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New members of the Costa Rica forum, introduce yourselves here – June to December 2017

Thank you for the warm welcome, Dave!  Nice to hear from a fellow Oregonian (or semi-Oregonian, anyway!)

Although we have been talking about  becoming expats for several years now, I just discovered and joined the Expat.com community.  Much of our info so far has come from International Living.  Yes, I know, I KNOW - we take what they print with a HUGE grain of salt, because it's clear that they NEVER EVER give any view other than the ultra white-washed positive picture, so we try to balance that with reading other blogs and talking with "real people", rather than just profit-motivated organizations.  The beautiful pictures IL paints, with both words and watercolor illustrations, do help pique one's interest and add to the desire and motivation to experience life outside of the US - but we see the folly in setting an expectation that is all sweetness and roses, as they present it. 

While Claude and I are both generally optimists, we are also very much realists - traits that I think will serve us well in our travels and if/when we eventually settle in a new country.  We're also pretty easy going and flexible, but with that being said, we have tended more towards the cautious side, and might need to loosen up a bit and tap more into our more adventurous side to fully experience and enjoy this next phase of vagabonding.

I will be pouring over the forums and other information on this site.  We're interested in not only Costa Rica,  but also the other "usual suspects" - Panama, Belize, Mexico, Ecuador, etc.  We will be in a little different situation because of NOT looking to become residents of a new country right away.  Since we will be traveling for an extended period of time, we wouldn't be able to take advantage of residency in a new country (with such things as "pensionado" benefits, resident health care, etc), so I will be seeking info from others who have also been vagabonds, prior to becoming resident expats.  Budgeting will be pretty important to us and we will need to figure out how to travel frugally and get the most bang for our travel buck - which we're looking at as being part of the adventure.  Neither of us did the "back-packing around the world" thing as youngsters, so I guess we get to sort of have a 2nd childhood now in early retirement, LOL! 

Sorry this ran so long - thank you again, Dave, for your warm reply.  We appreciate all responses, and any information sources anyone can point us to, especially about being long-term travelers, in search of a new place to call home.

  ~ Penny and Claude

PennyandClaude :

Thank you for the warm welcome, Dave!  Nice to hear from a fellow Oregonian (or semi-Oregonian, anyway!)

Although we have been talking about  becoming expats for several years now, I just discovered and joined the Expat.com community.  Much of our info so far has come from International Living.  Yes, I know, I KNOW - we take what they print with a HUGE grain of salt, because it's clear that they NEVER EVER give any view other than the ultra white-washed positive picture, so we try to balance that with reading other blogs and talking with "real people", rather than just profit-motivated organizations.  The beautiful pictures IL paints, with both words and watercolor illustrations, do help pique one's interest and add to the desire and motivation to experience life outside of the US - but we see the folly in setting an expectation that is all sweetness and roses, as they present it. 

While Claude and I are both generally optimists, we are also very much realists - traits that I think will serve us well in our travels and if/when we eventually settle in a new country.  We're also pretty easy going and flexible, but with that being said, we have tended more towards the cautious side, and might need to loosen up a bit and tap more into our more adventurous side to fully experience and enjoy this next phase of vagabonding.

I will be pouring over the forums and other information on this site.  We're interested in not only Costa Rica,  but also the other "usual suspects" - Panama, Belize, Mexico, Ecuador, etc.  We will be in a little different situation because of NOT looking to become residents of a new country right away.  Since we will be traveling for an extended period of time, we wouldn't be able to take advantage of residency in a new country (with such things as "pensionado" benefits, resident health care, etc), so I will be seeking info from others who have also been vagabonds, prior to becoming resident expats.  Budgeting will be pretty important to us and we will need to figure out how to travel frugally and get the most bang for our travel buck - which we're looking at as being part of the adventure.  Neither of us did the "back-packing around the world" thing as youngsters, so I guess we get to sort of have a 2nd childhood now in early retirement, LOL! 

Sorry this ran so long - thank you again, Dave, for your warm reply.  We appreciate all responses, and any information sources anyone can point us to, especially about being long-term travelers, in search of a new place to call home.

