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(506) 2223-1327                        Publihsed Monday, Jan 5, 2015, in Vol. 15, No. 2                                         Email us
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There may be ways to lessen impact of luxury tax
By Garland M. Baker
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Law 8683 taxes are due Jan. 15. Many expats and foreigners having a property with a house on it in Costa Rica are confused about this tax. Some pay it when they should not be doing so. Most people refer to this assessment as the luxury tax.

It applies to homes of more than 128 million colons or approximately 239,000 U.S. dollars at the current exchange rate. The kick-in-the-pants is that if a house qualifies for the tax, the computation of value adds the land and the construction it sits on as well as other factors into the equation. Adding everything up makes it very expensive.

Allan Garro of Garro Law is an expert on Law 8683. He said in an interview that the law took effect Dec. 1, 2008. The tax covered houses of 100 million colons and above back then, he noted. Many people have scrambled to find ways to avoid the tax by using depreciation schemes to devalue constructions. The tax people caught on quickly and began using different valuation parameters to close the loopholes. Overall, the tax has been a disappointment for generating new taxes, added Garro.

Hacienda's tax department is trying to find creative ways to catch cheaters on this tax. They are currently working closely with  municipalities, insurance companies and other resources to cross check filings. Last year, property valuations were increased throughout the country throwing more properties into the taxable zone.

The key to understanding this tax, or any tax in Costa Rica, is simple. One needs to understand the term hecho generador. This term means the act that generates the tax due, similar to, cause and effect.

The cause that creates this tax can be broken down into two basic acts:

1. A house construction over the threshold amount. The tax department publishes the new amount every year.

2. The use of the construction as a primary or secondary residence or for recreational purposes.

This means owners of homes that are sitting vacant, uninhabitable, or used for business do not have to pay this tax.

The by-laws of the law cover these exceptions, not the law.

Why is this important to anyone meeting the threshold requiring him or her to pay this luxury tax? Because if one understands the details of the law, it is possible to reduce its impact.  Anyone qualifying should be fair and pay, but why pay more than what is legally due?

For example, many expats buy second homes in Costa Rica for future retirement. However, until that day comes some rent out their properties to tourists. This is a business activity, thus the property is exempt. Now the caveat: this requires filing tax forms and paying taxes as businesses do.

luxury tax deadine

Too many people renting are hiding the fact they do so. They are not abiding by the law. Hacienda knows this. The country needs all the money it can get. Tax collectors are combing the land, especially in touristy areas where villa rentals are common, to weed out the cheats. What makes this even scarier is penalties for those not abiding the law are hefty.

Residential housing on farms qualifying for Law 8683 taxes get hit hard because all the land around the constructions is taxed too. What is a gentleman farmer to do if he or she is not running the farm as a business?

One option is to subdivide off all the land not needed for the housing area. Doing this exempts it from the tax. Another idea is to plant something or have some livestock on the land and try to make a small farm operation. Agricultural property is exempt.

Anyone affected by the law should read it and pay especial attention to the by-laws. Article 1, paragraph 2 and Article 6 are very important references. Costa Rica’s tax department Web site has the full Law 8683 and the by-laws in Microsoft Word format.

Another great reference is Hacienda's database for finding property valuations throughout the country. On this page, one can find maps, broken down by cantons with values for rural and urban land.

This is the same information Hacienda uses for Law 8683.

When in doubt as to whether the owner of a house must pay the tax, it is best to consult a professional engineer savvy in Hacienda’s parameters and valuations. They are complex.  It is necessary to revalue a property every five years.

It is also possible to get out of the system if one qualifies for an exemption. This is also difficult, but an experienced professional can make the appropriate application at the tax department.

For those who have to pay luxury home taxes, what a better way to start the New Year. Reading the fine print of Law 8683 could end in a substantial tax savings for those who qualify.

Garland M. Baker, a certified international property specialist, is a 45-year resident and naturalized citizen of Costa Rica. His firm’s team provides multidisciplinary professional services to the country’s international community.  Reach him at  Baker has undertaken the research leading to these series of articles in conjunction with A.M. Costa Rica.  Find the collection at, a free reprint is available at the end of each article.  Copyright 2015, use without permission prohibited.

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A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.

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Tropics devour carbon dioxide, study says

By the National Aeronautics and Space Administration news staff

A new study shows that tropical forests may be absorbing far more carbon dioxide than many scientists thought, in response to rising atmospheric levels of the greenhouse gas. The study estimates that tropical forests absorb 1.4 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide out of a total global absorption of 2.5 billion, more than is absorbed by forests in Canada, Siberia and other northern regions, called boreal forests.

"This is good news, because uptake in boreal forests is already slowing, while tropical forests may continue to take up carbon for many years," said David Schimel of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. Schimel is lead author of a paper on the new research, appearing online in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences.

Forests and other land vegetation currently remove up to 30 percent of human carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere during photosynthesis. If the rate of absorption were to slow down, the rate of global warming would speed up in return, scientists say.

The new study is the first to devise a way to make apples-to-apples comparisons of carbon dioxide estimates from many sources at different scales: computer models of ecosystem processes, atmospheric models run backward in time to deduce the sources of today's concentrations (called inverse models), satellite images, data from experimental forest plots and more. The researchers reconciled all types of analyses and assessed the accuracy of the results based on how well they reproduced independent, ground-based measurements. They obtained their new estimate of the tropical carbon absorption from the models they determined to be the most trusted and verified.

"Until our analysis, no one had successfully completed a global reconciliation of information about carbon dioxide effects from the atmospheric, forestry and modeling communities," said co-author Joshua Fisher. "It is incredible that all these different types of independent data sources start to converge on an answer."

The question of which type of forest is the bigger carbon absorber "is not just an accounting curiosity," said co-author Britton Stephens of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado. "It has big implications for our understanding of whether global terrestrial ecosystems might continue to offset our carbon dioxide emissions or might begin to exacerbate climate change."

As human-caused emissions add more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, forests worldwide are using it to grow faster, reducing the amount that stays airborne. This effect is called carbon fertilization. "All else being equal, the effect is stronger at higher temperatures, meaning it will be higher in the tropics than in the boreal forests," Schimel said.

But climate change also decreases water availability in some regions and makes Earth warmer, leading to more frequent and larger wildfires. In the tropics, humans compound the problem by burning wood during deforestation. Fires don't just stop carbon absorption by killing trees, they also spew huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere as the wood burns.

For about 25 years, most computer climate models have been showing that mid-latitude forests in the Northern Hemisphere absorb more carbon than tropical forests. That result was initially based on the then-current understanding of global air flows and limited data suggesting that deforestation was causing tropical forests to release more carbon dioxide than they were absorbing.

