How to save money on liquor in Costa Rica

How to save money on liquor in Costa Rica ⌂ photo by Signbiblio

If you don’t drink any liquor before you move to Costa Rica, there are several reasons you could start doing so pretty soon. 

It can be pretty warm some days and for many there is nothing nicer than a piña colada when you’re sitting next to your pool. 

Others, like me, prefer a rum ‘n coke when I have great company.

Depending on your ability to adjust to your new life in Costa Rica, or on your personality type, you might be needing a stiff drink, because you can’t put up with it anymore. 

Of course there are other reasons to start drinking if you’re not already an alcoholic when you move here, but then I suggest a visit to a bilingual shrink. 

Alcohol, or liquor, can be quite expensive in Costa Rica, depending a lot on what you drink and how much. 

What makes Escazu so Unique in Costa Rica?

What makes Escazu unique?You know what makes Escazu unique? Living in Escazu is different than it is elsewhere in Costa Rica, anywhere really.

Don’t try driving around in Escazu during Christmas time just for the fun of it; you’re going to go crazy. I know all the shortcuts, but they’re all gone, shortcuts don’t exist anymore. Traffic is hell, don’t try to go to Multiplaza Escazu to do your Christmas shopping, unless it’s October.

So why the HECK do I live in Escazu?

I’m sorry, but the best answer I can come up with is that Escazu can give you that awesome lifestyle. Living in Escazu is worth writing about is location, location, location and the lifestyle Escazu has to offer. I'm saying I'm sorry because many expats that move to Costa Rica don't know what Escazu has to offer, hence this blog. I know Costa Rica from border to border and there is no city in Costa Rica that has so much to offer as Escazu has.

Have a good look at the first photo in this blog and some others throughout this article, I took all those photos right here in Escazu. That’s what is so great about living in Escazu, you can have the best of both worlds here and if offers that great lifestyle that you thought you left behind when you left your hometown. That is the main reason I have owned Escazu real estate myself for years. Check out the photo below, I just took that from my office. That is the view I enjoy every day from my desk (when I’m not looking at my computer screen) and I live in the middle of those traffic jams on Christmas day.

Should I stay or should I leave Costa Rica for a lower cost of living?

Should I stay or should I leave Costa Rica for a lower cost of living?Many of you know that the cost of living in Costa Rica has gone up a lot in the past few years. One of the reasons is that The Costarican government decided to stop with the mini-devaluations in 2006 and move over to a system of exchange rate bands that has kept the Colon on the same value since then.

Exporters are suffering with the bad exchange rate but more and more companies for the US and other parts of the world are still getting installed in Costa Rica, even though the social security system in Costa Rica is expensive and adds onto the labor cost and operating cost of a business.

Procomer, the Costarican entity for commerce promotion, publishes that Costa Rica has 4.6 million people, with 4,600 products exported to 150 countries. In 2014, we exported $11,304 billion in goods, $6,341 billion in services by 2441 exporting companies. It is also true that quite a few Costarican industries have moved to Nicaragua because labor is cheaper there.

Is it true that everything is Costa Rica is more expensive than elsewhere? Why are foreign industries moving to Costa Rica and local Industries moving elsewhere? Is life for a retiree or expat better elsewhere? Should you stay or leave Costa Rica and go back where you came from?

6 Handy Costa Rica grocery shopping tips

6 Handy Costa Rica grocery shopping tipsEvery culture has different ways of doing things and as soon as you move to Costa Rica, you will find out that a lot of things are different than they were back home. Sometimes we just assume things are done our way (and we think of course it's the best way) and they're not, we don't even find out until it's too late.

But wasn’t that the first reason you moved here? You wanted things to be different, right? 

Grocery shopping is one of those things that’s quite different from what you are used to and there is to learn a lot about it.  Especially when you go Grocery shopping in Costa Rica, you should be aware of several issues that are quite a bit different from back home.

