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Moving to Costa Rica from Toronto

Sanbuenaventuraman, I agree the economy here is very bad when many Ticos can hardly afford to eat, let alone buy a beer at a bar or restaurant. Some I know simply don't go out to eat. But then I don't hardly either... but is that important to me? No.

RTV can cost hundreds of dollars to pass, tickets are high, appliances, electronics, and cars and gas high etc.

BUT I still say it evens out for gringos because the labor is cheap here  (mechanics and doctors and dentists and laborers all much cheaper than USA),  and property is much cheaper and building is cheaper - at least in  the mountains or for comparable views etc in the states.

Sure, buy a luxury home on a prime beach property and it's going to be ridiculously expensive. Just like the states, more or less (though still less here).

[For sure it's expensive here if one builds a huge luxury home with a pool, buys an expensive gas guzzling car, drives all over the country regularly, has a huge a.c. bill, insists on eating imported food and at restaurants etc...
One has to be willing to adjust one's lifestyle to fit one's budget.]

If you want to live on a budget here you can. I do it myself and know many who do and all of those who I know, do say it's much cheaper here than the U.S. for a comparable lifestyle.

Example, I got by fairly well in the U.S. on $50k a year but lived in an apartment in a big city which I hated. Now I get by fairly well here on $18k a year. I eat out a little less, don't save much money, but get by and don't "want" for anything really. In fact am happier here because I have my own home as opposed to renting, and have a big piece of land to enjoy the nature.

But , yes, some things are expensive here, more than they "should be".

First, I would agree that Ticos are poor financially; however, I would also say that I see them as happier if not much happier than the average North American.

I've mentioned before that I've lived in several countries and traveled to I think 17.  One thing I have seen many times, money in no way will make you happy.  It might make your life easier, but not happier.  I've witnessed numerous times families with nothing by North American/European standards enjoying their lives daily.

My closest Tico family here is a family of five.  They live on maximum of $250 per week - on a good week.  They are happier than pretty much any family I ever knew in the States.  They are very content in life as are most Costa Ricans.

- Expat Dave

Not all Ticos are poor financially. Many own huge haciendas plus fancy homes and vehicles that most expats can't afford...and of course these are not the ones earning minimum wages.

Many own multiple homes and businesses.

When we were on the big farm, our main peon, his wife and children were provided with a home  at no cost to them. The wife was a baker and sold her delicious baked goods locally and when we first met them, they already owned land and a home that they said would provide them with an income 'later on'. Through the years they built two more small houses that they rented out, and just before our friend retired, they added a second  floor to their first home. In charge  of the finances, was the wife and our very good friend 'our former peon' who could neither read nor write, even though we worked with him, he said he had 'no need  to do so' ...but he could count ;)

These are our best Tico friends.

Expat Dave, I totally agree. And I have noticed poor people being very happy in various parts of the country where I have lived before, not just where I live now. I've noticed it on buses and at the beaach with people who lived on virtually NO money in dirt floor shacks. (I think they somehow had enough for rice and beans and since they lived at the beach they had fish and mango and coco etc.) Even with such a "mostly free food" diet they did not appear sickly.

This is not to say that the government should not set up assistance for people like this or that the government should not make the economy better. I do know the government has a program now to help people build very small homes. Not sure how hard it is to get but I do see 2 such homes going in near me, at least they appear to be that type of home, I don't really know.

kohlerias :

Not all Ticos are poor financially. Many own huge haciendas plus fancy homes and vehicles that most expats can't afford...and of course these are not the ones earning minimum wages.

Many own multiple homes and businesses.

When we were on the big farm, our main peon, his wife and children were provided with a home  at no cost to them. The wife was a baker and sold her delicious baked goods locally and when we first met them, they already owned land and a home that they said would provide them with an income 'later on'. Through the years they built two more small houses that they rented out, and just before our friend retired, they added a second  floor to their first home. In charge  of the finances, was the wife and our very good friend 'our former peon' who could neither read nor write, even though we worked with him, he said he had 'no need  to do so' ...but he could count ;)

These are our best Tico friends.

Almost all Ticos - at least the ones I've met in various areas of the country in the campo - even very poor ones - have land, sometimes a lot of land, sometimes very valuable land.
I often wonder "Why not sell at least some of this land and get money for a nice car, a nice house etc?"

I know a former peon (I hate that word, I prefer worker or laborer or caretaker; even though I know it's not insulting here) who has a property just up the road from me worth at least $200k, maybe $400k or even more depending on how it could be subdivided.