In the mid-2000s, Stephens used measurements of carbon dioxide made from aircraft to show that many climate models were not correctly representing flows of carbon above ground level. Models that matched the aircraft measurements better showed more carbon absorption in the tropical forests. However, there were still not be enough global data sets to validate the idea of a large tropical-forest absorption. Schimel said that their new study took advantage of a great deal of work other scientists have done since Stephens' paper to pull together national and regional data of various kinds into robust, global data sets.

Schimel noted that their paper reconciles results at every scale from the pores of a single leaf, where photosynthesis takes place, to the whole Earth, as air moves carbon dioxide around the globe. "What we've had up till this paper was a theory of carbon dioxide fertilization based on phenomena at the microscopic scale and observations at the global scale that appeared to contradict those phenomena. Here, at least, is a hypothesis that provides a consistent explanation that includes both how we know photosynthesis works and what's happening at the planetary scale."

NASA monitors Earth's vital signs from land, air and space with a fleet of satellites and ambitious airborne and ground-based observation campaigns. NASA develops new ways to observe and study Earth's interconnected natural systems with long-term data records and computer analysis tools to better see how the planet is changing. The agency shares this knowledge with the global community and works with institutions in the United States and around the world that contribute to understanding and protecting our home planet.

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Jan 5, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 2
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An A.M. Costa Rica analysis on the news
China's agenda with Costa Rica appears to be long-term

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

President Luis Guillermo Solís and a Costa Rican delegation are in China in what Casa Presidencial said is an effort to consolidate relations for the next decade.

The $430 million expansion of Ruta 31 from Río Frio to Moín and an effort to jump start plans for a new $1.5 billion petroleum refinery are among topics that will be discussed.

Costa Rica is seeking Chinese money for these major projects. The highway job is a loan that would not be felt in the national budget for six years. The refinery is a joint project that includes a loan.

In negotiating these deals, Costa Rica is involved with a country that rejects much of what Ticos hold dear.  Solís will be meeting with the Chinese president. As Freedom House points out:

"When Xi Jinping took the reins as Communist Party chief and president, he promoted the goals of the “China Dream.” However, after two years of his rule, his dream has turned out to be a nightmare for many Chinese. Xi and his cohort have stepped up repressive campaigns against perceived threats to the party’s rule, including activists who criticize the persecution of religious minorities. In one recent example, Ilham Tohti, China’s most prominent advocate for the rights of Uighurs, was sentenced to life in prison for supposedly inciting separatism."

China continues to tighten its grip on Hong Kong, the Internet, education, the media and dissidents.  Costa Rica has remained silent on Chinese violations of human rights. Part of the reason is that Costa Rica's trade
with China
 has jumped from less than $100 million in 2001 to the current $2 billion.

Casa Presidencial said that the Costa Rican delegation would be discussing special economic zones, free trade zones that would dot the country and generate employment.

In the short term China looks like a favorite uncle that is lavishing gifts on Costa Rica. Here the administration changes every four years. China is known to be looking much further into the 21st century.

Although Costa Rica purports to be a defender of human rights, there have been no words from the foreign ministry over any rights violations by China. International sources say that in the short-run this is what China seeks, like that will either defend its repressions or at least ignore them.

China also is seeking to expand its interests in all of Central America as it continues to isolate Taiwan and pursue other diplomatic agendas.

During his visit, Solís is expected to accept an honorary doctorate at Renmin University of China, which is beginning a Latin America studies program.

With Solís will be Manuel González, the foreign minister;  Alexander Mora, minister of Comercio Exterior;  Celso Gamboa, minister of  Seguridad Pública;  Olga Marta Sánchez, minister of  Planificación, and Carlos Segnini, minister of Obras Públicas y Transportes. 

So during the Costa Rican visit it might be China that is consolidating its relations for the next decade.

Nearly 400 persons suffered injuries from bulls, Cruz Roja says
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The bulls have stopped running at three locations in the Central Valley, and plenty of Costa Ricans will be limping and holding their ribs for some weeks.

The Cruz Roja reported as of early Sunday that 397 persons had been treated for encounters with bulls. Some 78 required further treatment at clinics and hospitals. A few were bull riders.

There were a few more added to the list Sunday afternoon in events at both the Zapote fairgrounds and the new bull ring at Pedregal. The numbers are not accurate because there was a third ring at Paraiso de Cartago that is not included in the Cruz Roja figures.

Some participants in toros a las Tica suffered real beatings Sunday, and the television news shows aired clips repeatedly. The major channels also covered live most of the encounters.

These are the events where up to 100 individuals test their bravery by getting into the ring with a 1,100-pound bull. This appears to be a uniquely Costa Rican practice.

With the end of the Zapote fiesta and the holidays, Costa Ricans are supposed to return to work today. Some will have prolonged their holiday by applying vacation days. Traffic appeared moderate Sunday afternoon on major highways.

Law enforcement and the Cruz Roja will be reporting in detail the injuries and tragedies of the holidays later today.

The judicial morgue already reported that 27 persons died in vehicle mishaps from Dec. 19, the start of the holiday through New Year's Day. In the same period there were 22 murders, the morgue said. The count is authoritative because all victims of violent deaths go to the morgue.

Added to the traffic toll are weekend deaths

Two men died in a traffic mishap in Damas de Quepos Saturday about 1:35 p.m. Saturday when their vehicle collided head-on with another vehicle. A 4 year old in the
Municipalidad de San José photo
The bull encounters filled the grandstands.

other car suffered substantial injuries and was taken to the Hospital Nacional de Niños. An 18 year old in the vehicle with the two victims also was injured, said agents.

In a Cartago location known as Navarro de Muñeco, a 14 year old died when a pickup carrying at least nine persons in the truck bed plunged down a cliff. The victim was one of those riding in the truck bed. The individual at the wheel faces a drunk driving prosecution, said the Judicial Investigating Organization. The accident took place about 6 p.m. Saturday.

Two persons died about 4:30 a.m. Sunday in Coyol de Alajuela when the vehicle in which they were riding struck a railroad bridge abutment. The vehicle burst into flames, and agents were unable to make an immediate identification. The vehicle was headed from San José west on the Interamericana highway.

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Jan 5, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 2
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U.S. faces foreign policy challenges all around the globe in 2015
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

2015 is here, and with a new year comes new challenges and some old ones. Last year left the United States with a lot of unfinished business around the world. President Barack Obama's top foreign policy challenges as he enters his final two years in the White House will be varied and require careful coordination.

In December, Obama marked the end of America's longest war.

