Uvita Property Management Office

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uvita property management office front

Uvita Property Management Office

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Uvita Property Management Office

Today, May 18, 2020, we opened our Uvita Property Management Office in the Plaza Perla del Pacifico, Suite #1. This is a great opportunity for Osa Property Management as we are more centrally located in the Bahia Ballena region now.

uvita property management office front Juan Carlos and Abigail getting ready to open the new office in Uvita.

Location. Location. Location.

The old real estate adage is true in this case also. We are more easily found in our new location, closer to more customers, and potential customers, and looking forward to meeting new and existing customers more often.

uvita property management office lone star bbq Perfectly located on 1st floor and close to Lone Star BBQ Restaurant

Advantages Uvita Property Management Office

There are several important advantages with our new location.

  1. We are happy to be centrally based in our focused area, which is between Hatillo and Chontales.
  2. The office in Uvita is larger than our previous location. The increased space will allow us to more comfortably meet with our home-owner clients, rental clients and provide our employees a more comfortable work environment.
  3. Epic Costa Rica Tours will also be using our office. This is a huge advantage as we will have a tour-focused and specialized tour guide, available to discuss and book tours for our clients. We will be sharing more information about our partnership with Epic Costa Rica Tours in the next couple of months.
  4. Plenty of parking spaces
  5. Handicap Accessible
  6. Next door to Lone Star BBQ Restaurant. This is good for our rental business (and the homeowners who own the homes we manage) as many tourists visit Costa Rica multiple times.
  7. Across the street from the gas station in Uvita. Everyone needs to fill their vehicles up with gas and we are visible from the gas station pump islands. We will put up more signage in the near future to be even more visible than we are now.
  8. Storage area for our equipment. The new office space will provide us a centralized location for most of our work and field equipment.
  9. Private bathroom and shower. Our guests will feel more comfortable being able to use private facilities rather than shared and public ones.
osa property management uvita

Dominical Property Management

Our new Uvita Property Management Office means that we are closer to our clients in Hatillo, Dominical and Playa Hermosa, than ever before. If you have a home or a property In Dominical, please contact us about a no obligation bid for us to manage your property. We can provide everything from full-service property- and vacation-rental home management, or simply an element or two.

Ojochal Property Management

We have many clients in Ojochal and between pool services, landscaping service and property checks, one of our representatives are in Ojochal almost daily. In addition, our Office Manager, Juan Carlos lives in Ojochal and makes periodic checks on properties there. We are never more than 20 minutes away from most of our homes in Ojochal.

San Buenas Property Management

Our new office in Uvita is also beneficial to our San Buenas and Tres Rios clients. Most clients arrive in San Jose and drive down the Costanera Highway. They will be able to stop in Uvita, pick up their groceries, meet with Osa Property Management to pick up keys, confirm trip and tour details and then continue on their way. Additionally, we have employees that live in Coronado (5 minutes north of San Buenas and just below Tres Rios) and in San Buenas, so we are extremely close to all of our homeowners and rental clients.

We have a great team!

I can’t express how happy and proud I am of our team who quickly moved our office and set up our Uvita Property Management Office. Please be sure to drop by on your next visit to the Bahia Ballena region. If you are a homeowner needing a property management solution, please contact us immediately. We are still working and can help ensure your property is in proper condition.

Stay safe! Pura Vida!

Nick Halverson

nick halverson


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costa rica memories

Costa Rica Vacation Memories

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Costa Rica Vacation Memories Video

As we all adjust to the challenges of COVID19, our staff has put together a video montage of “Costa Rica Vacation Memories”. Most of the photos come from our vacation rental clients. We appreciate their willingness to share their memories with everyone! Costa Rica is such a wonderful and beautiful place to visit, but right now the country’s borders are closed.

Muchas gracias!

Let us know if you have a Costa Rica Memories photo you’d be willing to share. We will make a new video in the next couple of weeks. We didn’t want to make the video too long, but we have been contacted by other guests wanting to see themselves in one of our videos.

