The Costa Rica Expat Scene

Expats in Costa Rica

“Myopic” would probably best describe this post. The vantage that I have of the Costa Rica expat scene will be purely autobiographical, what I have seen and some of what I have heard in my 16+ years of living full time in Costa Rica both as a father of a family of 5, an Internet … Read more

Hungarian Goulash and the New Costa Rica Drivers License Law

This question just in from a client.
 
Question: As you probably know Tarminda (name changed) and I are perpetual tourists.
 
There is a driver’s license article in the new Ballena Tales. I think it basically says that you can’t get a CR license w/o a Cedula (residency card). And, that if you are pulled over w/o a valid Costa Rica license, your vehicle can be impounded and your insurance is null and void, even if it is paid for.
Police will check your drivers license for validity.
 
Do you know if this is accurate?  If so, it does not appear that there is a way to stay in CR past 90 days and drive legally.  Thoughts?
 
We can talk about this when we get together too.  It is just a little disconcerting to think I may be driving w/o insurance even though I have a policy that was just paid for this month.
 
My response:Hello Dingmeister (name changed),

Your foreign driver’s license is valid here for 3 months at a time. 

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Good and Inconvenient Living in Costa Rica

A metaphor for life in Costa Rica

Living here in Costa Rica’s southern pacific zone, or “Costa Ballena” as it is called, has some interesting quirks. Quirks that, when considered as a list can make one wonder why this place is frequently referred to as “paradise” and achieving the “dream”. Here are some examples of what I mean:

  • You live on a “public road”, but you pay for your road care with your cooperative neighbors
  • The U. S. Government has worked it so that expat citizens must disclose their Costa Rica bank accounts to the Treasury Department on their tax returns. I hear mixed numbers about this, but I understand that there are only about 2 countries in the world that require annual tax filing from their expat citizens, the US being one of them.
  • Ditto for disclosing your Costa Rica corporations
  • Emergency medical care can take a while to get to you, like when you are lying on the side of the road, waiting for an ambulance
  • You hear prowlers outside of your gorgeous ocean view home – the police have no gas for their vehicle, so you call your neighbors
  • You bring a book with you to the bank so you can pass the time waiting for the next available teller
  • Un-cared for domestic animals
  • Rip tides
  • Sun
A metaphor for life in Costa Rica
A little rough on the outside, but sweet and healthy on the inside.
OK, so I got carried away there with my list of inconveniences that accompany living in Costa Rica. Maybe I’ll do one of those “You know you live in Costa Rica when…” lists.
I suspect that life in Costa Rica is much like life elsewhere and that all of us members of the human species like to gripe about various aspects of life, wherever we are.  The above list is, for the most part, meant to be informative to those that don’t live here. This list could easily have been extrapolated from conversations overheard at the neighborhood soda (Costa Rican restaurant).

However, I contend that…

the lack of such services here in The Zone, may have something to do with

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Where Is Costa Rica? 13 Million People Want To Know

Costa+Rica+Secret+Beach

I know what you’re thinking, “That’s beyond obvious, Mr. Guy In The Zone.” For those who tune into this blog on a regular basis, I agree… BUT, did you know that the search term “Where Is Costa Rica” gets over 13 million global monthly Internet searches? Two things came to mind when I saw this statistic—

  1. The Pura Vida Buzz, a phenomenon I will expand upon below
  2. Rising Interest in Vacation and Retirement
Costa+Rica+Secret+Beach
Searching for Costa Rica…?

The Pura Vida Buzz — The last time I asked the question “Where is Costa Rica?” I was waaaaay back in college.  My roommates were surfers, and they mentioned Costa Rica as a possible surf destination.   Search engines weren’t as populated with information in the early-90s, but there were a few travel books in the local bookstore.  The thing I remember jumping out at me was the color green.  Whether it was the frogs, the jungle, or the aerial views…

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Getting Health Insurance in Costa Rica

Photo of a stethoscope for the article on health insurance in Costa Rica

I am 53 years old and have just gone through the process of applying for private health insurance. There are two types of health care in Costa Rica. One is socialized medicine. All residents of Costa Rica are required to pay into what is called “caja” (KAH-hah) insurance. This runs me about $25 per month. … Read more

Why Baby Boomers Are Buying Real Estate And Retiring In Costa Rica

The U.S. Census Bureau defines the Baby Boomers as those born between January 1st, 1946 and December 31st, 1964. As of January 1st, 2011 more than 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65 per day, a pattern that will continue for the next 19 years. The question isn’t if there will be a lot of people … Read more

Interested in Costa Rica real estate as an investment. They primarily live somewhere else, but they own property in Costa Rica for the asset appreciation potential as well as possible rental income. Some just buy and hold (land-bank). For developed properties, the investor has a vacation home to visit as desired.

Migrators spend a regular amount of time in Costa Rica during each year.

Re-locators are those that are looking to move to Costa Rica from wherever they are. They will live full-time in Costa Rica.