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Sep 21 2016

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Retire for Less in Costa Rica – September 21, 2016

Welcome to our Retire For Less In Costa Rica Newsletter

Paul and Gloria

In This Issue: 

 

 

Monthly Costa Rica Weather Report for 11 Towns in Costa Rica–July & August 2016

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

  • San Ramón de Alajuela
  • Atenas
  • Nuevo Arenal
  • Quepos
  • Near San Isidro de General
  • San Rafael de Heredia
  • Tinamastes, Perez Zeledon
  • El Cajón de Grecia
  • Grand View Estates, Siquirres
  • Volio de Cachí, Orosi Valley
  • Escazú

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 above to enlarge it and check out the average rainfall for the towns in which you are interested.

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 Puriscal and Santa Cruz in the coming months.)

July 2016 Weather Data

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August 2016 Weather Data

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Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for July

If read every month, the following “observations, facts, & tidbits” can give you great insight into the areas of the country in which you might be interested. They are personal insights from folks with their feet on the ground in these towns.

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

  • The coolest night was 61°F three times.
  • The warmest day was 77°F two times.
  • From July 1st through the 12th, we took our 12 day road trip to the southern zone. We went to San Isidro de El General, Tinamastes, Uvita, Drake Bay, San Vito, San Isidro again, and to Quepos before heading home to San Ramon. We had a great time and only spent $1114 for the 12 days. We got to visit three of our weather guys/gals: Gordon, Bonnie, and Lance M.
  • We got married (again) on the coolest day (67 F) of the month, but it was fine. We got married in Costa Rica and celebrated on our porch. It was really one of the “coolest days of the year.”
  • On July 15th, we had 2.5 inches of rain, on the 18th, 2.2 inches, and on the 23rd, 5.1 inches (in only 4 hours, not even starting until 2:45 pm). If you add up those three days it comes to 9.8 inches in three days. That means we only had an additional 1.2 inches total during the entire rest of the month.
  •  The Veranillo de San Juan (“Little Summer“) occurs in late June into July. School starts around 10 February and ends around 15th of December. But during July, and coinciding with “little summer” the students have 2 weeks off.
  • costa-rica-map_cropped4Total rainfall for the last 3 years in our area of San Ramón:
    • 2015 – 103 inches
    • 2014 – 120 inches
    • 2013 – 111 inches

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

  • I am obliged to take a 3 month sabbatical from Atenas weather reports (July, August and September). Soon after our digital digital thermometer / humidity monitor (kept outdoors) was pilfered and replaced as previously reported, our house, along with others in our neighborhood was burgled. They took computers, iPads, cell phones, flat screens, etc. My latest information is that four are now in custody. Where the stolen property has gone remains a mystery.
  • A replacement computer should arrive by mid-September. My plan is to then reinstall my weather data high-end software. Everything else being equal, my next weather report from Atenas will likely be for the month of October.
  • Total rainfall for the last 3 years in our area of Atenas:
    • 2015 – 63.70 inches
    • 2014 – 73.59 inches
    • 2013 – 63.84 inches

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

  • We’ve been in Costa Rica for over 25 years and own the B&B, Chalet Nicholas, located in Nuevo Arenal.
  • Total rainfall for the last 3 years in our area of Nuevo Arenal:
    • 2015 – 208.34 inches, setting a new record!
    • 2014 – 184.95 inches
    • 2013 – 164.75 inches

