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What are the Pros and Cons of moving to Costa Rica?

 
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Feb, 2004 03:00 pm
I didn't - I don't know enough to vote about it. Have heard good things through the years about Costa Rica, but I don't know about the place in depth, and have never been there.
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OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Feb, 2004 05:25 pm
Ok, I ordered Don't stop the Carnival. Does anyone know of any Cons?
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Feb, 2004 07:15 pm
I'm betting there's some kind of ex-pat group you could hook up with online, O'Bill, to discuss this. They'd be able to give you the real dirt.
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Feb, 2004 07:46 pm
My teenagers spent the summer of 2002 in Alajuela, a town next door to San Jose. They lived with local families, rode taxis & buses & walked around both there and across the country. They toured on their own nearly every weekend. They did not feel threatened. My son did have his school backpack taken when he left it unattended for a few minutes. They enjoyed their stay and the "pura vida" but were happy to come home -- my son said there was a weird, unpleasant smell on some of the streets. My daughter said her family had a dog but didn't take good care of it. They also frequently saw uniformed policemen smoking marijuana in town.
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OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Feb, 2004 08:12 pm
Piffka wrote:
They also frequently saw uniformed policemen smoking marijuana in town.
Shocked Now that's Pura Vida! Laughing
Do understand; I have no intention of living the lifestyle of the average Tico. Without some American made advantages ($), I wouldn't be considering the move. Thus far, I am not convinced business there can't be as profitable as business here. I will try it first, before turning in my citizenship. :wink: Please; keep the ideas and revelations coming!
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Feb, 2004 08:15 pm
Have you tried to contact their chamber of commerce? Migbht be a good start.
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Pitter
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Feb, 2004 08:27 pm
OCCOM BILL I moved down to Cali Colombia a little over a year ago and haven't regreted it for a minute. I visited Costa Rica about five years ago and it doesn't hold a candle to Colombia, not the economy, not the women, not the nightlife, not the beaches, not the bird, orchid, poison frog species, not nothin' except Colombia does have it's guerrillas. I'd skip Costa Rica man. Come on down to Colombia where the Spanish is pure.
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OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Feb, 2004 08:33 pm
Sure have... and about a zillion other agencies. (Would you believe the US census bureau is the best place to find out about Import Tax Duties for CR?) The candid answers I'm getting here are of course quite different from official takes. Also I'd rather not get too specific with CR officials just yet, because I believe I can get Permanent Resident Status without turning in my citizenship or converting $50,000 into daily devaluating Colones', if I register as a Foreign Representative, of a US corporation. I'm heading back there this month and I'll attempt to register as a foreign rep then. Theoretically; 4 weeks later I'll have the necessary documentation to get "permanent resident status without restrictions". The thing is; once you do turn in your US citizenship; you no longer have income taxes! :wink: I need to learn a great deal more before I'll be able to make such a decision.
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OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Feb, 2004 08:35 pm
Pitter wrote:
OCCOM BILL I moved down to Cali Colombia a little over a year ago and haven't regreted it for a minute. I visited Costa Rica about five years ago and it doesn't hold a candle to Colombia, not the economy, not the women, not the nightlife, not the beaches, not the bird, orchid, poison frog species, not nothin' except Colombia does have it's guerrillas. I'd skip Costa Rica man. Come on down to Colombia where the Spanish is pure.
You've got more guts than I do! Are you latin?
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Feb, 2004 08:36 pm
What, if anything, happens to your social security and Medicare benefits?
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OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Feb, 2004 08:38 pm
As long as I'm keep US citizenship, I keep it. If I don't, I lose it... But they have national healthcare anyway+ I'm only 35 years old. SS is certainly not worth as much as I'd save in taxes.
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Feb, 2004 08:59 pm
Probably true that your savings from paying US taxes will be much greater. Besides, if you change your mind later on, you might have the option to return to the US, and reestablish your social security. I think it takes only five years of work.
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OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Feb, 2004 09:26 pm
And even that would require the US to have that kind of cash 27 years from now. I'm not convinced they will.
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Feb, 2004 09:28 pm
Good point! Wink Especially with the growing national deficit, and the baby-boomers getting ready to retire in about ten years.
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Pitter
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Feb, 2004 06:36 am
In Colombia I pay $83 (and I'm fifty-eight) a month for both me and my wife for the absolute top of the line "Plan Oro" health insurence plan that covers everything and there are many first rate hospitals here with many of the doctors trained in the US,
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fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Feb, 2004 01:59 pm
The key of the decision is whether you want to merge with ticos and their culture. If not, you'll always feel like a foreigner.

