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It's official.. the GF and I are capitalizing on the "Work From Home" thang and heading to Costa Rica from Feb 27 thru April 3rd. Figured I'd post up here to see if there's interest in following along, answering/asking questions, etc. 

Current 5 week Agenda: 

  • Fly into Liberia on the 27th and take a shuttle 2hrs down to Playa Samara.
  • Book AirBNB House in Playa Samara (Small 5k person jungle beach town) for 4 weeks.
  • Sun Mar 28th.. take a shuttle up to Tamarindo (bigger, more whitewashed/upscale).
  • Stay in Tamarindo (aka Tamagringo) for a week to get COVID tested* then shuttle up to LIberia on Sat Apr 3rd to fly home. 

* US CDC Now requiring a negative COVID test within 72hrs of flights into the US. Samara has a town doctor or two but no COVID testing at this point so we've added the week in Tamarindo at the end. Will be nice to check out another bigger town for kicks on the way out. 

Reasons we settled on Costa Rica / Playa Samara: 

  • Similar Timezone - US Currency accepted - English fairly widespread = easy transition
  • Samara chosen b/c: safe, small/walkable, and fairly "authentic" coastal Tico town... but also big enough to have ~20 bars/restaurants, a couple supermarkets, a doctor, pharmacy, etc. 
  • House seems to have 50MBps Fiber Internet so should be reliable. Will get UPS for Modem/router to stabilize further
  • House is gated and backs up to jungle (howler monkeys/iguanas/etc) on dead end road... but also 2 min walk from heart of town and beach. 
  • Paying ~$3k for the month for a 3BR/2.5BA good sized, fully equipped home with gated landscaped yard and a private pool in the backyard.

Overall we're extremely excited for the trip. Neither have been to Costa Rica before. GF has never been to central or south America. Will work Mon-Fri (maybe Mon-Thurs) then explore the rest of the time. 

Challenges we're hashing out:

Cell Service: My work phone (####ty iPhone 6s) is the only device I can get work email on... so if I want to get out of the house during the day, I gotta have it tethered to something (no international plan when not travelling for business).  My personal phone (iPhone 12Pro) is verizon. I COULD just pay the $120 :eek: for the 2GB international plan, but would rather not.

 Best local option is Kolbi Prepaid. Trying to confirm Kolbi allows hotspot with their prepaid SIMs? Have asked on a few forums but no hard answers yet.  

Also DUAL-SIM Question: 2FA for everything runs through my personal Verizon line. Will those messages come through if the phone is using data from Kolbi number/sim? 

 

Anyway... more to come. :popcorn: 

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This place is awesome https://imgur.com/a/JRiBb1I Town is fantastic. Chill and a little gritty which I love. Def reminds me of Ecuador but even more stripped down.  Miryam is indeed super ho

Not to steal @[icon]'s thunder here, but I got the OK from my boss to spend 2 months out of the country.  Now my wife and I go into full plan mode to see if we can make it work.  We'll be bringing out

It's official.. the GF and I are capitalizing on the "Work From Home" thang and heading to Costa Rica from Feb 27 thru April 3rd. Figured I'd post up here to see if there's interest in following along

Stayed in this region at the a resort a few years ago. 

 

The locals are A+++++

 

Friendliest people on the planet.

 

Solid work brother!

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Sounds awesome. Looking forward to hearing about it.  If I didn't have dogs I would have done this as well. Have you been to Costa Rica before?

Oh, and before I forget, Iguana is pretty tasty. Hot  & Fast with a bacon wrap is $ or a nice panko tempura deep fry.

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4 hours ago, [icon] said:

It's official.. the GF and I are capitalizing on the "Work From Home" thang and heading to Costa Rica from Feb 27 thru April 3rd. Figured I'd post up here to see if there's interest in following along, answering/asking questions, etc. 

Current 5 week Agenda: 

  • Fly into Liberia on the 27th and take a shuttle 2hrs down to Playa Samara.
  • Book AirBNB House in Playa Samara (Small 5k person jungle beach town) for 4 weeks.
  • Sun Mar 28th.. take a shuttle up to Tamarindo (bigger, more whitewashed/upscale).
  • Stay in Tamarindo (aka Tamagringo) for a week to get COVID tested* then shuttle up to LIberia on Sat Apr 3rd to fly home. 