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

  • July was both a very happy month and also a very sad month. The rain was good to us in July, with a total of 25.3 inches. On the happy side of the month, we had a wonderful visit with Paul and Gloria as they were able to stop by and spend a day with us during their Southern tour of the country.
  • We also picked up a friend at the airport who was relocating from California. This was on the 17th of the month and that is when the sad days started. Our friend’s plane was 2 hours late arriving and we found out the main highway was closed to traffic coming out of San Jose so that vacationers could use all lanes to come home. We should have gotten home around 2 to 3 in the afternoon. But, we had to take the old road over the mountains to get home, so with all the delays it was almost 8 hours. When we walked in the house, my wife noticed the back door did not look right and as she got closer she saw it was bent. She walked in the bedroom and that is when we found out we had been robbed.They stole both computers and all my wife’s jewelry. Thank goodness they did not hurt the dogs. We filled out a report at the OIJ, but that is more of a formality since they really can’t do anything if you don’t have pictures and appraisal document on the jewelry, and pictures and model and serial numbers off the computers. We now have a roll down door (like the ones on the store-fronts) on the back door, and are getting estimates on a perimeter security system. It was a hard lesson learned, but we will never leave the house again without taking all our valuables with us.
  • Map_Quepos_SanIsidroTotal rainfall for the last 2 years in our area:
    • 2015 – 130.3″ / 330.96 cm
    • 2014 – 73.5″ (as of February 2014 when I started measuring it for this newsletter).

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

  • As this year is our 30th wedding anniversary, we took  a 2-week river boat cruise down the Rhine river in Europe.  We left from Budapest, and ended up 2 weeks later in Amsterdam, so there is no weather report from me for the month of July.   I’ll be back in the August issue to tell you all about our trip.

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

  • July was a good weather month – sun and clouds, winds not excessive, and at fourteen inches of rain, plenty for the garden and pond, buHeredia-Mapt not too much. The amount of volcanic ash coming from Turrialba was also less than June, which meant less car washing.
  •  The veranillo (or little dry spell, in English) came right on schedule. The first one, El Veranillo de San Juan, arrived on June 24, the day before John the Baptist’s saints day and lasted for four days. The second one, La Canícula, lasted for much of July. Canícula is the Spanish word for the star Sirius, or the dog star, thus the expression, dog days of summer. In July and early August, Sirius is in proximity with the sun. Although Costa Ricans talk about both the veranillo de San Juan and La Canícula as two separate dry seasons (although there is some confusion about this) I think they are actually part of one dry spell. It’s arrival and duration vary from year to year.
  • So why does Costa Rica have a little dry spell this time of year? I had wondered about this for most of my life. The rainy season is brought to us by the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), known in days of old as the Doldrums. This is a low pressure band circling the planet. It migrates north and south of the equator as the tilt of the planet changes in relation to the Sun. From June through October, it hovers over or near Central America. During July it reaches its maximum point north, which sometimes is just a wee bit north of Costa Rica. I read about this for the first time in a link provided last year in Retire for Less in Costa Rica.
  • Family visited from the States for almost the entire month. Wanting to spend as much time with the grand kids as possible, I let the vegetable garden go, and it has now turned into a jungle. Although the kids spent almost all their time at our home (we’ve turned the property into a paradise for kids), we took them on several trips. My favorite was the trip to the Orosi Valley, a little Shangri-La if there ever was one. We’d planned to visit the Irazú Volcano that day because it offers good views of Irazú’s twin, Turrialba Volcano). The weather up on Irazú looked foreboding, but we had to go that day because it was a Sunday, and the best day to drive through San Jose. When we got up to Tierra Blanca it was dark and raining, so we went with PLAN B, which was the Orosi Valley. We drove around the Cachí reservoir, stopped in at the Ujarrás ruins, had lunch at the Rio Palomo Restaurant, and spent some time in the town of Orosi. I highly recommend the trip. Oh, there is also a long pedestrian suspension bridge across the Reventazón River that is wild. To find it, you have to ask the locals about it.
  • Total rainfall for the last 3 years in our area of Heredia:
    • 2015 – 144.9 inches
    • 2014 – 115.1 inches
    • 2013 – 111.3 inches

Bonnie’s Tinamastes, Perez Zeledon Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for July:

  • We’re settling into our new lives in the Southern Zone, taking Marley for walks, finding our way around San Isidro de el GeneTinamasteMapral to shop and run errands, meeting some wonderful people, and trying some exotic tropical fruits.
  • We enjoyed a reprieve from the rain during most of July, and most of the rain we’ve gotten has been late in the day, so we’ve taken several day trips to various Pacific beaches, sometimes on the spur of the moment.  We love being at the beach, but we’re always happy to arrive back home to relax in the cooler climate.

