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Organize your Moving Plan – The Devil is in the Details

Estimated Reading Time: 6 Minutes

Organize your plan of action before moving

I recommend everyone to create a moving plan. Everything you read online might be inaccurate.  That is why it is vital for you to stay on top of your moving plan; because I can tell you from recent first-hand experience about requirements, policies and laws nonetheless their enforcement is all subject to change.

Organizing a moving plan for your move to Costa Rica is the best thing you can do in your spare time. If you don’t think you have any spare time, make some.

You really can’t start planning too early. If you are not a detail-oriented person, force yourself to be. Are you moving with a spouse or significant other with time or some of these traits? Then get them involved. Split up the investigation and due diligence that you really must do to have a successful transition.

The more you and your spouse know about Costa Rica, the better chance that your move will be successful.

Organize your plan of action before moving

Detailed Moving Plan

If you are committed to moving to Costa Rica, it’s time to get organized. Make a detailed moving plan with as much flexibility built into it as you can imagine. Have a Plan A, for every element of your move. Then add Plan B and even a Plan C if you can think of one.

Why? because everything involved with the rules and policies governing your move and your life in Costa Rica is subject to change. Not just minor change. Some pretty major changes of direction can affect your happiness and the success of your move.


Build as much flexibility into your move as possible. It will be easier to respond to sudden, seemingly large roadblocks thrown in your way. I approached our move much like a general would approach a military campaign. An approach with a goal to be attained. And with any number of contingencies should the enemy block our advance or attack from a flank.

Organize your plan of action before moving

Start a binder

It may sound a bit silly, but start a “Costa Rica” binder with dividers. You can divide it up any way you see fit. But use it as a customized reference book.

Even if you don’t use it when you do your moving plan,  just the act of finding information, printing it, or cutting it out, will greatly reinforce the content of the information you acquire.

Some things you find may be superseded by something else you find later. You will see you become better and better informed. Then you can pick out what is information fits your needs and what areas in your moving plan may be subject to further amendment down the road.

The Web

Spend as much time as you can researching Costa Rica on the Internet. When you find an interesting site, bookmark it and go back to it as often as you are able. When you find an interesting article or a timely bit of information, print it out and put it in that binder.

The information is usually not all current or up to date. But it informs and indicates to you areas that may be subject to continuous modification.

Organize your plan of action before moving


Go to the Tico Times, the English language Costa Rican online newspaper. They inform about Costa Rican life and topical issues, especially governmental policies, laws, and activities affecting or threatening to affect Costa Ricans and ex-pats.

There is also A.M. Costa Rica, another English-language online “newspaper.” It is chock full of local ads and classifieds. Much of its content is outdated, it’s a bit clunky to migrate around and use. But it also contains a number of very informative articles on Costa Rican foods, cuisine, and culture that never really go out of date.

And again, follow Ivo’s weekly blog at GoDutch Realty and the American-European Real Estate blog. This is not a commercial, but you’ll find some new and really useful tidbits about Costa Rica and life in Costa Rica there every week.

Task Timeline

Develop a task timeline. This is one of the most important things you really need to do. Organizing your move to Costa Rica, listing the things to do and when to initiate them is critical to a smooth transition.

We’re talking about literally creating a moving plan that should include:

  • Figuring out how you’ll manage your assets,
  • How to access your finances,
  • Who needs to be notified and when,
  • When and what you’ll need to be allowed to immigrate here,
  • What needs to be sold and when,
  • Cancellations to be made
  • What to bring and how to get it to Costa Rica,
  • How to get your mail and your packages and where to forward it,
  • Look into medical coverage,
  • Determine how to get your pets to Costa Rica.

I know this is like the title of that recently popular movie. “It’s complicated” and fraught with details. The better your moving plan is. The earlier on you get started, the easier it is to spread out the tasks and take some of the pressure off.

However, there is no avoiding the bare fact, that some things simply must be left to near or at the end of your planning.

Check out ARCR and several of the Costa Rican websites catering to potential Costa Rican immigrants for a “To Do” list of suggested tasks and timelines.

The Author

The author of this blog, Ticonuevo, is a US expat who moved to Costa Rica. He and his wife used the services of GoDutch Realty to purchase a property in Costa Rica. In his blogs, Ticonuevo describes his own experiences of taking the step of moving to Costa Rica and getting a new life started.

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