AGS Worldwide Movers

Costa Rica Expat Forum

The TRUTH about how Gringos are treated here in Costa Rica!

Post New Topic
5/6/2010 11:38 EST

Hi everyone, hope you are enjoying every day of your life.., I am and I have a 29 year old knowledge of Costa Rica

I have been on this and other forums, plus reading CR newspapers, and see allot of fresh questions about transitioning to Costa Rica
... and how Gringos are treated here in Costa Rica.

the 1st answer, is it depends entirely on the Gringo...

Think about it, what a gross generalization... As if a 70 year old retired cop from New York city is going to bring the same attitudes as a 40 year old architect from Victoria Canada...everyone is different.

fyi, I am originally Canadian (Vancouver) 6 ft, 200 lbs, pale blond, and I am so "white", I am pink, and when the sun hits, VERY pink :-)

So if there is a poster boy for a Gringo in Costa Rica (and the opportunity to be treated badly based on "how I look") , I'm it....

Guess what..I LOVE COSTA RICA, and Costa Ricans, and feel lucky and blessed to live here.

Now, is Costa Rica perfect? No..

But does Costa Rica and the Costa Rican people and culture offer a better "balance" then what I experienced anywhere else I have lived?

with out a doubt (for myself and my family) the answer is Yes. But now it's You and your time to learn and decide..

Understand, you will hear stories that seem contrary to my outlook, so this is just one opinion, but you should consider what is it that makes some North American who move here LOVE Costa Rica, and other hate it

It's obviously not Costa Rica that changes, it can ONLY be the attitude and experiences and expectations of the newcomer to Costa Rica then define their experience here.

My background is simple, my 1st visit to CR was 29 years ago, in 1981, and on that 1st trip, I met a Tica who worked at the local childrens hospital, second visit in 1982, spent more time here with her seeing the "real" Costa Rica, and third visit 6 months later, went with "respect" to meet her family and ask for her hand, married her and took her to the Canada, and later moved down to the US.

At that point, I had no understanding of what Costa Rica was or had to offer, (except the best fishing I have ever experienced. :-)

But, between 1981 and 2001, I visited Costa Rica with "my Tica" yearly to visit our Costa Rica in-laws and "immediate family" of 50 nieces, nephews, etc.

The 20 years from 1981 to 2001, lived in southwest US, Western Canada, Europe, England, Hong Kong (and Mexico for a year)

Because of the annual family visits to Costa Rica, every year I had a 2/3 week example of the way my Costa Rican nieces and nephews acted around family and friends, compared with North American kids of the same age, and how Costa Ricans treasured friendship, multi-generational family involvement and a focus on enjoying life, and enjoyed LIVING day to day, so I decided to try living and raising my family in Costa Rica, as the family values and outlook on life seemed far better then what I was witnessing "up north".

The key here is that I experienced the country, the different areas, the people, the culture, BEFORE MAKING A LIFE CHANGING DECISION.

I did not come here because the condos or land was cheaper, or the weather was perfect, or because the taxes were less or non existent, or the opportunities for true entrepreneurial business building were greater..all those things were fringe benefits.

Anyway, we moved here from Canada "forever" shortly after Sept 11th, 2001, with my Tica wife (who learned English while "up north") and my 3 very blond Tica/Gringa daughters.

I've been in the Real Estate Development Business since, with all it ups n downs the last 8 years, and I've been all over Costa Rica.

I unfortunately only speak " pretty good Spanglish", enough to communicate wherever I go, but embarrassingly not totally fluent, still working on it.

my 1st year here, I lived both in Jaco and San Jose, and I had small items stolen from the exposed back seat of my Montero, once in San Jose, once in Jaco.

I would NEVER leave something exposed in the back seat in Los Angeles or Vancouver or New York, or any other major City in the world.

So that was an inexpensive lesson, not of the "crime" in Costa Rica, but that I was acting stupidly.
Never had any crime problem since, nor has any member of my family.

