Ex Pat Starting a Business in Costa Rica

Written by Michael Simons on . Posted in Costa Rica Living, Costa Rica Service Providers, EX PATS in Costa Rica, Newsletters, Residency

Tank Tops Flip Flops Newsletter edition 101

Ex Pat Starting a Business in Costa Rica.  When Amy Conroy and her husband Brian decided to move to Costa Rica with their two children they had a few simple priorities.  They made sure that they loved the area they planned on moving to and really wanted to have good schools and a local community that they felt comfortable living and raising their children in.

Ex Pat Starting a Business in Costa Rica

Believe it or not their first priority was not how they were going to make a living.  What is interesting is that they knew that if their family would be happy and united and their quality of life was better than it was back home in the United States then they could rely on their work ethic and entrepreneurship to allow them to earn a living.  It sounds simple but when you think about it the Costa Rica style of life is actually catered to being happy first and everything else will fall into place.

Casa Colibri 2 featured

Well it looks like the Conroys’ figured that out right away. They fell in love with the Papagayo area and bought a nice house (they chose to buy not rent by the way which is a good reason why they feel more committed to this lifestyle change) just minutes to the beach in the Vista Ridge Golf and Country Club (not as expensive and uptight as the name makes it sound) and enrolled their kids into a great school.  With the high priorities out of the way they are now focusing on building their businesses so they can continue to live and raise their families in the Pura Vida Way we all know and love here in Costa Rica.

Pacifico L 1207 Featured

Amy happens to be an accomplished Hair Stylist and Salon owner from Austin, Texas so her first thought was to open up her own Salon.  Keep in mind that there are many Salons in the area and the competition seems pretty fierce but Amy thought she could provide a level of service and expertise that was not necessarily being offered here.  Check out this video where Amy explains how she started her own Salon in Costa Rica called Amy’s Hair Studio in the Hermosa Heights Commercial Center next to the Hermosa Beach Cinema in Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

For those of you who have school age children and are contemplating moving to Costa Rica but are unsure what it will be like for the kids this next video is a Mom’s view of bringing kids to Costa Rica.

Not to leave out the Dads – and certainly Brian Conroy takes the raising of his kids very seriously.  So in this video Brian gives his perspective of what he was thinking and going through while they made the transition to Costa Rica with kids.  By the way their kids were ages 8 and 15 when they moved to Costa Rica.  Needless to say we are impressed with them pulling it off and surprised at how smooth it went for them.

In this next video Amy and Brian give us a little background on why they chose the Papagayo Area to move their family to and start a business.

Brian gives us his perspective of what type of opportunities are for families moving and looking to work or set up a business here.  More importantly he gives us some insight into how the EXPAT community in the Papagayo Area is well established and how they support and help newcomers get a head start.  We were not surprised but very happy to hear this first hand.

To get in touch with Amy and get your hair done up right

Amy Conroy 8627-6915

My Last Will and Testament

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

Tank Tops Flip Flops Newsletter edition no. 73

My Last Will and Testament

I was born without a silver spoon, but I always knew I would make a stir. Fortunately, I have had a pretty good run and I felt it was time to update my Costa Rican Will.  As I sat down to put it all on paper, I found myself feeling a little nostalgic as I thought of all the amazing experiences I have had living in this wonderful  little country. I just celebrated my 12th anniversary of Pura Vida, and although I hope I don’t die tomorrow, I would have no regrets if I did. It has been the best years of my life, hands down. Now, having said that, if I did pass away, I WOULD BE DEAD, so I wouldn’t know what I was missing anyway! I am not going to get into spirituality, religion, the afterlife, Heaven, Hell or ghosts with you right now, but for the sake of this stupid newsletter, we are going to pretend. These are the things I would definitely miss the most.

Costa Rica FAQ's

Cold Pilsen Beer! Hellooooo. You should have guessed this was the top of the list, since there are almost no photos existing on this planet, where I do not have a bottle stuffed up into my lips. My friend Scott was telling me the other day, how he loves a good Guinness, and the dark bitter taste. No thanks man. You can have all those European motor oils, fancy micro-breweries, funky, fruit flavored ciders and watered down Budweiser; give me the Cerveza La Rubia any day of the week. It just goes down so smooth when you are hanging at the beach, enjoying another perfect day in paradise. It is truly incredible the diversity of the beaches here; how you can go from white as flour, to black as tea in just a few miles. You can party on Hermosa Beach, where it is so calm you can hear a fish splash; and just an hour down the road, at Grande, the waves are so violent you have to yell to have a conversation. 

