Jan 10 2015

In the Mailbag-Shipping, a Restaurant Review, and on Facebook-January 8, 2015



In the Mailbag-Shipping, a Restaurant Review, and on Facebook

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


As a followup to one of our recent posts about shipping, Ann & Philip H. wrote,


Not long ago, you asked for people to share their experiences shipping household goods to Costa Rica during their moves…

“In the Spring of this year, we moved to Costa Rica and shipped a small amount of household goods. About 500 pounds, in fourteen boxes totaling less than 72 cubic feet, stacked up on one pallet. We used heavy-duty boxes purchased from Home Depot, which we packed ourselves as we would for any long-distance move. They held up very well during the transport via land and sea, and during the unpacking and repacking done by the Costa Rican Customs authorities.

We used Charlie Zeller’s company, Ship to Costa Rica, and followed his instructions exactly. We could not have been any more pleased with the way everything about our shipment was handled. We got a pallet from one of our local “big box” stores in Georgia. We stacked our boxes so nothing protruded beyond the edges of the pallet up to about 6 feet high. We strapped it down, wrapped it in the plastic Charlie suggested (also bought from Home Depot), and we were done! The inventory was simple since we were shipping used household goods with very few electronic items (their serial numbers need to be recorded) and Charlie’s instructions were very easy to follow. He advised us to complete his forms, but only put our name and a box number on the outside of each box.

Charlie arranged for a local curbside pickup from our home in the Atlanta area (actually from inside our garage) and we didn’t have to deal with our shipment in any way until it was delivered to us in Grecia, Costa Rica. It arrived on time, with nothing missing or damaged and no additional cost beyond what Charlie had quoted us. Based on what we’ve heard from other people about their shipments, his cost was very reasonable. Charlie handled all the details of getting our shipment through customs in Costa Rica (including paying all required fees and duties within his quoted cost) and held it in his bonded warehouse until we were ready to have it delivered. All in all, a painless process for us and one of the easiest things we’ve done during our move!

We cannot speak highly enough of Charlie’s service, he was easy to contact, responsive to questions and a pleasure to deal with. He can be reached toll free at (866) 245-6923 from the USA and Canada, or at (506) 2431-1234 inside Costa Rica. His email address is shiptocostarica@racsa.co.cr for correspondence.”

A Restaurant Recommendation

On an entirely new topic, Lynn T. wrote,

ArrozConMango1Would your blog be an appropriate place to make an endorsement? Liva J. and I recently discovered an incredible restaurant. It’s called Arroz con Mango, right off the pista exit at La Garita, on the same road where all those fantastic viveros are located. If so, here goes:

While shopping at the viveros at La Garita, my friend and I took a chance and had lunch at Arroz con Mango. I learned early in life that in order to have the best experiences, one has to step off the curb once in a while. That’s why my husband and I are here, but that’s another story.

We drove down a long lane to a well-shaded and well-kept parking area dominated by guanacaste trees, with an understory of color. A parking attendant greeted us with the typical friendly Tico welcome.

The dining rooms are large and very simply but tastefully appointed, with a play room for the kiddies in the back. There is a massive view of the mountains and valleys beyond. There is room to roam among the gardens while you wait for your food, which are spectacular and where one can get some ideas as to how to integrate different varieties into one’s own environment.

But it’s all about the food. During our first visit there I had the chicken with chapotle sauce on ciabatta with the best fries I’ve ever tasted (they even hold up if you take them home and nuke them). The chipotle sauce had just the right kick to make the chicken sit up and take notice, but did not dominate the meal, which is exactly what I wanted, even though I didn’t know it at the time I ordered it. My friend is a vegetarian and asked if they could make a meat-based sandwich vegetarian, and voila, it was done! She loved it.

After lunch my friend and I shopped till we dropped at more viveros, and decided to go back to Arroz con Mango for coffee and cake before we headed for home. We split a chocolate cake, she had coffee and I had a lemonade (they have several varieties – you must try the lemonade with basil!). Delicious.

We went back there yesterday, and I had the Hawaiian sandwich with ham, roasted pineapple and carmelized onions and a mango smoothie. The flavors were incredible.

Arroz con Mango grinds its own hamburger (which I plan to try on my next visit, as there will be many) and buys its bread and other ingredients from local vendors.

If you want Olive Garden or any other chain, then don’t go to Arroz con Mango. But if you want true artisan food, give it a try.


ArrozConMango2Thanks for the recommendation, Lynn! Arroz con Mango sounded so good that we decided to try it out on my birthday. It was just as Lynn described it, with beautiful views and an extensive menu.

We each ordered limonadas (lemonades), Paul’s was plain and mine was with fresh mint, both were refreshing and delicious. I ordered the Filet de Pescado Caribeño (Caribbean Mahi Mahi) which was delicious — I would definitely order it again. Paul ordered the Meatball Sandwich with fries (Sandwich Italiano) which he liked but didn’t love, though the fries were done perfectly. And since it was my birthday, I got a free dessert which we shared. We are looking forward to going back to Arroz con Mango next time we are in the area.

And on Facebook…

Here’s a comment about Paul’s article, Integration 101: Being Bien Educado from Kat B.:

Yes Paul! It’s all about courtesy and acknowledging your fellow man. I have been stopping too, to listen to their stories. Because we’ve “stopped” and greeted, we have a diverse, new family. Looooooove it.

And in response to Paul’s article, Simple Pleasures: My Morning Walk, Alfred R. wrote:

I can relate. I am also up at 5:30 a.m., every day, walking to the beach, running the length of the beach, and cool off by swimming or snorkeling. It does not get any better than that. Pura Vida.

And Kat B. checked in with:

 My simple pleasure is walking down a familiar street being greeted, hugged, and kissed ( have to kiss everyone) followed by a GREAT cup of coffee at a little cafe……where I hug and kiss everyone there. Perfect way to start a day…..in love.

And finally, Margaret S’s response to one of our Cost of Living articles:

I lived In Boquete, Panama for 6 month prior to settling in Grecia. The x-pates I talked to in Boquete warned me that the cost of living in CR was much more expensive than in Panama. Everything in life is a trade off. I chose to pay a little more each month for clean streets where trash isn’t strewn all over the place, where the native inhabitants are gracious, friendly and helpful and where I felt like I could still live within my budget. In a way I’m happy for CR that the cost of living has gone up in the last 5 years because, in my opinion, that means the standard of living for the average TICO has risen also. While it is true that the CR deficit and long term government debt has cause Moody to downgrade their bonds to junk status, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the country is on the verge of an economic downturn. If we were living in the states and the cost of consumer items such as groceries, gasoline, insurance whatever went up, we’d bitch, complain and then pay the piper and start looking for a more economical friendly country in which to live.. What’s the difference. It is still cheaper here if you are diligent about living within your budget.


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