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Hello... this is me. :)

Hello all,

Just wanted to introduce myself and say hello to all you wonderful expats living my dream. I'm a 34 YEar old Indian American living in the northern Virginia area.

I'm actively planning a move to Central America (read I want to move there and have been looking into COL, facilities, standard of living, laws, etc. but haven't decided yet) I'm planning on spending a few weeks starting in August and September in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, and Belize. For one reason or the other all 4 are appealing to me.

That being said, CR is on the top of my list simply for the nature and Pura Vida lifestyle. I have a steady income of $1600 and will be renting for the first 12-24 months after the move. My plan is to buy a house (will pay cash) once I've decided I'm in the right place.

I'm a vet and an immigrant to the US and have lived in places that make the worst neighborhoods in CR seem like a vacation paradise. I can take care of myself better than the average bear. And I have a big dog and can train more dogs So I'm less inclined to be worried about safety.

I've  been around many carribean and Central American countries wearing a tourists hat over the years but also have been skulking the forums and blogs over the last two years on a digital recce. I believe I have my target move boiled down to San Ramon and Perez Zeledon.

Any information and contacts I can garner would be welcome and appreciated.

Whig

Hi Whig, it sounds like you have done some research and have a good plan as far as renting first and so on. If you have any particular questions about San Ramon I'll do my best to answer them.

Can I assume you've been to Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, and Belize as a tourist then?

If so your next step would be to rent in each country for a month or two or at least do some more intense "what is it like to live here?" type trips in each place.

A couple of questions: Do you speak Spanish? If not you should begin to learn imho.
And what type of lifestyle are you seeking?

$1600 is do-able but you won't live like a King  on that in Costa Rica. If your needs for entertainment , restaurants and such are modest then you can do it pretty well. if you like to spend money on going out and partying, eating at restaurants a lot and so on it could be pretty tight on $1600/month.

samramon :

Hi Whig, it sounds like you have done some research and have a good plan as far as renting first and so on. If you have any particular questions about San Ramon I'll do my best to answer them.

Can I assume you've been to Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, and Belize as a tourist then?

If so your next step would be to rent in each country for a month or two or at least do some more intense "what is it like to live here?" type trips in each place.

A couple of questions: Do you speak Spanish? If not you should begin to learn imho.
And what type of lifestyle are you seeking?

$1600 is do-able but you won't live like a King  on that in Costa Rica. If your needs for entertainment , restaurants and such are modest then you can do it pretty well. if you like to spend money on going out and partying, eating at restaurants a lot and so on it could be pretty tight on $1600/month.

Hullo Sam

Thank you for the reply.

Yup I've been to all 4 places as a tourist. I'm wrapping up my current project (I'm a consultant) and as soon as I'm done I'm packing for CR for a few weeks. I'll definitely spend a month or two in each place before renting long term. That's exactly what I did when I moved to the states from India and chose here (17 years now) over England and Australia.

I don't speak Spanish at the moment but I just started on Rosetta Stone. For now the cue cards with important sentences are going to be my friend. (Donde esta el banio...)

I'm looking for a remote and tranquil lifestyle. Within 30 minutes of a beach for morning walks and dips but at a higher elevation. I cook fairly well and don't need/want to eat out much. When I feel like drinking it's at home. So no partying. I was brought up a vegan so having spent half my life without meat have no problem switching back. I can stretch a dollar and have lived in Chicago on $700 a month.

My biggest reasons for boiling my preferred location to San Ramon and PZ are the remoteness as I perceive it online and property costs being slightly lower than the rest of CR.

I have VA health benefits and will have international medical insurance. So, for all my yearning for remoteness, I will need decent access to healthcare. How good is the private hospital system in the San Ramon area? I DO have a chronic GI illness that could require hospital visits between my 90 day trips back to the states. (Separately funded and Not included in my $1600 budget.)

~Whig

Hola Whig,

Welcome to Expat.com!

I live about 8 km. just outside of San Ramon.  I've traveled throughout Costa Rica and am still happy that I settled in San Ramon.  It is of course personal choice and many others do prefer other areas of the country.

For a GI illness I would not trust the local San Ramon hospitals or doctors.  You would need to travel to a private hospital in Escazu or Heredia - about an hour away.  Their medical care is rated above that of U.S. according to the W.H.O.

As far as being able to remain in the country legally, you would have a number of options.  If you do a search for "obtaining residency in Costa Rica you'll find some answers.  Also this subject has been discussed a number of times in this forum.

I would agree with San Ramon that with living a somewhat frugal lifestyle you can live comfortably on $1,600 per month.

If you have any other questions, just ask away....

If you'd like to meet up when you're in the area, just let me know and you can pick my brain.   :blink:   Just send me a PM.

- Expat Dave
Expat.com Team Member

ExpatDave :

Hola Whig,

Welcome to Expat.com!

I live about 8 km. just outside of San Ramon.  I've traveled throughout Costa Rica and am still happy that I settled in San Ramon.  It is of course personal choice and many others do prefer other areas of the country.

For a GI illness I would not trust the local San Ramon hospitals or doctors.  You would need to travel to a private hospital in Escazu or Heredia - about an hour away.  Their medical care is rated above that of U.S. according to the W.H.O.

As far as being able to remain in the country legally, you would have a number of options.  If you do a search for "obtaining residency in Costa Rica you'll find some answers.  Also this subject has been discussed a number of times in this forum.

I would agree with San Ramon that with living a somewhat frugal lifestyle you can live comfortably on $1,600 per month.

If you have any other questions, just ask away....

If you'd like to meet up when you're in the area, just let me know and you can pick my brain.   :blink:   Just send me a PM.

- Expat Dave
Expat.com Team Member

Hi Dave.

Thank you. Living in northern Virginia I actually have an 85 minute drive to the hospital unless it's an emergency in which case it's an hour. I will most definitely be looking into escazu and heredia. I plan on getting regular treatments at a US based facility and only plan on going to a private CR hospital in the case of an emergency.

Because I'm 34, I'd rather not establish residency and be subject to Caja payments especially since I don't plan on using it. I also want to visit other Central American countries and would rather wait till much later to apply for pensionado

I'm looking forward to visiting San Ramon the most. I will definitely look you up when I get there (about 6 weeks at the most)

~whig

I have VA health benefits and will have international medical insurance. So, for all my yearning for remoteness, I will need decent access to healthcare.

FYI Whig - if your illness is service-connected (U.S.) it is covered in CR. Just contact the Foreign Medical Program (FMP) for more info.  -  hac.fmp[at]va.gov  - If you know anything I don't, please share.

Cheers,
Scott

Hey Scott,

In addition to VAs FMP program, if you're eligible for tricare there is a supplemental insurance plan that covers international travel. If you are a 90 day resident (you know what I mean) you can get full tricare coverage in CR. Or so my VSO says. Working on it right now. I'll share any info and contacts I find along the way.

Cheers
~Whig

Whig,

That's great news.  Thank you for the info!  It looks like I'll be driving/moving down in about 2 months - House just sold.  Oorah!  Thanks for keeping me up to date.

Cheers,
Scott

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