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Digital Nomad : Z Machine Mexico for 8wks - NEW Update: 6/17 -- [Formerly Icon in Costa Rica]


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11 hours ago, Dez89 said:

This going to be a new thread or updated in here?

I'll just update here.  Landed today.  It was an event packing up all the stuff for a family of 4 + grandmom to live, work, play.  Thankfully my wife is very organized, diligent, and a seasoned traveler. 

We had a direct fight from BWI to cancun on Southwest. Plane was at least 90% gringos, 85% of them headed to resorts.  Some people were clearly not accustomed to international travel.  The woman next to me kept asking me questions on how to get the internet working on her phone so she could FaceTime her daughter in flight.  Then as we landed she saw some rubble piled up on the fence surrounding the airport and commented that it was "so dirty". Then 3 minutes later said, "I saw some of their houses on the way in.  Just look how they live." I just turned my back on her. 

More to come later... I'm tired and need to sleep. 

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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

  • [icon] changed the title to Digital Nomad : was Icon in Costa Rica - NOW: Z just Landed in Mexico for 8wks (page 8)

Ok.  Blows out...

We rented a minivan at the Cancún airport so we could drive the 3 hours to Mérida.  It's a straight shot through the Yucatán peninsula from Cancún to Mérida, but there's highway construction so it takes a bit and you have to slow down to like 40 MPH in sections.

Anyway, first mistake of the trip comes when I notice as I pull out from the rental place that there's no gas in the tank.  I noted that it was on empty, but I didn't know HOW empty.  About a kilometer into the journey the gas light goes on.  So we pull over for gas and lunch.  All gas stations in México are full service (I think), so I just ask to fill it up.  Not thinking that I didn't need a full tank to get to Mérida.  Anyway, costs me $1600 MEX, which is like $75 to fill the minivan.  Had to pay in cash too...  Ended up returning the minivan today with about half a tank, so I gifted the rental car place about $40.  At least I didn't get charged for any dings or scratches.  We rented a car from a local guy who rents to tourists (seems like Mérida is a destination for Canadians) so we can rent a Jetta for a good weekly price, including insurance, etc.

The house we rented is right in the old historic center of town.  It's an old colonial city so the walls of this palce are a foot and a half thick of brick-concrete-plaster.  However, this place is really hot.  I'm talking over 100F every day from 11AM until 6PM.  The house only has air conditioning in the bedrooms, so this morning we opened all the windows and let the morning breeze in.  The central living space functions very indoor-outdoor since there's no point in keeping the interior cool air in since there isn't any.  I slept OK last night and by the time it was midnight, it was cool enough to pull a thin blanket over me while I slept.  Went to sleep with no covers and my son passed out on the floor of the kids' room since it's cooler there.

Set up the wifi and the internet has good speeds here, 50Mbps down, 20 Mbps up.  I brought my Orbi routers (I know, I know) with me because I didn't trust the wifi here to handle 4x simultaneous Zoom calls (me, wife, 2x kids).  I took the day off today to get things settled, but had an important call in the AM, so I know the wifi will handle 3x Zoom.  We'll see when my wife gets on tomorrow.

I spent about $450 and about 2 hours at Walmart here getting food and other essentials.  Kids did school today, and since the local time is one hour behind Eastern time, they got out at 1:30, and immediately hit the pool.  Their "lunch" is at 10:30 local, so that's likely to be a snack followed by a bigger meal later in the afternoon.

Lots of restaurants and businesses within walking distance of the house.  Not sure if we'll keep the rental car the whole time or get settled and then go on foot + rent for longer trips outside the city.

Overall, things are pretty good, with the exception of the heat.  Just need to get my body used to it.  Kids haven't seemed to mind.  It's amazing the stuff they'll just roll with if you set the expectations that this is the way it is.  Helps that they are only 7 and don't have the agency to really challenge us.

@Dez89 asked "why Mérida"?  Well, my wife's father's 3rd wife (my MIL is the 2nd wife) is from Mérida and she has a daughter that lives here.  For simplicity, let's call her my wife's cousin.  Cousin has a 6 year old and FIL and 3rd wife live in México City and come to visit quite often.  So, we wanted to go to Latin America and we thought it would be good to go somewhere with a family connection.  It's worked out well (although I haven't met the cousin yet) as she's given us tons of info on how to get settled, where to shop, etc. and hooked us up with the car rental.  We would have preferred Colombia (or Venezuela, but that's not in the cards these days), but we really didn't know anyone there that could help out.  Plus, Mérida is closer to the USA in case things go totally sideways.

