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Some Forum Posts:

Mexico: How to travel OAX to PV:

Thanks so much to everyone for all the help you've already given me. I have a new question. I am looking at-- once in Mexico-- how to best travel between Oaxaca and Puerto Vallarta. I won't have a car (the car will be later after the initial recon). For now I am planning to fly in to Oaxaca-- and then from there, I hope to travel to Puerto Vallarta and the beaches to it's north. Is it safe to take a bus between these two places? Are there a specific bus lines I should look at? I remember ETN as being a good one, back in the day. Would a local flight be better? Once I get to PV I will either take a cab or a local bus northwards as far as La Peñita. I really appreciate the advice. One complication is that I will have two large suitcases and a carry-on. My primary concerns are safety and cost.

Mexico: Car -how long can it stay in Mex?:

How long can a foreign car stay in Mexico legally? We are hoping to bring a car in for 6-8 months. Not because we need a car in Mex, but because it is the most feasiible way for us to bring our pets and the items we'll need to bring. We plan to stay 6 to 8 months and then return in the car to Costa Rica. Can anyone shed some light on the best way to accomplish this (meaning accomplish legally letting a car stay as a tourist)? Links to government websites also appreciated. Thank you!

Mexico: water:

My next question is about water. Long ago when I first lived in Mexico it was in San Miguel de Allende--back before Forbes magazine declared it a number one investment spot, before the electrical lines were buried and it was an declared a historical land mark, when it was a quiet artsy community. I came to SMA to live with a family and study Spanish. I felt like I literally spent my first two weeks in Mexico in the bathroom. I kept ending up back there too-- that is until Jeancarlo saved me. Jeancarlo was like the town information specialist. He had a restaurant just a half block from the Jardín where he sold sourdough bagels and provided priceless information to Mexicans and extranjeros alike. Though talking to Jeancarlos I discovered that while I thought I was drinking bottled water where I lived, Jeancarlos said that a few brands, along with the one I was drinking, would re-fill their bottles with plain tap water if they ran out or to cut costs. Jeancarlo said I ought to order from a company called Jangjungs-- and once I followed his advice I got better right away. That was two decades ago-- so I don't even know if Jangjungs still exists (if I have the name right)-- but I am sure there are good water companies out there and bad ones-- does anyone have a list of names of good water companies to share? Like the ones that use a combination of filtration of "RO, UV, and carbon," or the like? How do you get your water? Thank you!!!

Costa Rica: Need help with Spanish:

Hi Nancy, While I think it is great that you go to Spanish class while you are here-- from my personal experience-- you will likely find much better Spanish classes in the USA. I have found many of the Spanish schools here to be exceptionally poor. Teachers seem to not invest any time in lesson planning. I have been to several Spanish schools here, none have been as good as those in either the USA or Mexico. Even if they say the have "personalized lesson plans" I have found that means that the teacher is going to wing it, and have no organized teaching method, no nuts and bolts for you to study and begin to be able to use. This can tend to leave people feeling that "Spanish is even more impossible than they thought at first." It is not. You just need good classes. In my opinion you will definitely have better luck finding good classes in the USA. IF you are worried about accent you will be able to refine that through practice once in CR. In your shoes I would try to find a community college that offers night classes. Something 5 days a week will help way way more than something less often, as repetition is so important to language acquisition. Teresa

Mexico: Does Mexico have...?:

Are there russet potatoes in Mexico? I realize that it is not an important question. Probably a few people will be offended that I even asked. But I am dreaming of russet potatoes. Longing for a real baked potato.... are there russets to be had in Mexico? Thank you!

Mexico: Best way to move possesions?:

I am looking at how to move our things to Mexico. And also would appreciate info about importing one's household possessions. Is a household shipment taxed on entry? We are considering either shipping, or having our things driven up via semi from Central America? The bulk of our possessions are books, bed, sofa, kitchen range and cookware and clothing. Thank you for any light you can shed on the subject, or websites you can point me to!!! Teresa

Costa Rica: Driving in Costa Rica?:

GBP wrote "....The quality of life living in the city has degraded to a point that makes it about unlivable! The good thing is that the economy in Costa Rica has become so good too many people have cars!" Actually, the reason there are so many cars in Costa Rica now is that mortgages and personal loans were instituted. Now a lot of people who couldn't afford a car before are able to buy. Traffic has changed a lot in the past few years due to that. You can thank the personal loan for the increase in traffic.

