Saturday, May 19, 2018

Take Your Clothes Off - Our Life in Costa Rica Yr#2

This has been a surprising "change of season" - that's all I can say!!
We have seen critters and bugs that we never saw before. 
Believe it -- when they talk about the biodiversity here. 
It is REAL!!

So here's the back story - For the last few weeks I've had an extremely difficult time hanging clothes on the line or even sweeping the back driveway/patio area. Every time I go out, these small little bees swarm around me. They haven't stung me or anything, but they are truly annoying. I've been searching for the hive because in the past bees have made small hives on the eves of the roof over the patio. So far I have only spotted one hive which upon thorough examination, turned out to be a dead hive. However the other day our friend Mauricio was over and he saw a HUGE hive way up in the ficus tree. Mauricio is very familiar with the insects here as he gives hiking tours through the ridges etc.

I sent our landlord, Marcelo a photo of the hive and he said he would come over that day. (I think I've said this before, but we could not ask for a better landlord!) True to his word, with a smile on his face and still dressed in his work attire, he showed up later in the afternoon. (He works in San Jose (about an hr away, and even longer in rush hour) and he drove all the way to Grecia to help us) He took a look up at the hive and told us that although, we might be able to live with the bees, they can become aggressive, so better to get rid of them right away! Looking around for something long enough to use (and finding nothing), he excused himself and went next door to his sister's house and returned with his brother in law, Carlos, a long pole with a hook on it and a can of bug spray.

Here's what happened next -- and BTW - I was told that these bees will get into your hair and as you know I have plenty of hair, so I pretty much stayed inside the whole time. Like a true pioneer -- NOT!!

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Friday, May 18, 2018

UPDATE #1 - Filing for Temporary Residency in Costa Rica

It's update time!!

It's been about 1 month since we officially began the process of filing for temporary residency status in Costa Rica. I am going to attempt doing monthly updates, as long as there is something to report.  

BTW -We're on our own - the United States Embassy does not have jurisdiction or influence over the Costa Rican residency process for American citizens. 

First meeting with our attorney
Finally found the office location in Escazu 
(driving with NO street addresses here in Costa Rica can be difficult sometimes!)

Our attorney Rafael Valverde.
 Mr Valverde has an excellent reputation in the expat community. I met him & his wife in Aug 2016 when I was the photographer for the expats remarriage on El Cajon - he did the officiating. 



This program applies to any person who is already retired from his/her usual occupation and who is already receiving pension benefits.

Income Requirement

"Demonstration of economic solvency, which corresponds to show proof of monthly income from a qualified pension plan of at least $1,000 USD per month. A married couple needs to show proof of only one (1) monthly pension of at least $1,000 USD for both husband and wife to qualify to apply for residency. Lavanson & I will file separately under pensionado status.
Paper signing - Pensionado status for me

Legal Resident


To apply for residency under the Rentista portion the applicant must demonstrate that they will receive at least US$2,500 per month of income in a permanent, stable and irrevocable manner for at least 2 years. This amount includes the applicant, their spouse and all their children which are under the age of 25.

Income Requirement

This program applies to individuals who (1) are not yet retired, (2) do not need to work while living in Costa Rica, (3) are receiving guaranteed, unearned income of $2,500 USD per month from investments, savings or other sources, and (4) who can prove that the non-earned income is guaranteed to be received for at least a period of 24 months (2 years).

The most common method used to prove the unearned income is by means of a notarized letter from a bank or financial institution indicating the applicant has at least $60,000 USD ($2,500 x 24 months) in a long term account such as a CD, and that the applicant agrees to withdraw and transfer to Costa Rica $2,500 per month for the next 24 months.

Rentista status for this married couple

I will NOT be gathering my own documents (birth certificate, FBI report, etc) but instead will have the attorney obtain docs and required apostilles (if you are married you will also need a copy of your marriage license).  Docs obtained by this law firm, on my behalf, will cost an additional $250/per. All forms must be apostilled (certified-authentic-complete) dated within 6 months and translated into Spanish. After completing the requested preliminary paperwork online in April, I then scheduled an appointment for 5/15 at the attorney's office in Escazu to meet and sign forms. Just by chance...our friends, the Washington's had scheduled an appointment for that day as well, so our attorney decided to meet with us both at the same time. The Washington's had already tried to obtain their FBI reports and birth certificates  TWICE (while in the states), with no luck so they turned to Outlier Legal for help. (Hopefully we can follow the Washington's progress as well.)

The 1st meeting took several hours and included an explanation of services, signing of forms (including limited power of attorney forms), fingerprinting for the required FBI report. After we had completed everything, a member of the residency team escorted us to San Jose to a police station for required fingerprints and photos to be kept on file for Costa Rica. You will also need to sign up with STEP (SmartTravelerEnrollmentProgram) a part of Also a verification of benefits letter is needed, which (if you are using social security as your income) can be obtained online through the Costa Rica Embassy.  FBU Inquiry Form 

Our photos were taken at a little "soda" (diner) located next to the police dept. 

