Some questions on living in Costa Rica - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 7 Old 04-01-2013, 03:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I currently live in the states and am American; not in a place financially to move right this instant, but I"m gathering that Costa Rica is a pretty awesome place to live for lots of reasons.... I do have some questions though that are more specific than what i can find most places:

 

1- Is homeschooling legal, and are there regulations on it? (i gathered the laws may be different for native CR's versus, say an American expat...but couldnt find details)

 

2- What are the vaccine laws? (both of my children are 100% vaccine free and i'd like to keep them that way)

 

3- what is the cost of living like? i've read it's pretty good, but what exactly does that mean? Cost of housing/do most people own cars or use public transit, what is the average income, etc?

 

4- is medical marijuana legal and if so, is it legal for children or just adults? (my daughter has a tumor disorder and intractible epilepsy)

 

5- Also, this may be way too specific to find any information on (i already tried google...) but my daughter has Tuberous Sclerosis Complex and intractible epilepsy. Her illness affects most of her major organs. On paper her health is a mess but in the day to day she does remarkably well. But i am wondering if anyone knows specifics on how the health system works re: seeing specialists (she currently sees a nephrologist, neurologist, cardiologist, and ophthalmologist). is it hard to get in to see specialists when you need to for chronic conditions? I know there is a myth in America that places with universal healthcare/socialized medicine do a crappy job at treating chronic non life threatening conditions....I have fiends/family in places that have universal healthcare that say that is not true, yet i also know of lots of people with my daughter's condition who travel to the US to get the care they need for their child that they cannot get easy access to in their own country, or at least not speedy access to...

 

 

Thanks for any info you can share :)

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#2 of 7 Old 04-01-2013, 09:23 PM
 
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i lived in costa and it is wonderful. i did not have children so i do not know anything about vaccines. i am a teacher. it seemed to me schooling was on your own. a lot of costa natives only go to school up to sixth grade. there are private school that cost more money and american private schools that have schooling until 11th grade.

do you speak the language?

if you don't it will be had to navigate the medical system.

i made about $2.50 an hour(about a quarter million colones about 500 colones to the dollar at the time  2008)and we felt very wealthy. 

we owned a quad. it was the easiest way to get around in a mountain town and coastal town. where in costa were you thinking?the mountains,major cities, or small coastal towns( a lot of gringos here) in the major cities people do drive cars and take buses.

and i am sure medical marijuana is not legal. it is really looked upon badly.

i hope i could give you some info.

good luck

and if you have more questions just ask

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#3 of 7 Old 04-04-2013, 07:28 AM
 
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Loving these questions, I'm interested in moving my family down there as well! I'm especially curious about the vaccine laws. We are vax-free as well.

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#4 of 7 Old 04-04-2013, 09:38 AM
 
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hi! i am costa rican and currently living in the central valley...i just had my first baby 3 months ago so i can answer most of these questions:

 

1. in theory, home schooling is not legal since it is a law that everyone has to attend school until the 6th grade...but like most things here, the law is one thing and the reality is another. so you could probably home school with no problem (i know people that do)...no one is going to throw you in jail or anything like that...no one will really care.

 

2. vaccines are mandatory if you want to send your kids to public school and some private schools. all babies born in the public healthcare system are vaccinated as a rule of thumb...but if you plan on home schooling then this would not be a problem. and many moms no longer vaccinate here, so there are ways to get around the "mandatory" vaccines....again, no one is going to come after you if your kids aren't vaccinated.

 

3. cost of living varies greatly depending on where you live...the central valley is more expensive than most beaches or rural areas...in the central valley, people who can afford it have cars because it makes life way easier as the public transport system is not close to ideal. and cost of living also depends on your life style...you can for sure live on the cheap or live an expensive, luxurious lifestyle...so this question is a little hard to answer.

 

4. marijuana is not legal...and for sure not for kids! don't tell most locals your giving your kid medical marijuana...it is not looked upon as positive.

 

5. this question is complicated...first, to be honest, although i am 100% costa rican i have only used the private healthcare system here. if people can afford it, they go the private doctor route here. in my opinion, the healthcare system here is ok but it takes a while to get appointments and i have heard many horror stories about the quality of care. on the other hand, i have also heard amazing stories, but i think good and bad is the norm in healthcare anywhere you are at...regarding your kid and her condition, i would probably recommend private healthcare if possible. to get into the caja (how we call the healthcare system here) you have to pay a monthly stipend (and so does your employer if you have one)...i don't know how that would work if you are not a legal resident. also, if you don't live in the central valley, specialists and clinics are much harder to come by...i would really think about considering the cost of private healthcare into your costs of living here...private healthcare is way cheaper here (a doctor appointment runs between $60-$100 on the expensive side, which is probably the case if your daughter needs specialized care).