Quick Update on COVID19 in Costa Rica

The Costa Rican government has closed all of the beaches and National Parks due to COVID19. Therefore, the Costa Rica Memories you see in the video is the best way to experience Dominical, Uvita, Ojochal and San Buenas right now. We will keep everyone updated as the restrictions are eased.

The great news is that Costa Rica has only had six deaths related to the coronavirus (as of May 4th, 2020). This is due in large part to the strict enforcement of their social distancing plans.

Want more information?

If you would like more information about renting a vacation home in the Bahia Ballena region, please fill out the form below. We will contact you within 48 hours. Alternatively, feel free to send us a text message or a WhatsApp message to either +16128198154 (North America) or +50671001006 (Costa Rica).

We look forward to hearing from you, and helping you make your own Costa Rica Vacation Memories!

Pura vida!


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ojochal library

Ojochal Library

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Ojochal Library

In the community of Ojochal de Osa there is a library full of stories and unforgettable moments. Access is available at the Ojochal Library for local residents and visitors alike. This library is the result of many people working together to make this dream come true.

ojochal library outside

Ojochal Library Project

The Ojochal Library project was completed in 2009. It all started with an ex-pat visitor who wanted to find a place to donate her books while on vacation. The idea generated a lot of interest in the community. A run-down community building was not being used in the middle of town. It was decided that would be the best location for the library.

Locals and ex-pats alike volunteered to remodel the building. Thanks to many donations of time, money and other resources, the library became a reality in 2009. It is a shining example of what Costa Rica and what the Ojochal community is like. Friendly. Working together.

Books in Three Languages

This library has more than 2,000 books, stories, novels and learning for adults, adolescents, and children. Additionally, there are books in three languages: Spanish, English, and French. Donations have come from residents of Ojochal, who come from many parts of the world.

ojochal library inside Please consider donating to the Ojochal Library

Donations are Welcomed

The library is always looking for more books to grow its collection. If you are traveling through, or you currently live in, Ojochal, please consider donating any books you no longer want. Additionally, the library would appreciate any tables, chairs, desks, boardgames, crayons, pencils, etc. These donations help ensure that those that need these resources most, have easy access to them.

Ojochal Library Hours of Operation

The hours of operation may change at any moment, but they currently are:

  • Monday: 10 am – noon
  • Wednesday: 1 pm – 3 pm
  • Thursday: 10 am – noon

All workers at the library are volunteers. They are always looking for more volunteers to be able to keep the library open more hours of the week. Please contact them directly if you are interested in volunteering, or send Osa Property Management a note and we will contact them for you.

ojochal library hours of operation

Ojochal Library Hours of Operation

Ojochal Library Contact Information

The people in charge of managing this place are the members of the Development Association (ADI), but if you want to collaborate with this valuable initiative you can do so by contacting Katherine Sturk by email: [email protected] or WhatsApp +506.8432.2724

We offer several Ojochal Vacation Rentals in Ojochal that are within minutes of the library. Contact us if you would like more information about one of the home rentals in the area.


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riteve costa rica vehicle inspection

RITEVE 2020

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RITEVE 2020 New Rules

RITEVE 2020 hours palmar sur

Hours of operation for RITEVE 2020 Palmar Sur

Due to the events about the Coronavirus/COVID19, and the health measures ordered by the Ministry of Health and the government of Costa Rica, RITEVE 2020 has rules. These new provisions are in place to better serve and to protect those needing a vehicle inspection.

What is RITEVE?

All vehicles in Costa Rica must be inspected annually for a variety of electronic, mechanical and ‘output’ testing. For RITEVE 2020 there are new schedule hours during the month of April 2020. The following is for the mobile Palmar Sur RITEVE 2020 inspections. The dates of operation are April 14-30, 2020. During the week RITEVE 2020 will be open Monday through Friday from 6:00 am to 5:00 pm. They are also available by appointment for special circumstances.

All appointments must be made in advance via the RITEVE official website.

riteve 2020 covid19 rules

Rules explaining the health precautions being taken by RITEVE during COVID19

However, they warn that they will not appear in the following cases:
*People with symptoms related to COVID-19.
*People who have been in quarantine or with relatives confirmed with the virus.
*Customers who come with other passengers in the vehicle (only one person is served per vehicle).

