Wife, mom, dog owner, polloista (chicken owner) and Recovering REALTOR® living in Costa Rica
Formerly of Key West, FL since sometime in the late ’70s
Here’s a short video interview conducted by Scott Oliver of WeLoveCostaRica.com:
Married since ’91 to un gringo viejo y muy guapo
Mom to two home-schooled gigantic teen boys
Very active in local theatre
B.S. Theatre Arts & Sociology, Lindenwood University, 1977
Real Estate Salesperson’s License, 1995
Real Estate Broker’s License, 1996
Have made a living as
Advertising Copywriter, Aerobics Instructor, Bartender, Fabulous
Spectrelle, Graphic Artist, Guesthouse Owner/Manager, Homemaker,
Holistic Camp Counselor, Office Manager, Real Estate Broker, Retail
Salesperson, Secretary, Singer of Telegrams, Small Business Owner,
Have also lived in
Winchester, Lexington, Louisville, Stamping Ground, KY; Venice, CA; New York, NY; St. Louis, MO
– Vice-President 2004-5
– Fundraising Chair, 2003
Unity of the Keys
– Fellowship Chair 2003
Sunrise Rotary Club, 2002-2006
– Sargeant at Arms, 2002-03
– Poker Run Map, Chairperson, 2002
The Helping Hand Fund, Founder, 1999
Key West Chamber of Commerce, 1997-2005
Key West Association of Realtors, 1995-
– Membership Chair, 2000
Zonta Club of Key West, 1991-1998
– Membership & Classification Chair, 1995-1998
– Program Chair, 1994-1995
– Treasurer, 1991-1992
Founder/Instructor, Heavenly Bodies Aerobics, 1983-1999
This is an excellent book on tico history and culture:
The Ticos: Culture and Social Change in Costa Rica
Mavis Hiltunen Biesanz, Richard Biesanz, Karen Z. Biesanz
It’s not on your book list and you might find it interesting.
Wow! I feel so privilidged to make the The Best of CR site. Congrats on your blog. I will brag about it on mine.
Look forward to your stories. I am sure they will be interesting.
Cheers, Colin in Puerto Viejo
Love the photo. I love the idea that your family is making this adventure.
Planning XMAS 2007 during college breaks. BVI’s, New Orleans, and Costa Rica is 3rd consideration. Have time to fill me in on a couple of middle ground accomodation close to beach, sailing opportunities, white water rafting, fishing,… Sarah and Em will be 20 and 25 by then.
Only if you have tme.
Great site, Saratica. Thanks for helping me prepare for my first visit.
I feel like I owe you something so if you make your way to Boulder CO please let me know if I can entertain, inform, show you around, etc.
Thanks, Wiseclam! Actually, we get the Boulder news here. It SNOWS there!!!!!!!
Hello! I wanted to ask you a question and didnt know how to reach you privately. It relates to an blog you wrote about using Skype and having those calls forwarded to your cell phone…..
I am trying to move to Costa Rica and telecommunte which means I need to use my cell phone and get calls from the US anytime anywhere as cheap as possible. So can I really forward my calls from Skype to a cell phone rented in Costa Rica- and be accessible anytime? Would that mean that I would have to keep my computer on all the time at home so that the phone calls are forwarded. In the alternative I was thinking of purchasing a global PDA phone and downloading Skype to that but im not sure if that will work. any advice would be much much appreciated. pura vida!
I have not had success forwarding Skype calls to my cell phone but Erin over at Gringuitica (see her link under Costa Rica Expats, right column) is always forwarded… so you might ask her.
Also, from whom are you going to rent your cell phone? If it’s Ticogrande (www.therealcostarica.com), he can answer that question for sure!
We also just started using Vonage and the reception is much much better. It’s much more expensive than Skype, but for work, it’s all we use now. Your phone has to be hooked into the router at home. I don’t know about forwarding those calls to a CR cell phone. Those are things I’m looking into now. I will do a post on that as soon as I figure it out!!!
