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About IB00269

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  1. JAL, you're absolutely right, the Google tool is outstanding. The only problems with relying on it exclusively is that you must have at your disposal a 3G/4G device, which I do not because I have a wifi-only tablet, and 2) I find that most people are not very proficient on a key board and type slowly, and trying to have a dialogue passing a tablet back and forth is not always a real efficient way to conduct business, and 3) as Induna says, the translation is not always stellar. Having said all that though, using the Google tool works absolutely super in many, many circumstances. I also agree that it's incumbent on all of us to learn Spanish as quickly as possible, but many folks are only here for a few months a year aren't willing to put in the effort, and others, even if their stays are longer in duration, do not have the interest level to learn it, even though it would make life in-country easier. Sometimes, in my view, to have along a well-spoken interpreter is an acceptable alternative, especially until the requisite language skills are obtained..
  2. I'm not certain of the proper protocol regarding recommending someone, but I would like to inform those that are contemplating using an interpreter, you should try out a young man that I've utilized quite regularly over this past year. He has proven to be invaluable to me in dealing with all the myriad issues of establishing residency here in Costa Rica. He has been so helpful in walking me through getting a bank account, establishing and setting up auto-payments to pay utilities, Caja, etc. He has taken me to the brick and mortar utility places as required to get things setup in my name, and has taken me for doctor appointments, navigated me to Immigration to get our cedulas, as well as trips to my attorney's office, and visits to government facilities such as Social Security. His name is Isaac Barrantes Monge and he lives in the Orosi Valley. He is about 20 years old, has an excellent command of the English language, and writes in English beautifully. He is a very honest and forthright young man, and I believe will do an excellent and very reasonably priced job for whomever takes advantage of his services. He does not drive, as is the case of many Costa Ricans, but he makes good use of the bus system to reach your location, regardless of where you are. I usually have him ride shotgun, navigating to wherever we have to be, while I drive the car. His charming and friendly demeanor makes his coordination role much more effective; he's not intimidated by the task at hand, and charms folks into being helpful and accommodating. If you want to give Isaac a try, he can be reached at 8782-5631. You won't regret it, and will be better off as a result.
  3. IB00269

    Buying Corn Meal

    We're from NC so corn meal is an essential in our home. We've looked all over this country and have not been able to find any course ground meal, the kind used for cornbread, or even Jiffy, which would do in a pinch. The corn meal available here is for tamales and is ground way to fine, and makes absolutely the worst cornbread ever. We've tried several times. Gross! What we ended up doing is packing several bags when we last came from the States, and then we have visitors bring a few bags when they come.
  4. Leaving the car with the mechanic for that period of time, Gayle, is not practical, unfortunately. I think I'll try your suggestion, SteveJ. Thanks much. Tom
  5. My point exactly. Nothing is consistent. I WAS able to convert the water, but not ICE electric, ICE phone and internet, or Sky, but Sky was the most problematic, but for another reason. Sky would allow me to use American Express and pay the bill month after month, but would not let me switch into my name as the account holder until I had the Cedula. It would not surprise me that others here the absolute opposite from what I'm saying here. I've had CAJA in Paraiso emphatically tell me one thing and the Cartago Caja office tell me the exact opposite, but with the same level of emphasis. Frustration beyond belief. By the way, I probably could have saved myself a lot of trouble if I had registered the utilities in my LLC for the house; I'm now told that's permissible, Cedula or not. Who knew?
  6. All good suggestions, but as far as coming back early, I can't return until November. As far as having someone else, like my mechanic, do it in my stead, that would be difficult. The property is gated and secured, as well as the garage, plus I remove the battery cable, treat the gas, and dessicant the interior. Would be cumbersome. Thanks to all though. I think I'll take my chances and when I get back, I'll drive to my mechanic a couple miles away, and let him drive it to Retieve. He seems to know everyone and being Tico probably wouldn't get nailed.
  7. We have two cars here. One had it's inspection this month, which is no problem, but the other car is not due until next October. We are returning to the States in a few weeks, and not returning until mid-November, a couple weeks beyond the October expiration. I will be leaving both vehicles locked in my garage until we return. Will I get penalized if I go late, or is there a way to petition for an extension?
  8. IB00269