These are the corresponding rates according to the type of vehicle that must be paid before the vehicle is tested.

Light vehiclePriceIVATotal
Inspección¢ 14.095,00¢ 1.832,35¢ 15.927,35
Reinspección¢ 7.047,50¢ 916,18¢ 7.963,68
MotorcyclesPriceIVATotal
Inspección¢ 9.285,00¢ 1.207,05¢ 10.492,05
Reinspección¢ 4.642,50¢ 603,53¢ 5.246,03
Heavy vehiclePriceIVATotal
Inspección¢ 18.560,00¢ 2.412,80¢ 20.972,80
Reinspección¢ 9.280,00¢ 1.206,40¢ 10.486,40
EspecialesPrice   IVATotal
Inspección¢ 18.560,00¢ 2.412,80¢ 20.972,80
Reinspección¢ 9.280,00¢ 1.206,40¢ 10.486,40
BusesPriceIVATotal
Inspección¢ 18.560,00¢ 2.412,80¢ 20.972,80
Reinspección¢ 9.280,00¢ 1.206,40¢ 10.486,40
TaxisPriceIVATotal
Inspección¢ 15.205,00¢ 1.976,65¢ 17.181,65
Reinspección¢ 7.602,50¢ 988,33¢ 8.590,83
MAG card lightPriceIVATotal
Inspección¢ 10.711,00¢ 1.392,43¢ 12.103,43
Reinspección¢ 5.355,50¢ 696,22¢ 6.051,72
Heavy MAGPriceIVATotal
Inspección¢ 12.438,00¢ 1.616,94¢ 14.054,94
Reinspección¢ 6.219,00¢ 808,47¢ 7.027,47
AgricolaPriceIVATotal
Inspección¢ 8.545,00¢ 1.110,85¢ 9.655,85
Reinspección¢ 4.272,50¢ 555,43¢ 4.827,93

You can consult the rates directly the following link: https://www.rtv.co.cr/tarifas/

There is an initial Inspection rate that all vehicles must pay, based on the type of vehicle. The type of vehicle is determined by RITEVE and cross-referenced with the license plate history of the vehicle. Most vehicles do not pass all of the tests the first time. Every time a vehicle goes through the inspection process there is a fee to pay. Each subsequent fee after the first inspection is charged at the re-inspection rate. The re-inspection rate is less than the original inspection fee.

If a vehicle fails to pass all of the tests, then that vehicle will not be able to legally be on the road within 30 days of the original inspection or at the end of the month of the expiring RITEVE.

For appointments and information call 905-7880000 or visit the website https://www.rtv.co.cr


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juan santamaria costa rica statue

Juan Santamaría is a Costa Rica Hero

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Juan Santamaria

His name is Juan Santamaría. Today his name may be recognizable for those traveling into or out of San Jose’s largest airport. The airport in San Jose, airport code SJO, is officially named after Juan Santamaria.  He is known by Costa Rican’s as a national hero.

Early Life & Death

He was born on August 29, 1831, in Alajuela, Costa Rica. At the time Alajuela was the capital of Costa Rica, following Costa Rica’s independence in 1821. He died on April 11, 1856 in Rivas, Nicaragua during the second battle of Rivas.

Imagen de wikipedia

William Walker Conquers Nicaragua

The story of Juan Santamaria starts with William Walker. Costa Rica was in the middle of a war against William Walker. Walker was a power-hungry physician-lawyer-mercenary from the United States of America who was attempting to overthrow all of Central America to establish English speaking colonies under his control. Walker was successful in overthrowing the Nicaraguan government in early 1856 and declared himself President of Nicaragua on July 12th of that year. After overthrowing Nicaragua, he continued heading south to Costa Rica, where he declared war against Costa Rica on March 1, 1856.

