Recommended resources are based solely on the writer's personal experience.
Consumers retain all responsibility for their choices. "Caveat emptor."
Small Applicance Parts & Repair
by Don Davis
We just had a very pleasant surprise. My wife had a Cuisinart food processor that had lost its push-button controls and would only work by being plugged and unplugged from the wall socket. Our Spanish teacher took us to Electronica Diaz just up the street from his home. He said they can fix anything electronic, but I didn't hold out much hope for a satisfactory outcome when the clerk with a questioning look picked up the "what-the-heck-is-this" and carried it to the back room. After a brief discussion with someone, he returned with that "no hay problema, senor" smile.
In four days, we were called to come pick up our repaired Cuisinart. They appear to fix anything containing an electronic circuit, including TVs, computers, small appliances, and apparently food processors plus have a supply of electronic cords and cables. The price seemed quite reasonable and the result was unexpectedly bright.
Find Electronica Diaz in Grecia 2 1/2 blocks south (200 meters) of Peri market in a mixed residential/commercial area, Look for the sign with the big "LG" and black gate next door at the old, now-empty Grecia teacher's union hall on the west side of the street. 2494-5730. See TV repair for a recommendation of their work in that field.
By Anita Mancinho
I passed this place today and remembered from one of the QPG updates that there was a question about small appliance repairs. Well, there's a place I used in Grecia and was quite pleased with the results. My blender had stopped working and I had visions of buying a new one when I decided to walk into Repuestos Herrera to see what they could do. Turns out, the blade spinner was dried out and only needed to be lubricated. Cost - 1000 colones! It's worked fine ever since.
They are located on the same street as the post office. Go two blocks west past the post office and Respuestos Herrera is on the right, directly across the street from the in-town Rosvil supermarket. Hope this helps someone!
Respuestos Herrera also has a store in Sarchi Sur, west side of the road as you head into town.
By Walt Clayton
I discovered Fernando painting tourist souvenirs in Sarchí and was dazzled by how fast and expertly he could turn out intricate, colorful scenes of toucans. We struck up a friendship and swapped emails.
A year passed, and when I moved into my new house near San Isidro de Grecia I got in contact. I renamed my house Casa Tucán and just had to have a gate sign with a bright, keel-billed toucan, a major icon of Costa Rica. For only $50 and $16 worth of custom-cut cedar, Fernando rendered a superb image which now proudly welcomes visitors and draws admiring looks every day.
The success of that lead to a canopy scene of two toucans for my front door. Then that was followed by a more humorous toucan-themed "Pulpería" sign for my new workshop.
Fernando speaks Spanish only, but he's a talented, low-key guy who is easy to get along with and strives mightily to satisfy your creative vision. He will paint at your house or wherever you designate, and is happy to accept special orders for gifts or scenes of any size. I'm always thinking up ideas for my next toucan project for him.
You can reach Fernando at 8755-1700, and I'm happy to field any questions at 6246-6015.
Assisted Living Services
Note from the Editor: Que Pasa Grecia sometimes is requested to post these services. We think such a service has great potential to our readers. However, we are not giving these listings our endorsement. Caveat emptor, do your own research.
We do differentiate on this page between a Service Offered and a Recommendation, so please note this. If any subscriber has had a positive experience with these individuals and services, your recommendations would be appreciated.
Finca Futuro Verde
by Deb Boden
My husband, Pete, has been at Finca Futuro Verde since March 2016. I'm pleased with the care he receives from medical Dr. Dirk Maes, a Belgian expat. Dirk has one other client and space for 2-3 more at his comfortable home and farm. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. I can provide details for those interested. Deb Boden, email email@example.com.
Carmen & Geovanny Chaves
I read the article posted about gringos aging in Costa Rica and the need to have someone to take care of them. I would like QuePasaGrecia Readers to know that there Is a Group of people including myself and my wife who are experienced, honest and inexpensive caregivers. There are nurses, doctores and lawyers willing to help The Expat community.
You can contact Geovanny at: 85837870 or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Auto Body Work
Fabulous Hole-in-the-Wall Body Shop!
by Walt Clayton
That worn cliché, “Never judge a book by its cover,” could never be truer in the case of my latest discovery – this time a Tico body shop tucked away in the winding roads of the San Miguel barrio.
Taller Rodriguez is a tiny paint & body joint – “taller” means shop – that both inside and out is the quintessential hole-in-the-wall, family-run business. But what it lacks for in aesthetics it more than makes up for in talent and experience when it comes to fixing anything from a wimpy fender-bender to a virtually totaled SUV. And the results will astound you, hence this review.
The shop is owned by Carlos Rodriguez, with over 35 years in body repair and painting. His son, also Carlos, has a mere 16 years of experience. When they work their magic on mangled sheet metal I challenge you to find where the damage was, but what really impressed me was their expertise in color matching.
All vehicles come with color codes, usually found inside the door on the driver’s side. Depending on the car’s exposure to sun and the elements, the actual color may vary slightly from the original. So just knowing the code isn’t enough, you have to know how to tweak the paint so it flawlessly matches that surrounding the repaired area. And this is what Carlos & Carlos do best. The first time I saw a nastily dented bumper they repaired and painted, I was amazed. It looked factory-new.
Since my first trip, I have referred six other dent-challenged gringos to the shop for repairs, painting and even a waxing & buffing job that leaves one gawking at the original beauty of their car. The transformation is incredible.
And you can’t beat the prices. A crunched bumper or fender that in the States would cost hundreds of dollars to repair or replace, runs roughly $70 to $90 at C&C’s place. At these rates, I decided to greenlight some other repairs that normally I would have let go. My car will look almost showroom new, and sparkly.
Perhaps the biggest challenge is finding the shop, so I drew up a map that should do the trick. Give these guys a try and you’ll be delighted, and wind up referring all your friends who have been putting off a body repair.
by Judy Burnham
Great Car Body Shop - The rear door of my new but used car, a Suzuki Sidekick, had lots of rust, cracks in the door and an exterior spare tire mount. While driving it made rattling noises and I was afraid that the spare tire was going to eventually fall off and roll into any car driving behind me.
I went down the street from my house to a body shop that is located up from the San Isidro church, and right next to the Monte Carlo Bar/Restaurant. Although the name of the shop is Taller Luan, I learned that from the owner. I saw no sign with the name on it. I asked for an estimate and they quoted me 50,000 colones to repair the cracks, get rid of all the rust and re-paint the door. They got it all done in 1 day even though they told me it would be 2 days to do all the work. Needless to say I was amazed and it doesn't rattle anymore and it looks great. They even washed the whole car for me.
I highly recommend them to anyone that needs either suspension work or body work done on their car. I thought they were very reasonable in price. The guy that did most of the work speaks only Spanish and his name is Luis, but the owner speaks English very well and his name is Luan. The phone numbers given to me by Luis are 8842-7431 and 2494-8670.
Christian Quiros - San Ramon
by Harv Brinson
If you want to have your vehicle thoroughly and professionally cleaned, I do not hesitate to recommend Christian Quiros in San Ramon. I just had the engine compartment and undercarriage power washed by Christian, and he did a great job, protecting all the electronic components for the power wash, then hand cleaning after that was done. He actually detailed the engine. In addition, he washed the wheels and applied rubber conditioner to the tires.
His shop is fully equipped and he carries a full line of care car products that he uses generously to assure a quality job. He worked hard and continuously for over an hour, and the charge was eight thousand colones. If you want the whole shebang, motor, chassis, interior, exterior, hand wax and all, it's twenty-nine thousand colones and takes about three hours.
As an example, I asked Christian to demonstrate how he cleans inside the A/C vents, as I did not see any of the long-handle cotton swabs that I use for this. Christian pulled a paint brush off his tool rack, sprayed cleaner in the vent, cleaned it, blew it out with compressed air, and showed this old dog a new trick!
Christian can be reached at his cell phone, 6011-7500. He is located just off the autopista past the first (coming from Palmares) San Ramon exit. Take the second exit (this road goes past Ferreteria Jorcel further on) and turn right immediately on to the small dirt road. You will see the sign about fifty meters down.
Carlos Morera Perez
by Irina Just
We needed a new automatic transmission for our Subaru Sidekick.
We had been looking to buy a new one, buy a rebuilt one or have ours re-built.
It turned out, our regular mechanic in el Cajón didn't work on transmissions.
I asked for referrals and received one from Johnny Lara who recommended Carlos Morera Perez, whose taller is on the main road heading down to the pista.
We made an appointment to have our transmission re-built. While Carlos was "in there", he told us our radiator had a leak and several hoses did as well. We gave him the "go ahead" and within 2 weeks, he completed an extraordinary job of fixing all that was wrong - but only after asking first every time.
Carlos did a remarkable job, was very conscientious, kept us informed along the way and returned a completely overhauled car to us - one that can now go in reverse and purrs like a kitten!
We highly recommend Carlos Morera Perez for your car repair.
Tel: 4033-6045; 8834-1692; email@example.com;
Directions: 100 meters past (west of ) the Delta gas station, on the right. White unmarked building between "todo en Diesel" and "Audio Boutique Grecia".
Mechanic - Sarchi SurTaller W.A.C.H.S.
by Don Davis
For those living in Sarchi or the western boundaries of Grecia in need of a skilled, honest and reasonably priced auto repairman, I highly recommend William (Willie) Alfonso Chaverri Salazar of "Taller W.A.C.H.S.", in Sarchi Sur about 200 meters north of the church and school on the right of the road headed north to Bajos del Toro. He found and repaired a suspension problem that two other recommended mechanics were unable to fix. He was great in preparing my car to pass my annual RITEVE check with flying colors and has been a good resource in recommending me to other auto-related services. He's gone the extra mile and his prices have been very reasonable. He is U.S.-trained (in New Jersey, of course) and speaks English fluently. 8399-5682 or 2454-1400.
José Rodriguez – Monday to Saturday, 8647-4413, 2444-6465, firstname.lastname@example.org
1) Speaks English
2) Will come to your house
3) 14 years experience all cars – Gas & Diesel
4) All electrical systems, & has Scanner to read your car’s computer
5) Experience with heavy equipment (Tractors etc.)
6) Reasonable rates, & will save you money on parts
7) Lives in Cajon de Grecia
John Huckel 2444-8635
John Brewer 8510-2901
Robert Reed 8463-8887
by Bill & Tami Watson
We found a bubble on our front tire so went to Llantas Algosa. It is on the old road to Alajuela, just a short distance from the bridge as you leave Grecia. Great service. 2494 0525
Auto Service in Grecia - The Lubricentro
by Beverly Jensen
The Lubricentro (a blue facade on the left side of the road just below the gate to the Montezuma development) has earned my loyalty for all my auto maintenance needs. I purchased an auto that, oddly enough, had all (or most) of the maintenance records with it. Going through the records, I didn't see that the differential oil or transmission fluid had ever been replaced. (Having always kept my vehicles for many years proves to be a great advantage in CR!)
I went to the Lubricentro (TEL 2444-5981--Marlo speaks perfect English) initially to replace these fluids. After a few minutes, the mechanic came over to the waiting area and showed me that the fluids were like-new and they wouldn't replace them (the former owner must have heard my grousing about that maintenance gap). So, please take a look at the boots, as I've been advised one of them needs replacing. Marlo then showed me the boots with the car jacked up and said they were fine. Finally, I succeeded in spending $5 by having them add grease to the gearbox --they gave me the empty can. Since then I've had the auto realigned, new brakes, new brushings, and I'll be seeing Marlo for all my auto maintenance. Appointments are possible, and replaced parts are kept for the customer's confirmation of the repair. This company has my highest recommendation.
English Language Bookstores
by Mitzi Stark
Goodlights Books, located in Alajuela near the central park and cathedral, is a good resource for English language used books. The new manager is Rosa Carbalo who worked there many years. Goodlight Bookstore has used books in English and in Spanish, reasonable prices, open daily, has a snack bar and is available for groups or workshops on their covered patio. There are discount shelves and a selection of freebies and you can order books from their facebook list. Also cultural events, films, art classes held there.
The bookstore is located, from the back of the cathedral, 1 block north and 2 blocks east, with a purple gate. Hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m, later when there are evening events. Phone 2430-4083.
Addendum: Goodlight Books has a Facebook page and if you want them to save a book for you, just message them. In addition, you can purchase a book and then resell it back to the for half its value when you're finished reading it! They also have a website at www.goodlightbooks.com.
English Language Books in Grecia Library
Thanks to a small but dedicated group, there are now a number of shelves dedicated to books in English. Located at the front of the library, which itself is located in the Cultural Center complex, on your left. Cultural Center is behind the Municipalidad in downtown Grecia.
Cabinetmaker & Custom Furniture
William Rodríguezby Irina Just
I am writing to highly recommend the outstanding craftsmanship of cabinet maker William Rodríguez and his son Willy Jr.
William came recommended to us and we couldn't have been happier with the quality of work his taller did for us. Although William does any kind of cabinetry and furniture, we only needed two custom-built bathroom cabinets, one with above-the-sink medicine cabinet with mirror; a long work bench with above-head cabinets for my husband's work shop, which had to be fitted within strange dimensions and odd angles; and a bar for our kitchen.
We realized the accuracy and quality of William's work immediately, but were completely "sold" when, at a time when William was sadly unavailable, we had another person build a wooden structure, which had to be re-done 3 times and still doesn't fit right or match properly.
William is not the cheapest, but his work is definitely worth the fewer headaches and re-dos and additional cost for mistakes. His custom orders fit, match and are exactly as envisioned. A bonus is, both William and his son Willy Jr. speak perfect English.
The taller of Muebles WR can be found at:
150 mts. Sur Mutual, Alajuela
Tel: 2454-2348 Cel: 8820-6566 e-mail: email@example.com
CARPENTRY & CABINETMAKING
Ronald RodriguezBy Walt Clayton
The longer I live here, the more I get to know locals who do great work in many areas.
The latest is carpentry, because of my need for kitchen cabinet doors to match my new home’s existing hardwood drawers and shelves. There was no dishwasher or trash compactor when I bought the house, so those spaces had unsightly open spaces, and there were others that exposed a trash bin, cleansers, cookware, and so forth. I knew the instant I saw the kitchen that custom doors would be a top priority.
Luckily for me, less than a kilometer outside San Isidro I stumbled across the workshop of Ronald Rodriguez, appropriately situated on Calle Rodriguez. Ronald’s a Tico, but he lived in New Jersey for 10 years, speaks good English and understands Americans.
He came and took measurements, and I loaned him a drawer so he could match wood and stain. A few weeks later my new doors were installed and they match everything perfectly – Ronald did a great job at a very reasonable price.
Visiting his shop you will see a lot of sawdust, but also the various stages of projects in the works. He does upscale cabinetry and virtually anything you could need made out of fine woods – bed frames, chairs, bar stools, bunks, desks, doors with or without stained glass, you name it. The craftsmanship is superb.
Ronald can be reached at 8530-9639, and I’m happy to field any questions at 6246-6015. Give him a call now for that project you’ve been putting off too long!
by Walt Clayton
This is to recommend Carlos Castillo for virtually any type of construction design and work. When I needed a workshop and storage area for my new house outside of Grecia, I was referred to Carlos. I was immediately impressed by his grasp of construction concepts, materials and work techniques. He wrote up a detailed building plan, contributed several great ideas to improve the look and security of my shop, and assembled a detailed list of materials. He was on-budget and on-time throughout the entire project and managed his small work crew efficiently. There were no unpleasant surprises -- Carlos is a man of his word and of high integrity. As an extra bonus he speaks good English, having lived and worked in the United States.
Aside from my new shop, I soon found out that he actually built the house that I had bought! Carlos knows every phase of construction, including but not limited to electrical, plumbing, framing and cement work.
Another project where Carlos did an incredible job was the demolition of a dilapidated wood cabin in exchange for the structure's materials. Single-handedly, he disassembled the entire building, including a concrete structure, with just simple tools and a sledgehammer. He worked through rain and darkness, never stopping until the job was done. Carlos has amazing strength and persistence to get the job done right, plus he's a very personable and likable guy.
I highly recommend Carlos for any construction project you have planned or are thinking about. He can be reached at 8737-2267, in English.
by Dave Murray
Johnny Hidalgo was, for many years, the appliance repairman for La Artistica in Pavas. When they ceased to be a Maytag retailer, he went out on his own. He should be able to repair pretty much anything for which he can get parts. Johnny speaks perfectly passable “appliance" English. His wife, Tanny, speaks English, too. Sometimes she answers the home phone.
Johnny's email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org His cell number is: 8818-2210
His home number is: 2244-6325 He makes house calls.
Harvey in Sarchi
by Tiina Laara
I want to recommend an electrician/handyman (English speaking). He is very service minded and located in Sarchi, his name is Harvey. He has helped us install alarm systems, an electric gate, electric doorbells and other electrical things. However, he also can assist in all kinds of services regarding the home and construction. Give him a call or reach him on WhatsApp. Harvey, 8574-0104
GENERAL CONTRACTOR FOR HOME IMPROVEMENTS
Juan Carlos Rodriguez
By Chris and Carol Phillips
We would like to introduce Juan Carlos Rodriquez to the expat community in the Grecia area. Juan Carlos is a general contractor that can do everything from building houses to building concrete and metal fences to constructing concrete walls. He has been in business for several years in the Grecia area and speaks some English but prefers to communicate in Spanish.
Our experience with Juan Carlos and his crew was a pleasant and enjoyable one. Juan Carlos was on time for his appointment with us to assess our job and submit his detailed cost estimate. Juan Carlos and his crew built us a concrete and metal fence in front of our house and built us concrete walls on each side of our house. We found a photo of the fence we wanted built on the Internet. We printed it and gave it to Juan Carlos. He and his crew built an exact copy of our photo and did it in 6 days.
Juan Carlos and his crew are very hard workers and promptly arrived at 6 AM each morning to begin work. They worked all day and only stopped if prohibited by rain. One day they worked in the rain to finish the job.
Juan Carlos is attentive to details and does beautiful work. He takes the time to do the job correctly. For example, he worked on our fence gate until he was assured that it opened and closed correctly. My wife and I highly recommend Juan Carlos for your home improvements.
His contact information is: Juan Carlos Rodriquez 8325-7462 (Cell)
By Janice DeCook
After almost 20 years experience living in the Central Valley, it has been difficult to recommend any local contractors until now. In the past 3 years Juan Arias has remodeled one house for me, built a new one with a guest cottage, as well as a pool. I am very happy with all the results. I had a bare lot and now it is a home...complete with flowers, fruit trees etc., all thanks to him and his crew. All thru the construction I was able to discuss ideas with him,admin and what was best in the long run for me. I speak Spanish. It was a year before I realized that Juan spoke English...another bonus. He and his wife Tere have become good friends, along with their dogs Petoy and Benji. If anyone needs anything from repairs to a whole home, Juan is your guy....sincere, honest and a real hard worker!! Give him a call at 8391-0055.
JUAN ARIAS: FOLLOW-UP REVIEW
By Walt Clayton
Thanks to the rave review by Jan DeCook, I hired Juan Arias to do a major project for me: a new driveway. It was an excellent decision.
Juan turned out to be a homeowner’s dream builder. With decades of construction experience under his workbelt, Juan can tackle anything from a kitchen remodel to a guest cottage to an entire house. All I needed was a driveway, but it had to be solidly built and aesthetically pleasing in a natural, semi-jungle environment.
Together, Juan and I kicked around several options: tinted concrete slabs, zacate block with holes for grass, and slate. Slate was the most expensive, but I figure I have to look at the driveway every day, plus it enhances the value of the house. So slate it was.
In the two weeks it took to lay down the stone, I learned a lot about Juan. First and foremost, he really knows construction and materials, and a stint in the USA working on mansions honed his skills and can-do attitude. Plus he picked up English and a love of oldies-but-goodies on the radio.
Juan is energetic and resourceful, and can find a solution for any building glitch or homeowners’ need. Add creativity to that and his range of skills expands exponentially – he’s full of bright ideas and economic alternatives. He helped me keep costs down by personally negotiating with different materials suppliers, providing written price estimates, and securing cash discounts – he knows everyone. His flat-rate labor fee was extremely reasonable, and included a big cement mixer, compactor, concrete breaker and other power tools.
Being a fastidious nitpicker myself, I appreciated Juan’s attention to detail and meticulous control over the quality of his crew’s work. When something wasn’t to his demanding satisfaction, it got redone. His crew respects him, and they all work in cheerful, industrial-strength harmony.
When things get crazy, Juan is the calm in the eye of the storm who keeps his head on and juggles plans B and C to get the job done. His integrity is beyond question, and he’s a great guy to boot – we’ve become good friends in the course of this project. Juan is my go-to guy for all future projects, and can be reached at 8391-0055. I’m available at 6246-6015 to field any questions.
By Susan Adams
I want to also recommend Juan for the great work he and his crew do! He is doing a complete remodel for me, carpenter work, plumbing, electrical, welding, roof, tiling, painting, concrete work...he does it all. His phone number is 8391 0055. They are always on time and show up as promised! Eager to please, they are ready to do the quality job you are hoping for. English speaking and with experience in U.S. construction, Juan is able to understand and perform the work you want. This crew is so much fun to work with that I can't wait for my next project! Thanks guys!
Roof Repair & Maintenance
In Costa Rica, once the rainy season begins, many folks realize that their leaky roofs and flashing installations need repairs. There are several methods to troubleshoot and solve roofing problems. Following 20 years of inspecting construction here, I’ve witnessed mostly quick fixes that temporarily solve leaky roofs. Quick fix repair methods with tubes of silicone to fill gaps are nothing more than band-aids on open wounds and the homeowners are seldom satisfied, and rightfully so, blame the contractor when the leaks continue.
I’ve found that it’s not prudent to participate in projects unless quality building materials and proven installation methods can be utilized to completely solve the client’s problems. That way, the clients are not inconvenienced by the contractor needing to return several times to complete the repairs to the client’s satisfaction.
You can read my 10-page article here - the following photos and descriptions are of the most frequent construction defects I’ve discovered during my 22 years of construction inspections in Costa Rica and I’m detailing the most suitable methods to solve the problems 100%.
If you’ve purchased a home that has roof, flashing or gutter problems, you will need annual revisions and re-installation of exterior sealants and materials that deteriorate from the intense ultraviolet radiation in Costa Rica. If the exterior surfaces are allowed to deteriorate for an extended period of time, you will encounter damage to interior building components.
In conclusion, it’s wise to appropriate as much money as necessary to receive the best roof available for your dwelling. Keep in mind that the roof of your dwelling is one of the most important components to protect your investment, personal possessions and peace of mind.
