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Your daily English-language news source Monday through Friday

Cocal for Jan. 20
    Playa Vista
Amigo Realty
(506) 2223-1327                          Published Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014,  inVol. 14, No. 226                          Email us
Real Estate
About us
Jo Stuart
Anti aging

School children are enjoying their last vacation days
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Monday is the first day of the 2014 school year that runs until December.

Plenty of parents are struggling to find the cash to buy the uniforms and supplies their children will need for class. Not the least of these are police officers. But they have a solution.

The security ministry and the Dirección General de la Fuerza Pública  are organizing a seven-
kilometer race Feb. 23 in Pavas with an admission of $20 or 10,000 colons. The funds will go to help the police officers most in need, said the ministry. Signups are at the Runners stores around the Central Valley.

Other parents will be racing to just get back to town because they have been on vacation. To expedite their return, the traffic police are restricting major highways this weekend to travel by large trucks. The rush will not be as big as at the end of the Christmas holidays, but some parents have been able to spend much of January with their kids at the beach.

The Ministerio de Educación Pública expects 940,700 students. The ministry estimates that there will be 117,700 in preschool, 447,000 in primary grades, 361,300 in secondary, 83,200 in technical classes and 14,500 in special programs. And all will be housed in 5,191 schools of which 4,069 will be for primary grades.

There will be 72,707 persons on the payroll, an increase of 1,802 since last year, the ministry said. The budget is more than 7 percent of the gross domestic product of the country.

Some additional classes this year will be in the technical area, such as shop and carpentry.
school start
Ministerio de Educación Pública graphic

Every year the start of classes is met with some problems, such as private carriers who fail to register with the traffic authorities. There also are problems with classrooms, as might be expected with the large number of buildings and students.

The ministry said that this month and next a number of new or remodeled schools will be inaugurated.

Many private institutions adopt the same calendar as the public schools. Some already have begun classes, others will do so next week.

The economics ministry did a study last month that underlined the fact that many parents will be spending the colon equivalent of $200 or more to get their children ready. The study showed that there were less expensive options with off-brand merchandise and discount stores.

The start of classes is why expats see so many displays of notebooks and other school supplies.

Some expats are shopping, too, because many have adopted informally Costa Rican families and provide school supplies, uniforms and even school shoes to their youngsters.

Some expats are facing much higher Caja charges
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Some expats are facing a stiff hike in mandatory monthly payments to the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social.

The Association of Residents of Costa Rica announced Wednesday that the Caja would charge individual members based on their residency status. Until now, members of the organization paid a flat fee each month under a contract the association negotiated with the Caja.

The fee was between $37 and $55 monthly for a family.

Now members of the residency association will be paying roughly what they would pay had they signed up as individuals at the nation's health provider.

Membership in the Caja is obligatory for legal residents, although many have other forms of health insurance and seek medical care elsewhere.

The Caja action and its rising fees in general are expected to have some impact on the influx of future residents and perhaps the real estate market. The increases also might encourage those with legal residency to become what is known as perpetual tourists, that is persons living here amid uncertainty on 90-day tourism visas.

The monthly Caja amounts are expected to encourage more eligible individuals in various residency categories to seek permanent residency.  According to the residents association, permanent residents over 55 years of age in its plan will pay $63 a month. The monthly amount is $114
for permanent residents under 55 years, the association said.

Those rates are cheaper than the announced rates for those with pensionado status. These monthly rates are $75 for those over 55 years and $139 for those younger than 55.

The rates appear to be keyed to the monthly financial requirements for obtaining residency. Would-be pensionados have to show a monthly income now of $1,000 while those in the rentista category have to show $2,500.

The higher requirements for rentistas is reflected in the announced Caja monthly charge of $252 for those over 55 and $442 for those under 55.

The association said that the most affected category was inversionista or investor, but it did not give any numbers.

The rate increases were reported by association members after the close of business Wednesday, so a full outline of the situation could not be obtained.

Some individuals who are not members of the association have been paying in excess of $400 a month to the Caja. Persons who are employed pay 9 percent of their salary to the Caja for health care, pensions and other programs. The employer pays each month about 26 percent of the total salaries for the Caja and a number of other charges.

The association of residents said that the new Caja charges were effective Jan. 1. Since the Caja is paid in arrears, it means expats involved in the association plan will feel the impact this month.

Costa Rican photo of young gold miners selected as a contest finalist
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A photo of two gold miners in Abangares is a finalist in the Sony World Photography contest. The shot by a photographer identified as Guillermo Barquero, has been selected from more than 100,000 entries in one of 10 categories.
The photo shows two young miners sitting on a bunk eating a meal. They are dirty because the mining in that section of Costa Rica is underground.

The finalists in the promotional contest by the camera maker will be displayed during the rest of 2014.

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


Marco Cavallini & Associates
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drug arrests
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policia          
y Seguridad Pública photo          

Security officials give a slide show on the capture.

Early morning gulf capture 
yields fastboat and 960 kilos 

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Anti-drug agents and the coast guard captured a haul of 960 kilos of cocaine early Wednesday when they boarded a fastboat in the Golfo Dulce off Golfito, the security ministry said.

