Let Costa Rica get your spirits up, Instead of Covid bringing you down

Let Costa Rica get your spirits up.

Let Costa Rica get your spirits up instead of covid bringing you down. Yes, the election is over, and the cold weather is in across a couple hemispheres. Yet here we are enjoying what Costa Rica has to offer.  Ask anyone their top reasons for coming to Costa Rica and the first 3 or 4 things they tell you will be familiar. Warm weather, Lots of Beaches, Friendly people, Great ecosystems, Surfing, and that list goes on. That and the restrictions in North America should be enough to get you on a connecting flight to our great area for at least 90 days.

I am including a link further down to my web page with dozens of Covid test facilities to accommodate you on your return trip whenever that may be.

But there are some even better reasons to get to Costa Rica 

It seems we have people from all over the world here soaking up the sun on those very beaches. Spending days together with friends new and old having adventures near and far. But there are some even better reasons to get to Costa Rica. Some of the ways Costa Rica get your spirits up.

Over the years that I traveled here and now living here for 7 years, bits and pieces make up memories and experiences that shape each day. With the COVID-19 pandemic upon us, its easy to find families in need and great people going out of their way every day to help. From food drives to personal phone calls, great volunteers and friends are here in paradise being all they can be. It is awesome to see and you can be sure seeing that dedication is forming new memories daily. With that said they need your help. I know I have asked before. And trust me, I will ask again, until this pandemic is over. Please give I will attach more information and links below.

But this newsletter is dedicated to a good friend and his family back in Canada.

You will not find it in a travel brochure.  

But there are other memories that come in such different ways. A few years ago, I was visiting family and friends in Canada. We were invited to the home of a personal friend for BBQ and some great conversation. I had met my friend years earlier through work and later met his wife. During dinner she shared memories of a time she spent in Costa Rica as a young woman on an exchange program. She enjoyed it so much, that she stayed a few months longer after the exchange ended. She talked about Costa Rica and the host family with vigor and a sparkle in her eyes. The Spanish she had learned quickly came back, and the evening turned out to be an incredibly special treat. Sadly, she became terribly ill and was taken from us before she was able to return. I am so glad she shared that memory. You will not find it in a travel brochure. I guess that is one to those special moments, that cannot be reduced to words.

Costa Rica has been named as the number one.

Again, Costa Rica has been named as the number one place to retire. Like we didn’t know. Here is a link to a great article on just that topic. Let Costa Rica get your spirits up

Costa Rica is named as the Best Accessible Destination 2021

So how do we get here? And what about returning? Many people decided to stay though the pandemic. Landed residents or not, Costa Rica has been very gracious in extending everyone’s travel visa. Letting those lucky enough to be in paradise stay a little longer. Even though Costa Rica does not require testing for entry, For those of you wanting to travel back and forth, your now required to have a test prior to boarding a plane to many countries. I am attaching a link to page listing all of the testing facilities to accommodate you here in Costa Rica including our local Clinic here in Playas del Coco.

Click this link for;  Costa Rica Covid Testing Facilities 

Here is some information to donate to the local food drives as the great volunteers work thru the Covid pandemic; 

  1. NO AMOUNT IS TOO SMALL. You can PAYPAL or ZELLE to michael@tanktopsflipflops.com
  2. “Patas y Manos” (Paws and Hands)   https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s xclick&hosted_button_id=Z8DDX5FBJWNWW&source=url

Some of the Great Properties Available

Click on the property for the listing and click below for the video

Pacifico Lot 13 Spec Home  $895,000. Playas del Coco

Mar Vista Private Estate $1,395,000, Playa Hermosa

Casa de Atardecer, $695,000.  Playa Hermosa

Ladera del Mar Ranchitos Ridge Lot 4, $219,000.  Playas Del Coco

Condominium Jade Beach B17, $92,000  Playas del Coco

Condominium Flamenco Rosa C3, $141,000.  Playas del Coco

Pacifico Lifestyle 509, $144,000.  Playas Del Coco

Prados del Rio 18, $134,900.  Comunidad 

Costa Rica Independence 2020

 

September 15th, Independence day in Costa Rica.

