Costa Rica Real Estate and Living – Tips and Traps
Some people advised me not to discuss any negatives about Costa Rica but…
I feel that you need to know what this beautiful country is all about – the bad as well as the good because when you love someone, you also accept that they are not quite perfect too right?
I am naturally enthusiastic about Costa Rica but do not want to mislead you in any way, my goal is to help you enjoy the rich coast of Costa Rica – a place of stunning scenery, sunshine and smiles, a country I happily call home.
My home has never been burgled and the only unpleasant personal experiences I’ve had have been with foreigners here and not Costa Ricans.
I do not claim to be an expert in everything to do with Costa Rica but, I will promise you that if one of our VIP Members needs special Costa Rica real estate contacts or advice, we will do our best to find the right expert for the job.
Even if you only read this brief summary of tips and traps, you will be much better prepared than the majority of the people that visit Costa Rica.
Best wishes from your amigo in Costa Rica
1. Costa Rica is an incredibly fertile country but when you see a tree sticking out of the middle of the road, it’s not because it is growing there… It’s because the manhole cover was stolen and a concerned neighbor has placed a tree in there as warning for you to be careful.
2. For some inexplicable reason, you will rarely see people rollerblading on the streets in and around San Jose.
3. Please show some compassion when you see the driver in front of you weaving all over the road, he’s probably not drunk, he’s just trying to avoid the potholes.
4. The bad news is we do have tollbooths in Costa Rica. The good news is that they are typically only .75 colones (about US$0.15 cents) and in rush hour they open up the gates and let you drive through for free… Go figure!
5. You can hire a full time maid in Costa Rica for about US$200 per month. My wonderful Costa Rican maid Lily comes in for two hours per day, five days per week and she receives about $20 for the week.
6. Did You Know? If you are coming from Canada or the US, there is no need to worry about electrical differences – there are none. You can use the same appliances in Costa Rica that you use in the US and Canada.
7. You can practically choose your own weather in Costa Rica (except snow). It varies from hot coastal lowlands to very cool mountainous regions. The temperatures in the Central Valley are ideal, with evenings rarely below 60 degrees and days rarely above 80 degrees all year round. The dry season is usually from the end of November until early May.
8. Costa Rica has a number of truly magnificent volcanoes, the most active of which is Arenal. Needless to say volcanoes can be extremely hazardous to your health if.., you’re really stupid! Your chances of being killed by a volcano are 1:80,000 over a lifetime but do NOT approach their vents, do NOT breathe in poisonous sulphuric gases and follow all safety guidelines.
9. Did You Know? Costa Rica was one of the very first countries in the all of the Americas to declare war on Japan after they attacked Pearl Harbour and on Nazi Germany. They may have been trying to make up for being a little late doing so at the beginning of WW1 when they declared war on Germany on May 23, 1918 (The USA declared war on Germany on April 6th, 1917).
10. It is recommended that you register at your Embassy when you do settle down in Costa Rica. Not only is this good for your peace of mind in the event of an emergency but, you will also quickly make ‘like-minded’ friends by joining the Canadian Club if you are a Canadian for example. And, this way your government also gets to know where to find you when they want to raise your taxes.
11. When evaluating places to live, remember that most Ticos have a higher tolerance for noise than you probably have. Check the area for barking dogs at different times at night as well as during the day. You may not want to visit at 3am but it’s preferable to buying a home and finding out on your first night that your neighbor has a sawmill in his back garden that he only uses when he gets home after day job.
12. Gallo pinto is not a compact rental car. It is a very popular meal with a thousand variations but the basic ingredients are rice and beans.
13. Gringo is NOT a derogatory term in Costa Rica. In fact you will even hear Ticos calling each other nicknames that would be considered extremely rude in the US but are more like affectionate terms of endearment here. So if someone calls you gordo (fatty), flaco (skinny) or moreno (darky) please don’t get upset! They are actually being nice to you.
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