Sunday, November 20, 2016

Costa Rica has excellent healthcare.

By almost any standard, Costa Rica has some of the best healthcare in Latin America. There are two systems, both of which expats can access: the government-run universal healthcare system, Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social, known as Caja, and the private system. Both health systems are constantly being upgraded—new hospitals, new equipment, and improvements in staff training. 

Despite the advancements, costs are low in comparison to those in the U.S. and even some European countries. Healthcare costs are about a third to a fifth of what you’d pay in the U.S., depending on the treatment. Many doctors, especially in private practice, speak English and have received training in Europe, Canada, or the U.S. Drugs are also much less expensive. 

 Private healthcare is also available, which is affordable and high quality. There are three large, private hospitals that most expatriates use: CIMA hospital in Escazú, Clínica Bíblica in San José, and Hospital La Católica in San José-Guadalupe. All these facilities are in and around the capital of the country, San José. 

 In this private system you can pay cash or use insurance, including some policies from the U.S. and Europe, international policies, and insurance from Costa Rican companies. Health insurance from the Costa Rican government monopoly Instituto de Seguro Nacional (INS), for example, is available to legal residents, affiliated with doctors, hospitals, labs, and pharmacies in the private sector. Even if you pay cash, costs are low. Doctors, for instance, rarely charge more than $60 a visit, even for house calls. And visits to see a specialist, of which there are many in the country, will run you $80 to $100. Tests like ultrasounds are $75. And even major surgeries are half to a quarter of what they’d be in the U.S. 

 A new full-service hospital from CIMA opened a couple of years ago in Liberia, capital of the Guanacaste province. It’s just an hour or so away from northern Pacific coast beaches like Tamarindo and Playas del Coco, home to many expats. It joins a Clínica Bíblica medical center already in town. 

Statistics from the World Health Organization frequently place Costa Rica in the top country rankings in the world for long life expectancy. Arguably, one reason for this is the slower pace of living in Costa Rica. And, of course, the healthy, fresh, non-preservative-laden foods found there, and the welcoming tropical climate. Costa Rica just seems to be a healthy place to live. In fact, the Nicoya Peninsula region, on the northern Pacific coast, has been found to be one of the world’s Blue Zones. Researchers have discovered that the residents there live longer on average thanks to a combination of climate, diet, and other factors. 


Costa Rica’s Government-Run Healthcare System 

With a government-sponsored network of hospitals and clinics throughout the country, the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) has primary responsibility for providing low-cost healthcare services to the Costa Rican populace. Although sometimes overburdened, this system has worked well for Costa Ricans for the past 60 or so years. Foreigners living in Costa Rica—legal residents only in one of the residence progams like pensionado or rentista—can join the CCSS and get free treatment (everything from check ups to prescription drugs to major surgeries) by paying a small monthly fee–based on income. Tourists and visitors can use Caja facilities only in emergencies.

In 2010, the government made it mandatory for residency applicants to become members of Caja. The monthly payment is 7% – 11% of the applicant’s monthly income. A dependent spouse is also covered and able to join Caja under that payment.


Costa Rica’s Private Healthcare System 

Many of the country’s highly trained physicians and some dentists work in the mornings for the CCSS and operate their own offices and clinics in the afternoons and evenings. While private healthcare in Costa Rica is more expensive than that offered by the same doctors and surgeons through the CCSS, the price is still far below that of the average office visit in the U.S. Cost for continued treatments for diagnosed problems will vary, but will almost always be considerably less than comparable treatment in the United States. Dental work, too, is provided at a much lower cost than in the U.S.– prompting a phenomenon known as “medical tourism.” Knee replacements, hip replacements, and cosmetic surgeries are some of the most popular procedures done in Costa Rica. On the dental side, implants and teeth whitening are popular. Many patients find that the entire cost of the trip to Costa Rica (including a vacation before or after treatment), including the procedure, is much cheaper than having it done in the U.S.

