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      IMPORTANT - READ BEFORE POSTING to SUPPORT FORUM   01/28/2011

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diceallion

Young, Healthy, full of dreams

122 posts in this topic

Ok, I have a little more time to type, I wanted to include this in my message yesterday, but I was limited in time. So Here's the plan. If all goes well, and I clear this last debt (All but mortgage) My wife and I agreed to both take a sabbatical from work Next January to March and take our first trip ever to Costa Rica. We both work at FedEx and our company policy allows employees to take up to 6 months of sabbatical.

 

We are a family of 4, we have 2 daughters, by that time the girls will be 14 and 11.

 

We are planning on attempting to live with and like the locals nothing fancy, but we do not wanna live in a shack also. Yes it will be a sort of vacation, but not the resort all inclusive type. We want to rent a home, do our groceries and cook our own meals. Walk to markets and enjoy life.

 

We really want to get a good feeling of what it is like to be there. To learn and understand the culture, and really find out if it is something we can really do long term in the future.

 

So, for now, let me continue to pay off debt, then as of April, my goal is to save enough money to cover the expenses at home while we are gone, and obviously to cover the costs while we are in Costa Rica.

 

I'll be more involved in the forums as April comes around, I am hoping to speak with all of you and help me start preparing on whats to come.

 

Love you all
Arie

Edited by diceallion

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Makes sense!!

 

As an afterthought, you cannot 'live like the locals' and get the true cost of living here, unless you enroll your children in a public school, which not all Costa Rican citizens do. Private schools are expensive and once again, your CAJA monthly premium will be determined by the status you apply for, once a legal resident. Paying out for these two expenses could cost you US$1500 or more a month.

 

I love your enthusiasm however I think it will be much tougher than you would hope for and the plight of the Canadian dollar is affecting many people living here.

Edited by costaricafinca

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This year will be our 10th year since we bought our place. If we could do it over again, I'd choose another country - it's getting too expensive here.

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This year will be our 10th year since we bought our place. If we could do it over again, I'd choose another country - it's getting too expensive here.

 

 

Interesting, CMGal. Seeiing your post I thought I'd juat chime it with this little narrative:

 

When I first came to CR in 1976 I stayed at the (old) Pensión Otoya in San José (50 mts N of the Hotel Europa in downtown SJ).

 

It was a lovely old place and was charging only $3.25US per day for a room with shared bath. Such a deal!! I stayed there for 20 years off & on, every time I came to Costa Rica. until it was sold and peremptorily buldozed to make way for a bus parking garage. [sigh]

 

But the owner told me when I checked in that very first time in 1976 that for the price they had stopped serving breakfasts that year because there had been a bad inflation and milk had gone up to a dollar a gallon!

 

So everything old is new again: Costa Rica is still getting expensive after all these years!

 

Cheers!

 

Paul M.

==

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It might be a case of "You get what you pay for."

 

It would be a LOT cheaper to live in Nicaragua, but that could be quite unpleasant and downright insecure.

 

It would be cheaper to live in Guatemala but the gap between the rich and the poor (with not much of a middle class) makes things difficult unless you totally isolate yourself.

 

Of course, there are many other countries to consider other than Central America.

 

Costa Rica is expensive because of several things: no oil so gas prices are high which makes everything high; a clear-cut list of salaries for various workers, from maids and gardeners to doctors and lawyers; the employer expense of being required to pay pension and Caja for employees as well as aguinaldo; bloated bureaucracy and red tape from the government. All these contribute to the cost of living.

 

However, what you get in return is a stable government with a stable economy and a healthy middle class. Young Costa Rican friends who are parents of a young child and are both working just bought a car. She works as a clerk in a bakery; he works as a gardener.

 

Yes, you can live on less if you live like a local. Caja expenses can be relatively high - but we have seen that what people pay is all over the map! And if you are from Canada (or the US), you should be used to paying through the nose, either directly or through taxes, for health care.

 

As for private school -- I would not say that is a "requirement." I know of several immigrants (from Europe and the US) whose kids are going through or went through the public school system. With a bit of home schooling added, their kids are fine and have not lost any opportunities that they were interested in for doing so.

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Okay, here is my opinion. I'm an old-timer on the forum but younger than many of the other old-timers here. I'm 43, lost my husband unexpectedly on New Year's Day in a car accident on Ruta 27, & have dedicated more or less the last 12 years of my life to making enough money to support our life in Costa Rica. We applied as rentistas, then gained permanent residency in 2012. We have a great home that we own outright in the Esterillos area. We homeschooled our kids because there wasn't a good alternative available when we made the move down in 2007. Many times over the years I've cautioned people about the choices they make when coming to CR, whether renting vs. buying, shipping containers vs. buying in CR, city vs. beach living, etc. Want to know what I really think now that my life has been upended???

 

GO FOR IT. Do not let money or worry or anything else stop you from doing it. If it doesn't work out, oh well. Just have a back up plan. But don't ever let yourself live with regret. So many times I was unsure if we were making the right decisions in CR. Guess what? My husband died in CR, having just spent the previous 5 days surfing his ass off, taking care of our lovely little home, & spending quality time with all of our friends who have become family to us over the 10 years we've been a part of the community. No woulda, shoulda, coulda from us. Just do it.

 

Jessica

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Just a reminder people, I did say we're taking a sabbatical for only 3 months. I understand everything you all say, but these at the moment do not apply to me. However, were not going to live on a resort for 3 months were going to live simple and disconnected for 3 months.

 

Well, hopefully!