Some who read my weekly blogs have probably figured some of these issues already out, but I hope I can help at least some of you with these 6 Handy Grocery Shopping Tips.

Can I buy my customary delicacies in Costa Rica?

Can I buy my customary delicacies in Costa Rica?

If you are going to reside in Costa Rica, there is one adjustment you are probably going to be required to make. It is learning to find or invent substitutes for things that don’t exist here, are so obscure or are so expensive that spending the time to find them and the money to acquire them just doesn’t make sense.

My wife and I have only lived in Costa Rica a little over a year. Over this time, we’ve put in many hours and put on many kilometers searching for all kind and manner of “stuff.” My wife’s a bit of a gourmet cook and a good deal of our shopping trips around the Central Valley has involved searches for food ingredients for her latest recipe.

If you have been reading my blog all along, you know I’ve also had my challenges finding specific building materials and hardware for my projects.


The secrets of Costa Rica grocery shopping

The secrets of Costa Rica grocery shopping

Shopping smartly in your hometown can be difficult enough and shopping in another country like Costa Rica is a science. In today’s blog I’d like to give you a hand with your grocery shopping in Costa Rica, you know how to get started and what to look for.

Costa Rica offers a wide range of grocery stores or supermarkets and buying from a large chain doesn’t necessarily mean you get the best prices. Most supermarkets in Costa Rica play around with the prices even on a daily basis.

What is cheaper in store XYZ today, might be a lot more expensive than elsewhere the next day. Check prices every time you go grocery shopping, you’ll get the hang of which grocery store is more consistent in its pricing and which changes prices on you all the time.

Adjust to the local food culture

Now you moved to Costa Rica and you will keep eating the same food as you did back home? Try shopping for the local food, go native, you'll save yourself a lot of money and you might be in for a great adventure. It's easy to find recipies online, try it. If you don't like it, you move on to the next weird product. I don't like rice and beans, but I love lots of other local dishes my wife makes.

Grocery shopping and department stores in Costa Rica

Grocery shopping and department stores in Costa Rica

Almost every town has, at least, one Pali market. They are structures carrying the bare bones of grocery and sundry items strictly Costa Rican. They do not seem to be what we would classify as customer oriented and not a particularly pleasant grocery shopping experience and my wife won’t even go in one.

However, the prices are low and if you want to see what typical Costa Ricans buy, go in one once. Larger cities will also have a Maxi-Pali carrying an expanded selection of groceries, housewares, patio items and even tires. They seem to be a bit better lit and cleaner than their little brothers, but you won’t find many of the items and brands you usually purchase back home.

There are other similar grocery shopping chains throughout the country, but Pali is the “Tico” chain of which I am most familiar.

What NOT to pack when you move to Costa Rica

What NOT to pack when you move to Costa RicaThe title of this blog should probably should have been “Honey, did you forget to pack my dill pickles?” You probably know where I’m going...

You could pack half a supermarket when you move to Costa Rica, plus the hardware store. You remember the TV series MacGyver?

Well, in Costa Rica, they call everything that is makeshift a MacGyver. And your first year of living in Costa Rica will be one big MacGyver. You can leave that garage full of stuff that you might need one day or not behind. It is expensive to pay a moving company to move all that unnecesary stuff to Costa Rica while you can buy similar products here.

You will be surprised how much of the stuff you think you need that you really don’t.

The benefits of living in Escazu

The benefits of living in Escazu

There are lots of benefits living in Escazu and depending on the lifestyle you are looking for, these benefits might fit you and your family’s view of what moving to Costa Rica should offer to you or not.

I moved to Costa Rica in 1980 and have lived in Escazu quite a few of those years. When I first moved to Escazu, I remember stopping at the Mas X Menos grocery store in San Rafael, which they called a supermarket. Yeah right.

Escazu had two churches, a soccer field, a couple of bars (cantina’s) and cows in the streets. The highway to Santa Ana didn’t have toll booths and there were no cars. For serious shopping you had to go to San Jose as there were no decent stores in Escazu.