Along the Natchez Trace

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

More of the House - expenses etc

Hola!  As you've probably noticed, I'm always a day late in my blog.  Being a morning person I tend to be the most productive before noon.  This morning, however, I woke up just after 4am..  the birds were starting to sing and I realized I'm starting to recognize a few...  Hey..  the motmot has a low foghorn like call ...  and he says "mot mot".  How cool is that!

Here's breakfast...
It looks like Bill's saying grace... truth is, he's patiently waiting for me to finish taking pictures so he can dig in.  Chorizo, veggies, egg...  sort of an omelet, with avocado on top.  Fresh pineapple and orange juice...  with tortillas instead of toast.  We usually have cold cereal so no wonder Bill was ready to chow down.

Around 9am we walked to town.  We found the big, modern supermarket and did some serious shoppping.
I didn't even think to take photos in the store...  too busy filling up our cart.  We took a taxi home as we had way too much to carry.  The taxi cost us $2 (dollars)

Here's what we bought...  veggies, some chicken and some bacon, juice, beans, rice, water, beer, wine, fruits...  Our total came to $140.  (I'm writing in American dollars, not colones).  One reason it was so much was because we had to buy toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, dish washing liquid, a new skillet, a light bulb, a flashlight, some bug killer...  just a lot of "one time only" items.

Now...  if you think that's a lot, you should see the receipt in colones...  71,611.24   (colones)

When we go to an ATM we can get our checking account balance...  but it shows up in colones, not dollars...  Boy!  Do we look rich!  I wish!

More about expenses, etc, after the house pictures...

 I had written earlier that the house is long... one room wide and 75' long.  (I'm writing in feet and inches).  This is the view as you're walking up to the front door.  That's the big bedroom on this end.
I'm standing in the driveway that leads down to the other 3 houses (rentals) below us.  Looking up at the porch (and Bill reading a book).... There are several sets of doors along this side. 
 Now I'm at the far end of the house...  HUGE window...  nice view.  That's a clothes line strung from a post to the porch.  There is a washer (of sorts) here, but no dryer.
And this is the porch...  not real clear, but there's a hammock about dead center...  and another either hammock or hanging chair suspended near where Bill's sitting.  The porch provides plenty of shade...  and also shelter from the rain.  We are just getting into the rainy season, so we're not surprised at the afternoon showers.

 Here's the view from the porch...  looking down across the driveway over at the mountain across the valley.  There are trees in bloom and lots of stuff I have no idea what it is.  There are monkeys here, but the people we've talked to say they don't see them often anymore.  Seems poachers have been shooting the mother monkeys and capturing the babies to sell. 
 An unidentified flower growing alongside the porch...
Another unidentified flower..  looks like it is in the nightshade family, but the foilage doesn't look right.... 

And the last of the pictures, before I get into another subject...

 Blue crown motmot
This picture shows that tuft of feathers at the end of his tail.  Isn't he magnificent?

Just a lizard that hung out on a tree across from the porch.  We did have a lizard crawling around on the bedroom wall last night...  I have no idea what species or if they like warm bodies...  Guess we'll find out....

Okay...  now onto another (sort of) subject.  I've been asked some questions about the house etc.

I'll start out by giving you a little background.  We have been wanting to rent a house abroad...  Europe?  the Mediterrean?  for maybe 3 months ... We spent last April in the Mediterrean and decided 2 things...  we wanted someplace warmer during the winter months...  and the Euro/dollar exchange would be very expensive.  I had a high school classmate who would talk about his brother living in Costa Rica...  and I kept thinking about that.  AND...  we have talked to several birders who have traveled here...  all raving about the birds.

Bill got on a Costa Rica forum and asked if anyone knew of a house for rent.  Our criteria was fairly easy...  small house or apartment, not in big city, close to bus service, need internet, don't need a pool or TV.  Would you believe that very night he posted that, we got an e-mail from the owner of this house.

After a few e-mails back and forth, we rented this house for the month of April.  The cost is $500, plus utilities (which should be less than $50)

We got our flight through Spirit (the pits!) and that cost us $1,162.62.  We found that with Spirit you pay for each checked bag and for each carry-on bag.  You are allowed one personal bag.  I think there were some other fees...  like if we wanted a soda, a pillow...  I was beginning to think they were going to charge to use the restroom! 

Anyway, our house wasn't available until April 1st.  Bill found (on the internet) the Mango Hotel, just outside of Grecia (about 25 miles from San Jose...  airport) and if you stayed 3 nights they would pick you up at the airport and take you to the hotel/bed & breakfast.

The rates there (including a full breakfast) was $45 a night.  As it turned out, the owner was extremely accomodating.  He asked if we were interested in a trip to Poas Volcano...  and also La Paz Waterfall Gardens...  We could also have meals at the hotel for a small price.  And...  he could make arrangements for our drive here at Cuidad Colon.  Actually, he drove us over.  Our final bill there came to $518.00...  which included all the fees of the tourist attractions, the drive here, the things we used out of the mini-fridge and a few things I've forgotten. AND...  the birding at Mango Hotel was wonderful!

How does this compare with traveling in our motorhome?  Well, we paid $440 + electric for a month at Alamo Rose RV resort in Alamo, Texas in January.  Of course no frills...  yes, there is a pool and plenty of activities if you want to do them, but it's basically just a place to park your rig with full hook-ups. 

In Alamo, it cost about $10-$15 a week to do laundry...  groceries always cost us a lot...  we seldom eat out and I love to cook.  We went to some of the touristy attractions...  stuff like that.  We had a tow vehicle so spent $$$ on gasoline.

Here we'll use the bus...  and walk a lot.

I'll know more how it compares when the month is over.  Keep in mind we didn't have to stay at the Mango Hotel..  that added to our expenses, but for us, it was well worth it.  I know I've gone on much longer than I should...  and have more to write about ;-)    but hope this answers some questions.

I'll get into allergies later...

It's almost 7:30am...  got to walk to town early to get fresh veggies (that will be a daily thing for us)... we need to stock up some as the stores might be closed Thurs, Fri, Sat for Semana Santa.

Hope you scrolled past fast if this bored you...

But, feel free to ask anything you want...  I'll have some kind of answer ;-)

That's all for Today...


  1. I am enjoying reading your blog. We are/were very familiar with Cuidad Colon as we used to go there often for the nice restaurants. El Rodeo was a super steak house and there was a great fish restaurant along the main road that had the best fish in Costa Rica. One of our favorite places to go to for a Sunday breakfast buffet was the Cariari Country Club.

    I was looking at our Costa Rica pictures and came across identical pictures of Poas like yours. Small world.

    Enjoy yourselves.

  2. Thank you for the very informative post.

  3. Never bored with your posts...thanks for the comparison.