GET A HEAD START BOOK
"The New Golden Door to Retirement and Living in Costa Rica" - by Christopher Howard.
Charles Mills, another resident who benefited from this book, writes: "Chris has recently updated the 14th edition of his book, which is an invaluable guide to all that are looking to visit, relocate, buy property, work or start a business in Costa Rica.
"for someone who has never been to Costa Rica what I've done is give them enough information to get a good head start" The book also contains much valuable reference material to make being in Costa Rica less stressful."
He continues, " If you are planning on moving to Costa Rica Chris tells the truth about the challenges and many obstacles that you will face. There is a section on what it is like to face the bureaucracy of a Latin American. His advice comes from real life experience and helping many people navigate life in Costa Rica."
If you'd like to chat with Christopher Howard, he is often found here http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CostaRicaLiving/.
He is also an expert on the local variants of how Costa Ricans communicate - a recent thought he posted regarding the consumate ability of local gringos to misunderstand their surroundings, "Cervantes (Don Quijote de la mancha) said, 'To know another language is to know another world.'
MOVE HERE BOOK
"Living Abroad in Costa Rica" - by Erin Van Rheenen.
Erin is talking from experience having moved here in the last few years. If you are going to move to Costa Rica you can't have too many such books and this would be on your must read list. The book includes a number of ex-pat profiles - perhaps of someone like you?
A section is devoted to prime living locations - a very subjective thing but the recommendations are a worthy read. This book is more current than some others in this category.
I enjoyed the read.
LIVING HERE BOOK
"Potholes to Paradise" - by Tessa Borner.
Written by a B&B owner in Grecia, this book covers the good and bad roads towards the dream of living in a foreign country.
There is a section on running a B&B that may interest some people moving here looking for an income opportunity. Overall the book could do with an update.
ONLY LEGAL GUIDE TO COSTA RICA
"The Legal Guide to Costa Rica" - by Roger Petersen.
Do not go without this book if you are considering moving here. Lots of vital information to prepare you for the vagaries of the system. Family law, real estate, automobiles, criminal justice system and a whole lot more - for the final purchase or final decision you must have a local Tico lawyer recommended by people you trust.
But to get you started pondering buying that beach front "steal of a deal" or the B&B in the cloud forest or retiring on a shoestring, you must peruse this book first.
Be aware however that this book is in serious need of an update - that said it is still the only book of it's kind in English.
LIVING OVERSEAS BOOK
"Living Overseas in Costa Rica" - by Robert Johnston.
There are 4 or 5 books in this series subtitled "follow your dreams to affordable living". This can be the theme of many people thinking of moving to this neo-tropical "paradise" as healthcare and tax costs rise in the first world.
With our low cost of living, our minimalistic infrastructure and a decent healthcare system for all, Costa Rica has become more attractive as a place to live either as a first home or as a second home.
Of course the US real estate bubble has crimped quite a few of those second home dreams. However as the baby boomers look at retirement in the US, crazy taxes and unaffordable healthcare Costa Rica will become a first home for quite a number of them.
SOME TIME AGO IN GUANACASTE COSTA RICA
"Guanacaste Snapshots" - by Susan Gordon
A good number of authors in my list would be very well worth meeting one day. Susan covers a period of 30 years living in Costa Rica over different periods of time.
"I went to Costa Rica in 1965 when I was 22 and fell in love with a way of life completely diferent to anything I'd known until then . . . who knew, at the time, that it would turn out to be the choice that determined my life's path?"
Yes some of us know that feeling. Susan takes us on a very rural journey in the north west of Costa Rica - areas that few tourists even stop for the time of day.
Susan has a keen sense of what it means to live in rural Costa Rica. If you get this book try stopping by at the places nobody does - there are some real treats out there.
COSTA RICAN CULTURE
"Culture Smart Costa Rica" - by Jane Koutnick
A quick guide to customs and etiquette. A small book trying to make sense of the history that led up to this unique culture of peace in a troubled world. This is the kind of book a traveling salesman may pick up who wants a pocket sized picture.
Let's hope readers of this book will find the Green Phoenix on their next visit. I like the book, it could go further. I recommend it.