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Old 01-12-2018, 10:20 AM   #1
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Talking Build you a Costa Rican Skoolie!

Hello, I am in Costa Rica and yesterday i found at least two places that sell used buses. All types and ages. Internationals,Bluebirds and many others and quite a few flat nosed buses. I saw another place across the hwy that had some really old busses and i mean these were 50's or 60'd type busses. All with 4 miles of the airport in San Jose. There were two places side by side as far as i could tell and a couple repair shops as well or they may all be connected and i saw one bus being painted as well. Also i with the same distance i saw a place that had all kinds of the round blue barrels and those square types with the metal cage around them. I was in the area renting a 20ft storage building for my Geo Tracker. $200.00 per month for a 20ft garage with concrete walls and razor wire and guard dogs . Operated by an American couple. I am working a long term plan to build me a schoolie down here and have a major amount of work done by Costa Rican craftsmen.
Sure you are going to pay high prices as a Gringo but down here it is all networking.! I purchased a 91 Tracker 4x4 automatic etc in really great shape for $3300.00. Trackers and Sidekicks are everywhere and about the same as USA prices. I brought along a few extra parts for the tracker when i came down.(I knew i was going to buy a 91-94 Tracker so i included 2 new rear shocks. My Tica family fixed me up with a mechanic and he installed them for $10.00 each. Back in KCMO it cost me $60.00 to have then installed! Also with 8 miles of these buses is a Home Depot type store. I flew 1st class on United and that gave me the 1st 2 70lb suitcases free and another two 70lb suitcases for $350.00. I loaded them with all the tools i could pack in them and have pretty near everything i would need to build a skoolie! Labor id dirt cheap when you provide the tools and supplies.
My plan is to find at least 2 pieces of property to buy. one in the mountains and one on the Caribbean side! All i want is a property for parking and thus avoiding almost all regulations so long as you are mobile. I want the Mountain property up so high on the Pacific side that i can see over the Nicoya Peninsula and see the Pacific ocean on the west side of the Peninsula.I want to be able to watch the lightening storms over the peninsula and then see another storm at even a higher altitude and when i get bored or the season changes then move to my other location.
Costa Rica is an expensive country here in the Central Valley buy once you get out of the Central Valley then prices drop by about 1/3.
Tourists pay through the nose buy if you know how to network then you can live reasonably. You can get your internet through your telephone so just about anywhere you can have Internet Access as long as you have a Costa Rican telephone. Our internet here at the apartment is $20.00 per month with unlimited data.
As for a drivers license for a big rig i have not even asked the question yet of my sis in law that is a cop. As for me i have no worry as to that because i might just hire a driver. Your yearly insurance is paid when you pay the yearly taxes.
There are a ton of questions a person can ask and i can help with them. If a special license is needed that i cannot aquire then i will just hire a driver to move ny rig from one location to the other. You can drive a car or truck for 90 days on your foreign license.Then you need to leave the country for over night to reset the clock on your license.
I plan on having almost all the work done by locals and get such better craftsman ship than i could ever do. My work looks like crap. Teakwood and other woods are very cheap if you have a Costa Rican buying for you.
Were you to drive a skoolie from the USA you have to leave the country in 90 days or pay the import tax. I am quite sure there are tons of DT466 Mechanicals available.with manual or automatics as well. I priced 11Rx22.5 tires at $225.00 each plus mounting.
A great adventure for those with the desire. I think you could sell your Skoolie and at least break even if you wanted to get rid of it.

I am quite sure there will be plenty of naysayers about this but you get that with anything else as well.
I will provide telephone numbers by pm. Expect the gringo price they give you over the telephone to be 3 times higher than if a Hispanic does the talking.
Costa Ricans are very logical about things. Our cable guy showed up on a motorcycle with a rack on the back to carry a two section ladder vertically behind him.!

