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 And with over 2,200 entries, so some things might be out of date, so if you find old info PLEASE help each other by getting the updated info & sharing it with me to revise.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
(you do NOT need to have a PayPal account to do this - just a credit or debit card)
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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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Friday, August 31, 2012

Owning a Car vs Taking Taxis & Buses in Costa Rica

Why I will NOT OWN•DRIVE a CAR in Costa Rica - and 

why I prefer the EASE and SANITY of taking 
TAXI’S in Costa Rica
(elaborated description coming!!!)

Let me start off by explaining that most of my life I have LOVED TO DRIVE!!!!  I even had my own car (a Corvair I used to fill the front gas tank up, rev it up and do sudden breaks and do "Donuts" with it!!!) at just 15 years old – BEFORE I even had my license!!!  And I LOVED giving people rides - growing up in Southern California (in Orange County [10 minutes from Disneyland and the beach]), I wouldn’t think twice about driving a friend 2 hours through the Los Angeles traffic to “the Valley”.  I LOVED to just get in a car and drive for hours (ESPECIALLY on the North Pacific Coast of California!!) – it was like therapy – a time to go within but then after I was always REALLY INVIGORATED and couldn't sleep for hours!  And at one time in my life – for a year - I was driving between San Francisco and San Diego every other month!  I drove from San Diego to Sarasota, Florida all by myself.  I’ve driven through small villages in Italia and at 110 miles an hour on the AutoBaun in Germany.   I’ve never even come close to being in an accident either causing it or being a passenger so I’m VERY FEARLESS with driving and basically – given the right conditions (car [MINE – NOT others], roads) – I drive like Mario Andretti (the race car driver)!!! 

But these days - I'm ALL about the - EASE!!!  NOT

With that said – I will NOT NOT NOT own a car in Costa Rica!!!

Now, this is SOOOO NOT for everyone!!  First off – everything depends on where YOU CHOOSE to live!!  I’ve INTENTIALLY chosen to live in areas where I had just about everything I could need within an EASY walk, talk a bus to, or at least take a fairly reasonably priced taxi.  

For me this has been ESCAZU!!

Now, before you go getting all “YUKKK - Escazu is Gringo Land” on me – hear me out!  I USED to think the same thing as that – TILL – I FINALLY WENT over to the area!

YES – Escazu has all the Gringo CONVENIENCES – where Goddess forbid even TGIFridays, Outback, Tony Romas, Burger King and McDonald’s DELIVERYS (YES – I said they and LOTS MORE restaurants and even some of the grocery stores/markets DELIVER [or “Express” as they call it in Costa Rica]) – but you go to ANY of these restaurants on any day and you hardly ever see other gringos there!!!  Who you mainly see are wealthier, more educated Latinos (or Latinos with credit cards as sadly we’ve taught them that nasty habit) – but that’s in the San Rafael de Escazu area (the lower/flatland).   In this area literally just about everything I needed was pretty much within a 15 block walk or a $1-$3 or so $ taxi ride!  Later I moved WAYYYY up the mountains into San Antonio de Escazu which I LOVED as it was literally a “Pueblo” where daily you’d see Compasino’s walking with their oxen and ox cart or on their horse and hardly anyone spoke English!!!  More on that at: 
http://LivingLifeInCostaRica.blogspot.com/2007/12/why-i-love-living-in-escazu.html   (to be updated soon)

So this can work for me also because I don’t get out much (I work from wherever I am via the internet) so if you’re an active get out every day kinda person – going to areas all over – or you have kids – it may not work for you (though I’ve known numerous people where it HAS worked that have had kids or that were very social but most of it was in their area or accessible via nearby buses).

So now that I’ve given you some examples of how I’ve lived without a car for OVER 7 years – here are some more specifics (I’m just updating this from YEARS ago and will be enhancing it more this weekend as some more issues have since come up).

I'm a REALLY BIG picture kinda gal!!

What NOT having/owning a car (and getting to take taxi's) represents to me is the OPPOSITE of what most people think – for ME – it represents FREEDOM and EASE!!!!   From:

Worrying about open manhole covers (and swinging into the next lane/oncoming traffic to avoid going down 7 or so feet), potholes (which are even in upscale neighborhoods)

Killing some fool that ran out in the middle of the street between 2 suv type cars (I know TWO people that's happened to. Imagine the nightmares they're STILL having!!!)

