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(506) 2223-1327                      Published Monday, Feb. 2, 2015, in Vol. 15, No. 22                           Email us
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A wise expat will prepare for a graceful exit
By Garland M. Baker
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

In a poem by Robert W. Service, Sam McGee, a gold prospector in the Canadian Yukon, asked his buddy to cremate him upon his death. He died soon after the request, and his friend anguished over the burden of his promise.

Asking a friend or loved one to take care of one’s funeral arrangements is one way of planning. Why put the burden on someone else?

While making her own pre-arrangements, Kathy Riggle, an expat living in Pérez Zeledón, discovered many obstacles and problems one can encounter when an American, Canadian or other foreigner passes away without prior preparation.

Retirement brought Mrs. Riggle to Costa Rica about two years ago. Recently, a good friend’s husband died. She was amazed and appalled by the process to get the body picked up and transported to San José.  She knows what is good and what is bad. She comes from a family of three generations of funeral directors.

Mrs. Riggle says she strongly believes in pre-planning for death.  Pre-planning protects ones family members and friends from the stress of the difficult decisions surrounding death. It also gives one the opportunity to make sure his or her wishes prior to death are carried out.

When a death occurs without warning, the situation forces a family member or friend into making the decisions of arranging and paying for a funeral. Most people have little idea of what details and costs are involved. The anxiety and stress of making these decisions and plans can be an overwhelming emotional responsibility.

Mrs. Riggle said that a person has four options to consider when planning for death: 1) Burial in a local cemetery; 2) transportation home and burial there; 3) cremation; or 4) donation of one’s remains for medical school research.  She
Mrs. Riggle
Mrs. Riggle
offered advice and tips for other expats:
Burial in a local cemetery or having a body transported back home for burial can be expensive. Many foreigners living in Costa Rica prefer cremation.

Most people do not know that when someone dies in this country and cremation
is their wish the next of kin have to be located to authorize the procedure if there are no prior arrangements regarding the matter. This could be expensive if it involves having documents expedited to Costa Rica from another country or an unexpected trip. Some airlines have bereavement fares, but many are moving away from the practice.

The U.S. Embassy allows North Americans to pre-authorize their own cremation. For some reason, the Canadian Embassy does not. Expats from other countries should consult their home embassies for details regarding the practice.

In the case where an unaccompanied U.S. citizen dies in Costa Rica, a U.S. consular officer can serve as a provisional conservator of the deceased's personal estate and take custody of his or her personal effects. Consular officer’s duties include arranging for the items to be sent to the legal next of kin. Real or contested property is disposed of in accordance with local Costa Rican laws.

Dan, an expat living in the Playas del Coco, Guanacaste, praised the U.S. Embassy in a telephone call last week with the assistance they
Sam McGee stamp
Canada Post immortalized the poetic cremation of Sam McGee with a stamp.

gave him when his father died recently. He said the funeral home contacted the embassy using a special number and consular workers were swift in assisting him. He said he was happy he had done some pre-planning but still was caught off-guard.

Donating one’s body to medical science can also be difficult and expensive for those who do not pre-plan. UCIMED, Costa Rica’s university for medical science, will take a body but only after an individual visits the campus and meets with a specialist in the area and fills out some forms. Without doing so, the cost to Mrs. Riggle’s friend was around $1,000 because she had to pay for a casket and special transportation from Pérez Zeledón to the medical center in Sabana Oeste.

Other medical schools also will take bodies. Article 14 of the "Reglamento para la inhumación y donación de cadáveres" (rules for the inhumation and donation of corpses) regulates the process.

Mrs. Riggle, tormented over the experience with the death of her friend’s husband, decided to help other expats before their deaths. She offers a free service called Peace of Mind Planning that includes the following:

• Affordable arrangements with locked-in pricing for cremations using the country’s two funeral companies that have crematoriums: Montesacro and Jardines de Recuerdo.

• Free assistance with filling out any required embassy paperwork regarding cremation or other permissions including transporting remains to a home country.

• Assistance with preparing an end-of-life directive: A testament of choice for authorization to discontinue life support if necessary.

ª Twenty-four hour assistance hotline. She will be available as a support person to assist with the details surrounding death when it occurs.

Cremation is the logical choice for many expats in Costa Rica. Today could be anyone’s last day. Planning one's passing on of assets through a will is just as important as preparing for death.  Everyone leaves life as they come into it, with nothing. Therefore, in life making proper pre-arrangements will bring peace of mind to oneself, friends and loved ones.

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

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Uncertainty follows move to let dollar float

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Banco Central's decision to let the U.S. dollar float against the colon has generated plenty of uncertainty.

Olivier Castro, president of the Banco Central, dropped the bombshell, and the Asociación Bancaria Costarricense quickly said in a statement that the route the Banco Central was taking is the correct one and that the central bank would avoid speculative movements.

What other steps the central bank will take remains to be seen exactly what the central bank will do. The banking association characterized letting the dollar float was a first step in stemming inflation.

The Banco Central prohibited in the middle of last year individuals and companies from bidding on dollars at the daily money market. They restricted that type of transaction just to banks. 

