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 And with over 2,200 entries, so some things might be out of date, so if you find old info PLEASE help each other by getting the updated info & sharing it with me to revise.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!!

Has my blog helped in any way? Helped find something•brought more EASE? More exposure or business?
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
(you do NOT need to have a PayPal account to do this - just a credit or debit card)
Do YOU have/know of a Business•Event•News•Place•Things 4 Sale•Rent to add? Email:


• 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.
• Amazon.com or GoDaddy.com Credit•Gift Certificate (attn: SarongGoddess@gmail.com)
• Something else to share?? A gift certificate or invite for your business? I'm open!! (at times I'll add other things here that I'm seeking)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

LANDLINEs - Blocking from Making/Receiving International Calls - Costa Rica


The OWNER of the phone line (the name on the bill) - ONLY - must go into an ICE (the local phone monopoly) office (anywhere) - along with their ORIGINAL cedula or Passport to request and ask:
 "Quiero bloquear las llamadas internacionales de mi línea telefonica". 

"I want to block international calls me the phone line."

If the line is in the name of a CORPORATION / S.A. - you also need a NEW (within less than 30 days) "Personera Juridica" from a lawyer (the times I've had to get a new one it ran 10,000-colones/$20 (more if it was a rush).

FYI - in my last home - we could NOT make ANY changes because the phone line was in the name of the original builder of the house who was long dead as his name was still on it an the only way to make changes was for my landlord to go to court ICE said (though I'm sure some good contacts on the "inside" could have taken care of that!!!).

NOTE:  If you have your landline blocked from making international calls, MY experience with 4 lines in 6-1/2 years has been that you also can NOT RECEIVE international calls as well (& the message your friends/family will get will be in Spanish - not great if they don't speak the ling).


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Where to find FIREWORKS • Fuegos Artificiales in Costa Rica

YEAHHH!!   After a VERY EXTENSIVE search for a few years, I FINALLY found a Connection with 
 (aka Fuegos Artificiales
AND the owner speaks GOOD ENGLISH!!!

My friends bought about $600 in fireworks for their hotels New Years Eve Party in Playa Grande and even at that, they said going with this new company (for them)

Saved them about 40% off what they've paid in the past 
they got LOTS MORE!!

Want a Direct Connection?? 
I'll be happy to share it with you as long as you e- me the name and email address of whomever will be contacting them 
you PROMISE you will 
tell them Vicki Connected/shared the information with you 
(you don't want to create bad Karma for yourself do ya??)!!

PLEASE "Share" this link with EVERYONE you feel might like this information!!


Since I don't make a profit from this (and have bills to pay), PLEASE consider donating to this blog to keep it going!  See towards the top right side of this page for options!  ANY amount will help!  THANX!!




EARTHQUAKE Information in Costa Rica - Where to check for the Magnitude & Locations of Earthquakes in Costa Rica

EARTHQUAKES are VERY common in Costa Rica.  I lived 38 years in California so I'm used to them, but they sure can be different in Costa Rica than what I'm used to (I also do NOT get how they make such a big thing about California and earthquakes as they have nothing on Costa Rica!!)!!

First off, what I would normally consider a "small" earthquake - say a 3.2 - you rarely would feel that in California - BUT, if you're close to the EPICENTER - that sure can make a BIG difference.  We JUST had a 3.2 about 1 hour ago and it's looking like it was pretty close to the SouthWest side of the Central Valley.  MOST people I've spoken with described it a similar way - like a train rolling towards you and then a BOOM!!  This one was small, relative short and fast - just the way I prefer them (earthquakes that is).  Not that I know the facts - but the ones I've been closer to the epicenter from, I seem to have heard that same train sound!!

I've noticed MUCH different motions in Costa Rica also - some jolting, swishing and more!

Here are some of the first places I check for news after an earthquake (in this order):

My NEW FIRST PLACES I check are on Facebook as others are sharing their experiences literally in LIVE TIMING:
Then this site as it seems the fastest official/technical site and it seems to have THE MOST DETAILS!!  Click on the date and it will bring up LOTS more details and maps+++!!) 