My 3 blond Tica/Gringa daughters were born and raised until 2001 "up north" in an upper middle class affluent North American lifestyle.

So before moving here, I reminded them of 4 rules:

#1. The "Golden Rule", treat others with the same respect, patience and kindness that you would want shown to yourself, no matter what...

#2. The only reason they had more $ or better cloths or education, was an accident of "where they were born", NOT because they are smarter and better then Costa Ricans

#3. You are visiting someone else's home, don't tell them how to run there house, the analogy is that we are "guests" in this "house of Costa Rica".

#4. If you see something "broken", don't whine and complain, NO ONE LIKES WHINERS, so get involved..roll up your sleeves and actively help fix the problem

After almost 10 years here, all 3 are in public schools/university's here, (not "English" Private schools), and my oldest also has her own business and a Tico "boyfriend/husband to be".

You could not get them to move back "up north" for anything,

On a personal note, the 1st 3 years I was here, I was offered over $100,000 in signing bonuses and generous salaries/stock options just to move back up north
to work for 1 year with some of my old Canadian or US business associates to get different businesses going.

Not only did I decline, but told them the answer was the same "NO" even if they tripled the financial incentives, so they would stop pestering me.

My Life is no longer about $ as the top-only priority... it's only money

My full time job for the last 8 years is dealing with North Americans (Canadian and US Citizens) wanting to move to Costa Rica,
retire, buy property, build, live the good life in the tropics.

So I deal with these issues every day., questions of what to expect,
what it's like here, cost of living, is there crime, gun ownership, infrastructure issues and questions, education, lifestyle, tech/communications here, racism, bigotry, taxes, legal system, and then even the simplest questions, like "how do I bring my cat"..

all revolving around the question of "will Costa Rica be good enough for me to be Happy moving there"

You know what I tell them? I tell them it depends more on THEM then on Costa Rica

SLOW DOWN to get to know the culture and people of Costa Rica before they buy any property and move to a completely different culture

How can a seemingly intelligent "modern" full grown adult, who has never spent 1 month "living in the REAL Costa Rica" (not just spending time in a resort or gated community), make a decision to invest $100,000 to $400,000 (average) and sometimes over a $1,000,000 or more, and retire/live in a country they don't even know they like?

For me, watching the escalating political, financial and cultural melt down "up north" makes me feel lucky and blessed for the opportunity to live in Costa Rica.

and then once making the decision to move here, I spent the time talking with Costa Ricans of every generation and financial status, to LEARN from their Wisdom.

Have you ever felt that the North American Culture has truly "lost their way", culturally, socially, politically and morally?

I moved here because of the culturally, socially, political and moral "wealth" that Cost Rica offers, and any financial advantage or benefits are just icing on the cake...

Go spend time, not as a tourist, but sincerely as a visitor and guest, with a a 90 year old Costa Rican Campesino in Nicoya or Sardinal or 100 other small towns, and visit with a 90 year old healthy, strong, active, working man, who works his Finca" Farm/Ranch 9 hours a day 6 days a week at the age of 90, and has the same 83 year old wife that he married 66 years ago, and has seen the world thru non North American eyes since 1920, and watched "little" unimportant Costa Rica evolve into the only stable economy and democracy in the region, stay out of wars, be a guiding force and active promoter of peace in the region, and develop a culture based on Family Values, Friendship, Humility, with no military industrial "machine" to drive/enslave the economy, and with long term government policy's reflected in the constitution that have created one of the highest educated, healthiest, longest lived people in the world.

That old Costa Rican at 90 years of age can teach you allot

But...YOU'LL NEVER KNOW if you go live in a walled gringo enclave or high priced Florida/California style resort, not wanting to Lower yourself" to get out with the people and become a good Costa Rican...

If someone is looking to move here JUST because it's cheaper to live (main priority) THEN DON'T COME DOWN.

Cheaper land or condos or lower cost of living or nicer weather DON'T MATTER if you do not like the culture and people and the normal "day to day" life.

Keep one thing in mind..