  ~ Penny and Claude

It sounds like you have the right idea of how to do this.  I'm actually jealous.   :cool:  I've been to Mexico, and Belize but not Ecuador.  I REALLY miss the food of Mexico.  Ohhh, the food.  It's one of the large draw backs of Costa Rica.  They are not known for their fine dining.  Belize was just a vacation many years ago and is a bit of a blur at this point.

You can still travel cheaply going down through Mexico, Guatemala down to Panama.  I've always had the dream of riding my motorcycle up to the States.  You can almost always find motels in any Central American country for $25-$30.  We drove down the Baja Peninsula years ago all the way to San Lucas.  Great trip!  Never spent more than $12 per night for hotels, well, motels and the food was incredibly cheap.  But, that was in the 80's so I know that's the past....

Hey!  I'm still an Oregonian.  I spent my first 27 years there so it will always be home.   :idontagree:

- Expat Dave

Penny and Claude,
Sounds like a long and adventurous trip!
Are you intending to drive down in your vehicle? Know that it can't stay longer than 90 days ...neither can it re-enter for an extended period of time unless you register it and pay duty and taxes due. I think the neighboring countries follow these same guidelines.
There isn't camp grounds like you see in North America, so you will have to be very careful where you camp.  Never leave it unattended.

An  information website which offers all sorts of interesting information, including how long it may take to gain residency after an application.

Quick protocol question - should I always copy the prior message, when I do a reply?  And if so, HOW do I do that ?  (just trying to get used to this interface)

  ~ Penny

PennyandClaude :

Quick protocol question - should I always copy the prior message, when I do a reply?  And if so, HOW do I do that ?  (just trying to get used to this interface)

  ~ Penny

Hit the quote button on the right hand side at the bottom of the post you are answering. You don't need to do this, but it helps if you are answering a specific person or question in the quote

No, we're not planning on driving - heavens no! LOL!

Since we're still about a year out, we don't have a set itinerary or plan in place yet.  We will probably fly to our first country (Mexico?), and then sort of "string the pearls", so to speak, with a combination of short air hops and/or buses from area to area, probably going from North to South - or perhaps going where-ever the best deal at the moment takes us!  Claude has a sister living in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, so that might be our first stop. 

Our thinking at this point is that we will establish ourselves in a "hub" for an area, staying in each hub for 1-3 months, while exploring the surrounding region.   We will line up ahead of time a place to stay for the first few days to a week (hostel? airbnb?), while we ask around to find a place to stay for the rest of the 1 - 3 months.  And we'll have to depend on local buses, taxis, sometimes hire local guides, etc, to explore the region.  I've read about people driving the whole length of Central and South America, but I don't feel that we're up for that challenge.  And I also think that we would meet more locals and get a better feel of the local life and culture by using public transportation. 

I might have thrown you off by saying that we have downsized to living in an RV, which is true.  But we don't travel in it, we just live in it in place in an RV Park.  We don't even have a vehicle capable of pulling it - it's a 32' 5th wheel trailer - and so I could not imagine trying to drive it through Mexico and Central America!  I think my comment was to indicate that we have already made some major lifestyle changes, and that we have already given up most of our material STUFF, and have learned to live pretty simply - although I will definitely need to downsize a lot MORE in order to be on the road constantly!
But moving from a 2,700 sq ft house into a 285 sq ft RV does really teach you the difference between needs and wants, and you realize how little you really need to live, and to live comfortably at that.  We see the homeless people living on the streets, and realize that our 285 sq ft RV would be like a castle to them - we are so thankful to be warm and dry in our cozy little home on wheels!

And while we are reading and researching countries, and areas and towns within those countries, I feel that we really can't accurately assess what a place is like without being there.  I have read about some people who have picked a place and just moved there without ever visiting, but that's just not our style (too cautious, I guess).  And I have read about people who have made NUMEROUS trips to scout an area once or twice (or more) times a year for several years - which is great, if you have the resources to do that.  We owned a business that crashed and burned in the past recession and lost most of our resources, which is why we will need to do our scouting via the "vagabonding" method - which we see as being a fun adventure in itself.  While we have identified some basic criteria for what we would like to have in a new country/area of residence, I think we will just have to get a feel for a location, and will know it when we get that "This is IT!" feeling.  At which point, we will probably arrange to stay there for at least another 6 months, before making a more permanent move to become an actual resident  (remember - I said we are fairly cautious!). 

