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eleanorcr

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  1. Good point, David. At SJO, walk right by those rental car desks, go outside and you will find the shuttle driver holding up a sign, sometimes with your name on it. I don't remember if there are rental car desks at LIR but if there are, the same advice applies. I did find out an interesting thing about car rental agencies and LIR airport: You will see shuttle drivers holding up signs inside the airport building and you will see shuttle drivers outside the building holding up signs. The agents inside the building are there because the agency has paid a fee to the airport. The last time I was there, I saw something like 5 rental car agents inside the building holding signs and a whole bunch of them outside holding signs.
  2. PaulaB - you won't have any problem traveling around as a single female. I've been driving all over Costa Rica on my own for something like 15 years with never an "incident." Of course, this implies that you don't do anything "stupid" like leaving your binoculars on the front seat of your car while you have lunch or carrying big, visible wads of cash in your wallet. Just use your good common sense and you will be fine. Renting a car is really the best way to get around. It gives you so much freedom and flexibility. My favorite agency is Vamos. They have clear and accurate descriptions on their website, good cars and excellent customer service. Others include Budget, Dollar, Adobe, Alamo and Solid. Stay away from anything that says "cheap car rentals." You get what you pay for. Liability insurance is mandatory in Costa Rica so be sure it is included in any quote you get. (Vamos always does this...) You can use your credit card insurance for collision and other things, but this means that if you have an accident, you would have to pay out of pocket and get reimbursed from your insurance company. For peace of mind, I think it's always worth buying a "full package." But that's a personal choice. Check the Vamos website -- they are the "gold standard" of rental cars and their information is accurate and up to date. They are typically booked up way ahead of time but even if you can't rent a car through them, you can get a lot of good information from their website. Note that there are no cars at either LIR or SJO airport - they are all offsite and shuttles will pick you up and take you to their offices. A driver will be waiting for you when you arrive. Pay attention to speed limits no matter what anyone else is doing. Speeding tickets can be brutally expensive. Once you are set up in a hotel, leave your passport at the hotel and keep a copy of the main page and the page with your entry stamp. Have fun! Forgot to add.......... book directly with the Costa Rican agency and not with a US agency or through a third party. Neither the US agencies or third parties such as Priceline or Expedia will give you an accurate quote, chances are. And it there is a problem, they will wash their hands of it. If you book directly, then the Costa Rican agency will handle any problems. (Not thinking too straight -- have the flu which is why I was posting at 4:30 am lol)
  3. If OP has done the drive.... 9 years ago.... or even 8 years ago (5 years ago?) ... it may not be relevant for you. Things have changed a lot in that time. In general: Safety is a BIG issue so not a great trip to take with a family; you will cross 5 borders so patience and paperwork will be important; you will need to register your car, have it inspected and pay the tax within 90 days of your arrival and keep in mind, the tax will be around 50% +- the value of your car, as determined by the Costa Rica government. A "gringo" in a nice car, loaded with stuff (and obviously with some cash and cards) is a very BIG TARGET these days.
  4. That sounds great! You will find that renting a car really is "budget friendly" since you won't have to take taxis or use organized tours or shuttles to get around. This is a very helpful website: www.yourtravelmap.com which shows you distances and travel times between many places and also directions. If you decide to explore the Nicoya Peninsula, this website is great: www.nicoyapeninsula.com You are doing a great job with paying off your debts and with those tickets! (I know how much work it can be to find those tickets.) I know you and your family will love Costa Rica, but try to look at things from the eyes of someone who would live here and not just a tourist.
  5. Wait... Ambassador Haney is Jewish? Who knew? I know he is black so I thought that would be the "racist rant" of choice. Why would anyone care? His religion (or race or sex) should have nothing to do with his Ambassadorship. And yeah, I would NOT want to be associated with ANY website or forum that allows any kind of racist or "religionist" posts.
