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Can I get the straight scoop as to where in CR is good to go?

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5/10/2012 16:20 EST

I have been thinking about CR for some time but haven't met anyone that can give me the straight scoop as to where a good location is. I don't care to be close to the ocean because of possible hurricanes or tsunami's. Also, is it easy for a foreign national to finace a home? I know some countries won't let a foreign national finance anything uless they own a business.

5/14/2012 17:32 EST

Hi Lawman, my name is Raymond Cruz, "CruzinCostaRica", you can find a bunch of my other posts here. Your question is very open ended, kind of asking how high is up. Costa Rica has more diversity of "places and climates" then anywhere I have ever visited or lived.

Easy answer is always the safe one, the Central Valley is the best place to start your adventure.

But just so you know, the "Central Valley is huge, and goes from as low as 800 ft elevation down by Orotina and closer to the beaches to over 5000 ft elevation up near Poas and the mountains of Heredia and Coronado, and in CR, your climate is dictated mostly by elevation.

Here is a good Map link, just copy and paste

And if you like it really chilly and off the beaten track, Cerro Chirripo can give you temps down to freezing, a mountain over 12000 ft elevation, but it's very remote.

The high places are much, much cooler and less humid then the low elevations. Can be a 15 - 20 degree difference just driving for 1 hr. But you can be in any of a couple dozen smaller towns, or the main larger communities that all surround the capital, San Jose.

It's always good for a 1st or 2nd timer to fly into SJ Airport, pick a location that is NOT the San Jose City (GMA), but "country living" that is city close to all the things you need, and then start doing your exploring from there. I personally like Escazu, not the "gringo developed" version, but the Tico version up above Escazu Centro.

I can walk 15 min down the mountain to Escazu Centro and have all the City I want, but up here I have horses, chickens, large pasture and garden areas, low rent and very nice neighbors, mostly working class / middle class Ticos. but there are plenty of "foreigners" who have retired to CR, that love it up here as well, , with a view of the entire city, cooler temps, no bars on the windows, really tranquil. Much different then down in Condoland in the lower City with all the traffic and congestion. And I am on the main new freeway in a 10 min drive from my house, and headed for the beaches when I want "beach and ocean", only an hour away.

Typically, one you start fanning out to explore the communities and further explore the country, you will see areas that are "just right" for you.

Any questions, feel free to email me directly or call, both numbers ring in my home office, plus I use Skype

Below are the links to some of my Facebook Project pages, feel free to look around or friend me, I have other Happy clients there as well that you can chat with to see their experience, as we all started off the same as you.


Raymond Cruz

1-855-255-5544 / 1-330-449-0007

Skype: CostaRicaTeam



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5/15/2012 17:38 EST

Raymond and I will have to agree to disagree! :)

Stay away from the Central Valley, except maybe on the edges of it. Raymond is right, though, you haven't provided any criteria from which we could guide you. Costa Rica is amazingly diverse in terrain and climate and resources.

You don't have to worry about tsunamis and hurricanes, by the way. We are too close to the equator for that to be a problem (maybe one hurricane in a hundred years). On the coasts, though it can be quite hot. We prefer to live in the mountains (we are at 4000 ft. elevation) where the temps are very mild and comfortable.

You have to be advised that this country is full of micro-climates. One place can get twice the rain and/or be windy, while 10 Km away it's the opposite. That's why most folks recommend that you spend several months to a year renting and exploring and talking to people to find out if an area suits you. Don't miss out on southern Costa Rica either. It is not so well known but it is far more tranquil than the Central Valley, less crime, prices are still good. Good luck!

More on my blog:

5/15/2012 20:42 EST

Hello CREnvy,

I am a bit surprised, not sure why the central valley is not a good place, this map shows it is a huge area, most of it quiet country living, and by most datas and the majority of the posts here from many, many others, the #1 recommendation, and by every estimate, where the vast majority of expats end up settling, for many, many reasons. Simply because for a 1st timer to CR, the more remote areas north and south can be very difficult.

IIn case my post was misconstrued, I am not talking specifically San Jose metro or even GMA, but the entire huge area shown in the map.

Here is a good Map link, just copy and paste, truly a huge area.

For the record, i currently have nothing for sale in the Central Valley, so it was heart felt advice. Most of my focus now is up around lake Arenal, as it is really a complete and mature community, great pricing if you know where to look, but thats me. The Central Valley is easier for most just off the plane.

Can you give us an idea why you feel that is not a good area, when it offers so much diversity and convenience for newcomers that has made it the preference of the majority of people that have settled in CR. Maybe there are specifics that we can all learn from.

