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(506) 2223-1327                         Published Monday, Jan. 13, 2014,  in Vol. 14, No. 8                          Email us
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This is Castillo Azul, the 103-year-old mansion on Cuesta de Mora hill in San José that is the most distinctive building in the Asamblea Legislativa complex. Until 1954 it was the U.S. Embassy. Earlier it served as home and office to the president.
Castillo Azul
Wikimedia Commons/Antonio Solera

Legislative makeup will have big impact on country
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

As presidential candidates debate, as they did again Sunday night, legislative candidates are being overlooked. But the legislature also is important.

Costa Ricans will vote twice Feb. 2. There are presidential and legislative ballots. In many cases, the legislative candidate is an unknown. The legislative vote generally parallels the presidential one. A voter who prefers one party's presidential candidate probably also will vote for the party's legislative candidates.

All of the candidates, both presidential and legislative, have been selected by party conventions. Each party has a list of legislative candidates. When the public vote is tallied, legislative seats are distributed based on the proportion of the vote for the party in each province.

Successful legislative candidates can hire other party members as advisers and other office positions. So the party faithful  can be rewarded based on that vote, too.

The proportional distribution of legislative seats guarantees that Frente Amplio will have more legislative deputies for the next four-year term than the single representative in the current legislature. The party's presidential candidate, José María Villalta Florez-Estrada, may not win, but he will boost the vote for the party, particularly among the young intellectuals n the Central Valley.

Frente Amplio, the Costa Rican manifestation of the Community party, seeks progressive social legislation, such as a hike in the minimum wages. So the party's presence is likely to influence the course of legislation. The impact will be stronger if Frente Amplio gains enough seats to negotiate for a
coalition with another party to gain control of the 57-member assembly.

Villalta appears to be the main target of other political parties. Liberación Nacional warns that he will turn Costa Rica into another economic basket case like Venezuela. Anti-Villalta commercials and YouTube videos show him protesting along with students in rock-throwing confrontations with police in front of the legislative buildings. More poll results this week will show if the demonization is effective.

Villalta gave a summary of the party's position when he appeared with four other candidates on Channel 9's debate Sunday night. The debate will be rebroadcast tonight at 8 p.m. He favors increases in the minimum salaries, and he is suspicious of government concessions for public purposes and the privatization of state services.

While serving in the current legislature, he also proposed price controls on medicines.

Appearing with Villalta Sunday were Otto Guevara Guth of Movimiento Libertario, Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera of the Partido Acción Ciudadana, Johnny Araya Monge of Partido Liberación Nacional and Rudolfo Piza de Rocafort of the Partido Unidad Social Cristiana.

There are 13 presidential candidates and as many national parties. The five who debated Sunday were picked based on their position in polls. Some of the minor candidates went to the Sala IV constitutional court in an unsuccessful effort to force the court to demand that private debates include all candidates.

The Canal 9 debate was a lightning affair with candidates getting sometimes as little as 15 seconds to respond. Then each had the opportunity to quiz their rivals.
A.M. Costa Rica photo
The five candidates had an audience at the Canal 9 debate.

Police investigated after gunplay hurts trio in Hatillo
 By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A shootout in Hatillo about 6 p.m. Saturday left three persons injured, and Fuerza Pública officers are suspected of pulling the triggers.

The Judicial Investigating Organization has confiscated the pistols of the police officers involved for testing. The agency said that there appeared to have been an altercation with the police and residents in the area while officers were conducting some form of operation.

The shootings took place in Ciudadela 25 de Julio, a
low-income area in Hatillo, which is on the south side of San José.

A woman and a man were wounded in a hand while another woman, identified by the last name of Chacón was shot in the head, said judicial agents. She is in Hospital San Juan de Dios. The other two shooting victims were treated at a local clinic.

The security ministry did not comment.

Agents are relying on ballistics tests to determine who fired the shots. There was no indication that the residents were armed.

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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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Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública       
This is like one of those clown cars in the circus where performers keep getting out. In this case, it was beer and alcohol that police confiscated near Golfito.

Rice protected for another year
from forces of free market

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The government has waffled again on freeing the price of rice.

The minister de Agricultura y Ganadería and the minister of Economía, Industria y Comercio announced Friday that they had delayed the decree that would cause rice to be subject to market conditions.

The rice producers had promised protests in several parts of the country today.

The original decree would have ended price controls on the food staple March 1. The government already agreed to delay this for six months. Now the proposed date is March 1, 2015.

Mayi Antillón Guerrero, the economics minister, has shown a strong free market tendency during her tenure. Officials note that higher prices for the growers means higher prices for consumer.

Rice growers and their Corporación Arrocera Nacional are not happy with the removal of price controls because Costa Rican rice has been more expensive than foreign imports.

The original decree noted that the Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio sought help from the Instituto de Investigaciones en Ciencias Económicas at the Universidad de Costa Rica. The institute report said that consumers have paid higher prices due to the government support and that there is no economic or social argument to justify the current system.

