Tag Archives: moving to costa rica

Our Life with Covid 19 Updates and other Nonsencial stuff

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Life with Covid 19 in NYC

Wow, I cannot believe I was so busy in Costa Rica with my kids and my mountain and businesses that I did not have time to write for years at a time! As of this Covid 19 update we are in NYC, or at least half of us are. I came back to NYC last year in September with the kids, to help care for my father, who recently passed away in February about 30 days before the city went into lock down

Living Between NYC and Costa Rica

We are a split family right now, thanks to the virus. We had been traveling back and forth quite a bit (thanks to Jetblue and United having cheap direct flights from EWR and JFK to SJO – SJO is the Central Valley’s International Airport and don’t believe the hype about one coming to Orotina!), and living half in CR…half here, some of us there at times, some of us here at times. Now we cannot travel, and I sincerely appreciate my life in Costa Rica more than ever. My children miss it terribly, and while I know I need to be here for my mother and my next degree that I am studying for, I cannot wait to start integrating my life back there again! I will TRY and document some things here for other moms (and Dads!) who want to move to Costa Rica, and are trying to figure out whether it is really do-able. I can tell you right now… it is!

Is it Still possible to Move to Costa Rica during the Covid 19 Pandemic?

NO! Not DURING – but completely possible after. Listen, the world will re-open so be ready. For now, you will need to wait since the country is in lock down and not allowing anyone in who is not a Costa Rican citizen.  The borders are closed as they struggle to contain the virus, just like all the other countries. There seems to be less spread for now in Costa Rica than many other countries, and it is concentrated in the larger areas. San Ramon has seen VERY FEW CASES which is AWESOME! Keep up the good isolation San Ramon! And folks reading this from elsewhere, please know Costa Rica is not a shangri-la and untouched. It is part of this world just like anywhere else, and right now there is only about 1 flight in and out every 2 weeks from the US, and ONLY CITIZENS are allowed to travel into the country because of the Covid-19 virus measures in Costa Rica. Even if you are a permanent resident, my understanding is you will NOT be allowed in.

PLAN for your Move to Costa Rica, just like us!

So if you want to move to Costa Rica, use this time wisely and do your HW.  Get ready. Shoot, I am! I have been ordering my seeds, getting the art supplies ready for my daughter, ordering sun dresses from Old Navy – making sure the suitcases have zippers and the passports are up to date. My kids and I are CR citizens and can go at any time, but since the flights are few and far in between, and I am now caring for my 86 year old mother who has NO legal papers in Costa Rica, we need to rethink life just like all of you. But get ready and MAKE YOUR PLANS! I have a feeling there will be a bit of a rush when this starts to lift as folks start doing the things they always wanted to do. Like Move to Costa Rica.

Make Sure you Don’t go Broke with Kids in Costa Rica

Please know you will need to have a cash flow.  This may seem obvious, but for some it is not and Costa Rica is not Mexico or Nicaragua cheap.  If you can work remotely, I highly suggest getting on that now and talking to your company about doing it from CR.  If you can’t work remotely, make some other realistic plans since non-citizens are NOT allowed to work in CR unless hired by a company there with proper visa work. (All things that may change now, I will post links for this as soon as I start gathering that info – you might want to shoot me an email or sign up to get those updates from us)  One smart way to move is to take out the equity in your home in the US if you have one, rent it out to cover the loan, and then buy a few other stateside rentals that can pay your bills in CR.  I can connect you with VERY reputable companies that have helped other clients of ours prepare for the financial end of their move this way. Don’t just grab a ticket, fly your family down when the border opens, and buy a small farm thinking you can teach some yoga to make ends meet since you spent all the cash on a pretty house with a view. Its not that easy. Trust me – we found out the hard way and now I am back in NYC getting another degree while caring for my family’s estate and putting things in order.  Granted, I needed and wanted to do that anyway, but remember – you can’t live if you can’t feed your kids.  And all the lemons, coffee beans and mangos in the world won’t fill them up! But there are ways to live cheaply, there are places that need some things more than others (businesses, doctors, teachers), and if your money flow relies on the internet, then you need to cross out a LOT of Costa Rica from your options of places to live so lets start talking about your options. I have helped so many families realize their dream of living in Costa Rica, there is no reason why you should be any different. And I can’t wait to start working with families to do that again – helping folks move to Costa Rica and start a new life.  Especially in this time where crazy ideas are becoming real – living on a 9 acre farm with no one else around just might sound like Paradise more than ever now.  It did to me 7 years ago, and still does now

Whats Happening at Vista Valverde B&B and my Real Estate Company in Costa Rica?

