Estimated Reading Time: 5 Minutes
There are lots of retirees in Costa Rica, and in some way or another, they all communicate with their children, grandchildren, and friends back home.
Technology changes faster than you want if you’re over 60 years old. I know because it drives me crazy already, and I’m computer savvy.
My mom turned 90 recently and lives in the Netherlands (formerly Holland…). Luckily, she learned how to work with a computer and use a mouse when she still could. She still handles a computer better than some much younger people I know. We talk to each other on Skype every day. One of my sisters calls her on messenger because she doesn’t use a computer. My other sister calls her on Whatsapp. I don’t know how the poor woman keeps all that stuff apart.
Unfortunately, Microsoft doesn’t seem to care how retirees keep up with the changes every time they make changes to Windows. Mr. Gates, please create a Windows for seniors, will you? And someone else maybe can invent some software where you can combine Skype, Whatsapp, Messenger, and every other communication in one place?
I’d like to share a great video about Facebook that my mom shared with me a few years ago.
It’s incredible how the world has changed since I moved to Costa Rica, especially in how we expats communicate with those back home. 30 years ago, my mom and dad lived in the Canary Islands, Spain, and we’d talk to each other on the phone about once a month. We wanted to say too much simultaneously to save a buck when we were talking. And writing a letter was something like, “do I really need to do this every month”?
Then they invented Skype and other VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) like Magic Jack, and now we have Messenger, Whatsapp, Telegram, Signal, Threema, Viber, Spike, Ginlo, and Wire. I don’t know about you, but this drives me nuts. I don’t want more than one or two options to communicate with others.
In my opinion, email is still the best and most trustworthy way of communication. At least you can write something and re-read it before you hit the send button. Especially if you want to send a mad message!
Cheap and Easy
Who can live without a cell phone anymore? I certainly cannot! We don’t even have a phone line at home anymore. You can communicate cheaply and easily from your phone with an internet connection. You won’t find a Wifi hotspot everywhere anymore, as you would a few years ago. But nowadays, you can do almost everything from your phone with a SIM card. So when I travel, the first thing I do is get a SIM card for that country (usually when I arrive at the airport), and I’ll be able to do the following things from my phone.
I can do many things from my phone with a local SIM card because I download the apps I need. Maybe this gives you some ideas about what you can do with your phone and save a lot of time:
Communicate to your family, agents, and business associates, on Whatsapp, from anywhere in the world, for FREE!
Waze and Google Maps – never get lost again in Costa Rica. I know the country very well, and I use Waze to get me to my appointments. Not only can I see the shortest route, but also how much time it will take me. Great for relaxed driving!
Send and receive emails. I use all my email accounts through Gmail and can instantly access them on my phone.
4. Safari and Google
I can search for any information online whenever necessary.
Ask Siri to translate a phrase, set the alarm, find a location, report on the weather, or ask any questions. I wish I would be able to use it better. I just got fed up with Siri not recognizing my Dutch accent. See how I feel using Siri by watching the voice-operated elevator YouTube below. I posted the one with subtitles in case you have problems understanding English.
I’ll never miss an appointment anymore. I keep every date with my wife, appointments with my clients, the doctor and the dentist, and programs or soccer game I want to see on TV. I can set several alarms, so I always get a warning in time.
7. Alarm clock
This is not an app; it comes with my phone, but I can keep different alarm clocks, a stopwatch, a timer, and a Worldclock when I travel.
This also comes with the iPhone, it’s not an app, but I use it a lot to take not’s so I won’t forget.
9. The Cloud
Who needs a significant memory on the phone or computer anymore? Now you can access your Dropbox, iCloud, Google Cloud, or others, so you can share anything on your computer, iPad, etc.
10. Social Media
All my Social Media like Facebook (including Messenger), Pinterest, Linkedin, and Instagram. I also use Business Suite to keep track of and answer comments that everyone leaves on our professional Facebook pages at any time.
God forbid my mom calls, and I miss her call because I’m not on my computer at that moment. I still use Skype with my mom because, for her, it’s the easiest way to communicate out of the country.
ePark Costa Rica – This is an app to pay for a parking spot in San Jose. The best part is that you can save the time you didn’t need.
This is the CCSS (Social security system) app that shows you appointments, medicine, and other medical info. This app is a must-have if you are a resident using the Caja.
KeepUp is the only platform that allows you to view the documents of your Costa Rican corporation and your property in real-time!
I have several banking apps, SINPE móvil, and several tokens on my phone. I hardly do any banking from my phone for security reasons, but I can when I have to.
Camscanner – a beautiful and easy-to-use scanner that saves anything I scan straight into my dropbox file.
17. Medical Discounts
Medismart – This is a medical discount app, but you must be affiliated. Hospital, medication, doctors, lab tests, and even the veterinarian for your pets.
This is our security camera system at home and the office, so I can see what’s going on wherever I am.
This is our Contact Management system (CMS) that we use at GoDutch Realty to stay in touch with all our clients.
I hardly have time to do this, but I can play Scrabble live with someone else (I use it in Dutch) while standing in line at the bank.
This doesn’t work in CR. I only use this to keep my boarding passes and tickets when traveling, so I don’t have to print them. It is possible to carry your credit cards in this wallet and use your phone to pay instead of pulling out your credit card.
22. Airline Travel
Airline apps like United, Iberia, Fly Delta, Tap Portugal, AirEuropa, Avianca, and others, when I travel.
Apple Music app (because I have an iPhone), where I have almost 8,000 songs of all kinds of music, wherever I am.
Radiogarden – Live radio by rotating the globe, anywhere in the world. Amazing!
24. Request a Ride
Instead of a taxi, use Uber, DiDi, Lyft, Sixt, and Bolt by using the “request a ride” apps. I use Uber or DiDi locally.
Uber Eats for Sundays when we don’t feel like eating out. Try Glovo for grocery shopping, pharmacy, or delivery (like sending someone to your friend in another town).
26. Public Transport
We don’t have the 9292 app yet in Costa Rica (but it’s about time they implement it. This 9292 is a public transport app where I buy e-tickets and see departures for trains, trams, and buses all over the Netherlands when I visit my former home country.
Airbnb, Expedia, and other travel apps. When booking your vacations from an app, you generally get better discounts.
You might think that’s a lot of stuff on your phone, but these apps are very easy to organize by keeping them on different pages.
Whatsapp is the Champ
You can do a fantastic amount of things on Whatsapp, and it’s all FREE:
- Chat or text messages, with or without smileys, icons
- Use spellchecker in several languages.
- Send contacts that you have on your phone.
- Voice messages.
- Send documents.
- Take a photo on your cellphone and send it to someone.
- Send single photos or batches of photos on your phone to someone.
- Start a group, so you can communicate with a whole group of people at the same time.
- Send your own or another location to someone else
- Block certain callers
For those who like the technology and use it to the max, you’ll find many YouTube on how to take advantage of Whatsapp. See a great sample video below. If you’re looking for other options for communications, check Tom’s Guide now. If you don’t have Whatsapp on your phone when you move here or visit, do it NOW. Everyone in Costa Rica uses it to communicate.
In today’s world, you don’t have to be afraid you will miss the kids and not see the grandkids grow up. The internet allows us to communicate so much easier. Even moving to Costa Rica has become a doable goal for those willing to adjust to a new environment and still be able to communicate with those left behind.
I would love to have any of you readers of this blog leave us a question or a comment, so maybe those new to relocating to beautiful Costa Rica can learn something from us. Contact us if you have any questions or looking to buy a property in the Central Valley.
Image use in this blog: Image by wayhomestudio on Freepik and Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash