May 08 2014

How to Improve Your Retirement Tour Experience, by Lynette Hunt

by Lynette Hunt

Lynette and Mark

Lynette and Mark

My husband and I just returned from a 7 day trip to Costa Rica.  We have been researching the Central Valley, and signed up for George Lundquist’s “Retire on Social Security” tour. We’d also made contact with Paul and Gloria Yeatman, as we’d followed their “Retire for Less in Costa Rica” newsletter for quite a while.  (Can you detect a theme here??)

We knew we were most interested in the San Ramón and Grecia areas, so we made arrangements with Paul and Gloria to spend two days in those cities with them after completing George’s tour.

We’re Boomers.  Still working, way too hard, and we flew from California to Costa Rica without allowing for more than a day of rest after arrival.  Costa Ricans start their days early, and George follows that pattern, so his tour runs from 7am to 7pm.  Costa Rica is two hours ahead of California, so we felt like we were actually starting the day at 5am.

George promised and delivered an “information overload.”  His tour was excellent, and those of us on the bus learned the practicalities of moving to and living in Costa Rica, as we met Expats who had gone before us, pharmacists, builders, hospital personnel, etc.  We were on the go continually, as we experienced the different standards of living, foods, and housing possibilities.


Grecia’s church

We completed the tour late afternoon on a Tuesday, and were scheduled to tour Grecia and San Ramón in more detail with Paul on Wednesday and Thursday. Paul arrived at our B and B on Wednesday morning and showed us Grecia.  He was thorough, but more laid back, and we enjoyed meeting his friends and contacts who will be invaluable as we make this move. Paul took us to a variety of rentals, showed us how to buy clothes in a Ropa Americana, took us to lunch, and we did a lot of walking around the town.  That enabled us to see how very clean Grecia is. Without exception, the Ticos we met were kind and helpful.

The next day was to be the San Ramón tour.  Put simply, I fell apart, exhausted, and could not manage it.  My husband went with Paul and, again, had a wonderful and informative day. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. I thought I was coming down with the flu, but it was “just” exhaustion.

RunningOnEmptyI would strongly advise anyone planning a tour to Costa Rica to set aside a couple more days and not try to jam in too much in a short period of time.  Even though you think you “have” to get back due to work, and you cannot afford those extra days, when you are considering a major move like this, it’s short-sighted to think you can manage to gather information when you are running on empty.

We highly recommend George’s tour and spending time with the Yeatmans; just put some space in between.


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