Travel the entire world, and if you are looking at "generalizations", no nationality get's the cold shoulder in any country of the world,
like saying "I'm an American", (really should be saying "I'm a US Citizen", but that's another paragraph). That was the way it was 30 years ago, and it's only gotten worse.

You think that is a coincidence?, or a bad reputation fairly earned by a few too many "Ugly Americans"?

makes you think...

And those fleeing the insanity up north have the "arrogance of ignorance" (and rudeness) to tell the people in this country they "have a better way".

I mean, lets face it, the "american dream" died in the late 60's up in the US, the average US Citizen I speak with is so bitter and angry at life it makes me sad, but they don't understand, fleeing to Costa Rica is a privilege, and learning how Costa Ricans made smarter decisions over the last 50 years then the US has, as well as Canada, and are happier, more content people for those decisions, is something a newcomer should passionately want to learn.

But often their fear, arrogance, ego and complacency keep them locked away with others of their kind in gated communities, complaining and ridiculing the very people they should be learning from and thanking for the "opportunity" to have a second chance outside of the growing insanity up north.

When someone rolls into Costa Rica with their "I'm better because I have more $" attitude that I see every month, and clearly, by their actions, facial expressions, and general "I only want to live with other gringos" nose in the air disrespect, and show that they have no love for the local Costa Rican people who's country they are a GUEST in...

How do you think the average Costa Rican feels when you act like that....., these people are very well educated and have excellent radar for that type of attitude.

There are many wonderful, humble, grateful North Americans that have visited, spent time getting to know the locals, learned Spanish, and feel the same as I do.

SO... if your Costa Rica experience has not been pleasant, or you talk to others who moved here and have nothing good to say, ask if you or they LOVE Costa Ricans,
their culture, habits, and day to day way of living, BEFORE moving here and bought property.

If the answer is NO, then maybe you came here to take advantage of the financial end of the equation, (nothing wrong with that)

but never gave a thought to the people and the country and culture you were moving to.., just not important...and now they complain about how they are treated here...

Remember, just one opinion


Post a Reply


5/10/2010 00:35 EST

its very truth... sometimes we take our living from granted and complaint to much for everything!!! I say it time to start living life in a Pura vida style!!!

Post a Reply


Integra Global Health Plans

Integra Global is a different breed of health plan provider. Smaller, more flexible. Intelligent and personal. Our mission is to make our members feel as safe in their new country abroad as they felt back home. With Integra Global, you're not just another number. Unlike some of the bigger insurers, we are able to provide a fast, flexible and personal service to all our members and our plans are designed specifically for the healthcare needs of expats.

Learn More Get a Quote

5/10/2010 18:34 EST

bravo ! I could not agree more. when I lived in mallorca for 13 months I met a lot of brits who never tried to learn language , culture , anything. they went to british bars and stayed around other brits exclusively. what a waste. why would you want to move to a place thats the same as where you already are ? just stay home.

Post a Reply



From: El Salvador
5/11/2010 16:15 EST

Same here years ago in El Salvador when there was a large 'British Club', UK and Commonwealth country members, most of the Brits have moved on, few left here, gone on to Guatemala or other places...they do tend to stick together, only a few I have met traveling speak decent Spanish.
Also Costa Rica itself is way over rated for what it offers (except for eco tourism), many perons, such as the first poster on this thread, meet and marry their spouses in US and other countries so have a social network...the spouse/fiance/partner and his or her extended family, to support them on arrival, very common with Latin American, Filipina and other Asian women. If you are looking to relocate investigate countries not so popular, crowded and expensive as CR, especially if you are indepenent, don't need to be led around like a child, speak the local language. In some rural/small town areas of Latin America away from Condos and Ex Pt Bars a single can live s little as 500USD a month, a couple 800USD or so, minimum. So start reading up in English, Spanish, French, German and other languages on a broad scope concerning Latin America
click on, and choose your country_

Post a Reply


5/25/2010 13:05 EST

Gracias, Thank you for posting that. I have been researching moving to Costa Rica for some time now. I have visited 4 times and really love the Country and Citizens, but have been concerned about the new laws and reports. I have to remember to keep it in context as for every report of a deportation, there are thousands with out problems.

