Inconsiderate people!

Do you ever just want to shoot people for being inconsiderate? I realize this is a touchy forbidden subject and I may lose some readers for going here but I just can’t keep quiet anymore. Some people just don’t use their heads in everyday life. They are just inconsiderate about things and others have to suffer as a result of this.

When people stomp all over ones feelings in business acting as though they are better than you, arrogant and egotistical in their manner. This is absolutely stupid and pointless and it gets them nowhere but on the bad side of the person they are needing help from. This is a big problem in Costa Rica. So many foreigners come down and act as though they are better than the nationals when in fact they are not. This is NOT the attitude to take with people you are going to be living next door to for years to come.

Mind your manners. Follow the golden rule. Treat others the way that you would want to be treated and you will be treated well in return. Do not degrade or belittle people or point out flaws. It doesn’t help it the situation that you are in and it only hurts the person that you are working with.

Whether you are in the grocery store or having a house built or hiring someone to move your furniture, keep a smile on your face and keep your attitude in check. Remember these people that you have hired work very hard to please you an many other people every day. They really don’t need you to act stupid and arrogant towards them. They have their own set of problems much bigger than you could possibly get your head around and they don’t need your garbage and trash talk on top of that. Be nice! Treat people with respect! I know they are treating you with respect. Just do the same!


Getting Directions in Costa Rica

I’m not the cyber guru that Ramiro is and i could not figure out how to get this video to open on this page but I believe that if you cut and paste the link into your browser it should work.  This video portrays the directions one would get and how an expat would interpret those directions EXACTLY!  It is definitely worth the time and a good laugh that you all could relate to if you have ever asked for directions in Costa Rica 🙂

Good luck and my apologies that I am not more internet savvy!


Rentista in Costa Rica

Residency laws in Costa Rica are changing again!  I am having difficulty keeping up with all of the changes this time so I have enlisted the help of my friends at Fragomen to help weed through some of the new laws.

I will be posting them here as they are made clear to me.

The first of the many changes that I learned of today is the following….for RENTISTA status.  This is the status that  family would file or someone that is not yet of the retirement age.

This new law is both good and bad for the Rentista’s.  For a family, it is a very good thing.  A family of 3, 4, 5 + it is far less expensive to file for residency now than it has been for the last couple of years. Now whether there is one member or 10 in your family, the amount that you have to prove as income is $2500/month or $125k/annually.

That opens another can of worms…Until a couple of years ago, it was only proof of $1k/month/ $65k /annually for a family of 1-2 or more to file for Rentista status, then everything changed.  The amount doubled, tripled, quadrupled etc.  The more in your family, the more you had to prove in income and deposit as guarantee in income.  If you had a family of 5, you would have to deposit $210k to file for Rentista.  It was just a bit ridiculous and apparently the CR government saw the err or their ways because only 2 years after this law went into effect another one follows that makes a little more sense economically for a large family.

This new law will be in full effect in March of 2010.  Until that time, I imagine many people will continue to hold off on filing for Rentista.

More to follow about the other types of residency status available to foreigners soon.


Medical Care In Costa Rica

Costa Rica is becoming the mecca for North Americans and others who need reasonable health care. The president of Costa Rica has put out the welcome map for foreigners who want to come here to take advantage of the lower-cost medical care.

The president, Nobel-Peace Prize winner Óscar Arias Sánchez, issued a formal decree to assist those local clinics, medical professionals and the foreigners who wish to come here.

Among other actions, the president said the country would promote international accreditation of hospitals and clinics which specialize in foreign patients. Already Costa Rica has hospitals that are highly respected. One even is associated with Southern Methodist University.

Accreditation will give visitors a guarantee that highly trained professionals from elsewhere have studied the education, facilities, practices and philosophies of those organizations offering health care.

Arias already has told the educational ministry to make sure high school graduates are functional in English within a few years. That goes double for the health professions, because many physicians, dentists and nurses have studied in the United States, Canada and Great Britain.

Arias also said that his government would work with foreign insurance providers to make certain that medical care here will be covered by  companies in the home country.

