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Tropical Moms and Wannabe Tropical Moms

post #1 of 73
Thread Starter 
Hi ladies! i'm starting this thread for moms who have dreams of or are planning a move with their families to tropical locations in central america and the caribbean. this discussion originated in the Spirituality forum, Manifesting Mamas thread.

mostly, we want to talk about what it's like to live in these locations with families, logistics of moving, and experiences of other mums and families who have relocated.

for myself, my partner and i are planning a move to Costa Rica within the next two years. for the last 7 years, we have been spending winters in CR, and have been dilly dallying on whether or not we want to move with our two kids. a couple of months ago, we finally decided to start our plans to move and are excited with the prospect of raising our kids in paradise!

so, can't wait to hear from everyone on your plans or your experience of relocating your family.
post #2 of 73
subbing
bbl
post #3 of 73
I have fantasized for years about moving to an island paradise!! Why the hell not, right??

I am so in for Belize or wherever.
post #4 of 73
We have good friends who live on one of the CAyman islands. They love it there. We visited to see if it were a place we'd want to be but somehow I just can't see raising dds there.

It's beautiful. I don't mind being in a remote location so it's not that. It's just that there's only that culture yk? No organic foods so it'd be difficult to eat well. One barge comes w/food per week and many times it just doesn't come at all. When it does come to stock the 3 stores on the island, most everything is canned or frozen. blech.

There are lots of pros too though. When the shi$ hits the fan (okay, *if* the shi$ hits the fan) we'd be in a relatively safe place I think. My main feeling though is that I think I would feel stifled and trapped somehow.

Dh and I discuss this almost weekly. I think if we could manifest a house there and a way to travel there whenever the mood struck we'd do okay but for a *permanent* place, I don't know.

(Does anybody else think of moving to such a place for safety reasons?)
post #5 of 73
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Annikate View Post
We have good friends who live on one of the CAyman islands. They love it there. We visited to see if it were a place we'd want to be but somehow I just can't see raising dds there.

It's beautiful. I don't mind being in a remote location so it's not that. It's just that there's only that culture yk? No organic foods so it'd be difficult to eat well. One barge comes w/food per week and many times it just doesn't come at all. When it does come to stock the 3 stores on the island, most everything is canned or frozen. blech.

There are lots of pros too though. When the shi$ hits the fan (okay, *if* the shi$ hits the fan) we'd be in a relatively safe place I think. My main feeling though is that I think I would feel stifled and trapped somehow.

Dh and I discuss this almost weekly. I think if we could manifest a house there and a way to travel there whenever the mood struck we'd do okay but for a *permanent* place, I don't know.

(Does anybody else think of moving to such a place for safety reasons?)
yes, with the political situation we often feel like we would be safer in Costa Rica. but at the same time, i wouldn't want to make the decision to move there a fear based decision, kwim?

for us, we have been spending winters in CR for the last seven years, which is great since my partner is self-employed and doesn't work in the winter(film industry in toronto). but, keeping up with this lifestyle is hard with two kids and now my daughter is in school. we just really feel the pull to stay in CR permanently. where our house is located in CR, it is quite remote, but we are open to the possibility that we may move to CR, just not to our house right away.

another one of my concerns is school for my kids. there are private schools, but i kind of like the idea of my kids going to the regular schools with the locals. but then, this brings up fears that the education they get might not be up to par with what we have here in Canada. i realize this is probably being judgemental, and i'm working at letting that go.

anyway, it's a lot of stuff to think about. clearly though, i think we made the right decision to make our plans to move. DD talks about CR almost daily!

i think i might be starting to ramble now, so i'll sign off now!
post #6 of 73

Costa Rica

Hey there. I have lived full time with my family in Costa Rica for 3 years. Here is the lowdown on the education system here. First and foremost if considering public school you need to decide if you want your children to be practicing catholics. In public schools here the catholic religion is part of the curriculum, they pray, learn the tenants of it and are actually graded on caticism.

