I (Vicki Skinner - aka "THE Sarong Goddess") created this blog in 2007 to share DETAILED Finds•Lists•Info•Events•Experiences to help bring more EASE to people living in, visiting or thinking of moving to Costa Rica since DETAILS are NOT easy to find!
I’m NOT an expert (an "expert" 2 ME knows 101%-NOT me). I believe in sharin info•helping where I can! And with over 2,200 entries, so some things might be out of date, so if you find old info PLEASE help each other by getting the updated info & sharing it with me to revise. At least you have some basic info to get you started.
Better yet - do you have extra time on your hands & looking for a volunteer project? Since this blog is a labor of love & RARELY does anyone share a donation (even though MANY have said how much it's helped them), I could REALLY use help updating info. Spanish speakers ESPECIALLY welcome since my VicLish can be somewhat limited at times!!

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I welcome you to show YOUR appreciation for my efforts!
(see below other ways to show your appreciation)
The easiest way is with PAYPAL - Attn: LivingLifeInCostaRica@gmail.com
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• APPLE LAPTOP - Do you have a Laptop you're not using? Mine recently broke so I'm using a lender. Must be new enough to run current Skypes & have an SDCard slot.
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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Hiring a LEGAL Driver, Taxi Driver or Tour Guide VS ILLEGAL Pirata VS Self Driving while Touring in Costa Rica

Points to Consider
As a person that's been in the travel biz for over 25 years (as a Destination Specialist [NOT in Costa Rica], a Tour Operator, travel agent and a travel writer), I've been semi-surprised/VERY disappointed at how FEW people look at the BIG picture when it comes to travel arrangements (until they come home and look at their credit card bill at how much they spent!!!) as well as MOST people have NO clue on what all goes into expenses, etc. with having and maintaining a biz hence where pricing comes from.

Unfortunately I've ALSO found that MOST people don't understand the difference/advantages/points of the BIG PICTURE of hiring a LEGAL guide/driver vs. a pirata/ILLEGAL one let alone driving oneself throughout most of Costa Rica.


First there's the BIG expense in buying a SPECIAL/LEGAL Tourism Van (my driver said his van was around $30,000 [this seems REALLY cheap to me for a new 15 passenger van what it is so perhaps that's a communications misunderstanding] to say nothing of how long it takes from when it arrives to when you can finally get it on the streets with all the legal channels you have to go through when you're not making money [I know one driver it took 3 months!!]) which MUST be certified by the MOPT/Transporte Publico who provides them a special permit for transportation of tourists or students or for special trips not otherwise permitted.

Then there’s Insurance - a special MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE insurance to cover them for transporting paying customers. That’s approximately $230-$300 a MONTH for a legal average tourist van (there's NO WAY I would even THINK of hiring a tour guide to drive me that didn't have that - NOT in Costa Rica!! I've known of toooooo many people that have had accidents or worse - KILLED fools running out in the streets [I've known of 2 gringos that has happened to and NEITHER was the gringo's fault but they went through MESSY legal hassles]).
If your driver doesn't have insurance - what will happen to you if they have an accident?

These LEGAL vans MUST show some sort of contract with a MAJOR hotel or tour company - a sort of consortium. These can EASILY cost $25,000-$30,000 plus $100++/month per vehicle they have in their fleet.

Of course they also get to pay their own and their employees Secudro and INS, etc.

Gas (I believe in Costa Rica it's around $4-$5 a GALLON for gas). Driving around in traffic and the hills of Costa Rica eat up LOTS more gas than your open freeway back at home. Round trip from San Jose to Manuel Antonio eats up around $60.

If they have a website (what every PROFESSIONAL tour operator should have) they have the cost to create and maintain it, an answering machine and a phone line (and if you're REALLY professional wanting clients in Canada or the States - an 800# which is NOT cheap in Costa Rica). $$$$

Then they have uniforms (or at least they should if they're TRULY professional in my book!!), other supplies like binoculars, ice chests and things that to me a GOOD driver/guide SHOULD have if they're into GOOD Customer Service.

If you want someone to speak English - they tend to get paid more as they've invested more into their growth (hense your ease) and they of course can/SHOULD command more money as it costs the driver time/money to learn it to assist his clients properly. MOST tourists I've encountered in my exploring around Costa Rica are requiring someone to speak GOOD English to help make their vacation more enjoyable/EASY!!

If YOU choose to have them drive you just one way, they still have the time it takes them to drive back that MUST be incorporated into the price since they can't pick up another fare.

To say nothing about how strenuous driving is in MUCH of Costa Rica (ESPECIALLY for the driver who 101% of the time MUST be ULTRA alert watching for ALL the potholes that spring out of no where [even on the Pan-American Highway at times] let alone for the consumer!!). After this past trip from San Jose to Arenal (along the "back road" - not the PanAm) and then from Arenal to Tamarindo - though I've done this trip 3 times now in the past 2 years with family and friends - THIS trip I got such a new sense of RESPECT for ANYONE that drives professionally!!!

Of course with the overall BAD roads around the country - a driver also gets to pay for ALL their repairs and they are frequent here!! They go through LOTS more shock absorbers, tires, etc. Most are stick shift hence would also go through more

I know there have been NUMEROUS times I've hired a driver for 3-10 day trips that they were with us for WELL more than 8 hours in a day.

Plus other legal fees/dues.

As a CONSUMER - these are CRUCIAL points to consider for me:

#1 - If you hire an ILLEGAL driver/pirata/pirate/guide and the police stop you to check their papers/documentation (NOT that uncommon - ESPECIALLY these days with the war going on with legal/red taxi drivers stopping traffic dead in the street for HOURS in downtown San Jose on more and more of a regular basis!!)!!) and that pirata/ILLEGAL driver can't produce the proper papers, things they CAN and DO DO are write a nice ticket to the pirata, take the car plates which make it illegal for the driver to drive and/or impound the vehicle and you're caca out of luck on the streets with ALL your bags!!! Sure hope this doesn't happen to you in MUCH of San Jose (I've been in taxi's/vans NUMEROUS times where they stopped and checked).

#2!!!! The EASE!!!!
I hired a driver last month to do a family trip and I tell ya - driving around Costa Rica can be VERY strenuous - even to the consumer!! After a LONG/BUMPY/pothole infested/curvy drive from Arenal to Tamarindo - though I was quite "fiscally challenged" at the time - I decided to spend the $100 to fly back from Tamarindo to San Jose rather than that the $35 5+ hour bus!! I've decided that MOST of the time when I'm traveling around Costa Rica from now on I will probably fly!! For me it's worth the extra $$ to have the sanity/ease on my bod!!

A tour guide/driver can assist you in planning your itinerary and they know the ins and outs of Costa Rica. They should know the good tours and hopefully the more unique/better ones instead of the standard touristy ones.

Most LEGAL Tourism Vans are more spacious for you (trust me, with all the driving around, you WILL want to spread/sprawl out! There's less space of course if you have lots of luggage though luggage can go on the top). That's a BIG difference between renting one of the small CRAMPED 4x4's (those cheaper deal ones are VERY cramped and often can't fit much - especially if you have luggage. We originally saw the one we had reserved on our first trip and with just 3 gals and luggage, we would have been VERY cramped. NOT how I want to spend my vacation!! You???) or regular car I've seen that can only fit 4 people though not enough space for luggage for 4 people (especially for gals like me that bring the kitchen sink!!).

On the line of renting cars in Costa Rica - FYI - MOST I've seen are stick shift (how DO they drive those here with all the hills and potholes!!! That alone is a strenious time grabber!!) and automatics are few and far between and usually LOTS more $$$. They do NOT have power steering AND most pirata taxi's I've been in don't have good shocks (MEGA "ouch" for those of us more "well endowed" gals!!).