Walker Starts War with Costa Rica

The President of Costa Rica (Juan Rafael Mora Porras) publicly asked for any man who was able to fight and to defend Costa Rica to band together and head to Nicaragua. History states that Juan Santamaría was a poor laborer and the illegitimate son of a single mother. In other words, he had very little prospects or hope for much success. Seeing this as an opportunity to have an adventure and possibly improve his situation, he proudly joined the army as a “drummer boy”. Even though he was twenty-five years old at the time, the term “drummer boy” is still used to describe him in multiple online locations.

Juan Santamaria Dies

The Costa Rican troops headed north from Alajuela and won a small battle in Santa Rosa, Guanacaste. Walker lost 26 soldiers in the battle. From Santa Rosa, the troops marched fifty miles to Rivas, Nicaragua arriving on April 8, 1856. The goal of the Costa Rica army was to drive Walker out of a hotel or inn, that provided an advantageous fighting position. The battle that broke out is known as the Second Battle of Rivas. The Costa Rican’s were unable to gain an advantage and resorted to trying to burn down the building that Walker was based in. Juan Santamaria, the ‘drummer boy’, agreed to lead the charge to burn down the building where Walker was hiding. Santamaria grabbed a torch and set fire to the building which resulted in the Costa Rican army winning the battle, but unfortunately Juan Santamaria was killed during the battle.

His actions were immediately remembered, and his spirit for freedom and decisive actions, is still celebrated today.

Costa Rica Remembers Juan Santamaria Every Year

ojochal juan santamaria 2020

Children in Ojochal celebrating Juan Santamaria day.

For his delivery despite being so young (25 years) in his honor, the Alajuela International Airport bears his name and there is also the Juan Santamaría Historical Cultural Museum, there is also a bronze statue in a park in Alajuela and another in the Assembly Legislative of Costa Rica.

Ojochal children juan santamaria celebration

Children in Ojochal celebrating Juan Santamaria day.

In schools and some public institutions every April 11 is celebrated as the day of Juan Santamaria (Battle of Rivas) with costumes and typical dances of Costa Rica.


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Artesian Chocolate Tour

Team Building at Artesian Chocolate Tour

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Recently, the staff of Osa Property Management and some of our vacation home renters, spent an unforgettable day at an artesian chocolate tour. This was the first team-building exercise we had done at Osa Property Management. With much expectation and prepared to spend some pleasant hours, we arrived at the place where Ronald Alpizar was waiting for us in charge of this educational tour. The first thing that surprised us was a monkey and a sloth who were in one of the wonderful trees typical of this area, attendees had the opportunity to take great pictures.

The tour begins with a talk about the production and origin of cocoa to Costa Rica and as according to history the ancestors used these seeds to change them as money, also in rituals chocolate was known as “the drink of the gods” .

During his explanation, Ronald tells us how they make the process by hand so that the cocoa beans become a delicious cup of chocolate, for that we made a tour on the paths where the trees are planted and thus be able to observe the fruit , which changes from green to yellow when ready to be picked up.

After observing the plants, get to work to make the chocolate. When we opened the fruit we could taste the seeds after extracting them. The next step is to roast them on the fire for a few minutes until they change the color to black, in this process all the attendees of the tour can participate cooking the seeds, it is very fun to move them. Then the shell is removed and ground by hand with an indigenous stone to form a homogeneous paste. In the fire the milk is placed in a cooking pot and the ground chocolate is poured to enjoy a delicious, completely handmade and natural drink with the only flavor of true chocolate.

If you would like to experience and enjoy the Osa Artesian Chocolate tour, please contact us below. Simply fill out, and submit, the form below. Likewise, contact us via WhatsApp/text/call at +506.7100.1006


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new ojochal asada office

New Ojochal ASADA Office

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On December 14, 2019, the new Ojochal ASADA Office and administration building was opened. There was a large celebration, several tents, food, live music and a ribbon cutting ceremony. The activity had a large presence of over 150 people, including neighbors and community members, officials from different ASADA offices in the Osa region. Additionally, there were and special guests including the Mayor of Osa, Alberto Cole, and senior administrators from AyA.

I was fortunate to be asked to be the masters of ceremonies and to lead the event. It was a great honor to be asked to lead such an important event in the Ojochal community.

