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An Expat Talks about Living in Grecia, Costa Rica

Submitted by LAZYCSUE

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

Grecia

Describe how you "dreamed" expat life would be before you moved overseas. Please provide as much detail as possible.

I was looking forward to decreased medical costs and living costs in a perfect climate with amazing flora and wildlife. I am retired and dreamed of sitting outside drinking my coffee in the morning while enjoying the birds at the feeders and wonderful temperatures.

How has your expat experience met the expectations you dreamed about before you moved abroad?

Absolutely. I have not had to make use of the medical system as yet which from reports sounds less than ideal. I plan to take out private insurance to avoid the pitfalls of govt. funded medical care. The weather is exactly as I had hoped although I was only here throught 2 months of the wet season...Oct. and Nov. I have found the Ticos to be helpful and they have had many opportunities to take advantage of my ignorance in figuring out the correct amount to pay for things, only to correct me and return any excess I try to pay them. My landlord has been wonderful and will assist in taking me places and helping with the language barrier for a very nominal fee...just over the cost of a bus trip to town.

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How has your expat experience NOT met the expectations you dreamed about before you moved abroad?

I am concerned about the medical care here. The cost of living is much higher than stated in most articles about the country, however, low rent helps make up for this. I did find that I wanted a car shortly after moving here which was not really a surprise. I have never had experience with the public transportation systems.

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Comments about this Report

maxtmill
Jan 17, 2012 22:40

Hello! I have been told that among some of the towns we are considering - Atenas, Grecia, San Ramon, that Grecia is a bit more remote & a car may be needed. Recently the blog here has had alot of negative things to say about CR, involving crime, a slum-like atmosphere, poverty, & ticos not welcoming expats. We hate the idea of living in a gated expat community, because it defeats the reason we want to move - to enjoy nature. Plus, it makes you a target by would-be robbers who think that you may be wealthy. However, if you want to live in a neighborhood of ticos & expats, you risk your safety. I have heard some horror stories about the health care & the atitudes about health care there, which is a concern to me, since I am a Registered Nurse. After all, all of us who hope to retire there are going to need health care! very unsettling stuff on the blog lately!

Kohl
Nov 10, 2012 13:23

'Low rent' is questionable, depending on where you live and what you expect to be included in the rental facilities. Medical facilities for a tourist, means using private facilities and paying 'out of pocket'. While not inexpensive, it is cheaper than in the USA. Once becoming a legal resident of CR, you are obligated in joining the CCSS social medical system, whether you choose to use it or not. Unfortunately, both the CAJA facilities and care provided, vary greatly throughout the country, and you must 'line up... usually VERY early in the morning... and then return later, to use the one in your immediate neighborhood and cannot choose 'which' doctor to see, but the one who is on duty. Regarding the poster that says they " hate the idea of living in a gated expat community " is that many more Costa Ricans choose to live in them, than do expats. A 'gated community' is really just a 'subdivision' with a gate that may or may not have a guard at the gate. In a rural area the gate keeps out wandering horses and cows...

guest
Dec 21, 2012 09:32

To which blog are you refering to so I can read it and reply to its acuuracy?

aconcepts
Dec 21, 2012 09:35

To which blog are you referring so I can read it and comment to its acuuracy. I have been here many many years and love it here. aconcepts

Dec 21, 2012 09:36

To which blog are you referring so I can read it and comment to its acuuracy. I have been here many many years and love it here. guest

Feb 28, 2013 19:36

WE ARE ALSO PLANNING TO MOVE FROM TEXAS TO GRECIA AND SO FAR WHAT I HEAR IS THAT MOST OF WHAT I HAVE READ ON THE BLOGS SEEMS TO BE POSITIVE. WE ARE FINDING OUT THAT USED CARS ARE A LITTLE PRICY AND IAM NOT SURE WHAT TYPE OF CAR WOULD BE BETTER SUITED FOR THE AREA.

guest
Mar 1, 2013 20:23

Is it easy to travel around grecia? what areas are expats mostly gravitating to?

bugman
Mar 10, 2013 18:36

Hi, my name is Jerry and my wife are retiring soon and your info has been real helpfull. I want to retire in one of these 4 communities,and maybe you can help. We are in our mid 60,s and on a fixed income and we are trying to decide between these cities. 1 Grecia,2 LaGarita,3 Atenas, and 4 Allejulia. We want a small house 2Bdr. furnished close to airport and to hospitals. We have seen so many pictures of homes and prices that a decision is getting harder. We plan on comming down for 2wks and look the areas over. We hope to find something between 600.00-900.00 a mnth. We are going to start our pensionado residency on our arrival and look for used car also. Any advice you could give us would be really appreciated. Thanks Jerry

guest
Mar 11, 2013 15:12

Does anyone on line now know anything about LaGarita or Atenas as house rentals and weather are?

