Family of 4 planning a move to CR any Advice???
- Hi everyone,
I am new to this group and looking for info on moving to CR. We are
a family of 4 two kids ages 6&7 (homeschooled). Interested in any
advice from people in a similar situation who have made the move.
Help in regards to cost of living?
The actual cost of buying a very small private cottage?
The best areas in terms of privacy but not hours from medical
services, civilization and the like?
Help finding someone trustworthy to help us find a place and
familiarize ourselves with the culture?
How other young, intelligent families are making a living there?
Etc.....We are in the very early stages of this so any help is very
I should explain a bit about our "why's" so perhaps you can let me
know if we are crazy about even considering this or not. We are
looking to get out of the rat race, and start living to live instead
of living to die. We want a quiet, meaningful existance in a more
laid back place were clocks are not as neccesary, and life takes on
a more meaningful tone. Maby we are nuts and could never make this
work but we don't want to spend our lives wondering and wishing, we
want to spend our lives doing.
Again any advice is most appreciated but please be gentle :o)
- It is difficult to answer the "cost of living" question since everyone is
different. Take a look at
Message # 23235, Sharon&Dick <smwrhm@...>, Subject: money, honey,
Date: Tue, 22 Jun 2004. That will give you a good idea.
The standard advise is to live here at least a year before you buy any
property. It is good advise. There are good deals to be had, but they are
not advertised online. Find a place you think you want to live, rent
something and look around. You may find that you do not like the area, you
may even find that you do not like Costa Rica. On the other hand, being in
the neighborhood, you will get a feel for the going prices in the area.
Rent before you buy.
You could take this a step further and get a short term rental, say for a
month or two, in the area you are thinking of staying in. There are many
Apartotels as well as a few people on this list who rent small houses on a
short term basis. This way you can go to an area for a month, see if you
like it. The people you rent from could probably help you find a longer
term rental. At least point you in the right direction.
As far as selecting an area goes, you need to decide what sort of climate
and facilities you want. You do not give a lot of information so it is
difficult to tell. Do you need access to US style super markets? How about
broadband Internet? Is an hour away from a good hospital OK, or do you need
to be closer? Do you want to live on the beach or in the mountains? Once
you decide what you need/want, that will help narrow the selection.
I maintain a very low volume email list of unschoolers and homeschoolers in
Costa Rica. You can subscribe at
http://two.pairlist.net/mailman/listinfo/hscr. We will be happy to answer
any homeschooling in Costa Rica related questions.
Making a living here: That is another can of worms. If you can make your
living online, then anywhere in the world works. I know several people here
that are doing so, in all sorts of areas. There are many people in tourist
oriented businesses. There are people who offer services to the expatriate
community. There are a lot of possibilities and a lot of possible
obstacles, depending on what it is you want to do. A key requirement for
any long term business is legal residency.
While you can open a company as a tourist, you then have to leave the
country every 3 months and they might decide not to let you back in one
day. If you are serious about living here, especially given that you are a
family, get legal residency.
You are probably nuts :) But then again, so are many others that you will
find here. You will be in good company.
Hope this helps some.
...It is not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but
for freedom -- for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life
Declaration of Arbroath, Scotland, 1320
- Thank you so much for all your advice, I guess we know we are crazy
(must be true everyone says so LOL)
We are NOT looking to live like tourists or even the canadians we
are. We are looking for a self sustaining property were we can grow
most of our own food, We have a farming backround. We want to be
somewere quiet and off the beaten path but still able to get to
hospitals and such because of the children. An hour is fine.
My husband is a painter and would probably like to earn some income
from that. I run a small internet company, it has a limited but
steady income that requires little to no maintenence. Would like
subsidize this by maby teaching some english or taking a job that I
can feel good about at the end of the day. Even a volonteer
position for the less fortuate is great.
As far as location, I'd like to be near the ocean thinking maby
outside of Dominical. Is the cost of living reasonable there? Any
other suggestions for location? We would not buy anything right away
that is for sure as we are not familiar enough with the different
areas. I do need to be somewere near internet access but doesn't
need to be in my home.
As far as housing, very modest, sqaulor according to canadian terms
is fine. I have worked enough years for a big fancy house and it
hasn't made me or my children happy. Thanks for the homeschool link
will take advantage of that.
Any more advice or thoughts again are greatly appreciated.
- I guess I would ask first, have you been to Costa Rica and do you speak Spanish?
Do you Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Mail - 250MB free storage. Do more. Manage less.
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- Nope! LOL I do know a bit of Spanish not a lot but not afraid to
learn. We are looking at different Latin American countries and
thus far are leaning toward Costa Rica. I know, I know we are crazy
of course we will come check it out before we would move but can't
afford to go globe trotting all over to see what we like and then
find its beyond our reach.
> Do you Yahoo!?
