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Cocal for Jan. 20
    Playa Vista
Amigo Realty
(506) 2223-1327                          Published Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014,  in Vol. 14, No. 24                          Email us
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turtle and hook
Cornell University/Samuel Friederichs

A green turtle shows an injury from a longline hook in its mouth. The turtle was found off the west coast of Costa Rica. The hook is one of millions longline fishing crews put in the Pacific each year, researchers said.

Satellite study points out leatherback danger zones
By the A.M. Costa Rica news staff

A team of researchers have tracked by satellite 135 leatherback turtles to determine that there are two spots in the Pacific where the creatures are in the greatest danger from longline fishing.

For a population of the giant turtles that nests in Costa Rica and Mexico the greatest danger is in a broad area off Perú known as the South Pacific Gyr, according to a report from Cornell University.

This group migrates along a corridor past the Galapagos Islands.

The gyr is an area where the ocean moves in a broad circle due to currents and winds.

One of the researchers is Stephen Morreale, a Cornell research associate. Also involved is James R. Spotila of Drexel University, who is known to Costa Ricans as the president of the Leatherback Trust.

Researchers also identified a second Pacific turtle population that nests in Indonesia and feeds off the California coast, according to a Cornell University summary.

Morreale and others entered the satellite data into a computer program along with other fishing data to predict the hot spots where turtles are snagged by commercial fishing boats, said the university.

“It’s a waste,” Morreale was quoted as saying. “This is not a case of people merely trying to feed
their families. The fishing industry does not want to catch leatherbacks, and the turtles that are caught are just discarded.”

The maps created by the research reveal seasonal and geographic areas of greatest risk. The university said that the researchers hope to work with fisheries managers to avoid fishing when and where there is higher risk of catching turtles in the area.

The Proceedings of Royal Society B. published the study last month.

The university said that Morreale noted that much of the conservation emphasis has been on the turtle nesting spots, but only recently, through satellite transmitters, are researchers beginning to understand the turtles’ complex habits in the ocean, which will hopefully lead to better protection.

Leatherbacks (Dermochelys coriacea) are the largest sea turtles and the most massive reptile, reaching maximum weights of close to 2,000 pounds, the university noted.

John Roe, an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina, Pembroke, was the research paper’s lead author, along with Morreale and Frank Paladino at Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne.

Spotila founded the Leatherback Trust in 2001 with  Paladino and has done research in Playa Grande on Costa Rica's Pacific coast. That is a key turtle nesting spot.

A.M. Costa Rica/Michael Krumholtz
Darren Mora is surrounded by piles of books, his inventory.
Used book business faces challenges and uncertainty
By Michael Krumholtz
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Endless towers of jagged-stacked books sprout from every corner at Mora's Books store. Behind the front counter, nearly hidden under the paperback bindings and dusty pages, owner Darren Mora sorts through some of his new purchases.

"If you keep it too organized it might be bad," Mora said. "Some people want to be so organized that they become crazy and obsessed about anything that moves."

Mora is a lifelong San José resident who has been affiliated with the English-language used book store since its beginning in 1988. After working for a couple years under the store's American founder, Mora bought the store in 1991 and has since kept it loaded. His messy sanctuary includes a wealth of classic literature, an archive of National Geographic books, and loads of popular science fiction. And that is just a small fraction.

Co-worker Ed Welsh estimates that Mora possesses about 500,000 books between what he displays in the storefront and what is boxed up in storage. "I could use four times the space, and we'd still have books on the floor," Welsh said.

But it seems space is fading within the niche landscape of the used bookstore industry in Costa Rica. Numerous ones have popped up and vanished again within recent years. "In the last twenty years, I could give you a list of 50 that have closed," Mora said. "The used book business – I would not say it's tough, but it's not for everybody." According to Mora, there is no such thing as a steady income in the business because one month could offer a healthy stream of income while the next one results in a drought.

Now the popular 7th Street Books is closing after 18 years of business, falling as the latest victim to the print-killing trend. Co-owner Marc Roegiers said he expects 7th Street to remain open until a target date of late March, citing insufficient revenue as the ultimate reason for closure.

"It's not a viable business anymore," Roegiers said. "Amazon has taken its toll. Everything is going digital." Before the bookstore shuts the doors, it is holding substantial sales for all books, including its well-known collection of natural history.

For Mora's business, it helps that his income is not tied down with just his store's proceeds. He is only scheduled at the shop for two days a week and works on the side as a show producer for musicians and as a radio host. And Welsh, who considers himself retired, works another two days on a most modest contract: The ability to be able to read and borrow some of the books.
He has suggested that Mora put up a sign on the exterior that says, “The Oldest Used Bookstore in the World.” After 26 years of business, that potential advertisement might not be too far from the truth. The longhaired Mora, who is very involved in the live music scene of Costa Rica and the annual Festival Rock en el Farolito, credits much of his sustained success to grabbing hold of valuable and cherished memorabilia.

"The used book business is becoming more and more antiquarian," Mora said. "You have to look for collectibles that have a high price mark."

