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Hello All!      I am new to this!

I hope this message turns out o.k....I am not computer literate at all, so unsure of how to navigate .

I reside in North Fort Myers , Florida for the past 11 years. I will be leaving on May 4th to Tamarindo , Costa Rica, then to An area outside of Liberia for a short vacation with my daughter. My plan is to go back down on my own, stay for a couple of months to get an idea of where I may want to reside at least a semi-permanant basis. Obviously  being a female alone, looking for something very safe, with others around. Maybe something that has several rentals together on a lot , or someone renting rooms to others. I am not picky at all. Just has to be clean and safe....and reasonable. Would be really nice to be somewhere I could walk to the local markets, as I would be dependent on public transport.

Hola,

If you will be visiting Tamarindo (very touristy, not totally representative of a native beach town) and presumably a beach area outside of Liberia (perhaps playas del coco or playa Hermosa), I would recommend that you at least stay a weekend in the playas del coco area.  It is easy to navigate the town on foot or if necessary by taxi.  There are many buses that can take you to local towns or even to San Jose.

The airport in Liberia is a 20 minute drive, there is a 24 hour hospital, and many places to stay and eat.  You can even do numerous day trips or sunset sailboat cruises.  In short, there is a lot to do there. 

But there are many other nice areas as well to the south of Tamarindo.

Just my 2 cents worth.

Hola!


Gracias for your reply!   Truth be known, the only reason for my heading to Tamarindo, is I am travelling with my 25 year old daughter. As you can imagine, she wanted to go to a location where "It is all happening!" LOL.  As for me, I would of chose Playa Del Coco as far as a beach. My thoughts on coming back by myself to really explore the area, would be somewhere very centrally located. I certainly realise the diversity of the country , and that a good amount of time spent would be needed for a decision of relocation. Any suggestions on a very reasonable...safe place for a single woman alone . I am thinking...a nice small town...but close to the main hospital (which I understand is San Jose). Would like to be able to be able to walk to markets , stores for  groceries   due to no vehicle? Would be nice to rent a room with private bed/bath from someone . Thoughts anyone on this?

I will defer comments on areas outside of Guanacaste to others that live elsewhere.

But, I would Not recommend single women to spend any time in San Jose. It is not a desirable area in relation to safety and it is overcrowded and depending on area, not the cleanest place on earth. However, if you travel in a group of people during the day, an hour spent people watching on Paseo Colon might be enlightening.

Again, just my 2 cents.

Hello, Nikki. I'm an expat from South America, lived in the Tamarindo area for a little over two years, moved to Playa Hermosa for 1 year and 7 years in Playas del Coco. Tamarindo,as you might figured, is where the "rumba" is; but it is an expensive, very expensive place. I remember back in 2006 while touring with an aristocratic family from Italy, the lady complained Tamarindo was more expensive than Paris, it just blew me off. The nearest hospital is in NIcoya or LIberia. Playas del Coco I like better, you can find good accommodations, walk, ride a bike or use a cab service to go around; but I wouldn't go back to the beach to live, it is just too hot even with AC in your place and car, too hot. Since I moved from there I have been back to see the place grown substantially (we lived through the 2008-2011 recession and it was bad). The beach in coco is black sand and too many boats polluting the water. There are nice near by beaches, though Playa Hermosa is a quite little beach with nothing to do once you visit two or three restaurants.It has two main convenience stores, no banks, no Ebais (health centers for the affiliates),rent and food is expensive. These two towns are around 25 miles from the government hospital in Liberia and 6 miles from a Cyma hospital that charges "gringo" prices. I suggest to come visit, stay in several places before deciding. All 7 years we rented here: lived on top of the yellow condo and bottom of the green. Now it has changed colors: https://www.alltravels.com/costa-rica/g … to-7592263 It is a very quite place, overlooking the town, 5 min drive to town, no urban bus service, all included, swimming pool, washer and dryer, long term rental. Last time I was paying $600 month for a 2B/1B apartment . I do know several other places nearer town if you need help. Pura Vida

Mandatory residence is required to use the public hospital...unless it is an true emergency... and the main one for Guanacaste is in Liberia. There are private ones, though.

