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Cocal for Jan. 20
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(506) 2223-1327                         Published Tuesday, March 4, 2014, in Vol. 14, No. 44                          Email us
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Jo Stuart
Rock Constructors

Oil palm production is big polluter with possibilities
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Researchers have found some bad news and some good news about oil palm production in Costa Rica.

The University of Colorado at Boulder reported Monday that oil production wastewater lagoons give off massive amounts of methane. But there is the possibility of capturing the gas to create energy.

The discovery comes from an undergraduate research project by a student identified as Hana Fancher, who made two trips to Costa Rica to complete the work.  The results were complied into an academic paper that has just been published in the journal Nature Climate Change, according to the university.

Ms. Fancher was a civil engineering student who knew about wastewater ponds, the university said. She is a 2012 graduate.

“This is a largely overlooked dimension of palm oil’s environmental problems,” said the paper's lead author, Philip Taylor, a postdoctoral researcher. The University of Colorado's Institute of Arctic and

University of Colorado photo
Ms. Fancher conducts her sampling during a visit to Costa Rica.
Alpine Research. “The industry has become a poster child for agriculture’s downsides, but capturing wastewater methane leaks for energy would be a step in the right direction.” He was quoted in a university release.

The global demand for palm oil has spiked in recent years as processed food manufacturers have sought an alternative to trans fats, the university noted.

There may be as much as 50,000 hectares of oil palms in Costa Rica, mostly along the central Pacific coast. Grupo Numar's Palma Tica is the principal processor, although there are many growers. That may be as much as 125,000 acres.

The palm fruits are taken down in large bundles that are seen in wagons on the highways in the central Pacific. From there the palm fruits are crushed and subjected to the processes that turn out commercial solids and generate wastewater.

The maximum production levels can reach up to 30 metric tons of fresh fruit bunches per hectare per year, with a productive lifespan of 20 to 30 years, said Numar.

The industry is not without controversy, as Taylor noted. Environmentalists decry the monoculture and the deforestation.

The university said that Ms. Fancher worked with the oil palm plantation to help managers there to construct a system that reduces the gases and generates energy.

The methane bubbling up from a single palm oil wastewater lagoon during a year is roughly equivalent to the emissions from 22,000 passenger vehicles in the United States, the analysis found, the university said.

This year, global methane emissions from palm oil wastewater are expected to equal 30 percent of all fossil fuel emissions from Indonesia, where widespread deforestation for palm oil production has endangered orangutans, it noted.

For now, the carbon footprint of cutting down forests to make way for palm plantations dwarfs the greenhouse gases coming from the wastewater lagoons, said the university.

But while deforestation is expected to slow as the focus shifts to more intensive agriculture on existing plantations, the emissions from wastewater lagoons will continue unabated as long as palm oil is produced, the researchers said, according to the university.

Country's Winter Olympic ad buy fails to earn gold
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The nation's tourism institute went all in with its $500,000 bet on NBC Universal networks and the Winter Olympics.

The idea was to get television viewers to look at the Web site of the institute, The institute also put money into advertising on various social networks, Google and Yahoo/Bing, it said Feb. 9.

The Olympics have come and gone, but the Alexa ranking of the institute's Web site, which was 155,605th place in the world Feb. 10 has dropped to 162,701. In addition, the site has a 53 percent bounce rate. That means 54 percent of the people who visit the Web site leave after seeing one page.

Alexa uses a statistical method based on those Internet users who have an Alexa toolbar that notified the company whenever a browser enters a Web page. The system is not truly random, but the results at least give a good glimpse of Internet behavior mainly in the United States. The tourism institute was targeting the United States, it said at the time.
"The rank is calculated using a combination of average daily visitors to this site and page views on this site over the past three months," Alexa says. But with a $500,000 advertising buy, some upward movement could have been expected in the page rank.

The advertising campaign may have run into the problem of exciting content, that is the Olympics. Many advertisers prefer dull programming so their advertising stands out. There also were multiple sources for the Olympics, and the time zone was not attractive for live coverage.

The budget for the digital, social media and pay-per-click ads is $193,000 for an expected 62 million impressions, the institute said.

Among these are TripAdvisor and Expedia. The latter does not show up in the Alexa statistics, but visitors who had just come from TripAdviser were 3.4 percent, said Alexa.  Google contributed 33.9 percent, but there was no breakdown of how many came from pay-per-click advertising and how many were simply the result of user generated searches.

