Reading These letters from past guests will give you a lot of reasons to take the tour!
Dr. Jeff Stewart from Maine, USA
I took George Lundquist’s tour for retirees looking into living in Costa Rica this past autumn (2014). I took the “combo” tour, the first part of which concentrates on a breathtaking area of CR to the south and west of San Jose (Puriscal, San Ramon, Grecia, and other areas), and the second part takes the coastal route to an area to the southeast of San Jose, centered in San Isidro de El General (which is hosted by George’s associate, the very knowledgeable Jane Gregson).
The tour with George was chock full of information anyone contemplating living in CR should acquire: from real estate matters to health providers; from immigration legalities to getting along with locals; from issues about buying or bringing a car to where to find the climate most suited to you. And George is a charismatic guy who brings fun and adventure to his presentation of some of the most beautiful panoramas available on the planet.
During the tour you will meet plenty of people who have made the move to CR. Visiting homes, touring neighborhoods of fellow Americans, going to get-togethers with people who are more than willing to answer specific questions about finances, house construction, day-to-day life, and who openly share their truths about the ex-pat experience – these opportunities for understanding are priceless for the person who wants to get a quick but very thorough introduction to life in CR for the retiree (or anyone!).
My trip to the San Isidro area reinforced my understanding that there were many types of terrain and climate and gringo communities available in Costa Rica; in fact, the country is compact enough in size that living there affords the luxury of inexpensive travel to all of its wonders and pleasures. Some on the tour made a decision to stay and make a home right away – while others, like me, will return a few times to see more of this gorgeous land and to take my time in finding my dream spot. The one thing I most value from the tour was realizing that George Lundquist knows just about everything I might need to know, and that he is a ready and willing communicator of that knowledge from his own mountain top view of paradise.
Dr. Jeff Stewart, Maine, USA
Kathy Smith from Houston – Tour Guest in November of 2014
If it hadn't been for your tour, I would not have found my spot in Costa Rica at Villas Galavista – the site of my future home!
I have been on tours through International Living to the West Coast, Arenal, Eastern Central Valley, and Escazu where realtors showed us their listings, few of which were of real interest, and most were higher in price than anyone on those tours ever wanted to see. I never got to see what the town centers offered, so that I could determine if that town was right one for me. Those tours fell short of my expectations in many ways.
On George's tour, I saw areas that fit my interests and were in line with my planned expenditures, along with becoming familiar with the towns and what they offer, and where I could find what I need for living and furnishing a house. That information caused me to choose the Santiago de Puriscal area over others. It felt right!
George's tour provided me the advantage of meeting and getting to know Expats who have lived in the area, who readily shared their knowledge and joy of living in Costa Rica. They spoke highly of the professionals that he recommends for buying property and building – from their own experiences with them. That was a great comfort to me, as I need to work with people that I know that I can trust.
Though I have traveled many times to Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala, I never found the feeling that I could belong, as I have in Costa Rica, whether with the Expats or the Ticos. George provided me with an insight to what living in Costa Rica is really like!
The comfort level that that George's tour gave me caused me to make the decision to move to Costa Rica! I had not experienced that at all on other tours that I had taken.
And also – I had a ton of fun and met a bunch of new friends, all interesting folks, as you can't help but have fun on George's tours!!
Bob & Linda Beavis: Tour Guests from Sept 2011 (Update)
Hey George, just got your message about the next group taking your tour. Memories came to my mind about us being on one of those groups back in Sept 2011. I'm feeling the urge to re-state what I told you after that tour - What a life-changing event!
I said then that Linda & I had acquired a new friend and a new direction in our lives. Nothing has changed! Our decision to come to Costa Rica is in the "best" category of decisions we've made in recent years. Your guidance before, during & after coming to tour have been invaluable and are still so much appreciated. Besides yourself, Aija, Ed & Nancy Sheldon, our circle of friends has grown exponentially since moving to Puriscal. We love our life here!
Yes, there were some learning & sometimes frustrating things along the way, and yes, there are some here who will take advantage of others. Nothing can underscore more your favorite word, "diligence". Without it, mistakes can and do happen. The good news is that having a circle of those who have been there before helps avoid the pitfalls.
You once told me this is not paradise. True! Just as simply, I think it takes two words: "different" and "positive". Recognizing and believing in both make it an experience worth the leap of faith it takes to come here.
Thank you again most sincerely, for your guidance and friendship.
P.S. And yes, the completion of our new home in Grifo Alto, Puriscal came in on time & on budget!
Bob & Linda Beavis from Ohio
May 2014 Guests who are both under 48 years old.
My wife and I just completed George's "due diligence tour" (DDT) and LOVED every minute of – even to the point of being a little sad when it ended!
First of all, a few words about George.... George is a loveable guy who doesn't mind giving you his opinion. But, to his extreme credit, he is VERY upfront about this at the very beginning of the tour. George is also VERY clear in the fact that his opinion is exactly that – HIS OPINION. You can agree or disagree with George on any topic or idea and he's OK with that. George gives you HIS perspective on everything related to Costa Rica based on HIS knowledge and years of experience and he is very clear to convey that your own experiences may very well differ from his. George also tries to convey valuable info and insight based on his "mistakes" over the years in an attempt to help us "learn from his mistakes."
Throughout the tour, George presents several different "benchmarks" in terms of land, housing, rentals, medical care, locations, altitude variations, grocery stores, doctors, attorneys, etc, etc, etc... everything a budding CR resident would be interested in seeing first-hand. We toured several cities and developments – looking at what can be had with just a few hundred dollars per month up to homes that are multi-hundred-thousand in price. George reviews RENT .vs. OWN and the pros/cons of each (again, based on his opinion and experience). He utilizes an altimeter on his watch and a thermometer in our bus to continually provide "climate" type of information for each location we visit.
During one day for lunch, George also brought in well-respected experts – an attorney/notary and an account/financial planner. We were able to ask any/all questions during lunch and were provided with email/phone contact info for each and told to follow-up with them if we so desired.
One of the best aspects of the DDT was the opportunity each night to have dinner with and then socialize with various ex-pats in the area we were visiting that day. Getting to talk to so many "normal" people who we immediately bonded with was a great positive aspect of considering this move – we would come in with a built-in network of friends all of whom had various levels of "expert" knowledge on different subjects within CR based on their experiences. This was a huge relief to my wife and I since we know we would be moving away from some truly amazing/life-saving kind of friends in the States. Knowing that other people have made this move (and left friends/families) and continue to say "wow!" every day to this country is great and knowing that we can reach-out to them for help/consultation is a huge asset/blessing!
By the way, these people who joined us for dinner each night were also some of the people whose homes we visited/toured and NO QUESTION WAS OFF LIMITS. We asked "how much did this house cost you – all-in?" and got honest responses. We asked "how much was your utility bill last month" and actually SAW a bill! We asked "what do you miss since moving?" or "what do you hate about living here?" and got honest, from the heart types of answers. That is priceless info!
Finally – a few words on what we would different if we took the tour again....
TAKE MORE NOTES and use your smartphone to take videos! After 3 intense whirlwind days of drinking from the fire hose, we were so confused about who owned which house, who lived here for 10 years .vs. 6 months, who had the beautiful dining table (and where'd they get it?), who still worked, who had kids, etc, etc... Just a few minutes of video with each couple/person along with their names/property/story/etc would have been invaluable to us now that we're back off on our own contemplating this move.
All in all, George's tour was a fantastic investment in our future. Whether we ultimately decide to make the leap or not, we know that we will be doing so with a well-grounded and honest-to-goodness "boots on the ground" treasure trove of information rather than the hit & miss," take-with-a-grain-of-salt" info you might read on some website, blog or forum. We have been here and seen it with our own eyes and nothing beats that type of research.
Thanks George for a fantastic adventure!
Alan & Kristi Gardner
Guests from February 2014 Tour
Hi George !
Mark and I just stumbled on the new video that Andy made---the Due Diligence one. He did a great job.
But you are the star, and I wanted to say a huge thanks for helping us confirm our next steps. We're starting to look for a place to rent in Grecia or San Ramon. I'm selling my property management business and we're selling our house, and we really hope to be in Costa Rica this September.
We sure appreciated your sense of humor and how you kept us going, plying us with food and "beverages" the whole way. Our wayward group would have never been able to see all we needed to see if you hadn't encouraged us. I was tired---but that's a huge reason we are moving to CR. I feel like I have worked 2 life times and I am done. So, I got tired more easily than I "should" have.
Your house is incredible and is so warm and welcoming and homey. We loved the wood, the tile and all the light---and the view, of course. Thank you for sharing your home with us.
If you have any questions for us, or want feedback, just write or call.
Thanks again !
Lynette and Mark Hunt
Fair Oaks, California
Guests from the October, 2013 Tour
Hi George, Don & Nan here from the October 2013 tour.
We have been in contact with others that were on the same tour and if I have my numbers correct about one half of the tour is moving to Costa Rica.
Nan and I also took the add on tours to see additional areas of the country. Thank you for providing the lead in.
One item I have not seen a lot of in the testimonials is discussion on "how houses are constructed?" As we have designed and built our house in addition to helping other people with house design/remodeling I found your tour very interesting on the construction techniques and standards of construction. I especially like how you are approaching the building process in using better systems for plumbing, radiant barriers and use of local stone/woods.Very
nice and they seem to exceed California's earthquake codes. Another plus to look at your work.
Thanks very much for the informative tour and the lead in to the additional tours. Very, very good! We should be there soon.
Don & Nan Gibbons
Hola! It has been roughly one month since we returned home from out trip to Costa Rica. Our trip began with taking your tour. But our journey will not end until another seven months have passed. At that time, we will become your newest community members!
To recap, about 18 months ago, we began to consider the opportunities for retirement. Like so many "baby boomers", we had made and spent a fortune during our married life. We really did not get serious about our money until late in our careers. As a result, I began a search for the best overall locations for us to retire. Obviously, it was easy to eliminate our home, New Jersey! I researched numerous locations in the United States and then, moved to the international opportunities. Mexico, Guam, Belize, Panama, Germany, Puerto Rico and so forth. Each had positives but negatives as well. But one place kept rising to the top like a golden star: Costa Rica. Stable democratic government, stable and growing economy, a culture of respect and human courtesy, outstanding year-round climate, great medical system, lush and beautiful landscape. A land that time had forgotten for a while and now was moving forward, but resembled the United States during the 50's and 60's.
We explored as much information as possible from our homeland. We used books, the internet, blogs, statistics and opinion pages. Working in two medical centers, it was easy to speak with people who came from the region and inquire about living in Costa Rica. All of our exploration made us confident that this might be "The Place". Thanks to many years of having traveled in this part of the world, we knew that we felt comfortable with the more realistic and relaxed day to day attitude of, "Don't worry, be happy". In other words, don't fight ghosts. Save your excitement for the things that really need immediate action.
It now came down to one question. Were we dreaming or could all of our thoughts actually exist in reality?
That is where you entered the equation. We took your tour to confirm or deny our thoughts. We came to find the reasons that we should NOT consider a move to Costa Rica for retirement. Unlike many of the folks on your tours, we already knew the positives. We were seeking out the negatives.
Thankfully, we picked the right tour! Your unique combination of education, exposure to local culture, professional legal and economical briefings and real estate previews gave each of us on the tour an in depth overview of the Central Valley. The myths were clarified, the good was emphasized and the ugly was exposed!
The highlight of the information was the chance to share a meal and conversation with the folks who have made the decision earlier to be members of the "ex-pat" community. Their stories, their motivations for their move, their low points as well as their highs were instrumental in helping us keep our "eyes wide open" as we looked to the future.
In the course of our tour, we found what we were looking for....and more. We found the confirmation that Costa Rica was The Place. We found a sense of peace and relaxation that was bonded with a sense of happiness. We found what we swore we would never find. We found a beautiful house on a ridge line that was for sale. Lynsey fell in love with it on sight. And our search was ended. We knew then that we had been guided to this place.
George, you know the rest. We have just closed on the property and plan to move in July 2014. We took the tour in October, 2013. You said we would move sooner than later. I am glad I did not make a bet with you! But why would I. When it comes to retirement in Costa Rica, you are the Master!
If anyone is thinking about making this move, we suggest that you incorporate George's tour into your investigative plan. Whether you want inspiration, confirmation or negation, this tour is invaluable to you. No, it will not pamper your body. But it will exercise your mind, tickle your fancy and tantalize your imagination! Remember, the best is yet to come!
Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.
Lynsey and Richard Mazzie
Guests from the September, 2013 Tour
Here's what I've told everyone about our trip to Costa Rica: It was not like going to tourist locations, looking at something beautiful and then moving on to the next gorgeous view. It was about going to places lovely to look at and seriously thinking, "Is that what I want to see every day?"
George's program was everything we had expected and hoped for, and much more. It was more in that, while I doubt we shared much in the way of political views or life experiences with the others in our group, we all became quite close. We shared why we were there, the personal stories behind what led us to explore the idea of retiring to Costa Rica. We cheered the one couple who did decide to take the plunge and bought property at the end of the tour, and we exchanged hugs and good wishes with all of the others.
George's tour was also more than I had expected because it was less about getting away from something, like the difficulty of living on a fixed income in this country, and more about going toward something, which is the chance for a better way of living, a better existence. That difference between positive and negative may seem a simple one, but is, I think, significant.
The tour lived up to my expectations and more. I felt I came away with much more of a sense of the character of the country and its people than any amount of usual tourist activity could ever give me. Like I said, I prefer to unpack and stay. Not that I ever got to unpack, but it was like I really stayed in Costa Rica -- I think because of the sense of involvement your tour gives with the communities there.
Surprisingly, I really enjoyed the two nights we were "farmed out" to private homes. And both hotels you recommended were quite worthwhile, as well. The Melrost because of the experience of a real Tico neighborhood and the opportunity to pre-meet with the other members of the tour. I'll tell you about our great time at the Adventure Inn a bit later.
As for moving ahead with any plans to retire to Costa Rica, you have armed us with invaluable information. I don't think there is any way we could've learned anywhere near as much on our own. And I am sure we would've learned a whole lot of "wrong" -- the hard way.
Costa Rica remains a very serious contender for our eventual retirement location. And we are hoping to be back next year, regardless. Even if we don't wind up there in 2019, the thought of buying and holding a site in CR at some point is appealing.
Again, much thanks and hope to see you and the gang again in a year or so. Best regards and much thanks to Aija, Oscar, and Ed and all the supporting cast!
Kevin Parks, Journalist and Andrea Parks, BS degrees in Computer Science & Civil Engineering and a Masters degree in Civil Engineering
Columbus, OH area
Guests from the August, 2013 Tour
Since we had been thinking about and doing research on Costa Rica for about a year, it seemed like a no-brainer to sign up for George's tour so we could see what we might be getting into. The tour totally exceeded our expectations and was money well spent. Not only did we get tons of information about the country, but we also learned about the actual mechanics of what it would take to move. It has been said that there are two kinds of people: (1) those who leap and then look and (2) those who look and look and look and never leap. After all we saw and experienced on the tour, we are ready to take a well-informed leap and are moving forward with our plans to relocate there. George satisfied all our concerns about security, health care and quality of life, and we can heartily recommend his tour to anyone who is toying with the idea of moving to Costa Rica.
Paul and Katherine Kyle
Guests from Feb 17, 2013 Tour
Moving to Costa Rica
Just wanted to let you know that your tour was so compelling and confidence-building that we've decided to make the move to Costa Rica.
We've are tentatively planning on arriving in September, and we're hoping to rent something in the Puriscal area.
Thanks for all the great information.
Janie & Don Orsino
San Clemente, CA
Letter from past tour guests from 2008
March 17, 2013 the time has come...
I am Thom Matheson. I along with my wife(Rosi) took your tour in 2008. In 2010 we returned to visit. During that visit we spent an afternoon with you at your home.
Over the course of the last 5 years we have read everything available about Costa Rica.
We have "skyped" with several people in C.R. Through an attorney in San Isidro de El General we have done all of those stateside things we needed for residency.
We have subscribed to A.M.Costa Rica as well as several newsletters. In 2011 we put our house on the market. A couple of days ago we accepted an offer on our house. This sale being the only remaining item before moving home*. (* to us Costa Rica is home; whereas, U.S. is just a place we currently live). If this works out as planned we will be making the move to Costa Rica in early June. We are looking forward to the adventure of becoming one with the Tico culture.
Until our next chat...
Thom and Rosi Matheson
From Feb 2013 tour guests
Anyone considering an exploratory tour of Costa Rica would be very, very well served to take George's tour.
My wife and I found you get a great deal of highly accurate information in an informal setting and you will find a lot of kindred spirits within your tour group. Expect to form life long friends in your group by tour's end. You will get a "boots on the ground" assessment from George of several areas in the central valley, meet some local resources (attorney dentist, etc.) that will give you straight up answers to your questions.
The dinners with in-country expats are without any doubt the best thing that can happen to you. You will hear their stories, find out almost to the penny what the in-country expats spend each month to live in Costa Rica (be prepared to be pleasantly surprised) and you will find out quickly that these folks speak the truth-they have nothing to sell you and are so upfront it's almost scary. This is absolutely invaluable information as you consider the path you are thinking about undertaking.
Don't expect to get the time-share treatment: this is not what this tour is about; to the contrary, the tour is designed to give you enough information and in-country contacts to be able to make, or not make, at your discretion, the next step in your journey.
George is passionate about Costa Rica and is quick to point out the misconceptions many people have and will comment from the heart on the good and bad experiences he has had in his years in Costa Rica. George does not gloss anything over and will answer ANY question.
Many of "us" (myself included) will have spent a considerable amount of time researching Costa Rica to death before setting foot in the country. I did this for over a year and my advice to anyone taking the tour is zip your brain closed and let Costa Rica and the people you will meet fill in the blanks for you, then at your leisure after the tour, compare what you think you know with reality.
Costa Rica will speak to you-all you have to do is listen. George will help you to learn to listen and make informed judgments as to what to do next. Costa Rica is not for everyone, but you will never know unless you take that first step and I would take that first step with George. This is spending SMART money.
Gary & Dena Amoth, who are currently living in Texas. Gary started his life, like me, in Minnesota.
February 2013 Guests
What an information-packed tour Ed and I enjoyed with you this past week! We never expected to have gained so much insight into the people and places of Costa Rica! There is no question that you give people the most for their money.
After having taken your tour, we feel that we are knowledgeable about Costa Rica's terrain and views, people and culture, cities and countryside, economy, and expats who have found a wonderful life here. The commentary that you offer while the tour bus is going from one place to another is enlightening and interesting! Your enthusiasm for Costa Rica is so apparent that it spills over to all those who hear it. And we need to mention Oscar, who was a wonderful driver and a very nice person.
Your innovative building techniques, by which you make the most of the space and views available, are impressive and will benefit many, as more and more potential expats arrive here. These excellent building methods will result in both affordability and total immersion in the hills and valleys of Costa Rica.
A real highlight for us were the dinner parties at the end of the first two days. It was great to have time to compare notes, to get to know the people on the tour better, and to meet the expats of the area. The conversations we enjoyed during these parties were very helpful in sharing views, learning how expats feel about having come here permanently, and learning even more about the area. We appreciate Tom and Susan and you and Aiya for hosting these get-togethers.
We are also appreciative of all of those people whom we visited, who showed their houses, shared information, and made us feel welcome. Because of these visits, we were able to see the various living styles that are available here.
Please extend our thanks to all of them..
The quality of your tour was five-star, George.
We are going home richer and very well informed as a result, and we got much more than we bargained for. We also feel that we've made a new friend, and we're very happy about that! If any of the people with whom you are in contact want to hear more from people who have taken your tour, we would be very happy to share more thoughts with them, either by email.
Thanks for everything! Pura vida!
Ed and Lynne Sullivan
cell phone (812-871-0199 or 812-350-5528).
November 2012 guests John & Louise Maxworthy
It seems like just yesterday, but it has been a month since Louise and I were on your tour. We would certainly like to recommend the experience to others; Louise is now an enthusiastic advocate of your tour and the many things she learned.
I had been to Costa Rica several times previously and had researched the possibility of living there in our retirement, but for Louise your tour was the chance of learning from scratch the many aspects of what a particular lifestyle might include in Costa Rica and your tour was exactly as advertised. We are not the type of couple that would be happy locked in a gated community and you showed us (and everyone else on the tour) the possibilities of living in the community at large.
We also liked the rental house Rod & Joan are using while you build their new home in your Villas Galavista development. We would be interested in possibly using it as home base on a future visit to the central valley and I would like to ask Rod for the rental contact information. Our next step would be another longer stay later in 2013 to revisit several places you showed us plus others we might stumble across between now and then.
Thank you again and we wish you & your family a happy and healthy new year.
John & Louise Maxworthy
September 2012 tour guests from Philadelphia, Pa who are still in their mid 50s"
Absolutely, feel free to use us as a DELIGHTED reference.
I also posted a couple of positive reviews about your tours on the ARCR forum site, one which was immediately endorsed by another of your recent clients. I know there are mixed opinions about ARCR out there, however there were so many mixed reviews about TL's tour I couldn't keep my mouth shut. Hope it helps you.
BTW, as for commitment to making the move, I just turned down a pretty good offer from my former employer to come back. It was a harder decision than I anticipated since it effectively means never going back to work for them, however now that the decision's been made we're even more pumped up about starting our new life sooner rather than later. A few friends/colleagues tried to convince me to take the job and postpone our plans for a couple of years but, at the end of the day, who knows what we'll be dealing with then; no one knows what the future holds so we're sticking with the tico mentality of living for today!
D & L
From Lou Winegrad
Hola George y Ed!
Wow – it's hard to believe that almost a month has gone by since our tour with you guys! Please forgive us for not writing sooner; we've been extremely busy with getting our finances settled and house sold so we can take the plunge.. That's right, we're committed to making the move, in a great part due to the two of you.
We had two primary objectives for our past trip:
- Determine beyond a doubt whether we could be happy living in CR, and
- Figure out where we might try living initially. We're happy to say that we achieved both objectives, along with innumerable others. Without doubt, your time and effort get the lion's share of credit for us achieving the trip's goals. You and your "network" have given us a multitude of perspectives from which to make our decisions.
More important, we feel as though we now have several friends in CR thanks to your introductions. Not surprisingly, they are all good caring, sharing folks not unlike yourselves, and we look forward to continuing and building those relationships. Please feel free to include us as a tour stop once we get settled in country!
Speaking of getting settled, we won't have a set time frame until we get the house under contract which will hopefully be sooner rather than later. In the meantime we want to get as many of our ducks in a row as possible.
We haven't made a final decision yet in this regard, however it seems more likely that we'll be wanting a car to increase our residential options.
Again, we can't thank you enough for your kindness and friendship. Please don't hesitate to use us as a reference should you feel the need. We'll keep you posted on how our move is progressing.
All the best,
+1 484 832 5745
A follow up letter from some VERY SPECIAL past guests from 6 years ago
Thank you George,
One of the best decisions we ever made was to move to Costa Rica. This country has been tremendously generous and friendly to us and much of it started with your tour.
We thank you for all the guidance you provided in helping us to be safe and wise with our decisions here in Costa Rica. Probably the most important decision we made dealt with the neighborhood we moved to - Las PIlas. What a heavenly gift that has been - kind and helpful neighbors, safe community, beautiful surroundings and wonderful images that will always be near and dear to our hearts.
The second most important decision we made had to do with finding ways to 'give to the community' - we always try hiring locally when possible and quality remains high, never throw out what someone else can use, and giving of our time and love ie.... christmas party for school children, easter egg hunt for the older folks, etc.
Third, finding something meaningful to do so as to avoid the' grump sessions' that are so popular at local cafes by expats. As it turns out we began substituting at a central valley private school and ended up opening our own private school that specializes in students with special needs (gifted to learning handicapped). We started with 5 students from US Embassy families and today we are 25 strong representing children from various countries, including local Costa Rican families. We're extremely proud of our school and according to a very high Washington representative for the US Embassy, our level of educational service is bar-none, the finest in Costa Rica.
Having said all that, we have sold our home in Las Pilas. As of September 24 Leslie will return to the US to 'set up' our new home in the mountains of Georgia (very similar setting to our Las PIlas home with the addition of the Hiawassee river as our backyard).
Lynn will stay in Costa Rica until June as she mentors an entirely new set of teachers and specialists who will continue with the SEAS school. We're already accepting new enrollment for the 2013-2014 school year which is so exciting in realizing these much needed services will continue.
Just wanted to update you and to say thank you once again for helping to jump-start our exciting and rewarding six years in Costa Rica.
