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Costa Rica Update
Old 07-20-2009, 11:19 AM   #1
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Costa Rica Update

We spent a month in the little surfing village of Nosara CR, in the Guadacanaste area of CR (Pacific side), considering whether we could live there full time with our two boys (10 and 12).

We have freinds there with three kids and they really wanted us to move down, and we had a great time with them but we decided in the end not to move. It looked to us like our friends were really struggling to make ends meet, with the high cost of food, housing and especially the private school at $7k per kid. They have been there three years, and they just didn't look all that happy to me like they first did. I think all the bureacratic BS you have to put up with to get the little things done may be getting to them. Things that are no problem here in the states like car registration, getting a driver's license, paying bills, car repairs, having constant electricity (lol) are major ordeals in CR due to the central government making a mess of many things. I wonder how much longer they will stay.

Another major factor for not doing it was the school issue. We would have to get our 12 year old set up in a home school group since the private school does not go that high, and we didn't think that would be best for him at this time in his life.

Anyway, my dream of being a full time surfer will have to be put on hold it looks like, but we still plan to try to take a trip or two down there each year and use it for a cool vacation spot.

We are now back in Texas fighting 100+ temps and no rain, and I'm casting around looking for something to do since my wife decided to go back to work as a public school librarian. I may start selling some used cars for pocket (surf trip) change and to have a place to go during the school year while the rest of the family is at school or work.
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Old 07-20-2009, 11:54 AM   #2
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Last year we spent a week in Flamingo Beach, also in the Guanacaste region, and I am not surprised by your decision against moving there. The beaches are beautiful, but there are ugly juxtapositions of poverty and wealth, virgin forest and outlandish real estate development that we found disturbing.
We saw plenty of signs of a land rush but also numerous struggling or failed developments. We stayed in a big resort, but it was about 1/4 mile from the beach with nothing but jungle between it and the ocean. We saw lots of large, new beachfront homes for sale, but the prices seemed high considering they were often rather isolated and accessible only by long poorly-maintained dirt roads.
All in all, the tradeoffs didn't seem favorable to us.

This is the view from a "soda" (Tico term for beach bar/cafe) at sunset.
Pura Vida!
IMG_0018.jpg
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Old 07-20-2009, 12:40 PM   #3
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Thanks for sharing your update - your insights are very helpful!
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Old 07-20-2009, 01:47 PM   #4
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You know you had to try it to put the dream to rest. I think part of being an adult is admitting that sometimes what you think is right for you is actually wrong. I often see Costa Rica featured on House Hunters International and the prices people are paying for houses are crazy. It's fine if you are into water sports, but personally I think there has to be a bit more of a wider variety of things to do.
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Old 07-20-2009, 06:14 PM   #5
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I often see Costa Rica featured on House Hunters International and the prices people are paying for houses are crazy
Funny you say that, because House Hunters is supposed to be filming where we were soon and the house we stayed in is supposed to be one of their possible choices. The owner was asking something crazy like $750K for it, and now he has dropped it to $575K or so. And yes, it is on a dirt road. Very cool house, but no infrastructure at all around there. I don't get it.
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Costa Rican report
Old 07-20-2009, 07:21 PM   #6
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Costa Rican report

I'm floored. You mean it's not possible to move there, live like a monarch on $2K per month and pick up a 22-year-old spouse while you're at it?? Oh, I forgot, Cardude is already married

Nonsense aside, I'm glad you had fun and are moving forward with life. I sense that automobiles are starting to lure you back into their clutches, though! (pun intended )
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Old 07-20-2009, 08:04 PM   #7
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They have been there three years, and they just didn't look all that happy to me like they first did. I think all the bureacratic BS you have to put up with to get the little things done may be getting to them. Things that are no problem here in the states like car registration, getting a driver's license, paying bills, car repairs, having constant electricity (lol) are major ordeals in CR due to the central government making a mess of many things.
I think it's the number one reason that so many expats become repats.

As for selling a few good used cars... you can always do that, right? Would it be better to avoid recreating your old environment and take this opportunity to decide what you want to do when the surf's flat?

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It's fine if you are into water sports, but personally I think there has to be a bit more of a wider variety of things to do.
What... but... um... wider variety?!? There's longboard surfing, and shortboard surfing, and sailboarding, and kite surfing, and stand-up paddlesurfing... how much more variety does mankind need?
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Old 07-20-2009, 08:10 PM   #8
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Nords,

canoeing,
river kayaking
sea kayaking
sculling

ta,
mew
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Old 07-20-2009, 10:46 PM   #9
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Don't get me wrong I enjoy watersports, but I also want to be able to walk to a coffee shop or a decent restaurant when the fancy takes me. When I am partaking the above I would like to do it without dust floating in from the unpaved road or wild creatures crawling about my ankles. Add in I want access to English books without having to pay an arm and a leg.

