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(506) 2223-1327                          Published Monday, Jan. 6, 2014,  in Vol. 14, No. 3                          Email us
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New Windows operating system 8.1 can be tamed
By Garland M. Baker
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

A new year usually brings new challenges.  One expats are trying to avoid is upgrading to Microsoft’s new operating system, Windows 8.1.  The company is trying to cram it down everyone’s throats after the release of Windows 8 was such a disaster. 

In September of 2013, Windows 8 finally jumped past Apple's OS X with 7.4 percent market share.  Windows 7 still had 45.63 percent and XP not far behind with 33.66 percent. 

However, old computers die or slow down to a point upgrading is inevitable.  Most new Windows-based machines only come with the new system.

Most people do not like change, especially, when it comes to using something new when the old works just fine. That was the case with Windows XP. It was a great operating system and far superior to Windows 98, 2000, and Me. It was stable, usable, and fast. Most people back in 1998 to 2005 did not use Windows NT because it was more complicated, but an overall better system and true 32 bit.

When Microsoft released Vista, which was smart on security but full of driver and other problems, some people moved to Apple computers, the much friendlier machines. It was not until Window 7 was released did consumers get some relief.

Expats, young and old alike, take heart. Microsoft’s new operating system is not so bad. Actually, it is pretty good.  One of the many neat things about it is how well it works with touch screen devices.

Keyboards in the future may well go the way of slide rulers.  However, with Windows 8.1, one has the choice to use it with touch or a keyboard or both.

Microsoft, despite all the experts in the organization, still did not realize that taking away everything everyone learned in prior operating systems was not going to work. “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

What most people do not know, because the details are buried, one can turn off all new fancy stuff in Windows 8.1 and use the system the old way but still get the benefit of better, faster and more security. Antivirus and malware protection are provided free in the operating system with Microsoft Defender. What most people hate is the new start menu.

Microsoft assumes everyone has a touch screen when most do not. They just want to go to the desktop where they feel comfortable.

This is how to turn off the start menu and go directly to the desktop all the time.  Navigate to the control panel and find the option Taskbar and Navigation. Go to the Navigation tab and change the options. This cannot be done with Windows 8, just with 8.1.

Why is Microsoft making these radical changes? Are they trying to confuse everyone? The reason is simple. They are trying to catch up with Apple and the way the company has changed the world with iPods, iPhones, and iPads.

This brings up the next cool aspect of the new Windows, it is part of a cloud system called SkyDrive in some ways like Apple’s iCloud where a person’s profile follows them from computer to  
Windows 8.1
A.M. Costa Rica graphic
Windows 8.1 display

computer or to a handheld device. This includes photos, videos, computer settings, documents, spreadsheets, and the like.

In some ways, this outshines Apple iCloud, which is geared more towards entertainment.  One expat installing his new computer for the first time was shocked to find all his settings automatically transfer from his desktop machine to his portable. The new operating system worked so well, he dumped his desktop.

BitLocker, full disk encryption, is also available with Windows 8+ Pro and Enterprise versions.  BitLocker uses the Trusted Platform Module to help protect user data and helps to ensure that a computer is not tampered with, even if it is left unattended, lost, or stolen.

Portable computers have become so powerful, desktop units are dying fast. Many offer HDMI and mini-display adapters so many monitors can be run at the same time, just like old clunky desktops. Using more than one monitor usually saves on paper because printing is not necessary as with one monitor.

The world is changing very fast, especially in the area of technology. Some expats do not want anything to do with these changes. However, it is difficult to find someone who does not write at least email. To use email, one must use a computer or a smart device. This means he or she will be exposed to new tech along the way, like it or not.

For those using Apples, Mavericks is the new operating system, it too has its problems. To name a few, Gmail’s IMAP is wacky, scrolling is broken in Chrome and other apps, mail will not remember some passwords, and computers are slow or stall during restarts.

Windows people who bought a new computer last year with Window 8 pre-installed wanted to jump out real windows. Microsoft’s neglect to embrace consumer wishes hurt the company much like when it introduced Vista. The company has done its best to satisfy those needs with it updated product.

For those using Microsoft Windows, there will be a time an upgrade is necessary, like it or not. Do not fear it. Embrace the new changes. Once the learning curve is conquered, most will find them fun and productive.

Garland M. Baker is a 43-year resident and naturalized citizen of Costa Rica who provides multidisciplinary professional services to the 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 complimentary reprint is available at the end of each article.  Copyright 2014. Use without permission prohibited.

Little relief due soon for frigid sections in the north
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. National Weather Service is warning that much of the United States this week will see the coldest temperatures in almost 20 years.

Our opinion: It's not a trend

The weather service says the widespread chill is the result of a relatively infrequent alignment of weather conditions, allowing the Arctic polar vortex to travel unusually far to the south.
A polar vortex is a counterclockwise rotating pool of
cold, dense air that will affect more than half of the continental U.S. today and Tuesday, with wind chill warnings stretching from Montana in the north to Alabama in the south.
By Wednesday, nearly half the country will shudder in temperatures of below minus 17 degrees Celsius.
Several states in the Midwest already have received more than 30 centimeters of new snow, creating dangerous travel conditions and prompting church and school closures.
Meanwhile, the majority of the Western U.S. can expect relatively pleasant weather conditions through Tuesday.

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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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Colinas photo


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Happy New Year ~ Feliz año nuevo
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2. Best beachfront deal in Costa Rica?
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Ex-worker goes on rampage
at Rohrmoser geriatrics hospital

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A disgruntled ex-employee broke into the public geriatrics hospital early Sunday and went on a rampage that included beating up patients and busting up electronic devices, including flat screen televisions.

 The Hospital Geriátrico is in Rohrmoser.

The man fled before police arrived, but the Judicial Investigating Organization said they had a firm identification of the chief suspect. They said that the man had been fired recently from his job at the hospital.

More than a dozen patients were beaten as well as some staff members. None was reported to be in serious condition. The intrusion happened about 5 a.m. 

PAC candiddate
Partido Acción Ciudadana  photo  
   Luis Guillermo Solís of Partido Acción Ciudadana spent the
   weekend going door to door. In this photo he is in

Much-awaited political debate
scheduled tonight at 7 o'clock

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The second of two presidential debates takes place tonight starting at 8 o'clock. This is the one that matches frontrunner Johnny Araya with José María Villalta Florez-Estrada, who may be the main opponent.

The debate will be presented on Canal 13, the Sistema Nacional de Radio y Televisión.

All 13 candidates have been invited, and six were invited for Sunday night.  Only Otto Guevara of Movimiento Libertario and Luis Guillermo Solís of Partido Acción Ciudadana have any chance of winning, although all the candidates hope to attract enough votes to put members of their party in the legislature.

The election is Feb. 2, and January is the month with most of the campaigning.

The encounter tonight pits center left Partido Liberación Nacional candidate Araya against the man who is being called a Communist. Araya is the former San José mayor. Villalta is an opponent of privatization and the free trade treaty with the United States. Advertising for other parties claims he wants to turn Costa Rica into a Cuba or Venezuela.

