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Friday 03 August 2007

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Retire in Latin America (This week's Hot News from AOL)
By Rosemary Rein

That was this week's headline on AOL New that caught our attention with this description of Costa Rica"

"It's got the good weather of Florida, but a much cheaper cost of living. And it's a lot more adventurous than Daytona. Politically stable, Costa Rica has a thriving industry of recruiting American retirees. Thousands of Americans are spread throughout Mexico, Panama and the rest of the region."

As residents of Costa Rica for 10 years, we are often asked the reason why we moved here in the first place .. so here's our Top 10 list for those of you contemplating your own adventure , living, working and or retiring in paradise.

10), Climate, Climate, Climate.. You can almost pick your preferred temperature in Costa Rica and we selected 72 degrees year round at our home in the Central Valley Mountains. But what about the Rainy/Green Season? Sure, we have about 2 hours of rain during our "winter" months each day, but most mornings are beautiful and sunny. That sure beats Fargo in Winter and Phoenix in Summer! We also happen to delight in that expected afternoon rain in green season for a few hours. In fact if you haven't experienced the sound of rain falling on a tin roof, with a good book, frankly, you haven't lived.

9) Nature Lover's Paradise: From rain forest to crisp mountains to experiencing the "Gifts from the Sea', Costa Rica is a Nature Lover's Paradise. Each morning Barry and I hike out our front door to the countryside where following a cow on the road is as common and much more delightful than interstate traffic.

8) Health Care: As Business Owners in the United States faced with staggering insurance costs, we sought out a location for retirement that would provide, quality, affordable health care. Costa Rica has U.S. Trained Dr's with state of the Art Hospitals and Medical Facilities. It also has a thriving medical tourism industry. When we first moved to Costa Rica, private insurance cost $1400 annually for the two of us covering most of our medical costs and prescriptions. What this meant was state of the art care when hospitalized. Third World? I don't know about that. In my private hospital room, I had a flat screen t.v. dining menu options and a companion bed for my husband to stay with me. While our insurance has increased slightly as we have aged, I believe the care in Costa Rica unbeatable.

7) Adventure: We probably saw too many Raiders of the Lost Ark movies, but we wanted the next chapter in our life after the rat race to be a "True Learning Adventure!" Flying through the Forest Canopy, White Water Rafting are just two examples and we have a long list of adventures still on the list. Every day, daily living in Costa Rica is an adventure from exploring exotic fruits to rescuing a sloth. I have to say it beats going to Wal-Mart.

6) Social Community: We could keep ourselves entertained 7 days and nights a week with Costa Rica's busy and diverse ex pat community. There's a club for every interest (Birding, Hiking, Bridge, Gourmet Food and Wine, Volunteer Opportunities) just name it and it's here. Foreign residents find each other at social centers and hubs and groups like the Newcomers Organization that help with the transition of moving to a foreign country.

5) Safety: While we now look back to the good old days when there was virtually little crime when we came to Costa Rica. Sadly we are not immune to the increasing crime rates that you find almost everywhere in the world, much linked to the growing drug problem. Still crime tends to be more property related than violent and so we have added precautions like a home security system. What should be noted is there is more violent crime in most major U.S. Cities in one day, yet the media will spotlight any violent crime against U.S Citizens that occurs outside of her borders. Costa Rica ,it should be noted , is also a peace-loving and stable country with no Army, often referred to as the Switzerland of the Americas.

4) Cost of Living: Indeed there are financial benefits of being a U.S. citizen living in Costa Rica. One of the attractions for us in selecting and moving to Costa Rica was the (tax-free foreign earned income benefit --currently $82,400 for each person) Another? property taxes on our new contemporary home in Escazu, Costa Rica were a whopping $100.00 a year. That sure beat $6,000 a year property taxes in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. We indeed would pay more for better infrastructure and suppport to the people of our host country. There was also no heating or air-conditioning expenses to contend with and the real kicker indulgence for me was massages were $10.00 an hour. I remember saying "I'm so there" There is no doubt, that we could not afford our current lifestyle in the United States and while Costa Rica is unfortunately being increasingly discovered and developed, there are still affordable options for creating a quality lifestyle at a fraction of U.S. prices.

3) Warm and Hospitable Costa Rican People. Pura Vida! "That's a Costa Rican expression that means "pure life". Sunday morning is our favorite day for walking in the barrio...Mothers and Fathers walking hand in hand with their children to church reminding us of our own childhood. "It's like the United States in the 1950's" . There is tranquility and a commitment to family.

2) Connected: Today's Ability to Work and Live Anywhere. Yes, we have wireless Internet and low-cost phone service in Costa Rica that enables us to work from home on the deck with parrots flying overhead. It's not everywhere in the country and certainly not deep in the rain forest, but technology has enabled us to work and stay connected with our offices and families and friends. Just 2.5 hour flight from Miami and 3 .5 hour flight from Houston, we are closer to many relatives and clients than they are with others living within U.S. borders

1) The Mangos, The Monkeys, The Magic: I love to watch visitors in our learning retreats discover their own magic here while staying amidst the jewels of the Costa Rican rain forest. Forever changed from their journey to paradise, their discovery is almost child-like. I developed the brand for my speaking and retreat business from the voices of those who have discovered their own passion here. On seeing lava flow from an active volcano, a child-like WOW would be uttered competing only slightly with the volcanic rumble.

So why visit/live in Costa Rica?

"You Can Go Wild! Go GREAT! and Embark on your own personal journey from Now to WOW! tm"

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Rosemary Rein is the author of "Go Wild! Survival Skills for Business and Life" and a new book to be published in January 08 with Dr. Stephen Covey and Ken Blanchard entitled "The Blueprint for Success and Survival".

Rosemary speaks internationally on Leadership, Customer Service and Creativity and sponsors personal growth and discovery retreats of Costa Rica.

For additional information write Rosemary at rosemary@gowildgogreat.com or visit her web-sites at www.retreatscostarica or www.costaricatraining.com


If you have an article on living in Costa Rica and would like to share it, send it to:
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