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Aug 27 2015

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Retire for Less in Costa Rica – August 27, 2015

Welcome to our Retire For Less In CostaRica Newsletter

Paul and Gloria

In This Issue:

 

 

Monthly Costa Rica Weather Report for San Ramón, Atenas, Nuevo Arenal, Quepos, Near San Isidro de General, & San Rafael de Heredia – July 2015

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

You’ll notice that we now show rainfall and temperatures for six towns in Costa Rica. This isn’t weather forecasting. We report after the fact to give you a much better picture of the weather in each of these areas.


You can click on the map to the right to enlarge it and check out the average rainfall for the towns in which you are interested. Remember that the areas shaded in darker blue tend to be higher in elevation and also the places most expats choose to live.

Paul’s San Ramón Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for July:

  • Because the veranillo de San Juan (“little summer”) falls in July, there is usually less rain. This July was no exception, with only  8.31 inches.
  • Generally speaking, the country is in a drought, especially in the Guanacaste province, where the “Gold Coast” is. They are even bringing water in by truck.
  •  We spoke at the International Living’s Fast Track Costa Rica conference, August 3-5. We gave two presentations, the first one about our decision to retire to Costa Rica entitled “Living a Good Life in Costa Rica’s Central Valley. ” Our second presentation was called, “Costa Rica’s Public Health System: The Caja System Explained,” about us using a combination of both the public and private healthcare systems.
  • costa-rica-map_cropped4Additionally, the El Nino is building, getting stronger. If that’s the case, our weather will be a little warmer than normal, with much less rain. Even though the rainy season can be a bit much on the Pacific side, the country needs the water desperately to replenish its reservoirs.
  • Approximately 85% of Costa Rica’s electricity is hydroelectric, with the rest from wind and geothermal. In the Central valley, and other locations at higher altitudes, there is no need for heat or air-conditioning, which lessens the demand for electricity.
  • Total rainfall in 2014 total was 120 inches and 2013’s rainfall was 111 inches in our area of San Ramón.

Lance T’s Atenas Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for July:

  • July had high and low average temperatures which were a bit less than for the same period last year. But, there were more rainy days (17 this year as opposed to 10 in July last year).
  • AtenasheatindexJulyOne observation that may be of interest is that when taking humidity into account the maximum heat index of “feels like” temperature was 88.6 °F. Unlike many areas in the U.S. and Canada, the area in Costa Rica where we live rarely experiences lazy, hazy days of summer with 100° plus “feels like” temperatures. It didn’t happen at all last year. So far this year, it happened on two consecutive days back in late April.
  • Total rainfall in 2014 was 73.59 inches and 2013’s rainfall was 63.84 inches in our area of Atenas.

John’s Nuevo Arenal Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for July:

  • July was a typical rainy season month, though we had much more wind which is unusual for July.
  • We’ve had a total of 127.59 inches of rain so far in 2015.
  • We had a record-breaking 185 inches of rain  for the year 2014. Total rainfall in 2013 was 164.75 inches in our area of Nuevo Arenal.

Lance M’s Central Pacific Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for July:

  • July was a very quiet month with temperatures staying fairly stable.
  • The big attraction for the month was the fireworks at the marina on the 4th of July. We watched them from our Landlords house after a cookout for friends and family.
  • Our Landlords house, which backs up too the forest just up the hill from us, was visited by a group of wild hogs. No damage was done, but you have to give them a wide berth because they are not friendly.
  • A gentleman by the name of Jack Ewing has been following the migration of the Howler moneys as they travel north through our area. We have begun to hear them from time to time. It will be interesting to see them.
  • Map_Quepos_SanIsidro2014 rainfall for the Quepos area of the Central Pacific was 73.54 inches (as of February 2014 when I started measuring it for this newsletter).

Gordon’s Quebradas (San Isidro de General) Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for July:

  • July was a very pleasant month for us. We had a total rainfall of 14.25″ (36.2cm), with 9 days of no rain and 2 days of more than 2″ (5.08cm). There were also 2 days of less than 0.1″ (0.254cm).
  • We are on vacation for the months of August and September.
    (Look out, Canada!) When we return we will be moving into a
    brand new house. Friends are building another house on their
    finca and have agreed to rent it to us. It is located in the the
    area called Abarrio, which is about 2 miles North West of San
    Isidro de El General. We are currently living 3 miles North East of  San
    Isidro de El General. We will be at a slightly lower altitude – 2625′ (8,00 meters)
    vs. 3280′, (1000 meters), so it will be interesting to see if there are differences in temperatures and rainfall.
  • So between our trip back home, and moving we are really getting
    excited. Plus …we live in Costa Rica! Pura Vida!