Another debate is scheduled closer to the election.

INTERPOL will not seek arrest
of former rebel Edén Pastora

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The International Police Agency no longer seeks the arrest of Edén Pastora, the man in charge of dredging a new mouth for the Río San Juan.

The agency lifted its general request for Pastora's arrest. The Judicial Investigating Organization here reported the action.

A Costa Rican prosecutor asked for the so-called red notice Oct. 25 because of Pastora's actions in the invasion of Costa Rica. A judge in the Juzgado Penal de Pococí issued the warrant. The investigation alleged the taking of public property, in this case a piece of the country.

The Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de Nicaragua said that Pastora was working as an employee of the government.
Pastora's actions sparked a World Court case brought by Costa Rica. The former Contra rebel has been trying to put through a new mouth to the Río San Juan so that the area could be developed. Costa Rica claims the land where Pastora dug two canals, and claims the work had done massive environmental damage.

The International Court of Justice, in a preliminary decision, ordered Nicaragua to fill in the ditches.

Utah gun firm rejects deal
to avoid harm to U.S. troops

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A U.S. gun manufacturer has turned down a multi-million dollar opportunity to sell arms to Pakistan, citing concerns the weapons would be used against American soldiers.

Nick Young, founder of Desert Tech, said on his company's Facebook page that it had been approached to legally supply sniper systems to Pakistan.

Young said the Utah-based company's greatest fear was that the equipment might be used against U.S. troops. He said he started the company to protect Americans, not endanger them. He also said that his company employs several military veterans.

The contract was reported to be worth as much as $15 million.

Sales manager Mike Davis told local media that with the unrest in Pakistan, the company just ended up not feeling right about selling to the South Asian nation. He told the Deseret News that "at the end of the day, we felt our ethics are worth more than the bottom line."

The rifles Desert Tech would have sold to Pakistan have the ability to change caliber within minutes and the capacity to shoot as far as 2,700 meters.

Weapon sales to allies such as Pakistan are nothing new, but they can be complicated, especially in a country with an al-Qaida presence. The U.S. often targets al-Qaida, Taliban members and their Pakistani supporters in Pakistan's tribal regions.

Desert Tech said on its Web site that the company was created "to protect the freedom of the United States of America, our allies and people by providing the most compact, accurate and reliable precision weapons systems in the world."

Quake estimated at 4.3

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An early afternoon quake rattled the Golfito area Sunday.

The epicenter was estimated to be just 6.6 kilometers south southwest of the community on the eastern edge of the Gulfo Dulce. The 4.3 magnitude quake was not felt strongly in the area, according to estimates by the Laboratorio de Ingenieria Sismica at the Universidad de Costa Rica. The time was 1:06 p.m.

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Third News Page
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Jan. 6, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 3
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Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública photo
The Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas maintained patrols during vacation at many popular beaches.

For many it is back to the old grind after Christmas vacation
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Life returns to normal today in the Central Valley as vacationers return to work, and traffic jams reappear.

The festival at Zapote concluded Sunday, and the bulls are headed back to pasture.

License restrictions resume today with owners of vehicles with plates ending in 1 or 2 subject to fines if they venture downtown.

There is a heavy police presence because officers are seeking those who have not paid their marchamo or road tax.

They have been active since the first of the year snagging hundreds with 47,000-colons traffic tickets. That's about $96.

The death toll continued to climb over the weekend. There have been at least 10 murders since New Year's Eve, and there were additional traffic deaths to add to those announced Thursday. At that time the Judicial Investigating Organization said there were 17 dead from all causes.

A pedestrian died near Nicoya, and a motorcyclist died in Heredia late Saturday night, said judicial agents.
The Costa Rican bull fights at Zapote resulted in more than 100 injured, and some were hospitalized. This is the spectacle where dozens of young men and women enter the ring with a fighting bull. The televised events had been aired since Christmas day.

The twice-a-day bull fights draw many people who pay admission to enter the grandstands at the rondel or ring at the fairgrounds, and the television rights are sold internationally.

Promoters continue to search for ways to please the crowd.  Last week an adult midget played bullfighter to a 100-kilo young bull. The man was knocked silly several times, and the crowd cheered.

The attraction Sunday appeared to approach suicide. A dozen young men were asked to stand in a ring inscribed on the rondel dirt. The diameter was about 20 feet. Those who could remain in the ring for seven minutes collected 300,000 colons each, more than $600. There were five successful finishers.

Some left the ring to avoid being impaled on the horns of a bull. In one case, a bull forcibly removed one contestant, although the man was able to limp from the ring.

For much of the day Channel 7 Teletica showed clips of individuals being battered, thrown or stomped by bulls.

Concert Sunday will raise money for Canadian club's charity
By Joan Ritchie Dewar*
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

There is a well-known saying: “It takes a village to raise a child…”   It takes more than a village to provide education and inspiration to a child, but here’s a musical connection that brings great ideas together.

First, there was the charitable arm of the Canadian Club, the Asociación Caritativa Canadiense  and its founders Lyn Statten and Fred Boden, who have since the year 2000 championed the need for improved  infrastructure in Costa Rican schools.

The association’s vision is: “that every Costa Rican child has access to a clean, secure, well-maintained and healthy school environment in which to learn and grow.”  The fund-raising has contributed over $300,000 to help schools in 95 needy communities. The money went to repairing badly deteriorating roofs, bathrooms, septic tanks, providing classroom materials, erecting security walls, playgrounds, and more.

Then, along came Ms. Statten's Canadian cousin, Cynthia Johnston Turner, who is director of the famed Wind Ensembles at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.  Professor Johnston’s leadership integrates the theories of her master's thesis on the musical and personal transformations for students that occur on tours.

Before joining Cornell, Ms. Johnson Turner received her doctorate in musical arts at the Eastman School of Music, NY where she was the recipient of the Eastman Graduate Teaching Award in conducting.

Since January 2006, as director of the Cornell Wind Ensemble, Ms. Johnson Turner has led her students to acclaim on biennial tours to Costa Rica.  CUWinds tours include community performances across the country, master classes with Costa Rican teachers, instrument master classes for Costa Rican children, and the donation of over 250 instruments to music schools. 

Here’s where the Sistema Nacional de Educación Musica connects the dots between CUWinds and the musical school network, arranging for CUWinds’ master classes and community performances.  The Sistema Nacional Educación Musical was established in 2007 by the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud. 
Cornell Winds
Cornell University photo
Cynthia Johnston Turner and the Cornell Wind Ensemble.

The system's mandate seeks to give children outside the
metropolitan area of San José and in at-risk urban areas opportunity for high quality musical training and education, along with academic studies. 

Nine music schools and 20 children and youth orchestras are established throughout the country, each in turn performing outreach for further musical education in their communities.

CUWinds’ students benefit equally from this partnership, past participants quoted as saying that the tour is “probably the most significant thing I’ll do in my life,” “is an incredible experience,” and “taught me the true meaning of service.” 