> Yahoo! Mail - 250MB free storage. Do more. Manage less.
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- I would visit CR and Panama!
But you need a couple of weeks to do it even half way right; supporting yourselves will be tough no mater where ya go and then there is the matter of your staus in either place. Have you visited the ARCR site - http://www.arcr.net/
Good place for the facts about being legal.
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Meet the all-new My Yahoo! � Try it today!
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- Nuts? WHy does everyone think people like us are nuts? I am in the
same situation. I have two daughters 10 & 12 a beautiful wife and a
crazy rat race life in the States. I don't have a lot of money. But I
am thrying to see if it is enough to buy some land and start a
business. I have a hospitality back round and would consider opening
a bakery, restaurant, bar, inn, B&B, etc. The prices I see on line
don't match what I hear of else where.
I have never been to CR but have been to Panama. I don't speak a lick
of Spanish but I can learn and so can my wife and kids. Everyone
thinks I am crazy for wanting to leave the greatest country there is.
I think they are crazy for not thinking there is a better way of life
out in the world. From where I sit and they research I have done CR
looks like it maybe it. Of course I am not expecting perfection, but
somewhere there is no military, where kids and elderly seem to be
respected, where others beliefs aren't rammed down my throat, where
materialism isn't at the forefront. I am hoping to show my kids there
is something else to life than trying to make money. I want to
simplify our lives. Maybe I am crazy too.
I don't home school my kids but if I have to when I get there I will.
I can also teach them how to run a business and teach them how we can
be self suficient and be part of a community. I don't want to buy land
and subdivide it. Not that I have the money for that but I don't want
to do what is being done to ruin the USA. Neighbors not knowing
neigbors. Elderly not being able to afford medication. Growing fatter
and only worrying about keeping up with the Jones. I want my kids to
see the beauty of the world and nature. Maybe I am nuts too. I am also
in the early stages. But I hope to beable to move within the year. I
like what I hear about Dominical and the land between Dominical and
San Isidro. What would it take to start a business where I can net
$50.00 a day? Do I need much more than that to live there? From my
research I believe I can get by on that. Is that feasible?
Any response or thoughts would be great to hear.
I think anybody who would think of uprooting their family to move to a third world country they have never visited is nuts!
Research is one thing, but spending 90 days in Dominical may change your mind. What if your wife and kids or you hate the place. Not to mention the risk of starting a business anywhere?
I dunno; just my dos colones!
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Yahoo! Search presents - Jib Jab's 'Second Term'
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- --- In CostaRicaLiving@yahoogroups.com, "steve_g1966"
>Amen, Amen, Amen, You hit it right on the head for me. So thereare other people out there who think thier family is more important
than their Tv!!!!!! Oh what encouragement as I get up in a rush to
get the kids off to school and muself off to another 12 hour day at
work to pay for the school....That is the area we are looking in
aswell so let me know how your search is going. Seems to me from
the research I have done that $1000 amonth should do it very nicely
if you are willing to live without some luxurry which exactly what I
am looking to get away from. My husband is an airbrush artist who
paints t shirts on the beach here in BC in the summer, we are hoping
he could still do that there any one have any thoughts on that??
Again any advice appreciated, thank everyone you have been great
When Jorge says people here are "probably nuts like you", you do
need to understand that he is speaking entirely for himself not for
his family nor for the completely insane that also moved here
against the advice of their more normal relatives.
This all bodes well of course for the future gene pool of Costa
Rica. But that is another story.
As Jorge points out the only problem with your story is residency.
None of the things you list qualifies you for residency. SO get
your self down to a good residency lawyer on your next trip and
strategize how you can turn your farming skills into a reforestation
project or how to make the farm into a small working hotel. Both of
these potentially fix the problematic flaw. The rest is easy as
long as you are OK with standing in line and enjoy a good read (see
plethora of messages above).
- It is said that very often, at the end of one's life, what is regretted
is not the crazy things we have tried, but what we were afraid to do.
Take reasonable precautions (like, a couple of trips doing something
besides being a tourist) but don't let the nay-sayers decide your life
If you have visited Panama - you are already among a select few. The
majority of people in the good ole USA have never even gone to another
country. As one person said, we in the USA learn geography from the wars
Even if it doesn't work out - you will have experiences that will last a
lifetime - and so will your kids.
Our children (22 and 28) are still in USA - when someone ask what we do,
my daughter replies - "They are buying a small Latin American country,
bit by bit." Now I am not really doing that, for example, I don't really
want to buy Escazu where Alec lives - however, the Northern Zone is in
my sights... ;-)
However, if your idea of a good time is no stress and no change - moving
to another country probably isn't the smartest thing one could do. Also
understand, the more people involved in the migration, the less likely
all will be happy with the adjustment. Moving as an individual is easier
than moving as a couple and a couple is easier than moving as a family.
