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(506) 2223-1327                          Published Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014,  in Vol. 14, No. 5                          Email us
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About us
Jo Stuart
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Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones photo
Ballots readied
for voting sites

Election workers are packing material, including ballots, for some 6,515 polling places for the Feb. 2 election. They said they expect to have all the material shipped out by early next week.

In addition to ballots for both the presidential and legislative elections, the packages include the ballot boxes themselves, list of voters, crayons for marking ballots, a copy of the election code and posters for the walls.

Some presidential ballots will go overseas where for the first time Costa Ricans living outside the country can vote. Distant Isla de Coco also will get ballots, usually by coast guard vessel.

Campaigns ignore issues close to hearts of expats
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

No presidential candidates appear to be talking about the issues important to expats.

Foreigners cannot vote nor can they make political contributions, but they certainly have opinions and needs. Many feel they have been battered during the Laura Chinchilla presidency.

They cite recent changes in the traffic law that prohibit issuing a driver's license to someone who does not have a cédula, a DIMEX card. That card is only available for persons with legal residency, something that may take from a year to three years.

This means that a foreigner who is applying in good faith for legal residency still must leave the country every 90 days to renew a tourist visa if he or she wishes to continue driving on their foreign license. Or they can put the car in the garage for however long it takes for the Dirección General de MIgración to approve residency and issue the DIMEX card.

Banks, too, generally require such a DIMEX card for online transfers or to open an account.

Of course the expat in limbo who needs to make a trip to renew a tourism visa might also be hit with another problem that irks foreigners. Immigration agents are arbitrary in specifying the time period for a tourism visa. Some perpetual tourists here have been issued 30-day visas. Some foreigners who own substantial property here also have had that problem.

Snowbirds are faced with the need to leave the country at the expiration of their tourism visa. Most have swallowed the fact that they must do so at least once during a stay of more than 90 days. But now they are not guaranteed the 90 days.

Some business leaders who are foreigners have faced this problem with relatives who visited for several months. Some received minimal time on their tourism visas. Immigration agents also appear to be out of the control of the administration.

Then there is the problem of secure property ownership. Squatting is epidemic, thanks to Costa Rican laws that favor property thieves. Ask the expat who has been fighting to keep his property near Los Sueños for 16 years. He has another court date next month.

The reluctance of some presidential candidates to address this problem is understandable, considering how close they are to those who would grab property.

Johnny Araya Monge, for example, was married to Kenia María Gutiérrez Castillo from 1990 to 2007, records at the Registro Civil show.

During that time she and some associates had the good fortune to purchase at a discount a $1 million property on the central Pacific coast from a vendor of snow cones on the Quepos beach. At least that is
to what she testified in court, according to records of testimony. Johnny Araya is the current Partido Liberación Nacional presidential candidate.

The cheap land purchase was a good deal for the family because one of the three new owners was the wife of Rolando Araya Monge, the 2002 Partido Liberación presidential candidate and brother to Johnny. The third individual was the wife of a man who had been elected to the legislature, also on the Liberación Nacional ticket.

The U.S. expat owner of the property fought for years even after a prosecutor washed his hands of the case. Eventually even sympathetic judges could not accept the story of the snow cone vendor, who remained a fugitive. And the land reverted to the expat in 2006.

Someone had forged the name of the real owner to show a sale and then the three women claimed to be the innocent third parties who bought the land. The notary involved in the deal was acquitted because, he said, someone had stolen his notarial book. The expat proved he was out of the country when the fake sale took place.

There were no criminal convictions. A full news story on the case is HERE!

Plenty of expats who own property here have them in secure environments and subscribe to the relatively new Registro Nacional alert service that tells them if any legal changes take place on the holdings. So to some extent they are protected.
But if they are legal they still have to confront another growing problem for expats, the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social. Under current regulations those with legal residency, pensionado, rentista or sin limite, have to subscribe to the Caja insurance plan. Some expats report that they are paying in excess of $400 a month because the Caja workers took into account their presumed monthly income as rentistas.

Still there are many expats with other medical insurance plans, including policies written by the Instituto Nacional de Seguros or even stateside Medicare. Regardless, these individuals still have to sign up with the Caja under terms of the residency even if they never will use the services.
Finally, expats would like some form of speedy residency stripped of all the bureaucracy. The government has offered an amnesty of sorts twice to foreign agricultural workers and domestic employees. Most of these are Nicaraguans who will continue to work in Costa Rica.

Persons living here illegally who were older than 65 years also could have taken advantage of this amnesty, but few expats did.

Perpetual tourists here who own property or businesses and raise a family here would like to see some consideration to eliminate the need to pretend they were real tourists by leaving the country every 90 days or sooner.

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A.M. Costa Rica's  Second news page
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 5

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Professional Directory
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.