Last March the dollar was 571 against the colon and the Central bank was pouring in millions to keep it from getting higher. The bank said then that it dropped $19 million in the money market defending the colon.

The bank reported in early December that its dollar reserves have been depleted by some $120 million.  However,  in a statement released over the weekend, the central bank said it had dollar reserves of $7.3 billion.

The central bank statement also contended that the dollar was floating already because since Dec.12, 2013, the bank has not had to intervene to keep the dollar within the limits that have been established.

However, it said it reserved the right to intervene in the money exchange market to prevent what it called violent fluctuations.

The starting rate for today is 530 colons to sell dollars and 542 to buy them. However, these numbers were established before the central bank announcement Saturday.

Extortion schemes may be proliferating

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

There is a troubling new development in the proliferation of extortion schemes.

There have been several reported to law enforcement and there have been some arrests, including four persons detained last week.

However, there is the possibility that some crooks have followed through on their threats and killed a victim. A businessman died in Tibás Saturday afternoon when a gunman on a motorcycle pulled up and shot him six times in the head.

The man had been getting repeated threats, and it will be up to judicial investigators to see if the threats qualified as extortion.

Last week two older men, who had just received an inheritance, began to get threatening calls and text messages. The callers promised to inflict injury unless they received 10 million colons, said the Judicial Investigating Organization. That's a bit less than $18,000. The two men contacted judicial agents.

That resulted in the arrest of four men Tuesday in Paso Ancho.

The killing Saturday in Tibás resulted in the death of a 56-year-old man with the last name of Jiménez. The location was the Cinco Esquinas section where the man operated a business.

Crime lab honored with new stamp

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The judicial medical examiners and colleagues will get their own postage stamp Monday.  Correos de Costa Rica plans to honor the Organismo Médico Forense on its 50th anniversary.

This is the national crime lab associated with the Judicial Investigating Organization. Although the agency, based in San Joaquín de Flores, Heredia, is best known for the autopsies that are conducted there.  There also is a full range of other scientific crime-solving techniques.

The stamp went into circulation Friday, and a small ceremony will be held at the crime lab today.

Inspectors catch faulty fire alarm system

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The nations regulatory agency reported Friday that a routine inspection discovered faults in the fire protection system at the Gas Tomza liquid petroleum firm in Cartago. The agency, the Autoridad Reguladora de Servicios Públicos, said that the discovery was Thursday.

A fire agency technician traced the problem to the electrical panels that operate the system, said the regulating agency. Leaks and fires would not be detected, said the agency. The company puts liquid petroleum gas into marketable containers at the plant.

Autoridad Reguladora said it alerted the Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía. which contains the Dirección General de Transporte y Comercialización de Combustibles.

The gas firm faces a possible fine because of the outage, said the Autoridad Reguladora.

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A.M. Costa Rica

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Feb. 2, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 22
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U.S. poll shows big gap between scientists' and public's opinion
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A new U.S. opinion poll shows wide differences in what scientists think and what the general public thinks. Some of these issues currently are being discussed in Costa Rica.

For example, the poll, conducted by Pew Research Center, shows that 37 percent of the public believes that genetically modified foods are safe, compared to 88 percent of scientists,  a 51-point gap. The scientists involved are members of the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science, which cooperated with the survey.

The Costa Rican legislature is considering a bill that would make a ban on growing genetically modified crops nationwide. Environmental activists are pushing the measure that already has been passed by many municipal councils. The ban has drawn support from some professors at the Universidad de Costa Rica. One testified at a committee hearing.

The survey also showed that 28 percent of the public believes that food grown with pesticides is safe, while 68 percent of the scientists do, a 40-point gap.

An overwhelming percentage of scientists, 98 percent, reported that they believe, as Pew put it, "humans and other living things have evolved over time." But just 65 percent of the public believes this, which basically is another way of defining evolution.

Evolution has not been an issue in Costa Rica, but an incredible handful of Republican U.S. presidential candidates express doubts about what today is established scientific fact. U.S. news sites report that former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, Sam Brownback and Colorado politician Tom Tancredo, all candidates, said they do not believe in evolution.

Michele Bachmann, a candidate in 2012, said that intelligent design should be taught in public schools, said the news reports. She said that reasonable doubt exists on both sides. Intelligent design really is creationism, the idea that God created the world and humans as reported in the biblical Book of Genesis.

The term has been used since the U.S. Supreme Court has outlawed teaching creationism in U.S. schools.

Rick Santorum, who nearly was the Republican presidential
A.M. Costa Rica graphic
Genetics figures in more than one political issue.

 candidate in 2012, is a firm believer in intelligent design. In 2001 as a U.S. senator, he proposed a bill that would have required the teaching of intelligent design in U.S. public schools.

John Boehner, now the powerful speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, also is a proponent of intelligent design.

The Pew study also reveals that 50 percent of the public believes climate change is due to human activity, compared to 87 percent of the scientists, a 37-percentage point gap, according to a summary from Pew.

Lee Rainie, a co-author of the report and Pew Research Center director of Internet, science and technology research, said in  release that "Science issues are increasingly civic issues. They are at the center of what defines culture and society and how people live their lives."