[Ed. note: Tom sent us a link to another great article of his that is listed on Scott Oliver's 'We Love Costa Rica' site - Now that rainy season is upon us, read up on issues and what you can do about them. http://www.welovecostarica.com/public/Roof-Leaks-Other-Water-Infiltration-Problems-In-Your-Home-in-Costa-Rica.cfm]
Thomas Rosenberger - tom@CostaRicaHomeBuilder.com – 8364-1989
By Tiina Laara
I would like to recommend Thomas Rosenberger, who is a very competent quality assurance engineer. When building or buying a new home Tom can advise and also offer pre-purchase home inspections. His advise was excellent and we followed his recommendations, which were very helpful during home construction on our property. Thomas Rosenberger - tom@CostaRicaHomeBuilder.com – 8364-1989
Rock Walls/Rain Drains
By Steve Macik
Jose lives on the East side of Grecia and is available some days through this dry season for affordable contract work. 'Muros de piedra' are his forte and favorite work. He is powerful, works quickly and spreads sunshine with his smile. Jose has been with us for 4 years, mostly full-time. For more info contact StevenMacik@gmail.com 8989-0765.
Carlos Vargas RodriguezBy Sheron Bloom
Need to “clean up your act”? Carlos Vargas Rodriguez can help! Furniture, carpets, vehicles and more – Carlos brings his electric cleaning machine with him to your home.
Carlos lives in San Roque de Grecia and only speaks Spanish. If your Spanish is good – or you have a friend who can help you – give him a call to get an estimate (by phone) and set up an appointment.
After three years in storage our sofa, love seat and hide-a-bed were in dire need of deep cleaning. With the help of a translator I spoke with Carlos by phone. I described the furniture that needed cleaning, the number of cushions and pillows, and he was able to give me the cost of cleaning. By phone, sight unseen! We set up an agreeable day and time for him to come and clean.
On the appointed day, Carlos and his helper actually showed up 10 minutes early (a little before 8:00). He and his helper moved our furniture on to our front patio and began working. (I don't think either of them ever took a break!) Before noon they were moving the furniture back into place inside. (FYI, hide-a-beds are extremely heavy – they made moving it around look easy!) The cushions and pillows needed more drying time and Carlos showed me how to turn them so they could dry properly.
When it came time to pay there were NO surprises – the cost was EXACTLY what he had quoted by phone!
That's my experience. I know of at least four other Gringas who also only have good things to say about Carlos and his work.
You can reach Carlos at 2494-7467 or 8869-3433. If my experience is any reflection, I feel sure you will also be happy with his work.
Follow-Up Review - Carlos Vargas
By Diane Cooner
Another rave review! The furniture looked brand new when Carlos was done with it. I only wish I had more things that needed cleaning like this.
by Karen Temple-Davis
If you looking for a full service caterer, R&R east of Grecia in Tacares is excellent. Their event manager speaks English and many of their staff speak some English. They also have an excellent website (in Spanish, however). They came to our home to see the venue and gave us a complete and understandable quotation. We paid a visit to their facility to give them our deposit and got to see a very clean and professional culinary facility. They came to our house in Sarchi with all the party supplies including tables, dishes, utensils, glassware, barware, tablecloths, napkins and seating if needed. For us, they arrived a few hours before the event and set up all the needed food areas plus bar. The truck arrives with all the food and it is placed decoratively on the tables and chafing dishes. They hand-serve drinks and clean up empty dishes. When the event is over they clean up completely and the venue looks as though the party never happened. The staff is professional, friendly and helpful and made the event a pleasure for the host and hostess. We would recommend them without hesitation for any party where a full service caterer is needed.
R&R Catering, past the Rio Tacares Bridge on the left, 2458-3939, email@example.com. www.ryrcateringservice.com
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Computers - Accessories, supplies, service
By Walt Clayton
Electrical storms here are the death blow to unprotected computers and other sensitive electronic devices, like modems and routers. Recently both of mine were fried and I became as isolated from the world as Robinson Crusoe. A call to ICEtel got the modem replaced within hours, but not the router. So I went to CompuElecta (2494-3449) in Grecia (about 75m south of the SW corner of the main bus station and Musmmanni bakery) and chatted with my main man, Luis Barrantes -- young, sharp, computer-savvy and super-helpful. Plus he speaks passable English, for those who need that bonus. In short order he selected a $50 Linksys E900 router, configured it, and sent me home. I hooked it up and it worked first time, no glitches. WiFi rules!
But wait! There's more!
When my MacBook Pro failed to restart and would freeze repeatedly on a utility menu, I thought that was the end of the world as I knew it. And while Luis is an expert on desktops, my Mac wasn't his forté. However, he sent me over to his computer whiz buddy, Ezzard Chacón (8878-1573), who lives and breathes Macs of all shapes and sizes. Lacking street numbers, I entered a forbidding hole-in-the-wall stairwell located about -- got pencil? -- one block north of the Peri Mercado entrance to the taxi dispatch, then a right for about 15 meters to the entrance with bold "ENTRADA" lettering you can't miss. Don't be intimidated by the dark, dingy, grubby, crack-house atmosphere and the shifty-looking characters who eyeball you coldly on your way up the stairs. This is the place. Ezzard can be found multitasking as he works on a Mac and repairs a cellphone simultaneously, while talking on the phone. Just when I was about to flee, he asked me how he could help. Big smile. I explained, and he went to work. After several false starts and tricks, he wound up taking my Mac home and finishing there. Bottom-line, he reformatted the hard drive, installed my backup, upgraded me to the latest Yosemite iOS version and got everything humming flawlessly. Ezzard knows his stuff, which reinforces that old adage, "Don't judge a book by its cover." Total cost: a paltry C15,000 ($30) for saving my butt.
After all this misery, I finally decided to start using surge protectors, and when I'm not using my computers or flatscreen TV I simply unplug them when storms approach. Hopefully, Luis or Ezzard can help you solve your computer woes!
Electrocomp S.A.by Margaret Macik
I recommend Electrocomp S.A. as being the most complete in Grecia for computer parts and repairs as well as related equipment purchases. 100m south & 25 east of the Church. 2494-4204.
Shopping for a new multifunction printer Steve and I went first to Pricesmart. We'd have bought one but they did not yet stock its inks. We stopped by Electrocomp to ask whether they would exchange 3 unopened ink cartridge boxes for my now defunct printer. We found that the shop sells comparable printers. We were given a good efectivo (cash) price and it has a 1 yr guarantee. In a related transaction the owner gave me an approximate value for value exchange on new for old ink cartridges.
Apple Products - Sales & Service
by Margaret Macik
For Mac users: iGenius is near Grecia. We recommend iGenius.
Mac technician Manuel Prado sells and services new and used Apple products including Macs, iPhones, iPads etc.
Our 6-year-old MacBook Pro has been overhauled, including a new keyboard and new speakers. Professional, capable and speaking impeccable English this young professional kept appointments and worked with a sense of urgency to get our computer back to us.
Located just a block uphill/Southeast of the San Pedro De Poas Rosvil, he offers delivery of equipment and accessories in the area for a modest charge. Plus Manuel has plans to open a Mac repair shop in Grecia! We recommend him without reservation. Margaret or Steve, 8989-0765.
Manuel Prado ACMT (Apple Certified Macintosh Technician)
iGenius t: 2448-4336 m: 6050-9916
Computer Repairs - Done Remotely
by Diane Cooner
I am pleased to report that Steve Paycher at RhinoUnlimited is a GREAT resource for the computer-challenged (and even the not so challenged but with very challenging computer issues).
After a recent experience with Microsoft Support that ended up with me losing everything on my computer (programs, settings, etc, but I gained Windows 8, woo hoo) and with a looming work deadline, I contacted Steve to help me get my computer (and my sanity) back together.
I scheduled an appointment with Steve - he called me promptly at the agreed time and immediately went to work - remotely - to get my computer back to usable status.
Steve uses the program called LogMeIn, which some readers may have heard of - it's a way for someone at another computer to access your computer. It's a standard tool for most tech support. Sound scary? Actually it's not. Your tech support person must have your express permission to access your computer - you can watch what they are doing the entire time they are working - and once your remote session is over, you must grant access again if there is something else that needs to be worked on.
Anyway, Steve cut to the chase and got right to work. No chatting and padding the time needed. He was totally professional and knows his stuff. I was grateful and relieved to have someone that was able to straighten out my computer without my needing to drop it off somewhere for an unknown number of days.
I would not hesitate to recommend Steve and RhinoUnlimited's excellent service. The rate was reasonable and well worth keeping my blood pressure down by their speedy resolution of my computer problems.
Steve's Original Ad: After 20 years in business in South Florida, we have retired to Costa Rica - near Grecia, where Steve continues to remotely service our Florida clients. If you have a problem with your computer - as long as you have an Internet connection, Steve can service your computer REMOTELY. Remote Services are payable by credit card. Give Steve a call at 8428 1645 to find out about our Introductory Pricing.
Steve Paycher & Barbara Mazza
Steve doesn't do Apple (alas!), but we do have excellent Apple resources listed above....
Dra. Natalia Castro Rojas
by Judy Burnham
So I think I have the best dentist in the area.
Her name is Dr. Natalia Castro Rojas. She speaks pretty good English. More than enough that we can understand each other.
Her office is in Sarchi and easy to find. Go into Sarchi, pass the ox cart that is in the park on your right. Keep going straight, and go through the next light. On your left will be a soccer field and you will turn right at the end of the soccer field. Her office is on the left. There is a lot of parking on the street, and her office is easy to get to.
I personally hate going to the dentist. Too many of them have caused me pain. Natalia, is very gentle and her office is very relaxing.
Not only does she have the latest equipment, the laser with water to clean off tarter, and all the other things you would expect in the USA, but she also has a television on the ceiling so you can watch any show you want which is a GREAT distraction.
She is VERY thorough. Checks for cavities, checks all your fillings, checks your mouth uses dental floss, and all the things you would expect from a good dentist.
I highly recommend her.
Give her a call to make an appointment, she also works on Saturdays – 2454-1262.
Dr. Marco Vega QuesadaBy Debi Gedling
In my book, any dentist that has me for a patient is not having a good day. And any dentist who can not only deal with my irrational fears but do so with patience and a sense of humor is a dentist worth taking seriously. Dr. Vega is such a dentist.
Dr. Vega has been my dentist for over a year. I have a long history of periodontal problems but my US dentist had been telling me that my gums looked fine for the ten years before I moved to Costa Rica. I was horrified when Dr. Vega told me I needed work on my gums—I didn’t know if my US dentist had been in error or if Dr. Vega just wanted to make some money off a dumb gringa. I postponed treatment until I returned to the US to get a second opinion from my original dentist, with whom I had been treating for almost 20 years. He ended up confirming Dr. Vega’s opinion and they agreed that an extremely deep cleaning (the kind that requires sutures) was warranted. I have now completed this treatment and follow-up care. The cost was reasonable—just over $200 per quadrant with no extra cost for follow-up visits.
Dr. Vega has also provided routine dental care for me, as well as for Jim (who never, ever has any dental problems and I hate him for it!!!!!), in the same extremely professional, informative, and friendly manner.
Dr. Vega’s office is located in central Grecia across the street from the park by Pop’s ice cream on the second floor. His phone number is 2494-4242 and his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. He does answer his email and his office is wonderful about calling to confirm appointments, as well as calling to remind you that you are due for an exam and cleaning.
Dr. Vega’s speaks English well and has an extremely engaging personality. He’s young, serious about his work, motivated, and has lots of energy. He also has a good staff, although you will have to speak Spanish with them—but it’s good practice.
Dr. Vega also tells me that although he is a member of the Academy of Advanced General Dentistry and is thus qualified to perform many procedures, including my surgery and doing implants, he is part of a group of dentists of all types of specialties and they have several satellite offices. Therefore, all of your dental needs can be taken care of through his network.
Because of his work in other locations, he is in Grecia late in the afternoons and early evenings, as well as on Saturdays.