In nearby Alajuela there is another used bookstore that has been open for a decade. Goodlight Books was founded by Larry Coulter after he moved from Sonoma County, California. He said that the country did not have enough books for him. So, he bought and shipped 20,000 to himself before he even had a store. Though he had a long run of success, sales dropped drastically in 2011, he said.

After trying to make up the lagging difference between expenditures and revenue from his own pocket, Coulter still owed the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social a major debt that he couldn't pay once the government added on a 20 percent interest. A few weeks ago he sold the store to Rosa Carballo, who has since tried to revamp marketing through social media and attract a new demographic.

Ms. Coulter echoed the sentiments of Roegiers that spell trouble for anyone in Costa Rica's print industry.

"It's electronic books, and it also is Gringos or North Americans moving back home or moving on to Panamá or other cheaper countries."

Coulter still helps out at Goodlight, "as a sort of mascot" and said that the store still has 12,000 books, all of which are alphabetized. This organization paints a comic contrast to the overflowing mash of printed words in Mora's.

A young female customer walked in with her friends and asked Mora if he had anything from poet Charles Bukowski. Almost without looking, Mora slides out a copy of Bukowski's "Hollywood" from a tall stack on the desk. The girl left without buying and said she was looking for a specific title.

Such is a Monday afternoon in a used bookstore where one can seemingly have more books than any nation's library yet not have the very one a customer is looking for. In an industry that precariously teeters on an edge like one of these too-high columns of books, the owner says that you can never have enough supply no matter how sporadic the demand.

"I keep everything – I don't have control over my inventory because its whatever people want."

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 24

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A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.


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chili cook off
Cook off poster features a smiling chili pepper

The annual chili competition
is Sunday at park in Atenas

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The event began as an argument between two friends as to who made the better batch of chili.  Now it is a cooking competition that is attracting thousands of visitors and dollars to the quiet town of Atenas.

Seven years ago the first edition of the Atenas Charity Chili Cook Off was held in Kay's Gringo Postres shop after owner Kay Costello's husband, Tom, bet his friend he could prepare a superior bowl of chili. The friend left town before the contest, but numerous other contestants entered and the Costello's were able to raise $300.

They decided to donate the proceeds to a local children's shelter called Hogar de Vida, setting a precedent that has survived through the subsequent years.

“I call it my baby,” Mrs. Costello said. “And I didn't feel it was right to keep all that money for myself.”

The latest cook off will be held Sunday. The competition has since moved to Quinta Roma Vista park. Sponsors have already given more than $12,000 towards the festival. Every dollar still goes towards the kids at Hogar de Vida. Event organizer Judy Timson said she expects the proceeds to exceed $30,000.

A mounting list of company donors have allowed that first cook off that raised a few hundred dollars to evolve into a popular attraction that should bring in upwards of 2,000 attendees. “It starts with a passion and an idea,” Ms. Timson said. “Growth has come with our committee going outward and gaining sponsors.”

Key local businesses and community members became so supportive of the event's cause that the cook off's committee is able to offer some lucrative raffle prizes that include paid-for trips to Manuel Antonio or Arenal, overnight package deals in Atenas, and a three-day kayaking tour by Bahía Rica. On top of the monetary contributions, a team of 80 volunteers has helped in setting up and working for the 7th Annual Charity Chili Cook Off.

“Like the saying goes, it takes a village,” Ms. Timson said.

This year 24 entrants, a third of whom are Ticos, will try to impress a group of 16 judges enough to earn first prize honors. For normal patrons, the entrance fee is 3,000 colons and allows each ticket-holder to sample each one of the chilies. In addition there will be vendor stalls selling more food (including some of Kay's desserts), massages, and face-painting, among other offerings.

Sunday's cook off begins at 11 a.m. and judges will announce winners at 2:30 p.m., which includes a people's choice award that gives festival goers a say. Additional information can be found at

Guanacaste's Abriendo Mentes
receives nonprofit status here

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

The community development organization Abriendo Mentes announced Monday that it has officially been approved to receive nonprofit status in Costa Rica.

Founded in 2009, Abriendo Mentes has been providing educational and community development programming in the rural beach villages of Potrero and Brasilito, and it is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit in the United States.

The process to become a legally registered nonprofit organization in Costa Rica can last many, many months, but it is a designation important not only to Abriendo Mentes’ ability to receive financial support from sources within Costa Rica, but also cements the permanency and legitimacy the organization has worked hard to attain in Guanacaste.

Says founder and U.S. Board President Meradith Leebrick: “We are thrilled to have received this meaningful recognition in Costa Rica. Achieving this milestone will not only open new doors for organizational growth and development but also demonstrates our commitment to putting down long-term roots in Costa Rica and continuing to pursue new avenues with which to enhance our programming and further support our participants."

Lindsay Losasso, project director and Costa Rican board president, hailed the news as a great accomplishment for the organization and said it is eager to explore the many new opportunities this recognition will bring to the organization.