An A.M. Costa Rica editorial
Constitutional court seems to stray into legislating in key opinions
Some expats are surprised that the constitutional court could find the corporate tax law unconstitutional yet still encourage collection through the end of this year.

This is just another example of the magistrates in the Corte Suprema de Justicia legislating. The court also found that a constitutional prohibition against appointing clergy as government ministers does not include individuals who are not Catholic.

Expats need to remember that magistrates are political appointees. When the court was deciding the fate of Melvin Jiménez, the minister of the Presidencia, the central government was considering the national budget, which includes money for the judiciary.

Judicial activism goes back much further than that. Óscar Arias Sánchez received the right for a second term, thanks to a favorable judicial opinion. The 2003 ruling by the Sala IV was the second attempt to overturn the 1969 constitutional prohibition. Basically the court found the constitution to be unconstitutional in much the same way it did to allow Jiménez, a Lutheran bishop, to keep his government job.

But the court went further in the Arias case. Out of thin air it ruled that presidents must wait four years before seeking re-election
The activism continues with the decision that the annual tax on mercantile companies is not constitutional. The legislature, the court found, failed to publish significant changes to the measure before it was passed.

That is an allegation that can be checked easily, a slam-dunk in other words. There was no reason for the Sala IV magistrates to wait nearly a year before announcing the decision. Suspicious minds might think that the magistrates did so in order to give the government a slug of money even if the law was unconstitutional.

The decision said operators of corporations must pay the tax, nearly $400 for active corporations, for 2015. And there was no suggestion that the government should give back the money collected with an unconstitutional tax.

Some lawyers were quick to challenge that position in another appeal.

The finance ministry noted that 95 percent of the money collected from the tax goes to the security ministry to improve law enforcement, as if that justified an unconstitutional tax.

Expats might find refreshing a constitutional court that decides legal issues based on jurisprudence instead of the political winds.

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Feb. 2, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 22
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Super Bowl for Patriots hinged on last second intercepted pass
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The biggest annual sporting event in the United States, the National Football League championship known as the Super Bowl, took place Sunday evening at University of Phoenix Stadium in the southwestern state of Arizona.

The New England Patriots were crowned Super Bowl champions after defeating the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 to capture their first National Football League title in 10 years.

The victory put New England alongside five other teams with at least four Super Bowl wins while Tom Brady joined Hall of Famers Terry Bradshaw and childhood idol Joe Montana as the only quarterbacks with four championship rings.

Brady fired four touchdowns, including two in a frantic fourth quarter, to give him a record 13 Super Bowl touchdown passes.

“Wasn't the way we drew it up,” Brady said about the 10-point fourth-quarter deficit. “Certainly throwing a couple picks didn't help. Lot of mental toughness and our team showed it all year.”

Seattle had a chance to steal a dramatic win after a circus catch by Jermaine Kearse put the Seahawks deep in Patriots territory. But a Russell Wilson pass was intercepted at the goal line by Malcolm Butler with 20 seconds to play to seal the victory.

“I just had a vision that I was going to make a big play, and it came true, and I'm just blessed,” said Butler, who was also covering Kearse when he made the spectacular circus catch. “I can't explain it right now… It all comes down to preparation.  I just made a guess and made a play.”

Down by 10 points midway through the fourth quarter, Brady cemented his legacy as one of the NFL's all-time greats, engineering two long scoring drives capped by touchdown passes to Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman to retake the lead.

The buildup to the Super Bowl had been dominated by a controversy over deflated footballs used by the Patriots in a

blowout win over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC title game that earned them a trip to Arizona and a whiff of scandal hung over University of Phoenix Stadium as the NFL investigation into the matter continued.

The game represented a last chance for the NFL to put a scandal scarred season behind it and the Patriots and Seahawks did their part, providing an afternoon of edge-of-the-seat drama.

“Every year if you're privileged to get to this game, hard things happen,” said Patriots owner Robert Kraft. “I'm so proud of Brady and Belichick for handling things the way they did. “I love them. And all our Patriots fans should feel very good.”   Belichick is Bill Belichick.

Oddsmakers had New England as a slight favorite to beat the Seahawks before the game.

The Super Bowl has become a spectacle in the United States.  Last year's game was the most-watched television event in U.S. history, with an average viewership of 112.2 million.
Most Americans watched the game in bars and restaurants and at traditional Super Bowl parties in homes across the nation. Millions of others watched the game outside of the U.S., with Canada and Mexico traditionally having the strongest viewerships.
The official cost for tickets this year ranged from $800 to $1,900, but they were nearly impossible to get at those prices. Ticket brokers were charging several thousand dollars per ticket in the hours before kickoff. 

Just as popular as the game are the television commercials, with sponsors presenting their most creative advertisements in hopes of boosting reputations and sales by reaching the huge audience. 

The cost of a 30-second ad this year was $4.5 million, with some companies buying several minutes of air time.