There are tons of small private schools everywhere. Just becasue it is private does not mean your children would not be with locals, locals go to private schools. There are several international schools in the Central Valley but locals go there too.

If you are planning on living way out in the country or jungle you school choices will be limited and the public school has the potential for being horrible. It's hard to staff a school which is 4 or 6 hours away from anything.

If you want your children to have a good education here they will but you need to be active in it just like everywhere else. As for the standard level of education here it is very good, Costa Rica has one of the worlds highest literacy rates and most people go on to some kind of higher education after colegio (high school) even if it just specific training classes and not university.

We live in the Central Valley for the express reason of having more choices with regard to education and working which is what I suggest to people considering the move here. You can always move again after you learn your way around which is very different from US or Canada, and is still definitely different than vacationing here.

Hope this helps.
post #7 of 73
Oh, I SO SO SO wanna move somewhere like this! My cousin & his wife honeymooned in Costa Rica & said it was amazing! But, again, I'm sure LIVING there is different. I'd love to move somewhere tropical. But it's scary. What's the job situation there like, cost of living? What about homeschooling? Would love to hear more about life there!
post #8 of 73
Thread Starter 
gibsonsmom, thanks for sharing your input.

when i think about moving to CR, moving to the Central Valley feels better to me. my partner however, is more into the idea of moving to Montezuma, where our house is, right away. that would be great too, but we don't have phone lines yet in our area and the school choices are limited.

last year, we stayed in San Isidro, Heredia for about a month to give birth to my son. he was born at Clinica Catolica. we had the time to scope out San Jose and the surrounding area. i could definitely see us living somewhere outside of San Jose for all the reasons you stated.

just wondering if you could tell me more about the school year, like when it begins and ends, what kind of holidays they get, etc?

TIA
post #9 of 73

more CR info

indigenousmama
I am not sure which montezuma you are in but I know they are all pretty isolated. are you near Mal Pais? In that area there is definitely a community that you could connect with but you will be way out there and with the current climate here don't count on ICE getting you a phone anytime soon, we have been having rolling blackouts for a few weeks because of an energy shortage and well this is Costa Rica and ICE is ICE. A friend of mine had been waiting 7 years for a phone line and another waited 3 and she lives right down the road from me and we are about 7 miles from Alejuela.

Did Uva assist your childs birth? We are probably an hour away from San Isidro de Heredia.

We live near Los Reyes, the golf course. I call it the suburbs of the suburbs because we are outside of the westside (Escazu, Santa Ana, Belen) but close enough to them to go there regularly for work, shopping, etc and totally farm/country.

The school year is from January to December for public schools with a week off for Semana Santa (Holy week/Easter) Tons of Monday holidays and 3 weeks off on July. The Christmas break which is summer vacation here is about 3 weeks to a month. Right now we use a small private school in our town but are switching to a different one in Escazu.

I have a friend who homeschools, many people do that.

If you want specifics you can PM me and we can talk off the board in more detail.

Hope this helps.
post #10 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by rmzbm View Post
Oh, I SO SO SO wanna move somewhere like this! My cousin & his wife honeymooned in Costa Rica & said it was amazing! But, again, I'm sure LIVING there is different. I'd love to move somewhere tropical. But it's scary. What's the job situation there like, cost of living? What about homeschooling? Would love to hear more about life there!
The best thing to do is start going to places you think you might like, for extended periods of time, like 3 weeks and longer. Costa Rica is totally different from panama which is totally different from Columbia or Nicaragua, etc. The cost of living here is both low and at the same time high. It depends on how you live and what you expect. CR IS NOT, I repeat NOT like the US or Canada and won't ever be. Things are done totally differently and some of it makes sense and some never will. For example, if you shop at the farmers markets food is very inexpensive, super fresh and there is a pretty wide selection depending on which market you go to. On the other hand, cars are SUPER expensive here, basically double what you pay stateside. Also because Costa Rica, for environmental reasons, refuses to drill for oil (something I am fine with) gas is about 6/gallon. So a lot of people drive diesel and propane and bio-fuel alternatives are starting to take off.

