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

 
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Mar, 2004 11:13 am
Clary's travel digression
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OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Mar, 2004 02:13 pm
ehBeth wrote:
O'Bill, you should check out Clary's current travel diary. Fascinating reading.
Right you were! I'll be keeping up with it in the future...Thanks!
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OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Mar, 2004 06:08 pm
Reading Clary's journal, particularly about taking the rented Jeep over rough terrain reminded of a day trip to see an active Volcano. On the way back in a rented Toyota Rav4 4X4, we were starving so we turned into a driveway with a hand painted sign that simply read "Restaurant" in several languages. Driving down this incredibly steep and curvy driveway it quickly became evident that there had better be somewhere to turn around at the bottom, or we were never going to get out. Indeed, there were a couple of skeletons along the way of automobiles that didn't. Shocked The trail was barely big enough for the vehicle and parts had been washed away by weather and time. I'd guess it took about 20 minutes to carefully navigate our way to the clearing (using the term very loosely). The grade here was still so steep that we could only see the roof of the "restaurant" from the parking area. The property was cleverly cut into the mountain like a staircase for giants.

When we reached the "restaurant", which appeared to have more in common with crudely built hunting cabin than anything else, it appeared abandoned. Sad Still starving, and knowing that there was a fair to midland chance we were going to get stuck getting out, we decided to make sure. The place was unlocked so we went in and snooped around. Suddenly a very, very old woman appeared and led us out the back to one of four picnic tables that constituted "the dining room". She apologized that the only thing on the menu was fish or chicken, but their wasn't enough chicken for all 4 of us. Smile No problem, "we'd like the 2 orders of chicken and 2 orders of fish. She offered coffee (super yummy) and disappeared inside for a bit, to give us time to ponder just how fresh the chicken and fish might be Rolling Eyes . I couldn't help noticing there were no chicken coups on the property or any other evidence of anything but a single goat and a couple of horses.

When our gracious hostess reappeared; she was carrying what appeared to be a knot of fishing line and a couple of fishing hooks Shocked . After handing these two us she pointed off to the horizon and started pantomiming like she was fishing. It turns out that a portion of a mountain stream was diverted to into a tiny pond that served as Rainbow Trout Farm. Even without fishing poles, catching some lunch proved quite simple as the pond was very well stocked. While we were enjoying the awesome coffee, she brought out super thin pancakes that were made with cheese and it was absolutely delicious. So was the trout and… whatever it was that she called chicken Confused .

We gave her double the pitifully small amount she asked for her services, and thanked her profusely for the wonderful experience we'd had. And to think; we just wanted to stop for a meal. Having grown up in Wisconsin, escaping the property proved easier than anticipated. Snow rules: Medium gear, keep your foot on the gas and don't stop for anything! Twisted Evil I'll never forget that little adventure. In fact, a desire for more like it is part of what's motivating me to want to move.
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Algis Kemezys
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Mar, 2004 06:18 pm
Hi OC,

I was just there and the country is amazing.It is probably one of the most desireable spots on the planet that one can immigrate to so easily. The afore mentioned letters are quite accurate and security has become a big issue there. The standard of life there is already maintained with all windows having bars etc.

It's cost of living is not far behind us here if you want the same life. All goods are readily availible there and many places built for yours truely. Spanish is a must and one must plan on making a living.

Climate is varied and the Toco's are just about the most peacefull in central america. San Jose is a new town with lots of excitment.

Quality of life is good if you can get by on rice and beans the cheapest meal availible. WHICH Are all from unirradiated foods.

Costa Rica is a place for the future and is quite safe from most all other worldly disaster scenarios. It is believed that CR could also be Atlantis.

For sure it is a powerfull place and a center of rapid metaphysical transmorphation. Things evolve here on another level all together.The politics of the people iis gently towards each other.

The country is loaded with lots of like minded new age thinkers. I am quite impressed with this secret dynamic energy that pulsate through out the country. The stone spheres and other religious article from the museums make one feel that might be a place to be in 2008 when the mayan calendar comes to an end.
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OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Apr, 2004 08:49 pm
Wow, I don't know how I missed that. Thanks for the post Algis.Kemezys!

