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

25 Jul

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 10 (finally)


In the states you simply decide on the cellular service provider you want to use, go to an outlet that sells phones and service by that provider, select your plan, pay your money, walk out the door with your phone and talk away.

In Costa Rica you go buy a phone (you need to have proof you live or have a company here – see below).  So I have all the proof I need and I begin to hit the stores because they have a wide selection of phones/features.  Unlike in Ca. where you have to settle for the choices of phones the service provider has on their shelf, in C.R. you can shop from store to store until you find exactly what you want.  Of course that’s both good and bad news because no one store is going to have every type of phone model available.  Which means you can spend a lot of time shopping.  The other bad news is that you have to pay full price for the phone because there are no “service contracts” locking you into a specific service provider thereby allowing them to attract you with a deep discount on the phone. 

So if the phone retails for around $300, which most decent ones do, then you pay the full $300.  Ouch!  But since the phone company here, which is called ICE, (pronounced ee-say) is a government monopoly they really don’t care which phone you have.  You buy whatever phone you like, take it to the ICE office, wait for your turn and finally when it’s your turn you hope you have all the paperwork they require in order for them to install the chip which will allow the phone to function with their system.   But having experienced the service in various parts of the country with the phones I’ve rented from Dollar rent a car (the only company I’m aware of that has phones right there where you rent your car, by the way, and a very useful thing to have here) and I know which kind of phone I need so I need to find a store where someone speaks English because I know the conversation will get technical.  I find one after awhile (I was in a nice mall, in a suburb of San Jose called Escazu, where there were lots of stores that sold phones or that would have been a story in itself).  Tony, the guy I eventually bought my phone from, turns out to be a very helpful guy (actually, like most Costa Ricans).  He even programmed it for me so the screen displays English (I had to go back months later to get him to show me how to receive a voice mail message, because all that is in Spanish only, and I couldn’t even figure out how to set up my mail box.)  Anyway, we’re all done so he says now I just have to do the final step, which is go to ICE to get the chip so I can actually use the phone.


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