Costa Rica Utilities

Can I use my cell phone in Costa Rica while traveling?

Can I use my cell phone in Costa Rica while traveling?Wondering if you can use your cell phone in Costa Rica when traveling? You need to be able to stay in touch with your family back home while having a good time, right? 

You live in Costa Rica and you have family and friends coming to visit all the time? Of course they want to know how to be able to use their cell phone in Costa Rica while visiting you. Now you can just send them the link to this article and they’re all set.

Need Google Maps or Waze to function on your phone? You’d like to pick up your emails while you are traveling? WhatsApp is a lot cheaper to use, as well as FaceTime when you want to talk to your beloved ones. You can now even use Live Video on Facebook and share them with your Facebook friends. So having internet access on your phone is probably very important to you.

Please do not leave a message - Voicemail in Costa Rica

Please do not leave a message - Voice mail in Costa Rica. Maxwell smart has a hard time too.I’m not even a real old guy yet and I’m already having a hard time keeping up with some of that phone technology that the phone carriers are offering. I’m only 60 and wondering how people like 83 year old mom keep up with all that ever changing stuff. 
I received the offer for 2 free internet based phone lines from a new internet company. Wow, all for free…
One day, another realtor called me on my cell phone and said “why does your office phone sound busy all the time”? “That’s because I was talking on it”. “So, said the realtor, why don’t you get an extra line”? 
“I can answer only one line at the time, Daniel. What most people do when a phone is busy, they call back later and if you don’t, you were really in no hurry to talk to me anyway”.
I can get myself a whole battery of phones but will still only answer one phone call at the time. If you wouldn’t have a secret phone number (100 points for our phone technology), I could see who has called and I’d return your call as soon as I can”. Or shoot me an email; you know I answer it always quickly.

Water, water everywhere in Costa Rica and not a drop to drink

PABLO R. | FEBRUARY 27, 2015

Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink​When you live in the United States, like we do, you tend to take water for granted. In the 30 years we’ve been living in Washington DC we’ve had a water interruption only once. And the limits of our concern generally are the hope that the pipes won’t freeze at night when the temperature in Washington is well below zero.  It hasn’t ever happened … but sometimes we have to think about it.  And that’s it – otherwise the availability of water is just a background assumption to which we never give a thought.

Not so in Costa Rica. We’ve come to realize that water is vital to our lives and also somewhat problematic in Atenas! Our first problem, which we wrote about in an earlier blog, was a legal one. Our housing subdivision did not have an ASADA, which is a legal authorization to pump water from the community well. Happily that problem seems to have gone away, and our permits have been issued despite the problem. We are happy now to just go with the flow.

But that’s not the only water problem we’ve seen. We were aware, when we bought the house, of the long-standing dispute between Atenas and Grecia – which is where the city’s water comes from.  That, too, seems to have been solved. 

Water issues obstruct building permits in agricultural subdivisions in Costa Rica


No Building Permits at Municipalities without Water Certification

Do you have a building lot in an agricultural subdivision in Costa Rica? Or maybe you are planning to buy one? If so, you better read this blog, so you can save yourself a lot of headaches later on. 

The fact is that starting September 1st, 2014 if you own a property in Costa Rica and you want to be able to get building permits from the municipality where the property is located, the owner has to get a certification from the water company (carta de agua) that certifies there is water available for that property. If the property already has a house, you don’t have to worry, but as soon as you want to build additional footage to your house, you will need a building permit. 

Most municipalities even go a step further and they oblige you to get that same letter when you request an “uso de suelo”, which is a document that shows what you are able to build on that particular property and it will tell you if the property is residential, commercial or industrial as well as the density (how much construction is allowed).

TicoNuevo figures out how to pay his Costa Rica utility bills

TicoNuevo figures out how to pay his Costa Rica utility billsI’ll start this blog with a disclaimer. My chosen topic for today’s blog, paying utility bills in Costa Rica, is a bit like an unfinished symphony: the final stanza has yet to be written. It also reflects my own personal experience and may be nothing, at all, like the experiences of others. With that said, let me begin.

The Costa Rican utilities at our casa consist of one pay-in-advance cell phone, one cell phone on a fixed-rate account, a landline phone, three electric meters, a domestic municipal water account (our twice-weekly trash service is coupled with the water bill), a local WiFi Internet service and a satellite TV service.

All but the pay-in-advance cell phone are paid monthly. So far, pretty normal—just like back in the States. Well, sadly that’s just about where the similarity ends.