THIS SITE lists the RECENT Earthquakes in Costa Rica time. 
I find this link OFTEN announces the info first (note that many international announcement have it in Greenwich time of which Costa Rica is 6 hours BEHIND)


(note you MUST add the www. with this as their webmasters did NOT properly set the site up and if you don't do that, it will say it's a bad address. 

Now THIS site of theirs
I have NO clue how to read/make sense of this one)

I've noticed the above sites don't always have the same magnitudes and locations - go figure which is most accurate.


USGS is considered THE main site for earthquake reporting - BUT - they tend to take the longest to post things
This page is for earthquakes that are 2.5 or higher in the past day.
They have a separate site for under 4.5 at - http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww/Quakes/quakes_all.php  -  is for ALL of them - but it looks like they only update that occasionally.

A nice educational link:

Do YOU have another site you find this information from??

Let's add it here and "Share" it with others!!  E- me at  LivingLifeInCostaRica@gmail.com


DID YOU FEEL IT??? Facebook Sites where people share THEIR Earthquake experiences:


Earthquake NOTIFICATION Service

This is a GREAT site you sign up for (FREE) and get earthquakes notifications emailed to you.  
YOU can set the AREA you're interested in as well as the MAGNITUDE!!! 
(after I think like at least 10 years of having this service - I JUST learned I could control what I received!!  THANX Deborah)


Like how to be prepared for an earthquake:



Since I don't make a profit from this information (and I have bills/rent to pay), PLEASE consider making a

help keep this blog to going!  Check towards the top right side of this page for options!  ANY amount will help and GRATEFULLY accepted!  THANX!!


Please SHARE this post with everyone you know that could use this info!!


Friday, December 23, 2011

SERVICIOS ELECTRONICAS "DIAZ" - Electronics Repair, Appliance Repair (large & small) & Computer Repair & Sales in Costa Rica 1

After NOT having lots of success getting things repaired (ESPECIALLY DVD Players it seemed) over my nearly 9 years living in Costa Rica, I finally found Electronicas Diaz and let me tell you -
THEY'RE THE BEST I've found so far!! 
Plus MANY have shared their similar experiences with me
!!  They've become my #1 place for repairing most of your electrical chachkee and appliance things and more.

AND they now have 5 LOCATIONS!!
Santa Ana and Grecia are their main REPAIR centers
Alajuela, Ciudad Colon and Pozos de Santa Ana (aka Lindora) are Drop Off/Pick Up points!!

They can help repair everything from:
Blenders (they've even fixed my friends Magic Bullet she thought was toast)
Clock Radio
Coffee Makers
Digital Cameras
DVD players (I've found a few locations that will take it to repair and they say it's not worth the repair and charged me 4,000 or so and then I have taken it to Diaz and they fixed with just fine!)
Electric Shavers
Electric Toothbrushes
Emergency Light
Food Processors
Hair Dryers / Blow Dryers
Home Theater units
Magic Bullets (YEAHH!!  A friend recently took her's there thinking no one could fix it in CR and sure enough - MIRACLE workers!!)

Medical and Fisioterapia•Physical Therapy Equipment

Microwave Ovens
MP3s, MP4s
Musical Instruments (Reparación de instrumentos musicales, luces, amplificadores • repair musical instruments, lights, amps)
Plasma Displays
Radio Cassettes
Remote Controls
Rice Maker
Sound Equipment
Toaster Ovens
TV/DVD Players
TV/Radio Players
TV - Big Screen (they even can come to YOU and make a HOUSE CALL!!)
TV - Plasma
Vacuum Cleaners
Video Projectors with LCD technology

They can a bit more expensive and can take longer (because they’re so popular/busy), but if you REALLY want something to get fixed, so far I have just about always been able to count on them - even when others said they couldn't help you!  