The halftime show is another major feature of the Super Bowl, with this year's entertainment provided by pop star Katy Perry.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click photo for another video

The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Real estate for rent (paid category)
Two houses for rent inside Sarchí working coffee farm. We will be renting out only one of them, so choose which suits you best.

Casita - Roomy, fully furnished 1 bedroom/1 bath/ 1 guest room, office or storage room. Hi-speed     WiFi, private phone line, hot water, balcony with lovely view across the Central Valley. Includes
linens, dishes, etc and washing machine. Rent is $500 per month plus utilities for 6 months or longer, $625 all inclusive for less than 6 months. Sorry, no pets.

Main house - Spacious 2 bedrooms/1 bath/ and an office w/Wifi. Fully furnished 
(except for TV), Sky satellite, private phone line, washer and dryer, alarm system.  There are lovely verandas with views of Poás and Central Valley, raised beds for gardening and lots of fruit trees. A well-behaved pet MAY be negotiable. Rent is $750 plus utilities for long term tenant.

Our farm is in a small, quiet and very safe neighborhood in Sarchí Sur and is gated and guarded 24/7 and we live on-site. It's totally private and quiet, but less than a 5-minute drive to Sarchí central and 15 minutes to Grecia.  There are great places to walk as well. More info and photos at

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

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

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

MONTHLY $800 TO $1,200

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

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

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cat trees
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Feb. 2, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 22
Real Estate
About us


Obama is ready to submit
new budget to Congress

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Monday President Barack Obama unveils his blueprint for future U.S. government spending, a proposed $4 trillion federal budget for 2016. The weighty document constitutes an opening bid in a lengthy debate about America’s finances that will expose sharp divides between a Democratic president and a Republican-controlled Congress.

First, some good news: the federal deficit has fallen by more than 50 percent in recent years.  America’s improved finances allow for a renewed focus on domestic needs that have gone unmet in recent years, according to President Obama.

“First, middle-class economics means helping working families feel more secure in a world of constant change.  That means helping folks afford childcare, college, health care, a home, retirement, and my budget will address each of these issues, lowering the taxes of working families and putting thousands of dollars back into their pockets each year,” said Obama.

The president’s budget is expected to cancel automatic, across-the-board spending cuts that have impacted everything from U.S. military preparedness to the response to health crises like ebola.

But the fiscal outlook is not all rosy.  Any deficit, no matter how small, causes the accumulated $18 trillion national debt to rise further, a fact pointed out by Republican lawmakers, who say Obama’s budget is “dead on arrival.”  Sen. John Cornyn is among those troubled with the country’s rising debt.

“I am concerned that the budget will be loaded with more taxes, more spending and more debt.  And that certainly is not a sustainable path forward for the country.  We are still spending money we do not have,” said Cornyn.

Congressional committees will craft spending proposals that reflect Republican priorities: constraining domestic spending while providing tax incentives to further spur economic activity.

But their professed concern about fiscal imbalances ignores recent history, when deficits and debt exploded under Republican rule, according to Sen. Bernie Sanders, an Independent.

“I am delighted that some of my Republican friends have expressed great concern about our deficit and our national debt.  I would ask them where they were several years ago when we went to war in Iraq and forgot to pay for that war,” said Sanders.

The U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power of the purse: to pass laws on taxes and spending.  But the president can sign or veto budget bills, meaning that an agreement between the two branches of government will have to be hammered out if the U.S. government is to remain open beyond September, when the current budget expires.

Kerry meets counterparts
to discuss trade, terrorism

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has met in Boston, Massachusetts, with his counterparts from Canada and México for talks that covered subjects that included trade cooperation and the fight against extremism.

Kerry, Mexican Foreign Secretary Jose Antonio Meade and Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird met Friday and Saturday.

Kerry said they discussed efforts currently underway to defeat violent extremism and the battle against Islamic State. He said the three countries were working together to build a safe, sustainable and prosperous Western Hemisphere and that they shared a commitment to democratic values and human rights.

They discussed their countries' shared responsibility for a clean-energy future and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Kerry said would connect one-third of global trade. Kerry also noted that every day the United States does more than $3 billion in trade with its North American partners.

The three men also discussed Cuba. Kerry said Cuba would participate in the Summit of the Americas in April and that he looked forward to working with México and Canada to advance human rights in the Communist nation.

Partial Cuban thaw seen
undermining democracy

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The recent U.S. decision to restore diplomatic ties between the United States and Cuba after more than 50 years has interested parties debating whether it will lead to an enhancement or regression of democracy on the Communist island nation.

A mix of politicians and analysts in the U.S., some South Florida exiles and key members of Cuba’s dissident community have all pointed to China and Southeast Asia as an area where democracy has retracted in the face of détente with America.

“We’ve seen what happens in these transitions, China, Vietnam and Burma, These are corrupt Communist dictatorships that are highly repressive. In fact they’ve gone backwards,” Mike Gonzalez of the Heritage Foundation said.

“China initiated a reform process 30 years ago,” he said. “It has perfected the model for economic opening while keeping the Communist party in power.”

That skepticism is shared by Republican Party leaders and a number of lawmakers of Cuban descent, including Sen. Marco Rubio, who earlier this month downplayed the idea that increased trade would lead to political openness in Cuba.