“Attaining this status shows the local community and our supporters how much importance we place on officially being recognized as a Costa Rican organization, a step that we know will only allow us to better serve our students and program participants,” she said.

Bidiel Moreno Peralta, a lifelong Potrero resident and Abriendo Mentes’ board member, is also the father of two students who receive classes with the organization. When asked about the significance of the new status, Peralta spoke of the importance of Abriendo Mentes to him and his family, stating “For my part, I’m very grateful to Abriendo Mentes because if it had not been for AM, my daughter Verenice would not speak English or be able to be completely bilingual because she would be lacking the education...nowhere can you find access to English for free for children in this town.”

With the stability that this new status brings, it is the hope of Abriendo Mentes that programming will be available to children like Verenice for many years to come, the orgnization said.

Since its inception in 2009, Abriendo Mentes has quickly grown from small, informal tutoring sessions run by founders Ms. Leebrick and Drew Ragland into a fully operational, multi-site community development nonprofit. This growth was spurred by requests from the community and programming decisions continue to reflect the changing needs of the communities of Potrero and Brasilito.

 Abriendo Mentes programs include youth and adult English classes, a technology center, community fitness classes, a women’s social enterprise project, Mujeres Activas de Potrero, and much more.

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A.M. Costa Rica

Third News Page
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 24
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Regardless of runoff victor, there will be more taxes approved
By Jay Brodell
editor of A.M. Costa Rica

One fact is certain after the first round of elections Sunday.

There will be more taxes.

That is true no matter who wins April 6.  Many expats and citizens have good feelings for Luís Guillermo Solís, who promises change and to root out corruption. He said Sunday night that the election and his first-place finish signaled a new Costa Rica.

But there still is the towering financial deficit of the old Costa Rica.

An analysis of the news

Whether he or Johnny Araya Monge of Liberación Nacional is elected in the runoff, the winner will have to deal with an unsustainable socialist system. That is why the national budget is about 50 percent borrowed money. And the interest rate is bound to increase.

The finance ministry is ready to draft new tax laws. Experts there were hoping for a first round victory by someone so the incoming political team could help in drafting the new measures. Now they will have to work with representatives of two parties, Liberación and the party of Solís, Acción Ciudadana.

On the matter of taxes, the two parties are not far apart. If anything, Acción Ciudadana is more progressive, meaning it favors higher taxes and more involvement of the government in private life.

The two parties will have 32 seats in the new Asamblea
Legislativa. That's more than half, and other parties support heavier taxation, too.

Liberación and the Óscar Arias Sánchez and Laura Chinchilla administrations already have passed a corporate tax, a luxury home tax, a sales tax on all but very basic food items, a land exit tax, an air arrival tax and an increase in air exit tax. And the deficit keeps growing.

Solís used to be secretary general of Liberación Nacional, and many members of Acción Ciudadana come from there, too. So the basic political philosophies are the same regardless of how much Solís talks about change.

The Cámara Costarricense de la Industria Alimentaria, the food industry chamber, already came out Monday with a call for  an improvement in the country's competitivity and the creation of more jobs. The chamber also wants a reduction in the electrical tariffs and other public utility charges. These are not items that are high on the priority list of either major political party. The chamber also said that proposals for change create uncertainty.

The Cámara Nacional de Turismo also made a pitch Monday for more clarity in plans by the two candidates to make tourism a priority for social and economic development. The tourism chamber asked for a more aggressive effort to strengthen tourism and that tourism professionals be appointed to the board of the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo.

Higher taxes is unlikely to support the country's competitivity or encourage tourism. Any effort to impose taxes on the free trade zones will kill jobs.

The two candidates, Araya and Solís, have just a few months to say how they will reduce spending, attack the deficit and still create jobs, bolster tourism and remove uncertainty from the minds of entrepreneurs. And cut electrical rates, too.

voting materials
Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones photo
Bags with ballot from each voting district await a recount at the tribunal offices.
Liberácion did better than Araya in the legislative contest
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Though presidential candidate Johnny Araya slipped in the initial voting, his party, Liberácion Nacional, led the way in votes for the Asamblea Legislativa. The party received 25.52 percent of the popular votes to put 18 members in the assembly, edging out Acción Ciudadana's 14 diputados.

The Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica consists of 57 diputados who represent the seven major provinces. Liberación Nacional regains the majority of seats after holding nearly half of them since 2010. However, these numbers could change as Congress votes will be recounted after the presidential tally. The seats are awarded proportional to the vote totals posted in each province.
In San José, Acción Ciudadana representatives outnumbered Liberácion Nacional in a six to five margin, mirroring the pattern for the presidential voting.

A pair of presidential candidates, Otto Guevara of Movimento Libertario and Óscar López of the Partido Accesibilidad sin Exclusión, will represent their respective parties on the assembly.

Leftist party Frente Amplio won nine seats, while Unidad Social Cristiana garnered eight.

Because of the pending recount and second round for the presidential elections, the Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones has a maximum of two months to review the assembly election.

