When we returned from our due diligence trip to Costa Rica in February of 2012, the work really began. Now things started to get pretty interesting.
So first, before we head home from our due diligence trip, let me pass along a few bits and pieces that I haven’t covered yet or require reinforcement.
As I’ve said before, things are constantly evolving in Costa Rica. If you don’t like it today just wait until mañana. These are two polite ways to say, “laws and policies are constantly changing here as are the ways existing laws and policies are enforced.”
If you come here, bring patience and tolerance. All of you Type A personalities out there better be prepared to “cool it.” At least, while you are visiting or living in Costa Rica.
There is a reason that the Costa Rican people are rated as the happiest people on the planet. I am convinced it is because they are, as a national habit, used to being patient. Waiting in lines is a common practice almost everywhere. Except while driving, a point I’ve made previously.
They take as a way of life here, what we consider an imposition at home —the natural order of things Costa Rican. It may not impact you as much while you are visiting as a tourist. But when making your due diligence trip, look at the things that you like and the ones that you don’t.
Patience in Traffic
There are three exceptions where patience is in play when driving:
1. At Roundabouts
During your due diligence trip, you might learn you hate driving in Costa Rica. Or it just scares you. Roundabouts are well-known to veteran visitors to Europe. They’re also common in some parts of North America. However, when it comes to Costa Rican drivers, they have not yet learned the concept of merging.
Therefore, they will speed to approach the roundabout and, for want of a better word, stop. This can be very vexing for you the first time you experience it. In my mind, it’s also pretty dangerous. Here is where patience on your part comes into play: Be prepared, just think like a Tico, and you should be okay. Fortunately, outside of the city of San Jose, there are very few busy roundabouts.
2. Patience while driving
Just when you thought you were in the clear, up comes #2. The need for patience while driving on any road in the entire country. There are a few moments that will drive you crazy:
- When behind a tractor hauling a trailer of sugarcane.
- Or a local bus making both scheduled and unscheduled stops.
- Behind any driver of any vehicle in front of you spying a friend, relative, or casual acquaintance alongside the road.
- It can also be a car pulling out slowly into the roadway from a parking space or driveway.
3. Sudden Stops
Be on the alert for sudden stops anywhere while driving in Costa Rica. Please keep in mind that most roads meander through neighborhoods and Costa Ricans are by nature both laidback and friendly.
It is their country, after all, and a chatty sense of friendliness is ingrained in them as part of their culture. Hey, they aren’t in a hurry, and neither should you be. Treat this as part of the experience of a lifestyle that can teach all of us non-Costa Ricans quite a bit about relaxing and enjoying life.
During your due diligence trip, try learning about car insurance, especially when renting a car. When renting a car in Costa Rica, certain insurance is mandated (liability coverage). The optional collision-damage coverage for your car may be covered by the credit card you use to rent your vehicle. This depends on the card provider, just as it is often covered when renting cars domestically.
This international coverage may be a newly added feature for your card. If not available, you may also be able to add an annual rider, for a nominal fee. So, check with your credit card company before you travel to Costa Rica. Because adding this collision-damage coverage at the rental counter or online can be quite expensive.
Native Fruits and Vegetables
Depending on the time of the year, you are going to find a plethora of tropical fruits and vegetables. All kinds of fruits; some you know and more you don’t know.
My strong advice is to go native and enjoy really fresh, fully ripened, incredible flavorful fruits. At least during your due diligence trip. Try also the veggies and fresh juices, drinks, meats, and seafood. These products are offered for sale at the farmer’s markets, local supermarkets, and an abundance of roadside stands.
The chicken and beef, while not prohibitively expensive, are not as cheap as some of the other meats. Try fish like Tilapia and shrimp farmed locally in Puntarenas.
Costa Rican Beef
Note: Costa Rican butchers haven’t all gotten the hang of butchering as it’s done in North America. Add to this that beef here is primarily a Brahma breed. Plus, I believe, that Costa Rican ranchers don’t add hormones or antibiotics to the feed for their beef to fatten and soften it on the hoof.
We have also been told that beef here is not aged as often is often done elsewhere. The net result is most beef bought in stores or served in the restaurants is usually tougher than your palette would prefer.
The author of this blog, Ticonuevo, is a US expat who moved to Costa Rica. He and his wife 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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