But Pentagon officials say the dawn of 2015 does not mean the end of U.S. assistance.

"It’s not like on December 31 we’re just going to walk away. We aren’t. We are going to remain," said Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby.

Air support, training and counterterrorism are all on the agenda for the more than 10,000 U.S. troops staying in Afghanistan this year.

It's help Afghan forces need, as the year saw a rise in Taliban attacks.

The U.S. will also fight terrorism in the form of Islamic State militants. The group surged into the public consciousness in 2014, with its rapid takeover of large parts of Iraq and Syria and its brutal beheadings of Westerners.

Air strikes against the group appear to be working, with analysts predicting continued gains.

“I think Iraq, between the Kurdish army and the national army based in Baghdad, with strong U.S. support, will make progress in 2015,” said Paul Salem of the Middle East Institute.

Also in need of progress are the efforts of the U.S. and five other world powers to reach a nuclear deal with Iran.
Negotiators are now aiming for July after a November deadline passed without agreement.

“These talks are not going to suddenly get easier just because we extend them. They're tough. And they have been tough. And they are going to stay tough,” said Secretary of State John Kerry.

And the new Republican-controlled U.S. Congress could complicate things even more, say analysts.

“Members of Congress are anxious to impose additional sanctions. That could have a disruptive effect,” said the Brookings Institution’s Robert Einhorn.

Russia is the source of even more sanctions tensions. Those the U.S. has imposed for Russian support of Ukrainian separatists have helped send Russia's currency and economy into a nosedive.

But the Ukraine conflict is a dispute U.S. officials are determined to overcome.

“No one is giving up on the U.S. - Russia relationship. We have to get it to a better place,” said Eric Rubin, a deputy assistant secretary of State for European and Eurasian affairs.

The U.S. says Russia could get sanctions relief by withdrawing all troops from Ukrainian territory, among other conditions.

And not to be forgotten is North Korea. U.S. investigators traced the November cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment to the isolated nation. In response, President Obama made new sanctions against North Korea his first foreign policy move of the New Year.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

La Fortuna
Comfort of your home in the campo, 5 minutes from Fortuna Centro of San Carlos, in the shadow of Volcano Arenal, Flat screen TV, AC, refrigerator, free coffee. Local area activities like four-wheeling, horse riding, zip lining, hot springs, jungle walking tours. Bring your camera for great photos of nature, fishing and swimming, canyoning and wireless internet. Harry Hart, proprietor.  Call for reservations  (506) 2479-8670   and (506) 8682-9219  Email:

Will Costa Rica Retirement Work For You?
Find out for yourself on Live In Costa Rica Tours

When you visit Costa Rica, you'll want to discover what you need to know to  make the right choice about moving to this tropical paradise.  Our familiarization tours have won hard-earned credentials that prove general excellence and the right focus.  These are the only retirement tours that are licensed and approved by the Costa Rican government and tourism institute  (ICT). In 2006 we were featured on the NBC Today Show and World News.  In 2010, we won the  prestigious Latin America-Asia Travel Excellence Award for the Best and Most Unique Tour in Latin America.

   * Discover how to make the right choices about moving here
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Anywhere Costa Rica plans custom vacations, and has the most comprehensive travel services in the country including travel guides, resorts and vacation homesCosta Rica tours
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Call 1-888.456.3212 or 2479-8811 locally.

Largest art gallery in Guanacaste
Drop in to see some of Costa Rica's finest art
at the largest gallery in Guanacaste.

The Hidden Garden Art Gallery near the Liberia airport is a great place to find quality remembrances of Costa Rica to take home or to decorate your home or office in Costa Rica.  We also offer commissioned pieces so you can create your own unique masterpiece to cherish forever.  With more than 60 artists on exhibit and fine art in 15 rooms full of paintings, prints, sculptures, and diverse artistic expressions, we are easy to locate just 5 kms west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport. Visit our Web site at
or contact us by email:   
Gallery hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tel. 2667-0592 / 8386-6872; U.S. telephone 702-953-7073. International shipping available.
Every Saturday - Vendor Fair!

Click photo for another video

The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

 (as reported by the moving companies)
Visit many rental options to actually experience the price/amenity options available in more of the areas chosen by Expats for security, comfort, and quality of life.

Meet many Expats who are willing to share their experiences and how the tour has value long after the “lust” wears off.
See how to choose a Retirement tour video by past guest!

Ask the others what you get for your money, and then compare the quality of accommodations, quality, quantity and variety of food and drink to measure the best value for your money. 

Learn how others “talk the talk” and learn who really can “walk the walk”

Please visit my Web site  to contact my references.
George Lundquist, retirement, relocation columnist, Guide & Developer/Builder.


Here's reasonable medical care
Costa Rica's world class medical specialists are at your command. Get the top care for much less than U.S. prices. It is really a great way to spend a vacation. See our list of recommended professionals HERE!amcr-prom

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Maneul Antonio
The vacation homes at Manuel Antonio Estates offers luxury, comfort and peace of mind. We have numerous homes to chose from, all within walking distance of the town’s shops and restaurants and just a few minutes to the best beaches and the famous national park. While the homes are secluded and hidden among the rainforest, the surrounding area offers adventures like zip lines, white water rafting, mangrove kayaking and many more. All of the homes are available for short-term rentals, have easily accessible parking, cable TV, and Internet and are fully furnished. We are happy to assist with all your need for the perfect Costa Rican vacation.
Manuel Antonio Estates        TOLL FREE: 1800 346 9724
011 (506) 2777.3339

Beautiful 2-bedroom 2-bathroom American-style apartments with an elevator to your front door in a secure building located in Gringo Gulch the American Section of downtown San José. Costa Rica. Located between the Hotel Del Rey, the Hotel Mona Lisa and the Sportsman's Lodge and The Zona Blue (AKA) Little Habana across the street from Harry's Poas Bar, and next to the Holiday Inn.
apartment view
 There are 15 restaurants and American- style bars on this block and four supermarkets within a few blocks. There are 5 casinos within 2 blocks and dozens of hotels around this apartment. Included in your rental price, fast Internet, the best they have in Costa Rica, cable TV with 80 stations, water, washer
 and dryer. All you pay extra for is electricity. You have your own meter and receive a bill from the electric company every month.  This apartment has a American-style hot water system, hot water in both bathrooms and the kitchen. There is a 25-foot balcony to sit on and watch the people in San José walk by. The neighborhood Barrio Amón is the safest in San José For photos and more information contact:

Organic farm home
$800 plus utilities.
Two-bedroom, two-bath house, fully furnished, Internet included, cable TV available. Inside organic farm, safe and secure. In the country but close to town. Santa Bárbara de Heredia, Email for more info and pictures. Long term, NO DOGS.

