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(506) 2223-1327                         Published Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014,  in Vol. 14, No. 9                          Email us
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Jo Stuart
Anti aging

by visual art

The Museo de Arte Costarricense says it will provide free, guided tours to adults and youngsters over the school vacation period. The museum is in the remodeled former international airport terminal in Parque la Sabana. After the tour, youngsters are offered art workshops.
Museum visitors
Museo de Arte Costarricense photo

Year-end occupancy was 72 percent, chamber says
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The high season so far has been a grim one for the hospitality industry. The Cámera Nacional de Turismo said Monday that average occupancy for weeks around Christmas averaged 72.1 percent.

The chamber said it surveyed 140 establishments during the first days of January and sought information on occupancy from Dec. 13.

This is the bread-and-butter period for hotels, but the occupancy ranged from a dismal 60 percent on the Caribbean coast to  77 percent in Puntarenas and Monteverde.

The chamber tried to put a happy face on the date by noting that the average is the best in the last four years for the period.  Hospitality operators expected more based on a survey of expectations conducted by the chamber before Christmas.

About 36 percent of the tourists were Costa Rican, according to the survey, the chamber said. Most preferred Guanacaste and the central and south Pacific, according to the data.

The chamber said that the percentage of tourists was consistent with highway infrastructure, promotional offers and the general preference for Costa Ricans to want to go to the beach. The Caldera highway has been a major  improvement
Occupancy at the end of the year
Puntarenas and islands
in the Gulf,
includng Monteverde

Central Pacific
South Pacific
Central Valley
Northern zone
Source: Cámera Nacional de Turismo

on transportation from the Central Valley to the Pacific beaches.

The chamber said that 58 percent of the hospitality respondents said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the occupancy and just 19 percent said they were not satisfied.

The hotel occupancy does not reflect the actual number of Costa Ricans who went on vacation. Many stay with family at the vacation spots and others just put up tents and live on the beaches.

Health ministry announces agressive dengue effort
By Michael Krumholtz
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica witnessed the highest rate of impact in dengue or the breakbone fever of any Central American country in 2013. So the advent of the new year has not eased continued concerns over dengue fever.

The disease primarily is transmitted to humans via mosquito bites and stems from insects developing in standing water habitats. Most cases result in headaches, skin irritation, and muscle pains.

However more severe side affects of hemorrhaging have proven to be fatal for some.

Daisy Corrales, the minister of Salud, presented detailed plans Monday to stop the epidemic. She highlighted community support, additional fumigations in public and private places, and collaboration with dozens of private entities. Sporting programs like “Mi comunidad sin dengue,” Dr. Corrales and her crew promise early efforts to reduce cases of the disease.

Research suggests that the tropical disease is most
rapidly spread between friends and families in private places, even more so than popular public spheres like schools and parks.

In the past decade alone the nation has seen epidemic numbers every two to three years, and the numbers point to Costa Ricans being due for another epidemic in 2014.

Because of such mounting concern, the health ministry has set aside roughly $600,000 to invest into the prevention and elimination of dengue.

At a Monday press conference, the ministry unveiled new fumigation equipment used to spray mosquito breeding grounds and other affected areas.

Dr. Corrales confirmed that the most high risk parts of the country continue to be the central Pacific, Guanacaste, and the Caribbean coast.

Preventing dengue spread at home starts with emptying out or eliminating spots with open water. Also insecticides have proven to help stop the disease from spreading.  Health officials have been criticized for not responding soon enough last year to the rising number of dengue cases.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 9

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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:


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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
*Cloud hosting *Set-up  *Training  *Trouble-shooting *Customization bookkeeping services *Financial reports *Intuit product discounts
Phones: 8572-2984  or 2244-2247

Fine art restoration and conservation

Gilbert Carmichael
Master Art Restorer, A.I.C. Certified
European and U.S. standards. USPAP.
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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.
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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?
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Translations and legal Services
Ms. Monge
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Simultaneous translator
Interpreter in court.

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Our readers' opinions
Arenal expat is very happy
living here in retirement

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I have lived in Nuevo Arenal for more than 15-years. I think I get by very well living on Social Security. I wake up every morning pleased with my life. I praise God for letting me be born in the United States of America and for giving me the wisdom to select Costa Rica to live out my years. 

I selected Costa Rica because I did not see a military presence or people living in the streets and begging. I selected Nuevo Arenal to live after traveling throughout Costa Rica. I selected Nuevo Arenal because of its weather, beauty, Lake Arenal and the low number of residents.

I designed and built my home and landscaped my garden. Everyday I enjoy the results of my efforts with great pleasure. Never have I had a problem with robbers. However, my home has an alarm system, is never without a sitter if I am gone overnight and my valued belongings are kept secured. I recently married Marita, a Tica with a very large family, and am happy to be a residente permanente.