Costa Rica is lucky to have you continue your service.
Leslie and Lynn McPeak
Leslie McPeak- firstname.lastname@example.org
Update from guests from Florida
Here ya go George L:
Here is a personal story about our pre and post Costa Rican move. Feel free to use as desired. My life has always been an open book and if this helps someone else, that would be great. We start with a letter I wrote to my wife. I was sitting home paying the bills, one day. She was working and she really didn't have time to listen to me (the worrier) so I wrote my thoughts down and presented them to her. It took a few readings to sink in as it is hard to come face to face with reality - especially this drastic.
This was written in early 2008:
SALVAGING OUR FUTURE BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE
You know, I have been looking at Costa Rica for quite a while now. We went there before as tourists in the '90s. Right now I see it as an alternative plan that should be in place. If we end up there, the kids and our friends can fly there pretty cheap, if they wish to visit. There would be new friends to make as well.
Most of our money is in the house and going down fast. In one more year (or less) the credit line will be exhausted. The house has probably lost $300K in equity to this point and it is unsellable. It may be rentable. We are going broke fast and it is time to face facts. We still look OK on paper, but that's about it. My side business after retirement made up for most everything with about $4K/month extra income. I could almost keep our lifestyle afloat.
That is now down to $400/month. Just like no one is buying collectible cars, no one is restoring them right now either. Stock market is down again today as unemployment tops 10%. There are no jobs out there. Not even in my professional field. Besides, I don't want to work anymore every day.
You know I plan for the worst scenario and it could soon be upon us. Remember you are only 60. Your job is in danger. Your real boss (boss' wife) is erratic and you could go home tomorrow. Even boss doesn't know when your days there are over. You can't collect S.S. for 2 more years. The worst part is you can't get Medicare for 5 more years. Right now your employer pays your medical insurance. If you lost that, and had to buy your own, it would break us in a matter of months. Add to that $7,000/year in property taxes and we are thoroughly screwed. Your income doesn't help much.
What little you make goes to your vehicle lease and your hobby. You have worked for 10 years now and fortunately have a good sized 401K. You have put double max into that for many years and your boss matches a good part of it. That's why he's sending all his long term employees like you home. New employees don't get benefits for years, so a $X/hr. employee is really just that. For you with higher pay, health plus dental plus 401K, you cost him more like $3X/hr.
I get a decent pension check and virtually free health care from Medicare. If you lose your job, you do not get anything and so no reasonable lifestyle could be maintained. If we become Costa Rica residents, medical and dental are virtually free and very good quality. There are also two for pay US quality big hospitals in San Jose. We can live well on our pensions which will become $3000/month in less than two years.
I am also tired of being alone every day. If your job ends and we move south, life could be very good and we are protected from the worst case scenario. If your job ends and we are still here in our little castle with no alternatives, we are destroyed for the rest of our lives. The costs here are very large. Electric and other utilities are large, no less lawn service, food, fuel, car insurance, house insurance in a hurricane zone, property taxes, satellite TV, etc. Loss of health insurance would finish us off and everything we worked for will be gone. We would go bankrupt quickly. I see it coming and I fear I have once again waited too long to take action. Our acreage is expensive to maintain in both labor and dollars. I just don't want to do it anymore. We need our own insurance against failure, before it arrives. It will probably take at least 10 months to make the move. I dread the bureaucracy at the consulate. I speak enough Spanish, so, no problem there. You can learn. It would be an adventure. Everyone speaks some English there anyhow. I have always felt responsible for our financial affairs and we have lived a good life for many years. I am still trying to keep us living well.
I think the goal should be to try to stretch it out here until you reach 62, meanwhile going ahead and getting approved for residency, not really moving there yet unless you get sent home early. If your job ends before two years, we can go to Costa Rica until you turn 65 and have Medicare.
Then we can return to the US if we want to. I have looked at every alternative and there is none. Even a $100k condo in the US does not solve health cost and other financial issues. I suspect most of those American people in Costa Rica aren't there just for the weather. Most are really there because there were no good financial alternatives. We are in the same situation.
PROLOGUE written December 2011:
Well, here we are. We took another trip to Costa Rica and took Lundquist's tour (I know, a shameless plug).
We saw a different view of Costa Rica. Real places and real people. We decided the pain and sacrifice would be tolerable. We went back twice more and looked at other parts of Costa Rica.
All of a sudden my wife didn't like her job too much anymore.
She quit and we put the items we really treasured with friends temporarily. Then an auctioneer sold everything else off on the front lawn. It was only stuff, mostly old stuff and it brought $25K. I was floored. We rented the big house, stayed with friends for a month and on August 6, 2010 we and the dogs were off to our new country on one-way tickets. We had pre-purchased a nice used car and rented a furnished house for a year based on pictures. All went perfect.
We learned more Spanish, became part of both the gringo and Tico communities. We had more things to do, people as friends etc. than we ever did in the US. When that lease was up we moved to the beach in June where we are happy for now. Next stop is unknown.
Maybe back to Central Valley, maybe Manuel Antonio, maybe stay here. So many choices. What we know is we are happy. Costs are not as low as advertised. If you want American brand foods you will pay more than the US. You learn to think a bit differently. Our medical has no deductibles, no co pay, no charge for prescription drugs, no place to even give money to anyone. It's called CAJA and to get our medical cards and keep payments up to date costs us $20.10/month. They have just finished a beautiful new airport here in Liberia near the beach and big new state-of-the-art CIMA hospital looks complete and is set to open in December 2011.
We couldn't be happier. We now have pensions coming in totaling $3K/month, expenses about $2100. We have a few bucks in the bank and for absolute emergencies, a 401K that the US government won't require withdrawals from for another 8 years.
We have a nice rented home, satellite and cable TV with US football and baseball packages, good internet, and most importantly, a great network of friends.
We are busy non-stop having fun and sitting on the beach watching amazing sunsets. There are no guns, no shootings, no political squabbles (that we care about). At this time we have no desire to go back to US other than to visit family and friends.. Is it perfect? No. Is it a great way to live? Yes. As I read the US news on-line in the morning, it seems like the Americans are the ones that are living in a third world country, not us expats. Pura Vida!
From Guests on the September 2011 tour
As I've said already – and I can't say it enough – THANKYOU.
Our trip to Costa Rica and putting ourselves in what proved to be your very capable hands has quickly become a life-altering experience for Linda & I.
Your words early on haunt me – "You'll fall in lust with this place." To be sure we did and the crowning moment, after three truly informative days, was when Linda & I looked at each other seeking to see if what we each were feeling was in the mind of the other. The home we found as part of your tour – despite your REPEATED urgings of "rent do not buy" – was all we could have hoped for.
And we really had no serious belief beforehand that that moment could have happened on what was our first trip to a country that was totally new to us.
George, if you are a salesman, you are one of the best I've had the pleasure to meet. Truly you are a salesman, but not of houses.
Rather, you sell the opportunities and lifestyle available to all who might choose it in Costa Rica.
This really hit home, no matter where we were, as so many of the locals called out to say hello to you. I came realize that you do not sell bricks & mortar; you sell the lifestyle. Someone finding the perfect place to call home, like we did, is purely icing on the cake to you rather than your mission. I've come to value your wisdom and insight.
Our overnight stay with Ed & Nancy Sheldon during the tour led us to return to their home for much of our remaining time in Costa Rica . Ed & Nancy really made us feel at home and provided a wealth of "how & why we live here" information that only furthered our decision to relocate. They, too, have given us their friendship and hospitality that really made our time with them so enjoyable for us.
So, as we sit here again in Ohio , the road before us looks intimidating, but in a hopeful & exciting way. Linda & I cannot wait for the steps to play out.
Most of all, we look forward to returning to what will be our retirement home and participating in its completion.
We met so many wonderful people during our visit. We know when we come back we will already have a circle of friends who have already made us feel so welcome.
For all this that has happened in the course of a couple of weeks, you have my heartfelt thanks, respect & admiration. I truly believe we've found both a partner in a venture as well as, perhaps more importantly, a friend.
You showed us the good & the not-so-good as promised and I'm amazed to say your promise of that before meeting you played out exactly as portrayed on your website.
I look forward to becoming your neighbor, and most highly recommend anyone considering Costa Rica for primary or secondary home to travel with you for a few days to make the decision. You really do separate reality from bullshit, pardon the expression.
Once again, most sincerely, thank you for all you have done for Linda & I in such a remarkably short period of time.
P.S. Please give our warmest wishes to your lovely wife, Aija, for continued recovery. You are a wonderful couple.
Linda & Bob Beavis
Bob is a Human Resources Manager and Linda is a CPA in Troy Ohio.
From past guest Robert Orling PhD, California
Hola mi amigo, George,
I want to thank you again for your maravilloso tour and to write a few paragraphs about the current tour and improvements that I have noted. I guess I am unique in that I have taken the tour twice. Who would do that? Someone who previously enjoyed it and knows the high value of the tour. So, here goes – my observations and comments.
Soon after my son and I returned from the tour with George 5 years ago, we talked about wanting to take it again – primarily just to enjoy it – secondarily to get more information about Costa Rica. Yes, that's how enjoyable the tour is. Relating to George is enjoyable; and so is getting to know the people on the tour.
So we took the tour again (August 14, 2011).
George has improved the tour in several ways. The tour takes one less day; 3 days instead of 4. Thus, there is less travel and the participants don't get too tired. The four-day tour seemed to tire people too much.
There is more involvement with previous participants. People from former tours, who have been living in Costa Rica for 4 or 5 years, have much information to share – and they do so as they invite the current participants into their homes, discuss how they bought their property, how they built their home, how they furnished it, and what their daily life is like. Also there are potlucks with these people affording current participants the opportunity to spend more time with them and ask them questions.
Many aspects of acquiring a place to live are covered including renting a cabina, renting a house, buying a condominium, buying property, building a house – and various construction techniques and materials for doing so.
Meeting with specialists gives participants an understanding of how to make relocating in Costa Rica a real possibility. These professionals include a lawyer, an accountant, and a moving specialist. Another area of concern to participants is medical; this explained via a trip to a modern hospital (La Cima) and anecdotes re acquiring medical care.
Muchas gracias, George. Indeed, you have improved the tour.
Your amigo in California,
This was received July 15th 2011 from a fellow cancer survivor, past guest from Oregon
My path to success including meeting Lyn and George last night, is the direct result of your tour and your encouragement over years since May 2008!
I know I can never compliment you or repay you for the wisdom and encouragement you provided during my tour. You are not only a good gentlemen, but you are also the essence of a true "teacher" in best meaning of the Asian tradition.
I promise you I will look for people in Orosi when I land there in order to encourage them with your principles and advice for as long I stay on this planet.
I will make, no I will make a promise to hook up with you and your lovely wife at some point on my October trip.
Thomas E. Mayer, Jr
From Bob Tenaglia in Orlando, Florida
Sandy and I would like to thank you for an excellent tour that began on November 21, 2010.
We learned so much about Costa Rica, its people, its food, its real estate, its culture, its climate, its medical care and in short, what it would be like to live there.
That is exactly why we booked your tour and at the risk of using a trite expression... "Mission Accomplished!"
We still have a great deal more evaluating to do but what you accomplished in 4 days answered most of the key questions that we had. Your series of "benchmarks" that you used helped us process the information more easily, and, as I said to you while we were there, what I liked most about your style was that you believed in no "BS." You told it like it is-- good and bad!
When asked if it rains a lot, you answered "this year was bad." When asked how to go about opening a bank account, you answered "be prepared for a long wait and several trips back!" I also like your philosophy of one size doesn't fit all.... one person might want solitude on 5 acres on a mountain top, while others would prefer a high rise condo in town where there are plenty of restaurants and shopping!
Regardless of where one lived in Costa Rica, the medical care was top notch, which was a very important reason for our trip.
We had a small procedure done while we were there and it turned out perfect.
We have since written to your friend Dr. Mora for advice on another procedure that we are thinking about.
In short, we feel like we have found a friend in you, and we look forward to staying in touch for years to come, and who knows, maybe be your neighbor someday!
Warmest regards and Happy Holidays,
"Very prominent Florida Real Estate Broker"
From Guests June 2010, Kevin and Roxann, Scottsdale, Arizona
Every once in a while we are able to participate in something that is completely worthwhile. I don't mean something that does the job or gets us more or less what we need or want. No, I'm talking about something that fulfills 100% of our requirements. If you are anything like me you have found that is a rare accomplishment these days.