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Mauseu two
The bear is a frequent character in Russian art.

Collection of Russian art work
displayed at troubling time

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

Although events on the world political scene may change the billing, Russia still is the country of honor for the Festival Internacional de las Artes 2014.

To underline this, the Museo de Arte Costarricense has put on display 17 Russian engravings. The country is famous for its poster work, even those directed at children.

The Russian revolution injected enthusiasm in the art world as legions of artists were employed to bring the Bolshevik story to the masses. The same was true after Germany invaded Russia, and art was used to maintain public morale.

The works that are in display come from the museum's own collection.

Costa Rica has not yet made an official statement about the Russian invasion of the Crimea. Ukrainian officials claim that Russia has invaded with 15,000 troops, but that is hard to verify. There were some Russian military units there already because the Russian Black Sea fleet has a port there.

European Union foreign ministers have issued a Thursday deadline for Russian President Vladimir Putin to pull back his troops or face punitive measures.
Russia, meanwhile, is calling on Ukraine to return to a Feb. 21 agreement between ousted President Viktor Yanukovych and the opposition that involved forming a national unity government.

museum one
  Russian poster work is known for its heavy use of color.

Dispute between two men
blamed for Carrillo murder

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Judicial agents blame a dispute between two merchants for the death of one Monday morning.

The Judicial Investigating Organization said that Mario Villarevia Carrillo, 65, died from stab wounds in Belén de Carrillo.

A coworker, Álvaro Scott Fray, 47, was taken into custody.

The two men were in a vehicle with another individual when they began arguing, judicial agents said.  The vehicle stopped and the pair continued the disagreement outside.

yellow boxes
Ministerio de Obras Pública y Transportes photo      
This is a caja amarilla at Hospital San Juan de Dios.

Traffic officials try to halt
blocking of traffic flow

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Traffic officials are creating prohibited zones at key intersections in an effort to eliminate vehicles blocking the flow of traffic when there is a green light.

The downtown is notorious for cars and buses being caught in a jam and blocking traffic going the other way.

The Dirección General de Ingeniería de Tránsito came up with a plan that will make clear the intersection is not to be blocked, said officials. The work is being done at night, and it will take two weeks. The zones are being called cajas amarillas or yellow boxes.

Traffic officials said that motorists should gauge the time of traffic lights and also the proximity of other vehicles to avoid being caught in the intersection when there is a red light and blocking vehicles going in another direction. They threaten fines.

Big band performance
planned for Wednesday

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The San José concert band will give a performance for passersby and downtown workers going home Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. in the Plaza de la Democracia. The program is big band music in the style of  Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman

The free performance is part of the Música en el Museo project of the Museo Nacional. Two more concerts are planned.  The museum is just east of the plaza.

Quake hits off Pacific coast

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Laboratorio de Ingenieria Sismica reported that a 4.4 magnitude earthquake took place at 11:28 Monday night in the ocean about 41 kilometers south southwest of Savegre de Aguirre south of Quepos. The quake was felt in much of the central and south Pacific, according to the sensors maintained by the Laboratorio, a Universidad de Costa Rica entity.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday March 4, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 44
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                  Tax and
Dollar keeps getting stronger, but there is an obvious downside
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

There is a rush on to accumulate dollars. The U.S. currency soared to an official rate of 557.11 by the close of business Monday. The Banco Central said it invested $19.95 million to keep the dollar from going higher.

The currency trading is a free market, and the currency of the moment appears to be the dollar. The dollar has increased or the colon had depreciated significantly in the last month, depending on the point of view.

The price to sell dollars for colons had been 493 colons to the dollar at the beginning of the month. The official price at the close of business Monday was 542,53, a difference of 49.53 colons.

The situation is not lost on the Costa Rica public. ATM machines that dispensed dollars did not do so by late Monday. The automatic tellers were out of U.S. banknotes.

The Banco Central said it was anticipating more purchases on the currency market today.
Meanwhile, the soaring dollar is bittersweet for expats here. Those who receive their money from the United States will be able to purchase more with a stronger dollar. But much of Costa Rica's prices are to some extent keyed to the dollar.

An obvious example is fuel prices, which are adjusted each month. The exchange rate between the colon and the dollar is a major factor in setting fuel prices.