That’s right Independence Day. Wind nor rain, nor sun, nor pandemic can change the fact, Costa Rica remains a sovereign country. September 15 in 1821 marks the day Costa Rica, along with the rest of Central America broke away from Spain becoming part of the First Mexican Empire. At that time Costa Rica and Nicaragua already operated as on autonomous region. After a short civil war mainly attributed to the Battle of Ochomogo (next to Cartago) in 1823, the Republicans had defeated the Imperialists to proceed with Costa Rica’s further independence from The First Mexican Empire. All was in vain as word arrived shortly after, that the First Mexican Empire ceased to exist, leaving Costa Rica in union as part of the Federal Republic of Central America. In 1825 Juan Mora Fernández was elected the first Costa Rican head of state. Four towns in Central Valley, Heredia, Cartago, Alajuela and San Jose argued over the Capital until 1837 when San Jose was officially declared. Having operated as an independent state for many years, Costa Rica formally withdrew from Guatemala City’s central government and the Federal Republic of Central America.

Some interesting highlights about Costa Rica as a Sovereign State.

Costa Rica built its initial wealth on coffee exports starting 200 years ago. This ushered in the Coffee Baron Era. That is another story. (I personally spent much time in a building witch once housed a Coffee Baron family. It is interesting to witness the difference in construction which housed these rich families).

Prior to coffee, Cocoa, tobacco, and sugar were the primary exports with bananas arriving approximately 100 years later.

I believe the biggest portion of inhabitants in the central plateau around the time of independence were of Spanish origin with other Europeans. Later this was followed by USA Americans, Some Chinese and Jamaicans on the Atlantic coast.

The ox cart was the main mode of commercial transportation, with a few ox carts remaining in use today. This is a recent photo about 20 miles from where I am sitting. Still in use to move sand and gravel around some back lanes.

 

(Filadelfia de Guanacaste)

During Costa Rica’s history, there have been different leaders including military dictator presidents. But the most significant event since independence was the military being abolished. As a personal note. No one can predict the future. But as we look to some of our neighboring countries, we are seeing the military being used against its citizens. The foresight to prevent that from becoming a possibility here in Costa Rica is noted.

In 1849 the province of Chiriquí joined Panama. This was a sore spot for Costa Rica. In that area, french competed as the primary language and is still used as a second language today.

1825 was the year Guanacaste decided to join, and was annexed by Costa Rica. This event sometime gets confused with Independence Day. At the time of joining Guanacaste was known as Nicoya. But that is a whole different story

Independence day is regularly celebrated with every variety of Dance and parade. Ticos can dance like the wind and do get dressed up for the occasion.

More facts;

It does not snow in Costa Rica and we are below Hurricane Alley. We get tropical storms. But the last hurricane to hit Costa Rica soil was over 150 years ago. Costa Rica is home to the only place in the world you can see both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans from one spot. Costa Rica has set aside 25% of it’s land as protected zones. That’s no small feat. We house an estimated 5% of the worlds bio-diversity.

Life Costa Rica style, or as we say Pura Vida

Theo Veenstra and LetsBuyCostaRica.com to be apart of Costa Rica and Paradise. Don’t miss another Independence day here in Costa Rica

Costa Rica update, (Travel, Purchase, Live) The dream is alive

Ever since the first time I heard of Costa Rica, It became the place of dreams. Why was Costa Rica recommended to me? The same reason I recommend it to you. With everything going on around the world. Costa Rica isn’t just a great place to travel. It’s a great place to purchase and live your dreams in paradise.

At the moment getting here is a bit of an issue. As is most of the rest of the world. But just hang tight, we will work it out. Lets get up to speed. 

Towards the end of March, Costa Rica the place of dreams, imposed travel restrictions on foreigners entering the country basically following the World Health Organizations guidelines. That included many restrictions for the Costa Rican population. Some of the restrictions may have been over the top or not. Truthfully past is past and we need to focus on tomorrow. So where does that leave us in respect to tourism, ownership and living your dreams here in Costa Rica? Lets see where we are presently and then Speak to where I believe things will go in the near future.

As of Aug 2nd, Costa Rica opened it’s borders to almost everyone with considerable hurdles. As stated in the link below, Costa Rica is accepting people from Canada, UK and European Union. Residents of other countries can also fly into Costa Rica through any of the above countries with a condition of having had a 14 day stay in said countries prior to entry. Costa Rica is also requiring a negitive Covid-19 test within 48 hours of take off. The Covid-19 is a PCR-RT test. My understanding is that this test is already available at some European airports. Costa Rica also requires Travel insurance available through INS the Costa Rican state insurance company.  Yes it’s expensive. Next a digital epideiological must also be submitted The link to the form it also attached below. Lastly the only way into Costa Rica is by air. Land borders are closed and will remain so to non-business travel. I do not have information on entering via water ports. But I expect they are being treated the same as land borders.

