Costa Rica Expat Forum - Is anyone happy with living in CR?

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Junebug
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1/6/2013 14:00    
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Hello all,

I've been reading the forum for quite some time now, as well as Real Costa Rica, and everything else I can get my hands on. I have been to CR three times and really love it, mainly for the culture and wildlife. I know a tourist's experience is very different than living there, but my partner and I still want to forge ahead. I think it's important to read about the warts of a country as well as the positives. It does seem to me though that a lot of people on this forum are unhappy with living in CR. Am I wrong? What I have gleaned is that if you are retirement age with a pension and you want to live in a gated community, you will be fine. I'm wondering if there are people on this forum who do not fit that criteria and are happy with their choice to live in CR.

It will take my partner and I 3 years of careful planning and saving to make our move as we don't want to move there without lots of preparation. We will live at the tip of the Nicoya in Cabuya, pretty much at the entrance of the Cabo Blanco Reserve. We want to build a small home and a cabina or two to rent out. We will also have money saved up to live on for four years in case the cabinas don't bring in enough revenue. Then after those four years have passed, we will have retirement funds. We will be doing everything legally, no 90 day tourist visa for us. I'm wondering if anyone else on this forum has done something similar and what have the results been?

We are fully expecting a lot of challenges in this adventure, especially in the building process but we don't feel the challenges will be more than we can handle.

Thanks for any input.
Junebug

Kohl
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1/6/2013 14:42    
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Yes, I am happy here. Do I like some of the things that have changed, since we moved? No.
Unfortunately, too many have made the move here, spent their retirement money to build B&B'S, cabins, retreats and the tourists have failed to use many of them. Hence, so many are trying desperately to sell them.
Best idea, is if you still find your chosen location is to your liking after living in the area for 6-12 months is build a home, and keep the extra $$$$'s tor your retirement fund. By the time you pay employees, their CAJA, INS, salary the chances of not receiving enough revenue to put that money aside that MAY come in for the high tourist season.
As the saying goes, if you want to be a millionaire in Costa Rica, bring two million with you.

LAZYCSUE
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1/6/2013 15:00    
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Even though this forum tends to be negative, I love it here. I live in Grecia which has an active expat community. The climate is perfect and I feel very secure where I rent. I am currently consideting a get away cabin on Nicoya at Playa Blanca. The jury is still out as far as feeling safe and secure there as I am a single senior. Leaving property unattended seems to bring about theft issues so I will be giving it a lot of thought befote I make that decision.
I think it is a great country if you can get past all the conveniences we Americans are so use to. GOOD LUCK wih your adventure and it most certainly will be that!

Kohl
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1/6/2013 17:12    
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We, too, considered buying a week-end place in that area, but felt the cost of purchasing a property, security and upkeep with cost was much more that renting 'a place' when the urge was upon us, as it would only be for the occasional week or so, a few times a year.
The 'rental' won.

GBP
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1/6/2013 21:29    
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Good Evening all,

I agree that lately this forum has become somewhat negative so I guess you can expect to see postings that reflect that. And I have always believed that you are what you think, so negativity and failure are brought forth to confirm your beliefs!
Warning--I am going on a positive rant and will also unashamedly promote myself so if that sounds like something your not interested in you may stop reading now.

Now---lately I have been told that my opinion must be so biased and self serving that I should not share my opinions. What in the world sense does that make??? Does anyone else out there love to be sold?? Good Lord, that is such a thing of the past and I miss it--most "salespeople" are too busy texting to pay attention to customers who actually want to buy something!!

So you say you want a new computer---but wait!! You don't want that geeks opinion who works at the store every day---he spends hours a day on his own computer and he also actually makes a living selling you computers so he must be the wrong person to advise you?? Who better could you ask?

I LOVE to be sold something by someone who knows every detail and fact and his life is wrapped up in what he does--who in the world would possibly know better and can guide you better? I am smart enough to discern when someone loves what they do and can share the heartfelt truth of what they know!
So---I have been a little perplexed in the past when someone suggests that I--who has lived here 12 years--married a Costa
Rican--started succesfull businesss' and live and breath what I do--should not be heard because I make a living in real estate.

When I go to a dentist I WANT his opinion and WANT to be sold the best product he has--I don't discount his opinion just because he makes a living at it!!--makes no sense.