In addition, the report said, the price control has not resulted in an increase in productivity by rice farmers because the level of cultivation has declined over the last 20 years.

Rice growers said that the removal of the price controls would jeopardize the basic food supply of Costa Ricans.

Johnny Araya, the presidential candidate for the Partido Liberación Nacional, has said that Ms. Antillón, Gloria Abrahams, minister of Agricultura y Gandería, and Anabel González, the minister of Comercio Exterior, would have no role in his government.

Rice growers also were peeved at imports into the southern zone. They sought trade restrictions.  However, President Laura Chinchilla was reported to have denied this request, which would come up against various trade treaties.

The growers also are seeking a reduction in the premium for crop insurance for policies issued by the Instituto Nacional de Seguros. Government officials said they would come up with a revised proposal this week.

Country expresses sympathies
for death of Ariel Sharon

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
and wire service reports

The country has expressed its deepest sympathies for the death of former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon. The sentiment was contained in a statement released by the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto.

Sharon died Saturday at the age of 85. He had spent the past eight years in a coma following a stroke. The funeral service today at the country's parliament will be followed by a private funeral at Sharon's ranch in the Negev desert in southern Israel.

Sunday, thousands of Israelis filed past the coffin of the former prime minister as he lay in state at the Knesset, Israel's parliament.

Our reader's opinion
Government makes living
difficult for expats here

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Re Government shortsightedness.

I am sorry but I must agree with Bob Stone.

I have a house here. But I am only here for six months at a time. Yes it is just great. But for anybody who would sell their house and move to Costa Rica must be crazy. I don't know why people say it is cheap to live here.

Prices just keep going up and up. If you want to live here, you need money because for just about everything it is the same price as Canada or the U.S. And more.

I have heard more and more from real estate agents this year telling me people do not want to buy, only rent because the government makes it so hard and complicated. In Canada I don't think I have talked to my lawyer for 10 years. I have been here for two months. I have called my lawyer about 10 times for one thing or another.

More to the point: If the government doesn't make it easier, they will wake up one day and say where have all the people gone, and then it will be too late. This 90-day visa is crazy. You must leave the country. I own property here. I have money invested here. I would not try to become a resident here because it is far too complicated. Even my lawyer said don't do it. I have two friends here who have applied, and now they tell me it's too expensive.

So where people think it is so great and easy to live here, they need to think again. Maybe I should start up a seminar for people who want to think about buying and living here because I think I could talk anybody out of it in five minutes.

I feel very sorry for the every day people here who get paid so little for so much work. And pay U.S. prices. I don't know how they do it.  And I am afraid to say I tell everybody the law is just not on your side, so don't get into trouble.

I have just sent that article to a friend of mine in Canada. His reply hit the point exactly. He left here because he could not cope any more. The government needs to realize they don't have gold, oil, diamonds, minerals or manufacturing, only tourists and people who buy houses and keep these small coastal towns alive.

We hire gardeners, pool people, cleaning ladies, and spend our money in the restaurants and bars and local shops. Without us and the tourists I don't know where Costa Rica would be. I have five friends here who want to sell and just leave. They are happy to take a loss on their property. I don't need to sell, but I have put my house up for sale as well. It is just too much hard work to be here. 

David Fullman

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Third News Page
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Jan. 13, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 8
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This is a Brazilian wandering spider (Phoneutria nigriventer), a Costa Rican resident that is considered the most poisonous spider in the world.  The adult spider body can be up to two inches long with a leg span of five inches. Mr. Beedle did not see the spider so if it was one of these it probably was a smaller juvenile.

Wikimedia Commons photo

Not every encounter with nature is a pleasant experience
By Ken Beedle*
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Only God has a tally of how many spiders make their home in Costa Rica.  All are poisonous to one degree or another.  My first experience was with a black widow (or so they thought) on a photo shoot in a coffee field in Cachi.  More interested in the photo than where I was going, I backed into her.  Realizing that I had been bitten, I finished the photos I needed and drove to Cartago for anti-venom.  The bite area was swollen and turning color.  The injection did its magic, but the skin through the area of the bite and the course of the venom eventually turned black, peeled away then came back healthy.   

On Saturday, Dec. 21, we were preparing to leave for our home near the Playa Naranjo ferry.  I was working next to our small koi pond in Cartago.  This area is a protected area between the house and the rancho, about four square meters.  The electrical pump is near a plant.  The spider was either on a plant or next to the electrical outlet.  I never saw the thing but immediately felt it.

Initially it was not painful.  When I looked with my reading glasses the magnified lenses could not see it.  I felt it though.  The first finger began swelling, but I felt no pain.  It increased in size 15 percent, then the hand began to swell as well.  That I did not say anything at first was my first mistake.  I thought a good cleaning and hydrogen peroxide would make it go away.  The right hand increased in size, shape and the pain.  From mid-arm to finger tips it felt like some someone was stabbing me needles.  My wife, Silvia, took me to emergency at Hospital Max Peralta in Cartago.