ENGLISH SPEAKING  -  For years I've been going to the Santa Ana store and never found anyone that spoke English, but I thought I'd give it one more try and the last time I found DIEGO (that's him in the picture below with my good bud Diane!) who at first said his English was “so-so” but do NOT let that fool you as he spoke QUITE GOOD ENGLISH and thanks to him I was able to find out that Servicios Electronicos was SOOO MUCH more than just repairing electronic goods (including MANY that others wouldn’t/couldn’t touch)!

They also can do Express•make House Calls•Home Visits (for a fee of course) - great for those massive tvs and things some have!!

NOW they're also doing APPLIANCE REPAIRS like washer/dryers, fridges,stoves.

PLUS they're also now selling NEW APPLIANCES as well as the used ones they sell upstairs!

AND they're doing PC COMPUTER REPAIRS and sales (plus have accessories for sale - everything from Keyboards, Mouse, Webcams, Speakers, CDRW, DVD +/-R+.

Check them out for whatEVER your electrical appliance/things needs are!!!  

And they are also
Authorized Service Dealers
Philips, Panasonic, LG, Sharp, Hitachi, Sankey, Continentes. 

#1 - SANTA ANA:  2-282-1760  •  SerDiazSantana@yahoo.com (Santana like the band - NOT SantaAna)  •  1 block South of one of the gas stations - where the sign from the East-bound Calle Vieja street says "Salitral"
PLEASE make sure to tell Diego that Vicki Connected you and how much I RAVED about him/them! I send him a BIG HUG!!!   

They're just a receiving/pickup place and they send it to their Grecia location for repairs.
HOURS:  Mon.-Fri. - 8am-6pm (closed noon-1pm), Sat. - 8am-noon
LOCATION:  On the main street - they're 175 South of the iglesia de la Agonia - on your Left. 

They're just a receiving/pickup place and they send it to their Santa Ana location for repairs.
HOURS:  Mon.-Fri. - 8am-6pm (closed noon-1pm), Sat. - 8am-noon
LOCATION:  From the main road coming into Ciudad Centro, at the gas station Los Angeles turn Right.  The Left at the 1st street.  Then Left Left again.  An then Left onto the main street & they're on the Right.  OR - 25 meters diagonal/from Materiales Castillo  

#2 - GRECIA:
They do repairs there.  Cristian is the manager here.  No one speaks English here but Diego will help you on the phone.
HOURS:  Mon.-Fri. - 8am-6pm, Sat. - 8am-noon
LOCATION:  125 mts. South of the Sur/Este•South/East corner of the Central Mercado). 

#5  -  POZOS de Santa Ana (aka "Lindora"):
They're just a receiving/pickup place and they send it to their Santa Ana location for repairs.
HOURS:  Mon.-Fri. - 8am-6pm (closed noon-1pm), Sat. - 8am-5pm
LOCATION:  1km North of the catholic church on your - on the right (just before you turn to go to Guachipelin). 


Make sure to tell Diego that Vicki Connected you and how much I RAVED about him/them! I send him a BIG HUG!!!   

And also let us know how YOUR experience was 


Please SHARE this post with everyone you know that could use this info!!

CHEESES - Where to find Specialty and Gourmet CHEESES in Costa Rica

I don't find lots of great choices for cheeses - especially STRONG ones) in Costa Rica and when ya do - be ready to PAY for them as they tend to be LOTS of $$$!!  (I also don't find a lot of STRONG foods/drinks in Costa Rica [even the goat cheese I've found here are quite weak!]).

So here is a list I've started on where to find some SPECIALTY, more unique, 
imported and GOURMET CHEESES!!
If you have others to add - or just REALLY GOOD cheeses, PLEASE email me at info@CostaRicaResourceGuide.com

(Caffe Torino is located by the entrance to my old place!)
(the guys from the deli.  That's Richard - the guapo on the left!)