The price of the dollar also spills over to electrical rates because during the dry season more electricity is generated by thermal plants, meaning they burn petroleum.

Internet services are keyed to the dollar, too. So Tigo customers can expect a higher bill in colons next month. But that is not all. Medicines, imported foods, Johnny Walker are all pegged to the dollar. So are automobiles and medical supplies.

Observers say the biggest danger is a heavy-handed response by the central government.

Caja embarks on a campaign to reduce cases of sun-caused skin cancer
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The nation's health provider said Monday that six persons a day are diagnosed with skin cancer and that many persons die each month as a result of the disease. The agency, the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social, said that this is preventable with physical barriers from the sun.
The Caja was joined by the security ministry Monday in initiating a campaign that will include the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas, the Fuerza Pública and other police agencies under its control.

Mario Zamora Cordero, the minister, noted that police officers and coastguard crew members do a lot of their work out of doors and may be exposed to the sun 10 hours a day. He said officers should think about solar protection the same way they think about their bullet-proof vests each day. He said his officers should wear hats and use sleeves to avoid the direct ray of the sun.  He also urged them to use strong sun lotion.

The Caja said that this is the best form of protection and noted that light-skinned individuals are more at risk. The Caja conducted a campaign for field workers in the Central Valley last year to remind them that even on cloudy days they are vulnerable.

Because of the country's tropical location, the sun is a danger every day, said the Caja.

In San José some taxi drivers know this. Some have removable sleeves that they use during the day to protect their left arm from the sun.  That is the arm that usually is exposed to solar radiation through the left window of the taxi. Some truckers do this, too.

Of course, tourists who come here for the sun are a special case. Many are not familiar with the tropical sun and spend days regretting that. Strong sun block is obligatory for beachgoers.

The burn is only the first step to serious problems.

Birds as metphors
Galería Nacional photos
These are the works of Mirta Castro that will be on display until March 16.
Show by Heredia artist is a good excuse to visit Galería Nacional
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Many expats never have heard of the Galería Nacional in the Centro Costarricense de Ciencia y Cultura. But almost immediately they recognize the location when told that these facilities are adjacent to the Museo de los Niños.

The imposing former prison resembles a castle as it looks down on Avenida 9 in north San Jose. In fact, the whole facility is called the castle of dreams.

The staffers at the Galería Nacional are quick to object if someone equates them to the museum. They are separate facilities with different aims. The gallery is a major player in the Costa Rican adult art scene.
Until March 16, the featured exposition is "La Suerte de un Pajarito,"  exhibiting the multi-media works of Heredia art professor Mirta Castro. The artist said that the bird or pajaro is a metaphor for suerte or luck, said the museum. She explores themes of emotions and favorable qualities such as happiness.

Ms. Castro has been a professional artist for 18 years, and has 13 works on display from paintings and sculptures to drawings. Many of her sculptures are made with found material, including leaves and wood, said the museum. The theme of nature runs throughout.

The Galería is open during the week from 8 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends. Admission is free.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday March 4, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 44
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U.S. reading system not right for young Spanish learners, professor says
By the Stanford University news service

If faced with an unknown word, young readers are often advised to just sound it out. When using this strategy to help decode written words, learners rely not only on knowledge of letters and sounds but also upon the understanding that each word can be broken down into component sounds, or phonemes.

But is the underlying process of learning to read the word cat in English the same as learning to read gato in Spanish?

 No, suggests a new study by Stanford Professor Claude Goldenberg and colleagues to be published in American Educational Research Journal.

Learning about how individual sounds make up spoken words, phonemic awareness, is a cornerstone of beginning reading instruction in the United States. When teaching kids to read in English, it is standard practice to begin in kindergarten and early first grade by teaching them the sounds of the words independent of the letters: for example, cat consists of three sounds (k-aa-t).

The study shows that Spanish-speaking students achieved reading comprehension in Spanish without such instruction, raising questions about the approach being used to teach a growing number of Spanish-speaking children in the United States to read in Spanish.

Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach to reading, U.S. educators should reconsider their focus on phonemic awareness for students receiving early literacy instruction in Spanish, says Goldenberg, who is on the faculty at the Stanford Graduate School of Education.

While there has been much research about the benefits of phonemic awareness for beginning reading instruction in English, Goldenberg said that the study cautions against uncritically generalizing findings beyond the particular population being studied.

