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February 8th, 2007
I receive a zillion emails, and try to reply personally to all of them (except the ones that are clearly answered in The Real Costa Rica or are written by folks too lazy to just read the relevant page… but I digress! Over the holidays, the sheer numbers of emails increase AND I am run ragged by my wifey and businesses and have less time to reply. These emails were sent from The Real Costa Rica, The RCR Guest Book and Hisfault.
Some of the questions are pretty good and my reply may be of interest to others… so here they are! As always, I generally do not edit emails though I DO protect the identity of the writer as, sadly, some folks appear to be borderline literate. I may also shorten them a bit showing only the relevant question.
I am gogin to be in Playa Grande area soon and would liek to know where teh nearest Catholic Church is. KNow of anyone I coudl email for wheres and whens?
This is a seriously Catholic country. As such you will never be farther than a few hundred yards from a Catholic church in nearly any town in Costa Rica.
What would be avg rent of a house 2 bdrm of a annual salary of 35000? near beach anywhere in costa rica
One thing, do you have the names of some reputable dentists/doctors in CR that you could forward on to me? I will be travelling over frequently and badly need some attention to my smile!
I get a LOT of these emails. I generally do not make these recommendations except to those folks who have actually moved and are living in Costa Rica. Just like in the US, many (especially cosmetic dentists) are overpriced and cater to “rich” foreigners, and I will not assist in their promotion. I have a new dentist, and I will recommend her AFTER at least one or two years as it takes that long to determine if a dentist is doing a good job. Most can do fine for cavities… it is the more evolved stuff that takes time to evaluate.
… We plan on looking for a nice area that is safe, and friendly on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. Any local knowledge you can give, or suggestions from your own experience would be great! Thanks. I am an avid surfer, so I will be bringing my board too!
First, the Caribean side is almost like a different country. It is generally hotter and more humid at any time of the year. It also (despite what many say), wetter. It is also worth a look if you are thinking about a move to Costa Rica. It is raw beautiful and not overbuilt.
However, I do not ever make recommendations as to where to live in this country. There are just too many options and I compare making suggestions as to where to live as me choosing what toothbrush is best for you. You have to try it. Time and again, I tell people NOT to buy anything when they first arrive. Spend at least six months to a year exploring the country. There are so many excellent choices, but where depends on you. Do you like the heat and humidty of the beaches? Many do. I do not. Other factors may include proximity to important infrastructure like theaters, shopping (not much on that coast BTW), and medical care. The latter is very important for those of you not on the sunny side of age 60! Medical care, and by this I mean serious emergency care, is generally not available at the beaches, east or west. Can you afford to be a 3-5 hour drive to San Jose if you suffer from any serious health issue? A stroke? Heart attack? While there are certainly facilities in these beach areas, they do not compare to the services offered in the Central Valley by the Cima or Clinica Bilblica hospitals or even the local CAJA hospitals.
In any case… LIVE here before buying. Learn the culture and the country, and remember that about 40% of those who move here return “home” in a year or less. In fact, I would urge anyone coming here to not enter into any arrangment that cannot be “undone” with a few phone calls. Living here is NOT the same as visiting, or as I am fond of saying, the tourist Costa Rica is not The Real Costa Rica.
Finally, the surfing on the Caribbean side is beyond dangerous. Unless you are rated by your peers as a near-pro, be so very careful. The reefs and coral are killers and the seas on that side are very different than on the west coasts.
Thank you for the abundance of information. Very good stuff. Some of it funny, some a little scary. Not quite sure if I should be excited about moving to CR or scared to death!!
The answer to the question you did not ask is, “Be both!”.
where are the multitude of good golf courses in cr?
Great question! Every time I think I covered everything in The Real Costa Rica, along comes a question like yours and I realize I blew it. Sadly, doing some research on this, I found there are no really good web sites that list all of them. Odd!
In any case, here are six that I know of:
- Cariari is located just off the Pan American Highway between the San Jose airport and San Jose. Considered by most to be the premier course in the country, it is open to members only, but I believe it is also available to guests staying at the Hotel Cariari. Fairways are diffilcult and appear to be about 9 feet wide. Not true of course, but use your irons anyway.
- Parque Valle Del Sol is located near Santa Ana. Nice 18 hole course, fun but not too challenging. If you see my son out there, tell him to bring back my clubs.
