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Chikungunya has Arrived in Costa Rica

December 15th, 2014

I am never fond of travel advisories because far too often, people overreact to things that are just not all that serious.  On the other hand, I delayed blogging about these two topics until I could get the full picture. Neither is, in my opinion, reason to change travel plans.  Both, however, should be read and absorbed so you can enjoy your time in Costa Rica.

The first is about the chikungunya virus now having arrived in Costa Rica.

The second is about the death of an 11-year-oldchild from a brain infection last July that prompted the Florida Health Department to issue an advisory alert after tests confirmed the infection was caused by an amoeba he contracted while vacationing in Costa Rica. If these subjects are of interest to you… read on! Continue reading »

Using a GPS and Waze in Costa Rica

December 3rd, 2014

gpssatFor the longest time, I have wanted to blog about the use of GPS devices in Costa Rica. I actually asked and received some GPS maps from companies (located in Costa Rica) to test on my Garmin Nuvi. These are pretty much the same maps available online and when you rent a GPS at car rental  agencies in Costa Rica. For tourists especially, a GPS can be pretty handy as this country is well known to have no street names nor addresses. Pretty daunting for many travelers. Anyway, I tested several, and all worked adequately, especially for location hotels and common tourist destinations, they did not work so well once you got off major highways.  In fact, I found it to be common for at least two of the maps to cheerfully tell me to “turn right” from where I was driving on the Pan American Highway!  Only problem? I was between exits!

Another more personal issue was that NONE of them showed MY street… like the one where I lived.  If I entered my GPS coordinates, it happily took me to the street running behind my home and suggested I enter my driveway via my neighbor’s living room. In fact, the entire subdivision where my wife’s daughter lives (for three years now) shows as empty farm field.

It was then that I decided to write this article covering not only GPS systems in general but Waze as well as that is the future of GPS.  Interested?  Read on… Continue reading »

Costa Ricans – What makes Ticos Tick? Culture Shock and Cultural Adjustment

November 30th, 2014

crdanceWhen I first came to Costa Rica (hard to believe that it was back in the past century… late ’90s!) there were two groups of ex-pats here. A few took the time to really learn the language and the culture… others, (maybe most),  not so much. This has changed greatly and for the better.  More and more people with whom I come in contact not only have learned to communicate in Spanish, they are taking more time to learn the “why things are the way they are” part of ex-pat life.

Living here can be a real challenge, and while I cover the language and the culture shock stuff as part of my tours, in the early days, not a lot of people took me seriously.  The Internet portrays a very different place than the REAL Costa Rica.  Not bad necessarily… just different. Interested in this topic?  Read on… Continue reading »

Thanksgiving in Costa Rica – 2014

November 26th, 2014

tgThe ultimate in laziness for a blogger is to reprint an olde post.  OK… Here is a re-print plus maybe a bit new. Check prices!  They may have changed.

Trying to find a good and comprehensive list of restaurants that offer a good Thanksgiving feast in Costa Rica is difficult.  Several sites and user groups offer a few, but nothing really complete.  Hotels often offer Thanksgiving Dinner… quality can GREATLY vary.  Interested in this topic? Read on!

Continue reading »

Costa Rica’s Airport Exit Tax to be Included in Ticket Price

November 24th, 2014

Forever its seems, when you left Costa Rica by air, you paid the ($29.00) exit tax at the airport in a special area to the right of the main entrance at SJO. I am not sure where it was paid in Liberia (LIB). Technically, you could also pay it at at Bancrédito bank branches, or at travel agencies, but I know I never did that nor did many folks I know. The line was actually fairly efficient in SJO, so it generally did not bother many people.  I guess this is now changing! If this topic interests you, read on! Continue reading »

End of year? Marchamo time!

November 23rd, 2014

moneyIf you own a car here in Costa Rica, you probably already know what is marchamo. Marchamo is paid every December and gives you the right to take your car out of the garage (or wherever) and drive it in Costa Rica, i.e. “circulate”. There are over 1 million cars in Costa Rica.  The marchamo payment includes mandatory liability insurance, property tax, sales and other taxes and any traffic fines that you have failed to pay.  Depending on the age and model of your car, marchamo is by no means cheap. Interested in this topic?  Read On! Continue reading »

Duty Free Shopping in Golfito, Costa Rica

March 26th, 2014

SaveOccasionally I get submissions from other bloggers here in Costa Rica and sometimes, I hear about an article written by one of them that would be a great additions to The REAL Costa Rica Blog.  In this case, I contacted the author and requested permission to reprint one of their Blog articles. I got a really good deal from blogger Pat Wegner who writes Blog: Mi Chunche. Don’t bother looking up chunche as you likely will not find it.  It means, for lack of a better word, thing or thingy… maybe even whatchamacallit…  a damned fine and handy word to know if living in Costa Rica and you have no idea how to say some word in Spanish.  Great catchall word!

Anyway, Pat’s fine article appears below and explains the processes and procedures for making a trip to the Southern Zone to do some serious shopping, especially for appliances, electronics and other highly taxed items.  As you will read, it IS an investment in time and money, but if buying a ton of hard goods, can be a very cost saving trip.