Truthfully I didn't even think about all the water sports you mention, because it always comes down to the same things on the show: scuba diving, surfing and running around in your fast boat polluting the ocean.
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Old 07-21-2009, 06:23 AM   #10
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[quote=Amethyst;836997]I'm floored. You mean it's not possible to move there, live like a monarch on $2K per month and pick up a 22-year-old spouse while you're at it?? Oh, I forgot, Cardude is already married
Amethyst: Pick yourself up from the floor and come to Spain You get everytihing you want. Well the 22 year old spouse would be a bit tricky. In Spain guys tend to wait a bit -say 30- to get married. But if you are as good looking as your avatar -which I´m sure you are- there won´t be any problems.
But be sure to come to North, Northwestern Spain-you´ll appear even more exotic
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Old 07-21-2009, 08:23 AM   #11
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I'm floored. You mean it's not possible to move there, live like a monarch on $2K per month and pick up a 22-year-old spouse while you're at it?? Oh, I forgot, Cardude is already married

Nonsense aside, I'm glad you had fun and are moving forward with life. I sense that automobiles are starting to lure you back into their clutches, though! (pun intended
You actually could live way cheaper than we did it, and if you don't have kids you might make the 2K level. As for living like a king, maybe not. You can rent for about $500 (not waking distance to the break), utilities would cost you about $200, get a cheap motorbike so fuel doesn't eat you up, cook your own food instead of eating out at all the places catering to the gringos. So sure, it could be done, but just not with my family.

As for the 22 year old spouse, the Ticas are there and available from what I hear. I heard lots of stores of middle aged gringos coming down with their wives but ending up with the hot little Ticas after a while. My wife is just as hot as the Ticas to me, so I just looked. I'm sure the flip side of that works for the gringo women as well (so I don't look like a total pig).

Oh, and nice pun btw. Har har.
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Old 07-21-2009, 08:35 AM   #12
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As for selling a few good used cars... you can always do that, right? Would it be better to avoid recreating your old environment and take this opportunity to decide what you want to do when the surf's flat?
Yeah, I really don't want to do that again yet if I don't have to. And I don't have to, but some of my old car buddies are calling me and trying to lure me back in.

I just have not figured out what I want to do yet, but I'm afraid I need to do something. With my wife now working full time starting in August I just can't see myself puttering around the house waiting on the wife and kids to get home. My surf break here in Texas is 2 hours away, and really only decent during hurricane season in the summer if the storm is far away, and in the winter and spring when the dang water is so cold (for me) so I can't surf that often here.

I really don't want to do the car deal again yet if I don't have to. I only want to do something where I can set my own hours, work when I want to so we can vacation all summer. Selling a few used cars myself from a parking lot would actually let me do that, or opening a small lot and hiring someone would also work (but with way more complexity), but none of that sounds fun at all.
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Old 07-21-2009, 09:53 AM   #13
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If your serious about surfing, you may want to look into Lima, Peru which is a nation of surfers! I live about 300 ft (straight up) from Wakkiki beach, home to the worlds oldest surf club!

Here is an article that may be of interest:
Peru's Surf Specialists - Surfing in Peru, Surfaris, Surf camps and more

International schools run about $1,000 per month/per child,if your spouse works there you get a discount.

Beyond that a family of four can live in Miraflores (safest area) for about $3,000.00 a month or less if you own a house/apartment and your VW microbus!
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Old 07-21-2009, 07:40 PM   #14
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[quote=vicente solano;837092]
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Amethyst: Pick yourself up from the floor and come to Spain You get everytihing you want. But be sure to come to North, Northwestern Spain-you´ll appear even more exotic
Thank you for the lovely compliment. Sorry to disappoint you, Vicente, but my avatar is the only blonde thing about me.

I am what they call "Black Irish" - curly brown hair, brown eyes, and fair skin. My mother was an Irish citizen (Dublin) before her family came to the U.S. We always joked about Irish coastal folks having some Spanish blood, because when the sailors from the 16th Century Spanish Armada were washed up on shore after the storm, they settled down with Irish girls. There are lots of sailors in my family, which proves it's all true!

(Also, I am married--to a blond!--so the 30-year-old spouse will have to find someone else ).
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Old 07-21-2009, 08:06 PM   #15
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Cardude...thanks for the report. At least you got a taste of it and know you'll enjoy vacationing there...

Amethyst...your comments crack me up!


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I am what they call "Black Irish" - curly brown hair, brown eyes, and fair skin. My mother was an Irish citizen (Dublin) before her family came to the U.S. We always joked about Irish coastal folks having some Spanish blood, because when the sailors from the 16th Century Spanish Armada were washed up on shore after the storm, they settled down with Irish girls. There are lots of sailors in my family, which proves it's all true!
There's mostly Irish and Dutch in my family. But I have straight dark brown hair, brown eyes and an olive complexion. I think there were shenanigans going on somewhere.
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(Also, I am married--to a blond!--so the 30-year-old spouse will have to find someone else ).
I'm married to a guy who used to be a dark blond...now his hair is white. I wonder if it's because of me...
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Old 07-21-2009, 11:54 PM   #16
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We always joked about Irish coastal folks having some Spanish blood, because when the sailors from the 16th Century Spanish Armada were washed up on shore after the storm, they settled down with Irish girls.
I read that the locals killed them every one without pity. Maybe not.
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Old 07-23-2009, 10:56 AM   #17
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maybe they kept a few for breeding ; - )
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Old 07-23-2009, 01:17 PM   #18
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maybe they kept a few for breeding ; - )
Probably. We Spaniards wouldn´t object to that.
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Old 07-23-2009, 01:33 PM   #19
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Probably. We Spaniards wouldn´t object to that.
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Old 07-23-2009, 01:43 PM   #20
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Surprised, shocked, disgusted, nauseated, stunned, awed......what?
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