Welcome to our Retire For Less In Costa Rica Newsletter
In This Issue:
- Monthly Costa Rica Weather Report for 11 Towns in Costa Rica–April 2016
- The Yearly Invasion of the Abejones
- Featured Property-Sarchi: Quiet Cabin on 2.5 Acre Coffee Farm $143,000
- Our Ultimate CR Healthcare Tour: Announcing a Special Tour with Focus on Cancer Treatments in Costa Rica
You’ll notice that we now show rainfall and temperatures for eleven towns in Costa Rica:
- San Ramón de Alajuela
- Nuevo Arenal
- Near San Isidro de General
- San Rafael de Heredia
- San Marcos de Tarrazu
- El Cajón de Grecia
- Grand View Estates, Siquirres
- Volio de Cachí, Orosi Valley
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.
Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for April
Paul’s San Ramón Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for April:
- The dry season in the Central Valley is 6 months long, lasting from approximately November 15th until May 15th. April is usually the last month of the dry season in the Central Valley, and usually averages 2-4 inches of rainfall for the month. We had 3.35″ this April, falling all in the last week. We got our first rain of the season on April 16th, though it was just a few drops. The rest of the rainfall for the month began on April 24th, with measurable rain on 5 days and a trace of rain on one additional day. You could tell the rains were coming because it started to get more humid and uncomfortable, even at 3,000 ft. elevation and just 10 minutes outside of the town of San Ramón.
- The coolest temperature for the month was 61.5°F. The warmest temperature for the month was 86°F, with an average high of 80.4°F. This is the highest average temperature we’ve ever recorded in April.
- Gloria and I are permanent residents and consider ourselves immigrants to Costa Rica. Our intention is to stay here and we consider Costa Rica our home. Both of us are firmly planted here. The main reason we’re here is because we wanted a different life. We think Costa Rica is the easiest country to retire to. Yes, it’s pretty easy here, for us at least. We talk about it all the time. And it even costs less than the States.
- I wanted to live in Latin America all my adult life. I always thought the coolest thing a person could do was to live in another country, and in another language. We are still taking Spanish classes. Sometimes we can’t believe that we can actually communicate in another language!
- Our rental house is still for sale. You can read about it in the featured property listing below. We are still looking for a great rental in downtown San Ramón.
- 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 April:
- In April, daytime highs and overnight lows averaged about the same as in the last two years.
- The most dramatic change has been the amount of rainfall. The amount in April this year was more than 50% less than that in previous years. There was thunder and lighting all around on several days, presumably with accompanying rain, but none that reached Vista Atenas with any measurable amount, except on 3 successive days towards the end of the month.
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 April:
- April was another dry month but also a very warm one.
- We acquired another Great Dane “puppy,” a one-year-old that we named “Maven.” She is very energetic and adds a lot of spice to our other three Danes. They are all very warm and affectionate, but can be very intimidating when you come up the driveway!
- 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 April:
- April was a very strange Month as far as weather in the area went. The month started out in the triple digits then dropped back into the nineties during the day. Night time temps ranged from the high 60s to high 70s at night.
- The rainy season has started early with us, with Quepos receiving eight days with measurable rainfall. That was a welcome sight. Even though the area doesn’t suffer from the dry season like other parts of the country, this year was a very hard dry season due to the unusually high temperatures.
- Thanks to the early rains, the area has come back to life with very fast growing green grass and plants starting to bloom. It is really hard to think of any other place to live in the world where you find beautiful country and people who extend there hand in friendship. Pura Vida.
- Total rainfall for the last 2 years in our area:
- 2015 – 130.3″ / 330.96 cm
- 2014 – 73.54 inches (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 April:
- April had an average low of 71.6 °F / 22 °C at 6:00 am and an average high of 84.9°F / 29.4°C at noon. This is slightly lower than last month (by 2°F) on both the low and the high.
- We have noticed a slight diminishing in the strength of the afternoon breeze. For a while it was getting quite gusty, enough to remove the place-mats off the table. But the breeze is still there, making the hottest days very tolerable!
- The rainfall for the month was 6.5″, spread over 6 days; one day saw 2.5″. There were also 3 additional days of rain, but not enough to measure in the gauge.
