On my round of errands this morning, one stop was at the public clinic to sign up for my Coronavirus Vaccine as one of an expected. 3.7 million to be vaccinated in Costa Rica this year, basically the whole population. It has begun all over the country as a free vaccination provided by the government with millions of doses already in country. As an older adult I should be called in before younger people and within the month the technician told me. I just wait for the phone call, in Spanish, and hope they speak slow enough for me to understand! 🙂
Well . . . a “blended” model of every other day in person and every other day online beginning February 8 for public schools and in January for some private schools with masks and social distancing required for everyone! Read about it in Tico Times online: Costa Rica will resume in-person learning in 2021.
Today I walked past Colegio Liceo during their “graduation” of seniors with everyone outside waiting to go in for diplomas, one family at a time. Unfortunately 2020 has not been the best year to be a graduating senior! But it is what it is and will certainly be memorable! 🙂
Costa Rica has had hardly any children with the virus and the country as a whole low in cases compared to the United States, though we are still dealing with cases, mainly in the big city of San Jose and some along the Nicaragua border with Nicaragua being hit hard and their 3rd world country government doing little to prevent cases, kind of like the USA :-). Costa Rica still has a national requirement of masks in public and 1.8 meter (6ft) distancing anywhere in public with restaurants, hotels, supermarkets and other businesses limited to 50% capacity and automobiles only allowed on road every other day based on tag number with big fines for cheating. These kinds of precautions help! 🙂
The featured photo is one of my old ones of Escuela Central Atenas, the public elementary school here. During the down time workers have repainted it from this institutional beige color to a little brighter institutional gray and white now. Sorry I haven’t photographed it yet.
KLM names airplane after Costa Rican national park
Read about it in Tico Times article. The Boeing 777-300 was baptized “Cocos Island National Park” in honor of the Costa Rican Pacific island that’s an important conservation area for terrestrial and marine wildlife (and that was the inspiration for the fictional Isla Nublar in “Jurassic Park”).
Last week they took down all that yellow plastic crime-scene tape that surrounded the Atenas Central Park, but it is still mostly empty with no concerts or fiestas scheduled. There were a few old men on the opposite corner where they usually “hang out,” but that was all. And the colorful Marigolds that were planted on this corner that I shared earlier have been removed. Hmmm. And there has been no continued work on the park remodeling, probably because of a lack of tax money.
Atenas is still in the Pandemic Shutdown Mode with few people in Central Atenas on the above cloudy day and many shops closed, some permanently. A difficult year for many here and worldwide!
I feel safe walking to and through town with my mask (required by law here) and anyone else who is out is also wearing a mask and maintaining a 1.8 meter distance, also required by law here. It is a bit of trouble but at least we are not having the daily increases of cases and deaths like the USA! It is still beyond my understanding how so many people still support that stupid, lying, self-centered, racist Donald Trump who clearly is responsible for thousands of deaths he could have prevented and the equally evil Republican Party supporting him. God help America! At least one Republican expressed a little bit of common sense today on Trump’s refusal to concede the election:
“It’s just simply madness,” Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said. “The idea of supplanting the vote of the people with partisan legislators, is, is so completely out of our national character that it’s simply mad. Of course the president has the right to challenge results in court, to have recounts. But this effort to subvert the vote of the people is dangerous and destructive of the cause of democracy.”
The other day I was walking over the hill in my neighborhood and a friendly Tica woman my age or older pointed to my “Pura Vida” cap (photo above) and asked me in perfect English, “Do you know what that Pura Vida means?” I responded, “Pure life among other things!” with a big smile. She retorted, “No, it means ‘Not My Problem!’” with an even bigger smile on her face and then a laugh as she continued on in the opposite direction. 🙂
So today, the morning after the American election, with the vote-counting expected to last many more days and your idiot president already lying and threatening to legally challenge the results, I’m trying to have that version of the Pura Vida attitude.
After all . . . one of the main reasons I left the states to live in Costa Rica was to get away from the Republican Party and the ugly, racist, lying, nasty people like Donald Trump – and there were plenty in Tennessee back in 2014 before Trump ever came on the scene. And 6 years later it is worse as the rich white folks keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer and the people of color keep getting targeted and segregated. God help America!
I have only one vote and I caste it. That is all I can do to help my country of origin. It saddens me that even if Biden wins, and he certainly should, the right-wing madness will continue with conspiracy theories, lies, racism, and hatefulness that is slowly dividing and may ultimately destroy America. How sad that so many people would vote for that! My old evangelical friends no longer follow Christ but desperately seek political power instead. I used to feel sorry for people who lived in third world countries, but now I feel sorry for people who live in America, especially if they are poor or of color. And what an ugly place to raise children of any color!
But in the true spirit of Costa Rica and a new interpretation of Pura Vida, I will continue to enjoy life in this great little nature country and say to you Americans . . .
My November trip was going to be a repeat to another favorite birding location, Rancho Humo on the Tempisque River at Palo Verde National Park with the nearest town 30+ minutes away, Nicoya. It is a quiet, peaceful rural retreat with luxury rooms and meals on a ranch that still had 800 head of cattle the last time I was there. Featured photo is a White-faced Capuchin Monkey is from my one visit there. It’s a great retreat for couples, families, or anyone wanting peace and quiet in nature, plus the real draw is birds for me, with one of the heavier concentration of birds in the country, especially inland water birds and one of only 2 places here where you might see the rare Jabiru Stork. I saw just one my last visit there.
