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Perpetual Tourists – Good Time to Get Legal or Get Gone

October 1st, 2013

pp.jpgPerpetual Tourists (PTs) are those folks who come to Costa Rica to live but have no intention of applying for legal residency.  They are under the mistaken impression that they can just leave Costa Rica every 90 days to “renew” their visa.  Some have done this for years and so will argue that it is OK.  However… This has never been legal, but sadly, it has never been made strictly illegal. Immigration has had many opportunities to remedy or clarify this problem, but instead it has skirted the issue time and again. Therefore, what we have now is a most unpleasant and even dangerous situation.  We have the immigration officials at airports and at the international frontiers  who pretty much seem to be acting on their own seemingly having received no guidance from their supervisors.  I know of nothing worse than bureaucrats acting on their own.

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 »

A Disgrace for Costa Rica – Opinion

June 30th, 2012

Jorge Rojas VargasI generally do not write op-ed blog posts, but today Costa Rica has lost a fine man who more than any other, has changed the face of professional law enforcement in Costa Rica.  His name is Jorge Rojas Vargas, pictured left, and while I have never met him personally, (or professionally thank God), I would consider it a high honor if someday I might make his acquaintance and shake his hand. He is to me a hero in a land where heros in government are hard to find.  I have delayed writing this post because I thought that just maybe… someone in the government might come to their senses and not permit this man to retire from public service. I mean all he really wanted was enough funding for he and his staff  to do their jobs. Sadly, that has not come to pass.  For shame.

Should you like more info on Mr Rojas and his importance to Costa Rica, read on…

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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.

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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!

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This Turtle Eggs Harvesting Thing in Costa Rica

April 14th, 2011

The Lie That Will Not Die

I must have received certainly no less than 1,000 emails from people very upset about a very misleading (I call it fraudulent) email they received showing a number of photos of “Costa Ricans” happily gathering up what appears to be every turtle egg ever laid in this country.

I am STILL receiving these emails regularly.

They call for boycotts of Costa Rica.  They say “SHAME to the people of Costa Rica” and I can assure you, much worse. One advocated violence!

The problem? This whole thing is 100% crappola!

If this topic interests you… read on!

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Leaked Wikileaks Embassy Cable – Costa Rica

April 7th, 2011

I am sure one of the jobs of any United States Embassy regardless of location is to constantly evaluate the host country in terms of  law, infrastructure, political persuasion, stability, attitude towards the USA, geographical considerations and probably a bunch of other stuff of which I have no idea…. like maybe the cool spy stuff! They likely collect info in many ways, but I am not at all sure of the accuracy of their sources.

In fact, one of my favorite sources for pretty excellent info regarding Costa Rica is the good ol’ CIA!  Their World Factbook Costa Rica is handy and is quite accurate. A lot of the info can be really useful to folks studying Costa Rica, planning to move or relocate here, considering opening or moving  a business operation to the country and for many other reasons.

Costa Rica newspaper La Nacion recently made a deal with those idiots at Wikileaks to get copies of various cables sent by various US diplomats to the State Department that pertain to Costa Rica.  If you wish to download a copy of the cable I will be discussing, just click here. Now when you do that, you will supposed see the actual document submitted 4 April 2007, by Laurie Weitzenkorn, an official of Public Affairs U.S. Embassy, but other news sources (La Nacion etc)  have published  lists of comments that do not appear on that document and while I am pretty sure they are accurate, I have not been able to track down the actual Wikileaks document.  All have been published in various online or actual newspapers. The comments by Weitzenkorn and others are a few years old, and perhaps my readers would like to know my thoughts as to whether some of these issues are still valid. Cables like these give the viewpoint of a single person whom we do not know. Did they live here for a a few weeks. months or years? Where did they get their info?  Was/is it biased?  Quien sabe?

Anyway, here are excerpts… some topics I think might be of the most general interest.  If interested, read on!

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US Veterans in Costa Rica

August 21st, 2010

Costa Rica US veterans medical services availableI receive a fair number of inquiries from US veterans who are considering a move to Costa Rica. We also have a fair number of US vets living down here now. I do not have a handle as to exactly how many, but is has to be a few thousand or so with many more coming every year. I know this as I have met many on my private tours.

One vet who has lived here for a while is reader Rick Deahl who asked me if I would like to publish some information regarding medical and hospital services available to United States veterans living here in Costa Rica.

I jumped all over that, and this post is the result. If this topic is of interest to you, read on! Continue reading »

Bird Saves Dog – No Film at 11

June 13th, 2010

One of the things about living in the tropics is that here we have animals, insects and reptiles that can hurt our pets… and people as well. This is not to say that this is not true in the US, but our threats are a bit different. I know friends who live in the Southwestern US who have lost pets to snakebites, and I know others living in the foothills around Los Angeles who must constantly be on guard against coyotes who will snatch a dog or cat if the opportunity presents itself.

We live in the central valley not far from San Jose  so we are not troubled by snakes or wild animals. We do get the occasional scorpion (venomous but not life threatening), the occasional tarantula, but not much more. Killer bees live here, of course, and once in a while there are news reports about an attack… seldom fatal. The poison darts frogs of Costa Rica are quite famous and we can see them all the time near the river on my wife’s property in Limon Province, but they are not found in the central valley. Folks living near the beaches or in other truly tropical areas have told me of brushing against or handling certain varieties of caterpillars that can cause amazingly serious and painful injuries.

Here though, and right in our back yard, we get toads.  Big fat fellows that emit a serious poison through their skin when threatened. I must say I completely underestimated the danger of this reptile, and my lack of understanding almost cost the life of our dog, Piro. She would be dead if not for our parrot (lora). a yellow naped Amazon.

If this story interests you, read on!

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Easy Money!

June 6th, 2010

For many years, the largest currency denomination in Costa Rica was the 10,000 colon bank note (billete). At today’s exchange rate, that is a bit over $18.00.  Thus, carrying just the equivalent of $1,000 required you to carry FIFTY-FIVE  10,000 colon notes… quite  a wad.

That will soon change as the Costa Rica Central Bank, Banco Central de Costa Rica, does a complete do-over of the country’s national currency.

Changes to all bills (including the existing currency!) are drastic. Changes will include not only the standard anti-counterfeiting techniques standard on the Euro and the new US bank notes, but also two new denominations; the 20,000 and 50,000 colon bills. That is a Godsend!  Additionally,  the new bills will come in different widths… from 125 mm to 160 mm… truly important for the visually challenged.

If this topic interests you and you would like a peek at the new bills, read on!

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