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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

The lessee must keep the property well maintained, not damage it in any way nor disturb the neighbours by having loud parties, deafening music or carrying out prohibited activities. The contract usually stipulates that the property must be used exclusively as a place in which to live, not to run a business, unless specified otherwise by both contracting parties.

If the property has a telephone, the landlord usually demands a special deposit for its use and determines whether he'll allow international calls or have them blocked. This is a precautionary measure the landlord takes because sometimes when the phone bill arrives, the lessee has already left and there is no way of collecting other than taking it out of the guarantee deposit. A good tenant can live a very peaceful, unmolested life and allow the landlord to live peacefully too provided he complies with the provisions contained in the contract.

As a landlord, my family has had families occupying some of our apartments for more than 20 years. We never pester them with frequent visits nor mess with their private lives. If you decide to rent, not buy a property, I'm sure you'll assure yourself peaceful living and good relations with the property owner by being a good tenant. That holds true whether you're in Costa Rica or elsewhere.

In time, if you've decided you want to live permanently in the country and prefer to own rather than rent, you should consider carefully whether the way to go is to build your own or buy an existing property whether it's a house or a condominium. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. You alone and your spouse are the only ones that can decide whether to locate in the city, on the suburbs, in the country, near the beach or up in the mountains. And how much you can and want to spend to live in your own property. In looking for a good lot in which to build or an existing property to purchase, it's advisable to enlist the assistance of a reliable bi-lingual real estate broker to help you in your search.

In recent years many luxurious condominiums have been built around San José and some retirees, especially those who are financially better off, have preferred them over a house. Maintenance and security costs make living in them much higher, but this is no obstacle for those who can afford the added expense.


After housing, the biggest cost of living in Costa Rica is food and you'll benefit by doing what the locals do. Of course, if you want to always eat imported foods, you'll have to pay their high price. The best prices for staple items are found in the supermarkets while fruits and vegetables have their lowest prices at the ferias del agricultor or outdoor farmers markets held on Saturday or Sunday mornings depending on the locality. Most of the towns and larger villages have them. These ferias bypass the distributor or reseller and bring together the farmer and the consumer. Here you can touch and even squeeze the fruit to personally judge the degree of ripeness without being insulted as I was a few years ago when I squeezed a plum at a fruit stand on Canal Street in New Orleans.

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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.