SO YOU WANT to LIVE in COSTA RICA the Adventures, Trials and Tribulations of Settling in Paradise by Gary Davis –

12 Jun

This is the continuation of a series of posts on my blog to promote the e-book SO YOU WANT to LIVE in COSTA RICA – which is a Guide to… the Adventures, Trials and Tribulations of Settling in Paradise… This is a guide book that will give you the kind of insider’s knowledge that you might wish you had before you made your decision to move or not move to Costa Rica.

Every blog entry will start with the appendix because that way when you read whatever else I have posted it will 1. make sense (I hope) and 2. give you a point of reference in case you realize you need to read something that is “archived”.  Because if you read every blog I enter you will have eventually read the whole e-book and won’t need to order it for $2.99 from Amazon or B&N.  All you’ll be missing are the photos that show what you might expect if you choose to undertake the Adventures, Trials and Tribulations of Settling in Paradise.

As I said, I will start each blog with the appendix so that the reader can reference important elements of the book to archived blogs.  The page numbers shown are the actual page they appear on in the book. Here is the Appendix – and these are all the nuggets and their corresponding page numbers:

Definition of “nugget” – 3, Doors & Windows – 7, Manufacturing – 11, Real Estate – 11, Shipping – 12,Maps, – 15, Corporations – 20, Traffic Cops – 23, Know basic Spanish – 30, Panama – 33, Roof Line – 42, Plumita Pacifica Web Address – 65, Getting the Best a Tico has to Offer – 84, Power Surges – 86, Liberia Airport – 88, Attitude – 104, Cellular Phones – 117, Newspapers – 18, Your Embassy – 137, Buying & Selling Cars – 154, Drive Slowly – 161, Arriving at the Airport – 168, Wages & Prices – 170, Undertows – 226, Life Ring – 230, Avoiding Customs Confiscations – 234, Driving Rules – 236, Walking in the City – 249, Purchasing Anything – 258, Buying Fresh Produce – 263, Bus Tickets – 272, to “Bribe” or not to “Bribe” – 313, Traffic ticket Prices – 315, Exiting the Country – 337

And just in case you’re interested… here’s the table of contents:

Introduction and Preliminary Comments – 3, My First Trip -15, Lost in Guanacaste – Playa Coyote – 20, Trust with a Child – 26, Lost in Panama – 29, Attorneys – 35, My Contractor – 38, My Security Guard – 61, My Toldo – 67, Getting a Land Line Phone and Internet – 76, A Cellular Phone – 115, A Country Doctor – 124, A Lesson Well Learned – 130, A Little Green Frog – 138, A Little Brown Frog and a Bat – 146, A “Murphy’s Law” Day – 153, Driving in the Rainy Season – 161, Drunk Drivers – 174, Fiesta del Toros – 185, Getting a Drivers License – 195, INS and a Minor Accident – 203, Lifeguards – 224, Passing through Customs – 232, Rules of the Road for Tico Driving – 236, San Jose – 241, Shopping and Making Tamales – 250, Taking the Bus – 272, Turtles in My Front Yard – 281, Untitled – 287, When it Rains it Pours (sometimes) – 294, She Found My Lot – 307, My First Traffic Ticket – 312, Ticket # 2 – 316, My Radar Detector – 318, Ticket # 3 (after a slow speed chase) – 324, A Christmas Parade – 338, Sex (the truth about ticos) – 343, Photo Album – 347, Appendix – 374

chapter 7


All my property consists of is a lot about 150′ x 60′ right on the beach and my two story house.  I actually live on the second story because it seemed like a natural to put three (3) one bedroom apartments on the first floor and collect a little tourist rental income.

Costa Rica, I’ve dubbed it “the country where your plans don’t matter” because I almost can’t think of a major plan (and most of the minor ones for that matter) I’ve made that hasn’t been changed by unforeseen circumstances.  You get used to it.  You allow twice as much time to accomplish anything as you normally would and even then you could be surprised.

So I arrive in January ready to occupy my house thinking that because my contractor said it would be finished then that it would at least be habitable.  Now just so you don’t think I’m naïve, I’ve been through this before when I built a house in Big Bear, California.  I know they’re never done on the schedule they told you.  But what I didn’t realize was that here you’re contractor doesn’t coordinate with any other subs.  So I’m here living in basically a shell… walls, roof, windows, doors.  No kitchens, no bathrooms but I did beg him to at least install one of the toilets, a sink to wash my hands, and one shower (sort of, no hot water, I had to beg for that too).  His wife was happy.  It meant I still would be eating in the restaurant that is part of their lodge. 

I contact the other contractor who is to install kitchens and bathrooms.  He says “right away, I’ve got all the cabinet made, etc.”  That was around the first of January.  It’s now coming up on May 1 and, you guessed it, still none of those other somewhat important parts have been completed.  I’m becoming a “squeaky wheel”.  It seems that is somewhat effective.  But I went to San Jose (five and a half hours one way) where there is a hardware store that’s kind of a comical copy of Home Depot and bought a BBQ.  When I was a younger family man we went camping a lot.  No problem.  BBQ, sink, shower, toilet and a bed.  What more do I need?  And a spectacular location to camp out in! 

You may have read the story of the “toldo” by now so I won’t go into that, but another exciting thought is that now I finally get to take advantage of the fantastic climate and the opportunity to live with the place opened up to the outside environment.  Like Hawaii, there’s no need for doors or walls except for security.  No big bug problem, no hurricanes, temperature never changes enough to need a wall… uh oh, did I say “security”? 



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