* US CDC Now requiring a negative COVID test within 72hrs of flights into the US. Samara has a town doctor or two but no COVID testing at this point so we've added the week in Tamarindo at the end. Will be nice to check out another bigger town for kicks on the way out. 

Reasons we settled on Costa Rica / Playa Samara: 

  • Similar Timezone - US Currency accepted - English fairly widespread = easy transition
  • Samara chosen b/c: safe, small/walkable, and fairly "authentic" coastal Tico town... but also big enough to have ~20 bars/restaurants, a couple supermarkets, a doctor, pharmacy, etc. 
  • House seems to have 50MBps Fiber Internet so should be reliable. Will get UPS for Modem/router to stabilize further
  • House is gated and backs up to jungle (howler monkeys/iguanas/etc) on dead end road... but also 2 min walk from heart of town and beach. 
  • Paying ~$3k for the month for a 3BR/2.5BA good sized, fully equipped home with gated landscaped yard and a private pool in the backyard.

Overall we're extremely excited for the trip. Neither have been to Costa Rica before. GF has never been to central or south America. Will work Mon-Fri (maybe Mon-Thurs) then explore the rest of the time. 

Challenges we're hashing out:

Cell Service: My work phone (####ty iPhone 6s) is the only device I can get work email on... so if I want to get out of the house during the day, I gotta have it tethered to something (no international plan when not travelling for business).  My personal phone (iPhone 12Pro) is verizon. I COULD just pay the $120 :eek: for the 2GB international plan, but would rather not.

 Best local option is Kolbi Prepaid. Trying to confirm Kolbi allows hotspot with their prepaid SIMs? Have asked on a few forums but no hard answers yet.  

Also DUAL-SIM Question: 2FA for everything runs through my personal Verizon line. Will those messages come through if the phone is using data from Kolbi number/sim? 

 

Anyway... more to come. :popcorn: 

Curious to see how you like it icon. I always see the country listed as. 1 of the top expat locations because of great healthcare and inexpensive cost of living.

my downsides in my mind anyway, since i Have never been is the excessive humidity and the language.

I will be following along my friend.

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Very cool and very jealous.

Wife and I have talked about doing a late winter / early spring 2 month stint in Mérida Yucatán. Maybe a summer trip instead.  Kids would do remote learning or maybe a camp in the summer. 

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5 hours ago, [icon] said:

It's official.. the GF and I are capitalizing on the "Work From Home" thang and heading to Costa Rica from Feb 27 thru April 3rd. Figured I'd post up here to see if there's interest in following along, answering/asking questions, etc. 

Current 5 week Agenda: 

  • Fly into Liberia on the 27th and take a shuttle 2hrs down to Playa Samara.
  • Book AirBNB House in Playa Samara (Small 5k person jungle beach town) for 4 weeks.
  • Sun Mar 28th.. take a shuttle up to Tamarindo (bigger, more whitewashed/upscale).
  • Stay in Tamarindo (aka Tamagringo) for a week to get COVID tested* then shuttle up to LIberia on Sat Apr 3rd to fly home. 

* US CDC Now requiring a negative COVID test within 72hrs of flights into the US. Samara has a town doctor or two but no COVID testing at this point so we've added the week in Tamarindo at the end. Will be nice to check out another bigger town for kicks on the way out. 

Reasons we settled on Costa Rica / Playa Samara: 

  • Similar Timezone - US Currency accepted - English fairly widespread = easy transition
  • Samara chosen b/c: safe, small/walkable, and fairly "authentic" coastal Tico town... but also big enough to have ~20 bars/restaurants, a couple supermarkets, a doctor, pharmacy, etc. 
  • House seems to have 50MBps Fiber Internet so should be reliable. Will get UPS for Modem/router to stabilize further
  • House is gated and backs up to jungle (howler monkeys/iguanas/etc) on dead end road... but also 2 min walk from heart of town and beach. 
  • Paying ~$3k for the month for a 3BR/2.5BA good sized, fully equipped home with gated landscaped yard and a private pool in the backyard.

Overall we're extremely excited for the trip. Neither have been to Costa Rica before. GF has never been to central or south America. Will work Mon-Fri (maybe Mon-Thurs) then explore the rest of the time. 