They’re not dead, just resting – at least I hope! But seriously, only time will tell. Vista Valverde is, of course, closed for now.  And sometime during the week my father passed away, I noticed my real estate sites were down – Bluetierrarealtygroup.com and MLSinCostaRica.com. By the time I called my tech guy in Costa Rica, it was too late. Something happened and the cloud company canceled my sites. ENTIRELY! No back up (tech guy is no longer my tech guy, needless to say) So I am rebuilding from my old site at CostaRicaPM.com – Paradise Management Realty. Welcome to Blue Tierra’s Paradise Management! lol… where there is a will there is a way, and I am hoping to bring the businesses back to life in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic. I am also trying to work with Kai and Bruno who will be running our Wellness Retreats at Vista Valverde to discuss real measures we can take to keep ourselves safe, and our guests and clients in the next stages of life with this virus, and the new understanding of what our future holds in the context of possible future pandemics. What do we need need to improve upon as a small hotel? A retreat center? A tour base for future expats exploring our area of San Ramon? How do we proceed? Do we want to? And if not – what is next?


Self-Isolation in NYC vs. Costa Rica

So as the time ticks by and we self-isolate in a 2BR apartment in NYC, we dream of self-isolating in Costa Rica.  I dream of answers to the above questions, in a completely uncertain day to day to future.  My office overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the mountains of San Ramon have given way to a small plant, my father’s globe, and a view of buildings along 95th street in NYC.  What I wouldn’t give to be in San Ramon now where the boys can run around free, I can teach my daughter piano and bring her suitcases full of art supplies.  I’d be running around our mountain dotted with mango trees, pines and lemons, and I could work on the possible re-opening of 2 businesses, just like I am here in NYC – but not in NYC! Vista Valverde B&B and WELLNESS Retreat Center (yes – that last part is new! what do you think?) and Blue Tierra Realty’s Paradise Management of San Ramon (I am still working on that title, lol). I will NEVER again complain about having too many lemons, I miss them so much. Vista Valverde has every kind you can imagine…. green on the outside and inside, green on the outside orange on the inside, yellow on the outside yellow on the inside, orange on the outside orange on the inside, green on the outside yellow on the inside… I now have about 102 recipes on our Lemons – What to do with them All? Pinterest page and I can’t wait to try them all! Of course that would be in between running around the mountain and building tree houses with the boys, going to the Multi-Plaza mall in Escazu with my teenage daughter, hammock sunsets over the pacific, swimming under waterfalls and falling down on the beach as the waves lap over me. I. Miss. Home.

This is Just now

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Over and over I get asked the same question. … Will you ever go back?  Granted, we are in the business of moving here – and at a B&B where many folks stay while deciding whether Costa Rica is right for them, its no wonder we get asked so often.  It seems that many are surprised when I give a simple answer  – “This is just NOW. Nothing has to be permanent.”

With 3 kids, 2 businesses and 4 dogs, are they looking for something more definite from me? People are searching for a finite and definite reason for possibly making a change in their own lives. Is what we do, do-able? Is it attractive enough for them? Or maybe they just are looking for me to say- we were crazy, hell no! and give them some affirmation for their own day to day experience of life wherever they come from.  Truth be told, I would have said the same thing at any point in my life, about anywhere I lived, and anything I was doing at the moment. This is just now.  My email address for years was a mis-spelled version of Gypsymama, and a degree in archaeology allowed me the luxury of being able to do just about anything, anywhere. That included bartending, which led to opening my own bar; paralegal, then legal assistant in real estate sales which led me to accept the offer to take over Paradise Management Realty with my husband here in Costa Rica.  Prior to that was the initial dream of living in David’s native Costa Rica, which led us to buy Vista Valverde B&B here in the beautiful town of San Ramon.  Every choice and “heads up” in life leads you to the next, and I guess I just don’t try and hold on too hard.  This is just now, before was then, and next is… well, up for grabs.

We are all set in this permanent mindset – what are we going to be when we grow up? We are asked over and over again as children – a form of almost the same question I am being asked now.  Its as if they are trying to figure out if I changed my mind mid-life, came to Costa Rica, and they want to know if I would go back to being what I was before.  Is this it? Is this what I want to be when I grow up?  Well, I don’t know.  And since you are asking, and you are here,  or you are thinking about moving here, chances are you don’t either.  And I am going to be no help with that except to say –  It’s OK to not know.