ohhh thanks so much for replying. i dont know much about this blogging stuff so i assumed you wrote that article i saw about how the author got her skype phone forwarded to a cell pone. my bad… anyhow..thanks so much for the advice. i have read vonage is better and will definately contact your references. i guess all these attempts are pretty cutting edge. i just read about how ice just awarded a bid to have wimax developed all over costa rica so people can have internet access without being near wifi hotspot. thats what im waiting on most so i can access vonage or internet from a pda or cell phone without wifi hot spots. i dont know if anyone is doing it currently in CR. ive done some internet research and it doesnt seem like its capable rt now. thanks again and ill ck back for your experiences in your phoning goals. : )
Love your blog. I’ll be spending much time here in the future catching up. Wanna do a link exchange? I have a blog I’ve been working on for the past year about my experiences in Costa Rica…
You were kind enough to add our site to your “Costa Rica Info Sites” section (many thanks). I have added a page to our web site called “Costa Rica Blogs”
I list your blog with an intro (feel free to send editing ideas). I was wondering if you would write for us a page about your favorite things to do in Costa Rica. I want to add interesting insights from people who live here – where they like to go, eat, shop etc.. This gives the Costa Rica tourist a better feel for what life is like and places where the locals hang out.
Please let me know if you would be interested.
Hi, I am here in MIAMI, Please Please call me: 786 208 7129, and/or send time/number etc to email@example.com as to when I can speak with you before you return to Costa Rica. I have been following your wonderful website and you I believe, are the answer to many of our questions. Thank you so much and I hope to hear from you soon!!!
Life is too strange. I am an expat living on the island of Dominica and I found your blog because I recently wrote an article for Escape Artist on Expat Culture Shock: http://www.escapeartist.com/OREQ28/Expat_Culture_Shock.html
Anyway, I graduated from Lindenwood in 1974 with a worthless degree in Communications. Later I went back to school to get a skill.
How odd that someone else from “Lindenweed” is just across the puddle from my obscure island home…
I love your blog! I am putting up a link to you.
Jen at livingdominica.blogspot.com
I have been reading you for several weeks. We (two couples) will be in Samara June 20 for 2 weeks. We are looking at properties and businesses to buy and live there. I would love to have my friends meet you.
Robert, from Arizona.
We are in Tennessee, at the moment, and are coming to visit CR and take a look around. I have been wanting to retire in CR, but my grandmother’s deteriorating condition is taking me to Serbia. My husband however, is still preoccupied with the idea of living in CR. We are arriving on July 3rd and leaving again July 10, 2007. If you would allows us to take you out for dinner, or something else since the food seems not to be all that, and tells us some of your stories and encounters in CR, we would be most pleased. Maybe you can help us with real estate matters as well. I just do not wish to spend much time searching, since my husband is considering this a vacation before he deploys to our country’s most recent endeavor of exploitation and conquering. Pleeeeeeeeease call me: 910-574-5565, before we depart. I am sure my husband will be blown away when he finds out that I am (may) still (be) interested in retiring in CR.
Thank you for this awesome blog and …
… Cheers, Aleksandra
First please excuse my english if I don’t write it perfectly (I read it more than I write it). I am a Tico (34 years old, live in Heredia, work in Santa Ana, ( 1 hr drive each day for 20 km) and has recently been fascinated by all the expats blogs and travelogues. There is really an “underground” expat culture going on of which most ticos are unaware and it is quite interesting! Not only I like to know what “extranjeros” think of Costa Rica (good things and bad) but also I like to wonder about the changes my country has gone through in the last couple of decades, many of which I am still not sure if they are good or bad. I want to share with you my point of view on many of the things you have mentioned. Also, I work for a US company and travel a lot to the US (which I like) so I want to provide my perspective (some benchmarking) on both countries:
Driving in CR: oh god, this is really like being inside a video game (and walking across a street is just like playing Frogger). I remember my first time going around a roundabout. I was scared to death! However after a couple of weeks things seemed so natural. Ticos just dont notice there are no signs for places and its just natural for us just to stop and ask someone. I have noticed many of the signs are actually misleading. On the contrary I find driving in the US a pleasure (except Boston). Signs everywhere, just drive and go (I love exit numbers). However, I am always scared to death of “doing wrong”. I dont know why but I feel I will end up in jail if I dont yield correctly. At least if you violate a street sign in CR (and are lucky not to crash) the most you will get is some honking and cursing and it just seems normal. I once merged too slow in the US and got “the finger” and I felt really bad the rest of the day!
Customer Service: this is awful in CR (maybe its because we dont have a real tipping culture). Slow service, long lines, lots of redundancy, “I dont care” or “that is not my job” attitude. Yes, its the way it has always been ( I found the same on a trip to Spain so ummm maybe its in the genes!). Sure we are used to it but younger generations are not as tolerant and I start to feel some positive changes. We actually need your help on this. Although you may come to expect it, always let the person know when service was bad! Little by little we will change things. On my trips to the US I have always seen big smiles and “how can I help you” most of the time and its so refreshing (seem a little fake sometimes but hey I will take it). This does not apply at US airports (oh my god what is going on there, do they smack all employees each morning?).