And everyone, any questions, feel free to email me directly or call,

both numbers ring in my home office, plus I use Skype


Raymond Cruz

1-855-255-5544 / 1-330-449-0007

Skype: CostaRicaTeam



7/11/2012 20:06 EST

Now in our 23rd year, we've completed and sold out 10 phases and are the largest builder of custom homes in the country. We are full service, maintain your property for you, offer rental management, will build for you but don't require that you use us, in fact you can build your own home in our developments but must meet zoning and building standards and permits. We are debt free and have developed over 3000 acres to date with over 1000 owners. Is everybody happy? There will always be people who bought and then changed their mind about living in Costa Rica and that's what the resale market is for but you can google me, check our website out on the net, see our history, see that we've been approved to sell through organizations like AARP and International Living and I like what I do and sleep well at night.

Steve Linder
Pacific Lots of Costa Rica
305-295-0137 direct
877-481-0300 US only toll free
Read our blog:
Photos of our Developments

1/18/2017 17:39 EST

Now this is a great and truly informative and helpful post. Compare it to the promoter-like flug that is too common, or to posts that are are simply telegraphic non-entities. Felicidades y gracias, CruzinCostarica!

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For expats in Costa Rica, choosing an expat health insurance provider is an important decision. Get a quote from our partner, Allianz Care. Their plans ensure that you have access to quality healthcare whenever you need it. Allianz Care's flexible solutions allow you to tailor your cover to meet your needs and budget.

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1/18/2017 18:26 EST

You have resurrected a very old post, with outdated information.

1/18/2017 19:08 EST

Everybody has different taste. It is like asking, 'which ice cream flavor is the best?"

My opinion is based on what I like. We live in a small city of 17,000 people. It is a wonderful size,easy to make friends, both expats and Ticos.

We have been here 2 years. Our list of acquaintances keeps growing, including those we have coffee with and share a meal or game.

We now live within 15 minute steep hill walking distance, and choose to not have a car. We ended up purchasing a house.

We originally lived on a coffee farm in one of 4 houses, surrounded by fruit trees and a nice swimming pool, about 30 minute walk to downtown.

Someone else can answer, and may be possible to finance with one of these building projects, but I believe in general, no. But may be able to owner finance, but could be precarious.

I suggest you read up on the characteristics of the various areas. Head to Barnes & Noble and read.

Lots of people run around on tours like a chicken with their head cut off trying to see everything and decide.

After many years history with CR, after deciding we wanted to retire here, I read and re-read about the areas, and had it narrowed down to around Alejuela or Grecia. After visiting Grecia, that was it. It was home.

But better to rent for awhile in an area. And many people just rent without buying. If you end up having a horrible neighbor or whatever, you can just move.

In your search of where you want to be, pull up to view a little about Grecia and prices and pics of rentals and sales.

If you decide to visit Grecia, would be happy to meet you for coffee and introduce you to others here. And introduce you to guy who can show you rentals etc. IF you are interested in this area. Send PM if interested.

1/18/2017 21:17 EST

Oops, you are right Kohl. I didn't notice the dates!

1/25/2017 10:36 EST

Grecia sounds like a town I may like. Can someone recommend a hotel nearby to the Gringo coffee hangouts to spend the first few nights at.

1/25/2017 13:34 EST

I'd be interested in hearing about cool expat places to stay in Grecia also.


1/25/2017 13:36 EST

Mangifera (I think that is the correct spelling) is a Hostel and on the north side of central park downtown Grecia. I have never stayed but know some people personally that have and they liked it. Know one guy who said it was too noisy as sometimes motorcycles were zooming around the park with police chasing them But it is a Hostel and cheaper than bed & breakfast, but close to everything and the cafes. I think about $30 a nite or so, depending on how long you are staying.

Or about 10 min away from downtown is Grecia Bed & Breakfast. It is more peaceful and nice, about $50 per nite. They will bring you downtown and/or pick you from hotel I have heard. They are real nice.

Both places will pick you up and return you to airport for a reasonable fee.

If you end up coming, send PM and be happy to meet you for coffee.,
You can look up both places on Internet.

Also, if interested in viewing more long term rentals, look up for pictures and prices.

1/25/2017 14:01 EST

Lin, can you provide the names of some of the coffee shops or restaurants that attract English speakers?

1/25/2017 16:39 EST

Grupo Electa Panaderia, across from new bus station. They are there most days but Sunday about 9-9:30.

We used to meet there, but now meet at at Delicias. Gringos are there about 9am or shortly after. It is on the street south of Central park. Ask most anyone. We are seated in front row tables.

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