The Cornell Winds 2014 tour includes 45 of the university’s best wind and percussion players. It kicks off Sunday at 4 p.m. with a concert at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre in the North American Cultural Center, Los Yoses.

The concert will raise funds for the school projects of the Asociación Caritativa Canadiense in many needy communities. 

Tickets for the concert and a reception afterward are 12,000 colons for adults and 3,000 colons for students. Children under 12 will be admitted free. Tickets can be reserved by contacting Ms. Statten at 2282-1146 or by email to 

Next on the tour will be performances and master classes plus instrument donations in San Isidro de El General Jan, 13, Buenos Aires de Puntarenas Jan 15 and San Vito Jan. 16. For the first time the tour includes Panama with concerts in David Jan. 17 and in Panama City Jan. 18 and 19.

*Ms. Dewar is a member of the Canadian Club of Costa Rica.


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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Jan. 6, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 3
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Monkeys determined to be immigrants to the Americas long ago
By the Duke University news service

When monkeys landed in South America 37 or more million years ago, the long-isolated continent already teemed with a menagerie of 30-foot snakes, giant armadillos and strange, hoofed mammals. Over time, the monkeys forged their own niches across the New World, evolved new forms and spread as far north as the Caribbean and as far south as Patagonia.

Duke University evolutionary anthropologist Richard Kay applied decades' worth of data on geology, ancient climates and evolutionary relationships to uncover several patterns in primate migration and evolution in the Americas. The analysis appears online in the journal Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution.

Today, more than 150 species of monkeys inhabit the New World, ranging in size from the pygmy marmoset, which weighs little more than a bar of soap, to the muriqui, a long-limbed monkey that tips the scales at 25 pounds.

"We know from molecular studies that the monkeys have their closest relatives in Africa and Asia -- but that doesn't explain how they got to South America, just that they did," said Kay.

South America split from Africa long before monkeys evolved, and the scarcity of monkey ancestors in the North American fossil record makes a southward migration highly unlikely. That's led scientists to speculate that the animals made the ambitious transatlantic crossing on a vegetation raft, perhaps hurled seaward by a powerful storm. Or, they could have hopped more gradually, using islands that now lie at the bottom of the ocean.

About 11 million years passed between their arrival and the first fossil evidence of monkeys in the Americas, leaving the details of their early evolution unknown. The humid, heavily forested environment of what is now the Amazon Basin has made both fossil formation and modern-day discovery difficult, but understanding what happened there is the key to New World monkey evolution.

"However they got to South America, they were evolving in the Amazon Basin, and from time to time they managed to get out of the basin," Kay said. "So if you want to learn about what was going on in the Amazon, you have to look at its periphery." Luckily, Kay said, scientists can do that in places like Chile and Patagonian Argentina, where he has worked collaboratively for the past quarter century.

"We know the Amazon has been warm and wet for a very long time, and that from time to time we got expansions and contractions of these climatic conditions, like an accordion."

The Amazon Basin functioned as a reservoir of primate biodiversity. When climate and sea level were just right, the animals spread and new species emerged in peripheral regions -- Patagonia, the Caribbean islands, Central America -- where the geology was more conducive to fossil preservation. Kay has uncovered and meticulously studied the monkey fossils from these areas to piece together their evolutionary relationships.  

"The gold standard is molecular evidence," he said. By sequencing the DNA of living monkeys, scientists have come to a clear consensus of how the different species and genera are related. But genetic material
howley monkey
A.M. Costa Rica file photo by Carol Phillips
This howler monkey had distant ancestors who somehow came here.

deteriorates, so researchers studying extinct species must rely on a proxy: the minute differences in shape, size and structure in fossilized bones. "It's the only tool we have," said Kay, but "it does a pretty good job."

Kay studied 399 different features of teeth, skulls and skeletons from 16 living and 20 extinct monkey species from South America and Africa. Then, using software that reconstructs evolutionary relationships, he built a family tree. He compared that to a second tree, built strictly from the molecular studies of living species, to see if the two types of studies affirmed or contradicted one another. Except for a few cases, the trees looked remarkably similar, validating conclusions based on the anatomy of fossils.

Kay also looked at how long-term changes in South America's ancient climate, mountain-building and fluctuating sea levels might make sense of the evolutionary pattern revealed by the monkey fossils. His research zeroes in on when and how monkeys extended their ranges to the Caribbean islands and the far southern end of South America, which is thousands of miles south of where they now live and only 600 miles from Antarctica.

The analysis further explains why the lineages that evolved outside the Amazon Basin were evolutionary dead ends. When the climate in Patagonia, for instance, turned cool and arid, the primates there went extinct, leaving no living descendants. Within the past 6,000 years, monkeys of the Caribbean islands also went extinct as a result of the appearance of humans and/or sea level rise. The paper suggests these monkeys came from South America rather than Central America, floating there by chance, the same way their ancestors crossed the Atlantic.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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

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fact-filled tour for your money. Winner of the 2010 Latin America-Asia Travel Excellence Award for the most UNIQUE and OUTSTANDING tour in Latin America. This  is the ONLY relocation/retirement tour really APPROVED with a LEGAL tour guide to operate in Costa Rica by the government’s Institute of Tourism ICT (license number DL-658-2004) in 2004. ALL tours are personally led by Christopher Howard, the author of the perennial best-selling ”New Golden Door to
Christ Howard with Max
Retirement and Living in Costa Rica,” the MOST read authority on living and retiring in Costa Rica,  and who has personally helped over 10,000 people with ALL BUDGETS relocate SUCCESSFULLY over the last 35 years. CUSTOM TAILOR-MADE TOURS are also available for people with special needs or who can’t take one of our fixed-date tours. ALL tours include EXTENSIVE touring and a highly informative SEMINAR by the country’s most renowned EXPERTS in their respective fields. Also visit: Live in Costa Rica to check out our NEW tour prices and specials.  Customer satisfaction 100% guaranteed! MY REFERENCES.

* Recommended by the Association of Residents of Costa Rica ARCR as part of the new Costa Rica Alliance (made up of the most renowned experts in their respective fields).

* FREE 50% DISCOUNT on the first year's MEMBERSHIP for the Association of Residents of Costa Rica ARCR with these tours
*FREE BONUS all people who sign up for the tour receive a FREE copy of the 16th edition of  the bestseller “New Golden Door to Retirement and Living in Costa Rica. At the conclusion of the tour they also receive FREE eBook copies of Christopher Howard’s other one-of-a-kind  bestsellers “Official Guide to Costa Rican Spanish,” “The Official Guide to Real Estate In Costa Rica” and “The Official Guide to Costa Rica’s Legal System for Tontos (dumbells).” Almost 2,000 pages of INVALUABLE material in all!