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

  • June 20 was the summer solstice, but for another month, sunsets moved later, from 5:58 PM all the way to 6:02 PM by mid-July; only now aElCajonDeGreciaMapre sunsets back to 5:59 PM.
  • Rainfall in July measured only about half of that compared to June – 257.8 mm vs. 511.0 mm last month. The 257.8 mm of July are more in line with last year when we measured 255.0 mm. 2014, however, was very dry in July when we had only 120.5 mm of rainfall, yet in 2013, we measured 353.8 mm — so rainfall during the last 4 years is all over “the map”, ranging from 120.5 to 353.8 mm, with the mid-two-hundreds in between.
  • July 10 was a hot day; we measured both, the highest lo and the highest hi that day: 19.6 °C and 30.4 °C respectively, while high temperatures didn’t climb beyond 23.4 °C towards the end of the month. We don’t see temperatures that low very often. This low of only 23.4 °C does not correspond with rain – that day it only rained 0.3 mm – barely measurable. It was just simply a cold day where we pulled out sweaters, socks and blankets.
  •  2015 rainfall for year: 107.6 inches (273.23 cm)

Mike’s Grand View Estates (Siquirres) Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for July:

  • July continued the recent pattern of being much drier than the previous 2 years. With 397 mm (15.6 inches) of rain falling over the SiquirresMapmonth, the total was only 45% of the rainfall for July 2014, and 34% of last year’s rainfall in the month. We had our share of cloudy days, and the sky was frequently grumbling from distant thunder, but seldom did we get any appreciable rain.
  • We recorded no rain for 17 days out of 31, or 55% of days. This number is consistent with May and June. April was our sunniest month so far this year, with 26 rainless days (87%). Our temperature, thankfully, is cooler than it has been. We broke the 30°C (86°F) mark only 18 times during the month, and the average daytime high was a full 1 degree cooler than the previous month. May remains our warmest month.
  • The great green macaws (lapas in Spanish) are back. Every morning they fly overhead from the mountains to the Caribbean lowlands, and every evening they make the return trip. They used to make their appearance in the November-December rainy season, but I guess El Nino changed the fruiting seasons for the various jungle plants, and the birds have changed along with their food source.
  • Total rainfall for the last 2 years in our area of Grand View Estates:
    • 2015 – 305.7 inches
    • 2014 – 208.2 inches (May through December)

Juan Miguel’s Volio de Cachí Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for July:

  • map-CachiThe annual Romería (pilgrimage to Cartago) occurs every August 2 but by the end of July the roads are heavily congested with walkers.  Stay tuned for more updates in the August report.
  • Our average overnight humidity was up to 98%  this month and the average daytime humidity remained unchanged from the past 2 months at 62%.  Daytime low humidity was 51% and daytime high was 88%.
  • Speaking of humidity, my Steinway grand piano has taken a major beating down here with the high and fluctuating humidity, to the point of really just being a nice piece of furniture.  Let that be a warning to anyone thinking about bringing a piano.  However, I did get a Yamaha Clavinova digital piano this month, so I’m back in business.  Yea me.
  • Finca update: We had 10 baby ducklings hatch. The next day we had 9 ducklings hatch. A few days later we have a clutch of 5 more hatch. 2 days later we had 4 more. So with the 4 mothers and 28 new babies swimming in the river, and the 9 other adults makes a total of….ummm… well, a LOT.

Tim’s Escazú Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for July:

  • Little rain for most of the month, due to the Veranillo de San Juan,” or St. Johns’ Summer.  Little rain with not too hot climate, with everything green, in our opinion makes it one of the best times of year to spend outside!
  • EscazuMapIf you are in the market for insurance — automotive, homeowners, liability or medical — contact us at Garrett Brokers, a family owned business that has serviced the expat community for more than 35 years.
  • Escazú County is one of 20 counties that make up the San Jose Metropolitan Area. It is west of the downtown San Jose area, with the Escazú mountains as its backdrop.