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 24
Real Estate
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Smithsonian and UCR researchers discover new coral species in Pacific
By the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute new staff

A new coral species, Psammogorgia hookeri, has been collected by scuba divers from rocky ledges at depths to 25 meters in Peru's Paracas national reserve. The corals' hand-sized colonies are slightly smaller than the colonies of their closest relative. Costa Rican researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and the University of Costa Rica have named the coral for Yuri Hooker, biologist and naturalist at the Cayetano Heredia Peruvian University in Lima, Perú. Researchers also found bits of coral attached to mussels from Independence Bay at a local fish market.

"This new species may be found nowhere else in the world," said Hector Guzman, marine biologist at the institute. "But coral reefs and coral communities in Perú have never been systematically studied. We expect more surprises as we look at new collections."

Odalisca Breedy, lead author of the new species report in the Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the UK, and Guzmán are experts in soft coral taxonomy and ecology. To date, they have discovered nearly 25 new species of soft coral in the Pacific. This new species was identified based on colony characteristics and examinations of the coral using both light and scanning-electron microscopy. Ms. Breedy and Guzman compared the new samples with specimens at Peru's Ocean Institute, IMARPE and at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History. Most of the museum specimens were more than 90 years old because no one has collected in this area in recent times.

"With logistical support from the Peruvian National Protected Areas Service, we're beginning to discover the amazing biodiversity of corals and
new coral
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute/Yuri Hooker
The Psammogorgia hookeri coral is fiery red

marine invertebrates in the Peruvian Pacific," said Hooker. "It's mostly a matter of looking in the right places and inviting experts who can identify these relatively unknown and unstudied creatures."

This new species underscores the importance of Peru's still largely unexplored marine protected areas.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

Largest art gallery in Guanacaste
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The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

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

Ask the others what you get for your money, and then compare the quality of accommodations, quality, quantity and variety of food and drink to measure the best value for your money.  Learn how others “talk the talk” and learn who really can “walk the walk
Please visit my Web site  to contact my references.
George Lundquist, retirement, relocation columnist, Guide & Developer/Builder.

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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.

Los Arcos gated community 2 bedroom 2 bath apartment $500 monthly. aAso efficiency apartment $300 month. 8841-1606

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

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
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 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

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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:

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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.

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

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 24
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corn ancestor
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute photo  
This is teosinte with a U.S. quarter to show scale

Corn ancestors is different
in 10,000-year-old atmosphere

By the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute news staff

By simulating the environment when corn was first exploited by people and then domesticated, Smithsonian scientists discovered that corn’s ancestor, a wild grass called teosinte, may have looked very different then than it does today. The fact that it looks more like corn under these conditions may help to explain how teosinte came to be selected by early farmers who turned it into one of the most important staple crops in the world.

The vegetative and flowering structures of modern teosinte are very different from those of corn. These and other differences led to a century-long dispute as to whether teosinte could really be the ancestor of corn.

“We grew teosinte in the conditions that it encountered 10,000 years ago during the early Holocene period: temperatures 2–3 degrees Celsius cooler than today’s with atmospheric carbon dioxide levels at around 260 parts per million,” said Dolores Piperno, senior scientist and curator of archaeobotany and South American archaeology at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, who led the project. “Intriguingly, the teosinte plants grown under past conditions exhibit characteristics more like corn: a single main stem topped by a single tassel, a few, very short branches tipped by female ears and synchronous seed maturation.

After the Industrial Revolution, carbon dioxide rose to today’s 405 parts per million, the level in the control chamber where teosinte plants look like plants in the wild today — tall, with many long branches tipped by tassels and seed maturation taking place over a period of a few months. Co-author Klaus Winter usually studies the effects of rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels on tropical plants as a senior staff scientist at the institute. Ms. Piperno and Winter devised a scheme to essentially travel back in time by comparing plants grown in modern conditions with plants grown in the early Holocene chamber.

“Now it appears to be an open question when in the Holocene teosinte became the plant very distinctive from maize in vegetative architecture and inflorescence sexuality that we see today and use as the baseline for research on maize domestication,” said Ms. Piperno. “When humans first began to cultivate teosinte about 10,000 years ago, it was probably more maize-like — naturally exhibiting some characteristics previously thought to result from human selection and domestication. The environment may have played a significant, if serendipitous, role in the transition through inducing phenotypic plasticity that gave early farmers a head start.”

Phenotypic plasticity is an organism’s ability to change in response to the environment, causing genetically identical organisms to look very different when they live in different conditions. As they formulate a new modern evolutionary synthesis, in part with concepts that Darwin could not have known of, evolutionary biologists continue to debate the importance of the environment and plasticity on evolutionary change and the origins of the diverse forms of life on Earth today. However, new evidence shows that these environmental–phenotypic interactions are in a growing number of organisms. This is one of the first studies to examine the influence of these processes on plant domestication.

“Extending these concepts to domestication research allows anthropologists to become more fully engaged in modern evolutionary theory and practice,” Ms. Piperno said.