Pilsen

Pilsen is a natural fit for anything water, and I will definitely miss those precious memories out on the sea. The diving here is inspiring, massive marine life, unlike anywhere in the world. The surfing, sailing and standup paddle board makes for a wild afternoon. I will miss the Catamaran tours and the snorkeling, the whale watching in the bay; the turtles and their migration, and I will definitely miss the fishing; FIRST CLASS.  But the cast of characters that are part of this play is something you can never replace. I saw a friend of mine the other day, getting off the boat. He went on about how many Sailfish they caught that day, how hard the tuna were hitting and overall what a spectacular day it was. Where are you headed now, I asked him? “I am going home to take a shower, bake some Grouper, smoke a joint and watch some NASCAR, and then going to bed so I can do it all over again tomorrow.” Does it get any better than that? LOL. I will miss that guy for sure.

Marlin Fishing

The people here are unlike anywhere in the world. Everybody knows that Costa Rica is voted the happiest country on the earth, year in and year out, but to experience it first hand, leaves you speechless. The Ticos are the finest people on this planet, they are never in a bad mood, and I have made hundreds of friends in my time here. I will miss you all. I love that they pump your gas for you when you pull into the station, and it only costs 3 bucks to fix a flat tire. I love how everyone remembers your name, and all the restaurants have the BEST PIZZA IN TOWN.  I will miss the Nicaraguans too, bless their little hearts. You have never met anyone so happy to have a job. They sing while they work, doing the tasks no one else wants to do. I truly think they were born with a machete or a broom in their hand, as it seems to be part of their body.

Pacifico Lot 79 Featured Property

But let’s not forget the gringos. It takes a certain breed of people, a special kind of person, who can adapt to an entirely new culture and lifestyle and make it work. But what is the alternative? Go back? You couldn’t pay most of us to ever go back, not with the hell hole North America is becoming.  I will miss that I never turn on the TV and hear political Bullshit or racially motivated shootings or riots, because everyone is loved here regardless of race or religion. The country isn’t divided over absolutely stupid issues, and no one would EVER even consider stomping on the Costa Rica flag. The pride in this country is through the roof. No one lives on welfare, and no one gets unemployment, and they don’t sit around demanding the government take care of everything. Little kids walk the streets alone, playing with their friends; no fears.

Costa Rica Happy

 

Sure it is a little more complicated to open bank accounts now, BUT THAT IS A GOOD THING. It keeps the Riff Raff out. Thanks to the USA’s invasion of everyone’s privacy, there are a bundle of forms you have to fill out now, for just about everything you do. But I tell my clients, “relax.” You are not a drug dealer or a money launderer; you are not a terrorist or a tax evader; so don’t worry about it. All my clients have paid a ton of money in taxes, way more than most people. They have done everything by the book their entire lives. That is why they are buying a second home or a retirement condo. If they didn’t have any money, they wouldn’t be here in the first place. They would be a Wal-Mart Greeter. Granted, it is more expensive now to live here, than it was before, and I LOVE IT. It keeps the bottom feeders away. The caliber of people moving here is tremendous; this is not the battered women’s shelter for retirees; that is Ecuador. This is an outstanding place to live, and I will miss it and the many friendships I have made. Anyone with a bad attitude, please stay away. No rotten apple is going to spoil our fun.

Wal Mart Greeter

Speaking of Wal-Mart, I find it hilarious when people talk badly about the chain stores that have moved here, because the Costa Ricans love them. Of course a wealthy retired gringo can do without these conveniences, but you are not a single mother with two children, earning $700 per month trying to make ends meet. Two dollar Tupperware is a big deal to her. Just like McDonald’s. “Ewwwww. How terrible. Costa Rica has fast food now.”  You don’t have to stop there for lunch. But don’t think for one minute that every single child isn’t ecstatic to slither down the McSlide. Have you ever seen the smile on a little child’s face when they open a Happy Meal? Priceless. Everyone should experience that in their life. Besides, you cannot eat beans and rice every day. Trust me. You will turn into Ted Bundy and drive around kidnapping and killing people, if you don’t get a little First World once in a while. Thank God for the Hard Rock Café Guanacaste, coming soon to Coco. Besides, nothing really changes. It is not like the monkeys know what’s happening. “Herb! Pizza Hut is here now. That’s it. I’m gone. This place is going to hell in a hand basket. I am moving to Honduras!” I never get tired of monkeys, I will definitely miss them.