  6. There's lots of math to do to get a handle on the information in this website. It would have been a lot easier if they had just put price per kilo or price per each, if that is appropriate. Here are some recent prices from my shopping expeditions: eggs - 30 eggs for 2,000 colones. (Haha - this is kind of a trick since I live near a big egg farm.) Eggs - are sold by weight and not by the each or by the dozen. A typical package has 15 eggs (mixed grades and sizes) and costs around 1,000 to 1,500 colones - mas o menos - depending on the weight. I bought some recently at a supermarket for 1,127 for 980 grams. 18 roll toilet paper supermax (Maxi Pali) - 6,500 carrots - 550 kilo 2 liter club soda - 1,160 bunch of spinach - 700 Pkg Jack Mejitos corn chips - 710 pkg of 6 gala apples - 1000 Tuna in chunks, in water - 930 sweet potatoes - 800 / kilo Lizano mayonnaise - 1,575 400 grams cantaloupe - 600/kilo Heinz Barbecue sauce (my luxury!) 1,500 purple cabbage - 1200/kilo Ketchup - 875 (about 350-400 grams) Blackberry jam - 935 Chunky salsa - 1,150 (about 400 grams) Package of pasta - 1,050 Assortment of Twinings black teas - 3,100 Tosh limon/green tea cookies - 1,325 Badi ground cinnamon - 625 Whole wheat flour - 1,000 (Bioland 1 kilo) Brown rice - 940 - (900 grams +-) I don't pay a lot of attention to meat prices. I buy meat from a local butcher who is a young man that was my English pupil many years ago. His meats are very good quality and I just buy what I want and don't really look at the prices. Sometimes he gives me an itemized receipt..... sometimes not. He grinds his own ground beef every morning and it's so lean, I usually have to add some fat of some kind. I NEVER buy meat at the supermarket! All you have to do, mostly, is just smell the meat department and you will then be saying, 'nononono'. The only meat I ever buy at the supermarket is for my dog (sorry sweetie....).
  7. Did you think that showing them your passport and cedula would make a difference? If they don't have any boxes.... they don't have any boxes. It's really up to the "central" Correos management to decide when to put in new boxes and not up to the local workers. They can say "We have had this many people applying for boxes and we now have a waiting list of this many people." but they don't make the decision. I wouldn't expect them to call you when box becomes available. It's just not how institutions like this operate. Perhaps they are wrongly rewarding the people who live in Cobano since it's easier for them to check in. But that's the way they have decided to handle it and that's the way it is. For your home address: I am sure you can refine your address to something that makes sense to both the Correo and whoever is sending you a letter. It may take a few tries. Perhaps the real question is: Do you actually have home delivery in Montezuma? On a side note -- can you just get your letter as an email and then print it out? Because the payment for apartados are due in January, I would pay close attention to this time frame. You can check the Correos de Costa Rica website about payment terms and at what date a box will become available due to non-payment. In the meantime, if you have a friend whose apartado you can use -- that's a good solution until you get it all worked out.
  8. Yay for good news, Dennis! So great you are finally caught up and don't have to look over your shoulder for the corporation tax police. haha One more hurdle crossed and out of the way.
  9. Of course, Monteverde is the "one of these things is not like the other." But it's a beautiful place to visit. And will give you an idea of what it's like in the higher elevations. Guanacaste is a province and all the others you list are towns. (Except that Puntarenas is the name of both a Province and a town. sigh...) Mostly, there is no convenient road that parallels the ocean and runs down the whole coast. There are areas where this is possible and areas where it is not. You may find yourself driving back to Rt 21, for instance, to get further south. Playa Hermosa is a pretty little town, about 30 minutes from Liberia airport. It's "big brother" Playas del Coco, is larger with more in the way of shopping. Tamarindo is probably the most Americanized town in Costa Rica and my least favorite. It used to be just a little surfer town but now it is chocked full of hotels, condos and more than 75 restaurants. Obviously, some people do like it, of course. Montezuma, on the other hand, is one of my favorites. Nice beach, not far from beautiful Cabuya and the lovely and wild Cabo Blanco Park. It's kind of "down the hill" and houses and B&B's dot the hillside overlooking the beach. To get to Montezuma, you will need to take Rt 21 "over the mountains" to Paquera and then west on that highway or take the ferry from Puntarenas to Paquera. Samara is another town I like a lot. Big enough to have just about everything you need but still has some authenticity. Great beach and the beach at nearby Playa Carrillo is one of the prettiest around. Puntarenas (Punta Arenas is in Chile, haha) is not worth spending much time. It is a commercial center at the end of a narrow peninsula that is mostly totally built out. Jaco also not one of my favorites but once again, some people like it. It is the second most popular location for sex tourism so there's that. But, as people who like it have pointed out, you can avoid that. Some people who live in the area use Jaco for shopping or conducting business. This is a very informative webpage. It is mainly aimed at tourists, but has a lot of good and valid information about various beach towns: https://www.anywhere.com/costa-rica/destinations/habitat/beach
  10. Um, well, I do have an Australian friend married to a Costa Rican and she did the whole residency application thing and was granted Permanent Residency. Perhaps things have changed... or... ?? This was about 2 years ago. Maybe 3. And yes, when she applied for citizenship, the hoops she had to jump through were different from mine - I applied through residency and she through marriage to a Costa Rican.