 Three well-known private hospitals, Clínica Bíblica, CIMA hospital, and Hospital La Católica, where many CCSS doctors practice in the afternoons and evenings, offer first-class, ultra-modern services. Affiliated with U.S. hospitals and certified by Joint Commission International, these three private providers have costs somewhat higher than the public providers but still considerably below anything found in the U.S.

 Many expats elect to use a mix of public and private care due to the wait times for certain procedures and treatments in the public system. For example, if a Caja doctor requests an ultrasound but the Caja testing facility has a wait time of a couple of weeks, the patient can get the test done at a private clinic and bring the results back to the Caja doctor. Also, many private doctors who also work in the public system can write prescriptions for Caja pharmacies so there’s no cost to the patient.


Cosmetic Surgery in Costa Rica 

A full range of cosmetic and reconstructive procedures are available in several modern clinics. With the addition of contemporary laser technology, the ability of Costa Rica’s plastic and cosmetic surgeons to provide world-class services has been enhanced. Prices are sometimes 50% lower than in the United States, but it is important to note that each case is different, and prices are quoted on an individual basis after a consultation.


Dental Procedures in Costa Rica

From simple fillings to complicated multiple implants and periodontal work, Costa Rican dentists are as qualified and skilled as dentists anywhere–and the prices are far less. This is another growing area of health tourism–foreign patients seeking dental work arrive in Costa Rica in greater numbers every year. Laboratory work, too, is much cheaper in Costa Rica, and materials used are all FDA-approved and imported from the U.S.

 *Prices as of 2015

Article courtesy of International Living

Monday, November 14, 2016

Hostel Accomodation in Costa Rica

There are lots of hostels throughout Costa Rica providing cheap, yet comfortable accommodation for the budget conscious traveller.

Hostelz.com is an excellent site for booking cheap hostel accommodation throughout Costa Rica.

You can see their Costa Rica hostels here  https://www.hostelz.com/hostels-in/Costa-Rica


For those of you with literary skills you can turn those skills into money, as the website pays for hostel reviews.



Friday, October 7, 2016

The Definitive Guide to Costa Rica Expat Living

My colleague David Scott Bowers has just published his new book -

It is an excellent guide and introduction to living in Costa Rica. You can read more about it and purchase the book on Amazon below:

 

If you're thinking about making an escape from the rat-race, whether for political or mental and physical health reasons, or all of the above, The Definitive Guide to Costa Rica Expat Living was written just for you!
In it you'll find guidance on topics like...
  • the 4 C's of Costa Rica Expat Living: Climate, Culture, Convenience and Context;
  • the Nuts and Bolts of finding and buying your dream home in Costa Rica;
  • the Nuts and Bolts of how to actually integrate and immerse in the Costa Rica culture;
  • Odds and Ends on living the Costa Rica Expat life;
  • humorous anecdotes from the author, who shows you what not to do!
The author, David Scott Bowers, is a 16-year veteran Costa Rica expat, vacation designer, expat tour guide and Costa Rica real estate agent. He has been there and done it and he wrote this book to show how you can do the same and really enjoy it.

The The Definitive Guide to Costa Rica Expat Living is your guidebook to the Pura Vida life!


Book introduction...


I've been blogging about Costa Rica for many years now. I did write one little eBook some time ago, called 100 Cool Things to Do in Costa Rica. I give it away to signups on my vacation site.

Not too long ago a little light bulb appeared above my head in the form of an idea. And that idea was to write this book. The purpose was and is to give practical information about making the transition to life in this foreign country. It's also to give readers some personal reflections about how living as a Costa Rica expat for almost 16 years has really impacted my life.

The decision to pull up roots and head for a new life in some foreign and exotic land is not an easy one. It is one that can be risky, to say the least. Unless you do some homework beforehand, you could be in for some unwelcome surprises. Surprises that might send you packing for home with your tail tucked. I don't want to see that happen to you.