Of course I am not ignoring the fact that 90% of Realtors both here and in the States are clueless---but that is YOUR job to find the right people. I know several trustworthy and competent Realtors in the central part and Pacific and these are also people who you need to talk to! When you do they will serve you and help you in one of the most important decisions of your life!
Now---the thought of failing in a business NEVER occurs to me and at 57 years old I have a track record behind me that shows that OUR success is based on OUR efforts and positive attitude.
So I could care less what anyone else does or has done--have you ever written to hotels and tour companies etc.? Ever wait weeks and weeks without a response? Well that is the typical playing field here so maybe if you do a little better job the failure of the guy before should not have much of a bearing on your situation.
Well that is not really correct it has a HUGE bearing on being a situation to take advantage of and prove yourself to be a true pro!
I cannot imagine anywhere in the WORLD that would be a better place to start a business than the Caribbean of Costa Rica.
I have seen people fail for sure--let's see now, girls and weed and booze every day tends to do strange things to success, so the failures I have seen are directly related to people who had no skills for success anyway so I am going to base the relative odds of my success against the masses?? No thanks. Not here or in the
States.
I love Costa Rica--married a Tica--my son lives here now and I spend enough time in the States that I know things in both places are different and neither place is perfect.
Life is what you make it and for some reason many times we read posts from folks who look at the glass as half empty and that is the truth for them.
And I certainly don't doubt that EVERYWHERE these people are life is a problem because with a negative outlook it cant be anything but!
I am happy and healthy in Costa Rica and that is the way it will remain!
I have just written a book on the subject--"The Caribbean of Costa Rica" Live and Invest on the Last Frontier.
It is a Kindle book that you can also download to your computer. It is available at Amazon. I tried to give you my "feel" and experience of Costa Rica and especially the Caribbean side as opposed to a book full of web pages to go to and charts and graphs.
We also have a "successful" project with approx 70% of the lots sold and new beautiful custom homes. Please check us out at-- www.gvecr.com

We have huge 1.25+ lots and can build a nice 1400 sq ft custom home on it for a TOTAL investment of about 150K! This is in a gated community with all roads etc. in place. NO ONE in the country that I am aware of offers more bang for the buck. And this is all in the middle of an area with thousands of new jobs and BILLIONS of dollars in investments happening. This equals "OPPORTUNITY" for sure. Of course for those of us who believe! And are also willing to do the work!

Good luck to all of you who are willing to do what it takes!

Gill Phelan
gillphelan@gvecr.com
717-312-4792

hollyhj
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1/8/2013 10:41    
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I have property in Avellanas. Next year I plan to move there and build myself,and I do mean BUILD IT MYSELF....a Cob Home.They are environmentally healthy,cost effective(you do the building),take little maintenance, last forever and outside Jaco there is a institute to help you....I am so excited that after 7 yrs.Im ready. I find what we do all too often in think "within" the box.Why bring US to CR.Your leaving for a reason. How much fun/challenge to DIY your home!
Enjoy the Process,we WORRY all too much.Be the change you want to see in the world.

allylam
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1/21/2013 09:24    
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yes, i have been in nosara, guanacaste for over ten years now. iagree with some of the posts here and made the move with everything i own being here now-i am ALL IN. i will recommend what i tell ALL people "thinking" of doing this. go to your destination of choice during diffrent times of the year and rent a place for your 90 day visa. you will quickly discover if it is the right life for u. look at the different seasons, talk with your future neigbors, etc. if it is not what u are looking for, no harm no foul. look elswhere or make your investment. paradise is an overused word, but considering all the crap going on in the US (& the world), there is a reason CR has the "happiest" people on the planet. i live to surf and at 56, will do so here until i cant anymore. good luck, rick

ANW
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1/25/2013 11:31    
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I have lived here very happily for 7 years. I love where I live but I will be selling my property and looking for a smaller place, I am downsizing due to the passing of my husband and the fact that I am getting older. Contrary to some of the posts I have read here, most people are not selling because they have problems that they would not have in any other place, but because of changes in circumstances.
I have lived in a lot of places, every one different. In Costa Rica you have the most incredible diversity in a very small country. Explore the places you like according to climate and the activities you want to do. A note-climate in Costa Rica is due almost exclusively to altitude, so you can find your most "perfect" by going up or down.