Alberto Almeida
Nuevo Arenal

Senator's remarks not correct
about unemployment recipients

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

A news story said: “'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 Sen. Edward Markey."

This is pretty much untrue. Many people are unwilling to move cross country to find work in areas where there is work. They are unwilling to leave their families and their homes.  Many will not take a job that pays less than unemployment.

My experience with unemployment came in 1986 during the oil/energy crash. I went on unemployment after working for a seismic exploration company. I can tell you, it is very easy to get into the rut of living off the government. I didn't get serious about finding work until I knew the freebies were running out. At that time, I was willing to take any job and ended up throwing a sleeping bag in the back of my covered pickup and moving from Denver to San Francisco  to take a job there.

I couldn't afford an apartment after being unemployed six months, so I spent the next four years living out of various vehicles. It wasn't comfortable or easy, but it can be done. Sometimes you need to be pushed out of the nest.
Dan Jackson
Calhan, Colorado

Why are so many people
just getting by in Costa Rica?

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I totally agree with both Bob Stone and David Fullman but I'll go one further.  The government of Costa Rica's inept and corrupt behavior affects expats greatly and unnecessarily with seemingly little regard for what is best for Costa Rica.  It's ridiculous, really. 

The greater harm is done against the Costa Rican people though.  Just imagine a country that can easily provide more than enough food, water and energy for all its people in a very temperate climate with no standing military to support in which so many are poor and barely getting by.   How could that be?
What a joke.
Albert Lusk
San Isidro, Heredia

Prices are higher than in U.S.
and above those in Panamá

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I have to agree with the letter that David Fullman wrote except for the paying of U.S. prices here. I don't know where he has shopped in the U.S. New York City?? I do most of my shopping in Hannibal, Missouri. The prices are from 50 percent to as much as 400 percent higher here except for farmers market stuff.

I just got back from Panamá where the roads are better and the gas is $1.30 cheaper than here. A small box of candy that sells here for 3,500 colon ($7) was $1.99 there just for example.
I don't know what the politicians are thinking when they make you leave after 90 days.

Oh, yow, I forgot they expected us to all pay $1,000 to $$$?? who knows what to the Caja. My four-day vacation to Panamá with my wife cost a little over $800. If I did not have to leave the country, that would have been spent in Costa Rica and with their total tax rate of 55.3 percent it would have added over $440 to the coffers.
The leaving Costa Rica to renew your passport is a fiasco. No one seems to know what the law really is, especially the border people. I have read one day is fine, 72 hours if you want your $500 duty free. We asked the man who stamped my passport, and he obviously did not know. Said he gave me a 90-day stamp but that I was supposed to go back to where my home in the U.S. is to get the 90 days.
If you can get a copy of the law and put it in the A.M. Costa Rica you would be doing all of the expats a big favor.
Robert Woodrow
EDITOR'S NOTE: We have published articles about the law, and Mr. Woodrow is correct about the time periods. But border officials also seem to make up their own rules.

Woman died when vehicle
plunges off road down slope

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A 35-year-old woman died Sunday afternoon when the car in which she was riding was in an accident and then went down a 200-meter slope. That's about 665 feet.

The mishap was in San Ignacio de Acosta. The woman's daughter, 14, and a sister, 17 suffered injuries as did the driver, said the Judicial Investigating Organization. The woman was identified by the last name of Quirós.

Parts of body are turning up
in an illegal Boruca dump

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Various body parts of a man turned up in an illegal dump in Boruca, Buenos Aires de Puntarenas, said judicial agents.

The Judicial Investigating Organization said that a woman passing by the location Sunday noticed a hand sticking out of a bag. She called police.

Agents went through the refuse and turned up a human head in another bag. Then Monday searchers located another body part, they reported. Agents were expected to return to the location today for more searching.

Have you seen these stories?
From A.M. Costa Rica

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A.M. Costa Rica

Third News Page
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 9
Real Estate
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street scene
Downtown street scene
bamco anglo
Banco Anglo Costarricense. San José, 1922.
Exhibit of early 20th century photos will run until Jan. 30
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The country as it was in 1922 is on display via photos by one of the nation's pioneer photo documentalists.

The 35 photos of buildings that still exist and some that do not will be on display until Jan. 30. The location is the Centro Internacional para la Conservación del Patrimonio on the San José downtown pedestrian mall.

The Centro is an agency of the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud.

The photographer is Manuel Gómez Miralles, who lived from 1876 to 1965. From his extensive inventory, completely documented and annotated, he seems to have taken photos of every interesting building, event and disaster in the country for years. Many of his works are on glass plates, the technology of the time. They are in assorted archives, including those at the
University de Costa Rica, the Centro and private holdings.

