Because I know there are several readers of my blog who are considering relocation to Costa Rica for retirement like me or other reasons, I must link to this article: Due Diligence when relocating to Costa Rica on the Live in Costa Rica Blog and Tour website. It is one of the best summaries I’ve seen yet of some basics which you must consider if you are even thinking about moving to Costa Rica.
And the feature photo at top is my shot of “Whale’s Tail Beach” Uvita from a plane.
My 3 Most Important Things to Do Before Moving to Costa Rica
These are some of the houses and businesses that are along my 650 meter walk every day from the hotel to Radioterapia Siglo XXI clinic for my radiation treatments. Bear in mind that in the early days this neighborhood, called Uruca, was a “suburb” of downtown San Jose, a 10+ minute drive away now.
As in most urban development, some residential slowly turns to business and this neighborhood is no exception. I thought some readers would enjoy seeing what urban houses in this part of Latin America look like today. As a point of comparison, note that Costa Rica tends to be more modern and less traditional than Latin countries like Guatemala and Mexico. On this walk there is only one old house that would be considered “Spanish Colonial” with the tile roof and high compound wall. I think the neighborhood is interesting, but to help you not be bored, it’s a fast-moving slide show 🙂
And of course this is just one of the many birds who have brought hope to my terrace here in Atenas, Costa Rica – A Keel-billed Toucan in my Cecropia Tree (link to my Keel-billed Gallery). There is hope that the big rich nations are waking up to global warming and their long-time destruction of our planet. And there’s hope in the battle against my destructive cancer. Below is my update of activities that finally make it possible to begin Radiotherapy Monday.
Second Covid Shot this Morning
Quick and painless. I walk into the temporary vaccination clinic ahead of my 8 AM appointment, paperwork done quickly with shot even quicker and I was out of there before my appointment time. 🙂 I walked home, having taken a taxi to the clinic. With my knee no longer hurting I’m back into walking more and hopefully every day during radiation, though I will have to wear the big wide-brimmed hat they tell me! I must avoid sun during radiation.
Tomorrow Morning Stitches Removed
Tomorrow (Friday) morning at 9 AM I see my Ophthalmologist in San Jose who will remove the two stitches from my left eyelid and supposedly this is going too help me use my left eye for longer periods of time without an eye patch. So far I’ve gone up to 6 to 8 hours at a time without covering it. Reading tires it out more than general activities like kitchen work or even a little TV. I seldom watch more than an hour a day, if that much. For Earth Day I found a special on the internet streaming channel Curiosity Stream for wonderful nature documentaries and signed up for a year at just $10 or $2 more than one month of Netflix here. I will probably drop Netflix again. Seen all their documentaries I care about and the rest is mostly junk.
Got off subject there! 🙂 I assume the eyelid will stay partly closed now when the stitches are removed since she did something to make the top and bottom grow together at one corner. But, FYI, my left eyelid will never blink again or fully close.
UPDATE: 23 April – She did not remove the stitches today. She first said she would remove just 2 of the 3, leaving one to help protect from radiation. But because she used nothing for pain, I flinched and she said she would not remove them at all for now, saying I have a “low tolerance for pain” and I think she has a low sympathy level! 🙂 She was also very painful to me at beginning of surgery. So now she will wait until after radiotherapy and try again in June. Hmmm. 🙂 Permanent stitches? — But the Good News: both eyes are doing very well and she is pleased with the surgery results. I’m already using my left eye more than 6 to 8 hours a day, so progress even if I have a low pain tolerance! 🙂
Radiation Starts Monday
This coming Monday, 26 April, I get my first radiotherapy in San Jose and daily Monday to Friday for six weeks or through June 4. They were not comfortable with all these other overlapping medical appointments plus needed the time this week to prepare for my targeted treatments. She is studying all the reports on both of my left cheek surgeries, the earlier “skin cancer” one and the big one March 15 including biopsies, etc. to help her target all remaining bits of possible cancer. My future is sort of in her skilled hands. 🙂 Dr. Bonilla is both an oncologist and radiologist and my surgeon says the best here.
I’m still bargaining with hotels near the radiation center but hoping for the Best Western with four nearby restaurants and hope to schedule that today. I plan to spend Monday to Thursday nights there and back in Atenas Friday-Sunday nights. I will be giving regular updates from San Jose starting next week which I hope will be interlaced with some nature reports also! 🙂
Unlike rich countries with unlimited resources to buy vaccine as fast as the rich pharmaceuticals can make them, our government is buying about 200,000 shots at a time with the following priority list of who gets their shot when through public clinics.
Here are just some of the many reasons I love being “Retired in Costa Rica” and I thank Christopher Howard for first printing this “song” in his Live in Costa Rica Blog & Website. It was written by the late Lair Davis to express his love for this wonderful country. It lists many of the reasons that I live here and will continue to until I die. Though he does not emphasize my primary love of the country – NATURE – and all of the natural beauty found here, it expresses many of the “people reasons” for living here:
Today (April 1) is the day that our local Atenas Public Clinic & Social Security had scheduled me for the Coronavirus COVID19 Vaccination at 1 PM and I got it right on time! I earlier asked the radiation doctor if the vaccine would be any conflict with what they will be doing and was told “no”, thus continued as scheduled.
In Costa Rica they started vaccinating with healthcare workers and first responders, then the many here in their 100’s, the 90’s and 80’s, just now getting to us who are exactly 80 year olds this week. So when I got to the clinic they sent me around back to a storage building that had been converted into a vaccination clinic and joined about 10 or so other 80-year-olds waiting for their vaccination too. Quick and totally painless. One of the easiest shots I ever received and a guy nurse did it! I had earlier said that girl nurses give more gentle shots, but not over this guy! 🙂 And we are getting the Pfizer type here in Atenas if that matters to anyone. They brought the shots in one at a time in a little hand cooler from the big freezer, quickly jabbed me, and asked me to wait 5 minutes for any reaction – none! My arm is not even sore! 🙂
My vaccination card showed that I had the first shot today and that my second one is scheduled for 22 April. I asked if I could get my second shot before beginning radiation on the 19th? The poor guy went all over the place trying to find someone with the authority to change my second appointment. Finally he told me that he was sorry, but I would have to reschedule it through the Clinic by calling them (en español). I handled all of the above in my limited español, but I never do good on the phone, so I will see if Radioterapia can call them and reschedule it as an official medical person speaking Spanish.
My New Vaccination Card with only Covid on it.
On the way home I stopped by the Farmacia for some more stick-on eye patches (I’ve internet-ordered some better black cloth ones), got some groceries before all shuts down for Easter and then grabbed a Grande Nachos from Donde Bocha and on home. I ate my nachos and then a neighbor stopped by with two desserts for my Easter Weekend and now the day is nearly gone! 🙂 And that is what a big day is like for an old man retired in Costa Rica! 🙂
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! 🙂
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 . . .
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. 🙂