So at this point, my questions probably have to do with the aspects of being a somewhat "perpetual"  traveler - such as health insurance (or just pay out of pocket and hope nothing serious happens?), long term travel tips in general (finding affordable accommodations and transportation), what to do about cell phone/internet coverage, etc.  We will also have to learn the specific rules/requirements of each country we visit regarding visitor visas, how long we can stay, etc. 

We welcome any and all tips, words of advice, telling us we're all wet, etc - nothing like not knowing what you don't know!

Thank you to all of you who have trod the path before us, and are willing to share your experiences!

  ~ Penny, and Claude

crtraveller :
PennyandClaude :

Quick protocol question - should I always copy the prior message, when I do a reply?  And if so, HOW do I do that ?  (just trying to get used to this interface)

  ~ Penny

Hit the quote button on the right hand side at the bottom of the post you are answering. You don't need to do this, but it helps if you are answering a specific person or question in the quote

OK.  The "quote" button?
Then is this where I put my reply?
(just testing)
(I'm a bit technologically challenged, LOL!)
~ Penny
PS  Thanks for the help, CRTraveller!

Hi and welcome Penny and Claude ..
I love your attitude.. and I think you would fit in well in Costa Rica.
I too think  "STUFF a nuisance as I get older ..and whittling down .I believe if you have not worn an article of clothing in ONE year ..chances are you will never wear it again so give it to the poor or toss it away!..it is just STUFF...since an accident injured my spine by breaking 2 vertebra...I moved downstairs to one of my smaller rental apartments after living in a 2 story 4 bedroom hluse and living small and loving it! It reminds me of my struggling acting days and how I just somehow managed to fit all that I needed not a small space.I remember the hilarious album  I do not miss the upstairs 4 bedrooms and fab views on the wrap around balconies which I built many year ago, and now find too painful to walk upstairs to enjoy it all and far too big for one person ..Rental or Roommate Anyone?
I will stay happy in my cozy apt with its lovely wood walls small kitchen and small patio with my 2 lovely dogs
( I am minus the latest one Nina who sadly I had put to sleep a week ago... who just went to heaven , so I also no longer have  to watch the blind little soul falling down the stairs..so sad..she was worth the move.  My 15 yr old little Nina loved that their were no more stairs for me to have to worry about her..So  now even though  I miss her presence  terribly. I know she is looking down on me and saying "THANK YOU MOM "     R.I.P my little angel..I picture you with angel wings and being greeted by all my  many little "Furry faces "  that got there before you..BYE ANGEL no more "STUFF" for your blind little eyes to make you bump into..

quote by  Penny

I might have thrown you off by saying that we have downsized to living in an RV, which is true.  But we don't travel in it, we just live in it in place in an RV Park.  We don't even have a vehicle capable of pulling it - it's a 32' 5th wheel trailer - and so I could not imagine trying to drive it through Mexico and Central America!  I think my comment was to indicate that we have already made some major lifestyle changes, and that we have already given up most of our material STUFF, and have learned to live pretty simply - although I will definitely need to downsize a lot MORE in order to be on the road constantly!
But moving from a 2,700 sq ft house into a 285 sq ft RV does really teach you the difference between needs and wants, and you realize how little you really need to live, and to live comfortably at that.  We see the homeless people living on the streets, and realize that our 285 sq ft RV would be like a castle to them - we are so thankful to be warm and dry in our cozy little home on wheels!

oops where is my reply?? being ' Audited "? after all these years? mmm it MAY appear.  Pebs

Hi Pebs,

Funny  - it appeared as if in a different post.

Thanks for the reply.  Sorry for your loss, but you are wise to think of her as your little furry angel.