 

Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for August

If read every month, the following “observations, facts, & tidbits” can give you great insight into the areas of the country in which you might be interested. They are personal insights from folks with their feet on the ground in these towns.

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

  • festejossanramonThe annual Festejos San Ramón (Celebrations San Ramon) took place from August 18th to September 5th. This celebration, which lasts a total of 19 days, is the most festive time of the year in San Ramón.
  •  August 30th is the biggest day of the year in San Ramón. Tourists come from all over the country to watch the Entrada de Los Santos (parade of the saints) as they enter the Cathedral.

vivamoncho

  • San Ramón is the self-proclaimed La Capital del Mundo (capital of the world). Moncho is the nickname for San Ramón, and those of us who call San Ramon home are affectionately called Moncheños.
  • Rainfall for August was about average until August 30th when we had 10.38″ in one day!
  • Can you imagine having over 10 inches of rain in one day? Even in Costa Rica, the infrastructure and ground have problems with that much rain. It undermines many things; there were lots of landslides and road closures. The rain fell in the late afternoon and early evening. But the morning was beautiful with sunny skies.
  • The coldest day of the month low 61°F / high 71°F was the last day of the month, August 31st.costa-rica-map_cropped4
  • Total rainfall for the last 3 years in our area of San Ramón:
    • 2015 – 103 inches
    • 2014 – 120 inches
    • 2013 – 111 inches

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

  • I am obliged to take a 3 month sabbatical from Atenas weather reports (July, August and September). Soon after our digital digital thermometer / humidity monitor (kept outdoors) was pilfered and replaced as previously reported, our house, along with others in our neighborhood was burgled. They took computers, iPads, cell phones, flat screens, etc. My latest information is that four are now in custody. Where the stolen property has gone remains a mystery.
  • A replacement computer should arrive by mid-September. My plan is to then reinstall my weather data high-end software. Everything else being equal, my next weather report from Atenas will likely be for the month of October.
  • Total rainfall for the last 3 years in our area of Atenas:
    • 2015 – 63.70 inches
    • 2014 – 73.59 inches
    • 2013 – 63.84 inches

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

  • Nothing much to talk about weather-wise this month, although we are way behind normal for the year.
  • However, we did have a visit from an anteater who spent most of one day in a tree in back of our house and had its picture taken by many people who came by to see it.

31577db7-f824-48e4-aea9-6f485861c850

  • We’ve been in Costa Rica for over 25 years and own the B&B, Chalet Nicholas, located in Nuevo Arenal.
  • Total rainfall for the last 3 years in our area of Nuevo Arenal:
    • 2015 – 208.34 inches, setting a new record!
    • 2014 – 184.95 inches
    • 2013 – 164.75 inches

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

  • August was a very quiet month, with one very exciting happening toward the end. We were invited to speak at the International Living Conference in San Jose on Sept 22nd through 24th about living on the Central Pacific Coast.
  • Beyond that, the rest of August was just getting back to normal after the robbery in July. We now have a commercial roll down door on the back of the house, updated bars on the windows, and are getting the rear screen door reinforced.
  • Map_Quepos_SanIsidroTotal rainfall for the last 2 years in our area:
    • 2015 – 130.3″ / 330.96 cm
    • 2014 – 73.5″ (as of February 2014 when I started measuring it for this newsletter).

Gordon’s Villa Nueva (San Isidro de El General) Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for August:

  • August was another great month weather-wise in San Isidro de El General. The average 6:00am temperature was 71°F / 21.7°C, with an average high of 79.8°F / 26.6°C. The hottest day saw 87°F, 27°C.
  • We had a total of 7.5″/ 19.05 cm, with the heaviest daily rainfall of 1.4″ and 6 days of no rainfall at all.

rivercruise

  • We had a fantastic river boat cruise last month in Europe. We began in Budapest, and 14 days later, ended in Amsterdam. We went through close to 70 locks as we travelled the picturesque Danube and Danube and the Rhine rivers. I had never been to Europe before, so everything was new (guess that should read “old”) and awesome. Castles, cathedrals, cities – just so much history to take in. It was definitely the trip of a life time and we would highly recommend it to everyone.