Tropical Homes of Costa Rica is offering the best selection of vacation homes, condos and long-term rental homes in Playa Flamingo, Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito on  the Pacific Gold Coast of Guanacaste. A wide selection of private residencies is providing an excellent choice for your stay in this beautiful part of Costa Rica.
We are offering homes for every budget and every need.
Please visit our Web page at or contact us at
or call at (506) 2654-5442.

MONTHLY $800 TO $1,200

Villas Casa Loma has everything you are looking for.  Best vistas, climate, value.  Four unique homes in a secure private compound on a ridge near Alajuela overlooking the entire Central Valley.  Two are available fully furnished and equipped, each a complete home accommodating 4 persons in two bedrooms with ensuite baths.  Pool, rancho, mirador, other features.  Ask about part-month rates.  Call Gerry at (506) 2441-8796 or e-mail at  See virtual tour of accommodations HERE!
Get to know the real Costa Rica – you may want to live here someday.

HP Cattle rentals
Mountain homes or farm for rent
Barva volcano, Heredia province
We offer for rent a gorgeous two-bedroom mountain chalet and a one-bedroom mountain home located on the slopes of the Barva Volcano, Heredia Province. The homes are situated at 7,300 feet altitude and within a working horse ranch just three kilometers from the Braulio Carrillo National Park entrance. From our homes one can hike to the Barva volcano crater-lake.  Enjoy a spacious living room, kitchen, fireplace and breathtaking views of the Irazú volcano and the Central Valley. Observe dozens of cloud forest bird species to include the resplendent quetzal.  The homes are incomparable in beauty and attention to detail within the Barva highland area.  We are only 35-55 minutes from Costa Rica’s three principal cities (Heredia, Alajuela, and San José), less than two hours from the central Pacific beaches, and three hours from the Caribbean beaches. Enjoy the tranquility of the mountains while maintaining quick access to the conveniences of the city and rapid access to other eco-tourist destinations in Costa Rica. Additionally, we can board your horses at a reasonable fee.  We can also offer our clients rental of a small and fully functional farm complete with stables, pasture, and office space.
Mountain chalet: $750.  Basic mountain home: $400.
Boutique mountain home: One-bedroom $850. Two-bedroom $1,000.
Small Farm that includes a chalet, basic mountain home, stables, and 8,000m2 of pasture/green areas: $1,500.

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A.M. Costa Rica's   Fifth news page
Family home

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Jan 5, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 2  
Real Estate
About us


Chechen brothers quietly
devised plan, study shows

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Three short paragraphs hand-written, in Russian, on lined, notebook paper sat atop a stack of old newspapers next to the television in the newly vacant third floor apartment at 410 Norfolk Street.

Federal Bureau of Investigation agents had done the first of two searches of the East Cambridge apartment, rented for more than a decade by an ethnic Chechen family, the Tsarnaevs.

Days earlier, on April 15, 2013, two pressure cookers, packed with nails and ball bearings, exploded near the Boston Marathon finish line, killing three, maiming scores and shattering the celebration of the world’s oldest annual marathon.

The Tsarnaevs’ two sons had been implicated: Tamerlan, 26, had been killed during a police shoot-out. Dzhokhar, 19, was in police custody.

A friend, who had known the Tsarnaev family for years and was very close to all of them, discovered the paper in the apartment and recognized the handwriting as Tamerlan’s:

"They said: how many small armies had defeated larger armies by the will of Allah. The Prophet called to Allah with the words: give me the perseverance in all my undertakings and the resoluteness to follow the correct path. If Allah will give you support, then no one will defeat you. If he removes this support, then who will help you in place of nothing? Let the devout rely on Allah."

The writing is a glimpse into the mind of the man considered to be the mastermind of the Boston terrorist attack.

Nearly 21 months later, the scars of the bombing, psychological and physical, are deep and raw in the Boston area as survivors, witnesses, Americans and Chechens, from Boston and Grozny, have groped to understand the motivations of the Tsarnaev brothers.

Reporters have retraced some of the key steps leading up to the bombing, interviewing members of the Chechen émigré community and others who had close dealings with the Tsarnaev family.

The story that emerges is one of a troubled family buffeted by the challenges of adapting to American culture and by the undercurrents of war and radicalism wracking their ethnic homeland.

The best hope, however, for understanding what led to April 15, 2013, lies with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, whose trial on 30 terrorism and related charges opens today in Boston’s federal court just a few miles from the marathon’s finish line.

“They took the innocence from us, that they did take,” said Jason Rosenberg, a Boston-area lawyer who represents a man once cared for by the Tsarnaev family.

“We think: ‘they can’t be these beasts,' but we all know that a human being … can be caring and loving to someone else and then be a horrendous person,” he said. “You can be, and are, one and the same, the same person.”

‘Why did you do it, Tamerlan, why?’

A caring and loving person is what Tamerlan seemed like less than four weeks before the bombs sent panic through runners and spectators lining the few hundred yards along Boston’s Boylston Street leading up to the finish line.

Around March 20, Tamerlan, along with his American wife, Katherine, traveled to the outskirts of Manchester, New Hampshire, to visit another Chechen family who had fled the region in the early 2000s: Musa Khadzhimuradov, his wife Madina, and their two children.

Among the two dozen or so Chechen families living in Boston and southern New Hampshire, it was common to mark holidays together, to attend one another’s barbecues, to carry on traditions from back in Chechnya. Tamerlan had come, Khadzhimuradov said, to say goodbye to Khadzhimuradov’s mother-in-law, who was returning to Chechnya.

Khadzhimuradov, who formerly worked as a bodyguard to Chechen separatist leader Akhmed Zakayev, said he had been in touch with Tamerlan since 2006, when they met at a Chechen holiday celebration in Boston.

During the March visit, both Khadzhimuradov and his wife Madina recalled, Tamerlan played happily with his young daughter Zahara, and chatted with the Khadzhimuradovs’ own daughter.

“We didn’t talk about war or religion, nothing,” Musa Khadzhimuradov said. “He was happy. Maybe he had a double life or something, but he was playing with his child.”

“I see him almost every night in my dreams,” Madina said. “He looks just as always: very handsome and calm."

But according to FBI affidavits, the grand jury indictment and other details made public in media reports, Tamerlan was plotting something destructive.

On at least two occasions in the months prior to April 15, Tamerlan had visited a Manchester firing range just a few miles from the Khadzhimuradov apartment to practice shooting. On March 20, Dzhokhar, who was a student at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, joined Tamerlan at the range.