A month ago they told me they planned to reopen November 1 when our borders are open to all countries for the first time since March. The entry requirements no longer include a negative Covid19 test, but still require sufficient medical insurance, masks, social distancing, etc. But tourists aren’t storming our borders and to make it worse, the U.S. Embassy recommends not traveling here because there is a new wave of the virus here like almost everywhere else. Gloomy – especially for the tourism businesses!
Thus Rancho Humo decided to not open and I had to cancel my reservation which fortunately was not pre-paid like some hotels are requiring now. But I’m still disappointed.
I will keep busy locally with walks and photography and continue my website & photo gallery building, so still a happy retiree in Costa Rica! 🙂 And I may even have Walter (my driver) take me on a couple of Water Fall Day Trips. We will see.
I’m still booked for Arenal Observatoryfor Christmas and they are open now, so I don’t anticipate any problem there. It is listed as one of the “Birding Hot Spots” of Costa Rica and is one of my top 5 favorite lodges, so I know that Christmas will be good and in the wilderness again! 🙂 And by the way, lodges like this take extra precautions because of the pandemic to keep everything sanitized and people masked and socially distanced, plus I spend most of my time solo hiking in the wilderness, so little chance of getting the virus. And just look at what I see from my sanitized room there:
Today I received the final edition of the “Retire for Less in Costa Rica” Newsletter. This wonderful couple, Paul & Gloria, are really retiring themselves now and it is about time! I have recommended them many times and they are keeping their website up for awhile, so check it out now if you haven’t before. They give the most practical advice of anyone on retiring in Costa Rica and they will be greatly missed, though maybe I will get to see them again for other reasons or socially. I hope so. They will be dividing their time between Costa Rica and Mexico which is an unusual way to retire, but very interesting.
In their last newsletter they included a summary of their philosophy over these 12 years that has not changed. I will try to copy it here:
What is the Retire for Less Philosophy?
Sometimes we tell people that we live the “retire for less lifestyle,” or perhaps we notice that others are also living in a similar way. So what exactly is it?
Conserve, simplify, enjoy. These three words sum up the Retire for Less Philosophy or lifestyle. We believe one can:
Enjoy the simple things in life
Discard some old beliefs regarding retirement
Count your cash, get your Social Security, and go where it’s cheaper
Reinvent yourself and begin a whole new, adventurous phase of your life
Look at your life differently, embrace the new culture, and try not to be ethnocentric
Scale down, live within your means, and learn to have fun, fun, fun!
Conserve energy, go green, and live without air-conditioners, heaters, dehumidifiers, and cars, as much as possible
Live without debt, reduce expenses, and reduce expectations
Save money, spend less, use less, and be satisfied with less –less is more
They will be missed and have certainly helped a lot of people retire here and elsewhere. Now I will just continue my very simple life in Costa Rica, not owning anything including a car. Zero debt. Walking almost daily. Enjoying the simple things of life in a simple country that puts people and nature above industry and money. Where nature is king and we will be carbon neutral in a year or so! (99% of electricity now.)
Of course he pushes Costa Rica because his relocation tours here are his business, but it is a fair look at the popular retirement destinations in Latin America and the costs of living in each with many or most having a cheaper cost of living than Costa Rica. I hope it will be helpful for those considering retirement “South of the Border!” 🙂
My personal advice is to visit each of the countries that interest you first for a general comparison, then visit the country you zero in on at least 3 or 4 times before actually moving there, plus doing all the relocation detail studies concerning housing, healthcare, insurance, language, etc. And for Costa Rica the ARCR is probably your best help on details.
The Featured Photo is one of mine of a sunrise on the Caribbean or Atlantic Coast at Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Hotel Banana Azul. That side of Costa Rica is probably the most affordable or lowest cost of living and rent because it is the least developed. For example, living on or near a Pacific Coast beach could cost you twice as much as on the Atlantic, while the Central Valley where I live costs somewhere in-between. And remember that both beaches are hotter and more humid than the hills in-between. 🙂
Going to Alajuela the other day I snapped a cellphone photo of the mask-requirement sign and the markers on the sidewalk to make sure we stand in line 1.8 meters apart (the same as 6 feet), but failed to snap the hand-washing station you must use before going in bus or in the little coffee shop.
Mask-wearing is required in public by national law now and almost everyone wears a mask. I only occasionally see a man or young person cheating but they usually have a mask in their hand or in their pocket.
If Coronavirus Lockdown has created a need for you to take a vacation into nature, you can visit the most popular nature vacation country in the world, Costa Rica, starting November 1. Just test negative for the virus, wear your mask, and come social distance in paradise! But first read the Entry Requirements. We’ve been working hard to keep down the number of cases in Costa Rica and you will have to help us continue that. 🙂
Anyone who watched that nasty, rude, interrupting liar in tonight’s debate can surely not vote for that devil. I turned it off after 50 minutes and will not watch any more debates. It is too sickening to watch him. There is something deeply wrong with a country that elects and supports a racist fascist like Trump. Vote him out overwhelmingly!Your only hope America!
We don’t have room for all of you in Costa Rica. 🙂