Challenges we're hashing out:

Cell Service: My work phone (####ty iPhone 6s) is the only device I can get work email on... so if I want to get out of the house during the day, I gotta have it tethered to something (no international plan when not travelling for business).  My personal phone (iPhone 12Pro) is verizon. I COULD just pay the $120 :eek: for the 2GB international plan, but would rather not.

 Best local option is Kolbi Prepaid. Trying to confirm Kolbi allows hotspot with their prepaid SIMs? Have asked on a few forums but no hard answers yet.  

Also DUAL-SIM Question: 2FA for everything runs through my personal Verizon line. Will those messages come through if the phone is using data from Kolbi number/sim? 

 

Anyway... more to come. :popcorn: 

Man, super jealous.  Huge fan of CR.   Interested to hear how you like Playa Samara, and how it compares to Tamagringo (which I've been to more than once).  CR is my #1 retirement location choice at this point, even though that is many years away.   Enjoy it!!  Have a blast!  Report back when you have time!

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Heck yeah.

In to follow along and become increasingly jealous, turning toward raging hatred....because this idea is amazing. And I can't do it.. stoopit money and family and work.

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Whoa. Surprised at the interest! Will definitely post updates and perceptions A few notes from above: 

- Have heard the locals were amazing. Found the folks in Ecuador to be incredibly kind. Hoping for more of the same. 

- Yes, it's our first time to Costa Rica, or Central America really. Absent my week in Ecuador, this is either of our only trip to central/south America. 

- Yep will be hot/dry season... so we'll be seeing a lot of mid 90s and fairly humid. Will be interesting.

- Definitely planning weekend excursion or two inland! 

THE HOUSE:

We've selected our home for that month. Casa Verano 

3BR/2.5BA House that backs up to the jungle at the end of a short dead end road  Gated yard with a small private pool put back. Big selling point is its right around the corner from the heart of town. 2 min walk to dining / shopping. Sub 5 min walk to the sand. 50MBps Fiber internet, with a 4G hotspot as a backup. 

Running a bit over $3k with fees for the 4 weeks. Includes weekly maid service, weekly pool service, and a local concierge who's already working on our shuttles. Apparently she also is a helluva cook and will come cook local chow for us for cheap. 

Weve got my brother and SIL coming in for 5 days for their anniversary. Also two of the GFs girlfriends coming in for our final week. Finally one of my best buddies and his wife are coming down for some scuba/fishing/etc. 

Will be fun balancing work with hanging with friends and family. With everything walkable, they should be fine entertaining themselves while we work. 

Haven't booked anything until Tamarindo yet... may wait till we are down there. Not sure yet. It is high season so things book up quickly, 

Regafding phone stuff: Google fi does NOT allow tethering internationally on iOS devices so that's out 

Hoping Kolbi SIMs allow for hotspot access or I'll be stuck paying Verizon's anal #### fees for international service so I can keep an eye on work emails when away from the house. 
 

Walkthrough of Samara

Cinematic Eye Candy video of the beach

 

40 days to go.... 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, [icon] said:

THE HOUSE:

We've selected our home for that month. Casa Verano 

3BR/2.5BA House that backs up to the jungle at the end of a short dead end road  Gated yard with a small private pool put back. Big selling point is its right around the corner from the heart of town. 2 min walk to dining / shopping. Sub 5 min walk to the sand. 50MBps Fiber internet, with a 4G hotspot as a backup. 


 

Walkthrough of Samara

Cinematic Eye Candy video of the beach

Sweet digs.  Really like the video walkthrough of Samara.  Mrs APK is already lobbying to go there sometime.   Thanks for sharing those links.   We really love CR - have been there 4 times and have traveled around basically the entire country.   Last time there the only area we missed out on was the Caribbean side of the country.  Even made it down very close to Panama.   I was really excited to drive on the Pan-American highway......until I realized that parts of it are really no different than being on a county highway in northern Wisconsin.  

Anyway, definitely will be following this thread and can't wait to hear how you like it!

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Costa Rica has some of the best coffee in the world and is very safe for gringos.  Beautiful country and great fishing as well.  Not the best place for single FBGs unless you don't mind paying (in that case, it's heaven).  

