• Subscribe by Email!

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner


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 »

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 »

Duty Free Shopping in Golfito, Costa Rica

March 26th, 2014

SaveOccasionally I get submissions from other bloggers here in Costa Rica and sometimes, I hear about an article written by one of them that would be a great additions to The REAL Costa Rica Blog.  In this case, I contacted the author and requested permission to reprint one of their Blog articles. I got a really good deal from blogger Pat Wegner who writes Blog: Mi Chunche. Don’t bother looking up chunche as you likely will not find it.  It means, for lack of a better word, thing or thingy… maybe even whatchamacallit…  a damned fine and handy word to know if living in Costa Rica and you have no idea how to say some word in Spanish.  Great catchall word!

Anyway, Pat’s fine article appears below and explains the processes and procedures for making a trip to the Southern Zone to do some serious shopping, especially for appliances, electronics and other highly taxed items.  As you will read, it IS an investment in time and money, but if buying a ton of hard goods, can be a very cost saving trip.

Duty Free Shopping in Golfito By Pat Wegner

Have you ever considered a duty free shopping spree in the Pacific town of Golfito?  If this article is of interest, read on! Continue reading »

NBC Terminates Service to Costa Rica

October 2nd, 2013

sucks1There are a LOT of pretty PO’d people in Costa Rica today.

NBC, for some unknown reason has now removed all programming to Costa Rica. As of yesterday, all cable operators displayed a sign on the NBC channel stating that NBC will no longer be available here. Further, the cable companies are denying requests for a price adjustment. I have been unable to find any reason for this blockage by NBC, but the station is popular not only with the Costa Ricans, with Ex-Pats living in Costa Rica but also by the many thousands of visitors here from the USA and other countries. I do not care much about the rebate for less cable service, but I am one of the PO’d people that NBC would be so high handed as to do this to so many viewers.

Interested in this topic? Read on… Continue reading »

Dengue Fever Costa Rica 2013

September 29th, 2013

Aedes_mosquitoSome records are good to break… others… not so much. As of September 21, 2013 the Ministry of Health announced that they have recorded 38,497 cases, 699 more than 2005, the year with the heretofore highest incidence of dengue. Some areas such as Atenas seem to have been affected worse than others, but one should use caution wherever mosquitoes are biting in the daytime.  Why daytime?  Because the mosquito (Aedes aegypti) that transmits dengue fever only bites during the daytime hours.

Tourists or anyone visiting areas frequented by mosquitoes should use and good bug spray.  Bring some from your home country as you’ll pay ripoff prices in CR. Remember the pump spray or cremes will not get confiscated in airports as might the spray cans..

Rather than starting from scratch, I have posted below the FAQs form the Center for Disease Control website and you can also check out this info from the Real Costa Rica.

Click  to continue reading Continue reading »

My Readers Write – More Questions about Costa Rica

October 10th, 2011

Hi 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 Rica or 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.

Continue reading »

Gasoline Prices in Costa Rica – Just Stupid

June 19th, 2011

Warning:  Rant coming!

Before we begin, the graphic left shows three sets of letters. Most of my readers know all three, but for those who do not, LOL = Laugh Out Loud.  OMG = Oh My God, and WTF= ummmm, well best to ask your kids or grand kids about WTF.

Very handy though!

In Costa Rica, we only have two types of gas, Regular (OMG) and Super (WTF).

Prices in Costa Rica have been sliding up for some time.  Food, of course is one, but that seems to be a world wide issue. I have already ranted about the transit laws and how much a parking ticket can cost, but the thing that really frosts my twinkle is the ridiculous price of gasoline and the seemingly never ending increases.

We just had another increase a few days ago, and now I am paying about $85.00 to fill my tank (Nissan Xtrail, a small SUV).

It has been a while since I actually calculated the price per gallon in dollars. As we use liters here and pay in colones, it takes a couple of calculations to convert to dollars but I have done so here as many of my readers are from North America and are more accustomed to price per gallon.

Below is a little chart showing the prices. If this topic interests you… read on!

Continue reading »

Arenal Volcano Watching in Costa Rica

June 14th, 2011

Arenal VolcanoThose of you who subscribe to my Twitter account (right side >>>) received the word about ten days ago that tha Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico, the volcano watching people, have set up a web cam so they can see what’s a happenin‘. You can too.  Just click here!

Arenal is a favorite tourist spot.  It is always erupting and has been for years… though some eruptions are more interesting than others.

During the rainy season (now) Arenal volcano watching can be pretty boring… but if that thing goes off, it’s a good show. Also, it is often clear late at night.  Worth an occasional visit.  It refreshes every ten seconds.

Hint! If you want to get my other updates that do not sometimes make the blog immediately or ever, Follow Me on Twitter.

Subscribe in a reader

Search this Blog