New members of the Costa Rica forum, introduce yourself here

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!

We are looking into retiring to the Santa Ana area and have been welcomed warmly by our attorney Adrian Fernandez. He has been helping us fill out out all the necessary documents to help us successfuly make the leap from NY. If any one would like to contact Mr. Fernandez, he can be reached at 506-8386-1698 or ajfm07[at]
He has secured our residency card in a prompt manner with no surprises. It was a wonderful experience as he was very professional thoroughly easy to understand. His speaking perfect English was a great big help to us.
Warm Regards,
The Hill Family
Alan and Gina

Since the Liberal party leader of Canada announced that he'd like to see Canada become an Islamic state that operates under Sharia Law, I made the decision to "escape" and spend the balance of my life in Costa Rica.  A few months ago the Canadian government started jailing Christian pastors who openly criticize Islams goal to take over all public schools in Canada, and that was the final straw for me, I just had to escape from Canada's police state government,  See YouTube video:  EZRA LEVANT INTERVIEWS MAN SENTENCED TO ISLAM.  I quickly discovered that virtually all real estate suitable for a North American to live in "are grossly over priced", and for that reason I made the decision to purchase a small building lot and have my own home constructed.  I also discovered that there are a lot of land sale scams taking place in Costa Rica "so you must be very careful", and never buy property or a building lot that does not have legal deeds and building permit availability.  Many Gringo developers buy farms, call them developments, chop the farm up into lots, and sell them to other Gringo suckers before they even become legal lots with deeds.  Many people who buy these lots "never get deeds and can never build a home on them".  Also beware of some gated communities, the monthly fees could be astronomical, or the developer could be collecting HOA fees without even having legal authorization from government to collect such fees.  I've started this comment with some negative information and facts, but I can tell you that Costa Rica can be a great place to retire, but to move here without thinking you got cheated is the challange.  Most realtors and lawyers in Costa Rica cannot be trusted, they often work together to suck every possible dollar from you when making a real estate purchase.  Never use the sellers lawyer, and never pay anything unless legal deeds are put in your hands first.  It is very easy to buy a home in Costa Rica "especially if you are willing to pay more than what the home is worth", but it is very hard to sell real estate in Costa Rica.  It takes a lot of studying and research to beat the system in Costa Rica.  For example:  I know where you can build a brand new home in a gated community and close to the beach for under $45,000 US
I'm not a realtor or a developer, but if you want information feel free to contact me at tje2tk[at]

HI Alan and Gina > Thank you for this introduction, i invite you to recommend him in the Costa Rica business directory as well.

Hi Nancy and Bill > Thank you for this introduction. If you have questions concerning your move to Costa Rica, i would advise you to ask them in a new topic on the Costa Rica forum ;)

Hi Lapalmaman48,

Thank you for this introduction. I think, if you want to talk about real state and give your advise, the best is to start a new topic on it on the Costa Rica forum.

Thank you,

Is all this stuff I've been reading from "International Living" true or hype.  I'm only renting, no intention of buying.  Can I really live comfortably on $1,500 - $2,000 USD month in Costa Rica?
Are there any WHITE sand beaches ( Not grey or brown ) anywhere?  Did you also check out Panama, Ecuador or any others to relocate to?  How do they compare?
Thank you!

Chris Douglas - Here is some recent beach information
The cost of living here will vary on location and how you chose to live, the same as anywhere else....and whether or not choose to drive a vehicle or use public transportation.

Jeff and Lisa Gilbert, living la vida loca (lol) in Costa Rica. Raising goats, sheep, chickens, turkeys, a cat, horse and 7 dogs. w00t! Writing this during our first rain in months. Feeling cool and groovey :)

Hey all! I've just made my way to Costa Rica. I'll be here along with my husband anywhere from 30 days to forever if the mood so strikes. Nice to read through all of your profiles and get a sense of who you are!

let me know how u like it there, and did u have to send any dogs there? I', from the states and were thinking of moving there any feedback would be great and thankyou Donna

Bringing a dog "geeeeese" not another one.  "I'm only kidding".  Bringing a dog to Costa Rica costs about $700. air/customs etc.  Having a dog here "and wanting it to stay alive' depends entirely on where you plan to live.
If you are living high in the mountains where poisonous creatures exist, there is a better chance of your dog not lasting too long.  Even if you fence it in there are always snakes.  If you are down near the beach your dog has a much better chance of surviving. Dogs don't belong in dense jungle, their curiousity will kill them.  Taking in an educated Costa Rican mutt down here is the safest way to go "if you can't possibly live your life without a dog in it".