But those who support the diplomatic embrace reject this argument.

“Cuba rests in a very different part of the world than China or Vietnam. We’re in a democratic hemisphere, and Cuba is next door to one of the largest, most successful, powerful democracies in the world – the United States,” said the Brookings Institution’s Ted Piccone.

“This policy change will allow other regional neighbors to join us in supporting democratic change in Cuba,” he said. “That’s the hemispheric standard.”

A national Pew Research poll, conducted Jan. 7 to 11, showed that while 63 percent of Americans approved of U.S. President Barack Obama’s decision last month to re-establish ties, only about one-third thought a thaw in relations would lead to greater democracy in Cuba.

In fact, detractors worry that while the U.S. is prepared to compromise in the name of diplomacy, the Cuban government is cynically seeking a new benefactor it will not hesitate to eventually discard.

“The Castros want U.S. money to maintain power. I believe the minute Russia and Venezuela can help Cuba again, they will turn their backs on the United States,” said Jorge Lima of the Libre Initiative, a conservative group based in Washington.

“President Obama has said many things regarding new relations with Cuba, and many changes have been made. The Castros have made no changes, the people still have no liberty,” Lima said.

Still, given the reality of U.S. politics, some developments will come faster than others, experts say.

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators introduced a bill Thursday to permanently lift all restrictions on American travel to Cuba. But ending Washington’s 54-year-old trade embargo against Cuba is not likely to happen in a Republican-controlled U.S. Congress.

“It will be a gradual process,” said Carl Meacham of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “Isolation is exactly what dictators want. In the long run, this change will create a desire among the Cuban people for commerce, technology and liberty.”

In fact, the embargo not only isolated the U.S. from the Cuban people, but from other Latin American neighbors as well, according to Piccone.

“What we’ve tried over the last 50 years is very punitive. The Castro regime has it used against us. The whole world has condemned this embargo,” he said.

But the few dissidents in Cuba brave enough to speak out are unified in saying they feel betrayed by Obama, according to Gonzalez.

“It’s not just Cuban-Americans and members of Congress who are against this quite shameful decision,” he said.

Inquest into death of spy
makes Russians nervous

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

With relations between Russia and the West spiraling to new lows over Ukraine, bilateral ties between London and Moscow themselves are becoming more strained as the inquest into the murder of a former Russian spy gets underway.

A judge this week began hearings into the death of Alexander Litvinenko, who died in 2006 after ingesting polonium 210, a highly radioactive isotope.

British investigators have accused two Russians of poisoning Litvinenko’s tea at a London restaurant. The two men, one of whom is now a member of Russia’s parliament, have repeatedly denied involvement. Moscow has refused British requests to extradite them, citing constitutional restrictions.

Litvinenko had fled to Britain in 2000 after making sensational accusations about terrorist bombings in Russia. On his deathbed, he accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of ordering his assassination.

Ben Emmerson, a lawyer for the Litvinenko family, told the panel earlier this week that Litvinenko’s death was an act of terrorism.

“It is and was an act of nuclear terrorism on the streets of a major city, which put the lives of numerous other members of the public at risk,” he said.

“The startling truth which will be revealed by the evidence in this inquiry is that a significant part of Russian organized crime is organized directly from the offices of the Kremlin,” he said.

The British government originally rejected holding an inquiry, partly on the ground that it could damage relations with Russia. The inquiry will take evidence for eight weeks, and observers expect more damaging accusations to emerge against the Russian government.

Litvinenko’s widow, Marina, said Russia’s actions in Ukraine demonstrate Moscow’s willingness to order her husband’s murder.

Also this week, Royal Air Force fighter jets intercepted two Russian long-range bombers, known as Tu-95 Bear bombers, close to British airspace, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador to complain.

Similar Russian flights have become more frequent, not only near Britain but also near American airspace and that of other North American Treaty Organization allies since the conflict erupted in Ukraine last year.

Elizabeth Quintana, an analyst with the Royal United Services Institute, said the Russian aircraft normally skirt Britain's far northern airspace. This time, the flight path was different, she said.

“They were right down on the south coast over the Channel between the UK and France. Also, they were flying without their transponders on. There was particular concern because that means they would have crossed very heavy trans-Atlantic traffic,” she said.

She said Moscow could have directed its bombers toward Britain in response to the Litvinenko inquiry.

Both the West and Russia, she said, “are probing each other’s defenses, testing how quickly they react, seeing if there are any weaknesses. And also signaling to each other, signaling discontent.”

Spaniards march in Madrid
to back anti-austerity party

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Tens of thousands of people marched Saturday through the streets of Madrid in the biggest show of support yet for new anti-austerity party Podemos, which has been drawing comparisons to Greece's new ruling party, Syriza.

The crowds chanted, "Yes, we can!" as they converged on the central Puerta del Sol square. Many waved Greek flags and signs reading, "The change is now."

Podemos, which means "we can," emerged just a year ago but is already poised to shake up the country's traditional two-party system. In May, it produced a major shock by winning five seats in elections for the European Parliament.