Edited by diceallion

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Ok.... so it's serious now. The 2 month visit has become a supper discussion with the children involved. So starting next month, I want to start planning this properly as my wife and I will have to submit our sabbatical leave request no later then mid April.

 

Now I feel like I know nothing... we need to figure out which are the best 2 months to visit, and we need to speak with our children's schools to see what our options are for home schooling during the 2 months we visit Costa Rica.

 

It's real now.... This is happening.

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Hi diceallion,

 

Congrats on your concerted efforts in preparation for your planned move south!

 

Let me suggest that you come while the kids are on summer break from school. That should make things simpler on the north end.

 

As to the south end, that time of year would be the start of the rainy season and would offer the opportunity for you to see how that works, since it is very different from what we experience in the temperate climes. Sincein CR it most always rains in the afternoons you can go out early in the day (it gets full light by 5 am or so) and so you will have six to eight hours until the rains start around 1 to 2 pm. to explore and get things done. But the rain won't be every day, maybe two to four days per week in June and July.

 

The later into the rainy season that it gets the more days per week it tends to rain, so by September it would prolly be raining 4 to 5 days per week, occasionally more.

 

My reasoning for suggestion that you come during the rainy season is that it is so unlike what we experience in the temperate climes that if you cannot cope with the rain patterns during that seaon you may want to rethink your choice of CR for relocation.

 

Mind you I am playing a bit of the devil's advocate here since I don't exactly know how much you already know first-hand about Costa Rica, so forgive me if I happen to be a tad out of line with my suggestions.

 

Regards,

 

Paul M.

==

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Paul's point is a good one - however, the rainy season doesn't always "behave" in that way. Costa Rica is famous for its "micro climates" where it can be sunny in one place and 10 km away, be raining. Plus, the rainy season in some parts of the country -- the Caribbean, for instance -- is different.

 

I do agree that it would be a good idea to come during your kids' summer vacation because you will get to experience the rainy season in all its glory. haha.

 

If you want to stay in the same place for the whole two months, I would advise staying somewhere "central" with easy access to good highways so that you can visit other parts of the country. If you rent a house or apartment, you can always take off for a couple of days to do some exploring.

 

One place that I would recommend is San Ramon. A nice small town with plenty of facilities, easy access to Rt 1, the main highway, and not over-developed or urban.

 

Consider what kind of atmosphere you and your family feels most comfortable in: Urban, rural, small town, beach, mountains. A lot of people have a dream of "I'm moving to Costa Rica and living at the beach." But the reality is often not what they imagine it to be. Still, worth exploring while you are here, of course. Keep in mind that the weather is milder in the mountains and at higher elevations can be quite cool. But typically, rain goes with elevation.

 

Here are some websites you might find useful: www.yourtravelmap.com -- lists travel times between main points as well as directions for getting there.

 

www.thebusschedule.com/cr/ -- public bus schedules for getting around the country.

 

www.anywerecostarica.com -- this website is mostly aimed at tourists but does have good descriptions of many places in Costa Rica.

 

For your two months, you could consider renting a car for part of the time and other times, just using public transportation. Renting a car for two months will set you back quite a bit so perhaps two one week rentals would give you the luxury of having your own car and for other times, just use the bus or local taxis.

 

You can plan on spending a lot of time checking out prices of rental property and prices in the supermarkets, the farmers markets and the hardware store, etc. You can also check out the local schools.

 

Key to your successful two months will be learning as much Spanish as possible for you and your kids.

 

Just some ideas -- I'm sure others will chime in with "helpful hints." Oh yes, a good map. I suggest the one produced by Costa-Rica-Guide which you can buy on Amazon. It has a toucan on the front.

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Hi Arie,

 

Ah, you're getting close! I'd second everything that Jessica and eleanor said. We lived in the hills above San Ramón, and my favorite time of year there was during the rainy season. As Paul said, rain late in the afternoon, then as the season progresses, it starts earlier and earlier in the day. And the rain is tropical, so warm, yes, but torrential. We had a metal roof, and it was literally the case that spouse and I, standing about 4' apart, had to shout at each other in order to be heard. Weather there is comfortable year round, with temps ranging from about 16 to 29, usually more like 22 to 27 -- pretty wonderful! Jessica lives at the beach, which is much warmer year round.

 

Buena suerte,

Gayle

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Dear Jessica,

 

Your words are what we all should live by: No regrets. I'm so sorry for your tremendous loss, but I greatly appreciate the wisdom that you share here.

 

I recognize the deep truth of what you say.... may the people who feel an urge to explore Costa Rica just do it. If it's not for them in the end, there's no shame. Explore the options while you can--- live without that "shoulda, coulda, woulda"!

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Well, my wife and I advised our bosses today that they will be receiving a letter in regards to our sabbatical leave request. We will be handing it in on March 6th just before we start the vacation picks for the new fiscal year. So Ill be writing my letter over the next few days... Then we wait for the approval. OMG!!!

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The answer is in!!!

 

So our initial request was refused... :(

 

Apparently I'm too important to loose for 60 days... my boss told me to keep dreaming if I ever thought he would allow me to leave for 2 months.. anyway that's a whole story on its own. Anyway....

 

However, corporate management over rules his decision and they granted me 5 weeks.....

 

 

IM COMING TO COSTA RICA AFTER 5 YEARS OF TALKING DREAMING OF THIS.....

 

FEBRUARY 1st TO March 9th 2018... YOUPIIII!!!!

 

I'm so anxious, scared and stressed. Now I feel like I know nothing... I gotta plan this for me my wife and 2 daughters.....

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