Dr. Vega is teaching me that it is almost OK to go to the dentist and that is huge for me. I highly recommend him.
Dra. Rebecca Perezby Debbie Rudd
Dr. Rebeca Perez is often referred to as "the singing dentist" because she plays relaxing music and is always singing beautifully! She offers aesthetics, root canals, fillings, cleanings, implants, braces, etc. She has a team of specialists that can help if needed. Two friends of mine came from the US and decided to get crowns and cleanings with her. They got fitted, took a week long trip around CR and returned to get the crowns placed. They saved so much money that it paid for much of their trip and they were totally pleased. The man had been deathly afraid of dentists, too!
Her office number is 2494-5889 and home is 8836-6594. She is located near the Musmanni at the bus station. Cross over to the farmacia, go up the ramp behind it to the second floor and you will see her sign at the end of the hall! And did I mention, she speaks fluent English...
Dra Rebecca Perezby Jen Beck Seymour
What is it like to go to the dentist in Grecia, Costa Rica? Well… it’s actually all smiles.
Our friend Debbie recommended and gave us a business card for a dentist in Grecia, when we first moved here back in June 2013. We didn’t have a need for a dentist right then, but kept her card for future use. Several weeks later, a woman who was staying at the property we were at came down with severe pain in her mouth. I promptly handed her the business card I had for Dr. Rebecca Perez of SMILES Dentistry, she called to schedule an appointment, and Dr. Rebeca spoke with her and told her to come in later that day.
The next day our neighbor-friend was totally raving about Dr. Rebecca – said she was amazing and wonderful, hummed while she worked and NO PAIN (key words, for me). Dr. Rebeca totally fixed our friend’s problem and made her a happy, smiley camper.
I remembered all of this, and waited until Greg and I were ready to have our teeth cleaned. Shortly after I made our back-to-back appointments, I had a tooth that started giving me a little pain. This was odd – as I never have problems with my teeth, but hey I had already scheduled our cleanings with the dentist – perfect timing.
That morning we arrived on time and Dr. Rebecca and her assistant were there to usher us in. Dr. Rebecca has a very small space – enough for two patients, a small reception desk and a little room off to the side.
She started on me with my cleaning, and I must say it was a pleasurable experience. Odd words to describe my time at the dentist’s office, huh? The problem I was having, turned out to be a filling on an existing cavity I had that was coming a little loose.
Dr. Rebeca asked me: “We can take care of this right now, if you want. I have time. Ready?” I stuttered and stammered “Um, I guess, okay….” and she was poised with the Novocain needle before I knew what was happening!
I immediately tensed up when I saw “THE NEEDLE” and promptly looked away, as is my practice with all things needle. I am very needle-paranoid (yes, I know, along with tarantulas and cockroaches… what a mess I am).
I was anxious and griping my arms rests – but Dr. Rebeca either ignored me or had lots of experience with the likes of someone like me. She distracted me by massaging my gums and humming (on key!) to the overhead music. She is totally confident and good at what she does, and I must admit that I really didn't feel the needle go in at all! Besides being an excellent dentist, Dr. Rebeca is sweet and young and smart and beautiful and sings and speaks perfect English.
Soon after "the needle" part was done, I became numb, and the rest was a breeze. I didn't feel a thing! It did not seem to take her that long either.
Cleanings which include a check up are c35,000 (about $70). White fillings start at c19,000 (about $38), depending on filling size. She’s located in the block just West of the Musmani Panadaria, right side of road, 2nd level. Phone #2494-5889.
Dr. José Jiménez, general medicineBy Irina Just
"It was just brought to my attention that Doctor José Fco. Jiménez Quesada was not listed as a general doctor. This oversight is in no way a reflection on Dr. Jiménez' abilities, services or medical knowledge. He provides excellent services for ex-pats and ticos alike in downtown Grecia.
My husband and I have been going to Dr. Jiménez since we arrived here three years ago and are very happy with his diagnoses, knowledge and solutions to all sorts of ailments, ranging from finding the correct Costa Rica equivalent of my US blood pressure medication to burning off a growth on my collar bone - and several consultations in between.
Dr. Jiménez, who speaks excellent English, always takes plenty of time to carefully listen to any problems, explain his evaluation in great detail, make helpful suggestions - and if need be - expert referrals (in my case to Dr. Jonathan Poveda, an outstanding heart specialist at Clinica Biblica).
Dr. Jiménez' has a modern office with up-to-date equipment, including a MAPA machine to monitor heart conditions.
Dr. Jimenéz's office is upstairs from his father's lab, one block east of the metal church, on the one-way street coming from the autopista. Appointments are usually not necessary, however, the office is closed for lunch (from 1 until 2 PM).
His office number is: 2444-0334; cell: 6059-1373; e-mail: email@example.com
I highly recommend Dr. Jiménez for all general medical needs and procedures.
Dr. Juan Tortos
Clinica Juan Pablo II
by Sandra Fernandez Lopez
I highly recommend getting medical treatment at Clinica Juan Pablo II in Grecia. Dr. Juan Tortos Herrera, the physician there, is absolutely wonderful.
I discovered Dr. Tortos in 2014 during one of my due diligence trips and since moving to Grecia on November 1, we have been utilizing the excellent services at the Clinic. I can't say enough about the attention to detail and personalized service that we receive when we visit the Clinic. Dr. Tortos and his brother, Daniel, always greet us with a warm reception as if we were family. Dr. Tortos spends plenty of time during office visits getting to know you on a medical and personal basis. He truly cares and treats his patients with compassion, complete competence, and devotion. He reminds me of the doctors in the States back in the 50's when they knew your family, treated you like family, and provided the kind of care that is no longer available in the U.S.
Dr. Tortos is young, forward thinking, and wise beyond his years. He is intelligent, articulate, and caring. He has assisted me with many minor illnesses, advised me concerning ongoing maintenance medications, and referred me to a specialist for an injection of cortisone for my right knee where I suffer from bursitis and arthritis. He has also helped me tremendously with treating and controlling my fibromyalgia. Although Dr. Tortos is a private physician, he can write prescriptions that can be filled through the CAJA. He is also a general surgeon.
Additionally at the Clinic there are services available from Dra. Tatiana Porras Sanchez, a trained physical therapist and massage therapist. Dra. Porras provides massage therapy for my ailing knee and my fibromyalgia pain. I can't say enough about what a wonderful job she does. She truly provides medical massage which is extremely healing and pays close attention to any specific problem areas.
We highly recommend Clinica Juan Pablo II for all your general medical needs.
YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED!
The Clinica Juan Pablo II has recently moved (May 1, 2017) and is now located 150 meters south of Agelec, that is, about a block south of their former location.
Open Monday thru Saturday. Note New Phone: 4030-7058 or find them on Facebook at Clinica Juan Pablo II. Juan, Daniel and Tatiana all speak English! Appointments are not necessary; walk-in’s are welcome. Just tell them I sent you.
Clinica Helenica Grecia
by Chris Clarke and Ivy Penman
NEW CONCEPT IN HEALTH CARE
When we want to see a generalist or specialist doctors we are fed up with slogging all the way through the traffic to CIMA or one of the San Jose’s Hospitals. Then you can be kept waiting till the doctor gets around to seeing you.
In Grecia, there is a better concept. Top specialists come to you from the major hospitals where they work… and they are on time for your appointment. They can bring a long list of specialists, from different areas.
So far, we have had successful physio therapy sessions and seen various specialists. Prices are reasonable and the visit becomes stress free.
The modern clinic is 50 yards from the Caja hospital in Grecia, has parking outside and there is an excellent Pharmacia right next door.
The staff speak English. Why not try it? Telephone -2494 3228 – 2494-5451
- 8393 3168
Here is the facebook page.
Chiropractic Comes to Grecia
(but moves back to Alajuela)
Dr. Craig Jacques, Chiropractor
By Diane Cooner
Dr. Craig Jacques Licensed, US & Canadian trained, and with a good sense of humor,
asks the right questions, cuts to the chase, and gets right to the adjustment.
I'm happy to recommend Doc Jacques. And yes, his English is excellent. He is a member of the colegio de profesionales en Quiropractica en CR: license number 023.
He has relocated 100M south of the Red Cross in Alajuela centro, right hand side, second floor above a dentists office. Dr Gerardo Cruz..... Dark grey building. (9/8/2016)
By appointment, call and schedule with him direct on his cell, 6213-4576.
Muebles WR, Sarchi
William Rodríguez, and his son Willy Jr. Cabinet maker.
See recommendation under Carpentry here.
The taller of Muebles WR can be found at:
150 mts. Sur Mutual, Alajuela
Tel: 2454-2348 Cel: 8820-6566 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Both father and son speak perfect English.
Matheo - at the Grecia farmers market
by Irina Just
I enthusiastically recommend Matheo, the tropical flower vendor at the feria, for all your tropical bouquets. Matheo, originally from Holland (speaks English, Dutch and Spanish - all fluently), is selling his home-grown long, short and mixed bouquets of tropical flowers plus a selection of tropical plants (matas) at the feria. He's a bit out of the usual "stomping grounds", but easy to find: when you dive in from the el Lagar (formerly Rojas y Monge - hardware store) side, he's on the short, first - outside - aisle - the one that has all the non-food stuff, like gifts, clothing, leather goods. He's right on the driveway, first up.
His bouquets are always fresh, typical-tropical Costa Rican, colorful, and very reasonable (his bouquets range between one and two mil colones). They last 2 weeks or longer. We love always having fresh, typical, tropical flowers in our house. These photos show a small bouquet for one mil and Matheo at his flower stall.
Geraldo Miranda, 8988-1376
by Cheryl Cantrell
Anyone need a good gardner? One who knows his plants? I highly recommend Geraldo Miranda for any of your needs. He is a hard worker and honest. He has his own transportation and equipment. For our 1.5 acres he generally has 2-3 workers. He can be reached at 8988-1376 but he speaks virtually no English. He lives in San Luis.
by Jeanetta Owen, La Terrazza B&B
Geraldo Miranda has worked for me for several years and has been a friend for more than 10. Geraldo is very honest, loyal, dependable and overall very trustworthy. My gardener Geraldo came highly recommended from his previous employer before working for me at La Terraza. For a verbal reference, please feel free to call me Jeanetta Owen at 2494 0970 so I may tell you how wonderful he is. [listing updated 11/5/2016]
Gimnasio AdrenalinaBy Debi Gedling
There are several gyms in the area of Grecia-Sarchi, all of them less expensive than Adrenalina. I have checked most, if not all, of them out but I’ve been with Adrenalina for almost two years. Why? First of all, it has the most attractive facility, with separate areas for spinning classes, weights/exercise machines, and exercise classes, off-street parking, showers, lockers, and bathrooms. Secondly, and of primary importance to me, it has a variety of group classes and excellent instructors. Some of the classes offered are Zumba, step, pilates, aerobics, and various classes designed to emphasize strengthening different parts of the body. Spinning is offered twice daily during the week, in the morning and evening. There are spinning classes on Saturdays and Sundays as well. As for the instructors, I can only say that I have taken exercise classes on and off since the 1980’s and these are easily the best teachers I’ve ever had. Carla, in particular, gives individualized attention when needed, changes routines constantly, uses an incredible number of different styles of music (everything from classical to Celtic to salsa to hard rock), and generally makes each class as challenging as you want it to be. Although all instruction is in Spanish, several of the instructors speak some English and Carla is fluent.
The students range in age from teens to sixties/seventies. Some are in great shape; others are not. It matters not. I’ve found everyone to be helpful and friendly. I should mention that they also offer personal training, physical evaluations, and nutritional information. Unfortunately, the weight lifting and exercise equipment may not be as extensive as that in other area gyms but I don’t use it and so may not be the best judge.
