What about Costa Rica???

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What about Costa Rica? Someone (I think it was Taz) mentioned Costa Rica as their bug-out destination. I started looking at stuff on the web about this place and it sounds like paradise. Since my wife is always complaining about Minnesota winters, and the real estate prices in my area have been going through the roof, I am seriously thinking about selling my house right now while I can still get a premium price for it. When the bottom falls out on the economy who knows what will happen to the values of houses? Actually we would sell almost everything we own, not just the house. Then re-locate to Costa Rica and start fresh. Maybe try to buy a small farm and live off the land. My wife was declaired totally and permanently disabled by social security 2 years ago and she receives $1,100 per month from them. Any one know what happens to these payments if you move to another country? The payments are directly deposited in our bank account and we could keep that account open and wire transfer the money to ourselves in Costa Rica. Or would they bust us? What about gaining permanant resident status? I know some countries won't just let you move there without having you jump through flaming hoops first, if at all. Anything else that anyone knows about living in, working in, or traveling to Costa Rica, and would share it with me? Thank you in advance.

-- Rick Hudak (rickh@poliac.com), May 17, 1999


I was looking in to the exact same thing several years ago. It is a cosmopolitan country, quite civilized, and easy to stay in. Many North Americans have done what you are thinking of. I can't give you any particulars off the top of my head, but you can find good up-to-date info at the public library. There is at least one good book I read that will answer all of your questions about relocation. I think the author is Howlett. Look in the travel section for Central America or Costa Rica.

-- curtis schalek (schale1@ibm.net), May 17, 1999.

Rick, Most of the info. I've seen on Costa Rica is very positive; however, I have read at least one article that was very negative. It was three or four years ago and I can't remember the details. I am kguessing that it was in the Wall Street Journal. Yo might try periodical searches at the local library.

I wish I could be more helpful, but at least you should know that there is some negative press out there.

-- Puddintame (achillesg@hotmail.com), May 17, 1999.

We have property on the west coast of Costa Rica. We had intended on moving there and we loved the country. However, because of our age we decided that Florida was the next best thing. However, if I were in my 30s or early 40s I wouldn't hesitate one minute moving to CR. But you need to do some research. There are areas that you want to stay away from, no matter their beauty. Do not buy on the east coast as that is where the banana plantations are and its full of Haitians and undesireable Jamacians. They are having problems with these people "knocking off tourists". I would not buy within 30 miles of San Jose. Know that the climate is stable year around other than a wet and dry season. And this is according to altitude. You can live in the clouds, fog and snow or at the beach in 92 degrees. Beach property is very expensive just as it is here in Florida. My favorite area is the state of Guanacaste which encompasses the NW area of the country. It is ranch country with pockets of rain forest. I would suggest that you get a subscription to the TICO TIMES which is the english paper. If you are fluent, then get La Nacion. If you will go to http://ticotimes.co.cr/ you can read part of the current paper (weekly) and I am sure you could subscribe there too. Costa Rica has its problems as an emerging nation and is very low on the y2k list. However, they are very pro Yankee and extremely clean people. Unlike Mexico, you do not have to worry about where you eat and drink. You will find lots of Europeans there, especially German and Swiss. You will find that many speak English and there are as many blondes and blue eyes there as here. You will also find that its a bit of a manana land. If you are young, have some money to live on, and have good old yankee know how and ambition, you will soom carve your niche and do well there. Do not plan on taking anything but clothes on your back as the customs on your stuff will be more than they are worth. Take the Tico Times and you will learn a great deal. There are also some excellent web sites on CR. I have to say this ....if you just are looking for good climate and inexpensive property, you can't beat the Ocala area of Florida. I grow everything here and wear shorts and tees and barefoot 10 months of the year. Property in this area is as inexpensive as CR with out all the hassles of a foreign country. In fact, with the fact that your wife is disabled, Iin your case I would choose Ocala Fl area. Don't think its inexpensive here because its not desireable. Its just getting discovered. We have had a 95% increase in pop. in this county the past 5 years. But we live out in the National Forest which is spotted with lots of little farms and the masses can't move in on you. Hope this helps. We would only bug out to CR, or anywhere for that matter, if the US turned into another Kosovo. Know also that there are tons of poisonous bugs, snakes, frogs, etc in that country. And Dengue fever is really on the rise.


-- Taz (Tassie@AOL.com), May 17, 1999.

You need to show Costa Rican authorities that you have some income. Your $1100+ a month ought to do it? But will that continue after 2000-01-01? Many people have retired abroad from the U.S., and collect their U.S. social security. Do you research as suggested above -- Tico Times. Also a newsletter "International Living" e-mail intliv@compuserve.com

-- A (A@AisA.com), May 17, 1999.

Balance all the advantages of Costa Rica with the fact that it has several active and semi-active volcanoes. They "probably" won't erupt in a major way soon. If one or more do erupt, you "probably" won't be in the area affected. Nobody makes book on this stuff.

-- Tom Carey (tomcarey@mindspring.com), May 18, 1999.

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