After one buttock shot plus a week supply of steroids four times per day from the pharmacy, we were on our way in two and a half hours.  I was amazed.  I thought that would take care of it.  I underestimated this critter.

This was day one…

Before leaving, we had a birthday party to attend.  With the pain building like a nuclear fusion, I was becoming a caged, nasty animal with long fangs, red eyes and crazed disposition, but we had a family party that was a MUST ATTEND.

It was a wonderful tribute to a man’s 70th, but I was not having a good time.  The pain, rather than subsiding, was increasing.  Neither the finger nor the hand could be touched.  If someone so much as brushed it with a dress fabric, the contact sent me into pain spasms that lasted longer than a minute.  About 5:30, I asked if we could go, but Silvia wanted to stay a little longer.  At 6 p.m., the mariachis had not arrived nor had the cake been cut.  To leave would have been rude.  It was a great party with family and friends.  Tylenol 3 with codeine was not making a dent.

One week later, the pain was intense and occasionally extreme when I bumped it.  The finger could not be touched.  At times, sharp shooting pains would almost freeze hand movement.  From the first to second joints were as red as Rudolph’s nose.  
The first joint was bent like a fishing hook and could not be straightened.  I religiously took my pills but nothing was working.  Silvia had a planned family meeting in Condovac, so I would be on my own while my wife joined her sisters. 

On Sunday Jan. 5, after 15 days, I had experienced enough pain from the spider that I drove 26 kilometers to Jicaral for treatment at the clinic.  It was a pleasant, modern facility with no waiting line.

The first joint was still radish red and badly swollen.  When the nurse took hold of it, I literally jumped out my seat. The nurse was very pleasant as she told me to sit and returned with a needle and syringe.  As if I did not understand Spanish, she said this will hurt.  She could have been speaking Chinese. I knew what was coming.  I started singing when she put the needle into the finger. First, “Feliz Navidad” then “We wish you a Merry Christmas”.  She was laughing, squeezing my finger while I was seeing a gusher of blood arching into a bowl.  I sang louder.

When it was over they gave me a soaking solution to drain the poison and pills. Just what I wanted, more pills.  She told me to soak it 15 minutes every six hours.  I soaked it 20 for good measure.  I could feel the solution working.  It drew like a leech but, at first, I did not know from where.   

Three days later, the first digit that the spider tried to destroy, was still there but undergoing change.  It has been 20 days since it sank its fangs in me and other than the nurse opening the wound to drain the accumulated blood, nothing much had happened.  Yesterday, after using the draining solution, a hole had opened.  Blood and puss began to ooze from the bite area.  The reason, I suppose, that the pain has been intense is the movement has covered a distance of ¾ inch.  The body was pushing the poison across the finger from right to left and out the hole.   What caught me by surprise was that I could see the stream of poison when I wiped the wound because it was black like a two millimeter hair.  It was very obvious.  Following the opening there was an immediate reduction of pressure/pain.

On the fifth day (19 days after the bite), the hole continues to leak fluid.  It appears that a second hole may open by the cuticle and fingernail.  When I apply pressure the bone between the first and second joint crack like they were broken.  Cartilage damage?  The finger is still bent and twisted from straight to right about two degrees then left again.  The swelling and redness has receded some.

I will never again go without gloves in the Cartago gardens.  Here, on the Nicoya peninsula, we have scorpions like house pets.  I discovered a one-foot snake skin this morning next to our car.   

With spiders everywhere, when working in obvious areas where it is possible they exist, the best advice is to wear gloves.  I forgot and learned the hard way that even a domesticated home is a nesting ground for an unwanted critter.

* Mr. Beedle is a Cartago resident

Early morning sweep nets a host of sharp objects and one gun
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Police officers delivered wake-up calls to residents of 38 city hotels starting at 4 a.m. Sunday. They confiscated knives, other sharp objects and even one pistol.

The Fuerza Pública officers said they were targeting those places where potential street robbers hole up. This is a typical police operation that has reduced the number of robberies on the city streets.

In all 10 persons were detained, including two in Alajuelita where they were caught in the act of robbing a pedestrian, said the security ministry. Some of the confiscated items were found on individuals who were encountered on the streets.

Police began their efforts in the center of the capital at midnight and eventually checked 1,035 persons, 90 vehicles, 25 motorcycles as well as the hotels. Some of the hotels really are long-term rooming houses that are clustered in some of the more crime-ridden parts of the city.
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública   
Crooks have a lot of sharp objects to obtain compliance from victims, but some of these were carried for self-protection.