Marco Cavallini & Associates
Dental Implants and Crowns

Dr. Marco A. Muñoz Cavallini has placed and restored
DR. Cavallini
Dr. Marco A. Muñoz Cavallini
over 17,000 dental implants since 1980. The Dr. Marco Muñoz Cavallini Dental Clinic, is recognized as one of the best practices in Dental Reconstruction, Dental Implant placement and Cosmetic Dentistry in Costa Rica and the World. For more information, visit us today at:


Lucinda Gray, Ph.D.
California Licensed Psychologist
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Architecture-Real Estate-Development

At Architect Orange we are inspired by the visions of each of our clients, and have worked diligently to embody those visions in our work.

We have locations in Atenas (servicing Central Valley/Beach areas)
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Arenal office located at Agua Inn Spa


Quickbooks consulting

Kathy Rothschild
QuickBooks Consultant
Santo Domingo de Heredia
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Fine art restoration and conservation

Gilbert Carmichael
Master Art Restorer, A.I.C. Certified
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Experts in fine art restoration and conservation for the tropics. We clean mildew, mold, etc; repair, restore and offer art expert and curatorial services.

Real estate agents and services

Colinas photo


Jim Day, retirement specialist Representing Colinas del Sol del Pacifico, S. A
A fenced and gated project with the ex-pat hortaculturalist in mind. There are 88 clear-title hobby farms with water and electricity.  The layout is designed to provide ample space for your vegetable gardening ands fruit tree projects.
You can see more on our Web site:
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and 20 minutes to Liberia airport.
Please contact Jim Day at   or    Phone:  001 517 484-3675.

CR Beach

Happy New Year ~ Feliz año nuevo
Check out our  2 new videos:
1. Answering the questions: best beach place to live in Costa Rica. Try this link:

2. Best beachfront deal in Costa Rica?
CR Beach Investment Real Estate reminds you that Costa Rica’s #1 beachtown,“the new Jacó,” invites you to see the recent changes:  clean paved roads; more bilingual police; more trendy & tipico restaurants; new a/c movie 4plex & new theatrical-conference center; new central park with activities; more bargain priced properties for sale, and lower priced rentals…
Our agents have been here a minimum of 10 years:
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Translations and legal Services
Ms. Monge
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Simultaneous translator
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$270 million loan planned
to improve three hospitals

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Banco Centroamericano de Integración Económica will provide the funds for a new Puntarenas hospital to replace the Hospital Monseñor Sanabria, that was heavily damaged in the Sept. 5, 2012, earthquake.

President Laura Chinchilla signed documents Tuesday that will advance the loan.

The total is $270 million of which $129.6 million will go to the Puntarenas project.

The new facility in a different location will have 502 beds and extensive supporting departments. The central government said the new facility will be earthquake resistant.

A new tower at Hospital Calderón Guardia in San José will have 239 beds and nearly double the hospital's capacity.

The facility lost a three-story wing July 12, 2005, when a fire determined to have been set swept the surgical recovery area and other locations. There were 19 deaths.

The third project will be at the Hospital La Anexión in Nicoya that also was affected by the 2012 earthquake. A new building with 136 beds will be constructed.

All the hospitals are operated by the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social.

Casa Presidencial said that the new facilities would benefit residents of 30 cantons, about 1.5 million person.

© European Synchrotron Radiation Facility/Blascha Faus        t
This artist's impression depicts the magma chamber of a supervolcano with partially molten magma at the top. The pressure from the buoyancy is sufficient to initiate cracks
in the Earth's crust in which the magma can penetrate.

Scientists conclude supervolcano
needs no external triggering

By the Centre national de la recherche scientifique news staff

Scientists have reproduced the conditions inside the magma chamber of a supervolcano to understand what it takes to trigger its explosion. These rare events represent the biggest natural catastrophes on Earth except for the impact of giant meteorites. Using synchrotron X-rays, the scientists established that supervolcano eruptions may occur spontaneously, driven only by magma pressure without the need for an external trigger. The results are published in Nature Geosciences.

A well-known supervolcano eruption occurred 600,000 years ago in Wyoming in the United States, creating a huge crater called a caldera, in the centre of what today is Yellowstone National Park. When the volcano exploded, it ejected more than 1000 cubic kilometers of ash and lava into the atmosphere, 100 times more than Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines did in 1992. Big volcanic eruptions have a major impact on the global climate. The Mount Pinatubo eruption decreased the global temperature by 0.4 degrees C for a few months. The predictions for a supervolcano are a fall in temperatures by 10 degrees C for 10 years.

According to a 2005 report by the Geological Society of London, “Even science fiction cannot produce a credible mechanism for averting a super-eruption. We can, however, work to better understand the mechanisms involved in super-eruptions, with the goal of being able to predict them ahead of time and provide a warning for society. Preparedness is the key to mitigation of the disastrous effects of a super-eruption.”

