Fly & Buy. Invest for under $200,000. Get $1500 to help cover your winter in Costa Rica.

The guy who runs the theoakstamarindo.com website asked me to write a long article on how to buy real estate in Costa Rica. The longer the better, he said. But, no. The sales market is good. You may need that article (probably not), but I don’t. You can find all you want on my YouTube channel, The Oaks Tamarindo, from a couple of years ago.

What I do want to do is to share some words from Uncle Bub, who passed away four years ago at age 91. Uncle Bub lived a full life in New Orleans with his wife and family, was a Navy Captain and an officer and a gentleman. He told my mother once, “You know, I really had nothing to complain about health wise until I was over 70 years old. Oh, to be 70 again”.

Oh, to be 70 again. I am approaching 70. Instead of advice from my 70-year-old self to my 20-year-old self, this is advice from my 91-year-old self to my 70-year-old self. Exercise, eat well, sleep well, do well (and do good), be with people you love or at least like, enjoy your health while you can, enjoy every day. Do more of what you want to do and do less of everything else.

I have found the right location. I have found a second life, maybe even a third life, outside Tamarindo, Costa Rica, with Rox, my wife and love now for ten years, family, friends, owners and guests at The Oaks Tamarindo.  I am trying to heed the words of Uncle Bub to enjoy life while I have health. I enjoy time with pleasant people, of whom there are many, and do my best to avoid the few unpleasant ones. Does this apply to your life?

I am inspired by Bob and Sheila, snowbirds from Edmonton who live here when it is cold up north. Their first few years Bob golfed almost every day, then took up scuba. Sheila does charitable work for children. I am inspired in a different way, not planning to do it myself, mind you, by Bud, who came here from North Carolina at 81, newly divorced from his 50 something “trophy wife” (for you ladies, he may have been a “trophy husband”), probably not, respect. He rides horses and flirts with every skirt. Harmless until he’s not. Definitely found a new life. I am inspired by Kris and Ed, who are working because they want to, and who spend their time here with their horses and friends. I am inspired by Bill and Jackie, younger than me, who moved their work life from Pennsylvania to Costa Rica and are doing what they did before, just happier doing it here.

By happy coincidence, I found this article about yoga Saturday morning in The London Times; its essence is that a gentle form of yoga is good for you. Since my rowing machine is a fine clothes rack, I am giving this a try. Costa Rica is the country of the future, so I am starting manana. Mary, a fantastic yoga instructor, lives about 200 yards away. Rox and I will see how it goes.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/magazine/the-times-magazine/anna-murphy-how-my-midlife-yoga-fix-is-transforming-my-body-blnl7hbsq.

That is Plan A. Plan B, already in progress, is to travel more, and to help others do the same, should that appeal. We start with Pasadena, where Sophie, my daughter’s first child, will be making her entrance in April. Then Edinburgh in August for Festival. Which leaves much more. Family in Virginia, Madrid in October (jala Madrid!) and tickets not yet bought. And always returning to Costa Rica. Time is wasting.

Should you come to Costa Rica? If you are reading this, quite possibly. Where we are in Guanacaste, you will find warm to hot sunny weather, partial showers (not yet), friendly people, a slow pace of life, beaches and nature. Also an international community.

If you are reading this and feel the urge to get up and go, you should vacation in Costa Rica. Vacation is a small word. Once you have tried it, you will find yourself coming back, perhaps to live, perhaps not, but coming back. If you become a part of our community, we will show you how to make some income while you are not here, though that should not be your main goal, and how to use your home here to expand your travel everywhere else.

Are you interested? It starts by getting up and going. Contact us and start the rest of your life. We offer you The Oaks Tamarindo as your base. With a two bedroom, two bath condominium and a safe community to come home to, you can make yourself at home in a strange land. And if Costa Rica is not your first choice, that is fine. Get up and go where you want to go. Best wishes, and Pura Vida.

Robert Irvin, former Miami lawyer, former banker, former developer, innkeeper of a sort, semi-retired in Costa Rica, Robert@theoakstamarindo.com

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Here is a quick guide to seasonality at the Costa Rica beaches.