Getting an ulcer (I drive like Mario Andretti so I KNOW if I had a car, within a week I'd have an ulcer AND kill someone!!!)

Worrying about if it's ANOTHER unmarked one-way street and/or if it's changed this week,

Worrying about someone slashing my tire at a light and then robbing me when they're trying to "help me"

Worrying about where I'm going to park

Paying someone to "watch" the car (which isn't always an honest person)

Worrying about walking from my parking space to where I'm going and/or back

BAD/incomplete directions/descriptions (which they seem to be 95+% of the time)

Insurance (NOT cheap if you get the amount of insurance you REALLY SHOULD have)

Registering the car (and getting it passed which surprisingly can be a QUITE challenging)

Road Rage (from either side [normally pretty much a pacifist and a VERY considerate driver, it's amazing how much this side CAN come out when IDIOT/FOOL drivers get in my way!!!])

Accidents and car dings (especially not unusual in rainy season)

Getting lost in the "wrong" part of town

Hardly any signs (including the entrance to the pista/highway that takes you to the airport and even other MAJOR places - to say nothing if you're going back roads!!),

NO addresses and VERY few street names,

How’s your Español??   having to speak good Spanish (I'm learning but luckily I have numerous English Speaking Taxi drivers at

Needing to know where I'm going!! I just get in the taxi and tell the driver where to take me and 95% of the time they know!

Traffic (being from Calif. I have ZERO tolerance for traffic and there is a LOT here in CR!!)

Time - taxi's tend to know the backroads, etc. and can often get there faster. Flying is MEGA fast!!!

To say nothing of how EXPENSIVE cars are in CR, gas (it’s getting up towards $6/GALLON), repairs (IF you can find the parts), taxes if you're shipping (REALLY HIGH!!).

When I want to go explore some place in CR I either hire a LEGAL driver/guide that can REALLY show me the ins/outs - things I'd NEVER see driving myself! I also get to REALLY ENJOY/take in the scenery (something people with cars RARELY get to do since they're tooo busy worrying about all above. Contact me at LivingLifeInCostaRica@gmail.com  if you want any resources for that). Or I take NatureAir.com which often has AWESOME last minute airfares throughout CR!! (I just checked and they have some OUTRAGEOUSLY CHEAP Last Minute flights - like to Arenal/La Fortuna starting at $39, $56-$57 gets you to Nosara/Golfit/Drakes Bay/TamaGringo/Tamarindo, Tambor-near Montezuma $41, Torteguero $46 [plus about $20 in taxes though] and it's just 30 minutes of my time [my time is worth $$$ so this IS an issue for me often] vs. 3 1/2-5+ hours to MANY of these places, AND it's a BEAUTIFUL FLIGHT!!).

Of course it also depends on where you live (I live in Escazu so I have taxi's available to me 24/7 and 98% of the time they come within 5-10 min.) and your lifestyle (I am still "working" from home with an internet based biz).

This also allows me to go out with Purpose - not just to run up for a thing of paper towel which helps me do my part for the Environment/BIG PICTURE beyond me! I go and do a bunch of things at one time and at $8 or so an hour for a taxi when they're waiting - it's STILL WAYYYY CHEAPER than when you add up ALL the costs/expenses involved with owning a car in CR! At least for ME!

MOST IMPORTANTLY - NO ulcers!!! CALM - Peace of mind (I drive like Mario Andretti - looking all over - NOT in CR!!! [and I've NEVER had/been involved in an accident!!) and I get to ALWAYS ENJOY the ride!! That's what I'm working towards in my life - EASE, CALM, ENJOYMENT and TRUE FREEDOM!!!

At the end of the day it's still WAYYYY more cost effective for me - again - when I'm looking at the BIG picture!!

As usual - here's a DIFFERENT way of looking at life (the BIG picture!!).

(another chapter in "The World According to Vicki"!)

Vicki Skinner (aka the Sarong Goddess)


Here's a family that has kids perspective on living in Costa Rica withOUT a car:

1 comment:

London Taxis said...

The first benefit of taking a taxi cab is that it is an efficient form of transportation. A taxi is possibly the fastest form of transportation available because it does not need to make multiple stops, like a bus or train has to, nor do you have to spend time parking like you would if you drove.