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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.

Is it true that if a man insults a costa rican woman they may go to jail?

I was interested in costa rica as a retirement home, but after learning this info. NO WAY .. I speak my mind and I am fair,but sometimes we all may hurt someones feelings in a heated debate so to speak.  I in no way would intentionally insult anyone man or woman, but s__t happens.

Would you please clear this matter up so we can visit this lovely country with out gags in my mouth..

This comment was so special, I felt it deserved the light of day… or in this case, the public’s ability to view and enjoy.

First, no.  It is not true that if a man is abusive physically, psychologically, or emotionally to a Costa Rica woman that they may go to jail.

A person may go to jail for ANY abuse, be it physical, psychological, or emotional, of any woman, regardless of her nationality.

You state: ” I in no way would intentionally insult anyone man or woman…”.  I must beg your pardon, but that statement seems contrary to your question.  A true gentlemen maintains control over his interactions with women. Lord knows that this may be in the face of some provocation… but regardless, a gentleman remains a gentleman. I do not know you of course and I cannot be sure of this, but I am guessing that there have been times where you just could not control yourself?

You further state, “Would you please clear this matter up so we can visit this lovely country with out gags in my mouth..’.

An interesting mixture of words.  You state “we”, so is there a woman coming with you or other men?  I am guessing men as I would find it hard to believe that a woman would refuse to come to a country that discouraged abuse of women, be it physical, psychological, or emotional. As you also may have, in fact, been unable to control yourself in the past, perhaps you are currently “unattached”? Anyway… if it is other men coming here… perhaps you, as spokesman for your cadre of potential abusers, may wish to inform them of the rules here!

I guess, as I re-read the words, you could be referring to yourself in the third person… perhaps like the king of some country?  Maybe like “We are not amused!”

Nah…. probably not.

Now if you feel you have the right to do any of the above and indeed would require a gag in your mouth to avoid abusing the females here, I would sort of encourage you not to travel here as you might indeed run afoul of the law.

 I heard that you might be selling The Real Costa Rica web site.  Is that true?  I hope not.

I wrote to you separately to inquire where you heard about this.

I am not actively selling the RCR web site.  I have had inquiries over the past few months from people who think (and who are probably right) that they can monetize the site much better than I do and make a lot of money.  Monetize basically means adding advertising and promotions other than the simple Google ads I have.

Money has never been my reason for creating the RCR web site.  I did it because I felt it was needed, and the few ads I have do provide some income… enough to pay for the bandwidth and maintenance.  However, I will admit that some of the offers have gotten my attention as of late. Do not worry… I would not sell it to anyone or any company unless I was sure they would keep it to the current standard of accuracy… or better.

Have read your blog. It’s great.

We’re buying a house through the transfer of a corporation. I’m in Alaska. House owner is in Montana. House is in Santa Elena. Everything is being handled through the mail. The corporation books arrived in the mail yesterday. The Montana owner has owned the place for over 10 years and the Corporation was organized in 1996.

All we have to do is sign in the books, mail them to MT where the owner signs the same page, and then she mails them back to the lawyer who finishes the paperwork. We can then pick up the books if we want and pay the lawyer his fee which is around $300. My question is – Can it be that simple? That’s all that has to be done for a corporation transfer? Write it up in the books and then sign?

I’m not expecting any legal advice, just wondering if over the years maybe friends of yours have bought places through corporations so you might have heard of this before. I know things are way different in Costa Rica than in the US so wondering if this is the norm there.

I am getting more and more emails such as yours, and they just scare me to death.  You do not provide much info, so I will begin by asking you some questions:

1. You have visited Costa Rica and lived here full time for at least six to nine months… right?  If so, please continue.  If not, STOP NOW and follow the suggested advice you will see repeated many times on my blogs, web sites and on many forums.  Buy NOTHING until you have lived here for at least the time above.  50 to 60% of those who move here do not make it a full year. You should do or buy nothing that cannot be undone in 6 phone calls or less.

2. You have visited the property in person, right?  If NOT, stop now.  Buying anything unseen in Costa Rica is fraught with danger.

3. You have paid for a home inspection by a disinterested third party… right?  If NOT, then STOP NOW and get a full and complete home examination.

4. You spoke personally with at least 4-5 other home owners in the immediate Santa Elena area to confirm how they value their houses.  If NOT,  STOP NOW.  There is no MLS here and your chances of overpaying are enormous.

