Archive for Costa Rica

Can Costa Rica eliminate extreme poverty by 2013?

The Costa Rica blog news feed has a post in regards to to the Economic growth of Costa Rica. It was states by President Oscar Arias that it’s possible to eliminate extreme poverty in Costa Rica by 2013. Is that possible?

“The sharp drop in poverty to the best level in 30 years means that 56,000 families, representing 83,000 persons have left extreme poverty status since last year. And along with this encouraging figure is the news that underage employment has dropped and the kids are staying in school longer”.

You can read the rest at Costa Rica Blog

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A City of 2 Million Without a Map

Somewhere in this lakeside Central American town, a child plays on a nameless street in Managua, Nicaragua. Nearby, there’s a woman who lives beside a yellow car. But it’s not her car. It’s her address. If you were to write to her, this is where you would send the letter: From where the Chinese restaurant used to be, two blocks down, half a block toward the lake, next door to the house where the yellow car is parked, Managua, Nicaragua.

If you’ve traveled in Costa Rica, you know the scene, as well. It’s not uncommon, in fact, to find a location without an address. Maybe just a geographic reference, such as “Up the Hill and around the corner from the Scotia Bank.” Check out this article from World Press that provides even better insight:

But, wait! announced this week an expansion of its Google Maps that can easily pinpoint your desired Managua, Nicaragua, destination. Click here to view the map.

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See More of Your World With New Google Maps

Exciting news from They’ve just added 54 new countries to Google Maps and more than doubled their coverage of Latin America and are now mapping three times as many countries in Asia as before. So if you’ve ever wanted to get the flavor of an energetic metropolis like Mexico City or scope out the relaxed vibe of a small island like Aruba, we’ve got you covered.

Here’s the full list of new countries:
Afghanistan, Aruba, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belize, Bermuda, Brunei Darussalam, Bhutan, Bolivia, Cambodia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Fiji, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait, Laos, Lebanon, Mexico, Myanmar (Burma), Mongolia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Timor-Leste, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen

For more information, read:

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Retire in Latin America

Author and resident of Costa Rica for 10 years, Rosemary Rein, is often asked the reasons why she and her husband moved here in the first place. So, here’s the link to her terrific Top 10 List published earlier this month in It makes for great reading for those of you contemplating your own adventure, living, working and or retiring in paradise.

Click here to read her story.

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TalkBean Logo

A New website launched this week that allows tutors to teach language online. allows students to set up an appointment directly with their language instructors. All lessons are performed live, using webcams. As a tutor, you can set your schedule to show times when you are available or show your students when you are online if you choose to go live, making yourself immediately available to teach. If you have any additional lesson material, this can be uploaded to TalkBean from your computer, during the lesson only. There’s also other ways in which students can leave memos for you or notes on your message board.

A recent report shares an apparent few drawbacks to the site: the registration process is rather cumbersome, and you’ll need to sign on as a tutor, which requires a 4-page sign up as well as your Paypal information. There’s also no good system to find other users, students, or tutors, so I’m at a loss as to how students and tutors can best network with each other. Adding a search bar, a ratings system and other checks to ensure that the tutors on the site are reliable and helpful, as well as the ability to upload lesson material independently of live webcam lessons, would bring a lot of value to TalkBean.

Who tutors on TalkBean? Whether you are a university stident looking for a side job, or a professional tutor, you can advertise yourself on the TalkBean marketplace to find the right students for your class. According to the website, you don’t need special training to be a tutor, Just your passion and the Internet.

Live Tutor allows you to instantly create your own space to teach knowledge and experience to ESL students. After registering as a tutor, you post your program for students to find and enroll. All lesson are performed live using a WebCam and HeadSet.

Tutors get paid from a system that automatically secures payments from students to their tutors and, thereby, allows seamless international payments. Students must pay the full lesson fee upfront to TalkBean and once the lesson is complete. Lesson fee is deposited to the tutor’s TalkBean account as cyber money, which can be
withdrawn and sent to tutor’s bank account upon request.

