31 August 2016

Kari Pinkerton Silcox - Expat in Costa Rica

Kari Pinkerton Silcox - Expat in Costa Rica

We’ve had the chance to talk to Kari Pinkerton Silcox, 34, an American expat who has moved to Costa Rica with her husband. Mrs. Silcox who has been living there for a year now works as a writer.

Read more about her experiences in the full interview below.


Q: Where are you from originally?

A: Oregon, I grew up on a small wheat farm in Eastern, Oregon but have lived in Bend, OR with my husband for the last ten years.


Q: What made you move out of the USA?

A: We wanted to travel, live simply and get away from the “American Dream” of debt and owning stuff, and things. We quit our jobs, sold our house and began to chase our dreams.


Q: Where are you living now?

A: Costa Rica.


Q: How did you come to choose this new country of residence?

A: It is a safe, peaceful country with a relatively low cost of living. We love the secluded beaches and abundant wildlife.


Q: How long have you been living in Costa Rica?

A: For almost a year now.


Q: Are you living alone or with your family?  How are they adjusting to the Expat Lifestyle?

A: I am living with my husband and miniature dachshund, they both love our lifestyle change and are up for the adventure every day.


Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes? How do you cope with homesickness?

A: I do get homesick and miss family, friends and familiar things and places. It hits me at strange times. I cope with it by communicating with loved ones online, but also by getting out and exploring our new country.


Q: What do you think about the locals?

A: My husband and I love the Ticos of Costa Rica, they are such happy, genuine, simple people. We’ve made some lifelong friends here. The locals are part of what makes this country so special.


Q: Was it easy making friends and meeting people? Do you mainly socialise with other expats in Costa Rica? How did you manage to find a social circle there?  

A: It is easy, although it is harder when on a budget. We meet the most people when we go out to eat, or to a beach bar for happy hour. There are many Facebook groups for expats, so it’s easy to meet others in our position.


Q: How does the cost of living in Costa Rica compared to your home?


  • Q: How much is a cup of coffee?

A: Less than a dollar, and so delicious!

  • Q: How much is a meal in an inexpensive restaurant?

A: Around $5

  • Q: How much is a meal in an expensive restaurant?

A: Between $15-$20

  • Q: How much is a bottle of wine? How about a pack of cigarettes?

A: A bottle of wine is around $8-$10, a pack of cigarettes maybe $2-$3.


Q: How will you describe your experience with government paperwork such as applications for Visa and work permits? Why is that so?

A: We are eternal tourists, on a 90-day visa each time. We must leave the country every 90 days to get a stamp on our passport and to renew our 90-day visas. Residency is too difficult here so we chose to be perpetual tourists.


Q: Would you say that healthcare Costa Rica reliable? Any preferred clinics or advice for expats?

A: It is affordable and decent in quality, but be prepared to wait in line for hours if it’s not a life or death emergency.


Q: Did you secure a health insurance in Costa Rica? What should be the essentials in the coverage for expats, in your opinion?

A: Yes, we have travel insurance, just a basic package in case of emergency. My husband and I pay about $150/month total for both of us.


Q: What was the most memorable about the packing and moving process to Costa Rica? Which was the mover you chose and how was your experience with them?

A: We chose Air7Seas to ship our items, it was not the best experience as the total price ended up being a lot more than what we were originally quoted. The experience of purging our stuff and getting rid of unneeded items was cleansing and felt awesome.


Q: What is the biggest challenge that you have faced as a new expat?

A: Car trouble and the horrible Costa Rican roads! And the language barrier. We are trying to learn Spanish, but it’s a slow process.


Q: What do you think are the positive and negative sides of living in Costa Rica?

A: Positive: there seem to be no rules, no one is watching you to fine you or write you a ticket, there is no check-in and check-out times, no closing times. It is very laid-back. The negative is...I honestly can’t think of any. Maybe the humidity? But we love it here so much.


Q: What are the best things to do in the area? Any particular recommendations for future expats?

A: Explore beaches, tour national parks, bird watch, zipline. I recommend touring the country before deciding where to move; there are so many different areas to fall in love with in Costa Rica.


Q: Do you have plans to move to a different country or back home in the future?

A: Yes, we’d like to check out Nicaragua, Panama, or Belize as well, and we do plan to eventually move back to Oregon to be closer to family (unless we can convince them to move here instead).


Q: What tips will you give to expats living in the country?

A: Be safe, lock your doors and don’t leave valuables in sight. Try to use Spanish as much as you can; the locals will respect you more.


Q: Do you have favourite websites or blogs about Costa Rica?

A: Two Weeks in Costa Rica, and my travel blog also: Happy Coconuts Travel Blog.