Many of you are reading this site to find out insider info on places that you have dreamed about and I am sure read other sites about. Your sitting home and going by what you think you know and what you have learned on sites. You all are fed that wonderful palm tree by the ocean shot.. ahhhh yes you can just see yourself sitting there. Many of you take that info and sale off everything and hop a flight and buy your dream house and begin to start your new life.. and many people can't cut it and then sale everything and move back home. for many of you this is a costly error. to find yourself back to square one and a busted dream.

there are many things that you need to do before you make that leap. there are also many things you need to look at within your own self. lets look at some.

are you newly retired? If so have you given yourself time to adjust to that life style? If not your not going to be happy anyplace. Have you gotten something lined up to replace the purpose you use to have for the past 20 or so years? most work 8 hours, sleep 8 hours, and have maybe on hour travel time, then the rest of that day you spend on family or other chores. Now all the sudden your faced with 8 hours sleep and 16 hours of what? this alone will make you not happy with your life and you might blame that on your move.

can you speak the language of the country your going? If not your like a 3rd grader who can't read or write. your at the mercy of someone else to plan and help you make life changing decisions, buying a home, land. health care ect. what did that paperwork really say that you just signed? hummm.

do you know and fully understand the culture of the place your going?

can you detach from family and friends?

can you live without a wal mart and a 24 hour quick mart?

can you break the cycle of having and buying a bunch of useless junk and living without all these things.. any of you who have ever moved from home to home will understand what I am taking about, if not go out into your carport and look.. when I moved here I bought and loaded to the brim two 40 ft shipping boxes. If I had brought all my stuff I would have needed 5 more.

In other places they don't do things like back home. things that you can get done in a hour takes tons of paperwork and days to get done here sometimes. and many times what they ask you for doesn't add up to you at all. and this leads you to get mad about trying to get simple things done here.. I for one deal with that all the time here, and have had to learn how to not allow that to get me upset. sometimes that works other times it doesn't.

I have been working with a new friend that just moved here about 5 months ago, and he is already throwing up his hands and ready to sale the fine home he just bought at a huge discount just to go back home. He never thought of any of the above things and fits them all. so this is why he is unhappy with his life here. In time things will get better for him if he learns to change his lifestyle a bit. you have to be able to go with the flow in these places. your no longer in kanas.

best thing is to find a group of expats and go to their meetings and shake a bunch of hands. these people know how you feel and understand how to get over it and can hand you a road map to short cuts you never dreamed was there. This is gold to you. I can't thank my friends enough for all they have taught me in the years I have been here, and without them I might have been one of those that would have gone back and licked my wounds.

a few dollars and a smile goes a long way. these people have a job to do, many times no one really understands what that job is or what the rules or laws are to do that job. what might be legal today will change the next. also many of these people shouldn't be in that job, but they happen to be kin to someone high up in the government who handed them this job. Then this person feels like I don't have to give good service, I don't even have to work because I can't be fired for anything I do. I'm here to get a pay check.

here in panama we have 85 garbage trucks and 3200 people working for the garbage authority.. can anyone do the math?

so this is one reason many things don't get done like they do in other places.

I have spent 5 trips trying to get a card that is needed for my commerical trucks. they must be renewed every year. this year I got one but not the other. 5 trips and more to follow adds up so far to 20 hours driving time for me to get there and back. 20 hours!!! am I mad? yes. will it get me a card any faster? no. and what really makes me mad is I got a ticket for not having this card in my truck. even thou I had a letter from them stating it's ok to drive the truck without it due to the fact they don't have my card yet.. so let me get this right in my head.. I get a ticket for not having a card that you don't have to give me? hummm ok lol.. so many of you say no big deal go to court on it, don't pay it... well it's not that easy here to have that day in court. so the fastest way I can handle it is to pay it and move on.

this is just one little thing but again to people who are use to things getting done and fast, are not going to be happy here with that kind of mindset.
many times I would see in my mind me reaching across and grabbing the person around the neck and beating them in the face until my fist breaks off. Instead I laugh out loud and walk out.

your going to be able to list a page and a half of things you hate here. but after you cool off and think about it, your going to be able to list many things that you just love. it's the same anywhere. after all there is a reason why you want to move isn't there?

The most questions I have seen is about crime. someone writes o we read where someone broke into a home and tied up the people and stole their things. so we now don't think we want to move to your country. listen everyone wants a 100 percent guarantee, well ok I can give you one... your all going to die one day.. ok that's it. That's all I have for you today. where ever you find people you will have crime. some places more then others. but it will be there. It's in your home town, it's on your street as I write this. what makes you think any other place will be better or have none?