Speeches & Live Music

There were several speeches and some live music performed by a local musician. In the speeches the different guests said they were pleased to be in an opening of such importance showing that when they work together, great things are achieved, they also reiterated the admiration for the development that the community of Ojochal has had.

During the activity, attendees were able to enjoy artistic presentations such as the Coronado band and singer Alvaro Hernandez, who made everyone in the audience happy with his music. After the ribbon cutting event the local marching band and drum corp came to entertain.

Ojochal Growth

The new Ojochal ASADA office was necessary due to the old building not being able to sufficiently service the community. When the old building was built, Ojochal was a small community. However, over the past two decade, Ojochal has grown tremendously. With this growth, comes an increase in water demand. New homes, new restaurants and commercial locations, the demand on water, and the administration of the growing system, could not continue to be properly managed in the old building.

Osa Property Management manages several homes in Ojochal, and we have experience working with the Ojochal ASADA.

The new Ojochal ASADA office has a large customer service area, several private offices, a meeting room, a kitchen and a bathroom. It should be enough space to properly administer the Ojochal area for the foreseeable future.

Osa Mayor Alberto Cole, and other dignitaries, cut the ceremonial ribbon to mark the official opening of the ASADA office.

Hours of Operation

The new Ojochal ASADA office welcomes you! It is open Monday to Friday from 8:00 am to 12:00 md and from 1:00 pm to 3:45 pm. For more information, call the Ojochal ASADA office at 2786-5714.

new ojochal asada office pano Over 150 people attened the new Ojochal ASADA office opening.

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president carlos quesada

Meeting President of Costa Rica

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Meeting the President of Costa Rica

On August 23, 2019, Abigail Vargas and I attended the re-opening celebration of the Palmar Sur regional airport. As many of our readers know, we have been providing almost monthly updates on our YouTube channel on the remodel. We knew the President of Costa Rica was going to be there. President Carlos Alvarado Quesada is the 48th President of Costa Rica and has committed to improving infrastructure for Costa Rica tourism.

We were thrilled when the airport was finally finished in mid-August 2019. In fact, two of our clients were some of the first people to use the new terminal building.

panoramic palmar sur airport Panoramic palmar sur airport with Presidential plane in foreground

Photos from the Palmar Sur Opening. We have high-resolution, non-watermarked, photos available for media outlets that would like to use them.

We arrived approximately 45 minutes before the ‘official’ start time of the ribbon cutting ceremony. We parked across the street under a mango tree and walked into the airport. There were a handful of tourists waiting for their plane to arrive but we could see more people in the waiting area, located on the west side of the terminal. Arriving there the was approximately 50 people there. A handful were talking with the President, including Osa Mayor Alberto Cole.

Personally, I love politics so this was a great ‘work’ trip that gave me personal satisfaction as well.

Mayor Cole knows me and has been to my house several times since I also own a real estate development in San Buenaventura. However, I didn’t want to interrupt anyone so I walked up to within a meter of them, and simply took some photos and listened to what they were discussing. It was fascinating to me that it was possible to simply walk up to a President of a country without any security clearance or having to walk through any metal detectors.

Mayor Cole and President Quesada each said a few words and then the throng of people moved outside. Abigail recognized several people from the community and we both saw Dagmar from Ballena Tales there.

Presidential Airplane

One of the reasons I love Costa Rica is the safety. For clear evidence of this, take a look at the airplane the President travels on during his domestic travels. For those aviation enthusiasts, I believe it is an Harbin Y-12 (hat tip to Josh Berman for the ID).

Not only is it a “simple” airplane, but also, look how close we were allowed to get to it. Although I’ve never met a sitting USA President, but I can assure you that non-security personal would not be allowed to walk up to the airplane.  I was able to walk completely around the airplane and even under a wing. Had this been Air Force 1, I probably would have been arrested (at best) or shot (worse case scenario) for simply walking up to the Presidential airplane.

Ribbon-cutting Ceremony

After approximately thirty minutes inside the airport terminal, it was time to go outside for the ceremonial ribbon cutting. A mixture of politicians, engineers and civic leaders all grabbed a piece of a long ribbon and then the President counted down and cut the ribbon. The airport was now officially open! The video below shows the cutting of the ribbon.

