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How to stay happy when you live in Costa Rica

How to stay happy when you live in Costa RicaIt is not always easy to stay happy when you live in Costa Rica. For anyone who comes from a different culture, moving to paradise is a little hard at times.

After over 30 years of “almost” complete happiness, I still live in Costa Rica. AND, I still have some difficult days. My son Andres, who is born and raised in Costa Rica, made me aware of it a couple of days ago, the reason for this blog. We all have bad days sometimes and when that happens, many tend to start picking on the locals.

This was on a Friday, one of those days that I realize I should have stayed in bed. I’m sure you all know the feeling when you live in Costa Rica. Moving to paradise means a lot of good things, a lot of great things and some less good things. Well, today is a day full of bad things and the reason I feel I should help future expats overcome days like this.

If at some point in your life you plan on buying Costa Rica real estate, think of the American European Real Estate Groups’ agents. We help you get through the most difficult part of your move to Costa Rica: the How to stay happy when you live in Costa Ricaadjusting to this other culture.

Below you will find 15 steps of how to stay happy when you live in Costa Rica, though other for sure have even more steps to a happy life in Costa Rica.

1. Waking Up

When you get up in the morning, open the curtains, look outside and thank yourself for having made the big step of relocating to Costa Rica.

2. At Breakfast

For breakfast, get all those delicious & fresh fruits and a cup of that powerful Costarican coffee.

3. When You Leave Home

Before you go out on any diligence, remember why you live in Costa Rica and why you like it so much. Remember about all the positive things that Costa Rica has to offer so the negative things of the day will seem not to be important.

4. Take a Book

 Don’t forget to bring a book when going to immigration to renew your residency papers, or Conavi to renew your drivers’ license.

5. Get Money

Don’t try to pick up money from Western Union in the morning, they won’t have any. Go get your cash when you are sure they have received enough deposits that day.

6. Go To The Bank

When you need to go to any bank on money matters, remember the employees are not there to help you, they are there to make money for their boss.

7. Buy Bread

Don’t ask the baker why today’s bread didn’t rise, you will get an answer like “it is too cold today”. If you ask him when he’ll have fresh bread again, he’ll saymaybe tomorrow”.

8. Internet Banking

Don’t ask your Scotiabank customer service why their website is not in English; they want to make very totally sure you won’t be able to do internet banking. Only then they can charge you $1 for each diligence. See point 6.

9. Your Appointments

Confirm your appointments before you leave home, no matter if it is with the doctor, the dentist or your real estate agent. This allows you to have no more no-shows and you can ask the other party if everything is still on schedule. If you don’t, bring a book.

How to stay happy when you live in Costa Rica10. Your Car

Find yourself a good car mechanic and have him do the RITEVE check for you, don’t’ try to do it yourself.

11. Cable TV & Internet

Don’t accept any promotions from any Cable TV or Internet provider; you’ll be stuck with a problem that will take you to hell and back.

12. Employees

Don’t try to make an employee understand what you are asking for, if they were smart enough to do so, they’d be CEO of that company or run for President.

13. Logic

Logic is not logical at all; at least your logic is not. People in Costa Rica think different than you do. This doesn’t make them stupid. When you live in Costa Rica, you’ll learn how this works.

14. Learn Spanish

Costa Ricans speak Spanish. When they speak English, they do you a favor. Try to do them a favor and learn Spanish.

15. Ready To Kill?

When you’re strung out or ready to kill someone, think about all those poor suckers back home who are not enjoying life as much as you do.

Live by the rules

I try to live by these 15 rules. It makes me a lot happier, as happy as the locals go through life, they call it Pura Vida. It’s not perfect, but was the life where you were living before perfect? I doubt it.

What saved my day was the invitation of a beloved friend and client who invited us over for lunch in the Time Out Tavern. Great lunch, thanks, Steve & Carolina and my good friend Win of course.

If you feel like making the big step to buy a property when you live in Costa Rica, contact us. We will make sure you’ll get to step 15 and be very happy about it.

You might not realize it, but we need your help to keep Costa Rica in the #1 position on the Happy Planet next year!


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While we’re at it, I DO want to remind our readers that we appreciate any referrals you can send us. Finally, please remember the American-European real estate Group’s agents when you refer a real estate agent. Because we DO appreciate your business.

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Ivo Henfling

Your West-side of San Jose real estate agent, covering Escazu and Santa Ana, Rohrmoser and Ciudad Colon.If you are looking to buy a home in Costa Rica or invest in a condo anywhere in the Central Valley or looking for any property for sale in Escazu or Santa Ana, you need to contact Costa Rica real estate agent Ivo Henfling. Ivo has been selling Costa Rica real estate on the westside of San Jose, in the locations of Rohrmoser, Sabana, Escazu, Santa Ana and Ciudad Colon for over 20 years and can show you hundreds of happy buyers of real estate in Escazu and those other areas. For Ivo, a deal is not a good one unless both buyer and seller are happy.

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