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2 hours ago, Major said:

Costa Rica has some of the best coffee in the world and is very safe for gringos.  Beautiful country and great fishing as well.  Not the best place for single FBGs unless you don't mind paying (in that case, it's heaven).  

Good info here.

"Bringing sand to the beach" so to speak. :lol: Fishing is totally happening, as is ####loads of coffee drinkin'. Any pointers are welcome. 

 

 

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Drove cross country there with the boys a lifetime ago.  Some excellent adventures.  One of the best meals I ever had was a little roadside house “restaurant” sitting on their front porch eating fresh food while we stared off at the glow from Arenal.

 

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2 hours ago, Otis said:

Drove cross country there with the boys a lifetime ago.  Some excellent adventures.  One of the best meals I ever had was a little roadside house “restaurant” sitting on their front porch eating fresh food while we stared off at the glow from Arenal.

 

You drove from NY to Costa Rica?  You must regale us with those tales!

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10 minutes ago, DA RAIDERS said:

Very cool icon!  

Im curious as to the crime level down there(I’m clueless). Just noticed all the windows are barred, in your house. I grew up in the hood, so am familiar. :lmao:

San Jose is a bit sketchy in parts but that's about it.  I'm not even convinced San Jose is that bad comparatively speaking.

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2 hours ago, DA RAIDERS said:

Very cool icon!  

Im curious as to the crime level down there(I’m clueless). Just noticed all the windows are barred, in your house. I grew up in the hood, so am familiar. :lmao:

Lots of petty crime, theft. Many homes have the bars and fences.

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The one thought that always walked through my mind when thinking about stuff like this is do I really want to be the "rich American" living there?

 

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So a few of the speed bumps of Pandemic Travel: 

1) The CDC in the US has just mandated anyone entering the country have a Negative Covid test results within 72 hours of boarding to enter the country. I get it... it makes sense. 

This normally isn't a big deal except CR doesn't have "rapid tests". All tests guarantee results within 48-72 hours. Do the math. Now factor in the notoriously late / unreliable services in 3rd world countries and... well... you've got a recipe for a missed flight. :lol: 

We have found a facility in Tamarindo that is well respected, and promises results within 24 to 48 hours is the process to test themselves. That's why we added a week in Tamarindo after the month in Samara. 

COVID tests cost $100 for non-residents in Costa Rica. Also the CDC requirement gives exemptions for people with proof of getting over Covid in the last 3 months but DOES NOT provide exemptions for vaccinated people. :lol: I get my 2nd shot of the moderna vaccine on 2/10, so this is particularly annoying/dumb to me. 
 

TRAVEL INSURANCE: 

In an effort to avoid absorbing considerable medical expense due to travelers getting sick and stuck in Costa Rica, They now require a "health pass" that is essentially proof of at least a quarter million dollars of health insurance, plus $2000 of insurance specifically to cover lodging in the event of Covid sickness. 

You must purchase the insurance through one of their license to carriers, then upload your certificate of proof of insurance to their website within 48 hours of departure.

We chose Trawick as they are cheapest and reputable. 6 weeks of coverage for both of us was $84. The health insurance is provided by Nationwide based on the card we received.

Trawick also covers some trip interruption, baggage loss/delay, etc that we don't really need because we booked with Chase Sapphire reserve cards.

The Chase card also got us "free" global entry, and "free" access to a network of airline lounges. Zero international transaction fees are also handy. Also my Delta skymiles gold card got us each an extra bag free. If you travel a good bit, travel related credit cards begin to really earn their place in the wallet. 

The Covid restrictions begin to be more problematic for people who are only  traveling for 3 to 5 days… You're basically taking a test to leave almost as soon as you get to the country. Since we have three different couples coming in and joining us, I've reached out to Dr. Freddy in the town of Samara about possibly having somebody bring in the tests from Nosara (45mins away, nearest testing) to administer at his office. This would save our just the cost and hassle of renting a car and driving into town... burning a good half day of their vacation. Will see what the upcharge is. 
 

more to come... 

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5 minutes ago, jwb said:

The one thought that always walked through my mind when thinking about stuff like this is do I really want to be the "rich American" living there?

 

There are a ton of ex-pats from all over the world who move to Costa Rica. 

Generally speaking, nobody really projects wealth… No fancy jewelry, purses, etc. 

