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My Readers Write

March 24th, 2010

Good day faithful readers.

Here is another addition of “My Readers Write” Here you will find a few emails asking questions not covered in The REAL Costa Rica or this Blog…. or maybe they are but there is some other twist that I think might be of interest.

As some of these were sent more than 5 weeks ago, I do appreciate your patience. I am just bombarded with email, especially now that readership in The REAL Costa Rica and this Blog is exceeding 63,000 new visits per month.

If this interests you, please read on.

Why have you stopped writing about the new traffic laws?

Because every few minutes the *&^(*^ government is changing their minds.  They have reduced many of the fines by as much as 66%.  The biggies have not changed (drunk driving, reckless driving, etc).  They have written a new law, but now there is pressure on the presidency to veto it! Despite the high fines, it appears the new (OK the old new laws of March 1) are quite popular.  Complicating all of this is that the transitos (traffic police) do not seem to be enforcing much of anything except the biggies. Basically, I just got tired or writing one thing only to have it change the next day.  Once the new new law has passed, I’ll probably update the info.

Car inspection was due by March 1. It did not pass. Repairs have been made; I have another appointment with riteve on March 26.
If I drive the car now and get stopped, can I be fined?  I have proof of the first inspection and upcoming one in the car.

Well here is a surprise!  It will depend entirely on the mood of the traffic officer who stops you.  He certainly can ticket you. Now whether he will???

What would be a good business to open in Costa Rica where I could hire local Costa Ricans to work it?  Retail or tourism would meet my needs.  Such as an inbound tour operator.  I am very experienced in this area.

There is probably no business more difficult to start here than anything connected with tourism. That includes hotels, B & B’s, travel agencies  or tours.  Marketing those businesses is nearly impossible without a huge advertising budget as there are only about 20,000 other companies here and in many other countries all competing for the Costa Rica tourist buck.  Good luck.

We’re on our way, driving!!!  Blake’s always wanted to do the PanAm highway thing, so we’re doing it.
…I’m planning on blogging our trip.  The link is here.   I’ve linked your website in several prominent places….thought you might be interested.      We’ll be in the San Jose area occasionally….hope to see you there.

I added this email so my readers who are interested can follow their adventure.  I get emails all the time about driving to Costa Rica via the Pan American Highway, so here is your chance to follow these folks!

For some reason there seems to be a problem with the website The REAL Costa Rica. When you hover over the links bar on the left (residency law, for example) it may or may not open the next drop-down box. But even if it does or doesn’t, you can’t access any other links without refreshing the page. I’m using IE8, and it has worked in the past. The only difference is that now I have Windows 7 instead of XP.

I actually have been receiving this question more and more since Vista and Windows 7 came out.

The issue is probably your PC.

VISTA and Windows 7 are memory hogs and really need a minimum of 512 MB of memory to work properly. One GB is preferred regardless of what Microsoft may tell you.  If you have less, you will experience these issues on many web sites using advanced scripting for menus.  In fact, your whole systems will operate slowly, especially if you have multiple programs/browser windows running.  If you do have sufficient memory, then the issue is very possible just that you are using an older PC running an old/slow microprocessor .

I read the article on gay and lesbian travel but what about interracial couples traveling in Costa Rica?  Is there an open prejudice in any area of the country?

Not really, at least none that I have ever heard of. In general, there is far less prejudice here of any type, though of course it may exist.  There are a lot of interracial couples living here and nobody seems to pay much attention. If anyone wants to comment on their personal experiences, please do so!

I am really a bit upset.  I wrote to you in January (copy attached) and just received a reply from (name withheld) yesterday! I suppose she is an employee?  That is 45 days.  If you cannot promptly answer people when they write to you, why do you even give that option?

Fair question!  When I first published the RCR web site, I received maybe 6-10 emails per month, and I answered all of them personally.

Then, about the time George Bush became president (maybe a year later), that number increased to about 10 per week and I answered all those emails personally.   W was none too popular!  Many of these people wanted to leave the USA and move to Costa Rica.

Then, just less than a year ago, the number of emails began to increase enormously with more and more people asking about getting out of the USA.  This was about six months after Obama became president.  It appears that he is far more unpopular than Bush ever was, and from the emails I receive, people are willing to do just about anything to just get away from the USA.  Very strange.  I guess things are very bad up there.

In any case, I am now receiving several hundred emails per week from all age groups and all political affiliations. Everyone seems to be scared of what is happening or what is coming and they want to get out of the USA ASAP.  Therefore, I have had to hire a person to reply to all those emails.  She just cannot handle the load and it can take weeks to get your reply. I am sorry that you had to wait, but the situation in the US seems to be just out of control.  NOTE: DO NOT make comments that I am anti Obama.  I am not… nor am I pro Obama.  I live here, and I do not have to deal with whatever is happening up there. I am just reporting a phenomena.