Forgot to mention that Bluecross Blue Shield is accepted here you have to pay up front and then they reimburse you.
Also Dental work is high quality and what you will pay $40k for in thr USA will cost you about $12k and that is with the dentist supplying you with an apartment to stay in. A great offset to use for building if you need a lot of dental work done.
In Costa Rica milk is Double Homogenized and doesn't need refrigeration.My plans do not include needing ti install AC due to the different climates. You can actually have your Skoolie up in the mountains watching a volcano and drive to the beach the same day.
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Old 01-12-2018, 11:51 AM   #2
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Well how cool. It sounds like you're getting along quite well down there. It's always interesting to hear about living south of the border.
I've got to be curious about one thing. They don't sell tools down there?
It sounds awsome there.
I've had the impulse to expat in Argentina but I'm still in the research stage.
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Old 01-12-2018, 12:14 PM   #3
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I'm jelly

Wow, that sounds like the life.

Everything is so much easier now with the smartphone and data. It used to besuch a task getting around South America. I remember just dealing with stupid travelers cheques !

So, what do you think your 2 properties will cost? Do you think my bus will be able to squeeze in next to yours???

I wouldn't mind living down there at all. I can't think of much that I would miss here.

Please keep us dreamers posted while you go out and live life. Show us the beaches and fruit platters you are enjoying while I go look for a space heater.

Send pics !!!
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Old 01-12-2018, 02:09 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Robin97396 View Post
Well how cool. It sounds like you're getting along quite well down there. It's always interesting to hear about living south of the border.
I've got to be curious about one thing. They don't sell tools down there?
It sounds awsome there.
I've had the impulse to expat in Argentina but I'm still in the research stage.
Sure they sell tools of all types but they are very expensive!There are cheap Chinese tools and American made tools. Don't waste money on the Chinese stuff. When you bring your own tools then you won't have to go run around everywhere purchasing tools. That costs plenty of time and money if you don't know the areas and the ropes. You will be way ahead of the game having your own tools when you get here. Mine are paid for and i was planning on staying quite a bit longer than i am.i will just load them into my Tracker and let them sit in the storall. I have to return to the USA to see a Neurologist .My plan when i return in Jan 2019 is that any bus i buy will have to have already passed inspection. Down here for cars etc you can rent a catalytic converter or a set of tires to pass inspection. I am quite sure that as an American that shows up with a bus project is going to fail the test so that they know you will be spending more money. The inspection and license plates follow the vehicle.
I forgot to mention that they license ATV's and UTV's for the street. A plus for sure.
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Old 01-12-2018, 02:33 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Rusty View Post
Wow, that sounds like the life.

Everything is so much easier now with the smartphone and data. It used to besuch a task getting around South America. I remember just dealing with stupid travelers cheques !

So, what do you think your 2 properties will cost? Do you think my bus will be able to squeeze in next to yours???

I wouldn't mind living down there at all. I can't think of much that I would miss here.

Please keep us dreamers posted while you go out and live life. Show us the beaches and fruit platters you are enjoying while I go look for a space heater.

Send pics !!!
I don't know what two properties will cost. This is a plan that is developing and morphing over time. After i posted this thread this morning and i was taking my nap and i had the thought that it might be cheaper and easier to just rent a spot from a landowner. Or I think a guy could make a deal with am EXPAT that has a high dollar property and needs someone to be on site when they are gone for some time. Down here when you hire a local person to do that then they live in your house and are considered an employee and you have a minimum wage you have to pay plus their insurance .
AND in December you have to pay them one months bonus!. You cannot work in Costa Rica unless you are a resident. You can contract to a Costa Rican to do a specific job and they are not an employee. The EXPAT with a house to want you to watch cannot pay you but he can rent you a spot and then you would have all their utilities at your usage. When you own the property and don't use it a Squatter can move onto it and then you have that problem to deal with. This is all workable but just different ways than the USA. I have been coming down here since 2003 so i have caught onto quite a bit.
It is getting up to about 75 today and i think i need to turn on a fan.
Ask anymore questions you want.
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Old 01-12-2018, 02:53 PM   #6
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How is it dealing with the authorities? Are the Police Banditos, like in Mexico?

Like, how much of a bribe do you pay to get a drivers license?

Can you own a gun?