Opinion polls show it could take the top spot in Spain's general election later this year.

Led by a political science professor, Pablo Iglesias, 36, Podemos aims to emulate Syriza's success in the Greek elections this past Sunday.

Both Spain and Greece have suffered devastating economic crises, resulting in massive unemployment and public spending cuts. Numerous political corruption scandals have only furthered public anger.

Spaniards frustrated with corruption and the political elite have flocked to Podemos and its message of change.

Critics of the party, meanwhile, have accused it of supporting left-wing governments in Latin America, including in Venezuela.

Venezuelan general says
he is facing harassment

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A prominent Venezuelan opposition figure and retired general, Antonio Rivero, has resurfaced after nearly a year in hiding, appearing at the United Nations in New York.

“I have come to ask for protection,” Rivero told a reporter Celia Mendoza.

Rivero said he called on the U.N. to stop what he described as harassment by the Venezuelan government, not just against him but against political prisoners and the entire Venezuelan population.

Rivero has been on the run since early last year, when Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered his arrest for allegedly inciting anti-government protests last February that resulted in more than 40 deaths. The government accused the opposition of trying to stage a coup. Rivero had previously been accused of helping trigger the violence that followed Maduro's disputed April 2013 election.

Rivero said the Venezuelan government's accusations and reasons for detaining him were not justified and represented a violation of his rights. He said his family has also been subject to constant harassment.

Rivero was once a close ally of the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez, serving as the government's emergency management director until 2008. But in 2010, he retired from the military over concerns about a growing Cuban influence in the armed forces.

New book on teen brain
shows adolescent different

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Neuroscientist Frances Jensen has been studying the human brain for almost all of her career. But even she wasn't ready for the challenge of two teenage sons. Her challenge: try to find out why smart and responsible teenagers also act impulsively and engage in high-risk behaviors.

So, she did what any scientist would do: She studied a decade's worth of brain research. Her findings dispel some myths and also provide a bit of help for parents, teachers and other adults trying to understand.

When they reach puberty, their bodies change and teens look like adults. The assumption is their brain also is like an adult brain.

Not true, Ms. Jensen said. "The brain is the last organ in the body to mature. It takes into mid-20s for it to complete.” The chemistry and structure of the teenaged brain is only about 80 percent of its final form.

In her new book, "The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults," Ms. Jensen outlines the strengths and weaknesses of the brain at this stage of development. She said the way their brain is wired makes teens better learners than adults.

“It’s coming down from a high on learning that happens in childhood, something we call synaptic plasticity, which means that the synapses, where your brain cells talk to each other, are how you learn," said Jensen. "So you build bigger synapses when you learn something.

"The proteins and the chemicals involved in building synapses for learning are at very, very high levels in the child, and a little bit less in adolescents and then come down to sort of adult levels, which is why a child can learn two, three languages flawlessly and a teenager is pretty good, not quite as good as a child, but better than an adult in terms of the rate at which they can learn and absorb information.”

The paradox is that while teens have an enhanced ability to learn, the connections among different areas of the brain are still developing.

“Your brain cells send out processes so that your brain areas can talk to each other. This process requires signals to go through the brain. These processes need insulation," said Ms. Jensen.

"And the insulation we have is a fatty natural substance called myelin. It takes two-and-a-half decades to finish the job. They are working from the back of your brain to the front. And what do you think the last place to connect up fully to have these processes completed for fast transmission is? The front of your brain. And what’s in the front of your brain? The frontal lobes,” she said.

The frontal lobes of the brain are responsible for insight, judgment, impulse control and empathy, things a teenager has a hard time putting together.

 “So we have a very active brain, on one hand, able to learn, but it’s being driven by a driver who doesn’t really have full access to the brakes yet,” she said.

Ms. Jensen says that things like drugs and alcohol can have a much more serious impact on the teen brain than the adult brain.

“Your IQ can change up or down between 13 and 17. We don’t quite know what specifically can make an IQ go up or down, but one thing that we know does make IQs go down is certainly exposure to certain drugs, for instance chronic pot smoking.  The more you smoke, the lower your IQ will be between that time window."

So while most people tend to think that teenagers are so resilient, neuroscientist Ms. Jensen said they are and they aren’t.

“There are certain things that can affect them long term,” she explained. “The same amount of experiences like stress or alcohol or pot, an adult may sail through it for the same exposure, but a teenager will bear a long-term problem based on that.”

A recent study reveals a short-term problem for teens: multi-tasking. That sensory overload can hinder their ability to recall words. “In this study," Ms. Jensen reported, "the ones who were given all sorts of distractions as they were trying to learn a task, they still did worse than the kids that were given the same learning experience without distraction. So teenagers can think, 'Oh, I can learn and do that all at the same time.’ No, it’s still an issue for their brain. There is a limit.”  

There is also a gender difference in brain development. Ms. Jensen said the part of the brain that processes information expands during childhood and then begins to thin, peaking in girls at around 12 to 14 years old and in boys about two years later. She compares a 13, 14 or 15 year-old-girl and a 13, 14 or 15 year-old boy.

