Thank you for visiting ‘Tank Tops Flip Flops’

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 about shipping my stuff to Costa Rica?

Written by Michael Simons on . Posted in Building in Costa Rica, Buying and Selling Property in Costa Rica, Costa Rica Living

This is one of the most common questions I get – ‘What about shipping my stuff to Costa Rica?’, and my answer is always the same; it depends. Many of the homes that are for sale, come fully furnished, turnkey ready to go and there are also incredible interior decorating services and furniture companies who can handle everything for you on this end. Many people want to just rid themselves of all their “junk” they have accumulated in their life, and start fresh here in paradise, showing up like I did with a suitcase full of Tank Tops and Flip Flops and a pocket full of cash. Others just can’t fathom parting with family heirlooms or lifelong trinkets or have an entire home of relatively brand new furniture that they want to bring along in their move to Costa Rica.

shipping my stuff to Costa Rica

Cars are generally about 30% more in Costa Rica than the USA, yet still substantially less than many other countries in the world, as there is an import tax on vehicles. The older the vehicle, the higher the percentage, as Costa Rica does not want a bunch of broken down, Katrina flood cars, sitting on the side of the road like you see in Belize or Mexico. So unless it is your “baby”, and you have to have it with you, my advice is to sell your cars at home and buy them here. You can purchase every type of vehicle in Costa Rica that you can anywhere else, as there is every type of dealership imaginable. There are also fantastic used car dealers close by who have great reputations for selling very reliable cars and SUVs at reasonable prices. I can send you more info on those if you ask me. But some people just have to have their old Jeep CJ7 or classic convertible mustang, or their vintage Harley Davidson motorcycle and nothing is going to convince them otherwise.

So these will have to be decisions you will make, when the time comes. But relax; you are in good hands if you do decide to ship. There are a few reputable companies here in Costa Rica who can deliver your goods door to door, with no stress, no delays and no issues.  Ship Costa Rica is a company that many of my clients have engaged, with everyone being a happy camper on this end. You can contact the owner directly at and he can give you an exact quote for your individual needs. Tell him I sent you and he will take extra good care of you.

There are of course other companies that you can use, and my only advice to you is to ask them for references from satisfied clients. Call these people up and confirm they had a good experience before hiring them for their services.

But whether you ship or not, do yourself a favor. JUST COME. You won’t regret it.

Pura Vida

What is the best time of year to visit Guanacaste?

Written by Michael Simons on . Posted in Costa Rica Living, Guanacaste Tourism, Papagayo Region

Yellow Flower Tree 1

Visit Guanacaste

Fortunately Guanacaste has awesome weather year round. We really have no “bad” time of year to Visit Guanacaste. But like anywhere, there are better times to visit than others. From December to May is our Golden Season, or Dry Season, which means we have absolutely NO rain, like Southern California. The average temperature is 85 – 90 degrees and there is almost NO humidity. From June to November is our Green season, where you have afternoon showers, similar to Florida, starting at around 3 pm that last for maybe an hour or two. You can literally set your clock for 2:55 and see everyone grabbing their towels and chairs, and heading in from the beach to the bar. It almost always stops by 5 pm and you can guarantee a gorgeous sunset every single night. The sun sets religiously at about 6pm. The temperature is a little cooler, 80 – 85 degrees and an average humidity of about 30%, still very low. Our area of CR is known as the Gold Coast because we have more sunshine days than any other area in the country. Most of the country is a rain forest, so you have incredible amounts of precipitation, humidity and days where you don’t see the sun at all; but not in the Papagayo area.  We average 350 days of year of sunshine, with only a couple weeks of what I call Rained out.

April is our driest month, having endured 4 months of no rain, and is also our hottest. But like the Arizonians like to say, it is dry heat, and the temperatures are in the mid-90s. October is our rainiest month, where we get 50% of our annual fall in these 30 days. It is much cooler, in the high 70s to low 80s.  Those of us that live here, actually find this month to be very relaxing. There is little tourism, and the cool showers are very refreshing and even romantic. But they can also be unpredictable. You never know when it will start or stop raining, or how long it will last. So it can be difficult to plan a tee time or a tennis match, as the skies can open up at any minute. But if you are doing any kind of water sports, the showers can be quite enjoyable (fishing, diving, snorkeling, sailing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding). Hiking or biking in the rain is also quite an experience and the cool showers can make it a much more manageable activity, keeping the body heat down.

Playa Hermosa beachfront Panorama retouch

Like any resort destination, the holidays are crowded and a much more expensive time to visit. Christmas and New Year’s, along with Easter week, are the 3 busiest times of the year, as tourists and locals all head to the beach for vacations. The week of July 25 is a huge party here, as this is the Annexation of Guanacaste, a week long party to celebrate the Independence of this region; great time to visit, lots of fiestas and carnival activities, rodeos and Topes (horse parades) but again, crowded and a little more expensive for hotels and car rentals.

High season starts as soon as the first snow hits North America, around the end of November, and ends the end of April. June and July are also busier months as many families with children, enjoy the time off from school to visit our little paradise. May and November, tend to be slower months and you can find real bargains for vacation rentals, hotels and car rentals. Partially this is due to North American traditions, as May is the first time many States and all of Canada have woken up without snow on the ground. So many people are putting their boats in the water for the first time, enjoying out door BBQs and taking advantage of the first signs of warm weather. May and June are also big graduation months and wedding bells are ringing, Memorial weekend falls here as well, so this also has less people going on vacation. This means a great time to visit Costa Rica. November has Thanksgiving and many snowbirds wait until after that holiday to pack up and come to paradise.  June and November are my personal two favorite months, as everything is green and lush, but there is not a lot of rain, like September or October.

But in the end, I have one simple piece of advice. JUST COME! This is truly the most incredible country in the world, and until you experience it first hand, you won’t know what you are missing. With the Liberia International Airport (LIR) just 20 minutes from here, you can literally land, and be sitting on the beach with a cocktail in your hand, half an hour after touchdown.

See you soon.

Pura Vida.

October 2014
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