It's like the lady who allowed her 14 year old to ride a four wheeler for the first time on a led mountain tour of four wheelers and her daughter rode it off the mountain and was killed. I am sorry that happen don't get me wrong but the mother is now suing the people who own the tour. she is looking to place the blame on everyone but herself. There is no guarantees for life, stand up and take the action that you need to take to make youself safe in your new country just like you do where your at right now. do you leave your doors unlocked at night?

many people say well you have metal doors and bars on the windows. wow. back home I had all that plus, alarm, dogs. lights ect. and yes still my home was broken into. no one here has broken into my home.. yet..

another thing to look at is crack. back home a lot of people were smoking crack and they would steal anything you didn't have nailed down and standing over. down here I have yet to see a person on it.

I also find that the young people here are cool compared to the kids back home. these kids don't find it fun to go out and tear up other peoples things. They value what little they have and take care of it. you give a kid here a bike and it will look new for years to come. back home they throw them away and get a new one.

back to the point do your homework before making that leap. come down to where ever your thinking about moving to and rent a home for a year and see how you feel after that year. take your time. don't believe all that you see on some web site. many are there for one reason, and that's to get your money. they are not going to share with you any of the bad things only the good. It's little things as well, like the seasons back home. where I am we really only have summer. no snow no changing of the leaves, that could be a blessing or a cure for some.

this is a great web site that peter has put up, because it allows people like me and many others to tell the truth about places, and many times you can put a lot of faith in what we write because we are not trying to sell you anything.



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Other things to think about

Taking from the original posters words, are you newly retired? The one thing I see most prevalent is this. If you did not do it in your working life you will not do it in retirement.

What I see goes like this.

A person retires, goes to Nicaragua, buys a ocean front home, and they plan on doing the following:

Fish every day (nothing like the taste of fresh fish cooked on an open fire!)

Kick back on the deck and work on the book they have always want to write but could never find the time. During their life they had so many experience and it would be neat to share it with the world (even if the world is only family and friends) - but they have always wanted to get it on paper.

Open a little store or stand to sale the homemade wood carvings they going to make in their wood shop. They remember back when on a family vacation to the coast they came across a neat little artisan colony that had the neatest little things for sale - something that they know they can make, but never had the time

Next they are going to make friends with the locals and ex-pats, sit in the oceanside bar cabana and tell war stories, drink the local beer (its really good by the way!) flirt with the local girls - but remembers he is married, its just all in good fun.

In reality the only time they ever went fishing was 40 years earlier with their father or grandfather, its really just a very fond memory.

They never write the book because their time is taken up with all the other things they are going though (getting the visas they need, 4 hours a day to shop because you can not find what you need at one place, plus people wanting you to take them to: (just name about 20 places that come to mind, remember you are the only one in the area with a truck)

They never open the store - they never had one in the past, they do not know how to run a lathe or other power tools (remember its something they always want to learn) then add in the above - well you just do not have the time.

As for the bar and telling war stories. Again, they do not have the time because of the above, and add to the fact they never did this during your working life and its still a little awkward in a new language and culture. Then add in the fact that you are still on the road from taking someone to the hospital and you have not purchased anything for dinner. Add to this that you are so dog tired because last night was the towns Saint celebration and they were up til 4 am drinking, shooting off fireworks, playing music at a god awful level. Add to this the fact that 2 drunks spend time trying to get the tires off your truck.

I am not sure about the meeting ex-pats and shaking their hands part. This can be very tricky. What you are doing is taking their word for gospel, bad, vary bad. You can meet a group that will tell you the first step is to guard your house with armed guards, get a sidearm for protection, set up a barbed wire perimeter, hire a few local girls to do the shopping, cooking and cleaning and all will be ok because it worked for them.

The flip side of that is come down, buy a farm. build a house, start a family, keep your nose out of where it does not belong, do what you can to help the community and all will be ok, this too can be very dangerous

You should visit a few different countries but visit at different times of the year (rainy and dry). Where I live off and on, in the rainy season it's like Florida on steroids (same temps and humidity just a lot more rain) and in the dry season it's like Death Valley heat with Florida humidity then mix in some Mississippi swamp mosquitoes.

East cost, west cost, north and south in every country is going to be different, its really up to what you can take. Add in the fact that some places you will have to do without things, (running water and electricity at times, convenience of shopping malls or other stores) and other areas its like living in the USA or Europe (well to a degree).

I see folks all the time fall in love with an area, buy a house or farm, make plans and in a few months they are so full of hate they can not see straight. Take your time, visit different places that peak your interest. Get to know some folks (locals - ex pats come and go) then see what you think. This process can take a lot of time but you will kick yourself if you don't.

Retiring To Costa Rica

I agree with the article above. Before retiring to any country you must do your homework. Costa Rica has many expats coming to our country. Some come and leave in one years. Others never leave. You must have a game plan in place. Come for a few visits first before making the final move.

Learning Spanish can also be bery helpful.

Best Wishes Lic Giovanna Barrantes

Post read joy

I think I fit the expat profile. More prep work to do. Things to sell off, give away or burn. Need to further narrow my countries of greatest interest. Establish better forum presence for advice and experiences. A visit or two to countries of most interest. Find excellent realtors in those places. Burn rubber.

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