Put a lock on your house in Costa Rica when you go on vacation
IVO HENFLING | JANUARY 3, 2015
It is summertime again in Costa Rica and that means trips to the beaches and national parks for those who live here. For sure, you will have family and friends from back home visiting. They will want you to take them to see Lake Arenal and the Poas Volcano or maybe even a couple of weeks to get to know this beautiful country from coast to coast.
When you do so, you want to make sure you put a lock on your house, and not like the one in the photo. What is the reason for the need of locking your house? Well, there are several, but the main one is that you would like to find your personal belongings to still be there when you come back.
I know, in some countries, you can just leave the back door open, especially if you live in a rural area when the crime rate is very low. In the rural areas of Costa Rica it is kind of the same way, but don’t count on it. There are several ways of protecting your property against thieves while you are away.
Be nice to your neighbors during the whole year. Treat them like a neighbor, even though you do not speak their language well enough to have long conversations. Invite them over to your house once in a while. If you bake a cake, bake one for them too. When you go on vacation, tell them ahead of time and ask them to keep an eye out for you. This is the best possible alarm system, the cheapest and one that is the most fun. And it works! Word will go around the neighborhood about those nice gringos quicker than you think and the whole neighborhood will help protecting your belongings.
Some neighborhoods are formally organized (with governmental training) and have a neighborhood watch.
Some neighborhoods are formally organized
Your housekeeper or your neighbor’s housekeeper will love to earn some extra money and take well care of your house, water your plants, take care of your pets and maybe the husband will cut your lawn while you are away. Leave food in the fridge for them and make sure you keep enough rice & beans in storage. Give them some money to go to the farmer’s market for fruits and vegetables and give them a list of what you will need when you get back. Lock away the specialty food that you don’t want them to touch.
A house sitter
Your neighbor might have a nephew who doesn’t have a job or your gardener might know of someone reliable who is a professional caretaker and is between jobs. Look around on the On-line Forums on Yahoo like CostaRicaLiving or CostaRicaCentralValleyLiving, there are plenty of gringos looking to house sit. There are also worldwide organizations where you can look for someone who does house sitting to travel the world like Trusted House Sitters.
There are plenty of gringos looking to house sit
A well trained dog
Get yourself a Doberman, a Pit-bull, an American Stanford or any other dangerous looking dog but train them well. Train them to not to accept food from strangers because if you don’t, they will be poisoned in 5 minutes. Make VERY sure the dog can’t get out so it won’t attack a passersby or a neighbors’ dog. You will still need the daily help of an acquaintance to feed the dog every day and even water the plants.
Train them to not to accept food from strangers
A burglar alarm
You can connect a burglar alarm to all your doors and windows but someone has to show up when the alarm goes off to see what is going on. Nowadays there are great security systems that have a CCTV system that can be connected to your phone and computer so you can see what is going on through the cameras that you have installed on your property. Some security companies send someone to check but if they cannot get into your property, what sense does that make. Most companies don’t have anyone nearby anyway and they might take up to an hour to get to your property.
Just putting an ADT (or other security’s company) sign in the window is like a sign “watch out for the dog” and have a Chihuahua. Just in case, insure your possessions against burglary.
When you are looking to purchase a property in Costa Rica, you should check on how secure the neighborhood is and on how to secure the property is against burglars. GoDutch Realty agents are experienced and can help you with ideas, contact us now.
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I DO want to remind our readers that we appreciate any referrals you can send us. I know you all meet people on the plane, in the supermarket, at yoga, at the gym, at the Blooms ladies club, at the potluck organized by your community. Please remember the GoDutch Realty agents when you talk about your home in Costa Rica, when you meet someone who wants to purchase one, we appreciate it.