The mechanisms that trigger supervolcano eruptions have remained elusive to date. The main reason is that the processes inside a supervolcano are different from those in conventional volcanoes like Mount Pinatubo which are better understood. A supervolcano possesses a much larger magma chamber and it is always located in an area where the heat flow from the interior of the Earth to the surface is very high. As a consequence, the magma chamber is very large and hot but also plastic. Its shape changes as a function of the pressure when it gradually fills with hot magma. This plasticity allows the pressure to dissipate more efficiently than in a normal volcano whose magma chamber is more rigid. Supervolcanoes therefore do not erupt very often.

So what changes in the lead up to an eruption? Wim Malfait a researcher with the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zurich, explains: “The driving force is an additional pressure which is caused by the different densities of solid rock and liquid magma. It is comparable to a football filled with air under water, which is forced upwards by the denser water around it“. Whether  this additional pressure alone could eventually become sufficiently high to crack the Earth's crust, leading to a violent eruption, or whether an external energy source like an earthquake is required has only now been answered.

While it is virtually impossible to drill a hole into the magma chamber of a supervolcano given the depth at which these chambers are buried, one can simulate these extreme conditions in the laboratory.

“The synchrotron X-rays at the ESRF can then be used to probe the state – liquid or solid – and the change in density when magma crystallises into rock” says Mohamed Mezouar, scientist at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility and member of the team.

Jean-Philippe Perrillat from the Laboratory of Geology of the Centre national de la recherche scientifique, Université Lyon adds: “Temperatures of up to 1,700 degrees and pressures of up to 36,000 atmospheres can be reached inside the so-called Paris-Edinburgh press, where speck-sized rock samples are placed between the tips of two tungsten carbide anvils and then heated with a resistive furnace. This special set-up was used to accurately determine the density of the liquid magma over a wide range of pressures and temperatures.”

Magma often includes water, which as vapor adds additional pressure. The scientists also determined magma densities as a function of water content.

The results of their measurements showed that the pressure resulting from the differences in density between solid and liquid magma rock is sufficient in itself to crack more than 10 kilometers of Earth's crust above the magma chamber.

Winds expected to taper
as well as the cloud cover

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Weather experts are promising a reduction in winds today as well as a reduction in the cloud cover. Winds earlier today reached as high as 51.4 kph (31 mph), according to the automatic station at the University for Peace in Ciudad Colón.

San José winds topped out at 21.2 kph or 13 mph, said the Instituto Meteorológico Nacional. Hacienda Pinilla and Daniel Oduber airport in Liberia both registered winds of 31 to 32 kph or about 20 mph.

Isolated showers are predicted for the Caribbean, the northern zone and in the central and southern Pacific, the forecast said.

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From A.M. Costa Rica

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A.M. Costa Rica

Third News Page
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 5
Real Estate
About us

New land crossing levy continues to be a sometimes tax
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The land exit tax is going down in the record books as yet another government boondoggle.

Another reader reported Tuesday that he was not required to show the receipt for payment of the $7 tax when he left Costa Rica at Paso Canoas Monday. Others who crossed into Panamá reported earlier that they were required to show the receipt.

The reader who crossed Monday said he was told that the new tax will go into effect in February. However, some expats who exited Costa Rica at Sixaola said they had to find a place there to pay the tax.

Thousands of Nicaraguans who went home for the holiday were not asked for tax receipts at Peñas Blancas. However,
some bus companies are collecting the tax from passengers.

The Direction General de Migración continues to refer questions to the finance ministry, the Ministerio de Hacienda, and its Dirección General de Tributación, the tax collector.

But those agencies duck questions and workers there put out a strange press statement before leaving for vacation Dec. 20. The press statement listed those places where the tax could be paid. That information is HERE!

Meanwhile, readers continue to contact A.M. Costa Rica seeking places to pay the tax. They are being advised to pay the tax, get a receipt but to not show it until asked. The receipt would be valid for another crossing if it is not used. Eventually the Banco Crédito Agrícola will have installed credit card machines at the border crossings to issue the tax receipts.

Public and private entities announce workshops for children
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Parents who want to provide their children with something more than hanging around the house playing video games have an option.

Public and private entities have summer workshops until school resumes again next month.

The public workshops include a number sponsored by entities within the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud,

For example, the Museo Nacional lists 19 workshops ranging from how to make a pre-Columbian pot to karate and the study of bats.

A complete list is on the museum Web site.
Parque La Libertad in Desamparados (2276-9400) also has a series of workshops for youngsters from Jan 13 to 31.

So does the Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo. (2257-7202) and the Centro Cultural José Figueres Ferrer (2447-2178).

Alianza Francesa said it is running workshops for youngsters and adults through Feb. 7. Children as young as 6 are invited. The workshops stimulate creative thinking and also teach French, the organization said.

For adults there is a four-week intensive French course and one to stress pronunciation in the language.

The Museo de los Niños and Parque Bolívar also have announced vacation programs for kids.

National theater company sets up contest for dramatic works
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Compañía Nacional de Teatro is seeking unpublished and unpresented works for the next season from independent theatrical groups.

The theater company in conjunction with the Centro Cultural de España has set up a contest that will see seven winners. The
works will be staged in the Teatro 1887 and the Sala Enrique Acuña from May to September.