Well, step 2 is upon me. I'm flying out Sunday to register as the foreign agent of an American Company in hopes of bypassing the immigration nonsense and making it legal to import/export. I'm bringing enough sample merchandise so that I should know if my first thoughts on earning a living are sound by the time I return. Wish me luck!
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Clary
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Apr, 2004 02:21 am
Good luck, O B, will be interested to hear your news
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OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Apr, 2004 09:09 am
Thanks Clary. The trip will be about 80% business, so it won't be as exciting as your recent digression.
Now that I am seriously considering the move, I wonder if it will still look as charming? We'll see and I'll let you know!
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Apr, 2004 09:16 am
Good luck, O'Bill.
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Apr, 2004 09:55 am
Terrific! I hope you enjoy yourself and find what you're looking for. My son was just talking about some of the things he remembered from his brief summer in Costa Rica. He remembers it very fondly.

We'll all be looking forward to your reports.
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OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Apr, 2004 07:19 pm
Thanks for the well wishing ehBeth and Piffka. I just bought 2 of the biggest suitcases I've ever laid eyes on for only $35... Total. It's amazing how cheap cheap stuff is getting.
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Apr, 2004 07:24 pm
You should try shopping in Toronto, O'Bill. I could mail myself to Costa Rica in a $15 canajun suitcase. I don't know when they got so cheap, but they're cheap - and HUUUUUUUGE.
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OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Apr, 2004 08:52 pm
I made him repeat the price, because I thought he said $120 each (and truth be told, I'd have paid it Rolling Eyes ) He accepted 2 for $35 so fast I probably should have went for $30! Laughing
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Apr, 2004 12:57 am
That's funny... "how cheap cheap stuff is getting."

I'll really be interested in how this goes for you. To me, the best growth industry in C.R. seems to be tourism. If you can find something to sell to the people who sell to tourists, then you've got a good deal going. (Hotel supplies? Mementos? Maps?)

Good Luck!
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Algis Kemezys
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Apr, 2004 09:31 pm
Great Bill !!! Bon Voyage let us know all your adventures.If you go to the east coast down puerto viarta way go to punta Uva and stop by Selvins Place.Say hello for me to...he has one of my flowers in his house. Tiggylilly.

One thing for sure was that when i went i brought lots of 1 dollar radios from the dollar store and traded them along the way. Alsothey traded alot for my pictures.I could trade ink jet prints for meals and goods and trade to artists. This the best I went down with about 50 pictures and traded them all away all over costa rica.

Anyyhow lets us know about all your fun and games. Go by the Republica in San Jose and say hello to the publisher, Mr Blaser. The Tico times is the major english weekly.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Apr, 2004 09:44 pm
Good luck and have fun, Bill.....
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OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Apr, 2004 11:35 pm
Well, the rich coast was every bit as beautiful as last time. No major problems. Upon arriving: Customs was a little curious why we had packed a couple thousand dollars worth of electronics without declaring anything. A lot of friends we have, and goods in the United States are cheap. Rolling Eyes They were clearly on the fence over two conflicting orders:
1. Catch people bringing undeclared items through.
2. Don't upset amigo's de los Estados Unidos.

After they spent a couple of minutes talking amongst themselves, they decided it was best not to upset the North Americans.

Next we rented a Rav4 for a lot more money than our reservation had promised. Unlike most places; they force you to buy their insurance regardless of what you have for coverage plus add a $1,000 security deposit… So, be prepared if you plan on renting a car. We saw one young couple that clearly couldn't afford the difference and I suspect it really put a damper on their vacation. Sad Personally, I recommend against renting a car at all. There is ample public transportation; many shuttles for tourists and taxis are very inexpensive. Plus, since there is not much parking and few street signs, it's kind of a pain to drive your self anyway. Idea

We stayed at the Best Western Irazú (again). I highly recommend this hotel to any who visit, especially if you are uncomfortable with low security. For $79 per night you get a nice clean room, free happy hour, caged and guarded parking and an incredibly friendly staff. At least a dozen employees recognized us from our last visit. Shocked There appears to be a very low turn over rate because I believe I recognized 2-dozen of them. Incidentally, if you like to make last minute decisions, this is a great place to start. In the open lobby you can book tours to most of the attractions, rent a car, purchase goods and there is always a taxi standing by. Also, buy a "COSTA RICA SPANISH PHRASEBOOK WITH TWO-WAY DICTIONARY" (published by "lonely planet") in the lobby and regardless of how little Spanish you speak; you'll be communicating with the "Ticos" in no time. It doesn't take much because Ticos use their hands and facial expressions brilliantly when communicating. One explained to me that this is customary because they use a much smaller vocabulary than most Spanish speaking Countries, which was of course music to this Gringo's ears. Also, the average Tico seems to really enjoy helping you learn… or seemingly to help you do anything. Smile

In the last year; the economy has gotten substantially worse. There are a lot more expensive cars driven only by the privileged few, but the average Tico appears to be earning the same amount in Colones, despite their ever-decreasing value. Do not bother to change any money from US dollars because US dollars increase in value every day and are accepted everywhere for everything. The Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) is expected to be ratified soon and I believe this will help a great deal. In the meantime; most Costa Rican's still appear to place a pretty low value on money anyway. "Enough" is all that seems to matter. Idea Do keep in mind that they are fairly well off by South American Standards.

