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dcnola Jun 20th, 2011 01:09 PM

looking to move to costa rica..when should i?
I am wanting to spend close to a year in Costa Rica. My current lease is up August 1. Would it be advisable for me to move there sometime in August, or wait? Also, any tips on housing or finding a job are much appreciated. I would love to be in Montezuma, but this (as everything) is negotiable.

hipvirgochick Jun 20th, 2011 01:22 PM

Have you ever been to Costa Rica before?

Jeff_Costa_Rica Jun 20th, 2011 02:58 PM

Legal work for a foreigner is very difficult to come by. Many foreigners do work illegally, but the police do periodic sweeps asking to see foreigners' working papers. Beach towns are a favorite target of these sweeps. No work permit and you're outta here for good, or at least for a long time.

You can stay 90 days as a tourist, at which time you have to leave for at least 72 hours. Nicaragua or Panama are popular destinations for the three-day trip out of the country. You come back to Costa Rica and get another 90 days. It's not clear how many times you're allowed to do this until it starts to look suspicious. Again, tourist status does not permit you to work.

incabod Jun 21st, 2011 09:47 AM

Some good advice from Jeff. The penalty for being caught with illegals on staff can be up to 10k in fines, it will be difficult for you to make any living here so save your money so you can make it a year.

As mentioned you will have to leave every 90 days (passport dance) for 72 hours minimum. They have also started to come down on and scrutinize the movements of those doing the passport dance so that should be considered.

If you have never been here before, come down for a few months first before planning on an entire year. Not all beer and skittles and some can't hack it.

suze Jun 21st, 2011 10:14 AM

You can't stay for a year on a tourist visa? Do you have enough money to support yourself for the year, or were you planning to try to get paid employment?

Jeff_Costa_Rica Jun 21st, 2011 11:06 AM

That's our point: Paid employment will be nearly impossible to come by. And U.S., Canadian, and EU citizens get 90 days. To stay a year, you'd have to leave three times.

I like incabod's advice: Come to Costa Rica, but stay for just three months. You can see and do a lot in that time. Or leave for a few days after that time (Nicaragua or Panama) and come back and stay another three months. Anyone can do that once and immigration will not care. That would give you a total of about six months here. But have enough money to support yourself. You really shouldn't plan on being able to find work.

suze Jun 21st, 2011 11:47 AM

Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't see the "finding a job" mentioned in the OP. Nope, that's not likely going to work out for you.

Jeff_Costa_Rica Jun 21st, 2011 11:59 AM

No prob, Suze. I figure you'd have the answer at your fingertips if the same question were asked about Mexico. ;)

suze Jun 21st, 2011 03:08 PM

Yup and it's the same answer (lol)!

It is perhaps not completely impossible but pretty darn difficult to show up in Vallarta, try to stay for a full year, and expect to find paid employment enough to support yourself. I would think reasonably fluent Spanish and/or have someone who has promised you a job (they get your papers for you), or have managed to obtain working papers on your own (not an easy task). This is assuming you are wanting to do it legally. I'm sure some people manage illegally, but you risk deportation.

dcnola Jun 22nd, 2011 11:53 AM

Thank you for the info. I knew it would not be easy (if at all possible) to find legal work. I do intend on staying there legally. And I have told myself that if I can't make it work, it would be an amazing 3 month vacation (that's about all I can sustain myself for without finding work anyway). So, if I can only stay for 3 months, should I go in August for the rainy season, or wait for better weather? Also, how difficult is it to find lodging?

I appreciate everyone's answers.

suze Jun 22nd, 2011 12:00 PM

A 3 month trip with the funds saved in advance will be totally do-able. I think the rainy season and timing is truly a matter of personal preference. As mentioned already above my experience is Puerto Vallarta but I'm guessing it might be similar. While summer is hot, humid, and rainy, it's also considered "off season" regarding tourists so rates for lodging are significantly lower.

incabod Jun 23rd, 2011 07:09 PM

Lodging... keep in mind if you look at long term rental properties for the 3 months, you can get much better deals than anything most tourists see. Apartments and condos for 200 - 400 a month, houses at 400 and up. I live in a 2 br, 2 ba SFH and have a small 1 br guest house, killer mountain view, I pay $700 a month.

I know several people who live here on $1000 a month or less, depends on lifestyle. You will find more rental deals once you are on the ground here.

As far as August, Sept, Oct, weather wise you are better off on the Caribbean side, but thats not everyones cup of tea. However if you wait till the dry season you wont have as many rental options or be able to haggle as much... IMO I would come beginning of November. Better rental options, cheaper prices, and you will get a taste of the dry season and the green season.

qwovadis Jun 24th, 2011 04:01 AM Climate Guide CR/CA floats away every fall

prefer Ecuador in fall

Most ecodense country in the world for me had a great cheap time there in the fall

CA CR lots better in the winter best living info

Web based business works best to make money not legal to compete with locals usually

Fly cheaply down work your way around from there.

Bus cheap everywhere for entry safety info each country

qwovadis Jun 24th, 2011 04:03 AM oops u can rent a room with them $100/mo

qwovadis Jun 24th, 2011 04:08 AM for flights MIA UIO(Quito) Santa Barbara Air cheapest usually from $150 each way

To Way cheaper than american carriers usually for me.

versutus Jun 24th, 2011 06:42 AM

August-October is the best time of the year on the Caribbean coast--expect plenty of sunshine and beautiful clear seas. I've spent time in many parts of Costa Rica (and every country in Central America) and prefer Puerto Viejo, Limon (where I currently live) to the more developed Pacific Coast. The wildlife is amazing here, the town is small and manageable, but large enough to offer amazing international cuisine and interesting people from all over the world. The geography ranges from clear Caribbean waters to jungle rivers and mountains.

I'll echo what the other writers said--it's not easy to earn a good living outside of the capital, San Jose (where the quality of life sucks compared to the amazing beach towns.) Housing in Puerto Viejo is easy to find in the $200 per month range. It's best to find a place to rent once you're in the country. Re: your username, I'm from the DC-area and have lived in Nola--Nola is one of my favorites.

Jeff_Costa_Rica Jun 24th, 2011 09:28 AM

If it turns out to be three months (technically, it can be 90 days, which is slightly different), that is still a substantial length of time to get to spend in Costa Rica, much more than most people get to do. :)

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