Costa Rica is known for being peaceful and relatively prosperous (an exception in problem torn Central America).

Health care is cheaper almost anywhere than in the US. Costa Rica should be no exception.

You don't have to lose your US citizenship.

And yes, ticas will be looking after you. Many Latin American women think gringos are better, since they: 1) usually have more money; 2) have been previously tamed by gringas, and are less controlling.

The only drawback I find is that they tell me there is not much to do in San José. They say it's provincial: not much cultural or night life. But then, it's a question of tastes.
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caprice
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Feb, 2004 03:23 pm
cicerone imposter wrote:
OCCOM, Before you make any long term committment to living in Costa Rica (or anywhere else), spend a month or so for a test drive. Don't jump into buying property until you're damn sure it's what you want for the rest of your life. It's a big decision; don't do it on the fly.


c.i. has some good advice! Going somewhere for a holiday is far different from living in the same place. (I know from personal experience. Wink

Outside of what you've mentioned in your post, I'm not sure what all you have included in your investigations, but here are some things I would suggest. I imagine several would be redundant, but ya never know. Smile

Housing - how much is housing to get a living space comparable to what you have now? What sort of plumbing is typical of affordable housing? Are there any limits on utilities use?

Food - What are the overall grocery costs? Are creature comforts you enjoy available?

Weather/natural phenomena - is the area prone to any weather extremes such as hurricanes? If you are on the coast, would tsunamis be a concern? Volcanoes? Earthquakes? If there are these types of natural disasters, what sort of warning system is in place?

Are you familiar with local customs/behaviours? (e.g. Certain behaviour acceptable in North America, isn't always welcomed and can be illegal in other countries. I don't imagine Costa Rica would have anything extreme, but it's never good to offend the sensibilities of the local cultures.) Are outsiders who move there viewed contemptuously? Or welcomed with open arms? Tourists may be welcome, but those who stay longer may be viewed differently.

Health care - how expensive, how accessible, what type of reputation does it have.

Transportation - availablity, costs

Income - I assume you have this taken care of.

Local flora and fauna - Any dangerous animals/insects you need to be wary of? Are you, like me, bug phobic?

Generally speaking, have you investigated all of the differences in lifestyle from what you have now and are the concessions you would have to make acceptable to you. That's the bottom line.

I found this bit interesting from the CIA website on Costa Rica.

Quote:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 3 (of which only one is legal) (2000)

*L*

One other thing I would suggest. Do whatever you have to do to keep your citizinship! There are people all over the world (likely including those from Costa Rica) who want to become American citizens. Shouldn't that tell you something of the value of your citizenship? Relinquishing it shouldn't be something you do unless you have no other options available to you. I would look into a dual citizenship before I ever gave up my Canadian citizenship.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Feb, 2004 08:45 pm
Occam's thinking of the tax bennies. I don't blame him, though he and I are not on the same page either for taxable income or attachment to country.

I have vast diffs with my government administration, but still would hate to give up my citizenship, which is big part of who I am by now.

I am trying to look at this with his point of view, that he wouldn't mind giving it up, emotionally.

I am sorely tried on this attachment of mine, from time to time, for political reasons.

There was an a2k thread about this once, re connection to country. I am deeply connected to mine, through a lot of thick and thin.
Others have been so connected to other places and have turned out to be mistaken.
I can imagine leaving citizenship behind, but I am not there.
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caprice
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Feb, 2004 10:00 pm
Gee, I dunno ossobuco...giving up citizenship seems so drastic to me! Especially when it's a country that has as much to offer its citizen as the USA does.

I suppose I am viewing it emotionally. I think of people like those from Cuba, who risk their lives trying to get to a country and have a better life. And then someone who has what some people have died for, wants to give it away. Sorry OCCUM, no offense intended, but this is how I see it.
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Feb, 2004 10:12 pm
caprice, I agree with your opinion, but there are some people who find their individual experience and outlook differently from most of us. My siblings and I have come from a very modest background, but this country has given us the opportunity to succeed beyond our dreams. I compare this to what I have seen in many countries around this world, and still find that the USA is still the "best place on the planet." I find many well educated, talented, people, struggling to eek out a living, and their future is bleak. I wore Gallen Kamp shoes as a child, and stuffed cardboard in the shoes when the soles wore out, but ended up working as the Audit Manager for Florsheim Shoe Company after I earned my degree in accounting. I am now comfortably retired, and able to travel to any place on this planet about three times a year. That kind of opportunity doesn't grow on trees, even in Costa Rica. Wink
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