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Epicatt2

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Everything posted by Epicatt2

  1. Epicatt2

    Our dream/intention to live in CR

    JAL, Thanx for the nice trip reports. Glad you made it to Quesada w/o incident. It will be interesting when you can go back and spend a bit more time; maybe even choose it for your HQ and explore the areas around it. Incidentally, if you want to try somewhere really cool check out Zarcero. It's beyond Quesada towards San Ramón & the western Central Valley and sits high up in the mountains. They grow onions, garlic, cabbages, broccoli and other cool-growing crops up there. That's the little town where the churchyard has all the neat & curious topiaries in it which are occasionally featured in tourism ads for CR. Costa Rica may have a modest-sized footprint on mercator map of Central America but it is lots bigger than it seems at first due to its often mountainous terrain. Because of that there's lots to see in CR that cannot be managed on a two to three week visit. But you can choose a different area of the country on each visit and check out the surrounding local/adjacent regions successfully without spending the greater portion of your visit traveling back & forth across the country. Cheers! Paul M. ==
  2. STW, Mine are all in an Excel file which is placed in a secure encrypted storage folder, called FileVault, on my Mac. That way only the password for the FileVault will give acess to the Excel file with all the other passwords and sensitive info contained therein. If the FileVault password is lost then it is impossible to retrieve the encrypted contents of the FileVault. I keep the FileVault password in a safe place that's not on any of the electronics that I own. There is a Keycahin on my Mac in which one may save passwords and which will auto-fill them as needed, but while that makes for a convenient arrangement and is relatively secure, it is nowhere near so secure as the FileVault is. Still I can see the value of physically sharing the important info with trusted friends or with family members. Or at least the FileVault password. Just FWIW . . . Paul M. ==
  3. Epicatt2

    Our dream/intention to live in CR

    I'm sure the bus route will take along the north side of Lake Arenal. It's a pleasant, scenic trip. Maybe plan to spend a day in La Fortuna. I stayed in the Hotel Bosco which has some observation decks at the end of the building facing Volcán Arenal. I got up early one morning, like five a.m. just after the sun had come up and went to sit on the observation deck with a cup of coffee. The mist was still hanging over the town and as I sat there I watched dozens of white herons taking off and flying, almost in slow motion, off towards the volcano to start their day of foraging. It was a mesmerizing thing with the town still inactive and silent, the groups of 5 to 7 herons leaving, one group after the next, flying off to the vanishing point through the wisps of mist hanging here and there over the countryside. La Fortuna itself is worth a walk-around for one day to see what all is there. One day should be enough. The bus ride onward to San Carlos is through mostly flatter, hotter land and is not nearly so picturesque as the ride around the lake. San Carlos though I think you will find interesting. Let us know what you think, please. Cheers! Paul M. ==
  4. Epicatt2

    Our dream/intention to live in CR

    Hi again, Jal, Mea Culpa! I misspelled 'Ciudad Quesada' in my previous post. <— That's the correct spelliing there. (I left out the 's', alas!) It's also known as 'San Carlos', so you may hear ticos refer to it it by either name. Cheers! Paul M. ==
  5. Epicatt2

    Our dream/intention to live in CR

    Hi Jal, I expanded an aerial CR map for Libano and there doesn't seem to be any real sort of town center there; just a couple of small scant, separated clusters of dwellings and what appears maybe to be a mining pit area. So there doesn't seem to be much of anything there. Your regular shopping would lilely have to be carried out in either Tilarán or in Cañas. If you go from Tilarán around the N side of Lake Arenal you will come to La Fortuna. It's gotten touristy over the last decade or so due to Volcán Arenal and how much it was showing off up 'til about three years ago. Now that Arenal has taken a nap of undetermined duration La Fortuna may quieten down somewhat since the word is finally getting around that the 'show it over' for the time being, and fewer tourists likely will come to La Fortuna now. Elsewhere V. Poás, Irazú and Turrialba plus perhaps V. Rincón de la Vieja are now lots more interesting and active by comparison so tourists will prolly go to those to get their volcano fixes and La Fortuna should become somewhat sleepy again. Because of that there may be some good deals (rental houses or for sale) for a while. Since La Fortuna had grown due to the atraction of the volcano there should be enough infrastructure already there so you can get most of what you need in town. Or you could continue traveling eastward an hour or so past La Fortuna 'til you come Ciudad Quesada (aka San Carlos) which is a large farming town that serves as the head of the Cantón of San Carlos. This town sits in the foothills that face towards the northern lowlands and savanas of CR and the town is not very cold nor too hot. It has good infrastructure and so far is not overly touristy, IMO. That might be a place worth checking out. Good luck with your continued search. Regards, Paul M. ==
  6. Epicatt2