The works may be directed to adults or an audience of youngsters, said an announcement.

This is the third year for the contest. Entries are due by Jan. 31, said the theater company.


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, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 5
Real Estate
About us

Research study documents snowball effect of overfishing on other species
By the Florida State University news service

Florida State University researchers have spearheaded a major review of fisheries data that examines the domino effect that occurs when too many fish are harvested from one habitat.

The loss of a major species from an ecosystem can have unintended consequences because of the connections between that species and others in the system. Moreover, these changes often occur rapidly and unexpectedly and are difficult to reverse.

“You don’t realize how interdependent species are until it all unravels,” said Felicia Coleman, director of the Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory and a co-author on the study.

Ms. Coleman and her co-authors, led by biological science Professor Joseph Travis, examined case studies of several distressed ecosystems that had been thoroughly changed over the years because of overfishing. 

For example, in the Northern Benguela ecosystem off Namibia, stocks of sardine and anchovy collapsed in the 1970s from overfishing and were replaced by bearded goby and jellyfish. But the bearded goby and jellyfish are far less energy-rich than a sardine or anchovy, which meant that their populations were not an adequate food source for other sea animals in the region such as penguins, gannets and hake, which had fed on the sardines and anchovies.  African penguins and Cape gannets have declined by 77 percent and 94 percent respectively. Cape hake and deep-water hake production plummeted from 725,000 metric tons in 1972, to 110,000 metric tons in 1990. And the population of Cape fur seals has fluctuated dramatically.
“When you put all these examples together, you realize there really is something important going on in the world’s ecosystems,” Travis said. “It’s easy to write off one case study. But, when you string them all together as this paper does, I think you come away with a compelling case that tipping points are real, we’ve crossed them in many ecosystems, and we’ll cross more of them unless we can get this problem under control.”

The full study appears in the Dec. 23 issue of “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. ”

Travis, Ms. Coleman and their colleagues are hoping that their research will accelerate changes in how fisheries scientists approach these ecosystem problems and how fisheries managers integrate system issues into their efforts.  They hope that more effort will be devoted to understanding the key linkages among species that set up tipping points in ecosystems and that managers look for data that can show when a system might be approaching its tipping point.

“It’s a lot easier to back up to avoid a tipping point before you get to it than it is to find a way to return once you’ve crossed it,” Travis said.

Fishing experts do generally understand how overfishing affects other species and the ecosystem as a whole, but it “needs to be a bigger part of the conversation and turned into action,” Ms. Coleman said.

Travis and Coleman were joined in their research by eight other scientists from the University of Connecticut, University of California-Berkeley, University of California-Santa Cruz, University of Chicago, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Maine and Centre de Recherche Halieutique Méditerranéenne et Tropicale in France.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

Hidden Garden
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.

Costa Rica’s #1 Time –Tested Relocation/Retirement Tours
Christopher Howard's Award-winning Combination Relocation/Retirement Tour. NO other retirement tour offers MORE options...MORE areas visited, MORE information, MORE people just like you who have made the move and a LONGER
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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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.

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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Real estate rental services (paid category)

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Real estate for rent (paid category)
prime properties
We have many prime properties available for long-term rentals.
Santa Ana

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.
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:

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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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Cat trees
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 5
Real Estate
About us


Weather relief is in sight
for those suffering in north

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Relief is on the way to the United States, which has seen days of life-threatening cold due to record low temperatures.
Temperatures are expected to rise to near normal in the Midwest by Thursday, and spring-like weather is expected in the east by the end of the week.
Temperatures in all or parts of each of the 50 states were below freezing at some point Tuesday, even in Hawaii, where it was minus six degrees Celsius on top of the state's highest mountain.
The cold that froze over midwestern cities such as Chicago and Minneapolis spread to the eastern part of the country Tuesday. It was minus 10 degrees Celsius in Washington, New York, Philadelphia and Boston, with the wind chill making it feel much colder.
Temperatures also reached record lows in the normally temperate South.

The bitter cold shut down schools, disrupted train service, and led to the cancellation of thousands of flights. At least five deaths have been reported nationwide.
The frigid weather was caused by what meteorologists call a polar vortex -- a rotating mass of cold dense air that usually stays in place in northern Canada, but was pushed south by the jet stream.

Trapped ships break free
from Antarctic icy prison

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Reports from Antarctica say a Chinese icebreaker and a Russian research vessel broke free from thick ice Tuesday with both vessels moving toward open waters.

China's official Xinhua news agency, reporting from on board the "Xue Long," said the ship reached open waters late Tuesday Beijing time after spending nearly a week icebound. The breaker became trapped and isolated after using one of its helicopters to rescue passengers from the stranded Russian research ship "Akademik Shokalskiy."

The Russian vessel left New Zealand Nov. 28 in an attempt to recreate Australian explorer Douglas Mawson's century-old voyage to Antarctica, before getting stuck Dec. 24. The Chinese breaker got stuck after rescuing the Russian vessel's 52 passengers.