Post a Reply


5/25/2010 21:28 EST

What a moving entry. I have no desire to move into a gringo enclave, either. I am in love w/ the central american people I have met, and want to live among them, not behind a huge security gate. That said, how do the Ticos afford to own homes? Are there no non deluxe properties under $300,000?

Thank you.

Post a Reply


Integra Global Health Plans

Integra Global is a different breed of health plan provider. Smaller, more flexible. Intelligent and personal. Our mission is to make our members feel as safe in their new country abroad as they felt back home. With Integra Global, you're not just another number. Unlike some of the bigger insurers, we are able to provide a fast, flexible and personal service to all our members and our plans are designed specifically for the healthcare needs of expats.

Learn More Get a Quote

5/26/2010 09:49 EST

Thank you so much for a very sincere narrative about Costa Rica, and how to appreciate it and its people.


Post a Reply


5/31/2010 10:27 EST

you certainly seem knowledgeable. we, and a few other couples, have been discussing much of what you write about -- the disappointment we feel about the US, and our desire to possibly retire to Costa Rica. One question to begin with...we do not like humidity...does that immediately limit us to the central area? we love the idea of being near the beaches...but sticky is not for us.

Post a Reply



From: El Salvador
5/31/2010 15:58 EST

If "sticky' is not for you and you want the beach, in any tropical lowland, anywhere on the globe (The tropical lowlands of CR are about 650 mile north of the Equator), best you stay home. The Highlands (Central Valley), cool at night, can get humid during the day. Stay home, save your time, money and grief. This is not "Burger King" you cannot have it your way!!!!!!!!!!

Post a Reply


6/2/2010 13:49 EST

If you're thinking about moving to C.R., two tidbits of advice:
(1) take a guided tour such as George Lundquist's,[ but be prepared for some bias & sales pitches in his 4 day, 3 night presentation] which is informative and intense - meet expats, see areas, "buy one of my lots", etc.
(2) don't even think about it until you stay for a few months as a renter

Post a Reply



From: United States
6/2/2010 15:11 EST

It seems I'm getting all negative comments about going to Costa Rica. So, between Central America and the Caribbean, to where should I go to escape America?

Post a Reply


7/1/2010 08:40 EST

Great insight and advice. I'm planning a 3rd return to CR. I have spent some breif time in the Punta Uva area and would like to investigate the area further. Although I would love to return to the "same" place "time" has a way of changing all. Any suggestions or links for modest off season places to call home that could extend into high season time would be greatly appreciated. I can't seem to open the private message option for "The TRUTH about Gringos writer who appears to be appealingly honest, knowledgeable, and experienced and a desirable person to communicate with when seeking advice or just a few pointers about "getting to know" an area.

Post a Reply


7/1/2010 14:48 EST

Hi Tireswing, glad to help

If you want, a 5 minute Hello on the phone, I actually know some great places in the Uvita area and others, and will be down there with my family this weekend, email me back a contact number to, and I'll call you when you say it's the best time :-)


Post a Reply



From: El Salvador
7/1/2010 14:58 EST

CR, and the rest of Central and parts of South America in general, same crap, different smell. CR has good PR and lots of sugar coated publicity. Now overcrowded (with immigrants from the US Citizens, Canadians and EU, many are young PT's not legal CR residents nor retirees , teaching English or working in tourism for resident investors.... "black", going out every 90 days. Most websites, travel, tourism and real estate are put up and manged by gringo redidents or ex residents now living back home or over in Panama or Nicaragua, Ecuador, etc. 50-60% of those coming to relocate in CR leave within a year, to another country or return home. At low end are the Nicaraguan and Spouth American immigrants, legal and illegal, who do the "dirty jobs" educated Ticos will not do, same as US. The immigrant barrios in San Jose very dangerous, outside SJ, keep your doors locked, get a Dog for security, petty theft everywhere. The only CR website (and its links) which tell the truth is
another forum, excellent posts from ex pats, truthful, all sides political and social issues..based in Nica, covers all of Central America

There are other Ex Pat forums and BB's that range from virulent anti-Costa Rica (based in Nica) to sugar coated and folsky 'come on down and live in paradise' BB's, user groups and bloqs.