    Our dream/intention to live in CR

    As to renting vs owning in CR I'm in agreement with you. I can easily see the value of buying a place once one knows s/he is going to stay in CR or when the person finally knows where s/he wants to be located in CR. Owning after the initial expense of purchase, periodic repairs, and CR taxes can often be less expensive than renting which can be a major factor when one is retired and on a fixed income. But not everyone can be certain -even after an extended period of time- that s/he will be staying 'forever' in CR or know where exactly in CR they really want to be. Alas, I fall into this latter group for whatever personal reasons. Fortunately the Forums offers its members 'something for everyone' and there has been much good and useful advice offered to many on here over the years. I hope that will continue. Regards, Paul M. ==
  7. So, do you happen to recall what sorts of items that hydrogen peroxide was shelved along with in that store? Just curious . . . Paul M. ==
  8. Happy New Year to you, too, Tom & also to all our Forums Members. I'll actually miss being in tiquicia when the wild cacophony of fireworks starts erupting in earnest there in slightly more than two hours, at this writing! Cheers! Paul M. ==
  9. What a nice photo montage, Lucybelle! Thanx for sharing that with us. Feliz y Próspero Año Nuevo para Uds.! Paul M. ==
  10. Savanahjoo, I visited the ARCR Members' Discount page and there is no mention of National Park entrance fees (or at a reduced rate) anywhere on there. If Park entrances had previously been one of the perks, I suspect that the program got revised and that perk was eliminated. Your best bet for finding out 'what gives with this' may be to contact the ARCR Offices after they open again on the 5th and speak to someone member services. Meanwhile the two suggestions you received above may be your best bet currently: Show your residency cédula and perhaps get an entry fee at nacionales' prices and if the birthdate on the cédula shows that the cédula-carrier is 65+ yoa, that might even get you in for free in lieu of a Ciudadano de Oro card. (That works OK on many of the buses.) HTH Paul M. ==
  11. It's perfectly wonderful! Thanx . . . PM ==
  12. Cute card, Carol... Same to you. Cheers! Paul M. ==!
  13. Wishing a Happy Holiday Season to all our Forums Members here! ¡Y que tengan todos Uds. un Próspero Año Nuevo! Paul M. ==
  14. An article today (Mar. 3) in AM CR, "Nicaraguan quake sensed in some parts of country", reports a 6.2 magnitude quake along the NW coast there. The report said that it was "felt in the western half of Costa Rica and most strongly in Paquera, San Ramón and Grecia". Now, after some recent media reportage that Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega has enlisted the experitse of a Chinese engineer(?) to work on designing a new tranisthmic canal which when completed would compete with the Panama Canal, I am wondering about the practicality of such a canal being routed up the San Juan River, thru Lake Nicaragua and onward to the Pacific cutting thru the coastal mountains. I wonder, too, whether the volcano(es) on the island(s) in the lake would be of any concern, in the long run. ¡Pura Pasaje! Paul M. ==
  15. Let me pile some birthday wishes for you, Dave, on top of Gayle's, earlier. Cheers & Many More! Paul M. ==
  16. Happy Birthday –before it become belated– Jessica. And plenty more . . . Cheers! Paul M. ==
  17. OK thanx TC. Yes that does sound like a sort of 'Catch-22', that 40% reduction on the minimum amount. Could it possibly be a part the language of that new law that was recently enacted which says that an expat cannot be covered under a tico or tica spouce's CAJA account? Paul M. ==
  18. TC, Just curious . . . For someone who decided to pay CAJA + Pension for a minimum of 15 years & then begins to collect the resultant CR pension, what would that person then expect to collect on a monthly basis? I am assuming that they would be paying a minimal amount monthly over that 15 years based upon a minimum US$1K per month expat's SSA pension income. Regards, Paul M. ==
  19. Check to se whether your version of Skype is out of date or if your browser is not the current version. How about the router you are using; it could contribute to some problems if it's an older one or is wearing out. If that's not the problem then it could likely be ICE or their servers causing problems. Also there was work done recently on the undersea cable between Ft. Lauderdale and Central America (CR, Panamá, etc.), after which I started to occasionally have some Skype anomalies when I called two people in CR using Skype. Previously I had never had problems calling them but now, after the work on that undersea cable, I get disconnections, noises or incompleted calls. But it is intermittent. So sometimes a call to one of them will be clear aa a bell and other times it will be staticky or may have odd noises on the line –or suddenly in the middle of a bell-clear call, one of us can no longer hear the other. (Actually one can talk and be heard and the other can type his replies!) That's my overall assessment of the problem. (I do know one of the people whose calls I have problems with told me that his problem is due to his landlord's router so they're getting a new one.) I hope some of this proves helpful. Maybe Mark, our technology maven will chime in here . . . OK — HTH Paul M. ==