Jobs can be had depending on if it is legal for you to work which depends on your residency status but the pay scale is different. The equivalent of minimum wage here is about 2$/hour. We have our own businesses here so it's a bit different. English teachers are always needed and if you speak Spanish there are many opportunities in the tech sector and biz management or customer service.

People home school also but there are some really good schools here and even the most expensive private school in CR is way cheaper than a crummy one in the States. So you can definitely send your kids to an excellent school here and pay like 1/3 or sometimes less than what you might up north.

Honestly I would suggest Panama for first time to Central American visitors. Panama City is amazing, extremely international and is totally beautiful. They have developed up instead of sprawling out so there are all these amazing high rise apartments overlooking the bay, there is the old city which looks like the French Quarter in NOLA but is like 20 times bigger and there is the Causeway which is this group of islands in the bay that have restaurants and cafes and bike rentals, etc. Probably 90% of the people speak English and they use the US dollar but everything is WAY cheaper, the shopping is phenomenal.

There are many expat communities outside of the city in the mountains and on the beaches. It's a great place to start when exploring CentAm because it doesn't feel so foreign that it overwhelms, for example, they love Dunkin Donuts there (scary, I know)

I do warn that it can get pretty f*&%^ing hot and humid in Panama at certain times of year. During the day in the summer, everyone is inside with A/C on. So if you don't like heat it's not for you and should go straight to the mountains in Costa Rica where it's misty and gets cold at night.

Hope this helps.
post #11 of 73
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gibsonsmom View Post
indigenousmama
I am not sure which montezuma you are in but I know they are all pretty isolated. are you near Mal Pais? In that area there is definitely a community that you could connect with but you will be way out there and with the current climate here don't count on ICE getting you a phone anytime soon, we have been having rolling blackouts for a few weeks because of an energy shortage and well this is Costa Rica and ICE is ICE. A friend of mine had been waiting 7 years for a phone line and another waited 3 and she lives right down the road from me and we are about 7 miles from Alejuela.

Did Uva assist your childs birth? We are probably an hour away from San Isidro de Heredia.

We live near Los Reyes, the golf course. I call it the suburbs of the suburbs because we are outside of the westside (Escazu, Santa Ana, Belen) but close enough to them to go there regularly for work, shopping, etc and totally farm/country.

The school year is from January to December for public schools with a week off for Semana Santa (Holy week/Easter) Tons of Monday holidays and 3 weeks off on July. The Christmas break which is summer vacation here is about 3 weeks to a month. Right now we use a small private school in our town but are switching to a different one in Escazu.

I have a friend who homeschools, many people do that.

If you want specifics you can PM me and we can talk off the board in more detail.

Hope this helps.
thanks for your response.

yes, Uva was my midwife for my son's birth. small world isn't it?

our house is in Montezuma on the Nicoya Peninsula near Mal Pais. we know all too well the situation with ICE. it's funny, there are such frequent power outages, and they are so slow to fix things, but as soon as you are a couple days late paying your bill, they cut you off! we heard that ICE was bringing in phone lines the end of last year, but we don't count on that and haven't heard anything. we have no idea what the ICE situation is right now, since we didn't go down to CR this winter.

i think i'll PM you in a little bit. i have to get my kids to sleep right now, but i would love to chat with you more about CR.

thanks!
post #12 of 73
I just wrote a long post and it got lost We are in CR right now visiting for the second time, this time for almost a month.. and we are seriously thinking of buying a house here probably on the south Pacific near Dominical and living here part of the year with the rest spent in Vancouver Canada... I want to stay in Canada for at least enough of the year to maintain our medical stuff and school options for the kids etc.... I think its 3 months? We homeschool so I would plan to continue with that and just send in our stuff from CR to Canada, so my kids would maintain a Canadian school record... We have no political reasons to move, but we really enjoy th4e very simple life style here and tranquillo culture... It is so good to get away from the rat race and the buy buy buy mentality of North Amercia... We have friends in the Dominical area which is part of our attraction to this particular spot but also I think my 3 boys might really get into surfing over time which would keep them out of trouble My dh has some pretty good business ideas we have been looking into for CR and we were thinking that if we don';t live in CR full time we could probably rent out the hosue some of the time as there is agood house rental market in the south Pacific area...