Costa Rica, as a whole, is the safest country in Central/Latin America. Interestingly enough they are one of the few countries in the world with no standing army.

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11 hours ago, Ron Swanson said:

San Jose is a bit sketchy in parts but that's about it.  I'm not even convinced San Jose is that bad comparatively speaking.

Yep. Coming from Memphis I'm not at all worried about it. :lol: Costa Rica relies heavily on tourists, so the police are particularly hard on people who attack tourists.

1) don't wear anything or carry anything that attracts too much attention. 

2) don't be a ####### and leave valuables unattended.

3) Beware of your surroundings and avoid isolated areas at night.

Ill be EDC / carrying a powerful pocket flashlight (Streamlight Microstream), and a small pocketknife (Spyderco Delica) as just in case items. 
 

Flashlight is partly for getting around at night. Plenty of venomous things around or just normal flashlight stuff. Partly for defense... if someone is being suspicious, a bright beam in their eyes lets them know you're aware of them and often is disorienting enough to make them think otherwise. 

Knife is good for many everyday things (cutting fruit, fishing line, etc). Doubles as deterrent if someone is threatening you. Certainly not looking for a knife fight for myriad of reasons... but good to have the option to defend yourself just in case 

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  • [icon] changed the title to Costa Rica : Digital Nomad : Air & House BOOKED

One of the wife and I favorite trip was to Costa Rica.  We traveled with a couple we are friends with to a package thru Costa Rica Rios (not sure if they are still in business or not).  They picked us up from San Jose along with a girl that was traveling alone and drove us to a bed and breakfast 2 hours or so away (don't recall the town name) that was our "home base".  Next morning we met the outfiters and they gave us our itinerary for the week.  After a nice breakfast we were taken to a nature center and had a classroom type session about local animals, insects, snakes, etc.  Let us know what to expect and any dangers and then we were able to handle one of those green frogs that are the symbol of the country.  Next we were taken "canyoneering", basically a group of locals set up a course we hiked thru and then repelled down waterfalls.  One of the final ones was repelling down to a natural stone slide into a pool.  During the hike they had a picnic area and fed us fresh fruits and drink.  After this they took us to a place to eat that overlooked a cliff.  Note all food during the trip was awesome, fresh, healthy and tastey.  Also note our guides were young athletic people (one was professional kayaker, one was a MMA fighter) that had great personalities.  Were fun and educational. Next day we kayaked/rafted (had both) to a jungle type resort where we all had our own hut overlooking the river and they had a common area to cook food.  Made us great meal and had a bonfire for us at night.  Next day we hiked from our camp to a ropes/zipline course.  Was really fun and then in the afternoon we could go explore/swim.  We asked if we could do the zipline course again and they said yes, we tipped the guide well. Next day we rafted to a pick up point and then they drove us to a town along the coast.  We had a dinner at an actual restaurant instead of home cooking, once again great.  Next day was trying to teach us to surf in the morning and then snorkeling in the afternoon.  We then were driven back to the home base bed and breakfast.  They had a guy come in to show us how some local dishes were made and then had a dance lesson.  The next day we were driven to the top of a volcano and dropped off with mountain bikes.  We biked down, some roads and some off road trails to a small home in the middle of no where that made us lunch, again great food.  From there we biked back to the home base.  The next day was ours to explore the small town, went to a market and just hung out.  Then it was back to San Jose to catch our plane.  Was a great trip, my wife wants to go back sometime.  

Only thing didn't like is it gets dark early there.  Around 6PM if I remember correct (this was over 5 years ago).  I believe there daylight stays around the same all year round.  Enjoy, jealous you get to take a trip like the one you are describing!

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@[icon]If you plan on renting a car there, be wary of the big American brands. They play games with extra expensive insurance that is not needed with your Chase card as long as you book the rental with it. Basically, they will tell you it is a government requirement. Costa Rica does have some unique car rental insurance requirements for visitors, but they can be waived with no liability to the renter if you have the right credit card and  as long as you have a CDW letter from them...I have the same card as you...just call Chase and ask for it. They will know exactly what you are talking about when you tell them you plan to rent a car in Costa Rica.

After researching the local car rental agencies on various travel forums, Vamos came up as the best option.  And they were.  They took my CDW letter in advance from Chase and were easy to deal with once we went to pick up the car. They are in San Jose and Liberia.

