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New Rules for Obtaining a Costa Rica Drivers License

March 14th, 2013

COSEVIThis post is directed to foreigners interested in obtaining a Costa Rica drivers license. It is not relevant to citizens of Costa Rica.

I have been putting off writing this post for a couple of months now hoping that I could write the complete story.  Alas, I can only cover part of it, but the info is important, so I will either add to this post later or post anew.

In the past, any person from another country could easily obtain a Costa Rica drivers license.  The process was basically just to go to the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes MOPT office (closest San Jose office is in Uruca) with your current drivers license. your current passport, and some money. You would stop at one of the doctor’s offices located nearby the MOPT and get a short physical called a Dictamen Médico. You would then walk to the MOPT, go in, get in line and maybe two hours later… you had your license! No test. Nothing.  Easy!

Not any more.

The new rules now restrict anyone seeking a Costa Rica drivers license to be a citizen of Costa Rica or to those foreigners who possess legal residency in Costa Rica. This means you must now show your current cedula de residencia (your national ID card valid for any form of residency i.e pensionado, rentista, permanent, etc) issued when you received your legal residency. No cedula? No license.

If you would like to know more about this topic… read on!

Continue reading »

Chili Cook Off in Atenas. Worth Going! Charity Event

January 17th, 2013

chiliThis year’s Chili Cook Off will be on February 10, 2013 and seems to have become an annual event.  I seldom promote this kind of stuff, but in this case, the organizers are honest and the money goes to the Hogar de Vida, a home for abused, abandoned and orphaned kids that houses up to 35 children ages birth to 10 years old.  Good cause.

I could not go last year… some conflict as I recall, but it is on my calendar for this year.

Give it a shot! I am sure that Diet Chili is available for those of us calorically  challenged.

Or… maybe not.

Costa Rica Modifies Rentista Residency

May 20th, 2012

Last Thursday, 17 May 2012, various new immigration rules (reglamentos) were published in La Gaceta, the magazine used to publish various legal notices and also where all new laws must be published before they actually become  enforceable, active laws. These reglamentos (rules) clarify the actual underlying law and also state publicly how a law, (in this case immigration law) will be enforced. Should you wish to read this reglamento, click here.

I waited until I gad a chance to read the new rules myself as often what is published very quickly in CR  papers may not be 100% accurate. If you wish to know more about the new Rentista form of residency, read on!

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 »

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.

Costa Rica Tourist and Visitor Advisory

May 10th, 2011

Road Closure – Route 32 to Limón

Before I start… Quite nice feedback to last week’s Costa Rica Tourist and Visitor Advisory. Had no idea it would get the response it did.

Anyway… here is a quickie!  Route 32 San Jose to Limón is closed due to landslides. See below why this is important.

Now while these notices apparently are welcome, it now occurs to be I may not be able to update these things on a timely, so my best guess is that it will take a week or so to get it fixed, so best check when you arrive here if arriving soon.

One of the toughest things to get your mind around when living or traveling here is how often you are faced with the odd fact that there are many times few or NO alternative routes to wherever  you are going. In the US and many countries, a road closure is no big deal.  A minor inconvenience. Not here. An example is, in fact, San Jose to Limón. When route 32 is blocked, you are pretty much screwed, especially if you need to get there quickly. There is only one other (practical) route and taking that doubles the drive time to 5+ hours and maybe more as it is now carrying more traffic.
 

Costa Rica Tourist and Visitor Advisory

May 6th, 2011

I know a lot of the visitors to the REAL Costa Rica are folks either planning a trip to Costa Rica or are considering a move here either for retirement or work related. It occurred to me that many of these people are not Spanish speakers and have no idea of some of the issues that may affect them when they arrive here.

With this in mind, I am starting a new Category names TRAVEL ADVISORY. This way, travelers can perhaps learn about some things that may affect them negatively while in country and perhaps better prepares themselves for their visit.

If any of my Costa Rica readers have an idea of other topics (and no, I am not going to revisit crime as it is overworked everywhere), add your thoughts to the comments. I am going to start with two advisories that may or may not be well known outside of the country. The at-times dangerous beaches of Costa Rica and the travel resstrictions around San Jose. If the topic interests you… read on! Continue reading »

The Costa Rica Ley de Transito Verily Sucketh!