Re:  STUFF - don't get me wrong - while I have let go of a lot of it, I still have a LOT more to go through.  But it helps (me at least) to do it in phases - sort of like peeling back the onion.  When we first moved into the RV, I had had to let go of so much stuff that I got to the point where I just couldn't let go of any more - it was like I was being stripped bare and had to hang on to what (relatively little) I had left.  But now, after several years, I'm ready to tackle the STUFF  in storage, and to purge much more of it.  For awhile, I harbored thoughts of having a "regular" house again, and there were things I kept that I thought I would want for that future home - for instance, I loved to entertain, which we did regularly, and I kept some of my party serving pieces, etc.  But with a change in lifestyle to being long term travelers, the need for those is gone, so I can let them go now.  Same with "office work" clothes, etc.  Changing life, changing needs.

So glad that you are enjoying your smaller quarters!

  ~ Penny

Thanks for the feedback.  ;)

Yes, living in a rural location will severely limit your options of getting a decent internet connection. Possibly, a mobile one with limited service. Electrical storms will cause you to lose service...or heavy rain pounding on the roof, may drown out any audio.

Something very important to keep in mind, thx for the heads up.

Hi Everyone...I am a single male who will be retiring shortly. I live in the Mid-Atlantic area of the United States, which is an extremely expensive area to retire. I've traveled to Central America and the Caribbean extensively and believe that Costa Rica would be the best fit for my personality and budget. I'm having a hard time finding websites that show available long term rentals (as I wish to rent long term as opposed to buying). Any advice as to good rental websites and best regions to live (I'm comfortable with expats as well as locals) would be greatly appreciated. I look forward to, hopefully, many responses!

Thanks,

Martin

meliiv

Try this site:  Locando

It appears pretty good, you can choose among several countries (my link is for Colombia).

Good Luck!

meliiv

Try this site:  Locando

It appears pretty good, you can choose among several countries (my link is for Colombia).

Good Luck!

meliiv :

Hi Everyone...I am a single male who will be retiring shortly. I live in the Mid-Atlantic area of the United States, which is an extremely expensive area to retire. I've traveled to Central America and the Caribbean extensively and believe that Costa Rica would be the best fit for my personality and budget. I'm having a hard time finding websites that show available long term rentals (as I wish to rent long term as opposed to buying). Any advice as to good rental websites and best regions to live (I'm comfortable with expats as well as locals) would be greatly appreciated. I look forward to, hopefully, many responses!

Thanks,

Martin

Hola Meliiv,

Welcome to Expat.com!

Try looking under Housing noted above, Craigslist Costs Rica and Ecuentra24 Costa Rica.  You will find many listings.  As to the "regions to live," you need to come down and explore various areas.  Different areas will have distinctly different qualities and "personalities."  You have to find what fits you best and not rely too much on others opinions.  You'll find that everyone likes something different - mountains, coast, etc.

Best of luck to you on your search.

- Expat Dave
Expat.com Team Member

@Abitibi

Thank you sir...I will!

PennyandClaude :

[edit]

I will be pouring over the forums and other information on this site.  We're interested in not only Costa Rica,  but also the other "usual suspects" - Panama, Belize, Mexico, Ecuador, etc.[edit]
  ~ Penny and Claude

Hi Penny and Claude, It sounds like you've done a lot of research so you probably are aware of the changes in Mexico but I just thought I'd give you an update.

I have family there in Guadalajara, and it used to be very safe and mostly crime free and even it has changed to a much more dangerous place in just the last 2 years. One family member got pulled from his car and beaten about a block from his home in his formerly safe neighborhood. I also know friends of friends in  Guadalajara who were kidnapped, raped and killed. I don't say this to scare you away from Mexico but you certainly need to be more careful there than you did, say, 10 years ago.

My family says they no longer can go out at night which was never a problem before in Guadalajara.

A friend also recently told me even Cancun - a formerly very safe tourist area - is now not so safe. Puerto Vallarta may still be safe, I'm not sure. Hopefully!

As to Guatemala and Nicaragua, I had a co-worker from Guatemala plus I have a friend here in Costa Rica who travels to Guatemala a lot and both say "don't go out at night" there.