Osa’s Increasing Importance to Tourism

Costa Rica’s Tourism Board (ICT) has invested millions of dollars in the Osa Peninsula over the past two years. They have driven the airport upgrades in Golfito, Drake Bay, San Isidro del General (not in Osa but nearby) and now Palmar Sur. For the Costa Rica President to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony and spend a couple of hours in the area, show how important tourism is to the Costa Rica economy. It would have been very easy to send a senior government official or an ICT official, however the President wanted to show his support. This is a great sign for anyone with a home or a business in Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula region.

Fun Day!

It was a fun day to meet the sitting President of Costa Rica and to experience the event of opening the airport. I have attended several other ribbon cutting events during my time, but it was only the second time the President was there. The first time was when I attended a ribbon cutting event attended by Oscar Arias that opened up a new water system.

Let us know if you, or anyone you know, is interested in visiting the Bahia Ballena region (Uvita, Ojochal, San Buenas, Chontales), please contact us in the form below. We can line everything up for them.

Pura vida!

Nick Halverson

nick halverson


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san buenas asfalt road

San Buenas Asphalt

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San Buenas Asphalt Project

For several years there have been rumors of the paving of the principal road in San Buenaventura. We are happy to report that the San Buenas Asphalt Project is underway! In fact, we produced a short two-minute video in 2018 when most people in the area believed the work would be starting.

We reviewed publicly available planning committee budgets and notes throughout 2019 and saw the funds had been earmarked for the project. However, Costa Rica has spent a tremendous amount of money recently rebuilding bridges and improving other large infrastructure projects in the area, and we weren’t sure if the San Buenas Asphalt project was going to be done in 2019 or not.

Why now?

The federal government and local government have made a continued effort to improve education in Costa Rica. Not just improvement in the classrooms, but access to the classrooms. Over the past couple of years the elementary school in San Buenaventura received overnight lighting, fencing around the whole property and a new set of bathrooms. Once the schools had been improved, providing better access to schools via roads became a priority. In San Buenaventura the asphalt goes from the Costanera Highway to the edge of the property line of the school.

One reason for going past the school entrance and all the way to the edge of the property line is for health reasons. Gravel roads kick up a lot of dust and asthma is a common problem for children in Costa Rica. By putting asphalt on the roads immediately outside the school the amount of dust will be greatly decreased.

Benefit to Homeowners in the Area

We manage, and offer, quite a few homes in the San Buenaventura-Tres Rios area that will greatly benefit from the San Buenas Asphalt Project. Click on the photo of the property below to learn more about each vacation rental property option that directly benefits from the new road surface.

Villas San Buenas and San Buenas Golf/Osa Golf Course are two developments in San Buenaventura that will benefit greatly from this work. The road will be paved to within 300 meters of the boundary to Villas San Buenas and within 100 meters to the entrance of Osa Golf Course.

Casa Lapas Osa Golf Condo Casa Cusinga Vista al Cielo 1 Vista al Cielo 2 Villa Cascadas Casa Trogon Casa Tinamou Casa Kingfisher

Below are photos from September 2, 2019.

mayor alcalde cole osa Osa, Costa Rica, Alcalde (Mayor) Alberto Cole and the road building team

Back in December 2018 we made a video when it first appeared that the road project would be started. It turned out this was just a regularly scheduled maintenance project. However, at that time, other locals and business owners had heard the San Buenas Asphalt project was moving forward.

Improved Infrastructure

The San Buenas asphalt project is another visible and wonderful improvement in the infrastructure in the Tres Rios-San Buenas area. Over the past two years Ojochal and Coronado have been paved. It only made sense for San Buenaventura to be next.

Everyone in the area is thrilled with the new road. The one important thing to keep in mind, however, is that there are still plenty of children in the area to not speed when driving on the new road.

Stay safe! Pura vida!