brianwolf
Apr 27, 2013 02:32

Thanks for the inside scoop on Grecia! If anyone can help answer the following questions I'd be most appreciative. Which parts of Cosat Rica or belize have the most crime? The least crime? I'm definitely interested in a condo or house on the eastern shore or cays of Belize or the Pacific coast of Costa Rica (I hear the crime on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica is a definite deterent) !. My main requirements for buying or renting are: 1) It's close to many fine quality diving sites within an hour or two travel from home. I enjoy diving warm water less than 100 feet deep that's filled with a wide variety of colorful fish, other underwater animals and corals. Deep water wreck dives aren't necessary. 2) There is a fresh water swimming pool nearby to use (at the house or a group / community pool is fine) 3) Beautiful scenery is nearby, with azure turquoise water being especially desirable! 4) English is understood in the area. I'm willing to learn some Spanish, but it will be a long time before I can be fully conversant. I'm not afraid to use what I know, and often just the effort to try using the native language often prompts the locals to use their knowledge of English if they sense that they know English better than I know their language. I've traveled in Europe four times and in the Caribbean six times and found out that attempting to use their language often signaled that you weren't another "rude arrogant American". 5) The area is relatively free of theft and crime, and violent crime like murder and physical attacks are very rare. 6) There are plenty (at least 100 in nearby community) of Americans or Canadians nearby to network with 7) Cost under $250,000. I earn about $80,000 per year as retirement income. 8) Amenable taxwise as well as logistically to living in from approximately Nov 1 to April 30 each year 9) Affordable food, good tasting fresh water, and some form of automobile repair shops 10) Not oppressive temperatures or humidity or insects (mosquitoes, flies, gnats, sandflies, etc.) 11) Americans are welcomed by the locals, not resented 12) Some forms of entertainment, music, or restaurants are available. No need for five star fancy restaurants or lodging, just decent quality is fine. 13) Ability to access higher elevation to get cooler if the temps start becoming stifling. Southern Pacific side of Costa Rica or Panamanian Mts. is good for that I hear. Is any of Belize high enough to offer a cooling effect? Do ocean breezes moderate the temp or humidity? 14) The ability to do small sailboat sailing, canoeing or kayaking, tennis, golf, stand up paddleboarding, windsurfing, hiking, and / or backpacking are also definite pluses! 15) The ability to drive to other countries makes a Central American destination more desirable than a Caribbean Island, especially a small one like Aruba. 16) Favorable income tax laws / residency laws / and land purchase laws and relatively noncorrupt and democratic government (or at least no more corrupt than in the Chicago area where I live, which has several former IIllinois state governors presently in jail for corruption ,as well as a funding of retirement plan deficit of several hundred million dollars due to corrupt and ineffective state legislature policies, and also Chicago is the number one murder rate city in the USA - I do live in a far northern Chicago suburb which is not crime-ridden) Thank you very much for your response! I'll be in Costa Rica (all parts of the country) from about Jan 10 through Feb 18, 2014. How many hours does it take to drive from San Jose,Costa Rica, to see the eastern coast of Belize? To see Ambergris Caye (including boat ride time) ? Is the scuba diving in Belize more plentiful, closely spaced, warmer, colorful, accessible, and varied than in Costa Rica or are both countries equally endowed? It looks to me like the Belize diving is more concentrated along the huge 100 mile long barrier reef system, whereas Cosat Rica diving is scattered in the various corners of the country such as Chahuita (and nearby Boco del Torro islands in Panama) , Papagayo Bay (Catalina and Bat Island chains), Manuel Antonio (marine park reefs) , Osa peninsula / Cano Island and then Coco Island 300 miles offshore. Does this spread out pattern of dive areas in Costa Rica mean that one has to pick one of the areas to live near and probably not be able to dive the other areas within a couple hours drive because of the mountainous terrain, curvy and sometimes dirt roads and distance between the areas ? Thanks a ton for the info you'll be sharing!!! I'd appreciate detailed answers, but speed of reply isn't that important since I won't be travelling in the near future. My tentative game plan is to investigate Costa Rica spots in winter 2014, Belize spots in winter 2015, then rent month long stays in the areas I'm most interested in during winter 2016, and buy a house or condo in 2017. Feel free to call me anytime at 847-502-0190 11 am to 3 pm CST any weekday. Thanks!!!! Brian 847-502-0190

Lynnmc26
Sep 5, 2013 09:59

I don't know where you are getting your information about health care in the country, but it is incorrect. Health care here is as good or better than the states and even out of pocket is very, very affordable. We have lived here two years and have a great doctor, optometrist, dentist, and vet. They all speak English.. My husband had kidney stones and the total cost of seeing specialists and having multiple diagnostic tests were under $500. A first time doctor's app't that lasts at least an hour and is very thorough is about $40. Prescriptions are cheap.

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