My wife and I are considering retirement in CR in a couple of years.  She is an excellent figurative sculptor, and would like to continue being creative.  She would like to sell her artwork on her own, or perhaps through a gallery, and may want to teach sculpting classes as well.

Artists are an exception to the work rule.  She can work her doing sculpting and sell her goods via a gallery.  As for teaching, I think not. There are many fine sculptors here so I am guessing that teaching would be questionably legal.  To be sure, check with Costa Rica immigration.

Remember though, she must have some form of legal residency in order to live here at all.

OK BLOG fans… that is it for today.  Thanks for being here.

28 Responses to “My Readers Write”

  1. Jacquie on March 24, 2010 12:51 pm

    Thanks for linking to our site, Tim! We are having a really fun time driving and I’d encourange anyone who’s ever had the yen to do it, get off your keysters!

    And for you whiners who don’t like it that you didn’t get a personalized answer mui rapido….get a grip! Tim’s put his site up here, on his own dime and own time. You should be grateful there’s such an accurate and informative site up!

    Great stuff, Tim…I have not read your blog but I guess I’m going to have to. I think I left my bluetooth home, oh well….I have to fly back in a bit so I’ll pick it up then…hate cell phones anyway.

    Cheers, or should I say Fig Newtons?


  2. peter trombetta on March 25, 2010 7:01 am

    As per traffic enforcement. Last week my neighbor got a citation for speeding. It cost him 160,000 colonies or about $275.00. On the same day my brother-inlaw got two citations one for no seatbelt and one for dark window tint more that 30%. It cost him 286,000 colonies or about $493.00. Those costs increase by 3% monthly if not paid. all violations include the 30% tax. A policeman who is a friend of mine told me that the traffic cops are working on commissions with writing citations. You will now see transit cops everywhere giving citations as it has become very profitable for them.

  3. peter trombetta on March 25, 2010 7:10 am

    In addition, be sure that in your vehicle you possess jumper cables, a yellow vest, a fire extinguisher and road triangles. If stopped you might be asked to show them. you could and most likely will be cited if you do not have this. As yet a medical kit is not required but suggest you have one anyway. The traffic stops will first visibly note that you are not wearing a seat beat. you will then be stopped and it can go downhill from there. Drive safe and defensively. Puda Vida all.

  4. Terence Madigan on March 25, 2010 7:30 am

    Just wanted to address the issue of interracial dating/marriage in CR. My wife and I are an interracial couple, have been to CR many times and own property near San Lorenzo. The Costa Rican people are among the friendliest we have met anywhere and have never shown any prejudice. Can’t wait till we’re there full time after retirement!

  5. peter Trombetta on March 25, 2010 3:10 pm

    The Editor recently posted the traffic fines on site. I’m not sure if he included the 30% surtax on top of the fine.

  6. don derkach on March 26, 2010 10:13 am

    What’s happening with the weather in San Jose? Everything you read about the city says the average temperature for March is less than 80 degrees and I’ve noticed that it’s been up in the high 80’s and will be again this week. Here in Florida we’re ending a frigid winter that broke records. By the way, hooray for Obama. It’s about time we had health care for everyone. The Republicans whose motto is “I got mine, screw you, go figure out how to get yours,” are furious and even violent. Of course the Democrats say “You got it, so give me some” The bottom line is health care now cannot be denied to those already sick along with a bunch of other benefits including monitoring the greedy Insurance companies. “For profit” and “health care” simply do not go together.

  7. Mary on March 26, 2010 10:37 pm

    Traffic officers can not give you a ticket if you didnt pass the inspection. You have one month to fix your car, and during that time, they cant give you a ticket.

  8. Tim on March 27, 2010 3:16 pm


    Where is your source for this so I can verify?

  9. Dwayne on March 27, 2010 11:42 pm

    Can anyone give me information about shipping your car to Costa Rica as to which company is the best shipper what are requirement to ship. I understand that there are taxes on the vehicle when you ship it to Coata Rica. I have tried the customs website I do not understand what they meant by class of vehicle called my insurance company and they had no idea or what class type they needed. Also I needed to know if you can ship the car to Costa Rica without residency.

    Any information would be much appreciated.