You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Jan. 13, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 8
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Experiment results seem to show that caffeine enhances memory retention
By the  Johns Hopkins University news service

Whether it's a mug full of fresh-brewed coffee, a cup of hot tea, or a can of soda, consuming caffeine is the energy boost of choice for millions who want to wake up or stay up.

Now, researchers at the Johns Hopkins University have found another use for the popular stimulant: memory enhancer.

Michael Yassa, an assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences at Johns Hopkins, and his team of scientists found that caffeine has a positive effect on long-term memory. Their research, published by the journal Nature Neuroscience, shows that caffeine enhances certain memories at least up to 24 hours after it is consumed.

"We've always known that caffeine has cognitive-enhancing effects, but its particular effects on strengthening memories and making them resistant to forgetting has never been examined in detail in humans," said Yassa, senior author of the paper. "We report for the first time a specific effect of caffeine on reducing forgetting over 24 hours."

The Johns Hopkins researchers conducted a double-blind trial in which participants who did not regularly eat or drink caffeinated products received either a placebo or a 200-milligram caffeine tablet five minutes after studying a series of images. Salivary samples were taken from the participants before they took the tablets to measure their caffeine levels. Samples were taken again one, three, and 24 hours afterwards.

The next day, both groups were tested on their ability to recognize images from the previous day's study session. On the test, some of the visuals were the same as those from the day before, some were new additions, and some were similar but not the same.

More members of the caffeine group were able to correctly identify the new images as similar to previously viewed images rather than erroneously citing them as the same.
The brain's ability to recognize the difference between two similar but not identical items, called pattern separation, reflects a deeper level of memory retention, the researchers said.

"If we used a standard recognition memory task without these tricky similar items, we would have found no effect of caffeine," Yassa said. "However, using these items requires the brain to make a more difficult discrimination — what we call pattern separation, which seems to be the process that is enhanced by caffeine in our case."

The memory center in the human brain is the hippocampus, a seahorse-shaped area in the medial temporal lobe of the brain. The hippocampus is the switchbox for all short- and long-term memories. Most research done on memory — the effects of concussions in athletes, of war-related head injuries, and of dementia in the aging population — focuses on this area of the brain.

Until now, caffeine's effects on long-term memory had not been examined in detail. Of the few studies done, the general consensus was that caffeine has little or no effect on long-term memory retention.

The research is different from prior experiments because the subjects took the caffeine tablets only after they had viewed and attempted to memorize the images.

"Almost all prior studies administered caffeine before the study session, so if there is an enhancement, it's not clear if it's due to caffeine's effects on attention, vigilance, focus, or other factors," Yassa said. "By administering caffeine after the experiment, we rule out all of these effects and make sure that if there is an enhancement, it's due to memory and nothing else."

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 90 percent of people worldwide consume caffeine in one form or another. In the United States, 80 percent of adults consume caffeine every day. The average adult has an intake of about 200 milligrams — the same amount used in the Yassa study — or roughly one cup of strong coffee per day.

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* 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.
Daily housekeeping, WiFi and concierge services included.
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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A.M. Costa Rica
Real estate rentals
Real estate rental agents
Real estate for rent
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Real estate rental services (paid category)

See our listing of real estate brokers on the for-sale page.

Real estate for rent (paid category)

Lovely cottage on private coffee farm. One spacious bedroom, one bath, office room/spare room with high speed WiFi internet, fully equipped kitchen, phone  line, balcony with beautiful view, especially at  night with
coffee retreat
 the far off lights of San José. Farm is gated and guarded, private and peaceful. Owner on-site. Sarchi is a quiet and safe small town about 30-40 min from the airport, a perfect base to explore from and also get a feel for normal, day-to-day Tico life. Rental is $575 per month, (Longer term rent is negotiable) All utilities included. Sorry, NO PETS. Contact

You must see this!
We are renting our two-story townhouse in San Rafael, Escazú, near the Paco Center. Three bedrooms with a large TV area, 2.5 baths. Bathtub in the master.  Well furnished even down to the computer desks and flat screen TVs. Fully equipped kitchen, including pots and pans,  plus laundry room with washer and dryer. Parking for two vehicles. Basic cable included. Guarded entrance and 24-hour security. Call from the U.S.: 954-716-5219 English or Spanish. Local in Costa Rica call: 8638-7440 but Spanish only or email for questions/more information. Photos can be seen HERE!

Test Drive Costa Rica
Asuncion de Belen. Home in exclusive Residencial La Jolla.  Gated community with controlled access,  security 24/7. Resort swimming pool and gym. Spacious and elegant finishes, private jacuzzi and social areas. 3 bedrooms. 2.5 baths.  Private gardens. Conveniently located close to airport, shopping, bilingual schools, Intel and Duty Free Zones. 322m2 on 249m2 corner lot. Lease with purchase option  $3,400/ $428,000 USD Contact owner for details:

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
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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Jan. 13, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 8
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Pennsylvania State University/Tim Dawson/Flickr
An Agathis tree on the Kitekite Falls track in the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park, Auckland, New Zealand.