In Liberia as in most towns there is only one veggie market and they are open 2 days a week, on the afternoon for set up on (usually) Thursday with less vendors then open properly on  Friday however finding accommodations within walking distance, know that is a long way from the town center. Quite a few veggie trucks, throughout the town,

We find it too hot in Liberia, so go there, early in the morning.

The main CAJA hospitals are in San José and this is where one must go to for serious conditions for treatment, approx. 4-5 hours from the Playas del Coco.



Jayhb......Yes, I would not ever think of living in or venturing out to San Jose alone.  What do you know about the area, SanRafael, Heredia? ...I have messaged a lady who has rentals outside of there on gated property with bus stops.  I have read that SanRafael is a nice upscale area?

Don't commit to any rental until you have checked it out in person, first.


As an added note the beach towns here are very different from the beach towns in the US.

MauroN,

Thank you for sharing all that information with me.  It is very kind and most helpful!. What you paid for rent at those condos (they are very cute), is quite reasonable, affordable. I had heard there are many reasonable places to rent depending on area, and personal preference. I believe I mentioned, I am just looking for something clean, safe, and have others close by, as I would be alone. I beleive for this reason alone, I would be better served in an area with other expats who have relocated, and are involved in some group activities?

Again, Gracias!

Makes perfect sense to NOT COMMIT until you actually check the rental out....Thank you!  I can imagine the beach towns being quite different than the U.S.  I am about to see this come in a couple of weeks when my daughter and I go to Tamarindo.  Thank goodness for forums such as this for input, networking!

Sooo agree with physically checking out a rental and an area before committing.  Personally, I don't like that area only because it's too close to San Jose.  (I prefer to be at least 50 km from San Jose.)  Again, that's just me.  At the same time, you may go there and love it.  Everyone likes something different.  That's why it important to see it first.

- Expat Dave

We got to 'town' when we have no other choice... :o

nikki08 :

Makes perfect sense to NOT COMMIT until you actually check the rental out....Thank you!  I can imagine the beach towns being quite different than the U.S.  I am about to see this come in a couple of weeks when my daughter and I go to Tamarindo.  Thank goodness for forums such as this for input, networking!

Never really thought about it until I pondered your statement above, "...beach towns being different than the U.S." 

EVERYTHING in Costa Rica is different than the U.S.  I don't necessarily mean this in a negative way either.  I'm used to the differences now, prefer them; but, this may be one of the biggest adjustment there is for expats - adjusting to the many, many differences.  Every single thing that I can think of is different here - housing, food, roads, government, shopping, life.  And it cannot be explained.  It has to be experienced over time.

- Expat Dave

Expat Dave,

Staying at least 50 miles from SJ....is that due to crime, business or both?......and, I assume there are clinics throughout the country for medical  (non-emergency) treatment? I am a nurse so , I try and steer clear of Doctors and hospitals anyway!  LOL

Dave.....I would hope everything different than the U.S......or, why would one bother to leave, right?!  That is my line of thinking anyway.  And..I noticed you are from San Ramon, Alajuela area....I hear that is an awesome area! Looks lovely from the pictures and seems like SanRamon is a nice community?

nikki08 :

Expat Dave,

Staying at least 50 miles from SJ....is that due to crime, business or both?......and, I assume there are clinics throughout the country for medical  (non-emergency) treatment? I am a nurse so , I try and steer clear of Doctors and hospitals anyway!  LOL

I've lived away from cities most of my life and prefer country life.  Here I live in the jungle, literally.  I also prefer the cooler weather.  I live at  3,400 ft. - average 82 degrees every day and average 64 at night. 

And yes, crime is a major factor, especially here in CR.  In the San Jose area crime is prevalent, including violent crimes.  Once you are outside of that area crime is extremely low and violent crime almost non-existent.

Yes, there are hospitals and medical facilities in almost all relatively small towns.  That does change when you are in an extremely rural area.  I am about 7.5 km. outside of San Ramon, Alajuela.  There is a hospital there and private medical care as well.  San Ramon's population is about 11,000.

- Expat Dave

nikki08 :

Dave.....I would hope everything different than the U.S......or, why would one bother to leave, right?!  That is my line of thinking anyway.  And..I noticed you are from San Ramon, Alajuela area....I hear that is an awesome area! Looks lovely from the pictures and seems like SanRamon is a nice community?