He documented the damage of the Cartago earthquake in 1910, an explosion in the country's prison in 1917, assorted fires and other tragedies, including the 1926 Río Virilla rail disaster that killed 360.

The Centro is the agency that provides money for restoring historic buildings, hence the interest in architecture and history.
Rosa Malavassi is the coordinator of the exhibition. The Centro said that the idea is to let those living here and tourists compare the past with what exists now. That way the public can see how buildings have been cared for and not cared for, it said.

Gómez is the go-to source for the history of the area because of his good record keeping. He did the bulk of his work between 1910 and 1950. He is considered the founder of photo journalism in Costa Rica.

Employers warned not to influence electoral choice of workers
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Employers may be tempted to encourage their workers to vote for a free market presidential candidate.

That is a no no, said the Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones Monday. The Tribunal said that the Código de Trabajo forbids employers from influencing the electoral choices of workers, it noted.

The statement was prompted, perhaps, by the good showing of Frente Amplio candidate José María Villata Florez-Estrada in the opinion polls.

He has much of the commercial establishment seeking an alternative candidate. Some are promoting the Movimiento Libertario candidate Otto Guevara Guth. Others say they prefer Rudolfo Piza de Rocafort of the Partido Unidad Social
 Cristiana. And, of course, others are backing Johnny Araya Monge of Partido Liberación Nacional.

Villalta has called for an increase in the minimum wages set by the government, a renegotiation of the free trade treaty with the United States and higher taxes.

He also has supported price controls during his term at the legislature. Opponents paint him as a Communist.

The officials at the Tribunal also may be remembering the 2007 referendum for the free trade treaty when employers threatened workers with loss of jobs if the pact was not approved. Some companies also provided transportation to the polls. The treaty was narrowly ratified.

Now the Tribunal said that any workers who feel they have been pressured by an employer can file a complaint.

Training is Thursday for those helping U.S. citizens vote
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

The  U.S. Federal Voting Assistance Program plans a workshop Thursday for U.S. citizen community leaders and federal employees who provide voting assistance to U.S. citizens, the U.S. Embassy said Monday.

This will be a hands-on, interactive training session to provide the critical information, resources and tools that participants
will need to perform their responsibilities successfully, the embassy said.

The workshop will be at the U.S. ambassador's residence in Los Laureles, Escazú, from 1 to 3 p.m. with Scott Wiedmann of the voting assistance program serving as trainer.

U.S. citizens will be voting Nov. 4 for all seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and a third of the U.S. Senate seats.


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, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 9
Real Estate
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Tourists collecting sea shells now considered an environmental threat
By the University of Florida news service

Global tourism has increased fourfold over the last 30 years, resulting in human-induced sea shell loss that may harm natural habitats worldwide, according to a University of Florida scientist.

Appearing in the journal PLOS ONE Wednesday, the new study by researchers from the Florida Museum of Natural History on the UF campus and the University of Barcelona demonstrates that increased tourism on the Mediterranean coast of Spain correlated with a 70 percent decrease in mollusk shells during the tourist season in July and August and a 60 percent decrease in other months. Scientists fear shell removal could cause significant damage to natural ecosystems and organisms that rely on shells, said lead author Michal Kowalewski of the Florida Museum.

“This research is best described as a case study that evaluates shell loss due to tourism and then explores how this process may affect natural habitats,” Kowalewski said. “It’s too early to tell whether this depletion is substantial enough to trigger major environmental changes. However, our results suggest that we should not ignore this issue.”

In the study, researchers conducted multiple monthly surveys from 1978 to 1981 and from 2008 to 2010 on Llarga Beach, a small stretch of shoreline on the coast of Spain. Based on area hotel sales data, researchers estimate the number of tourists visiting the beach increased threefold over the last 30 years, with most visits during the summer. Over the same time period, the number of shells on the beach decreased by more than 60 percent.

The survey area has experienced no new commercial fisheries or urban development since the 1970s, suggesting human activity unrelated to tourism is unlikely to have contributed substantially to the shell loss, Kowalewski said.

Changes in ecosystem structure and local environmental conditions, which could potentially contribute to a natural decrease in shell numbers, were not observed, he said.

Shell removal at Llarga Beach was higher during the summer, and shells were more abundant during the winter when fewer tourists visited the area.
Although a popular destination, the beach is not a major tourist hot spot, and the shells found there are not beautiful, diverse or valuable to collectors. If a relationship between increased tourism and accelerated shell removal can be detected at a place that is not famous for its shells, it is likely that beaches known for their shells and frequented by collectors have had more substantial impact, Kowalewski said.