Obama to visit Saudi king
on his swing next month

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. President Barack Obama is to visit Saudi Arabia next month after a trip to three European nations.  Talks with Saudi King Abdullah will focus on regional security issues, including the Syrian civil war and international negotiations with Iran for a final agreement on its nuclear program. 

Saudi Arabia was added to the already announced itinerary for Obama in Europe, including the global nuclear summit in The Netherlands, consultations with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union in Brussels, and Italy, where he will meet Pope Francis and Italian leaders.

Long close allies, U.S.-Saudi relations have been severely strained.  Saudi officials complained bitterly last year about what they saw as Obama's reluctance to intervene militarily in Syria, or to do more to arm rebels.

Riyadh is providing weapons to the rebels.  Saudi Arabia also remains concerned about support that Shiite Iran, its chief regional rival, has given to President Bashar al-Assad.  Warring Syrian parties recently held inconclusive face-to-face talks in Geneva.

Saudi leaders also are watching closely the P5+1 negotiations with Tehran for a final nuclear deal.  Other issues include nervousness about events in Egypt, where there has been ongoing violence ahead of a new election.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was asked Monday if scheduling Obama's stop in Riyadh was aimed at carrying out damage control.

"Saudi Arabia is a close partner of the United States and we have a bilateral relationship that is broad and deep and covers a range of areas, and the president very much looks forward to the visit where all of those areas will be discussed in meetings.  And whatever differences we may have do not alter the fact this is a very important and close partnership," said Carney.

In newspaper interviews last year, influential former Saudi intelligence chief and former ambassador to the United States, Prince Turki al-Faisal, strongly criticized U.S. Mideast policy.

This focused on President Obama's approach on Syria, specifically his eventual decision not to use military force in response to Syrian government chemical weapons attacks, and the Iran negotiations.

President Obama and the Saudi monarch spoke by telephone this past November.  The White House said Obama reiterated the firm commitment of the United States to friends and allies in the Gulf. 

Secretary of State John Kerry visited Saudi Arabia last year and again in January as part of efforts to address Saudi concerns, and discuss Mideast peace efforts.

President Obama is scheduled to meet Feb. 14 with King Abdullah of Jordan at the Sunnylands estate in California.  Those talks will also focus on Syria, Israel-Palestinian peace efforts and other issues.

Corruption costs in EU
put at $160 billion a year

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Corruption costs European Union countries more than $160 billion a year, undermining their efforts to emerge from its economic crisis.

The EU recently conducted its first survey on corruption and its impact on businesses and citizens in the 28-member bloc.

More than three quarters of Europeans believe corruption is widespread in their country, and it seems their fears might be justified. In its first report on corruption across the European Union, the bloc's executive arm finds corruption touches many parts of daily life here, from procuring government contracts to political party financing.

Presenting the main findings at a news conference in Brussels, European Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem said corruption's yearly price tag was probably more than 120 billion euros or about $161 billion. She says that's hurting the bloc's recovery from its economic crisis.

"The report shows clearly that the level of corruption varies from member state to member state, but it affects all member states," she said. "There are no corruption-free states."

The report is based on corruption perceptions and experiences on the part of EU citizens and companies. While it doesn't rank the block's 28 members, it does find that perceptions of widespread corruption are highest in countries like Greece, Spain, Italy and the Czech Republic.

At least one in 12 Europeans say they've experienced or witnessed corruption over the past 12 months. And 40 percent of EU companies consider corruption a problem in doing business.

While the report suggests how countries can crack down on corruption and offers examples of good practices, it does not call for sanctions or legal reforms. But Ms. Malmstroem believes it will generate discussion and action among member states.

"Of course, it takes more than a report to eradicate corruption," she said. "But as we are finding our way out of the economic crisis, this can be a tool. We cannot afford to drag our feet…the price for not acting is simply too high."

Corruption watchdog Transparency International calls the commission's report an important first step, but EU office head Carl Dolan says it could have gone further.

"It's interesting that there isn't a chapter here on corruption in the EU institutions…looking at things like revolving doors, lobbying, public procurement - all of which are big things for the EU institutions themselves," he said.

Transparency International will be publishing its own report on corruption within those EU institutions in April.

Multi-lingual Coke commercial
is generating controversy

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

While the consensus was that this year’s Super Bowl ads were mediocre, an ad from soft drink giant Coca-Cola sparked a lively conversation.

Coke’s ad features the song “America the Beautiful,” which is often considered the second national anthem, sung in several different languages by a multiethnic cast of singers. The song was sung in English, Tagalog, Spanish, Hebrew, Hindi, Keres and Senegalese-French. The commercial also featured a gay family.

The Super Bowl has become the place to debut funny, moving or even controversial advertisements. Many non-football fans look forward to the game for the commercials. For a 30-second spot, companies pay up to $4 million to hopefully grab the attention of the millions watching American football’s championship game.

"For centuries America has opened its arms to people of many countries who have helped to build this great nation," said Sonya Soutus, senior vice president of public affairs and communications, Coca-Cola North America in a statement. She said the ad "is a great example of the magic that makes our country so special, and a powerful message that spreads optimism, promotes inclusion and celebrates humanity – values that are core to us and that matter to Coca-Cola."