Life as a Costa Rica expat can be a real joy. Oh sure, there will be annoyances and inconveniences. You have to learn to just laugh through them and roll with the punches. I hate to sound so cliche, but you really have to learn to go with a different sort of flow down here. One that flows quite a bit slower than what you're probably used to. And with dips and turns you probably weren't expecting.
The Definitive Guide to Costa Rica Expat Living is written as a "heads up" for you. I hope you enjoy it. But, more importantly, I hope it serves you in finding true joy as a Costa Rica expat.

David Scott Bowers


 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Costa Rica Online Newspapers

How do you keep up to date with what's happening in Costa Rica? There are a range of online news papers in both English and Spanish to keep you up to date with all things Costa Rica:

  • Al Dia (San José)
  • A.M. Costa Rica (San José) [In English]
  • The Beach Times [In English]
  • Caribbean News Now [In English]
  • Central America Panorama (San José / Escazú)
  • The Costa Rica News (San Jose) [In English]
  • Costa Rica Pages [In English]
  • Costa Rican Times [In English]
  • The Costa Rica Star (San José) [In English]
  • Costa Rica Today
  • CR Hoy
  • Cyberprensa
  • Diario Extra (San José)
  • Diario La República (San José)
  • El Financiero (San José)
  • El Heraldo [In Spanish]
  • El Siglo (Todo El Territorio) [In Spanish]
  • Escazu news (Western San José) [In English & Spanish]
  • Explore Costa Rica.com [In English]
  • Fijatevos [In English]
  • Guanacaste News (Guanacaste) [In English]
  • Informa-Tico
  • Inside Costa Rica [In English]
  • La Provincia (Guanacaste) [In Spanish]
  • La Republica
  • Nacion
  • Navegalo.com
  • NC4 Sucesos
  • Prensa Libre
  • Q Costa Rica [In English]
  • Semanario Universidad (San José)
  • The Tico Times
  • Ticolook.com
  • Today Panama (San Jose) [In English]
  • Voice of Nosara Costa Rica (Nosara, Guanacaste) [In English]

  • Full list of Costa Rica Newspapers provided by http://www.onlinenewspapers.com/costaric.htm/

    Friday, September 9, 2016

    Epic Energy Achievements in Costa Rica



    Costa Rica has managed to run on renewable energy for 113 days straight, putting it on course to break its own record from 2015, when it relied on nothing but renewables for 285 days of the year. In total, Costa Rica provided 99% of its energy needs last year with renewables alone.


    The country's geography helps a lot. The majority of this power comes from hydroelectric plants, which are possible thanks to lots of rain and lots of mountains. But Costa Rica is also diversifying, with ventures in geothermal energy, and also solar—after all, a country doesn't want to rely on a single source for all its power, especially in these times of unpredictable climate change.


    In five years, Costa Rica plans to be carbon neutral. With electricity, this is completely achievable, it seems. But it still runs its cars on gasoline, so switching to electric cars will be far harder. The governments plans on work on offsetting those carbon emissions in other ways.


    Epic Achievements by Costa Rica!7

    Epic Properties and Opportunities in Costa Rica



    Epic Properties and Opportunities in Costa Rica
    Click here to see more

    Tuesday, August 30, 2016

    Monday, April 18, 2016

    Squash in Naturewalk

    The squash in Naturewalk has started to fruit:







    Naturewalk is a fully master-planned community in the Central Pacific region. Located in the hills it is about 10 miles from the ocean. Owners in Naturewalk can own a beautiful lot on which they can have their home and better still they can have fully managed crops growing on their land giving an income.

    To find out more about Naturewalk call USA +1-202-697-9284 or Europe +353-1-272-4184 or e mail info@costaricainvest.ie

    Read about Naturewalk in the New York Times here.