One other thing, while the car will be clean and mostly functional, do not expect the same level of new low mileage car you typically get while renting in the US. They keep their rental cars for 5-10 years so likely it will be older with some miles and damage on it.  Just document it well. And, if you can drive a manual you will get a much nicer car since most Americans avoid them.  

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38 minutes ago, [icon] said:

There are a ton of ex-pats from all over the world who move to Costa Rica. 

Generally speaking, nobody really projects wealth… No fancy jewelry, purses, etc. 

Costa Rica, as a whole, is the safest country in Central/Latin America. Interestingly enough they are one of the few countries in the world with no standing army.

Yea, my thought there is almost certainly not the reality.

I hope you really enjoy it, and am looking forward to hearing more about this - sounds great.

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20 minutes ago, yak651 said:

One of the wife and I favorite trip was to Costa Rica.  We traveled with a couple we are friends with to a package thru Costa Rica Rios (not sure if they are still in business or not).  They picked us up from San Jose along with a girl that was traveling alone and drove us to a bed and breakfast 2 hours or so away (don't recall the town name) that was our "home base".  Next morning we met the outfiters and they gave us our itinerary for the week.  After a nice breakfast we were taken to a nature center and had a classroom type session about local animals, insects, snakes, etc.  Let us know what to expect and any dangers and then we were able to handle one of those green frogs that are the symbol of the country.  Next we were taken "canyoneering", basically a group of locals set up a course we hiked thru and then repelled down waterfalls.  One of the final ones was repelling down to a natural stone slide into a pool.  During the hike they had a picnic area and fed us fresh fruits and drink.  After this they took us to a place to eat that overlooked a cliff.  Note all food during the trip was awesome, fresh, healthy and tastey.  Also note our guides were young athletic people (one was professional kayaker, one was a MMA fighter) that had great personalities.  Were fun and educational. Next day we kayaked/rafted (had both) to a jungle type resort where we all had our own hut overlooking the river and they had a common area to cook food.  Made us great meal and had a bonfire for us at night.  Next day we hiked from our camp to a ropes/zipline course.  Was really fun and then in the afternoon we could go explore/swim.  We asked if we could do the zipline course again and they said yes, we tipped the guide well. Next day we rafted to a pick up point and then they drove us to a town along the coast.  We had a dinner at an actual restaurant instead of home cooking, once again great.  Next day was trying to teach us to surf in the morning and then snorkeling in the afternoon.  We then were driven back to the home base bed and breakfast.  They had a guy come in to show us how some local dishes were made and then had a dance lesson.  The next day we were driven to the top of a volcano and dropped off with mountain bikes.  We biked down, some roads and some off road trails to a small home in the middle of no where that made us lunch, again great food.  From there we biked back to the home base.  The next day was ours to explore the small town, went to a market and just hung out.  Then it was back to San Jose to catch our plane.  Was a great trip, my wife wants to go back sometime.  

Only thing didn't like is it gets dark early there.  Around 6PM if I remember correct (this was over 5 years ago).  I believe there daylight stays around the same all year round.  Enjoy, jealous you get to take a trip like the one you are describing!

That sounds like an absolutely incredible week. Sounds like you guys got to do a bit of everything. Unfortunately this is a working vacation so we won't have that full week to explore... but that sounds like it would amazing.  May look into some of those things al la carte. 
 

One thing I did note from your post was the food aspect. We are VERY excited to indulge in fresh fruit and ####loads of seafood. We've already ID'd a weekly farmers market one town over (will rent an ATV for half day to make the run) where will grab a weeks worth of coconut, pineapple, mango, plantains plus a couple fish and some local honey, etc.

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We went to Nosara a few years ago for a week.  Absolutely fell in love with the place.  Could definitely see myself living there some day. 

Looks like its close to where you'll be.  Have fun.  I think we're planning a return trip sometime soon.  

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2 hours ago, Ron Swanson said:

@[icon]If you plan on renting a car there, be wary of the big American brands. They play games with extra expensive insurance that is not needed with your Chase card as long as you book the rental with it. Basically, they will tell you it is a government requirement. Costa Rica does have some unique car rental insurance requirements for visitors, but they can be waived with no liability to the renter if you have the right credit card and  as long as you have a CDW letter from them...I have the same card as you...just call Chase and ask for it. They will know exactly what you are talking about when you tell them you plan to rent a car in Costa Rica.

