"when it is time to make a choice", garden signs

Don't wait a minute longer - do it this year - turn your vacation into a practical investigation of alternatives to retirement in the US of A while having a ball exploring the neo-tropics. 

Take a day tour or longer with an experienced guide and discuss how Costa Rica might work in your future.  Investigate topics  . . . as you drive in a luxury, wifi enabled late model Toyota van with an experienced and safe english speaking driver (who has at least one joke on hand should you need it after this election season). 

Our day with you can be an introduction to topics you may have an interest in . . . such as . . . 

photo not from Costa Rica

  • LOCATION - Best places to live in Costa Rica

    • central valley (cooler temperate climates) vs beaches vs mountains (basic geographical and infrastructure considerations)

    • visit locations  . . . . west, north, east or south of San Jose - each one would take a day trip but we usually focus on our area west of San Jose due to airport and facilities (e.g. hospital, transportation, environmental) access or issues

    • traffic, budget & costs by area

Pluses and minuses of the likely areas to live in Costa Rica

  • RESIDENCY - pluses and minuses but mostly pluses

    • introduction to residency options vs 90 day perpetual tourist

    • are you retiring - specific needs for potential or actual retirees e.g. healthcare, transport and home help

    • optional visit with a residency lawyer


    • introduction to important resources - legal, healthcare, municipal, shopping, banking (particularly as it relates to residency)

    • options to not living like a gringo e.g. wean yourself of mail ASAP

    • advice & information (some of it accurate) e.g. facebook, yahoo groups

16 passenger and 12 passenger Toyota Hiace vans


    • public CAJA (national insurance) vs private system e.g. CAJA, INS, QUALITAS etc

    • CAJA without residency?

    • costs and requirements

    • clinics, hospitals

    • no pre-existing conditions, age issues

    • healthcare in remote areas

    • optional visit a public and/or private hospital or rural clinic EBAIS

    • introduction to dental tourism


    • types of housing, apartments, gated complex, gringo bathrooms etc

    • rent vs buy or rent then buy but never buy (like we did:-))

    • the registry, property rights

    • no comps, no escrow, no listings - lotsa fun

    • taxes, zoning

    • safety and security should be a #1 factor

    • electricity, water and internet (ICE v s cable) and options for rural areas

Looking for a place with a view  . . . all the way


    • credit (you have none when you arrive, get over it quick)

    • national banks vs others

    • SINPE, wire transfer, bank to bank, PAYPAL etc

    • credit/debit cards and stratospheric interest rates

    • optional visit a bank


    • feria vs mercado central vs supermarket

    • no Amazon does not work here


    • the excellent bus system, trains (we used to have 3 but 2 of them collided)

    • car rentals

    • car buying 101, car ownership and running costs e.g. car registering, Marchamo, insurance, local mechanic for your specie?

    • maps, getting around, WAZE/Google Maps

Rural locations


    • employer/employee issues to be aware of, labor code etc (even an issue if you are not in business e.g. domestic help)

    • the issues, pitfalls and joys of running a business in an advanced bureaucracy - is everything harder?  Does it take longer?

    • do you want an added income - possible investments in businesses (we have a 1/2 day seminar we do for those interested in buying a B&B or Inn applicable to some other businesses)


    • why you need a damn good lawyer (let's say arbitrarily for any decision over $1000)

    • common problems for the unsuspecting

    • what to do if . . . some scenarios - everything will take longer without a lawyer OR with a lousy one

    • optional visit with a lawyer


    • container vs boxes

    • what to bring, what not to

    • import duties

    • storage or lack thereof

safe, careful English speaking guide Erick on wonky bridge


    • at least one of the party will need Spanish or a commitment to it

    • the people

    • education system

    • legal system

    • politics

    • why we don't need an army etc etc and other culturally unusual things about Costa Rica

    • comparisons with alternate retirement options such as Mexico, Panama, Nicaragua, Syria, Russia, North Korea

    • ARCR seminar


    • book list from web site

  • Or city living in Escazu



    • Erick

      • experienced driver/guide, excellent English, the safest calmest coolest driver in Costa Rica

    • Hilda

      • experienced driver/guide, excellent English, boss of Erick I mean wife

    • Berni

      • co-owner of the Pura Vida Hotel, traveled in Costa Rica since 1983, lived in Costa Rica since 2002, interests in Orchids, consumer of all Nhi's dinners, continuous traveller in Costa Rica and beyond, seeking the answer to why 15,000 ant species have yet to be discovered, author of numerous bad jokes usually at the expense of guests


At the end of the day, sit down with us with a glass of wine and bounce your ideas around a bit to see what might stick and what you might do to prepare for your next trip to Costa Rica.