Now, tomorrow a full day of work...

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Is your FIL Mexican or did he just marry one and decide to move there?  I've never been to Merida, I just always had the impression it was some sort of oil/energy town.  I do like Mexico City.

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Just looked at average temps by month. December is the coolest at 87.1 and, holy hell, 9 other months average over 90 with right now being the hottest at 97.3. Damn.

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2 hours ago, Dez89 said:

Is your FIL Mexican or did he just marry one and decide to move there?  I've never been to Merida, I just always had the impression it was some sort of oil/energy town.  I do like Mexico City.

I've written this 3 times now.  Keeps getting deleted when writing from my phone. My FIL is Venezuelan, my MIL a gringa that lived in Venezuela for 30 years.  FIL is now on his 3rd wife. 

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13 minutes ago, The Z Machine said:

I've written this 3 times now.  Keeps getting deleted when writing from my phone. My FIL is Venezuelan, my MIL a gringa that lived in Venezuela for 30 years.  FIL is now on his 3rd wife. 

Does he at least trade in for a younger wife each time?

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3 minutes ago, Alex P Keaton said:

Does he at least trade in for a younger wife each time?

Yes, but only by about 3 or 4 years.  He simply has a loose relationship with fidelity.

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13 minutes ago, The Z Machine said:

BTW, the MIL is with us for the first 5 weeks.

Man, sounds like a great trip overall.  Hope you enjoy being around the MIL!

My FIL joined us in South Carolina for 2 weeks last fall.   The first week was awesome.

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Posted (edited)

Following 🤘🏼

Photos! 

Edited by [icon]
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21 minutes ago, Alex P Keaton said:

Man, sounds like a great trip overall.  Hope you enjoy being around the MIL!

My FIL joined us in South Carolina for 2 weeks last fall.   The first week was awesome.

My MIL lives 1 block up the street from me and takes care of my kids after school.  She eats dinner with us ~5 days a week already. 

It will be interesting when my FIL and wife #3 breeze into town though.  She has seen him maybe 5 times in the last 15 years, and wife #3 maybe 3x side since she left Venezuela.

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33 minutes ago, Alex P Keaton said:

Man, sounds like a great trip overall.  Hope you enjoy being around the MIL!

My FIL joined us in South Carolina for 2 weeks last fall.   The first week was awesome.

Yeah. We're here for 3 main reasons

1) Get out of the house we were stuck in for a year.  I've never lived in a house 200 years old before. 

2) Get our kids some "mundo". Their Spanish is good, not quite native good, but good ebough that they can read well and understand better than I can.  My 7 year old daughter corrects me when i read a word wrong from a book.  Example: Rapunzel story didn't have a caballo, but it did have cabello.  Also, Mayan ruins, etc.

3) Beaches.

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1 hour ago, The Z Machine said:

I've written this 3 times now.  Keeps getting deleted when writing from my phone. My FIL is Venezuelan, my MIL a gringa that lived in Venezuela for 30 years.  FIL is now on his 3rd wife. 

In that case, I will congratulate you ;)

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1 hour ago, The Z Machine said:

Yes, but only by about 3 or 4 years.  He simply has a loose relationship with fidelity.

Well, he IS Venezuelan/Latino :shrug:

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8 hours ago, Dez89 said:

Well, he IS Venezuelan/Latino :shrug:

I had a boss (Cuban) while I lived in Spain that said latin men, "have the capacity to love more than one woman.  You (Z) are from Germanic origin, so you may not have this capacity."

When I told my wife she shook her head and said, "No. No tienes la capacidad."

Infidelity is forever known as "la capacidad".

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10 hours ago, The Z Machine said:

Yeah. We're here for 3 main reasons

1) Get out of the house we were stuck in for a year.  I've never lived in a house 200 years old before. 

2) Get our kids some "mundo". Their Spanish is good, not quite native good, but good ebough that they can read well and understand better than I can.  My 7 year old daughter corrects me when i read a word wrong from a book.  Example: Rapunzel story didn't have a caballo, but it did have cabello.  Also, Mayan ruins, etc.

3) Beaches.

