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San Jose, Costa Rica
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BASICS
When you move to Costa Rica you will quickly learn that shopping can be quite different from what you have been accustomed to, in the past. This is one element of retirement that may, for awhile, require a learning curve. When you make your move, almost all the brands and foods you know and love are available. In and around San Jose, and in most reasonably sized towns, there are often a number of retirees, who have gone before you, experiencing their own relocation. In turn, local stores, have learned to carry a more diverse selection, catering to the preferences of North Americans. If you choose to live in a smaller more rural community, your choices may become less available. However, you can always find the basics, wherever you live. Specialty products may require a trip into San Jose, from time to time.


GROCERY SHOPPING
There is a definite learning curve, as to where you go to get what you want and need. Once you move and get your bearings it gets pretty simple. Wal-Mart-like stores exist in and around the greater metropolitan areas, providing a good selection and value of products, including groceries. There are high-end supermarkets and value oriented markets with almost the same products at slightly better prices. National grocery chains, both metro and rural are abundant in order of both preference and price. At the end of this article, names of several of the high end, more value oriented and national chain stores will be listed. Bargain shopping and big box stores where you can shop for larger items, will be listed as well. Bulk sales, electronic and home appliances, home repair and renovation, plus all types of hardware and building materials, will also be included.

Most retirees, middle class Costa Ricans and business owners shop frequently at the larger big box type stores. When you first move, especially if you’re living rurally, you will find a need to occasionally visit San Jose for trips to these large department stores for some essential items that are only available in the city. These stores offer good quality, selection, value, and a website where you can order many items not necessarily available at in-store locations.


HOME IMPROVEMENT
For those who are used to spending their weekends at Home Depot, you will be happy to know that there are equally stocked stores that you can find the home improvement items you are looking for. There is also a vast array of local hardware stores, which range from your local corner store to larger versions with greater inventory and selection. If you are relocating, you will likely be building, remodeling or re-decorating something, at one time or another, so rest assured you will undoubtedly be able to find what you are looking for and need.


SHOP FOR INVENTORY
Many stores carry similar inventory, but no one has it all. Retirees will be glad they have a large variety of stores to look through, until they get their bearings. You may have to visit any number or stores to seek the items you require. Remember a move, anywhere, requires learning where to find what you need. Living in Costa Rica is no different. You should also factor in time for some new challenges...i.e., learning a new language, finding your way around, etc. Your personal patience will dictate your learning curve.


PERSONAL SHOPPING
Once you make the move, you will likely find you can live or work with a simpler and more limited wardrobe. However, when the desire to shop hits you, there are many malls to chose from and lots of stores with familiar items and some with great selections at a variety of prices. Your favorite clothes, shoes, and personal items are going to be available and look very much the same. You may even find some items that you had not anticipated or brands you are not familiar with, but equally as good and as interesting, as you where accustomed to finding in the past.


LISTING OF STORE NAMES IN COSTA RICA
MARKETS:
AUTOMERCADO
MAS X MENOS
MEGA SUPER
PALI

WALMART-LIKE STORES:
HIPERMAS
PRICEMART
CEMACO

HOME DEPOT-LIKE STORES:
EPA
CONSTRUPLAZA (DECOPLAZA)

CLOTHING STORES & VARIETY:
ALISS
ZARA
CLARION
PEQUEÑO MUNDO


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