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what to do, kind of lost

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blkbemr1
8/4/2019 16:07 EST

my wife and I will be arriving in Costa Rica in early Sept. with our son and his wife. we will be renting an SUV, because we like the ability to stop and go as we please. My wife and I have been to Costa Rica one other time, but are still quite unfamiliar with the country. I would appreciate any suggestions as to where to go and what to see in the two weeks we will be there. in the end, we are looking for a place to retire in a year or so. Ecuador is at the top of the list right now.
Thank you so much for any help any of you can give us.

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ppbritton
8/4/2019 17:18 EST

tour and l0ok - you'd be better off in Ecuador - costa rica is beyond expensive - governnment is bankrupt - financially doomed to failure - don't take my word fo it - due your due diligence!! - lived there for 15 years - returned to states in Oct. 2017.............

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ILuvCR
8/4/2019 17:20 EST

Never drive at night and always allow more time on the road than you might imagine from the mileage of a trip.

Get, learn and use Waze!

A favorite of ours and a must see is the La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Rain or shine it's magnificent and deserves at least three hours to enjoy.

We love the Turrialba, Orosi Valley area and if you're in to action sports raft on the Pacuare River, in the ten best rafting rivers in the world,

Lago Arenal is beautiful but we prefer the N.W. end of the lake, opposite from the volcano and La Fortuna. Tronadora, Puerta San Luis, Nueva Arenal.

Just for starts!

Pura Vida!

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lindyluvsCR
8/4/2019 17:52 EST

When you retire, do you want to be on the ocean or in the mountains?

I love Grecia Alajuela because don't need a/c and small enough can know a lot of people. Be glad to meet you if you decide to visit this area.

If I were to consider a beach area, I would check out Samara, guilliones (needs a capital lertter, problems with computer) and Uvita based on what others have said.

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ILuvCR
8/4/2019 19:02 EST

gosh blkbemr1

I can't resist.

Float your cursor to and click on the name "ppbritton" above his super negative comment and read all of his other super negative comments about this peaceful, beautiful little country that some of us love dearly.

Wanna-be, couldn't hack it, glass half empty I'm not sure but it gets old.

Slow day in the life for ppbritton?

Obviously Costa Rica is not for everyone.

It favors the bold, self reliant, positive, flexible, patient individual with a great sense of humor.

Pura Vida!

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Beaver2015
8/5/2019 09:06 EST

ILuvCR,

What is most disgusting is that you run your "Pura Vida" scam on the most vulnerable, older folks from richer countries.

I would not care less if you scammed rich people, but pensioners, and retiries?

C'mon man, have some respect.

Pura Vida my ass. As a foreigner, resident or not, you cannot bank in that country.

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ILuvCR
8/5/2019 09:19 EST

beaver, we all know what opinions are like and we all have one.

My Pura Vida "scam", that's rich!

I do "have some respect" just not the nattering nabobs!

Oh yea I remember, you're the person who couldn't figure out banking in a foreign country and now the country sucks because of your limited capacity.

BTW: "Pura Vida!” is one of the first things you'll hear on a trip to Costa Rica. Whether used as a hello, a good bye, or an exclamation of appreciation, this phrase expresses the peaceful, happy vibes the Costa Ricans feel as the result of their beautiful surroundings and liberty. Enjoy the natural wonders of this small, but diverse, country all year long and discover the breathtaking results of the Costa Ricans' preservation of their sacred land." unknown author

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lindyluvsCR
8/5/2019 10:17 EST

I am a pensionado here for over 4-1/2 yrs and love it here. First time age 19 and never stopped.

I have a friend who moved to Ecuador and she does love it because she fell in love with a tour guide there. Someone said part of the country is warm, but nearly all her pictures show her in heavy jacket. I like warm. Not for me. Also high altitude can cause difficulty breathing. She had pics of people in hotel needing oxygen.