The bottom line is that I highly recommend Gimnasio Adrenalina for the person who wants to take a variety of classes with great instructors. Hope to see you there!!! Adrenalina is newly relocated in Grecia, across the street from the post office. It is open seven days a week. I pay $36.00 per month but people over age 65 pay less. They also have a daily rate so that you can come try everything out and see if you like it.
Ferreteria El Rio -
A GEM IN THE ROUGH
By Walt Clayton
Ferretería Río -- it's tight and jam-packed with an amazing selection of gotta-have-now tools and project supplies, including lumber, cement, tile, chain... whatever. You've probably driven past it a zillion times on your way to a bigger hardware store in Grecia, when what you needed was right there.
The Río doesn't have everything, but you'd be surprised, as I was, at the array of imported save-my-butt stuff that I never expected to find in this little sole-owner goldmine. Just seek... and ye shall find!
Owner Hugo Alfaro is a simpático, honest, anxious-to-help guy who goes out of his way to make sure you're satisfied and have what you need for a particular project. And he stands by his product line. I recently bought a $22 herbicide sprayer which developed a leak after only three uses, due to a poorly sealed seam which was clearly a factory defect. The store's computer had a record of my purchase, and Hugo agreed that it wasn't my fault and immediately ordered a free replacement. The new unit is actually much better than the defective one it replaced and works beautifully!
Sometimes you just have to go to the bigger stores to get something special, but you may save yourself a lot of time and driving around by stopping in first at the Río. And if you pay in efectivo -- cash -- you get a small discount. Just try not to step on the kitten that's scurrying around among the tool aisles.
Coming from San Isidro, go all the way down the hill to the cruce, where the road ends. Turn right and go about 200m over the little bridge and you're there -- can't miss it.
Hours: M-F 7:00am - 5:30pm; Sat. 7:00am - 2:00pm; closed Sunday. Tel. 2495-0151
Health Food Stores (Macrobioticas)
by Diane Cooner
Ruta Sana is small in size but stocks an amazing range of products. Located right next to the bus stop between the Hogar Ancianos (Old Folks Home) and central San Roque, you can’t miss it due to their bright green sign that adorns both sides of the bus stop itself plus the store.
Fresh goat milk, bread and cheese, Himalayan herbal product line, basic vitamins and herbs, flours and grains, I really was surprised at the diversity. They are now offering organic produce and Express Home Delivery is in the pipeline.
I’m always happy to support local business – these are our neighbors. This store has great potential, they are offering quality products and service to the neighborhood and their prices are reasonable. If you are a Ridge Resident, stop by and check it out. Off street parking coming soon.
Open daily, if they don’t have it on-site, they’ll get it for next day.
email@example.com is their email....
Update 6/20/2017: Ruta Sana is now offering to deliver fresh Organic Fruits and Vegetables to your home in the Grecia area. Payment is due on delivery. Click here for a typical order sheet, the file is in Microsoft Excel. This program is similar to what is called Community Supported Agriculture in the US - and it's great to see this happening in Grecia.
Very happy to see that Ruta Sana is interested in educating people about organic!
by Margie Davis
My fabulous former maid, Yajaira, is available to clean. She lives in San Francisco de Grecia but can take the bus to you. She was the best maid I had in my eight years in Costa Rica. She is thorough, takes initiative, lets you know if she can't make it, and is very honest. She had a key to my house and never abused the privilege. You can reach Yajaira via cell 8515-3566. She speaks Spanish only.
Specialty Custom Jewelry
by Walt Clayton
Special people deserve a gift as unique as they are.
Back in 1984, while filming great white sharks in Australia, I happened to visit an underground opal mine -- the real Down Under of that sprawling island continent. The infinite variety of shapes and hues and ever-shifting play of colors mesmerized me -- I was dazzled. I dug into my per diem and bought up as many as I could, from tiny ear-piercing size to glowing pendants. For over three decades they languished in my safe, until just now.
Groping for a birthday gift for a Tica friend who has helped me on dozens of projects, I flashed upon those neglected opals. They are just as stunning today as they were when I got them, and millions of years before that. Problem was, who would make the earrings I had in mind?
Meet Marta Mata, a jewelry artist right here in Grecia with a passion for semi-precious stones, Swarovski cut glass, silver, copper, bronze... and sizzling hot blow-torches! Working in her little detached shop, Marta can't sleep once she gets a new design in her head. Up at 5:30 am, a quick café, and she's either pounding away on copper or firing up her beloved propane torch. When it's dark out and she's starving, Marta knows it's time to call it a day.
How did she get started? By making wine glass charms for her daughter's wedding. After that she was hooked, and worked with a partner for two years in Atenas, learning more every day. Chomping at the bit to do her own designs, she split off on her own and built her backyard shop in Grecia, where she now lives. Today she creates a kaleidoscope of unique bracelets, rings, earrings, necklaces and charms dictated by her clients' desires, the dominant characteristics of her materials, and her own unbounded passion and vision. No two pieces are alike, nor will they ever be duplicated. Marta loves special requests! To see several examples of her work check out the Photo section of her Art Quimia Facebook page.
I am delighted with how my opal earrings turned out, and am now pondering having Marta do a necklace with another stone to complete the set. And then there is the holiday season coming up... more gifts to plan for.
As an extra bonus, Marta speaks good English. Lacking a street number, here's how to find her beautiful home, which she will explain precisely when contacted: Coming from San Isidro on the main road (107) go all the way until you have to turn right downhill into Grecia. But instead of going right, turn left at the Escuela Eulogia Ruiz, go 100m and turn right, then make an immediate left along the school and stay right at the first fork for about 50m. Marta's house in on the right with a big iron gate which she will leave open. Marta's phone is 8833-1488 for calls, text and photos. Or use email for text and photos: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get creative with Marta now!
Spanish Lessons and Online Resources
Spanish Lessons Via Skypeby Kelly Berry
When Bill and I decided that Costa Rica was going to be our new home for retirement we realized we would like to and needed to learn Spanish. We came across SkypeSpanish on a forum. After our first lesson we knew we had made the right decision. Charlene is originally from New York City, and has lived in Costa Rica since 1982. She is completely fluent in Spanish and has extensive training in adult teaching methods. Her rates are very reasonable and the convenience of being able to have lessons via Skype from the comforts of home is a bonus. Check out her website at http://www.skypespanish.com or email her at email@example.com
Spanish Lessons with Isabel Arguello
by Angie Vacchio
Isabel Arguello is a highly experienced and skilled Spanish teacher, for all levels of learning. Her background is teaching Spanish to Peacecorps volunteers in Costa Rica, but has taught Spanish over a 30 year period to very diverse populations. She is personable, enthusiastic, and professional in her approach and I recommend her without hesitation. Isabel lives in El Cajon and teaches at her home, but will come to your home or meet you for lessons at a convenient location (like the Grecia library). If you’re ready to improve your Spanish, Isabel is ready, willing, and able to help. Her contact information is: firstname.lastname@example.org 8718-7233.
Learning Spanish - Resources
Thanks to an alert subscriber, we can share this great resource with you - this is a link to an online bilingual GARDENING dictionary that was developed by Master Gardeners in collaboration with the University of California. Thirty pages, downloadable, very useful, clear, with drawings. If you are a gardener or have a gardener here, this will be invaluable.
Learn Spanish Free Online
This may be the best online resource for learning Spanish. They have loads of different tools to help you learn. Nothing replaces a 'live' teacher, but this is close.
Heated Pool That Offers Water Therapy, Water Aerobics and Moreby Susan Adams
I just finished my first Water Aerobics class at The Hidroteripia Grecia on Calle Carmona (behind the Grecia Mall) and was pleased with the instructor (who speaks English) and the work-out I received. Having taken these classes in the states I had some knowledge of what to expect and those expectations were met. The pool is comfortably warm without being too hot, and the dressing area was quite adequate and clean.
It is a bit expensive. For example, a one hour class and one free hour swim per week is 16.000 colones. There are different prices for different amounts of swim time and class time. However I think if you prefer this kind of work-out it is worth it. It would be fun to get an expat class going. I hope someday they will also have a gym at this location but I don’t think they have any definitive plans.
Their phone # is 2494 1031….email: email@example.com. It can be a little tricky to get to but the location will come up on Google Maps.
Bufete ALFARO & Asociados
Lic. Luis Adrian Alfaro R.
Office +(506)2444-5746/ Fax +(506)2444-0513
Grecia, Costa Rica
Real Estate Specialist, Immigration, Tax, Criminal, Corporate and General Law Practice. Fluent in English and Spanish. Excellent references. Listed with the U.S. Embassy, Costa Rica.
Luis Adrian Alfaro, Attorney at Law, was referred to us by Ted and Donna Baker of El Cajon for our immigration process the end of July 2015. Mr. Alfaro is very personable and astute at the immigration process and very quickly assisted us in getting our cedula registration number within just a few weeks. He even took the time to take a car load of us to San Jose to be fingerprinted and smooth the way. We could not be happier with Luis Adrian Alfaro and his fees are much more reasonable than others! We will continue to call on Luis A. Alfaro for all future legal needs. Don & Debra Rogan, Grecia
Luis Alfaro, Grecia's lawyer, was highly recommended to us who understands all the processes in obtaining Residency in Costa Rica. Being new in Costa Rica, we were very happy he was fluent in English, explaining each step and the cost. There were no surprises. Additionally, Luis accompanies you in the residency process in case there are questions, insuring everything goes smoothly. We highly recommend Bufete Alfaro & Asociados who are very knowledgeable and conscientious. Douglas & Lois Sherman
We used Luis to help us with our residency. We have heard many horror stories about bad experiences, both with and without an attorney. However, our experience with Luis has been fantastic. The process has been quick, painless and actually enjoyable. Everything has been done very quickly and Luis has more than exceeded our expectations. I would highly recommend him to anyone wanting to apply for residency. Ted & Donna Baker, El Cajon Los Angeles de Grecia
Maximiliano Arias Sanchoby Debbie Rudd
I am having a will (testament) signed here as well as a full power of attorney. I've seen several expat friends here have serious medical issues where they have become incapacitated and unable to carry out their wishes. I think it is something that we need to address. I have an excellent bilingual attorney named Maximiliano Arias Sancho. Educated at the University of Costa Rica, he specializes in labor law, administrative law, and contracts. He has an office in Palmares but is a law professor here in Grecia at Universidad Latina. He will meet with clients in Grecia. He can be reached at 8849-7590. His email is: Maximilianoariassancho@yahoo.es
La Terraza Guest HouseSan Roque Abajo de Grecia
By Cheryl Cantrell
La Terraza Guest House is a great place to stay or have your friends stay. Located less than 5 minutes from downtown Grecia, it has fabulous gardens and the best breakfast in the country. I have stayed there and recommend proprietor Jeanetta Owens to friends and clients who have never been disappointed.
Apartotel La Sabana
by Jeane Brennan
The Apartotel La Sabana is a charming boutique hotel and was our hotel choice during our excursion into San Jose for the International Art Festival. We were totally impressed with the staff, the décor, the rooms, the breakfast, the price, and more, from the moment of the doorman’s greeting to the final farewell.
- $77 a night, including tax, for a standard room (rooms are also available with a kitchen)
- Complimentary airport transportation
- Clean rooms, attractive and impressive décor
- Gorgeous pool and patio area
- Sauna Meeting/conference rooms
- Great breakfast
- Secure off-street parking
- Walking distance to La Sabana Park and a variety of restaurants.