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  • In September we will be going back to Canada for 3 weeks, so there will be no weather report from me next month. See you in October!

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

  • Heredia-MapWe had a typical August – cloudy, rainy, humid, and calm. At thirteen point four inches of rain, it was slightly above normal. Cumulative rainfall for the year now stands at 80.6 inches. After seven years of recording, this is the highest total for an August so far. We may be headed for a record.
  • We are really appreciating the windless days. July typically has some wind, but August is a welcome relief. We will start to get some winds again in November, but then December through February, and parts of March, will seem more like a hurricane. Another interesting tidbit, wherever I lived in the States (Washington, Connecticut, New Jersey, Virginia, and South Caroline) the prevailing winds were from the west. Here they are from the east – takes some getting used to.
  • The visiting family members returned to the States at the end of July. These annual visits are always very intense. So, our activities for August matched the weather perfectly – calm. We lead an uneventful lifestyle, and we like it that way. Not much travel and not much socializing. I go out to the chicken coop in morning to feed and water the chickens, and to collect the eggs. There are usually two eggs. If the hens happen to have left three, well, that’s enough excitement to last me for the rest of the day.
  • This month I worked in the vegetable garden quite a bit. It had turned into a jungle during the family visit. I go out in the morning and whack the jungle with my machete. Down boy, down!
  • Last year I bought a riding mower. I love it, but the contour of the lawn has to be more even than for a push mower, or it doesn’t look good when you get done cutting the grass. So, for the last year I’ve been gradually evening out the contour. This month I filled in a major dip with soil and then covered it with sod (when I say a major dip, think the Grand Canyon). With the rain and the cloudy weather, this is the ideal time of year to do it. After one month the new sod has taken nicely and you would hardly even know that I had worked on it.
  • Total rainfall for the last 3 years in our area of Heredia:
    • 2015 – 144.9 inches
    • 2014 – 115.1 inches
    • 2013 – 111.3 inches

Bonnie’s Tinamastes, Perez Zeledon Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for August:

  • TinamasteMapI’m starting to think that tracking the temperatures in Tinamastes is an exercise in futility as we see very little variation in the temperatures between day and night, day-to-day, and month-to-month.  No complaints here, as the temperatures typically stay in the quite comfortable 70’s day and night.
  • The rainfall, however, does vary greatly. We moved to Tinamastes in mid-March, in time to experience about two months of the dry season. I started tracking the rainfall here on May 1, and we’ve received 66 inches of rain in the four months that I’ve been tracking it.  That’s the equivalent of four to five years’ worth of rain in our old town of Tucson, Arizona!  Fortunately, like our monsoon season in Tucson, the rain here usually doesn’t start until mid-afternoon or evening, and we get some days with no rain at all.
  • Last August, we were still living in San Marcos de Tarrazu, and we received 3 inches of rain for the entire month, compared to 15.4 inches this August in Tinamastes.
  • In late August, we traveled to Panama to combine a little vacation with some shopping.  It took about two hours to cross the border through the Paso Canoas crossing, largely due to the extra steps required to take our truck across.  We spent a night in David and two nights in Boquete, and it was a very enjoyable trip for us.  We decided to cross through the gentle Rio Sereno crossing on the way back.  The time we saved at the border was probably offset by the longer drive, but we got to see a beautiful part of Panama and have breakfast in Volcan and wonderful pizza in San Vito for lunch.