    Thank you

  10. steve on March 28, 2010 1:03 pm

    aloha, i too have had problems viewing your webpage and it is frustrating not to be able to enjoy your site as intended. your explanation of the cause while probably accurate is not very helpful.
    most if not all new Pcs come with vista or 7.
    this is something we can do little about. i dont believe many new pc owners will go back to 98 in order to view your webpage.
    it might be better,for the clients if the webmaster while familiar with capabilities and incapabilities of the various operating systems adapt their pages to function properly on the current and evolving systems that more and more people will be using.
    alternatively if you have a suggestion on how to change some setting in vista so it will handle your pages that would be helpful as well.
    i have enjoyed what i have been able to access easily.

  11. Tim on March 28, 2010 4:53 pm

    I think you missed the point. It is NOT Vista, Windows 7 nor IE8. It is your PC.

    I can use any of the above and see the web site with no problem. In fact, the code is optimized for all of the above.

    Try downloading a better browser that use less memory… like Firefox or Google Chrome. Should work just fine.

  12. Jessa on March 28, 2010 10:39 pm

    Hi Dwayne Re- your car question.

    We own property a few mins from Tamarindo. Email Barry at http://www.shipcostarica.com he helps lots of people get there stuff. He will give you a quote by email.

    Hope this helps. Jessa

  13. steve on March 28, 2010 11:09 pm

    i have a brand new high end computer and use firefox, most recent edition.
    thanks for your response… i will play with it a little and see if it helps.

  14. Cyril Alvares on April 2, 2010 10:20 pm

    Dear Tim
    Wishing you and ML and all those at RCR web and blog and your fans a blessed Easter. May the Risen Lord bless you all and shower upon you His Love, Mercy and Peace.

    Abu Dhabi

  15. Lance on May 29, 2010 4:05 pm

    Strange how so many people expect you to spend your time and effort responding to their emails at no cost to themselves. So far as I am concerned, you ought not to spend any time apologizing to anybody for a delayed response or no response. You owe nobody an explanation for anything.

    A practical Canuck.

  16. Tyler Walters on June 16, 2010 12:35 am

    I know this is a little late for this blog post but just thought it might be helpful anyway.

    Regarding the issue with the website not working correctly with not enough memory:

    The code for your website is out of date. If you switched to a tableless CSS layout it would cut down quite a bit on memory usage.

    You could also combine your blog and your website together. WordPress makes an excellent content management system and it already uses a CSS layout instead of a layout with tables.

  17. Karry on June 20, 2010 2:45 pm

    WOW! I am impressed with the wealth of knowledge about CR all tied up into a spiffy website. I’ve been searching for this kind of stuff for a long time and usually get some commercial (useless) offering.

    THANKS A LOT….and keep up the great work.

  18. Justice on August 4, 2010 5:05 pm

    Obama is quite popular actually. He brings back the idealism of the Kennedys and the “if we work together” ethic of true Americans. Unfortunately it is too little too late for his kind of leadership. The mess with the healthcare reform proved that. No matter what he does – the senate will mess it up. This country is not a dictatorship – it is a mess of selfish people in power – all you gotta do is read the Costa Rican History to see that this is just more of the same. We are a country built on lies and money. Human value has been reduced to ____. Since Reaganomics this country has been going to hell with greed and corruption. There are few if any laws left in place to protect the people from the greed of corporations and such. America is run by Oil and Insurance companies – banks and investment companies and their lobbyists. Our senate is corrupt with self serving politicians and the American people are left for dead. It became very clear their was no hope for us – that even President Obama would not be able to straighten this mess up. Baby Bush really made sure there would be no way out for his predecessor – no matter who it was. President Obama may prolong the death of this country but death is inevitable. Out of the ashes rebirth will happen but we know not when or how. I do not know what to do to be part of the solution. President Obama is a good leader but we are a country divided – again. That is why your website is getting so many hits since President Obama took office – not because he is unpopular but because the ideals of America are lost. The good news is that those of us looking for a better country/government are those that are intolerant of the abuses we are suffering now and seek refuge. Those that would come because of the intolerance of President Obama are people I am pretty sure I do not want to know. History shows us that what we resist – (it) persists. The tyranny we fought (any war) when we came to America is the same tyranny created here again – now. I do not really understand how this human condition occurs – we flee only to recreate (in time) the same pattern we left from in the first place… Watch out wherever we flee – it is inevitable in time until we wake up from our self serving egoic patterns and realize we all share the same planet.

    I believe your business comes from our hopelessness and powerless feeling here. I strive to find a better life where people matter to one another and the government represents the people – not the money. I like President Obama and what he stands for. Just wanted to let you know. I was offended at your (posted) opinion especially since you do not know what is happening here – I am pretty sure the majority of us are baffled at what is happening here – pretty sad. Justice.

  19. Rebecca Briggs on August 15, 2010 5:23 pm

    Tim, you mention all the companies you own…just curious what they are. From all my readings so far on your site, you give tours and do some computer IT-related work. I have been learning a ton from you and plan to read EVERYTHING you’ve got.