    Friday, April 15, 2016

    Squash in Naturewalk

    One of the crops currently being tested for growth and export is Squash. There are two varieties growing Spanish and Kabocha. You can see the  squash being planted just a few weeks ago here



    Naturewalk is a fully master-planned community in the Central Pacific region. Located in the hills it is about 10 miles from the ocean. Owners in Naturewalk can own a beautiful lot on which they can have their home and better still they can have fully managed crops growing on their land giving an income.

    To find out more about Naturewalk call USA +1-202-697-9284 or Europe +353-1-272-4184 or e mail info@costaricainvest.ie

    Read about Naturewalk in the New York Times here.

    Thursday, April 14, 2016

    Shanti Home, Samarcanda, Caribbean Coast, Costa Rica

    Samarcanda Gated Community - Shanti Home

    Shanti Home - $120,000


    • Beautiful Shanti Home is incredible value in the Samarcanda, Gated Community for just $110,000

    • 2 bedrooms, 1 and 1/2 baths, kitchen, laundry room and living room over two floors

    • 149 square meters (approx. 1600 square feet)

    • Built on a beautiful Ocean View lot of 239.87 square meters (2,600 square feet)

    • Very Private

    About Samarcanda

    • Located in a 250 acres property in the South Caribbean, overlooking the ocean, 85% of the land is protected as a Private Biological Reserve. Common areas include a Private Biological Reserve, natural pool, paths in the forest

    • 3 km graveled roads, entrance office, 24/7security.

    • Samasati Retreat and Rainforest Sanctuary is part of the Gated Community.

    • All lots are surrounded by common areas and have lots of privacy.

    • 11 magnificent homes have been built.

    • Located 10km South of the Beaufitul Cahuita National Park on the Carribean Coast of Costa Rica

    • Samarcanda is an intentional community with the goal of establishing minimal ecological impact as an alternative to traditional forms of communities.

    • Visit and experience sustainable living in this spectacular Caribbean Location

    PRICE US$120,000

    .

    View Lot in Samarcanda, Gated Community on the Caribbean Coast

    Samarcanda Gated Community - Beautiful View Lot

    View Lot - $110,000


    • One of the most beautiful view lots in Samarcanda

    • 2,511.93 square meters (27,017 square feet) of development ready beauty for just $110,000

    About Samarcanda

    • Located in a 250 acres property in the South Caribbean, overlooking the ocean, 85% of the land is protected as a Private Biological Reserve. Common areas include a Private Biological Reserve, natural pool, paths in the forest

    • 3 km graveled roads, entrance office, 24/7security.

    • Samasati Retreat and Rainforest Sanctuary is part of the Gated Community.

    • All lots are surrounded by common areas and have lots of privacy.

    • 11 magnificent homes have been built.

    • Located 10km South of the Beaufitul Cahuita National Park on the Carribean Coast of Costa Rica

    • Samarcanda is an intentional community with the goal of establishing minimal ecological impact as an alternative to traditional forms of communities.

    • Visit and experience sustainable living in this spectacular Caribbean Location

    PRICE US$110,000

    .

    Monday, March 21, 2016

    Semana Santa Costa Rica

    This week is Semana Santa in Costa Rica or Easter Holy Week.

    It is a holiday week in Costa Rica with many Costa Ricans taking the entire week off and many businesses shut for much of the week.

    Thursday and Friday are official public holidays.

    The main religion in Costa Rica is Catholicism and there are religious parades throughout the country on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday.Each procession is a dramatic reenactment of Jesus’ journey through Jerusalem to his crucifixion and resurrection. They are a very serious events, and spectators line the streets to mourn and pray.

    At family gatherings during Semana Santa special meals are prepared and seafood is traditionally eaten.

    Delicious dishes  such as rice and shrimp, ceviche and fried fish are prepared.  Various desserts such as empanadas, pudding and jelly are all made from chiverre, a big squash that looks like a watermelon and is in season during this time. The flesh is cooked with brown sugar blocks.