  20. STW & Eleanor, I'm with both of you in not wanting to be tied 24/7 to a cellphone or other electronic communications device. I do have a 'land-line' phone at home and use it accordingly. I was a holdout against having a cell phone for a long time, but being in Costa Rica finally turned the tables on that. I found that in CR a cellphone made for a useful tool for alerting people to the fact I was stuck in traffic and would be late arriving somewhere; or that I was not able to find the place -like a restaurant- where I was to meet someone; and useful also to be able to call a taxi to come pick me up after finishing shopping somewhere instead of always relying on a clerk, etc., where I had been shopping to call a taxi to come for me. Or of course for use in an emergency. I carry the cellphone with me in Florida when I go off somewhere in my car in case of an accident but I never have it turned on -either in the car with me or at home. In fact I prolly could get along without it, and only have it as a sort of an insurance policy, useful for example to summon help in case my car should break down somewhere in the middle of nowhere. So while I seldom use mine in Florida, it's comfortable to have. I do use it lots more when I'm in CR. Regards, Paul M. ==
  21. And Gayle, Another thing about buying such an inexpensive phone is that its price is does not create any great inducement for it to be stolen from you. Or if you should happen to lose it accidentally you're not out a bundle of money. Paul M. ==
  22. Hey Colin, sorry 'bout that. So, to answer your QQs, yes you must add minutes to the chip at least once a month . . . UNTIL you have bought cumulatively $100.00-woorth of minutes. Once you reach that plateau, called the 'Gold Rewards' level, your minutes last for one year thereafter. And after you've reached that 'Gold Rewards' plateau then all subsequent recharge purchases will last for one year from the date of the recharge which I think resets the remaining minutes forward, too, thru to the coming year's expiration. FWIW, $10.00 is the minimum recharge you can buy and, BTW, T-Mobile does seem to charge sales tax for the state you're in. And keep in mind that the more minutes you recharge in one recharge then the cheaper the per-minute rate for calls becomes. And the recharge purchase amount resets the remaining minutes' per-minute rate, too. (Oh, well.) HTH Paul M. ==
  23. That's OK by me Eleanor. I just switch between chips depending on which country I am in at the moment. Takes thirty seconds at most to make the change. Works for me, anyway. And since I don't have anyone in either country with whom I cannot connect to using Skype, what with now being the cheapo person I've become since retiring, then I'm covered both ways. Anyway the two-cent Skype call from CR to a US phone or the 6.4-cent call from the US to CR landlines is cheaper than the ten-cent (or more) per minutes call T-Mobile charges me here and I'm sure it would bessignificantly more expenisve were I calling US to CR. Cheers! Paul M. ==
  24. Hi Eleanor, As I wrote in my post above, I bought the T-Mobile pre-paid sim card in a shopping mall in Tampa at a T-Mobile store. I had the phone already (bought in CR) and they just installed the chip in it. Their chip was/is the same size as a Kölbi chip. Sorry but T-Mobile does NOT have service from inside Costa Rica; there is no T-Mobile signal in the GAM that I can access with their chip in my Nokia cell phone, trust me, I've tried. What you are referring to is calling to CR from the US using a T-Moble chip. That is doable but expensive. For doing that it's back to using Skype for me. While ICE may have an international chip, I'm not disputing that... I was reporting the fact that my Kölbi chip gets no signal when I bring my Nokia back to the US. HTH Paul M. ==
  25. Colin, I use T-Mobile while in Florida. It's prepaid minutes and the chips work in my CR-bought Nokia cell phone. When first setting my cellphone up I bought a sim chip and about an hour's-worth of minutes for US$20.00. ($10 for the chip and $10 for the minutes.) That was in a T-Mobile store in a local shopping mall in Tampa. T-Mobile seems to offer reasonably good coverage and the cost isn't outrageous. I have had a good experience with them so far. The more minutes you rechage with (for any one-time purchase), the cheaper their per-minute rate is. You do have to stay on top of when your minutes expire with them as there is only a two-day grace period after the expiration date to revive any remaining minutes with a recharge. Beyond the two days though, no dice, alas. T-Mobile has no service in CR, BTW, just as Kölbi has no service in the US. HTH Paul M. ==
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