In 2007 some 8,500 foreigners, mostly U.S. citizens, came to Costa Rica for health care. Costa Rica has a dynamic system covering most of its citizens, and many practitioners share their time between private and public hospitals and clinics. So they have the advantages of both.

Why is health care so reasonable here? A lot has to do with the bureaucracy of the U.S. system. Some sources estimated that fully 40 percent of the money spent on medical care in the United states goes to administration.  Costa Rica is a country that is not known for its high insurance rates on medical professional. Plus the overall cost of living is much lower.

Costa Rica is convenient and just a few hours by air from most of the United states. And as a recovery spot nothing can beat the great climate, the great service and the many possibilities a medical vacationer can find in Costa Rica.


Immigration laws in Costa Rica

Well it has happened again….I didn’t think it would ever pass but I was wrong.  President Arias has signed the bill into law.  On Wednesday the 19th of August the bill became a law changing the amount for Pensinado’s required to have in income and several other changes.

The amount that Pensinado’s must now have to file for residency has gone from $600 a month to $1000 a month.  This is NOT retro-active so it will not affect those pensinado’s that have been in the country for years.  A retro-active clause was deleted.

Rentistas will now have to show a steady monthly income of $2,500 but close family members are included in that requirement.

The law will not take effect until six months after it is signed and published, so expats seeking residency will have options.

Answers to many of the questions expats have on how the law will be applied will be contained in the regulations that have not yet been published.

With a requirement that residents join the Caja and a beefed up police force, the possibility of a crackdown on so-called perpetual tourists is a possibility. Some in government seek to restrict tourists to two 90-day visits a year.


Need a house in Costa Rica

When looking for a house in Costa Rica there are a few things to consider.

  • Are you going to have a live-in maid?
  • Do you have ample yard area for children or pets
  • Is it on a busy street?
  • Do I need a protected development?
  • Does it have adequate security?
  • Does I need a garage or carport or either?

Believe it all of these are related to the same thing….Security. Security is VERY important in Costa Rica because petty theft has been on the increase over the last few years.

If you have a maid and some type of security you are probably going to be okay.  Probably I said.  Nothing is 100% as you should know.  If you are on a busy street or a quiet community, the bad guys can find a way to get into your home if you haven’t taken every possible effort to secure your home and property.

Even when you have done this, you can still be robbed.  Take for example our experience in February two years  ago search, we-were-robbed on this site, to read more about it.  We lived in a protected community, a full-time maid, had an alarm, we even had a couple of big dogs and we opened the door and escorted a burglar through out house so he could pick and choose what he wanted to take.  Read the article for more details on our experience.

Now I didn’t mean to sound so negative above.  Kind of got on a roll and couldn’t stop myself.  Where I intended for this post to go was in an entirely different direction.  I guess that will be a post for another day.

If you take care and use some wisdom, look for a place with security and if possible in a protected community, you should be just fine.  If you try to take short cuts on security, you will be the victim of robbery.  This much I can guarantee.

Living outside of the “gringo area” does not protect you, living in the country or outside of the city does not protect you.

If we are not the ones, find someone to direct you to a place where your family AND your belongings are safe.

Little side note….insurance in Costa Rica does not cover stolen items for the replacement value or anywhere near that.  Most people do NOT have insurance on their household items because it costs less to replace than it does to have the insurance.


Holy Week in Costa Rica

It doesn’t seem like it has been a year since Holy week but we are coming up on it shortly.  The holiday this year will run from Saturday April the 4th until Tuesday April the 14th.  Many businesses will be closed and customs will be working on a limited staff for the first part of the week.  EVERYTHING will be closed April 9,10,11 & 12.

Buses will not run, banks will be closed, EVERYTHING will be closed.  It will be like a ghost town throughout the central valley.  Because the buses don’t run, no one that rides the bus (which is about 80% or more of the people that work in the stores, banks, businesses) can get to work.

Do NOT send a pet into Costa Rica during this 10 days.  Your pet WILL sit in Customs for the whole time and there will not be a way to get in to feed or water your pet.  This is a very serious warning.  Do NOT test the system!  You will not win this one.

