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Oct 31 2015

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Retire for Less in Costa Rica – October 31, 2015

Welcome to our Retire For Less In CostaRica Newsletter

Paul and Gloria

In This Issue:

 


Snapshots of Life in Costa Rica

Costa Rica has its first bus stop made of 100% recycled materials!

You can read the Tico Times article and see more pics at this link.

BusStopUsers

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Monthly Costa Rica Weather Report for 8 Towns in Costa Rica – September 2015

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You’ll notice that we now show rainfall and temperatures for eight towns in Costa Rica:

  • San Ramón de Alajuela
  • Atenas
  • Nuevo Arenal
  • Quepos
  • Near San Isidro de General
  • San Rafael de Heredia
  • San Marcos de Tarrazu
  • El Cajón de Grecia

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.

Do you track the weather data for your town in Costa Rica? If so, we’d like to talk to you about including it in our monthly report. Anybody interested?? (NOTE: we plan to include weather reports for both Escazu and Puriscal in the coming months.)

You can click on the map above 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 September:

  • Due to El Niño, it’s definitely been warmer than in previous years at this time, especially at night.
  • Rainfall has been lower than normal, until September. September came in at 25.17 inches of rain and there is one more month of the rainy season to go, with October often being the rainiest month where we live.
  • On the 27th of September, we got 5.125 inches of rain and on September 30th, 3.75 inches.
  • Unfortunately we had to cancel our planned trip to Nicaragua because Gloria was having stomach problems. She ended up having a colonoscopy here at a private clinic for $290. We’ll talk more about that in October’s cost of living article.
  • costa-rica-map_cropped4 Gloria’s sister is coming for a visit in November. She will be flying on Southwest, direct from Baltimore, and taking advantage of their great fares.
  • 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 September:

  • Probably thanks to El Niño, September 2015 was considerably drier than September 2014; only 6.9 inches of rain this year compared to over 18 inches last year.
  • Otherwise, the weather was typical for Atenas, with comfortable high, low and “feels like” temperatures throughout the month.
  • 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 September:

  • We’re on track to set a record of 200+ inches of rainfall this year, with about 165 inches as of the end of September.
  • That being said, we had many sunny to partly sunny days in September due to the fact that the rainfall was concentrated in late afternoon and early evening showers. The only inconvenient effect was to interrupt our evening satellite TV viewing for a couple of hours.
  • 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 September:

  • September was a cool month with only a couple of days in the upper 90’s.
  • Some of the shops and restaurants here are closed for holiday before the high season starts.
  • Other than that it has been a very quite month.
  • 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 September:

  • We are gone on vacation for 2 months in Canada;  1 month in Alberta, where we moved from, and 1 month in Newfoundland, which is home for my wife.  When we return, we will be living in a new area — Abarrio — which is located about 3 km. NW of San Isidro de El General, at an altitude of about 800 meters, which is 200 meters lower than where we now are.  Friends of ours are building a new house on their property and will be renting it to us. Life is good. Pura Vida!

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

  • Heredia-MapRainy Season and El Niño – Total rainfall to date is 95 inches. Last year at this time it was 86 inches. So we are still doing fine. The rainfall total of 19.6 inches was about normal for September. El Niño is supposed to mean warmer temperatures for Costa Rica. To date, however, we have detected little if any effect at our location.
  • Gardening – August was so dry, I took a chance and began planting in the garden. Due to the heavy rains I normally stay out of the garden during September and October. So far everything is okay. In August I began my first ever bog garden. It is doing very well.
  • A Little Vacation – At the beginning of the month my wife and I drove over to Muelle de San Carlos and stayed at the Tilajari Resort. The owner, Jim Hamilton, and I were in the Peace Corps in Costa Rica in 1968. He and I and one other volunteer ended up marrying Costa Ricans. Jim, however, never left Costa Rica and has made a good living as a bush pilot, cattle rancher, and hotel owner. Jim is also founder and chairman of the board of a drug/alcohol rehab center in San Carlos. Tilajari resort is very nice, reasonably priced, and is less than a half hour drive from La Fortuna and Arenal Volcano. I highly recommend it.

Bonnie’s  San Marcos de Tarrazu Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for September:

  • We finally got a good taste of the “green season” in San Marcos, receiving more than three times as much rain in September as we did in August.
  • Our temperature range was a little smaller – the days were a little cooler and the nights a little warmer than in August, probably because there was more cloud cover to moderate it.SanMarcosDeTarrazuMap
  • We took at little vacation to Puerto Viejo in late September to celebrate receiving our temporary residency, so the temperature data only covers the first 26 days of the month.  Our neighbors measured the rainfall while we were away, so the rainfall total reflects the entire month.
  • Our rainfall for the two months that I’ve been the San Marcos weather girl has now topped the average annual precipitation of 11.92 inches in our hometown of Tucson, Arizona (according to www.usclimatedata.com).  Another interesting comparison is that the average high temperature in Tucson is 83.7, slightly warmer than our average high for September, and the average low is 58.1, slightly cooler than our average low for September.   But those averages are made up of a lot of highs and lows.  We’re loving the weather here and not missing the extremes.

Irina’s El Cajón de Grecia Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for September:

  • ElCajonDeGreciaMapRainfall totals for September over the past three years:
    • September 2013: 770.1 mm / 30.3 in
    • September 2014: 848.2 mm / 33.4 in
    • September 2015: 347.0 mm / 13.7 in
  • We’re obviously in a serious drought, having less than 50% of rain compared with the previous 2 years.

 

Costa Rica Weather Report

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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.

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.

Related Articles:

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 six and a half 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!

EBAISStaff

You’ll learn:

  • If the Costa Rican healthcare system could meet your needs and 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:

 

Featured Property: San Ramon: 5 BR/3 BA Large Yard Motivated Seller-$140,000

147-1Property ID: 247

Sell:$140,000 USD

Area:450 m2

Construction:250 m2

Bedrooms:5

Bathrooms:3

Additional features:

Incredible Views

147-2Covered Parking

Description:

Distressed sale- Large home in a beautiful neighborhood in San Rafael. 5 big bedrooms and 3 big bathrooms. Large yard. Small but functional kitchen with room to expand.

Covered parking for two,vehicles.

Very motivated owner needs to sell.

147-7147-4

Click here for more photos and information and to contact the realtor for this property.

Though we recommend you rent, rent, rent when you move to Costa Rica, we realize that some folks will still choose to buy, either early on or after they’ve been here for a while. We recommend purchasing properties under $150,000 because they are both easier to buy and easier to sell. Though we are not realtors, we work with trusted realtors who have many other properties in this price range available. The homes we feature are just a sample of the properties the realtors we work with have, both above and below $150,000.

Click here to check out our other properties under $150,000 and read about what to do before you buy.

 

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What’s New on the Website

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