When my daughters were 3 and 5, and then 8 and 10, they spent 2 months in their mom's home country of Bolivia to meet the family, and increasing their Spanish language skills was a fringe benefit. It was summer trips, winter in Bolivia, which is the best time to go when traveling to tropical regions.  On the second trip they enrolled in a Catholic school in a small town for 4 weeks, which increased their reading and writing skills. Being outsiders from the USA made them very popular. At home in Miami, we tried to emphasize Spanish, by speaking it, even me, by watching Mexican novelas, etc. But total immersion at a young age is very effective. It's also a cultural lesson and could make them appreciate their lives in the USA more.  

I also became more aware of Spanish accents. People from the high altitude in most of South America speak more proper Spanish, in cities like Bogota and La Paz, while those in tropical regions of Bolivia, Colombia and the Caribbean speak more slang. There's lots of regionalism, in mostly a fun way. It's probably the same in Mexico.

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Thanks, @SoBeDad.  Very cool you did that for your kids.   As you said, the Spanish improvement is really only a fringe benefit for them.  My kids have done K, 1st, and 2nd grade in a Spanish immersion school in Baltimore. I'm not really concerned with their language abilities at this point, even if we don't speak Spanish to them in the house as much as we should.  We leave the Roku in Spanish language so all their shows (when available) are in Spanish.  I'm pretty certain they'll likely be able to live and work in a Spanish speaking country when they get older. 

I'm more interested in them experiencing the Latin American culture first hand.  Seeing and interacting with family that they've never met, etc.  That's a big motivation for this trip. Also, I've never lived in Latin America myself, so this is fun for me too. 

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3 hours ago, SoBeDad said:

When my daughters were 3 and 5, and then 8 and 10, they spent 2 months in their mom's home country of Bolivia to meet the family, and increasing their Spanish language skills was a fringe benefit. It was summer trips, winter in Bolivia, which is the best time to go when traveling to tropical regions.  On the second trip they enrolled in a Catholic school in a small town for 4 weeks, which increased their reading and writing skills. Being outsiders from the USA made them very popular. At home in Miami, we tried to emphasize Spanish, by speaking it, even me, by watching Mexican novelas, etc. But total immersion at a young age is very effective. It's also a cultural lesson and could make them appreciate their lives in the USA more.  

I also became more aware of Spanish accents. People from the high altitude in most of South America speak more proper Spanish, in cities like Bogota and La Paz, while those in tropical regions of Bolivia, Colombia and the Caribbean speak more slang. There's lots of regionalism, in mostly a fun way. It's probably the same in Mexico.

Where in Bolivia?  I was there years ago and it is a very interesting place.  The Altiplano and the lower region are like two different countries (ethnicity, climate, culture, politics).

So true about the dialects and accents.  I can recognize some now on a high level.  I find the regionalism in Colombia awesome and hilarious, something we've lost here (not surprisingly).

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1 hour ago, Dez89 said:

I find the regionalism in Colombia awesome and hilarious, something we've lost here (not surprisingly).

I dunno.  The "southern pride" thing is pretty strong, as is the "don't mess with Texas" and even a different kind of pride in Hawaii or the PNW.

That same Cuban boss I mentioned above, I met him in Atlanta as a grad student.  He couldn't understand the southerners for crap.  Just like I had some real issues with accent of the pucelanos or leones in Spain.

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3 hours ago, The Z Machine said:

I dunno.  The "southern pride" thing is pretty strong, as is the "don't mess with Texas" and even a different kind of pride in Hawaii or the PNW.

That same Cuban boss I mentioned above, I met him in Atlanta as a grad student.  He couldn't understand the southerners for crap.  Just like I had some real issues with accent of the pucelanos or leones in Spain.

Yeah, I suppose.  Maybe I've just lived in the south too long and don't notice.

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Posted (edited)
On 3/19/2021 at 10:53 AM, [icon] said:

Can't suggest strongly enough to spend extended time in places like this before moving.

IMO, A weekend or a week tells you very little. 

Spending a month somewhere and you start learning about groceries, paying phone bills, getting a deeper nuances of a town. This is our first trip of this length and it's actually very relaxing... you're not trying to do everything in a tight timeframe. You develop a process for your days, you begin exploring more... making friends... discovering little quirks about towns. 

I think spending 3-6 months somewhere would be a great way to really fully get a sampling of how true day to day life operates. Not everyone can do it but I think it would minimize risk of buyers remorse. I'd LOVE to spend 3-4 months here. 

Looks like the discussion has switched gears to other countries, but since this was originally about CR, I figured I could post this here... 

