Taking care of “business”… in San Jose

So, little road trip to San Jose yesterday.  San Jose is the capital, about a 45 minute drive from Grecia, and also where we fly in and out – SJO – San Jose International Airport (not sure what the “O” stands for).  Our intention was to meet with an attorney who works with the ARCR (Association of Residents of Costa Rica) about starting our residency process.  We had been referred to an attorney by some friends of ours, who said this guy was very efficient and did a good job handling their paperwork.  Expediency is a good thing IF you can get it here in Costa Rica….  as most things are on “tico time” – which means – well, maybe today, maybe mañana (tomorrow)…  they take their sweet time in doing things – all with good intentions – it’s just the “laid back” way here…  Pura Vida.



San Jose is…  well, a very busy, large city.  We would NOT want to live there.  It gets a bit…  sketchy at night (we are told).  And sometimes during the day.  It’s a bit like a congested, mini – version of New York, but not as nice.


We hired a driver, as we had a 10 am appointment, and didn’t want to take the chance of taking the bus for the first time and missing it.  San Jose being so big and all, for this first time visit at least, we wanted to eliminate the stress.   We had met Wilson before (in Jan., 2012, on our first trip to Costa Rica) – he was wonderful back then, and did not disappoint today.  He picked us up as scheduled, at the end of our ¾ mile dirt road (which is heavily pot-holed, so we do not wish anyone to drive down it), drove us to San Jose, and delivered us in person – walked us to the door – of the ARCR.   We met with our attorney for an hour, he looked at all our paperwork we brought (certified, notarized & apostilled birth certs, marriage cert & police records [denoting NO police activity, I may add]), and declared everything looked perfect.   YAY! – we were worried, even after so much research, that we may have forgotten something.  He whipped up a contract, we reviewed & signed, handed over a hefty amount of American cash ($2,400 in legal/Costa Rican fees and $500 for immigration fees), and we were good to go!  He’ll contact us in about 10 business days and we’ll have to return to get finger printed and set up a bank account.

The main reason we are applying for residency?  So we won’t have to leave the country every 90 days.  We will always be and remain US citizens, and we love our homeland.  “Residency” with Costa Rica just means we are also residents in their country, and we have to prove we have a certain amount of money so they don’t have to support us, and we don’t have to leave every 90 days (which can amount to a lot of travel expenses, even if we just go across the border to Nicaragua or Panama).

So, with our business finished, we texted Wilson, and he showed up in 4 minutes to pick us up.  We then decided to go for lunch, and he took us to this nice hotel/restaurant where we had some amazing Costa Rican food and drink (suffice it to say, we did not eat any dinner later, we were stuffed from lunch!).


Chicken breast in a tomato sauce, rice, salad, lime wedge and some kind of fried plantain type thing (muy bueno!).


Tamarindo juice (supposedly good for the digestive system, but don’t drink more than 2!)

Wilson is a good guy, and we enjoy his company.  Plus he is an awesome tour guide, always pointing out stuff along with way…  After lunch, we headed home, with one more stop on the way – COFFEE.  Costa Rica is KNOWN for their coffee, and Wilson being a coffee connoisseur knew of a great place to stop.  And it was.  Amazing.


Beautiful and awesome tasting cappuccino.



Greg’s drink – something with amaretto in it.


Wilson (our awesome driver!) and Oscar, the barista (so sweet).


Wilson – of Coati Tours

So, that’s all for now folks!  If you want more information on Wilson or anything else – please comment or email me.

Peace! — JenJen

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5 Responses to Taking care of “business”… in San Jose

  1. If you are just getting residency to avoid the 90-day RT to Nicaragua or Panama (the latter is a piece of cake at Rio Sereno), then I’m not sure it’s worth it. Your first residency is only good for 2 years, so that’s 8 trips to the border equivalent. Divide the $3000 you are spending now by 8 that’s $375 per trip you would have, which is enough for a nice trip for the two of you, depending on how far from a border you end up living. Your renewal *might* be cheaper, might not. Also, you need to count the monthly tax you will pay to Caja, required of all residents. Minimum that is probably going to be $1000/yr +/-. Depending on where you live the Caja is worthless to mediocre unless you are literally at death’s door. Next, you will be required to have a Costa Rican driver’s license once you’ve been in the country over 90 days and want to drive anywhere. That entitles you to their wonderful points systems and fines if you get caught about equal to the States. All in all, knowing what I know now … I might not have gotten residency.

    • Casey, please explain why the residency fee for the first 2 year renewal would be equal to the initial expense. I am a retired person here, what are the requirements to present to the Government in 2 years? Just now got Cedula approved, waiting for the mail

      • Marlene, after I left the initial comment, I felt inspired enough to make a blog post about this: http://adullroar.blogspot.com/2013/07/is-it-really-worth-trouble-and-expense.html

        The renewal cost really depends on your personal situation. You can do it at BCR and if you are lucky enough to get a clerk who actually knows what they are doing, then it won’t cost so much. We didn’t and that is covered in another post or two in my blog.

        The Caja expense is probably greater than the residency process but on the other hand CR is great at popping up with new laws, mostly aimed at extracting more money from the upper crust, which most gringos are.

        Congrats on the cedula!

  2. Pingback: You’ve got questions, I’ve got answers. | CostaRicaChica

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