 (2-288-4476 / 2-288-4473 / Torino@racsa.co.cr

I feel that Cafe Torino in Escazu (San Rafael) has THE BEST DELI and IMPORTED items I've found in Costa Rica  -  BUT  - they're NOT cheap!!!  
GOURMET•IMPORTED items  -  They have MANY things I’ve not found elsewhere in CR - everything from REAL Maple Syrup, mustards, candies, things like pesto in a tube, fresh pastas, jams, crackers and cookies, wines and LOTS MORE!!  
CHRISTMAS ITEMS  -  Cafe Torino is THE PLACE for old style foreign/imported CHRISTMAS favorites including Gingerbread Houses and baskets 
DELI (makes sure to have Richard take care of you as he speaks GOOD English and gives GOOD Customer Service!):
CHEESES  -  They have the largest selection of cheeses I've found in Costa Rica - cheeses from many countries like Switzerland and France and cheeses like Brie, Gouda++ (more specifics coming).  
MEATS - YUMMM!! (a detailed list is coming!)   
WINES  -  They also have a very nice selection of imported wines!
PASTRIES  - To the left of the entrance - in the back, they have many Pastries with a Tico flare.  They have everything from a CARROT CAKE, a more real tasting KEY LIME PIE, GERMAN CHOCOLATE CAKE, BOSTON CREAM PIE, CHOCOLATE CROISSANTS and even DONUTS (in between an American donut and a Tico one).  Christian works in this area and speaks good English!
RESTAURANT  -  Their restaurant (with dining upstairs, in the back or a couple tables up on the balcony or out front ALFRESCO) features REALLY GOOD  ITALIAN pastas, Soups, Salads and Sandwiches. 

ENGLISH (and GREAT Customer Service):  Richard (in the deli), Cristian and owner Marian (PLEASE make sure to tell them Vicki Connected you [and give Richard a BIG HUG from me!!])

HOURS:  Mon.-Tues. and Sat. 10am-7pm, Wed., Thurs. and Fri. 10am-10pm (CLOSED - Christmas Eve - December 25 at 3pm until January 4).  

LOCATION:  Escazu-San Rafael - ON Calle Vieja just East of Calle Country Club (in Plaza del Rio - home also to Cafe Te Con Te [across the street from where Vicki used to live) 

(some of the imported goodies!)
The tasty treats / postries / pastries and FULL BAR!!

Martina giving samples of Lekkerland Cheeses at Vino Expo '11

(Vicki's FAVORITE!!!)


Lekkerland has some REALLY NICE choices of specialty / gourmet CHEESES with a true European flavor - made with the highest of standards of quality and craftsmanship of old world style!!  NATURAL - NO Preservatives or Coloring!!  MY FAVs from Lekkerland are their Black Label (to me it's sort of a cross between blue cheese and a strong parmesan) and Blue Cheese.  They also make a great Edam, Feta, Gouda, Goat Gouda, Maasdam, and fresh Mozzarella!!   You can find Martina - the Dutch owner of Lekkerland - giving out tastes at MANY festivals, expos and bazaars around Costa Rica!

PRODUCTS:  See more pictures of their other cheeses at -

WHERE TO FIND:  AutoMercado carries Lekkerland though BL is not always so easy to find or they run out fast so perhaps ask the manager for their delivery date. 

ENGLISH (and GREAT Customer Service): Martina Harteveld (and PLEASE make sure to tell her Vicki Connected you and sends a BIG HUG!!)