- Los Sueños Marriott is cleverly located at the Los Sueños Marriott close to Jaco. As with a beach areas, it is hotter’n hell so bring your deodorant.
- Playa Conchal Northwest. THE Garra de León Golf Course Garra de León Golf Course is an oceanside course is located in Guanacaste at the Paradisus Playa Conchal Hotel. Very popular course in beautiful surroundings.
- Hacienda Pinilla is just a short drive from the Playa Conchal course. I have no more reliable info on this course.
- The Four Seasons. If you have more money than God, by all means consider this course. It is part of the Four Seasons hotel chain also known as “If you have to ask our room rates, you should not be staying here” hotel. As I do not have such funds… I have no personal experience. In fact, I cannot even afford to visit their lobby which I understand requires a payment of $50 (if you don’t stay over). This may be an urban legend, but I don’t think so!
I also believe there is a course in Tambor, but could not find any info.
The courses above are all 18 hole courses. There are several 9 holers, but for true golf nuts, playing nine holes is like kissing your sister.
This is not a real question. It is a composite of about 50 emails: “We are moving to Costa Rica. How much should we pay for a house, condo, townhome, apartment located on the beach, in the mountains, by a volcano, in the country, in San Jose, blah blah blah.
I am not a realtor and I will never answer these types of questions. I will provide the following suggestions which about 80% will ignore. This is GOOD as it keeps the realtors very happy! You, however, will not be so happy.
Do not buy anything until you have lived here for at least six months and have traveled the country. If you do, you will almost assuredly overpay AND you will be in a location that very likely will not be where you want to live. You MUST learn this country to avoid getting taken. There are no Multiple Listing Services here, and you WILL pay more than you should
Come to Costa Rica and stay a few weeks at a decent aparthotel. This is a combo apartment/hotel with full kitchen, etc. Then explore the SPANISH newspapers such as La Nacion for rentals. This means you must learn a bit of Spanish. When you find something, have a Tico call and verify prices. Then YOU call to see if the price is the same. If so… go take a look. That is how you will save a ton of money and get a nice place to live until you do decide to buy. NOTE: Figure you will overpay by 30-70% if you shop for rentals in a English language newspaper. Ticos are not stupid. They know you will be at a disadvantage if you do not speak the language.
My wife and I want to do a late honeymoon. I have been attracted to Costa Rica because of the tropical setting that some more destinations cannot match. We are looking to go in the Summer (possibly July). Is it worth comming then. I have read that this is peak rainy season. Will there be too much rain? Would the heat be unbearable? I know that I should probably just break down and see a travel agent. But I think this site is fantastic and was hoping you might have a suggestion.
Is a “late honeymoon” also known as a vacation? Got kids?
Like the real estate questions, I generally do not give travel advice as I just don’t know you. I will, however, provide a but of guidance about some of your concerns. First, read this. If you come in the rainy season you will save money. You just need to plan ooutdoor activities for the morning as the afternoons will be very wet. This obviously limits your activities and only you can make that decision.
July… and the North American summer is not the hot season here in Costa Rica. The hottest month is March… in the high season.
As for what to do and where to go, break down and speak with a Costa Rica travel agent. By this I mean a travel agent located in Costa Rica. While there are some fine TA’s in the states, many have never set foot in Costa Rica and really have done nothing more than read the literature sent to them by hotels, B&B’s, canope tour operators, white water rafting companies and so on. Many CR travel agents have toll free service to Costa Rica and you can actually speak to someone who lives here and has visited these places and done these things. They can make suggestions based on what your input is to them i.e. your general health, preference for activities, love of heat and beaches, social life, budget, etc. There are so many “hidden” treasure spots here and so often, they either choose not to advertise heavily or are just crummy at marketing themselves. As a matter of fact, next week, I am taking my wifey to just such a spot less than 30 miutes from San Jose that is just delicious! Only a handful of people here know about it. I would guess that 90% of US agents have no idea it exists! Good luck!
Who the hell says, “my brand spanking new wife”. MORON
Or was that you calling ME a moron. Who knows!
Well, I guess I do. Sounds like something I could have said. Thanks for commenting! Gosh! Guess I need”cool” lessons huh?!
The (other) MoronFiled under Costa Rica, Costa Rica Residency, Life in Costa Rica, Living in Costa Rica, Moving to Costa Rica, Questions from Readers, Retire in Costa Rica, Travel | Comments (17)