    Those Costa Rican’s not celebrating religious traditions spend the week at the beach. Hotels and accommodation are booked up months in advance and the beaches and roads to them can be very overcrowded whist San Jose and other urban areas are deserted.

    During Holy Week, a Dry Law is in place, meaning that at midnight on Wednesday all bars and liquor stores close.  However many locals stock up on liquor and beer for the upcoming weekend.  At the beach it is possible to find a clandestine bar open, but no alcohol can be officially served anywhere in the city.


    Friday, March 11, 2016

    Thai Chilli Peppers

    Thai hot chilli peppers have been test planted and grown successfully in Naturewalk. Naturewalk will soon plant acres of chilli peppers for export.

    Below you can see some of the hot chilli peppers grown in Naturewalk:




    Naturewalk is a fully masterplanned community in the Central Pacific region. Located in the hills it is about 10 miles from the ocean. Owners in Naturewalk can own a beautiful lot on which they can have their home and better still they can have fully managed crops growing on their land giving an income.

    To find out more about Naturewalk call USA +1-202-697-9284 or Europe +353-1-272-4184 or e mail info@costaricainvest.ie

    Read about Naturewalk in the New York Times here.

    Planting squash in Naturewalk

    One of the crops grown for export to the USA in Naturewalk is squash. There are two main varieties grown - Butternut and Kabocha. This is a quick growing crop and requires significant maintenance and lots of irrigation.








    Naturewalk is a fully masterplanned community in the Central Pacific region. Located in the hills it is about 10 miles from the ocean. Owners in Naturewalk can own a beautiful lot on which they can have their home and better still they can have fully managed crops growing on their land giving an income.

    To find out more about Naturewalk call USA +1-202-697-9284 or Europe +353-1-272-4184 or e mail info@costaricainvest.ie

    Read about Naturewalk in the New York Times here.

    Friday, February 5, 2016

    Cacao in Naturewalk

    A new crop will be planted out in Naturewalk in the upcoming rainy season. Cacao grows wild in Naturewalk and it has been decided to trial Cacao on a commercial scale in Naturewalk.

    The plants in the pictures below were grown in the National Seed Bank in Costa Rica, Catie.

    These plants are now en route to the Naturewalk Nurseries.







    Naturewalk is a fully masterplanned community in the Central Pacific Region of Costa Rica. Owners in Naturewalk can have a home on a beautiful lot and further benefit from the earnings from high value fully managed crops growing on their land. There are a range of crops available - teak, vanilla, tiquisque, Asian vegetables, ginger, papaya, coffee, cacao, pineapple and more.

    To find out more about Naturewalk, visit the website here or give us a call on USA +1-202-697-9284 or Europe +353-1-272-4184

    Friday, January 29, 2016

    Zika virus in Costa Rica

    Costa Rica is currently Zika free and you can see more on the Center for Disease Control Website here:



    However, the first case of Zika has just been confirmed in Costa Rica.

    Costa Rica has excellent health care and public health control measures, which include mosquito control measures country wide.

    However, being surrounded by countries which have Zika it is going to be very difficult to keep the virus at bay. Health experts predict that Zika may spread as far North as Canada, but the mosquitoes will be killed off and limited by cold Winter weather.

    Zika is spread by mosquitoes and usually causes symptoms which are less severe than those from similar mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue or chikungunya. But it has recently sparked alarm over the risks of birth defects for infected pregnant women and their babies.


    Costa Rica Health Ministry officials on Wednesday announced new steps to boost surveillance at all entry points into the country. These measures include appointing health officials to monitor around the clock all entry points by land, air and sea in order to detect travellers who might have symptoms of the mosquito-borne virus.

    You can read more about this in the coverage in the Tico Times here 

    Wednesday, January 27, 2016

    Ajuste Perfecto to launch in 2016

     Ajuste Perfecto
    Ajuste Perfecto, Costa Rica's first full service MLS (Multiple Listing Service for Real Estate) will launch in the first quarter of 2016.

    You can read more and register for priority updates here