- My wife had a procedure done on her knee in April. Her right knee had no cartilage left; it was bone-on-bone. We checked out knee replacement, then found out the problem could be fixed with stem cells, and for 1/10 the cost. So we went private, as it was a 3 year wait to go through “the Caja system.” The doctor removed stem cells from her hip and injected them into her knee. The whole procedure lasted 2-1/2 hours, including time in the recovery room.Then it was two weeks in a wheelchair with no weight on that leg, followed by two weeks walking with a cane. It is now week three, and all is well! The doctor that did the procedure has had the Discovery Channel ask him if they could come in and film him some time, so he must be known as a good doctor! Just another plus with living here in Costa Rica!
Steve’s San Rafael de Heredia Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for April:
- The rainy season arrived. Hallelujah! Frogs are croaking during the day and fireflies are out at night. The May beetles emerged a few weeks ahead of schedule. Happy hour at our house is at six and the May beetles’ favorite thing to do is to drop into my beer glass. So, as a precaution I have to place a little saucer over the top of the glass. I’ll have to get myself one of those German steins with a lid on it.
- Do any of you have pauraques? They are well-camouflaged dark brown birds that sit on the ground at night and fly straight up in the air to catch and eat May beetles, and so, are my heroes. They have a terrifically loud call and remind me of screaming banshees. If you want to hear what one sounds like go on the internet at http://www.xeno-canto.org/collection/area/america and then type in “pauraque” in the little search box.
- April began calm and sunny, followed by a week of wind, then a week of cloudy, breezy weather. Many an afternoon, we could see it raining in Santa Ana and Ciudad Colon (in the far distance), but nothing here. But the rains did arrive eventually, bringing the monthly total to over ten inches, a little above normal for April. The cumulative total so far for 2016 is 18.6 inches.
- After the first couple of days of heavy rain, all of the water storage tanks were full, the pond had been flushed out nicely, and the water was crystal clear. We channel several of our downspouts from the house to the pond, which is why the water clears up so fast in a downpour. Frogs should be laying eggs on our pond plants soon.
- The downside of April was that both Maria and I came down with the flu. She had it a week but mine hung on for five weeks (I got it just before Easter). Thank heavens I am over it. It was a long haul.
- 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 San Marcos de Tarrazu Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for April:
- We have recently moved and will continue our weather reporting from our new location starting with the month of May.
Irina’s El Cajón de Grecia Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for April:
- Finally towards the end of April, the rains started – and they started with a vengeance! First day of rain in el Cajón measured 23.8 mm – almost one inch. The total for April came in at 78.0 mm (3.1″) – quite a bit more than last year (56.2 mm) and in 2013 (59.2 mm). Only in 2014, was the rainfall for April higher (134.1 mm).
- With the rain came the abéjones. They flew all night and were dead by the next morning – our patio was covered with them!
- average high: 58.4%
- average low: 22.5%
- average humidity for the month: 40.5%
- 2015 rainfall for year: 107.6 inches (273.23 cm)
Here’s a poem that Jim (my husband) wrote about the first rain. It’s from his book of poetry “A Year Of Days”:
At dark fall
the ridge & farther away –
At dark fall
year after year,
down the canyon, above –
at first rains.
Mike’s Grand View Estates (Siquirres) Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for April:
- April in the Caribe was hot and dry. We recorded 21 days with no rain, and a further 5 days with just a trace. Total rainfall for the month was only 50 mm (2 inches). That is less than 10% of the wet stuff that fell in April last year. Year-to-date rainfall is 111.5 mm (43.9 inches), with almost half of that total having fallen over 5 days in February.
- No rainy days means no cool days, as reflected in our average daily high of 30.9°C (87.6 °F). We recorded our highest daytime highs (32.9 °C; 90.2 °F) in each of the last 3 days of April; this has continued into May. The hottest time of day is in mid-morning, after the nighttime mountain breeze dies down but the afternoon sea breeze has not yet established itself. With humidity in the 70% range, it gets quite uncomfortable and the community pool offers welcome relief.
- We recorded 23 days in which the daytime high exceeded 30 °C, and only 2 nights when the overnight low fell below 20 °C.