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

  • ElCajonDeGreciaMapAugust rainfall greatly surpassed last year’s when we recorded only 219.7 mm. In fact, it even out-rained the previous 2 years, when we measured 330.1 mm in 2014 and 340.9 mm in 2013.
  • With the humidity averaging above 50%, we were pleased that we had installed a central dehumidifier, covering our whole house and drying it out, which is most important for our artwork. It was a worth-while investment in preserving our collection and our furniture as well.
  • Last month’s high of 27.2°C was more than one degree lower than last year’s (28.8°C), and compared with 27.1°C in 2014 and a cool 25.9°C in 2013.
  • Last month’s low of 18.6°C was in line with last year’s low (18.4°C) and the low in 2014 (18.3°C).
  • In 2013, however, it was “hotter” at night – 19.3°C – while it was “cooler” during the day (25.9°C).
  • We learned the hard way that what we thought was a “whole house surge protector” failed mid-August, taking out our TV, our dishwasher (motherboard) AND our Internet. We have now installed a surge protector with uninterrupted power supply and a battery-back-up for the Internet. So far, so good.  (Now, if they only could find the part to repair our dishwasher ;-).
  • It still puzzles me how “localized” rain and thunderstorms are – it could be pleasant in downtown Grecia and pouring on our ridge – or vice versa. A few meters up or down can change the weather pattern.
  • 2015 rainfall for year: 107.6 inches (273.23 cm).

Mike’s Grand View Estates (Siquirres) Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for August:

  • SiquirresMapAugust continued the recent pattern of being much drier than the previous 2 years. With just 213 mm (8.4 inches) of rain falling over the month, the total was only 45% of the rainfall for August 2014, and 42% of last year’s rainfall in the month. The weather pattern for the previous 2 years was heavily influenced by El Niño. We may be reverting to more normal weather for the Caribbean region.
  • We recorded no rain for 19 days out of 31, or 61% of days. This number is a little higher than May, June or July. We closed out the month with 9 straight days with next to no rainfall. September and October are usually quite dry in the Caribe, so we can look forward to even more sunny days. I’ve had to start watering the garden. Some of the plants were starting to look stressed from the heat and lack of water. The temperature has sneaked back up. We broke the 30c (86°F) mark on 25 out of the 31 days in August. May remains our warmest month, but the maximum high of 33.1°C reached one day last month was getting into the uncomfortable range.
  • Grand View Estates sits well above the Caribbean plain and gets a nice sea breeze. The temperatures down in Siquirres are frequently 2 or 3 degrees warmer. And the temperature inside MaxiPali, the local Walmart, gets so hot as to be almost unbearable. I don’t know how the employees can tolerate it!
  • Our little bed-and-breakfast, Amapolabnb.com, is doing quite well even though this is not the tourist season. We sure enjoy meeting people from all over the world. It seems that Americans prefer the dry Pacific coast, while Europeans prefer the lusher (and we think unspoiled) Caribbean.
  • Total rainfall for the last 2 years in our area of Grand View Estates:
    • 2015 – 305.7 inches
    • 2014 – 208.2 inches (May through December)

Juan Miguel’s Volio de Cachí Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for August:map-Cachi

  • The annual Romería (pilgrimage to Cartago) occurs every August 2, and we have 2 million people in Cartago.  That’s incredible considering that represents 40% of the entire population of Costa Rica.
  • Our average overnight humidity remained at 98%  this month and the average daytime humidity remained unchanged from the past 3 months at 62%.  Daytime low humidity was 44% and daytime high was 81%.
  • We had a 10 day festival in the valley that centered around bullfights.   It was not at all like the image you may have of a Spanish bullfight with a single matador in a cape.  No, this was all about having a ring full of Ticos (like maybe 100) all running around trying not to get tossed in the air by the bull. 
  • Finca update:  We have a hen sitting on 13 eggs, so we should see some new chicks in early September. The goats are giving us about 2 gallons of milk every day, so I’ve been making tons of cheese.

Tim’s Escazú Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for August:

  • Rain fall slightly less than average for the month. We’ve had years with more than double the rain for the month of August!  There is undoubtedly much more rain than last year, but still low.EscazuMap
  • If you are in the market for insurance — automotive, homeowners, liability or medical — contact us at Garrett Brokers, a family owned business that has serviced the expat community for more than 35 years.
  • Escazú County is one of 20 counties that make up the San Jose Metropolitan Area. It is west of the downtown San Jose area, with the Escazú mountains as its backdrop.

