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Mar 19 2015

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In the Mailbag: Cost of Groceries and Renewing Your Tourist Visa

Our newsletters and posts generate lots of discussion, on our website, in emails, and on facebook. Here’s a glimpse into our mailbag.

Cost of Groceries

Margaret P. responded to another reader’s comment/question about the high cost of groceries in Atenas after reading our January cost of living article.

In answer to the woman who just arrived in Atenas – we have been here for a couple of months. I do find Atenas more expensive than Orosi. I haven’t kept track as closely as you do Gloria but I think we spend around $300 which is less than 1/2 of what we spent in Canada. This is my advice: Start with the Friday Feria. There is a free bus at the park. What you can’t get there, get at the municipal market. That’s all your fruit, vegetables, eggs, meat at very reasonable prices. Get cleaning products and such at El Rey. Then go to the grocery store for your beans, rice, oats etc. Eat local cheese instead of European cheese. Whole wheat bread is very expensive but we buy it anyway. Kleenexes etc. are very expensive so we just try to be more careful about their use.”

Renewing Your Tourist Visa

And this, from Javier Zavaleta, our residency expert, in response to our February 9th “In the Mailbag” column where we quoted him as stating, “US, Canadian and most Western European tourists who enter Costa Rica on a 90-day tourist visa DO NOT qualify to renew their visas by paying the $100. That method of renewal is available ONLY to tourists who enter Costa Rica on a 30-day visa.”

Thanks, Gloria. That’s still accurate. One thing I would change is that I no longer recommend traveling to Panama to renew the 90-day tourist visa. Panama is likely to ask for an airline ticket out of Panama, or credit cards or who knows what. Nicaragua is still the only way to renew. In and out, no special requirements.

Another issue with the 30-day renewal is that it may take up to 30 days to get the new visa!! The process sounds great on paper. In practice though, truth is that other than a few Chinese, I don’t know of any one getting a 30-day renewal.”

Related Articles:

  • Read all of our “In the Mailbag” columns at this link.

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