Authorities said late Tuesday the services of U.S. Coast Guard ice breaker "Polar Star," dispatched earlier this week to help, were no longer needed. The ship will now continue on its original resupply mission to a key U.S. base on the frozen continent.

U.S. Senate advances bill
on unemployment benefits

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A bill to revive expired U.S. unemployment compensation has survived an initial test vote in the Senate. President Barack Obama strongly backs the measure, which would extend benefits for the long-term unemployed by three months if passed by both houses of a politically-divided Congress.

Six Senate Republicans voted with a unified Democratic caucus to begin debate on a bill to restart unemployment checks for more than a million Americans who have been jobless for six months.  Those benefits expired at the end of last year, bringing added hardship to struggling families and threatening the nation’s economic recovery, according to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

“Today there is only one job opening for every three people searching," he said.  "Failing to extend unemployment insurance will not just be a hardship for out-of-work Americans, it will be a drag on our economy.  Allowing this important lifeline to lapse will cost 240,000 jobs."

Reid blocked a Republican motion to tie further jobless benefits to a weakening of President Barack Obama’s health care law and to require budget cuts to offset the costs of the bill.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell argued the unemployed would not need government checks if Washington embraced pro-growth economic policies.

“It is time to get away from temporary government programs and give the American people the tools they need to drive an economy that truly works for them and for their families," McConnell said.

Fellow Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions complained the bill would add $6 billion to the federal deficit and do nothing to address the causes of joblessness.

“It is an aspirin for a fever, but the fever has been raging for weeks now," he said. "And we need to deal with the cause of it rather than continuing to treat the symptoms."

The bill’s lone Republican co-sponsor, Sen. Dean Heller, said many Americans still need a helping hand.

“These are hard-working individuals who rely on these benefits," he said. "For these benefits to simply vanish without giving families time to plan or figure out alternatives to help them get by, to me, is just not right."

At the White House, Obama hailed the initial Senate vote and urged swift congressional passage of the measure.

“There are a lot of our friends, a lot of our neighbors, who have lost their jobs, and they are working their tails off every single day trying to find a new job," he said. "Now, as the job market keeps getting better, more and more of these folks will find work.  But in the meantime, the insurance keeps them from falling off a cliff."

If Senate support for the bill holds firm, passage could come by week’s end.  Its fate in the Republican-led House of Representatives is unclear.  After the Senate vote, Speaker John Boehner issued a statement saying a jobless benefits extension should be paid for, and that the House will remain focused on growing the economy.

Anti-smoking efforts in U.S.
credit with saving 8 million

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. medical researchers say anti-smoking measures have saved 8 million American lives since the landmark report on smoking and health 50 years ago.

The Journal of the American Medical Association reported Tuesday that controls on tobacco since 1964 have also boosted U.S. life expectancy for 40-year-olds.

But the AMA report says efforts must continue to cut the nation's death toll from cigarettes.

Former U.S. surgeon general Luther Terry's 1964 report conclusively linking cigarettes to lung cancer stunned the nation at a time when more than 40 percent of American adults smoked. That number now stands at about 18 percent.

The report led to such anti-smoking measures as warning labels on cigarette packages and banning cigarette commercials on radio and television.

But cigarette smoking still kills about 443,000 Americans every year and is a major cause of lung cancer, stroke and heart disease.

The report points out that dozens of other countries do a better job of trying to curb tobacco use, with higher taxes, more graphic health warning labels on cigarettes and wider bans on tobacco advertising.

Intel says its processors
are free of conflict minerals

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. chip maker Intel Corp. said its processors are free of so-called conflict minerals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The announcement, the first of its kind from a U.S. technology firm, came from Intel CEO Brian Krzanich in his keynote speech to the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Monday.

"Two years ago, I told several colleagues that we needed a hard goal, a commitment to reasonably conclude that the metals used in our microprocessors are conflict-free," Krzanich said. "We felt an obligation to implement changes in our supply chain to ensure that our business and our products were not inadvertently funding human atrocities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Even though we have reached this milestone, it is just a start. We will continue our audits and resolve issues that are found."

The strife-ridden area of eastern Congo is rich with minerals crucial to the making of many electronics products. These include gold, tin, tantalum and tungsten.

Over the past two decades, militant groups, rebels and various ethnic groups have been waging a bloody conflict fueled by money from conflict minerals.

While Intel’s announcement is a first, other companies will soon have to disclose any conflict minerals present in their supply chains as stated in the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, which aims to make transparent various companies’ financial interests in the Congo. The disclosures must be made by the end of May of this year.

U.S. trade deficit declined
to lowest level in four years

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. trade deficit has fallen to its lowest level in four years, with record exports sent overseas by American businesses in November.

The Commerce Department reported Tuesday that the U.S. trade gap dropped to about $34 billion in November, the lowest figure since October 2009. The trade deficit reduction points to stronger demand abroad for American products and services.