What are you going to do if your luggage is stolen or something? Can your pirata help you to file a police report, etc.? Are they going to go to the police if they're illegal to say they had you in their car and someone broke into that car - NOT!!!

Most drivers I know often have some clue if bridges/roads are down/being worked on - potentially causing HOURS and HOURS of delays and frustration (trust me, this IS an issue here BIG TIME)!!

NOT ALL piratas have "clean records"/are honest/good people (MANY that are piratas have some sort of "record" where they couldn't become a legal driver for a REASON!! These could include drivers into drugs, drunks, etc. (of course there are MANY GOOD/honest piratas also).

I ONLY use Frank Chicas' ENJOYING COSTA RICA TOURS for myself and my guests as they're some of THE MOST HELPFUL people I've EVER MET!!!! That's GREAT Costumer Service!!! I treat others WELL and I EXPECTED to be treated the same or BETTER!! I EXPECT a LOT - especially if I'm paying for it!!

Since the government doesn't monitor them - what are you going to do if you have a less than scrupulous driver/guide? If your things get stolen, etc.? Do you think the cops are going to have any sympathy for you let alone help you??

Of course if you're going from say, San Jose to Jaco, driving can be a breeze.

Because of the roads around Costa Rica as well as all the activities most people do here - you SERIOUSLY might want to take out Trip Cancellation/Interruption/Medical Insurance - just in case!!! I've had to use mine twice so far!! (I personally use http://AccessAmerica.com [WAYYYY COOL!! I hadn't been on their site in awhiles and I JUST noticed they now give Hurricane coverage PLUS an Expanded plan/coverage for Business-related covered reasons for TC and I insurance!!!!])

So, if a driver charging $100-$150/day or $15/hour for shorter trips (and I can tell you - I've seen MANY people email a guide/driver saying they want to hire him for X amount of days and then tie the driver up even up to that day with their indecision on what they want to do or using them for less hours than they originally committed to. Meanwhile he's waiting around PROFESSIONAL for this client hence loose $$$ [to say nothing of possibly other clients]). A SMART business person/guide/driver will get a 50% deposit (which means you REALLY want to do research on your driver before sending him $$) so he doesn't get screwed by the inconsiderate customer (trust me - there are PLENTY of those here!!).

After looking at the big picture is your driver REALLY making a lot of money at the end of the day?

When I'm on vacation I go to ENJOY and RELAX!! I don't need extra stress/frustration (as the roads in Costa Rica are [of course depending on where you're visiting]).

Hey - I've been a typical control freak gal ALL my life (I'm still working on that and am getting better but have a LONG way to go) that in the past ESPECIALLY HAD to be in control of the wheel - UNTIL I visited Costa Rica my first trip!! Now that I've discovered how CHEAP a driver/guide is (compared to MOST other destinations OUTSIDE of the U.S. where I've hired them for clients) - $100 or so a day ($15/hour - all depending on the distance/time) is the BEST investment I can see in MY sanity/ease and ENJOYMENT of traveling around Costa Rica!!

(FYI - I've hired Frank Chicas with ENJOYING COSTA RICA TOURS now OVER a dozen times in the past 7 years for bigger trips from 1-ways to Puerto Viejo to NUMEROUS trips around Costa Rica as well as MANY MANY small trips within an hour of my home in the Central Valley. His rates are what other LEGAL companies charge BUT the service I've experienced has always better than the feedback I've received on other people's trips).

We ALL have different desires/needs/experiences - I've just listed points I've encountered/my beliefs and/or feedback I've received from MANY other tourists (you KNOW how I LOVE to ask questions!!)!!

Bottom line is only YOU can determine what type of vacation/situations you're seeking in life!! I chose EASE and FUN for me!!! You??

If you want contact info for Frank Chicas with ENJOYING COSTA RICA TOURS, e- me at LivingLifeInCostaRica@gmail.com or call me at 8-378-6679.





Tuesday, December 16, 2008

GREAT website showing you Costa Rica Banks U.S. Dollar Rate of Exchange for the Day

I just found this GREAT website showing the comparison of Costa Rica Banks U.S. Dollar Rate of Exchange for the Day:



Monday, December 15, 2008

LAUNDRY SERVICES / LAVANDERIA - Coin Operated, Self Service Washing Machines & Commercial Laundry in Costa Rica


There aren't many places I've found in Costa Rica with COIN OPERATED / SELF SERVICE MACHINES - where you can go in and do your own laundry. I've posed this question on numerous message boards as well as trying to find anyone that could take my laundry to in case Goddess forbid, something happens to my washer/dryer in my guest house but so far, I haven't found many options and Dry Cleaners are out of the picture for me as they are often wanting to charge by the PIECE!!

If you know of any such places, please e- me at LivingLifeInCostaRica@gmail.com

LOCATION: Centro Escazu in Plaza Real (home to Sushi Goyi).
CONTACT: 2-228-7508 / 8-306-9124.  OWNER: Maritza Valenzuela
HOURS: Mon.-Sat. 8am-6pm.
PRICE: 1,000-c/Kilo.

I heard there's a Laundromat in Plaza Cristal.

ALAJUELA-Mall Internacional (2-443-2555)
ALAJUELA-Centro (2-443-0485)
CARTAGO-TerraMall (2-278-4189)
CARTAGO-Metrocentro (2-591-5073)
CURRIDABAT-Plaza del Sol (2-253-4468)
ESCAZU (2-201-6126) - LOCATION: MultiPlaza
JACO (2-643-2083)
MORAVIA (2-235-9174)
PAVAS (2-291-2847)
QUEPOS (2-777-0972) - 50 mts. South of Banco Nacional - Self-Service Wash 950-c, Self-Service Dry 950-c, Pickup-1100-c/kilo. HOURS: Mon.-Sat. 7am-12:30pm and 1:30-5pm.
SABANILLA (2-283-7844)
SAN PEDRO-Mall San Pedro (2- 283-4540)
SAN PEDRO-NovaCentro (2-225-0659)
SAN JOSE-Avenida Central (2-256-6961)
SAN JOSE-Centro Comercial del Sur (2- 227-4316)
SAN JOSE-Plaza de la Cultura (2-258-1100)
SAN SEBASTIAN (2-286-1026)
TRES RIOS-MultiPlaza Este (2-283-2134)

JACO - Lavanderia Puro Blanco (2-643-1025) - on the main drag, toward the south end of town.
Aquamatic Lavanderia (2-643-2083) - 150 yards further south.

QUEPOS-Central Market - Lavanderia Yara and Aquamatic Lavanderia.


LARGE WASHING JOBS like for medical offices, hotels and restaurants. Businesses that desire a sterile environments. NO personal laundry unless it’s LARGE quantity. Their machines can hold up to 60 kilos (it can fit a person in it!!) so they can do Comforters, Blankets and Pillows++!

Rainy/moldy season is over - time to do some early Spring Cleaning!!!

They also RENT Medical Clothes (blood proof) and Sterilized Medical Packages (sheets, gown+ [so you don’t have to throw away/waste!]) - 8,500-c/package.

DELIVERY included.

CONTACT: Nelson Kent (8-323-0793 / BabyFaceKent10@hotmail.com) - he’s a REAL sweetie with LOTS of energy/PASSION for what he does and speaks pretty good English

LOCATION: Hatillo Centro - behind the clinic Salon Nunez in Alajuelita?

HOURS: Mon.-Fri. 7am-3pm (later by appointment)

PRICE: Washing, sterilizing, drying and folding and roundtrip delivery - starts at 500-c/kilo.