Well, recently we took George Lundquist's 4-day, 3-night Relocation & Retirement tour. Simply put this tour satisfied every one of our expectations and did so completely.
I do offer a warning and a few words of advice.
The warning is simply this; George advises, "Be sure and bring a good pair of walking shoes or boots, a good sun hat, a light rain jacket, a camera or video recorder, an open mind, a sense of humor, a sense of adventure, and PATIENCE."
Do yourself a favor – believe him.
If you believe this will be one of the run-of-the-mill sightseeing tours of Costa Rica or some Real Estate-driven "event," get over it.
The only glittering lights you will see are those of San Jose at a very great distance and, of course, stars more brilliant then you can believe set in a coal-black night sky.
There will be no 4-Star resorts or Nouveau Cuisine on George's tour.
If you are the type of person with delicate sensibilities, prepare yourself. George isn't a delicate- sensibilities-kind-of-guy.
George Lundquist calls a spade a shovel and make no mistake about that.
This is not a vacation in any sense of that word.
His tours are for those who are serious about determining if Costa Rica is right for them or if it is not and more importantly if they are right for Costa Rica or not. George never loses sight of this. He is focused on fulfilling the promise of his tour and he will keep you focused too.
He uses the only system in my opinion that can work for a tour of Costa Rica – he gives you "benchmarks." You can't see the entire country on any one tour or even one visit and there is no one perfect place to live in Costa Rica. Your own research, however, can only take you so far without a point of comparison.
You will be given many of those comparison points for use in rounding out your due diligence.
- "This is what banking, health care and grocery shopping are like,"
- "Here is what a good building site looks like in Costa Rica,"
- "Here is a typical Tico village,"
- "Here is what you should expect in new construction,"
- "This is what you should look for from a rental house,"
- "This is why you need a lawyer,"
- "This is what comfortable retirement in Costa Rica looks like,"
- "Here is what your Social Security/retirement dollar will buy in Costa Rica,"
- "Here is what to expect from a dentist,"
All of that and a hundred other examples will be given to help you compare and contrast and ultimately make your decisions about retirement in and relocation to Costa Rica.
This is not to say you won't have fun. On our tour the rooms were comfortable, the food was plentiful and delicious, those on the tour were companionable in the extreme, the expatriate community was warm and welcoming and the information and advice provided by George was of vital importance.
You will laugh a lot and talk a lot, think, reflect and compare a lot. You'll be able to come to some important conclusions too. If you find that isn't true it will not be because George didn't give you the resources you needed.
For our part this tour was one experience that gave us the tools we needed to make one of the most important decisions of our lives. Deciding on Costa Rica is a huge step to take. It is a move that will fundamentally challenge nearly all of our notions about life and our lives in particular.
In Costa Rica we found ourselves instantly at ease and able to stop, take a huge breath, relax and view the world with a different perspective. We didn't know why we were able to do any of that, but George explained the Costa Rican lifestyle so completely it suddenly made perfect sense. Costa Rica isn't just the change we want to make it is the change we have to make. This move will, we feel, be not only life changing, but in our case life saving.
That may or may not be your experience, but you win no matter what. If you find out Costa Rica is for you – you win. If you find out it isn't – you win; better to find out now.
At the end of the day we can only say thank you to George for showing us not only what is, but also what is possible in Costa Rica. Pura Vida, my friends. If nothing else on George Lundquist's Relocation & Retirement tour you will learn the life-altering magic contained in that little Costa Rican phrase.
Kevin & Roxann Ryan
Here is an inquiry from a potential tour guest to a past tour guest from Florida who has a reference on my website
Hi. My name is Betty. We are considering George's tour because we are considering retiring in Costa Rica. Just read your comments on your experience w/ George at his website & wondered if all this could possibly be true. You know what they say. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Am so excited. Just need a little reassurance. Such a big step. Do you have anything to add? Thank you so much.
Here is the reply they sent and they copied me:
Hi Betty, Yes it is true. A big step to take. The advice you will hear from me, George L. and everybody else is go with an open mind and a spirit of adventure. Oh and don 't fall in lust and buy anything. Rent.
There are so many micro climates that things could be very different 1/2 mile away.
We first went to CR in 1995. We loved it, but as tourists. As we got closer to retirement age we started looking at it again. We had friends there, Andy and Fran Browne. If you haven't done so yet go to Andy's website http://www.boomersoffshore.com/ and look at his videos. It will tell you their whole moving experience.
We have been there 5 times now. The last two trips were last year. We stayed at the Browne's place in July and lived as residents instead of tourists.
We also got into a party thrown by George Lundquist and met about 40 Americans that now live there. I was sold by then, but Kathy was uncertain. Her favorite question of the evening with people was "would you move back to where you came from if you had unlimited wealth?"
The answer was 100% no.
Those who leave usually do so in the first year. Cultural change and missing family are the main reasons people come back to the US.
Kathy was finally convinced she wanted to do it, at least as much as I.
Next step was George's tour. It was everything it said it was on his site and more. It is a must if you are getting serious about moving there. You will see different areas in the Central Valley, get an idea of prices for rent or purchase and meet lots of Americans every night. George covers everything you ever wanted to know and maybe some things you didn't. He is great.
There are other tours of CR. They are all trying to sell you something.
George has land for sale also, but what he is selling is his adopted new country and way of life.
We have obtained an attorney http://www.residencyincostarica.com/ Javier Zavaleta is in California and between he and his sister in San Jose, they provide a turnkey operation jumping through all the hoops to obtain residency.
We are going down next Friday to do some final stuff at the US Embassy on Monday with the attorney. We need proof of social Security that can only be obtained at that Embassy. They will also take the mug shots and fingerprints for INTERPOL.
Most Americans have settled in Escazu or Santa Anna. Very expensive. They chain themselves into compounds. Now they have great shopping at the Multiplaza Mall, just like US. There is even Home Depot etc. In my opinion, those people are paying US prices or worse and are missing everything that is wonderful about the culture of the people.
You do not need to speak Spanish. You can get by in Spanglish. The younger people all speak some English. I speak pretty fluent Spanish. I bought Rosetta Stone Vols. 1,2 and 3 for Kathy. She is doing well with it. I went through it also and probably picked up another 100 words of vocabulary and learned to speak Latin American Spanish which has some different phrase usages and pronunciations than European Spanish.
Any questions, please feel free to write some more. If you have Skype you can search for me as George Ernst. If you want, I can call you on regualr phone if you give me a time and number or call me at 352-249-9113.
October 2009 guests from Florida
Hola Jorge # 1,
We are back at what used to be our home in Florida. Mentally we have moved. As Kathy said to a friend yesterday "we will die there". First a criticism. Don't ever again say you get big bucks for the tour. You don't charge enough!!
For someone who is getting aquainted with Costa Rica, your tour is a very nice introduction. For someone who is serious about moving, it is an absolute must.
You are generous with both your time and resources. Your tour is not for the lazy. I can tell anyone reading this -be prepared to work your tail off. George is the drill seargent from 7:00 AM until well into the night. He makes it fun, but it is intense. He is not selling you his properties like the other tours, he is selling Costa Rica, which he loves and believes in with great passion.
The bus is ideal, The driver Oscar is great as is the lodging, food and drink. I can assure you George doesn't pinch pennies on this trip. You want it? You got it!
This was our 4th trip, starting 9 years ago. The first two were as tourists. We went away saying "neat place". The third trip was this July when things in the US were getting increasingly difficult. I don't mean just crooked politicians and wars. I mean cost of living, medical, loss of values in retirement, unhappy people. Like so many Americans we were worried about "What if we get sick?" "What if our money runs out before we die. We started to think about answers. Bingo! Costa Rica.
So in July we took another trip, this time non-tourist, living with friends in a real house, seeing real people in a real town (San Ramon). Needless to say we were pretty hooked. Now comes the hard questions. Where do we live? How do we get residency? How do we get around? What does it cost to move, get a car, rent or buy housing? So for us, George's tour wasn't just nice, it was necessary.
All our questions were answered and more. We learned that except for cost of living, Costa Rica was not a third world country. The hospitals and medical care, culture of the people, every creature comfort we had in the US was here in spades. It was now not just an option if things got worse at home, it became the place we want to live out our lives. We have started that process now with a 12 -18 month time frame to complete the move. We couldn't have done it without you, so thanks from the bottom of our hearts.
Raise your rates, you are worth whatever you charge. There is nowhere on earth anyone could learn so much in 3 1/2 days - or 3 1/2 weeks.
George and Kathy Ernst
Crystal River, Florida
July 2009 Regular tour guests from Florida
We had to write you to express our gratitude for a wonderful experience on your tour. It far exceeded our expectations.Living in Florida all year round, we loved the weather in Cost Rica 74Fdays and 68F in the evenings.
Everything you represented on your internet website was totally true.
The Ex Pats we met were very welcoming and very honest,answering all our questions. The Ticos we met were very friendly to Americans. The different homes you showed us were a very good representation of what's available in all price ranges.
The medical and Dental facilities that we saw were outstanding,as good or better than in the U.S.We have lived in many places and traveled extensively in the U.S. and Europe, We can say that Costa Rica affords the people with an open mind and a spirit of adventure a great life.
We would like to give a big thanks to your staff Larry who assisted you and the safest driver Oscar who took very good care of us.
I would strongly recommend your tour to anyone who wants a better life and doesn't want to make wrong choices when considering a move to C.R..
We are looking forward to coming back in the next 6 months to find our place in heaven. We are going to start the process for residency in Oct. Looking forward to seeing you and all the wonderfull people we met.
Harvey & Lonnie Scheffel
"March 2009 California couple"
We can't thank you enough for your introduction to Costa Rica.
It has been about a month since we got back from our tour with you, and we want you to know that it has CHANGED OUR LIVES.
As a high school teacher and an RN, we weren't sure how well we could retire here in California. So we decided to take your tour as part of our Costa Rica vacation, on the "off chance" that something might interest us.
Day by day as the tour proceeded we became more delighted with the possibilities that you were showing us. The part that really impressed us was the warmth and hospitality of all the people we met through you.
We talked to doctors, pharmacists, realtors, movers, and attorneys, as well as other "Gringos" who had successfully made the leap. You and they made us feel that it was truly a possibility to make a life in a new land and to have a supportive network of people that had gone before us to help us.
When we started your tour, I was eager, but my husband Rick had some serious hesitations.
Your enthusiastic and knowledgeable presentation changed all that. By the end of the tour Rick was just as enthusiastic as I about taking a chance on Costa Rica . It was a pleasure to watch him turn from a reluctant participant to person who was actively exploring what his medical care would be like and what kind of plants he could put in his garden!
We just want to thank you so very much for your introduction to the land where we will be retiring!! After much soul searching, we have decided to buy that beautiful little home we found on the internet in the hills of the Central Valley that we talked to you about. Your counsel was invaluable in knowing how to evaluate the situation. Now we feel confident that we are making a wise move and we negotiated a great price.
(Who would have ever known how important it is to know the ALTITUDE of a property!)
Without your help we would never have gotten this far, and you can be sure that we will stay in close contact as our Costa Rica story unfolds!
With Sincere Thanks,
Carol Navagato and Rick Brown
November 2008 Guests from Newport News, VA
January 8, 2009
Now that the holidays are over and we have some room to breathe, we wanted to take this opportunity to let you know how much we enjoyed our tour with you at the end of November 2008.
We had read how informative your tours were but nothing prepared us for the "real thing".
Never ever have we met anyone with your energy who could shout out a great variety of informations in regard to living in Costa Rica for four days in a row without ceasing. We must have read every book about Costa Rica that was published over the past 15 years but we learned more about this beautiful country in the four days with you than we did by reading all of the books combined. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and enthusiasm for Costa Rica with us.
We went on to the Southern Pacific area and met Jane and Mike. As much as we were enchanted with Pursical, we found the area around San Isidro de El General more laid back and less touristy than the Central Valley. As a result, Rosi and I are leaning heavily toward retiring to this area in a couple of years.
We will go back during the hottest month in 2010 to see how it feels, and take it from there.
The only regret we have about moving south is that it is far removed from you and all the great people we met during your tour. Of all the houses and locations we saw, the one we liked the best was Larry and Carol's house (your first house) in Barbacoas.
Please give our best to Oscar. He is a terrific driver and a great asset to your tours!
