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Medical Care and Options Part 2

April 13th, 2016

MedSymThe purpose of this post is twofold.

First, I want to thank the many readers who communicated with me after my last post, part of which discussed what I had learned from my cancer treatments.  I cannot begin to express how much I appreciate the numerous comments and best wishes I received via email, phone calls, and comments from the various ex-pat groups on Facebook.  Thank you so much!  As an update, I have completed all the treatments (last week), and now I wait.  The doctors are very optimistic and tell me that they believe I have beaten this thing.  Feels great.  I will now take various tests about every 90-120 days to confirm their positive prognosis. Again… thanks to all.  Very unexpected but very appreciated.

As for part 2, from the questions I received, it seems I need to clarify some of the info in my past post. Interested?  Read on! Continue reading »

Medical Care and Options in Costa Rica

March 27th, 2016

I was  diagnosed with cancer last year.

While I thought I had a pretty deep knowledge of medical care both private and public (my wife has been with Calderon Guardia hospital, the second largest CAJA hospital in CR, for 34 years), it turns out I was wrong.  In this post I will share some information on health care in this country and the stuff I have learned.

Medical care in Costa Rica is of interest to not only ex-pats living here or wannabe ex-pats with plans to live here…  but to the many thousands of tourists who visit Costa Rica every year for what is known as medical tourism. Medical tourism we can define as people who visit Costa Rica with the express intent of having various medical procedures done here with the expectation that those procedures may be far less expensive than those same services performed in their home country.  In general, those are realistic expectations, but things are changing.  Over the past several years, medical institutions here have learned the medical tourism is big business and they have responded as expected. There are basically two options here for receiving medical care.  Private (aka for profit) and public (aka the CAJA or socialized medicine). If this topic is of interest, please read on… Continue reading »

Help Wanted

March 21st, 2016

There is a lot going on in Costa Rica and I’m always happy to get some help!

With my various obligations, I find I cannot post to this Blog as often as I would like (at least every day), so I’d like to invite a few folks to contribute their thoughts, opinions, humor or whatever to The Real Costa Rica Blog. There are also a ton of subjects about which I know something, but am certainly not an expert. An example might be the wildlife in Costa Rica, churches, etc. Here is a chance to show your expertise!

Continue reading »

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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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 »

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