Steve’s San Rafael de Heredia Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for July:

  • Rainy Season – At almost 19 inches, this July is the rainiest I’ve recorded in six years. So far this year, three months (January, June, and July) have been the rainiest recorded. Total rainfall to date is 71.4 inches as compared to last year’s 54 inches. That’s a big difference. The two little dry spells we were supposed to get: el veranillo de San Juan (near the end of June,) and la Canicula (sometime in July)) really didn’t happen this year where we live. Canicula, by the way, is another name for Sirius, the dog star, which rises at dawn in July and August. It is thought that the phrase “the dog days” got its origin from Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky.Heredia-Map
  • El Niño – Last month I was musing about El Niño and the fact that the information I read from NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) didn’t mention what its effect might be on Costa Rica this year. My questions were quickly answered in an article in the Tico Times (which you can find online). According to the article higher temperatures are a given. Next year’s dry season will be longer and more severe than usual in Guanacaste and all along the Pacific coast.
  • Other Tidbits – Both our sons and our two grandchildren visited during July. Unlike last July, this year the weather was great and the kids spent a lot of time outside. My two sons and I drove up to Hotel Hacienda Guachipelín where we stayed for two nights and spent a day hiking around Rincon de la Vieja National Park and also enjoyed the Rio Negro Hot Springs. The new highway near Liberia is mind-boggling. Even the sidewalks are wider than the roads here in our village. The whole thing seemed rather extravagant.  In August, I’m traveling to Portland, Oregon, to attend my Peace Corps group’s reunion, celebrating 47 years since we first arrived in Costa Rica. Back then I traveled on horseback and bicycle and read books at night by candlelight.

Costa Rica Weather Report

Temps_2015-July

Click to enlarge.

Rain_2015-July

 

BonnieViningOur San Marcos de Tarrazu Weathergirl, Bonnie Vining

Bonnie, her husband Joe, and their dog Marley moved from Tucson, Arizona, to San Marcos de Tarrazu, in mid-2015. Bonnie was a CPA, turned software engineer with IBM for 20 years and later opened and operated a specialty coffee shop, founded a non-profit dedicated to connecting musicians with appreciative audiences, and managed a school district theatre. A self-professed “data geek”, she looks forward to being our weathergirl while pursuing her other passions which include traveling, gardening, cooking, hiking, meeting people, and hanging out with Joe and Marley. They are enjoying retirement life in the town of San Marcos which lies at about 4,800 ft. in the heart of Costa Rica’s prime coffee-growing region.

Our El Cajón de Grecia Weathergirl, Irina JustIrina-with-mariposa-at-la-P

Born in Germany, Irina spent 40+ years in the USA (all on the Pacific coast) before she and her husband Jim moved to Costa Rica three years ago. For the 20 years prior, they owned and operated a vineyard in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, famous for award-winning pinot noir. During that time, it became critical to keep precise records of daily temperatures, rainfall and pertinent weather patterns to accurately forecast seasonal tasks, such as when to prune the grapes, when to harvest, when to protect them from an early or late frost. As little as one degree made the difference between a bountiful harvest – or a lost crop. After moving to el Cajón de Grecia, the Justs continued to take daily readings of temperatures and measurements of rainfall because they quickly discovered that the micro-climate in the foothills of Poás differs widely from the weather in nearby Grecia.

Our San Ramón Weatherguy, Paul YeatmanPaulHubPhoto

Meteorology has been Paul’s lifelong hobby.  As a child, he devoured books about the weather and earth sciences vigorously. Later, he took a few college courses in meteorology, and still later, he served as a meteorologist for the U.S. Army in Vietnam.  Now, Paul gets to practice his avocation in Costa Rica, albeit on a very small scale with just temperature and rainfall data, probably the two most important factors regarding the weather. He wanted to include weather info on our website to help people decide where to live, although weather is just one of many factors to consider in determining where to relocate. Current weather data is from our current home at about 3,000 ft. elevation and 10 minutes outside the town of San Ramón. Weather data prior to December 2012 is from our previous home at about 4,000 ft. elevation and 10 minutes outside the town of San Ramón.

Our Atenas Weatherguy, Lance Turlock

Lance and his wife, Diana, moved to Costa Rica about 2 years ago after living 30+ years in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia (Vancouver and environs). They live in the Central Valley near the town of Atenas and are at an elevation of about 2700 feet. They have no need for air conditioning or heating. Overnight low temperatures are comfortably cool (low 60’s). Daytime highs can be relatively hot (high 80’s, low 90’s), but rarely uncomfortably hot.Lance started to keep track of daily temperatures and rainfall in order to have factual ammunition to help disabuse friends, relatives and acquaintances of any misconception that the weather must be like that of a tropical jungle.

Our Nuevo Arenal Weatherguy, John Nicholas

After many visits to Costa Rica, John and Cathy Nicholas moved from New York to Costa Rica in 1991.  They chose Arenal for its sacred, majestic beauty, its lush wildlife, its relaxing lifestyle, and its proximity to activities and sites such as the Volcano Arenal and the beaches. They own the B&B, Chalet Nicholas, which has been in operation since 1992. Temperatures and rainfall are measured at Chalet Nicholas which is located at approximately 2,200 ft. elevation and 1 mile west of the town of Nuevo Arenal.