Don't know why he doesn't subivide at least some of it and sell some lots - they'd all have ocean views.  Yet he works for less than $3 an hour and I'm sure doesn't always have enough for things he needs to buy.

The other side of this coin is that when I lived at the beach I heard about people there who sold their land. Then they just spent all the money on "stuff" and ended up with no money for emergencies or important things, they just blew the money more or less.

Most of the older people got a lot of land here when it was dirt cheap and then divided it among their children. I once had lunch with a very poor older couple who lived in a dirt floor shack - they fed me some delicious home made drink maybe made from corn and some tortillas cooked on a wood fire "range". I'm pretty sure their children would have moved them to a better house but they liked how they lived.

Anyway they had a whole bunch of land, that's how I met them, I was looking at their land.
It's strange...

'In town' Ticos are more likely to purchase lots in 'subdivisions/gated communities' and just 'leave them untended for the most part' as a future investment.

Don't judge a book by its cover... :top:

kohlerias :

Not all Ticos are poor financially. Many own huge haciendas plus fancy homes and vehicles that most expats can't afford...and of course these are not the ones earning minimum wages.

Many own multiple homes and businesses.

When we were on the big farm, our main peon, his wife and children were provided with a home  at no cost to them. The wife was a baker and sold her delicious baked goods locally and when we first met them, they already owned land and a home that they said would provide them with an income 'later on'. Through the years they built two more small houses that they rented out, and just before our friend retired, they added a second  floor to their first home. In charge  of the finances, was the wife and our very good friend 'our former peon' who could neither read nor write, even though we worked with him, he said he had 'no need  to do so' ...but he could count ;)

These are our best Tico friends.

I wasn't actually saying that all Ticos are poor.  There are of course very rich individuals here as with any country.  At the same time, I would state that the majority are financially poor.  Remember that I live in a more or less farming community where wages are very low.  My point was that money does not necessarily buy you happiness.  Here or anywhere else.  🌝

- Expat Dave

Good news is that this year, Costa Rica records lowest poverty figures in seven years[url=http://www.ticotimes.net/2016/10/27/costa-rica-poverty-rates]We, too, are in a rural area...far from the maddening crowds

Interesting article on La Nacion this morning where you can see the salary  you could earn if you were a CR citizen by working for the  government of Costa Rica.

kohlerias :

Interesting article on La Nacion this morning where you can see the salary  you could earn if you were a CR citizen by working for the  government of Costa Rica.

Here's some strange news:
I just read that the new corporation tax - which has to be paid for 2016 apparently even though it was judged unconstitutional in 2015, but has been re-instated somehow, in retro -  according to what someone told me - is based on the salary of a government worker.

I found that odd. But then I find many things "Tico" to be odd.

Here's a link to info about it from an attorney: https://youtu.be/Fs9acdpU66Q

Anyway, yeah, seems they make more $ than most Ticos do. My Tico taxista says that the government people high up in the gas "business" , highway dept and things like that make TONS of $, at least as compared to others here.

Here's some strange news:
I just read that the new corporation tax - which has to be paid for 2016 apparently even though it was judged unconstitutional in 2015, but has been re-instated somehow, in retro -  according to what someone told me - is based on the salary of a government worker.


Same as last time.

There are a few other instances where the fine will be based on the minimum salary.

"COSTA RICA HAS THE HIGHEST TRAFFIC FINES IN THE AMERICAS"

" Traffic fines are at least 100% of the MONTHLY minimum wage of a
Costa Rican full-time worker which is around US$ 450 per month.
Whenever the minimum wage goes up, traffic fines go up too.
   
The following traffic violations are 100% of the minimum monthly wage:
- Driving too fast (1 km/h too fast or 100 km/h too fast makes no difference)
  Driving faster than 150 km/h (95 miles per hour) = minimum 1 year in jail
  Maximum speed is 80 km/h (50 miles per hour). Check the speed signs on the road.
- Not using seat belts (back seats too!)
- Ignoring a red traffic light (also when you are in the middle of nowhere)
  Turning right on a red traffic light is NOT allowed in Costa Rica
- Making a left or right turn where not allowed
- Driving with more than 0.5 milligram alcohol per 1 liter of blood
  Driving with more than 0.75 milligram alcohol = minimum 1 year in jail
  Causing deadly accident with more than 0.5 mg = minimum 5 years in jail
- Talking on a cell phone while driving
- Not stopping for slower traffic (pedestrians, bikes) when they are crossing
  a road (even on places where they are not allowed to cross a road)
- Passing another vehicle when you cannot see the traffic coming from the
  other direction (passing before mountain tops, road curbs etc.)
- Using the roads as a race track, racing against other drivers
   
The following traffic violations are 125% of the minimum monthly wage:
- Trying to bribe a police officer
WHAT TO DO IF YOU GET A TRAFFIC TICKET ??
  Control the damage, be smart and fair, and take your loss.
Show the car rental company your traffic ticket and pay the car rental company.
They accept credit cards to pay for traffic fines.

