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End of year? Marchamo time!

November 23rd, 2014

moneyIf you own a car here in Costa Rica, you probably already know what is marchamo. Marchamo is paid every December and gives you the right to take your car out of the garage (or wherever) and drive it in Costa Rica, i.e. “circulate”. There are over 1 million cars in Costa Rica.  The marchamo payment includes mandatory liability insurance, property tax, sales and other taxes and any traffic fines that you have failed to pay.  Depending on the age and model of your car, marchamo is by no means cheap. 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 »

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 »

Revisión Técnica aka Riteve

June 10th, 2011

ReteveThose who drive any type of vehicle in Costa Rica must take their vehicle to be examined once every one or two years. This is done at any of thirteen locations throughout the country. This is known as Revisión Técnica or Riteve for short. Not well known is that they also have four mobile units that service remote areas North, Central, South and Los Santos.

How often you must go depends on the age of your vehicle. Newer vehicles must go every two years and those who drive older vehicles must go in ever year.  My license plate ends in a six, so June is my month, and I just had it done yesterday.

Cost for a passenger car is just under 10,000 colones or about $20.00 at the current exchange rate.

If this topic interests you (and it should even if you are an old pro because I am including some helpful info, read on!

Continue reading »

The New Costa Rica Immigration Law

August 13th, 2009

migracion de costa rica

It is hard to not say I told you so…  I cannot.   Sorry!

On January 11, 2009, in response to a large number of emails and phone calls, I blogged about the proposed immigration law. One online newspaper told concerned expats, future residents and readers that the new law would be passed immediately… before the Christmas (2008) break!  They said it would be retroactive and even those folks already here legally would be affected and have to comply. Everyone panicked.

I tried to explain that nothing happens that fast in this country and that panic sells newspapers and increases readership and thus sells advertising. I also explained that it is against Costa Rica law to have a new law be retroactive. I suggested a wait and be patient approach.

Well that was January and this is August and yes, finally, the Asamblea Legislativa (the congress) has passed the new Ley de Migración (immigration law) which should for years influence the rights and responsibilities of foreigners coming to live in Costa Rica.  Note I use the word foreigner and not the words American, Gringo, US Citizen or other such word as despite our often enormous sense of self importance, this law is designed to affect anyone from any nation who seeks to reside in Costa Rica on a legal and permanent basis. It covers a lot more as well.  I held off a few days trying to get a more complete picture of this new law, but sadly, reliable details are not forthcoming so for those of you who are interested in this topic, read on!

Continue reading »

Le Grand Cirque Comes to Costa Rica

February 25th, 2009

cirqueI am always a bit suspicious of publicity that compares its product to some world renowned version of that same product.  In this case, Le Grand Cirque has been billed as “The Next Generation of Cirque du Soleil”, the world famous circus from Montreal Canada.  To be fair, the actual phrase came from some magazine or newspaper, Southern Times, and it appears that Le Grand Cirque is not trying at all to feed off the fame of their Canadian counterpart.

If this topic interests you, read on and be sure to see the videos at the end of the Post.

Continue reading »

Gasoline Prices Drop Again

January 19th, 2009

OuchBetter late than never!  I wonder if there is such a thing as getting  “less screwed”.

While oil prices have dropped from the $145 per barrel levels of just a few months ago, to less than $36.00 per barrel, Costa Rica has been very slow adjusting gas prices here to reflect that decrease. Somebody is making some serious cash, and it is NOT me.  However, prices are due to come down this week.

Continue reading »

A Reader Asks About the Effects of CAFTA

July 9th, 2008

Tonight I received a comment from a reader… and it pushed my rant button. I may be completely reading the comment incorrectly and assuming a wrong tone or meaning… and if I am, I apologize now… but the rant is still coming as I am replying to many others who I am sure I read correctly!

Here is her email, and if the topic interests you (and you can deal with my rant)… read on!

My family plans to relocate to Costa Rica, and I would like to know what your thoughts are regarding the recent activity by the Costa Rican Congress ending it’s 84 year old insurance, and telecom monopoly (CAFTA). How do you think this is going to effect the citizens of Costa Rica that have enjoyed a universal health care system, and what do you think the implications are for Americans residig in Costa Rica, that have been able to partake in this system?.

Continue reading »

Costa Rica Takes Action to Control Gasoline Usage Part 2

June 27th, 2008

This week, the government of Costa Rica asked for an increase of ¢145 in the price of gasoline, this to offset their recent request to lower the price of diesel fuel by exempting diesel from government taxation.

The price of super gasoline would go up to ¢801 per liter and diesel prices would fall by ¢97. Gasoline today is $5.10 per gallon for super, $4.97 for regular and $4.82 for diesel. One US gallon = 3.79 liters, so after this change, a gallon of super will be ¢3,036 or $5.88. With the regular monthly increase coming in July, $6.00 per gallon gas is pretty much assured.

Currently, the cost for a gallon of diesel is $4.82, so this will drop to about $4.11. Sounds like a nice windfall for those who chose to buy dieseled vehicles right? Nope… the government giveth and the government taketh away.

Continue reading »

Costa Rica Takes Action to Control Gasoline Usage Part 1

June 27th, 2008

Mopt restrictionsFor quite some time now, the government has placed restrictions on what vehicles could enter San Jose. This was more done to lessen the overwhelming traffic in San Jose during peak hours than to control gasoline usage. All non commercial vehicles were affected.

The system was/is simple enough. You were restricted from entering San Jose for about 2 hours each morning rush hour and two hours during the afternoon rush based on your license plate. For me it was rarely an issue, and when it was, I just drove the circunvalación, the road that runs around San Jose and locally known as “the rotundas” because of the numerous traffic circles in that route. Sometimes I’d drive the La Uruca route. No big deal.

Well this all changed this week as the government expanded enormously the restricted areas and the hours of restriction, and yesterday, over a thousand folks learned this the hard way and got a little $10 traffic citation for their ignorance.

Continue reading »

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