Our Weatherguys and Weathergals

Our San Ramón Weatherguy, Paul Yeatman

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 over 4 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 Villa Nueva (10 minutes NW of San Isidro de El 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 2, 2014, and originally lived in Quebradus, which is 15 minutes NE of San Isidro de El General, but as of November 2015 now live in Villa Nueva, which is 10 minutes NW of the city.  They are at a altitude of about 800 meters, living in a rental house that friends built on their acreage.  The fruit trees are abundant, and in the rainy season the water in the nearby streams can be heard from their deck.  They overlook a beautiful valley, and enjoy watching the sun setting behind the hills every night!

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 Costa Rica 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 enjoys 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 Tinamastes in Perez Zeledon which lies at about 2475 ft. elevation, after moving from San Marcos (4,800 ft. elevation) 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.

mike-wise-photoOur Grand View Estates (Siquirres) Weatherguy, Mike Wise

Carmen and Mike Wise, together with their 2 large dogs, drove to Costa Rica from Calgary, Alberta a little over 3 years ago. Carmen is a professional musician. She was a guest clinician at Suzuki workshops in Costa Rica for many years, so developed good friendships here. Their network of friends helped them ease into the Pura Vida life! They built their own home in the gated community of Grand View Estates. It is located about 9km ESE of Siquirres, at an elevation of 200m. Their home has expansive views out to the Caribbean. Although the climate is tropical rain forest, it never gets too hot. They don’t need air conditioning. They run a small bed and breakfast (see www.amapolaBnB.com). Mike still works as a financial advisor, serving his Canadian clients. Telephone, email and Internet, supplemented by occasional trips back to Calgary, make living and working in a remote location possible. He does his own research and writes a quarterly newsletter Investing Wisely (see www.wiseword.ca).

JMArthurHeadshotOur Volio de Cachí (Orosi Valley) Weatherguy, John Michael Arthur

Mike uses the moniker Juan Miguel in Costa Rica. He and his partner, Michael, both native Texans, moved to Costa Rica a year and a half ago and they have never looked back.  Mike spent thirty years practicing medicine as a Family Practitioner in his hometown near Dallas.  The retirement destination was quickly narrowed down to Costa Rica and, after three years, they found a 3 1/2 acre farm complete with a river in the Orosi Valley.  Mike spends his life now as what one of his heroes, Thomas Jefferson, called a “gentleman farmer.” Days are spent tending to the over 125 fruit trees in the orchard, milking the goats for homemade ice cream and cheeses, gathering eggs from the chickens, ducks, and geese and turkeys and like Jefferson, creating special nurseries for monitoring and recording the best vegetable and flower results, and finding creative ways to use the river and land.

Photo-Tim-GarrettOur Escazú Centro (Barrio Los Profesores) Weatherguy, Tim Garrett

Tim Garrett was born in Costa Rica, and with an international background, with strong European and Latin American influence.  He loves spending time outdoors with whatever activity that comes his way. He works as General Manager of Garrett Brokers (www.garrettbrokers.com), a family owned insurance broker, that has serviced the expat community for more than 35 years. They handle Automobile, Homeowners, Liability, Medical insurance and more. Garrrett Brokers, where both English and Spanish are spoken, is even a stop on the Retire for Less Ultimate Healthcare Tour.

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Gardening in Costa Rica with Steve: Garlic

GardeningWithSteve_smDo you like garlic? Are you crazy about garlic? If the answer is yes, then you owe it to yourself to grow your own. This is because fresh garlic out of your garden is ten times better than what you find in the store. Once you’ve eaten your own homegrown garlic you can never go back to the supermarket variety.

Homegrown garlic is a good example of why people grow their own food. It’s the quality. You will probably not save any money by growing your own, and you will certainly not save any time. But you will be getting fresh air and exercise, and you will be eating delicious and nutritious fruits and vegetables.

I feel kind of funny about giving advice on growing garlic. I am by no stretch of the imagination an expert. But I have grown it, moderately successfully, I’d say, and that is more than the average gardener. A lot of people like to eat garlic but I’ve discovered few people grow it. I don’t know why.

garlic-07WHERE CAN YOU GROW GARLIC?

