure to have it waiting for you next time you visit Regina!

  2. TaraLee Houston July 14, 2012 at 4:14 pm #

    Sounds amazing! Looks very beautiful and peaceful, enjoy your stay. Thanks for yet another Saturday morning reading adventure. Stay safe globe trotters and keep the stories coming while I live vicariously through your adventures and advice. Your friend, TaraLee

    • Skott July 15, 2012 at 2:27 am #

      Awesome to hear from you TaraLee – more stories on their way!! :)

  3. Wandergirl July 15, 2012 at 3:14 pm #

    Wow! Beautiful. I hope to get into housesitting one day, but nothing’s quite worked out yet. Looks like not a half bad place to retire! :)
    Wandergirl recently posted..Tales from a little blue elephant: On making friends abroad

    • Skott July 16, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

      It is true – we will definitely return when we are 60…. or later. I guess it depends on how long it takes us to pay this trip off. :)

  4. Dani | Globetrottergirls July 17, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

    That looks like a fantastic housesit! We only stayed in Boquete for a few days but I quite liked it – enjoy your time there :)
    Dani | Globetrottergirls recently posted..What I Wonder When I Wander: How can I Get Healthy on the Road?

    • Skott July 17, 2012 at 3:40 pm #

      Yeah, we don’t have it sooooo bad! Thanks for saying ‘hi’ Dani!!


  1. Searching For Skottland… in Costa Rica? | Get Up and Globe - July 31, 2012

    [...] guys doing in Costa Rica??? Aren’t you two supposed to be in Boquete, Panama experiencing the wonderful world of innsitting until mid-August?Well that was the plan… but as they have so many times over the past 13+ [...]

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