Stronger exports could continue to boost the U.S. economy, the world's largest, as it recovers from a steep recession. Analysts predict the American economy will advance at a faster pace this year than last.

Increased energy exports and stronger sales of American-made airplanes, autos and machinery pushed the country's exports to a record of nearly $195 billion in November. Imports dropped to $229 billion, with reduced demand for foreign oil offset by high auto imports.

Through the first 11 months of 2013, the U.S. said its trade deficit was more than 12 percent lower than the same period in 2012.

Ex-Defense secretary says
Obama lost faith in strategy

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A new book by former U.S. Defense secretary Robert Gates harshly criticizes President Obama’s Afghanistan war policy, saying the president “eventually lost faith in the troop increase he ordered,” and that Obama was “skeptical, if not outright convinced it would fail."

Excerpts of the book, "Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary of War," were published late Tuesday in The New York Times and the Washington Post. 

Gates, a Republican, served as defense secretary in both the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations, from 2006 to 2011. After a request from Obama that he stay on the job, he agreed to do so. But he says he soon came into conflict with the president, the vice president and the White House national security staff over Afghanistan policy.  Gates writes that he never “doubted Obama's support for the troops, only his support for their mission.”

After months of debate early in his administration, Obama agreed to deploy an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, in a bid to stabilize the country so that a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops might begin in 2011.

In an excerpt published in The New York Times, Gates writes that Obama questioned the abilities of his commander on the ground in Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus, and expressed doubts about whether he could work with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. 

“As I sat there, I thought the president doesn’t trust his commander, can’t stand Karzai, doesn’t believe in his own strategy, and doesn’t consider the war to be his.”  For him it’s all about getting out,” Gates is quoted as saying.

But Gates says later in his book that Obama was right in his decisions about Afghanistan.

Gates harshly criticizes Vice President Joe Biden, calling him a man of integrity but saying he has been “wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.” 

The former defense secretary also says former secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Obama that her opposition to the 2007 troop surge in Iraq was based on political considerations ahead of the Iowa Democratic party primary that Obama won.  Gates writes that Obama conceded that political opposition to the troop surge in 2007 was political. And Gates said he was surprised and dismayed by the comments from both Clinton and Obama. 

Gates writes that he was extremely angry about defense budget cuts proposed by the White House, and says he was blindsided after the White House only gave him a day’s notice that it would repeal the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" policy that barred homosexuals from openly serving in the military. 

A statement from the White House late Thursday thanked Gates for a “lifetime of service to our country,” and said Afghanistan policy deliberations have been widely reported over the years.  The statement said the president has been “committed to achieving the mission of disrupting, dismantling and defeating al-Qaida, while also ensuring we have a clear path for winding down the war, which will end this year.”

The statement, issued by National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden, also said the president disagrees with Gates’ assessment of Vice President Biden, saying that “from his leadership on the Balkans in the Senate, to his efforts to end the war in Iraq, Joe Biden has been one of the leading statesmen of his time, and has helped advance America’s leadership in the world.” 

While he offers harsh criticism of the president, vice president and White House staff, Gates describes Obama as a “man of personal integrity,” and speaks of Obama’s approval of the commando raid that killed Osama Bin Laden as “one of the most courageous decisions I have ever witnessed in the White House.”

Pentagon will send 800 more
to support Korean security

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Pentagon has announced the deployment of an additional 800 troops to South Korea, along with combat tanks and other military hardware, as Washington seeks to counter any regional threats from North Korea.
Tuesday's deployment announcement came as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met in Washington with his South Korean counterpart, Yun Byung-se.  Kerry used the meeting to assure Yun of Washington's commitment to South Korea's nuclear defense, in his words, "so that we are prepared to face any threat."
Kerry said Yun and he are "deeply focused on the challenge of North Korea, particularly with events that have taken place in recent weeks" in Pyongyang.
His comments appeared to reference a recent political purge that included the execution of the uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
The killing in December of Jang Song Thaek, a powerful member of the reclusive country’s politburo, is seen by some Western analysts as a move by Kim to consolidate power, and by others as evidence of political instability within the North Korean hierarchy.
A Pentagon statement said elements of the 1st Army Battalion from Fort Hood, Texas, will deploy to two locations in South Korea by Feb. 1, in what a spokesman described as part of an ongoing shift of U.S. military power toward East Asia.

Dominican immigration rule
prompts summit with Haiti

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Haitian and Dominican authorities met for migration and trade talks Tuesday under the cloud of a controversial court ruling that threatens to strip Dominican nationality from thousands of residents of Haitian descent.
The talks are the first under a newly created bi-national commission designed to improve often hostile relations between the neighbors. They share the island of Hispaniola, the most populous in the Caribbean, with a combined 20 million inhabitants.
It was unclear if and how the citizenship issue would be raised, as Dominican officials have indicated the September ruling by the country's constitutional court was off the table.
The delegations, led by Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe and the Dominican president's chief of staff, Gustavo Montalvo, posed briefly for reporters but made no comments before the talks got underway at an industrial park.
The talks in the Haitian border town of Ouanaminthe are being observed by Venezuela, the European Union and the CARICOM, the Caribbean's main regional organization.
Haiti has expressed its concern following the court decision, which critics say could render stateless 250,000 Dominican residents of Haitian ancestry.
Dominican President Danilo Medina agreed to the talks after a mid-December meeting with Haiti's President Michel Martelly. Medina said then his government was willing to focus on migration, trade, poverty and the environment, but that it would not discuss the country's plan to carry out the court ruling, which has sparked widespread international reproach.