In closing we wish you, your lovely wife Aija, Taylor, Kaiser, Negro and whoever else is hanging out at your house a healthy, peaceful, and prosperous New Year!
Thom and Rosi Matheson
Newport News, Virginia
November 2008 tour guest, International Real Estate Investor
Subject: Outstanding tour and greatest info when compared to other tours.
I have been researching and investing in CR a while.
We took both George's Regular and Jane's South Central tours.
This is the third relocation tour we have taken as well as numerous other trips to CR.
Why take these tours?
All tours will show you cities and places to live. All the moderators know CR well. All feed you well.
The difference between George's and the others is besides being very economical in comparison to others, on George's you meet people like you and me that have already made the move and who will share their experiences with you to in a relaxed party environment. Talking with over 75 folks on George's tour who have already done it cemented our decision. This is priceless. This is the difference in the tours. I have already started the residency process and will start Spanish classes in February.
Please fell free to email me at anytime.
From Sharon & Eric from Arizona
This failing American economy has put my husband and me, custom home builders, out of business. The awful fact is that we have to leave the country of our birth. It is depressing and terrifying to think of giving up everything you have known to go live in another country--unless that county is Costa Rica and you have the tremendous luck (as we recently did) to be introduced to the enchanting possibilities by George Lundquist.
To say that Mr. Lundquist enjoys living and developing choice homesites in Costa Rica is a laughable understatement. He is absolutely in love with the land, the people, the food, and all the attending adventures of the new life he has made for himself and his wife in Costa Rica. Nature gave him an outgoing, entrepreneurial nature but he has worked hard and long to develop his most valuable asset :a vast network of heart-felt win-win relationships with Costa Rica natives ("Ticos"), expats, land developers, tradesmen, hotel owners, bed and breakfast owners, restaurateurs, furniture makers, cab drivers, and dozens of other people who seem to enjoy him as much as he enjoys them. I will never forget him driving us up and down rural roads in his orange jeep, showing us this and that, and all the while beeping and waving at all the people busy in their yards or fields. Each of them would look up, see George in that jeep, put on a big authentic grin of friendship, and wavie back. It's a rarely seen we're-all-in-this-together magic that has sadly long disappeared from American life.
If you are interested in living or retiring to Costa Rica or if you are interested in investing in Costa Rica, you MUST take George's four-day tour! It is a well-organized, jammed packed survey of benchmark areas, typically within 45 minutes of San Jose, where ex-pats have and are making homes for themselves. You will visit Alajuela, Grecia, Sarchi, Naranjo, San Ramon, La Garita, Orosi Valley and Santiago de Puriscal and meet expats and tour their homes and listen to what they did right and wrong in their relocation adventures. You will eat fabulous "Tipico" (native) breakfasts, lunches and dinners all over Costa Rica. You will tour many different developments with widely different price ranges, climates and amenities. You will find yourself at a cocktail party with 30 or so expats eager to tell you their adventures, and hoping you will profit from their experiences. You will stay at gorgeous inns and see absolutely stunning places to live—places you can live or invest in if you are willing to reach down inside yourself and pull out your pioneering spirit. And George will be there to answer all your questions as best he can, give you his reasoned advice and get you in touch with people who can help you get where it is you want to go or learn what you need to know. George makes it not only entirely possible to leave the land of your birth, but a thrilling, life-affirming adventure.
On the last day of our visit to Costa Rica, we rented a large home from a Tico attorney and his family (met through yet another member of George's vast network) for one year commencing on February 1st.
Our plan is to go and build homes in that beautiful country. We now feel lucky that staying in the U.S. is not an option for us. If you take George's tour, perhaps we'll meet you!
Sharon & Eric, Arizona
From Mike and Mary Peace, January 2008 guests from Tulsa, OK
Wanted to share my Costa Rica experience with you and others that might be considering your tour. It has been a long journey in a short amount of time.
My husband, Mike, has been researching Costa Rica as a retirement option for over a year. Most of this work was done on his computer. I have heard about the cost of bananas and how great the climate is on a daily basis. Fixing dinner would not have been complete without a glass of wine and a report on the current temperature in San Jose.
Then he discovered George's tour. He started telling me about this great opportunity we could experience. My thoughts were not along the same lines. Four days getting on and off a bus with 10-12 other people did not sound like fun. Then I found out the bus had no bathroom, was not air conditioned and didn't have reclining seats. After more checking, some of the hotels where we would stay were not even listed on the Internet, much less rated with stars!
I found many reasons to put off going on George's tour thinking this was some kind of midlife crisis Mike would live through.
Just the opposite. Mike became more and more obsessed with Costa Rica and taking George's tour. When I realized Mike was not going to get over this I began negotiating. I was not willing to share a bathroom with another couple. I required hot water at every hotel. Mainly, after those four days on that bus I would get to go to the beach! Mike was quick to agree and booked the tour within a couple of days of our agreement. There was no turning back now.
As George said on his website; all you need is a sense of humor, a sense of adventure and patience. That became my mantra to get ready for this trip. I could stand on my head for four days if I could spend time at the ocean.
Off we went. Arrived in Costa Rica and the people were lovely. The country was beautiful. Everything going as promised. Got to our hotel and readied myself for the next four days. Did not have to share a bathroom and plenty of hot water. Four days and then the ocean!
George showed up while we were having breakfast. He proceeded with his orientation to get us ready for this great adventure. It was early in the morning and he reminded me a bit of General Patton speaking in a room too small for his voice. He gave us folders with what he said was valuable information and told us to take lots of notes. I passed the folder directly to Mike and continued to munch on the fabulous fresh fruit served with our breakfast.
Onto the bus we all loaded. Strangers from different states and countries. Everyone had something in common but me. They all seemed excited about this bus tour. Oscar was an excellent driver and George continued spouting information about Costa Rica. Down the road we went. I forgot the bus didn't have air conditioning because the weather was perfect. It was never a problem that it didn't have a bathroom because we made plenty of stops with clean facilities. There was cold drinks and snacks. General Patton even thought of chocolate. Things were looking up.
I can tell you when things changed. Standing on a mountain observing the raw beauty of this country brought tears to my eyes. It is indescribable. I firmly believe Costa Rica has a spirit.
After that I listened as George talked rather than looking out the window. The tour was not about facts but about meeting Costa Rica and becoming acquainted with her spirit. All of a sudden I understood what Mike had been trying to explain to me. I got it and I am so grateful for that.
Like all good things, the tour came to an end. The guests (and we were treated as such) exchanged email addresses and still keep in touch. I was sad to leave them, George, Oscar and even the bus.
Now the payoff - the ocean. It was beautiful but hot. The accommodations were good but expensive. Sitting outside to watch the sun set was stunning but we had to enjoy it with the bugs. The waiters spoke English and didn't find it charming we were trying to learn Spanish. The end result - a great place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there. Take me back to the Central Valley.
We have now returned to Costa Rica and found our own piece of paradise. I love hearing Mike tell me how much bananas cost and what the temperature is in San Jose. When we are at home in Oklahoma I miss Costa Rica. We have made friends there - Gringos and Ticos. I even miss George. What I miss the most is Costa Rica's spirit and her grace and beauty.
My advice to anyone interested is to take a chance. Have a sense of humor, a sense of adventure and some patience. Take the time to meet Costa Rica and feel her warmth. If you don't want to live there afterwards, you might get a great trip to the beach.
Guest Pink Hard Hat Sonya
Hola all. I came, I saw, I bought, and I'm building. Its the adventure of my life. The great thing is I am on a budget, and single,and I'm doing this. I'm so happy with how the house is being built. American standards yet. On occasion I do wear my pink hardhat just so my crew knows who is the boss. Now all I need is a beer in one hand. Life has changed so much for me, I get excited just thinking of my progress. Come on down, life is great.
Pink Hard Hat Sonya
Guests from Arizona July 2007
What an absolute blast we had coming to Costa Rica, and especially going on the tour with you, Oscar & all the friends we made with our traveling group on the tour.
The people we met that have already moved there are wonderful folks that gave us a hint of what a wonderful life can be had in Costa Rica for not a whole lot of money !! George, you are definitely "THE REAL DEAL". You are a walking textbook on anything to do with Costa Rica. People taking your tour will learn so much it will make their heads swim !
The beauty of Costa Rica overwhelms the senses. We have lived in Phoenix Az for over 40 years & we couldn't get over how everywhere you look you see green, & the rivers & streams actually have water in them ! Our rivers mostly have sand. We had a couple of days to spend before your tour so we went to the suburbs of San Jose (Santa Ana & Escazu) with a Realtor so we could get an idea of prices for homes. As I kind of suspected, they were too crowded and were a lot more than we wanted to spend.
While on the tour, getting to meet some of your past guests plus getting to see what they have built and are in the process of building got us real excited. What great views they have and not on top of the neighbors like in the city.
Your tour has it all for someone thinking of moving to paradise. The area around the wonderful town of Santiago De Puriscal is where we are hoping to find our own little slice of heaven !! We will see you & everyone again as soon as we can.
Grayl & Jo Reeves
July 07 Education Consultants from California
Sorry for the delay in getting you a well deserved THANK YOU for an incredible tour. We so enjoyed sharing a remarkable three days with you and the tour group. The places and experiences were amazing but without a doubt it was your vast knowledge and information (let alone your sense of humor) that we found so overwhelmingly helpful. Change is rarely easy or smooth, so being informed is a huge factor when making decisions and determining plans.
As you know, we continued our stay in Costa Rica by taking the tour with Jane. She too is an amazing and knowledgeable person. A wild woman behind the wheel, she took us places that I'm sure Oscar would have flatly said no to !
We fell in love with her town of S.I. and were able to see plenty of property and homes in nearby communities. From there we spent three days along the Pacific Coast. Not only were we disappointed with the beaches but as you warned, many of the coastal towns are quickly becoming Miami-want-a-be's. We did like the area called Hermosa but realize its only a matter of time before growth and sprawl come to that area as well and frankly we don't want to be part of this.
We finished our trip with our last three days being devoted to the areas around Atenas, Belin, Santa Ana and La Garita. We fell in love with the area and its wonderful weather and lush vegetation.
We were working with an awesome real estate company that devoted three days and three agents to us, along with access to the company's owner/director and to their attorney. They were exceedingly helpful and took us all over the area looking at homes .They also took us to the Hogar de Vida, a Children's Receiving Home in Atenas. We met with its founder. He is a gentleman I think you would enjoy very much. A little wild in his day (his words, not ours), he was involve in a motorcycle accident at around the age of 18 and broke his back. Confined to wheelchair he 'turned his life around' and now does the 'Lord's work'. There are about 20 children ages birth-10 yrs. at this facility (farm) and all school age children attend the elementary school just down the street. Since then he and his wife have started another Children's Home in another Central American country. They take no salary and in fact have adopted a number of children themselves. An amazing couple. There is no such Children's Home for youngsters 10 years and older and if we were to come to Costa Rica we would very much like to work on helping to remedy this situation.
Regardless of how things turn out, once again we want to thank you for all you did and for sharing your country with us. Costa Rica is truly a rich and beautiful country and we are blessed to have had the opportunity to visit it and meet such incredible people like Oscar, yourself, your wife, the tour participants, Jane and all the expats we met.
Leslie and Lynn McPeak
Leslie McPeak, SEAS-Systems Ensuring Academic Success
May, 2007 Guests from Scottsdale AZ
Caroline and I have spent the last 2 years researching Costa Rica in preparation for our (early) retirement.
This was our third trip down during that period, and I had debated whether or not we actually needed to take your tour or not.
On our previous visits, we had taken the ARCR seminar, the highly publicized and advertised other city tour and a Caravan countrywide tour. I had also poured over every inch of your web site and links (and many others) and had already narrowed down our choices to the Puriscal and the San Ramon areas as to where we wanted to live.
After contacting one of the references on your site, who lived close by in Arizona, meeting them and hearing what they had to say about you and your tour, we decided to sign up. Long story short...one of the best decisions we have ever made.
Not only did you take us everywhere I knew about, you had many more locations and adventures in store for us.
I can truly say we met more QUALITY people (Ticos and ex-pats alike) on your tour and the days following than we have in AZ in the last 10 years. For anyone like us, who wants to live in the year-round springtime climate of the Central Valley but not in a big city like San Jose or its attaching surrounding cities, your tour blows away the rest of our learning tours and seminars.
As we purchased three properties on this trip (excellent investments), we will be seeing you and Aija in about 6 months, the quickest we can finalize our business here and get back to PURA VIDA!
