New members of the Costa Rica forum, introduce yourselves here - 2018

Hi all,

Newbie on the Costa Rica forum? Don’t know how to start?

This thread is for you ;)

We invite you to introduce yourself on this topic, to share with us your expat story if you are already living in the country, or to tell us more on your expat projects in Costa Rica if you are planning to move there.

It will enable us to help you better but above all to wish you a warm welcome.

Welcome on board!

Hi,
Laura Lee here. I just retired and have been trying to plan a 3 week trip to Costa Rico. Several people I worked with ( USACE restoration job) have visited or have family there. I really want to stay away from the tourist scene as am serious about looking for a new area to live. I am hoping to make contact with expats that can help me find simple accommodations for 2-3 weeks. A sub-contractor's niece who lives there has been searching for me a room, but time is running out as I had planned to fly there 15th or 16th of Feb. I am open to suggestions. This will be my 1st trip to Costa Rica. My intention is to rent a car. Hope to make some friends with expats from the USA. Got to get my feet wet somehow!
Most certainly don't mind paying for a little touring of possible areas of interest.

Find an area that interests you, then search [airbnb](https://www.airbnb.com/s/all?location=Costa+Rica) for a room.

other than San Jose, would you recommend an area I should search? Maybe a little north?

You must have some criteria of what you are looking for in your chosen area,

Where have you asked your friends to check out?
What do you consider to be 'simple accommodation?
So you have  a budget?
Weather?
Are you going to look around for future living quarters?

buenos dias everyone,

new to the site just checking out all the links
haven't been to CR since 2010..possibly move there
one day,,south of tamarindo crowds
maybe playa negra..marbella area..
but did not seem to be much going on
down there hopefully that has changed a bit.
i hear many new roads
montezuma area is beautiful but would like to be close to airport
and NO not San Jose

Thanks for having me
Petra

:dumbom: Hi and Welcome ..
I just HAD to answer that nickname ...because a dear old friend  of mine played the part of Petrocelli in the TV Series Barry Neuman or Newman.. I forget ...Scorpio I remember LOL...
I just googled him seems he's still alive and kicking... AND married now it seems
Anyway if you are a "beach person"  UGH.. sorry not for me ( our paths may never cross)
I lived on gorgeous beach in Barbados 3 feet from the water ...
How much snorkling can one do? Burned my skin to a frazzle and BORING!!!!!  I read everything in both libraries .. and after much painting and decorating the house  (3 times in 2 years) ..I started reading the PHONE book!   and if THOSE beaches compared to ou shabby ones was not good enough...then I guess our paths will never meet..But good luck to you anyway...
as for being Bored in Costa Rica Never ..there are not enough hours in  the day....  :dumbom:

Hi and Welcome ..
I just HAD to answer that nickname ...because a dear old friend  of mine played the part of Petrocelli in the TV Series Barry Neuman or Newman.. I forget ...Scorpio I remember LOL...
I just googled him seems he's still alive and kicking... AND married now it seems
Anyway if you are a "beach person"  UGH.. sorry not for me ( our paths may never cross)
I lived on gorgeous beach in Barbados 3 feet from the water ...
How much snorkling can one do? Burned my skin to a frazzle and BORING!!!!!  I read everything in both libraries .. and after much painting and decorating the house  (3 times in 2 years) ..I started reading the PHONE book!   and if THOSE beaches compared to our shabby ones , was not good enough...then I guess our paths will never meet..But good luck to you anyway...
As for being Bored in Costa Rica Never ..there are not enough hours in  the day....  :dumbom:

Greetings all : my name is Craig, this is my first note on the site, I have been retired now for 4 years now and am looking to Central America to live a more simple and slower pace of life. I am coming down in March and planning to stay for a month or so, would like to stay in the north coast area and explore my options there during that time, planning on finding an Airbnb for the first few days and then looking for a more long term living arrangement for the duration of my stay.  I would very much enjoy hear from those of you who would be willing to communicate. Was planning on renting an auto to explore the areas but not at all against using the local bus systems. I am very fit and enjoy swimming and other physical activities. Ultimately wanting to find somewhere not to far from the ocean and with a bit of land so as to grow some fruit/ vegetables and get closer to the land. Maybe even finding an old panga to restore and enjoy fishing in the local waters. So, thank you to all who will respond, I look forward to hearing from you.

Hola Craig,

Welcome to Expat.com!

Renting a car is great but renting it for a month may get quite expensive.  You will want to have insurance on it.  Also, take pictures of the rental if there are ANY scratches or dents in it at all prior to driving it off the lot.  The buses here do go pretty much anywhere you can imagine.  It just takes a lot longer to get anywhere.  But, if you're here to relax and enjoy life, that may not be a bad thing.