Family: CR is a family oriented country. As it is so small, no need to leave home for college (my brother lived with my parents up to when he was 35 years old, my mom at this point was ready to kick him out , thank goodness he got married!). I find that in the US people are more community oriented and this community can be friends, neighbors, members of a class, group, volunteering, etc. Usually brothers, sisters, aunts/uncles, live farther apart. In CR community most of the time means family as in brother/sisters, uncles, etc. It is sad but I dont really know my neighbors.
Beaches: CR beaches have gone a transformation. I remember going to Jaco and Tamarindo with my parents, almost no buildings in sight, CR run sodas and hotels, no traffic and deserted beaches. Imagine we used to drive our cars ACROSS THE RIVERS in order to get from Jaco to Manuel Antonio ( I remember a few times after crossing the rivers we had to open my dad cars’ doors to let the water run out (it was an adventure getting to MA!). There were only 2 or 3 hotels in MA. I am talking circa 1987 here! Nowadays its sad but its more difficult for us ticos to enjoy our natural beauties. Most turists that come to CR get to see more natural wonders in a week than any tico will see in 10 years and many in a lifetime. Where paying $15 (and all charges were in colones) a night was the average 15 years ago in Manuel Antonio, Tamarindo etc, now its nearly impossible to do. Last time I spent more than 2 night in a beach was 5 years ago and have only been once to Arenal and Puerto Viejo. Sad, but I guess this is the price we need to pay to cash in the turist buck.
Malls : Oh yes malls! What we ticos used to do 10 years ago on weekends I have no idea! I really hate going to the mall on weekends (I prefer to go at lunch hour to Multiplaza when I actually need to buy something). Metropolitan ticos seem to love this gift from US pop culture. Now if only we could imitate your excellent water parks!
Prices: Costa Rica used to be extremely inexpensive for the average gringo. Not so anymore although I still tend to believe that “what is expensive in CR is inexpensive in the US and viceversa”. Real Estate prices have skyrocketed. Probably you wont believe me but 20 years ago you could build a real MANSION with $100,000. Curiously enough, it has never been so easy for middle class ticos to buy a home (which is not the same as “afford”). Colon interest rates are at a historic low (down to 12% from 21% a year ago). I believe this is not sustainable and might cause a lot of trouble down the road as many people who can afford a $40,000 homes are buying $75,000 homes.
TLC: Free trade agreement with the US? I have no idea if this is something good in the end and I am sure no one in the country really knows (who has time to go over those thousands of pages). People will vote on this based on gut or passion. However, I do believe that if it does not get approved we will be in trouble just because most other countries have already embraced it. Just keep my cell phone bill as it is!!!!
Wrap up: the US and Costa Rica have many many things in common (I’m talking about actual real people, not governments) and also many many differences. I think this is what make us attract to each other so much. The magic will end when CR becomes so similar to the US.
Congratulations on your wondeful blog! I hope you are with us for a long time!
I feel like we’ve been friends for years even though we haven´t met! My name is Tara and I’ve lived in KW the last 4 years. I am currently in Ecuador for the summer learning Spanish. I needed a break from the Keys as I know you understand. As I describe it to my friends, Key west is like my boyfriend… Sometimes I love it, hate it, and now just want to see if I can do better. So we broke up and here I am. But hopefully my next step this fall is to move to Costa Rica as you make it sound like a move I won´t regret, a good ‘new boyfriend’ for me to try. (This is why I date islands I suppose, nice weather and they never complain.)
Thanks for making me laugh, whether on that crazy 4×2 island or now next to the equator, you really make my days. Best wishes to you and your family,
Hi Tara, thanks for reading and writing. I sure do understand needing a break from key west: love it, then hate it… we miss our buddies still, but don’t really miss the island. it’s a good life here in costa rica – we are so happy to be here. pura vida!
Hello Saratica(What kind of name is that)?
It is 6 in the evening in Los Angeles, I just finished reading the LA TIMES where they talk about you. They mentiones your web site ( blog) and came to check it out. Muchas felicidsdes en tu aventura en Costa Rica, yo visite este hermoso pais en 2000 y me gusto muchisimo, mucha vegetacion, cafetales y plantios de chayotes en las cercanias de San Jose la Capital. Keep un the good work and good luck.
Saratica is Sara (for Sally, my “real” name) and tica which is what the Costa Ricans put at the end of words to denote smaller: I’m 5′ tall. In high school, I was called Sarita. In Costa Rica, it’s Saratica.