We went inside and there was an area with a chair against one of the walls. We each sat down and had our photos taken. After the photos we went next door to the police station where we met individually with one of the officers (we each met with a different officer). They went over our paperwork, asked us any questions they had re what was on the form, typed it into their computer and then took our fingerprints. 

We left Grecia at 10:30 am and returned home around 7pm - L-O-N-G Day!!!!

Note - Since Lavanson is gathering his own documents and filing through a residency specialist he has been keeping a log. I will post his progress in a separate post. It might be helpful for those of you who are doing all the leg work yourselves. Just to let you know, my residency will cost just under $3,000 - we are hoping that his will come in at about 1/2 the cost. 

That's it for this update. Let me know if you have questions. 
Stay Tuned...
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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

What's Mud Got To Do With It? - Our Life in Costa Rica Yr#2

A few weeks ago, 7 of us took off for a relaxing 3 day weekend trip to the hot springs in Guanacaste. Our plan was 3 days - 3 hot springs.

Believe it or not, this was my FIRST time going to a hot springs.

I had never researched the benefits, but discovered that the springs are excellent for relaxation, health, and more. Hot springs, onsens, mineral baths, spa therapy—or whatever name you want to call them—have a rich history and are cherished in many parts of the world.  

The healing powers of hot springs have been used for thousands of years and are widely accepted in Europe and Japan as natural treatment options for various common ailments. The therapeutic use of water, or balneotherapy, could be just what the doctor ordered when it comes to relieving pain, stress, skin woes and more. Scientists from Japan, Europe, the Middle East, and elsewhere have long been studying balneology (or balneotherapy), which is the “treatment of disease by bathing” and usually in waters containing minerals. has been said that, soaking in hot springs increases your blood flow, circulation, metabolism, and absorption of essential minerals. Plus, their waters could help “treat chronic digestive diseases, constipation, diabetes, gout, and liver complaints.” 

WOW! What took me so long?

Our 1st stop - Las Hornillas Volcano Hot Springs, located at the foot of the Miravalles Volcano. The admission cost was $25 per person for an all day pass. They have several different thermal pools (plus a sauna) with varying temperatures. One pool was so HOT that no human body could possibly stand it! They finally ran some cold water in it to cool it down, but it was never cool enough for me. 

The Miravalles Volcano  -  Guanacaste Costa Rica

Miravalles has been sleeping for centuries, except for a small steam explosion in 1946. It is Costa Rica’s only live volcano where you can walk around a crater, see and feel the smoke rising out from the boiling, muddy caldrons & steam vents. This volcano is known for its sulfur springs, fumaroles and bubbling mud pots sits 6.653 feet high and is the highest peak of the Guanacaste mountains.

BENEFITS of Taking a Mud Bath: 

The benefits of bathing in volcanic mud are many and varied. They include beauty benefits such as conditioning of the hair, exfoliation and softening of the skin, an improvement in circulation, and the alleviation of some skin conditions. It’s also very relaxing, resulting in a great feeling of calm. The possible health benefits include reducing inflammation, a balancing of pH levels, and the relief of joint and muscle tension. Source

Don't miss our video below!!!

BENEFITS of Thermal Hot Springs: 

Boosts Blood Circulation

 Reduces Stress

Promotes Sleep

 Relieves Pain Naturally

 Solves Skin Problems
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Monday, May 14, 2018

A Lunch for 12 - Our Life in Costa Rica Yr#2

THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to post a comment/note re the loss of our 2 little Yorkies. I speak for both Lavanson and myself when I say, your words were greatly appreciated!!

As sad as we have been, I think it's time for me to get back to work.

I have a lot of information to pass along. So, let's start with our recent visit to Alajuela for lunch at a Caribbean restaurant.

It's no secret (or at least it's not a secret anymore) that I am not a huge fan of the local food here. It's not that it's bad, it's just that it is a bit bland for my taste. So... I was really excited when Jeanetta Owens of La Terraza invited our group to join her for lunch at a Caribbean restaurant in Alajuela, only 45 minutes away from Grecia.

the photographer could not fit everyone into the photo at once - so he took a series of photos. Please excuse my attempt at pasting them together LOL

At that time we had visitors from the states and Jeanetta had visitors from the states, plus some of us local expats so we all got together for A lunch for 12.

I absolutely LOVE Caribbean food and "Caribbean's Food Garage" did not disappoint! The food was excellent as was the service. Great options for meat eaters and vegetarians alike. We will be going back often!

While we were there we also talked a bit about costs to move to Costa Rica.

Check out the video below

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