  All car rental companies have direct access to the traffic police database and
can check for traffic violations by passport number, driver's licence number and
car licence plate number.

  Not paying to the car rental company will mean that you are probably stopped
by the airport or border police at the moment of check-in or boarding.
When stopped by the police your fine will be doubled and can only be paid in
cash with Costa Rica colones. No US dollar bills or credit cards are accepted.
  Even worse, the police will take all the time of the World to "process" your
payment to make sure you will miss your flight.
Flying on a non-refundable ticket will mean you have to pay a full-fare one-way
ticket back home!  Don't expect any flexibility of the airlines in these cases".

BY COSTA RICAN LAW, INSURANCE COMPANIES DON'T HAVE TO PAY FOR DAMAGES CAUSED BY
A TRAFFIC VIOLATION !!

kohlerias, that is all one bunch of Tico Insanity right there!
Of course if we posted this in another forum we all know, we'd be chastised for not seeing the fact that Ticos can't do ANYthing wrong and whatever they decide to do is just fine. LOL.

I complained about this traffic ticket situation here or in another forum, some time back. It's bad enough for us gringos who do at least have a little more money than most Ticos (or our residency would not be approved).

But for Ticos the fines are just completely ABUSIVE and really hurtful. Anyone can make a mistake. I really think all fines in all countries should be lower and that any first offense unless it involves completely reckless endangerment, should be forgiven with just a "warning".

Luckily where I live they don't seem to enforce the traffic laws that much or at least I haven't noted it if they do.
I made a U-turn the other day and said to myself "I really should NOT have done that!" after I did it. I am going to remember be more patient and not do such things in the future!

I think it would be better for all if the Tico traffic fines were more reasonably priced, and then they actually enforced them. As it is they are not enforced much (again, from what I see; don't know the stats!) but if they are the fines are unacceptably high. My guess is the transito has a hard time bringing themselves to enforce these outrageous fines on their fellow Ticos. I wonder if they enforce them more often on gringos?

Hola,

I moved to Costa Rica from the Ottawa area 29 years ago and I don't regret it.  I did the move at the right time.  I was young and could adjust.  It's not for everybody, you have to love nature and be relaxed.   It's a good idea to come and try first.

Yes you can be here on a 90 day visa then you have to leave the country for 72 hours.  It's very easy to go to Nicaragua or Panama and it's a nice vacation in your vacation.

Depending on where you plan on living, it should be easy to find a house to share, you can check local adds, facebook pages, craigslist, airbnb, etc.

Don't hesitate if you have more questions.

Samramon, most gringos do not know ¨the way around¨things. So they probably pay the fine just because the got it on writing. Did you know that for the police not asking  your notification address, a traffic fine can be pardoned?.  And there many other technicalities or loopholes that can be used. Fines are expensive so people will think twice before committing the infraction and I agree  with it. But there are other (not fair) fines   worth looking for a technicality.

Hello,  I live in ST Catharines Ontario,and travelled to Costa Rica in the past 8 years.
I would like to give you info over the phone.  How can I post my phone number with out the public view?

nagyesztergar :

Hello,  I live in ST Catharines Ontario,and travelled to Costa Rica in the past 8 years.
I would like to give you info over the phone.  How can I post my phone number with out the public view?

Hola,

Simply click on the person's photo that you want to contact and then you'll see where you can send them a private message.   ;)

- Expat Dave

MauroN :

Samramon, most gringos do not know ¨the way around¨things. So they probably pay the fine just because the got it on writing. Did you know that for the police not asking  your notification address, a traffic fine can be pardoned?. And there many other technicalities or loopholes that can be used. Fines are expensive so people will think twice before committing the infraction and I agree  with it. But there are other (not fair) fines   worth looking for a technicality.

MauroN could you share some of those other technicalities or loopholes to use to get out of a ticket?

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