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Experience You Can Trust is an authorized representative of IMG insurance. For more than 20 years, IMG has dedicated its efforts to providing international medical insurance, travel insurance and impeccable service to the international community. It's our specialty. We realize that traveling abroad can be an exciting experience. We also know that anything can happen while you're away from home - whether visiting short-term or living abroad indefinitely. It's important to be prepared for any unexpected illness, injury or medical emergency. Many traditional medical plans simply are not designed for international travel. We offer: Indivudual/Family, Group, Students/Faculty Trip Interruption, Mission Medical, Specialty Coverage. Contact us at and get a FREE quote today: U.S Phone: 317-489-0189   Visit our web page for more info:

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Rent villas, homes, and condos for your Costa Rica vacation.
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Visit us at Costa Rica Vacation Rentals.

Anywhere Costa Rica plans custom vacations, and has the most comprehensive travel services in the country including travel guides, resorts and vacation homes,
Costa Rica tours and car rentals.   Call 1-888.456.3212 or 2479-8811 locally.

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.
Exotic gardens next to one
of our patios

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.

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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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We have many prime properties available for long-term rentals.
Santa Ana

San Pedro, Lourdes:  Furnished four-bedroom house for  rent near U. Latina.  3 bathrooms.  Two bedrooms have private bath.  TV with cable, wireless Internet, washer, microwave, all linens on beds, phone, garage with electric door opener.  Front yard and back patio.  Minimum 6-month contract.  $800 a month. Call Rick at 2280-3548 or write to  Owner pays cable and internet.

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.

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.
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 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:

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.

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Jan. 6, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 3
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Reading seems to make change
in the hookups within the brain

By the Emory University news service

Many people can recall reading at least one cherished story that they say changed their life. Now researchers at Emory University have detected what may be biological traces related to this feeling: Actual changes in the brain that linger, at least for a few days, after reading a novel.

Their findings, that reading a novel may cause changes in resting-state connectivity of the brain that persist, were published by the journal Brain Connectivity.

“Stories shape our lives and in some cases help define a person,” says neuroscientist Gregory Berns, lead author of the study and the director of Emory’s Center for Neuropolicy. “We want to understand how stories get into your brain, and what they do to it.”

His co-authors included Kristina Blaine and Brandon Pye from the Center for Neuropolicy, and Michael Prietula, professor of information systems and operations management at Emory’s Goizueta Business School.

Neurobiological research using functional magnetic resonance imaging has begun to identify brain networks associated with reading stories. Most previous studies have focused on the cognitive processes involved in short stories, while subjects are actually reading them as they are in the imaging scanner.

The Emory study focused on the lingering neural effects of reading a narrative. Twenty-one Emory undergraduates participated in the experiment, which was conducted over 19 consecutive days.

The researchers chose the novel "Pompeii" for the experiment, due to its strong narrative and page-turning plot.

All of the study subjects read the same novel, “Pompeii,” a 2003 thriller by Robert Harris that is based on the real-life eruption of Mount Vesuvius in ancient Italy. “The story follows a protagonist, who is outside the city of Pompeii and notices steam and strange things happening around the volcano,” Berns says. “He tries to get back to Pompeii in time to save the woman he loves. Meanwhile, the volcano continues to bubble and nobody in the city recognizes the signs.”

The researchers chose the book due to its page-turning plot. “It depicts true events in a fictional and dramatic way,” Berns says. “It was important to us that the book had a strong narrative line.”

For the first five days, the participants came in each morning for a base-line scan of their brains in a resting state. Then they were given nine sections of the novel, about 30 pages each, over a nine-day period. They were asked to read the assigned section in the evening, and come in the following morning. After taking a quiz to ensure they had finished the assigned reading, the participants underwent an imaging scan of their brain in a non-reading, resting state. After completing all nine sections of the novel, the participants returned for five more mornings to undergo additional scans in a resting state.

The results showed heightened connectivity in the left temporal cortex, an area of the brain associated with receptivity for language, on the mornings following the reading assignments. “Even though the participants were not actually reading the novel while they were in the scanner, they retained this heightened connectivity,” Berns says. “We call that a shadow activity, almost like a muscle memory.”

“The neural changes that we found associated with physical sensation and movement systems suggest that reading a novel can transport you into the body of the protagonist,” Berns says. “We already knew that good stories can put you in someone else’s shoes in a figurative sense. Now we’re seeing that something may also be happening biologically.”

The neural changes were not just immediate reactions, Berns says, since they persisted the morning after the readings, and for the five days after the participants completed the novel.

“It remains an open question how long these neural changes might last,” Berns says. “But the fact that we’re detecting them over a few days for a randomly assigned novel suggests that your favorite novels could certainly have a bigger and longer-lasting effect on the biology of your brain.”

Lyndon Johnson Presidential library photo
Johnson delivers 1964 State of the Union Address.

War on Poverty reaches 50,
but there still are many poor

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

In January 1964, President Johnson was aware that almost one in every five Americans lived in poverty.

In his first State of the Union address, just weeks after taking office, he proposed a solution.

"And this administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America," he said, issuing his first salvo in the war that would take the form of new programs to improve nutrition, health care, education and job training.

"Our chief weapons in a more pinpointed attack will be better schools, and better health, and better homes, and better training, and better job opportunities," he said.

According to James Jones, who later became Johnson's chief of staff, the president wanted to complete the unfinished domestic agenda of previous Democratic Party presidents.

"Things such as Medicare, which Harry Truman first proposed in around 1946-47, and nothing had been done on that," said Jones. "Things such as fair housing, which, again, went back to the Truman administration, and nothing had happened in 20 years."

When President Johnson and his wife toured impoverished areas in 1964, 19 percent of Americans lived in poverty. Today's figure is 15 percent, not good enough according to Michael Tanner, senior fellow at Washington's Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank.

"That's not a great deal when you consider how much money we've spent," he said. "If you want to reach back to 1964, we've spent maybe $15 trillion, and yet poverty seems to be pretty flat."

Critics in Congress say spending on poverty reduction programs is out of control, and the Republican-led House of Representatives recently voted to cut funding for the Food Stamp assistance program by about $4 billion a year.

Tanner also says the wide availability of welfare benefits reduces the incentive to work.

"Look, poor people are not lazy, but they're also not stupid," he said. "If you pay people more not to work than they could make by working, then chances are many of them are going to consider — think twice, at least — about working."

Still, Johnson's initiatives, despite their flaws, have lifted millions out of poverty, says Ron Haskins, a former White House and congressional advisor on welfare issues and co-director of the Center on Children and Families at The Brookings Institution, a Washington-based non-profit research organization.

"The general direction and the focus on poverty and some of the specific programs have been enormously successful," said Haskins. "The country is better off because Johnson did it."

Former aide Jones says the programs that arose from the War on Poverty were among Lyndon Johnson's top achievements.

"I think, now that history has had a 50-year look at his time, I think they're beginning to appreciate that he really was an outstanding president," he said.

Pope will visit Holy Land
and meet Orthodox leader

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Pope Francis is to visit biblical sites in Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Territories in May, his first trip to the Christian Holy Land as pontiff and only the fourth by a pope since biblical times.

