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

      Posts to this Support Forum are to be related ONLY to one's ARCR membership.   Please post all other types of questions to the appropriate forum.   Only Forums Moderators, Administrators and ARCR Employees ae able to make any replies to this ARCR Support Forum.   Paul M. Forums Moderator ==
diceallion

Young, Healthy, full of dreams

117 posts in this topic

Hey D,

 

Don't get stressed-out by all the upcoming planning for your trip south. As an example . . .

 

For me, when I remember back to just before I applied for my residency, the thought of trying to get all those needed documents together seemed like it was going to turn into a major mountain to climb. But after making the request for the first document which arrived quickly, then sending it off to the CR Consulate for authentication (as one had to do back in 2006), and waiting for it to come back in the mail, which it did in about a week, well, I was much relieved.

 

After that obtaining the other several documents just went like clockwork and suddenly they were all back in my hands about a month before my flight south to make my resiidency application. Getting all those documents went so smoothly that I was indeed surprised that things went so quickly.

 

So when you start making the arrangements for your upcoming trip south, if you will ahead of time do the things that you need to in preparation for the trip then everything should fall right into place so that once you're there you will wonder why you worried that much. Even so, I'm sure you will prolly have more questions in the coming months so please, ask away. There are folks here on the Forums who'll have useful advice and suggestions for your trip.

 

¡Buena Suerte!

 

Paul M.

==

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It's pretty exciting! And such a major change can be scary. But don't let it scare you too much.

 

The biggest problem with Costa Rica is: too much to see and do! So do some research and planning ahead of time, especially because you have kids, and you will be fine. Rather than focus on the "touristy" things, I would focus on the areas that you think might be suitable for living. You could spend time in three or four areas that are all different and then see what you think. With the amount of time you have, moving around a bit won't be too disconcerting.

 

And no, you can't just pick one place and use that as a "base." Travel times to get to various areas are too much for that to be workable.

 

Lots of the websites you will see on the internet are about "touristy Costa Rica" so be careful of that. If you are interested in an area that can be considered "touristy" - such as the Arenal area - then you can avoid the hotel and tours promotions and seek out the "this is what it's like" information. While aimed at tourists, the anywherecostarica.com website does have a lot of good information about various locations. www.yourtravelmap.com is a great resource for distances, travel times and directions. The Waze app works great in Costa Rica and can help you with locating things, maps as well as traffic reports. AirBnB is a great resource for finding lodging - renting a small house or cottage.

 

There are several English-language newspapers but most of them are not very good. The exceptions are Tico Times and The Voice of Guanacaste. Either of these provides good, if limited, stories and are well-written. Others.... not so much.

 

As I said before, you could plan on renting a car only for part of your visit since that can be quite expensive. If you decide to do that, then it's important to rent some lodging that is not too remote and is accessible to walking or bus travel.

 

So.... city, beach, small town, rural..... it's up to you! I wouldn't worry too much about schooling for your kids. Living in a place you love is way more important. You can always do some homeschooling to augment their education if you feel the need. (I have friends who do this....)

 

Let us know about your progress and we will be with you all the way!

 

PS: The more Spanish you know before arrival, the better off you will be.

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I'm not really a fan of either one of those, but they do occasionally have some good information. It's hard to know what is the wheat and what is the chaff, however, if you don't know much about Costa Rica. Some of their stories are questionable, at best. Prime example: an article about why more Costa Ricans don't order things internationally using the internet. Cultural differences, lack of computers at the family home, blah blah. Nowhere in this article did the author point out that the main reason is duties. I am not going to order something from Amazon, pay for the shipping and then have to go to the Aduana warehouse to pay the duties and retrieve my package. But this was not even mentioned in the article.

 

They both have a bad habit of publishing - word for word - press releases from various companies, tour agencies and hotels. I mean, does anyone really care who provides the furniture for such and such hotel?

 

If you are going to include them all: AMCostaRica.com (probably my least favorite...), The Costa Rican Times, Beach Times, the Voice of Nosara are some others. (I don't read any of these....) There may be more....

 

For a real flavor of the country, it's important to read the Spanish-language papers: La Nacion, Diario Extra, CRHoy (the most visited website in Costa Rica), La Republica, Prensa Libre and one of the best and most important - El Financiero.

Edited by eleanorcr

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I know it's not much info so far, but we did finally decide on something.

 

We're planning on landing in Liberia and visiting the west coast working are way south.

 

Like I said it's nothing, but it's a starting point to start building a trip.

 

So places of interest...

 

- Guanacaste

- Monteverde

- Playa Hermosa

- Tamarindo

- Montezuma

- Samara

- Punta Arenas

- Jaco

 

I'm just throwing some names out.

Edited by diceallion

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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

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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.

 

rica/destinations/habitat/beach

 

My favorate; a few nights at the Hotel Punta Leona and that fantastic "Playa Blanca". The wife and I stayed there last month and it is on our agenda again the last part of next month.

 

Also, easy-peasy go get there as we took a Jaco public bus from San Jose which stops right in from of the Hotel Punta Leona entrance(about 1 1/2 hour ride) and the guard will call the main reception desk to send a micro-bus for those customers waiting in their air-conditioned "sala". Great chow and the room facilities are first-rate.

Edited by tibas9

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Alright ladies and gentlemen let the planning begin. 

I originally anticipated to pay anywhere from $2100 to $2500 for our family of 4 airfare. Return flights obviously. 

So I have been shopping for tickets the past 4 weeks or so and I finally pulled the trigger this morning. 

Jan. 30 9:30pm landing in Liberia and departing March 6th...

$1650 tax incl....at this price I have now decided to rent a car during our stay. It will still be cheaper then my anticipated cost of the airfare with both costs together. 

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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. 

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On ‎6‎/‎12‎/‎2017 at 8:23 AM, eleanorcr said:

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. 

Hi Eleanor!  I'm planning a trip down (probably in November) and am considering a car rental to make it easier to get around. I haven't finalized an itinerary yet but will likely be sticking to the West Coast and some places closer to San Jose like Grecia, Atenas etc.  I'd like to get some input on whether it's fairly safe for a single female to be driving alone and the reliability of the rental agencies there. I'm a confident enough driver and have rented vehicles in many cities in Canada and some in the U.S. but know it may be a different experience there so I would appreciate any insight. 

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Driving in Costa Rica is pretty much like driving anywhere else. We drive on the right, as in most of the rest of the world. Generally, other drivers will obey the laws, stop signs, etc. And, like the rest of the world, we have our share of crazies. 

The worst of them are the motorcyclists of whom you must be very, very aware. They'll tailgate, speed through congested downtown streets, cross in front of you from the right to make a left turn, ignore Stop signs and traffic lights, split lanes, and ride as many as five family members on one cycle. 

There certainly are some car jackings, but males, females and couples are equally exposed. It's no worse than anywhere else.

 

I've always recommended to our guests that they deal with a reputable car rental agency. Maybe check Trip Advisor for reviews. You can probably get a lower rate somewhere, but as a friend used to say, "If it seems cheap, it probably is." How much of your time here do you want to spend dealing with a failed rental car?

Be sure to get a full-price quote that includes all mandatory insurance coverage. Costa Rica will not permit you to use your "home" insurance policy despite what your agent may tell you. If your company doesn't do business in Costa Rica, and it's certain not to, their coverage cannot be honored by the rental agency and you cannot drive without the legally mandated minimum coverage.

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