“Although significant research has been done on the impacts of human activity on live shellfish, including, recreational harvesting and curio collecting, we are still lacking rigorous studies estimating the scale of shell removal by humans,” Kowalewski said. “Shells are remarkable in that they serve multiple functions in natural ecosystems, from beach stabilization to building materials for bird nests.”

Shells also provide a home or attachment surface for diverse marine organisms, including algae, seagrass, sponges and other micro- and macro-organisms. Hermit crabs use shells as their protective armor, while fish use shells to hide from predators.

These discarded exoskeletons of mollusks, including clams and oysters, are also important because most are made of calcium carbonate and in many coastal habitats they dissolve slowly and recycle back into the ocean.

The study may prompt more systematic assessments of shell removal by tourists, said Geerat Vermeij, a mollusk shell expert and professor of geology with the University of California Davis who was not involved in the study.

“Molluscan shells are of prime importance to hermit crabs, and although sand beaches are not good places for such crabs, dead snail shells on mud-flats and rocky shores do form a primary resource for abundant hermit crabs,” Vermeij said. “More subtly, many small organisms settle on dead shells, and so removing such shells will eliminate habitats for these colonists.”

Though tourism-related shell loss may one day prove harmful, Kowalewski said more rigorous quantitative case studies are needed to fully understand the impact and develop reliable beach management practices aimed at shell protection. Some countries already recognize the negative effects of shell removal, including the Bahamas, which limits the quantity of shells tourists can export without special permits.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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
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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.

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*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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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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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
Fifth news page
Cat trees
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 9
Real Estate
About us


India ready to receive status
of being free of polio cases

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

For three years, India has not recorded a new case of polio, a critical achievement that puts the entire region on target to be certified polio-free.

Eradicating the crippling disease from India has been one of the greatest challenges in the global effort, costing $2 billion since 1995.

Before then, the disease claimed 50,000 to 100,000 victims every year, according to the World Health Organization, mostly children under 5 years old.

“There were many critics who felt it was impossible to eradicate polio from India,” said Steve Cochi, senior advisor in the global immunization division at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

High population density, frequent migration, poor sanitation and weak health systems made fighting the disease a challenge.

Indian Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad credited the landmark achievement to “unwavering political will at the highest level, commitment of adequate financial resources, technological innovations as well as efforts of millions of workers.”

India falls under the World Health Organization’s Southeast Asia region, and the organization will meet in March to discuss certifying the region as polio-free.

One of the biggest challenges was overcoming disruptive rumors among some minority populations that the vaccine would harm their children, official said.

The campaign recruited academic, religious and community leaders, in some cases traveling house-to-house along with vaccinators, to dispel myths.

“It took some time, and some effort, but these things always do,” Cochi said. “I think that represents one of the most outstanding success stories, not only for India but for the world.”

Convincing skeptical neighborhoods also required broadening the services the campaign provided.

"Communities have more issues other than polio," said Carol Pandak, director of Rotary International's polio eradication program.

She says Rotary clubs sponsored health camps to provide vaccines for polio as well as other diseases, along with other health services.

They also enlisted thousands of community members living in polio hotspots to talk to their neighbors and make the case for vaccination.

"They could talk to their fellow community members unlike an outsider could," she added.

Lessons learned in India are being applied in other trouble spots.

In Pakistan, for example, where several vaccinators have been killed, the campaign is enlisting prominent Muslim leaders to support the eradication effort.

Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria are the last three countries where polio transmission has never stopped.

Virus from Pakistan caused an outbreak in Syria last year that claimed 17 victims. Fighting in Al-Raqa has interrupted a vaccination campaign aimed at containing the outbreak.

In a statement, the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund condemned the interruption and called on “all parties to cease fighting immediately and permit completion of the life-saving polio campaign and delivery of other life-saving humanitarian interventions.”

The largest outbreak last year was in Somalia with 183 cases. The virus also spilled over and triggered outbreaks in neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia.

Congressional right commission
will hear from victims' relatives

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The mother of a jailed Vietnamese labor activist and the wife of a imprisoned Chinese human rights lawyer are expected to be among those testifying this week before a U.S. Congressional commission.

Thursday's hearing of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission will address the plight of prisoners of conscience around the world, including Vietnam and China.

Tran Thi Ngoc Minh, mother of Do Thi Minh Hanh, will join activists and others testifying before the Lantos Commission, a caucus of the U.S. House of Representatives. Minh Hanh a 28-year-old labor rights activist was imprisoned in 2010 for a seven-year term for distributing leaflets supporting workers demanding better pay and conditions.

Her mother said her daughter had suffered badly in prison including being beaten because she refused to perform forced labor. She said her daughter's health has deteriorated significantly but requests for medical care have been rejected by the prison staff.

Also scheduled to testify Thursday is Geng He, the wife of Chinese human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng.

