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Some things are surprisingly different in Costa Rica

Some things are surprisingly different in Costa RicaSome things are surprisingly different in Costa Rica than we think they are.

Two weeks ago, I told you my experiences on setting up banking and utilities after our real estate. And today I am in my final blog about my story that started on January 25th, 2013.

My wife and I think it turned out a happy story. We hope this will help some future expats to go through a smooth transition of their real estate purchase in Costa Rica, the reason I wrote these blogs.

During our conversations with other expats, I noted a tendency to complain. They complain about how things didn’t work the way they did “back home”. The roads aren’t as smooth, the service is slow, products I can get back home aren’t available, isn’t this awful, etc, etc. In other words, and to put it bluntly, “life doesn’t revolve around me as I have come to expect”.

Surprisingly Different

I found I had less and less patience for this attitude as it kept happening. It made me wonder how anyone could expect it to be otherwise. There is certainly an abundance of information out there. There are plenty of warnings for those who care to take the time to do even the most cursory of investigations.  Some of these are warnings that things are going to be “surprisingly different”. For some people “different” means not as easily or quickly or comfortably as they are accustomed to. So I don’t understand why folks would be surprised and disappointed when they make the move to Costa Rica and find that things are actually – “surprisingly different”!

Some things are surprisingly different in Costa Rica

After going through the process, I am still a novice at actually living in Costa Rica. One piece of advice I would have – and it’s certainly not original or unique to me – would be to go into the adventure with the knowledge that things will be different. Complaining will not change that. So, if you don’t expect things to be surprisingly different and don’t have a willingness to accommodate those differences, then you might re-consider your choice to go.


I know one of the owners in our development is very unhappy, they now have their home up for sale, so they can move back to America. I have not met them, but I hear everything is a problem to them: the roads, and the weather, which is not bright and sunny and warm the entire year. Some months are wetter and cooler than others.

Don’t Delay

My other major piece of advice is to encourage others not to delay in embarking on the adventure to retire in Costa Rica. There is value in investigating before making a major move like this, and being prepared for what you will experience. I believe that many of us have a tendency to over-study, sometimes to the point of making it all about the study, and never actually taking action.

No matter how much investigation you do, how many discussions you have, or how many internet sites you visit, you will never come to the point where you are 100% prepared. There is a point at which you will need to actually experience what it’s like, and what your reaction will be. You will learn something new when you actually take the steps. And it likely changes your mind about some points you were very certain of and re-affirming others.

Different Dream

My wife and I, for example, had a dream about living on the ocean. But when we actually visited, we found the weather very hot and humid. I didn’t want to go outdoors at all. So we revised our opinion, which we had held for many years. We decided to settle in a more moderate climate.

So I guess, in conclusion, I am suggesting you do your homework until you come to the point where you have learned “enough”. You should be prepared for and tolerant of differences in how things are done, and then take action when the time is right.

Some things are surprisingly different in Costa Rica

Major Steps

Plan the major steps in your process something like (and these steps will be different for everyone):

Step 1

Visit Costa Rica a few times with a view to gathering information. But more importantly, be aware of your own reactions and feelings about what you are experiencing. Travel about, meet people, and explore different regions.

Step 2

Decide on the region(s) which are attractive and rent for a period of time to experience what it would be like to live there.

Step 3

Investigate the purchase of Costa Rica real estate – if that is your choice.

Step 4

Purchase property, settle in and enjoy. And then move ahead with the steps. If you wait until the time is perfect, you may never do it. That’s just the way we human beings are built. We say to ourselves “I’ll do (whatever), but I have to wait until (whatever).”

Don’t be afraid of things surprisingly different. Work hard at adapting to your new environment.

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes. It was written by John Lennon (attributed earlier to others) in his song “Beautiful Boy”: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”. I encourage you to grab life with both hands, do your homework, and then follow your dream and I wish you well on your journey.

The Author

The author of this blog, Ticonuevo, is a US expat who moved to Costa Rica and 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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I DO want to remind our readers that we appreciate any referrals you can send us. Also, when talking about your home in Costa Rica, please remember the GoDutch Realty agents. We appreciate it.

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