Nick Halverson

September 3, 2019


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panama shopping city mall

Panama Shopping Trip

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Some new friends were planning on making a Panama shopping trip at the Costa Rica-Panama border this week and they asked if we wanted to join them.  We were unable to go on Tuesday as planned so they changed their plans and we all went on Wednesday instead. So many wonderful and nice people in Costa Rica!

Heading to Panama Border

There is a city in Costa Rica called Paso Canoas which is on the border of Panama-Costa Rica. This was our destination for Panama shopping! We live in San Buenaventura, which is 20km south of Uvita, so we headed south on the Costanera Highway (HWY 34) to Paso Canoas. San Buenaventura is approximately two hours from Paso Canoas (or 2 1/2 hours south of Uvita). It’s a simple drive. Head south to Palmar Norte, take a right turn at the intersection of the Pan American Highway and Costanera Highway. Cross the Ri0 Terraba River over the iconic Palmar Norte bridge, like you’re going to Palmar Sur and Sierpe. However, stay on Highway 2 (Pan American Highway).  The drive is pretty flat and easy, aside from it’s a two-lane road the whole way!  There is a larger town Ciudad (city) Neilly which has a hospital, which is where some of the specialty doctors are located. 

Golfito, Costa Rica

About 1/2 way to the border is a town call Golfito, which has duty free shopping. Well, up to $2,000 tax free per year. Plus, there are limitations on how much you can buy of certain items, such as 3 carton of cigarettes or 12 liters of alcohol every 6 months; or one washer every year; or one stove/oven every 2 years; etc. This is separate from the $500 tax free when entering via the airport.

You must get a shopping authorization cart (TAC), which is how they keep track of what you’ve purchased.  Now you have to get this TAC, but can’t use it for 24 hours.  And once you use it, you can’t use it again for 24 hours after pick up.  So basically the first day you put everything on husband’s card….then the next time you go back, you pick up the husband’s card (which can’t be used for 24 hours), so you buy everything on the spouse’s card; and you keep switching like that…until you have to get a new card each year.

Golfito is known for cheaper prices on electronics and appliances. We didn’t stop there today, as we didn’t need anything and our ride wasn’t going there. However, we’ll write up another blog when we do visit!

Panama

As we get to the border, there’s a big huge building in the middle of the road, which is the border for Panama.

panama shopping building

We turned left on the road right before the building, the left side of the road is Costa Rica and the right is Panama, but it’s just a normal road.  When you go down the road a little ways and find a parking lot, you pay and they watch your car for you 500 colones/hr (~90 cents per hour).  We only had one reusable bag here in Costa Rica with us, so that’s all we took with us. However, you leave it in the car because if you take it into the store, then they take it and tag it and you can’t get it back until after you check out and everything is already in bags?!?!  So we left those in the car.

We walked into the building (which is on the Panama side–so we’re in Panama, but we didn’t have to check out of Costa Rica and check into Panama–you only have to do that if you need your 90 day visa)  WHAT?!?!?!  Well at least in this area of stores..more to come on that…

City Mall (in Panama)

First thing you see when you walk into the store is a McDonald’s….oh it smelled so good!!!!  We didn’t eat there today, but we will in September when we go back for our visa!!!!!

mcdonalds panama OHHH the smell…I haven’t had McDonald’s fast food in months!!!

So this store has everything–you name it…shoes, hair products, makeup, clothes, sunglasses, pharmacy, groceries, electronics, etc. etc. etc.

panama shopping city mall City Mall at Costa Rica-Panama border

It’s this huge two story building and apparently Panamanians LOVE U.S. brands. Everything is grouped by brand. So there’s a Guess section; Tommy Hilfiger section, Nike, Speedo, Toms, Bahama Mama, etc…just everything.  It’s weird because all the women, men’s and kids clothes are all in the same location, which is so weird.

panama shopping brands Stores display products by brand.

And then the SHOES….thank goodness I don’t need tennis shoes here, because I could have gone crazy. My brother would love this store as there were just walls and walls of all types of shoes and most cheaper than the U.S. Nike was a little less, but not like the other brands.  For example TOMs are around $80 in the USA but only $35 here.

Panama shopping shoes I’ve never seen so many shoes in one place!!