The constitutional court ruling orders authorities to strip citizenship from children of illegal immigrants dating back to 1929, even if they were born in the country and previously held Dominican documents.
After conducting an audit of birth records, the government said about 24,000 people, of whom 13,672 were Haitian, would be affected by the ruling. Human rights groups suggest the number is likely exponentially higher.
A National regularization plan, called for as part of the court decision, will provide a path to permanent residency and, eventually, citizenship for those affected, the government says.
Although the constitution grants birthright citizenship, illegal immigrants and others deemed in transit are an exception and, therefore, not entitled to citizenship unless at least one of their parents was a legal resident, the court said.
The ruling has put the country largely at odds with the international community.
On Dec. 18, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the Obama administration has “conveyed our deep concern to the government of the Dominican Republic.”
She added that the United States had “urged the government to continue close consultation with international partners and civil society to identify and expeditiously address in a humane way concerns regarding the plan's scope and reach to affected persons.”
CARICOM said the court ruling is out of synch with regional norms and principles. The Dominican Republic has been pushing for full membership in the organization.
Despite international pressure, the Dominican government has maintained it is not willing to revisit the ruling, which cannot be appealed.
While the Dominican decision has aroused angry reactions in Haiti, neither Lamothe, the prime minister, nor President Martelly have addressed the issue publicly, prompting criticism from human rights groups.

Pope has chance to shift
College of Cardinal's course

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Pope Francis is set to make the most important decisions of his young papacy in the next few weeks by naming new cardinals, the princes of the church who will help him set its future course and one day elect his successor from their number.
A pope's choice of cardinals is one of the clearest signals of the direction in which he wants the 1.2 billion-strong Roman Catholic Church to go, and what type of man he wants to succeed him.
Francis immediately set about changing the Vatican's image with his simple style after his election last March, so his choice of clerics to elevate on Feb. 22 is more eagerly awaited than usual.
He is expected to reveal his choices before the end of January so that preparations for the ceremonial consistory can be made, but so far there have been few if any whispers of likely names.
In the past, it was a fairly safe bet that archbishops of big dioceses or those heading Vatican departments traditionally headed by cardinals would get the three-peaked biretta, the red ceremonial hat that cardinals wear.
But Francis, who renounced the spacious papal suite for a modest apartment in a Vatican guest house, and is driven around in a simple Ford Focus instead of a bulletproof Mercedes limousine, has shown little regard for precedent or tradition.
“He will feel very free to choose the people he thinks should be in those positions, regardless of what was done before,” said the Rev. Antonio Spadaro, the editor of the Jesuit journal Civilta Cattolica who interviewed the pope last summer.
“Certainly it will help us further understand where he wants the Church to go.”

There are currently 14 vacancies in the College of Cardinals for cardinal electors, those who would be allowed to enter a conclave to elect a pope.
Church rules in theory limit the number of cardinal electors to 120. But Francis can decide to bend or even abolish the rule.
In any case, 10 cardinals who are now electors will turn 80 during 2014, so Francis could appoint as many as 24 new cardinal electors and still have their number back to 120 by the end of the year.
Apart from potentially shifting the liberal-conservative balance of the college, and elevating men whose personal abilities he values, Francis could also alter its geographical distribution.
In the conclave that elected Francis last March, 60 cardinals were from Europe, even though the church on the continent has been hardest hit by falling membership. Italy alone had 28.
By comparison, there were only 19 cardinals from all of Latin America, a region with the largest Catholic populations, and 11 and 10 respectively from Africa and Asia, where the church is growing fast.
Francis, previously archbishop of Buenos Aires, is the first Latin American pope in history and the first non-European in 1,600 years.
Apart from naming new cardinal electors under 80, Francis is also expected to give the honorific title to a number of elderly churchmen in gratitude for decades of service. They are usually theologians or academics, and would not be eligible to enter a conclave.
Real estate-related services (paid category)

Project completion specialists
Casa del pacifico logo
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)

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 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
Moran logo

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)

Cahuita estate
Beach house in Cahuita for sale
2,000-sq. ft. house, 2 bedrooms. 2 baths. With incredible view of sea.  House has beautiful hardwood open upstairs deck. Teakwood floor upstairs. CB and ceramic downstairs, Very well built with beautiful hardwoods upstairs.  Oval bathtub, hand painted ceramic sinks  The view is through 240 meters of jungle and coconut trees to the beach. The beach in front is perfect and quiet. Very secure area. Property located adjacent to our wildlife sanctuary and botanical gardens. Great group of neighbors from U.S.A.,  Italy, Holland, Sweden, etc. This very private property is owned by Todd Scottland for more then  35 years. Taxes are paid up to date. This is a gem of a house. Must see!  Price  $205,000.00.  Email to: Email for more photos.
Phone 2755-0014 or cell phone 8610-0490.