The case was important enough for a morning press conference to announce the capture. As officials were talking the amount of cocaine increased as large packages were opened and the contents weighed.

The Policía de Control de Drogas apparently was working on a tip with the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas. The cocaine came from another boat on the high seas, they said. The fastboat with two 175-horsepower outboard engines carried 46 bags with 20 smaller packages in each. The three individuals in the boat are Costa Ricans who did not have any police record, officials said.

The boat that was confiscated was licensed at Playas del Coco further up the Pacific coast, the security ministry officials said. The agents theorize that the cocaine was supposed to be brought to land and then sent north in some other way, perhaps by truck.

The southwest coast of the country has many inlets and creeks where drug boats can hide out. It is an area where smugglers frequently offload their shipments.

Officials suspect dark motives
in strange TV report on base

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rican officials say they think there was a dark motive behind an incorrect television claim that the country was hosting a major U.S. Navy base.

Carlos Roverssi, who is now the minister of Comunicación, said that the station TeleSur was trying to destabilize the country. The broadcast about the Navy base in Guanacaste came during Sunday's election.

The claim resembled what was put out by Cuban sources in 2012. The great Marine invasion hoax appears to have had its origins in late July 2012 with Prensa Latina, the Cuban news service. The Cubans certainly were fed the information by persons in Costa Rica who wanted to embarrass the United States and/or the government of Laura Chinchilla Miranda.

The Cuban news service report of the arrival of dozens of U.S. boats and 7,000 Marines was picked up uncritically here and elsewhere by even respected publications. One liberal U.S. outlet said “Obama invades, sends 46 warships and 7,000 Marines to Costa Rica."

The Sunday claim was that 48 U.S. warships, 13,000 Marines, 200 helicopters, six combat aircraft and an aircraft carrier were all in some Pacific base in Guanacaste.  There are some bar owners there who wish this were true.

The 2012 original story stems from the need for U.S. officials to request permission for Navy ships to dock in Costa Rica for resupply and shore leave. The Costa Rican Constitution requires this. The U.S. Embassy simply listed every possible craft that could be on the seas during a span of six months when it presented its request.

Like many bits of incorrect information, this tale refuses to die and is reborn periodically.

TeleSur is an agent of the Venezuelan government, so the incorrect reporting generated much more flak than if it were a private station. That is why officials see dark motives.

The foreign ministry was going to call in a Venezuelan diplomat to express its concern. Apparently TeleSur declined to air a correction when asked to do so Monday.

Roverssi said that officials wanted to believe that the incorrect information was a journalistic error and not something against Costa Rica. TeleSur probably has few viewers here. But the station does have coverage in South America, particularly in countries that were friendly with Venezuela's Hugo Chávez.

The diplomatic spat comes at a time when Costa Rica has assumed the presidency of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States. The organization was started by Chávez, and President Laura Chinchilla and other heads of state signed a document affirming Cuba's right to have a one-party government.

The tale of a U.S. base in northern Guanacaste draws continuing life from rumors by expats here. In fact, during the Nicaraguan civil war, there was an air base on private land that was used to bring in supplies to the anti-Communist contras.

Our reader' opinion
Drop food subsidies to help
poor reduce grocery outlay

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Why is it that all the politicians seem to want to do is raise taxes with the excuse that it is a way to help the poor. Almost everything the poor make here goes toward food.

I spend at least three times as much on food here as I do in Missouri. Why?? Well here is a lot of it right here. High tariffs on a number of key agricultural products such as milk (65 percent), rice (35 percent), chicken (40–150 percent), beans (15–30 percent), pork (35 percent), potatoes (45 percent), and onions (15 percent).

The only thing the tariffs do is make the poor poorer and the rich farmers richer. I don't see many hungry farmers. (Not bashing farmers. I was borne and raised on a farm and most of my family are farmers.)

If the tariffs were dropped, it would help the poor immediately, not like a tax that most all will disappear as soon as it gets in the government's hands.
Robert Woodrow

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A.M. Costa Rica

Third News Page
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 26
Real Estate
About us

Expat loses case over YouTube video he posted about his plight
By Michael Krumholtz
and the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Sheldon Haseltine was found guilty of defamation by San José judges Wednesday. He was ordered to pay plaintiff Armando González the maximum penalty allowed for such a charge, approximately 15 million colons or $30,000.

This verdict comes from the YouTube video in which Haseltine details circumstances and talks about the men who are asserting a claim against land held by him and his co-investors. Judges at the Tribunal de Justicia who voted unanimously against the defense said they will present a written decision next week to Haseltine and his lawyer, Horacio Mejias Portuguez.

Wednesday's trial was supposed to feature testimony from Otto Giovanni Ceciliano Mora, who was a subject of Haseltine's commentary in the video. However, Ceciliano never arrived. As González's former lawyer, he has been heavily involved with this legal battle over the land.

Though the video has been taken down by its host, a journalist and documenter, the court played a version that Ceciliano created with a translated Spanish voiceover.

The translated content seemed to have remained true to the original English wording. The prosecution mostly took offense to Haseltine describing González as being “above the law."