PARTY SUPPLY RENTALS / EQUIPMENT in Costa Rica (including Inflateable Games)

(Tables, Glassware, Flatware, Dishes, Chairs, Tents, Serving & Chafing Dishes,
Chocolate Fountains, Inflatable Bounces / Games, Hot Dog Machines, Cotton Candy Machines, Popcorn Machines, Snow Cone Machines+++)

Escazu (2-228-3100 / Ventasescazu@AlquileresEiffel.com) - LOCATION: Centro Comercial Los Anonos
Curridabat (2-280-9392 / VentasCurridabat@AlquileresEiffel.com) - LOCATION: 900 mts South / 25 mts East of McDonald’s
Heredia (2-237-6607 / VentasHeredia@AlquileresEiffel.com) - LOCATION: 900 mts. West of Hipermas
(They seem to have the largest range of supplies plus they have LOTS of BIG blow up things also (Eiffel Games)!!! when your order arrives, MAKE SURE you’re getting EVERYTHING you’ve signed up/paid for!!!)

(2-249-4616 / 8-357-7430 / http://Fiestikas.com / info@Fiestikas.com)
Rentals of inflatable play gyms/bounces, popcorn machines, cotton candy machines, hot dogs, snow cone machines & iced drinks - geared towards Kids Parties!! They also have tables & chairs for kids & catering. Delivery throughout the Central Valley
LOCATION: Ciudad Colon
HOURS: Mon.-Fri. 9am-5pm

(2-289-2121 / 8-981-8989 / http://FestivaEventos.com / info@FestivaEventos.com)
LOCATION: Centro Comercial Roma - 225 mts South of Scotia Bank - 2nd Floor
HOURS: Mon.-Fri. 9am-6pm, Sat. 9am-3pm

ALQUILERES RODRIGUEZ Sillas Plegables y Mesas
LOCATION: Escazu-Bello Horizonte - 75 mts South of la Capilla

LOCATION: Escazu - Centro

Otto Gerez
Larger selection, good prices, catering
(per Gustavo at JopCo) (no one seems to speak English here)

Marta Chavez
I think she more custom makes Table Cloths, Chair Covers, Napkins+
(per Gustavo at JopCo)

Seeking a list of places/venues to hold an event for kids or big people alike, e- us (it will be coming here one day).

Here are a couple sites for more info (though CostaRicaLink.com is an old list/site). Many are for general party supply stores BUT if you contact them, hopefully they’ll be customer service oriented enough to share with you some supplies they have for rentals.

Unfortunately my Spanish is tooooo limited to update this list (I didn’t find ANYONE that I reached to speak ANY English/English-Spanglish) so if someone wants to help get details like websites, email addresses, any English-speaking contacts, details on the other list of places I have in other araes, etc. - contact me at CostaRicaResourceGuide@gmail.com

(send my invitation to CostaRicaResourceGuide@gmail.com!!)


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Office Supply Furniture Stores - Where to Find Chairs, Desks, Ergonomics in Costa Rica

I hear there’s outlet with "damaged/marred" office furniture on the street behind Pizza Hut off Paseo Colon in San Jose near Sabana Park.

(http://muguisa.net / ventas@muguisa.com)
Headquarters (2-253-8834 / 2-224-7114) - DIRECTIONS: Guadalupe, 200 metros East of Hipermas
OUTLET: Guadalupe

El Alto (2-280-1503 / 2-283-2397) - DIRECTIONS: 150 mts East of the intersection of Moravia y Guadalupe

Rohmoser: (2-290-3760 / 2-290-3772 / 2-296-4169) - DIRECTIONS: 75 mts este of Cemaco)

Sabana Sur: (2-290-5667) - DIRECTIONS: Next to Hollywood Strip Club in Sabana Sur.

Escazu (San Rafael): (2-288-5655) - DIRECTIONS: in Paco Plaza.

San Pedro (Los Yoses): (2-283-43-48) - DIRECTIONS: 125 mts East of KFC)

HOURS: Mon.-Fri. 7:30am-5:30pm
Headquarters: San Jose (Downtown) (2-222-3777 / 2-222-3516 / 2-222-3191 / metalin@ice.co.cr / info@metalin-cr.com) - DIRECTIONS: Calle 20 & Avenida 8 & 10 (75 meters North of the Iglesia de las Animas / Animas Church [in front of the General Cementery] at the light, turn left before the light on Calle 20. Near Hospital de Ninos.
San Jose-Barrio Cordoba (2-226-2596 / displaycr@ice.co.cr) - DIRECTIONS: 150 mts al Sur-Oeste/South/West of the Rotonda in Zapote - in the Centro Comercial Paseo del Parque
Alajuela (2-442-2232 / comdelcu@ice.co.cr) - DIRECTIONS: Costado East of the Museo Juan Santamaría in Alajuela

FREE DELIVERY within the Central Valley. MANAGER: Grace de la Cuesta

(http://AlternativaCR.com/main.php?pais=costarica / 2-258-0001 / info@alternativacr.com)
San Jose DIRECTIONS: 50 mts. East of McDonalds in Sabana Sur (the back street past Yammuni)


These are more Sofa Beds that tend to be more contemporary (like most of their COOL furniture) and LOTS more $$. Be sure to check out their outlet store Downtown. DELIVERY!
SAN JOSE - OUTLET - Downtown (2-223-5544) - HOURS: Mon.-Fri. 9am-6:30pm, Sat. 9:30am-6pm. DIRECTIONS: Avenida 2nd between Calles 7 & 9.
PAVAS/ROHRMOSER (2-296-2590) - HOURS: Mon.-Sat. 9:30am-7:30pm, Sun. 10am-6pm. DIRECTIONS: On the main road in Pavas, across the street and close to Cemaco)
CURRIDABAT (2-272-8787) - HOURS: Mon.-Sat. 10am-6pm. DIRECTIONS: Diagonal to Hipermas.
WAREHOUSE - LIBERIA (2-668-1313) - HOURS: Mon.-Sat. 8am-5:30pm. DIRECTIONS: Calle 4 & 5

(http://MuebleAmerica.com / 2-215-3031/ 2-215-3032 / info@MuebleAmerica.com) - Top End Custom Made
DIRECTIONS: 200 mts. north from Multiplaza Escazú, Condominio Comercial La Placita

(http://searson.co.cr / 2-520-1112) - DIRECTIONS: Sabana Sur-300 mts West of the Costa Rica Tennis Club. HOURS: Mon.-Sat. 9:30am-6:30pm, Sun. 10am-4pm

(http://TecniMuebles.com / 2-252-3086 / 2-223-6021 / 8-993-8185 / info@tecnimuebles.com) - Guadalupe - DIRECTIONS: 100 Metros South of the Centro Comercial Guadalupe


Monday, November 24, 2008

Travel Agency located IN Costa Rica to help you plan a trip OUTSIDE of CR

Do you live IN Costa Rica & are you looking for a travel agency IN Costa Rica to help you plan a trip OUTSIDE of Costa Rica?


Corner of Avenida 4 & Calle 40 (inside the ARCR office in San Jose near Sabana Park)
(http://CostaRicaTravelStore.com / 1-800-250-5119-from U.S.)