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. 70% 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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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

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, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 5
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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
Former Miss Venezuela dies
while visiting her homeland

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Assailants shot dead a former Miss Venezuela and her husband in the latest high-profile case of violent crime in the South American nation, authorities said Tuesday.

Monica Spear, 29, who was also a soap opera actress, and Henry Berry, 49, died in an attempted robbery on the highway between Puerto Cabello and Valencia in central Venezuela.

The 2004 Miss Venezuela winner lived in the United States but was vacationing in Venezuela. The pair's 5-year-old daughter survived the attack late Monday, but with a bullet wound in her leg, the government and local media said.
Reports indicated Ms. Spear's car may have broken down before armed robbers approached, a common occurrence on roads after dark in one of the world's most violent nations.

Showbiz colleagues were devastated.

"I'm so sad for my Venezuela, my condolences for Monica Spear's family. Rage and impotence are what I feel right now," wrote Venezuelan salsa singer Oscar D'Leon on Twitter.

Venezuela's official homicide rate late year was 39 per 100,000 inhabitants, but local non-government organizations put the figure at nearly twice that for a total of 24,000 deaths.

President Nicolas Maduro has declared beating violent crime his No. 1 priority, and polls consistently show it to be Venezuelans' main concern.

But opponents say the government's anti-crime plans are not tackling root causes, such as impunity for criminals, corrupt courts and police complicity in some crime.

Press advocate deplores
newsprint import restrictions

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

The Inter American Press Association said Tuesday that it holds the Venezuelan government responsible for the potential closure of the newspaper El Impulso, beset by obstacles to obtain permits to import newsprint and other supplies as part of an official strategy aimed at punishing independent media.

The chairman of the association’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Claudio Paolillo, declared, “This is clearly an extremely delicate situation in which the Venezuelan government is directly responsible for bringing about the shutdown of El Impulso and other print media for their critical editorial stance.”

El Impulso said in an editorial headlined “Nos quieren silenciar” (They Want to Silence Us), published Sunday, that it is facing problems with its newsprint, which is about to run out. The newspaper, the oldest in Venezuela which on Jan. 1 celebrated its 110th anniversary, expressed concern that this situation could affect the quality of its news content and it might have to choose to eventually interrupt its distribution.

“The supplies available to us will last hardly three weeks, and that thanks to the juggling, onerous financial sacrifices and pitiful cuts that we have been forced to put into effect regarding the number of pages and various sections of the daily,” said El Impulso, a regional newspaper published in Barquisimeto in the northeastern state of Lara.

Despite having fully complied with all the requirements contained in the legal framework” pertaining to the granting of permits and preferential foreign exchange essential to import newsprint rolls and other supplies, the newspaper said that there continues to be an official refusal regarding “humiliating delays, excuses and administrative silences; to which they do not strictly say no to, but neither do they loosen the controls of their despotic intransigence.” It is “discriminatory treatment, therefore unlawful, no doubt linked to this newspaper’s editorial stance.”             

Paolillo, editor of the Montevideo, Uruguay, weekly Búsqueda, said “the government of President Nicolás Maduro is continuing with its premeditated strategy of financially strangling Venezuelan newspapers, restricting their access to imported supplies essential for their publication, something that we have already been denouncing.”

The newspaper ended its editorial declaring that “they are subjecting us to their own methods of restraints, at the time of applying a gag. They seek to silence us. And while it is not a military order, it is an action of force, given that, quite clearly, it is not based on reason.”

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From Page 7:

China says that it will permit private banks

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

China said it will allow the first privately-owned banks to operate in the country this year as part of efforts to reform and open the banking sector.

Following through on reform plans announced at a major Communist Party meeting in November, the China banking regulatory commission announced Tuesday investors will be allowed to own and operate up to five banks in a closely supervised pilot project.  Ownership will be restricted to Chinese citizens with foreign investment being considered for the future.

Independent financial commentator Gong Shengli said reforms are needed because the monopoly of China's five major state-owned banks has reached unsustainable levels.

"These five banks have monopolized more than 80 percent of the currency flows in the national monetary market," he said.

All banks in China are state-owned.  Critics said this has led to cheap and often ill-advised loans for state-run enterprises and a shortage of lending to private businesses.

Gong said the system forces many firms to seek loans on the black market.

"According to a survey of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, in 2013 the scale of shadow bank lending accounted for 40 percent of all bank loans.  But these shadow bank lending activities have been only operated in the underground, not in the sun,” he said.

But underground banks lack the supervision and protection mechanisms to protect private enterprises or investors.