And those who have moved back to US, need to go on the US forum to promote it. I have said before, need wisdom wherever you live. Just had two mass shootings in US. Why don't you mention that?

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shermanwc
8/5/2019 16:20 EST

"Ecuador" means "equator", as the country is at the equator - and it is on the coast, so it has warm beaches. The capital, Quito, is at a high elevation and as such, is much cooler. So it has a choice of temperatures (as does Costa Rica).

Ecuador is noted to be considerably lower in living costs vs Costa Rica. But if you travel back to North America much, the travel costs will be much higher.

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lindyluvsCR
8/5/2019 17:00 EST

Sherman - good info to know.

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Blueridgeboy1
8/5/2019 22:41 EST

To get back to the original question: How's your Spanish? The more fluent you are, the broader your range of opportunities. I especially enjoyed the mountain villages in the Tarrazu coffee region south of the Central Valley. The smaller towns such as San Pablo allowed me to dip into local life and feel very welcome. Larger towns like San Marcos are busier commercial hubs. Chatting with people in the sodas or in the park, hanging with the taxi drivers around city square shooting the s**t. Beautiful scenery, no other gringos, welcoming locals. I found the country so small that I was able to cover a lot of territory in a short time. Beaches are usually only an hour or less away, Drive defensively, don't pass on mountain roads and stay alert,

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blkbemr1
9/2/2019 17:18 EST

Thank you all for the helpful ideas and advice. We will be going from San Jose on Thurs. of this week to Grecia for a few days, after that, still up in the air. I like the idea of La Paz Waterfalls and Lake Arenal. We also thought about driving down to Uvita, who knows. I do have one more question as our departure date is in two days. as far as currency goes. do we need CR currency? a lot or a small amount? I know when we were in Ecuador, we used US dollars of course, it made things very simple, just not sure about CR. again, thank you for your help!!

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Kohl
9/2/2019 18:51 EST

You shouldn't carry to much of either currency, just enough for minor purchases straight away. Change it a town or withdraw colones at an ATM.

Do not change currency at the airport, as you will get the short end of the stick. If you would rather use dollars, they are accepted most places.

Weather around Arenal is presently quite wet according to my friends who live there....but it is often quite wet and windy there. Avoid traveling at night on the roads around there...or anywhere else... as it tends to get foggy in the mountains. Make sure to take a light jacket, just in case.

Enjoy your travels!

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princzz
9/3/2019 10:37 EST

I highly recommend getting colones, simple to do, and easier to do business.

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spikerivet
9/4/2019 12:19 EST

Hi Blkbemr1
I see a broad variation in your choices. It would seem elevation is a matter you're undecided about. I am as well. I've recently taken a couple of trips coming back to Mexico and Costa Rica and seeing Colombia and Brazil for the first time.For whatever it's worth I have a few insights.

I also love the Costa Ballena (Uvita) area as well, but it is quite hot and humid. If you're from the East U.S. for example, that weather may be agreeable to you. I've been trying it out for size. Since I live near the Pacific Coast, being near the ocean has always been important to me. Costa Rica has the unique position of being a half days ride to the either coast from the upper highland valley. I went down to the Costa Ballena area for a second time in the last 3 months and found it easier to adjust, but I concluded that was mostly because there was more rain and it was cooler.You're approaching the thick of rainy season and some can find the rain overwhelming.

If you like the moderate temperatures and the natural beauty of the C.R. highlands, I have now found an area every bit as beautiful and 1000 times more of it in Colombia. But then the question is how much do you need? Many people retire in C.R. and live their entire lives in a 5 mile radius for health or whatever reasons. That's the way a lot of people are.
I haven't been to Colombian beaches. But there 1000's of square miles of scenery as good if not better than C.R. You can find an elevation of 4500 feet, where the low temperature for the year is 60, 5500 ft. where it's 55, 6500 ft. where it's 50. And all of it's beautiful, but the mountains and valley's are higher and lower. I saw both countries in August, and there was barely a drop of rain and much sunnier and less humid in Colombia and there was continual rain and humidity in Costa Rica, though not a crippling rain.