Meanwhile, a Vietnamese-American human rights group, Boat People SOS, is starting a campaign against torture and seeking the release of prisoners of conscience in Vietnam.

Boat People founder Nguyen Dinh Thang said that he hopes the congressional hearing will explore possible strategies for gaining the release of Vietnamese prisoners of conscience like Ms. Minh Hanh.

He says his group will bring witnesses and reports on rights abuses from independent groups and individuals in Vietnam to the attention of the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, the U.S. State Department, and international rights groups.

"Torture has become alarmingly popular in Vietnam which is a big concern to the U.S., U.N., and many other democratic nations."

Founded in 1980, Boat People is a U.S.-based international organization that has published a number of reports on human rights in Vietnam.

West Virginia still struggles
with tainted drinking water

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

For the fifth consecutive day, 300,000 residents in and around the U.S. city of Charleston, West Virginia, have been left without access to clean water after a chemical spill contaminated the Elk River.  Schools and businesses remain closed as a result of the spill, which has stained the area’s water blue-green and made it smell like licorice.

Officials have no timeline for when the water will be safe to use, but West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said Sunday the clean-up effort has been positive and an end to the crisis is in sight.

"Our team has been diligent in testing samples from throughout the affected area.  The numbers look good, and like last night, they are very encouraging.  I believe that we are at a point where we can say that we see light at the end of the tunnel. I ask all West Virginians to continue to be patient as we work to safely restore service to the affected areas,” said Tomblin.

State officials warned residents not to use tap water for anything other than flushing toilets.

"We have a baby and so we are trying to find water for him for formula. It really does not matter for us, we are just trying to make sure he has what he needs," said West Virginia resident Beverly Hager.

Freedom Industries is the company responsible for the chemical spill. Twenty-eight thousand liters (7,500 gallons) of a foaming agent used in the coal preparation process leaked into the river on Jan. 9. The toxic chemical then traveled downstream from Freedom Industries to a nearby water treatment plant.

Kent Carper, president of the Kanawha County Commission, said, ''The condition of the plant was not good... and the danger was known to the previous owner and the danger was known to the current owner."

"It's kind of a sweet smell, almost. It smells almost like candy," said one woman who is a local resident.

Tap water in the area is now stained blue-green, and smells sickly sweet.

"People were coming in here asking me what that smell was, you know.  I said, 'You know, it is licorice," said local business owner Fred Petry.

Schools and many businesses remain closed, as the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the West Virginia Army National Guard have delivered nearly one million liters of bottled water to the area.

U.S. jet again touches down
at the wrong nearby airport

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

For the second time in less than two months, a large jet has landed at the wrong airport in the United States.

A Southwest Airlines jet carrying 124 passengers and five crew members was headed Sunday night from Chicago to an airport at the small city of Branson, Missouri. But pilots landed it 11 kilometers away at another airport.

One woman on the flight said the plane had a rough landing on a runway that was about half as long as the one at the airport where the flight was supposed to land.

"Well, we had a really rough landing, we were all like moving pretty close to the seats as we were landing because the runway, I guess, is too short for the plane. And so then they just came on and said that we had landed at the wrong runway,'' she said.

No one was injured in the incident, but U.S. air safety officials are investigating.

In November, the pilot of a jumbo Boeing 747 cargo jet landed it at a small airport in the midwestern state of Kansas, missing its planned destination at a military base 13 kilometers away.

Training experiment shows
boost in older adult thinking

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Just a little cognitive training goes a long way toward stemming mental decline in older adults, according to new research. Mental decline is a leading factor in reducing quality of life for the elderly, the study says.

According to the findings, older adults who received just 10 sessions of different types of cognitive training were better at reasoning and other mental tasks 10 years after the sessions when compared to a control group who received no training.

For a group that received booster sessions over the next three years, the results were even more positive, the research said.

"Showing that training gains are maintained for up to 10 years is a stunning result because it suggests that a fairly modest intervention in practicing mental skills can have relatively long-term effects beyond what we might reasonably expect," said lead author George Rebok of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, in a statement.

The new data from the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly study comes 10 years after an initial group of 2,832 participants with an average age of 73.6 years were divided into four groups.

One group consisted of memory training in which they were given tips for remembering word lists, the order of items, and to remember the gist of texts.

Another group received reasoning training, involving instruction for how to solve problems that follow patterns, which researchers say is useful for reading bus schedules or completing order forms.

A third group received speed-of processing training, using a computer to test the ability to locate visual information quickly. This kind of task, researchers say, is useful for looking up phone numbers or making quick decisions while driving.

A fourth, or control group, received no training.

The three groups all received training in small groups in 10 sessions of 60 to 75 minutes each over five to six weeks.