Muchas gracias for your good wishes. We are loving it here – it’s still beautiful and green, fruitful… everywhere! Pura vida, Elias!
Let me know what you think of the Saturday Yoga Institute. I ran across them a few weeks back and would like to get involved. However I teach on Saturdays for the National Symphony, also I live on the other side of SJ. However…perhaps after the December break I may have my Saturdays back. Did ZaZen in the states and studied TaiChi there too. Practice both on my own, but would love to find a group to be a part of. So let me know what you think.
Enjoy your blog…I check it out every day.
Thank you, Phil. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forgive you for the Jardinain game… I couldn’t stop playing that for about a month!!! That was my zen meditation… I finally got like 1.6M points (lucky 2x thingies all over the place) and have stopped playing. THANK GOD. My family was going nuts hearing those elves giggle!!!!
Sat Yoga has a free Tuesday night meditation at 6pm. I went with my friend Candy last Tuesday and loved it. I’m going back for a session with Shanymurti (or whatever his name is… I have to call him Robert until I can say his Indian name) this Tuesday, but intend to go every Tuesday night I’m available. I just loved it. They are right around the corner from Cafe Artista, go past CA, around the curve and you’ll see an open gate on the left. I think it’s number 27. Take the phone number…
See you there!
My name is Bill Clanton. I am making the move to the Coronado/Central Valley area of Costa Rica next month after years of visiting, renting seasonally and having a 9 year old Costarricense son (with duel U.S./C.R. citizenship).
I am blogging about my adventures of moving to and living in Costa Rica via a full-featured Costa Rica Blog site of http://www.CostaRicaBlogger.com
Much like your fun site of ABroadInCostaRica.com and other sources of good information; it is my goal to offer those considering visiting, vacationing, moving to and/or living in Costa Rica an honest review of my own experiences toward their own benefit – as well as networking for myself.
If interested, visitors can Subscribe for e-mail updates of new posts, photos, comments, discussions, etc. (this is a an opt-in subscription requiring an authenticated e-mail address that will not be sold to any other list or data base). Guest moderators and authors will be added as things progress and constructive feedback is always welcome … especially from a person like yourself ;o)
I would appreciate it if you could review my site of http://www.CostaRicaBlogger.com for possible inclusion in your own Costa Rica Expats & Blogs links section.
Bill Clanton estaba aquí …
Oficina Internacional: +1 (815) 315-0569
Skype ID: BillClanton
Costa Rica Blog: http://www.CostaRicaBlogger.com
Costa Rica Pictures: BienvenidosCostaRica.dotPhoto.com
Welcome Costa Rica: http://www.BienvenidosCostaRica.com
Costa Rica Homes: http://www.CostaRicaHomes.co.cr (COMING SOON!)
Hi Bill, Welcome (back) to Costa Rica! I’m happy to post your blog under the CR Expats & Blogs column. Just so long as it’s actually a blog and not a real estate sales site. I don’t post any real estate sales sites – too many of them and I’m completely bearish on this market. But all blogs are welcome! Thank you for letting me know – see you around.
Wow, I love your website! My wife and I have traveled some (www.thetravelingmartens.com), and Costa Rica is next on our list (a friend just bought a place there). I’m curious how well you are doing with the ads on your site. I tried Adsense and affiliate programs with little results, but I finally found something that is really growing. Take a look at http://www.thetravelingmartens.worldventures.biz It would be a great way to use all the hard work you’ve put into your website. Let me know if you have any questions.
Thanks, Mel. Very interesting. I’ll keep it in mind for the future, but not interested right now. Good luck with it!
Hi Sally and Hal
drop us a line when you get a chance, we went through a few white boards ourselves!
tom and jesse callahan
This website is HORRIBLE!!! what are you thinking?? what is WRONG with you people????
kidding. love it. keep up the good work, see you soon.
Thank you, Dan. Everyone, meet Dan, my schizo friend. Are you taking your meds, Dan?
Hello there, what a great blog you have. I am 34, and looking to relocate myself to CR, and I am looking for information regarding cancer treatment in CR. I typed in costa rica cancer treatment, and this was one of the sites that came up. If anyone has any information about hospitals, costs, or cancer treatment, please feel free to email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you so much. Pura Vida.
I’m replying on the blog also – thank you for reading and enjoying! I love writing it. Join the Costa Rica Living Yahoo group here:
There was just a discussion, probably still ongoing, about cancer treatment here. I have two friends who had treatment here plus there is a world of alternative treatment. Also clinica Biblica, Hospital CIMA, and Hospital Catolica all have websites and you will find an English speaking information person at each.