Air Tickets/Packages Outside of CR: Jaime (2-222-7862-his direct # / 2-257-2223-office/Carolina / Jaime@ CostaRicaTravelStore.com)

They both speak good English

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bedding, Sheets, Comforters, Memory Foam Toppers - Where to find them in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is REALLY lacking in GOOD QUALITY &/or CUTE/COOL Bedding / Sheets. For WITHIN Costa Rica go to our site:

Another option is to buy things online/on the internet/web & have friends/family bring them to you. You can have them shipped to you & though the item could be cheap, they often are in oversized boxes hence there will often be a fee for such oversized boxes.

http://Overstock.com/bedding/29/store.html - MY FAV site!!!
MEMORY FOAM TOPPERS (a MUST in Costa Rica as MOST beds here are as hard as a rock!!) - I've found 2" Memory Foam Toppers WITH 1-2 Contour Pillows for $80 + & sometimes they have $1 or even FREE Shipping within the U.S.! (http://overstock.com/Home-Garden/Memory-Foam-2-inch-Mattress-Topper-Contour-Pillows/1862668/product.html)!!
SHEETS: Once I got 1,000 tc/thread count Egyptian Cotton Sheets for $170 - reg. $400!!!! (right now they have some 1,500 ct. for $170!!! Those must be BEYOND heavenly!!). I've found other 400+ tc sheets for as low as $25-$40 a set!!!

MY FAV - ESPECIALLY for COOL comforters/Bed-In-Bag sets, blankets & towels!!
I've found Bed-In-Bag (they come with a comforter, set of sheets [though usually only around 200 tc], dust ruffle & pillow sham) for as low as $60 + shipping (http://Domestications.com/Dept/Bed+in+a+Bag+reg+Sets/10000/10108). They're not usually




For options WITHIN Costa Rica go to:

Monday, November 10, 2008

PAWN SHOPS • TIENDAS DE EMPENOS • Compras y Ventas in Costa Rica

Times are tough these days and many people in Costa Rica are desperate for some quick cash and are having to turn to

(check out this video at

Initially I had to wrestle with whether to write about Pawn Shops in the first since the BIG image is that much of it is stolen, but in these tougher times - many things are also brought in by people that just REALLY needing money (sadly we’ll be seeing more and more of that in the near future!!) and besides, I do believe these stores are frequented by police (hopefully undercover) that are looking for and removing the stolen goods.

Plus, after going, I learned there were also LOTS of NEW things as well so I got over it and would easily suggest to people to consider this as an option - especially when you're looking for a cheaper used item - like a camera or even appliances!!

You bring your item in (in good physical and working condition of course) and if the Pawn Shop owner agrees to "lend you the money", you make a commitment for the agreed upon conditions. The Pawn Shop agrees to take care of and protect your item - giving you a certain period of time (standard is about 90 days) to pay the item back with a BIG interest (hey - bank interest rates and credit cards are pretty darn high any ways so I can only imagine what some smaller ones are offering you) and as long as you keep making your payments on time, you get it back.  If not, they can sell it to recoup their investment (so do NOT get behind on your payments or you'll have no one to blame but yourself!!!).
WARNING!!!  What they offer you is NO WHERE NEAR what you think it's worth!!!!!!!!


A FUN TIME was had by most!!

Before going, I had MANY people about how unsafe it was and to ONLY go with a GOOD Tico friend that you can TRUST as it’s VERY VERY UNSAFE (for driving/walking and especially parking). I went with a taxi driver (that I trust) and a few friends and broke off on my own and felt ok (of course I wasn’t carrying anything but my backpack and pepperspray ALWAYS cocked!!). I think had I just taken him to get there/back, I would have been fine - as long as I wasn’t walking about with my purchases (which if that was the case, I’d probably leave them at the store and once I was ready to head home, have my taxi pick them up)(just keep that “Street Smarts” up!!).

I have seen almost EVERY conceivable item in these pawnshops - everything from appliances, cell phones, electronics items from drills to vibrators (yes!), furniture, computers and tablets (even Mac’s), guitars, jewelry - things used AND New!

You can walk into the store, skim through pretty fast as things are pretty much out there and get out (Power Shop!!!). I found the workers to be quite friendly and helpful and most stores had at least one person that spoke pretty good English.

One of the reasons I was told it was also good to take a Tico with you was I’m SURE you can do better with prices if the Tico is doing the negotiations (withOUT you there). With that said, next time I wanted something more pricey or a bunch of things, first I’d go with the driver who spoke both English and Spanish, find what I wanted and it’s price, make a list (along with which store it was in), then have my driver go back another day (or maybe just drop me off at a restaurant while he went back to do this). If you do it this way, ya GOTTA trust the driver you’re using (email me if you would like some of the people I use/trust).

Your best price will be paying with CASH and I believe most of the places DID take credit cards (at least the larger ones did).


There are a BUNCH of pawn shops in the Central San Jose area around Avenida 1 and Calles 14 - 20 (about a 4 square block radius) near Mercado Central (the Central Market)!!!


(LaCueva.co.cr  •  facebook.com/LaCuevaCR  •  2-257-0000  •  info@LaCueva.co.cr)
La Cueva is THE MAIN/largest (under one roof) and oldest (over 40 years) Pawn Shops•Empenos in Costa Rica, selling everything from appliances to Musical Instruments (even Guitarspower tools and LOTS MORE!!  I hear they even sell GOLD??!!!!!
POLICY:  10% interest per month on what they've loaned you - or 5% if it's 100,000-c+/$500 for up to 3 months.
HOURS:  Monday-Saturday - 8am-6pm

San Jose (main office - Downtown) - Calle 10 between Avenidas 1 and 3 - diagonal to the South•West • Sur•Oeste corner•esquina of Mercado Borbón.
Desamparados  -  500 metros South•Sur Clínica Marcial Fallas
Guadalupe  -  Diagonal to the NorthEast•NorEste corner•esquina or the catholic church•iglesia
Heredia  -  75 metros Norte of the Train Station•de la terminal del tren
San Sebastián  -  South•West side of WalMart • Costado Suroeste Walmart
La Cuevita  -  2-255-0534 - 250 metros Norte de la esquina Noroeste de la Iglesia Merced - SPECIAL HOURS - Monday-Saturday - 7:30am-7pm and Sunday•Domingo - 8am-4:30pm


PreStafull / Pre$tafull is one of MY favs (it feels cleaner!!)
(PreStafull.com  •  facebook.com/PrestafullCR  • 2-231-6050)
The MOST LOCATIONS around Costa Rica (21 locations) carrying everything from appliances to jewelery, musical instruments (including guitars) to power tools and LOTS MORE!!  I hear they even sell GOLD and SILVER (that has been certified.  Note for sellers - it is valued differently considering the authenticity of the precious metals, the karat and weight).  They do NOT buy cell phones, car radios, radio dials and weapons.  
POLICY:  You have up to 3 months to pay the loan off
PAY UTILITY BILLS  -  ICE • Luz CNFL • Cable TV (Tigo • TeleCable) or RECHARGE YOUR Claro or MoviStar CELL

LAYAWAY - You can pay by cash or do Layaway with 30% down and the balance due within 2 months at NO interest!! 
VIP  -  Need discretion?  Just call and arrange it ahead of time for a private viewing.