One should not drive at night in any of those countries, either, I am told.

it's a shame as i used to LOVE Mexico and traveled there alone, walked around at night alone and so on.

So just a friendly warning to be very careful especially at night in Mexico, Guatemala and Nicaragua.
Costa Rica in my opinion - except maybe parts of San Jose - is much safer than any of these other Central American countries with the possibly exception of Panama. Also I haven't heard much about Belize. Mexico has changed so much due to economic problems (poverty) and drug cartels.

samramon :
PennyandClaude :

[edit]

I will be pouring over the forums and other information on this site.  We're interested in not only Costa Rica,  but also the other "usual suspects" - Panama, Belize, Mexico, Ecuador, etc.[edit]
  ~ Penny and Claude

Hi Penny and Claude, It sounds like you've done a lot of research so you probably are aware of the changes in Mexico but I just thought I'd give you an update.

I have family there in Guadalajara, and it used to be very safe and mostly crime free and even it has changed to a much more dangerous place in just the last 2 years. One family member got pulled from his car and beaten about a block from his home in his formerly safe neighborhood. I also know friends of friends in  Guadalajara who were kidnapped, raped and killed. I don't say this to scare you away from Mexico but you certainly need to be more careful there than you did, say, 10 years ago.

My family says they no longer can go out at night which was never a problem before in Guadalajara.

A friend also recently told me even Cancun - a formerly very safe tourist area - is now not so safe. Puerto Vallarta may still be safe, I'm not sure. Hopefully!

As to Guatemala and Nicaragua, I had a co-worker from Guatemala plus I have a friend here in Costa Rica who travels to Guatemala a lot and both say "don't go out at night" there.

One should not drive at night in any of those countries, either, I am told.

it's a shame as i used to LOVE Mexico and traveled there alone, walked around at night alone and so on.

So just a friendly warning to be very careful especially at night in Mexico, Guatemala and Nicaragua.
Costa Rica in my opinion - except maybe parts of San Jose - is much safer than any of these other Central American countries with the possibly exception of Panama. Also I haven't heard much about Belize. Mexico has changed so much due to economic problems (poverty) and drug cartels.

Samramon,

We appreciate the update.  While we want to break out of our usual work-a-day rut and be more exploratory in our Latin American travels/move, we're not high risk adrenaline junkies, so safety is important to us.  What you have said is pretty consistent with what we have heard and read.  Claude's family is from Mexico, and it saddens him greatly that such a beautiful country has become so dangerous.  Thank you again for your commets.

Hi, I'm going to Costa Rica next week to pick a location to move here next year and get to know a bit more about the country. I would like to know which are the best places to live in Heredia, how's the lifestyle, things to do on weekends, etc.

Thanks.

Edita, suggest you make a new thread in the main Costa Rica forum to ask your specific question(s). It may not be seen by all here. Why Heredia? Just curious.

Hi,

I am Gary from Jacksonville Florida.

Not retiring for 10 years yet but the accountant in my plans that far ahead. 

I have traveled to Costa Rica dozens of times on business and took vacation extensions whenever possible.  Most of those trips were pre-marriage to my beautiful wife Cathy.  She joined me on a trip at the end of my time at Dole and this last spring we took a family vacation with our two sons.

Never pre-spoke the fact that I have a special connection on the Arenal area.  Guess where Cathy's heart is?  Amazing thing.  Of all our foreign travel not only do we both fall for Costa Rica but a relatively rural area within the country.

At this point the idea of retiring to Costa Rica seems firmly in place.  So, we will visit yearly for the next 10 years, staying for as long as we can each time in the Arenal area.  Then before we actually retire we will stay for several months.

So, for now I love reading and connecting with those whom have already taken this journey.

Maybe we can even meet up for lunch during our next trip with those now in Costa Rica.

Thanks for listening :)

Gary

Hi, My name is Dee im looking forward to learning about this forum and the people on here.
Looking to meet new friends and as much as I can about CR.

