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Hola! Welcome to Paradise. My name is Michael Simons - the Owner/Broker of 3 major real estate franchises in the Papagayo Region - RE/MAX Tres Amigos in Playa Hermosa , RE/MAX Prestige Ocean Properties in Playa Panama and RE/MAX Ocean Village in Playas del Coco.

The majority of people interested in buying real estate in Costa Rica tend to have many of the same questions so I took the time to answer them in detail here in a fun and informative way. This site contains a tremendous amount of information for you and allows me to express my views and pass along wisdom gained while living and doing business in the tropics. Hope you can join us. Pura Vida!

I will respond to your questions immediately with an email or personal phone call.

See you here in Paradise!

What can we bring you from North America?

Written by Michael Simons on . Posted in Costa Rica Living, EX PATS in Costa Rica

What can we bring you from North America ?

What can I bring you from north america

When I first moved here, there was literally NO brand named products in the stores; NONE. It was very basic. Every time we had someone visit us from the USA or Canada, we would have a long list of items that we needed them to bring. Spices, Peanut Butter, BBQ sauce, Candy and more, were common requests to visitors.

One of my addictions is pretzels. It is something that I have always loved, and it is my personal choice for a snack. I remember in the old days, we treated them like gold, hoarding them, and counting them, and only sharing them with our closest friends, as we didn’t know when another visitor would reload our stash. We would have private pretzel parties, seriously, as they could not be found anywhere in Costa Rica. One day, about 2004, I get a phone call from an old friend of mine. She was another pretzel nut, and was one of the very few I would open up my personal stock with. “Don’t tell anyone” she said, “but there are now pretzels at the market. But hurry up; there are not many bags left. I bought 6 myself and they are running out.” I turned my car around, like Starsky and Hutch, and raced back to Coco and ran into the store. There were only about 5 left, and I grabbed every single one. As I was checking out, other addicts came sprinting down the aisle, suffering violent withdrawals when they realized they were all gone. That quickly, they were out of stock and it was months before they came back. Captain Crunch was another luxury that I just seemed to crave. It is funny how you never really care much about something, until all of a sudden; it is nowhere to be found.

Over time, as more and more Ex Pats moved here, the markets started stocking up on items that you would see in a grocery store back home. Today, you can find almost everything in the Auto Mercado and Luperon Grocery stores, on the main drag of Playas del Coco. Some of these products are a little more expensive than back in North America, as they had to be shipped here, but the shelves are stocked, do not worry. And if you want something bad enough, you don’t really care what it costs.

Clients ask me all the time, if they can bring me anything from home; if there is anything I need; or something that I would like. I always tell them, no; thanks very much, I am fully stocked up. Many of my clients, though, still feel like that have to bring me something as a token of their appreciation. I receive dozens of T-shirts a year, from local sporting teams, rock n roll concerts or town events that they attended. I am very appreciative of all this love, THANK YOU.

So if you MUST bring me something, then here is what you need to know.

I wear an XL T-shirt.

My dogs can always use treats.

I drink Jack Daniels.

I like Beef Jerky.

And you can never EVER go wrong, bringing a box of Large, Hard, and Sourdough Pretzels. They will be thoroughly enjoyed with a tub of cream cheese and a sporting event on TV. THANKS.

Is there Uber in Costa Rica?

Written by Michael Simons on . Posted in Costa Rica Living, Costa Rica Politics, Costa Rica Service Providers, Vacation in Costa Rica

Is there Uber in Costa Rica?

Uber in Costa Rica

Back in early 2016, Uber arrived in Costa Rica. There were huge protests from the taxi drivers and even some violence against some of the Uber drivers. Since then, it has calmed down, but there is still a lot of resistance from the taxi community. Here is what I have found.

Uber ONLY exists in San Jose, not at the beaches, so if you are visiting Guanacaste, it won’t make a difference. Use the local red taxis. They are everywhere, very safe, very friendly and very reasonable. For two dollars you can get around town.

A few of my clients and friends have tried Uber in the city. They have all said the same thing. The drivers are not very safe, most of the cars are not in very good shape, and the majority of them really have no idea how to navigate through and around the city. San Jose is a very complicated city to drive in. There are no street signs, many one way avenues, and some “not so very nice” parts of town. The old taxi drivers know the short cuts. They know how to cut through back roads and neighborhoods and how to avoid the massive traffic jams that clog the city.

When I go to San Jose, I still ONLY use the taxis.

My advice: don’t use Uber. 

If you are going to drive around the country, the best GPS app to use is WAZE. Everyone uses it here, so all the main locations are already plugged into the app and easy to find. Most car rental companies will also rent you a GPS for a very reasonable fee, just ask.

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