Peak Seasons

The two peak seasons are the week after Christmas and the week before Easter. Rates are at their highest; for the week after Christmas 2017, $565 a night or $3,390 for six nights, taxes and utilities included. For Easter Week, March 26 to April 1, $396 a night or $2,376 for six nights. Beaches and pools are packed with Costa Rica families coming from San Jose to enjoy their vacations, typically with six persons per condominium. Americans, Canadians, and Europeans who do not understand this concept complain about high prices, crowded beaches, and crowded pools. Others enjoy the fun. Weather is hot and sunny.

High Season

High season starts December 15, with rental rates at about $200+ a night leading up to December 26. Then comes the peak week starting December 26. January 1 to January 14 is a mini-peak season as Costa Rica schools are still on vacation. Expect rates of $275+ a night. From January 15 to the week before Easter is high season. Expect rates of about $225+ a night. Weather is hot and sunny. Many festivals.

Easter week starts March 23 in 2018, bringing the second peak season of families coming from San Jose.

Low Season

After Easter and until mid-December brings an abrupt shift to low season. My favorite time of year. Cooler temperatures, fewer people, and lush green vegetation. Surf is up in June, July, and August, waves are 20% higher than in winter. Fishermen, June through September normally is the best time to catch tuna. September, October, and November normally is the best time for marlin. A great time for a summer vacation.

Expect rates to drop to $160+ a night until the end of June. The weather turns partly cloudy later in April, showers start in late April and May. The temperature cools off. Many six months long stay rental bargains are available.

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Many people are surprised by extra “mandatory” insurance fees while renting a car in Costa Rica. Here is our Expert Guide on How to Rent a Car Cheaply and Safely in Costa Rica.

Step 1

Look at our favorite aggregating site, rentalcars.com, at least once a week before you leave home. If you are renting for high season, confirm your reservation as soon as possible.

Step 2

The fine print. There you’ll see that GPS units are extra. You don’t need one! Use waze.com free on the internet or the Waze app on your smartphone.

Step 3

More fine print. CALL about rental car insurance ahead of time. A popular scam is to quote a low

price for a rental car, and then charge additional collision, damage and third party liability insurance, equal to or greater than the original rental rate quoted, at the time of pickup.

How to avoid these charges:

  • Search Google for the name of the provider and location and get the local office phone number. They will have someone who speaks English. Confirm if there are additional insurance charges. Get the response in writing.

  • Talk to your own insurance agent, or go online, and print out proof of your coverage for liability.

  • Some of you may also be covered through your Visa Signature, MasterCard or American Express premium credit cards if you use those to rent the car. Print out proof of your coverage.

  • If the local agent you talk with gives you too hard a time and tells you that this additional coverage is mandatory, tell them that you will rent somewhere else. Then do it.

Additional Expert Tips:

High Season

Negotiating is easier before December 26. If you are visiting from December 26 until Easter (high season), supply will be tighter and prices will be higher.

River Crossing – WARNING!

River crossing is NEVER covered by the additional insurance coverage you buy from the rental car companies in Costa Rica. If you cross a river and flood the engine, this could total the car and you’d be liable for the replacement value of the entire vehicle. Vehicles in Costa Rica cost on average 50%-100% MORE than they do in the United States due to import taxes. So cross rivers at your own risk unless you have additional coverage! Plus, it only takes one inch too much of water to carry you out to sea.

Private Rentals

  • If you do not like the best rate you get, ask around about private rentals.
  • They should come with full insurance, but you are not dealing with a company.
  • You need to get proof of their insurance in writing, and make sure it is commercial insurance.
  • This is similar to dealing with AirBNB or Uber, except with a rental car. Just like with Uber, be careful out there. Not everyone is reliable, trustworthy etc. We can help when you stay here at The Oaks.

Not renting for your entire trip

  • Buses stop in front of The Oaks every hour.
  • We have a list of reliable taxis that the front gate guard can provide you. Taxi rates are negotiable and should not be more than $10 to go to downtown Tamarindo or $15 for a round trip to the high-end supermarket AutoMercado on the way to Tamarindo.
  • Tour operators will pick up and drop off at the front gate of The Oaks, so if you arrive tired, you may want to take an afternoon catamaran tour of the beaches the first day, and will not need a car.
  • A half day driving tour with a driver also is a good way to locate the best “off the beaten path” beaches.

As always, if you stay with us at The Oaks Tamarindo we are here to help with any questions you might have.

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