Aside from the fact that I’m not a young girl, I’m no Pollyanna when it comes to what works and what doesn’t in Costa Rica. I know there are a lot of things that don’t work – or don’t work as well as they could – in Costa Rica
But here are some things that have worked for me in the six months we have lived here. Realize that where you live in Costa Rica, may mean your experience will be different from mine.
Some things that have worked for me while living in Guacimo de Atenas, Costa Rica.
- ICE electric – the up time has exceeded our expectations. The power does go out from time to time (this morning being the latest) but it usually isn’t out for more than just a few minutes. We live in the country – 4.4 miles from Atenas Centro. Pat and John have had a different experience living actually IN Atenas.
- Banco de Costa Rica aka BancoBCR – their lobby is spacious and well lighted, comfortable chairs, and an actual system other than queuing up waiting for a teller. The guard gives you a ticket with a number and the numbers are announced and shown on a video monitor. If you just need routine withdrawals or deposits, you get a different number than if you have a more complicated transaction or question.
- BancoBCR – online. I have found their website to be everything I need. I can check balances, transfer between accounts, and pay bills online. They use a simple, but sophisticated security system for these transactions. Using Chrome as a browser translates the pages easily.
- Marchamo – I paid online via BancoBCR and had the sticker mailed to me. After reading about the long lines at banks and other places, I thought it was worth a shot so I did it for one of the cars. Paid on Thursday, had the sticker in PO Box the following Tuesday. Pressing my luck, I did it for the second car. Paid on Monday, had Marchamo sticker on Thursday.
- ICE customer service – I struggled mightly with the ICE data card and our cell service. (They both suck.) But the many times I visited ICE trying to resolve problems, I was always treated courteously and they gave me as much time as it took. EG: the final straw was when I couldn’t get online at all… after 30 minutes the customer service rep tried the data card in her computer and it worked fine. Turns out, I had a bad USB connection on my laptop. I’ve also transferred our landline phone from one corporation to another, and had a new electric meter installed. Both orders were taken efficiently.
- Coopeatenas – their new supermarket is very nice, but we liked their old store too compared to other local mercados. The new store is well lighted with wide aisles and tons of parking. Still doesn’t carry everything we find ourselves needing (or wanting: Merendinas! – CR’s Little Debbies)
- Closing the Caldera Highway on holidays – OK, we got caught in San Jose wanting to go west, when the highway was only going east… but that’s my fault. We happened to be on the highway New Years Day as they were changing the westbound lane. Lots of motorcycles and flashing lights to alert drivers that the lane was now open. Looked like a presidential motorcade. The next day all the barriers were removed and traffic was flowing normally.