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Guanacaste, Costa Rica by Joseph Emanuelli

Real information and stories from Guanacaste , Costa Rica. Presneted by a long time expat living and working in Costa Rica
Relocating to Costa Rica? Guanacaste and Playa Hermosa, some simple things to know!

When considering relocating to Costa Rica there are many steeps that you need to look into before making this life changing experience. Here are a few items to keep in mind before you actually leave your home country for the paradise of Costa Rica. I know, as I made the move almost 5 years ago and I had to do a lot of investigating myself. Luckily I did a really good job of it and I am happy I did to make the move to live in this paradise of Costa Rica.

Take a Vacation: Make sure you have first visited Costa Rica and traveled to many different areas of the country to find what area works best for you! A couple of days will not do the trick you should travel the country for a couple of weeks. If you cannot take the time all at once take a few vacations and visit different areas each time and at different times of the year. This is very important, there are many different micro climates in Costa Rica, you need to really see what the weather is like all year long in an area that you think you would love to live in. I personally did this and decided that the Guanacaste area, especially Playa Hermosa was the place for me and my wife.  Main reason for us is this is the driest area in all of Costa Rica with an average of 40-60 inches of rain a year and over 300 days of sunshine, only 20 minutes to the international airport and 10 minutes to the newly opened CIMA state of the art hospital, plus lots of services and amenities very close by. We have no regrets at all.

Work with Real Professionals: There are many people in Costa Rica that will try to sell you something, from handmade artifacts to time share units to all sorts of things. It is not like Mexico or the Dominican where everyone is hawking something and chasing you down the street to get you to buy something, but you will run into an ex-pat sitting in a beach bar and he will try to sell you something.  I recommend that you work with real professionals, people that really are dedicated to what they do and do it for a real living, not just a quick buck. If you are looking for real estate, work with agent affiliated with an international brand, like RE/MAX. Working with a dedicated professional will be you best option. Ask them if they actually own property in Costa Rica, ask how long they have been living here and ask if they have their residency, this is sure way to make sure you are NOT working with a fly-by-night scammer. A real professional should be able to help you with all sorts of information from recommending you to a reliable immigration attorney; you will need this if you decide to live here full time, to a doctor that speaks English, to a dentist and of course a good handy man that won’t rip you off and the list goes on.

Meet Lots of People: Talk to everyone, locals, ex –pats, bartenders, shop owners and even the guy that sells Pipas (fresh coconut water in the shell) on the street, and you better be able to at least say a few words in Spanish as it is the official language of Costa Rica. Do not be intimidated, the Ticos ( a endearing name the locals call themselves, Tico for a man and Tica for a woman) are very warm and welcoming people and if you at least try to speak some Spanish you will be meet with a warm smile and someone that will try to help you and appreciate that you are trying.

Do Your Home Work: I have met many people that do NOT do this. These are the ex-pat nags, as I call them, of Costa Rica. They came for a 1 week vacation, stayed in one area and fell in love and left their brains on the plane.  They do nothing but complain about the roads, the police, the banking system, how hard it is to get things done.  Well these nags did not do what they should have. READ READ READ, TALK TALK TALK, and most of all LISTEN to those that have been down the road already, this is the best way of learning the ins and outs and again work with a professional and someone that has been here for a long time and knows the ways things are done.  IT WILL MAKE YOUR TRANSITION SO MUCH EASIER, trust me I know!


Remember this is not North America or Europe:  Costa Rica is still an emerging country. Not quite first world but definitely not third world either.  Costa Rica has a culture that is very different from what you are used to.  Want to get your Costa Rica driver’s license?  Not very hard but be ready to drive to San Jose and spend the whole day there just to get this accomplished.  Need to get your cars annual RTV inspection?  Be prepared to fail if you do not ask someone what the requirements are beforehand. Want to open a bank account? Be ready to be really frustrated if you do not have all your paper work in order when you go to the bank.  Dealing with the local municipality is like pulling teeth some times. The most important thing for any GRINGO (this is not a derogatory term, but used for any foreigner from North America) or a foreigner to know is that when dealing with any government employee, you get better results with honey instead of vinegar. What I mean is always be polite and even though you may be frustrated like never before, do not raise your voice or show anger, Ticos will just shut down and you will never get anywhere.  These are just some of the things you need to know.

If you have a desire to relocate to Costa Rica, or are just starting to think about it, send an email to Jaaechef@gmail.com ( that my personal email address) and I can help with all your questions. If I do not have the answer I will not blow smoke at you, but I will find the answer for you.  If you want a short read about the requirements of residency, just follow this link below


Posted: Thursday, August 16, 2012 11:50 AM by Joseph A. Emanuelli


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