From what I have read on the internet, garlic will not form a head in hot weather. In temperate climates, it is typically planted in the fall and harvested in the late spring or early summer. For this reason I do not believe you should try growing garlic below, say, 3,000 feet elevation in Costa Rica.

HOW I GOT STARTED

It started one day in the supermarket. As I was looking over the produce section I spotted some of that white garlic from China and thought, hey, I love garlic, why not grow it? So I bought one loose garlic head and took it home. After doing a little research on the internet I was off and running. It’s in the onion family (allium), and I’d grown lots of onions over the years, so it can’t be that hard, I thought. It wasn’t.

HOW TO GROW GARLIC

Garlic is a heavy feeder. It needs lots of nutrition, sun, and moisture. Prepare a bed of rich, well-drained soil. Garlic does not do well in soggy soil, so growing it in a raised bed is best. Full sun is essential. Garlic grows a lot like onions, however it takes longer to mature. Onions are typically ready to harvest within three or four months. Garlic takes four to five months. Garlic will not form a head in hot weather, nor in excessively wet soil. I’ve been planting mine in October or November and harvesting it in March or April, before the rainy season begins.

img_7934Break up a head or two of garlic with your hands. You should get about 10-12 cloves from each head. If some of the cloves do not look that healthy, do not plant them. Plant the cloves in a furrow about three inches deep, with cloves about four inches apart. Fill the soil in about one inch and then water. You can fill the row in the rest of the way after three or four weeks. Make another furrow parallel to the first, about three inches away. Add a little commercial fertilizer (go heavy on the phosphorus) to the furrow and cover completely. Repeat this two more times during the growing season. The green shoots should appear above the soil in less than a week. If you plant in October, you won’t have to begin watering until December. Once the dry season sets in, water every other day. After four months cut back on the watering in order to allow the bulbs to form. Once they look plump and the stalks begin to flop over, they are ready to harvest. Keep the bulbs in a dry place for several weeks before using them.

Once the dry season has set in, cover the soil with a couple of inches of mulch. This helps keep the moisture at an even level in the soil, cuts down on weeding, and will improves the productivity of the garlic plants. I used to use hay for mulch, but now that I have a chipper, I use wood chips mixed with a little compost.

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Featured Property-Naranjo: Great Buy on Home with Garage Walking Distance to Town $71,000

8169_0Property ID #8169

Price: $71,000
City: Naranjo
Neighborhood: Naranjo
Construct. area: 1 100(sq. Ft.)
Meters Squared – Hectares: 210.19
Year Built: 2004
Bedrooms: 3
Full Bathrooms: 2
Parking: 1
8169-1 (8)Cable TV: Amnet
Internet Connection: Cable 512/128 and more
Added Security: Bars

Description:

This home is located in a quiet area of Naranjo.  Walking distance to town where you can find stores, bars, restaurants and other amenities.  This home is a three bedroom, two bathroom home with a garage.  There is a small outdoor area with a place to hang clothes up.  The kitchen and dining room are open design and there is a small living area.  A skylight in the hallway helps make the house bright.  There is also a laundry room located at the back of the home.  Wood cabinets and tile counters make the kitchen a nice place to work.

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The front yard is small but there is room for some flowers or fruit trees.  In the back you could have a picnic area or plant flowers.

The location is a quiet dead end street with bamboo and a creek across the street.

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Property ID #8169

Click here for more photos 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.

 

Our Ultimate CR Healthcare Tour

We are proud to offer 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 seven 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.

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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 presentations.

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)
  • The office of our dentist in San Ramón
  • A local Seguro Social office where you would sign up for the Caja (national healthcare coverage)
  • A pharmacy
  • A local feria (farmer’s market) where you will see the abundance of fresh food available.
  • The local Cruz Roja (Red Cross) to learn about their services and programs.
  • A health food store (macrobiotica), and more!

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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.

Prices: $650 for a couple, $550 for a single.
Please contact us if you are interested in booking a tour. Space is limited.

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