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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 »

One Way Airline Tickets to Costa Rica

December 10th, 2009

customerserviceI was preparing another of those “My Readers Write” posts that I do every so often, and this topic came up… again. Maybe it is time to give it its own space as apparently it is not clear to some people.

The question is always something like this: “I have heard I cannot fly to Costs Rica using a one-way ticket.”

My answer is, as always, “No, you can NOT unless you are a citizen of Costa Rica or have in your possession a valid and current residency ID card (cedula) proving that you live here. If you try, you will almost assuredly not be permitted to board the plane. If you do make it on board, you may well get caught at THIS end by immigration. Airlines are required to verify that any person attempting to fly and using a one way ticket is, in fact, a legal resident of Costa Rica. Most airlines (read that as all) try to follow the procedure religiously as they are faced not only with large potential fines, but also for paying for the return flight for the passenger when he is refused entry in Costa Rica.

Now please, before you start composing your comment telling me that you, your friend, your friend’s girlfriend and her auntie, etc flew here on a one-way ticket with no issue, please remember my “job” on this blog and in the RCR Web Site is to deal with facts, not luck or urban legend.

Read on if you wish!

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 »

Banking Games

May 14th, 2008

One of my readers reasonably asked my thoughts on the recent revaluation of the dollar.

Easy answer! I have not a freaking clue!

Todays exchange rate of about ¢511.41 / ¢518.71 makes absolutely no sense whatever and to me, smacks of some serious manipulation.

Continue reading »

Tattoos on Women in Costa Rica

November 19th, 2007

The first time I received an email from a woman who expressed concern about her tattoos while visiting Costa Rica, I was about 40% sure I was being shined on a bit. I replied of course as that is not covered in either the REAL Costa Rica web site nor this blog. Later, she sent me photos, and she was for real.

Since then, I have received two more emails asking the same question, the most recent today. As I am one of those people who think for every person who will ask such a question, there are probably ten others who have not the courage to write.

So here is her letter and my reply for all those tattooed ladies coming to visit Costa Rica!

Continue reading »

Questions from Readers

November 6th, 2007

I guess this is going to turn into its own permanent post as the number of emails I am getting is just crazy. So here again are my replies to some of the better requests:

Is residency required to obtain a driver’s license in Costa Ria and is a test required?

Not yet! However there is now a bill before lawmakers that requires this, and it looks like it has a good chance of passing. As your right to drive here is tied to your being in the country legally, this might spell problems for those here illegally (past their 90 or 30 day tourist visa).

Do you know if the CCSS insurance covers pre-existing conditions?

They do. I actually hope this changes and I think it must. Too many people are coming to Costa Rica with VERY costly illnesses and this places an enormous burden on the already financially strapped CAJA.

I loved your website, very helpful. I do have a suggestions; maybe you can include more information for MOPT offices, hospitals, clinics, etc; in other areas, like Guanacaste where the expat populations is very high.

The hospitals (CAJA) are listed in the Real Costa Rica. There are VERY few private hospitals in Guanacaste and the “clinics” would shock the average expat. This is why I have ranted about 400 times that if you are over 50, you should consider whether you wish to be 4-5 hours from quality medical care. Expats love that beach, but seem to forget that over 50, your chances of needing emergency medical care go way up. Even in San Jose. getting an ambulance and getting to the hospital can take an hour. Just two weeks ago, three persons died in Escazu (10 minutes from Cima Hospital) because the ambulance arrived 50 minutes after it was called. Consider this when moving here!

There are MOPT (Ministry of Public Transportation) in Liberia and Limon, but the reason I have not listed them is that I have been told my many expats that those offices cannot issue driver’s licenses and are not full service.  I’d love some feedback on this as I am getting mixed signals.

Your website is very informative. Thank you. Quick question: I have an opportunity to work in Costa Rica for a couple years (have been there several times). My wifes main objection is that she does not want to live where she cannot fluch (sic) toilet paper. Is it possible to rent homes with plumbing that can handle TP?

I was not going to answer this, but then I remembered why I wrote The REAL Costa Rica in the first place which was to debunk these generalities!

Yes, there are about a jillion places to buy or rent homes with toilets that can handle paper. This is one of those truly dumb urban legends that surface on occasion… probably based on either plumbing from the last century or places that used really cheap toilets. Also, there are some older homes where the pipes are too small. Easy to find out! FLUSH before you BUY (or rent)… something you should be doing anyway! Now if you are one of those people (read GUYS) who use about a half a roll to take care of your business, then you may have a issue.

 

old-1412.jpgHello, my name is Dave, I am the fire chief at Nancy Run Fire Department I am trying to locate one of our old fire trucks that was sent to Costa Rica some time ago, I was seen at a parade called the fiesta palmares, see photo attached, I am hoping to find where it is currently located and contact information for the department that is using it. The fire truck is a 1964 Mack, yellow in color with the above listed fire company name on it.