“Of course there are individual exceptions, but we can say in general, the girls are probably more planners, able to sort of navigate through complex sort of  scheduling and things, whereas planning isn’t a boy’s big strength at this point of their life.”

And while sleep is important for learning and memory, teens, both boys and girls, often don't get enough. When they stay up late at night and wake up late in the morning, parents may think it’s just because teens are lazy.

That is another myth, Ms. Jensen says. They are just being teens. “Their biological clocks are absolutely programmed to be 2 to 3 hours later for the sleep start time and wake time than adults." Adults get a surge of melatonin, the hormone produced by the brain that helps make you sleepy, around 8:30. It typically doesn't hit teens until closer to 11 p.m. “So they’re not ready to go to sleep yet until midnight," Ms. Jensen pointed out. "Likewise they have to go through the whole 8 to 9 hours of sleep in order to have a healthy brain." Waking up at 6 in the morning to get ready for school is like an adult getting up at 3 a.m.

"It’s probably not the optimal time for their brains to be put in a learning environment," she said.

All the new information about the teen brain can help adults do a better job as teachers and parents.

“Stay connected and also be a little bit more patient,” Ms. Jensen advises adults. “This is the first generation in which we’ve known very much about the unique aspects of the adolescent brain, the strengths and weaknesses. Also, it’s during these teenage years that mental illnesses can first strike: bi-polar, depression or schizophrenia. We see these things coming at 18, 19, 20 or early 20s. That’s another reason to stay connected and know how to look for the warning signs.”

Ms.. Jensen also encourages parents to share such information with their kids. “In teenage years, they’re trying to learn who they are, to figure out their identity They have a natural interest in anything about themselves that can be told, so when you start telling them about the biology of their maturation state, you’d be surprised how quite interested in it they are.”

Real estate-related services (paid category)

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Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)


CoopeAgri Real Estate

The best option in real estate services in southern Costa Rica and the South Pacific coast. We are professionals promoting properties such as farms, lots, ranches, commercial premises, homes and apartments, through our advertising and marketing services.
Are you buying a property? Our experienced team is ready to help you to find the right place. Are you selling? We are experts selling properties.  Keep it simple. Don't waste your time. We are  the best local and international listing.  Contact us, and we will be glad to assist you!
Local CR Phones: (506) 2785-0282 or  (506) 2785-0278

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

Remax logo
Re/Max Ocean Surf and Sun:

The experts in buying property in Costa Rica, with more than 20 years experience and the largest networked team of agents in the country.  We can help you learn if investing in Costa Rica is right for you with our low-key, educational approach to sales. Our professional agents can tell you more about Costa Rica properties, including condos, homes, lots and commercial real estate.  Call us: Ocean Surf and Sun Int. Realty Ldta at 011 (506) 2653-0073 or send us an email at:

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

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

Real estate for sale (paid category)

Shangra la
Located in Jacó in the best and safest location possible, 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 birds and other animals. 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, Beautiful gardens with many fruit trees. Built in year 2005 to highest standard by German owner now 69 years old, who wants to downgrade. Room for two more apartments, plans approved. Only 6 minutes walk to the beach and or center of Jacó.  Price reduced for quick sale to $1,150.000 and still negotiable. All fittings and furniture included. Excellent quality and well maintained. Just upgraded and remodeled for $ 30,000. Owner financing available.  More photos on request HERE! Email:  Cell 8838-2081 or home 2643-2979.

Fortuna view
Sometimes “distress sale” is a come-on.  Sadly, for this bruised North American ex-wife it is not.  She has a very nice modern- construction 2-br home on 1129 m2 intended for up to a couple dozen apartments with superb volcano view, short walk to downtown, all the amenities.  The existing 1st loan can be assumed but the 2nd has to be paid off, as do her other debts here, so that’s the distress part.  The irony is that their business plan was perfect, the place rents extremely well today, but she can’t manage it from a distance and doesn’t plan on returning to Costa Rica.  Asking $140k but her Costa Rica dream property is going to go to the first best offer with enough cash to clear her debts as well as clear her mind.  Her own personal bad experience provides an unusual opportunity at this time.  For interior pix: phone 506-8377-8402 or E-mail

1-acre beautiful beachfront lot
Power and water on the property A very nice tropical setting in Puerto Viejo, Limón. Choice location. 9 beautiful lots for sale. Each lot is $69,000 or offer. Please call Peter: 7122-3754 or e mail:

Jaco hotel

Beautiful beach hotel for sale.
Located at Jacó Beach, Costa Rica, Pacific Ocean.
Apartotel Costa Arenas is located just 5 minutes from the beach and 10 minutes from Jacó Downtown. The perfect place to rest in a cozy and familiar environment; surrounded by beautiful gardens. We have 11 fully equipped apartments. Also has swimming pool for adults and children and private parking 24 hours.  Retail value US$700,000.00   Contact:  
Carlos Díaz  Local CR Phone: (506) 2643-2085  
Email:   Web:

