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  • in reply to: Latest news on pensionado CAJA fees? #199592

    Please try these links and see if you can get a clearer picture for your situation:



    I used a ARCR for my application in November 2012. They did an excellent job. I picked them because having worked in law offices in my career, I like the fact they have their own bank of lawyers. Plus the price was right also for my budget and didn’t speak Spanish well enough to do it on my own. My assessment is about 8% now of my my total monthly USA Social Security payout. I think I started out about 7.25%. I think the law has a provision maximum that you would need to ask about before you applied. I hope this is helpful.

    in reply to: Latest news on pensionado CAJA fees? #199590

    Why did use both amounts for your residency or did? Social Security Administration will not, repeat will not, give you a statement for just a $1,000 but for your total payout. As to percentage assessed for the CAJA is it a flat percentage and mine was 8%. With the reforms in the law that went to effect in 2012, there are no longer any reductions from your total income for living expenses even though your local CAJA may still require the forms. If there are two of you on the Social Security, you may need an Apostille endorsed copy of your marriage certificate. Contact you the Secretary of State for the state you were married in for that document.

    in reply to: New Passport number #170793

    I am going to assume you have a Cedule for living here in Costa Rica. You original Cedule is tied to the old passport number. When you go to sell anything in the National Registry they will record it as against your Cedule number. Nobody here is going to the time and expense of updating anything for the new Passport. When I asked at BNCR here in Grecia about my new one in February, they said it would always stay the same, meaning my former passport that I made my application for residency November 2012. Now what will happen if you leave the country, then return, Immigration at SJO will want to see your Cedula and new passport. Mine got scanned when I came back into SJO December 1, 2016. I am certain it was done because they knew my old passport was expired so I was prepared to show it.

    in reply to: currency, spending, cost, and cost of living. #165108

    I am going to be kind here and say if you don’t make a trip or two here before you move, you are waiting for a disaster. I came here running from 2008 to 2012 before I moved here in September 2013 and I still had shocks for settling in to living here and making it my home. I live on $1,100 USD a month up in the mountains outside of Grecia. I keep at a minimum what imported products I buy here from either the US or Europe. In a month you can spend as much at PriceSmart buying by what you get at Costco marked up 30% to 60% is my best guess. Meat, fish and chicken are on a par with us prices and very seldom when on sale, not sale price anything like stateside. You need to give yourself a crash course on these things, plan and simple: go to to give yourself that crash course. You need not do business with ARCR, but their information on every tab will be very helpful. Since you are on this website, read every thing in the article section and buy all of Scott’s books and read them diligently. You may never buy property, but Scott’s books can show you have this country functions. Remember you are not moving to Kansas, but to a country that is very different to what you are use to in the US. Weekly check food prices on these sites keeping in mind that the measurements are not ours, AutoMercado (; Wal-Mart (; and maybe MasXenos ( Learn/teach yourself to read the pages in Spanish, doing that is not rocket science even though it might be difficult. Use copy and paste PLUS google translate to get you over the rough bits. In a few weeks t will be easier and easier. YouTube is full of videos like this one, check them out: . Good luck, you can do this but remember that this country is a great place to live, but it is their country, and they REALLY don’t care if you don’t like the way they run it!

    in reply to: Finding a Job – really need some help! #173266

    Just come on your own money and source of money, and if you can, work for a USA company on the Internet. Otherwise, starting making two or three weeks trips each year. Buy your ticket 330 days out for the best online fare with any of the major airlines. I did this for six years annually until I could come here on my retirement income in 2013.