The city of San Jose, is a melting pot of South Americans. In el Centro you will meet people from Panama, Nicaragua, Columbia etc. Interestingly, the Ticos like to point out that it is these Latin American immigrants that are responsible for the increase in violent crime. I suspect there is some truth to this prejudice, because Native Costa Rican's appear to be very passive in the face of aggression and I know they have a very non-violent history. People from poorer, more aggressive countries seem to take advantage of this passivity. On the other hand; one of my favorite amigas was from Nicaragua. :wink: Following the lead of my Tico friends, I too simply ignored the people who seemed to want to instigate trouble. It is common to be asked for the last bit of soda in your bottle and giving it doesn't seem to invite further begging. Again, following the lead of my Tico friends, I gave a small "Colones" coin (10-25 cents) whenever beggars asked me for money. Invariably, this was met with a sincere thank you… not another request like it would here in Florida. Overall, there weren't too many beggars anyway.

The business districts are struggling. Venders, who didn't get their electronics from Panama (apparently as cheap as the US), were interested in buying our goods, but really didn't have any money. "Tico Time" is something that you must accept. They will happily discuss things for hours whether they have any money or not. Appointments are never on time and no one cares. Every thing they do seems to be at a snail's pace. We probably spent too much time goofing off, but the results of the "import/export" experiment were abysmal. There may be a small market for State-of-the-art high-end electronics, but I don't know if I'm willing to take the risk. Store space is quite expensive despite the terrible economy. I suspect I will have to think of another way to earn a living. Confused

The widely used term "Pura Vida" (Pure Life) can be used to express everything from it's translated meaning to hello. When spoken by a tourist, it always generates a smile on Tico faces. It is a way of expressing positive feelings, harmony and well being… all in one word… and it appears to be the very definition of Costa Rican life. Despite the relative poverty, a happier populace, I have never seen. Idea

I revisited the restaurant "Ram Luna" and it remains the nicest restaurant I have ever seen. High on a mountain overlooking the city of San Jose; the views are breathtaking, the décor is beautiful and the staff define perfection. The Wine selection is good and the food is even better. They too, remembered us from our last visit (amazing). If you enjoy the nightlife; you have to visit "El Pueblo". This is a gated area with restaurants to suit every budget, gift shops and about 3-dozen bars of various sizes. Ticos live to dance, laugh and have a good time. Every third woman is beautiful and many are not to shy to tell you if they think you are too. :wink: The reception I receive is nothing short of incredible by Ticos and Ticas alike. Attempts at speaking their language are always warmly welcomed. I'm told there are so many expats living in Escazu that it is much like a US community. I'll take their' word for it because I can't imagine why anyone would prefer to go there. Rolling Eyes

Until I can come up with a better way to make a living there, online or some other way, I'm going to have to put off planning a move. Crying or Very sad This makes me a little sad because I remain hopelessly in love with the Ticos in general and their Pura Vida.
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Sat 1 May, 2004 12:00 am
OCCOM BILL wrote:
It is common to be asked for the last bit of soda in your bottle and giving it doesn't seem to invite further begging.


This is common in Brazil as well, and it would really bother me. I'd rather give someone 5 dollars than to have the drink/food I am consuming be asked for.

But it's a cultural thing, in Brazil they tend to share food and drinks among each other (e.g. if anyone in a group of friends buys a drink or a snack it's considered rude not to offer it to everyone, while for me I felt rude offering partially consumed beverages to others).

Quote:
the results of the "import/export" experiment were abysmal. There may be a small market for State-of-the-art high-end electronics, but I don't know if I'm willing to take the risk. Store space is quite expensive despite the terrible economy. I suspect I will have to think of another way to earn a living. Confused


IMO, it's easier to go the other way, and export lil artisanal creations that can be bought for cents stateside and sell at a hefty markup. The importing into a instable economy is tricky and you didn't even get hit with taxes. In these countries what is often the key is to avoid paying taxes (e.g. in Brazil they import from Paraguay because the Ponté de Amizade makes it easy to bring stuff in without paying) and it's harder for a gringo to get away with stuff like that in any country.