Duty Free Shopping in Golfito By Pat Wegner

Have you ever considered a duty free shopping spree in the Pacific town of Golfito?  If this article is of interest, read on! Continue reading »

Thanksgiving in Costa Rica 2013

November 26th, 2013

tgTrying to find a good and comprehensive list of restaurants that offer a good Thanksgiving feast in Costa Rica is difficult.  Several sites and user groups offer a few, but nothing really complete.  Saying that, I am starting this list. It contains almost nothing, but I am asking that my readers:

1. Add in the comments any restaurants that you know offer a Thanksgiving dinner in CR.  Include location and cost and opinion if possible. I will add it here on this blog page.

2. Spread the word by sending this direct link to anyone who you think might add to this list… i.e. eaters :)

Permalink: http://blog.therealcostarica.com/2013/11/26/thanksgiving-in-costa-rica-2013

The List – Please be proactive and add your favs in the comments! I know this is lame… so help me!!

 

As of Turkey Day at 7:30 AM, this experiment was not working well… only a handful of recommendations.  Oh well…. Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers!  Now, go pig out. As on your birthday, calories do not count today.

 

Central Valley

EL PATIO DEL BALMORAL
(2-221-1700 / http://ElPatioDelBalmoral.com http://ElPatioDelBalmoral.com  /  https://facebook.com/pages/El-Patio-Del-Balmoral/138691386226515 )
Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner, along with waldorf salad, mashed camote/sweet potato, calabasa/pumpkin cake, CRANBERRY SAUCE and a glass of wine (regular menu also).
HOURS: noon till they run out (they close the kitchen at 9:45pm)
PRICE: 14,000/$28 (INCLUDES Impuesto and service fee).  Reservations suggested but not mandatory.
LOCATION: San Jose-Centro – Avenida Central – between Calle 7th and 9th

 

Wyndham Hotel Herradura  (old Ramada)

Autopista General Canas        3 Miles South of Intl Airport, San Jose, CR
506-2209-9800         506-2209-9800
Excellent food, but bring your own cranberry sauce!

http://www.wyndham.com/hotels/costa-rica/san-jose/wyndham-san-jose-herradura-hotel-convention-center/hotel-overview

14,000 colones.

Begins at 7 PM

 

Sportsman’s Lodge

Downtown San Jose is the SPORTSMAN LOUNGE  $22.50  all you can eat, glass of wine .  Half price for 65 and over.  Same for women and kids
Caribbean   Thanks to Sarah

La Costa Papito
Puerto Viejo, Limón
$20.00 (I’m assuming this is cada uno)
Tel: 2750 0080

http://www.lacostadepapito.com/

Outback Jack’s
Puerto Viejo, Limón
$20.00/ per
tel: 2637 0407

 

Casino Club Colonial always has a Thanksgiving meal.
Here’s the link for this year. It’s $25 adn includes a beer or wine.

 

South Pacific

Here’s a very good restaurant in Ojochal on the South Pacific coast that is offering the following:
Yes, Azul Rest at El Castillo is offering a traditional Thanksgiving meal with the following menu:

$35 per person (plus tax and service)

Traditional Roasted Turkey
Classic Texas Cornbread Dressing and White Gravy
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Yams done Traditionally with Brown Sugar and Marshmallows
Greed Beans Sauteed with Almonds and Mushrooms
Honey Glazed Carrots
Homemade Rolls

For dessert we will be offering Pumpkin Pie in a Graham Cracker Crust and Layered Lemon Cake.

For a cocktail? How about a Pumpkin Martini

 

Guanacaste Pacific – Las Playas

Liberia and The Greenhouse restaurant has a five course Thanksgiving dinner for $30. Their food is extraordinary and the service and atmosphere are awesome. Located across from Ciprosal ferrateria on the main road from the Liberia airport.

Restaurante Louisiana- Playas del Cocos, Guanacaste – $40.00 includes 1 hot, 1 cold appetizer, Thanksgiving dinner, dessert and 1 glass of wine.

 

 

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Reading in Costa Rica – A How-To Guide for the 21st Century

October 27th, 2013

nookI recently received either an email or a comment from one of my readers asking why I don’t write about devices like Amazon’s Kindle, the Nook, etc. The digital eBook readers. Pretty good idea! So here it is.

My last post covered the affects of humidity on cameras. I hope that it was helpful. Saying that, humidity can do a real job on books as well. If not stored properly, they too can develop mold and mildew (sp. hongos). I know folks that actually shrink wrap books to protect them. Too much hassle for me. I use the latest in gadgets. 21st century stuff!

If this topic is of interest… read on!
Continue reading »

Cameras and Humidity in Costa Rica

October 19th, 2013

nikonPhotography has always been enormously popular not only with the tourists but with many ex-pats living here in Costa Rica.  It is one of my favorite pastimes. I have had and used several excellent film and digital cameras here in Costa Rica including an Olympus, a Mamiya, and my current cameras, Nikons).  What I am going to discuss in this post is probably more directed to ex-pats who live here full time, but may be of interest to those staying here for shorter periods.

The topic is humidity and its affect on cameras in the tropics.

If this topic is of interest, read on….

Continue reading »

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