Mexico: Where to live?? Off the beaten path??:

Hi, I could use some help/ ideas/ suggestions. I am looking for suggestions of nice places to check out for living in Mexico. We are making a trip to Mexico to see where we might be interested in living. We have already lived for many years in other parts of Latin America. We are looking for a quaint and enjoyable part of Mexico that is safe, and relatively near a beach (1/2 hour drive or less). There does not need to be an established English speaking community-- in fact we are looking for something a little "off the beaten track," in hopes of a better cost of living/ real estate prices. We both speak Spanish with fluidity, and so can find community about anywhere. We are looking for a small town near water to raise our kids. Does anyone have any suggestions for some great places we should check out? Thank you!! Teresa

Mexico: So... my neighbor goes through my garabage.:

Going through your trash was creepy and rude in either culture in my opinion (except in cases of extreme poverty where the motive is re-use). It is not excusable. However, Here's how I would handle this: I would find a way to do something small and nice for this lady, without taking credit for it. It sounds that she is jealous and for whatever reason angry and hostile towards you. I would find a way to indirectly do something nice for her. Maybe leave fruit at her door, every now and then. I would do it without leaving a note and without being seen. Why? Because she feels bad-- and if she feels good she might let you alone. She is someone I'd certainly want to keep at an arms length. I would never try to make a friend of her-- never let her into my house-- but I would keep her, if I could at polite acquaintance level. In Latin America, to me, that means: saying hello, how are you, and remembering to ask about whatever she told you last, before telling her "que tenga muy buena día." Short, brief, friendly conversation. I would avoid getting caught leaving things for her, but not outright deny it if she figures it out, and ask you directly. Just say something simple like "Oh, it's just that I had extra mangos that day because they were "de buena oferta." Don't talk to anyone what you are doing, and do not gossip about this lady to anyone ever. If she is brought up change the subject. If you can alleviate her canker, then it might alleviate the problem. Doing this might be hard to do-- given feeling that she is clearly in the wrong, as it seems she is. However, it is easier than moving, and if you moved you might find another just like her at another location, so it is easier to deal with the one you have than to get a new one, in my opinion. You are in the right about the trash, and in the USA we can get stuck on "being in the right," and this can cause us to refuse to bend. Our refusal to bend when we are right is cultural-- and it is a part of our culture that is not received well in Latin America. Ever heard the attitude about "rude Americans," and wondered who they were talking about? Things that are rude in Latin America are not necessarily rude in the USA. For example, we expect to order gas at a gas station, or food at a restaurant, without first taking time to greet the waiter and ask about their day. As you probably know things like leaving fruits and veggies as gifts for neighbors is pretty common in Latino culture. It is a sign of good upbringing, and it is a way of showing respect for the person. Just like when you visit someones house in LA (Latin America) it is common to bring something for them as a gift (doesn't have to be every time-- but at least now and then)-- bring anything you have a surplus of-- or anything you know they lack. You may have broken some cultural rules that you were not aware of that upset her in the first place-- OR she may just be prejudiced and not want to like you. In either case, being culturally sensitive in terms of finding a way to "show respect," could go a long way to alleviating the problem. Sharing with neighbors to show community is pretty important in most of LA. Just as it is important to not directly deny a person, or say "no." (This is so true, that it is even the cause of why people lie when they are asked for directions). Accusing a person directly of something they have done wrong can be seen as pretty harsh. Denying somebody something they ask of you (such as directions) is just plain rude. So imagine what it is to outright let someone know they are in the wrong? --I would not apologize to this lady, but I do suggest graciousness towards her might change her outward behavior to you. It is hard to stay mad at someone who is consistently nice to you.

Costa Rica: Internet Items purchased over the 'net and valued under $500, are now 'duty free'!!!purchases valued under $500 are duty free!!!:

Yay! Thank you for this excellent and timely post!

