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Satellite Internet Service in Costa Rica

August 25th, 2007

Internet service is available all over Costa Rica. That is not to say it will be good Internet service, but at least you can connect. If you live outside of the central valley, the chances of getting a high speed connection drop considerably, though in fairness, many of the popular tourist destinations now have some high speed capability.

However, if you live in any of the many hundreds of other cities outside the central valley or the tourist spots, your only option is a telephone modem, or perhaps a (quite poorly working) connection using a GSM cell phone. Either way, you are getting not only a very slow connection speed but often unreliable service as well.

Over the past few years, there have been companies promoting satellite Internet service in Costa Rica. On the surface, this seems like a great idea for those needing a decent connection speed but who prefer to live outside the main population areas.

As I have written in The REAL Costa Rica, these installation are totally illegal in Costa Rica.

If this topic is of interest to you, read on…

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The Colon Vs The Dollar – Watch your money!

August 12th, 2007

For many years I suggested here in this blog, in The REAL Costa Rica and elsewhere that the smart person living in Costa Rica (or for that matter anyone who keeps money here), should always pay using colones, but keep their money in a dollars account. There was a good reason for this. The colon was, for many years, on a system of scheduled devaluation that made holding colones a losing proposition.

I am now doing a 100% change in that position. If this subject interests you, read on…

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More Questions from Readers

August 10th, 2007

Here are some more questions that I have received either by email or from the main web site, The REAL Costa Rica. I think these may be of interest my readers and these are not covered on the main web site.

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The Price of Gasoline in Costa Rica

August 6th, 2007

Occasionally I get word from my kids in the states about how high the price of gasoline has become. While I sympathize of course, I can’t really get too empathetic as I watch almost weekly as gas prices here just get higher and higher, now reaching over $4.50 per gallon for super.

Yup… super is now selling at 620 colones per liter and that translates to $4.51 per gallon at service stations throughout Costa Rica. All service stations here must sell at the same price. Regular gasoline is now at 584 colons per liter or about $4.25 a U.S. gallon. Not much difference. Sadly, I use super. Ugh.

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Banks in Costa Rica

August 5th, 2007

For some time I have wanted to write about banking in Costa Rica. Although the overall view of banking in Costa Rica is covered in two location in The REAL Costa Rica, see here and also here, those two pages really provide only an overview of the Costa Rica banking system and how it functions. They do not speak of actually dealing with individual banks and how it is to do business on a daily basis and to interact with individual banks.

There are many banks here, and no one person could possible review all of them unless they actually had accounts in all banks, a scary thought indeed. I use three banks here, one state bank and two private banks, so today I am going to rate these banks based on my experiences over the past several years. This is a very long post, but I saw no way to shorten it.

If this topic interests you, then read on!  Also, see my follow up regarding BAC San Jose.

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The Pilgrimage to Cartago

July 31st, 2007

La BasilicaI admire people with faith such as these Romeros… the word used to describe those pilgrims who come from as far away as Mexico, on foot, to petition “La Negrita”, or the Virgen de Los Angeles, for a favor or to give thanks for favors received. Some travel barefoot, others on horseback (see video). Many will be on their knees for the final trip down the aisle as they approach the alter. Regardless, many travel for days and days and eschew autombiles, motorcycles or any other convenience. They take this very seriously, and some leg or foot pain is a small price to pay for honoring their Virgin.

Most major highways here, especially the Pan American Highway and local roads in and around Tres Rios are filled now with the pilgrims, many wanting to arrive early. The traditional date is August 2nd.

Tomorrow, the main highway to Cartago (which is also the Pan American Highway and major route to points South), will be closed entirely.

Highways here have few rules and pedestrians, bicycles, and other slow traffic is common. Now, they are joined by romeros on horseback. Here is a video a some who were passing nearby my home just this morning.

Better Interest Rates in Costa Rica?

July 28th, 2007

After the demise of the several high interest houses a few years ago, Costa Rica lost its appeal as a place to get thirty plus percent annual interest rates in a supposed secure offshore environment. Couple that with the influx of baby-boomers and retirees and I often get asked for secure locations where money can be kept at decent interest rates. Here are some of my ideas, and while I am for sure not a financial planner or expert in these areas, I can shed a bit of light on your options here.

Our money needs change as we age. A thirty-something person or couple can afford a lot more risk in their money management style knowing that they have another 30-40 years to “balance” the ups and downs. A bad stock decision is far less important at age 32 than at age 62. Therefore, I am directing this post to the over 50 crowd who are not in the market for a $2 million beach front home in Costa Rica. If you can afford that, then you have little need for anything I have to say.

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BCR Begins Issuing Driver Licenses and Passports

July 27th, 2007

Costa Rica has certainly never been known as efficient and this most assuredly includes private business.Generally, the policy here is to find the least convenient, most time consuming, most paper wasting, most resource expending way to do something, then do it with the most people all while making you wait in the longest possible lines. It is this alone that droves A types to consider suicide. Continue reading »

New Law Can Send Me To Jail

July 26th, 2007

I have been pondering about blogging this for a while now… partly to get a handle on how I feel, partly because I expect some interesting comments.

Not long ago, President Óscar Arias Sánchez signed into law (“Ley de penalización de violencia contra las mujeres”) a truly controversial measure that provides tougher and longer sentences for the murder of women than of men.

While that in itself seems odd to me, the kicker is it also makes it a crime to insult a woman. Here I am not just speaking of a woman on the street or in the workplace. I am referring to any woman… even a wife or daughter. The law punishes men who are physically and/or psychologically abusive of women, especially a wife, live-in partner or girlfriend.

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Dengue Fever a Real Problem in Costa Rica

July 25th, 2007

For many years now, Dengue Fever has been a fact of life in Costa Rica, however this year, it has reached the point where it is causing serious issues not only within the country but to tourism as well. Areas such as Playas del Coco have been especially hard hit as has Limón on the Caribbean coast (see below). The bulk of the cases, some 66 percent, are in what is known as the Chorotega in northwest Costa Rica (34 percent) and along the Caribbean (some 32 percent). Only about 12 percent of the cases are on the Pacific side, the side most popular with tourists.

The incidence of dengue this year has more than doubled from 2006, according to the latest statistics from the Ministerio de Salud. So far this year the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) and the ministry of Health have spent ¢1.5 billion colones (us$2.9 million dollars) attending patients and fumigating. Throughout the country more than 8,000 persons are ill. During the first 25 weeks of 2007, health officials said Friday that they logged 6,882 cases and two dengue-attributed deaths. During the same period in 2006, there were only 3,435 cases.

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