Re; Costa Rica, There is a lot of almost over patronizing of the "ticos", though I don't mean to imply anybody here. Sometimes it really sounds like expats depict them like they're such charming little people, that it sounds rather condescending. The Ticos are great people , but so are the Colombians, Mexicans and Brazilians. They're all very accommodating, and eager to help if asked. I tend to get along well wherever I go. But the truth is Norte Amercicanos have been coming to C.R. for 50 years and like with the Mexicans, the relations are a bit jaded, though every person is different. Of all the countries I've just mentioned the Brazilians are the most friendly and welcoming of N.Americans because they have the least exposure and would like more. I think I've concluded that although there are long of Brazilian coast just as beautiful as C.R. Brazil is a bit far for a long term residence.

I would say, it's true C.R. is the most expensive of the countries I've mentioned. I've heard I Luv C.R. say it's because it has the highest standard of living. That could be. But having seen the standard of living in these 4 countries, I'm not entirely sure it's true. I've been going to C.R. off and on for over 40 years , it's always been the most expensive, always had a gringo influence, more recently, the highest gas prices in all Central America but I think a lot of the reason is the government has always sort of shot itself in the foot. It's always been mismanaged. But a lot of that cost in food can be mitigated by going to farmer's markets, purchasing fresh produce and cooking for yourself and if you're eating out, try eating at "tipica" restaurants that are often frequented by Ticos. It's cheaper and you are warmly welcomed by the natives as you are in all Latin American countries.

Since you're among those who would rent a car, I've rented in all the 4 countries mentioned and with good coverage Mexico and Brazil are are very cheap, about 20-21 dollars a day. For some reason, Colombia is about 33 , but even with a 10% discount I get through Adobe in C.R. it's over 40 a day. If the cost of retirement is not at all a consideration, I wouldn't worry about it.

With Ecuador near the top of your list, have you been there yet? I personally haven't been to Ecuador but if cost is a primary consideration, I've heard Ecuador is cheaper than any of those countries I've considered. And it is beautiful, But what people say is that it is largely Indian based culture with much fewer people who speak English. Whereas there are a lot of people who desire to learn English in the countries I've mentioned, including C.R. I've heard it's also harder to find good consumer goods at a reasonable price. I also notice that many of the major population clusters are above 7500 feet. The mountains of Ecuador are steep, and I don't see many big cities in what I would think are the more temperate zones weather wise, which for me in that latitude is between 5000-7500 feet. But that's just my opinion. I'd like to visit Ecuador.

I thought I'd throw in my 2 cents. I hope I haven't confused matters further. Enjoy your exploratory trip of Costa Rica!

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jethroman
9/7/2019 20:53 EST

Do cars and trucks in Costa Rica not have head lamps?

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GBP
9/8/2019 09:49 EST

No need for headlamps we ride dinosaurs.

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costarisa1
9/11/2019 07:11 EST

Do-it-yourself knock-about tours.


You probably should have signed up for relocation tour to save you a lot of headaches, stress, time driving around and establish the best contacts.

Live in Costa Rica includes a valuable two-day by the most renowned experts in the country.

Christopher Howard
Live in Costa Rica.com

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lindyluvsCR
9/11/2019 08:57 EST

The books from the airport give the location options. That is how I picked Grecia.

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Happy1PuraVida
9/13/2019 19:43 EST

We took the Christopher Howard tour 3 years ago and now live full time in Costa Rica! We are not "toure" people but the information was in depth and helped us make a fully informed decision to move here knowing hospitals, legal situation, and so so much more. My husband and I HIGHLY recommend Chris's tour which includes meeting doctors, visiting local medical facilities, immigration contacts (ARCR) and seeing a huge slice of local areas and having a great time doing it! If you are serious about moving here it's a great way to mitigate risk and understand all the costs involved and budget.

Pura Vida!

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