Thank you for everything you and all of your QUALITY friends and associates did for us while we were there.
Larry and Caroline Kutz
From Kat, Magazine Publisher, and Greg retired Police Officer, May 2007 Guests
Gregory and I have been back in Texas only a full day after our wonderful and exciting trip to Costa Rica. There is only one problem.. we want to come back.NOW!
We found such a peace in Costa Rica that we have not felt any other place on the planet.
Everyone that we have talked to thus far, and trust me - everyone in the future as well - has heard it first hand from us that your Regular Tour is a MUST for ANYONE that remotely considers a visit to Costa Rica in their future.
Gregory researched the country for more than a year prior to our tour with you. But we both found out in short order you can't "learn" on the Internet and in books what we learned from you in four days! First hand knowledge and hands on experience with you as our guide was worth every minute and every dime.
Your new tour bus, along with each meal and every hotel, just reaffirmed that your website is what it is.true and honest. From the first time your experienced driver, Oscar, put the bus in gear at the start of our tour to time he stopped and we got off at the end of our tour we were entertained by the beauty of Costa Rica and the vast amount of knowledge you shared with us.
Gregory and I have constantly asked one another, "What do folks do if they don't take George's tour?" I strongly feel that they are the 40% of the folks that return to the states after 6-months.
Therefore, they never really got to know the country and its people.
As you know, we remained in the country for another two weeks after our tour with you. Your introduction to the Tico economy and our visits to the market, banks, post office and other general areas that surround a typical Tico town paid off in aces. It made our ability to maneuver around the country so much easier.
We revisited many of the benchmark locations you introduced us to and spent ample hours reiterating what you showed and taught us. We also have made a commitment to learn the language. Even though Gregory still has trouble pronouncing some of the words I seem to have a knack for the language. My goal is to speak it as fluently as you do as soon as I can.
We look forward to seeing you and your lovely wife again soon. We purchased a property outside of San Ramon a couple of days prior to our departure and look forward to building our future home on it.
The smiling faces of the Tico's, the beauty of the land and its rich history, along with a killer view from our property.. I can certainly understand why they everyone says "Pura Vida!"
Thank you for sharing with us, George. We will send folks your way and leave them in your capable hands of introducing them to a country well worth considering as a future home.
Kat and Gregory Spann
Fort Worth, Texas
A young couple from California on the March 07 tour
Yolanda and I really enjoyed the tour, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to find out more about living in Costa Rica. Even though I've been there over 10 times and lived there for 6 months on 2 occassions, your tour still provided me with new information and showed me new places.
For Yolanda it was her first real exposure to living in Costa Rica and I think it helped calm her worries about moving to a developing nation.
I hope I can take you up on your offer to ask you for advice and information when we finally move down to start building a home on our land that we bought from Jim and Ben.
P.S: By the way, another good coffee you might want to mention to those looking for a good buy is Adrian's own Cafe Altura (at Ben's cabins).
Their premium coffee (high altitude, sun dried) is one of the best me and others I talked to found in Costa Rica. Maybe he can offer a free taste to your tour folks when you stop to see the cabins. I bought some and it's delicious, at least as good if not better than the higher priced Brit.
Mike and Yolanda
Sonja Young, about to retire single lady from Oregon, Jan 2007 tour
Every day that goes by I remember your positive energy.
So I'm moving my life forward full speed. There really is no reason to slug it out at work for another 2 years. I won't gain big financially, so why do it?.
My house will go up on the market for however long it takes. In the mean time I sent Frank Long the finail payment on MY LAND. Oh yeah I better email Roberto to let him know.
When the house sells I will rent something in Puriscal while my casita is being built. No hurry. I'll be in Costa Rica thats what counts.
In time I hope to set up a TV dish like you have and share the cost with who ever else buys into that developement. After all I can't keep coming over to you and your wife to watch CSI.
Friday the realtor will be here to set everything up. I've never felt so positive about anything in my life. In fact its giving me life.
I spoke briefly to Don W so I can get some coffee. He invited me to stop by to see what a $1.2 million house looks like. Well maybe that would depress me but say hi to him for me and I hope I get some coffee.
Best of everything to you and your wife, I'll bring her more books.
Guests from Tempe, Arizona, August 2006
We have just read Kathy Bell and Alan Mersons letter, and Bob Orlings letter; there is nothing to add... they have said it all and left me speechless... quite a feat!
We purchased land in San Ramon after your tour, we also had been doing our homework for the past 2 years, and felt absolutely comfortable making a purchase, as you had put all the pieces together.
We are planning to move down in March 2007 to begin our new life in Costa Rica, we will live in the same development as Kathy and Alan whom we met on your tour, and we will only be an hour from Puriscal.
We will be using Barry Wilson to move us from Arizona, and Roberto Balser as our immigration attorney. Our developer, Ben Cart, has been absolutely wonderful, knowledgable and professional. We feel as though we have a whole team of professionals working for us, and new friends to start a new life with.
I also had extensive dental work. I was treated with utmost professionalism in San Isidro de El General, at a fraction of the cost of the US.
We had intended to write a long letter of recommendation, but it would really be redundant. Of the 8 of us on your August tour, Chris and I believe that at least 6 of us will be in Costa Rica, and perhaps all 8 of us.
You, and your tour, are the best!
Best regards... see you soon.
Louise Wittman, IFA and Chris Roe
(Real estate appraisers, Maricopa County AZ)
Guests from Wesley Chapel Florida; August 2006
It's been just over a month since we've returned from George Lundquist's fantastic retirement tour -- and we are busy making plans to return in February 2007 to meet with the developer and builder for our new retirement property in San Ramon!
As academics and mental health clinicians, my husband and I had done a great deal of research before taking the August 2006 tour, but we found that nothing put things in perspective like George's commentary and the wide array of "expert seminars" that somehow all take place amid the touring and cultural experiences of four solid days and evenings. For the uninitiated, I say, "Be prepared to spend sun up to sun down -- and then some -- immersed in Costa Rican life and what retirement in CR can be for you!"
I am now proud to say that we have more friends in Costa Rica than we do in our Tampa Bay, Florida, subdivision...each and every experience was valuable and enjoyable in its own way -- even my major dental emergency provided an excellent, first-hand look at the CR health care system as well as the kindness and compassion of all the folks involved.
Thank you to Barry Wilson of ShipCostaRica for taking me to his own dentist, Dr. Telma Rubinstein at Prisma Dental in Rohrmoser/San Jose, where I was treated for five hours by four dentists (including an endodontist and a dental surgeon) without ever having to leave the building. All this was provided at a fraction of the US cost, if in fact I could have ever found somewhere to have root canal, crown and bone graft all in the same day. Everyone spoke English, and Dr. Rubinstein literally held my hand and checked on me throughout the hours I was there.
Barry Wilson actually picked me up at the dental office and took me to rejoin George's tour. It is actions such as these that define the Tico approach to life!
As I said to George more than once during the tour, "You should really charge more...it would be worth it at twice the price...but I'm glad you don't!"
The itinerary, the NEW BUS, the meals, the hotels, the seminars -- and the fun! -- were all top notch. The synergy of the group was amazing. Apparently that is what pura vida is all about.
Muchas gracias, amigos.
MA, LMHC and Alan Merson, MSW, ACSW
Wesley Chapel, Florida
August 2006 Father and Son tour guests
Son, Tim, a Materials Engineer living in Paso Robles, CA; and Father Bob a Clinical Psychologist, living in Los Angeles.
George, mi Amigo in Costa Rica,
Muchas gracias for the incredible tour and for your sharing your enthusiasm, your passion for Costa Rica, and yourself.
What makes your tour SUPERB is the variety of scenery and emerald green beauty of Costa Rica.
What makes your tour COMFORTABLE is YOU -- your attention to detail, your personal connections with so many people in Costa Rica, your interest in your touring clients, your sense of humor, and your transparent and caring personality.
I previously made 4 trips to CR in the past 2 years. I found it difficult to attain information I wanted about the country in general, real estate, and living conditions.
In 4 days you satisfied all those searches.
Your tour is the best bargain in Central America -- I want to take it again -- just for the FUN OF IT!!!
And the new bus is soooo nice -- comfortable with an unobstructed 360 degree view.
Again, you are much more than a tour guide, you are my friend!!!
Hasta que encontremos otra vez,
Bob Orling, Ph.D.
June 23, 2006 Guests who are 2 Florida Realtor/Developers from Bonita Springs Florida
We came across George's tour when searching "WeLoveCostaRica.com web site.
My wife, Gee Gee, and I had recently returned from a vacation to the SW coastal area-Manuel Antonio. In the last few years, we have traveled quite a bit in Central America/ Caribbean i.e.: Honduras, Belize, Mexico, St. Croix.
We were always looking for a "place in the sun" to escape to. Although there were many beautiful attractions in each of these places, the one thing in Costa Rica that was different and most attractive to us is the people.
Most all of the people we encountered in this country were genuinely warm and friendly. Unlike other places, where we often felt as if they wanted us to spend the money and leave, we actually felt welcome. This is a place where we felt like coming back to stay.
Upon our return, we learned that the rules for Residency would soon change. We felt that we needed to return to C.R. and find out if we could indeed live here. From our past experiences in "3rd world" countries, once we ventured away from the resort areas, we found a world much different than the one advertised on the glossy color brochures!
The sights and smells of abject poverty, open sewers, polluted waterways, garbage everywhere and high crime rate left us feeling vulnerable, a bit guilty and wanting to go back to the good ole U.S. of A!!
We wanted to feel the experience of living amongst the Ticos. Could we actually retire here on our modest retirement funds without giving up all of our creature comforts?
After reading many letters of recommendation for "Live and Retire in Costa Rica on SS", we made a hasty decision to book the tour.
This may turn out to be one of the best decisions we have ever made-next to, of course, getting married to my best friend 28 years ago!
From the moment we met George, we were drawn to him. His easygoing manner, fun loving sprit and his outright enthusiasm for his adopted country made us feel at ease. Why shouldn't he be enthusiastic? After all, HE IS LIVING HIS DREAM!
George and Oscar exposed us to the real Costa Rica.
We traveled a lot of miles (about 500) in a rather small van with 5 other people plus George and Oscar. GOD- I'LL MISS THAT VAN!!!
We started out as strangers and ended up Amigos-Can't wait to see them all again in C.R.
George crammed a tremendous amount of information and experience into those 4 days! Information that was vital to all of us looking to make the move. We stayed in quaint, comfortable (nothing fancy) Hotels and B&Bs and ate in interesting restaurants the food was always delicious and usually "Typical".
We were always well received and George always told us the cost.
He introduced us to many local Professionals that gave us great information on various areas of interest such as locating & purchasing property, homebuilding, developing property, buying local made furniture, shipping household goods and autos.
We didn't just hear presentations; we walked the properties, touched the furniture and went in and around the houses.
We were also were given a very informative presentation from a local attorney-Roberto Umana-covering issues such as New Residency laws/requirements and setting up personal Corporations to protect assets while living and investing in C.R.
George took us into the local villages such as Puriscal and exposed us to "Tico" lifestyle-local market, clinic, post office, schools, etc. He also exposed us to the bigger city lifestyle in San Jose-Malls, hospitals, department stores, colleges, etc.
After a whirlwind journey thru most of the Central Valley, we returned to George's dream spot in Barbacoas de Puriscal. This is when I realized that George truly "walks his talk".
The web site photos don't do justice to the little slice of heaven that he and Aija have created on their mountaintop.
On the last night of our tour, as we were enjoying our final meal together having a few cocktails, toasting our adventures and newfound friendships, I lifted a glass and proposed to George that either this tour was the best value I had so far encountered in my young life or the most elaborate "Sting" ever performed!!!
Not a day goes by that we do not plan and scheme our return to Costa Rica and the beginning of our "Pura Vida Nuevo"
Muchas gracias George-we are eternally grateful....
Hasta Pronto, Amigo'
Jamie and Gee Gee Hathcock
May 2006 guests who are Housing Developers and Constructors from Texas and Florida
So sorry we didn't get a chance to see you and Aija again before we left, but the days just flew by!
First of all we want to thank you again for the FABULOUS tour and that we made a great new friend or should I say friends! So sorry you didn't make the party for Mary at Patsy & Bob's, I made Key Lime pies!! Or rather Tico lime pies!!!