The first step is to do exactly what you are planning - come down and explore for yourself to find what suits you best.

As always, I recommend perusing through the forum section as there will be a lot of questions answered there.  Anything else, just ask!  ☀️🌴

- Expat Dave
Expat.com Team Member

Thanks Dave: I am sure there will be many and as you have said quite a few already have. I was wondering about the ease/ reliability of finding an agent to help me look while here, as mi espanol is a work in progress.  Are the auto rentals there at the airport .? Most likely I will be flying into San Jose I imagine, coming from LAX I believe it’s the only hub there in CR  for flights from LAX. Also I understand it to be about 4-5 hours from there to the coast.  I was hoping to settle in around the middle of the peninsula so I would have good access going north or south to explore, any suggestions on a good locale to start from.

Cragers :

Thanks Dave: I am sure there will be many and as you have said quite a few already have. I was wondering about the ease/ reliability of finding an agent to help me look while here, as mi espanol is a work in progress.  Are the auto rentals there at the airport .? Most likely I will be flying into San Jose I imagine, coming from LAX I believe it’s the only hub there in CR  for flights from LAX. Also I understand it to be about 4-5 hours from there to the coast.  I was hoping to settle in around the middle of the peninsula so I would have good access going north or south to explore, any suggestions on a good locale to start from.

Actually you would probably want to fly into the Liberia airport.  I am not familiar with that airport at all so anyone else?  How are car rentals set up there?

And his questions on, "I was hoping to settle in around the middle of the peninsula so I would have good access going north or south to explore, any suggestions on a good locale to start from."  ???

- Expat Dave

Cragers :

Greetings all : my name is Craig, this is my first note on the site, I have been retired now for 4 years now and am looking to Central America to live a more simple and slower pace of life. I am coming down in March and planning to stay for a month or so, would like to stay in the north coast area and explore my options there during that time, planning on finding an Airbnb for the first few days and then looking for a more long term living arrangement for the duration of my stay.  I would very much enjoy hear from those of you who would be willing to communicate. Was planning on renting an auto to explore the areas but not at all against using the local bus systems. I am very fit and enjoy swimming and other physical activities. Ultimately wanting to find somewhere not to far from the ocean and with a bit of land so as to grow some fruit/ vegetables and get closer to the land. Maybe even finding an old panga to restore and enjoy fishing in the local waters. So, thank you to all who will respond, I look forward to hearing from you.

Renting a car is a double-edged sword. It's expensive as hell and personally although it's much more expensive I recommend full coverage. I wrote a whole review of Eurocar on here somewhere and  you might want to check that out if you can find it. I agree with the recommendations Dave gave you re taking photos etc.

The thing about renting a car:
You will find out how dangerous it is to drive here (depending on where you drive and luck to some extent) and while some people seem not to mind, for me driving here is super stressful.

Buses are much less stressful in terms of not driving, but they have their own set of problems. Again depending on where the bus goes and what type of bus it is etc.

If you rent a car be much more alert and careful than you would be in the US or Canada. Here trucks will come into your lane, people will pass where it's illegal and unsafe to pass, there may be huge holes in  the road with little or no warning, a person may just decide to stop right in your lane on a highway to stop and talk to a neighbor, 4-5 family members may walk with at least a few of them in your lane even though the road is narrow and by going around them you may have to go into the other lane, etc.

An advantage of driving a car is in fact to see how people do drive here; and of course you can stop and pee or eat or check out a view or whatever.

I still take buses around and do for the most part prefer them over driving. However if it's a long trip it can seem like a VERY long trip.

Reasons:
   * if you're tall as I am my legs get very uncomfortable from not being able to stretch them out or even sit up straight. (If tall, try to sit on the aisle to put your feet on the aisle; but then to be safe you have to be aware and bring them back out of the aisle when people walk by)
   * People on buses tend to be used to sweltering heat and they won't even bother to lower the windows so it's often like a sauna in there. Sometimes the windows cannot be pulled down but often then can but the people just don't do it.
   * Generally the seats are not comfortable in general, not just uncomfortable for tall people. Some buses are fairly comfortable except for the leg issue; some are not.
   * Sometimes the bus conductor plays a futbol game very loud or some awful music, then combine that with babies crying, people talking too loud on their cell phone, etc; it's a bit of a cacophony, but Welcome to Costa Rica, where most Ticos seem to enjoy noise. Then sometimes you get a nice quiet ride. Just depends...

