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Published: August 4th 2013
I just completed my first week living in Costa Rica, and for the second time in my life. As many of you know, I first moved to this wonderful country in June of 2005. I had returned to the US in May of 2012 to work on a project, and now I’m back, thankfully. So, this blog entry will mostly be about my impressions of moving back here again and my first week living in the tropics.
It hasn’t felt much like the tropics this week, at least in terms of the temperature and amount of sunshine. In fact, it felt more like the tropics in Washington, DC before I left. That’s okay though because the reason to love Costa Rica—particularly the San Ramon area—is our constant year-round temperature of around 73 to 78 degrees. So, when my friends are freezing back in the States in January, it’ll be perfectly balmy here. In fact, if I play my cards right I’ll never live anywhere again where it drops below 65 degrees or snows! This is enough to make one’s life better in my book!
The first week was mostly about running errands to get
set up here again. It really is starting over here again for me: a new place to live, buying a car, shopping for essentials, getting Internet set up (very important!) and getting used to my new home and environs. Actually, the new area isn’t new: I’m living just above my old B&B in “Rancho Lobo,” at least for a while until I decide on a more permanent living situation. However, this house is terrific: It’s fully furnished, is spacious, clean, has great views of the mountains and valleys, and most of all, it is quiet. It’s easy to relax here, enjoy the “Pura Vida” life and leave the craziness of life miles and miles away. What’s great, though, is that downtown San Ramon is only a 10-12 minute drive away.
Errands can sometimes be a challenge here. I have found that if you can get more than half of your errands done on a trip to town, you are having a good day. No, it’s not that you aren’t capable of getting them done, it’s just that sometimes you may not have everything you thought you needed for a particular task, such as your ID (passport, cedula, etc.), or
Empty condo building
A casualty of over-development, overestimating demand, or being too costly.
you go at lunchtime and find out a shop is closed, or the line is longer at the bank than you had hoped. Whatever the reason for not completing an errand, it’s important to have patience. Things do move a bit more slowly here and no one seems to be in a major rush (which is a good thing). We gringos are used to having everything done immediately—we want instant gratification. So, I tell people if you want to live here, just take a “chill pill” and let whatever process just unfold. You’ll be better for it and will enjoy your life here a lot more.
One quick note: My neighbor graciously had Internet set up in my house before I arrived so I could continue my work uninterrupted. She has Internet by ICE, the government-run telecommunications company that offers electricity, phone and Internet service. Until a few years ago, ICE was a monopoly and few if any other service options existed. Now, several private companies offer phone and Internet service. I have to say that so far, ICE’s Internet service has been excellent with great speed and no down time. Yes, it’s only been a week and I’m
sure we’ll have some downtime, whether it’s due to stormy weather this time of year, or for other reasons, but for now I’m impressed. If you are setting up a house here, it’s worth checking out ICE. It’s also cheaper than other service providers.
A lot has changed in Costa Rica since I first moved here in 2005, that’s for sure. The infrastructure is better, communications, particularly the Internet, are as good as the US or other developed countries, and we have a bunch of new roads. In fact, regarding the Internet, in 2005, my first service as dial-up! Imagine how hard it was to blog and post photos back then!?
I believe the weather patterns have changed too. I don’t know if it’s just a natural occurrence or some combination of natural forces and man-made climate change, but something is different today compared to 2005-2008. I recall in my early years here a distinct change in seasons. There was a dry season with no rain, and a rainy season which usually meant late afternoon and early evening rain for a few hours, with a break in mid-July, and more heavy and persistent rain during the
month of October. Lately, though it seems the rainy season lasts longer and it might even rain a bit during the dry season. Whatever it is, it makes life interesting here as you never know what to expect from day-to-day or month-to-month.
New restaurants seem to open each day and while we see many people with smart phones and other new technology, it’s encouraging to know that a lot of the culture remains the same: pride in one’s town, many fiestas throughout the year, strong family bonds, good food, the on-going passion for futbol, and seriously, taking time to smell the coffee—really. These are things I appreciate about this country.
I have noticed more of a police presence in San Ramon and in other towns. I don’t know if that is due to worsening crime (I hope not) or just the logical path of progress, but it’s good to see (except when I’m stopped for speeding!). I have NEVER felt unsafe here, particularly in San Ramon, and still feel that way. The locals—“Ticos” as they are called—remain friendly and helpful. It’s also been good to see a lot of Tico faces in the restaurants, supermarkets and
With your order, the fixings bar is free and all you can eat.
cafes who I’ve known for a long time. It’s as if they didn’t know I was away for 14 months.
The coming week…
This week will involve (hopefully) purchasing a car, taking care of health insurance matters, and gathering the paperwork to renew my residency. I thought I had it all addressed but my 14-month absence caused some complications but nothing that cannot be solved. I will also spend a good deal of time getting my tour company website back up, “Boomers in Costa Rica,” so I can restart our 3-day/2-night retirement/relocation tours of the Central Valley (including San Ramon). I’m excited to once again help great people consider Costa Rica for retirement and investment. I also will visit many clients who already live here, see their new homes and see our various residential communities.
Throughout this blog entry and below, you’ll see some photos I took during Saturday’s trek to Jaco. I’m not a huge Jaco fan—too touristy—but I DO love Taco Bar, an open-air restaurant the best fish tacos and lemonade in the country. It was worth the 1.5 hour drive each way and I got see some of the countryside along with the Pacific Ocean. The weather was not good and I drove through torrential rain on the way back, but nonetheless, it was a fun adventure!
I’m excited about the upcoming week and all the potential that exists here! Until then…
Andrew firstname.lastname@example.org www.CRCommunities.com
(real estate and more!)
(<--new website coming soon!)
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