thank you we are planning to live in Dominical and our dogs are family (our kids) they have to come so that's not an option not to bring them. Yes we would not let them run loose and they are house dogs where we go they will be on leashes. thanks for your comment really appreciated Donna ( I also figured it wasn;t going to be cheap

Dominical "Ewwww", only kidding again.  We tried the Dominical area during our first year, we found the distance to the Osa hospital (or Quepos hospital) too long of a drive, plus there is no place to do grocery shopping except up at the Super Marcado in Uvita.  We finally settled a bit further north (between Quepos and Jaco).  The brand new huge hospital in Parrita opens in June.  While in Dominical we found ourselves always driving all the way up to San Isidro to get things, that was a long hill climbing venture that burned a lot of fuel.  Anyway!  Good luck to you and your dogs.
I havent' seen Dominical beach since the Tsunami took away all the sand, I hope the sand came back.

I don't know much about Dominical, but did read last week that there is a potential problem that the local mayor is intent on  tearing down hundreds of trees along the beach, to make a concrete walkway and locals are 'very upset'.
I gather there is also talk of misuse of funds.....

I'm only guessing... but I think the entire town of Dominical is inside the restricted maritime zone and the municipality has the authority to knock everything down (like they did in Limon).  The main road is a disaster, the Clemente restaurant was shut down when I was there last March, I think it's time to take down the town and rebuild.  It was truly sad to see all the sand swept away from the beach.  The southern zone one looked promising, but due to the cancellation of the airport etc. everything seemed to have died.  I did read about Dominical being in bad financial shape also, it's all so sad.

I'm glad your here to help if I have questions I can ask u then, thank you

I realize that there are probably honest developers in Costa Rica "but I have not met one yet".  I am sure many have good intentions, but due to all the political red tape many developments fail or are just never completed, with many lots in gated communities being left unsold.  I've seen developments approved and then some "Urbanization committee" step in and take control of the entire operation.  I talk from experience; I lost two years of my life after buying into a development and not being able to get deeds so I could build.  I had to move on and buy somewhere else.  There are a lot of developers and "unlicensed realtors" who sugar coat everything to make a sale "so be careful", don't get fooled by an elaborate web site and a sweet talking salesman.  Don't even hand over one cent until you are sitting in the lawyer’s office looking at a deed to the lot, and a government document authorizing permission to build a home, and of course "never ever use the sellers lawyer".  There are many honest sales people in Canada and the US (who actually do not live in Costa Rica), they just put the hook in the water and bring in prospective buyers for the developer in Costa Rica.  They might even do this sales job for many developers "and they don't really know the developers personally", or whether they are crooks or not.  So, be careful.

Agreed that just because a developer speaks English doesn't make it an 'up front' and 'definitely will be completed  project'. Too many of such projects can be seen all along the coast with beautiful gates....
I am not saying the project is not what it seems to be, but changing the name does seem unualual and for the poster to make a 'mistake' when naming it.
Please read this first

I have had first hand experience with one of these and luckily came away unscathed.  PM me and I will give you the name of one person to definitely avoid.

Hi All,

Please note that some off topic posts were removed from this thread.

It would be much appreciated if we could all concentrate on the original title of the discussion: New members of the Costa Rica forum, introduce yourself here

The new members are encouraged to introduce themselves and share their experience as well.

Thank you for your understanding,


Hello Terry,  I would think twice about exposing a corrupt developer here in a public forum or through email.  I know you are a Canadian "and not a Gringo which many Costa Ricans despise", but it can be dangerous for foreigners who say too much about corrupt individuals in this country.  I went through a two year scamming situation but I'd never reveal
who the scammer was to anyone, it's simply not a healthy thing to do.

thank you I'm pretty new I have a question that maybe u can help me with me and my husband are going to retire there in  couple years I have three dogs which are my kids because I do not have any real kids LOL we are going to retire in Dominiocal , We want to rent for the first six months, is this a great place for retirement and safe for dogs, and whats the humidity like is it real bad. I'm not sure if u are familiar with  Costa Rica but I thought I would get ur input if y were? Thank you Donna