So here is the photo (click to enlarge)! Any of you readers able to help? If so, email him at djb2328@rcn.com

When a cable company advertises cable modem speed 4 mb would that really be 4 mb? After reading your segment on the internet I wondered if they could really deliver that speed.

Probably not. I know I have never received even close to what I pay for (2MB). First, the infrastructure is generally crummy and second, you are sharing the connect with your neighbors. Order 50% more than you need and you will probably be happy. Also, expect a fair bit of downtime from the company you mentioned in your email.

We are planning our first visit for June 2008, and would appreciate any
feedback you have on the tentative following itinerary for myself, my wife,
and our two daughters, ages 11 and 9:

June 24 depart LAX – redeye
June 25 arrive San Jose around noon and take private van to Monteverde
June 26 fun and games in Monteverde
June 27 private van to Arenal
June 28 fun and games in Arenal
June 29 private van to Tamarindo
June 30 fun and games in Tamarindo
July 1 private van to Grecia
July 2 shuttle/van to airport, San Jose – LAX

I almost never answer these questions (or even reply) as I tell people I am not a travel agent. It occurred to me though, that this is a great example of why not to plan your own trip without the assistance of a good travel agent. Let’s take a look at this.

Monteverde is about 5-6 hours from the San Jose airport and about 2 hours from the Liberia airport. Is Liberia a better option?

Next, there are few vans that can handle the truly horrible road to Monteverde. A 4X4 is required. A tank would be better! Beautiful place though for sure! I love it!

Then to Arenal? Same issue. 4X4! Lovely drive – 2-3 hours depending on roads. Go North around the top of Lake Arenal.

To Tamarindo? 3-4 hours I am guessing. Loooong drive with young kids on bad roads (until you reach the Pan American Highway.

Tamarindo to Grecia? 5-7 hours. Lose a day just driving. Good roads though and a van would be OK.

You chose some GREAT places to visit, but after counting your drive hours (about 17-20 including the trip to the airport), you should be prepared for some grumpy kids and the perhaps serious loss of some vacation time. Now if you and the kids all really enjoy driving… well then give it a shot! You’ll pass through some beautiful country.

In summary, it is very tempting to look at a Costa Rica map and make plans based on what you THINK looks close. When traveling here, plan on an average travel speed of 20-25 MPH. Sound low? It is not. A 100 mile (150KM) trip here is at least 3-4 hours if you know where you are going. Bad roads are everywhere. Just this week I informed two of my tourist customers that the Pan American highway south is closed. They had no idea and had they followed their original plans, would have lost 6-8 hours getting back on track.

There are some excellent US based travel agents who really do know Costa Rica. Sadly, the majority read the same travel brochures and web sites you do and that is not enough. I always suggest a good Costa Rica based TA as they know what is happening here.

That’s it ’til the next batch.

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.

Continue reading »

More Questions from Readers

April 3rd, 2007

I need to apologize. I have not been able to Post here nearly as often as I would like. I am just buried in work, and sadly, income still must proceed pleasure… even in Costa Rica. The main site, The Real Costa Rica, is now up to about 25,000 new visitors each month, and between that and the Guestbook, I am just getting buried in emails as well. So once again, here are some of my replies to those emails.

Continue reading »

My Readers Write

February 8th, 2007

I receive a zillion emails, and try to reply personally to all of them (except the ones that are clearly answered in The Real Costa Rica or are written by folks too lazy to just read the relevant page… but I digress! Over the holidays, the sheer numbers of emails increase AND I am run ragged by my wifey and businesses and have less time to reply. These emails were sent from The Real Costa Rica, The RCR Guest Book and Hisfault.

Some of the questions are pretty good and my reply may be of interest to others… so here they are! As always, I generally do not edit emails though I DO protect the identity of the writer as, sadly, some folks appear to be borderline literate. I may also shorten them a bit showing only the relevant question. Continue reading »

Where is Nora?

November 8th, 2006

That is the question being asked by some of our regular readers. Nora Schild is moving to Costa Rica… VERY soon… and has been contributing posts detailing her adventure.

The problem is… she has suddenly stopped writing! I have called her home in Missouri and chatted with her husband on several occasions. She is NEVER home! Now this is odd! For a woman only weeks away from the BIG MOVE, she seems to never be in her home!

This makes me wonder if she has been the subject of foul play! Perhaps her husband, driven loco by a woman bent on the expat lifestyle, has done away with her! Perhaps she is buried in the cold, cold Missouri soil behind the house!

Thus, I am making one more plea… Nora? Where are you? If alive, please write or call.

(signed)

Yo

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