Contact Information: www.apartotel-lasabana.com 506-2220-2422 Sabana North, 150 meters north of Rosti Pollos Restaurant
Mangifera Hostelby Diane Cooner
If your house is full and you need an extra space for guests, try Mangifera. You would never know that you were in the heart of Grecia when you are sitting in their garden. Located across the street from the north side of the Central Park (between the Chinese restaurant and the pharmacy), Mangifera is clean, comfortable and hip.
Lodging prices vary from 6 mil per night for shared space to 25 mil per night for a private room with private bath. Wifi throughout, cable TV, kitchen. Laid back, chill out in a hammock in the patio garden and contemplate your next move! Travel/tourist info available. Live music events are also regularly scheduled. Marco Chaves Suárez, host. 2494-6065/8838-1195 firstname.lastname@example.org
They are also on Facebook.
B and B Garden Grecia
By Susan Adams
If you are expecting visitors and are needing to recommend short or long term quarters for someone, consider the B&B Garden Grecia in Sta. Gertrudis Norte. Ronald Alfaro and his wife operate a wonderful B and B that will make you feel at home immediately. The bus stops in front of the house so it is easy to get around by bus or Ronald is available to to take you on tours or to the weekend Feria. I stayed with Ronald and Iliana for 1 1/2 years and their help in transitioning to a new life here was priceless. Ronald does speak English so if you are Spanish challenged as I am this makes life much easier since he can communicate your needs when establishing residency, dealing with CAJA, setting up a Post Office Box or what ever help you might need.
B&B Garden Grecia is located in Santa Gertrudis Norte de Grecia just 30 minutes from the International Airport Juan Santa Maria and 6 minutes the center the Grecia. This comfortable B&B; has orthopedic king mattresses. All rooms have private hot water showers, and the deluxe suite has a Jacuzzi tub as well. Satellite tv and wifi internet in all rooms provide privacy and relaxation. Their RANCHO BAMBU offers you daily breakfast. You can also have other meals prepared for you or do the cooking yourself. They offer guests a free café tour and farmers market tour, and have a daily shuttle service. Check out their website at: bandbgardengrecia.com/
Justa Kaufman - Massage Therapist
“Let me offer you a higher quality of life”
Therapeutic Massages focusing on your individual needs.
Detox Massage, Swedish - Relaxation Massage: 60 minutes $40.00
Localized Massage - 30 minutes $25.00
Therapeutic touch, gentle localized massage, provides effective relief for most tension areas.
Options: Head, Scalp, Neck and Hands Head, Back and Shoulders Head and Face
Reservations: Cell Phone - 8360-1316
Appointments: Call to coordinate.
Method of payment: Cash dollars or colones
Testimonials: With chronic health problems, I have spent huge chunks of time going from physical therapists to massage therapists to chiropractors and everything in-between for the last 30 years. None of them has helped me as much as Justa. She is kind, insightful and professional. I call her my therapy angel. - Marilyn Stevens
Lidia Rodriquez Odonez
by Bev Jensen
I highly recommend the massage services of Lidia Rodriquez Odonez, who is certified.
I've had massage services for 30 years in several countries, and Lidia is among the best I've known.
She pays close attention to your response from touch, and if the amount of pressure is more or less than desired--tell her so. Her English is satisfactory, and, more importantly, she's a warm, pleasant personality. Lidia comes to your residence (!!!), arriving with a comfortable professional massage table, fresh sheets, and wearing the uniform of a healthcare professional.
Lidia also gives reflexology treatments, which is a rarer skill to find and is my own favorite treatment. Reflexology is massage on the chi points in the foot (72,000 nerves end in the foot--so they say). The treatment is both diagnostic and curative. If there's pain when the pressure point is touched, then the corresponding organ (eyes, sinuses, kidneys, etc--the nerve ending of all are found in the foot) is distressed, and continuing to apply pressure until there is no more pain, aids the organ in recovery. The first time I had such a foot treatment I had been ill from a virus, and weeks later the effect of fatigue lingered. When a point on my foot was pressed, an electrical shock ran up my leg--and instantly the lingering viral effects were relieved. My results are probably not usual! But my (late) husband found this foot treatment provided relief from GERD. In the hands of an able practitioner (and you can learn your own most effective points for your health conditions), reflexology is an effective health treatment. And we're blessed that Lidia has the touch!
Give Lidia a call at 6074 4541. She currently charges 60 mins for 10k colones or $20; 90 minutes for 15k colones or $30.
New Testimonial! - By Judith Bliss
Hey, I want first to thank you guys for listing Lidia on your website; she came to my house today and was WONDERFUL. I don't know if you need another testimonial, but if you do, I would highly recommend her. I realize she lives in Grecia and because of that I paid her extra for the trip to Rosario. She arrived with her husband, who muscled the rather wonderful massage table to my patio, and proceeded to give me a wonderful deep tissue massage for 90 minutes. She is lovely, professional, and knows what she's doing. She is also TOO inexpensive....15.000.00 colones (I paid her 25.000.00) for a 90 minute massage? Unbelievable to have someone come to your house for that! In any case, she's great. Thanks for the tip.
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Grecia Cinemaby Diane Cooner
There is a very nice movie theatre, with 3 screens, located in the Grecia Mall. I could have been in Northern California (except the movie was in Spanish). Nice comfy seats, a large 'reserved' section (higher priced ticket), further back from the screen. Very clean. Ticket prices varied from 2800 - 4300 colones per person, depending on location in theatre and whether you go for 3D or not. Oh, and your age, too.
They usually have a good selection of the latest movies. I believe that the last movie of the evening is in English. The others are either with or without subtitles and that will be listed on each movie listing.
You can get the dates and times for the movies at the Grecia theater online at https://www.citicinemascr.com/ With a credit card you can also buy your ticket online in advance, which is a good thing as the theatres aren't huge and it's nice to have a space reserved.
If you cannot negotiate this Spanish language site, try using Google Translate.
No, I didn't try the popcorn. Movie popcorn is bad for you! But it did smell good.
Mudanzas (Removals or Household Moving Company)
Are you planning to move? Rene Soto drives a 20 ft box truck. He has 20 years of experience.
Call or text Rene at 8341-8015 (email address) Spanish only or utilize, at a small additional charge, Giovanny Chaves at 8583-7870 as your English speaking Facilitator or interpreter.
Gringo or Tico: Professional local or long distance household movers in Costa Rica or clean junk or old major appliance removals locally within the Grecia area.
A dependable and prompt Professional mover, Rene is strongly built and knowledgeable to easily get your home moved safely to a location across town or anywhere in Costa Rica that you desire! Twenty foot, US imported, newer and very modern, well equipped enclosed box truck. A very cautious and safe driver who practices the rules of the road and maintains his truck to the highest standards of safety.
Moving blankets and appliance dolly are available when reserved in advance of your move day.
Please call today to schedule your move or removals at least 2 weeks in advance with Rene at Mudanzas Moving Company 8341-8015!
Mudanzas Moved Us!
by Don & Deb Rogan
Rene moved our household twice, once in December 2016 and again in January 2017, across Costa Rica. From the mountains to the plains, Rene did a fabulous job safely moving our home! Then when we decided to move back to the mountains in Grecia, Rene came and safely moved us back home! We even rode with Rene up front since we have no automobile! Rene does not speak English but is a very amiable mature man who works very hard to relay his communications. Giovanny Chaves was there on the phone to interpret as we needed him as well, Geovanny even helped load us while in Grecia! Rene's wife, Giselle, is a lovely woman who rode with us on our way to the plains! Giselle speaks very slowly in Spanish so you are certain to understand her which is so thoughtful of her for those of us still learning our Spanish!
We could not be happier with Rene! He quickly worked out a great solution to our challenge to get our furniture offloaded when we had a "grande truck challenged" driveway once returning to Grecia this trip!
Very reasonably priced, very prompt and dependable, a cautious driver, and, a very nice and professional man! We highly recommend Mudanzas Moving Company to everyone! Thanks for finding Rene for us, Geovanny!
Don and Debra Rogan, Carbonal de Grecia 2/2017
Music Instruments and More
Mike Music is the best music store in Grecia. We offer musical instruments, small batteries, audio headphones, 3 wire extension cords, and small electronic accessories.
We are located behind the red church in town, next to bar Saprisa.
We are open Monday through Sunday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
Mike Music also does instrument repairs and offers select music lessons.
posted 6/20/2017 dc
Vivero Rincon de la Paz, in Rincon Colorado, Sarchi Norte
By Jan DeCook
Owner: Alfonso, 2454-4714 Employee: Luz speaks some English
Located at the end of Calle San Rafael, which starts in front of the Artist Co-operative (Big Painted Wheel), by the gas station.
They sell flats of mixed vegetable seedlings, 105 plants per flat, for C2,500
Lots to choose from: arugula, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, cilantro, green and regular onions, 3 varieties of lettuce, jalapeno and sweet peppers, tomatoes and more...
This is a family run operation and he doesn't use chemicals on the plants. He also sells the recycled potting soil for C4,000/bag.
If 105 plants is too many for you...share with a friend...the price is right.
Dr. Victoria Urena-Porras, Atenas
By Carol Phillips
I would like to introduce Dr. Victoria Urena-Porras to the expat community in the Grecia area. If you're looking for a great Optometrist, Dr. Victoria is the one! She owns her own practice and optical shop, La Optica in downtown Atenas. Dr. Victoria is bilingual and has patients from the United States, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, France, and other countries.
Dr. Victoria studied Optometry in San Jose, Costa Rica at the Universidad Latina de Costa Rica, the only University in Costa Rica that offers a career in Optometry. When she finished her studies, she practiced optometry for 8 years with a local chain of optical shops. In 2011 she opened her own business, La Optica.
Dr. Victoria is involved in the primary health care of the eyes and determines the value of vision to correct the visual system using glasses, contact lenses or vision therapy. She is also able to detect pathological and systematic conditions in the eyes and refer her patients to specialists as needed.
Dr. Victoria has the latest technology to test your vision and a variety of frames. She provides products and services to children, adolescents and adults. If you need an eye exam, new frames, lenses, repairs for your current frames, or contact lenses Dr. Victoria can serve you. For those who need further examinations and specialized care for your eyes, she has a referral service of trusted Ophthalmologists.
Dr. Victoria is a qualified professional and has the backing of the Colegio de Optometristas.
I was very pleased with Dr. Victoria's service. My prescription was perfect and I love my new frames. I actually received much better service from Dr. Victoria than the last time I got new glasses in the United States!
Dr. Victoria's Contact Information:
Address: 100 mts oeste Iglesia Catolica, diagonal a la entrada de la Radial, Atenas.
(100 mts west Catholic Church, diagonal to the entrance of the Radial, Atenas.)
Office Hours: Monday thru Friday: 9:30 am to 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Saturday: 9:30 am to 1:00 pm
Jose David Suarez Rojas
by Judy Burnham
He helps with the following ailments:
- Sciatic Nerve problems
- Facial Paralysis
- Carpel Tunnel
- neck and back pain
- neurological problems
- sports injuries
- and more.
His phone numbers are 8334-7315 or 2444-5220. He speaks English, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. Located in Grecia.
Diego Bolanos Arias
By Lynette Hunt
Diego’s office is easy by going down the main street in Grecia (when the big metal church is on your left heading down the road. The last block before you get to the hospital you turn right on and his house is two blocks down on the right side. It is the house with the 2 trees on the street. His office is behind his parents house so you enter through their driveway. It is a little bit of a walk if you need a wheel chair. When we arrived, we parked on the street and then rang the door bell. You'll see a long driveway behind the gate where the door bell is, and at the end of the driveway, there's Diego's large office building. You may meet his dad---or mom---or wife first. They are wonderful. He wheeled me from the street all the way back to his office.
