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Central Bank Changes and the Effect on Currency Exchanges and Interest

October 29th, 2006

A couple of weeks ago, the Central Bank of Costa Rica decided to stop the ages-old policy of setting a daily buy/sell rate (exchange rate) for converting dollars to colones and vice versa. This daily exchange rate was known as the tipo de cambio, and was generally a very small spread, maybe 2.5-4 colones. It changed every day, increasing a fraction of a colone and thus devaluing the currency against the dollar… daily.

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Expat Interviews provides a Window to the World of Expats

October 26th, 2006

Victor Volder lives in the Netherlands. Lizza Capucion lives in the Phillipines and the two of them run an interesting web site, Expat Interviews. They ought to interview themselves so we can all know how they hooked up!

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Questions from Readers

October 24th, 2006

This is part of my continuing posts answering emails I receive from readers. Here are some more that I thought might interest you.

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Now Get The REAL Costa Rica Blog by Email

October 22nd, 2006

I have received several emails from people asking if they could get new posts and updates to The REAL Costa Rica Blog by email. They prefer to receive new Posts by email so as to not have to deal with RSS or visit a ton of blogs to see if anything new has been added.

This turned out to be a pretty simple request thanks to the folks at Feedburner, the company that handles my RSS feeds. Interested? To subscribe, just place your email address in the subsciption form at the top-right. You will immediately receive a verifying email which you must answer. Then you will be all set. The system will send you a copy of any new posts in HTML format at about 6-9 AM CST. No posts? No email.

Prefer a direct link to subscribe? Click Here

No More Cell Phone Lines… AGAIN!

October 20th, 2006

For most of the years I have been in Costa Rica, you could not just run down to your local cell phone store or to ICE and get a new phone line. You could always buy the PHONE but not the line. Nope… You had to wait. You had to place you name on a waiting list… and wait. Sometimes a year or two. Once your name came up on the list, you could buy a LINE (presuming you were a legal resident, a citizen, or owned a corporation), and have it installed on the phone.

Well thanks to your local friends at ICE (why YES!, The very same ones who are fighting the Free Trade Agreement tooth and nail), the good old days are returning!

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Considerations on Moving to Costa Rica – Part One

September 1st, 2006

Actually, this is probably better titled: “Considerations on the Expatriate Life”. Certainly the things I am going to discuss apply no matter where you plan to go.

As you might expect, I get a lot of email from people who are either making the move to Costa Rica or are considering such a move. Some are baby boomers realizing that they may not be able to afford to retire in their home country… others are younger, asking about employment opportunities and lifestyle. They ask my advice on a variety of things,and I give the best answers I can. But over time, I have come to realize that there are a some questions that are never asked, but certainly should be asked, before making a move of this magnitude.

So here are my thoughts on this.

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Considerations on Moving to Costa Rica – Part Two

September 1st, 2006

Here is Part Two written especially for the under 50 crowd.

Under 50

Everything I wrote in Part One (for the over 50’s) is certainly applicable to the under-50 crowd of course. The biggest difference as I see it is that this younger group may not have financial independence, and thus they have to work in order to live here. With that in mind, their needs are clearly different.
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Fresh Blood!

August 24th, 2006

As you can probably imagine, I get a ton of email from people who are thinking about making the BIG MOVE. Some are just sticking a toe in the international waters while others are in various stages of living the rest of their lives as expatriates.

Of course I made the move here some years ago and I remember I experienced the excitement, fear, doubts and panic that attend such a decision. I said my goodbyes to friends and family (my daughter did not believe I was really leaving until about ten days before I actually left). It was/is a scary thing experience for just about everyone I know who has done this.

So when I received an email from someone who was in the process of packing HER family and actually experiencing the emotions above… and when she further told me she wanted to BLOG her experiences, I jumped on it immediately! Welcome to Nora Schild who will be chronicling her family’s move to Costa Rica.

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Mother’s Day – for babies

August 14th, 2006

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day. Costa Ricans take this holiday seriously! And somewhere, tomorrow, 12 year old Carolina will be celebrating her third Mother’s Day having given birth at age 9.

A couple of months ago, I was chatting with one of my employees, a 20 something young lady who was working for me as an intern. The subject got around to young girls getting pregnant in high school (colegio). She told me that before she graduated eight girls had become pregnant. Her class size was twenty-nine.

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Earning Interest in Costa Rica

August 8th, 2006

This is another reply to a comment or email that I thought would be of interest to my readers. It concerns money and that should get everybody’s attention. I also get asked this same question though in different forms from a lot of people.

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