    Have a great trip down, this is a great country. If you need to make your cash reserve go further, then you can think about Nicaragua which is much, much cheaper if you stay our of the expat areas. Anyway, your Spanish will greatly improve if you live away from English speakers and live totally in a Tico or Nico neighborhood. Also, you can get nice buses from here to Nicaragua from here for your exploration if you want.

    in reply to: Your safety & security in costa rica – police salaries #202515

    I live very well in San Roque de Grecia on a $1,000-a-month. But I have to make of the USA products including some butter and simple cheese for myself. When I go AutoMercado I am very careful what I buy and generally come home without spending more then 10,000 colones. I have finished using yeast for my breading making from Mexico and it works the same as what I brought with me from the USA. Since I have started buying raw milk from the <> that comes on my street six days a week, my butter and cheese making has gotten must better. I have enjoyed taking more control in my retirement for making many of the things I would have waited for the Wednesday shopper in Portland, Oregon, to go and buy. I would say that in my first two house houses I lived in were part of my money management living curve and now, since I live like a Tico in a small house and a family owned street, my safety, the good tasting water, and safety are easier then before on my SSA payout. I need I am a single person and no longer making my dog her own food which may account for me being able to stash each month 25% to 40% of my payout for future use.

    in reply to: Alternative options to S.A. corporations in CR #200990

    First this country may look like the USA, but it no way functions like the USA. So everything you have quoted does not apply here in Costa Rica. I would suggest you buy and carefully study Scott Oliver’s book on buying property in Costa Rica. I worked in law offices most of my career in the USA so you need to understand the ways of Costa Rica. Scott does the best job on this subject I have seen written in English. The reason I have my property as a single person is it has to do to access to property without the huge burden of a protracted, expensive process here when either you and/or wife die. After reading Scott’s book, then you need to understand for your particular state the law about trying to have a will in your home state where you might have heirs IF YOU can even add your property here to your USA will. I couldn’t in Oregon because not state court will manage and/or probate property in Costa Rica.

    I have purchased and owned a piece of property here since 2009 and never have been to either build and for health reason live on it. Why? Beautiful view of the mountains but to high up for emergencies health service to come to my aid in time to save my life.

    Your best situation would be from my pint of view is to come here, do George Lundquist’s tour ( I think may still have George’s interviews on this site, and carefully study the advice on ARCR for additional information. I wasted money by buying property here because my house value crashed 2008–2009 which was to be my building fund.

    There is a glut here, some say until 25 years but I don’t know if that is true or not, of houses here in areas of most interest to USA expats. I will totally in TICO neighborhood on a family-owned street which is what I like. But you many need more of the with more interaction with people from our home country. You can find a rental for a few months to a year and maybe even years that fits a budget then if you need to return to the USA for health reasons, you are not adding your house to the glut of high end house already existing here. Also you need to understand that Costa Rica has dozens upon dozens of climate zones so you can find the area where you don’t need to run air conditioning here where the electrical rates are over the top.

    Many come here and many return return in one to three years for many reasons. The biggest one is that they are not prepared to live in a Central American country where so many of their systems, practices, customs and way of life are not visible on a two week trip!

    This is a nice country, I love the people, I love the weather up in the mountains outside of Grecia, but in my daily life here the Ticos don’t care in anyway if you don’t like how to do things. USA consumer goods are expanding here but many thing imported goods can cost a lot of money depending on your monthly budget.

    Come and take George’s tour, he is a honest man and will tell you the truth of living here if you have ears to hear. Before doing that, read Scott Oliver’s books and look at this sight your interviews and postings.

    Moving to Costa Rica has been a great adventure for me because I have to jettison many of my parochial ideas from the USA on how a country should both operate and exist for my convenience and best interest.

    Good luck to you, come and see us, rent for at least a year, don’t let your stateside assets burn a hole in your pocket, and you can find the cool breezes I am enjoying in my house this morning while I write this response. It is a nice morning in San Roque de Grecia and the very good news is I have fresh eggs for breakfront plus the coffee here is worth the move!

    in reply to: What do you recommend we do about Medicare? #173688

    Sir, I did not think of it when I replied to you in September. But Sir, are you or a wife a US military veteran? If you are, honorably discharged, even it you have not militarily related injuries, I would try to get into the Veterans Administration medical system. I was in it in Portland Oregon for a decade and when it was time to sign up for Medicare, they had me only sign up for the non-premium part A. If you come here and only have part A, then when you return to the USA you have to prove to them you have had insurance here in Costa Rica. Meanings you will have to save either your private insurance or if you get residency, the CAJA, all your monthly receipts to prove to Medicare you have had insurance after your 65th birthday. But with the VA, once in the system, always in the system. You can always call them from here and get appointments with them when you return the USA for visits. Just a thought for consideration if you are a vet.

    in reply to: Airbnb in Costa Rica #162790

    Most expats living in Costa Rica don’t bother to pay Costa Rica taxes here as a rule.