I can't say I followed the bolded advice very well, because I'm about to close on a house in Samara (Los Gavilones area).  Went there for Spring Break with my family (only my second time there) and we put an offer on a place two days after we got back to the States.  Decided there's no better place in the world to be at 5pm then Playa Samara, and threw down the cash to back it up.

Place we're buying is 3 Brd 2 Bth, has a separate Casita with bed/shower/kitchen, 5 minute walk to beach or downtown, can rent on a monthly basis for $2,000, and we're all in for just over $200k. Plus there's enough room on the lot to build another similar house or add an expansive covered patio and pool.

I just turned 50 so I've been starting to eye the typical retirement locations in the States to buy a place, and have been to a lot of locations/options in Mexico over the years, but nothing that's gotten me as excited as Samara.  Feels like we hit the jackpot.

Edited by Buttonhook
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22 minutes ago, Buttonhook said:

Looks like the discussion has switched gears to other countries, but since this was originally about CR, I figured I could post this here... 

I can't say I followed the bolded advice very well, because I'm about to close on a house in Samara (Los Gavilones area).  Went there for Spring Break with my family (only my second time there) and we put an offer on a place two days after we got back to the States.  Decided there's no better place in the world to be at 5pm then Playa Samara, and threw down the cash to back it up.

Place we're buying is 3 Brd 2 Bth, has a separate Casita with bed/shower/kitchen, 5 minute walk to beach or downtown, can rent on a monthly basis for $2,000, and we're all in for just over $200k. Plus there's enough room on the lot to build another similar house or add an expansive covered patio and pool.

I just turned 50 so I've been starting to eye the typical retirement locations in the States to buy a place, and have been to a lot of locations/options in Mexico over the years, but nothing that's gotten me as excited as Samara.  Feels like we hit the jackpot.

That's awesome man! Yeah... there's definitely something to the vibe there. Love the place. Would love to hear more about your experience shopping and buying there. Looking myself. 

If you need a contact for property management / hosting.. I'd be happy to share Miryam's contact info.. she's awesome and knows how to get #### done in town. 

 

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Ok, first work week completed.  It was a pretty good success overall. Kids attended school on time, I made all my meeting times and we've been working out the daily routine with the MIL, meal times, etc.  This isn't just me and my wife; the kids complicate life quite a bit. We went out last night for dinner and I got to see live music (cuban son) for the first time in over a year.  The setting was great, the food mediocre.  I was expecting more.  Then walked around the central areas some and made it home at 9:45. Everyone was pretty wiped. My MIL walks slowly and with a cane, but the kids are pretty good with her.  My patience on the other hand. 

Took the family back into the centro midday today to get the kids some experience with shopping and navigating tight streets and crowded spaces.  They didn't complain about the crumbling sidewalks, some dillapidated buildings, etc.  Took it all in stride except when they got too hot and hungry.  We bought party decorations for the twins' 8th birthday and some other things for the kitchen. 

Then we all hopped in the car, went to get food (delicious taqueria recommended by a local) then to 2 bakeries to sample the cakes for their party, then to a piratería to buy a piñata (Pikachu) and candy.  Long day.  Now i have my feet in the pool and a cold beverage. 

Overall the food has been good and relatively inexpensive.  Services are really cheap though.  Cleaning lady comes once per week and usually takes 5 hours to clean the whole house.  Cost is $250 MX, or $12 USD.

We are considering hiring a cook... maybe we need to hire a nanny to watch the kids when they're out of school for the summer. 

Heading to the beach (~30 mins away). Birthday party is a week from today with the FIL, new wife, etc. over at our place.  After that we'll spend other weekends going to Chichen Itza, cenotes, and other beaches.

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I suppose that @[icon] and @Dez89 also transported their lives to the new location, but it feels like we're living much the same way here as we did back home.   I guess that's the point... this isn't a 2 month vacation but rather just living in another place. 

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1 hour ago, The Z Machine said:

I suppose that @[icon] and @Dez89 also transported their lives to the new location, but it feels like we're living much the same way here as we did back home.   I guess that's the point... this isn't a 2 month vacation but rather just living in another place. 

It's much easier for the Gf and I.... you guys bringing kids and other family is even more "extreme" example I think. 

We moved our lives there and worked / shopped / cooked / etc like normal life.... but it was still different. 

