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Organ Donation in Costa Rica… Oh… and Grab a Kleenex.

January 24th, 2016

I thought that I might share this short video. The content of course crosses international boundaries, but the idea is to get you thinking,

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Donating your organs is possible in Costa Rica.  Theoretically you can do it via your residency card or drivers license.  Your might be able to do it through your attorney.  Sound vague? Welcome to Costa Roca

Also… There seems to be some conflict though as it is unclear who owns your body after death.  You or your survivors.

Anyway, by all means think about donating organs.  It’s a good thing.

Zika Virus – A Travel Alert but NOT for Costa Rica… Yet!

January 19th, 2016

ta2I am getting a ton of email asking about the Zika Virus.  In fact… so many emails that I felt I needed to post the hot skinny on this disease.

Most important is the Zika has not yet arrived in Costa Rica.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that it is now in about 19 other countries, and I know that a lot of folks visiting Costa Rica have travel plans that will take them to one of these other countries.

The next important thing is that Zika has very few symptoms, BUT can have devastating affects to the unborn children of pregnant women who contract this disease in any other other other countries.  Babies are born with very small skulls and apparently some brain damage.

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

Cost Rica Caribbean Coast is Pretty Much Isolated

June 27th, 2015

Weather conditions have worsened and for all intents and purposes, the Caribbean side of Costa Rica has been cut off not only for travel but much of communications.  The most affected are Siquirres, Matina, Sarapiqui, Turrialba, Limón, Talamanca and Valle de la Estrella.

The only way to the Caribbean area is Route 10 (Paradise-Turrialba-Siquirres) and is regulated.

rt32floodingOn Route 32, at KM 25, a landslide of an estimate  4 billion cubic meters  has closed the highway completely.  Other massive flooding has temporarily affected the fiber optic line disrupting the cellular and fixed phone service near Sarapiqui.

Obviously my readers here in CR know all about this, but folks visiting Costa Rica may well want to find out the current situation on the Caribbean side before setting off. Conditions are dangerous.

Below is a video sent to me by a friend near Guapiles. It pretty much shows the incredible flooding and while in Spanish, it is not hard to understand what he is saying.

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Tim

Route 32 San Jose to Puerto Limon Closed

June 24th, 2015

32This major route suffered landslides and will be closed likely until Monday and perhaps longer. Travelers to the Caribbean costs should check the status of this highway before traveling route 32. Rains will continue, so even if open, take extreme caution when traveling along this road.

While there are other routes, they take much longer and may be affected by the heavy rains.

Photo courtesy of La Nacion

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 »

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