Well, I'm sure the news has spread amongst the Gringo's, yes we bought Hugo's house on the hill!!! Will close in August. Met with Roberto, started all the procedures you so kindly pointed out to us, and now am hurrying to get the ball rolling here to get ready to MOVE TO COSTA RICA!!!!!!! Well, part time at first.
Actually, I was ready to turn right around when we arrived in Miami,dirty, rude, welcome to the good ole USA!!!!
Frank & I looked at each other and said we are soooo ready!!!
When we met Fred & Mary, (from TX, Pottsboros, no less & they had a lake house near ours where we had our boat, & they even ate at our resturant, (The Highport Windjamma), we almost fainted! Small world or what? Then we met Dr. Dave for massages thru Patsy, who used to live in Sarasota!!! Dah?!!! It's so crazy! I love it!!
Well, I've talked enough, our best to you both and can't wait till we move down and all get together for a good ole barbecue TX style.
Frank Long & Will were so very helpful in getting us the house, great new friends! I've adopted Will for my Tico son!!
Our best to you both!
Carolyn & Frank
From a great young couple from Corpus Christi, Tx. April, 2006 guests
We can barely stand it. We want to be there so bad. I don't think our feet have touched the ground yet. I hate to speak too soon, but there is a possibility that we may be able to get there in 6 1/2 years instead of 9.
Besides a terrorist attack, my Mom's health taking a turn or one of us coming down with a deadly illness..we're out of here! I just wish we could fast forward our life right now, and then put it on pause when we get there.
You are so right about people not understanding why we are so excited. People think its a country like Ethiopia.
They act like they are happy for us, but I know they really think we are crazy. I know they don't believe we will actually move there.
They think the newness will wear off and we will change our minds. They think we are just blowing smoke about all the wonderful things we are telling them.
We have decided to just keep the burning fire to ourselves.
We feel exactly how all the people that wrote feel. I couldn't say it any better. We want to get there to enjoy time with you and Aija. She is so sweet and so pleasant to be with. We just love and admire both of you.
From our Feb 2006 guests
Hola, Don Jorge!
It doesn't seem like five weeks have passed since our 10 days in Costa Rica.
Thank you very much for all you did for us.
Your tour was a perfect introduction to such a beautiful country.
We really appreciated getting a small taste of what "real" life in Costa Rica may be like, and we really like what we saw.
At the end of the tour, we rented a car, visited Nuevo Arenal and confirmed we didn't want to live there, and returned to San Ramon and Puriscal.
After turning the wrong direction in Atenas and ending up in Orotina and being escorted out of town by two policeman who spoke no English (as opposed to our nunca espanol!), we found the back road through San Pedro to Puriscal. A fun detour, and we were glad we got lost.
Of the two areas, we like Puriscal better - San Ramon just seems too big. Puriscal is more comfortable.
We still would like to give Grecia a once over, but didn't have time this trip.
We plan one, if not two more trips this year.
George, thanks again for everything you did for us and showed us and taught us.
We'll surely be calling on your expertise before we make the final move. We certainly saw nothing on either the tour or afterward that would change our minds.
Pura vida, amigo!
Jim and Molly
Mark & Diane
My wife and I just returned from George's last tour 21 January 2006 and were extremely satisfied.
Honestly at first we were a little skeptical as to how he could offer so much i.e. tour,lodging,meals etc but afterwords concluded that everything was first class and well worth every penny.
We met new home owners,developers,a lawyer even George's own dentist!!.
He really covered all of the essentials for someone serious about taking up residency in this beautiful country.
At the moment we are contemplating a home away from the harsh Canadian winters and he has basically given us all of the information we need.
We shall be following up with some of the contacts in the near future and look forward to our next trip.
Thanks again George was great!
Mark and Diane
Semi retired UN Logistics Officer and Retired Teacher
Tom from Oklahoma
Though I would like to think I have expressed my appreciation for all you've done for us, I want to say it again. Our first encounter was on the street in front of La Posada in May of 04. You have been a persistent source of inspiration and encouragement since that time. Your reputation as a highly knowledgeable, and respected authority has continued to grow throughout the country. The number of people who are there through your efforts and love of the country continues to grow. We continue to run into people who know you, and who were influenced by you in their decisions to make Costa Rica their home, and are enormously grateful to you
We have three properties to sell here in Oklahoma before we can get there. Actually, when my house sells, I will be on my way, and can either return for the sale of the other two, or do it from there. That's about all from here. I missed seeing you when we were there, but we're looking forward to sharing the bread and wine for many coming moons.
Bob & Yoneko Murphy
George you did a fantastic job, your tour was outstanding.
You covered every aspect & question that anyone wants to know when thinking of relocating to Costa Rica.
The people, food, B&B Hotels, our GREAT bus driver, the benchmark areas we visited & last but not least you our tour guide were just fantastic.
We will definitely recommend you & your tour to everyone we know that might be thinking of taking a trip to Costa Rica for possibly moving there.
Thanks,we will be back.
Bob & Yoneko Murphy
Freelance technical writer, Jupiter, FL, August, 05 tour
Anyone who is seriously considering moving to Costa Rica must sign up for this tour.
George will take you to places that the tourists usually do not see. So do not expect to visit Jaco Beach or stay in self-contained resorts. He knows his way around the country, showed us the friendly Tico lifestyle, and provided the real picture of what to expect when relocating.
George kept us on schedule, which was non-stop from 7:00 am until 7:00 pm each day. Yet there was always time to ask questions.
The B&Bs were comfortable and the food was excellent.
Every night at dinner, we sat around and tried to think of a reason not to retire in Costa Rica.
And the only thing we could think of is that we would not have any place to go on vacation if we lived there. After all, when you are already in paradise there is nothing any better.
By the end of the fourth day, I was overloaded with information. Nevertheless, the knowledge that George provided on real estate, home building, and the cost of living in Costa Rica gave me a good foundation to use when I am ready to make the big move.
The best investment I have ever made!
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about George or his tour.
George D. Lambert
17956 Taylor Road
Jupiter, FL 33478
Ph: 561-747-0867 Fax: 775-521-9528
Retired Teacher from Northern California, July 05 tour
Just a note to THANK YOU again for the GREAT TOUR.
It was all you said it would be and more.
Guess you'll have to add "matchmaker" to your many hats now, though. As you know, Elena met me at the bus when we arrived in Puriscal and took me back to her place. We definitely "clicked." Or, you might say it was definitely "love at first sight."
Anyway, I ended-up staying there for the next 8 days and didn't have any desire to go anywhere else. We did go on some day trips, to the coast, etc. Those places are too touristy and make Puriscal seem even better to me.
Her family is the greatest and treated me with more love and kindness than I've ever known.
Elena's coming to the States on Sept. 3rd and will stay with me until I can sell my place and then we'll be heading back to Villa Aurora permanently.
Does this all blow your mind or what!!! That one little stop for the night brought Elena and I together and changed our lives for the better. The odds of that all happening were probably like winning the lottery. I feel so very fortunate, like I'm the luckiest guy in the world.
We thought we would run into you at the internet cafe when we were there several times, but no such luck. I know.... you're a busy guy.
I'll look forward to seeing you again when I move down which will probably be shortly after the holidays.
Thanks again for everything, George. You're the man!
Retired Insurance Executive, March 2005 tour
Integrity, professionalism and adventure are the three most common words which immediately come to mind when trying to explain our George of the Jungle Safari to friends and families back in the states.
Mucho gracias, George, for sharing your passion for Costa Rica with me during one of your recent tours!
The famous inventor, Tomas Edison, once said: "There's always a better way. Find it!" While he invented the light bulb amongst other things, you turned on the light to the people, the power and the passion associated with Costa Rica.
I have been fortunate enough to have traveled most of the world with the exception of Central and South America. While not as glamorous as many a cruise ship or 5 star hotel, your expedition far outweighs that of Cunard, Norwegian or even Four Seasons.
You provide your travel partners with a true taste of the real Costa Rica at an extremely affordable price.
In addition, you stay with the group constantly and don't pawn us off to some fourth rate tour guide of sorts.
George, never could one comprehend the true value of the "Lundquistian Experience of Costa Rica" without taking advantage of the four day experience as I did. It was a last minute fling for me and I were more than pleased with the sights, sounds, people, food and adventure that you make so prominent to all of your gringo visitors. You insured that we were safe, comfortable, well fed and educated beyond compare. But, I must also advise your readers that you were very costly to me as a result of our adventure with you.
Yes, I did buy property at first sight on our first visit.
Yes, I got a fantastic deal.
Yes, I have closed on the property and couldn't be happier.
Yes, I was confident of the purchase because you had exposed me to so many alternatives with which to compare. I am elated, excited and looking forward to developing my property in the very near future. I have named my mountain Mirador a las estrellas! (Gateway to the stars). You made the choice for me easy and smart
Above all, George, you taught me what true life is all about. When visiting Costa Rica I now enjoy the morning ritual of the hummingbirds coming by the porch in Barbacoas to flutter a good morning to me before their ritualistic harvesting of the flower nectar in the hedge. Bird sightings are so numerous and their sounds so melodic that I have lost sight of the crowds, the traffic, the hustle and bustle and materialism of what is rapidly becoming my home away from home the good old USA! Let our fellow baby boomers flee to the bodaciously expensive haunts of Austin, Phoenix, Ashland and Naples for their retirement or getaway. Give me Costa Rica where I can continue to reinvent my life in an environment that is conducive to all that I deem right and appropriate for my new way of life!
It would be easy for one to continue about the positive experiences you exposed me to in Costa Rica. Suffice it to say, I would welcome a contact from anyone thinking about taking your Costa Rican excursion. George, you are the inveterate professional and I appreciate your time and your talents.
John Henry Coleman III
April 05 Guest, a Software Engineer from San Francisco, CA
The tour we had with you was fabulous.
I thank you and the rest of the group for your patience and sense of humor. I think that we took your advice to the maximum, visit the country and have an open mind. I think you are the most open-minded person I have met in a long time.
I reported good findings to my friends about the beautiful land of Costa Rica. Oscar also took extraordinary care in getting us from point A to point B every day and he is a great asset to your tour.
I want to thank you again for your hard work. You may use my name as a reference if you'd like, although I am sure you have many customers who will vouch for the quality of the tour, at the drop of a hat.
Tony wanted me to ask you for a few rental places near Cartago, or also near San Rafael.
I would like to ask you for your abogado friend's name, Roberto Umana. If we move there, I am sure we will contact him, on account of your good advice. If you are still in touch with anyone from our group, say hello to them for me.
Good luck and the best of health and prosperity to you and your wife.
San Francisco, California
March 2005 Guest from Delaware
This is feed back on our recent trip to Costa Rica. After months of planning, we arrived in Costa Rica not totally unprepared.
We discovered your tour from one of your previous clients, Kevin McMullin from Bear Delaware. After reading about the tour on amcostarica.com and speaking with Kevin, we signed up. We didn't fully know what to expect, but we weren't disappointed.
As advertised, you escorted us to different locations," benchmarks", around the country, notably the Central Valley and the Orosi Valley. As previously stated, we had some inclination as to what to expect.
What you provided was clarity and an deeper insight into the three basic rules of real estate buying; location, location, location. Experiencing micro climates first hand was invaluable. Of equal importance was the information you gave us about the services available to residents of various communities. The "Tico" life style is so much different from ours that we can not overstate the value of that information.
The other developers that we met on the trip were friendly and accommodating. They too related their experiences in the Tico neighborhoods. It was a rewarding trip.
After your tour, we struck out on our own to experience first hand the different areas outside of the Central Valley. We went to Lake Aranal and Playas de Coco. I expected something different at the lake than what I typically find back home. That was a disappointment. However, the beach is what we expected. We didn't like that area either.
You suggested an attorney that would be helpful in immigration and real estate matters, Roberto Umana. We visited with Mr. Umana just after your tour. He is very personable and speaks very good English. He gave us good information on how to proceed with immigration and real estate. He also spoke very highly of you. We, basically, have retained him. He opened a file on us and gave us his web sight and e-mail address. When we make a return visit to Costa Rica, we already have him "in our corner."
In conclusion, we generally experienced what we expected. We gathered the information that we needed. Your tour was the center piece, and we feel as if we got what we paid for.
With out that information we would not have a basis on which to evaluate the other areas that we visited on our own. It was a pleasure to meet you and Oscar. You were well received wherever we went, and that made our introduction to Cost Rica a pleasurable experience. Good luck in the future.