Do women get to drive?

Thanks for Q/A session.
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Old 01-12-2018, 03:45 PM   #7
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How is it dealing with the authorities? Are the Police Banditos, like in Mexico?

Like, how much of a bribe do you pay to get a drivers license?

Can you own a gun?

Do women get to drive?

Thanks for Q/A session.
The days od the bribes are pretty much going down the road. Yes you can still run into it. The term to start paying a bribe is c"Can i help a little bit" Mostly it is making friends with them out in the small towns. When you are going to be around an area then it is wise to introduce yourself and ask if they need any help with some gas money . A lot of little towns are so poor that they can't afford gas money for the cop cars. or donate them a set of used binoculars or a set of cheap walkie talkies. You don't have to but it is a way to start building your network. Do this before you ever get stopped and i have never done it. I have just read about it. Costa Ricans are very friendly people overall. You will be way ahead to learn Spanish and no matter how bad you are at it just trying to speak their language goes a long way. This is a tourist country and they want you to come back.
No you cannot own a gun unless you are a resident.
Yes women can drive. Most everyone drives like it is NASCAR on the roads. A lot of roads are very bad off the main roads. You might slow down for a big pothole and have a bus pass you and a motorcycle go between you. You cannot get a Costa Rican Dr Lic unless you are a resident. You USA license is good for 90 days and then you need to do a BORDER RUN as they call it and leave the country for over night usually. Like you go to Nicaragua and spend the night. Bus services are everywhere and cheap also. Just standing by the road and flagging down a bus will usually get you a ride. You could take a bus to the border and then walk across and go through customs . Google is your friend on a lot of this.
More later. Need to finish my nap.
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Old 01-12-2018, 09:39 PM   #8
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Fun read for me. I spent a summer driving to Panama from So. Ca back in 1970. I stayed 2 months in San Jose Costa Rica and felt very welcome. I'm sure part of the reason is that Costa Rica accepted German refugees during World War II so there is quite a large group of blue eyed blonds like me in the area. Curiously, as long as I didn't have my camera hanging around my neck (and that I speak Spanish) I was accepted as though I belonged there. Costa Rica is a beautiful country and its people warm and friendly. Jack
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Old 01-13-2018, 01:23 PM   #9
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Fun read for me. I spent a summer driving to Panama from So. Ca back in 1970. I stayed 2 months in San Jose Costa Rica and felt very welcome. I'm sure part of the reason is that Costa Rica accepted German refugees during World War II so there is quite a large group of blue eyed blonds like me in the area. Curiously, as long as I didn't have my camera hanging around my neck (and that I speak Spanish) I was accepted as though I belonged there. Costa Rica is a beautiful country and its people warm and friendly. Jack
Yes they are a very friendly people and they do not have a OPIOID problem either. Sure there are drug killings but that goes on in nearly every country in the world. Don't mess with drugs and a person will mostly just see it on the news. IMO The most dangerous thing is the MOTOS or Motorcycles. They pass anything anywhere and weave in and out of traffic like crazy.Very good advice is to look in your side view mirror before sticking your arm out!
Humorously: We went to several furniture stores and beside furniture etc they also sell Motorcycles!
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Old 01-13-2018, 03:26 PM   #10
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Yes they are a very friendly people and they do not have a OPIOID problem either. Sure there are drug killings but that goes on in nearly every country in the world. Don't mess with drugs and a person will mostly just see it on the news. IMO The most dangerous thing is the MOTOS or Motorcycles. They pass anything anywhere and weave in and out of traffic like crazy.Very good advice is to look in your side view mirror before sticking your arm out!
Humorously: We went to several furniture stores and beside furniture etc they also sell Motorcycles!
Thank You for your thoughtful replies. Your perspective is unbiased and fresh.

Could you give a range for property suitable? $2-$4K town, $5-$10K ocean, etc. that seems like realistic prices?

Entiendo que es mejor a ser de la gente cuando comprar algo.

The last, big question would be schools. How much for decent schooling?

Thanks again for your time and keep living the life. You sure are doing something cool.
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