Hard-Rock-Guanacaste

I will truly miss the respect they have for women and the love they show to the animals, unlike so many other countries. Everywhere you go, there are thousands of birds and parrots in the trees; iguanas; squirrels; you name it, they are checking you out. It is the only place I have ever seen, where the stray dogs don’t growl. Even they are in a good mood. They don’t bite, they don’t beg, they just hang around long enough, knowing someone will throw them a bone. Every once in a while, one shows up at your house, and just refuses to leave. Then they become family. I will miss that it takes me 5 minutes to get out of my truck, because my entire clan of fur-children bombard my door, as soon as it opens. I will miss the nature, and the Botanical Garden of scenery; how the seasons change from golden to lush in literally a blink, and the flowering trees that envelope the hill; Yellow, Red, Orange; like an oil painting. The breezes that blow, the smell in the air and the tropical downpours that occur at exactly 2:59 PM every single green season day, are sensations that will stay with me, long after I am gone.

Yellow Flower Tree 4

 

I sure hope wherever I am going next, has grilled Mahi Mahi, fresh ceviche and Mojitos, because they have become a staple in my diet. There are breakfasts on the beach, fish tacos for lunch and arroz con pollo that round out the top of my list. Freshly picked vegetables, San Martin steaks and a bottle of Chilean wine for $10 complete most of my home cooked meals, and I don’t think I could live without Lizano sauce. Oh, wait a minute: I am supposed to be dead; I forgot. Scratch that comment. You get my point; I MISS those things.

Tank Tops Flip Flops Prior Newsletter Link

I tell you what I won’t miss; the USA Death Taxes. That one just kills me, literally. They have already hammered us for every single penny we ever made, raked us over the coals in the name of the less fortunate, and bent us over the barrel and made us feel guilty for actually accomplishing something in our lives, and now that I am dead they still want another HALF. I am not married and I don’t have any kids; I chose this route; my life is not a democracy. So my small nest egg is going to my two sisters, my niece and nephew and all of my close Costa Rican friends. I have asked my executor to PLEASE not send any of my money back to the USA. Of course, I am DEAD, so I don’t really have any say in the matter, but I am sure it will irk me for eternity knowing that I got screwed one last time by the I.R.S. It is not like I am the Tin Man and I don’t have a heart, but come on man; when does it stop. Obviously, after you are gone.

Uncle Sam

What am I going to miss the most? THE FIESTAS. Man, does this country know how to throw a party. From the World Cup to the local Saprissa games; Palmares and the Torres; New Year’s Eve to Semana Santa; Independence Day and Annexation week, these people live life right, and I am so thankful to have been a part of it. I was the black sheep of my family; a failed Rock n Roller, who sold pots and pans to cougars in their nighties, but it all lead me to here. I sure hope it doesn’t end soon. When my Roller Coaster finally comes to a stop, I have it all figured out. I have asked that my ashes be spread into the bay of Playa Hermosa, the most beautiful spot you have ever encountered. What a way to spend eternity.

Read about why you need a Costa Rican Will and how to prepare it – CLICK HERE

I am off to have some sunset cocktails, because you never know, it might be my last. Who could bring me heaven, when heaven is already here? Let’s hope I stick around for a while.

Pura Vida, see you soon.

Take care

Michael

Unfortunately, I had to put my good buddy Macho to sleep a few weeks ago. If you remember from a Newsletter a long time ago, he just showed up one day, realized he was the only male, and never left. He was a good soul, whose sand just ran out in his hour glass. I am so lucky that he shared some of his life with me. I miss you pal. About a week later, as I was driving through Coco, this young black dog jumped right in front of my truck. You could almost hear what he was saying. “Heh, I heard you have a job opening! I am your man!” Of course, he had no idea I was going to immediately take him to the vet, and have him neutered. I guess, the loss of your balls is a small price to pay to live in doggie paradise. Please welcome the newest member to my family, Manny.

Last Will and Testament

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