Well, the actual town of Dominical is pretty well finished, it's broke, has no money to have their main street paved, the sand is gone from the beach, and the local politicians are requesting that the town be removed and replaced with a huge boardwalk etc.  I think most of the properties are inside the Maritime zone and not even legally built.  There are no stores or hospital in Dominical, you'd have to drive all the way to Uvita to get a half decent grocery store, and all the way to OSA or Quepos for a hospital.  Yes, the humitidy can be high because you are at the ocean.  I tried the area four years ago and then decided to move farther north, between Quepos and Jaco.  The dog situation "may God help you" with that issue, it's about $700. per dog to get them here "I think".  I think you'd better spend a couple of weeks in the Dominical area before you decide to stay there long term.  The lowest priced car you can rent in Costa Rica is about $700. per month, and that's for a tiny Suzuki that your dogs won't fit in.  Good luck.

thank you for ur feedback I have a friend that lived there for 6 months and he never talked bad about it, I guess that we will have to go there and see for our selves and the cost of getting my dogs there is not an ISSUE!! So with that being said I would like to get some feedback from other members if it
s ok with u. thank you

We are now heading into the rainy season, so the humidity will change with it.
You should visit more than once to see if both Dominical and the surroundings, suits you and your dogs.
Dogs must be kept inside at night to lessen the chances of them being poisoned during a robbery, as unfortunately this is known to happen, although not specifically Dominical but throughout Costa Rica.
See today's weather: … 19544.html Daily thunder and electrical are the norm until November, which of course, most dogs don't like.
Annual rainfall map

Best to rent there and if it doesn't suit, try somewhere else.

Most 'retirees'  do not stay more than 3 years in CR, with many returning home the first year for various reasons, with rising food costs being one of them. and higher and mandatory healthcare being another.
If you are not on a restricted budget, Costa Rica can be a great place to live.

Well spoken Cupacoffee, good advice for the people with dogs.  One old lady who lost her dog to some jungle disease said "dogs don't belong in a jungle or tropical environment, I should have known better".  The vet thinks the dog bit into a poisonous frog.  Anyway! have a great day.

I'm not advising anyone to not bring their dogs but saying, 'be aware of conditions in your immediate area'.

My wife and I are also considering retiring in CR. Your kind of life sounds like something my wife would enjoy. We are from upstate NY and are making plans to retire in the next year or two. We are planning a trip to CR either later this summer or in the fall. Would enjoy talking to you about your experiences in CR. Jim and Bonnie.

it's good to learn as much as you can prior to coming to Costa Rica, but beware of the fact that many expats (who try to justify their move here) may often sugar coat some of the inforamation they provide to a person like you.  I know as I was once one of those persons.  My suggestion is to make sure you pick a location where you have access to things like a grocery store and hospital, and a nice safe beach if that's what you like.  Many resorts and homes for rent are in very isolated locations, you might find yourself driving up and down a mountain just to purchase a grocery item.  If you do not want to rent a car it might be better to stay up in the northern end of the country near San Jose.  If you have questions I don't mind answering them   tje2tk[at]

Hola Amigos,

My name is Christopher Howard and I have lived in Costa Rica for almost 35 years. I love the country so much that I became a citizen14 years ago.

[Moderated: No free ad]

maybe u can answer a question for me? I'm thinking about moving with my husband to Dominical. We are taking a trip out there next May 2015 what do u think of Dominical? also I have 3 dogs that I will be bringing do u know what airline is the best to get them there I want them to fly with us I is a great dane the other a weimer, and the other is small Italian greyhound. we would not be bringing them until we move there Thanks for your help

We are bringing two animals with us and have done quite a bit of research by asking others who have done this.  Right now American Airlines is the front runner.
BTW - We LOVE the Dominical area but chose to live elsewhere.  It was a tad bit too hot for us to actually live there but we keep visiting!
Good luck.

thank you so much were did u decide to live in a higher elevation? Yes I'm not sure if I can handle the humidity but will see.