Our Central Pacific (Quepos) Weatherguy, Lance Miller

LanceM2I was born in a very small town in northwest Iowa and raised on a farm. When I was 18, I joined the service, in which I spent 22 years before retiring in 1990. For the next twenty three years my family and I lived in south central Pennsylvania. After having a stroke in 2012, I was unable to work and that is when my wife and I began talking about retiring. Thanks to your newsletter and a website we found about San Isidro, we began looking at Costa Rica. We came down in March 2013 and looked around for a week. Went home, packed up, and moved here in April. We settled in a small village called Playa Matapalo which is located between Quepos and Dominical. We later moved to Quepos. The word Playa means beach. It is so nice to lie in bed and listen to the ocean. Pura Vida.

Gordon_photo_croppedOur Quebradas (15 minutes north of San Isidro de General) Weatherguy, Gordon Stanley

Gordon and his wife Bea moved here from Lloydminster, Alberta, Canada, where he used to track the correlation of the winter hoer frost and the spring/summer rains. After 30+ years as a Purchasing Agent for a retail lumber yard/Homes Manufacturing company, he decided to say “Adios” to the snow and ice. They arrived in Costa Rica Oct. 3, 2014, and live in Quebradas, which is a 15 minute drive North of San Isidro de General, at an elevation of about 3600 feet. There is a stream that runs behind the hill in their back yard, so are “forced” to listen to the sound of running water 24/7. Ahh the tough life! They are totally enjoying their new found retirement freedom in this wonderful land that they discovered thanks to this newsletter.

SteveJohnsonOur San Rafael de Heredia Weatherguy, Steve Johnson

I’m a weather geek and have been recording daily weather data for the last 4 years in Concepcion de San Rafael de Heredia. We live at 5,000 ft. (1,500 meters) elevation, above San Rafael centro on a low ridge that comes off of Cerro Chompipe (between Barva Volcano and los Cerros de Zurqui). We have a 60 mile wide view from Turrialba Volcano east to somewhere around Cerro Turrubares west. I first lived in CR as a Peace Corps volunteer (1968-71), married a tica school teacher, and moved back to Costa Rica in 2009. My wife grew up in downtown San Rafael just three miles away, and the weather is quite different there. I am also an avid gardener and birder.

Related Articles:

 

El Nino – What is it?

 

Our Ultimate Healthcare Tour of Costa Rica

Our newest tour is the Ultimate Healthcare Tour of Costa Rica. When asked what he liked best about our healthcare tour, one of our guests wrote, “the wide variety of places we saw, the experts that Paul HCTOUR_030arranged for us to meet and talk with, and an emphasis on all aspects of health, not just doctors and hospitals. Mental health is just as important as physical, if not more so.” HCTOUR_008

We’ve lived in Costa Rica for over five years and have used the Caja, Costa Rica’s public healthcare system extensively, as well as the private system, when needed. We’ve learned the system and have been referred up the ladder to see specialists in the maze that is the Caja system. Gloria’s even had surgery here.

Our blend of personal insights and on-the-ground experience combines to answer your questions about whether or not Costa Rica’s healthcare system could meet your individual needs.

HCTOUR_004

But, while it is focused on healthcare, you will learn a lot more about living and retiring in Costa Rica’s Central Valley. Most of the second day of the tour takes place in the town of San Ramón where we live and use the services. And you will come to our home for lunch that day to listen to two of our featured speakers. Our tour is designed to save you both time and money, packing a lot of information into a short period of time. Our goal is to show you the possibilities and to try to demystify Costa Rica’s healthcare system. Our tour lasts two days and 1 night and includes lodging, transportation, meals and non-alcoholic beverages.

Sample Itinerary

You’ll visit:

  • At least two private hospitals in San Jose area
  • Hospital Mexico, the largest and best public hospital (they even do open heart surgeries there)HospitalMexico
  • An insurance broker for a presentation on the various supplemental health insurance options, including public, private, and international plans
  • A senior living retirement community
  • CPI language school for a presentation about how learning Spanish increases your options for healthcare and some basic medical Spanish.
  • Our local hospital here in San Ramón
  • A local EBAIS (community clinic)
  • A local private medical and dental clinic
  • A local Seguro Social office where you would sign up for the Caja (national healthcare coverage)
  • A pharmacy
  • A health food store (macrobiotica), and more!

EBAISStaffYou’ll learn:

  • If the Costa Rican healthcare system could meet your needsand put your mind to rest, once and for all, about this sensitive subject.
  • About the public system and how it works, about the private healthcare system, and how you can use a combination of both to your advantage.
  • About the EBAIS – where healthcare starts in Costa Rica.
  • Approximately how much you would pay for Caja.
  • About medical tourism in Costa Rica.
  • About home health care in Costa Rica.

Introductory prices: $550 for a couple, $450 for a single.

Please contact us if you are interested in booking this tour. Space is limited.

Related Articles:

 

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