    Member Gatherings/Clubs

    I don't know if it's my computer or this website, but I get halfway through construction of a note, and it just blinks and my response is gone. It's happened twice today. Anyway, I'll try again: Hi Missy. Sorry I'm responding so late, but we have been very busy since returning to Costa Rica. We live six months in North Carolina, and six months in Orosi, where we recently bought a home. We come down around Oct or Nov 1st and return around April or May 1st. We arrived this year in October, so we are returning on April 1st. As far as golf, the central valley is a real disappointment as far as the number of golf courses. People who move here with intentions of playing a lot of golf at a lot of different courses are going to be sorely disappointed. There are some nice courses in the San Jose area, but the numbers are limited, and they're expensive. There is nothing out Orosi way, except Eagle Eye, which is off the highway to Panama, in Cartago, I think. I've played it once. It's an executive course and only nine holes, so you have to play twice. It's not pricy though; I think it was under $30. It's certainly not maintained that well. There is a Par 3 course around Curridabat that I played that's in excellent shape, and it too is a nine hole, but not an executive, and it' pricy. It is in phenomenal shape though, and good views. Are you fulltime in Costa Rica, Missy?
  9. We bought a home in Costa Rica and closed in April 2014. You can buy a home in Costa Rica, but you can't have utilities in your name until you have your Cedula. That makes absolutely no sense to me, but that seems to be the norm for CR business operations. Our Pensionado Residency with Cedula came through last October, and we've been trying to get the utilities switched from the previous owner's name to mine ever since. I really just wanted to use a US credit card and have all expenses related to Costa Rica go there. I found that to be a pipe dream. We've finally worked through it. We opened a savings account with Bancredito and can auto-pay ICE Electric and ICE Phone/DSL from that account, just making sure there are funds in the account when the debit time comes. We are also paying our monthly CAJA via the bank, but they will not do an auto-pay; I have to log onto their website and transfer the funds once each month. It's really not difficult, but as with everything else in Costa Rica, you're always told misleading or incorrect information. I was originally told by bank officials that I was signing up for auto-pay, and what I was really signing up for was the ability to manually pay through the internet. That seems to be working okay, and avoids special fees the US banks or credit card companies charge for transfers. My SKY bill is paid via a US Visa card, because they would allow it; ICE would not. However, getting the account in my name has been an unbelievable experience in that SKY will only handle the process with online forms, and only after you provide tons of info from you and the prior owner. Actually, I think if most people knew what a pain in the butt it really is to set up shop in Costa Rica, they'd back away from the notion altogether. Once you work through all the inefficient, and error-laden processes to set up shop, life is good. Getting their takes a level of patience I was not born with.
  10. IB00269

    Gasoline issue

    My Subaru check engine light came on and we replaced an oxygen sensor. Then a few hundred miles later, the light came back on. My mechanic said that the gas here is terrible, including the ethanol content being too much, and that I should run nothing but Premium. I disconnected the battery, let it sit a while so the light would go off, and then started running premium; no problems since. When I relayed this story to my superb mechanic in the States, who had taken care of this vehicle before I brought it to CR, he said I probably really didn't need to replace that first oxygen sensor. Anyway, I run nothing but Premium now. I've been told that the local gas station adds water to their holding tanks. I'm inclined to believe it because one time that I went there, the car started sputtering after I left, but eventually worked itself out. I stopped buying gas there until one day I was forced to get some there. The same thing happened. I do not frequent that station at all anymore. I've also been told that all gas in Costa Rica, regardless of station used, is at the exact same price. I've also been told that if you store a car here for any period of time, not unlike the US but an order of magnitude more pronounced, the gas turns to shellac and gums the jets/orifices in the fuel system. You have to use a fuel stabilizer like Stabil or Seabond in the stored vehicles gas tank, in a fairly rich mixture, and allow the vehicle to run for a period of time with that mixture to coat the components. It not only stops the gumming up problem, but preserves the fuel in the tank. The only problem is that I cannot find any of either product in Costa Rica. Does anyone have a source for them here?
  11. May have asked this question before, but are there any scheduled gatherings so members can get to know other members and establish a social network? My interest is golf, as well as dinner gatherings, etc. Have home in Orosi and live here six months each year.
  12. IB00269