subbing...
post #13 of 73

Dominical

I have some good friends in Dominical, have lived there for years. They have young kids and can tell you a lot about the area, what to expect and so on. They also have a very reliable real state company specializing in the area, here is their contact info:

Sean McGraw
Coldwell Banker Vesta Group
Chief Operating Officer
Broker/Owner
Plaza Itskatzú Suite 213/214
Escazú, San Jose – Costa Rica
Toll Free: 1-877-826-5830
Business: (506) 787-0223
Fax: (506) 787-0220
Mobile: (506) 839-1832

Email: s.mcgraw@cbcostarica.com
Web: www.cb-costarica.com

Good luck, let me know what happens, if you get down here I am sure we will meet at some point, it's a small country.

Martha
post #14 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by indigenousmama View Post
thanks for your response.

yes, Uva was my midwife for my son's birth. small world isn't it?

thanks!
Well, honestly there are only about 6 midwives in the entire country so when you mentioned birthing in San Isidro de Heredia it was pretty easy to figure it out, heehee, but yes, small world, even smaller country.
post #15 of 73
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gibsonsmom View Post
Well, honestly there are only about 6 midwives in the entire country so when you mentioned birthing in San Isidro de Heredia it was pretty easy to figure it out, heehee, but yes, small world, even smaller country.
yes, and i know one of the other midwives, Honey, who lives in Tambor near us. we go to her organic market every saturday in Montezuma when we are there.
post #16 of 73
subbing...
post #17 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by gibsonsmom View Post
I have some good friends in Dominical, have lived there for years. They have young kids and can tell you a lot about the area, what to expect and so on. They also have a very reliable real state company specializing in the area, here is their contact info:

Sean McGraw
Coldwell Banker Vesta Group
Chief Operating Officer
Broker/Owner
Plaza Itskatzú Suite 213/214
Escazú, San Jose – Costa Rica
Toll Free: 1-877-826-5830
Business: (506) 787-0223
Fax: (506) 787-0220
Mobile: (506) 839-1832

Email: s.mcgraw@cbcostarica.com
Web: www.cb-costarica.com

Good luck, let me know what happens, if you get down here I am sure we will meet at some point, it's a small country.

Martha
Wow thanks for the contact I will follow that up when I am over the haze of getting home... we only got back last night :

I think someone said earlier that gas in CR is $6/gallon I think its anout half that :... its about 375 colones per litre which is about $0.75 times 4 litres to the gallon = around $3/gallon... I think : which is actually exactly what we paid in Seattle last night and is cheaper than the current gas price here in BC which is well over $1/litre...

We are really thinking through all the options... I was just looking into house swapping as an idea for getting a place to stay when we come to look at property because I want more $ to go to purchasing
post #18 of 73
Definitely follow up with Sean for real estate and location questions. About the gas, it has been lower recently but it gets really expensive here, we have no drilling which is good but that means gas costs more which can be bad.

good luck.
post #19 of 73
I just sent Sean an email thanks again for his contact info

I didn't realize gas prices fluctuated so much! but yeah, I agree, no drilling is a good thing!
post #20 of 73
I am glad I came across this board. We currently live in Hawaii but are lokking for somewhere less expensive to live and closer to my family. We have 2 boys 1 almost 4 and a 3 month old. My husband is a fishing boat caotain so everywhere we have lived and will live will be on the coast. Anyone know where to lokk for captain jobs or if Costa Rica or other countries would be good for us to check out. We love the slow laid back life and I plan to homeschool. Just want to be somewhere safe and affordable. We know people in Guatemala, but not sure how safe it is there. Any tips?
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