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For fixed-income retirees, dollars can stretch farther !!

Adventure Guide to Costa Rica

Never a ship sails out of the bay But carries my heart as a stowaway ~ Roselle Mercier Montgomery, writer, 1874-1933

Costa Rica is cheaper than the US for everyday living. The cost of things – fruits, vegetables, meats and most unprocessed food, mass transportation, medical care and most housing – is lower. For fixed-income retirees, dollars can stretch farther in Costa Rica than in the US. At the same time, automobiles and insurance can be more expensive, restaurant costs are comparable, and housing in especially desirable enclaves can be just as costly as some communities in the States.

Low-cost housing is found in the barrios and neighborhoods where locals live. If your choice is based solely on monetary concerns, some places in Florida can be just as affordable. However, if you are independently wealthy, a life in Costa Rica can be very attractive.

Those expats most satisfied with their decision to live in Costa Rica have a universal trait – flexibility. They must be willing to learn the language and share the customs. In exchange for a lower cost of living in a wonderful place, expatriates must give up many things that they now take for granted; good libraries, art, cinema, and musical and cultural diversity are just a few of a long list of little perks that satellite TV won’t replace.

Of course, you can choose to live in neighborhoods where English is commonly spoken, but no large complexes exist in Costa Rica that are exclusively American. Besides the need to learn a fair amount of “survival Spanish,” you need to adapt to – and accept – the cultural differences.

For example, Ticos operate on what we call “Tico time,” which can be frustrating to those who are used to punctuality. If you’ve ever called a repairman and had to wait for a return call, or for them to show up for a job, you’ve probably experienced a similar frustration. Multiply that several times and you’ll get an idea of what it is like dealing with the bureaucracies of the government, police, phone company, banks, and so on, in Costa Rica.

The reluctance of Costa Ricans to be confrontational can also perplex newcomers. Ticos may seem to agree to one thing, but then do another. It’s not a unique Tico trait; we know many people who do the same here in the States. Overall, the people of Costa Rica are open, friendly, honest, caring, peace-loving and fun-loving.


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