San Jose-Centro - Calle 10 (2-221-0027) is OPEN 24/7!!! (hmmm - are ALL their locations open 24/7???)
Their 20 other locations can be found at:  Prestafull.com/Sucursales%20Prestafull.htm:
Alajuela  (2-431-5460)Alajuela-Tuasa   (2-431-0255)
Alajuelita  (2-252-7436)
Cartago  (2-553-0913)
Desamparados - Barrio Jardin  (2-219-6078)
Desamparados - San Rafaél  (2-275-1776)
el Roble  (2-664-1644)
Escazu - Centro (2-289-2123)
Guadalupe (2-245-7950)
Hatillo (2-214-4243)
Heredia (2-237-2110)
Lomas de Pavas (2-213-0737)
Palmares (2-452-1379)
Paraiso (2-574-5919)
Paso Ancho (2-227-6281)
Pavas (2-290-7181)
Puentarenas (2-661-0910)
San Pedro (2-225-1580)
San Sebastian #1 (2-226-1645)
San Sebastian #2 (2-226-8641)
Tibas   (2-297-2790)

Here's a link to some other smaller Empeños • PAWN SHOPS in Costa Rica:

Casa de Empeños Don Jose
LOCATION:  San Jose - Calle 2 and Avenida 7

Casa de Empenos la Central

Dolores wrote about some Pawn Shops in Alajuela at:


Places to find USED THINGS - check out my posts at:

In general - Where to find USED THINGS in Costa Rica







Goddess forbid if I ever got something stolen, it’s the first place I’d look is on
CostaRica.en.craigslist.org  and  Encuentra24.com -
THEN I'd hit the Pawn Shops.
SOMETIMES the criminal will actually have the chutzpah to CALL YOU and offer to sell the item BACK TO YOU!!!! (some people might keep your mouth shut out of fear that the criminal knows where you're at!!!

After having his computer stolen in Costa Rica and having it tracked through a service and the police caught the person (and WE GOT TO SEE THE PERSON THAT HAD IT THROUGH the computer) - Brandon Pearce

He wrote: "All my important files are encrypted and password protected through Mac Sparse Bundles, so the thieves wouldn’t be able to access any bank accounts or other sensitive information.
All my important files are backed up on-line through mozy.com, including pictures, and the book I’m writing.
All my passwords are stored securely using Keepass.info and backed up through Mozy and Dropbox.com (I Vicki use DropBox which gives you a certain amount free but if you sign up, please say SarongGoddess@gmail.com referred you and I get a little more space for free!!).
Tracking software called PreyProject.com is installed on one of the MacBooks, which takes pictures of the offender and emails them to me along with other information. One of the iPads also has FindMyIPad on it which gives me their exact GPS location. Unfortunately, they need to get on-line for these programs to be of use. 
SOURCE:  BrandonPearce.com/2011/06/what-i-learned-from-being-robbed


What’s your favorite Pawn Shop??
Post DETAILS below in "Comments" - or email me at:



Tuesday, November 4, 2008

If the World Could Vote . . . . VERY INTERESTING!!!!

If the world could vote....VERY INTERESTING!!!!

Who is behind the site?
Just three guys from Iceland. The site is independent from all political parties, companies or hidden agendas. It's just an idea a 22 year old guy in Iceland came up with and executed with a little help from a couple of friends.

Why are you doing this?
Just out of curiosity. The president of the United States is a powerful man, probably the most powerful person on the planet. So everyone seems to have an opinion on who should be the next president of the United States. We thought it would be interesting to see who would be the next president if the whole world could vote. It's also a challenge to try to beat the number of voters in the last US elections. So spread the news.

Vote & then check out the results (ESPECIALLY for Costa Rica!!!)


Monday, November 3, 2008

OYSTERS in Costa Rica

Product c Oysters
(http://product-c.com / 8-821-7546 / 8-854-7813 / 2-640-1026 / samy@product-c.com)

AguaCulturists & Owners Damian & Samantha Geneau have opened Product c - an upscale seafood deli and national fresh oyster distributorship in Playa Carmen, Costa Rica (on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica - near MalPais).

Our "Saccostrea Giggas" Seedlings, which were originally brought to Costa Rica from Chile, are cultivated with the utmost care and safety standards by local Marine Biologist Alexandra Peralta.

PET SUPPLY STORE - COOL NEW place in Santa Ana


(http://PetCompany.co.cr / 2-282-6058) - Santa Ana

What a FUN place & I don’t even have any pets!! They had LOTS of unique/American toys/fun things/foods++ - everything from a Pet Bunk Bed, Trampoline (this is REALLY GOOD for longer haired pets that get overheated as it ventilates them from below), Dog Boots (for those rainy days), even FUN costumes/outfits (I felt I was back in San Francisco!!) & MORE!! They even had Greenies (to me the BEST/healthies [albethem mucho $$$] dog treat that’s great for their breath!!). FOOD: They carry Science Diet, Hills Prestone, ProPac, Optimo, Lams.

Their website has an area of pets for sale - http://PetCompany.co.cr/classifieds.php

PET GROOMING - They say they’re the ONLY place in CR with a Pet Drying Machine (no Josh, they do NOT tumble dry them!!!) & use Romani Inc. & Edemco Professional Equipment. Plus they can provide EXPRESS Service in Santa Ana & Escazu.

HOURS: Mon.-Sat. 8am-8pm, Sun. 9am-3pm

LOCATION: Avalon Comercial Center #9 - 175 mts. SouthEast of the Red Cross/Cruz Roja

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Beads and gemstones are not easy to find in Costa Rica hence not cheap also. Most craft stores sell only a limited amount of beads.

I have a few Beading materials left for sale at:


Zodiac has the BEST section in Costa Rica for CRYSTALS, GEMSTONES and Giodes at pretty good prices.  They're also the best store for BEADING things (also the cheapest I’ve found in Costa Rica) and they even have numerous FENG SHUI treatments (also GREAT prices)!!!  They also have all sorts of crafts classes for just 3,500-c/$7!!!  Only at their San Pedro and Cariari stores.

SAN PEDRO MALL - Planta Baja
(2-280-1509 • 2-234-4507 • 2-283-8609)
CLASSES:   Wednesday and Friday - 10am-12:30pm  2-4pm - PRICE:  3,500-c
HOURS: Daily - 11am-8pm

CARIARI MALL - 3rd Floor
(2-239-9087 • 2-239-2620 • 2-293-8201)
CLASSES:    - PRICE:  3,500-c
HOURS: Daily - 11am-8pm

(2-248-9535 • 2-223-7881)
HOURS:  Monday-Saturday  9am-6pm 
LOCATION:  South side of•Costado Sur del Parque Morazon - Contiguo a la Escuala Puru
ENGLISH CONTACT:  Hector - 8-822-2805 - HectorBarreto@Zodiac.cr - Hector speaks some English - best to email 
If you have questions and don't speak much Spanish, best to email Hector as every time I've called any of the numbers, whomever answered the phone said no one spoke English.

(Zodiac.cr  •  facebook.com/Zodiac.cr  •  2-248-9790-office  •  zodiac@racsa.co.cr


Almacenes Innovaciones
lmacenInnovaciones.net • 2-262-5252 • elkinun@yahoo.com
A beading craft store.
LOCATION:  Heredia Centro - de Parque Central, costado South/East•SurEste 70 mt., frente al Institulo Jimenez. 2



Look for the 10% off coupon!!!  They can deliver to you within Costa Rica!!


Jasona said there were a few stands in Mercado Central in San Jose that had some VERY BASIC beading materials!


The craft store (Acropulis?) on the 2nd floor - caddy corner to the church - has some gemstones.
(we can't find this yet so don't know if it still is open)


Actually, currently I have some little
rubber thingies for Eyeglass Necklaces FOR SALE!!
Contact me (Vicki) at LivingLifeInCostaRica@gmail.com  or  8-378-6679


(sorry but I haven't updated much of this in AGES so please verify the info before going to the locations [and I welcome you to share the info with me so I can update it!]).


Know anyone into beading?  
PLEASE "SHARE" this with them (especially on your Facebook!!)


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Sighting! NEW! Natural Cleaning Products at AutoMercado!

EXCITING NEWS!! For about the past month AutoMercado stores throughout Costa Rica have been carrying not one but TWO lineS of Natural Cleaning Products!