Patagonia evergreen flourished
before continents separated

By the Pennsylvania State University news service

Today in Australia they call it Kauri, in Asia they call it Dammar, and in South America it does not exist at all unless planted there. However, 52 million years ago the giant coniferous evergreen tree known to botanists as Agathis thrived in the Patagonian region of Argentina, according to an international team of paleobotanists who have found numerous fossilized remains there.

"These spectacular fossils reveal that Agathis is old and had a huge range that no one knew about -- from Australia to South America across Antarctica," said Peter Wilf, professor of geosciences at  the Pennsylvania State University

Agathis trees currently grow thousands of miles from Argentina, ranging from Sumatra to New Zealand. They often prefer mountain rain forests, where it is wet and warm year-round. They can grow as tall as 200 feet, but are usually between 130 and 150 feet at maturity. Economically, they are prized and heavily cut for their soft, workable wood. In the past, the Agathis resin, known as manila copal, was exploited for linoleum and varnishes, but synthetics replaced most of that use.

The researchers report in the current issue of American Journal of Botany that "Agathis was a dominant, keystone element of the Patagonian Eocene floras, alongside numerous other plant taxa that still associate with it in Australasia and Southeast Asia."

"There is a fossil record of Agathis in Australia and New Zealand, where it still lives," said Wilf. "However, Agathis fossils have never been found anywhere else until now, and they have never been as complete as these."

Wilf and his colleagues work at two sites in Patagonia, Argentina: Laguna del Hunco, which dates to the early Eocene at about 52.2 million years ago, and Río Pichileufú, dating to about 47.7 million years ago.

"These sites were discovered in the 1920s and 1930s, but the remoteness of the locations and the hardness of the rock are why they hadn't been investigated in detail before we started in 1999," said Wilf. "Now, with modern amenities -- satellite phones for example -- and especially the presence of our partner institution, the Egidio Feruglio Museum, in the same region as the dig sites, recovering these fossils becomes much easier."

Agathis grew in Patagonia when South America was part of the remainder of the southern supercontinent of Gondwana, comprised of South America, Antarctica and Australia. Much earlier, India, Madagascar, New Zealand and Africa separated and moved north, but around the time of these fossils, South America was just beginning to part from Antarctica, which was not ice covered at the time.

"Agathis probably existed in all three areas, Australia, Antarctica and South America, at that time," said Wilf. "Climate change in Antarctica, the cold and ice, killed them there, and a change to seasonal dryness in southern South America put an end to them in Patagonia."

Subsequently, the trees, which are wind dispersed, moved away from the cooling south, and some left northward-moving Australia for southeast Asia, where they thrive except for human interference, but they no longer grow in cold, often dry, Patagonia.

Wilf's team recovered not only leaves, but also numerous branches, pollen cones, seed cones and even a winged seed still attached to the cone. The various species of Agathis are usually identified by their pollen cones, so this is the first time that a fossil Agathis could be directly compared to trees growing today.

"We also went to Borneo and studied the most similar living relative of the fossil Agathis, a threatened species there," said Wilf. "We collected DNA samples to better understand the fossil-modern relationship."

According to the researchers, the Argentinian fossil Agathis clearly belongs to the same natural group as those living today up to almost 10,000 miles away in the tropical West Pacific.

"Agathis is a very dramatic example of survival via huge range shifts, from the far south to the tropics, in response to climate change and land movement over millions of years," said Wilf.

Pope announces his selections
for more inclusive hierarchy

By the A.M. Costa Rica news services

Pope Francis has made his first appointment of cardinals to advise him in leading the world's one billion Roman Catholics. The pope used his weekly Sunday blessing at the Vatican to announce his selection of 19 cardinals, 16 of whom are eligible to vote for the next leader of the church.  Some observers think his selections reflect a desire to make the church's top advisory body more representative of nations beyond Europe and North America.

The choices include Leopoldo Jose Brenes Solorzano, Archbishop of Managua, Nicaragua
Thousands of Roman Catholics greeted Pope Francis on Sunday, as he appeared at the window of the Apostolic Palace to announce his choices for the new cardinals of the church.