Before the decision was handed out González thanked the judges for allowing him the opportunity to clear his name and bring his innocence to the public light. He said that a foreigner must still abide to the laws of Costa Rica if they want to live here.

Marielena Gamboa, part of Haseltine's defense team and his
first lawyer, delivered a powerful defense explaining that a man has freedom to his words, no matter if he is a foreigner or a native. She added that trying to censor outlets of expression on the Internet can begin a dangerous precedent.

This drawn-out, back-and-forth exchange of legal arguments began when Haseltine discovered González was involved with the initial squatter on the land investment in Herradura. Since then, the case has received international attention from journalists and prospective property buyers. In his closing speech, he addressed this dispute as a symptom that hints to larger real estate maladies affecting the country. “There are many foreigners who have suffered as we have suffered."

Haseltine has said he never wanted to develop the land located behind Los Sueños Resort for commercial use, but instead he wanted to build small homes that could occupy the beachside hill. He last visited Herradura Beach a few weeks ago and said there are no squatters left on the property but it does have pole markings in place for potential development.

An appeal is likely.

For much of the video Haseltine presented to viewers information that had been published in the Spanish Language La Nación.

When he received the original complaint months ago, he shared it with a reporter, and it was clear that the case suffered from problems with English. For example, the complaint said that he had made an accusation of fraud because he spoke the word ripoff.

Native English speakers know that the words do not mean the same thing and that a ripoff may be an unfair transaction but does not have to be illegal.

canal third lock
Grupo Unidos por el Canal S.A. photo
Grupo Unidos por el Canal S.A. local project at night
Panamá Canal Authority and major contractor break off talks
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The negotiations between the Panama Canal Authority and the consortium doing the major work for the canal expansion have broken down, The Panamá News reported Wednesday. The twice-postponed deadline for a settlement has passed, the newspaper noted.

The breakdown in talks comes at a critical time, and the canal authority is reported to be prepared to get another firm to do the job.

To make matters more complex, the newspaper noted that Panamá is in the midsts of an election campaign.

Grupo Unidos por el Canal S.A. is the consortium responsible for the design and construction of the third set of locks, the main project of the canal expansion program, it notes on its Web page.
The consortium includes the firms Sacry of Spain and  Impregilo of Italy.

The consortium is trying to get more money from the canal authority, and The Panamá News has noted that the original $3.12 billion contract was  issued for an unrealistically low price.

Talks have been going on since early January when the consortium said it wanted more money, some $1.6 billion more.

The canal project is supposed to be finished in 2015, and the expansion is supposed to double the capacity of the 50-mile Pacific-Atlantic route.

Even if there is a settlement between the consortium and the canal authority, the negative publicity has been substantial, the Panamá News noted.

DelRey nightlife

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 26
Real Estate
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Climate change robbed megafauna of protein rich plants to favor grasses
The University of Copenhagen news service

The climate killed many of the large mammals after the latest Ice Age. But what more specifically was it with the climate that led to this mass extinction? The answer to this is hidden in a large number of sediment samples from around the Arctic and in the gut content from permafrozen woolly rhinos, mammoth and other extinct ice age mammals.

It is a bit of a shift in paradigm, Eske Willerslev and co-workers publish in this week’s edition of the journal Nature. The common image of a light-brown grass-steppe dominating the Northern Hemisphere during the Ice Age does not hold any longer. The landscape was far more diverse and stable than today, and big animals like woolly rhino and mammoth fed on grasses and particularly on protein-rich flowering plants.

But at the Last Glacial Maximum 25,000 to 15,000 years ago, at a time when the climate was at its coldest and driest, a major loss of plant diversity took place. The animals barely survived.

After the Ice Age ended about 10,000 years ago it became warmer again. After the large reduction of plant diversity during the Last Glacial Maximum another kind of vegetation now appeared. One of the key food sources of the large mammals, the protein-rich plants, did not fully recover to their former abundance. This likely proved fatal for species like woolly rhino, mammoth, and horse in Asia and North America. Even though it became warmer again after the end of the Ice Age the old landscapes did not return.

Willerslev is director of Centre of Excellence in GeoGenetics and the National CryoBank and Sequencing Facility, situated at the National History Museum and the Biological Institute, University of Copenhagen.

"We knew from our previous work that climate was driving fluctuations of the megafauna populations, but not how," he said. "Now we know that the loss of protein-rich forbs was likely a key player in the loss of the ice age megafauna." Forbs are the flowering plants like sunflowers, clover and milkweed.

Christian Brochmann, a botanist at the Natural History Museum at the University of Oslo in Norway, notes that the permafrost contains a vast, frozen DNA archive left as footprints from past ecosystems.

". . . we can decipher this archive by exploring the collections of plants and animals stored in natural history museums," he said. "Using DNA from  museum collections as reference, we could identify the different plant species that co-occurred with extinct ice age mammals."
megafaun remains
University of Copenhagen/Per Møller
Could bad diet have wiped out the megafauna?