The May 24 to 26 trip to Amman, Jerusalem and Bethlehem will mark the 50th anniversary of a historic trip to the region by Pope Paul VI. Pope John Paul II visited in 2000 and Benedict XVI went in 2009.

Apart from its significance for Roman Catholic relations with Jews and Muslims, Francis' trip will hold major importance for relations among Christians because it will include a meeting in Jerusalem with the spiritual head of the world's Orthodox Christians, as well as Anglican and Protestant leaders.

Francis, who has made many appeals for peace in the Middle East since his election in March, announced the trip to thousands of people gathered in St. Peter's Square for his Sunday address. He had been invited to visit by both Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli President Shimon Peres.

Many key biblical sites are in Israel's Galilee region but Bethlehem, revered as the birthplace of Jesus, is in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, in the Palestinian Territories.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built over the spot where Jesus is said to have been buried, is in Arab East Jerusalem, which Palestinians want as the capital of their future state.

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators resumed direct peace negotiations in late July after three years of stalemate. The Vatican has urged both sides to make courageous and determined decisions to move closer to peace, with the help of the international community.

Francis, who defined his trip as a pilgrimage of prayer, said he would hold an inter-faith meeting in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre together with Bartholomew I, the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople.

Bartholomew is the spiritual leader of the some 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide.

Francis made the announcement on the exact 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI's meeting in Jerusalem with Bartholomew's predecessor, Athenagoras, the first meeting of the leaders of the Western and Eastern Christianity since they were divided by the Great Schism of 1054.

The meeting between Bartholomew and Francis could also pave the way for an historic encounter between Francis and Kirill, the patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, the largest and most influential in world Orthodoxy.

There have been signs of a general warming between the western and eastern branches of Christianity, and Francis fueled hopes of further reconciliation in November when he met Russian President Vladimir Putin, the first Kremlin leader to publicly profess religious faith since the 1917 revolution.

Representatives of Anglican and Protestant churches, which split from Rome in the 16th century, are also expected to attend the Jerusalem meeting in May.

The Vatican did not release any more details of the trip.

Nuns missed a surprise call
from the Argentine pontiff

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A group of nuns in Spain got quite the New Year's surprise when they checked their answering machine and realized they had missed a call from the pope.

Leaving a message for them in Spanish, Pope Francis asked jokingly, "What are the nuns doing that they can't answer the phone?"

The recording was obtained by Spanish media. In it the pope goes on to say, "This is Pope Francis. I wanted to offer you greetings for the end of the year. Maybe I'll try to call again later. May God bless you."

The community of five Carmelite nuns in the Spanish town of Lucena reportedly includes three from the pope's home country, Argentina. The prioress of the convent, Sister Adriana, told Spain's COPE radio, she literally wanted to die when she heard the pope's message. She said she and the other nuns were praying when the pope called around midday.

News reports note Francis did call back and talked to the nuns that evening — New Year's Eve.

Professors embark on a search
for time travelers visiting today

By the Michigan Technological University news staff

Astrophysicist Robert Nemiroff and his students were playing cards last summer, chatting about Facebook. They wondered: If there were time travelers among us, would they be on social media? How would you find them? Could you Google them?

“We had a whimsical little discussion about this,” said Nemiroff, a professor at Michigan Technological University. The result was a fun-but-serious effort to tease out travelers visiting from the future by sifting through the Internet. Unfortunately, they have uncovered no time machines, but that hasn’t made the search less interesting.

You can’t just put out a cattle call for time travelers and expect good results. So Nemiroff’s team developed a search strategy based on what they call prescient knowledge. If they could find a mention of something or someone on the Internet before people should have known about it, that could indicate that whoever wrote it had traveled from the future.

They selected search terms relating to two recent phenomena, Pope Francis and Comet ISON, and began looking for references to them before they were known to exist. Their work was exhaustive: they used a variety of search engines, such as Google and Bing, and combed through Facebook and Twitter. In the case of Comet ISON, there were no mentions before it burst on the scene in September 2012.  They discovered only one blog post referencing a Pope Francis before Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected head of the Catholic Church on March 16, but it seemed more accidental that prescient.

They also searched for prescient inquiries submitted to search engines and combed through the Astronomy Picture of the Day site, which Nemiroff co-edits. Still no luck.

For their last and perhaps most ingenious effort, the researchers created a post in September 2013 asking readers to email or tweet one of two messages on or before August 2013: “#ICanChangeThePast2” or “#ICannotChangeThePast2.” Alas, their invitation went unanswered. And, they received no insights into the inherent contradictions of time travel.

“In our limited search we turned up nothing,” Nemiroff said. “I didn’t really think we would. But I’m still not aware of anyone undertaking a search like this. The Internet is essentially a vast database, and I thought that if time travelers were here, their existence would have already come out in some other way, maybe by posting winning lottery numbers before they were selected. “

The team conducted their study on their own, without grant funding. A poster based on their paper, “Searching the Internet for Evidence of Time Travelers,” coauthored by Nemiroff and physics graduate student Teresa Wilson, will be presented today at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Washington, DC.

Nemiroff, who normally publishes on more arcane subjects, such as gravitational lensing and gamma-ray bursts, says this recent endeavor is not as big a stretch for him as some might think. “I’m always doing stuff on space and time,” he said, adding, “This has been a lot of fun.”

taste machine
National University of Singapore photo
With this setup researchers can simulate taste

Computer system can simulate
various components of taste

By the National University of Singapore news staff

Online viewing and listening are now staples of those who live the digital life. But online tasting? This may be happening sooner than one expects, with a simulator invented by an engineer with the National University of Singapore.

The brainchild of Nimesha Ranasinghe, the researcher who led the project, the digital device can recreate the taste of virtual food and drinks by non-invasive electrical and thermal stimulation of the tongue. This generates signals transmitted through a silver electrode touching the tip of the tongue to produce salty, sweet, sour and bitter sensations. By combining different levels of electrical currents and varying the temperature of the electrode, simulation of the tastes can be reproduced.

From experiments, sour, salty and bitter sensations were reported from electrical stimulation, while minty, spicy and sweet sensations were reported through thermal stimulation. The latter group represented minor sensations, requiring further work to intensify the tastes. The researchers qualified that the surveys were dependent on the responses of the subjects, which varied for different individuals.

This work has three novel aspects, said Ranasinghe: the studying of the electronic simulation and control of taste sensations achievable through the Digital Taste Interface against the properties of current and change in temperature; the method of actuating taste sensations by electrical and thermal stimulation methods, either individually or in combination; and the aim of introducing a practical solution to implement virtual taste interactions in interactive computing systems.

The research team has developed taste-over-Internet protocol for taste messaging, a data format that facilitates the delivery of information on recreating the different tastes via the electrode.

Ranasinghe said that a new reward system based on taste sensations in a gaming environment could be an early adopter of the simulator. As an illustration, if a gamer completes a task or level successfully, a sweet or minty dose will be rewarded. However, failure is delivered with a bitter taste.

The simulator could have healthcare applications. For instance, diabetics could use the device for a taste of sweetness without affecting their blood sugar levels. Cancer patients may be able to improve their dulled sense of taste during chemotherapy with the electrode.