The good things about the bus:
   * You  can sit back and relax and not worry about traffic
   * Most people are very nice and even if you don't talk to anyone you can observe the people and get to know what they're like to some extent.
   * it's cheaper then driving - much cheaper
   * You don't have to worry about your car being broken into. (If you do rent a car, know they are targets. Personally I keep stuff in the back seat because trunks are notoriously easy to break into. Keep stuff covered up though with trashbags or a blanket or jacket or whatever so they don't see a lap top case or etc from outside. )

Hi Pebs,

thanks for welcome.never saw that TV show with pertocelli.
yes i agree some of the beaches in CR no match to barbados
we seem to have alot of gray silty beaches on the pacific coast of CR.
Montezuma a much differant story but as always just a changing of the tide
wipes it all clean.

Thanks again,
have a wonderful day
Petra

Hi all - My name is Suzanne and I am looking at CR for my next location for my husband, 10th grade daughter, and me.  We have lived in Puerto Rico the last 3 years but I cannot go back there right now. I am looking for a place with a great high school (she will go to college in US), near the airport as my husband will commute to PR, and excellent internet as I work from home. I'm assuming I can get by with un poco de español, and my daughter and husband are fluent. Any help or recommendations are greatly appreciated. Have not yet been to CR but it's been on the list for years and seems like it will meet all of our needs for the next 2 years. Everyone says onsite research, which I completely understand, but it's not realistic for my current situation. We are easy going and flexible and have moved all over, so I feel we can adapt to whatever. We are trying to find the right place to stay put for 2 years for my daughter to graduate, and do not want to live in the US during that time.  Am ok with apartment or house, location for minimal day to day driving is my preference.

Any recommendations of schools and neighborhoods is MUCH appreciated, and I'll go through the whole forum for more info. Thank you!

hello expats!

happy husband and father of 3
we hail from michigan US

former corporate slave for 13yrs
left in 02/17, just arrived in costa rica to give it a go

currently trading online futures, hope it works out

see you in the feria(s) :D
cheers!

suzanne12345 :

Hi all - My name is Suzanne and I am looking at CR for my next location for my husband, 10th grade daughter, and me.  We have lived in Puerto Rico the last 3 years but I cannot go back there right now. I am looking for a place with a great high school (she will go to college in US), near the airport as my husband will commute to PR, and excellent internet as I work from home. I'm assuming I can get by with un poco de español, and my daughter and husband are fluent. Any help or recommendations are greatly appreciated. Have not yet been to CR but it's been on the list for years and seems like it will meet all of our needs for the next 2 years. Everyone says onsite research, which I completely understand, but it's not realistic for my current situation. We are easy going and flexible and have moved all over, so I feel we can adapt to whatever. We are trying to find the right place to stay put for 2 years for my daughter to graduate, and do not want to live in the US during that time.  Am ok with apartment or house, location for minimal day to day driving is my preference.

Any recommendations of schools and neighborhoods is MUCH appreciated, and I'll go through the whole forum for more info. Thank you!

Hola Suzanne,

Depending on your income..., from what you say you're looking for, I would suggest first looking in the Escazu and/or Santa Ana areas.  It's a more expensive area compared to living outside the metro areas but has a lot more to offer as well.  They are known for having some of the best schools, your daughter will be around more people her age and internet is better there than outlying areas.  In addition, it's close to the airport.

As to "poco de español," no worries.  I've been here for eight plus years and I am still struggling.  But I speak enough to get by and when I'm not sure I simply use Google Translate.  Plus, in the areas I mentioned above, a lot more people do speak English compared to the area I live in.

Hope this helps and hope you have a wonderful experience in CR! 

- Expat Dave

It is important to enroll your daughter in an Internationally accredited shool, to get the credit she has worked for. As mentioned there is more of these to chose from in the Escazú area.

Internet is much more reliable here than in many other areas, but check, carefully,  before signing a lease as it can vary from one block to another. While a 'tourist', you choices if companies may be limited if you were to apply, however if your landlord has already established an account with an TV & Internet cable company, you should be OK.

j_nathan :

hello expats!

happy husband and father of 3
we hail from michigan US

former corporate slave for 13yrs
left in 02/17, just arrived in costa rica to give it a go

currently trading online futures, hope it works out

see you in the feria(s) :D
cheers!

Hola Nathan,

Welcome to Expat.com!

Hope it all works out for you guys and that you have a great Costa Rica experience.  What part of the country are you living in now?  What do you think of it so far?

- Expat Dave
Expat.com Team Member

Hi!
New to this site, we are moving from Toronto to our condo in Tamarindo in late July for a school year trial period.
Our son will be going into grade 8 at CRIA and we are just looking into anyone’s experiences with this school and living in Tama with a teen.
Thank-you!!

