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Home / Preface
5 - Costa Rica in Brief
6 - Map of Costa Rica
8 - Symbols of Costa Rica
9 - Introduction
12 - Getting a Bird's Eye View
14 - Why Choose Costa Rica?
18 - Costa Rica Has Many Firsts to its Name
22 - A Place That Accepts All Races
30 - The Friendliness of the Costa Ricans
33 - Ticos are Individualistic
35 - Ticos Are Different and Procrastinators
38 - Why Others Have Gone Abroad
42 - Specific Reasons for Leaving Home
45 - Culture Shock
48 - Enjoy Your Retirement by Adjusting
49 - Ways to Adjust to Your New Life
56 - Making Your Stay More Satifying
58 - Cost of Living
67 - Addresses and Directions
69 - Your Car and Driving
71 - How Not to Be Obnoxious to Locals
74 - Adjusting to the Weather and Climate
76 - Choosing the Right Climate for You
77 - City Living versus Country Living
79 - Where to Live in Costa Rica
82 - Living in Your American Style
84 - Top Quality Health Services
87 - Medical Centers in San José
89 - Dying in Costa Rica
91 - Security and Safety in Costa Rica
94 - Personal Experiences of Petty Thievery
98 - Sex and Romance
101 - Going into Business Yourself
105 - Expatriates Production Enterprises
110 - Expatriates Service Businesses
114 - The Business Environment
120 - Helpful Tips for the Newcomer
125 - National Holidays and Festivities
128 - Religion, Churches & Support Groups
131 - The Optimism and Health Link
133 - The 8 Point Formula for Anti-Aging
134 - Obtaining Insurance
136 - Early Colonial History in Brief
139 - English Language & Tico Expressions
144 - Misdemeanors That Are Now Felonies
146 - Closing Words
148 - Bibliography
149 - For More Information and Contacts
151 - Appendix
155 - Index

Tips and Taxes

Hotels, resorts, bars, night clubs and restaurants charge a 13% sales tax plus a 10% service charge on every bill. The service charges is the tip for the waiters and other servers and is handed to them by the manager at the end of the week. Therefore, it's not necessary to leave a gratuity, although some persons do when they feel they have received exceptionally good service. Stores charge the 13%sales tax for merchandise which is taxable. Many staples and other items considered basic are exempt from the tax.


More than 95 per cent ofthe population (urban and rural) in Costa Rica has access to electricity. Most outlets in the country accept flat pronged plugs and some will accept the round prong plugs, but it's a good idea to have with you a small adapter just in case you might need it. The standard current is 110volts, 60Hertz. Your home lighting bill will not be too high if you use long-Iasting fluorescent bulbs in areas of your home which you keep lit for many hours and if you don't have air conditioning.

The monthly bill for electricity in my 5-bedroom house never goes above $35. Ifyour kitchen stove uses 220 volts, you'll be saving some money on that too. Some families prefer to use gas stoves, and out in rural areas, others still prefer to use wood stoves even though they count with electricity and television. They feel that food cooked over firewood tastes much better. But gathering firewood is a problem.

Costa Rica has the cheapest electricity in all of Central America since 99% of it is produced by hydraulic power. In contrast, the electricity in the other countries is produced mostly by thermal power which requires costly imported oil. Costa Rica is blessed with having many rivers located by Nature in strategic geographic areas which lend themselves superbly to building dams and artificial lakes. During the dry season it exports electricity to Panama, Nicaragua and Honduras. In December 2000 the Angostura Dam near Turrialba was inaugurated and is the largest in the country.

Currently in the Los Santos area is being constructed the Pirris plant which will be the largest in the country when completed in 2009.

The hydraulic power of Costa Rica is definitely enormous and several dams are currently well on in their planning. One is the giant Terraba River Project to be located between Buenos Aires and Palmar Norte which will produce more electricity than all the other plants combined and will serve also to fill some of the needs of the other Central American countries and Panama.

Wind near Tilarán and steam from the Miravalles Volcano are also being utilized successfully to produce electricity . Fortunately, ever since the blackout days of 1953, availability of electricity has kept a good pace well ahead of demand due to the good work of the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (lCE).

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All texts of How to Retire Happily in Peacefull Costa Rica are copyrighted © by Frank J. Thomas Gallardo and Editorial Texto Costa Rica. We recommend to buy a hard copy of How to Retire Happily in Peacefull Costa Rica.