"For the first time, ecologists have been able to piece together the characteristics of more complete plant communities occurring in the Arctic during the last 50,000 years," said Mari Moora, who with Martin Zobel is a vegetation ecologist from the University of Tartu, Estonia. "The new information shows clearly that the vegetation of the Late Pleistocene was rich in forbs but lost considerable diversity at the peak of the ice age."

The research involved 30 teams from 12 countries involving many disciplines.

The article in Nature elaborates on the Willerslev group’s results from 2011 where the researchers pointed at climate as the culprit for the mass extinction of some of the large mammals.

But in 2011 the researchers lacked a smoking gun. Now they have it. Some 242 permafrost sediment samples and eight fossil samples from large mammals from around the Arctic have been dated and analyzed for DNA, according to the academic article. The data shows that the likely main reason for the mass extinction of the large mammals after the latest Ice Age is changes in the vegetation, it said.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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

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

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

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

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

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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
coffee retreat
 the far off lights of San José. Farm is gated and guarded, private and peaceful. Owner on-site. Sarchi is a quiet and safe small town about 30-40 min from the airport, a perfect base to explore from and also get a feel for normal, day-to-day Tico life. Rental is $575 per month, (Longer term rent is negotiable) All utilities included. Sorry, NO PETS. Contact

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

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We have many prime properties available for long-term rentals.
Santa Ana

MONTHLY $800 TO $1,200

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

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, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 26
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Homeland security now warns
about explosive toothpaste tubes

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. homeland security officials are warning airlines flying to Russia to watch out for toothpaste tubes that may be filled with bomb-making materials.

The officials told U.S. news agencies there is no specific threat at this time, and they gave no details on the intelligence that prompted the warnings.

The Winter Olympics open Friday in Sochi, Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the Olympics village Wednesday and said that security remains a major concern.

Islamic extremists have threatened to disrupt the games. A jihadist group from Dagestan claimed responsibility for the two suicide attacks that killed 34 people in Volgograd late last year.

Russian media say an Islamic militant suspected of assisting the Volgograd suicide bombers has been killed. Reports say Dzhamaldin Mirzayev died in a shootout with police Wednesday at a house in Dagestan.

Russian authorities have spent an estimated $2 billion to shore up security in advance of the Sochi Olympics. Thousands of security personnel are patrolling what is described as a ring of steel around the Black Sea resort to prevent terrorist attacks.

Clever hackers and surveillance
are part of the Sochi landscape

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. State Department is warning Americans traveling to the Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, not to expect much in the way of privacy.

Specifically, the State Department says travelers should not expect privacy when using electronic devices because of the "System for Operative Investigative Activities," commonly known as "SORM," law.

That law, according to the State Department, “permits the monitoring, retention and analysis of all data that traverses Russian communications networks, including fax transmissions, telephone calls, Internet browsing and email messaging.”

Russia is also a hotspot for criminal hackers who have proved very adept at stealing information from electronic devices.

"The Russian SORM, coupled with the Russian organized crime presence, one should expect that any electronic device usage will have little, if any, privacy, said Christopher Burgess, CEO of Prevendra, Inc., an Internet security firm. “I recommend visitors use throw-away cell phones for contact and do not engage in electronic banking. Your data is  being shared."

Last year, the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security advised travelers to “consider traveling with clean’ electronic devices—if you do not need the device, do not take it.”

Furthermore, the bureau advised removing all personal identifying information and to remove or sanitize sensitive files.

Wi-Fi connections should be turned off at all times, according to the State Department.

“Do not check business or personal electronic devices with your luggage at the airport. Do not connect to local ISPs at cafes, coffee shops, hotels, airports, or other local venues. Change all your passwords before and after your trip,” State warned.

The State Department said to assume any electronic device you take can be exploited.

Major drug store chain halting
sales of cigarettes in U.S.

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A major U.S. drug store chain announced it will stop selling all cigarettes and tobacco products by Oct. 1, an action that was immediately applauded by President Barack Obama.

The CVS Caremark chain, with more than 7,100 stores, said Wednesday that cigarettes and tobacco products have no place in its outlets as it seeks to focus more on its role as a health-care provider. The chain, with $56 billion in annual sales, said ending tobacco sales will cost it $2 billion in annual revenue.

Obama, a former smoker, said the drug store company's tobacco ban sets a powerful example and helps advance his administration's efforts to reduce tobacco-related deaths, cancer and heart disease.

He said the company's action will have a profoundly positive impact on the health of our country.

Studies show that nearly 44 million U.S. adults, about one-fifth of the adult population, smoke regularly. That figure is lower than in many other countries but has remained mostly unchanged despite years of government campaigns against smoking.

U.S. officials say cigarette smoking accounts for more than 440,000 deaths annually in the country.

Google reaches settlement
on European search engines

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Internet search engine Google has settled an antitrust case with the European Union, agreeing to give its rivals' search results comparable display to that of its own.

The EU case against the giant U.S. company has lasted more than three years.

Regulators charged that when Google users in Europe searched for products and services, the company exclusively displayed pictures of merchandise from Google advertisers.

But Wednesday EU antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia accepted what he called far-reaching concessions from Google.  He said that if the deal is eventually adopted by the European Commission, Internet users searching through Google for hotels, restaurants and other products would also see comparable results from three of Google's rival search engines.