Enjoy the holiday.  Many people will be at the beach this long weekend.  This is the most expensive week to go to the coast and if you did not make reservations 3 months ago, your chances of getting a hotel are very slim.

Have a wonderful vacation!


Earthquake in Costa Rica

You might have already seen the news in the states or maybe you read the paper online like I do, or you were there when the big one hit.  Whichever of these you fall under, Thursday was a very memorable day in Costa Rica.

There was an incredibly strong (6.2) earthquake that made the world shake for what seemed like an eternity.

Many people are missing and believe trapped under the many mudslides that have taken place all over the country.

From what I understand, the area around Poas was closest to the epicenter and caught the brunt of the quake.

As of this morning, there were 15 counted dead and many more that were missing or hurt.

If the first quake wasn’t was bad enough, the aftershocks which were as strong as 4.0 continued to shake the whole country for several hours and into the night.   Not many felt good about laying their heads on the pillow last night for fear of another devasting quake.

Well, the night passed and Costa Rica is almost back to normal.  There is an abundance of work that must be done on homes and buildings throughout the country. With roads collapsing, many are still stranded.  I heard that 400 people were stranded up and around Poas because the roads collapsed as a result of the big quake.

We pray that everything will get back to the way things were and that rescue workers find people stranded rather than dead when searching for the survivors.


Medical Care in Costa Rica

US and Costa Rican medical tourism agency Health Choices International has developed answers to perennial questions they are asked by potential customers.

There are three principle reasons why individuals from a developed nation would travel to Costa Rica for healthcare.

1. Affordability – For many, healthcare at home is too expensive.
Costa Rica has cost savings of 40%-80% of US prices.

2. Accessibility – The medical treatment needed is not available in their home country or the waiting list is too long. Individuals are simply not eligible for certain medical treatments due to age or health limitations – hidden medical rationing. In other circumstances the medical treatments are simply not available due to cost. Costa Rica has none of these problems.

3 Quality. The boom in high-quality healthcare providers internationally, primarily in less-developed countries, has made treatment overseas at the same quality as at home, easily available.

Costa Rica has quickly become one of the top medical tourism destinations in the world for cosmetic surgery, dentistry or operations such as hip and knee replacement,

Costa Rica’s healthcare system is very advanced and is considered one of the best in Latin America. For some procedures, it ranks higher than the US.


Check out Costa Rica

Try it out for awhile before moving to Costa Rica.  So many people contact me ready to move the house the kids and the dogs/cats to Costa Rica without ever visiting the country.  I believe that this is not a good idea for anyone and strongly discourage this as does anyone that has lived here for awhile.

It costs a lot of money to move to Costa Rica, even if you are planning just to come with a suitcase and leave everything else behind for now.  It is far less expensive to come on an extended vacation leaving all of your personal belongings behind until you have had an opportunity to see the country and what it has to offer.

Costa Rica is not for everyone and the majority of people that move down end up moving back to their home country within 2 years or less.  Many don’t make it 6 months before running back home because they can’t deal with the culture, the way of life or the expense of living in what they thought was a cheap place to live.

It is NOT cheap to live in Costa Rica!!!  It costs as much or more to live in Costa Rica than it does to live in the states if you want to maintain the manner in which you were living in the states or your home country.  Housing is expensive, groceries are expensive and if you have children in school, school is beyond expensive in most cases.

Don’t believe everything that you read, this blog included.  Check out Costa Rica for yourself before making the big jump.  You won’t be sorry for taking the time to get to know your way around before moving the kids and Spot.

It can be just as daunting coming alone.  If you think, “it’s just me, what have I got to lose?” The answer to that question is a lot.  You have a lot to lose.  The money that you put into a car, house, residency expenses, deposits etc.  All of this for a place you may decide you can’t live in after 2 months.

Please don’t get me wrong…Costa Rica is a wonderful place to live for SOME PEOPLE.  It is not for everyone.  While my children and I love it like home, my husband has never quite adjusted and prefers the states to the third world ways.  It is not for everyone.  Take your time and CHECK OUT COSTA RICA before making the jump.