  11. Just to be clear: A spouse of a Costa Rica citizen can apply for residency and if approved, they will be granted permanent residency. But it is not "automatic" that spouses get residency. They have to apply and go through the process like anyone else. They just "skip" the temporary phase and go right to permanent.
  12. Thank you, induna, for your usual clear writing about the law. Possibly the most important point of your post is that there is policy and there is law. Policy can change things quickly and I think this is what we have seen with Migración border agents granting fewer visa days for some people who have a history of leaving the country every 90 days. I also want to emphasize your point (and my point) that the border agent has the power to make decisions and there really is no recourse. Of course, the point about tourists not having legal standing when they leave the country could cause some consequences for anyone who owns a business as a tourist. But there is a category that might be called "legal but working illegally" that is a whole other thing and probably brings in another government agency.
  13. "...People often assume a tourist is doing something illegal...." By this statement, Derrick102, I am assuming that you mean - "people often assume a tourist who has lived in Costa Rica a long time is doing something illegal." Perhaps, I don't really know what "people assume." Maybe you're right. I do think that a lot of people think that Perpetual Tourism is illegal. Which it isn't.... maybe.... or ? As I said, I don't go around asking people about their residency/tourist/citizenship status. But I suppose that if one has told people that they are a Perpetual Tourist and then operates a business, then people would think that that person is doing something illegal. And they would be right. Probably the biggest group of Perpetual Tourists are those who are not old enough to have a pension and don't have a convenient $60,000 to put in a bank. They just come here and live. I think this is probably true of a lot of young people who come and live here mostly for the experience. And mostly work illegally. And after a while, they leave, not intending for Costa Rica to be a "forever home" but just an experience. One of the gray areas to me is people who apply for residency and work during the time their residency is in process. I have no idea what that would mean to the employee and the employer. An employer who hires an "illegal" can be fined up to 12 months worth of the worker's salary. An illegal worker can be deported. But if the employee has applied for residency, does that make any difference? And it's probably tempting for those who have paid for and gone through the process of legal residency to "look down" on those Perpetual Tourists. Or maybe they are envious! lol..... There are very few countries in the world where you can just go and live and legally work as a tourist. There are exceptions, of course, but many of the countries where this is possible are not all that desirable places to live. I think that the government would just like to know who exactly is living in the country. How many news stories have we read about someone from the US (or other countries...) who has escaped the law in their home country and now living comfortably in Costa Rica. And yes, some of these were legal residents. But as the vetting process for Migración gets more sophisticated, these criminals should be weeded out and either not allowed in the country or deported. But if Migración doesn't know they exist, then it's difficult if not impossible. If I look into my crystal ball, I don't see the government making Perpetual Tourism illegal, per se, but perhaps just tightening up with giving out fewer days on a tourist visa for those who are obviously PTs. Obviously, my crystal ball has no special powers!
  14. Those of us who are long-time residents of Costa Rica have met Perpetual Tourists over the years, of course, but sometimes it's hard to tell! How do you actually find out that someone is a Perpetual Tourist? Are they so wound up in themselves that they brag about it? I know several people who I THINK MAY be Perpetual Tourists but who in the world would just out and out ask them? It's kind of like telling your friends you cheat on your taxes. Duh. All it takes is for someone to take offense and things are off and running. For instance -- suppose you are a foreigner and decide to live here as a Perpetual Tourist and open your own business. You have competition in your business from local Costa Ricans. Perhaps they don't appreciate you and your business and so encourage authorities to check on the legality of said business. As Ryan Piercy once said, "Perpetual tourism is not illegal..... but it's not legal." So... what are we to think? Yes, Perpetual Tourists own houses, have lived here a long time, own and operate businesses, etc. But there's always the specter of deportation looming and there's always the specter of the "less than 90 days" visa upon returning to the country. For some people, living "on the edge" works OK for them. For others, always worrying about their status would ruin the pleasure of living in Costa Rica. It's no secret that Migración is starting to look at arriving tourists who have a pattern of leaving the country every 90 days over a long period of time. When you arrive at Passport Control, the agent there is "king." He/she decides whether to admit you into the country and how much time you will have on your tourist visa. So just because someone has successfully been a Perpetual Tourist for years, doesn't mean it will continue.
  15. Patty: I am curious as to why you call Golfito the "Land of Broken Dreams." If you don't want to share your experiences, I understand. But really, adding that last sentence to your post is hard to pass by without wondering just what you meant by that.