(note you MUST do the www as it seems they have one of those webmasters trained in CR [no  comment])

Alpiste is a FABULOUS Import company that brings in all sorts of products from many parts of the world (especially  Italia / Italy as well as French) and sells them to the public as well as you can many of their things in stores and used by many restaurants.  They carry such things as: 

CHEESES (most cheeses are 250 grams to 5 pounds [unlike ) - the Italian main brand is Auricchio Reserva Exclusivo -  parmesan regiano, pecorino romano, ancoretto, cacciotta auretta, cacciotta del pirata, saracino, peproncino rosso, grana padano, pepper pecorino, provolone dolce, provolone ahumado, sirbone.  French - Paysan Breton - Emnental.  Costa Rican products - Italacteos - types - Bocconicini (like buffalo mozzarella), Scamorza, Busqueso (more like a mozzarella), Ricotta.  
OLIVE OILS - everything from regular cold-pressed to truffle, pepper, garlic and other speciality olive oils.
Various unique import items like Balsamic Vinegar, Pestos, Beans, Asparagus, Peppers, Divilla Tomatoes, Mushrooms, Mustards (various from France), Duck Wings in Confit, Divilla PASTAs++.  
WATERS - San Pelligrino Water, Fiji Water.  
SALTS - special salts from different parts of the world like Black Salt from Hawaii, Blue Salt from Iran, Pink Salt from Himalayas, Green Salt from Britania.  
PATES - Spanish pates like Duck, Black Pepper, Parfait of Foie Gras, Cherry Wine, Armagnac.  
CHOCOLATES - German Ridder Sport in many flavors.  
OLIVES - black (Italian, Spanish), green, whole or pieces, BIG olives - Botija from Peru.  
GELLATTO - they have the makings/mixes and machines for it.  
TEAs - Argentina - Chamana and Intizen.  
COFFEEs - various kinds - including the famous Italian brand - Illy.  
WINES - a nice size selection from Spain and Italy, Argentina, Chilean and California (a Chilean company/wine maker located in Napa - Star Angel by Montes Siraz and Napa Angel Cabernet.  Seghesio's Zinfindel from Sonoma) - everything from regular table wines to expensive/fancy.  
Champagne - Pommery - REAL champagne from the Reims region in France.  Cavas - Spanish Sparkling Wines.  
Rum - including the fancy/famous Zapa from Guatemala, Grapa - classic and flavored.  

GLASSES and DECANTERS - 100% crystal and some are handmade.
The owners are Italian but have been here since 1958!
For more details on their products go to http://www.alpiste.co.cr/enlaces.php

ENGLISH (and GREAT Customer Service):  The Sommelier (wine expert) Randall speaks good ENGLISH and he knows ALL the products so if you have any questions contact him directly at Sommelier@Alpiste.co.cr / RCalderon@Alpiste.co.cr / 2-587-0634 / 8-327-8414-Randall (and PLEASE make sure to tell him Vicki Connected you and send a BIG HUG!!)

HOURS:  Mon.-Fri. 8am-5:30pm, Sat. 8am-noon.  Closed Sat. Dec. 31.

LOCATION:  Escazu - Guichipilin - 800 meters NorthWest of MultiPlaza-Escazu - Go under the overpass/Pista and take the first right (the 2nd one takes you back onto the Pista) and go 600 meters to Plaza OffiBodegas Capri office park and they're on the right.  Just next to Blue Valley school.


When I was there last week, AutoMercado has various cheese in a special section of more gourmet/speciality cheeses - plus in their regular dairy section they have cheeses, but MY experience (based on MY taste buds) is most are pretty weak.


PriceSmart has a few cheeses like Blue Cheese.  Cash said it was decent but it was $10 for less than a pound.


Peri Mercado is selling authentic Danish blue cheese by "Rosenborg" at the front of the Deli service counter.
(THANX GringoCentral.webs.com)


Make sure to tell everyone mentioned that 
Vicki Connected you 
and how much I RAVED about them!  I tell them I send them a BIG HUG!!!   


Email me DETAILS and photos of various Gourmet • Imported • Specialty Cheeses YOU find around Costa Rica!!!  Let's help each other!!


Has this DETAILED information been helpful to you - brought more ease into your life, saved you time and/or $$$/¢¢¢¢?

Please consider showing your appreciation for and helping keep this detailed blog going by making a

ANY amount is appreciated since this is my ONLY source of "income" and VERY FEW people give back/donate!!!

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