It seems that here in Costa Rica you typically don’t get monthly statements or utility bills. However, the WiFi service is paid annually to take advantage of a pre-payment discount and the satellite service, which is headquartered in Mexico City, is billed monthly to our Stateside credit card, and the fixed-rate cell phone does generate an invoice sent monthly to me via email.

Setting up Banking and Utilities after our real estate closing

by guest blogger John Doe

Standing in line at a Costarican bank is normalDuring the two weeks we visited the country during our Costa Rica real estate closing, we enjoyed some down time, did some touring and exploring, learning more about our newly-adopted second home, meeting more of the locals and expats, all of whom were extremely friendly and helpful.

We set up a local bank account with the invaluable assistance of folks who had lived there for some time, arranged our utilities, TV cable subscription, internet, etc.

This would all have been incredibly time-consuming and difficult without their knowledge and assistance, especially since we don’t speak Spanish. (Suggestion: see if you can connect personally with either a local or a helpful, knowledgeable expat, to give you a hand through these tasks. It will be invaluable to you).

Why Potential Costa Rica Expats Fail to Make the Transition

by guest blogger TicoNuevo

Why Potential Costa Rica Expats Fail to Make the TransitionHere’s something to think about: a significant number of all of the expats attempting to settle in Costa Rica return home within one year. I have some ideas about why this happens, and how to avoid becoming a statistic. I’ll discuss the most prominent reasons for failure here.

A big reason influencing an early departure, I think, is a lack of preparation before potential expats arrive. Changing your country of residence requires an enormous, well-coordinated effort—lots of pre-planning. Unless you have changed countries of residence before, you have no concept of the volume and benefit of pre-planning your move.

Tied to lack of preparation is a lack of commitment. So, become committed. For all of our major decisions, my wife and I have always set very specific and realistic timeframe goals and objectives.

Checkin’ Out Costa Rica | Part 2

by guest blogger TicoNuevo

Costa Rica suicide showerSuicide Showers, Surfer Hotels and Other Things to Avoid on Your First Trip to Costa Rica.

In this blog, I’m trying to cover things you may not hear or read before you leave to visit Costa Rica for the first time. Since we’ve travelled plenty, but had been to Costa Rica only once, there are some things that struck us as unique or, at least, a bit unusual. The first of the two items mentioned in my headline above you may find at economy accommodations anywhere in the country, but particularly along the coasts.

The suicide shower as it is called, is an invention triggered by some engineer’s warped sense of practicality.  Many, if not most, Tico homes do not have hot water—hot water is generally seen by the native Costa Ricans in this warm clime as unnecessary and/or too expensive. This invention—an electrically heated shower head—is a way to provide hot water in the shower without having to invest in a hot water heater and hot water plumbing.

John Doe is drawing to a clos(ing) on his property in Costa Rica

by guest blogger John Doe

John Doe is under construction in Costa RicaWe are now in the month of February, when we had agreed to make the final payment for our amazing property in Costa Rica, and proceed with closing the deal. Of course, these situations almost always have hurdles, and the best one can do this these is keep calm, and as much as possible keep one’s eye on the ultimate goal. I believe it was one of the ancient Greek philosophers who said “The long journey to Mount Olympus begins with a single step”

First, I should say a few words about my last post. Ivo informs me that he had some emails regarding the difficulties I described, with some wanting to know where the development was. I have sworn Ivo to secrecy about this, since my intention from the beginning was to be quite frank about the problems and issues, as well as the good things about our purchase process. If parties were identified, I knew that I would have to soften my comments, and that would defeat the purpose of my blogs.

An Overview of Broadband Service in Costa Rica

by guest blogger Myke Thomas

Uninterrupted internet connection in Costa Rica is always availableUninterrupted internet connection to connect to the world has been a long cherished dream for many individuals, especially in Costa Rica.

However, even in the recent past, one would have had to pay a heavy cost (not only in terms of money that is) to avail such a connection.

With the coming of broadband connection services to Costa Rica, one can now actually avail unlimited and uninterrupted internet facilities. It definitely makes searching for Costa Rica real estate a lot easier.

The Various Broadband Packages

Internet is now one of the most important Costa Rica utilities you can imagine, maybe even more important than water. Today, there are various companies in the market in Costa Rica, who are ready with exclusive packages. Most of these packages come within the affordable ranges. Some of them with limited packages cost as low as $16.95 to $29.95, whereas if one wishes to get better packages he shall get one within $38.95 to $90.95.