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April 1st, 2011
Hi again to my faithful readers. Here is yet another addition of “My Readers Write”
In this post you will find both emails and comments asking me questions are generally not covered in The REAL Costa Ricaor this Blog…. or maybe they are answered, 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.
I do correct grammar where practical and some spelling of the various emails/comments, but I do not change the content other than maybe a swear word.
If this interests you, please read on.
…am getting very excited about my impending move there come May when I start a new job as an English teacher. Now my question is about obtaining a drivers license. I am a British national but hold a US license from when I lived there a whole ago. Would this be an issue when trying to convert to a Costa Rican license? Does the passport and license need to be from the same issuing country or does it not matter?
First, as I have written many times, you may not work here legally in any capacity without a work permit or permanent residency (which you could not have). Be aware that you can by summarily deported if caught working here. This is a common scam. Be careful! Do not believe a language school when they tell you that you can get or they can get you a work permit. WP’s are simply not issued for jobs a Costa Rican citizen can do and I can assure you there are a ton of qualified English teachers here. Also, see below for a real case!
You only need your unexpired passport and current drivers license. The process is covered elsewhere on this blog and the main web site.
I am close to a Tico family and I just started a recipe blog out of the kitchen of my Tica “mother” Doña Mireya for fun. She is an amazing cook- full of love-hard work-a true matriarch. I’m trying to help the family out- perhaps generate revenue for them one day.
Take a look- I thought you might know how to direct some traffic my way, as you did for the awesome site, Costa Rican Eateries. I’m at
Consider your efforts “plugged” which I seldom do… but thought my readers my like this.
My wife, Ginny and I, are bowlers and we’d definitely like to continue participating in league play if it is available in San Jose. I appreciate your response to this question. If there isn’t an alley (or two) then maybe San Jose could use one!
There is definitely bowling here and in fact a new alley is being built close to the Mall Cariari. I am not a bowler, but I presume if there are alleys, there are leagues. Comments welcome if anyone knows.
This thing with the dollar going up and down (mostly down!) is driving me nuts. Any ideas?
Not really. The colon is not a traded currency, so the exchange rate (tipo de cambio) is set by local banks, and so far as I can see, it is arbitrary and based on nothing rational. I have read the various explanations and consider them disingenuous at best. The low exchange rate is causing HUGE damage to the economy (exports, etc), but apparently nobody really gives a hoot. Odd. How to protect you? Well I don’t think trying to “guess” the rate will do well… so I suggest keeping 50% in dollars and 50% on colones as a hedge. Not a perfect solution I know.
Lately though (for a couple of month anyway), it has been stable at 495-505 mas o menus. Not sure what that means either.
The REAL solution, of course, as was proposed by the Libertarian presidential candidate, would to dollarize the economy and stabilize the whole mess. Panama does this and their currency suffers none the irrational behavior we are experiencing. Costa Ricans are very nationalistic so this may be a hard sell.
I read about all these warships, aircraft carriers etc and how there a US soldiers all over Costa Rica. Why are they there?
The mis-information about this, turtle eggs, and about 50 other topics is just incredible. We have a large crowd of USA bashers down here who love to spread silliness.
Other than some helicopters and troops that assisted in a humanitarian mission here, there are no troops all over Costa Rica. Those that participated in that mission are long gone. That was/is nonsense.
As for carriers etc? The US/Costa Rica agreement called for a list of ANY possible ships of war that could be used in the ongoing interdiction of drug trafficking from South America to points North. The US, being the US, put every type of ship in the navy on that list. In reality the number and types of ships is a fraction of what is on that list. Aircraft carriers do not do well at chasing cigarette boats.
The ships do have permission to land on Costa Rican shores, but only for support purposes. The only troops I have EVER seen in Costa Rica (since I arrived in the late 90’s) are the Marines stationed at the US Embassy and once at the old 4th of July picnic.
Why are they here at all? Costa Rica has no armed forces and certainly no navy. The do have a Coast Guard, which (I say tongue in cheek) consists of several fishing boats with really big outboard motors. Costa Rica simply is not prepared to stop or control the drug flow North. We are the way point/storage point/transit point for drugs. The highway to all the big users of the North!
While the DEA in the US gets all excited when a few thousand pounds of cocaine are confiscated, here we do tons and tons!
In fact, just last week, one of the French warships off Costa Rica seized several tons of coke (Yes Virginia… the US is NOT alone here. France, the Netherlands, Belize, Guatemala and other countries are all in the military show on both the Caribbean and Pacific sides of the country). The operation took place last week when the speedboat was intercepted by the French frigate, the Ventose. The cartels also use small subs capable of carrying many tons of cocaine. These pass offshore and Costa Rica is simply not equipped to deal with this anti-submarine interdiction. There have also been many semis trailers transversing CR that get stopped at the borders or expressways with even larger tonnage confiscated. Get the idea?
Congratulations on winning that dispute with Nicaragua!
Huh? Ummmm… who said we won? At the risk of being the kid who points out the naked king…. I cannot see that we “won” anything much at all. In fact, it was a bit embarrassing. We got nothing we asked for, and were told to leave what we claimed was “our land”. Yeah, they were told to leave too… So? Remind you of high school? Maybe if we have to claim some victory, they could not dump the dredging junk on our soil… The river San Juan is their river and everyone agrees so, so they can do what they want there. The ecological damage claims we made seem to have been summarily rejected by the World Court. And at the risk of getting some ugly comments, after looking at those disputed maps about 30 times, I still cannot see Costa Rica’s claim of ownership any better than I can see Nicaragua’s claim.
Looks goofy to me. Anyway… thanks.
Sorry to email you out of the blue like this but I have a serious problem and could use your advice.
I was relocated for a “contract” by a company here who said that they would take care of all permits etc. so that I could work legally for 1 year. Unfortunately things went south, our paperwork was stolen on arrival and the company axed my contract after 6 months without warning, payment or ticklets back to South Africa. I was wondering if you knoew the best way to proceed or get in touch with Ministerio De Teabajo as the site is current not accessible.
If this continues my girlfriendf and I will be out on the strret shortly with no funds or tickets to return home.
Not a bother. Here is the link: http://www.mtss.go.cr/ Good luck! Note, many Costa Rica government web sites do not function 24 hours per day. Keep trying!
I AGAIN warn people about companies (often language schools) here promising work permits and “contract” work. The majority is a scam unless the company is international and well-known. While Costa Rica routinely issues work permits to employees of major corporations (CitiBank, Intel, and others,) and they will for certain teaching positions (normally not English) for the private schools, immigration does NOT issue WPs for any position if that work can be performed by a Costa Rica citizen.
To legally work here, Permanent Residency is required which, while not hard to obtain, generally does takes several years of living here under another legal form of residency. The companies mentioned above all have full time legal staff that works with immigration and those folks KNOW their residency and work status before they got here. Beware of promises that “We will get you a work permit for one year” or other such claims. Check out what you are doing! Due diligence!
That’s it… and for all of you emailing me to get off my butt and post more… I’ll try… really!
Filed under Costa Rica, Costa Rica Cooking, Drugs in Costa Rica, Exchange Rate, My Readers Write, Work Permits, Working in Costa Rica | Comments (25)