Let’s look at it this way.  People are looking for you to give one answer to the grow up question. Right?  When I was a kid, I’d say – pilot, mechanic, physicist, pianist and archaeologist.  “Oh, so you don’t know,” is what the “grownup” would respond.  Really, is that what you heard?  Because what I said was, I wanted to be many things.  Not that I did not know. But the questioner wants one answer, because its all they have been taught.  Your answer is meant to dictate the rest of your life, and tell them all about you, from where you are going to live to how many children you have. When you answer pilot, mechanic, physicist, pianist and archaeologist, they just can’t wrap their head around it.  It’s like moving to Costa Rica! But that does not mean it is not possible, and it certainly does not mean the child does not know what they want to be.

This brings me to the purple elephant in the room – that part of the question “when you grow up”.  Perhaps its this very part of the question that makes it impossible for so many of us who move to Costa Rica to answer these kinds of questions in the first place.  Will we ever go back?  Not if that means we have to grow up in some way!  If growing up means one choice, one destination, then maybe that is why we are here now.  And maybe that is why the generated question – will you ever go back, will I ever choose what I want to be when I grow up, live it, do it and that’s that, or return to some former choice, is not one I can even answer. We like it here.  You don’t have to grow up here, in a way.  You just have to grow old-  that’s nature’s choice, and I’m fine with that. I will keep jumping in waterfalls as long as I can.

Even if we return to NY, or the States in general, it would never be for that 9-5, materialistic, drinks at happy hour and deals on the golf course action.  So what do we do now that we are here?  Why would someone want to move here?  Can you support yourself? Will you be happy here like us?  I think that will require another post entirely, but lets touch on it for a second.

In order to understand why someone moves here, or anywhere that does not fit the generic mold of growing up in one of the first world countries like the US,  you need to get your mind off a linear existence model.  First of all, even I won’t work for $3/hour.  I just don’t know how to live off that.  So getting a regular job and living life like the scheduled 9-5er, or here in CR 7-6er, is not the life I want.  But many expat families have!  Some get transferred from their own country to areas in San Jose and Heredia, mostly, and some find work here. I chose Costa Rica because I see options to other things like having my own business, and being able to do so without all of the extra weight that a small business owner carries in the states.  Having a successful business here still has its risks, but the risk is not your house and your life.  You spend time with your children, enjoy life, even while having your own business, or even having a 9-5 job! We all know the shit that small businesses go through in the states no matter what the government says about Main Street.  And while I’m at it, what about all the businesses off main street?  It’s just too hard in the states- and I have done it, successfully.  I don’t want to anymore.  I am not willing to give up my personal life for my business life. Raising my kids requires my money and my time.  I understand that now, and I can get that here.

One of my clients wants to move down “Because its like the States was 100 years ago.   You have the freedom to do what you want.”  And that is part of the basic mindset a lot of folks have down here.  Costa Rica has a lot more freedom, and the ability to succeed if you think outside of the box.  If you have savings, you can think inside the box and live pretty cheaply for what you get in return.  Not that Costa Rica is the cheapest country for expats to choose from, but once you look at the healthcare and the peaceful stabilty, it is well worth the slightly higher pricetag.  Some people come for the climate, some come to stretch their retirement dollar, some come to raise their families, like us, in a slightly less competitive, more down to earth, environment.  And some just come to surf!  But if you think you are going to come here and get one or more of those things with all the rest being like life back home – no matter where you go in Costa Rica, from Escazu to the Panamanian border, you will be sadly disappointed. This is different, in every shape and form.  And no matter how ready you are, you won’t be ready – and that’s ok too.  Its part of the adventure, enjoy it!  If you don’t, you can always do something else.  This is just Now, nothing has to be permanent.

So to answer the question as I hear it, yes, I would go back to something completely new. I would possibly resettle in California, which we love, or maybe the Florida keys… probably not upstate NY, but definitely the NYC, where I grew up and still absolutely love.  The lakehouse upstate would go back to being a summer home, maybe even a new little B&B.

My husband and I work, we work hard, we work hard for ourselves and our family, our life and our freedom here.  What we have found is our work goes further than the tax man and the mortgage broker. What many retirees have found is their hard earned money goes further than their medical bills and their heating bills, and they can take mini vacations all year long to the places in Central and South America they always dreamed of. What many families have found is that their children can be home-schooled or put in private school with small classes for less than their school taxes back home, learn other languages, and have more freedoms and adventures of their own as well.  We are here to live, not to die – we are here for personal adventure as well as some thrill seeking – we all know what Costa Rica has to offer when it comes to volcanos, waterfall jumping, white water rafting, surfing, you name it. But its the adventurous spirit that sees those things as a lifestyle, not just as a vacation. And that is why we are here, and why going back to us, is not the right question really.  More of  “Is this your last stop?”  and to that question, I will answer: I doubt it….

Pura vida.