 

i hope this helps! if you want to ask more questions, you can pm your email and i will email you...they don't let me pm anyone yet, so i can't send you my email.
 

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#5 of 7 Old 04-12-2013, 10:16 PM
 
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Hi!

 

I am American (Native of D.C) and have recently moved here to Costa Rica w/ my hubby and five kids.  We've been here for four months now and plan to stay for another year or so.  

 

We are currently homeschooling our children.  Since we are on tourist status we can do whatever we choose for our children's education.  There are several small private schools nearby if we ever change our minds.  Once you become a resident, maybe the homeschooling rules will apply...not sure though.

 

I'm unaware of the vaccine laws here in CR.  Our kids do have most vaccines, though.

Also, I have absolutely no clue about med marijuana here.

Haven't navigated the healthcare system just yet.  BUt it seems like the capital,, San Jose has the best options for health care. People from my beach town drive 4hrs to San Jose to have a baby and for other medical appts.

 

Cost of living depends on your style of living and the town in which you live.   We live on the Pacific Coast, Guanacaste, near Playa Conchal.  By the way, it's really hot here near the beach towns.  HOT!  There are many, many price ranges here.  You can choose higher end gated community w/ beach club, gym, 24 security, etc.   Or rent a small single family home w/ basic necessities.  You can find a good home for $1000-$1500/mo.  You could live 2hrs inland, in the beautiful mountain areas and have perfect to chilly weather, w/ good prices for living.

However, the groceries are expensive.  But, local produce is fresh and cheap.  All meat is expensive, except the fish is very well priced and plentiful!

You need a car in CR!!!!! Especially, if you have children and lots of dr appts.  We shipped our car from the US and paid taxes because it's cheaper this way.  But the process...the paper work is a headache.   Buying a car here is an option but it's expensive.

 

Hope this helps a little!!!

 

Best to you!

~Nubia

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#6 of 7 Old 04-13-2013, 09:16 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HolisticLove View Post

Hi!

 

I am American (Native of D.C) and have recently moved here to Costa Rica w/ my hubby and five kids.  We've been here for four months now and plan to stay for another year or so.  

 

We are currently homeschooling our children.  Since we are on tourist status we can do whatever we choose for our children's education.  There are several small private schools nearby if we ever change our minds.  Once you become a resident, maybe the homeschooling rules will apply...not sure though.

 

I'm unaware of the vaccine laws here in CR.  Our kids do have most vaccines, though.

Also, I have absolutely no clue about med marijuana here.

Haven't navigated the healthcare system just yet.  BUt it seems like the capital,, San Jose has the best options for health care. People from my beach town drive 4hrs to San Jose to have a baby and for other medical appts.

 

Cost of living depends on your style of living and the town in which you live.   We live on the Pacific Coast, Guanacaste, near Playa Conchal.  By the way, it's really hot here near the beach towns.  HOT!  There are many, many price ranges here.  You can choose higher end gated community w/ beach club, gym, 24 security, etc.   Or rent a small single family home w/ basic necessities.  You can find a good home for $1000-$1500/mo.  You could live 2hrs inland, in the beautiful mountain areas and have perfect to chilly weather, w/ good prices for living.

However, the groceries are expensive.  But, local produce is fresh and cheap.  All meat is expensive, except the fish is very well priced and plentiful!

You need a car in CR!!!!! Especially, if you have children and lots of dr appts.  We shipped our car from the US and paid taxes because it's cheaper this way.  But the process...the paper work is a headache.   Buying a car here is an option but it's expensive.

 

Hope this helps a little!!!

 

Best to you!

~Nubia

ahhhh..you made me miss going to the beach there. i loved the beaches and the water!

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#7 of 7 Old 01-11-2014, 12:55 AM
 
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What an absolutely fantastic thread!!

 

We are currently considering a short move to Costa Rica and these were definitely questions that I wanted to have answered.

 

I have been a little confused on the housing prices as some places seem to be listed in Colones and some in dollars so it is unclear as to how much it will actually cost to live there.

 

I would be traveling with my sister who has 5 kids along with myself and my 2 kiddies.

 

We have been looking at some of the huge homes available there and they seem amazingly ideal if it is in fact $6000-$8000 colones...dollars...not so much.

 

Do any of you have tips on locating somewhere to live? We are considering somewhere near Central Valley to keep life simple.

 

Any suggestions would be so very appreciated!!!


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