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13 hours ago, The Z Machine said:

Ok, first work week completed.  It was a pretty good success overall. Kids attended school on time, I made all my meeting times and we've been working out the daily routine with the MIL, meal times, etc.  This isn't just me and my wife; the kids complicate life quite a bit. We went out last night for dinner and I got to see live music (cuban son) for the first time in over a year.  The setting was great, the food mediocre.  I was expecting more.  Then walked around the central areas some and made it home at 9:45. Everyone was pretty wiped. My MIL walks slowly and with a cane, but the kids are pretty good with her.  My patience on the other hand. 

Took the family back into the centro midday today to get the kids some experience with shopping and navigating tight streets and crowded spaces.  They didn't complain about the crumbling sidewalks, some dillapidated buildings, etc.  Took it all in stride except when they got too hot and hungry.  We bought party decorations for the twins' 8th birthday and some other things for the kitchen. 

Then we all hopped in the car, went to get food (delicious taqueria recommended by a local) then to 2 bakeries to sample the cakes for their party, then to a piratería to buy a piñata (Pikachu) and candy.  Long day.  Now i have my feet in the pool and a cold beverage. 

Overall the food has been good and relatively inexpensive.  Services are really cheap though.  Cleaning lady comes once per week and usually takes 5 hours to clean the whole house.  Cost is $250 MX, or $12 USD.

We are considering hiring a cook... maybe we need to hire a nanny to watch the kids when they're out of school for the summer. 

Heading to the beach (~30 mins away). Birthday party is a week from today with the FIL, new wife, etc. over at our place.  After that we'll spend other weekends going to Chichen Itza, cenotes, and other beaches.

Sounds like a great first week.  And mannnn you just can't beat good, authentic, Mexican tacos.  I'm sooo jealous!  I assume you can get al pastor in Merida, or is that a CDMX thing?

10 hours ago, The Z Machine said:

I suppose that @[icon] and @Dez89 also transported their lives to the new location, but it feels like we're living much the same way here as we did back home.   I guess that's the point... this isn't a 2 month vacation but rather just living in another place. 

That will be the point for me.  To be able to live in another place, enjoy the culture, and actually have a social life.

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3 hours ago, Dez89 said:

And mannnn you just can't beat good, authentic, Mexican tacos.  I'm sooo jealous!  I assume you can get al pastor in Merida, or is that a CDMX thing?

You can get al pastor tacos almost anywhere in Mexico (and most proper taquerias worldwide, i imagine).  Cochinita pibil and poc chuc (both pork) are native to to the Yucatan, and they are quite good too.  Look for those next time if you've never had them.  

I'll have to figure out how to make a digital photo album to share with you guys. 

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3 minutes ago, The Z Machine said:

You can get al pastor tacos almost anywhere in Mexico (and most proper taquerias worldwide, i imagine).  Cochinita pibil and poc chuc (both pork) are native to to the Yucatan, and they are quite good too.  Look for those next time if you've never had them.  

I'll have to figure out how to make a digital photo album to share with you guys. 

Ok yeah, that's what I thought.  One thing I found disappointing is that in northern Mexico they make incredible fajitas, sooo good, but you can't find them in CDMX (nor in other parts, I imagine).  I used to eat them all the time when I would go to Tamaulipas for work.

If you figure out the best free place for pics, let me know.  I'll use it for my thread also.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, The Z Machine said:

You can get al pastor tacos almost anywhere in Mexico (and most proper taquerias worldwide, i imagine).  Cochinita pibil and poc chuc (both pork) are native to to the Yucatan, and they are quite good too.  Look for those next time if you've never had them.  

I'll have to figure out how to make a digital photo album to share with you guys. 

That is such an incredible dish.

Edited by Hawks64
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On 5/7/2021 at 1:25 PM, Buttonhook said:

Looks like the discussion has switched gears to other countries, but since this was originally about CR, I figured I could post this here... 

I can't say I followed the bolded advice very well, because I'm about to close on a house in Samara (Los Gavilones area).  Went there for Spring Break with my family (only my second time there) and we put an offer on a place two days after we got back to the States.  Decided there's no better place in the world to be at 5pm then Playa Samara, and threw down the cash to back it up.

Place we're buying is 3 Brd 2 Bth, has a separate Casita with bed/shower/kitchen, 5 minute walk to beach or downtown, can rent on a monthly basis for $2,000, and we're all in for just over $200k. Plus there's enough room on the lot to build another similar house or add an expansive covered patio and pool.