After researching the local car rental agencies on various travel forums, Vamos came up as the best option.  And they were.  They took my CDW letter in advance from Chase and were easy to deal with once we went to pick up the car. They are in San Jose and Liberia.

One other thing, while the car will be clean and mostly functional, do not expect the same level of new low mileage car you typically get while renting in the US. They keep their rental cars for 5-10 years so likely it will be older with some miles and damage on it.  Just document it well. And, if you can drive a manual you will get a much nicer car since most Americans avoid them.  

VERY good suggestion. Had heard that as well re: using local companies vs big American ones.

Didnt think of the Chase option. While we will be trying to avoid driving at all (just to see if we can), I'd love to have the letter on hand just in case. Thanks for the heads up GB. 
 

EDIT: just called and the benefits department knew well enough to tell me to hold off as they like the letter to be within 1 week of travel.  👍🏼

Sounds odd to say, but if you travel regularly, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is actually an VALUE at its $550 annual fee. 😂

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2 hours ago, [icon] said:

There are a ton of ex-pats from all over the world who move to Costa Rica. 

Generally speaking, nobody really projects wealth… No fancy jewelry, purses, etc. 

Costa Rica, as a whole, is the safest country in Central/Latin America. Interestingly enough they are one of the few countries in the world with no standing army.

We've rented a car and driven all over the country twice now, with young kids and a grandparent who is forgetful at best.   Never have had a single issue with crime.   We try to follow the common sense rules you posted, and it hasn't been an issue.  We've been subject to far, far more crime living in the US over the years.  Never really felt unsafe anywhere, except one time in downtown San Jose late after dinner.  It was really just poor logistics planning - we turned the wrong way coming out of a restaurant, and went down a secluded street.   Bad decision. Should have stuck to the main drag.   It all turned out fine, but all of us were just nervous/on high alert.

In the countryside or in small towns, people have been incredibly friendly and polite.   It helps that my wife speaks fluent Spanish; we've been able to navigate a few weird situations over the years.  But again, the people are generally very nice.  (which is a nice change from many places we've lived)

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3 hours ago, [icon] said:

Knife is good for many everyday things (cutting fruit, fishing line, etc). Doubles as deterrent if someone is threatening you. Certainly not looking for a knife fight for myriad of reasons... but good to have the option to defend yourself just in case 

May as well pick up a machete when you are down there. That pocket knife isn't going to be good for cutting into those fresh pineapples man.

Are you going to bring some bourbon down with you? Usually one of the tougher things to get abroad. Otherwise you will have to subsist on Imperial and rum

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28 minutes ago, Desert_Power said:

May as well pick up a machete when you are down there. That pocket knife isn't going to be good for cutting into those fresh pineapples man.

Are you going to bring some bourbon down with you? Usually one of the tougher things to get abroad. Otherwise you will have to subsist on Imperial and rum

😂 pocket knife is more for mangos and such... smaller fruit. 

You're right that a 3" blade is worthless vs a pineapple and coconut. I likely will grab a machete for the house, and as a keepsake. 

I'll likely fly down with a bottle or two of good stuff, but I don't drink much bourbon when it's really hot. Likely will drink a good bit of vodka, tequila and rum down there. Hitting duty free in the airport for our 12 bottles of booze and wine to help cover us for the 5 weeks. 

That said I see LOTS of Imperial silver in my future 😂... and Micheladas. 

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4 hours ago, [icon] said:

1) The CDC in the US has just mandated anyone entering the country have a Negative Covid test results within 72 hours of boarding to enter the country. I get it... it makes sense. 

This normally isn't a big deal except CR doesn't have "rapid tests". All tests guarantee results within 48-72 hours. Do the math. Now factor in the notoriously late / unreliable services in 3rd world countries and... well... you've got a recipe for a missed flight. :lol: 

We have found a facility in Tamarindo that is well respected, and promises results within 24 to 48 hours is the process to test themselves. That's why we added a week in Tamarindo after the month in Samara. 