  20. Tim on August 18, 2010 9:15 am

    While I appreciate your comment, that is not the issue. I get over 50,000 new visitors and from what I can see and from those who wrote about that (one email every two months), that is not the issue. CSS is certainly more state of the art… I agree… but frankly, unless it become a far more serious issue, I cannot spend the time re-doing that menu for several hundred pages.

    Want to do it for me? 🙂

  21. John on October 20, 2010 10:41 am

    Hi Tim,

    Your site really stands out among the thousands of others devoted to Costa Rica. It’s unique because it’s useful – in the practical sense of the word (I guess selling fantasy is useful too, for those who like to dream).

    I noticed the exception to the pensionado work prohibition for artists that you mentioned would probably apply to the sculptor above.

    Any idea if the same concept extends to writers? And if so, would it be limited to fiction writers (arguably creative, in a way that a journalist isn’t)?

    Along the same lines, I assume that running a website is considered running a business. Is it then considered a violation of the law prohibiting a pensionado from working if he writes the code and/or the content for the site?

    Inquiring minds want to know. Any illumination you can furnish appreciated.


  22. Tim on October 22, 2010 10:44 am

    Most creative types can work here so long as they are not working for someone else (ie a writer working for a newspaper which would require permanent residency, ***BUT in all circumstances, they must have legal residency to live here. Period. No exceptions.

  23. David H. on November 8, 2010 5:26 pm

    I did want to comment on a couple of the previous posts. First, according to one person in particular, they stated that Obama was ‘very popular back here in the states’. MAYBE TO THEM, but DEFINATELY NOT TO EVERYONE. I believe his UNpopularity is the main reason for the influx of visitors to your site, and the increase of all of the emails you have been receiving recently. I DO know that because of many of his policies, and decision making that he has been doing since he became president is DEFINATELY one of the reasons we are looking into relocating to Costa Rico. I myself am a disabled veteran by the way, and I love the US, but for now I have had enough of the way it’s going.

    The final comment I have is directed towards a statement that you had offered as a ‘fix’ and the reason for the problems people encounter with your website’s menu. This next part in no way, shape, or form is meant to offend you at all, but only to assist you, and offer you some additional feedback that I hope you find helpful to some extent. It really is NOT ALWAYS due to the person’s ‘computer’ as you said. I DO have a BRAND NEW, up to date, high powered computer with tons of memory both in the hard drive and with the ram. My computer lacks for nothing, and I never have issues on any other website. There REALLY must be some type of small glitch hidden somewhere within your site, and you should have the webmaster look into it a bit deeper whenever you get the chance to tell him/her about it. My very last comment is to thank you for putting up such a great & helpful source of information for everyone to see & learn from. THANKS A LOT TIM!!!

  24. Tim on December 8, 2010 12:25 pm

    I made some changes to the RCR menu system (not the blog) even though we have never been able to duplicate the issue. If anyone is still seeing the menu problem, email me and give me the details. Changes were made last FRIDAY… so only contact me if you are currently seeing the problem AND if you have deleted CACHE in your browser and done a refresh!

  25. Tristan on January 20, 2011 12:14 pm

    Hi there Tim,
    Thank you for your informative website. I am interested in living abroad, but not because of politics (pro-Obama) but because it sounds fun.

    I am a working musician and wonder if I could perform, play for hire and teach a little, privately there as I do here. I play harp and piano. I also work full time as a music therapist for hospice and the dying in their homes and nursing homes. Is there hospice care in Costa Rica? Thank you in advance.


  26. lori on February 20, 2011 8:25 pm

    Hey– just vistied your web site for the first time– very informative!! My Husband and I own part of a house in Bejuco Beach just outside of Jaco. Love our time their!!!!! Not many beaches where you can spend July 4th and only see one umbrella posted up in the sand!!!
    We run a driving school back in New Jersey and I was wondering if you know anything about license requirements for Costa Rica? We want to be able to spend more time in CR but cannot afford it right now— i was thinking about opening a driving school in Costa? Let me know if you have any information—– I also teach yoga sooooo

  27. Bruce Deery on May 7, 2011 2:47 pm

    greta Blog…thanx for all the info…coming at the end of the month for some major dental work…

  28. B Hall on December 21, 2014 1:22 pm

    Enjoy your site! Comment….The guns laws are or seem to be very strict. I guess that’s why everyone has bars on the windows and doors!!!! I never lock my doors to my house, cars, etc when I leave my property in the US. Who is the prisoner in Costa Rica?

    Your cost of living prices are grossly understand. I shop farmers markets, fish markets etc. and still pay 20 -30% more than in the US