    Car - rent, ship, buy

    I shipped a car last year from the States to CR, and I've been thinking of shipping down a second vehicle, but I'm leaning towards not doing it because of the experience on the first one. On the first car, I thought I was doing the smart thing shipping it in a container because that was safer than RoRo, and not that terribly much more in cost. My logic was that I could ship the car and end up with a vehicle that I'm intimately familiar with, plus I could pack it to the hilt with household items, which are extremely expensive in CR. And, be aware, you can't buy adequate insurance to cover your losses for damage or theft; they just don't offer it. The deductible is outrageous. Bottom line is that they poked a hold in the muffler of the shipped car, a perfect Subaru Baja, and failed to tell me to deliver the car to the shipper with no more than 1/4 of a tank of gas. So, they drained the gas and put it in their personal vehicles. The joke in this business is the guys at the receiving lots have not BOUGHT a gallon of gas in years. Something tells me I'm not the first customer they've neglected to tell about this requirement. They also disabled the all wheel drive feature by removing a fuse and neglected to tell me. I had to take it to a mechanic to figure out why the car was performing so crappy. And also, the battery was completely drained when I went to pick it up. And lastly, and most importantly to my wife, is that SOMEBODY rifled through the entire contents and made off with many valuable items. All of the car contents were removed and placed on a wooden pallet where it had been obviously gone through by a variety of people on the loading dock before we got there. My guess is they had a field day when they saw 32 boxes of household goods, much of which was brand new. They seem to really like the stuff still new in the package. I think it cost me over $5000 in taxes and fees to get the car and contents released. As I'm sure you know, the import tax is unconscionably high. One more thing if you're thinking of shipping a car to Costa Rica that you should know. My Subaru was pristine, with the oil changed like clock work at 3000 miles and any work that needed to be done was performed at these 3000 mile checkups. What I learned once I had my car in CR was how lousy the gas is in this country. Forget that gas is expensive; the quality just sucks. It's a wonder you don't see corn stalks coming out the filler cap door, given the ethanol content and obvious poor base fuel content. My mechanic just told me flat out, "CR gas is crap and expect to eat up oxygen sensors and catalytic converters frequently". My neighbor tells me he goes through a sensor or converter at least once a year. So, in writing this, I'm reminded of how much angst was involved, not even including the 1200 mile round trip to get it to the shipper, and I am now more than ever convinced to just buy a second car in CR rather than shipping down my Jeep. Hope this helps.
  13. IB00269

    Buying a CAR in Costa Rica

    When you buy a used car in Costa Rica, do you avoid the import tax that you would pay if you had decided to ship from the US rather than buying in CR? Or, do the prices you see cars listed for on Costa Rica's Craigslist, etc. for example, require that you pay taxes on top of the purchase price?
  14. IB00269

    Bringing the canine family

    We took three dogs (2 Pugs and 1 Pomeranian) to Costa Rica last November and then returned with them to NC on May 1st. We're returning with all three in early November and plan to return to the States in early May 2015. You have to get your vet to do the exam and fill the paper work within your respective state. Excluding the exams/shots, I think the paperwork was less than $100. This all has to be done within two weeks of the flight. It cost $200 for each dog. The two pugs, because of their short snouts and propensity for over heating, etc., rode in the cabin under the seats, and the Pom rode in cargo. Again, it cost $200 for each of them. We paid the same amount when we returned to the States in May. We did not have to get our dogs examined in Costa Rica before returning, but we did have to get a vet to provide the required paperwork, which took about a week and cost $200. Hope this helps.
  15. Although none of the Price Smarts can hold a candle to any of the Costco stores in the States, I've found the one in Tres Rios the easiest to use. Parking is huge and underground. It has as good a selection as the other two I've been to...........................minus the crowds and aggravation.

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