So why is Costa Rica being so hard entry. It seems the government is under the impression as is most of the rest of the world that restricting entry will slow down the spread of this virus. The main objective here is to not overload the health system here both physically and financially. Many people complain about the closures on the economy and they are not necessarily wrong. But I want to take a moment and explain the financial aspect. Between tourists and seasonal or other workers, Costa Rica can have as many as 700,000 foreigners at any one time during high season. Most of those people do not carry any type of health insurance or contribute to the state system, even though the price of doing so is very economical here in Costa Rica. Imagine the financial burden on a small country of 5,000,000 people in providing free emergency healthcare to all those foreigners.

What is Costa Rica doing to adjust? And where do I see that going in the near future?  

The government here traditionally handles adversary in the same way. Costa Rica puts out laws or requirements and then changes everything later. Yes it’s confusing, but its something you will get used to when your living here. The same will happen with entry/travel requirements. On a good note, the government has on several occasions, graciously extended the time foreigners currently in the country can stay. With visa and drivers license extensions permitted until November 18th. I do believe they will extend the visa again should it be needed. The president has asked the social security ministry to rethink the travel insurance coverage requirements. My understanding is they will allow private insurers with coverage of medical expenses of a minimum of $20,000 and housing coverage of at least $4,000. Those are extremely low minimums and insurance companies will have low cost options. The PCR-RT test has a turn around time of 3-4 hours. In the very near future it will be easily available almost anywhere around the world. If you can have something sent online in a day or two, this test will be available. The health ministry has also increased the number of beds available for Covid-19 patients, so we are not hitting capacity at the moment.

Watch my YouTube and Facebook Channels for updates

   My Opinion is: We are experiencing a very different life at the moment here in Costa Rica, just as other places around the world. We are currently headed into our rainiest part of the year. As such I believe the government is just pushing things a little further down the line. I can’t help but think the easing of restrictions are coming in time for high season and Costa Rica will open up as other countries equally open. I would suggest to keep your travel plans in place. Also this is a great opportunity to buy the home of your dreams here in paradise. Interestingly many deals are being bought up as the dream is alive in Costa Rica. Get in touch with me now. The cold weather is just a couple months away.

Link to the Epidemiological Form

Link to a great article by The Tico Times related to entry requirements

 

 

Stay focused here in Costa Rica, June 2020

I’ve written 4 newsletters that didn’t make it past rough draft in the last 5 weeks. Why you ask? Wanting to “Stay focused”. I have been watching the changes both here in Costa Rica and around the world. What I write tends to be irrelevant the next day. But let’s stay focused for just a minute.

What is happening

Let me start by saying “What is happening around the globe will set a new precedent for how each of us measures tomorrow.” We all have our own opinions about race issues, the virus, history, government, other countries and how things should be handled.

Here in Costa Rica, the government is taking a cautious approach to the Covid 19 as everyone is aware. Some people are not as enthusiastic about the direction Costa Rica has taken as are others. It’s very obvious the effects of our extended shutdown are having and will have on people and business here. Why is this so important? Costa Rica is a developing country. In many ways we are on par with North American and European countries. Yet certain things are still far below ideal and need extra care and support. Many people here maintain life by working on a day to day basis. As anywhere else there is special concern for the poorer communities that live in tighter quarters. Is it difficult to control an outbreak in these areas? Yes! As such, things remain closed down in the hope of containment. So far, the numbers show good results. Let us hope that continues. But make no mistake, a large part of the Costa Rican population is paying a terrific price to maintain those low numbers. This means the government will have to open things up soon. The price is to high both financially and socially.

Short Term Changes

As for the tourism and expat side of things. Yes, I see some changes. Many of our clients are self-employed or small businesspeople. For some of them, life has completely changed, at least in the short term. This is already shuffling the order of Buyers and Sellers.

Several Buyers that were on the fence so to speak have decided to make the move. Some are putting in offers via live video walkthroughs, with or without conditions of the borders opening by a certain date. They are looking to get away from the hysteria that is gripping countries. As such when the border open, they will be living in here within days.