However, the four major tastes form only part of the flavor equation. Smell and texture play key roles, which the researchers want to add on for the full tasting experience.

Better way to trick mosquitoes
involves attacking smell sense

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

In many regions of the world, mosquitoes carry serious diseases like malaria and dengue. The World Health Organization estimates that almost 630,000 people died of malaria-related causes in 2012, mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa.  In Costa Rica thousands contract dengue each year and a few die.

Now, a group of U.S.-based scientists is working to develop a more effective and less expensive mosquito repellent than currently in use. 
The research at the University of California Riverside is based on the fact that mosquitoes use the same receptor for detecting carbon dioxide in human breath as they do for the odor from skin when they come closer.
The lead investigator, Anandasankar Ray, says scientists tested more than a million chemical compounds until they found a substance called ethyl pyruvate that shuts down the mosquitoes’ receptor.
“When we apply ethyl pyruvate to a human arm and offer it to hungry mosquitoes in a cage, then very few of the mosquitoes are attracted to the human arm because only a few of them are able to smell it out," said Ray.
Genevieve Tauxe, also on the team, says finding the mosquito neurons that detect both human breath and skin odor was not easy.
“With this apparatus, we are able to insert a very small electrode into the part of the mosquito's nose, effectively, where its olfactory neurons are and where the smell is happening," said Ms. Tauxe.
With these instruments, scientists were able to detect the signals that a mosquito’s neurons send to its brain when it senses attractive odors.  Spikes on the computer screen show when the attraction is strong or weak.
Ray says a repellent based on ethyl pyruvate may be cheaper to manufacture than DEET, the most effective chemical now in use. He says DEET is too expensive for most people in malaria-affected areas.
"Perhaps by finding designer odors, better odors that can attack other target receptors, we will be able to improve upon DEET and finally have the next generation of insect behavior control product," he said.
The University of California scientists say they believe they will soon be able to find a way to manufacture cheaper and more effective repellents for the fight against mosquitoes.  

Ban on demonstrations at Sochi
eased in decree by Kremlin

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Russian President Vladimir Putin has eased a ban on demonstrations in and around the upcoming Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Sochi.

A decree published by the Kremlin Saturday allows demonstrations and marches in areas along routes that still must be approved by various Russian officials.  The demonstrations do not have to be connected to the games.

Putin last year ordered a ban from Jan. 7 to March 21 on any demonstrations in the Black Sea resort city not connected with the Games.  The ruling was widely criticized by human rights organizations.

Saturday's decree did not say how decisions will be made on which demonstrations will be allowed.

Some world leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama have announced they will not attend the opening ceremony.  The announcements came amid security concerns ahead of the Winter Games.

Russia has planned strict security measures during the event.  Fears that Islamist militants could stage attacks during the Olympics were heightened by two recent suicide bombings in the southern city of Volgograd, nearly 700 kilometers from Sochi.
Real estate-related services (paid category)

Project completion specialists
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Pacifica living
A turnkey home and project completion agency devoted to creative vision and flawless execution. We provide a single, solid and dedicated point of contact for the duration of your real estate project, specializing in:

                      • Building completion services
                      • Interior design & decoration
                      • Custom furniture design & manufacturing.

Our primary goal is to assist our clients with a smooth transition to occupancy while providing highly personalized and distinctive services. We have refined the process to be a hassle free experience, especially valuable for clients who live abroad. We customize to suit each client’s personal taste, lifestyle and budget.
Serving region for 10 years.
We regularly exceed client expectations. We guarantee it.
Cell phone: (506) - 8707-8008
Office phone: (506) - 2288-5644

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

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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 2228-5961 or 8339-2112.

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: (Cristian Arce)
(506) 8309-0173  
English:  (Luis Arce)
(506) 7100-8489  
 Español: (Luis G. Jiménez)
  (506) 8707-4016  
Grecia 794
This is the BIGGEST DEAL of the month now at $850.000: HERE!
30,000 square meters of land and 750 square-meters of construction.
Grecia 792
300 square meters of land, 195 square meters of construction HERE
Grecia 807
  18,000 square meters of land and 300 square meters of construction. HERE!
  Send us your request to our email:

Real estate for sale (paid category)

Esparza home
Esparza, Puntarenas
Stunning open concept contemporary home 1800 square feet, high end finishing set in tranquil rural 1.3 acres of fruit trees and tropical flowers. Separate guest suite, artist studio, workshop, carport, electric gate.  Close to two international airports, surfing, fishing, golfing and shopping. More photos here:
Sale for $239.000 Contact:

Ojochal montage
Ojochal Paradise
Tropical paradise of 6.5 acres in Ojochal.  Cabin with one sleeping loft, all services, mountain and distant ocean views.  Several building sites available for main house or rental units. Close to surfing, fishing, golfing. Sale for $129.000  Contact:  for more photos/information or go here:

Located in Jacó at Barrio Ricos y Famosos
in Calle Europa, Casa Shangri La.
Main house: 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, 270 square meters, 2 condominiums 2 bedrooms, one bath, 110 square meters, plus one small apartment: One bedroom, one bath. Huge pool, carport for five cars. plus double garage, rancho with pool bathroom, gymnasium, laundry room, pool plumbing room, huge dog house in separate 500-square-meter garden with aviary for guacamayas (we have three birds) 60 meters of river front of Río Copey with a 4-meter-high protective and retention stone wall. Eight surveillance camera CCTV system with Internet access from anywhere. Over 2-meter-high brick wall all around the property with two layers of razor wires on top, the safest place to be! Electronic entrance gate, door phone, five telephone lines, high-speed Internet wireless access everywhere. Beautiful gardens with many fruit trees. Built to highest standard by German owner in 2005,  room for two more apartments, plans approved. Less then a 10 minutes walk to the beach and or center of Jaco. Price $ 1,350.000 negotiable. All fittings and furniture. German-built, excellent quality and well maintained. Owner financing available. More photos on request HERE!