    I would think if you rent a rental here in Costa Rica through AirbnB, they will keep your landlord on the straight and narrow. They do have a lengthy process for being someone on their system offering a rental as I have heard from several people here.

    This is not the open system you might find on Craigslist for such listings. I would think if your are concerned about it, a Paypal account would give you some leverage over them.

    But remember there is no small claims courts here and a lawsuit for recovery is very expensive and generally not very successful on the whole against Ticos v. “expats.”

    We have many kind and wonderful “expats” here that are enjoyable acquaintances. Then we have the same unscrupulous fellow citizens as at home.

    Remember this is a very small country so where as in the USA you structure life to avoid such people, here they can come at you like foxes in sheep clothing.

    I would personally ask airbnb how they would protect your as their client in order what are your rights and privileges you have as a member.

    in reply to: Bringing pets to Costa Rica 2015 #203781

    You need to read the articles on these two sites to get a better understanding of Costa Rica that I have listed below. This country is not inexpensive and if you want the beach area, you will pay more than in the mountain areas. Bringing your animals here is not cheap either and about your birds, it could be very difficult. Actually I know a about bringing one 45 lb dog which cost me nearly $1,100 USD including a bride of $300 USD to get her in the country. It sounds like you don’t have funds to get residency, called a Cedula for Residente Pensionado, so you will have to leave the country every 90-days either by bus for Nicaragua or Panama to renew.

    Carefully check these links,


    Don’t, I repeat don’t, and I repeat don’t…come here with out doing both George’s tour and ARCR monthly seminar.

    Why? Is this nothing like living in a beach area of the USA. This is a third world country with a bit better economy then it’s neighbors. This country does no function like the USA in any shape or matter.

    They, meaning Costa Rica, i.e. Ticos, don’t care about you opinions wherever you like that or , pure and simple!

    It sounds to me that if you hate this place after a year or so, you have no resources to flee back to the USA. If you think I am wrong about this let me tell you that many citizens of the USA end up doing that.

    If you don’t carefully read all of Scott Oliver’s books, take George’s tour, go to the ARCR seminar as a preliminary for moving here, you with your stated financial difficulties are flirting with disaster.

    It has taken me two years to learn by three moves I might add, to get my life where I can live on my Social Security here easily. I did all three of the above George, ARCR and I read Scott’s books three or more times. I am single so I had plenty of time in the remainder of my time in Portland, Oregon to study and learn about moving overseas and I still have difficulties here!

    Also and most importantly and this is something most Americans ignore, you need to read about the psychologically of being an “expat” from your own country, the USA. Why? For every year you are gone from your hometown i and you return to is like being gone five years. You can find some interesting articles done by Brits on this subject because so many British move to Spain for a time and then return home for health or other issues and don’t adapt very well back into British way-of-life.

    Finally, moving a beach area I will predict your air conditioning will cost more than in the USA. Electrical rates are high here, in some cases even higher than the USA!

    Build yourself a support system for moving here and that doesn’t mean everything on read on blogs. A lot of people lie on blogs, and unfortunately I have met so many Americans here that take enjoyment on both the Internet and in person who enjoy telling “porkies’ as the Brits say.

    I love in Grecia in the mountains and if you come for a preliminary visit I would be interested to meetup with you after George’s tour and the ARCR seminar to take you around the town I live in to explain why consumer goods and food items here can cost you so much.

    in reply to: Your safety & security in costa rica – police salaries #202504

    I am sorry Scott that were threatened by an American. I know you lived in the States long enough to know that “violence” is our middle name as a nation! Keep yourself safe, you are one of the good people here that is enjoying the hospitality of Pura Vida!

    in reply to: Your safety & security in costa rica – police salaries #202503

    Read the attached link for starters. See:

    Remember several things about moving here: If you have legal residency you are in a better situation then if you come here and become a 90-day wonder who has to leave to renew your “tourist visa” every quarter.

