*Costa Rica - My Bug-Out Retreat*
Many people ask me why I came to Costa Rica. It is very simple. Some years ago, my first wife, who is Costa Rican, gave me an ultimatum. She wanted to come back home and told me if I wanted to save our marriage I would come with her. I agreed to give it a try. Unfortunately, my marriage was not saved, but twenty years after arriving in Costa Rica, I am still here. Why? It is still very simple. I am a survivalist.
All survivalists expect someday TS(WILL)HTF, and are preparing for it. Most non-survivalists also know this but they will wait until it happens and then assume someone will step in and make everything ok again. Dream on my darlings!
Like other survivalists I am preparing for that someday, but I took a calculated risk. I decided to do only the most basic of BOG for my first step. My top priority then became to find the best location I could for my retreat. For me, there is nothing more important than that. My search lasted more than 5 years but I finally found what I was looking for here in Costa Rica.
For most natural disasters, terrorist, biological, or nuclear attacks, etc., you wonít survive (except as a refugee) if you are not thoroughly prepared beforehand. However, I strongly believe that all the prepping in the world will be wasted in a truly catastrophic collapse if you canít live long enough to benefit from all the hard work you have done.
When I was a boy someone who had fought with the Marines in World War II told me about his experiences on Guadalcanal. I will never forget as he told us how wave after wave of Japanese soldiers charged their fortified machine gun positions day after day and night after night. Towards the end, they fought hand to hand since the enemy had no ammunition, no food and nothing to lose. Thousands were killed in that battle and the Marines barely survived the onslaught. When TSHTF there will not be thousands but millions of hungry people. God help anyone in their path. I donít like the odds of a small group or a family, no matter how well prepared in that scenario.
There are many reasons why I am making my retreat in Costa Rica but here are five important ones that are based on my analysis:
1. ISOLATED LOCATION. Costa Rica is a mountainous country a lot like Switzerland, but located in a warm, though not tropical part of the world. There are a number of valleys where most of the people live but there are lots of mountain nooks and crannies to get lost in. Since the mountain roads need constant maintenance to keep them open in the rainy season (May-October), it is probable that landslides would close the main arteries fairly quickly if a major event took place. Normal maintenance would probably not be possible, so the mountains and isolated valleys would have an additional barrier against easy access. The country has no strategic importance in any war (the Panama Canal is too far away from Costa Rica to be a factor in case of nuclear attack). It is unlikely to be even a secondary target for biological weapons or terrorists, if they could even figure out where Costa Rica is.
2. CLIMATE. Costa Rica is quite small (like West Virginia or Denmark) and is relatively close to the Equator but the country actually contains about thirty different climate zones, with the temperatures ranging from 90 degrees on the beach to the low 50ís in the mountains. What that means among other things is that you donít need to worry unduly about heating in the winter nor air conditioning in the summer (we have two season here, a wet one and a dry one). Also, the growing season is about 365 days long! On a more speculative level, which I know is not yet backed up by undisputed facts, it may well be that we will experience dramatic climate changes in the near future. Most of us are already experiencing large fluctuations in normal temperatures, rainfall amounts, etc., and nasty storms and seem to get worse each year. Costa Rica is well out of the hurricane belt as the Caribbean ones are deflected northward into Mexico. We do have lots of earthquakes but if you build with that in mind it is not really a problem.
3. NATURAL RESOURCES. Costa Rica, which means Rich Coast, was named by Christopher Columbus, who thought there was a lot of gold and other mineral wealth. There is very little of that, but the soil is incredibly rich and farming is very easy. Fruit trees and berries considered expensive rarities in the states grow like weeds here. Also, for its size, the country is blessed by an abundance of water, since the country lies between the Caribbean and the Pacific and the mountains running the length of the country ensure lots of rainfall. Rivers are everywhere and the mountain streams are crystal clean. All electricity is generated by hydro.
4. POPULATION MAKEUP. The Costa Ricans are historically known to be pacifists, and it is against the constitution to have a standing army. The people of their Latin American neighbors generally spend much of their time killing each other. Interestingly enough, Costa Rica has never been successfully invaded. An American named William Walker tried to do just more than a 100 years ago as he thought it made economic sense to get slaves from Central America rather than going all the way to Africa. He successfully conquered Nicaragua (one of the most violent countries in the region). When he arrived in Costa Rica, all of the local people banded together and sent him and his followers back to the states in chains. Despite that little bit of history, modern Americans are actually welcome here! There are no race wars. There is very little poverty, although this is changing as more Nicaraguans and Colombians are entering illegally looking for work and there are now slums, mostly in the capital San Jose. The traditional Costa Rican comes from farmer stock though fewer and fewer are now living at that trade. The education levels are quite high and there are many skilled laborers. Finally, there are about 4-million inhabitants in Costa Rica but 2 out of every 3 people live in the Central Valley, which leaves much of the rest of the country (except for the rich gringos who live on the beaches) very thinly populated. In a major disaster, it is highly unlikely that many people would head for the hills, as almost all of the farming (i.e. food) is located in the flatlands and valleys. Also, the temperature can get down into the 40's at night in the mountains, and almost no one who lives in the lowlands has proper clothing for that area.
5. GOVERNMENT BEAURACRACY. There are mind-boggling amounts of contradictory laws and regulations in Costa Rica, and many foreigners have left or gone crazy because they can never get anything done. You need permits in order to get permits and the laws are very difficult to understand. But if you do understand things, you may be able to build your hideaway without anyone really knowing what you are doing! Building codes certainly exist but if you invest the odd twenty here and there you will find your path much smoother. Another nice benefit is that Costa Ricans generally consider all foreigners as tourists so if you keep a low profile you will be ignored by most official-types. A word of warning, however. If you have real criminal intentions here you will be found out very quickly and sent packing, or worse, you will spend some time in the prisons here, which are not vacation spas.
I hope this helps people understand a little of my rationale. I will post articles in the future giving more specific details on my actual retreat. I am at least 2-3 years away from having it functional so I warn you now I will be asking lots and lots of questions in the Rubicon. In return, I will be happy to answer any of yours about Costa Rica if I can.
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