Ecos Earth Friendly Products from the U.S. (http:ecos.com)
Ecos says they did NO animal testing & uses NO animal products!
I saw: laundry detergent in various scents/types including for babies, liquid dishwashing detergent - even a dishwashER rinse aid!! The list they gave me said they also have a starch for ironing & a few other items I can't translate.


Ecover (http://ecover.com/xx/en) from Belgium.
From what I could gather they don't do any animal testing but I couldn't find info on if they use any animal bi-products in their products.
I saw: all purpose cleaner, glass & surface cleaner, liquid dishwashing detergent, laundry detergent, softener.

Here's a BIG THANX to AutoMercado for bringing more conscious products to mainstream Costa Rica & hopes of bringing more & more of their products here!!

Anyone else have other sightings of conscious/healthy products?

Please share!


Friday, September 26, 2008


THIS IS NOT AN OFFICIAL SITE - JUST A CITIZEN SHARIN' MY PERCEPTION OF THE INFO I HAVE JUST GATHERED (which at times has had 1-4 Different versions from the same agency!):

U.S. Citizen? Want to vote for this VERY IMPORTANT upcoming election? Didn't receive your Absentee Ballot yet? Or have it but don't know what to do with it? You have options!!

Most states require you to register to vote at least 30 days before an election so it MAY be too late for you to register. To find out if you've missed the deadline to apply, check out the requirements from the LAST state you lived in at: http://fvap.gov/overseas-citizens/request-registration-absentee-ballot/index.html

Every day I'm learning more and more! Like today I learned that 6 states have "Election Day Registration" meaning you don't have to pre-register - Idaho, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

I also just learned that when you're in the states - thanx to the "Motor Voter Act" Clinton signed in in '93 - providing uniform registration services through any drivers' license registration centers, disability centers, schools, libraries, and mail-in registration (I've often done it at post offices who usually have the forms [based on my experience] and take it of course).

Now, with that info, if you've missed your deadline, you can be your average Sheeple and accept what you've been told and beat yourself up for life if your candidate didn't win and the country went even MORE to hell in a hand-basket - because YOU didn't vote (of course, thanx to the Electoral College - do you REALLY have a "democracy" with an Electoral College that does NOT give you "one person - one vote"? But I gotta live with MY conscious and at least TRY!!) - OR - maybe they'll see my app came from a different country and they'll take pity and input me anyways! Hey - it can't hurt to at least TRY. Maybe it will come through ok - maybe not, but at least you will have TRIED.

I have heard a few different stories on this from a few different "reliable sources" so do what ya want with it. I've heard that filling out the form as an Oversees Voter is like doing a change of address as THIS is my home (for now)!! I applied at the Primary Election and voted lying in a bed in the hotel room Democrats Abroad used for voting (my friend voted sitting on the toilet!! I wish we had a pic of that!! Now THAT's devoted!!!).

I've heard that some states purge their records so to be safe (ESPECIALLY in this CRUCIAL election!!!), you might want to contact the Registrar of Voters in the county you last voted in.

With that said, I STILL haven't received my Absentee Ballot, THOUGH, they HAVE found me to send all that junk mail solicitation from the various politicians (the ones that KILL TREES!! I wish they had a box that we could check off that said "Do NOT send me any of your tree killing/hate Mother Nature propiganda!!" [I know I said I'd cut back on TWAV but I HAD to get this off my chest!!])!!

For me (that's ALL I can "advise" for), I still haven't received my Absentee Ballot from my state though I voted absentee in the primary and I didn't do the new form for this election (I missed the deadline before learning about the potential for purging) - I'm just going to trust all will be ok and vote!

You can drop it off at the:
• U.S. Embassy in Pavas - Mon.-Fri. from 8-11:30am at the Consular's Section - American Citizen's Services Counter (2-519-2000).
Make sure to bring your Passport to get in along with your COMPLETED ballot! When you get there, if you see a LONG line of Latin's, they're there trying to get visas to visit the states and such so just walk past them to the front door. Note you MUST leave your cell phone/all electronic devices at the front entrance!
IMPORTANT!!! I spoke to the head of ACS today, Oct. 10 and she shared the VERY unfortunate news that as of TODAY, they ONLY have a FEW Emergency Write-In Ballots left!!! (they [not the Embassy as our government actually CHARGES to U.S. Embassy in CR for ALL the voting materials!! It comes out of their budget!!] REALLY don't want us to vote do they??? I also heard from other sources that MANY states are having a hard time keeping up with the printing as SOOOO MANY people are FINALLY registering to vote [it's about time!!!])!
NOTE: You can NOT go into any booth and vote here! You ONLY go to DROP OFF your ballot!! They can NOT advise you if you're registered! They can NOT guarantee your ballot will be accepted!!!!! They DO have a copy of the Voter's Guide that you can LOOK at (if you don't like/have access to the internet).

• Many of the mail delivery services are offering FREE drop-off/delivery service including: http://MailboxesEtc.co.cr - Escazu, Santa Ana/Forum, Curridabat and Playa Langosta) (Neal ships them out once they get at least 10 or so together and Neal said that if you don't have the "official" envelope, not to worry about the postage - Mailboxes, etc. will pay for it [now that's mighty civic of them!!!])
(I've heard that FedEx may send them out bulk, not stamping them properly which to me is CRUCIAL)
Do you know of any others to add to this list?

• SAT. OCT. 25 - 9:30am-12:30pm - Democrats Abroad's Monthly Meeting at the Holiday Inn-Aurola in Downtown San Jose, 3rd floor meeting rooms. Of course there will be political discussions plus ya'll will get to discuss what you'd like to see from Democrats Abroad in the future and discuss the upcoming board elections.
LOCATION: Calle 5 and Avenida 5, on the north side of Morzan Park (need more directions? Call 2-523-1000)
CONTACT: DACR Chairman Paul Kloes at cr.DemocratsAbroad@yahoo.com or call him at 2-215-4254

• DAILY 8am-8pm - Democrats Abroad member Vicki's home in Escazu - ultra-conveniently located ON Calle Vieja near Calle Country Club - on the Santa Ana-Calle Vieja bus route that comes from the Coca-Cola Building in San Jose. You MUST have it to her at the LATEST, BY 8am on Mon. Oct. 27. Paul Kloes picks them up here twice a week and delivers them to the Embassy. Contact Vicki at 8-378-6679 / SarongGoddess@gmail.com for directions.

IMMEDIATELY go to https://VoteFromAbroad.org/regwizard.php (I've heard more people preferring this one) or http://fvap.gov/overseas-citizens/index.html to DOWNLOAD the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) / the "Official Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot".

CLEAR INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO DO THIS PROPERLY (some people have had some confusion so I welcome you to follow it step-by-step):

This write-in ballot, or FWAB, is your ticket to voting despite delays over which you have no control. Wondering where your ballot is? Think about how good or bad the mails are where you live. If you have any doubt about whether your state-issued ballot would reach your local voting official back in the U.S. if you wait another day, wait no longer. Thank Dave Froelich (former chair of Democrats Abroad-Israel and activist extraordinaire) and use the FWAB!

Using the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot

The FWAB is a back-up ballot that you can vote TODAY. If you subsequently receive your state ballot, vote that, too. The FWAB is only counted if your state ballot is not received by your state by the ballot return deadline.

1. Get the FWAB: Go to http://VoteFromAbroad.org. Simply answer the 6 screens of questions and download and print the 9 page document. You will receive (1) Instructions (where you will find the address to send the FWAB), (2) Electronic Transmission Sheet and Federal Postcard Application (which you do NOT need); (3) The Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot, which includes a Voter's Declaration/Affirmation, the Ballot and Instructions.