I just turned 50 so I've been starting to eye the typical retirement locations in the States to buy a place, and have been to a lot of locations/options in Mexico over the years, but nothing that's gotten me as excited as Samara.  Feels like we hit the jackpot.

Man.  Just shared this with Mrs APK.  She is almost on board with buying a place down there.   You and @[icon] have me 99% convinced about Samara.  We’re headed to CR with BIL and SIL next February.   Samara is on the list.  We will be in multiple places throughout the country, and Mrs APK and SIL plan it all, so.......time will tell.  Worst case, I’m renting a car and dragging BIL to Samara for a day to get a break from being bossed around!

 

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hey @[icon]I believe I missed the window to get tested in Nosara for the return trip home.  Do you have any experience getting tested at the Liberia Airport location?  

Seems fine, but did any of your friends get tested there?  

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9 hours ago, jb1020 said:

hey @[icon]I believe I missed the window to get tested in Nosara for the return trip home.  Do you have any experience getting tested at the Liberia Airport location?  

Seems fine, but did any of your friends get tested there?  

Haven't tried or heard anything about Liberia. Check TripAdvisor forums to see if testing is live if you can't get conclusive details otherwise. Sorry! 

 

Outside that... You should be able to find rapid testing at a bunch of spots (we used beachside clinic just outside Tamarindo). Appointments take a minute to process but in a pinch they might be able to help. 

When is your flight? 

I believe there is a rapid test spot in Nicoya... I can get the docs name if you need. I know he sent nurses to test down in Samara regularly. My brother and his wife got their results same day. 

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12 hours ago, [icon] said:

Haven't tried or heard anything about Liberia. Check TripAdvisor forums to see if testing is live if you can't get conclusive details otherwise. Sorry! 

 

Outside that... You should be able to find rapid testing at a bunch of spots (we used beachside clinic just outside Tamarindo). Appointments take a minute to process but in a pinch they might be able to help. 

When is your flight? 

I believe there is a rapid test spot in Nicoya... I can get the docs name if you need. I know he sent nurses to test down in Samara regularly. My brother and his wife got their results same day. 

Its all good now.  Got into the local clinic in Nosara.  

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1 hour ago, jb1020 said:

Its all good now.  Got into the local clinic in Nosara.  

Awesome. Glad it worked out! Have fun? 

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On 5/9/2021 at 1:56 PM, Hawks64 said:

That is such an incredible dish.

The feature dish in Once Upon a Time in Mexico where Depp kills the cook.  Robert Rodriguez actually did a short easter egg at the end of the film on how to cook it.  Looks ancient now...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vrw5FkLutWk

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OK, update time.  About 17 days in now.

On Friday, FIL came over and we celebrated the twins 8th birthday.  Went out for pizza and ate in a restaurant (outdoors, obviously).  FIL is 80+ and vaccinated (sinovax), but the kids aren't.  Mask use is ubiquitous here, and vaccinations are slow to roll out to those under 75 still.  After dinner, we sent FIL and MIL back to the house, while me, the wife and twins went on a horse drawn carriage ride (calesa) through town.  Kids loved it.  It's not really "traditional" and I think the citizens don't really like it...  but hey, when in Rome.

We had a birthday party for the twins on Saturday.  Hosted 6 family members, including another kid for a swim party.  I enjoyed it, but man, my Spanish can struggle when I drink 2+ beers and other are drinking around me.  They take less time to make themselves clear.  Anyway, it was a good party, but stressful getting all the party stuff (cake, piñata, food, drinks, etc.) in a place where we don't know where anything is or how it works.  Cousin brought over tequeños, so it was a proper Venezuelan party.  My MIL and FIL's 3rd wife got along, no issues there.  Seems that 25 years will do that.  Those 2 women haven't been in the same room for 22 years, and there was no speaking to each other at that point...

On Sunday, we went to Yaxbakaltun cenote.  The rope swing was pretty dope and the kids went on that like 1000 times.  Water was super clear, somewhat cool, had little fish swimming around.  You paid like $2 and they gave you a life vest.  Sketchiest parts was the "plank" use to jump off of for the rope swing and the unpaved road of 0.5km getting there.  Started pouring rain on the way home too, which made the road not so good in the rented Jetta.

There's this artisan bakery like down the block from our place that has great pastries and coffee.  Prices are no joke like 4x what you'd find in a typical Mexican bakery.  It obviously caters to tourists and ex-pats, but again, I don't care.  They can make a proper cafe cortado and pain au chocolat.  Can't argue with that.