If someone is from your own country and speaks your language and becomes 'friendly', the next thing they'll do is try and sell real estate or offer you long term rentals, go down yourself, travel around a bit low profile and check out locals renting or selling, knowledge of Spanish required to cope and deal on your own, if not hire a local native guide/driver-owner per diem, check out on 170 countries, site is in English. Type in your detination and ask questions, most all locals, some long term ex pat legal residents working in tourism as well, no 'real estate' agents nor 'relocation coaches and seminars' har har LOL. When you find the place that resonates with you and fits your budget, fine. You need no one's approval, its your life and your time and your own dime!!!! Be aware. Be Safe. saludos.

I na Ex pat 24 years in Central America, vet, recovering Alcoholic, cannot bs a bs artist, but watch out, I almost got taken to cleaners twice by gringos years ago, let my guard down!!!!!

Always use common sense, never 'hurry', thats life in the tropics!

Post a Reply


7/4/2010 21:25 EST

Well written and true. My wife and I retired to Costa Rica 6 years ago on a full time basis. We do live in a mostly Gringo area, we're Canadians, but we get along fine with Costa Ricans.

I don't see much difference in Costa Ricans from the Canadians I lived with most of my life.

We're heading back to Canada when our house sells, but after 6 years I can say it's been a great adventure.

I prefer to live in Costa Rica than any other latin country. It is truly the best country in Central America.

Post a Reply


2/13/2011 17:45 EST

All I can say is WOW!! I have been reading and reading many blogs from many websites, and none came across as so honest and sincere.
I am a retired teacher living in the USA (US citizen) and am beginning the process of trying to get a pensionado visa to move to CR.
Your article helped to reduce some of my anxiety obout such a huge move.
Your article helped me to slow my thinking down and focus on what is really important about such a move.

Post a Reply


2/22/2011 14:57 EST

That was great!!!

I have been down in costa rica 24 years full time..that is much different that 29 years 3 weeks at a time...i agree on some of your insight..I a married to a tica..but never left..About the plublic Schools...thats a joke my friend..i think Jefro Bodine went to a better school.. The cr plublic education is bad real bad..If any body out there WANTS THE NO BULL NO FRILLS INFO /YES WE ARE SELLING YOU SOMETHING..STAY AT MY PLACE FOR A MONTH OR TWO..LEARN THE GOOD THE BAD..i LOVE COSTA RICA FOR MY OWN REASONS/ call me direct 50683070164 50622897486 thank you

Post a Reply


2/22/2011 19:54 EST

First, I really enjoyed reading your post. Difinitely an honest perspective of CR. I am currently living in Tampa and have been in touch with the CR Embassy to apply for a pensionado visa.
This will probably sound nieve, but that "smell" you described can also be found where I live!
The crime (three cops killed this month), the crowds, get a dog, lock your doors, etc.
All I want is to live someplace where crime isn't running rampant, where housing and health care isn't bankrupting you and where people are actually friendly. Any place in CR like this?

Post a Reply


9/26/2012 04:21 EST


What an accurate account of life in general not just life in Costa Rica. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it! Thank you.

I was an Aussie exchange student to Costa Rica in 1986 and fell in love with 'Tico' ways. For 5 more years I travelled to other Central American countries but always came 'home' to my host family for love and support.

It's been 25 years, but the sense of community that I felt is something that I too want my boy (12 yers) to experience. In January, we are coming for a year to live with my Desamparados parents for that reason, and that reason alone. The auction for my house is in 2 weeks and the Universe will make it happen.

Thank you again for reinforcing my decision to bring my boy across the other side of the world - not for financial gain but because of a way of life. He will not be enrolled in an International school either as I beleive that his Spanish acquisition will enrich his experience tenfold.