Tamerlan had also traveled to the New Hampshire coastal town of Seabrook to buy fireworks, and gather gunpowder to fuel the pressure cooker bombs. On Feb. 6, at around 7:40 p.m., Tamerlan stopped at Phantom Fireworks and paid $199 cash for a package called “Lock and Load,” and took advantage of a “buy-one-get-one-free deal.” He left with 48 mortars and the equivalent of eight pounds of low explosive powder, according to prosecutors.

“He asked ‘what was the loudest, most powerful firework we had?” store manager April Walton said. “It’s what 80 percent of our customers ask for.”

Sometime around April 5, just 10 days before the bombings, Tamerlan went online and ordered electronic components that could be used in making bombs, according to the grand jury indictment. Those components were delivered by mail to the Norfolk Street apartment.

In recent years, some members of the Tsarnaev family, including the boys’ mother Zubeidat, had begun openly expressing their Muslim faith. They dressed in traditional conservative clothing and attended prayer services, mainly at the Islamic Society of Boston’s Cambridge mosque four blocks from 410 Norfolk Street.

Once a fashionable and flashy dresser, Zubeidat had taken to wearing headscarves, long skirts and long-sleeved dresses and shirts. She reportedly started wearing gloves constantly so as to avoid touching the hands of unrelated males, such as shop clerks or tollbooth workers. The Tsarnaev boys’ sisters, Bella and Ailina, also began wearing headscarves.

Prior to November 2012, the Tsarnaevs didn’t stand out among the hundreds who attended prayers regularly, said the Cambridge mosque’s acting imam, Ismail Fenni.

That month, a guest speaker gave a sermon about the importance of Muslims accepting public holidays like Thanksgiving. Tamerlan stood up and angrily interrupted the speaker, calling him wrong.

Fenni said he and other elders spoke to Tamerlan and reminded him of the mosque rules of behavior and decorum. Tamerlan nodded and said he understood, Fenni recalled.

Then in January 2013, at the prayer service before the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, Tamerlan again stood up and interrupted the sermon, as the guest speaker discussed how Muslims should accept the civil rights leader.

“There was nothing really for us to be worried about with him before his explosive outbursts,” Fenni said. “Before then, he was just a face in the crowd.”

That first outburst had occurred four months after Tamerlan returned from a trip to Russia’s North Caucasus, where Chechnya is located.

Between January and July 2012, Tamerlan spent some of his time in Makhachkala, the capital of the Dagestan region, working with his father Anzor, who had arrived in the region in April. Anzor was newly divorced from Zubeidat, according to a family friend.

The stated reason for Tamerlan’s trip in January 2012, according to the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, was to obtain a Russian passport: Tamerlan held a Kyrgyz passport, the result of his early childhood in Kyrgyzstan, where many Chechens lived after being expelled from their homeland by Stalin in the 1940s.

But last year, Irina Gordienko, an investigative reporter for Novaya Gazeta, reported that Tamerlan didn’t actually apply for a passport until the end of June, more than six months after arriving.

Gordienko also reported Tamerlan had been in contact with two militants wanted by Russian security agencies. One, a Russian-Canadian named William Plotnikov, was killed by police on July 14, 2012. Within two days, Tamerlan left the region to fly back to the United States.

“People in Dagestan told me he dressed strangely, his behavior was unusual,” Ms. Gordienko said. “He wasn’t very knowledgeable about Islam.”

In the United States, Tamerlan had been a show-off from a young age, always seeking attention, the family friend said. He loved to sing, to play violin and to dance. He was smart academically, but he never seemed focused, the friend said. He talked about being an accountant, but he took only a handful of classes at Bunker Hill Community College.

Tamerlan was athletic, as well. He trained at a boxing club in Somerville, next door to Cambridge. His boxing career, nurtured by his father, Anzor, hit a high point in February 2010 with a regional trophy. Then it petered out.

Over the years, Tamerlan pulled income from short-term jobs.

In 2009, he worked as a driver for a Watertown-based elder care facility that catered to Russian immigrants. He also helped his mother with her work as a home health aide in the Newton home of Donald and Rosemary Larking.

Donald Larking was an older man who became so close to Tamerlan that he attended prayer services at the Cambridge mosque, according to Rosenberg, Larking’s lawyer. Larking also had constant discussions with Tamerlan about politics and espoused dark conspiracy theories about the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Donald Larking refused to be interviewed for this article.

Tamerlan was interviewed by the FBI in 2011, at the request of the lead Russian security agency, the FSB, which had been monitoring Tamerlan’s alleged interactions with radical groups. Chechnya had by then suffered through the second of two wars since 1994, and the turmoil had spawned a terrorist insurgency, influenced by Islamic extremists, that had affected the entire North Caucasus.

According to an FBI statement, the Russians reported that Tamerlan “was a follower of radical Islam” and “had changed drastically since 2010 as he prepared to leave the United States for travel to the country’s region to join unspecified underground groups.”

Dzhokhar, by contrast, was considered smart but quiet, always in his older siblings’ shadow, according to friends and acquaintances.

When the family moved to the Boston area, Dzhokhar, then 8, spent second grade at an elementary school in Needham, a Boston suburb. He lived with the family of a prominent Chechen doctor, Khassan Baiev.

Baiev’s daughter Maryam remembers Dzhokhar, who later called himself Jahar, as a happy boy who was good at math, who liked to rollerblade and bicycle around the neighborhood playground.

As they grew older, however, she said she had few interactions with him, only occasionally by Facebook.

“I remember when I saw him on TV… I ran straight to my brother, and said, “Did you see who was on TV?’ He said “Yeah, I saw it,’” Ms. Baieva, 21, said.

“I felt heartbroken, betrayed at the time. It was scary, because I didn’t know how people were going to look at me after, what people were going to think of me afterward,” she said.

Unlike with Tamerlan, the trip to Russia, the mosque outburst, the initial FBI investigation, Dzhokhar’s involvement in the attack was even more baffling. According to friends and acquaintances, he never elicited attention or worry prior to April 15, 2013, not from neighbors or friends, not from school, not from law enforcement.

At Cambridge’s Rindge and Latin high school, Dzhokhar was known as low-key, laid-back and friendly. He was captain of the public school’s wrestling team, an honor student and the recipient of a small scholarship from the city of Cambridge.

At the Dartmouth campus of the University of Massachusetts, Dzhokhar was known as a middling student and, according to The Boston Globe, an active dealer of marijuana.

“Dzhokhar kept to himself, he was smart. He made his own choices,” the family friend said. “He wasn’t the center of attention; he was always off to the side.”

“I never worried about Dzhokhar,” the friend said.