Hi...  I'm a Canadian Montrealer who wants to try living in Costa Rica for a few months this winter to see if I like it...  I'm trying to find a small furnished apartment for January and February...    I would like to find contacts in Costa Rica to exchange emails with and learn a few things about pura vida!

Daniel Lecomte :

Hi...  I'm a Canadian Montrealer who wants to try living in Costa Rica for a few months this winter to see if I like it...  I'm trying to find a small furnished apartment for January and February...    I would like to find contacts in Costa Rica to exchange emails with and learn a few things about pura vida!

Hola Daniel,

Welcome to Expat.com!

I would suggesting looking in the Housing section above, Craigslist Costa Rica and Ecuentra24 Costa Rica for housing options.

I'd also recommend looking through the many posts here on this website to gain different ideas, perspectives and opinions on CR.  Visiting for more than just a vacation is the first step. 

You will not be able to determine what "you" like from other's opinions - yes, including mine.  At the same time, you can gain a good perspective of what you'll find and what to expect.  We all like something different and you have A LOT to choose from in this country.  It's a small country but very, very diverse.

Best of luck on your search and feel free to ask any questions that you might have.   ☀️🌴

- Expat Dave
Expat.com Team Member

deenewjourn3 :

Hi, My name is Dee im looking forward to learning about this forum and the people on here.
Looking to meet new friends and as much as I can about CR.

Hola Dee,

Welcome to Expat.com!

Are you planning a move to CR or just have an interest at this time?  Definitely need to peruse through the many previous post here to get an idea of what life is like in Costa Rica.  It's a different experience for everyone.  Just depends on what you make it to be.

- Expat Dave
Expat.com Team Member

I do speak and read Spanish but may here do not I THOUGHT we were required to post ONLY in English also I do NO agree that one hAS to rent for min $700 to $1000 My rentals re less and I am in a very UPSCALE Area Of Heredia Hills ..anyway I hope those who do not read Spanish have the patience to slowly translate online BUT I wonder if it is worth the bother.In my opinion it is  NOT accurate information re  "Cost of living "UNLESS living"High off the hog" or in Gringo gulches " where of COURSE prices are suited for Gringos thus Higher than  some other areas i.e. heredia.. and surrounding hills .

oops sorry Maybe I am on the wrong page ..II this  an english speaking forum for ex pats in Costa Rica? or ?

do not wait for people to understand you in their language in another country, learn the local language or better go or use google translations is so simple!

Over 60% of American people speak Spanish (please don´t confuse AMERICA  with USA), this page also have tools to translate can use it is free, We are most worry for expats from Venezuela o Colombia where mostly of them they really need a new country for survive and the nesesary info, you can google it or asking other speaking English expat for info o start a topic in English, we don´t matter if you don´t understand us is your problem deal with it

Hi, all!
We're a couple with a toddler, planning to move to CR for work this summer. We will be relocating to the Central Valley Region (still to be determined exactly where), and will look forward to exploring the country to determine where to settle down long-term. Any recommendations or advice is welcome!

Looking to move to Puerto Viejo area September 2018. The plan is to stay 2 years. The plan is to get a pensionado visa. From your personal experience, how long did it take for you to receive, did you use a lawyer?  Any and all input is appreciated.

If your intent is to only stay for two years, I would advise you to just to continue to visit as a tourist...
It took a lot longer than 2 years for us to gain residency. We used a very good and experienced lawyer, however immigration has a lot of applicants, and you will be to them, just another one...

Government fees for residency which one will have to pay, whether you use a lawyer or not.

We applied as Inverionistas and it took 22 months.  If you are only going to be here two years, don't waste your dinero.

We got our residency in 8 months - just to provide a different perspective about this.
However I agree: Do NOT waste your time getting residency if you're only going to be here 2 years. And it COULD take that long, certainly.
While you are waiting for your residency you have to leave the country every 3 months or 90 days I think it is, anyway (UNLESS YOU DO NOT PLAN TO DRIVE HERE IN WHICH CASE YOU DO NOT).
So if you plan to drive you'd have to leave every 90 days until you get your approval and perhaps once more after that .

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