by: Robelyn Martinez Yambao
Hola mi amores!
I am back again after a long time of not writing here. I've been busy taking care of my kids and doing some vlogs on YouTube. Anyways, I wanna share today my experience about going out of the country to renew my stamp to continue my stay here in Costa Rica. In my previous vlog, I talked about crossing the border at Las Tablillas Los Chiles by car. We traveled using a friend's car 3 months ago but, this time our friend went back to USA and our budget for hiring a car was not enough so, we took a bus for a cheaper choice. Let's get started!
Buses Going To Los Chiles
There are two buses that go to Los Chiles Border: The Chilsaca and the bus from 7/10 terminal in San Jose. If you choose Chilsaca, you need to transit at Ciudad Quesada (change bus). I think it will only take you for 3 hours to the border. We got the direct bus from San Jose Terminal at 7/10 and took us 4-5 hours to reach the border.
7/10 Terminal To Las Tablillas Border
We are staying in San Ramon so, I need to know the schedule for the first trip in order to come back the same day and found it online at 7/10 website. From our town, the first trip is at 4 am but we took the 5:15 am trip. I thought I can catch the 7:10 am trip from San Jose but, the traffic jam in San Jose made it difficult for us to get there on time. We got our ticket on the second floor and waited for another two hours for the next trip which was at 9:15 am. If you have kids with you like me, you can let them play at the playground located on the second floor of the building at the right side of the ticketing booth. The cost for the ticket was 3, 105 colones that was more likely $6 USD. The trip has four stop over, the first town was in Naranjo. The bus will pass by Florencia, Muelle, and lastly Los Chiles. When reaching Los Chiles bus terminal, you don't need to get off the bus if your destination is the border because they will go there after few minutes of rest in Los Chiles. You can talk to the driver if you want, our driver that time can speak in English.
I have two children with me in crossing the border. I have 4 years old and one year old daughters on this trip. We woke up at 4:30 am then prepared to walk to San Ramon Bus Terminal going to San Jose. We arrived exactly at 5:10 that's why I was in a hurry to get the ticket for 5:15 am trip. The cost of the ticket from San Ramon to San Jose was 1, 495 colones equivalent to almost $3 USD and the time travel is one hour depending to traffic on that day. We arrived there at 6:25 am then, took taxi to go to 7/10 terminal that cost us 3000 colones (almost $6) because of traffic jam and a lots of close roads that day because of the festival held the night before.
Anyways, we arrived at the 7/10 terminal exactly 7am and I thought I was on time but, the bus was already full. The counter gave me the tickets for the next trip. I paid two tickets for me and Khimora while my one year old baby was free. After passing by Florencia, the bus has a stop over at the Soda which was 30 minutes away from Los Chiles. We just bought drinks in the said soda (restaurant) while others were eating their lunch. We ate our food I prepared to take with us inside the bus. After 30 minutes, we continued our trip to Los Chiles terminal. When we reached Los Chiles, there are few passengers waiting like me for the bus to continue to the border which was 10 minutes away from the town. If you are in a hurry, you can take taxi to the border. We arrived at the border at 2:25 pm and I made the processing of the stamping exiting the Costa Rica and coming back here for two hours. We stayed at the Nicaragua border too long because our Philippine passports need a visa so, we need to wait for awhile for paper work. My baby Kaylee is American so, I just paid her tax no visa payment. She holds an American passport instead of Costa Rican passport (she's also a tica but we didn't get her tica passport).
Additional Info: I have a minor child, I will need an exit permit for her (Permiso De Salida) the Costa Rican officer will photo copy that to attach in their record for her as Costa Rican citizen. We got that paper from San Jose at Migracion for free a year ago. Just keep that paper with you all the time.
If you want to read how to get the Permiso de Salida, just go to this link: HERE
For our crossing the border experience, Info on how we do it and payments for the visa run, just visit this link: HERE
I have different interesting articles about living in Costa Rica, all about my experiences. If you want to read those experiences for reference, just go to this page: HERE
That's all for today and thank you for reading my blog! Pura Vida!
Here's my vlog, enjoy watching!
Go Back To "Costa Rica" Page
By: Robelyn M. Yambao
Hola Mi Amigo/ Amiga!
It's me again, Robelyn, sharing my experiences as an expat with you. Today, I'm gonna be sharing my opinion in living in Costa Rica as expat.
Home, Shelter, Accommodation
In Costa Rica, some cities are expensive. The apartments and houses for rent are higher than expected. You will find cheap rent of apartment or casa in remote areas like mountains. If you are in the city, expect $300 for a studio semi-furnished casa and at least $500 one room furnished casa. If you wanted to stay by the sea or beach, expect $500 to $1500 accommodation depending on your needs. If you choose to live in a cheaper city, expect to have rough road and you will need your own car for transportation or else try to take bus to save money. Most cheap casa around $150 are not furnished, you will need to buy your own appliances which are expensive in town. We survived here for one and a half years now renting two bedrooms furnished for $300 plus utilities in Palmares. Right now, we got another place for $250 furnished two bedrooms in San Ramon.
Most of the ingredients like Asian food can't be found in the groceries. They have American stores and Asian stores but they have limited stocks of what you are looking for, sometimes not available at all! When you crave for seafood, you can't find fresh, all are frozen! Buying fish is like buying expensive meat. All are expensive, only fruits and vegetables are the ones affordable but not all because there are still some expensive fruits and vegetables. Seasonings are also limited in stock if you want to cook your favorite dishes. It's so frustrating because you can't cook the correct taste of the recipe you want. We always buy chicken around $2.50 per kg. in grocery store and the fresh seafood like fish and shrimp in Puntarenas market, an hour bus trip from San Ramon.
Clothing & Appliances
As usual, the prices are unbelievable very high. We always buy our clothes in a thrift store. They call it Ropa Americana where you can find some nice clothes for cheaper price. Buying appliances is twice or thrice the price from your own country especially from the Philippines. Well, they have stores that offer cheaper price but you are not familiar with their brands.
Language & Communication
This is the hardest part as an expat. If you cannot speak Spanish, you may find hard to live here because most of the people here don't speak English. Only few can speak English. I'm glad that our Tagalog in the Philippines is similar to Spanish, I could hardly understand but I can communicate a little with sign language. If you plan to live here, you may start learning Spanish now!
Visa & Residency
Another thing is your legal stay in this country. If you are not a resident yet or you are not applying for residency, you may find it uncomfortable to renew your visa to stay in this country because you will need to leave every 90 days or cross the border to renew your stamp. If you are a resident already, you don't need to cross the border but you will need to pay in their Caja like insurance every month just like locals do.
The cheapest transportation is taking bus and the most comfortable is buying your own car but cars here are expensive because all are imported. If you take taxi, you will burn your pocket because they charge too much unless you take the one they call in US gypsy. Taking bus is uncomfortable too because you need to wait for their schedule every hour to depart.
You will find it annoying sometimes because they work slow in here. For example, in the banks or government offices, they open very late at 9:00 and then a lot of people waiting in line. Every transaction, you will need an appointment because they don't have a walk-in so you will need to return not the next day but the next 3 days, 7 days or worst one month. Same in private establishments, you will need appointment. If there's a repair like wifi connection or cable because of damaged post due to heavy rain, it takes one week to wait to repair it. If you get married or gave birth, expect your paper will be registered in their system within 3 months.
Go Back To "Costa Rica" Page
I hope you find my article interesting and looking forward for you to read more. Thank you!
SUPPORT MY JOURNEY
A licensed teacher in the Philippines who shifted her career into another direction to follow her passion to be a blogger. Her blogs are related in traveling and simple living as an expat in a foreign land.