Photo one
photo two
Tambor three for jan. 15
Total area of the property is 23 hectares at $425,000. There's an option to buy 2 sub lots, the first one is land with no construction of 890 sqm at $19,900. The second, 1,700 sqm including a small house, for the price of $65,000
Located 300 meters from the south Jacó . First house is 110 sqm with 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom,  private pool, A/C, kitchen and separate laundry. Second is a 120m, two-story house with 2 bedrooms, There's a small lot has its own entrance and is perfect for building  $280,000.
This 115 sqm condo is located four blocks from the heart of Santa Ana. It is a corner unit with a view of the green area from your living room. Two bedrooms, a master bedroom with an ensuite bathroom. Kitchen is clean and modern. Home is in good condition, and ready to move into. $132.000.
Contact Jo-Anne  Cell phone number: 506 8310-2915
or through 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:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

See virtual tour of accommodations here:

For more details go to:

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

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

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Jaco hotel

Beautiful beach hotel for sale.
Located at Jacó Beach, Costa Rica, Pacific Ocean.
Apartotel Costa Arenas is located just 5 minutes from the beach and 10 minutes from Jacó Downtown. The perfect place to rest in a cozy and familiar environment; surrounded by beautiful gardens. We have 11 fully equipped apartments. Also has swimming pool for adults and children and private parking 24 hours.  Retail value US$700,000.00   Contact:   Carlos Díaz  Local CR Phone: (506) 2643-2085   Email:   Web:

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

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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Feb. 2, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 22
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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
Danger is lurking in your garden soil

There you are, out in your yard, gardening away.  You just planted a shrub and grab your shovel to head to a new location where you intend to plant the sister shrub.  Life is good.  You push the shovel into the dirt

Victoria torley
and reach down to remove a root when it happens.  It wasn’t a root, it was a piece of old barbed wire, and you are bleeding.

Slam down the shovel, maybe cuss a little, and shake your hand.  Wow that hurt, but it looks okay now, so you keep gardening.  I have done the same thing.  Happens all the
time here because people have been careless with pieces of wire, old nails, even sections of rusted tin roof.  We tend to be very cavalier about these small cuts and scratches. 

Bad idea.  Although we hear little about it in the States, tetanus is a serious, disease with a 30 percent mortality rate.  In addition to that classic rusty nail, tetanus can be contracted through animal bites and burns or unsterile needles.  The bacterium that causes tetanus is found in dirt, dust, and animal feces.  It attacks the nerves causing severe spasms that can paralyze the lungs. 

It is also totally preventable. 

So, when did you have your last tetanus shot?  All gardeners need one, especially here.  A lot of people think that the vaccination they had as a child protects them forever, but it doesn’t.  I don’t usually include long quotes in this column, but here is one from

“If it has been more than 10 years since your last tetanus booster, contact your doctor to bring your immunizations up to date. A booster vaccination is also recommended if you sustain a deep, contaminated wound and more than five years have passed since the last dose, since protective antibody levels may fall after five years in some people. You should also receive a series of three tetanus immunizations if you did not receive the childhood vaccine.”

Need more convincing?  Try,, or the World Health Organization.

Okay, I don’t like shots any more than you do, but my tetanus vaccination is up-to-date.  Is yours?

Plant of the Day

This lovely flower is the justicia carnea, commonly called the jacobinia or flamingo flower.  A frequent bloomer, it comes in a range of colors.  Although it grows to 1.5 meters (5 feet), it is frequently shorter.  The plant likes moist rich soil and grows in both
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sun and partial shade.  Jacobinia can be started from cuttings, so keep your clippers sharp.   So far, I have not had trouble with pests, not even leaf-cutters.

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

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From Page 7:

U.S. earmarks $1 billion for Central America

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Trade to the United States from Central America and the Dominican Republic has increased 66.7 percent since 2005 and now totals $30.1 billion, the U.S. government reported Friday. The countries involved are those that are parties to the Central American Free Trade Treaty.

The statistic came from an announcement that the United States plans to provide more than $400 million to promote trade facilitation, promote transport and customs/border integration, promote more efficient and sustainable energy, reduce poverty, enhance workforce development, facilitate business development and help small businesses create jobs, link Central American and North American markets, and strengthen Central American regional institutions.

The United States said it will continue to support technical assistance to encourage electricity market integration, renewable energy development, power sector solvency, and resource planning to improve Central American citizens’ access to clean, affordable, and reliable electricity.  These efforts will help attract private investment in clean energy infrastructure and boost overall economic competitiveness.

The money is part of some $1 billion that the U.S. executive branch has put in the proposed 2016 fiscal year budget to contribute to the evolution of an economically-integrated Central America that is fully democratic, provides greater economic opportunities to its people, promotes more accountable, transparent, and effective public institutions, and ensures the safety of its citizens, according to a White House announcement. 

Nearly $250 million is allocated to strengthen institutions and enable governments to more effectively address the social, economic, political, and security problems they face, the White House said.  A focus is to help Central American countries improve revenue collection and public sector fiscal management, increase the role and impact of civil society on governance, strengthen the efficiency, accountability, and independence of judicial institutions, reinforce democratic institutions, and target corruption. 

Many of the programs are designed to help Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.