Similar services include Grockit, LessonBites, Tutorom and xLingo.

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Get a new home in Costa Rica for $35k

I just read yesterday about a Real Estate company in Grecia named CR-Home. They’ve started getting into the home building business by offering a 1350 inside sq home that has 800 sq. feet of outside decking. This home looks to be little “rustic” for some but it certainly is a great option for someone who is moving to Cost Rica and doesn’t want to invest a lot of money into a new home. For more information, visit CR-Home.

cr-home cabina

cr-home floor plan
Click floor plan for larger version

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Costa Rica murder rate on the rise: but still less than most US cities

I read a post by Scott Oliver on that made a good comparison about murder in Costa Rica. I know a lot of expats are concerned with safety when they’re living in other countries. I’ve heard the same thing from a lot of people who I’ve told about Costa Rica, most of them say the same thing “isn’t it dangerous there”. I always answer no. I feel more comfortable in the places that I’ve been to in Costa Rica than cities like Houston, Miami or even New York City. I think petty crimes exist every where and Costa Rica is no exception. I think it’s usually up to you to be aware of your surroundings, and try not to put yourself in situations that could be dangerous. However, sometimes, situations are unavoidable and as we say in the southern USA, Shit happens. As you’ll see by the charts below Costa Rica as a country, has as lower murder rate per 100,000 than most major US cities.
Murder rate SA

murder rate usa

via (password protected)

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Great Costa Rica Photos

It’s always nice getting the point of view from someone who was born and bred in the country that you’re interested in moving to. In this case, Josue Salazar lives in Costa Rica and blogs about it. He also has a nice collection of photos which you can see here.

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Top Historical Spots In Costa Rica

There’s a blog called Tenfootsquare that has some good info for folks traveling to Costa Rica and other parts of Central and South America. Two really good reads are

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Adopt a Tico Attitude and adapt to their culture

If you are planning to move to Costa Rica, get ready to… S L O W D O W N.
People spend hours on the internet learning about real estate, health care, transportation, and restaurants, but they often fail to invest in learning about the culture. This is a grave error because the majority of people who decide to go back home, don’t do it because they couldn’t find their favorite beverage or a suitable appliance. They leave because they couldn’t adjust to the culture. Those planning to live permanently in Costa Rica need to learn how to adopt a new attitude and adapt to the culture.

The term “Culture Shock” has been used to describe the anxiety and feelings of disorientation experienced when people have to operate in a different cultural environment. That’s when a person finds that the ways that things always have been done no longer work in a new culture. For example, the currency exchange, language, traffic and even the sense of humor change when a person enters another country.

Visitors to Costa Rica are often struck with how familiar things appear on the surface, and upon this assumption many make plans to stay permanently. However, the unexpected trials and wide differences in cultural understanding often make the transition much more difficult than expected. As North Americans, we have become accustomed to things such as promptness, efficiency and courteous drivers. That’s our baggage from up north. The expectation that these things exist in Costa Rica is our problem not the Tico’s. I you’re expecting things to be the same as in your home country in another then you’re bound to get disappointed. A move to another country allows you to start over with a new life and experience a new culture in a new environment. That’s why people move to Costa Rica.

A good percentage of North Americans planning to stay in Costa Rica go back. They cannot deal with the inefficiency. Obtaining residency usually takes much longer than expected. You need to hire a consultant to get a drivers license. The list of frustrations goes on and on. The bottom line is they are not able to slow down and adapt to the culture.

Culture shock affects people differently according to the coping strategies each individual employs in order to successfully adapt. After 15 years, I still have to remind myself; “If you don’t expect much, you won’t get disappointed” Then I step back, take a second look at the situation that is beginning to frustrate me and remind myself where I’m at, whom I’m dealing with and why I’m here. Then the situation at hand doesn’t seem so irritating. Expats who do manage to stay for a long time in Costa Rica do so because they possess patience and flexibility.

