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Our dream/intention to live in CR

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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.




Paul M.


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Er... maybe not, Paul. The bus going along Lake Arenal, of course.


She can go that way via La Fortuna or go to Canas and get the bus there for San Carlos. Either way. And both from Tilaran to La Fortuna and from La Fortuna to San Carlos is very scenic going through a mountainous area that has some cloud forest. (Are very scenic?)

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@costaricafinca Yes we pay the gardener's caja etc and when the property changed hands we paid his liquidacion, which amounted to about 600k for 2 years. So even though he never lost his job, we paid him as it really doesn't matter to me if he gets paid sooner or later, and the bill was sent to the former owner, who will look after it.


Again, these costs are generally split by four families on a large property, so the liquidacion cost $300 each, approximately. Not going to break anyone.


But it could be a good point to remember, if you bought a property with a long term employee, it'd be good to know that the previous owner had paid his liquidacion for all the time up until the new buyer took over.


I doubt the new owner would be on the hook for it, but you never know....


Anyway, as I said, my situation is somewhat unique I'm sure, and it just happens to suit me perfectly. Being able to share the costs of maintenance etc sure helps.


Even the location of this particular property makes it more secure than most, being on a very long (5 or 6 km) small road which eventually dead ends and there is only one way out. There are also quite high natural barriers. So if crime really was a problem here (doesn't seem to be) I think there are much easier targets.

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Glad to her that you meet your 'obligations' as many don't!


When a new owner takes over, it is not his responsibly to pay the severance package, but the original owner. The employee can only claim 7 years for this package, so many employees ask to be paid 'out' (laid off, then rehired) every year or every few years, just in case the owner leaves them 'in the lurch' and if paid out every few years, in the long run they get more money.


Even though you consider yourself in a secure location, never let your guard down. Been there...done that. :ph34r:

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If you don't do your "due dillagance" than it may come back to bite you later!

When you drive along the north side of Arenal and you see all the BIG pretty white whirligigs then "yes" it "might" be a little windy!

(A world class wind surfing destination might be a tip....ya think?)

When you think about buying property on the side of a volcano, browning of the skin of the tomatoes your trying to grow may be the least of your problems.

If everywhere you look it's dry and dusty....yes it probably dosn't get as much rain.......oh! And it probably gets HOT!

Look before you leap, think before you buy and study, investigate, read and inquire!

Oh by the way a few weeks ago I was driving from La Fortuna to San Carlos and it was beautiful! Fairly flat green land with Bannana farms an Palm groves! But what cought my attention was the unmistakable smell of 24d and other chemicals as I drove thru these areas. Would I be interested in buying next to one of these farm? Not in my life time!

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Well, I made the exploratory trip to Quesada.

Do you want to hear my opinion of experience?




We left took our first bus at 6:30 am . Our second at 7:00 am

Our trip was on Hyw 142

The weather was cloudy with some sunshine.

The scenery was great.

I was surprised to find that Nuevo Arenal did not have a scenic view of the lake.

The quantities of businesses catering to tourist increased and reach its peak at La Fortuna.

The town is full of restaurants, sleeping accommodations, and tour operators.

La Fortuna felt uncomfortably hotter than Tilaran.

On our way to Quesada we had a one hour wait in La Fortuna.

We used the time to go for a cup of coffee at a restaurant that was on the corner.

The next first half of our trip was on the flat growing plains of the district of San Carlos.

I saw fields of banana bunches wrapped in blue bags, sugar canes, papaya, and pineapples.

I noted the difference between fields that are being grazed those that have been neglected.

It does not take long for the jungle to regrow.


I liked Quesada. It feels drier, and warmer than Tilaran. It's not as windy.

I wish I had more time to explore Quesada. I'll do it on another trip .

On the return trip,I did spend a day exploring La Fortuna.

The return trip finished in the dark, at 7:30 pm, with no accident.

Edited by jal
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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.




Paul M.


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The return trip finished in the dark, at 7:30 pm, with no accident.

Over the last year or so, as reported by the major CR Newspapers and TV News Stations, violent crime has had a major increase in the Ciudad Quesada Area.

Edited by tibas9
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Hi jal,


Wellllll, I'd respectfully disagree with Paul about Zarcero. Elevation is close to 6,000', and, while it's a wonderful place, it is much colder. Ciudad Quesada I think is only a few hundred feet above sea level -- a big difference.