Of course, you can't please everyone..
The transition will be much easier if all of you start NOW working on
Spanish - your transition here will be much easier if you can speak to
the average person.
Just my dos colones,
- Hi Fred,
Yes we are planning on working on our Spanish before hand. Our children already take spanish in thier school, though perhaps common in the USA in canada thats very rare. I agree with you first statement completely. I sorta feel like some of the people on the message board think we are planning to leave tommorrow, thats not the case, while we are following our dream, we are not stupid and are doing plenty of research and will come to CR a few times to check things out before we go ahead. Thats part of the reason we joined the message board. More research from people who have been there and done that. I also must ad we are not looking for a pampered tropical existance, rather a quiet and self substaining lifestyle, I want to have time to watch my children grow up and give them the opportunity to see there are other ways in the world notjust die hard capitalism. Maby this doesn't make sense...I don't know, I guess we are just searching, grasping if you will to the hope that there
is a better world out there, one were life is still enjoyable, and money and stuff isn't all that matters. Seems like CR may be the place, and then it may not and I concede that the possiblity exists and we could come running home tail between our legs, regardless there are lessons to be learned in all experiences good or bad. Sorry for the ramble. Thanks again for your encouragement and advice.
The pierce family
- It sounds like your move is not in the immediate
future. For that reason, as well as the fact that the
more places you check out the better, you need to look
at Panama, Nicaragua, and perhaps places like
Guatemala and Belize as well. In fact, I suggest that
you do some internet shopping of all these places and
more. The CIA World Fact Book is a good place to
start. If you can't find it let me know and I'll find
For most of us who have made the move to Costa Rica it
was a good choice, but it was based on research that
is now at least several years old. Things change.
There is a lot of difference in the Costa Rica of
today and the one I first looked into 10-15 years ago.
Between now and the time you make your move, you can
count on more changes. For instance, 10-15 years ago
Panama and Nicaragua did not look like places I would
want to move to. Today, both have sizeable gringo
populations. Belize looked great back then and I don't
think it is as great today.
Some of you have mentioned wanting to move because of
discontentment and unhappiness with the country you
live in now. Don't fool yourself. Moving is unlikely
to improve the situation. It will probably make it
worse. Figure out what it is that makes you unhappy
where you are and solve the problem there. Otherwise
you will probably just be relocating the problem.
Happiness is a state of mind, not a geographical
If you are looking at a move several years in the
future, it might be worthwhile to broaden your
horizons for awhile. You don't need to limit yourself
to the western hemisphere. Why not dig around in the
whole world for awhile and then start to narrow your
choices down. You never know what you might find with
a little digging and now you probably have the time. I
know of people who have moved to Australia, New
Zealand, Guam, Thailand, and the Caribbean. The whole
world is out there and it is changing every day.
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- (Edited for piggypacking)
Well of course we would do a long term rental first. But I moved from the Central Pennsylvania area to Phoenix with never being there and no job lined up. It's been great. As I see things change here I believe things are getting worse here and the way of life is getting more let me say hectic. I want my family to beable to have the time to live together and work together. Teach them what our values are. I worked seven days a week when I first moved to Phoenix and have had some financial success over the last few years. But at what cost. I live in a polluted city in a very conservative area. Ok I don't want to get on a tangent about the many things I don't like about my government. My point is why not try to raise them where life maybe simpler and more enjoyable. Maybe I am wrong but Costa Rica seems to lean towards my liberatarian beliefs a little more than most countries. What's the worst thing that happens? I lose everything and have to go back to the USA?
Starting a business anywhere is the only way to go for me. I hate working for others. Imagine if you take the safe route and work for a large corporation with a good retirement like Enron or Polaroid or the countless others where people getting ready to retire have nothing. I'll take my chances on starting something I know I am good at.
Thanks for the dos colones but sometimes you need dos huevos.
- (edited to remove previous post - that's called "piggybacking" and it is a "no-no." When you respond to a message, please delete the previous message. When you do not, the entire message reappears, causing some of our readers, who have slow machines and dial-up connections, to experience very slow downloading. Thanks!)
My name is Anna and we're in the same boat.
I just had a baby and my husband stayed home with us for 3 mos. This is when we realized that we need to enjoy life a little more. My husband returned late last night from explloring the westside Costa Rica. He discovered that it might be best to buy a lot and build a house. We plan on moving this Spring/summer. We will initially rent a house and then decide to build or buy.
I am crazier than you-I have agreed to go without ever visiting before. It's an adventure. We are going to commit for on year at the end of that year if one of us wants to return we will IF not-then we stay. My husband and I both speak Spanish. The way I see it-we can always come home.
The two towns he liked were Dominical (southwest) and Samara (northwest). He is leaning more towards Samara for a variety of reasons.
When do you plan on moving? Where are you from?