Secondly, the investors are looking for sales. That is not limited to Costa Rica, of course. That is happening throughout the world and we will see more of the same. There is opportunity there. Selling at a reduced price isn’t always bad, when you can also repurchase at the same.

In the short term, the rest of the market remains in a wait and see game. Are prices coming down? I would say there is definitely pressure on prices.

For Sellers. The domestic buyers are having more trouble getting financing because the banks in Costa Rica have tightened up until they see the economy fully reopen and the exchange rate stay stable. (In the last 3 months the exchange has stayed relatively stable). That means there are some good, qualified domestic buyers here looking for a competitive mortgage. Keep that in mind.

All this translates into “the way we do business” is changing. As the world changes, I will change to accommodate everyone’s needs. So, feel free to call me. Just to stay in touch or to run an idea by me. You can be certain we have options to keep your dreams moving ahead.

Costa Rica will remain and strengthen as a tourist destination over time. When the borders open, we should see a decrease to vacation travel in the short term Especially to Hotels. One of the main drivers there is, going into quarantine upon arrival and on return to country of origin. Along with that will be protocols on entry and being able to ensure people do follow the rules. Travel will head towards normal as people become comfortable flying, vaccines come online, protocols are streamlined and the cold weather sets in.

What are some of the challenges Costa Rica faces? The current stop in tourism and the effects that will have on direct flights into Costa Rica pose challenges. Many of you are in or near gateway cities and will not experience much difference. I would expect an extra hour or two in overall travel time.  But for the most part, service will improve as experience is gained just like anything else.

Agriculture is the other big one here. Costa Rica always has about 300,000 migrant workers mainly from Nicaragua. Currently the government published the need for 74,000 farm workers to supplement the current shortage. When rainy season ends that need will increase.

Medical equipment and services comprise a good part of the economy. Agricultural and medical equipment exports are affected as border restrictions and transport difficulties delay products such as raw materials to manufacture, and the packaging needed to export.

What is the upside here in Costa Rica?

I would have to say that personally I have not witnessed the amount of division in Costa Rica that appears in the news from other parts of the world. As for the Virus? The Costa Rican government could not buy the amount of positive advertising we receive with our low numbers. As I mentioned earlier, the people of Costa Rica have and are paying a huge price to keep the country in somewhat of a bubble. The government has also made provisions for the many tourists that decided to stay and ride out the pandemic here, including medical coverage, driving privileges and visa extensions.

On a personal note.

I do believe between the Covid 19 Virus, the racism protests going on around the world, and some other serious issues, we have an opportunity to come closer together in a common cause. As long as we stay focused. Personally, I was never the protester type. But I certainly believe the voice of the people has a place. Sadly, a very few destroy what others are trying to achieve. I believe in the police. Again a few seem to turn the tide for other good hard-working people. I’m a Christian guy. I have no trouble saying that, either at work or in private. So, you won’t have to guess how I look at things. I am open in hearing what others believe or do not believe. Every day is a good day to learn something new. But I will say this. We learned right and wrong at home, at school, at church, at work and at play. We learned it from our parents, our teachers, our friends, our friend’s parents, and coworkers. It was and still should be treasured to be treated or treat others with respect. Black Lives Matter? Of Course! All lives matter. It is very evident that many people have taken their eye of the ball. It has taken us years of indifference to get to this point. Look around. What we allow into the mainstream out of indifference cannot be changed overnight. Let us all stay focused on what really matters and start making the changes in ourselves needed to build a better future. Doing so will include standing up for what’s right and proper. To many times over the years all of us have disagreed with what the new acceptable is. Yet we have not always taken the time to get those important changes reversed. I suggest it’s time to start turning the ship around. That’s about as honest as I can be without writing a book. I know it’s what my friends expect of me.

Lastly. The borders here in Costa Rica will open. Be patient and before you know it, we will all be enjoying each other’s company again. In the mean time, Buyers are taking this opportunity to pick up properties using our online videos and by live walkthroughs. Don’t miss your chance to get the next part of your life started. It seems our area of Costa Rica really is becoming one of the most sought after places on earth. Feel free to comment or call me. Lets get you on the path to paradise today.

My YouTube Channel here Lets Buy Costa Rica RE/MAX Theo Veenstra 

Thanks Theo