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Family of 4 planning a move to CR any Advice???

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  • piercemel2001
    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
    Message 1 of 15 , Jan 30, 2005
      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
      much appreciated.

      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)

      Pierce family
    • Jorge
      It is difficult to answer the cost of living question since everyone is different. Take a look at Message # 23235, Sharon&Dick , Subject:
      Message 2 of 15 , Jan 30, 2005
        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.

        --jorge

        ...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
        itself...
        Declaration of Arbroath, Scotland, 1320
      • piercemel2001
        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
        Message 3 of 15 , Jan 30, 2005
          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.

          M. Pierce
        • David Durkin
          I guess I would ask first, have you been to Costa Rica and do you speak Spanish? Regards, Durkin ... Do you Yahoo!? Yahoo! Mail - 250MB free storage. Do more.
          Message 4 of 15 , Jan 30, 2005
            I guess I would ask first, have you been to Costa Rica and do you speak Spanish?

            Regards,

            Durkin




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          • piercemel2001
            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
            Message 5 of 15 , Jan 30, 2005
              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.
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            • David Durkin
              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
              Message 6 of 15 , Jan 30, 2005
                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.

                Regards,

                Durkin












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              • steve_g1966
                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
                Message 7 of 15 , Jan 31, 2005
                  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.

                  Thanks,
                  Steve
                • David Durkin
                  steve_g1966 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,
                  Message 8 of 15 , Jan 31, 2005
                    steve_g1966

                    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!

                    Regards,

                    Durkin



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                  • piercemel2001
                    ... are 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
                    Message 9 of 15 , Jan 31, 2005
                      --- In CostaRicaLiving@yahoogroups.com, "steve_g1966"
                      <steve_g1966@y...> wrote:
                      >Amen, Amen, Amen, You hit it right on the head for me. So there
                      are 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
                      help!!!!
                    • Alajuelanorth
                      M, 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
                      Message 10 of 15 , Jan 31, 2005
                        M,

                        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).

                        Good luck,
                        Berni
                      • Fred Morgan
                        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
                        Message 11 of 15 , Jan 31, 2005
                          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
                          for you.

                          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
                          we fight.

                          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,

                          Fred
                        • mel pierce
                          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
                          Message 12 of 15 , Jan 31, 2005
                            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
                          • joe stastny
                            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
                            Message 13 of 15 , Jan 31, 2005
                              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
                              the website.

                              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
                              location.

                              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.

                              Joe



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                            • steve_g1966
                              (Edited for piggypacking) Durkin, Well of course we would do a long term rental first. But I moved from the Central Pennsylvania area to Phoenix with never
                              Message 14 of 15 , Jan 31, 2005
                                (Edited for piggypacking)

                                Durkin,

                                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.

                                Thanks,

                                Steve
                              • Anna Lipshaw
                                (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
                                Message 15 of 15 , Jan 31, 2005
                                  (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!)

                                  hi there

                                  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?
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