"I will name 16 new cardinals who, belonging to 12 different nations from each part of the world, represent the deep ecclesial relationship between the Church of Rome and the other churches scattered around the world," said Francis during the announcement.
The 16 cardinals the pope referred to are all under the age of 80, making them eligible to enter a conclave of 122 men who can elect a future pope. He appointed another three cardinals older than 80 to honorary positions.
The appointments are Francis' first since he assumed the leadership of the church last March.
Philip Pullella, the Vatican correspondent for the Reuters news agency, said it is significant that only four of the new cardinal electors come from inside the Vatican bureaucracy.
“This is not surprising because Francis has said that he doesn't want a church made up of career diplomats or career priests or career cardinals, that the church is around the world. So most of these are actually working archbishops who run big dioceses,” said Pullella.
Six of the new electors are Europeans, four from Italy, one from Britain and one from Germany. A seventh elector is a Canadian.
Europeans and North Americans have long made up more than half of the electors, who sit in a body called the College of Cardinals.
Some observers think that is why Pope Francis also chose nine electors from other parts of the world, five from South and Central America, two from Africa, and two from Asia.
The nine additional electors include nationals of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Haiti and Nicaragua, as well as citizens of Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, South Korea and the Philippines.
Vatican correspondent Andrea Gagliarducci of The Catholic News Agency said the pope, who is from Argentina, wants to make the church more universal.
"Pope Francis, in creating these new cardinals, is making a College of Cardinals which is . . . more oriented to the peripheries of the church, because he thinks that from the peripheries you can see the church better and so  he wants something like that," said Gagliarducci.
The new cardinals will be formally installed at a Vatican ceremony on February 22.

Cardinal nominations

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Here are the nominations by Pope Francis:


    * Pietro Parolin, titular archbishop of Acquapendente, secretary of state
    * Lorenzo Baldisseri, Titular archbishop of Diocleziana, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops
    * Gerhard Ludwig Mueller, archbishop-bishop emeritus of Regensburg, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
    * Beniamino Stella, titular archbishop of Midila, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy

    * Vincent Nichols, archbishop of Westminster, United Kingdom
    * Loris Francesco Capovilla, titular archbishop of Mesembria, Bulgaria.
    * Fernando Sebastian Aguilar, C.M.F., archbishop emeritus of Pamplona, Spain.
    * Gualtiero Bassetti, archbishop of Perugia-Citta della Pieve, Italy

Latin America

    * Leopoldo Jose Brenes Solorzano, archbishop of Managua, Nicaragua
    * Orani Joao Tempesta, O.Cist., archbishop of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    * Mario Aurelio Poli, archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina
    * Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, S.D.B., archbishop of Santiago del Chile, Chile

North America and Caribbean

    * Gerald Cyprien Lacroix, archbishop of Quebec, Canada
    * Chibly Langlois, bishop of Les Cayes, Haiti
    * Kelvin Edward Felix, archbishop emeritus of Castries, Saint Lucia.

    * Jean-Pierre Kutwa, archbishop of Abidjan, Ivory Coast
    * Philippe Nakellentuba Ouedraogo, archbishop of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso


    * Andrew Yeom Soo Jung, archbishop of Seoul, South Korea  
    * Orlando B. Quevedo, O.M.I., archbishop of Cotabato, Philippines

Unemployment benefits focus
of Washington discussions

By the A.M. Costa Rica news services

Whether to restart jobless checks for America’s long-term unemployed will remain the focus of Senate debate this week. Benefits for more than a million people expired in December, coinciding with a dramatic slowing of U.S. job creation.
Unemployment stands at 6.7 percent with more than a million people no longer receiving unemployment compensation.
Protracted aid for the unemployed is counter-productive, according to Sen, John Cornyn, a Republican.
“We need to help people not maintain their dependency on a government program in perpetuity, but to liberate them from that dependency, to help them regain their self-respect and sense of dignity by finding work and providing for themselves and their families,” said Cornyn.
But jobs remain scarce and many Americans still need assistance, said Sen. Edward Markey, a Democrat.
“People who are offered a job will take a job. The jobs are not there. It is not the fault of these families. It is not the fault of these job-seekers. We should not be punishing them,” said Markey.
Democrats initially proposed an emergency three-month extension of jobless benefits. Republicans demanded federal spending cuts to off-set the costs.  Sen. Jeff Sessions, another Republican, said benefits cannot be extended on borrowed funds.
“The unemployment bill before us today makes no attempt whatsoever to find spending reductions in other areas of this monstrosity of a government, but borrows every penny of it,” said Sessions.
Senate Democrats responded with a plan that does not increase the deficit, but extends jobless benefits for nearly a year. Republicans sought to amend the bill, and complained when majority Democrats blocked them. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called for greater compromise.
“If Democrats truly want to get anything done this year, they are going to have to learn how to work with us,” said McConnell.
Sen. Jack Reed, a Democrat, says Republicans are wasting precious time while Americans suffer economic hardship.
“Every week, 70,000 more lose their support.  We are going to see this number grow and grow and grow while we talk and talk and talk,” said Reed.
The bill needs the backing of at least five Republicans to advance to a final vote.  Late last week, Majority Leader Harry Reid promised debate on some amendments, but accused Republicans of a double-standard on jobless benefits.
“George W. Bush extended emergency unemployment benefits five times, he noted, and no Republican objected.

The bill would need to pass the Senate and the Republican-led House to become law.