In the months immediately before the bombing, the Norfolk Street apartment was occupied only by Tamerlan, his wife and their daughter. Katherine worked as a home health aide. His parents were both living in Russia. His sisters had moved out.

On the Dartmouth campus, according to prosecutors, there were indications that Dzhokhar was exploring violent acts. Sometime in the spring of 2013, Dzhokhar downloaded to his computer several books and pamphlets espousing radical Islamist ideas.

One was a book that contained a passage by a well-known al-Qaida propagandist, Anwar al-Awlaki. Another was a copy of the summer 2010 issue of Inspire magazine, an English-language publication by al-Qaida’s affiliate on the Arabian Peninsula.

The issue contained detailed instructions about making a pressure cooker bomb using common materials in an article titled: “How to Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom.”

After his arrest, investigators later found Dzhokhar’s college dormitory room, his computer and a backpack containing fireworks that had been emptied of gunpowder.

The night of April 15, Dzhokhar sent a friend, the son of a prominent Boston-area Chechen émigré, a text message asking him if he was at the marathon and was OK.

On April 18, as police widened their search for the alleged bombers, the brothers shot and killed a police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, according to the grand jury indictment. Hours later, as the manhunt began closing in, Dzhokhar sent another text message to a college classmate saying: “If you want u can go to my room and take what you want.”

In the early hours of April 19, with Tamerlan dead and the suburban town of Watertown resembling a war zone, Dzhokhar, bleeding from multiple gunshot wounds, huddled in a boat parked in a backyard driveway.

Inside the hull and on an overhead beam, he scrawled several messages that give some insight into his motivations, according to the indictment:

“The U.S. Government is killing our innocent civilians; I can't stand to see such evil go unpunished; We Muslims are one body, you hurt one you hurt us all; Now I don't like killing innocent people it is forbidden in Islam.... stop killing our innocent people and we will stop.”

Edward Brooke, lawmaker,
reported to be dead at 95

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Edward Brooke, a former U.S. senator from Massachusetts and the first African-American elected by popular vote to the chamber, died Saturday.  He was 95.

Brooke's death was confirmed by a family spokesman, who said he died surrounded by family at his home in the southern state of Florida.

A liberal Republican, Brooke won his Senate seat in 1966 and was re-elected in 1972.  He was one of only two African-Americans to serve in the Senate in the 20th century, and the first since the end of the American Civil War, when state legislatures appointed senators.

President Barack Obama, in a statement, praised Brooke for an extraordinary life of public service. He also hailed Brooke's pragmatic approach to lawmaking and said he stood at the forefront of the battle for civil rights and economic fairness.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, a former Massachusetts senator, also issued a statement, calling Brooke a strong public servant.

Kerry added, "Whether in the Army infantry during World War II, where he was awarded the Bronze Star fighting fascism, or as state attorney general, battling corruption, or, finally, as a United States senator, helping to pass landmark civil rights legislation and pushing for affordable housing, Ed Brooke gave to his country every day of his life."

Brooke was widely seen as a centrist, during an era when Congress was noticeably less partisan than it is now. He was among the first U.S. lawmakers to call on former president Richard Nixon to resign in 1974, as the scandal known as Watergate gripped the nation. He also opposed two Nixon nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court over civil rights issues.

Observers widely viewed Brooke as a consensus builder who backed fair housing legislation and improved ties with China.

He lost his bid for a third term in 1978 to Democrat Paul Tsongas, as details of a bitter divorce drew the attention of the national press corps. The controversy led Brooke to admit that he'd made a false statement under oath during a court deposition.
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Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

Swimming pool at night
A Buyer’s Broker offering the best
of Costa Rica Real Estate.
For those looking for quality properties and service at quality prices. Central Valley Rentals. Offering honesty, experience and knowledge. Your Villa Real Expert. Call us now  Toll Free (877) 845-4533. In Costa Rica 4030-5480 or 8339-2112.

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Re/Max, the Pacific coast expert

Re/Max offers comprehensive Costa Rica Real Estate, vacation rental and relocation services. Our award-winning team is the largest in the country, and can show you the best lifestyle and financial investment properties in the most desirable locations including prime real estate in Tamarindo, Langosta, Conchal, Flamingo, Pinilla, Coco, Hermosa and Playa Panama.  Give us a call in Costa Rica at 506-2653-0073, or toll free from the U.S. and Canada 1-800-385-5930. Re/Max, the name you trust for the finest real estate services in Costa Rica.

Moran Arenal
Lake Arenal, Costa Rica
The undiscovered jewel of Central America, 35 square miles of blue, pristine, clear water ideal for fishing, swimming, boating, Real estate values still low.
Great lake front, river front land, farms, homes, condos and commercial property. Some with owner financing
This is far and away the most beautiful place in all Central America — cool climate. Try our two-day, all-inclusive discovery tour for $299.

Check with our Web site at
Contact us at the office: (506) 2694-0088
Cell (506) 8880-8888
Phone number from the U.S. (305) 307-0088
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Costa Rica,

Central America
Houses, lots and farms in Grecia,
western Central Valley.
Great climate
and safe communities.

Visit our Web Site:

English calls: (Cristian Arce) Phone: 
(506) 2494-0016 
(506) 8309-0173
English calls :  (Luis David) Phone: 
(506) 6154-1940

Español calls: (Luis G. Jiménez)  Phone:   
(506) 8707-4016
Grecia 884
Beautiful large house in Grecia, Costa Rica, with the best fresh natural weather. The property includes 9 challets and 12.000 m2 of land,  1,000 m2 of construction. Price $498,000. Click HERE!
Grecia 881
Beautiful house in Grecia, Costa Rica,  2 kilometers from the city.   340 m2 of land.
Price $135,000. Click
Grecia 898
Beautiful house in Grecia downtown. Full security cameras. Land 250 m2.  Price $400,000.  Click HERE!
  Send us your request to our email:

Real estate for sale (paid category)

Heredia montage

Cariaria  Los Arcos.
    Lot inside Los Arcos Residence. Absolutely gorgeous right in front of the coffee plantation. The lot is 326.50 meters. Includes the corporation for an easy transfer and the plans for a 170 meter house. Open to all offers.   Architect  plans included (the blueprints). Cost to the seller $4,000 this is included!!   Original Price $97,000 just reduced to $86,000

Also I am selling an Audi A6  2008, 2.0 twin turbo. Full loaded power. Back leather. Full service records at the agency in Costa Rica.  52 kms.  Silver with black. Full computer iPod interface power. Electric moon roof. Everything's a beauty!!  Incredible history and full service at the agency, Costa Rica Audi.

