The time had finally come to put the wheels in motion!
Between June 10th and July 29th, we had two garage sales and many trips to Charity to empty our home. Since we were only taking several suitcases, everything had to go. I really hated having the garage sales, but I did love seeing some of our belongings go to good friends and charity.
Ok, mostly my girlfriend Veronica. She now has all of our Christmas decorations, dressers, our giant flat screen TV, a big outside umbrella and heater, along with many other items. She bought so much from us, which made me so happy, that I gave her a lot too! She is also one of my sisters, so I gave her my grandmother’s china too! It sat in a box in my garage for over ten years, and I know that she will actually use it.
We decided to get all of our required residency paperwork in the States before leaving. The list of requirements is long, and we wanted the Apostille dates to be as close to our departure date as possible, to avoid expiring before starting the residency process. We’ll see how we do! Since the agencies in the States returned our paperwork so fast, we booked our flight from Los Angeles for the morning of August 30th. Two weeks earlier than planned! Yes!
You can try to apply for residency yourself, if you speak good enough Spanish, or you can go through a legal service like, Outlier Legal or The ARCR for assistance in obtaining your documents. Many people have referrals of lawyers that can also assist. I’ll follow up later on how we proceeded!
Below is the link for the four different types of temporary residency. https://outlierlegal.com/services/immigration/temporary-residence/
Since we are not purchasing right away, and we are not retired, we are applying as rentistas. https://outlierlegal.com/services/immigration/temporary-residence/rentista-category/
We met a couple in December who used ARCR, and they were extremely happy. They even held their hands through getting their Costa Rican licenses. They do have a satellite office close to us in Uvita.
Traveling with our four legged pack members was our main focus. The hubby did a lot of research, and Alaska Airlines had great reviews on pet travel, and they flew direct from LAX. We felt it best to drive from the Bay Area to Los Angeles the day before we left, so that the dogs would have less of a flight and no plane change.
We spent the night at a pet friendly Travel Lodge by the airport, and arrived at LAX the next morning at 6:00. While Chris returned the rental car, I quickly found a porter. He was amazing, and he loaded the dogs and luggage on his cart, showed me where to go, and gave me the paperwork to fill out for the dogs, while I waited in line for Chris. There were only four couples ahead of us by the time he found me in line. Bosco was so quiet, but very wide eyed, curious, and definitely scared. Skyy was a little more vocal. She had a lot to say, but more of a whimper than a bark. All things considered, they really were very good pups!
We touched down in San Jose, Costa Rica around 3:20 p.m. on August 30, 2017. First order of business was to get our four legged pack members from the oversized cargo area. Immigration didn’t take long at all, so we were off to baggage claim. As we entered, two guys jumped to assist us. We grabbed all five bags from the luggage area, along with our two carry-on bags, and then headed over to the oversize luggage area to meet Chris who was patiently waiting for the pups and his monitor. They navigated the entire process, loaded our bags through the customs area, and got our dog paperwork stamped. It all happened so fast!! No hassles at all! They only opened Chris’s two bags and questioned him if his monitor was new, because he had packed it in a flat screen TV box. No one asked for a return flight or forward travel ticket, which is usually a big deal. They only asked how long we were staying, in which Chris replied, “90 days!” After breezing through customers, these gentlemen took us outside and across to the garage to get our shuttle to the rental car company. It was POURING RAIN! The dogs looking at us like, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE! WE HATE RAIN!! Get used to it kids!
Ironically, the traffic from the airport to pick up the rental was just like we had left in Los Angeles…bumper to bumper.
Now I’m not sure why, because Chris always deals with the travel arrangements, but getting a rental car here takes an abnormal amount of time. Just saying… Then, we couldn’t get the back seats to lay flat, so we had to break down the dog houses to fit everything in this SUV.
Poor Bosco spent the long drive on the floor at my feet. Very uncomfortable, but he was such a sport. After we finally got through the San Jose traffic, we were rolling our way to Ojochal.
We needed to stop for a phone chip to get cell service, so we could contact our friends. We stopped in Jaco around 7ish. It’s a busy town, even on a Wednesday night. I sat in the car with the kids and all our belongings, while Chris went on the hunt for a cell phone store. He finally found a place, after being followed by a less desirable who really wanted him to buy some cocaine! Really? No thanks! He finally made it back to us with a functioning phone! It was getting late, we were all tired, and we were hungry. Jaco was a little sketchy, so we headed out quickly and stopped at a convenience store along the way for a soda and some chips….we ate pretty shitty for the two days of travel. Junk, junk, junk!
We hit only one patch of serious rain on our way down, which slowed us down a bit. Once we got to Uvita, we texted our friend and got directions to the house. We were to text when we got to the gate, but once we pulled up, we realized we had no cell service! WHAT?!!! Plus, we weren’t totally positive this was the right gate. So, back down the hill we went! All the way back down……to the main road and half way back to Uvita! Almost a half hour backtrack to get cell service. We texted again, and made sure to confirm it was the right gate, and this time arranged to meet at the gate at 10:00 p.m. Back up the hill we went! Success! We were in, and she took us to the house we will call home for the next three months.
All in all our adventure was quite successful! Pura Vida!!
Good times in Costa Rica!!