April 21st, 2011

I use the words “verily sucketh” as it is Semana Santa (Easter week) and if not for the events of yesterday, I’d be happy about Easter and all the fun stuff…. grrr.

So there I was in town yesterday for a 2 minute stop at the drug store. I will admit that I did park next to a yellow curb, so I guess I am guilty, though there were no signs or warnings about how big a sin I was committing nor what was about to happen to me.

So…I grab my pills and start to chat up the regente (pharmacist) as we are old buddies.  Almost immediately he asks me where I parked.  I pointed and he says “RUN! They wait out there to get you and the ticket is HUGE!!”.  How huge I wonder as I am hauling my non-to-light butt outta his store and across the street.

Too Late.  There were two of them.  One was a municipal cop (generally pretty nice folks where I live)  and the other a much dreaded transit cop, also known as “tourism killers”.  As I am from the 60’s, you have no idea how hard it was to type transit cop and not transit pig… but those days are gone…. I guess…sigh.

So I try to be friendly which seldom works as nearly every “transito” I have ever met seems to express equal opportunity hatred to every living creature. It seems they all suffer from some form of terminal hemorrhoids that makes them the nastiest sourpusses on earth. I have no idea how many tourists these clowns have offended and caused never to return to Costa Rica, but it is a BIG number if I can judge from the many emails I receive complaining about them… but I digress!

Interested? read on!

 

Continue reading »

Ley de tránsito – Results Day One

March 2nd, 2010

Typical of Costa Rica, news reports differ as to how went day one following implementation of the new ley de tránsito (traffic laws). One English language online stated that more than 300 fines were handed out in San José  alone. This was kinda amazing as the transit officers union stated in pretty clear terms that their membership would not be handing out tickets except for violations that could be dangerous to other drivers.

I normally only read La Nacion or some other Spanish language newspapers as they tend to get it right… and as I suspected, the information reported was not quite accurate.  The actual number of tickets was far less.  By 4 PM yesterday,  218 tickets had been handed out nationwide.

These tickets were for:

Using mobile phones without a hands free device or failure to use seat belts. (¢ 220,050  or $400.00)  (Yeah!!)

Driving in San José in violation of vehicle plate restrictions (¢ 29,340 –   $53.00)

Driving with polarized (darkened) rear window (¢ 117,360 – $213.00) and finally,

two people who were caught driving without a driver’s license (¢ 293,400 – $533.00 ) and whose cars were impounded on the spot. Wow!

Also, La Nacion staffers apparently did a bit of reconnoitering around the country and found that many transit officials had apparently not even been on duty, prompting the response “Promise Fulfilled” by Joselito Ureña, secretary of the Unión Nacional de Técnicos y Profesionales en Tránsito the transit officers union.  Interestingly…. Those officers did give out tickets  were officers who were working directly  under the supervision of Marin Germain, transit director aka the big cheese. Guess that confirms who is the real boss.

So the verdict?  None of the big cheeses (transit bosses nor the diputados) are thrilled about the officers not obeying orders and  handing out those tickets…  still it would be wise to keep your foot under control, not talk on your cell phone,  use your seat belts and generally be good little boys and girls!

The Road To Caldera

February 7th, 2010

Click photo to enlarge. Dotted line is now completed

San Jose to Caldera HighwayThe long awaited (30+ years) highway from San Jose to Caldera opened a couple of weeks ago. I had a hunch that anything that long in the making would draw the curious and traffic would be a disaster.  Turns out that I called it, and the touted 45-60 minute trip to the Port of Caldera (Puerto Caldera), Costa Rica’s only commercial and cruise terminal on the Pacific coast, took up to three hours for much of last week

Not so yesterday!

Yesterday, I thought it might be worth a chance, so my wife Maria Luisa, my sister Pamela and I jumped on the new highway and found ourselves pretty much alone with pretty minimal traffic.  Better yet, we were in Orotina in 45 minutes and in  Caldera in 60.  Another 15 minutes put us in Puntarenas and walking on the beach. this is a big deal to expats and Ticos and will certainly have a positive commercial effect in all those locations.

Thirty years or not, this was worth the wait.  Interested?  Read on!

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