He said Internet users would be provided real choice between competing services.

Google rivals, including U.S.-based Microsoft and Finland's Nokia, attacked the settlement, saying it would still leave them at a competitive disadvantage.  The rivals would still have to pay for their advertising placement through an auction.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission investigated a similar antitrust case against Google last year but took no action.

U.N. children's committee
rips Vatican on abusive priests

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A United Nations human rights committee has made an unprecedented demand that the Vatican immediately remove all clergy accused of child abuse and turn them over to civil authorities.

In its response to the report, the Vatican accused the U.N. of interfering with church teachings on the dignity of human person and in the exercise of religious freedom.

The Holy See said it intends to submit the report to thorough study and examination, adding that it is committed to protecting children from abuse, "in line with the principles promoted by the Convention on the Rights of the Child and according to the moral and religious values offered by Catholic doctrine."

Responding to criticisms in the report on the church's stance on homosexuality, abortion and contraception, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi also said the world body cannot ask the church to change its non-negotiable moral teachings.

The head of the Holy See's delegation to the United Nations in Geneva told Vatican Radio that non-governmental organizations which favor gay marriage probably influenced the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child to reinforce an ideological line in the report.

The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child Wednesday called on the Holy See to acknowledge sexual abuse of tens of thousands of children and hand over its archives on the subject, adding that those who concealed their crimes could be held accountable.
The watchdog's exceptionally blunt paper, the most far-reaching critique of the church hierarchy by the world body, followed its public grilling of Vatican officials last month.
“The Holy See has consistently placed the preservation of the reputation of the church and the protection of the perpetrators above children’s best interests," said Kirsten Sandberg. She is chairwoman of the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child. She spoke at a news conference in Geneva, Wednesday.

"In its concluding observations, the committee in this regard has highlighted the practice of offenders’ mobility," she said.  "They were moved from parish to parish when things were discovered and this still places children in many countries at high risk of sexual abuse.”

Pope Francis in December created a commission to investigate all reported cases of such abuse.

At a public session last month, the Vatican said it had little jurisdiction to sanction pedophile priests, but conceded more needed to be done.  The Vatican’s former sex crimes prosecutor Monsignor Charles Scicluna said the Holy See gets it and that certain things need to be done differently.
“Due to a code of silence imposed on all members of the clergy under penalty of excommunication, cases of child sexual abuse have hardly ever been reported to the law enforcement authorities in the countries where such crimes occurred,” the U.N. body said.

The Holy See denies allegations of a Vatican cover-up and says it has set clear guidelines to protect children from predator priests. 

“For the victims, it would be really important if the Holy See would acknowledge what has been said here in the concerns and the magnitude of this and what has not been done in ... the past and what should be done in the future.  I think that would really be of great help.  That is what we know from the victims that we met in the course of this process,”  Sandberg told reporters.

Sikhs want more concessions
in U.S. military dress rules

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The United States military recently announced new rules that it says will give service members more freedom to wear beards and certain garments for religious reasons. Members of some religious groups, however, believe the new rules don't go far enough.

The U.S. military generally bans beards, as a way of maintaining uniformity and safety. Now the military will make it easier for service members to get waivers to keep their beards on religious grounds and wear certain religious items, like turbans as long as they don't interfere with the mission or the use of equipment like gas masks and helmets.

A Pentagon spokesman, U.S. Navy Rear Admiral John Kirby, said, “All of these changes that you're seeing writ large are really, I think, just an honest effort to make sure that . . . that Americans of all stripes and sizes are able to serve in the United States military.”  

The issue came up recently in the trial of Nidal Hasan, the Muslim U.S. army major convicted of a 2009 mass shooting at Fort Hood. The judge ordered Hasan to shave his beard.

The new rules come not as a result of pressure from Muslims, though, but from a small group of Sikhs. There are three observant Sikhs in the U.S. military. U.S. Army Reserve Major Kamal Kalsi, an emergency room doctor and decorated war hero, is one of them. 

He spoke about the changes via Skype. “We're very happy about that, but this is still a long ways from the policy change that we really need.”

The Sikh religion forbids its members from ever cutting their hair or beards. While the new rules allow commanders to waive certain grooming violations, they require those who apply for such waivers to comply with existing grooming regulations in the meantime, something Sikh advocate Rajdeep Singh said is unacceptable.

“An observant Sikh has to check his religion at the door before they can get into the military. In other words, they may have to shave their beards, cut their hair, stop wearing a turban while their request for an accommodation is pending,” said Singh.

Critics also oppose the part of the regulations that requires them to apply for a waiver every time they move to a new post.

American Islamic groups are encouraged by the changes and say they want further accommodations - especially for women soldiers.

Abdel-Rasheed Muhammad was the U.S. military's first Muslim chaplain, and he spoke via Skype. “They're still not allowed to wear the religious head covering known as hijab, and this is something that also has caused a great deal of consternation within the Muslim community.  And so we would like to see some real consideration given to that,” he said.

The Pentagon says it will be up to commanders in the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines to implement the rules. 