LeeMio :

Hi!
New to this site, we are moving from Toronto to our condo in Tamarindo in late July for a school year trial period.
Our son will be going into grade 8 at CRIA and we are just looking into anyone’s experiences with this school and living in Tama with a teen.
Thank-you!!

Suggest you make a specific post in the main forum for Costa Rica about this in order to possibly get more responses; not all members read this thread.

Hi, all!

I am a teacher from Maryland, and am excited to be moving to San Rafael, San Jose with my hubby and kiddo in late July/ early August. I will be teaching at an American school there. Moving to Costa Rica long-term has been a goal for my family, and we're so happy to have this opportunity to live there and learn more about the country and culture.

My kiddo is bilingual (Spanish/ English), and my hubby and I are both working on improving our Spanish. We welcome any advice or recommendations for newbies!

Best,
Monique

Note that any time accrued when working with a work visa,  will not count towards a regular Temporary Residency status

Greetings everyone!
My husband and I visited CR in 2013 and fell in love!  We’re now ready to make our move and will be coming down in May to scout locations and get things started. We have 2 large bullmastiffs to transport once we get everything set. I guess our biggest challenge will be finding a rental that will allow our dogs. Even though they are very sweet and calm, they can be intimidating because of their size. We’re both very excited about our upcoming move and thankful for this forum which is filled with great advice and caring folks.
Pura Vida!
Nancy

Hello
Yes it is true I am both a dog lover and a dog rescuer,
and many of my tenants I have taken in out of pity when they were stuck in expensive hotels in the boonies..where it cost them $20 for taxi  to go for a carton of milk..
I have at last minute , taken nice folk with SMALL dogs because my 5  dogs accepted them running on the farm ( at first in turns) but bull mastiffs I doubt ....    so do your homework in advance  and mention UP front you have 2 large dogs..and you may be lucky if you get a hotel to take you,  but  hopefully you are  not bringing them with you on your research visit,
PM me WHERE you think you may want to live Beach?  Central Valley ?   (which unbeknown to some , also has in countryside ) and That may may work for you.  ..and of course  tell me your budget and b=needs I will try to shop around for you NO charge I just like helping dog lovers...
All the best
Pebs..
email if you wish

Hi Sounds like you MAY be my neighbor IF you mean San Rafael de Heredia great schools here..BUT Hopefully you are not going to live in San Rafael IN ugly scary San Jose. UGH   LOL fingers crossed for you.
.check it out and let me know If you will be my neighbor. maybe you can come  to my  farm or meet in San Rafael 5 minutes away  for coffee I know some charming places there..
Good Luck
Pebs
***

Moderated by Christine 7 months ago
Reason : please share your contact via your private message system. Thank you.

Hi, Pebs, I think I will be your neighbor. The school/ housing is on the Alajuela side, but really close to Heredia.

Hi Suzanne
I hope i am not too late in answering but first ket me say that people's opinions here differ immensely , so take them all with a grain of salt. . .I have been here 27 years so I may know and like and suggest more than the usual Gringo Gulches .. I disagree that  Escazu and Santa Ana have the BEST schools.. (Maybe so thinks one  who is unfamiliar with the Heredia area ).

Here in Heredia ( where the "Older Money" live  as opposed to the 'Nouveau  Riche'   who are more likely to huddle where mostly English is spoken ....the schools are second to none. here check them out.
  For instance "The European School"  which many find too expensive BUT there are other  Excellent school in our Heredia area ( IGNORE the ignorant, insulting posts about th is  upscale areas surrounding the town of Heredia. .where climates are known as the best in CR (by Locals who really know these things.. (Spring like Year round . Sunny warm no humidity nor mosquitoes.))

BUt do check out  The Heredia Area IT IS A HUGE PROVINCE and consists of much more than the city of Heredia. you will for sure be speaking fluent Spanish BECAUSE  we do not huddle around the Gringos... but  immerse ourselves in the culture .True after all this time I am fluent BUT I was semi- fluent within 6 months..depends where you  choose to live..:)
There are many other great schools in this area..one in  Moravia springs to mind also.

YEAH Lola !
Good choice you will LOVE it ( I will be happy to show yu around). and our great roads restaurants etc..

