Jun 22, 2007

Costa Rica

The three most popular countries for retirement are France, Costa Rica, and Ireland. I'm not sure of the order of preference, but mine is obvious. We were attracted by the climate, but we return each winter because of the people.

In 1948, Costa Rica dismantled the military and applied these resources to social programs and education. The other places that have done this are the Vatican, Luxembourg, Monte Carlo, and a few small islands in the Pacific Ocean. After three or four generations of solving problems without weapons, the people have a distinctly different perspective. "Resolving Conflict Without Resorting to Violence" is a mandatory course in the elementary school curriculum. The emblem for the police is an officer with his arms on the shoulders of two small children. They travel about on foot, or two on a dirt bike. The emergency medical teams have modern ambulances.

My Medicare "B" doesn't cover me when I am outside of the USA, so I cancelled it. We have become "residente pensionados" and purchase full coverage health insurance, including dental, for $50 a month. We only pay for it when we are there. Costa Rica has the third best medical care in the world, and life expectancy is three years longer than in the USA.

We live "large" on our Social Security. By cancelling our auto insurances, Medicare "B", trash service, telephone, lowering the thermostat, turning off the water heater, using no water, and not having to cut grass, drive cars, and eating food that doesn't come in fancy packages, we save so much money that the difference in life style pays for our travel and living expenses all winter. We don't own a car there and can go to our volunteer morning jobs at the Wilson for 60 cents each. The beach at Playa Zancudo is two hours away, and we are frequently invited to join our new Tico friends for a day trip in a packed van.
"Culture shock" is going through the airport security check points when we return to the USA, and buying a huge lunch for more than $3.

pura vida!

Jun 10, 2007

Livin' Large at Bello Oriente

We have purchased a home site within view of Panama in the southern end of Costa Rica. If you look up the Wilson Botanical Garden website you will see a description and pictures of a similar place. Our intention is to live six months in Costa Rica and six months in the USA.
This view of Volcan Baru, in Panama, will be our view from the bedroom window at sunrise.

Jun 5, 2007

The view from the South

I have added a link to the "Tico Times", the largest English-language newspaper in Central America. It has a USA bias, but in general the reporting is current and newsworthy. It won't give you a clear perspective from the point of view of a typical "Tico" (sort of like we call ourselves "Yankees", etc) but it will give you an additional look at the world from another angle.

While most "Americans" think of every country outside of the UN Security Council as being in the "third world", the Ticos consider everybody in the Western Hemisphere to be "Americans" and make a very clear distinction between "third world" impoverishment and "developing countries" evolution.

No place is perfect. Welcome to the struggles of the Developing World!