Advocates say they will continue to push for more changes as those rules are fine-tuned.

Lengthy blood pressure study
says tracking should start early

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

February is heart health month, and a new study that provides clues to young people about keeping their hearts healthy. The study looks at high blood pressure, which can lead to heart attack or stroke. It finds that high blood pressure in people as young as 18 increases their risk for heart disease.

High blood pressure increases a person's risk of heart disease, no matter when they develop it. That's why doctors monitor blood pressure so carefully.

A new study finds that young adults in their teens and 20s who develop high blood pressure are more at risk for heart disease by the time they reach middle age, 35 to 50 years old, than those whose blood pressure is normal. 

Norrina Allen at Northwestern University took over an ongoing study that started 25 years ago. The study followed blood pressure patterns of men and women between the ages of 18 and 30.

The nearly 5,000 participants fell into common patterns: those whose blood pressure stayed within normal limits, those whose blood pressure was consistently high and those whose blood pressure rose gradually over time, to levels that were higher than normal, but not high enough for prescription medicines.

“Individuals who had increasing blood pressure in middle age or those who had high blood pressure by the time they hit middle age were at greater risk for development of heart disease by the time they were 50,” said Allen.

The researchers also tested to see whether calcium, formed in the arteries of the heart. Calcium build-up can lead to heart attacks. 

“Individuals who had higher blood pressures, or those who increased their blood pressure from young adulthood through middle age, had a higher risk for this calcification, up to an almost four times higher risk,” said Ms. Allen.

Most of the young adults with high blood pressure had unhealthy lifestyles. They were overweight, ate fatty foods, didn't exercise, smoked or had a combination of these habits.

Two findings came out of this study, your blood pressure when you're young can affect you as you age, and tracking blood pressure from the late teens on could save lives, said the study.

"If we can identify which pattern an individual is likely to fall into, we may be able to identify who’s at risk for the development of heart disease and intervene before they actually develop heart disease,” said Ms. Allen.

The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. 

Ms. Allen said the study is continuing and the researchers are now trying to find out how best to help patients with high blood pressure get healthier.

Being in dark seems to help
those suffering hearing loss

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A new report suggests it might be possible to change the circuitry of the brain to better process sound, a finding that could give renewed hope to the 350 million people worldwide who suffer from hearing loss. 

Patrick Kanold, an expert on how the brain processes sound and co-author of the new study published in Neuron, says a child's brain is malleable enough to rewire some circuits that process sensory information. 

"We were interested if, at older ages, we can also coax the brain to change,” he said.

To try to do that, the University of Maryland biologist and colleagues from Johns Hopkins University used a reversible technique to simulate blindness by keeping mice with normal vision and normal hearing in complete darkness for a week. 

“We want to know if the deprivation of vision changed the way you hear,” Kanold said. 

At the end of the week, the mice were put in a sound-proof chamber and subjected to a series of one-note tones to test their hearing. The scientists then measured the neural response.

“And we found that they hear better and that connections in the brain had changed,” Kanold said. "It surprised us because during this age, if you would alter the auditory experience of mice, the hearing would not change, but we found if you deprive them of vision, the hearing did change.”

The adult mice developed more neural connections, and could better discriminate among pitches and hear softer sounds. 

“These tones could not be distinguished by mice that were raised normally, but could be distinguished by animals that were sitting in the dark," Kanold said. "So they got much better distinguishing these very close by frequencies.” 

Kanold says while the rodents' sharper hearing reverted back to normal within a few weeks, the experiment demonstrated the adult brain may be less hard-wired than previously thought. By temporarily preventing vision, Kanold says, it may be possible to change the brain circuitry to better process sound. 

The next step for the researchers is work on making those changes in hearing last longer. Kanold says what they find could lead to treatments for people.

“This approach potentially might be useful for humans, where the peripheral hearing is fine, but where the central processing of sound stimuli is altered,” he said.

Volcano victims
Plaster casts of the victims of the Mt. Vesuvius eruption.