You'll see, it IS different.  I just never thought before how different it is.  I can't think of one single thing that is the same.

Yes, I like the San Ramon area a lot.  There are however too many expats in the area now.  Just for my personal taste.  We've been here 8 years and the expat population has increased notably.  Fortunately, most return to their home country after just a year or two.   :D   It seems that quite a few type A personalities move here.  Don't know why.  I've said it before, if you are a type A, you will not survive Costa Rica.  And again, you will have to experience it to understand why.  Don't get me wrong, I like people, "nice people."  I am amazed how many old, grumpy people choose to move here.????  :mad:

- Expat Dave

Expat Dave,

Totally get what you are saying "Why Type A people  would move there?"   Somewhat a similar scenario at a condominium complex here.  Many people who live in a certain building directly in front of the pool/clubhouse , complain constantly about the noise. Why then would they buy there , especially when the rest of the buildings are private and away from the pool?!  Florida (especially my area) is not running out of "grumpy old people" any time soon!   LOL   

I would assume as far as finding a place to rent in your area , same as everywhere depending on what you are looking for? I was talking to a lady in San Rafael area that had several apartments on 3 acres...gated.  This would be a great scenario for me traveling alone , having others along with the owner on the property.

Nikki08

Hola Nikki!

Good comparison.  I lived 4 miserable years in Florida.  Much the same as here - a lot of grumpy, complaining older folks - "too hot," "hate the Cubans" on and on, and yet they stay there.  And in that statement, I am referring to mental age, not physical age.  The worst part was the old, fat white guys who'd wear Speedos.   :o   :lol:

Back to the serious side of life...  If you wanted to try the San Ramon area there are some cabinas about 7 km outside of San Ramon that many expats use on their initial serious stay.  Bus stop right there and taxi to town is ¢3,000.  I think the cabinas $750 per month, all inclusive, fully furnished and very safe.  The manager is a very nice Tico who is extremely helpful.  If interested, I will email you the info.

As to your desire to be in a gated community.  That's not necessarily the best choice here - depending on the community.  Where I live is a perfect example.  There's a gated expat community 1 km up the hill from me.  The houses range from $500,000 to million dollar homes.  Literally, just steps outside of the gate are what North Americans would consider to be poor Tico homes.  Some Nicas in the area are extremely poor - dirt floors.  So, if you're a person who chooses to break into peoples homes, which would you pounce on?  It's gated, with a guard  -  the houses there are broken into somewhat regularly.

Most gated communities are higher end homes with lots of high ends valuables.  Living here in this manner, you have a very good chance of being broke in to.

Once you're here and out exploring, you may find that living "within" a Tico community is not only safer, but you will be enriched by the culture in a much more profound manner.  Just my personal opinion, when you move here and surround yourself in a expat community, you haven't really left behind what you are trying to leave.  You definitely will not experience a Costa Rican culture.

A n d  again, these are just my opinions and we all know what they say about opinions....   :whistle:

However,  :cool: there are many  gated communities throughout the country, that are like small 'subdivisions' with 'nothing fancy about them' homes located on 1 ht. lots....and mostly Tico 'residents'.

You will have to check for yourself, although it sounds like a condo would suit you best.

Several nice condo units in Playas del Coco, rent for a decent amount, or so I have heard.

I would totally agree with Kohlerias.  I definitely was not saying that "all" gated communities are this way.  And in agreement that you need to see for yourself and decide what works for "you."

- Expat Dave

Hola Dave!   I am still laughing from reading your description of the old, white fat guy in speedos!....sad but true!   LOLLOL

A couple years back, I moved from my 1890 square foot home here in NFT.Myers..to Orlando, Florida into a 260 square foot cottage. No microwave, no toaster, no cable...etc....was the HAPPIEST I have ever been!  What I guess how people describe those of us in this mind set.. minamalists??....So, to rent a cabin there would be perfect!
As long as of course it is on property with others around, for obvious reasons.
And Yes, if you would please send me his email address, that would be super!! 

Also....if there is anyone else on here who would not mind me emailing them directly with questions , that would also be nice.

Either way....Gracias , Dave and Kohlaris  for your very kind help with my NUMEROUS  questions!  It is so very much appreciated!

Cheers!