IBM embraces cloud computer
with $1 billion investment

By the A.M. Costa Rica news services

U.S.-based computer giant IBM says it plans to invest more than $1 billion into a group focused on research and development of cloud-based cognitive applications and services for business.

The new Watson Group will be headquartered in New York City's technology hub, near East Village, with more than 2,000 professionals who will design, develop and support the spread of the so-called cognitive computing technology.

The new technology is based on artificial intelligence, the combination of powerful computers and software that can analyze information and give answers to complex problems, such as medical diagnoses or financial transactions.

IBM says Watson understands the context, asks questions, has reason and uses algorithms to help customers make decisions.

It made headlines in February, 2011 when it beat humans on the popular American television quiz show "Jeopardy."

IBM's experts will also identify markets for cognitive computing, such as health and financial services, retail, travel and telecommunications. The new system will also be available via the Internet to outside developers with business plans based on cloud computing.

Work with its current commercial customers has not generated substantial income for IBM's Watson Group. The new plan and investment, however, indicate the company's belief that cognitive computing technology has a bright and profitable future.

Private industry entering
the realm of space flights

By the A.M. Costa Rica news services

Once the purview of cash-rich governments, launching rockets into space has become increasingly commonplace as demand for communications satellites and space-based imaging services grow. Today, space is a $200 billion a year industry, an example of how partnerships between government and the private sector are helping to lower costs — and in the process expand understanding of the world.

As the year begins the business of space looks bright — booming, in fact — for U.S.-based Orbital Sciences Corp., which launched its Antares rocket Thursday to deliver the first of eight cargo shipments to the International Space Station.

Orbital Sciences is just one of two American firms hired by NASA to deliver supplies to the manned space research outpost orbiting 400 kilometers above earth.

Commercial rocket pioneer Arianespace, which launched its first satellite three decades ago, says 2014 has all the makings of a record year.

Clayton Mowry, who heads the U.S. arm of the private European space consortium, describes the growth as virtually exponential.

“Last year we launched eight times, and we’re looking to actually break our record of 10 launches this year," said Mowry. "We’re hoping, right now, our planning is to conduct 13 launches this year."

Mowry says the increased frequency of rocket launches is driven in part by rising demand for space-based technologies, from ultra-high definition broadcasts to satellite broadband.

And yet, despite the need for more commercial satellites, the end of NASA’s space shuttle program in 2011 has had a dampening effect in the space community.

Janice Starzyk at International Launch Services chairs educational initiatives at the Washington Space Business Roundtable.

“The shuttle program shutting down was a huge, huge set of layoffs in the industry," said Starzyk.

But even as NASA scales back, other countries are rushing to fill the void.

In December, China became the third country to land a spacecraft on the moon, while India launched its first communications satellite earlier this month.

In Denmark, a pair of space enthusiasts are trying to prove space flight can be affordable. Using open source designs and public donations, Kristian Von Bengtson, co-founder of Copenhagen Suborbitals, hopes to fulfill a childhood dream of launching a homemade rocket 100 kilometers into space.

"Everybody believes that space flight, manned space flight, can only be done with billions of dollars and it has to be government financed," said Von Bengtson. "I hope we can show that you can do it on a shoestring budget. You can pretty much do it yourself."

Von Bengtson's goal is to launch a manned rocket into space by 2020.

But according to Starzyk, Space Business Roundtable's goal in 2014 is to encourage more students to consider careers in space.

"Actually, it's a major problem in most countries of getting young people interested in studying engineering, specifically aerospace engineering," she said.

Starzyk says as demand for rocket launches grow, so will demand for fresh talent.

Participation in the organization's space academy program has soared over the last three years, proving once again that when it comes to space, the sky is the limit.

Los Angeles brewery typical
of more localized craft beer

 By the A.M. Costa Rica news services

The national trend toward buying local has expanded beyond fruits and vegetables and meat to the beverage portion of the meal.  Many American beer lovers are turning to small local breweries that produce distinctive brews known as craft beers. 

A commuter train rumbles by, just meters from Golden Road Brewing, a brewery and pub in an industrial section of Los Angeles.  It was founded two years ago in buildings that once housed a railway switching depot.

Inside, the owners and brewers hold a weekly tasting meeting. 

Co-owner Meg Gill says this week's gathering is important.

“This is our first taste of a lot of the barrel-aged beers that we’ve been working anywhere from six months to two years on," said Ms. Gill.

Each brew has a distinctive balance of flavors. 

Co-owner Tony Yanow varies the mix of malt and hops for every type of beer, sometimes flavoring the brews with coffee or citrus.

It's a multistage process that starts with mashing grain, and straining and boiling the resulting liquid, as Yanow points out over huge German-made vats.

“Basically, you've taken a liquid from here, and the liquid has almost no solid in it at all," said Yanow.

Then the brewers add yeast, and the mixture begins to ferment.

Yanow says craft beers are a small part of the market, but demand is growing.

