This Week in Costa Rica

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This Week in Costa Rica is a weekly, online radio program and podcast by US expat, Dan Stevens

Filtering by Tag: costa rica retirees

Retiring in Costa Rica can give you a chance to do some of the things you have always wanted to do

By Christopher Howard on Live in Costa In retirement, you have the chance to do what you want to do and be who you really want to be, provided you have the means to do it and are in good health. Some plan to spend their retirement time doing nothing at all, but find that this gets old very quickly and decide to do something meaningful with the last part of their lives.

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The important thing is to stay active and have some goals. This time in your life is that last chance to do some of the things you have always wanted to do. Now you finally have the freedom to choose what you want to do with your life. You may choose to take up a new hobby, start a part-timer business, improve your computer and Internet savvy, learn to play a musical instrument, do volunteer work, build something, plant a garden or travel. Retired life can become the perfect chance to try your hand at something new, without the burden of struggling to making ends meet. A new career can allow retirees to do something they enjoy and are passionate about. Many retirees envision themselves as writers, artists or humanitarians.

If you were unable to travel to your heart’s content while working, retirement can be your chance to make up for lost time. Some travelers find the more exotic the destination, the more exciting the adventure. If you are a thrill-seeker, majestic mountains, raging rivers, volcanos and jungles can be yours. Now that you are retired and have the time, your trips are not restricted to a week or two at a time. You might even opt to live at your destination for an extended period to really get a feel for the culture and surroundings and eventually end up moving there.

Living in Costa Rica can enable you to do all of the above. With the exception of working (You have to have residency with permission to work legally in Costa Rica — much like a Green Card), you will be able to engage in a whole gamut of activities and enjoy all of the wonderful things this country has to offer.

Granted Costa Rica is not for everyone, but a lot of Americans who have moved here and are very happy and love the Latin lifestyle. If you are adventurous and seek something more than a traditional retirement in a retirement community in Florida, then Costa Rica might just fit the bill.

My recommendation is to come check out the country. One the best ways is by taking one of my monthly relocation and retirement tours (see www.liveincostarica.com). Actually these tours are not just for retirees but for anyone who is seriously considering moving here, no matter what their age. I have had many young entrepreneurs and middle age people on of my tours.

At the end of the tour if you decide as many do that they like the country but don not want to live here, then you will have a place to visit that you have seen from an entirely different perspective than the average tourist.


We spoke with Christopher Howard about living as an expat here in Costa Rica.  That interview can be found below.

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Is it Hard to Make Costa Rican Friends?

Costa Rica Retirement News - The answer is yes and no. One of the many pluses that come with relocating to Costa Rica is its friendly people who generally like Americans. Costa Ricans are fun loving and rate very high on the World Happiness Index despite any personal problems they may have.

As they say here “Al mal tiempo, buena cara” (Put on a happy face despite the adversity).

I have a few really good Costa Rican friends. Two of my tico friends have demonstrated repeatedly that they really know the meaning of friendship by helping me during very difficult times like when my wife passed away.

To define friendship in Costa Rica one has to move away from the traditional “gringo viewpoint” and look at this term within the parameters of Costa Rican society and culture.

The majority of the ticos you come into contact with here are struggling to make ends meet every single day. Consequently, they don’t have the time or means to socialize, wine and dine let alone cultivate friendships like we do in the U.S. Americans work hard but usually do find the time to develop friendships. What this basically boils down to is that most of the people here are too busy trying to make a living and can’t really have much of a social life. On top of that, most foreigners tend to only meet working class people and those with lower income levels which makes forming friendships difficult.

Furthermore, most Costa Ricans who belong to the upper middle or upper classes tend to have their own clicks made up of friends they grew up with and business associates, thus making it almost impossible for foreigners to break into their social circle. Latinos tend to be traditionalists, nationalistic and somewhat class conscious (clasistas) which isolates those at the top from the masses and foreigners. I do know gringos who belong to country clubs and have Costa Rican friends and acquaintances from this strata of society but they also find it hard to form close friendships.

The inner workings of Costa Rican families also tend to pose an obstacle to making good friends. In Costa Rica as in most Latin countries the family is the center of social life. Basically everything revolves around family activities. You always hear the term “En familia” which refers to the family doing everything together especially during their free time. The family always come first and children even come before the family. Costa Rican women live for there children. So, with the family ties and children being the first priority friendships are put on the back burner.

Another factor is that expats tend to gravitate towards each other when living abroad which kind of isolates them from the locals. Most gringos I know hang out and socialize primarily with other gringos.

Spanish can pose another barrier in forming friendships. If you don’t speak the language, How the heck can you have a deep friendship? I do not know many foreigners who speak the Spanish language well enough to have the same level of communication with Costa Ricans as they do with English speakers. However, I do have a friend in Grecia who is the exception to the rule, speaks very little Spanish but appears to have a special talent for meeting the locals. However, I think most of his acquaintances speak some English and I don’t really know how deep of a relationship my friend really develops with the people.

I know another American who says he would get involved romantically with a Costa Rican woman only if she was an orphan and had no children for the reasons stated above. I find his statement funny but in a way true in order to ensure that he would receive more attention and time from his companion.

Really what it comes down to is that cultivating a friendship or any relationship depends on what you put into it and if the other party reciprocates, but cultural differences and language barriers can make this process more difficult when living abroad.

By Christopher Howard

If you are interested in a Retirement Tour Click Here to See His Tours.

Christopher Howard conducts monthly relocation/retirement tours fill in the form below to receive Chrisopher’s free book when you register for a tour and have him contact you personally. For details please see: www.liveincostarica.com. He also has authored and published 17 editions of “The New Golden Door to Retirement and Living in Costa Rica” and other guides about living in Costa Rica. See www.costaricabooks.com

Parts of this article was originally published in Christopher Howard’s blog at www.liveincostarica.com/blog

 

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