Groceries in Panama

And don’t get me started on the groceries!!!! So many more choices and mostly cheaper than in Costa Rica. They even had cheese from the USA so I had to get some Gouda, Havarti, and Muenster. It’s one thing I miss about living in Costa Rica is the availability and affordability of cheese. I miss my cheese and crackers.  Ritz crackers were only .87 USD (this store shows prices in USD), so had to do some calculations to compare to the prices in Uvita which are priced in Costa Rica colones. After a while I gave up because they were all cheaper and I didn’t want to think that much while Panama shopping! Plus, I’m used to converting colones into US dollars, not the other way around.

panama shopping cheese Inexpensive and large variety of cheese! These are tough to find in Costa Rica

I was worried this would happen…we had nothing on our list but we ended up spending $71. In addition to the specialty cheeses and crackers, we bought some batteries (way cheaper). I also needed shredded cheese for tacos tonight and this way I didn’t have to go to the store when we got back home…. and it was cheaper!!! LOL! I got some soft cat food as treats for the cats that we give them on Sundays as a treat; lunch meat was $3 cheaper per bag and we can freeze that.  Okay not even going to lie, we both got 2 HUGE Hershey’s chocolate bars—it’s not something you can find in the stores in Uvita.  I can’t even remember what else we bought, but we had 3 sacks worth. Thankfully our friends had brought a cooler so we could put our cold stuff in there.

Stamp or no Stamp???

We lost our friends for a little while–we finally found them, they had already checked out and once you check out you can’t get back in, so they had to go get the car and he ran in to find us–thankfully we were trying to stand in a central location and not move!  After checking out, we went down the road (the opposite way) to a Soda for lunch. 

I have never, in all my travels seen a border like this! There was a two lane road (that we were on) in Costa Rica. Then there was a strip of land that had stores, gas stations, grass on the other side of that was a two-lane road and that was Panama!!  After lunch we stopped for gas. We pulled in from the Costa Rica side, and we had to make sure to pull out on the right side. Turns out if we would have gone out on the Panama side we would have driven down to the border crossing and we would have been in trouble because we didn’t have our in/out stamps…scary!!!  It was confusing, but intriguing, and I’m not sure what the planners were thinking when they designed it. Welcome to Central America.

gas station panama border One side of this gas station is Costa Rica and the other is Panama–make sure you go out the right exit!!!

After lunch, it was LIQUOR time!!! As I mentioned, in the middle island separating the Costa Rica and Panama roads are shops, and there were liquor stores. Every Panama shopping trip should include a visit to a liquor store. The prices are great! Cheap! The first place we went to, only took cash but doesn’t ask for your passport (like they are supposed to)!!  Bottle of Disaronna $12. Not as cheap as making it, but the stuff we made hasn’t sat well with my stomach (more about making Disaronna in a future post) could be the cheapness of the vodka!!! LOL.  (and no it’s not about the quantity either!!!)  They also had Moscato. Tt’s Barefoot, which isn’t the greatest, but it’s the first Mascato I’ve found. Plus, it was only $4 a bottle.  So we picked up a stash.

panama shopping booze Cheap liquor!

So we didn’t actually passport stamp in and out in Costa Rica or Panama. You don’t have to do that to just go Panama shopping, which is so weird. Unless you go on the wrong road and then you could be in trouble. Our friends showed us the building where we have to get our passports stamped, pay the immigration fee, then the building to actually check out of Costa Rica. Also, they showed us the building above with ‘PANAMA’ is where you go in/out for Panama….gosh, I hope we can do this ourselves next time in September!!!!

Once we made the last stop, we headed back north to home.  There is a check point about 1/2 way where they stop you and look in your windows..if you have a lot of bottles in your car, they may ask to see your paperwork/receipts, but they just looked and waved us on through.  We’re told to go there after 4pm as they are closed!!! lol

We LOVED Panama shopping!!! We felt like we were kids in a candy store! We think it’s better than Quepos, even if it is slightly longer drive. There are advantages like everything is in one location and it has more products and variety!


Dominical, Uvita, Ojochal Property Management

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