The Girls arrive in Costa Rica


On July 24, Kristy, the girls, and our two cats (Bubbles and Lizzie) arrived safely to San Jose, Costa Rica. The cats traveled quite well. They only whined being transported to and from the airports and between flights. Of course, the little sedation pills that we forced down them may have helped in quieting them while in flight. Jennaka and Tiana were superb flyers as well, as they pulled their own weight and handled anything that came our way.


Upon arrival to the San Jose Airport, to our surprise and delight, Kurt was waiting for us in baggage claim. What a beautiful sight that was!! He had already been in Costa Rica for a week to arrange living quarters and was finally picking up his long awaited surfboard bag that had been put on standby when he flew from LAX. Nice!!!


After the typical two hour drive from the airport to our little village on the west coast, Playa Esterillos Oeste, we immediately went to the little two bedroom apartment that Kurt had rented for our first month. It is owned by one of the sons (Manuel) of the man (Don Fernando) who owns the La Sirena Hotel, where we stayed our first 5 weeks on our vacation and who we are buying our property from. The apartment is right across the road from the Hotel so we have been granted swimming rights in the Hotel’s pool. It’s a lifesaver on these muggy, hot days.



After a few days of resting and catching our breaths from the journey that we just completed, we decided to get some things in order. Our first mission, besides renting a car so we could easily get around, was to open a bank account. With money and passports in hand we made the 15 minute drive north into Jaco and there we found the Banco Nacional. After our poor Spanish and the teller’s poor English we learned that we would need proof of our rental with an electricity bill and the copy of our intent to buy land before we could open an account. Back to Esterillos we went.


The following day we headed south 20 minutes to Parrita and their Banco Nacional. After going through a few bank employees until one was found that spoke a little English, and I mean a little, we were prepared with our land contract and our friend Andres’ electricity bill from his rental property. Guess they don’t need YOUR electricity bill, just an electricity bill. Also, showing that we were buying our land from Don Fernando carried a lot of clout as he is a well known, respected local (Don means Mr. and is a sign of great respect).


On the bank account application, as would be expected, it required an address. This of course stumped us as there are no street names or building numbers in Esterillos Oeste. The phone number we used was Andres’, so the banker gave him a call to get the needed address. For the bank’s purpose our address is 50 mts. norte Hotel La Sirena (50 meters north of La Sirena Hotel).


Friday, July 30th we went back into Parrita to meet with the lawyer, Esther, for a 10:30 appt. to transfer title and pay Don Fernando the reminder that was due. There, posted on her little wooden door, was a sign saying that she would not be in until 2 p.m. With 3 ½ hours to kill we accepted an invitation from Don Fernando to travel into the area’s back country to check out one of his farms (fincas) and see the piña fincas (pineapple farms). What an adventure that was as we bounced along in his well used, rickety SUV passing through holes that were more like pequeños lagos (small lakes). The road was so bouncy and his driving was so fast for such beat up roads that at times it felt like we were on an amusement park ride. I was surprised that no one got sick!


The piña farms were amazing. Bush-like plants as far as the eye could see with four to five piña s on each plant. This particular farm is owned by Costa Rica’s president’s son (a little CR who’s-who education for you). We stopped at a large piña processing facility out in the middle of the fields where we watched freshly picked piña s be cleaned and prepared for shipment. We learned that the tops that have been cut off are then placed back into the soil, just sitting right on top of the dirt, to generate another plant. We just may have to try that at our own place someday. So check out your next piña purchase, maybe it came from Costa Rica.


After our excursion with Don Fernando we headed back into Parrita where we, like many others, waited in line to meet with Esther. As the time slowly ticked by and the weather became hotter and sticker by the second and with no lawyer in sight, at 2:30 our little posy called it quits for the day and made arrangements to try again tomorrow. En mañana. The two most frequently used words in CR, “In the morning” or “the next day”.


Back to Parrita the next day, this time for a 7 a.m. appt., we were able to meet with Esther to close the deal on the property and also start the process of setting up a corporation which will help us in getting residency status in the near future. We are pleased to share, okay, maybe gloat, that the filing fees plus the lawyer’s fee for the purchase of the land was $621 and our annual property tax is $12. Nice!!


Even though we have only been here a week, we feel that we have already accomplished so much and most importantly have learned even more. Our Spanish is coming along slowly, but with each interaction we learn new words and more confidence for the next task that comes our way. Next on our agenda: finding a larger long-term rental and buying a car. Wish us luck! Hasta luego.


Pura Vida!