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Old 07-12-2009, 01:55 AM   #21
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Kroeran,

We think alike. I followed the same path as you and came to the same conclusions--specifically about Costa Rica and Panama. The jury is still out on Mexico.
I first went to Costa Rica in 1973, and returned once more later. At the time I was still pretty good in Spanish. Although I like parts of South America and Mexico, my impressions of Costa Rica were for the most part negative. Some seemed to be various sorts of hustler, trying to sell me whatever. This seemed to be true of many Ticos in San Josť as well as many US expats there.

I didn't encounter or observe any crime. In addition to that plus, another one was that the city was not surrounded by very poor barrios, as many South American cities already were.

I visited an agricultural research station-can't remember what town it was near- somewhere east of San Josť still in the highlands. It was manned by high class people and was very interesting. I also met two expat seamen who lived in or around San Josť with their US expat wives, and in both cases used short wave communications to get their next berths. One couple operated a small coffee plantation and their coffee was excellent.

There seemed to be more than a healthy amount of boozing going on, as well as some innuendo and unhappiness about how the wives occupied themselves while the guys were away. I also met a very together group of Mennonites who ran several dairies around San Josť, and some who ranched up in Guanacaste. Our most enjoyable time was spent with an Afro-Costa Rican couple we met on a bus going down to Punta Arenas. They were from Puerto Limon on the Caribbean side.

Ticos drive just as wildly as most Latin Americans, and at the time at least perhaps worse than Mexicans.

My idea before spending sufficient time down there was to buy a plot in San Josť and make a beach head for a later retirement, but I dropped the idea after looking around enough. Some people told me that I might well return to find my plot already built and occupied by locals. Land was very cheap.

Right now I have a promotional minded relative who is doing residential development down there. Also a long ago girlfriend who is living there with an Australian property sales agent she picked up in Florida. The country seems to be turning into one big gated community.

Ha
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Old 07-12-2009, 09:10 AM   #22
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the chatter on the Panama forum a couple of years ago was that Costa Rica had undergone a government change (from reasonable to more of a marxist type I think it was) and that things were declining and violent crime was increasing.

this may have been promotional propaganda on the part of the panama boosters.
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Old 07-12-2009, 03:15 PM   #23
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I heard that CR was becoming increasingly unfriendly towards expats. On the Panama fora, there were people moving to Panama from CR.
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Old 07-12-2009, 04:32 PM   #24
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Regarding Panama, If you have the stomach for it and a sense of adventure, especially if you have spanish, I believe you can purchase a nice place up in the mountains for lets say 100k (or even better, rent for $400 per month, and there used to be a 20 year tax holiday for new construction), and if you picked the right spot on the mountain, you had no heating or air conditioning expense, and you could generate electricity from a ram pump (water flowing from a well uphill from your house). And then, if you could prove $US 600 government pension income, you qualified under their retiree discount program. And there is more...they actually have american based hospitals with very cheap health insurance. Buying stuff like furniture and appliances is cheap as half the worlds goods pass by on the canal and they just have to haul a container off one of those passing ships once in a while.

The government finances itself from the canal, so they dont need to tax their residents much. Those are the positives.
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Old 07-13-2009, 03:34 PM   #25
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I also met a very together group of Mennonites who ran several dairies around San Josť, and some who ranched up in Guanacaste.
my peoples!

now if only my mennonite grandfather had had the sense to emmigrate to Costa Rica instead of Saskatchewan!
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