Took the little old lady shopping cart to the local downtown supermarket this morning.  Uneventful other than I got yelled at for not storing the cart properly.  I used to make fun of my wife for wanting one when we were in Spain.  I just lugged all the bags home in my hands.  But this is like a 10-15 minute walk each way, so I gave in and used the cart.  It was pretty handy, but I'm sure I looked weird with my gringo-### in sunglasses, man bun, and old lady cart walking in the street since the sidewalks are all broken up and full of people waiting for busses.

Oh, and a family member hooked me up with a "beta" app for my Roku which allows for 1200+ streaming channels from worldwide sources for $10/month... so I can watch EUROs, la liga final match, and Copa America.

I feel like we're settling in for a rhythm here.  

Next weekend will be Chichén Itzá and maybe another cenote.  If we ever get invited over to someone else's house, I'll post about that.  Still not sure what to do when the kids are out of school in 4 weeks... we have to entertain them during the day while we work for the last 2 weeks of this trip.  Trying to figure out a way to hire a nanny... and have confidence in them.

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10 minutes ago, The Z Machine said:

OK, update time.  About 17 days in now.

On Friday, FIL came over and we celebrated the twins 8th birthday.  Went out for pizza and ate in a restaurant (outdoors, obviously).  FIL is 80+ and vaccinated (sinovax), but the kids aren't.  Mask use is ubiquitous here, and vaccinations are slow to roll out to those under 75 still.  After dinner, we sent FIL and MIL back to the house, while me, the wife and twins went on a horse drawn carriage ride (calesa) through town.  Kids loved it.  It's not really "traditional" and I think the citizens don't really like it...  but hey, when in Rome.

We had a birthday party for the twins on Saturday.  Hosted 6 family members, including another kid for a swim party.  I enjoyed it, but man, my Spanish can struggle when I drink 2+ beers and other are drinking around me.  They take less time to make themselves clear.  Anyway, it was a good party, but stressful getting all the party stuff (cake, piñata, food, drinks, etc.) in a place where we don't know where anything is or how it works.  Cousin brought over tequeños, so it was a proper Venezuelan party.  My MIL and FIL's 3rd wife got along, no issues there.  Seems that 25 years will do that.  Those 2 women haven't been in the same room for 22 years, and there was no speaking to each other at that point...

On Sunday, we went to Yaxbakaltun cenote.  The rope swing was pretty dope and the kids went on that like 1000 times.  Water was super clear, somewhat cool, had little fish swimming around.  You paid like $2 and they gave you a life vest.  Sketchiest parts was the "plank" use to jump off of for the rope swing and the unpaved road of 0.5km getting there.  Started pouring rain on the way home too, which made the road not so good in the rented Jetta.

There's this artisan bakery like down the block from our place that has great pastries and coffee.  Prices are no joke like 4x what you'd find in a typical Mexican bakery.  It obviously caters to tourists and ex-pats, but again, I don't care.  They can make a proper cafe cortado and pain au chocolat.  Can't argue with that.

Took the little old lady shopping cart to the local downtown supermarket this morning.  Uneventful other than I got yelled at for not storing the cart properly.  I used to make fun of my wife for wanting one when we were in Spain.  I just lugged all the bags home in my hands.  But this is like a 10-15 minute walk each way, so I gave in and used the cart.  It was pretty handy, but I'm sure I looked weird with my gringo-### in sunglasses, man bun, and old lady cart walking in the street since the sidewalks are all broken up and full of people waiting for busses.

Oh, and a family member hooked me up with a "beta" app for my Roku which allows for 1200+ streaming channels from worldwide sources for $10/month... so I can watch EUROs, la liga final match, and Copa America.

I feel like we're settling in for a rhythm here.  

Next weekend will be Chichén Itzá and maybe another cenote.  If we ever get invited over to someone else's house, I'll post about that.  Still not sure what to do when the kids are out of school in 4 weeks... we have to entertain them during the day while we work for the last 2 weeks of this trip.  Trying to figure out a way to hire a nanny... and have confidence in them.

I LOL'd at the Spanish comment and then again at the cart. :lol:

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my spanish gets better after 2 drinks.  when i was in argentina, for my sister's wedding, i was the main translator for my parents.  my mom clued in pretty quick, and just started ordering me a bottle wine.  at every meal.  :lmao: 

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I'm really not sure if mine gets better or worse with alcohol (probably worse).  But if there's more than one person talking, forget it.