It's a package deal $104.000.  Must sell.  I am moving back to U.S.  Contact me  at my phone:  2260-6979 or cell phone:  8893-8672.

La Fortuna Distress Sale
Divorce forced wife to return to the U.S. with bills to pay. Just wants to get out from under. Modern 2-bedroom home on over 1100m2 intended for apartments or condos. Easy walk to center of town, great volcano view. $140,000 with 50 percent financing arranged. On vacation rental program now producing nice income, but Costa Rica no longer in her future. For details contact

Ringle resort
on one big lot in Esterillos Oeste, (Central Pacific)
Located on a breezy hill just 4 minutes walk to the beach, surf and tide-pools, only 20 minutes drive north to Jacó nightlife and shopping or south to the rural town of Parrita.

First, a 2-storey, 2-bedroom (sleeps 4), 1½-bathroom house with big kitchen and living room.  Full-width verandah with eating and sitting areas, overlooking lawn, pool and gazebo. Sitting balcony at upper, bedroom level.  Carport. and laundry. 

Second, a completely private single-storey. 2-bedroom (sleeps 4), 1-bathroom home with big back yard at a lower level on the same, big fully titled 1,100M2 lot.. Full security bars at all doors and windows, plus locking vehicle access and pedestrian gates at the street. In a very safe neighborhood, with private and natural surroundings

Well maintained, fully and tastefully furnished and equipped, hot water, local phone, cable TV/DVD and high speed wireless internet   The houses have been rented for both long-term and vacation for $100/$80 per day and $1,500/$1,200 per month respectively. See this place, you will love it! Then make an offer. E-mail or call (506) 8386-8825.  Rodney, asking $350,000.

Condo montage
Cariari luxury condo for sale
 PRICE REDUCED FROM $235,000 to $195,000
This is not an ordinary condo. Completed one year ago, a $45,000 renovating made it an exquisite dwelling. As soon as you walk in you know it is a special home. No detail has been overlooked, even minuscule ones. The owner has a need to move on, and someone lucky will be the beneficiary of the fine detailed work. The home itself has three bedrooms, two and half bathrooms plus a maid’s quarters with its own bathroom. Also, it has a living room, dining room and a gorgeous kitchen with a kitchenette. There’s also a small outdoor patio. Being the end unit of this four-home condo complex, there’s parking space for three vehicles.  Approximately 240 sq. meters. All this near the Cariari Golf and Country Club and its renowned Tom Facio golf course. The club also has amenities such as a fitness centre, exercise room, Olympic swimming pool, sauna, 12 tennis courts and many other benefits. Tel:  8384-9608 or 2293-9054  Price $195,000.

Atenas home
This developer's prime lot with super house is being offered in Roca Verde, 7,006 M2 of gentle grade, all landscaped for tropical effect, 3 bedrooms 2 baths with tile floors and hardwood kitchen, near the entrance of the neighborhood. Great floor plan on this one! There is a double carport, and a large patio and pool, wheelhouse style living room and many other features. View, large usable lot, close to town, nice, oh yeah. $495,000.

More photos HERE!
Another 'live in the view' home in Puriscal
$179,900 includes:
Lot on river, concrete road, custom kitchen & bath with granite counter tops, PEX plumbing, 2” Styrofoam, sandwiched in steel roof, 4” concrete/recycled Styrofoam & steel walls, laminated, bronzed windows, custom wood doors, appliances and all transfer taxes, and fees.

2, 900 sq feet under roof, 1,250 sq feet inside walls, 2 bedroom, 2 ½ baths, laundry room, three separate patio areas, covered carport, shade trees, in upscale, secure project.  This project has river with protected areas & walkways. It is only 10 minutes on all paved roads to Santiago de Puriscal, 45 minutes to La Plaza Mall/Hospital CIMA and SJO airport, and 1 ½ hours to Pacific Beaches. It has recently upgraded public water supply and dependable ICE electric and high-speed internet.
Please come visit our projects and meet four new homeowners who have recently moved into their new “live in the view” homes to verify how happy they are and that they all came in under budget. CONTACT: George Lundquist  Home phone: 2417-1041 Cell phone: 8888 4543 Skype glundquist.
To see more Photos of this house, click HERE!

Maneul Antonio
Manuel Antonio Estates focuses on building vacation homes for clients within Manuel Antonio Estates and Palmas Pacifica. We take care of the details from permits and design to supervision of construction and management of the rentals, if needed. We provide privacy and security, and our gated community offers shared common recreational facilities, beautiful landscaping and parking areas. Our homes and lots are located just minutes from the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica. If you've ever considered buying a second home, just minutes from the beach, do not hesitate, if you have any questions or would like to request more information please take full advantage of our Costa Rica real estate services and contact us today!
Manuel Antonio Estates    1 800 346-9724  (506) 8815-9606.

Ciudad Colon
Great Deal!! Apartment in condo with pool and extensive green areas:
Ciudad Colón, San José $112,000
The apartment has a master bedroom with a large ensuite bathroom with bath tub, and a smaller second bedroom/office with air conditioning. It has a second full bathroom, living/dining room, laundry room with hot water tank and storage area. The kitchen comes with granite countertops, a breakfast bar and new dishwasher. It has 82 m2 of construction. 2 balconies with beautiful views of the river and mountains. Private parking for one car. Elevator and a well presented reception area. Located in a very quiet and private neighborhood just 400 meters from the centre of Ciudad Colón. Within minutes to all major amenities in Santa Ana and Escazú. Easy access to the beach (less than 1.5 hrs).  24-hour security, visitor parking, pool, extensive and lush green areas, BBQ area, children’s playground and its own water treatment plant. Contact (506) 6022-9294 or 6022-9967, for further info or to arrange a viewing.

Suenos montage
Outrageous blowout prices on oceanfront condos in Los Sueños!

Located in the private Bay Residence enclave overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Los Sueños Resort and Marina, there are three gorgeous units available at unbelievable bargain pricing from $589,000.  All of these beautiful units are three bedrooms and two baths, 2,200 square feet, fully furnished and ready to move in.  Development includes a gym, access to 3 pools, jacuzzis, BBQ areas and the Beach Club.  If you’ve always wanted to own in Los Sueños, now is the time!  Contact  or call 8702-0778.  From U.S. call 209-482-1788.

Top floor unit: $649,000   Second floor unit: $675,000  Garden unit: $589,000

Newly available in Roca Verde
Well-built home of 215 m2, 3 bedrooms, two bath on 1,150 m2 of lot, with attractive rock retaining wall, carport, and a pool. Indoors there are high, vaulted hardwood ceiling, bright rooms, a laundry room.  The floor is ceramic tile in pastel shades. $247,000. Photos: 2446-5587.