COVID tests cost $100 for non-residents in Costa Rica. Also the CDC requirement gives exemptions for people with proof of getting over Covid in the last 3 months but DOES NOT provide exemptions for vaccinated people. :lol: I get my 2nd shot of the moderna vaccine on 2/10, so this is particularly annoying/dumb to me. 

Tamarindo has 6,500 people.  A town of 6,500 in Latin America can't really have a well respected medical facility.  San Jose would be a far better place to get a Covid test where you can trust that a pdf of your results would be sent within 72 hours.  The clinic in Tamarindo probably sends their Covid tests to San Jose.  San Jose will definitely have places that do them within 72 hours since everyone flying into the US needs one.  Since this law starts on Jan 26th, there will be a lot of Americans who post on the internet about where they got their Covid test in Costa Rica.  The best place to get this information is the Tripadvisor Costa Rica Forum.  There are already a few threads started on the subject.  If it is possible to get Covid test results in a timely manner in Tamarindo, you'll here about it in that forum.

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34 minutes ago, Don Hutson said:

Tamarindo has 6,500 people.  A town of 6,500 in Latin America can't really have a well respected medical facility.  San Jose would be a far better place to get a Covid test where you can trust that a pdf of your results would be sent within 72 hours.  The clinic in Tamarindo probably sends their Covid tests to San Jose.  San Jose will definitely have places that do them within 72 hours since everyone flying into the US needs one.  Since this law starts on Jan 26th, there will be a lot of Americans who post on the internet about where they got their Covid test in Costa Rica.  The best place to get this information is the Tripadvisor Costa Rica Forum.  There are already a few threads started on the subject.  If it is possible to get Covid test results in a timely manner in Tamarindo, you'll here about it in that forum.

One step ahead of you..  those forums link back to a page that lists all the reliable testing facilities in Costa Rica...two of which are in Tamarindo. Good to go. 

I have less than zero desire to travel 4 hours inland to San Jose, then spend three days there while waiting for results. :lol: 

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30 minutes ago, Don Hutson said:

So you plan on losing 10% on all of your purchases because you find using a foreign currency intimidating?  

 


:lol: somebody might need a nap. 

USD acceptance is a handy perk that adds flexibility, but I never said we were relying on it. I've spent time in Europe and South America and I assure you I'm not intimidated by currency exchanges. I very much prefer to use local currency most of the time. 

There are actually instances where USD are preferred to local currency, however. We will be flying down with about $600 USD each in $2/$5/$10/$20 increments. 

I've identified a local bank in Samara that allows you to withdraw 125,000 CRC per day for a $5 fee.

We'll use our CSR credit card (with no foreign transaction free) everywhere it's accepted, keep colones for restaurants that don't accept them, and have USD for backup / gratuities / etc. 

But thanks for your concern ;) 

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3 minutes ago, Angry Beavers said:

That is awesome - I a 100% remore these days and could get away with something similar. Just have to  convince the wife that we can both pull it off I will be reading this with interest. Thanks for sharing!

You never know till you ask.. I thought it was a pipe dream and started off with 2 weeks in Mexico. SHE was the one that said "#### it let's do it but let's do better than Mexico!". Now it's 5 weeks in Costa Rica. 

Find an angle that works for her. For my girl if was monkeys/jungle life, beaches, etc... plus the "this is likely a once in a lifetime window" angle (with Covid having us both working remotely). 
 

Feel free to use this thread to help sell her on it :thumbup: 

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59 minutes ago, [icon] said:

There are actually instances where USD are preferred to local currency, however. 

Urban legend.  No place in the world will give you a better rate for greenbacks than their local currency.  They will always take a cut.

59 minutes ago, [icon] said:

I've identified a local bank in Samara that allows you to withdraw 125,000 CRC per day for a $5 fee. We'll use our CSR credit card (with no foreign transaction free) everywhere it's accepted, keep colones for restaurants that don't accept them, and have USD for backup / gratuities / etc. 

If you get a Schwab High Yield Investor Checking Account, there are zero atm fees anywhere in the world.  Zero foreign transaction fees, too.  Zero fees to have the account, too.  I have saved thousands of dollars in atm fees with it.  Here is a link: https://www.schwab.com/checking

Edited by Don Hutson
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  • [icon] changed the title to Digital Nomad : Z Machine Mexico for 8wks - Latest Update: PDC! [Formerly Icon in Costa Rica]

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