It was a foul winter in rural France, the cold just seemed to go on and on and we wanted a break. More than a fortnight.
Friends agreed to house sit and we looked for a destination.
In his working life my husband had travelled widely…but apart from a promotional trip to Miami on Concorde had never visited any of the Americas.
So the Americas it was…the warmer bits thereof.
He had also been worrying for some time about climate change as it affected us in France.
When we were first there you could almost always have Christmas Day lunch outside in a sheltered garden…by the time we were looking for a holiday destination you’d have needed six layers of thermals and a death wish to have attempted anything of the sort.
The summers were rainy and dull, too and there were bursts of extreme weather, both hot and cold.
We needed to explore other options.
He had been thinking about it and came up with the idea that the tropics at altitude would see the least change….so that again narrowed the field of destinations.
So not just a holiday….a recce.
This changed the focus…not just a break somewhere warm…but somewhere we might think about living.
On to the internet to check out residence requirements and, most importantly, affordable and adequate health provision.
I fancied Uraguay…not tropical enough.
Ecuador? Costa Rica?
The flights to Costa Rica were decidedly cheaper….so that’s where we went.
We came, we saw and were conquered.
We bought a house in the country to escape the winters in France and, over time, decided to make the permanent move.
We did our research ‘on the hoof’….but the book whose cover features at the top of the page would have saved us a lot of legwork….and here’s my review of it.
Becoming an Expat in Costa Rica by Shannon Enete
I really rate this book for anyone contemplating a move to this country.
It is chiefly aimed at the U.S. would-be expat – you’ll note this in particular in the sections on tax and education – but the major part of the content has value for everyone.
It covers the usual path…residency, rent or buy, description of various areas of the country, but also takes you through the bus or car decision, the health options and how to move without tearing out your hair.
It is detailed…it lays things out for you.
It gives the author’s personal views, interviews with settled expats and well researched background material and for me it rings true to the Costa Rica I know.
Are there things I would suggest?
Yes, one or two….
Not all Ticos are ‘Angels’ – though a lot of them are: there can be Tico and Gringo prices where these are not clearly marked, and, if you’re buying property or doing a deal out in the sticks, there is the international phenomenon whereby a countryman thinks that if you don’t speak his language or patois you are an idiot and can have the wool pulled over your eyes.
Some can be quite annoyed when you can’t…..
A warning about not trusting someone from your own country just because he or she speaks your language might have been apposite too….the unscrupulous and exploitative expat is also an international phenomenon.
I would have liked a section on San Jose itself….but I’m prejudiced – I love the city and it has some wonderful places to live as well as to visit.
Yes, Costa Rica has greedy politicans intent on running the country into the ground…but tell me where hasn’t!
It is still a good place to live, and this book would be a great help in making up your mind whether it would be for you.
The book is available from Shannon’s own website
She tells me that Amazon have a wait of between 1 to 3 weeks….or by order from Barnes N’Nobles,and is also available in Kindle, Nook and iBook editions.