2. Sign and Date the Voter's Declaration/Affirmation: When you use http://VoteFromAbroad.org, the Voter's Declaration/Affirmation will be filled in based upon your voting state's requirements and the information you provided. You just need to review the information, sign and date it. Check the following list to see if you need a witness or additional documentation.

* Alabama: 2 witnesses OR Notary (must be over the age of 18)
* Alaska: 1 witness (dated and signed)
* Arizona: Proof of Citizenship (copy of passport or birth certificate)
* Louisiana: 2 witnesses (sign on voter's declaration form)
* Minnesota: Self Certification by putting passport number or last 4 digits of SSN on ballot return envelope
* North Carolina: 2 witnesses (must be over 18 sign and include address)
* South Carolina: 1 witness (sign on the voter's declaration form)
* Virginia: 1 witness (sign on the voter's declaration form)
* Wisconsin: 1 witness (both voter and witness must sign security envelope; witness must be a U.S. Citizen, over 18)

3. Vote the FWAB: You can either write in the candidate's name or the word Democrat or Republican. (It is unlikely that you will need the second page of the ballot). To find out who the candidates are for House and Senate, please click here. To find your Congressional District, click here, enter your voting zip code, and then click on "current election."

4. Seal the Ballot Envelope: Put your voted FWAB ONLY in a plain white envelope and seal it. Write on the outside of the envelope "Security Envelope."

5. In the Mailing Envelope: Put the sealed "Security Envelope" and the Signed and Dated Voter's Declaration/Affirmation in a mailing envelope.

6. Enter Return Address: Write your name and current mailing address in the upper left hand corner of the mailing envelope.

7. Address the Envelope: Write the address of your Local Election Office on the mailing envelope. The address of your Local Election Office is provided on your customized information sheet.

8. Double Check: Double check that you have completed everything.

9. Ensure evidence of mailing from outside the US:

* Foreign Postmark: Affix the appropriate postage. All states will accept a foreign postmark as evidence of submission from outside the U.S.

* Consular Stamp: All states have been informed by the U.S. State Department that they should accept a consular stamp as evidence of submission from outside the U.S. Using the consular service results in your mailing envelope being placed in the US postal system. Affix a $0.42 U.S. Postage Stamp.

* Commercial Courier: Some states will also accept a commercial courier service waybill as evidence of submission from outside the U.S. Using a courier service should be a last resort. Alabama explicitly refuses to accept materials sent to them by commercial couriers, such as Federal Express and DHL. If using a courier, please staple a copy of the air waybill to the ballot envelope prior to sealing the courier envelope.

10. Seal the addressed envelope - and Mail your FWAB Today!

More questions? Contact our experts at VoterCentral@DemocratsAbroad.org

What are you waiting for? Do the FWAB today!

IMPORTANT!!! When downloading this, in order to get FREE POSTAGE, you MUST ALSO download the "Affixed Postage Paid Envelope Templete" - otherwise YOU MUST provide the stamp (currently 42¢).
NOTE: If you forgot to download this envelope and you drop it off at one of Neil's above mentioned Mailbox, Etc., THEY will pay for the postage once it ships from Miami to YOUR states voting office!!!

Most places I've seen say by Nov. 4 (one even said the 10th I believe). OK - I'm not the smartest apple that's fallen from the cart but IF I mailed to BY Nov. 4 (Election Day), wouldn't that basically mean that my vote did NOT count?? Maybe in the FINAL tally but do they count that really? To allow for time for it to be overnighted to Miami (does it take 1 or 2 days from CR??), THEN, time for the U.S. Post Office to do their job (don't EVEN get me going on my faith/trust in them. Needless to say, I'm giving them more time) to get my ballot to the proper state (luckily mine goes to Florida!), I'm sending mine out on or before the 27th with the Democrats Abroad final mailing!!

≠ ≠ ≠ ≠ ≠ ≠ ≠ ≠ ≠ ≠ ≠ ≠ ≠ ≠ ≠ ≠ ≠ ≠ ≠ ≠ ≠ ≠ ≠ ≠

PLEASE forward this to EVERY U.S. citizen you know!!


(for the latest update go to:

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


MANY people have told me NOT to pay with a credit card for anything as sometimes it doesn't get done (this DOES happen also in the states!).

When I lived in Pozos & was paying CableTica via my credit card for a year - I had no problem. When I moved & tried to get OUT of the system, it took me FIVE/5 MONTHS of them charging me EVERY MONTH & of FIVE/5 visits TO CableTica before they got me OUT of the system!!

Do what YOU want with that info but I know what I will NO LONGER be doing PERIOD!!

I have Banco Cuscatlan & LOVE IT as their site can be done in English and to pay my bills ONLY takes SECONDS! I just put in my phone number or account number, it tells ME how much is owed, I designate the account to take it from and VWALA - PAID!!! I make a PDF copy of the receipt (not killing any paper trees!) & have it stored in my computer!!


LOCKSMITH / CERRAJERIA / KEYS - Good English-Speaking Locksmith in Costa Rica

LOCKSMITH = CERRAJERIA (to me it sounds like it’s pronounced se-ra-he-RE-ah)
KEYS = LLAVE (sounds like Jaw-vAy)

I JUST had Rafael Perez, a locksmith with Cerrajeria Escazu (2-228 6379 / 8-819-3213-owner / 8-363-9151-RP) fix a lock on a filing cabinet I had (I keep hiding things/$ and forgetting where I put it so this is an easy solution!). He speaks a good amount of English & is REALLY NICE and did a GOOD job on this complicated project.

Prices for a housecall start at 12,000-c (depending on the hour and what is required/how complicated it is). To make an extra key starts at 700-c

LOCATION: Escazu (San Rafael) - Centro Comercial La Rambla (across from POPS). They service the West end of the Central Valley (basically more or less from Escazu to Ciudad Colon)

HOURS: 24/7

OWNER: Rafael Chaveria

(THANX to Daniel with the Escazu News - http://EscazuNews.com - for this WONDERFUL lead!!)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Stay Connected with friends & family with Photos While in Costa Rica - Photo-Share Sites

Want to stay connected with your friends and family - for them to get a glimps into your life or vacation? Trying to sell something? Pictures make a BIG difference!!

For selling - having pictures REALLY helps you sell things MUCH FASTER and get your point across better. It also makes OUR/the buyers lives better/easier as well as yours because we can see what you have and if it doesn't work for us, we don't have to spend the gas/taxi money let alone time.

Here are a few Photo Share type sites (though they're more limited on LOTS of levels. I don’t have much experience/info on them so your input is REALLY helpful) - as well as some that are cheap and some not (but WELL worth it!!)