My daughter also came down with me my first trip down.  She planned to stay for a month or two and she's been here ever since.  She owns and operates a parrot rescue center here and is in partnership with another in the States.  So you never know what might happen!   :D

- Expat Dave

I do not know anything about the suburbs of San Jose.  But you would still be in the San Jose area unless you settle in Escazu (many ex-pats, higher class area) or further outside San Jose by 30-45 minutes.

My  daughter and I will be in Tamarindo Thursday, May 4th....then onto a Ranch Hotel located ..Rincon delavieja, Liberia. As everyone knows, 8 days not nearly enough time to explore ANY area. My next visit will be to San Ramos, hopefully for at least one month to explore.  Are most expats that reside in Costa Rica  fully retired or work from home  for their home countries?   Sounds extremely challenging to work there (I do understand residency required).  I also understand many expats fully retired go there and other Central American countries due to economical reasons....thoughts anyone?

The Rincon de la Vieja is a nice spot for a few days...but away from most areas that most people would choose to live: way to rural.

It has been pretty wet with strong electrical storms in this area recently so bring lots of insect repellent. :/

Just visiting Rin con area for a few days to zip line...hike...etc. have the bug spray all packed!...thank you for the heads up....much appreciated!

I wouldn't recommend anyone live in San Jose' but just wanted to say that I don't think it's as dangerous as some make it out to be. If you don't dress rich and if you are careful with your wallet or purse and aware of your surroundings and don't go into the sketchy areas, it's fun to see San Jose' as a tourist!

There's the National Museum, the Gold museum, the Teatro Nacional, the arts and crafts place down the hill from the Teatro about 3 city blocks, and just the fun of seeing a different culture. I used to enjoy it a lot.

Now that I live here I hate going there! LOL. But when it was new to me I quite enjoyed it. I still don't mind being there for a day or two if someone else drives!

As to the beach areas and where to live, I have a friend who just found a nice cheap place to rent near Nicoya. Forget the name of the beach but it's in that general area. Playa Montezuma is touristy but fun.
One problem with living at many of the beaches is the higher prices of food and stuff, and the limited availability of things. And believe me even the inland towns have limited availability if you're used to living in a city in the USA or using amazon etc.

One of the hardest things, to me, about living here, is not having the stuff I am used to being able to buy; so I have to have friends bring them from the states. Simple stuff like herbal cold remedies, the razors I like, coffee filters I prefer, good quality rechargeable batteries at a reasonable price, etc. etc. I could give you a list of 50 things...

The point being that at the beaches there is even LESS availability of things.

I agree in total with the above post.

Spot on.

But then again, I have found in some cases substitutes for things I used to buy in my local grocery store in the US. In The Auto Mercado super market there is a very large selection of food items some of which were not available in my store such as hydroponically grown vegetables. I am sure those items can be found in Whole Foods but here I do not have to go to 2 different stores to do my food shopping. Again, the prices here are High but for the most part  Auto Mercado carries very high quality items many of which I just cannot get in the US. For items I cannot find, I bring them back when I visit the US.

As a retired person who is able to build a nice home with a great view, I am very pleased to live here away from the chaos in the rest of the world.

I just pray that life stays grand here and world leaders do not push the wrong buttons.

Pura Vida

A note regarding Automercado: apart from one in Playas del Coco and a smaller store in Esteriollos they are only located in the Central Valley.

kohlerias :

A note regarding Automercado: apart from one in Playas del Coco and a smaller store in Esteriollos they are only located in the Central Valley.

There's one just outside of Tamarindo.

Thanks for that info!

Just returned back to the states from my visit to Tamarindo....and then up to Rincon  volcano area.

I just really loved every bit of Costa Rica!....The natural beauty....the food....the people!.....It was everything I heard...right down to the part I have seen described all along..."get use to being wet...dirty!"   LOL....note to self....leave the white shorts at home  LOLLOL....kicked mud up from just walking onto the back of my shorts!.....next trip will be to the central valley...near San Ramos for sure.  I totally agree with another comment on here.  "what I love about costa Rica is it is NOT USA!"....AMEN......

     The hotel I stayed at in Tamarindo also said...YES.....there is automercado somewhere outside of Tamarindo.   I never did get there.

Automercado location map

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