San Ramon
Mountain home w/million dollar view near San Ramón
Beautiful home in the mountains near San Ramón with 180-degree view of the gulf of Nicoya.7 miles from San Ramón, 1 mile from Interamericana highway. 3,200 ft. elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 baths, appliances included. High-speed internet installed, Direct TV via sling box on Internet. $199,000 Contact   Check out slide show HERE!


Beach Front Home - Central Pacific Coast
Pristine condition, recently renovated. The best surfing and boogie boarding in the country. The most magnificent ocean and sunset view. New 20-year, fully registered concession on one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica. Easy access from San José (1 hour 25 minutes) located between Jacó and Manuel Antonio, in Esterillos Oeste.  2 or 3 bedrooms. Center room can be living room. House with 2 1/2 baths. Separated rancho with kitchen and large entertainment patio. Landscaped garden with no water shortage. Has both municipal and well water with automatic watering system. Direct access to the beach as no road is in front of property. Protected land on one side of the property for additional privacy.  Alarm system and complete shutters for security while away. Lot approximately 1,725 square meters, Asking price: $385.000.  Contact to Paul at local phone 506- 2637-8858  Cell phone 506- 8823-8550 .  US Mobile 908-400-9772  Emails:  and


Spectacular view property on a ridge near Alajuela.  Large home and 3 rental homes totaling 7,300 square feet (678 square meters) live-in construction.  Property area is 3,376 square meters (0.83 acres) including a vacant lot for expansion options.  In total there are 10 bedrooms, each with an ensuite bath.  Property has pool, rancho, mirador, courtyard and covered parking.  Homes have romantic fireplaces, built-ins, storage, other luxury features.  Turnkey sale includes all appliances, furniture, fixtures, equipment.  Call Gerry at (506) 2441-8796 or e-mail at  See property video here:

See virtual tour of accommodations here:

For more details go to:

ARenal property
Location: Near Arenal        Price: $2.7 million
Size: 113 acres
Web site:

The farm is at the highest point on a stunning ridge bordered by pristine Costa Rican primary forest on all sides of the property, with active wildlife all throughout the area. On each of its gently rolling terraced lomas you get a glimpse of Volcán Arenal from a distance. This property has four different lagunas, a working organic farm and nursery, mature fruit trees, sheep corral, ideal for grazing horses with stunning views from all the hillsides. The Northern Zone of Costa Rica is the country's best kept secret, providing a perfect home base location to travel the country's many destinations while still maintaining the best climate at 400 meters above sea level.

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call center
Call center for rent ready to go !
13 work stations, good equipment, good location, Rohrmoser, two blocks from Plaza Mayor. $4.000 per month. Call Kevin 8366-6861.

Live the dream!
Several profitable businesses, including a regional radio station, are for sale in Costa Rica. Certain purchases can provide the new owner with residency as well as a great lifestyle. So live your dream while making a profit. Contact:

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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Jan 5, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 2
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News from the BBC up to the minute

BBC news feeds are disabled on archived pages.

Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
You can't go wrong with heliconias

After the palm, the heliconia is perhaps most indicative of the Costa Rican tropics (…insert pause for arguments from people who
Victoria torley
disagree….), and there are so many of them.

At first, I thought all heliconia were tall and red. Please excuse me. I was a newbie from the States.  Then, for about six months, I called the parrot’s heliconia bird of paradise until someone pointed out my error.  Again, I was a newbie from the States, and they really do

look like bird of paradise. 

Anyway, I am here to apologize to all the heliconia lovers who read this column. They are indeed worthy of their own time and space, so here it goes.

Plants in the Heliconia family can do it all and do it well.   If you are looking for a bedding plant for cut flowers, the parrot’s heliconia is perfect.  They grow to a little over a meter (about 3.5 to 4 feet).  You can line the driveway with them or plant them in front of the house for good effect.  The rhizomes can become invasive and they self-seed so take some care with them. 

For the other members of the family, wow, they can be amazing.  Some of the inflorescences are upright and some pendulant, but they are all spectacular.  There are even fuzzy flowers (heliconia denielsiana) and flowers that look like the beak of a parrot (Heliconia psittacorum). 

Most of the flowers tend to be on the large side, but for those who want a more delicate flower, the heliconia irrsa and heliconia latispatha can be good choices.  The flowers on these plants are separated on the inflorescence and give the impression of an open ladder. 

Heliconia are easy to grow and can be used as an attractive hedge or as a specimen grouping.  The flower bases are usually yellow or white, while the flowers themselves are red, yellow, red-purple, orange, and a range between.  Most heliconia bloom all year long, and all flowers are long lasting after they are cut.  Flowers and their seeds are attractive to birds and other wildlife, so watch your plantings for visitors

Choose your heliconia wisely.  Remember, some varieties can grow to 8 meters (about 26 feet) and can quickly overtake windows.  Most heliconia do very well in full sun and moist soil and need little care.  If your stand of heliconia is getting too large, simply dig some out and move them to a new location (or give them to a neighbor). 

All in all, a great, year-round, easy-care plant for the garden.

Plant of the Day

The heliconia psittacorum is the parrot’s beak that I mistook for bird of paradise.  My stand has gotten away from me a bit and overtaken some of my roses, so I will be doing some transplanting soon. 

The parrot’s beak grows from 
A.M. Costa Rica/Victoria Torley
both seed and rhizome which accounts for its spread.   Plant in full sun and moist soil.  So far, we have had no problems with pests.

If you would like to suggest a topic for this column, simply send a letter to the editor.  And, for more garden tips, visit the Arenal Gardeners Facebook page.

Minor quake on Caribbean coast

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A minor earthquake took place Sunday at 7:34 p.m. near Limón on the Caribbean coast.

The Laboratorio de Ingeniería Sísmica at the Universidad de Costa Rica estimated the magnitude at 3.0, and said that most residents of the area would not have felt it.

The Laboratorio estimated the epicenter at 2.1 kilometers north northwest of Matina and 7.3 kilometers south southwest of Limón Centro.

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From Page 7:

Canadian program seeks qualified immigrants

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The government of Canada has begun a new program for immigrations that is supposed to be faster. It is called Express Entry and is designed to attract qualified workers to Canada.

The Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration of Canada is handling the program which evaluates applicants on their ability to speak either English or French, their education and their employment experience.

The program began Jan. 1, and the government said that it expects to have the first candidates by the end of the month. The program promises residency for successful applicants with needed skills that suggest they will be successful in Canada.

The new program combines three earlier programs to attract skilled immigrants.

More information is available HERE!