What a great attitude you have..... and thanks again.

Post a Reply


9/26/2012 13:54 EST

'The crime (three cops killed this month), the crowds, get a dog, lock your doors, etc" could be written about CR.

It was announced today that CR has the highest robbery rate, for Sept 26.
So please do not expect 'shangri-la'.

Healthcare will be less expensive, but don't expect CAJA to provide everything you need in a timely manner.
The majority of people are very nice.

For stacek38, you really need to reconsider schooling/education for your son, so pick a school BEFORE you decide on a location to live. Don't give them a cursory glance but return a few times to see what is being taught and how.
Maybe not an international school, but consider a bilingual school. Please read this that was in today's online newspaper,
The standard in education in many of the public schools has dropped, with a strike being in the works, since many of the basic necessities are being withdrawn. Some school require that students provide their own toilet paper and soap...
I have lived here, many years as well.

Post a Reply


2/21/2013 22:32 EST

How can someone contact you to chat about it?

Post a Reply


2/22/2013 09:40 EST

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

Post a Reply


3/5/2013 20:57 EST

Hear, hear. The biggest dissatisfaction I hear about from expats is that things ( banking, utilities, etc) aren't done the same way as they are in the country they are moving away from. How on earth does that make sense?? Just stay where you are if you think your country's methods are superior.

My concern, selfishly, is that I would like to spend an extended visit in C R from December 2013 to March 2014, as part of my search for my next home. I don't' have a clue as to where to look for accommodation in CR ! I've never been to CR and so don't know what area in which to seek a rental nor what type of simple housing is available. If someone could direct me to a forum or website, that would be so helpful, I would be grateful.

I am a single, fit, active, 60 year old Canadian female who is seeking a dramatic change in lifestyle. Your assistance is hugely appreciated!

Gracias y saludos,

Post a Reply


3/5/2013 21:44 EST

Your best bet is to talk to others with you same ambitions! Make sure you travel here and explore and watch out for scammers! Most people our age end up in the Central Valley where all is to be had. Exceptional weather and views! Beaches are not to far away! If your looking for beaches go to Florida. Much cheaper and cleaner and a lot more safe.

Stay away from realtors until you know exactly what your looking for. When you see it you will know.

Call me anytime and I will put you in contact with some clients that rent from me and are looking around to relocate. Right now I have a British man and his new American wife waiting on a USA visa and a Canadian couple that are doing exactly what you want to do. I suggest you rent for 1-2 months and go out and get in touch with Costa Rica.

Good luck in your search!

Post a Reply


3/5/2013 21:45 EST

Very inteligently said. Hope to meet you some day. Will be in Quepos area starting Sunday till the 24th. I backpacked across CR about 15+ years ago, stayed in hostels, hotels,etc and stood in buses for hours and met many nice people everywhere. You're right, we are not any better than they; we are all equal people trying to get along with each other till it's our time. Congrats on your success and outlook on life.

Post a Reply


3/5/2013 21:56 EST

I too am a single senior female and the smartest thing I did was come to Grecia Alajuela. There is a great expat community here that is very supportive while you adjust to the new culture. After a year + I have decided to buy property on Nicoya to be close to good swimming beaches but will always be glad that I started here in Grecia.