His numbers are:
OR 8655 3000
OR 8823 0843.
I went to him after my nasty fall, and he has all the machines and the manual skill to help.
Real Estate Agents
Costa Rica Mountain Homes
by Carol and David William
My husband and I just arrived at our new home in Naranjo, Alajuela, ...Costa Rica. We are leasing a beautiful home found for us by GeeGee. I did everything that you're warned not to do. We leased this home sight unseen except through pictures sent to us by GeeGee. We completed all of the contracts by email and wiring funds in a very short time and very professionally. We thought oh my god hope we are not making a mistake. Keeping our fingers crossed, we arrived late at night from DFW with Maria meeting us at the airport. She managed to get all of our luggage and our large dog crate in the car that she had rented for the evening. She brought us to Naranjo and helped us get settled. It was just as advertised. On Sunday, Maria came to the house and took us to get our rental car that was in Alajuela (Adobe) and then onto Walmart for our stocking of the new house. Monday, she met us in Naranjo and helped us with opening a bank account. Tuesday, she met us and helped us secure a Post Office Box. The next day she took us used car shopping and is still helping us to secure the car we settled on (waiting for wire transfers).
On Friday, she met us at the Grecia Feria and helped us with our weekly "farmer's market" purchases. In addition to all of this she introduced us to an English speaking lawyer that will be helping us with our residency and to an English speaking MD. I cannot praise GeeGee and Maria enough. I mean it was way more than we expected in service, honesty and the home was better than we ever expected. Everything has fallen together seamlessly. Our settling into the new culture would not have as easy without both Maria and GeeGee. Thanks to both of you, you go beyond Customer Service and Professionalism.
BROOKE BISHOP GOT ME MY HOME!by Walt Clayton
How I found my new home in Grecia went like this. A friend of a friend in the Bahamas had a friend in Costa Rica. We linked up. One of his friends was a realtor who had a real estate agent friend in Grecia: Brooke Bishop.
Brooke is an American who has been selling homes with GoDutch Realty for six years. I checked her listings and – lo and behold! – there was a home within my budget that instantly zinged me. I jumped in Brooke’s SUV and off we went.
As we toured the house, I quickly realized that Brooke was a pro to the core. Meticulous and prepared, she knew the property inside-out, and had ready answers for my blitz of questions. More importantly, she’d done her homework and found out that the owner wanted to sell immediately or he’d let the house go into foreclosure. This vital fact was missed by other agents who assumed, wrongly, that the house was off the market. Suddenly, timing became critical.
Over the next couple weeks Brooke lived up fully to her reputation of being “very honest and with the utmost integrity.” It was a true pleasure working with her as we covered every aspect of the whole procedure: negotiations with the owner, meeting the local lawyer, formation of an LLC to avoid probate – all tactfully handled without any pressure, just sensible options for how to make the deal happen. And with an infectious sense of humor, no less!
But I had a problem. I needed to sell my Vegas home before I could buy the Grecia house. Brooke, being her resourceful self, offered a solution: get a loan, buy the house, then rent it out until I could sell the Vegas home. This way the Grecia house would remain occupied and even generate some income.
That plan is working, and enabled me to seize a rare opportunity. But Brooke did more than make it happen. At every opportunity she offered candid, invaluable advice, contacts, shopping tips, utilities and banking info, and helped me get a post office box, just to name a few extras.
Brooke loves to help people find a place where they will be happy, and it shows. My eternal thanks!
Brooke's website is: www.godutchrealty.com
Thank You, Brooke!
By Mareena Cords, El Cajon de Grecia
My husband and I were extremely fortunate to have been given Brooke Bishops phone number from Go Dutch Realty. We were having a problem where we were staying and the realtor we had lined up was less than helpful.
We called Brooke and she promised she'd find us a place to stay before the day was out. She said no way would she leave us in the situation we were in. Brooke came through with flying colors. She found us the perfect place, a nice one bedroom casita owned by two expats who had been in country for about a year.
Since we were in Costa Rica to decide if we wanted to retire here, it was our great good fortune to now be under Brooke's care. She really listened to our needs and wants. She showed us the perfect properties for us at the right altitude (for weather preference). Brooke also was a jewel with the purchase, working with our lawyer and the sellers, hiring a Gardner and taking care of everything while we returned to the US to prepare to move.
Once we arrived back in Costa Rica, again Brooke to the rescue. Her ability to speak fluent Spanish and her knowledge of the culture was such a blessing. She helped us get our utilities turned on, bank account set up, where to shop.
I could go on and on, a year later she is still helping with signing up for caja. I have known many realtors in my life, but I have never met anyone who so lovingly gives of herself to her clients. Thanks again, Brooke!
Chris Schoo Found Us An Amazing Home!
by Debra and Don Rogan
Chris Schoo is a true professional real estate agent who speaks both English and Spanish fluently! We decided to move back from remote Costa Rica to Grecia because we loved all its benefits so much and all our friends are here. We contacted Chris and shared our wish list with him.
Chris promptly contacted us and shared that he currently had some great properties that fit our wish list we should first check out on his wonderful website at www.greciarealestate.net or www.realestategrecia.net. He guided us to the properties he thought we would like most.
We then promptly took the bus for the 3 to 3 1/2 hours back to Grecia to spend a couple days with Chris showing us his homes he'd picked for us the first day. Chris kindly met us in Naranjo on this beautiful morning as part of his service as a courtesy to us!
Well, the last house Chris showed us that first day was definitely a wow-er and perfectly fit our wish list! A house we could make our home for some time, in our beloved Grecia, on the wonderful ridge of Carbonal, at a lower elevation where it isn't as chilly at night on a very private and protected ridge away from the summer winds. The house is angled perfectly against the blazing hot afternoon suns we have at altitudes of 4,000 ft. too and built extremely well!
Chris is low pressure, he wants you to 'sleep on it' before making your final decision, and, if you don't like what you've seen so far to let him know you want him to keep looking. We decided we had to have the wow-er right away. We met second day mid day with the owner who could not have been nicer! Chris took us through the house with him addressing any issues we might have, with the owner letting us know he would make sure all was repaired that needed repaired, cleaned completely and big lawn mowed fresh before we moved! He made concessions for changes we asked for without hesitation. He even ran back home for a key to the house for us!
Chris clearly relayed his plans to collect our deposit, provide both English and Spanish version lease agreements the next day via email, relayed information about utility payments where and when, how the utilities worked at the house with the owner's assistance etc. making sure we fully understood how rent would be collected etc. Key as provided, receipts were written and move in date was established without a hitch. Handshakes and smiles all around!
We could not be happier and more excited to return to Grecia! A big shout out to Chris Schoo for his wonderful and very professional services and great care! Thanks Chris Schoo you come highly recommended - an easy 5 star rating!
by David & Gerry Atchison
On Tuesday the lightening zapped our Whirlpool refrigerator that we brought from the states 2 years ago. We contacted David at Servi-Frio, he speaks good English, and he was a lifesaver….he came to our home in El Cajon on Wednesday and actually had the part, in his kit, that we needed. Took him about 20 minutes and everything was in working order, plus the charge was minimal. Would highly recommend this company.
by Diane Cooner
Took the car into Servi-Frio to have the defroster-a/c checked, Gerardo explained how the system worked (I'll never have foggy windows here again! ), checked it out and recharged it for a very reasonable price and a very nice person to deal with besides. Located about 1 km from the San Roque/Cooperative crossroad, towards Carbonal, sign on bus stop at left is the entry. They do make housecalls as well. I went on the recommendation above and am very happy with the connection!
Expert Custom Sewing
by Walt Clayton
Attention do-it-yourselfers... or home remodelers!
When working on a project are you forever lugging around a ton of tools you don't need, and the ones you do need are back in the house? Worse yet, PriceSmart doesn't carry the perfect tool belt? Alas! -- there is a solution.
Flor Villarevia, who works for several gringo families near San Isidro doing house cleaning, expert gardening and tree felling -- she wields a mean chainsaw! -- just happens to also be a true professional when it comes to sewing. Having worked for years in a clothing factory, she knows all the techniques and even has her own industrial grade sewing machines -- three to be exact.
When I moved here I brought down new curtains that reached the floor, but needed several to be altered to fit smaller windows. I explained exactly what I wanted, gave Flor one set to do a test, and hoped for the best. A few days later she returned with perfectly shortened curtains. They matched the factory sewing exactly, were perfectly straight, and you can't tell the difference from the original, unaltered curtains. I've been availing myself of her talent ever since for altering pants and shirts, repairing blankets, making a barbeque cover and a protective sleeve for my widescreen TV, among other things.
For her own tools, Flor made a customized holder from denim wrapped around a new
5-gallon paint can, or cubeta. Everything is visible and loose stuff goes into the cubeta. These can also be made for gardening, electrical work, construction, and anything else you can think of. Just bring your tools and describe what you want -- mine is on order. Flor is creative and resourceful, and comes up with practical solutions that will impress you.
Flor has a strong work ethic, is honest to a fault, punctual, and a pleasure to know and work with. She is located up on Calle Rodriguez outside of San Isidro at 1.9 km (1.2 miles) past the entrance to Bosque del Niño. On the left side it's the second driveway (third house) before the big yellowish gate to Club Santa Fe Estates. Since Flor speaks only Spanish, I'm offering free translation services, and I live virtually next door (Walt Clayton 2444-4237 or email@example.com).
Flor's phone and text number is 8790-4573. Don't put that project off any longer -- challenge her now!
Sewing Machine Repair
by Ginny Conley
Carlos Jimenez repairs sewing machines. He works in Grecia, and his number is 8962-4753. Call for directions. My machine is working again and I'm very happy with the work he did.
Small Engine Repair
Equi Repuestosby Diane Cooner
Located on the Northwest corner of the central market in Grecia, Equi Repuestos not only sells a decent variety of small engine tools such as weedeaters, chainsaws, hedgetrimmers and the like, they also carry the parts to repair small gas engines for do it yourself'ers, and will do the repairs for you if you prefer.
This is my 'go-to' store for good gardening tools, gas cans, machetes, gloves, and all manner of odds and ends that one needs to keep those machines working. Contact Nelson Suarez S. at 2494-4987.
by Debbie Rudd
EN PAPEL ARTE has the most beautiful papers on large rolls with fabulous textures and colors. There are many scrapbooking supplies as well and the prices are good. To find it start at the park and go to the Bro and continue walking down the street past Ekono and then on to the next block past B and B Grecia and to the corner. Then look across the street and see the store on the corner next to a computer store. Owner: Andrea Alfaro; tel-2494-2856; cell 8812=0338.
Aura Mariaby Patsy Jackson
For pure self-indulgence at a reasonable cost it would be hard to find anything better than a facial at Aura Maria. An hour of relaxation, soft music and a hint of incense, soft light, would be beneficial enough without the facial; but the ladies are skillful and professional and know exactly what they are doing to make the most of the hour. When it's over you can't help feeling younger and more beautiful and a look in the mirror and the touch of your skin will prove it was an hour well-spent.
Aura Maria Spa offers facials, massage, laser treatments, 'permanent makeup' (tattoo eyebrows, etc). Well loved by many expats, Aura Maria is a unisex spa - men can benefit from their therapeutic and cosmetic services as well.
Aura Maria is located 350 meters east of the Banco de Costa Rica, in Grecia. 2494-6458.
(Licensed red taxi)
Dependable, English-speaking, very clean and comfy red taxi service. Lots of gringos have used Randall Pérez and his TA 59 taxi for years, but we've neglected to put him in Que Pasa's "Recommended" services section. Randall is easy to contact and has proven time and again to go the extra mile for many of us. Give him a try.
