The Devil is in the Details

Planning your move to Costa RicaEverything you are about to read might be inaccurate. Except for today’s blog, everything I’m going to tell you in the next several blogs may be old news and no longer valid. That is why it is vital for you to stay on top of your moving plan; because I can tell you from recent first-hand experience about requirements, policies and laws nonetheless their enforcement are all subject to change.

Planning your move to Costa Rica is the best thing you can do with your spare time before you move down here. If you don’t think you have any spare time, make some. You really can’t start planning too early. If you are not a detail-oriented person, force yourself to be. If you are moving with a spouse or significant other with time or some of these traits, get them involved. Get them invested and involved anyway!!! Split up the investigation and due diligence that you really must do to have a successful transition. The more you and your spouse know about Costa Rica, the higher the percentage is that your move here will be for the long-term.

If you are committed to moving to Costa Rica, it’s time to get organized. Make a detailed plan for your move with as much Have a plan A, B and C for moving to Costa Ricaflexibility built into it as you can imagine. Have a Plan A, for every element of your move and then add Plan B and even a Plan C if can think of one. Why?, because everything involved with the rules and policies governing your move and your life in Costa Rica is subject to change. Not just minor change, but some pretty major changes of direction that can affect your happiness and the success of your move.

The more flexibility you build into your move, the easier it will be to respond to sudden, seemingly large roadblocks thrown in your way. I approached our move much like, I expect, a general would approach a military campaign with a goal to be attained and any number of contingencies should the enemy block our advance or attack from a flank.

Start a binder

 It may sound a bit silly, but start a “Costa Rica” binder with dividers. You can divide it up any way you see fit, but use it as a customized reference A Costa Rica binderbook. I’ll tell you right now, even if you don’t use it when you do your planning or when you arrive here, which you should, just the act of finding information, printing it or cutting it out, will greatly reinforce the content of the information you acquire.

Some things you find may be superseded by something else you find later. This is all good as you will see you become better and better informed and can pick out what is information fits your needs and what areas in your planning may be subject to further amendment down the road.

Again—the web is your friend

Spend as much time as you can researching Costa Rica on the Internet. When you find an interesting site, bookmark it and go back to it as often as you are able. When you find an interesting article or timely bit of information, print it out and put it in that binder I just told you to start. The information is not all current or up to date, but it is informative and again indicates to you areas that may be subject to continuing modification.  

 

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Go to the “Tico Times,” the English language Costa Rican online newspaper regularly for a snapshot of Costa Rican life and Google Search for Costa Rica real estatetopical issues, especially governmental policies, laws and activities effecting or threatening to effect Costa Ricans and ex-pats. Then, try to subscribe online, and if it works for you, “you’re a better man than I Gunga Din.” Getting this online newspaper to work for us has been mystery to my wife and me, but we keep trying. The information is still there to be accessed. It just isn’t proactive.

There is also A.M. Costa Rica, another English-language online “newspaper.” It is chock full of local ads and classifieds. Much of its content is outdated, it’s a bit clunky to migrate around and use, but it also contains a number of very informative articles on Costa Rican foods, cuisine and culture that never really go out of date.  

And again, follow Ivo’s weekly blog at GoDutch Realty and the American-European Real Estate blog. This is not a commercial, but you’ll find some new and really useful tidbits about Cost Rica and Costa Rican life there every week.

Develop a task timeline

This is one of the most-important things you really need to do. Organizing your move to Costa Rica, listing the things to do and when to initiate them is critical to a smooth transition. We’re talking about literally planning your every move from figuring out how you’ll manage your assets and how to access your finances, to who needs to be notified and when, when and what you’ll need to be allowed to immigrate here, what needs to be sold and when, what needs to be cancelled, what you’ll need to bring and how to get it to Costa Rica, what needs to be forwarded, figuring out how to get your mail and your packages, looking into medical coverage, to determining how get your pets to Costa Rica.

Like the title of that recently popular movie, “It’s complicated,” and fraught with details. The better your plan and the earlier on you get started, the easier it is to spread out the tasks and take some of the pressure off. However, there is no avoiding the bare fact, that there are some things that simply must be left to near or at the end of your planning. Check out ARCR and several of the Costa Rican websites catering to potential Costa Rican immigrants for a “To Do” list of suggested tasks and timelines.

Hope to see you back again next week.

The author of this blog, Ticonuevo, is a US expat who moved to Costa Rica and used the services of GoDutch Realty to purchase a property in Costa Rica. In his blogs, Ticonuevo describes his own experiences of taking the step of moving to Costa Rica and getting a new life started.