When we came here the first time on vacation, for some reason, we talked to a real estate agent -- I cannot recall how we met him, but we originally emailed back and forth before we'd ever come to CR. He showed us several properties in the Florencia area, one of which we really liked (probably 40 different kinds of fruit trees, some of which we'd never heard of before). We were all ready to buy it (really stupid idea -- no due diligence whatsoever) but something made me say, no, and back off entirely. It would have been a truly terrible mistake. For us, the area would have been much too hot and humid. When you have time to really spend more time exploring, learn about different microclimates in the areas you're thinking about. A few hundred feet can make a surprising difference in temperature. I'd second crf's suggestion about the area around Cartago and the Orosi Valley. Just gorgeous, but check things out leisurely. Despite what real estate agents may tell you, there is no hurry.




Edited by salish sea
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Thank you, everyone


I am going slowly and discovering many different customs and ways of living.


The rain ditches, on the highway, must be 2 meters wide and slopping down to a deeper channel and are made of cement. The older ditches are weed/grass covered.


On a lighter note.

Every family must have someone who can use a sewing machine because all the pants are skin tight.

The ladies are not wearing their tops/blouses loose in an attempt to hide their roll of fat.

The majority of women buy only the bottom half of their bra.

Women seem to accept the way they look as natural.

The work day seem to start with the rising sun.


My tan is increasing and when I sit on a bench while waiting for my wife to do her shopping more Tico and Tica will greet me and seem to start a conversation. It's only when I respond do they realize that I'm a gringo. Regardless, our short encounter ends in smiles and laughter.

Edited by jal
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jal -- You're learning! Riding the bus and "mingling" with Costa Ricans is the very best way to see and get to know the country. I used to be kind of shocked at the clothes that Costa Rican women wear (or don't wear!) but it's now second nature to me. I am pleased that Costa Rican ladies are proud of their bodies, even with some rolls of fat!


Glad to know that people are responding positively to you -- that's usually been my experience. I love sitting at the bus stop when, as each person arrives, they say "Buenos dias!" and everyone answers. They usually sit for a little chat with someone -- and sometimes that's me.


And yes, the work day does tend to start with the rising sun, especially in agricultural areas. Although.... lots of shops and stores don't open until 9 am or 10 am.


Other things I love: The lady who cleans the room at a local eco-lodge gets breakfast there every morning and doesn't sit on the back porch or outside, but in the regular eating area with everyone else. When guests arrive, she is always introduced as an important part of the operation - which she is!


I love the fresh milk I get from a friend who has a small dairy (6 cows) and because most of his cows are Jerseys, the milk has a LOT of cream and is even slightly yellow. I make the most delicious yogurt in the world from this fantastic milk. I go up to the dairy once or twice a week with an empty 2-liter Coke bottle and get it filled up with warm milk straight from the cow. Of course, I have to arrive early, because otherwise the milk goes to the local cheese factory. I go early, get my milk poured into my Coke bottle and then sit and have breakfast that they "force" on me. haha (It doesn't take a lot of "forcing" to eat some fresh gallo pinto with a dollop of natilla made from their milk, an egg and a fresh-made tortilla.)


I love when I come down the road from the dairy towards town and see the fantastic panorama of the volcano across the valley. In all the years I've lived here and seen that sight, I never tire of it and it never fails to give me a little catch in the throat.


I love when I go to the local "soda" for breakfast or lunch and she already knows what I want.


I love cutting a huge stalk of bananas from a tree in my back yard and then splitting into thirds where I get 1/3, my cleaning lady gets 1/3 and the very elderly couple next door gets 1/3. That's what Costa Rica is all about and that's the answer to the question gringos sometimes ask:" How can Costa Ricans afford to live -- it's so expensive!"

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We go to a small restaurant to purchase our eggs and the elderly man raises the chickens for his daughter to BBQ and sell them to be either eaten on the premises or sold 'to go' to the general public. We sometimes exchange the branches for eggs, that we have had to cut from the Nancie fruit trees and that the owner prefers to use that adds that 'special taste' to the chickens cooked on the rotisserie. This fruit is a favorite of Ticos and is often sold in small bags at the local feria ... but is not on my list of favorites... which is a shame since we have so many trees, filled with them.

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