The researchers found that 10 years later, each group that received training had less difficulty with instrumental activities of daily living such as taking medication, cooking or keeping tabs on financial activities.

About 60 percent of the trained participants were at or above their starting level of function regarding these kinds of activities. This compares to just 50 percent for the control group. Reasoning and speed-of-processing performance also showed significant improvements for those who received training. Memory performance, however, did not seem to last for the full 10 years. Those participants scored better than their untrained peers after five years, but after 10 years, there was not much difference with the control group.

The study also showed that those who received training boosters 11 and 35 months after the initial training showed improvement in reasoning and speed-of-processing.

The National Institute on Aging, which helped fund the study, said the findings could have implications for the elderly and those who take care of them.

“Now, these longer term results indicate that particular types of cognitive training can provide a lasting benefit a decade later, said institute director Richard J. Hodes  in a statement. “They suggest that we should continue to pursue cognitive training as an intervention that might help maintain the mental abilities of older people so that they may remain independent and in the community.”

The findings are published today in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Six more cases reported
in wave of new bird flu

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Six more people in China have been confirmed as infected with the new H7N9 strain of bird flu and one of them has died, the World Health Organization said on Monday.

Three of the other five patients are hospitalized in either serious or critical condition, while the remaining two have mild symptoms, the United Nations health agency said in a disease outbreak update.

H7N9 bird flu emerged last year in China and has infected about 150 people there so far, and in Taiwan and Hong Kong, killing at least 46 of them.

The latest death was a 38-year-old man from China's Fujian Province who became ill with H7N9 on Jan. 3, was admitted to hospital on Jan. 8 but died two days later. He had underlying illnesses, including tuberculosis and pneumoconiosis.

China's state news agency Xinhua reported another death from H7N9 in the southwestern Guizhou province Monday, but this has yet to be confirmed by World Health.

A 65-year-old man infected with H7N9 also died in Hong Kong, the government said Monday. This death has also yet to be confirmed by World Health.

World Health reiterated there is no evidence as yet of any easy or sustained person-to-person transmission of the strain, and that the source of the human infections is still under investigation.

Researchers in the United States said last month that while it is not impossible that H7N9 could become easily transmissible between people, it would need to undergo multiple mutations to do that. Scientists around the world are keeping a watchful eye, on alert for any sign the virus might develop that potential and start to spread rapidly.

Obamacare success depending
on signups by younger enrollees

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Now that more than 2 million people have signed up for private insurance plans created by President Barack Obama's healthcare law, a crucial next check-up for the new marketplace will be to see how old customers are.
Early data from a handful of state exchanges shows the administration needs more young adults to sign up in the next three months to help offset costs from older enrollees and prevent insurers from raising their rates.
Critics of Obama's Affordable Care Act say the market won't attract enough young people to keep it financially viable, putting more pressure on government funds to compensate for any insurer losses.
Data from seven states and the District of Columbia, which are running their own marketplaces, show that of more than 200,000 enrollees, nearly 22 percent are 18 to 34 years old.
The administration had hoped that over 38 percent, or 2.7 million, of all enrollees in 2014 would be 18 to 35 years old, based on a Congressional Budget Office estimate that 7 million people would sign up by the end of March.
“The whole insurance relationship is counting on them signing up,” said Dale Yamamoto, an independent healthcare actuarial consultant. “Otherwise rates will have to increase.”
The picture from the initial state data is likely to change, since it mostly includes people who enrolled only through November, before a year-end surge of sign-ups for people wanting coverage effective Jan 1. Many experts speculate the early enrollees were more likely to be in urgent need of coverage, and therefore more likely to be older or sicker.
A recent survey by The Commonwealth Fund, a healthcare research foundation, found that 41 percent of those who had shopped at the various state marketplaces by the end of December were ages 19 to 34, up from 32 percent from an October survey.
One marketplace with current data, the District of Columbia, said on Friday that of the 3,646 enrollees in private plans through Thursday, about 44 percent are young adults.
Healthcare experts say many young healthy people may sign up only at the end of enrollment on March 31 to avoid paying the law's penalty for not having health insurance.
The Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, prevents insurers from charging people more if they have a health problem. Age is one of the few factors that can affect the price, with insurers allowed to charge up to three times more for a 64-year-old than someone in their early 20s.
But the healthcare costs for a 64-year-old on average are nearly five times as much as a 21-year-old, according to a study of claims from three large insurers Yamamoto conducted for the Society of Actuaries.
“The more that the marketplace is able to attract a broad mix of enrollees including the young and healthy, the more that costs will be sustainable and premiums will be more affordable,” said Robert Zirkelbach, spokesman for America's Health Insurance plans, a trade group for insurers.
Other factors may be as crucial, if not more, in determining the stability of the new market, including the health status of enrollees, regardless of their age, and how that lines up with what individual insurers had projected. But those details will only become clearer later in the year based on the medical claims filed by the newly insured, making age the best early proxy about whether the market is sustainable.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees the marketplace for 36 states, has yet to provide any demographic data about enrollees. It is expected to release an enrollment report later this month.
Data may come sooner from insurers as they discuss their recent financial performance with investors in the next few weeks. Humana, Inc., said Thursday that the mix of enrollment in its marketplace plans were likely to be more adverse than previously expected.
But healthcare experts say insurers need a better mix of enrollees than seen in the early data.
“If a quarter or more of the enrollees are young adults, I would think that's an encouraging sign, particularly for the first half of the open enrollment period,” said Larry Levitt, senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation healthcare think-tank.
By the end of March, “if it's lower than that, I think there would be some cause for concern,” Levitt said.
Levitt and colleagues at Kaiser analyzed a scenario that they deemed worst case in which young adults represented 25 percent of enrollees. They found that costs then would be about 2.4 percent higher, but insurers would retain a very slim profit margin. As a result, the Kaiser authors projected the companies would raise premiums by a commensurate amount, but not enough to destabilize the market.
Using the same data as Kaiser but different assumptions, Seth Chandler, a law professor at the University of Houston who specializes in insurance, said costs would be 3.5 percent higher, should only 25 percent of enrollees be young adults.
“If we see fewer than 30 percent of the enrollees being in that 18-to-34 age bracket, that's a warning sign that there are problems,” Chandler said. “If the demographics come in poorly, insurers are going to lose money.”
Chandler is a skeptic of the healthcare law and writes a blog called “ACA Death Spiral.” Such a spiral is thought to occur if insurers facing higher costs raise premiums, so only very sick people buy coverage, leading to even higher premiums with the pattern continuing until the insurance market either disappears or shrinks to the point that it is not sustainable.
The penalty for not buying insurance increases significantly by 2016, which should bring in more young and healthy holdouts over time.