Here’s my unsolicited advice: give up dairy immediately. Not that I’m an expert… Good luck!
Great site – keep up the good work! As I mentioned on my blog I would LOVE to come to Costa Rica to learn some spanish. The Fitness Adventures at Voz que Clama look amazing. One of my best friends from graduate school was from Winchester, KY, and went to Transylvania U.
You know someone from Winchester? Geez, now there’s a small world!!! Costa Rica is a lovely place to learn Spanish. We are loving being here… maybe we’ll meet here or there! Pura vida, Saratica
ENJOY YOUR SITE,BETTER THAN TICO TIMES,,,,
WORKED AND RETIRED FROM PANTRY PRIDE
GROCERY STORE,,,,WIFE WITH CASA MARINA AND
THE REACH RESORT FOR YEARS,,,,LIVING IN
LAKE PLACID,SEBRING,FL. THESE DAYS.
SOLD PROPERTY IN ESCAZU SOME YEARS BACK AS WIFE WANTED TO BE NEAR GRD.KIDS.
KEEP UP THE MOST INTERESTING POST I HAVE
READ FROM C.R.IN YEARS.
MIKE AND SANDY MOTE GUSHEE
Dear Mike, so nice to hear from a fellow Wester/Rica! Lake Placid is a great area – we almost bought property there a few years ago, but ended up further north with 10 acres of dirt and weeds in Live Oak. Selling that financed our time here. Live sure does unfold in mysterious ways. Thanks for reading, pura vida!
I cam across your Baby Back Door story. Do you know if thats still the case? Or where I can get more info on it? Thanks. Good blog by the way!
I believe it is. You might talk to a residency expert like http://www.residencyincostarica.com. I don’t really know where to find out the details… sorry!!! Good luck! I’d do it if I had a womb. And were a tad younger!
Great Blog, Saratica !
stumbled upon it while trying to find some info on MY pal Belinda from Key West now living …….
sounds as if she is doing well – please to pass along my good wishes if/when you see her?
many thanks and best wishes –
(captain) john middleton (formerly of summerland key)
Hi Sally or should I say Saratica. I am a 4Th generation Conch. We met a long time ago. I had a coffee house in Key West called,” Crazy Ophelia” where Buffet use to sing. I now live in Bradenton Fl. I have been going to Costa Rica for over 20Years and I do speak Spanish. I have written a musical based on the much talked about Von Cosel/ Elena Key West story. It Is written for a Latin audience. Lots of wild Spanish music, lovely romantic ballads and dance. It is somewhat like a Latin version of “Phantom of the Opera” The plot is dark but it is well balanced with the uplifting Spanish music and dance. I will like to bring it to Costa Rica. I can keep it as a Key West story or make quick changes in local to Costa Rica and the English dialogue translated into Spanish. I can send you a synopsis. I plan to be in Costa Rica from June 2ND till June 30Th. Would like to meet with you. Yours truly,Henry”Hank” Villate
I’m currently living in Escazu and came across your blog when looking up Little League in Costa Rica. My husband is looking to coach again (he coached back in Canada for many years) and I was wondering how your sons came to enroll in Little League here? I can’t seem to find any “official” website or information about it. Is there maybe some contact information you would be able to forward?
Thanks so much and love your blog!
I don’t have any of that info anymore. Have you asked at the school where your kids attend? They should know, unless it’s a CR public school. Or try the Costa Rica Living yahoo group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CostaRicaLiving/. You have to join but it’s a great info source and surely someone there would know… Baseball is not big here – huge in Nicaragua but not here. Futbol is the game! Good luck – my boys had a good time.
Hi – saw your blog while looking up my cousin Irwin – Betty was my first cousin and Penny is my second cousin. Last saw them years ago on a KW visit – You are so interesting – love the video and would love to visit CR. But not able to travel with my husband any more and not able to travel since I still am working – at 83. Really appreciate your views on travel and living outside US. Am going to contact Irwin now and see how all is with them.
Hi Claire, I’m so glad you found Irwin via my blog. He’s one of my favorite people in the world. Still going strong at 80 something… I think 83, can’t remember (CRS)! Tell him I said hello!!!
I’m glad to see you are using video on your great site – I have a Live Event Webcasting business in CR and am webcasting weddings, business meetings, special events live to anywhere in the world. It’s a great way to get the family and friends back home and around the world to participate in the event. Thought you may find this interesting, how would I get it on the Blue Book CR?