HE DOES AIRPORT DROP OFF AND PICK UP PLUS REGULAR TAXI SERVICES.
Randall Pérez Salazar
Cell: (506) 85335688
US Phone Number: (973) 6190526
Facebook: Taxi TA 59
Also, on Whatsapp
Taxi Service - San Jose
Dependable service in the Greater San Jose area. Be sure to tell him you got his name from gringas in Grecia.
Recommended by Lynn Clark.
by Debi Gedling
I can't imagine going anywhere other than this place to get a TV repaired. They repair other things but our only experience is with televisions. They are quick, they give written receipts so you have proof of what they take from you (like remote controls and the like), they give you a time frame you can count on, they call to give you the price before they do the work, and then you get a 30-day guarantee on what they do. And they've successfully fixed our large flat screen TV twice--for two completely different problems. Love them!!!!! www.electronicadiaz.com. From the southeast corner of the central mercado, go 150 meters or 1 1/2 blocks south (the street is one way running into the center of town, you are walking against it). They are on your right with a big "LG" sign and a Panasonic sign outside. Spanish only. 2494-5730.
Do you like to fly......in little planes?by Jerri Dobbs
If you do, Nature Air provides a great service. We saved ourselves 4 or more hours driving time by flying to Nosara for a couple of days. Last year we flew Nature Air to Bocas del Toro and this trip to Nosara was just as nice. Planes usually seat 12-15 passengers and like all small planes they fly lower so we had great views. From time to time they have special rates as they did to Nosara that make it very affordable. Nature Air flies out of Pavas and also Juan Santamaria Int'l.
We loved it.
Dr. Cesar Secoby Cheryl Cantrell
For all the animal lovers out there I would highly recommend Cesar Seco, who makes home visits. Cesar speaks English and is the most compassionate, understanding, animal whisperer that I have ever met. His wife is also a Vet who works with Cesar and they have little schnauzer name Tami. Although their clinic is in San Ramon de San Jose, Cesar has always come to my house and has all the necessary medical supplies at his fingertips. I know many ex-pats that live in Grecia that use Cesar and he is always there when needed.
Cesar has known my dogs since I have been in Costa Rica, 8 years. He recently helped me with the death of one of my dogs due to heart failure. Before Truman died, he had bacteria in his lungs among other things. Cesar came to the house, put an iv in him for his dehydration, took him to his clinic and kept me informed on how he was doing. He did not candy coat the diagnosis but told me the truth. I must have received 3-4 texts a day on his condition. They had to perform surgery for a blockage in his throat and Cesar was there at night with him after the surgery. Then he took Truman to his house so he could be out of the cage and I got to visit with him the day he died. Cesar called me in tears as he knew Truman was a family member not just a dog. He then had his body cremated for me, brought me the ashes and cried with me.
I have never had a Vet this kind and compassionate. I have nicknamed him Cesar the Magnificent and I know Truman was in good hands.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org - 8830 9312
Moralva Clínica Veterinaria
by Dawna & Lou Winegrad
Shortly after moving to Costa Rica we learned of two golden retrievers in who were in urgent need of a home. Thus began our relationship with Drs. Alonso Mora and Daniel Quesada and the staff at Moralva Clínica Veterinaria (http://www.veterinariamoralva.com), located on Calle 7 heading out of Grecia towards Coope Victoria.
We say relationship because the entire staff has become like family to us. Not just because of the frequency of our visits, of which there have been many, but because of the genuine care, compassion, and professionalism they have consistently shown with all of our pets as well as various rescues and neighbors’ pets we’ve entrusted to their care.
Ehrlichiosis, dog fight wounds, neutering, ear infections, parasites and their treatments have all been thoroughly explained in English. Medical records are computerized for permanent reference and lab tests are performed in the office during your visit.
We were heartbroken when we learned that Mike, our 8 year old golden, was diagnosed with a particularly malignant tumor. Dr. Alonso was out sick the day of the diagnosis so it was arranged for us to return with Mike the next day so that Dr. Alonso could further evaluate the situation. That night we spent hours online researching the type of tumor and all available information indicated that it was almost always inoperable and highly fatal. The next morning we loaded Mike into the car, along with a shovel, as we fully expected that Mike would need to be put to sleep. Dr. Alonso did a comprehensive examination, including an ultrasound, during which he thoroughly explained Mike’s situation. He then told us how he had performed surgeries twice before on dogs with this form of tumor and that both were still alive and thriving. He even pulled out his iPad to show us photos of both dogs’ surgeries to make sure we completely understood what was involved. With his sincere assurances that he would not allow our dog to suffer under any circumstances, we opted to give surgery a try and scheduled it for the following day. The surgery went perfectly; Mike was up and walking around later that same day, and almost a year later Mike is the picture of health.
Back in the States we would go to great lengths to ensure that our pets received the best care available. We would unequivocally assert that never have our pets received the level of care that we’ve found at Moralva Clínica Veterinaria.
by Walt Clayton
OK, here’s the deal. For the fifteen months I’ve lived in my house outside of San Isidro I’ve had problems with my two gas water heaters – one for the bathrooms, one for the kitchen. They would come on sporadically or not at all, with no rhyme or reason behind the malfunctioning. I was taking cold showers, and didn’t want that same fate for visitors. Finally, I’d had it.
I took both heaters to the Gines distributor and hovered over the techie as he cleaned out layers of soot and spider webs. I took photos and notes as he replaced igniters and micro switches and battery holders. He told me my old gas line was a “bomba de tiempo” (time bomb) and had to be replaced.
For $52 the heaters looked great and tested fine. I was set.
Anxious for a hot shower, I hooked them up as soon as I got home. But it was already dark, so with flashlight clamped in my teeth I connected the bathroom heater, then the kitchen heater. And did something very stupid. I connected the water line to the gas line, filling one heater with noncombustible water. Totally frustrated at my blunder I went to bed angry and grubby.
Next day, I dried out the heater, then tried every possibly gas line configuration, to no avail. Finally, it dawned on me that the heaters worked – I saw that at Gines! -- they just weren’t getting enough gas.
Enter SENSA, a brand-new shop that specializes in welding and gas connections of every type. Proud, friendly owner Mario Castillo listened to my tale of woe and looked at the hoses I brought in. In under an hour I left with two custom-made gas lines, new regulators and all the right connectors, pressure-clamped -- and they work perfectly! Mario is my new friend-for-life.
So, for any gas line problems pay Mario a visit. You’ll be impressed by his expertise and new shop with its huge array of fittings. Plus SENSA can do any specialty welding or gas line assembly at your home.
SENSA (2494-5072) is located on the main road just as you leave Grecia for the airport. About 200 meters downhill after the bright blue CAJA roof is a side street to your left directly opposite the large Materiales Arsenio Soto store. You’ll see their sign.
Forjados Del Acero
by Lou and Dawna Winegrad
There are many welders in Grecia, however there are only two iron artists that can make any gate, entryway or window protection into a unique art piece. They are twin brothers Juan & Jose Castro, located in Barrio Latino, and their work is not limited to large scale projects.
Using a combination of hand forging & welding, they’ve created furniture, bathroom fixtures, & decorative accessories. They are honest, dependable, & reasonably priced. And they are a delight to work with.
So if you are contemplating a project in the Grecia-Atenas area, check out their Facebook page (Spanish with lots of photos) and call Juan, who speaks English, or call us for more information.
Facebook: Forjados Del Acero CYS
Juan Castro: 8689 6107
Dawna & Lou Winegrad: 8483 9045
More Happy Customers
by Kim and Roy Scruggs
We recently used the welding services of Forjados Del Acero, whom we found here on Que Pasa. They are twin brothers, Juan and Jose Castro. The quality of their work totally deserves a shout out! They were efficient, very personable and dependable. It was a pleasure doing business with them. We highly recommend them for any welding project.
By Susan Adams
I would like to recommend these Craftsmen!
If you need any iron work or blacksmithing I cannot say enough great things about the Castro Brothers at Forjados del Acero Forjasa located in Barrio Latino, Grecia. They made a pot rack I designed and are truly artists! Check out their FB page. They are honest, fair, dependable, talented and speak English!
Their phone number is 8689 6107.
Yoga with Justa
by Irina Just
I have been taking yoga classes twice a week from Justa ever since she started to teach - almost 3 years ago.
Not only are the classes very reasonable (c 2,500 or $ 5.00), they are extremely helpful for any kinds of aches, pains - or just to stay fit by stretching and balancing.
Justa tailors her sessions to individual needs and makes it easy for anyone just to drop in. Each class is unique and different, and one can just come and "jump" in.
Justa is a licensed massage therapist as well who knows and understands the body perfectly which is why she can give individual advice and suggest custom exercises.
Sessions range from 4 to 10 participants (with ages ranging from 16 to 71) and are held on the patio of her home with a breath-taking view of the entire Central Valley.
Justa provides mats, blocks, straps and cushions for those who do not have any and administers a "delicious" aroma therapy during relaxation.
I highly recommend her classes up in the hills of el Cajón on Calle Matapalo.
Services Needed/Looking For/How Do I....?
Introducing the Qué Pasa Facebook Answer Page
We are pleased to announce a great new feature exclusively for Qué Pasa subscribers, the Qué Pasa Facebook Answer Page.
We know that sometimes all of us could use a little help in getting answers to questions about living in Costa Rica. There is a tremendous wealth of knowledge and experience among our subscriber base. So, we have started a subscriber interactive Facebook page where folks with questions can get help from other folks with answers. To start out, we are going limit our Answer Page to questions and answers from subscribers.
Description, rules and signups for your private Facebook Answer Page:
- Description: this is a private, interactive Facebook page for Qué Pasa subscribers only. It is a largely unsupervised service and its purpose is to help subscribers get answers from other subscribers who have already been down that same road. It is to be used only by Qué Pasa subscribers to receive assistance from other subscribers by getting answers to their questions.
It is a free service.
- Rules of Use:
1) as an unsupervised site, always please, be on your best behavior. No intimate, profane or rude language or inappropriate questions. No arguing, politics, name-calling or berating of participants.
2) No reasonable question should be considered stupid. (Remember some of questions you may have asked that now seem silly or obvious.)
3) Also, remember that there may be more than one answer and multiple responses are welcome.
4) If you are uncertain of your answer, PLEASE include “I think” or “I believe” in your response.
5) Please check the Qué Pasa website first before posting your question. The answer to your question may already reside there.
6) If for any reason answers become contentious, they will be removed by the Qué Pasa staff.
- Note: this Facebook page will only work if we use it. Please, those of you with some experience or years under your belt “in country” go to our Facebook answer page frequently to see if there is a question you may be able to help answer. If you “pay it forward” and help someone, there may come a time when your favor will be returned.
How to register for and use your Qué Pasa Facebook Answer Page:
- Because the Qué Pasa Answer Page is a Secret Group on Facebook, it is not viewable by the public - you must be a member of Facebook AND you must be invited to join. So, if you are not a member please go to Facebook and join;
- Request the Qué Pasa editor via email to “friend” you on Facebook;
- Once you are confirmed, you will receive a notice from Facebook that the Qué Pasa Answer Page is now available to you;
- When you have a question, go to the Qué Pasa Answer Page and post it;
- Facebook will automatically notify you of a response(s) to your question(s) from another member via your personal email; and if you are curious about what questions have been asked and answered by others, don’t hesitate to visit your private Qué Pasa Facebook Answer Page as often as you like and run a search on your question.
If you would like to submit a recommendation, please send who or what you are recommending and why. Send your recommendations and service announcements to: email@example.com
Find out about our Facebook Answer Page