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

3 Sep

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 16


Costa Rica presents an interesting paradox.  The hardest thing for a country to do is make peace with its neighbors, announce itself as a country which recognizes only peaceful intent and disband all military forces.   The easiest thing for a country to do is fix its roads.

Paradoxically, Costa Rica did the former after it won a war with a northern neighbor, suffered its own revolution and then immediately declared its peaceful intent and disbanded all military forces in 1949.  But the roads, well, they have not yet figured out how to solve that problem.

Drive more slowly here.  There are many unexpected circumstances that will occur.

If the drivers here could resolve the anger/frustration that builds with each teeth rattling pothole they fall into maybe they could see the comedy in the irony of the paradox.  I do but most people I talk to about it are just plain pissed.

During the dry season you only have to be careful.  There are the usual pitfalls such as potholes, no shoulders, people, cows, horses, pigs and other assorted critters in the road.  And then of course if you’re on the main highway, the one they call the Pan American highway, you need to be very careful especially in the mountains.  It’s so tempting to pass that black smoke belching truck that can’t go more than ten miles per hour that you’ve been following for miles because there are no turn-outs and the mountain road is very curvy.  At least the vistas are spectacular but watch it!  I’ve almost run off the road many times because I’m looking at the view and the road turns.  That’s another reason to take the bus.

However, during the rainy season there are more serious and treacherous conditions.  The potholes are bigger, deeper, way more frequent (as in linked) and can be disguised.  If a pothole is filled with water you really can’t tell how deep it is.  And there can be sections of the road that cave in leaving gaping holes that would be fatal if driven into. There is one such hole on the road to Santa Cruz.  Every time I go across what little road is left above the stream I can’t help but look down to see if there is a car down there.  It’s only about a twenty foot drop but it’s straight down.  One day I had picked up some ticos on my way and one of the women made some comment about how dangerous this gaping hole was if someone were to be going fast and not see it.  I pointed out that the gigantic potholes in the road on either side of the crevasse would probably prevent anyone from going fast enough to fall in.  Everyone laughed because it hit them that her thought was somewhat ludicrous.  So far so good.



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