So I will look forward to you visiting my farm for coffee or allowing me to show you some great inexpensive (or expensive ) eateries in San Rafael and other villages /towns  nearby...Take my number and email...
***

and phone I will give if you PM or email me .BE SURE to keep in touch I am amazed you came across out lovely area after so much  put downs from  "DEM dat DON'T even know  LOL... :)

LET me know WHEN ...
Pebs

Moderated by Priscilla 7 months ago
Reason : Do not post your personal contact details on a public forum for your own security

which School  ? and where will you be? exactly ....many San Rafael;s I was hoping it was the one 5 mins from my farm :(

Greetings!

I live in Miami, Florida.  I am grateful to be able to join this group and plan to be an active member as soon as I learn how everything works in the group. 

I am planning to retire in Costa Rica a few years from now so I decided to join this group to get ideas and information from the people who have already done it, and are happy living there.  I will welcome information and tips in order to make my transition a little easy as soon as I am ready.

Great meeting you all :-)

Grace

ggiraldo :

Greetings!

I live in Miami, Florida.  I am grateful to be able to join this group and plan to be an active member as soon as I learn how everything works in the group. 

I am planning to retire in Costa Rica a few years from now so I decided to join this group to get ideas and information from the people who have already done it, and are happy living there.  I will welcome information and tips in order to make my transition a little easy as soon as I am ready.

Great meeting you all :-)

Grace

Buenos dias Grace

Welcome to Expat.com!

I would recommend that you first review/browse through the many posts in the Forum section.  You can gain a lot of information from previous posts.  Then feel free to ask whatever issues or questions you might have about living here in Costa Rica.

Personally, I think learning espanol is of upmost importance for you to be able to really experience the culture here.  Next would be planning on what you'll do once you retire.  I'm sure I sound like a broken record, but I think having a goal, a long term plan or project is as important if not more important than financial planning.  The worst thing that I've seen happen after retirement is to get into the habit of sitting in front of a computer or TV with no other activities to keep your mind and body active.

Feel free to start a new topic and ask whatever you are curious about.

- Expat.Dave  ☀️🌴
Expat.com Team Member

Hola,

My wife and I are retired and planning to explore Costa Rica to see the possibilities of retiring there.
We could use help in finding housing, places to explore, what paperwork is needed, cost of living, and what pros and cons you have on the country.
Any feedback would be helpful.

Sinceramente,
Pep & María Roa

Beautiful country ( outside of San Jose!) great people but very expensive and very inefficient if you need anything involving government. Customer service is getting better but be prepared for a culture shock. Remember this is a third world country. Not USA.
Been here 3 years. Have residency. (That was a adventure as well) Took me longer than most to adjust culturally...I married a Tica and having adult children living in house was a shock! First 2 years I really considered leaving but I hung in there. Love it here now, I  just avoid things that make me crazy. Good luck.

If you haven't already visited the country at least once, I really agree  that you do so. prior to making any decisions.

To suggest areas to check out based on where we like, know that we don't have a clue on what your budget is, what you like to do in your  spare time, if you need to be near to good healthcare, climate you prefer, etc.

Cost of living changes with location....and it does vary greatly across the country.

I do suggest that you read this website that offers lots of information regarding the requirements of applying for residency.

Here is an breakdown on the approx. costs involved when applying for residency and be prepared for the length of time it may take from what 'others' may have experienced in the past.

Hi,

I'm looking to move to San Jose this fall for about a year. I have a place to stay but I'm trying to find what my best options are for working. Any insights on how I can go about finding a job would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

Adriana

aimc01 :

Hi,

I'm looking to move to San Jose this fall for about a year. I have a place to stay but I'm trying to find what my best options are for working. Any insights on how I can go about finding a job would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

Adriana

Sorry to tell you Adriana but working in Costa Rica is illegal except for permanent residents, citizens and those who are specially requested and get legal permission to work at a particular job that a Tico can't fill.

I suppose making friends with someone at a b&b or other tourist business might land you an illegal job but I can't say for sure. If you get caught you might get deported and not allowed back in.

Hi!
I am exploring the idea of retiring to a place where I can live well on a retirement income.
My husband of 21 years does not share my enthusiasm for a move. We have a great life in the United States where we live in the suburbs and have a beautiful mountain house for weekend escapes. My issue is, if I stop working, we won't be able to afford both houses.
I just want to take the equity we have and go somewhere that has no snow or cold and won't require me to work like a dog just to exist.

Am I dreaming?

So far Casta Rica and Panama have most of my boxes checked off, but I am still listening.

Come and enjoy a vacation here with your husband, before you make any firm plans to move.

If you are not 'both on the same page' this could lead to major marital discord.

Thanks, kohlerias!
That is totally my plan.
I think I'll start with a couple of expat destinations in Mexico, then Panama and finally Costa Rica.
I hope the plan works.

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