Junebug
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1/26/2013 19:09    
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Yes, I get a little confused when I read posts where people say that everyone is leaving CR because they don't like it. I'm sure there are people who do leave for that reason but like you say, there are plenty who leave for other reasons. I live in San Francisco but will move to CR in 3 years. I'm not leaving SF because I don't like it here. I'm leaving because I want to live somewhere else for a while. I don't know if CR will be permanent. If not, If I decide to explore other parts of the world, that doesn't mean there is something wrong with San Francisco or CR.

I wish you luck on your next adventure.

Junebug
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1/26/2013 19:11    
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I will have to look into Cob homes. I hope you continue to post your progress.

EXPATCR
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1/27/2013 04:06    
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I have lived in CR for five years, and I am reasonably satisfied. The statistic that I have heard, and this is purely anecdotal, 40% of those who move here leave after about 3 years. But if I could afford to live in SF, I would be gone there in a flash. When I was stationed at Ft. Ord I spent every weekend in SF. My sis had a place in the Filmore in the sixties and it was an adventure. I guarantee you that no place in this country could come close to San Francisco!

Kohl
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1/27/2013 08:13    
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Personally I feel the main reason people return to the home country, is to reconnect with the family.
Many thought it was 'cheap' and found out otherwise
Some 'just don't like it', for various reasons.
Security continues to a concern.
Missing familiar routines.n There isn't 'senior centers', and the recreational places that Florida offers.
A single person' moving, finds it harder to 'fit in'.
Many cannot cope with the increasing bureaucracy and trying continually fight the 'red tape'.
And like the previous poster mentioned, 3-4 years seem to be as much adventure as some cake take...

damonre
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1/27/2013 09:35    
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My wife and I are not retirement age (30's) but we came with our savings and a dash of Gringo adventure. We have the good fortune of affording failure at this age, but plan to be successful and are on our way. So far, so good. We should have our residency in the next 9 months, god willing. (It takes just a tiny bit of patience). ;-)
My point in responding is that despite having travelled here previously and despite a network of Ticos guiding us, the reality of living here is not quite the same as the vision, but not too far off... and I would add that this forum is by no means a test group of the larger Gringo population. Here, unfortunately, you will get a lot of people telling you what cannot be done, what's not worth it and how you will fail. My circle of flesh and blood influence in CR is strong and positive, and that is by design. Gill is right, attitude is everything.
Do your research, search the forums and know that the advice others share with you was not purchased easily, but also know that it is always filtered through their own experience. Costa Rica will grant no guarantees about how things will go for you, and there are no return receipts. There is some risk as with all things. One thing is certain, if you are coming here to escape yourself... I would tell you this is the one thing Costa Rica will not do for you.
I hope you do come, and I hope you find what you are looking for. I think we all deserve that.

-Damon

GBP
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1/27/2013 09:53    
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Morning all--

So nice to see some positive attitude regardless of experience. I agree 100%--you take yourself with you wherever you go--unhappy and depressed where you are now?? Take care of that first or chances are you'll drag that with you no matter where you go!
Always see the glass half empty??--it will be that way here too! It is sometimes called a geographical cure--and very rarely does it work.

Gill Phelan
www.gvecr.com
gillphelan@gvecr.com
Author of "The Caribbean of Costa Rica" Live and Invest on the Last Frontier

Kohl
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1/27/2013 10:26    
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I read on another forum, where one potential expat, is 'upset' as he can't find any smoked ham here...
You must be willing to compromise...

Junebug
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1/27/2013 13:27    
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I do think a number of you are correct when you say it has to do with expectations and perspective. You can apply those concepts to all of life! I am fortunate in that I have a positive outlook in life, which I have to, especially given my work as a child therapist working with traumatized at-risk youth in dangerous areas of San Francisco. Also, I live life simply and am willing and able to adjust my life to living in other cultures. I lived in the Philippines as a child. We didn't have television, slept on hard cots, lots of bugs and snakes...I loved it all. Will love it again.

Thanks to everyone who lent their perspective on this thread. Greatly appreciated.

June

Kohl
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1/27/2013 16:39    
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Since you have now mentioned where you presently located it brings up a potential conflict, in regards to living in a much hotter climate than you are used to.
Many of us 'Snow birds' think 'oh, how great to live where it's warm'...and for the short vacation experience, it is fine, but many just cannot take the ongoing heat and humidity plus the added expense of high A/C costs.
So, don't rush into anything you may want to change, easily.