When we visit Costa Rica again perhaps we can visit.
Frank and Dolores Zielinski
Retired Guest from Miami, FL
Sorry I'm so long writing to tell you how much I enjoyed the tour.
Wow, it was just great. Your energy and enthusiasm made every minute worthwhile. What I really hoped to get from your tour was a feel for how life is lived in Costa Rica if you are not a tourist, and that's exactly what I got.
We got a sense of how a Tico lives, and that is, at least somewhat, like it will be for those of us who choose to migrate to your beautiful country.
We drove thru those incredible mountains, we walked the streets of the towns and shopped the shops. We met some professionals in areas that will be important to us.
But I must tell you what impressed me most was walking among the people in the village square and on the streets. There was a joy and a friendliness that, I'm sorry to say, just doesn't exist any more in the good old US of A.
There was a real shock when I returned to Miami. And I'm very anxious to get back to Costa Rica. I'll see you in July, I expect.
Thanks again, George. Your tour is a real bargain and it is good to know that I have a friend in Costa Rica.
From our Sept 04 tour couple retired Entrepenuers from UK and North Carolina
We have been back in the USA about a week now and are getting reoriented to life here.
It is like two different worlds in many ways.
We had a great time during our 3-week stay, but learned a hard lesson along the way. We lost our passports in Playa del Coco. They were either stolen from our car or were taken from our rental villa. We are not sure which, but it doesn't matter. They are gone. We did have copies though, and managed to get them replaced before we left CR. You did warn us never to leave the car alone with anything in it - even though we always locked it! Almost worse than the cost to replace (total $200) was the day wasted on frantic searching for our bag, and another day visiting the consular offices.
We especially enjoyed the first portion of our trip--the 4 days we spent with you and the other people taking your tour. We can't tell you how grateful we are that we began the process with you before venturing out on our own. You were really a fountain of knowledge on every aspect of living in CR.
We were amazed that not once during that 4 days did we ever hear from you, "I don't know".
Being with other people seeking the same kind of information as we were, was valuable as well. Sometimes one of them would ask a question that I had been meaning to ask and so things tended to get answered before asking.
You showed us the incredible beauty of the countryside, the mountains, the ocean, brought us into the homes of wonderful people, and showed us the inner workings of the towns and villages, as well as giving us first-hand details of the various legal requirements of living there as a part time or a permanent resident. And then there were the little extra touches like stopping at a market for a snack break and you telling all of us to "pick out whatever you want" and you paying for it.
I don't think we realized at the first snack stop that when you say "all accommodations and meals included" in your fee, you mean ALL ! I think the greatest value of your tour is the gaining of a friendship.
We know we can depend on you if other questions come up even now. And although we haven't decided definitely whether we will move there, we know that if we do return, we have a good friend there to greet us.
Thanks for everything George. If anyone wants to email us with questions about your tour, they can do so at:
Kind regards, Bryan & Sandra Baillie
Sept 04 tour, Tom is a Gourmet Coffee Roaster in Northern California
Thanks for that great tour of yours.
Actually, and gratefully, it is nothing like a typical tour. It is more like a small group of friends taking a trip through the beautiful countryside. With interesting places to eat and sleep, it was more like an adventure. It was fun. At the same time, I got to see some of the best places for comfortable and affordable living.
By putting all the information together, I am able to formulate a much more realistic plan of moving to Costa Rica.
I still have a lot to do and think about, but you saved me a lot of time, hard work, and expensive lessons. I still have to go back and narrow down my favorite places - and go to the beaches again, of course. I will be seeing you soon.
From Retired Canadians
As we attempted to explain in our last email, last month we came away from our time with you... and with Costa Rica itself... so overwhelmed with the most positive, up-beat feelings that we found ouselves, quite literally, unable to express them without sounding maudlin and/or tripping over our own tongues. Our sense of euphoria has not yet diminished, but with the passage of time, we are now better able to deal with it. Nevertheless, our pulse-rates still increase whenever we contemplate building our new "home" in CR! (The word "home" is in quotation marks only because we intend, for the first few years at least, to use it only as a seasonal "getaway" from our Canadian winters... but then, that normally accounts for almost half a year.) So, THANK YOU, GEORGE, for having shown us so many options from which to choose. Without exaggeration, and bearing in mind that this was our third visit to CR... in our first three days of touring with you, you showed us at least 6 properties/building lots that were so potentially attractive that we not only made notes about "views" and access to utilities etc., but also took photo's and videos, got photocopies (from you) of the surveyors' reports and so on. One of those glorious properties, of course, we are in the process of buying! Had we not found our "dream" lot, we would have been sorely tempted to purchase one of the other properties you showed us, purely as an investment. Perhaps most importantly, (having yourself been a buyer/renter/developer/builder,) you gave us a healthy measure of "peace of mind" by sharing with us your own experiences with the Ticos, their laws, rules and regulations, their customs and habits, and your informed opinion of their qualities and potential shortcomings. Hey, you even showed us where to get the best deals on construction materials, furniture, appliances... So, if someone looks at your website and asks us: "Is this George Lundquist guy simply 'too good to be true?'" - we'll answer: "George is too good! And he really is true!" We shall write again soon.
John & Louise Lawes
From a retired Windjammer Cruise Ship Captain of the Carribean
Absolutely the best decision we ever made regarding our move to Costa Rica. We bought our dream property (200 acres with western views to the ocean and rolling green fields for our horses and cattle) after our tour with George and are quite confident that we got a great property at a very good value. Most importantly, as we communicate with the property attorney and the realtor, we're finding that we know much more than we realized, and all of it we learned from George. A word of caution: don't think of George's tour as just a "learning experience." We had a great time, stayed in top-notch accomodations and ate at some of the best restaurants in the country. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and plan on remaining friends with George for the forseeable future. In fact, we'd love to be a stop on the tour once we get our home built.
Jim Craig & Linda Gray
C. Steven Ham
My wife and I truly enjoyed our Costa Rican experience with you. We found your tour to be very informative and gave us much better insight on what it is like to live in Costa Rica inexpensively, places to live, and what you can get for the dollar. Even the contacts we met through you have been extremely helpful to us since returning to the States. Prior to going to Costa Rica I had done a lot of research on the internet and thought I had a pretty good idea of what Costa Rica had to offer as far as areas, climates, housing, etc. George took us to places I had not even considered, introduced us to expats living in Costa Rica, shops, tips on how to get things done, and what to expect. His experience that he is willing to share is invaluable. I highly recommend this tour with George. Anyone wishing to contact me regarding this tour please feel free to do so.
C. Steven Ham
(retired Physician Assistant)
Duane & Loretta Jacobson from Michigan
Loretta and I want you to know that we enjoyed your tour very much. It gave us great in-site on relocating to Costa Rica, either part or full time. We would recommend this tour to anyone who is considering moving to Costa Rica. The only problem with the country is, there is just too much to choose from. Anyone can be easily confused when all of their choices are of such beauty. Costa Rica is truly a remarkable country. Say hello to Oscar...............
Duane & Loretta Jacobson
Motel Owners Michigan
Rich Cosmos, March, 2004
Thanks again for the great job of increasing our education and fun level of CR. I told that I would write the recommendation for you this week. I looked at my old e-mails and somehow lost the one with the name and e-mail address of the person you would like me to send it to, so please send it to me again and I will send a glowing recommendation pronto. Jim is coming over tomorrow night to chat and have a couple of beers (while I have my mineral water). I don't know what we will come up with. Additionally, I am trying many scenarios on how I can start planting the seeds now and get my butt down there and hold onto to a piece of the profits of my business for the next 10 - 15 years. I will e-mail you next week with a copy of my recommendation after I have the address and send it out. I will also have a better idea of my near future plans, and when I think that I will be visiting CR again. I will work my visit around your schedule and would need some 1-2 days of your time. I really want to come during your rainy season to get a more complete picture of the life there. Thanks so much for having me on your e-mail list, I enjoy them tremendously. Bye for now,
Kevin & Barbara McMullin from Bear, Delaware
Hola George & Oscar,
All I can say is WOW! You have given us so much information to add to our "data base". You have also proven to us that we are much closer to retirement than we thought possible, (at 50 years old!) We really appreciate your unbiased opinion on locations and properties. I now understand why you are the only one in Costa Rica doing this type of tour. (Who else would do what you do for this price?) You obviously must love your job!
Thank You so much,
Kevin & Barbara McMullin
Paul & Bonnie Hall, February, 2004 Guests
Before taking George's tour, my wife and I took another well publicized tour. In our opinion this tour was grossly overpriced for the actual value received. The full days of touring outlined in the itinerary turned out to be more like hurried half days. The tour only included selected meals (only one dinner). What I found to be most irritating is that I did not know that the ARCR seminar was free until after the tour had concluded. After this experience, I was skeptical when I booked George's tour. After taking his tour, I can tell you first hand that he delivers everything he advertises and much more. We could not have been more pleased with our experience. His tour is truly all inclusive. We were wined and dined at choice locations throughout the tour. We were on the go from morning to night and we saw and experienced many wonderful things each day. An added benefit to having taken this tour is that we now have a friend in Costa Rica: George Lundquist : -)
Paul & Bonnie Hall
Retired Banker, from Maryland.
Del, February, 2004 Guest
I really enjoyed your hospitality and your excellent tour. I can't believe what and how much I learned in your company and the many things I saw and enjoyed. I already miss just being there!
Vietnam veteran, Postal employee from Minnesota.
Mark & Barbara Bartindale, January, 2004 Guests
Barbara and I think that touring Costa Rica with you was extremely time and cost effective. You saved us lots of time and money. All our questions regarding real estate and business startups were answered by people who have actually had good and bad experiences in Costa Rica. We also had a lot of fun!
Mark and Barbara Bartindale
Entrepreneurs from California
John & Val Rubida, January, 2004 Guests
Dear Mr. Lundquist
Just a little note of thanks for all of the assistance, advice, and recommendations which my wife and I have received from you since our initial contact. Unfortunately, I believe in our enthusiasm to "find our place in Paradise," we were guilty of committing the sin of the Pike Syndrome, meaning briefly here, "We did not know, what we did not know!!!" After spending a couple of days with you, we found ourselves much better equipped to complete our journey to actually retire in this near-Paradise. While at home in Texas, we found what we believed to be the perfect home, and took "immediate" steps to secure that property from being sold out from under us. As we discovered later, and much to our chagrin, we found that the key in looking for property, is simply "NOT TO BUY THE FIRST THING YOU LOOK AT!!!" That was an expensive lesson for us, but one well learned! Had we listened to the advice offered by both you and Scott Oliver whose website, www.welovecostarica.com which is also a valuable source of information on retiring in Costa Rica. All in all, we can't thank you enough for all of your good assistance, and if anyone would like to get some additional information, please feel free to have them contact us directly at our e-mail address below.
John & Val Rubida
retired Teacher and X-Ray Medical Technician from Houston.
Godfrey & Donna Davies, December, 2003 Guests
When you do something right, sometimes you just need to share it with others. After watching this board for a year, buying John Howles book, reading the archives, researching on the web and deciding to just go down there and find out first hand what it's all about, we had the good luck, or plain smarts, to take George Lunquist's tour. Without a doubt, the best decision we made regarding Costa was hooking up with George. He knew what we were looking for and took us to find it. His commentary as we traveled around was chock full of useful info. Our only doubts, however, were his claim to have arranged a full view of Arenal and the rock/lava show as we had our evening meal at the Volcano Lodge. For any newby visitor to Costa Rica, hiring a guide like George Lunquist would be the second smartest move after deciding to go in the first place.
Godfrey & Donna Davies
Real Estate Speculators from Marco Island, Florida
Susanna & Mark Kilby
Our recent visit and tour of Costa Rica was so through, fun and informative, we could hardly soak up all the opportunities. We estimate your tour saved us 2 years of deliberation about life style choices and potential locations for detailed investigations.
Many thanks to Oscar, Aija and yourself.
Susanna and Mark Kilby
Civil Engineers Atlanta, GA
Brad Morgan from The University of Oklahoma
Every detail, from snacks and beverages to lodging was handled seamlessly. I got to see many different areas of Costa Rica - the mountains, valleys and the coast. Each were beautiful and by avoiding the tourist traps it gave me a realistic view of how wonderful Costa Rica and the people really are. I'm sold - this is definitely the place for me to retire!
Pacific Director Advanced Programs College of Continuing Education
The University of Oklahoma.