Rich Coast montage
Real Estate, Central Pacific Region

Central Pacific between Jacó and Quepos-Manuel Antonio
Lots in gated community near the beach  from $17,999! Only 3 left
2-bedroom house in gated community was $120k now $99,900
3-bedroom house with 2 additional residential lots, walk to the beach $160k
Turnkey coffee shop/ bakery, corner location, great ROI! $65k
2-bedroom panoramic oceanview house, guesthouse on 2.5 acres $269k
Panoramic oceanview  property, 3 houses, on-ground pool $375k
And much more!!!
   USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005
   CR Cell 011 506 8718-9891

Samara church and lot
Commercial lot with great visibility in heart of Playa Sámara commercial district. Located alongside town's largest church, bank, hardware store/lumber yard, mini shopping plaza, and Pali (Sámara's largest supermarket). This lot has a large elevated building platform shaded with mature treees. All this makes for many commercial options.  One block from stunning "blue flag" beach. This is a perfect location for a eco/boutique hotel, restaurant/catering, apartments, or condominium. All utilities to this property. Lot size 1,414m2. Price 325K. Email:

Gorgeous Survival Farm located between San Ramón and Arenal Volcano bordering the huge Arenal Monteverde Nature Reserve. 30 acres of virgin rain forest with no neighbors, river, spring waters, rich soil, giant trees, homesite, no electricity, year-round 4WD access. 59,000 USD

Gulf road

Beachfront pristine five-hectare (13-acre) property

includes a common open air lodge with kitchen, three cabins, a caretaker's house, a garage and a secure storeroom. The property is maritime and has a current and valid maritime user's permit, all up to date and clear. In addition to the immaculately landscaped portion of the property that is already developed with bungalows, there are an additional three hectares that are ready for expansion and are cleared and planted in grass. The sales offer includes furnishings, appliances, catamaran, kayaks, and a whole series of extras. This property has about 300 meters of beach front in a docile portion of the gulf about 15 minutes north of Puerto Jimeenez, ideal for mooring boats just off the property shoreline. Has municipal water and power. Offered at $970,000. All reasonable offers will be considered. See photos and maps and more at Contact us at: or +1-866-514-7435.

For Sale By Owner
1 lot (1.5 acres)  at SIBU (8 lots total) amongst 50 acres of protected jungle gardens with sunset ocean views of Playa Nosara. Underground electric and water.13 minutes from Playa Guiones. Gated. In house financing available. Home of SIBU Sanctuary.

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:

Five bedroom home
Five bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths plus guest house
Price reduced $100,000 for quick sale. Features include out door BBQ, swimming pool, plus on the beach. The home is completely furnished with U.S. products. Each room is individually air conditioned.  Hot water in bathrooms, kitchen and laundry room.  Fully furnished. Includes TV’s, refrigerator/freezer, dish washer, microwave, electric stove/oven, washer & dryer and many “as seen on TV” appliances.  To see more, go to YouTube
Asking  $250,000.    Call Gary 8784-2945 or email

Becker montage
Beach property on the Pacific Ocean in Guanacaste.

House and guest house on adjacent half acre lots. Each with separate electric,  private septic and well. Each can be sold stand alone or packaged. Modern kitchen, granite counters, Viking stove, large separate frig and freezer. Private commercial grade septic and well. No water shortages even in dry season. High speed internet and U.S. standard electric. Center of the beach -- NEVER floods. Estuary at each end of the beach with excellent kayaking and bird watching through the mangroves. Excellent fishing right off the shore. Great surfing, horseback riding, bicycling or Turtle watching. Groceries three miles away. Mentioned in "The Lonely Planet" Page 301. "Two of the most beautiful and least visited beaches in Costa Rica. Wilderness beaches of fine silver-grey sand." Despite opportunities for great surfing, kayaking and just about anything else you want to do on a sandy strip of paradise, the beaches are nearly always abandoned. $500K Will finance.  More pictures available at:  Contact information:,  US: 001-612-599-0205 or Costa Rica 011-506-2655-1202.


ULatina, UCR, & U Fidelitas San Pedro, San Jose. $185,000.
Quietly located behind The Foundation Costa Rica Canada, 500 meters north of Iglesia Lourdes, San Pedro. ULatina, UCR, U. Fidelitas, bus & new train station are within five minutes Four-bedroom, three and half-bath unit within a secure complex of 40 condos with high cement outside walls with secure entrance manned by an armed guard 24 hours per day. Security fencing with electric wire, and a CCTV recorded security camera system is monitored within the guard house.  For additional peace of mind, this residence equipped with an independently wired security system, iron bars on windows and patio doors, a telephone communication system to contact the guard house and secure parking at your front door.   Beautiful mountain view from roof covered 3rd floor terraza. A green park area inside the complex for your children to safely play and an outside parking area in from of guard house for visitors. Cable TV/Internet lines and 220-volt service for hot water heater, stove and dryer. Water storage tank with pump maintains high pressure to bathrooms on all three floors. American style washer and electric dryer, refrigerator, glass top stove, and kitchen cabinets included. Other furniture items may be available. Call Bill   (English) C.R. Phone: (506) 6011-6987   or  U.S. Phone:  (630) 886-4458  or   (305) 848-5577. C.R. Spanish  phone number: (506) 8799-4041  or  (506) 8363-9898.  Email:

Med house
Mediterranean inspired home overlooking the Bay of Nicoya and Pacific Ocean. This design allows for barrier free living, yet maximizes views from every room in the house . Vaulted ceiling over the living area and kitchen give the great room it’s spacious, open feeling with a natural stone fireplace and imported Spanish tile floors. $365,000.   Property: 22,000 m2 or 5.5 acres. Construction: 4,500 sq. ft. including porches and garage. 3 nedrooms, 2 baths, full dining room, separate office. Custom wrought iron gates, custom exotic wood cabinets, high-end stainless steel appliances, Granite countertops.    Slide show at   
For more information contact:

beach scenes
Established Hotel/Resort -Great Business Opportunity:
The owner/manager of a successful hotel on the Gold Coast of Costa Rica has listed their property with us. It is a successful and ongoing concern. The property and buildings are well built and maintained. The property has a history of repeat clients. To protect the business for the current and future owners, detailed information of the listing will only be shared after an expression of interest and a non-disclosure confidentiality agreement is executed. It is located about one hour of Liberia airport and less than 500 meters to beach. The land is over 1 hectare allowing room for expansion. There are 18 bedrooms in a variety of apartments, cabinas and houses, A/C, bar restaurant and shop. Near golf, horses, tennis, world class surf and more. Listing Price of $US2.4 million. Mary or Jerre West,, 8879-0235 or (303) 317-6603

For sale is a beautiful 50-acre property located in Los Alpes, just 15 minutes outside of San Ramon. At about 4,000 feet above sea level, this finca provides gorgeous views of the Central Valley as well as the Pacific Ocean in the distance while also offering a wonderful climate year around. The main house is two stories with three bedrooms and two full baths. High quality construction using exotic hardwoods such as almond, which covers the ceilings throughout the entire house. There are also two corrals and a small casita on the property. This location is perfect for a farm-style home or for beginning an agricultural business. This truly is a rare piece of property and is available for $399,999. Price is somewhat negotiable and we will be happy to work with the buyer to make it work! Please call 8816-2478 or e-mail for more information ¡y se habla español!

humming bird nest

Bed & Breakfast for sale and personal home with 2 houses on property of 3/4 acre (3,030 m2) and buildings w/verandas & carport approximately 350 m2. One house at entrance is central to village w/gated parking lot and a 3-bedroom house for rental or employees/family w/carport/yard/gardens. A 50-meter sendero winds to the top among lush gardens where the main house is situated w/2 buildings attached by verandas & stairway to second floor.  There are 2 bedrooms, sala, 4 baths, large kitchen, laundry rooms, work bodega, storage bodega and hot tub on veranda w/tiled shower room.  Home is surrounded by tropical gardens, views of Arenal Volcano, panoramic views of Lake Arenal, private w/school owned property on one side, pasture land on back side and connecting entry gate on other side to Cabinas El Castillo & Fusion Restaurant.  A bird watcher's paradise w/hummingbirds, Montezuma, toucans, butterflies and visits from howler monkeys.  The B&B is listed four consecutive editions of Lonely Planet and the first established B&B in this area.  Photos can be viewed on the Web site:  Make your dream come true with a slice of paradise in a quiet, private setting. Call Ellen Neely at  8835-8711.  Email:

Guiones retreat
Approximately half acre on the beach with private path to the surf. Very private three-home complex with pool, spacious patios with two wet bars, barbeque and yoga area. Featuring a three-bedroom ranch style home plus a two story Mexican villa style home with two master suites, large kitchen and living area with ocean views and breezes upstairs and a garden apartment downstairs with separate entrance. A caretaker's or teenager's cottage and lots of space for expansion. PRICED FOR QUICK SALE: $899,000.  Call 506 8867-8883 or

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Business for sale or lease (paid category)
Jaco station
Gas Station/Auto Plaza
Located on the Pan American Highway, Jacó Beach, Costa Rica, Central America. This property is  45,000  square feet or  18,000  meters.  Liquor and convenience store is operational. Room to add an automotive service, car wash, restaurant, pharmacy, lotto sales, tour sales, ATM's,  etc, for a real money maker. Also future plans for a 80-unit  auto motel and casino. See on Youtube at: Asking price  $3.9 million. Email or call: 8899-9870.

beach scenes
Established Hotel/Resort -Great Business Opportunity:
The owner/manager of a successful hotel on the Gold Coast of Costa Rica has listed their property with us. It is a successful and ongoing concern. The property and buildings are well built and maintained. The property has a history of repeat clients. To protect the business for the current and future owners, detailed information of the listing will only be shared after an expression of interest and a non-disclosure confidentiality agreement is executed. It is located about one hour of Liberia airport and less than 500 meters to beach. The land is over 1 hectare allowing room for expansion. There are 18 bedrooms in a variety of apartments, cabinas and houses, A/C, bar restaurant and shop. Near golf, horses, tennis, world class surf and more. Listing Price of $US2.4 million. Mary or Jerre West,, 8879-0235 or (303) 317-6603

In the nine years of operation, DIGITS Resource Guide has grown to cover the entire Southern Pacific Zone, and opened the door to further penetration in San Jose, Jacó, Manuel Antonio, and Osa Peninsula areas.  DIGITS is the only one of its kind with no comparable competition. With the extensive groundwork that has already been achieved, the business is now poised to expand into an even greater level of success. Operating since 2005, the owner is retiring to another Latin American country. For a preview of the magazine, go to, or simply go to a local Distributor for a copy. Details on the business, its history, a strategic analysis of its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, as well as a Pro-Forma Income Statement from 2008 through to 2013 are available upon request to aha_jm@yahoo.

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:

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale

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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Jan. 6, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 3
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News from the BBC up to the minute

Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Key crop yields may have hit
a plateau, researchers report

By the University of Nebraska-Lincoln news service

About 30 percent of the major global cereal crops, rice, wheat and corn, may have reached their maximum possible yields in farmers' fields, according to University of Nebraska-Lincoln research published in Nature Communications. These findings raise concerns about efforts to increase food production to meet growing global populations.

Yields of these crops have recently decreased or plateaued. Future projections that would ensure global food security are typically based on a constant increase in yield, a trend that this research now suggests may not be possible.

Estimates of future global food production and its ability to meet the dietary needs of a population expected to grow from 7 billion to 9 billion by 2050 have been based largely on projections of historical trends. Past trends have, however, been dominated by the rapid adoption of new technologies, some of which were one-time innovations, which allowed for an increase in crop production.

As a result, projections of future yields have been optimistic – perhaps too much so, indicates the findings of Kenneth Cassman and Patricio Grassini, of the agronomy and horticulture department at the university, and Kent Eskridge of the statistics department.

They studied past yield trends in countries with greatest cereal production and provide evidence against a projected scenario of continued linear crop yield increase. Their data suggest that the rate of yield gain has recently decreased or stopped for one or more of the major cereals in many of the most intensively cropped areas of the world, including eastern Asia, Europe and the United States.

The Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources scientists calculate that this decrease or stagnation in yield gain affects 33 percent of major rice-producing countries and 27 percent of major wheat-producing countries.

In China, for example, the increase in crop yields in wheat has remained constant, and rate of corn yield increase has decreased by 64 percent for the period 2010 to 2011 relative to the years 2002 to 2003 despite a large increase in investment in agricultural research and development, education and infrastructure for both crops. This suggests that return on these investments is steadily declining in terms of impact on raising crop yields, researchers said.

The authors report that sustaining further yield gain likely would require fine tuning of many different factors in the production of crops. But this is often difficult to achieve in farmers' fields and the associated marginal costs, labour requirements, risks and environmental impacts may outweigh the benefits.

Sea Shepherd says it located
Japanese whaling fleet

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Anti-whaling activists with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society announced that they have caught up with Japan's whaling fleet near Antarctica.

Sea Shepherd said today it had found all five Japanese vessels in the Southern Ocean and had photographic evidence that showed three minke whales had been killed and were being cut up on the factory ship "Nisshin Maru." The group also claimed to have information about a fourth whale having been killed.

The society alleged that the whales had been taken inside an internationally-recognized whale sanctuary.

It is the first time the environmentalists and the whaling fleet have crossed paths this season.

The U.S.-based group regularly sends small boats to harass the Japanese fleet during its annual whale hunt. It is known to use stink bombs, dye markers, laser beams and other objects to attempt to disrupt the Japanese whalers.

Commercial whaling is banned under an international treaty, but Japan continues to hunt using a loophole that allows whaling in the name of science, a practice condemned by environmentalists and anti-whaling nations.

Sea Shepherd Australia is criticizing the Australian government for backing away from pre-election promises to send a ship to monitor the Japanese whaling fleet. The government has instead said it will use a plane to observe Japanese actions in the area.

Australia has been critical of Japanese whaling activities. The two countries are waiting for a ruling on an Australian challenge to the legality of the Japanese whale hunt, expected from the International Court of Justice later this year.

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From page 7:

U.S. Senate to vote today on Yellen nomination

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. Senate appears set to confirm Janet Yellen as the new chairwoman of the country's central bank, making her one of the most powerful figures in world economic circles.

The Senate is scheduled to vote late today on her nomination to head the Federal Reserve, and analysts believe she has enough votes to win confirmation. She would become the first woman to head the 100-year-old agency and replace Ben Bernanke when his eight-year tenure expires at the end of January.

The head of the U.S. Federal Reserve has often influenced world economic decisions. Economists are predicting that the 67-year-old Ms. Yellen, the Fed's current vice chairwoman, will continue many of Bernanke's policies. Both Ms. Yellen and Bernanke have called for a gradual end to the central bank's direct support of the U.S. economy and continued low interest rates.