Junebug
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1/27/2013 16:56    
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I find it very cold here. I know, most would disagree with me. I actually prefer hot and humid climates. The climate in the Philippines was perfect for me. I don't like A/C. Possibly it has to do with my heritage? I'm Puerto Rican.

Kohl
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1/27/2013 16:59    
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I like it too, but know SO many who have thought it would be good to live at the beach....and then move to the cooler areas in the Central Valley.

Junebug
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1/27/2013 17:08    
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Yes, I could understand that. Part of us wanting to be at the coast is that I have always lived within 30 minutes of the ocean. It's very important to me. I also want to be able to study the wildlife in the Southern Nicoya. I'm a closet biological anthropologist which is what I got one of my degrees in. I'm fascinated by howlers and capuchins, though I know I could study them in the Central Valley as well. We are going to live at the entrance of Cabo Blanco Absolute Reserve for these reasons.

Kohl
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1/27/2013 17:31    
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Sounds very interesting!
Good luck.

PacificLots
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1/27/2013 18:08    
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Kohl,

You obviously like living in the central valley but to infer that everyone leaves the coast is not correct. We have many owners in our developments who have lived here on the coast for over 10 years. Perhaps those who went to Guancaste find it too hot but there are many many expats living happily along the coast in places like Manuel Antonio, Dominical, Uvita, Ojochal, and San Buenas. Yes we know you prefer the central valley but saying it once is enough...

Steve Linder

DanontheDrive
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1/27/2013 19:23    
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I didn't take Kohl's comments to include all expats.
However, I am beginning to wonder if Coco is the right area for me - maybe I should be looking more to the Manuel Antonio area. I will definitely go there for and have a look.
Dan

jetsetc5
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1/27/2013 19:27    
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I love it! I live in the Central valley. Perfect weather. Im Puerto Rican as well and I grew up in Panama and Puerto Rico, This is perfect!

maxtmill
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1/27/2013 21:42    
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Hello All! I suppose I will add my two cents here! Living condition satisfaction depends purely on personal preference! I have friends who love the heat and would be very happy at the beach full time. I HATE high heat/humidity and would just about die at the beach! It aso depends on your favorite recreational activities. If you do not arrive in Costa Rica with an open mind eager for a new adventure, you may want to consider stayiing where you are! We will be in CR for the first time in May, and I cannot wait for the adventure to begin!

Kohl
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1/28/2013 07:40    
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Please read again: I said 'I like it too'! I live in Gunacaste and counld't/wouldn't want to live in the CV but was only telling 'how it actually is'

I have never promoted any particular area nor am I selling or promoting any developments, anywhere.

blschultz
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1/28/2013 19:51    
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We permanently moved to the Pacific Northwest coast of Costa Rica about two years ago and it was the right decision for us. We love the weather (very warm) and the nice people we have met. We have a great church and marvelous friends. However, anyone coming to Costa Rica needs to understand that thing do not work here like they do in the US, and “lo que es es lo que es”, which means, what it is is what it is. If you come here and don’t like the banking system or how taxes are paid, don’t think you are going to change it. Nothing works the same here or in a timely manner. If that is going to be a problem, then this is probably not going to be the place for you. Also, in our area, nothing is cheap. Food and booze is very expensive, but rent and labor is reasonable. I recommend that you rent for a while after you arrive, as purchasing property is very different than in the US. You may get what you think you are buying, or you may build you house on the property next door. Getting your feet on the ground is the best plan, then hear what is going on and learn from others experiences.

crjungle
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1/30/2013 09:17    
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There is smoked ham here and probably everything else you miss. Just need to learn where to look.

crjungle
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1/30/2013 09:22    
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Many people are happy here. Maybe one reason to live here is to learn how the local people live. They very rarely complain and are genuinely grateful for Everything. "Gracious Dios".

EXPATCR
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1/30/2013 11:48    
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Really? I have been here five years and I still can't find pickled herring!

Kohl
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1/30/2013 11:59    
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crjungle, just how do the 'local people live'?

International businesses that have opened up here, do much more 'business' with Costa Ricans than they do with expats, whether it is fast food joints or Walmart.

There are many rich neighborhoods and of course at the opposite end of the spectrum some very poor neighborhoods.

I do agree with you, that we should be grateful with what we have, and I am ...but disagree that Costa Ricans/locals VERY RARELY complain one reads the local newspapers or watch the local TV channels.

All times are ET.  


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