We ended up at 3000 feet above sea level.  We are about 17 km S.W. of Puriscal and have a road going past us that comes out in Parrita.  We are in a community called Altos de Antigua.
Cheers .... Terry

Hello all!
I'm very new to this do bare with me! I am married and a mommy of 3 young boys. My husband and I want to give them a life changing experience in another country and culture. We like what we read and hear about Costa Rica- good schools, clean, safe, beautiful, excellent healthcare. Our biggest hurdle is my health. I have a pre existing health condition that requires regular blood work and medicine. I'm just wondering if I could get what I need there for an affordable price. How much insurance would cost? We want somewhere close to an airport and cooler temps so Heredia stands out especially for all the outdoor activities for kids. Please give me any advice you have!

The good health system and schools are private so it is not inexpensive to raise a family here. Your pre-existing medical condition will not be covered with private insurance companies.
Once a legal resident, the CAJA, which is mandatory for Residency will provide coverage and is at this time costing approx $440 per month when applying under the Rentisa status and the principal applicant is under 55. Expect the residency process to take well over a year so in the meantime you will have to pay  'over the counter' for Rx's and use private doctors/facilities. Many ex-pats and Costa Rican citizens also use private facilities, due to serious time delay in obtaining care.
CAJA offers good emergency care and covers most prescriptions, but I would be very hesitant to rely on it, for a serious medical condition.

How much is it to see a specialist or get labs? We pay crazy medical bills here do anything would I'm sure be better. I just want to be sure the healthcare services are available.
Also, do you know how much a private elementary school is? We really want our kids immersed in the culture & language so not sure we would do private. Or we may just homeschool. Do you have to have residency to attend their public school?
Our budget is 3500/month. Is that enough for a family of 4? We don't need a fancy house. We like simplicity as long as it's clean and safe.

Appointments with specialists are $100 - $150 approx. and Labs are less, but prices will vary. I placed a link under 'schools are private' in my previous post, but they generally start around $500 per month plus bus, lunch etc. I am adding another According to many, food is more expensive than the US with the exception of locally grown fruit and the very basic vegetable choices.
$3500 is a good budget, but putting the kids though a decent school, renting a house, utilities, food costs and paying out for your health needs it may not be enough. You will need to check to see if your Rx's are here and will they be covered.
Unless your children are bi-lingual I would seriously suggest you use private schools. These are not used only by ex-pats and the majority of students are Costa Rican. Public schools often cancel classes on a whim, and many facilities are extremely lacking. Public schools are not accredited with North American school system, should you choose to return.  You need to see them and judge for for yourself as some are better than others. At the moment teachers are on strike due to them not receiving their salary for many months. Home schooling is not legally accepted here.

Visit first before many any decision.

If we don't set up residency right away & we are homeschooling it's illegal or just not recognized as an legitimate school in Costa Rica? I have heard of many foreigners living there that are homeschooling their kids or supplementing the public school system with that. Do you have to have residency status to use the public school system? And we would probably set up the rentista. Who would I contact to find out what prescriptions are available there?
With rentista status do we automatically have residency status & get the medical coverage offered by the government?

Public schools require that you have at least started the residency process. You must provide a copy of all their past report cards and have them translated by a govt. approved translator near your existing home and also the records showing their up-to-date inoculations. Your paperwork for Residency must be dated less than 6 months, when handed to immigration. Remember, it is taking  over  year + to obtain this, so you will be not be covered by the mandatory CAJA healthcare system until  you have your 'resolution' saying that everything is complete. You will apply to CAJA and once you have paid your required fees, you will be covered with no problem with pre-existing conditions, but not all meds. are guaranteed to be  provided by CAJA at no cost..
From what I understand, you must keep a physical address in the US to participate in home schooling in the US and is it is not recognized here, as  legitimate schooling, and so it will cause problems  if your children wish to enter the public school or university  at a later date. To supplement the public educational system may work, but all the school classes are taught in Spanish, with the except of English language. For instance, the history lessons taught, with not be American history.
I did have, but can't find now the web site stating what medications are available here, but they can be removed from it, at any time. You cannot receive medication through the mail.
Realize too, that it is reported that most of those who move here,  return to their own country within a year or two.
BTW, for the Rentista status you are required to post 2 separate deposits of $60K, two years apart.

You really need to check this out in person, for both you and your family.

Thank you so much for your very helpful information. We are just beginning the process & we want to be very realistic about all of this. We would definitely visit more than once on an extended stay and find out more when we are there.
Our other option is just living part time down there during summers. This might be more realistic. Do you know of many who do this and where it's easier to find home rentals for 2-3 month stays? What do you think of Heredia?

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