Both detractors and supporters of the ad took to the web to voice their opinion.

On the critical side, people complained that the song should only be sung in English, while those who liked the commercial embraced its multicultural bent.

Conservative former U.S. congressman Allen West lamented the inclusion of other languages.

“If we cannot be proud enough as a country to sing ‘America, the Beautiful’ in English in a commercial during the Super Bowl, by a company as American as they come — doggone we are on the road to perdition. This was a truly disturbing commercial for me, what say you?” he wrote in a blog post.

Glenn Beck, a controversial political commentator, said the commercial was meant to “divide us, politically.”

Social media was buzzing with talk about the commercial, including many who didn’t like it.

Virginia slave pen in movie
is now museum with chains

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The award-winning movie "12 Years a Slave" is based on the memoir of Solomon Northrup, a free black man from New York who was kidnapped in Washington in 1841. It is also the story of the notorious slave trader who sold him into slavery, James Birch.

In Alexandria, Virginia, just outside of Washington, Birch would become an owner of a slave pen where men, women and children were held before being sold as property.  Today, all that remains of the site is a single building, now home to a civil rights organization and a small museum about slavery.
Thousands of slaves passed through the doors of the house in Alexandria, Virginia, and the Freedom House Museum downstairs provides a glimpse about what they experienced.  As many as 60 men at a time were held in this small space, separated from their families.
Ugandan-born curator Julian Kiganda cannot imagine what it was like for them, to know they might never see their loved ones again.

“Seeing that African-Americans had experienced on a regular basis, the separation of family. That for me was just so heartbreaking,” he said.

Most of the slaves had worked on local plantations picking tobacco.  When the soil was exhausted, they were sold to plantations further south to pick cotton, says Audrey Davis, head of Alexandria's Black History Museum. 

“They were coming from a variety of places, and then being held in the slave pens until they were shipped out, or until someone was buying them directly from the pen, and then they would be brought out for inspection,” she said.

The slave pen took up an entire block, and was one of the most lucrative in the country. There was a kitchen, infirmary, dining area and an outdoor courtyard for exercise.  The traders knew that healthier looking slaves would command higher prices, and even gave them new clothes.

“The tailor shop would create the clothes that the slaves would wear at the market so they would look expensive," Kiganda said. "For the slaves, they would try to get rid of these clothes as soon as they could because they did not want to be reminded of being sold at market.”

The slaves were sold for up to four times what the traders had paid for them.

“People would pay $1,200 for a slave, back in those days, which is the equivalent of almost $30,000. And so that one slave could farm 800 pounds of cotton in one day," Kiganda said.

The metal door in the museum is a copy.  But the bars on the windows and brick walls are original.

Jacquelyn Nordorf, visiting from California, says it is chilling to imagine slaves crowded against the walls.

“It saddens me but it is our history," she said. "It was scary to be in a place where the slaves were actually kept and these people were sold for their lives.”

When they were transported, the slaves were shackled together to prevent escape and put on ships, or forced to walk long distances to plantations in the south.  

Visitors are encouraged to touch these slave chains.

“We felt it was important for people to have the ability to actually feel these things and feel the reality of what happened here,” Kiganda said.

Some people feel the presence of spirits here. The house now belongs to the Northern Virginia chapter of the Urban League, an organization that empowers African-Americans.  Chief Executive Officer Cynthia Dinkins and her staff say they have heard and seen things they can't explain.

“I felt something brush against me, but I didn’t feel threatened at all," she said.

The slave pen was closed during the American civil war, fought between the northern Union and southern Confederacy, where slavery supported the economy.  After Southern-backed Alexandria surrendered to Union soldiers in 1861, the pen was turned into a prison.  It was used to jail unruly Union soldiers, and ironically, Confederate soldiers, who found themselves captured and held as the slaves had been.