- 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 April:
- The wet season has begun here, like in many other parts of the country. But unlike some areas where there is no rain for months and then suddenly it starts raining, here it is just a more regular, gradual increase.
- We had one very foggy morning and two additional days with mist for several hours, but no measurable rain on those days.
- Our average overnight humidity was up to 89% this month and the average daytime humidity was 57%. Daytime low humidity was 34% and daytime high was 96%.
- Finca update: Rosita had her new baby—another buckling unfortunately, but he is cute and snow white. He and Trixie the rabbit play together a lot. Also, just hatched some Guinea Fowl to add to the menagerie.
Tim’s Escazú Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for April:
- We had some rain at the end of the month.
- The transition to the rainy season was felt to be sooner than expected.
- 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.
Costa Rica Weather Report for April 2016
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
I 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 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!
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.
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 Just
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.
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 (seewww.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).
Our Volio de Cachí (Orosi Valley) Weatherguy, John Michael Arthur
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 theRetire for Less Ultimate Healthcare Tour.
- Costa Rica Weather Report: 2016 Monthly Temps & Rainfall
- Costa Rica Weather: 2015 Monthly Temps & Rainfall
- Our Weather in San Ramón & Atenas Costa Rica – 2014
- Our Weather in San Ramón & Atenas Costa Rica – 2013
- Our Weather in San Ramón de Alajuela, Costa Rica – 2012
- Our Weather in San Ramón de Alajuela, Costa Rica – 2011
- 15 Days
- El Nino – What is it?
They’re here! They came right on schedule this year, the abejones. In the States they are known as June bugs, but here in Costa Rica they arrive in May. We saw the first ones the end of April, just after the first rain of the season. The rain softens the earth so they are able to rise up from it, mate, and lay their eggs, which will grow to continue the cycle the following years. Though they are not harmful to humans or pets, they can damage lawns and plants, and can be extremely annoying.
They fly like drunken pilots, bouncing off the walls and flying into your hair. They show up at night time and, like many insects, they are attracted to the light. It’s impossible to enjoy reading in bed with a light on (or just the light from your e-reader) while they are around. Even when you turn off the light and try to go to sleep, the sound of them pinging against the walls is annoying. So we keep a fly swatter handy, get out of bed, and wait for them to light on the wall or a curtain and…swat! Then, once it’s finally quiet, we can go to sleep.
Property ID #8730
Neighborhood: Rincon Alpizar
Construct. area: 700(sq. Ft.)
Meters Squared – Hectares: 10000
Acre – Lot size (sq.Ft): 2.5 acres
Year Built: 2012
Full Bathrooms: 1
This is a great price for a 3 year old cabin on 2.5 acres of coffee only 5 minutes from Sarchi! This 3 year old house is nestled in a coffee plantation and has great views, and lots of space for additional cabins that could be rentals, or a main house. Or, save all your money and live in this well priced home with lots more acreage than you normally find in this price range.The house has two bedrooms, a bathroom, and an open design living and dining area. The little deck is the perfect place to enjoy the flowers, and the hummingbirds that visit the flowers. Toucans and other exotic birds also visit this area regularly.
The 2.5 acres is planted in new coffee plants as well as lots of fruit trees and other crops. There is a river at the bottom of the property that brings even more birds and animals to the property. There is also a large building area mid way down the property that could be used for a main house, or you could build a couple of rental cabins. Water is already set up in that area.
Located off the main road this is a very quiet location. You will feel like you are away from everyone but you are only minutes to downtown Sarchi.
Property ID #8730
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: Announcing a Special Tour with Focus on Cancer Treatments in Costa Rica
We are proud to offfer 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 arranged 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.”
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.
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.
- At least two private hospitals in San Jose area
- Hospital Mexico, the largest and best public hospital (they even do open heart surgeries there)
- 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 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!
- 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.
- Paul Gets a CAT Scan Through the Caja
- Integration 102 – Speaking Up at the Hospital
- Waiting to See the Doctor, by Jo Stuart
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- The Yearly Invasion of the Abejones
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- Costa Rica Weather–March 2016 Observations, Facts, & Tidbits
- Costa Rica Weather Report: 2016 Monthly Temps & Rainfall
- Costa Rica Weather: Our 2016 Weatherguys and Weathergals
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