5. You have your OWN attorney… right?  You are NOT using the seller’s attorney or an attorney recommended by any realtor… RIGHT?  If NOT, stop NOW and retain your own counsel.  Costa Rica law is very different and real estate fraud is common here. You have far fewer protections here. Use the various user groups to get recommendsations and use due diligence to make SURE your attorney is reputable.

6.  I am not an attorney, but the fee you mentioned does NOT seem correct. In fact it seems wrong, but I could be wrong. Your attorney will assist with this.

As I am behind in answering emails, you may well have already acted.  I wish you well.

In your blog (of September 29, 2011) you brought up the subject of how difficult it is for a Costa Rican to obtain a U. S. visa I would like to share my experience. My step daughter Sofia, my wife’s daughter from her previous marriage would like to visit my home in California, mostly to be a tourist and shop. She has no desire to live in the U. S. where her education would not be accepted.

I am attaching the letter I sent to the embassy after her visa was refused, more than the refusal the rudeness and disinterest in her made me ashamed of my country. Costa Rica is a very polite country, people go out of their way not to be offensive.  Sofia was very offended that she was treated in a rude and abrupt manner and that none of the material to support her ties to Costa Rica was reviewed.

Charles L.

I am so sorry for her refusal… and more so if she had to pony up $150.00+ to get refused.  That is a lot of money for most Costa Ricans.

Most folks in the USA, and even those living here, have no clue how our embassies treat those wishing to visit the US.  It is simply awful, but make no mistake, this is not just here in Costa Rica.  The embassy here, and in fact all US embassies, take their lead and direction from Washington DC and the administration that is in control, in this case, the Obama administration.

To be fair, embassies have a daunting task as there is a serious problem with people entering the USA on a tourist visa, and then just never leaving.  Still, the high cost of a refusal seems to me to add insult to injury.  I think they should refund the money if the visa is not awarded.

I am torn on this issue.  It seems horribly wrong to me to tell some parents that they can get a visa but their kids (or other immediate, first degree relatives) must stay here… sort of as hostages to assure that mom and dad return. It is not personal. The US is at war (NO comments on that please!) and is trying to close a door that was opened in the past allowing some low lifes to attack the country. It seems difficult for some Costa Ricans to grasp that concept.

In any case, Costa Rica is not yet a hotbed of terrorist activity. There has to be a better way to treat a wonderful and gentle group of people.

I live in Costa Rica and I need to get a money order. Do you know of anywhere in CR to get a money order? Western Unions and MoneyGram´s don´t offer that service. I ask the bank and they look at me like I have two heads. Do you know?

Sure…Just go to the bank and ask for a bank check or a cashier’s check.

That’s it for now.  If you follow me on Twitter, you will get some goodies that might be of interest.  Facebook too.  Links above.



14 Responses to “My Readers Write – More Questions about Costa Rica”

  1. peter trombetta on October 18, 2011 6:03 pm

    Can I renew my US passport if I am here in Costa Rica? And if I am married to a Costa Rican woman for 2 and one half years, can I take my original marriage certificate to the US embassy here in Costa Rica and have them authenticate the marriage as being legal in the US so my wife could obtain any benefits that an American wife could obtain such as death benefits,social security and green card? Also, how would I go about getting Costa Rican citizenship? The procedures,difficulty and costs to be incurred. I would appreciate any information on these matters. Thank you. Peter Trombetta

  2. Eileen on October 18, 2011 7:04 pm

    Greetings from Idaho,

    Eighteen months ago my husband and I took a 23-day road trip along the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. While there were a few “exciting” moments (my husband said he never heard me say “Jesus Christ” so many times in so many days), it really wasn’t a problem. Ticos are NOT bad drivers. They just drive differently from some other places—just as New York City drivers are, well, you know.

    In spite of our great precautions in guarding our belongings, our camera and binoculars were stolen from our beach towels on what appeared to us to be a secluded beach. Someone had to have come through the long grass, a good distance from some homes. So, it cannot be understated that you don’t leave anything anywhere. We were determined not to let this ruin our vacation so we drove to a mega store and bought a new camera. People who have so little see us as people who have so much—and maybe they’re right.
    Anyway, we miss Costa Rica and are returning next February. We are not in good economic times to take a trip like this but we decided, what the hell. Who knows what the next decade will bring, and we’re not getting any younger, so another adventure awaits.