Years ago I noticed several cultural differences that used to make my life in Costa Rica frustrating. Concept of time, expectations of efficiency and understanding the local language.

North Americans are continually bothered by what we view as a lack of punctuality on the part of Costa Ricans. Costa Rican’s will say, “I’ll come over tomorrow”, but they usually don’t. Often they are not hours late, but days late, with no excuse, no phone calls, no apology. This used to bother me, and sometimes it still does. But I get over it much more quickly after living here 15 years. For North Americans, a person is considered late if he/she arrives 10 to 15 minutes after the scheduled time. For Latin Americans, a person is considered late if he/she arrives 30 minutes after the scheduled time. North Americans often begin to feel tension if a person arrives 15 minutes late, while Latin Americans begin to feel tension if a person arrives 30 minutes after the deadline. These differences in concepts of time often cause misunderstandings between Costa Ricans and North Americans.

The cultural differences in comprehending time can be attributed to the fact that Costa Ricans and North Americans place different value on time. In the U.S., people live to work and time is money. Here in Costa Rica, time is gold. Tico’s live for the moment and occasionally during the week take the time to accomplish some work. In Costa Rica, if you run into a friend, you stop and talk and ask “how’s the family”. Time is for you and not for you to be bound by it. Expats who can slow down and adjust to Tico time, have a much better chance of successfully acculturating.

For new expats arriving to Costa Rica, one of the most frustrating obstacles is dealing with what they view to be a lack of efficiency. In North America there is more efficiency, primarily in the services sector. This makes it particularly hard for North Americans to adapt to life in Costa Rica because they have grown accustomed to the speed and efficiency of services in their home country. If you have the financial ability to hire a consultant to complete these frustrating tasks for you, then you won’t have to go through it and will probably be happier for it.

Culture is embedded in the language, and misunderstandings often arise due to the ways in which people of distinct cultures express and understand language content. North Americans are more direct. In Costa Rica, the Tico’s don’t say things up front. It’s part of their culture and is considered bad manners. Therefore if you don’t understand the culture you get frustrated and some folks become angry and this offends the Tico’s. Misinterpretations therefore arise because Costa Ricans view their North American counterparts as rude while North Americans find Costa Ricans to be indirect or even dishonest. Many expats feel that they have had to learn to decode what their Costa Rican associates and friends are really trying to say. It is not that Costa Rican’s lie more, it is that they are trying to save face. Costa Ricans don’t want to disappoint you. If they don’t know the answer, they say to themselves ‘I don’t know but I want to give my best guess.’ You have to learn to listen carefully and read between the lines. A simple word like “Ya” can mean “it’s already done”, “I’m doing it right now”, or “I’ll get to it soon

Despite the numerous challenges and obstacles which expats face in Costa Rica, those who have stuck it out here are convinced that the benefits outweigh the hassles. The country’s strong democratic tradition, innovative environmental programs, museums and cultural activities, and cheaper living costs continue to make Costa Rica a popular destination spot, particularly for tourists and retirees. And the option to live a lifestyle similar to that in a large North American city is here if you want it. Check out the selection and pricing in any of the major malls or at Super Serretto or Auto Mercado supermarkets. Most products that are imported here from another country incur duties. These duties are built into the price you pay at the cashier. If you want to live and consume the same products available in North America, they are available here. But in many cases those same products are less expensive in Florida. Perhaps if the new free trade agreement becomes a reality, this will change. I prefer the old days before there were malls and hooters. I don’t miss any of what these new franchises have to offer. I patronize typical Costa Rican businesses and my budget is much more affordable. It’s nice to have options and that’s my new philosophy. Plans tie a guy down. Options offer freedom. You don’t irritate someone because you exercised an option. But there are many times when plans did not materialize as expected and someone gets irritated. Keep your options open and your plans to a minimum. Live like the Tico’s, adopt their attitude and adapt to their culture. You’ll probably live longer and happier! Pura Vida!

This was originally posted by crhomebuilder on the yourville member blogs.

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