Post a Reply


3/5/2013 23:59 EST

Dear Canadian, Female, Fit and ready for a change, I am Canadian decent from the USA, who came to CR for a change. Please do some reading about CR. If you can check out you will find a wealth of information that has pretty much all been true from my 1 yr and 2 mos experience. Also if you would identify what your current hobbies are, what your top 5-10 needs desires are: example: I ONLY want to live with an ocean view. I want to live where there are more Ex-Pats (has its plusses b/c things will seem more similar) or I want to live in the rainforest and study permaculture. If you can identify 5-10 things that are the MOST important to you, and email that list to me:, I will try to make my best recommendations or suggestions. Once you've identified your top 10, and then tell me the top 3 things you hope to gain by coming to CR, I can try to help you narrow down places to live. One of the reasons its so hard to answer a general question like this, is CR is VERY diverse. One stretch of beach IS NOT like another. One city is NOT like any other (only a few actual "cities"), etc. You will hear positive and negative for every choice you make. Living in CR is actually very hard for single gringas (expat women) especially. NOT impossible, but difficult, what makes it so, is subtle, hard to explain. SO knowing ahead of time what you're looking for, will make a big difference. Two important notes: the cost of living is pretty expensive here, unless you are going to live like a tico (costa rican), so be prepared to pay almost as if you were on vacation, it is illegal for you to work here and hard to find any work at all. Last thing, you must learn to speak, read and write some Spanish. Although many CR's do speak English somewhat, YOU will not be able to get by if you do not know or are resistant to learning Spanish. Enjoy your research. My experience has been the full monty, so to speak, love it, struggle with it, feel happy to be here, and then think about moving back to the US. So, enjoy your journey its a fun one. Blessings, Deirdre

Post a Reply


3/6/2013 07:20 EST


We have a large contingent of Canadians in our developments down in the southern region of Costa Rica. We've got a bunch from Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatchewan, Montreal and Nova Scotia if you have any interest in being near other Canadians. The southern region is the most bio diverse parts of Costa Rica but presently still somewhat remote compared to the Central Valley. We're building the largest master planned community in the country however and have already finished most of the infrastructure including over 30 kilometers of roads, a water system delivering artesian well water at a rate of 200 liters per second and a 200 amp electrical service capable of powering over 1000 homes in this community. Right now we have land AND home packages starting at $150,000 including granite, AC, landscape and a club house with pool. We offer a great 4 day discovery tour about 4 to 5 times a month priced at $299 per person all inclusive, you just pay your airfare to San Jose, we do the rest. You can see more at or contact me directly,

Post a Reply


3/6/2013 07:56 EST

New Gringa 1964 has told it pretty well!

Post a Reply


3/7/2013 09:03 EST

Thank you all for taking the time to write your thoughtful replies. Much food for thought as I plan this next phase in my life. I'll keep up with the postings on this site as I plan.

Post a Reply


7/6/2017 14:59 EST

I love this, and seven years later, is there anything you would change? We're excited about visiting Costa Rica, exploring Quepos and mostly small communities where we can get to know the locals - with an eye to becoming one of them.

Post a Reply


7/6/2017 15:47 EST

You are not just visiting a foreign country,you are involved with a foreign culture. Ticos do things their way and it could be frustrating if you let them. The lack of and the poor service s prevalent here. Adjustments will need to be made on your part to fit into a community. First is slow down. Gringos are always in a hurry. TIco's values are not our values. You will learn this as time passes.
Been here twelve years. Wouldn't live anywhere else. Pura vida.

Post a Reply


7/6/2017 16:26 EST

Thank you, this is exactly the information I was hoping to hear.

Post a Reply


7/21/2017 08:14 EST

Since moving Costa Rica over two years ago, I have become increasingly concerned about the fiscal irresponsibility of the Costa Rican government. Every single native-born Costa Rican I have spoken to feels the same way. In fact, Costa Ricans speak of corrupt government officials and cronyism as a normal facet of life here.

Costa Ricans will also speak proudly of how the military was abolished in 1948 and the funds that would have gone to the military, are now spent on education and health programs. Yet, schools are constantly complaining about a lack of supplies and poor teacher pay.

To make matters worse, the government also cannot seem to collect sufficient taxes to pay for adequate infrastructure. It is a fact, even recognized by President Solis, that only 14% of the population pays the full amount of income taxes owed to the government. More than one Costa Rican has told me that they under-report their income because they do not feel that they will see any useful government spending of their taxes!

Costa Rica is a beautiful country with great potential. I only wonder what the state of financial affairs will be in 20 years. It is probably wise to keep current the passport of the country you are emigrating from in case life here gets untenable.

