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An Expat Talks about Moving to San Jose, Costa Rica

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

San Jose

Name three things that you wish you had brought and three you wish you had left at home.

Three things to bring:

- diplomatic passport (Officials are very corrupt, so minimizing interaction with public offices is a great plus)

- a prepared stomach (the socalled potable water is definately not potable)

- a very consercative mind (I was not prepared for Costa Ricans very protectionist and racist attitude. They live from tourists, but hate all foreigners.)

What to leave back home:

- hopes of relaxing on the beach every weekend (the roads are horrendous, the cost high and the service mediocre)

- hopes of making Costa Rican friends (they are extremely introverted and although they might invite you to dine with them, they never tell you where they live)

- hopes of experiencing Latin America (except for the widespread corruption, Costa Rican reminds you more of a US-Mexican border town than of Latin America)

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What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?

Demand that your company arranges everything! Costa Rica is a highly bureacratic country so you will not want to get involved in any of that. Your company should give you some alternatives and you should do nothing more than approving their selection. Trying to do things on your own will only give you stomach ulcer.

What type of housing do you live in? Is this typical for most expats in your area?

Most expats live in condos or houses with small gardens and enormous fences with barbered wire.

How did you choose your neighborhood and find your home or apartment?

I was basically told in what area to live. Most expats live in Escazu, Santa Ana or Rohrmoser. Then I went with several agents to look at possible apartments. After that you start haggling!!! (Hagglig is essential. I have seen houses come down from 4500 USD a month to 2500.)

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Are your housing costs higher or lower than they were in your home country? What is the average cost of housing there?

Costa Rica is an expensive country. You will in any case be fleeced as a foreigner, but if you haggle (use as much as 2-3 weeks if necessary) you might reach an almost fair level. There are far too many houses for rent, so be patient.

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Comments about this Report

guest
Nov 30, 2010 02:07

There are some really good apartments for EXPATS on costaricastays.com apparently they offer great packages and location is ideal for relocation in San Jose Santa Anna Costa rica, Dick Chennoy

dameion53victor
Aug 7, 2011 17:01

I am suprissed to fine the answers about the corruption, and attitudes towards foreigners, experienced there by you. It is the first time I have heard such a report. I am not disputing what you have said, but am interested in if this is a common spread throughout Costa Rica or more of an isolated area evperience. I would like to know more about what you have seen. My e-mail is dameion53@gmail.com. Thankyou - Victor

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