It TRULY can be VERY EASY to do (hey, if I can do it ANYONE can do it!!!)!!

http://Picasa.google.com (Sarah said they have the most storage at the best resoluton BUT, they are ONLY for Windows 2000/XP & with Internet Explorer 5.0+)

http://Flickr.com (you HAVE to download/bring over one pic at a time [PAIN/Time consuming!!], I haven’t found anything in it to make them purdy. I believe you can pay extra to store LOTS of pics).

http://PhotoBucket.com (can’t write much - mainly just a few letters for title of pic, photo [up to 10,000] & video storage)

http://Shutterfly.com (looks like you can make some purdy folders for groups of your pics plus order all sorts of other things from them)

http://Photoworks.com/photo-sharing/;jsessionid=7985DC0B07D58505EA4825B359D25ADB?cb=PW&guest=true&toh=&svr=web26 (owned by American Greetings - you can even make a hard copy photo book, paper photo cards, calendars, photo book, do slideshow [I’m not seeing much text if any])

http://Snapfish (they even have editing tools like remove red-eye, borders to make it purdier, order merchandise like cards, photo book, prints. My least favorite because vistors MUST sign in each time [& I NEVER remember my code] plus it looks like you HAVE to download/bring over one pic at a time [PAIN/Time consuming!!])

http://CopperMine-gallery.net (a multi-purpose fully-featured and integrated web picture gallery script written in PHP using GD or ImageMagick as image library with a MySQL backend [whatever that means]. This site is BEYOND my brain. I can’t even tell if it’s free)

I personally LOVE http://SmugMug.com but you pay for it BUT it's great for people like me that take LOTS of pics as I can create LOTS of "folders" for each sitea psuedo website writing all the text you'd like and even long descriptions of the pictures - DETAILS!! Also, you can drag & drop a BUNCH of pics at ONE TIME! EASE!! (example - http://saronggoddess.smugmug.com/gallery/5552336_D64kv
Standard Account - $40/year but you can have UNLIMITED storage/sites/folders, do Web 2.0, Tags, RSS feeds, APIs, Ajax.
POWER USER - $60 allows you to completely customize them, do your own headers/footers, video clips, use your own host name (this is what I have).
Professional Accounts - $150/yr - set print prices to sell your pictures & make a profit, sell digital downloads, use custom watermarkes, Proof-delayed shipping, protect your images from theft, add bigger files, add Hi-Def video+

I whipped up the Unity pics at
http://saronggoddess.smugmug.com/gallery/5552336_D64kv#340136421_WQEwt in 10 MINUTES!!! It's THAT EASY (hey, if I can do it ANYONE can do it!! For me it was just getting over my believing I'm "Technically Challenged"!!).


Wednesday, August 13, 2008



(2-288-4787 / 2-288-4786 / http://WorldGymCR.com / info@WorldGymCR.com)
NEW & HUGE!! POOL (COLD though), Cardio - bikes with respaldo, bikes Elipticals, step mills, versa climbers, wave, indoor cycling. Aerobics - Cardio Kick Boxing, Body Pump, Yoga, Military Training, Pure Pilates, Pilate Fusion, 4x4,Tone, All in one, Tae Bo,Power Step, Ken Box, Latino, Karate 4 Kids, Turbo Jam, Strong Dance, Fat Burn, Ken Box, Aerocombo, Tone, Fat burn, Xtreme Cardio,Intervals,Upper Body, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Belly Dance, Regueton Dancing, Striptease Dance, Caribbean Full Dance, Hot Dance, kick Dance, Latin Dance. Muscle madness, Jump box, Box tone, Pump it up, Turbo kickboxing, Sculpting pilates, Low impact, Step ‘n tone. Classes - http://WorldGymCR.com/gimnasios_costa_rica_horarios.htm. Kinesis (Mon. & Fri. 6am, 8am, noon, 6pm, Sat. 9am), Indoor Cycling (40 bikes).
HOURS: Mon.-Fri. 5am-10pm, Sat. 7am-6pm, Sun. 9am-4pm
NEW LOCATION: Calle Vieja just West of Paco Plaza

(2-228-7667 / 2-288-2582 / http://ArenaTrekGym.com / info@ArenaTrekGym.com)
Equipment - LifeFitness, Boxing area, Bicycles, Power plate & Pilates Studio, Sauna. Classes - Gliding, Core board training, power jump and Trampolines, Body Pump, Body Combat Body Balance, Drums Alive, Turbo Kickboxing, Step Moves, Yoga, Pilates, Striptease Aerobics, Belly Dance, AfroCaribeno Primitivo Dance, Meditation and Movement.
HOURS: Mon.-Fri. 5:30am-9:30pm, Sat. 8am-3pm, Sun. 10am-1pm.
LOCATION: Paco Mall Philipe/Carlos

Escazu - Trejos Montealegre
(2-289-5051 / http://multispa.net/webflash/gimnasios.htm#escazu / escazu@multispa.net)
HOURS: Mon.-Fri. 5am-10pm, Sat. 8am-3pm, Sun. 9am-2pm
LOCATION: 550 mts. West of Rosti Pollo in TM

Sabana Norte - Corobici
(2-231-5542 / http://multispa.net/webflash/gimnasios.htm#corobici / corobici@multispa.net)
HOURS: Mon.-Fri. 5am-10pm, Sat. 8am-4pm, Sun. 9am-3pm
LOCATION: 200 mts North & 50 mts SouthEast of Rosti Pollo-Sabana

San Jose
(2-258-2220 / http://multispa.net/webflash/gimnasios.htm#sanjose / sanjose@multispa.net)
HOURS: Mon.-Fri. 5am-10pm, Sat. 8am-4pm, Sun. 9am-3pm
LOCATION: SouthEast corner of Parque Central.

(2-271-0357 / http://www.multispa.net/webflash/gimnasios.htm#cipreses / cipreses@multispa.net)
HOURS: Mon.-Fri. 5am-10pm, Sat. 8am-4pm, Sun. 8am-3pm
LOCATION: 400 mts Norte La Galera Bomba (gas station)

San Jose - Sabana Sur (2-296-0264 / http://Fitsimons.com)
2 different weight lifting areas, divided by the different areas you want to train. We have world known brands such as: Life Fitness, Precor and Paramount, 2nd floor, in a width and spacious area with fresh air, we located our specialized cardio equipment of famous brands such as: Life Fitness, Precor and Paramount, their aerobic area has a professional Robbins sport surface. This floor is specialized in shock absorption, and offers stability, which helps you prevent knee and joint injuries, yoga, power racing, boot camp, mat pilates, karate, boxing aerobics, Zumba, Fit Body Training, Roping and Boxing++, Nutrionist, Sports Store, Cafe, Personal Training, Kid’s Club, Sauna
HOURS: Mon.-Fri. 5am-10pm, Sat. 7am-6pm, Sun. 9:30am-5pm

(234-1813 / MAdenauer@gmail.com)
The male version of Slim & Tone - a more or less 30 minute workout club.
Curridabat - OWNER: Michael (speaks GREAT English [he's from the States]). HOURS: 6am-8pm LOCATION: 100 mts East of Plaza del Sol

(http://Curves.co.cr / 800-685-3737 / Curveses@racsa.co.cr) - 30-minute workout
Escazu (San Rafael) (2-288-2480 / Escazu@curves.co.cr) - HOURS: Mon.-Fri. 6am-1pm & 4-8pm, Sat. 8am-12:30pm. CONTACT: Natalia Salazar Zamora / Manager - Mariela Mora Hidalgo. LOCATION: ON Calle Vieja AT Plaza Country Club - 2nd Floor
Pozos de Santa Ana (2-203-7464 / SantaAna@Curves.co.cr) - LOCATION: Plaza Lindora (across from AutoMercado - on the road going to the airport)
Other Locations: http://curves.co.cr/curvescr.html

(http://SlimAndToneCR.com [currently down but coming back up soon] / 2-234-1813 / madenauer@gmail.com) - A 30 minute workout club.
Escazu-San Rafael (2-228-4800) - HOURS: LOCATION:
Curridabat (2-225-4440) - LOCATION: 100 mts East of Plaza del Sol. HOURS: 6am-8pm

Kidz Power Gimnasio Infantil
(2-215-2133 / http://SaintMary.ed.cr/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=26&Itemid=39 / info@saintmary.ed.cr)
Specialized hydraulic equipment for children as well as other classes/programs. Kids 3-12 months - programs/exercises/games to strengthen their joints and muscles. 1-4 years - exercises for the development of the coordination and balance. 4-12 years - Olympic Gymnastics (4 - 12 years): choreographic, acrobatic exercises and work in gymnastic apparatuses. Karate for kids 3-21. Ballet for 7-12 y.o.