Post a Reply


7/21/2017 08:52 EST

I'm not sure how this thread from 5/6/2010 11:38 EST keeps getting commented on?

I think maybe there are some just looking for an outlet to spew their discontent.

Nothingbut net, scroll up a few comments and then read and heed the comments made by richardschindler.

I totally agree with what he says and if I didn't I get the hell out,

You still have your passport right?

Pura Vida!

Post a Reply


7/21/2017 10:03 EST

The US gov is also corrupt. Anyone who thinks US is wonderful should probably stay there. It is not our job to change CR.

Post a Reply


7/21/2017 10:18 EST

There's nothing wrong with what he is saying. He is talking about the lives of the real TICOS not foreigners (because foreigners don't normally use public services). I think expats get way too caught up in the whole "oh if you don't like how things are stay in your country" way of thinking. The issue is that many of the public schools are terrible and the children AREN"T getting a great education. Many REAL TICOS are NOT happy about that and they DO have a problem collecting taxes. Don't assume that 100% of the Ticos are happy with the way things are.

Post a Reply


7/21/2017 10:23 EST

In other words income tax avoidance is much the same as in the US r about anywhere else. As to cronyism and government bribery, again much like as in the US, but there bribes begin at $50,000 while here it is more affordable.

Now for the subject of schools. Teachers hands are tied as they cannot discipline the children. Knowing that many are out of control. If a child is given low grades the parents often file lawsuits and sometimes threaten or take out revenge on the teachers. They should expand the use of telecommuting/interactive schools is more remote areas as is done in Australia and Alaska. The more qualified teachers unwilling to live and teach in those areas could still be teaching them so they don't need lag behind the city folk.

Expanding on the subject of police I know of a case here where a police car was set on fire as an act of revenge for being given a ticket. I think excessive fines that might take food off the table might incite that. $550 fines for most traffic offences is in my opinion too much. Especially first offenders.

I think way too many of the bad attributes have been learned from the US, The police are equipped and trained mainly by the US.

From movies ant television and Internet many have learned to abuse the medical care system, seeking pensions for disabilities so they can live better than they could working.

Unfortunately, the alternative would be an authoritarian an oppressive government. Costa Rica meets my agenda of not being that.

There is a saying here that applies to honesty: "It is better to ask for forgiveness than ask for permission."

Personally, I thing most all governments are top heavy. The fewer the officials the more difficult it is to hide the responsibilities or the good ones. And to be economically sound, Cota Rica needs to partner better with neighboring countries much as does the European Union. Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Finland would be the best governments to model after. All top rated in government transparency.

As far as abolishing the military in 1948, I think that decision was largely influenced by WWII. With the number of people and the economic base, Costa Rica could not offer much resistance to an invasion. The reality would be they might as well roll out the red carpet and greet them with a band. Fact is with the exception of the nuclear powers, most countries only have a military to repel domestic insurgents and keep their current government in power..

The Constitution of Costa Rica provides that 10% of all revenues goes to the Catholic Church as it is the National Religion. However, at this stage, fewer and fewer belong to the Church and may withhold money for that reason as well. But give this as only one example of people withholding taxes when they see the money would not go to their own benefit.

World Freedom Organization rates Costa Rica as #6 regarding Free Speech. Norway is #1. The USA is #43 and just ahead at #42 is the country of Burkina Faso in Africa with their two radio stations. I will take Freedom over any other obstacles. Tax rebellion is fundamental in a Free society.

Post a Reply


7/21/2017 10:33 EST

Thanks for your message. Embracing the culture is what I plan on experiencing.

Post a Reply


Expatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for expat health insurance in Costa Rica.

Mail Forwarding to Costa Rica

Mail Forwarding to Costa Rica.

Expat Tax

Expat Tax Preparation, Expat Tax Professionals

International Moving Companies

Moving to Costa Rica? Find a moving company.

Join Today (free)

Join Expat Exchange to meet expats in your area or get advice before your move. It's FREE and takes 1 minute!

Copyright 1997-2018 Burlingame Interactive, Inc.

Privacy Policy Legal