    This trip will be in the Northern part of the country, from La Fortuna to Playa Coco with ample time to relax. I have asked each hotel I’ve questioned about rooms about a specific event and when it takes place. I have no answers yet. It’s called Fiesta Brazilito and I believe it takes place sometime in February.

    When in Montezuma on our last trip, Brigit Eicker, owner of Hotel Horizontes de Montezuma (a beautiful, reasonably priced hotel) encouraged us to go to the horse show and bull riding rodeo. We had a blast. Drunken gringos (drinking beers) in the center of the ring, daring these poor bulls to chase them out of the ring. I encourage everyone to attend if it’s in your area while visiting. The food is fabulous and cheap. So, we want to experience this again in Brazilito, near Playa Coco. I have learned that this rodeo travels around every year and returns to the same towns at approximately the same time. Is it possible that someone out there can give me the days when this fiesta will be in Brazilito?

    Much appreciated.

  3. H. Wayne on January 18, 2012 3:47 pm


    Brasilito (not Brazilito) is NOT near Playa de Coco.
    Brasilito is a few Kms South of Tamarindo which is South of Coco by about 50Kms.Fiesta Brasilito is like all the other “Ferias” we have during this time of year in Liberia, Santa Cruz, Cartegena, Bagaces etc but there is no bullring in Brasilito. The best one we’ve been to is in Bagaces or Liberia.
    But do come to Brasilito, stay at the Conchal Hotel and tell Simon or Hilda what you’d like to do.

  4. Costa Rica Information on April 2, 2012 3:13 pm

    Will you be continuing the blog anytime soon? we miss it!

  5. Tim on April 3, 2012 7:10 am

    A totally reasonable request! And the answer is yes 🙂

  6. Casey on April 19, 2012 12:24 pm

    Well, and yet here it is April, six months after your last posting. 🙂 Would like to see an update on the new fiscal law that recently was stopped in its tracks by Sala IV. Still seeing a lot of conflicting info and I’ll bet you can sort it out for us!

    Pura vida.

  7. Tim on May 6, 2012 11:19 am

    A totally reasonable. I’d love to have a clever reply… alas no… I’ll try. My schedule and life have changed but I do have some excellent topics on deck. Thanks for giving a hoot 🙂

  8. Dave Perry on October 12, 2012 9:54 pm

    Have been reading your info ALL day long. I am a retired cop (25yrs) and am moving to CR in November with my oldest son. I cannot thank you enough for all the valuable advice and information you provide.

    Most sincerely,

    Dave Perry

  9. DAVID ELIODORO on October 18, 2012 2:59 pm


  10. Tim on October 19, 2012 11:22 am

    If the amount exceeds $1,000 per month under today’s laws AND the disability is rated PERMANENT and or life, then yes.

  11. Jenny on October 24, 2012 5:32 pm

    Hi Tim,
    Thanks for putting together such a great website. It is so refreshing to see someone telling it like it is. A lot of the other sites sugar coat and act like everything is wonderful. I think that is irresponsible because that can cause people to move someplace only to get there and make costly mistakes because they are not prepared.

    THANK YOU for your time and your honestly!

  12. Brenda on April 4, 2013 7:30 am

    Hi Tim,

    When you talk about pensionado requirements of $1000 per month, is that per person? My husband is retired and his pension exceeds that amount, but I am not retired and am many years away from being eligible for SS. Given this situation, would we qualify as pensionados?

    Thank you for your blog/website….truly invalueable information!

  13. Tim on April 9, 2013 6:41 am

    It is $1,000 per couple (family) for pensionados.

  14. Elizabeth on June 28, 2013 2:30 am

    I am considering moving to Costa Rica – love your website and all the great info. I’ve also found contacts there through friends and have been getting great info from them, too. I plan to come down and get a short term rental to give myself time to tour around and look for a longer term rental. I will be applying for pensionado (SSDI of about $1200 a month) One thing I am having trouble finding out is what I can realistically expect to pay for a decent used small-cc motorcycle (350, 450, maybe 700), what inspection/insurance is required for motorcycles and about how much it costs. I plan to look in the Central Valley area outside San Jose (no desire to live in the city). Is a motorcycle a reasonable alternative to a car? (I’m an experienced rider). Is there a different DL required?
    Thanks for any information you can provide. Elizabeth