Quote:
The widely used term "Pura Vida" (Pure Life) can be used to express everything from it's translated meaning to hello. When spoken by a tourist, it always generates a smile on Tico faces. It is a way of expressing positive feelings, harmony and well being… all in one word… and it appears to be the very definition of Costa Rican life. Despite the relative poverty, a happier populace, I have never seen. Idea


Sounds a lot like Brazil, even down to the term you quoted, it sounds like "Vida boa" in Brazil.

You should visit Brazil. I'll bet you could like it more (if the previous Costa Rica visits haven't made it grow on you too much).

Quote:
Until I can come up with a better way to make a living there, online or some other way, I'm going to have to put off planning a move. Crying or Very sad This makes me a little sad because I remain hopelessly in love with the Ticos in general and their Pura Vida.


I know I brough this up last time, but don't remember how the discussion went, but did you look into conversational English teaching? In Brazil I eventually got up to a rate about as high as a doctor would make per hour, and it was the greatest job in the world (imagine just talking to those warm people you love and being paid for it!).

Thanks for sharin' brings back memories of Brazil because of all teh similarities.
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OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Sat 1 May, 2004 02:55 am
Craven de Kere wrote:
This is common in Brazil as well, and it would really bother me. I'd rather give someone 5 dollars than to have the drink/food I am consuming be asked for.

But it's a cultural thing, in Brazil they tend to share food and drinks among each other (e.g. if anyone in a group of friends buys a drink or a snack it's considered rude not to offer it to everyone, while for me I felt rude offering partially consumed beverages to others).
That is an interesting similarity. While I can't imagine wanting someone's partially consumed beverage, neither can I imagine denying it. This time around I also stocked up on cigarettes before going out to the bars because it seems many more Ticos smoke than can afford to buy them. That and a few bottles of Imperial (tasty local beer) will get you friends for life. I must have received a dozen invitations to spend my next visit in new friend's homes and already I've received e-mails from several who are quite serious. Naturally, I reciprocated the offer but it isn't the same gesture considering they'll likely never have the money to visit.

Briefly I wondered how much good will stems from the fact that they probably consider me a rich gringo, but it quickly became obvious that Ticos who have more always share with their friends who have less. No one attempted to take advantage of me in any way. Contrarily: At one point I was warned by a stranger that someone was talking about stealing from me and that I should be very careful. One of my new friends overheard this and I saw him whispering in several other Ticos ears. When he noticed me noticing; he came over and explained that whoever it was had better be tough enough to take on 20 of us. Nothing came of it, but I did choose to take a cab from within the gated parking area instead of walking outside to get a cheaper one (learned they were cheaper outside from a Tica last year).

Quote:
IMO, it's easier to go the other way, and export lil artisanal creations that can be bought for cents stateside and sell at a hefty markup.
This is probably true but I noticed that most of that stuff had been imported from other, poorer countries already, so to do it right I'd probably want to visit the sources. I don't think I'm ready see poorer countries at this time.

Quote:
You should visit Brazil. I'll bet you could like it more (if the previous Costa Rica visits haven't made it grow on you too much).
Your revelations of Brazil make it sound very inviting indeed and I probably will visit a few more countries once I'm sure I'm moving to Costa Rica (kind of a last minute "double check"). Right now, though, I can't imagine spending the time and money to go anywhere else.

Quote:
I know I brough this up last time, but don't remember how the discussion went, but did you look into conversational English teaching? In Brazil I eventually got up to a rate about as high as a doctor would make per hour, and it was the greatest job in the world (imagine just talking to those warm people you love and being paid for it!).
I remember... and you also explained that my perceived incompetence was misplaced because Spanish isn't what they want to hear from me anyway. That is a beautiful thought. Perhaps I'll put an ad in the "Tico Times" and see what I get for hits.

Quote:
Thanks for sharin' brings back memories of Brazil because of all teh similarities.
Thank you for sharing. Your job recommendation sounds like a dream come true. I can't imagine how you walked away... But then, you probably haven't lived here long enough to tire of it. My sister recently fell in love with Italy. We agree, on a philosophical level at least, that it's a fortunate thing to be born a US Citizen but spending your entire life here constitutes squandering that good fortune.

Vida Boa!
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Algis Kemezys
 
  1  
Reply Sat 1 May, 2004 05:54 pm
Craven cannot sy hello ??? whta does this cyber slut mean by this !!!?????
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Algis Kemezys
 
  1  
Reply Sat 1 May, 2004 05:55 pm
Hey thanks for saying hello u 2 !!! I actually know more about the place thab you2!!! but that doesn't matter cause someonedoesn't like namegames. Feels sad.
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