Costa Rica: Maternity Coverage & Baby Prep?:

Re: Caja coverage and birth. In Costa Rica children have a constitutional right to health care. This is irrespective of whether a parent is able ot pay caja or not. All children have this right. A fetus has a right to health care, and by extension any pregnant woman automatically has a right to healthcare through birth. So you would not need to be actually insured by the caja to be seen through the pregnancy and birth. This applies even to extranjeros (people from other countries) as constitutional protections are extended not only to Costa Ricans, but also to everyone. So while it is technically correct taht you would not be eligible for caja coverage your baby, pregnancy and birth would be covered. However, it is also useful to note that Costa Rica has exceptionally high c-section rates (one hospital as high as 80%!!), and pitocin drip is standardly given upon arrival regardless of the level of dialation. Vacines are mandatory, and if you wish to delay vaccination for a newborn you may need to birth with a private doctor in order to have that option. Also when a child is a Costa Rican the child will require special permission and goverment permission to leave Costa Rica even if that child also has USA citizenship, (and even if both parents are present at the airport). While for some people this is a quick process for others it has been delayed. Costa Rica would not be my first choice for countries in Latin America to birth in.

Costa Rica: Getting married (again) in CR:

VERY GOOD REASON NOT TO RE-MARRY While it can be done, it is not a good idea, because it affects spousal rights, inheritance etc. Spousal rights in Costa Rica are, in part, determined by length of time married. AND if you "remarry" the clock starts from the time of the second marriage even if you can prove you were married before. A better much simpler way to handle the recurring need for a marriage certificate (or birth certificates) with a "recent" time stamp on them is that you can go to migración in Costa Rica (where you filed for residency the first time) and there you can order a "certified copy" of any items (including birth and marriage certificates) that were submitted --from your "expediente" (this it the file that is created when you apply for residency). This is something that can be obtained at window #4. There you make a request for a certified copy of the file you want from the expediente (be it birth cert, or marriage cert). Then they give you an appointment time for later in the week at the appointment you go to the copy window and receive and pay for the copies (a nominal fee). These certified copies are legal "recent copies" anywhere in CR. You can use them for caja, you can even use them for migracion itself if you are apply for something further with them. They are good from the date of the certified copy was made.

Costa Rica: Problems with "reputable" shipping companys?:

I'm glad to see you post this. We also used this company and found him extremely unethical-- ripped us off. And his movers on the CR end do their best to damage your stuff... loading heavy boxes of books on-top with flimsiest boxes on the bottom-- they paid no attention to care of items. Also if you are considering using "Barry Wilson" at the very least sign the contract in Costa Rica (use a lawyer/notary that you choose) and pay for the contract from a Costa Rican bank account, so that you have a legal leg to stand on if he cons you.

Mexico: US appostille document from outside USA:

You can cut out the middleman and do it yourself. And do so in a decent time frame. The process vary's from state to state. So what state you were born in is relevant. As someone said only secretary of state of the state which issues the certificate can apostille it. That is correct. All documents from a particular state must be apostilled by that state's secretary of state. Only Federal documents, like an FBI Report, are notarized by the US Dept of State. A notary IS always required to apostille something, as it is the notary seal that is being apostilled-- however, most birth certificates, are automatically notarized. Hence they would not need to be notarized a second time. ALSO there is a long form and a short form birth certificate. The long form is what is used internationally. If memory serves that might also allow for it to be in English and Spanish which then eliminates the need for certified translations. That is how mine is issued: so it says name/ nombre and so on. I think you select "long form" and you also tell tell them the country it in which it will be used, so that that country's protcol is used. (This is all prior to sending to the sec of state for apostille). You can save cash if ordering online, by using the official online service.  This is much cheaper than the very expensive non-official online services. is the name of the official service. You can fill out the request right at the site, and pay all state fees, plus the vital check fee which is @ $12.50 (a far cry from $195.00), there are different mailing options and also usually an expedited option if you need one, and they are based on real mailing costs.  Now here is where it varies from state to state. Some states are willing to send the certificate directly to the respective secretary of state for you. Others do not. However, you can always have it sent to a relative who can send it on to the Sec of State where the certificate is from. Eg California if it were a California birth certificate. Side note for anyone it might help: If you are doing another document that is not standardly notarized you can arrange for a mobile notary to be present and do the notary for you. For example when we got our vet certificate for our pets to travel, that form required a signature of the USDA Rep of the state in which we were living at the time. However, the USDA Rep out of whichever official office it was, and which was 9 hours away, did not do notarizations-- so we sent our forms and had a mobile notary go into the appropriate office to notarize the USDA reps signature. Then we had the documents sent on to that state's sec of the state to be apostilled. HOPE THIS HELPS. Again the official site for birth/ marriage/ death certificates for all states is


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