Chemical used in plastics
found to affect mice offspring

By the University of Michigan news service

In one of the first studies to show a significant association between BPA and cancer development, University of Michigan School of Public Health researchers have found liver tumors in mice exposed to the chemical via their mothers during gestation and nursing. 
"We found that 27 percent of the mice exposed to one of three different doses of BPA through their mother's diet developed liver tumors and some precancerous lesions. The higher the dosage, the more likely they were to present with tumors," said Caren Weinhouse, a doctoral student in the university's School of Public Health and first author of the paper published online Monday in Environmental Health Perspectives.
Mice whose mothers received the highest dosage, 50 mg of BPA per kilogram diet, were seven times more likely to have tumors than those whose mothers were not exposed to BPA.
The researchers said more research is needed to determine the implications for human health.
"This current study showing liver tumors in mice says let's take another look at BPA and cancer in humans," Weinhouse said, adding that next the lab will look for biomarkers in the mice genes that may signal risk for disease before it develops, and then try to see if similar characteristics are found in humans.
Bisphenol A, or BPA, is a chemical most commonly found in plastics, cash register receipts and the lining of food cans. It once was used in hard plastic bottles, including baby bottles, but many companies have removed it as concerns about health effects have been raised in recent years. Studies have estimated that at least 90 percent of Americans have some level of BPA in their bodies.
Previous research has found precancerous lesions associated with BPA exposure but the newest study is the first statistically significant finding of clinically evident tumors in any organ, said Dana Dolinoy, a professor and senior/corresponding author of the study. Specifically, the researchers found that adult offspring of exposed mothers had an increase in liver tumors.
Ms. Dolinoy said another interesting finding in their research is that tumor development didn't discriminate by sex.
"In general, females are at lower risk of spontaneous development of liver cancer," she said. "That distinction was erased in this study, with both males and females showing tumors."
The researchers fed 6-week-old female mice diets containing one of three environmentally relevant doses of BPA prior to mating, then throughout pregnancy and nursing. They then took one male and one female from each litter and followed them through to 10 months.
Another point of interest in their research, Ms. Dolinoy said, is that most other small animal studies have involved direct exposure to BPA. In this research, it was the mothers who were exposed before conception. The offspring, therefore, were exposed as developing fetuses and pups, not as adults.
"A previous study that exposed adult mice to much higher doses of BPA did not show the same link to cancer development," she said. "This tells us the timing of exposure and the dosage are extremely critical in evaluating study outcomes."
One year ago, Ms. Dolinoy's lab found BPA in human fetal liver tissue, demonstrating that there is considerable exposure to the chemical during pregnancy. In that study, they also found a proportionately higher concentration of free BPA — as opposed to forms modified by the body for elimination — showing that the ability to flush the chemical from the body is not the same in fetuses as in adults.

Terrorist sleepers or a bomb
may already be around Sochi

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

It’s now less than one week until the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.  And while Russia tightens security, many experts agree that it could be too little, too late, saying that many threats are homegrown. No amount of security can keep out what experts say may already be inside.

Many recall the bomb blast that rocked the stadium in Chechnya's captial city. It was May 2004, a parade on the 59th anniversary celebration commemorating the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II.  The bomb killed more than a dozen people, including the newly elected Chechen president and other government officials.  Dozens more suffered injuries from the explosion. The bomb was built into a concrete pillar. 

This is why some experts fear that despite Russian President Vladimir Putin’s so-called ring of steel security in Sochi, it may already be too late.

“Assuming that it’s 100 percent effective, although nothing ever is, he set it up long after the Sochi Games were announced and construction started.  That means that cells had the opportunity to move into place long before that construction,” explained Ian von Gordon, director of operations at the Diplomatic Protection Training Institute in Youngstown, Ohio, which provides security to civilians in high threat environments. He's an expert on terror groups in the North Caucasus.

“There’s probably people who applied to work for either contractors, construction companies, or the Olympics itself, and then they were brought in by those companies as contractors or employees,” he said.

An estimated 100,000 contractors have been working in and around Sochi building venues for these Olympic Games.  They expand sewers.  They drive buses.  And it is nearly impossible to vet all of them, said Glen Howard, president of the Jamestown Foundation, a research institute in Washington D.C.

“This is a big problem just by itself in the people that have already come to Sochi to work.  They could have planted a bomb,” he said.

Like the parade in 2004.  Experts said Chechen separatists may have planted those explosives in the stadium’s structure as many as three months earlier.

“I think I would be very surprised if there was not a bombing or something happened between now and the actual Olympics and when it starts on Feb. 6,” Howard stated.

Sochi is just west of a neighboring Caucasus region where separatists have vowed to fight Russians to the death.

Andrew Kuchins, director of the Russia and Eurasia program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said the Games may be too good an opportunity for extremists to pass.

“Sochi is the Holy Grail, I would think, for a terrorist - Islamic jihadist - individual or group to go after.  So, in a way, we have kind of the ultimate showdown,” he said.
“You have an unusual, unprecedented situation where you have people from all over the world - civilians - participating in a highly-publicized event,” said von Gordon.

While Russia continues its efforts to keep terrorism out of Sochi, the biggest threat to securing the Olympic Games may already be inside.

Real estate-related services (paid category)

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Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

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A Buyer’s Broker offering the best
of Costa Rica Real Estate.

For those looking for quality properties and service at quality prices. Central Valley Rentals. Offering honesty, experience and knowledge. Your Villa Real Expert. Call us now  Toll Free (877) 845-4533. In Costa Rica 2228-5961 or 8339-2112.

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The undiscovered jewel of Central America, 35 square miles of blue, pristine, clear water ideal for fishing, swimming, boating, Real estate values still low.
Great lake front, river front land, farms, homes, condos and commercial property. Some with owner financing
This is far and away the most beautiful place in all Central America — cool climate. Try our two-day, all-inclusive discovery tour for $299.

Check with our Web site at
Contact us at the office: (506) 2694-0088
Cell (506) 8880-8888
Phone number from the U.S. (305) 307-0088
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Costa Rica,

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Houses, lots and farms in Grecia,
western Central Valley.
Great climate
and safe communities.