    Also, if you have legal residency, you still have to belong now have to belong to the national health system (CAJA) as does your wife and any children. Even if you decide to not use the CAJA but private health, you have to still pay each month.

    Also, nothing, I mean nothing here is like the United States and our system.

    You can hide out in different “expat” areas, but in the end you have to do it the Tico way.

    Finally, this is important, these are nice people, nice country, with beautiful weather, but they meaning Ticos in now way care if you don’t like the way they operate or if you have to belong to the national health care system if you are opposed to socialist medicine.

    I have never seen a Tico with a gun on their hip but for the police and/or security guards driving the money vans around my town.

    If what you are asking about is the most important to thought you have about moving here, you would be better off staying in Texas.

    in reply to: Bringing dog to Costa Rica #200566

    If you have access to United Airlines they are the most seamless way to do this. They have a great website that explains all, Also if you call and talk with them, they will do the following that is very IMPORTANT for coming into Costa Rica. One, they will book your dog first on a flight AND THEN you can book yourself<—IMPORTANT as you don't want your dog sitting in the Customs Warehouse in SJO and you still transit. Second, United has an agent in the SJO airport area who can come an pickup your money and go and pay your import duty on the pet(s). This agent is bond to do this so you can stay at the Warehouse until they are released. Three, make certain all shots, vaccinations and health examinations must be done by a vet who is authorized to sign a USDA form APHIS FORM 7001 (INTERNATIONAL HEALTH CERTIFICATE (H/C)). Go to this link and you will see the instructions I used for getting the signature of the USDA area vet in for the Pacific Northwest APHIS FORM 7001. I don't know what other airlines do, but I was compelled to use United because I was leaving from Seattle. They will probably help you even if you aren't flying United. PetSafe employee's are all pet owners and take their information very seriously. I think my Custom's duties for my girl was about $320 when I got her from the warehouse after our arrival. If you need somebody who speaks both English/Spanish for safety sake, I know a person here that has also a big van that can run interference with Custom's and deliver you, the pet(s), and luggage in the Central Valley. He delivered me to the mountains high outside Grecia, Alajuela.

    in reply to: What do you recommend we do about Medicare? #173678

    Your medicare is not available here in Costa Rica. You have three choices: (a.) continue to pay your medicare monthly for all the years you live here in case you need to return to the USA for health reasons; (b.) then apply for residency through the ARCR before you come so that you get all necessary documents before you leave the states (check ARCR website (see, for complete details on their membership fee and their complete details for residency here in Costa Rica); and/or (c.) Buy private insurance here in Costa Rica which will could very well be to expensive for your budget at your age.

    Free advice, this is very important! Don’t move here without coming here for several visits. At a minimum you both need to do George Lundquist’s tour on retire here on your Social Security (see this link, AND the ARCR monthly seminar (see,

    WHY THIS ADVICE? This is not the 51st USA south! I repeat, This is not the 51st USA state south. This country of Costa Rica is in no way functioning like the USA!

    Many, many of our citizens move here to return home in ONE to FIVE years simply because they can’t tolerate the way this country operates.

    If you have a personal income of $3,000 or more a month, then you can very like, very likely is the operative word, here afford to live in the more expensive area where expats are the main source of income and feature of the area.


    Airfares can be found cheaply not necessarily on the discounted airline sites.

    HOW: Example, two-week vacation, start checking the online fares 316 days before you want to travel. All airlines post normally 330 days in advance, example for today 09/09/2015 At least United Airlines is through Thursday, 4 August 2016. So you would need to look for Thursday, 21 July 2016 to Thursday, 4 August 2016 to buy today, 09/09/2015 330 days out.

    ALSO, important: whatever national carrier that serves your hometown, create a free online account with them! Why? If you search for fares INSIDE you account, they will sometimes offer fares that are not available on just the website outside to the general public.

    Let me know if you need any information about Grecia since I have live in the area since September 2013.

    in reply to: Aguas Pluviales Tax Rate #160176

    Go to your water district and ask. I would seriously that each are the same here, but neither are they in the USA. I have lived in three separate district since moving here and now I am in the cheapest ever. Have you looked to see if your district has a webpage or not?

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 158 total)