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An Expat Talks about Living in Ojochal, Costa Rica


What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?


How long have you lived there?

4 years off and on

What activities, clubs and organizations would you recommend to newcomers to help them meet others?

There is a bunch of expat organizations in Costa Rica to welcome newcomers. The largest is ACRC. In our town there is a group called the Coasta Bellena Women's Club that has about 400 members. We have a great international expat community. Ojochal, Uvita and Dominical are considered to be the southern Pacific Region of Costa Rica. The cost of living is lower here than in many other parts of Costa Rica and the pace of life is slower and more relaxing. We have a pot luck brunch in town, pizza night at a local restaurant (Gringo Mikes) and a local farmer's market on Saturdays.

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In terms of religious, racial, economic and cultural diversity, are the people of this city or town diverse? Are they accepting of differences? Describe.

The is a small denomination of catholics in town, some mennonites and a few Pageans :'). We have amazing cultural diversity and there is ample economic opportunity due to the high rate of growth in the area. Thera is a lot of construction related work in high end custom homes. The town is very accepting, almost too much so.

What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?

Residential construction and related, pool design, construction and maintenance, landscape design and maintenance, interior design and maintenance, restuaranteur, tourist related activities, shops, services.

In general, what are peoples' priorities in this city? For example, do lives revolve around work, family, socializing, sports, etc.?

This area is more like a village. We have a very international crowd; Dutch, French, Canadian, American, Estonian, Indonesian, etc. We have a great mix of restaurants and the area is reputed to be a culinary high point of the country. Lives revolve around social events more than work, we have a local soccer team that competes with the Ticos in town and there is a bull ring for our annual bull riding contest. Many are involved in philanthropic endeavors, helping the local schools, an orphanage from San Isidro En General, etc.

If a friend of yours was thinking of moving to this city or town from far away, what other advice would you give them.

Leave most everything where you came from, sell it off, come start a new life in Paradise. Be prepared for some culture shock and getting used to the slower pace of life but be prepared for more exercise and a better quality of life where you will live life, not watch it on television. (not that we don't have tv's and cable)

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Comments about this Report

Aug 26, 2010 10:48

We are the developers of the largest expat development in Ojochal. Now in our 21st year, we have over 500 full time employees in our construction division and built 44 custom homes for clients in 2009 alone. If you want to learn more about our developments, check out http://www.PacificLots.com/slide-show

Sep 20, 2010 16:25

Thank you. My husband and I are considering retirement in Panama. I am drawn to the southern area, but open to other areas as well. My husband and I are 60 yrs old and have a 38 yr old daughter who would come with us who requires some ongoing medical care and we would need someone to work for us to basically help care for her and provide respite care. Someone with basic nursing skills such as a nurses aid. Would this be possible? Thanks for any anformation you can give me. Linda

Oct 8, 2011 15:02

My boyfriend and I are planning to retire to CR as soon as my house sells. Over the years I've collected quality cookware and can't dream of cooking without it. Is it worth it to ship it down there rather than buying new? Also, is shipping tools worth it? (he's into building computers and fixing cars). So when you say leave most everything, what does that amount to? Cookware and tools are our major sources of pleasure/entertainment. Otherwise we are only taking minimal clothes, a laptop, printer/scanner, small TV, a Kindle and CDs. That's about it. Anything we are missing?

Nov 12, 2011 13:46

Thanks for a very interesting group. I have a few questions; I have a friend, young man from Nigeria, now living in US with green card and married with a us woman. Not married because of the greencard though, but the marriage is too short to give him a longlasting Green Card. However his marriage is not good and he has no job. Will CR be a place he can find or start a work? Get a living with peace and see life change from a lot of problems to a good life? He has a good education in information and library and also in data base administration? What will he has to do to get a job permit or start something for himself? What is the livng costs there for a month? How can he secure his health care assurances and what do they cover? Is there good doctors and hospitals ?

Nov 12, 2011 13:53

What is the best way to make a good living in Costa Rica? Is it possible to buy property there to live or start something for a living? Is it possible to buy a property, a store or a tourist center / hotell and get people from abroad and CR to work there? Anyone knowing about eventually costs this could be and how the beurocracy would be to start?

Jun 14, 2012 14:15

I did not put up this post but as the largest developer in Ojochal I'm sorry no one is answering these questions. If you have a question about life in the area or Costa Rica in general feel free to contact me, Steve@PacificLots.com. Let me try to answer some of the questions here. To the person with a lot of nice cookware or tools, it is wasy to bring used items into Costa Rica when you move here. We have a few freight forwarding companies we recommend and you can also bring stuff with you on the plane if not too heavy. Used tools are worth bringing as are things like cookware, smaller items that you expect good quality. next question: Nursing or hospice care availability? You can hire nearly anything you need in Costa Rica and it will cost less than in the US. You can get decent domestic help and potentially train them to provide the services you need but there are also nurses, both expats and locals, who might want the job. Domestic help varies, some think they should steal little things from you since you are obviously rich so they are entitled, kind of a thought process in CR. The more you pay does not mean the better the service provider. Best to get a referral from someone else. Working in Costa Rica has some challenges. You cannot work for a Costa Rican company until you have been a resident full time for three years. You can however start your own business, in fact they encourage you to do so since you end up providing employment opportunities for Costa Ricans. Most of the businesses in our town are owned by expats, they hire Costa Ricans to do the work, whose wage scale is much lower than US workers. The tax climate on business income is also easy to swallow. You pay 10% flat tax on net income after expenses on the first 72,000, 20% on any income from 72,000 to 140k and a flat 30% on any income over 140k. (ON NET INCOME after all expenses). Any tax you pay in Costa Rica on income is tax deductible as an expense on your US income taxes (which you will have to pay for the rest of your life unless you rescind your citizenship, which is difficult to do). A home inspection business might have appeal in Costa Rica as the real estate market continues to become more international. Activities are in demand, a Spanish language school or English lessons for Ticos, Yoga, Pilates, weight training, movies, classes in things like jewelry making, pottery, things you'd find in a community college. Big need for managed care facilities, we get asked all the time... Getting pets into Costa Rica has always been easy.... Take them on the plane with you, they only need a current vet certification showing all is up to date.

Nov 7, 2013 12:58

Would like to know if there are (m)any expats living in that area specially from GB but also from Netherlands and other countries in Europe.

May 16, 2014 08:16

65Retired american looking for a place to live in Ojochal.any good rents in the area ?will share a place or live in managers apartment and house watch.been to cr many times and like this area.I need to meet ex patriots in area.

Apr 1, 2015 15:46

i would like to contact an expat to ask questions about ojochal... 2 br 2 ba apt rental..cost..abundance or limited...transportation, etc. we plan to come to costa rica 1st of july 2015 exploratory...we will need help...you could email me at rose.bassetti@yahoo.com...any help would be greatly appreciated... Rose Bassetti

May 18, 2018 15:38

I would like to hear more from expats in Ojochal

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