New film on ancient eruption
praised for historical accuracy

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Hollywood’s latest action adventure movie depicts the calamity of Pompeii, the ancient Roman city that was buried by the volcanic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD. The film, "Pompeii," includes romance, exciting fight scenes, and some historically accurate elements about what happened. However, experts say filmmakers used some creative license for some parts.
Images of people buried in rock and ash, their terror forever frozen in time, haunt and fascinate many people. "Pompeii" director Paul Anderson visited the ancient city and saw the plaster casts of the victims first hand.
“There are these two intertwined bodies and the lovers are kind of just looking at one another. And that for me was very emotional and that was really the basis of the entire movie,” said Anderson.
In addition to a love story, the movie is also a feast for the eyes for moviegoers and for archeologists like Sarah Yeomans.
“I think they did a wonderful job recreating the city from the archeological site,” said Ms. Yeomans.
Director Paul Anderson claims "Pompeii" is the perfect movie for 3D.
“You want to be immersed in this ancient civilization and the spectacle of it,” said Anderson.
3D also captures the spectacle of the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, especially the spewing of firebombs down on Pompeii, destroying everything in their way. However, that’s not what actually happened, said volcano expert Rosaly Lopes.  Instead, pumice, ash and rocks rained down on the city. The film also features earthquakes and even a tsunami. Those all did take place, but Lopes pointed out that the tsunami was not really as big as the one shown in the movie.
She also noted that those who live near Mount Vesuvius these days would not be caught off guard.
“We now have a lot of early warning systems because volcanoes don’t erupt without some precursor sign. And Vesuvius can erupt again. Vesuvius does have smaller eruptions so it doesn’t mean that it would be as bad as it was back then,” explained Ms. Lopes.
Ms. Yeomans said the filmmakers accurately captured the politics of the time, embodied by ruthless Romans.
“The Pompeians did not unilaterally consider themselves Romans.  They were brought involuntarily into the expanding empire,” said Ms. Yeomans.
The desire for freedom is a theme that echoes throughout the film, according to Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje who plays the gladiator and slave Atticus, a friend of the main character Milo, played by Kit Harington.
“Freedom and equality which is timeless, and I think we all still strive for that today,” said Akinnuoye-Agbaje.
In his personal life, this British actor of Nigerian descent also struggled with the freedom to choose his own career.
“I studied law actually as a first profession. I have a bachelors and masters degree in law,” said the actor.  
His father and sisters practiced law, but he ultimately followed his love of acting.
“I always knew that I’d have to succeed and show them because entertainment was not a credible profession to my parents’ generation. They thought I was wasting my education but they came around. It came full circle and it paid off.  Plus I played a few lawyers as well,” said Akinnuoye-Agbaje.
To prepare for the film, Akinnuoye-Agbaje and Harington underwent grueling physical training to look like real gladiators. And while Hollywood may have used some creative license in "Pompeii," the experts said it does give audiences a good idea of what was happening to the volcano, and what life was like before Vesuvius destroyed the city.

Marijuana sends more kids
to hospital in legal states

By the American College of Emergency Physicians
news service

States that decriminalized marijuana saw dramatic increases in children requiring medical intervention, although the overall number of unintentional marijuana exposures among children remained low.  The Annals of Emergency Medicine study of call volume to U.S. poison centers from January 2005 through December 2011 will be published online.

"We believe that high-dose edible products, such as candies, cookies and chocolates, may have played a significant role in the increased rate of reported exposure chiefly because kids can't distinguish between products that contain marijuana and those that don't," said lead study author George Sam Wang of the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center in Denver, Colorado. "These edible products may be attractive to children and tend to contain higher concentrations of the active ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol."

The call rate to poison centers in states that decriminalized marijuana increased by more than 30 percent per year between 2005 and 2011, while the call rate in non-legal states did not change.  More pediatric exposures in decriminalized states than in non-legal states required medical evaluation, had moderate to major clinical effects and required critical care admissions, said the study. Neurologic effects were the most common.  The most common therapy was administration of intravenous fluids.  Aggressive interventions were rare, and there were no deaths, the summary said.

As of December 2013, 18 states and the District of Columbia had passed legislation allowing medical marijuana, which includes many edible products.  Sales are projected to more than double between 2011 and 2015.

"Pediatricians, toxicologists and emergency physicians need to be willing to advocate for the safety of children to lawmakers as this burgeoning industry expands across the U.S.," said Wang.  "As more states decriminalize marijuana, lawmakers should consider requirements, such as child-resistant packaging, warning labels and public education, to reduce the likelihood of ingestion by young children."

Failure in two Alzheimer tests
still gives researchers hope

By the Brown University news service

Stephen Salloway pulls no punches in describing the results of two clinical trials of the Alzheimer’s drug bapineuzumab that he helped to lead. The antibody failed to produce cognitive improvement for volunteers compared to a placebo, he and colleagues reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“We don’t have the luxury of time," said Salloway. "There is an urgency that doesn’t allow us to wait.  Without taking strategic risks, we aren’t going to make the progress we need to move forward.”

“It is very disappointing, especially to the terrific and dedicated patients and their families,” said Salloway. He is a professor of neurology and psychiatry in the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. “So much effort went into this trial. Alzheimer’s is a difficult and complex disease, and we are moving forward.”

As much as the negative findings stung the patient, medical, and investor communities when they first became public in 2012, Salloway said that in the intervening time, researchers have come to understand several important lessons that they are moving aggressively to apply to a next round of research.

Antibody drugs like bapineuzumab bind to and trigger clearance of amyloid beta proteins that form harmful plaques in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

Important lessons of the trials, Salloway said, are to test the drugs only with people who are building up the amyloid beta plaques the drugs address, to give drugs in doses that safely produce greater amyloid lowering, and to combine disease modifying treatments that might be complementary.

Drug combinations rather than single drugs, Salloway noted, have proven to be the answer not only for some forms of cancer, but also for converting other previously incurable problems, such as HIV, into manageable long-term conditions.

Another lesson may be to test these treatments at an earlier stage when amyloid plaques are mounting but before symptoms of cognitive decline have set in.

Salloway and a multicenter team of colleagues conducted two randomized, controlled, double-blinded trials, sponsored by the antibody drug's manufacturers Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy and Pfizer.