“It's in a total boom phase, and the number of different types of beers, the number of beer bars, the number of people that drink beer, it just seems to be expanding in every direction," he said.

He says that as beer drinkers develop their palates, beer makers are coming up with new products.

People are really pushing the boundaries right now and finding new and interesting ways to experiment with beer and push the limits of what beer actually is, " said Yanow.

At Golden Road Brewing, there are seasonal beers and brews that promote causes, like environmental cleanup on the Santa Monica Bay.  Yanow says that making craft beers is an art and science, and is about connecting with the local community.

Hundreds of small, independent craft breweries in the United States are trying to meet the demand for traditional beers and ales with a touch of something different.

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!  Email:  cell 8838-2081 or home 2643-2979.

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

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale

Business for sale or lease (paid category)
A successful, local, long-running business for sale.
In the nine years of operation, this company has grown to cover the entire Southern Pacific Zone, and opened the door to further penetration in San José, Manuel Antonio and Osa Peninsula areas. And it 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 a new level of success. Operating since 2005, the owner is retiring to another Latin American country. It is now time to turn the business over to a new owner who could expand it to even greater success. 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

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:

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Jan. 13, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 8
Real Estate
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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
Yankee star says he'll appeal
season suspension in court

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A U.S. arbitrator has ruled that Major League Baseball star Alex Rodriguez has been suspended for the entire 2014 season and playoffs for alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs.

The arbitrator Saturday upheld about 75 percent of the 211-game suspension handed down by Major League Baseball in August of last year.

Rodriguez appealed that suspension and continued to play for his team, the New York Yankees, while the appeal was being considered.

Saturday, the 38-year-old Rodriguez vowed to appeal the 2014 ban to a U.S. federal court. The suspension will cost him $25 million.

The sport's highest-paid player said he has never used performance-enhancing substances as alleged by Major League Baseball.

Rodriguez admitted that early in his career he used performance-enhancing drugs. He has hit 654 home runs, 108 short of all-time leader Barry Bonds, who was also suspected of using steroids.

In its decision last year, the league suspended Rodriguez and 12 other players for their links to a now-closed U.S.-based clinic that allegedly supplied them with banned substances.

The other 12 suspended all agreed to 50-game suspensions that began immediately. The North American professional baseball season is 162 games.

Rodman says he's sorry
for not helping missionary

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Former U.S. basketball star Dennis Rodman and a squad of retired NBA players have arrived in Beijing after a trip to North Korea to play an exhibition game last Wednesday for the birthday of leader Kim Jong Un.

Rodman told reporters at the Beijing airport on Monday that he was sorry he could not do anything to help free imprisoned American missionary Kenneth Bae. Bae was sentenced by the North to 15 years of hard labor on a conviction of trying to overthrow the government.

Rodman and the team visited the isolated and impoverished country as part of a so-called basketball diplomacy trip that has been widely criticized in the U.S. He has defended his trip as an effort to open the door to North Korea. The former NBA All-Star has said it is not his job to bring up politics with the North Korean leader, who he has referred to as a good guy and a friend for life.

State Department and White House officials have stressed that Rodman's trip was unhelpful and not sanctioned by the U.S.

Costa Rican News
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From Page 7:

New owner makes few changes at Bar Poás

By Michael Krumholtz
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Pictures from nearly a decade’s worth of old friends and recycled stories adorn the walls at Bar Poás. Even after Larry Wharton bought the expat bar from founder Harry Hart, he decided to honor its

New poas owner
Larry Wharton even kept the tradition of hanging national flags outside the bar.
valuable legacy by keeping everything the same – from the atmosphere coated in Cubs memorabilia to the menu headlined with chili and hot dogs.

Officially taking over on Nov. 1, Wharton came to San José via New Egypt, New Jersey, where he worked in a lab for Coca-Cola. The 51-year-old said he always toyed with the thought of owning a business in Costa Rica, and when his life in the U.S. became stale, he knew just where he could escape. Wharton said he got tired not only of the monotony, but also from witnessing so much around him fall apart.

“The older you get you watch people get old, get sick, or even die,” he said. “You realize you’re young and you still have time to do something else.”

Wharton has adjusted well to this foreign business venture and takes Spanish classes twice a week to better his transition to his new home. In a decision that has made that adjustment easier, Wharton chose to retain every member of the bar’s staff, keeping up with his business model that is heavy on stability.

A daily happy hour from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., as well as revolving food specials have allowed Wharton and the Bar Poás to keep  attracting Gringo and Tico crowds just like the bars  first days in 2005. Despite a change in ownership, specials – like chicken wings on Wednesday or hot dogs for 400 colons on Sunday – have remained a constant.

Hart, who has retired to La Fortuna, still drops by about once a week to check in and see some old friends around town. And everyday he can be seen between the tilted picture frames covering the bar, always looking over one of San José’s expat watering holes.