Target says hackers entered
the store's cash register system

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. retail giant Target, whose stores were hit in a cyber attack in December, now says that the malicious software used for the theft of millions of credit card data was copying it from the company's sale registers.

Target's chairman and chief executive officer, Gregg Steinhafel, said in a recent interview that officials detected the presence of malicious software on Sunday, Dec. 15, and by six o'clock that evening, the company's system was safe and secure.

Before the malware was eliminated, though, between 70 and 110 million cards were compromised.

Hackers gained access to the retailer's computer network where they installed software that read the data from customers' credit cards as it was moving through the electronic payment process.

The data recorded on a card's magnetic strip is encrypted but, in order to authorize the transaction, the system must decipher it. The hackers' malware intervened in that process and stole the information.

Other popular U.S. retailers like Neiman Marcus, Barnes and Noble and Michael's also reported attacks at the point-of-sale terminals.

Quake rattles Puerto Rico
but no damage reported

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A magnitude-6.5 earthquake off the coast of Puerto Rico has shaken the U.S. territory's northern coast.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake hit early Monday, 96 kilometers northwest of San Juan, Puerto Rico, at a depth of 28 kilometers below the seabed.

There were no immediate reports of damage.

Sunday marked the fourth anniversary of the devastating magnitude-7.0 earthquake in nearby Haiti. That quake killed more than 200,000 people and left 1.5 million homeless.

Pope tells 19 new cardinals
to refrain from celebrating

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Pope Francis has told the 19 men he plans to elevate to the rank of cardinal not to see their appointment as a promotion and not to waste money holding celebratory parties.

Francis, who has made humility and frugality the hallmarks of his papacy and has warned against careerism in the Roman Catholic Church, announced Sunday the names of the men, who come from 12 different nations.

In a letter to each of them which was released by the Vatican Monday, the Argentinian-born pontiff said they should not let their appointment go to their heads.

“Being a cardinal does not mean a promotion or an honor or a decoration, it is simply a service,” he said in the letter.

Francis told them they should not react by doing anything that smacks of “high society or hold celebrations that have nothing to do with the gospel spirit of austerity, sobriety and poverty.”

In the past, some prelates celebrated their elevation to the rank of cardinal with lavish receptions in their home dioceses or in Rome.

Francis is leading by example. The former archbishop of Buenos Aires has renounced the spacious papal apartments in the Apostolic Palace used by his predecessors and lives is a small apartment in a Vatican guest house.

He uses the palace only to receive heads of state and to address crowds from a window overlooking St. Peter's Square.

Francis has also given up the papal limousine and is driven around Rome in a Ford Focus, sometimes sitting in the front seat next to the driver.