One trial tested the drug in 1,121 carriers of the APOE gene allele that is associated with a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The other evaluated it in 1,331 people without the allele. All participants were between 50 and 88 years old and had MRI scans and cognitive test scores indicating probable Alzheimer’s disease.

Participants received the drug intravenously every 13 weeks for 78 weeks. At each session they took cognitive tests. Subsets of participants also provided brain scans and fluid samples for various biomarkers, such as levels of amyloid beta plaques and protein associated with degeneration of brain cells.

When researchers tallied the main measures of performance on cognitive tests, it became clear that the substance did nothing significant either for APOE carriers or noncarriers compared to placebo. In each group, cognitive decline continued unabated.

“The biggest disappointment from this trial, was that if we had shown benefit with a drug like bapi, it would give people hope that Alzheimer’s is a treatable disease, that we can slow it down,” Salloway said.

That much needed breakthrough could come from new trials that apply the lessons researchers learned.

Real estate-related services (paid category)

Project completion specialists
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A turnkey home and project completion agency devoted to creative vision and flawless execution. We provide a single, solid and dedicated point of contact for the duration of your real estate project, specializing in:

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Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

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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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English: (Cristian Arce)
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Real estate for sale (paid category)

Los Reyes home
House for sale in La Guacima, Alajuela
Located on 9th tee of Los Reyes Country Club. Club offers golf, tennis (6 courts), swimming pool, gym and restaurant. Easy access to schools, shopping, hospitals & Caldera highway. One hour to Pacific beaches. House price: US $450,000.00. Contact Bill, Phone 506 -8878-9221  Email: Click on the link below for photos and additional details:

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
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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 26
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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
Public opinion is changing
over U.S.-Cuba relations

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Since President Barack Obama reinstated limited travel to Cuba in 2011, hundreds of thousands of Americans have visited the Communist island nation. Many of them say it is time to re-examine U.S.-Cuba relations, which have been frozen for more than 50 years.
Polls show that after making a visit to Cuba, many Americans decide they want closer U.S. ties with the island.  New Yorker Ellen Lansberger is one.
"I think U.S.-Cuban relations should be open. People should be talking to each other. People should be sharing. We have a whole free trade system going on between the U.S., Mexico and Canada without economic borders, and we have this tiny little island that is of no threat to the U.S. that we are isolating from the world. It doesn't make sense," said Lansberger.
The United States cut off diplomatic relations with Cuba in 1961 after Communist leader Fidel Castro came to power. It also imposed a strict economic embargo on the island nation, about 150 kilometers south of Florida. However, after more than 50 years of hostilities, many people on both sides say they want the embargo to end.
"I think the North American people are like the Cuban people, a caring people with love and the desire to express and communicate. I think what we are all missing is the possibility of receiving that warmth so we can understand each other better. We're neighbors after all," said Delia Maria Barroso, director of the Danzares dance troupe.
For years, any move by U.S. politicians toward improving relations with Cuba was thwarted by Cuban-Americans who fled the Communist regime. Most of them live in Florida, but a new generation of Cuban-Americans, born in the United States, wants to be able to travel to their ancestral land. The Obama administration has permitted so-called people-to-people travel to Cuba, which allows Americans to visit the island if they have family there or want to go for a cultural or religious visit.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said this week that the United States will continue to update its policies on Cuba.
"Each year, hundreds of thousands of Americans visit Havana, and hundreds of millions of dollars in trade and remittances flow from the United States to Cuba.  We are committed to this human interchange.  And in the United States, we believe that our people are actually our best ambassadors," said Kerry.
There are signs that the Cuban government is beginning to relax its grip on society.  Dissident Cuban author and blogger Yoani Sanchez told an audience at a literary event in Cartagena, Colombia, that she plans to launch a digital newspaper in her homeland with the idea of spurring press freedom.
"The worst can happen, that the first day we open the medium they break the door and block the Web site, which wouldn't be that bad because there's nothing more attractive than what's forbidden, right? But it's also possible that we are here starting the roots of a press that can transcend the present moment and become the newspaper of the future," said Ms. Sanchez.
She said the Cuban government is making small concessions because it can no longer convince people that its Communist utopia ever can be a reality.

Costa Rican News
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From Page 7:

Two receive national prizes for academic work

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Two Costa Ricans who are academics overseas have been awarded national prizes in science and mathematics.

They are Jasson Vindas Días, a mathematician now in Belgium, and Carlos Rodríguez Rodríguez, a microbiologist in Barcelona, Spain. He received his doctorate at the University of Louisiana.

The prizes are awarded annually by the Ministro de Ciencia, Tecnología y Telecomunicaciones.

Vindas works in theoretical math in the area of asymptotic analysis or the study of limiting functions. He is with the University of Ghent.

Rodríguez obtained his doctorate at the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona where he is now a post doctorate fellow. His work has been in the use of fungus to degrade contaminated wastes. He also is on the faculty at the Universidad de Costa Rica.

Coincidentally both men were classmates in the Colegio Científico de Costa Rica in San Pedro, the ministry noted.