on May 12, 2013
Erin Van Rheenen's Living Abroad in Costa Rica belongs on the shelf along with works by John Howells and Chris Howard. It's an important book, especially for those considering a move to Costa Rica or planning an exploratory trip with an eye toward moving there. While it was "discovered" as an expat haven over two decades ago, people are still enthusiastic about moving there.
Costa Rica is a unique country, having no army but with a serious emphasis on education and taking care of the planet. It's also a friendly place, but as Van Rheenen points out, cultural differences do exist. Ticos, as they call themselves, are friendly and welcoming, but their politeness may prevent them from saying "no" to an impossible request.
The book has what people need in planning a trip with places to stay and sample 10-day, two-week and one-month itineraries. The high season, December through April is also the dry season, so your trip will cost less if you put up with rain. Speaking of rain, there can be a lot of it, falling hard, though rarely lasting all day.
A visit to Costa Rica is likely to begin in the Central Valley, specifically, in San Jose. About 100,000 expats live in or near the capital, San Jose, which has a population of about 350,000 and many cultural advantages such as the National Theater, the symphony and several museums. Getting around the city, however can be a challenge.
Van Rheenen cautions newcomers not to rent a car at the airport. "You've just flown in, it may be dark, you're tired, and you may never have driven in Costa Rica before. This is not the time to start learning." Streets are without signs, and ordinarily friendly Ticos are competitive behind the wheel. She suggests taking a taxi to your hotel, at least, then perhaps hiring a driver for nearby trips. If you really want to rent a car, have the rental company deliver it to your hotel. You might also consider taking buses, which are inexpensive.
Resources include five pages of important Spanish words and phrases as well as a page of real estate terms, addresses of consulates in the U.S. and foreign embassies in Costa Rica. There are also lists of colleges and schools, healthcare contacts, volunteer organizations, internet resources and more. The book is valuable not only for those thinking of living in Costa Rica but those who've already made the move.
The text is sprinkled with separately boxed anecdotes and first person accounts from expats there now and others who know the country well. Though you may be tempted to skip these when reading to glean basic information, they provide unique insights and are worth going back to and reading at leisure.
The book details the different types of residency. Immigration laws changed in 2010 and again in 2012, so be sure to check with the nearest consulate to be sure you have current information. Many people think of Costa Rica as a retirement haven, but increasingly younger people, including families with children, are now moving there as well. Among the expats are business people as well as artists and writers. Van Rheenen happens to be a writer of award-winning fiction as well.
on September 24, 2014
For one considering moving to Costa Rica (aka CR) for retirement, this book is chock-a-block full of all of the info that you'll need; from the mores of the country, the lifestyle, weather, cost of living....Now all I have to do is to retire and pack my bags.
on June 1, 2013
Very knowledgeable written book, it's truly a paperback book, it spells out what I believe you may want to know, Could of use a bot more on areas to visit for Ex-Pats other than the basics, realizing not ever ware is completely safe for everyone.
I enjoyed and recommend especially if you're heading to CR, definitely use as a reference guild