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4 minutes ago, Dez89 said:

I'm really not sure if mine gets better or worse with alcohol (probably worse).  But if there's more than one person talking, forget it.

Yup, I can handle 2 drinks just fine.  After that I notice myself stumbling.  These days, I don't get to the point where I don't care about it. 

I can also handle 2-3 others talking to me, but if there's the possibility of multiple conversions at the same time, I can't keep up. 

Oh and i tap out at about 5 hours. 

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I just got back from my week of remote work in Alaska in my stepdad’s cabin. The biggest issue I ran into was related to time zone overlap with India, where my design team works. I ended up meeting with them around 9 PM my time, which worked well enough.

I ended up working about 8 AM to 1 PM, then again 9-11 PM.  It was definitely enough to avoid falling behind, and there was one evening when it was raining and I spent a couple of hours marking up some drawings.  It could be sustainable long-term, but I didn’t have my family with me.  I don’t think the kids could have gotten up at 4 AM for virtual classes when it’s light until midnight.  I sure was quick to cancel any meeting before 8 AM Alaskan time.

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Yeah, the kids start school at 9:00 AM Eastern, and we're 1 hour later here in Merida.  So kids start a little earlier.  Biggest issue has been that dinners are later than in the US, no one eats before 7:00 PM really, which pushes the kids bedtime later and they get less sleep.

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1 hour ago, The Z Machine said:

Yeah, the kids start school at 9:00 AM Eastern, and we're 1 hour later here in Merida.  So kids start a little earlier.  Biggest issue has been that dinners are later than in the US, no one eats before 7:00 PM really, which pushes the kids bedtime later and they get less sleep.

They eat later in Latin America and super late in Mexico it seems.

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On 5/7/2021 at 12:48 PM, [icon] said:

That's awesome man! Yeah... there's definitely something to the vibe there. Love the place. Would love to hear more about your experience shopping and buying there. Looking myself. 

If you need a contact for property management / hosting.. I'd be happy to share Miryam's contact info.. she's awesome and knows how to get #### done in town. 

 

Sorry for the slow response GB, but I'm trying to slow my real-life pace down to Costa Rica speed... (right, I wish that was my excuse).

Here’s our experience so far with purchasing a home in Costa Rica:

(1) Interest rates in Costa Rica are floating around 13-15% so that immediately turned us away from that option, never mind the idea of trying to deal with a foreign bank, in  foreign language, so planning on a “cash” purchase is the easiest option.

(2) The Costa Rican government is fairly strict about providing documentation and paperwork that proves where your cash to purchase your house came from, whether it was a previous house sale, a retirement account, a line of credit, etc.  This includes a request for an “Apostille” (something we had never heard of), which required us to send our deed of trust (from sale of our previous home) to the Secretary of State of Colorado where they certify, stamp and seal it and send it back to us.  Which has been a very tedious process because the employees in the state of Colorado are still working from home and this process requires hardcopies be sent through slow mail.   

(3) Real Estate agent commissions are about the same (about 3% both sides) and are paid for by the Seller.

(4) The “attorneys” down there do more than your typical attorney, they obviously write up the real estate contracts, but they also help you formulate your Costa Rican Corporation (which is the easiest way to buy a house down there), they obtain and review the title, prepare closing statements, and coordinate directly with the escrow company.

(5) The attorneys basically manage all of the closing processes, which is equivalent to the closing costs we pay in the States, which seems to be in the range of about 5% of purchase price, paid for the Buyer. 

(6) We also found out that if we own (buy) a property for at least $200,000 we qualify for residency in Costa Rica which was an unexpected bonus considering we are planning on this as a retirement spot.

(7) All homes sales are processed through the federal government, and with the country’s recent spike in COVID cases over the last month many of their offices have been closed down (off and on) which has caused quite a backlog.

So the process has been fairly tedious, which we were warned about upfront by our real estate agent, but we will hopefully still close in about 60 days, which isn’t that much different than the States.

Well, we better be closed within 60 days… we fly back to Samara on June 6th.

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LOL.  Apostille... I went through that many times over, plus having to pay for everything to get professionally translated when I got my Spanish work visa back in the day.  What a giant pain in the butt that was.

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  • [icon] changed the title to Digital Nomad : Z Machine Mexico for 8wks - NEW Update: 6/17 -- [Formerly Icon in Costa Rica]

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