Visit our Web Site:

English: (Cristian Arce)
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English:  (Luis Arce)
(506) 7100-8489  
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  (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)

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:

Land near Monte de La Cruz, 27 hectors+, Must sell for best offer due to cancer, 8841-1606

beachfront home
Beautiful Palo Seco Beach home priced to sell!
Gorgeous beachfront two-story home, of roughly 2,000 square feet, set on a half acre oceanfront lot that is full of beautiful fruit and shade trees in Playa Palo Seco. This home features two bedrooms, three full baths, high quality A/C units in all rooms, huge front and backyard, and of course, a fantastic view of the Pacific Ocean just feet away from the front door! Playa Palo Seco is perfectly situated between Jacó and Quepos and is only minutes away from five-star dining such as El Clandestino.  We have reduced the price from $150,000 to $125,000 firm for a fast sale in the new year! This is a must see property! Owner financing is available. This truly is a once in a lifetime offer and it will go fast! Please call 8816-2478 or email for more information!

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.

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. 
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. $175,000.
QQuietly 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. 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:

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale

Business for sale or lease (paid category)
Tanning montage
This is your chance to acquire a totally equipped tanning salon with five machines.  Fantasia Tropical has been open 14 years but the founder needs to retire and return to the U.S. for medical reasons.  You can assume the lease in Sabana West buying the S.A. or buy the assets and move them to a location you prefer. Taxes, permits, bank accounts all in order. Excellent opportunity for an energetic, creative hands-on owner or couple. Long-time manager available to stay on if desired. With an asking price of $30,000 this won't
last long.  Some owner financing may be available.  Contact for an appointment. For a preview

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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The contents of this page and this Web site are copyrighted by A.M. Costa Ltda. 2014 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details

A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 24
Real Estate
About us

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
Trio collecting Sunday ballots
involved in helicopter crash

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A security ministry helicopter had problems with the tail rotor about noon Monday, and had a rough landing just after takeoff.

The incident happened in Nimari-ñac de Chirripó, Turrialba. where it was in service collecting ballots from the Sunday voting.

The three occupants went to Hospital México after they returned to the Central Valley. They were identified as the pilot, Francisco Allón Herrera, and the copilot, Sebastián Gadea Castro, both with the ministry's Servicio de Vigilancia Aérea. Also aboard was an employee of the Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones, identified as Adriana Solís Vega..

The crew and passenger were transported by another craft, and all three were reported not injured seriously.

Church pastor is facing
allegations of sexual crimes

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Judicial agents reported that they detained a 48-year-old church pastor in Palmares Sunday on allegations of rape and sexual abuse.

The Judicial Investigating Organization said that the man is accused of using his role as a church leader to help him commit the crimes against two adult women. One incident is supposed to have happened in Palmares but the other took place in San Carlos, agents alleged.

Facebook will mark 10 years
without any public display

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The biggest name in social networking -- Facebook -- celebrates 10 years of existence today, having grown from a private college site to a worldwide platform with 1.23 billion users.

The company has announced no public plans for a celebration, but the occasion has spurred many observers to reflect on the meteoric rise of the site and its influence on other social networking services such as Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.

Facebook's initial public offering in 2012 had unexpectedly poor results, but the value of company shares has risen to record levels since then. The company is worth a reported $157 billion, more than many major U.S. companies with histories that are decades longer.

Experts think the major challenge for the social networking site is to age gracefully -- keeping the interest of its youngest users, who are moving on to newer technologies, while leaving their parents among Facebook's core set of users.

No matter what its future holds, Facebook has already made an indelible mark on the language of today -- introducing such terms as "friending," "unfriending," and "status line" into the modern-day vocabulary.

Costa Rican News
Retire NOW in Costa Rica

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From Page 7:

Stronger dollar pleases exporters and expats

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
and the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Expat retirees and exporters are hopeful as the colon exchange rate continues to climb.

The rate, which has been stagnant for months started to climb last week when the U.S. Federal Reserve reduced the amount of bonds it would buy in February by $10 billion. The U.S. central bank had been purchasing $85 billion in bonds a month to put new money into the economy and encourage growth.

Of course, that also suggested that the dollar was becoming worth slightly less every month. The Fed expects to eliminate the subsidy in December.

The Banco Central de Costa Rica reports that the average cost of a dollar Monday was at 524.82 colons and those who sold a dollar could receive 510.15. The figures were about 3.5 percent higher than earlier in January. The dollar is traded in a local exchange with the Central bank supporting it or the colon if prices get out of line.

Exporters who receive payment in dollars and have to pay bills in colons have been complaining. That also was true of expats who receive dollars from abroad to pay expenses here.

Of course, the dollar has been as high as 575 colons before the recent economic crash.

In Washington, the new head of the U. S. Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, was sworn in Monday. Ms. Yellen had been the vice chairwoman of the Fed and is the first woman to lead the central bank in its 100 year history.

Some economists say Yellen's approach is likely to be similar to that of former chairman Ben Bernanke, who pushed interest rates to historic lows as one part of the effort to pull the economy out of a slump.