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Medical Care and Options Part 2

April 13th, 2016

MedSymThe purpose of this post is twofold.

First, I want to thank the many readers who communicated with me after my last post, part of which discussed what I had learned from my cancer treatments.  I cannot begin to express how much I appreciate the numerous comments and best wishes I received via email, phone calls, and comments from the various ex-pat groups on Facebook.  Thank you so much!  As an update, I have completed all the treatments (last week), and now I wait.  The doctors are very optimistic and tell me that they believe I have beaten this thing.  Feels great.  I will now take various tests about every 90-120 days to confirm their positive prognosis. Again… thanks to all.  Very unexpected but very appreciated.

As for part 2, from the questions I received, it seems I need to clarify some of the info in my past post. Interested?  Read on! Continue reading »

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 »

Organ Donation in Costa Rica… Oh… and Grab a Kleenex.

January 24th, 2016

I thought that I might share this short video. The content of course crosses international boundaries, but the idea is to get you thinking,

YouTube Preview Image

Donating your organs is possible in Costa Rica.  Theoretically you can do it via your residency card or drivers license.  Your might be able to do it through your attorney.  Sound vague? Welcome to Costa Roca

Also… There seems to be some conflict though as it is unclear who owns your body after death.  You or your survivors.

Anyway, by all means think about donating organs.  It’s a good thing.

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 »

Cameras and Humidity in Costa Rica

October 19th, 2013

nikonPhotography has always been enormously popular not only with the tourists but with many ex-pats living here in Costa Rica.  It is one of my favorite pastimes. I have had and used several excellent film and digital cameras here in Costa Rica including an Olympus, a Mamiya, and my current cameras, Nikons).  What I am going to discuss in this post is probably more directed to ex-pats who live here full time, but may be of interest to those staying here for shorter periods.

The topic is humidity and its affect on cameras in the tropics.

If this topic is of interest, read on….

Continue reading »

Costa Rica Rains Causing Death and Destruction

October 5th, 2013

ta2This is a travel advisory for those visiting Costa Rica but might also be of interest to anyone living here and experiencing their first “green season“.

While Costa Rica does not suffer from hurricanes (we are too far south) we certainly get some torrential rains every year during the rainy season (mid-May to maybe mid-December ).  October is the wettest month. This year is no exception, and in fact the rains have been just incredible the attendant flooding has been wiping out roads and bridges all over the country.

If this topic 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 »

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