The cardinals will be formally elevated to their new posts at a ceremony Feb. 22 known as a consistory.

Sixteen of them are under 80 and thus will have the right to vote for Francis' eventual successor. The other three will be made cardinal emeritus, without voting rights, for their service to the church.

Afghan girl, 10, declined
to be a suicide bomber

 By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A young Afghan girl detained while allegedly wearing a suicide bomber’s vest said she does not want to return home. She is asking the Afghan government for protection.

Police in Helmand province detained 10-year-old Spozhmai last week. She said her brother, a Taliban commander, forced her to attempt a suicide attack on a police checkpoint. Reports from the area indicate that instead of carrying out the mission, she ran home to get the vest off, and then went to the police for protection.

The Taliban denied being involved in the plot.

Spozhmai said that now she cannot go to school safely in her village.

Spozhmai said she is happy she did not carry out the attack. She said the soldiers are protecting her.

Spozhmai’s father, Abdul Ghafoor, said he will not be able to protect his daughter if she is sent home.

“I am afraid of my own sons. I have three sons. One of them is a Talib, they are all together. I am not afraid for my life. I am afraid that they will hurt the girl.

Abdul Ghafoor said he wants the government to help his family move to a safer place.

News reports and rights activists say that over the past few years, Afghan police have intercepted scores of children whom insurgents were planning to use as suicide bombers. Some were as young as 6.


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)

St. Michael
Ocean View estates inside a gated community from $5.94 M2.  Properties start at 39K. NO HOA FEES.  Community salt water modern waterfall swimming pools, organic vegetable gardens, exotic flower gardens, food forest, mature orchards, fresh fish from aquaponics, stables, community center, and much more.  Each lot comes with an edible landscaping including pineapples, plantains, papayas, guanabanas, bananas, and more.  Most lots already have mature mango, lemon, orange, or caimito trees.  This is the most secure community in CR with multiple sources of water, electric, and high \[speed internet.

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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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 9
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
Affirmative action declined
after court bans, study finds

By the American Educational Research Association
news service

University of Washington researchers Grant H. Blume and Mark C. Long have produced the first empirical estimates using national-level data to show the extent to which levels of affirmative action in U.S. college admissions decisions changed during the period of 1992 to 2004.

The authors find a significant decline nationally in the level of affirmative action used by selective public colleges from 1992 to 2004. This decline is attributable to institutions in the eight states affected by statewide affirmative action bans or Circuit Court rulings during the period. They are Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and Washington. 

While selective public institutions in the eight states, which Blume and Long label post affirmative action states, ceased giving preferences to minority applicants in their admissions decisions, selective public institutions in other states continued to do so.

“There’s been a lot of debate about whether or not states are complying with the law,” said Blume. “Our research shows that they are.”

Blume and Long define affirmative action as the higher probability of admission for an underrepresented minority black, Hispanic or Native American student compared with a similar non-minority, white or Asian, student at the same institution. They found substantial and significant preference being given to minority students in 1992 at highly selective institutions in all states, but by 2004 there were dramatic declines in preference given to minority students in the eight affected states.

Outside of the eight post-affirmative action states, at selective public institutions a minority applicant was 19 percentage points more likely to be admitted than a comparable non-minority applicant in 1992, and this advantage remained at 18 percentage points in 2004.

The researchers also found spillover effects for students living in states bordering the eight affected states, particularly in Arizona, Nevada, and Idaho. Because these neighboring states lack highly selective institutions, students who apply to selective institutions in nearby California and Washington were affected by the decline in affirmative action in those two states. 

“These spillover effects are important to consider, especially in light of the growing number of states that have more recently enacted statewide bans as these bans will likewise have regional implications for college applicants,” said Long.

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From Page 7:

U.S. will promote more exports to Latin America

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The United States is promoting exports to the 11 Latin American nations with which Washington has a
Look South
free trade agreement.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker has unveiled the Look South Initiative specifically focused on increasing U.S. trade, said the Department of Commerce. She announced the project in Los Angeles.

In addition to Costa Rica, the countries are Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, México, Nicaragua, Panama, and Peru.

“Now is the time for a Look South Initiative to help businesses across the country explore Latin America’s expanding markets, learn about emerging opportunities in the region, and tap into
federal  programs that can help companies sell more products into the region, expanding their bottom line," said Secretary Pritzker in a release. “Our Free Trade Agreement partners in Latin America are fast-growing, with diverse industries and young populations -- and each has a burgeoning middle class. Through Look South, we are committed to connecting even more U.S. companies with these customers, so they can grow their exports, hire more workers, and help strengthen the U.S. economy."

The Look South web portal features updated market research and information on commercial opportunities, expanded awareness of trade financing tools, and targeted public and private sector partnerships, the department said.