"Here's a specific instance of where reading policy and practice has been very markedly influenced based on a context– English-speaking kids learning to read in English – that is not all that general," he said. "We need to be aware of the assumptions we're making when we take findings from one linguistic context and apply them to another."

For Goldenberg, who was born in Argentina and grew up speaking Spanish, the topic is personal. He taught junior high and first grade for several years in predominantly Latino neighborhoods of Texas and Southern California and has long been concerned with challenges Spanish-speaking learners face in the U.S. education system.

In this study, Goldenberg and his colleagues examined the Spanish oral language and reading skills among 571 Spanish-speaking children in first and second grades from three groups: children learning to read in Spanish in Mexico, children learning to read in Spanish in the United States, and children learning to read in English in the United States.

The researchers note that reading instruction looks quite different in the two countries. In the United States, beginning reading pedagogy
has been strongly influenced since the 1980s by phonemic awareness
research. The Reading First framework, adopted as part of No Child Left Behind in 2001, recommended an increased focus on phonemic awareness beginning in kindergarten. As reforms spread through the nation, these recommendations affected instruction even in districts where students were learning to read in Spanish.

In contrast, early reading instruction in Mexico does not place such an emphasis on phonemic awareness, the understanding that spoken words can be broken down into their constituent sounds.

Although reading instruction in both countries includes "phonics" – an approach that helps beginning readers learn the relationship between letters and the sounds they represent – only in the United States does phonics instruction follow or accompany the phonemic awareness instruction, which calls attention to the individual sounds in spoken words, not to the connection between letters and their sounds.

Teachers of beginning reading in Mexico also focus more on syllables, once individual letters are taught, and the meaning of what students are reading, as compared with teachers of beginning reading in the United States, according to the study.

In light of these differences, the researchers wanted to compare the children's achievements in reading over time in Mexico and the United States.

At the beginning of first grade, the children in Mexico scored much lower on reading and phonemic awareness assessments than their Spanish-instructed peers in the United States, who received considerable phonemic awareness instruction in kindergarten and on into first and sometimes second grade. The Mexican children scored even lower in Spanish phonemic awareness than the students in the United States who were instructed in English, whose phonemic awareness was also measured in Spanish.

But by the end of second grade, a striking shift had occurred. Although the Mexican students continued to score lower than U.S. students ­– again, even those instructed in English ­– on phonemic awareness, the Mexican students had caught up to or surpassed the U.S. students in what truly mattered: reading achievement.

What might explain the reversal? Previous researchers, mostly in Mexico and other parts of Latin America, had hypothesized that phonemic awareness may be less important for students learning to read in Spanish than in English. For one thing, in Spanish, the relationships between letters and their corresponding sounds tend to be more consistent, whereas a single letter in English can represent a range of different sounds that must be learned.

In addition, these researchers, whose work has been largely ethnographic and observational, found that early readers in Spanish seemed to be focused at the level of the syllable.  A syllable can have one or more phonemes.

"They don't see kids really dealing with phonemes, and they see phonemic understanding as an outgrowth of actually learning to read," Goldenberg said.

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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.

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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Apartments Lemur
Apartment Lemur for rent
San Francisco de Dos Rios, El Bosque, furnished, 2-bedroom, 1-bath apartment, quiet area, free cable TV, WiFi. large patio area, swimming pool, parking, security. Close to San José. $440/month. Call 8375-6838. Email:

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.
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Lovely cottage on private coffee farm. One spacious bedroom, one bath, office room/spare room with high speed WiFi internet, fully
coffee retreat
equipped kitchen, phone line, balcony with beautiful view, especially at night with 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

Beautiful single studio apartment for rent in Guacima, Alajuela. 20 minutes from airport, San José or Alajuela and 30 minutes from Heredia. near Caldera highway, Route 27.  $500 a month. All services included (Internet, water, electricity, security). very private, very quiet, green areas. High resolution photos in Flickr HERE! Email: or

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

                                                in Heredia
Surrounded by nature in large property. Chalet for rent located in Monte de la Cruz, Heredia. Two bedrooms, two bathrooms,  laundry room, fully furnished, security, electric gate. $500 monthly. Phone  2267-6306

100 houses

CARIARI AND LINDORA areas, nice garden apartments, furnished or not, ideal for small family, couple/singles. US $1,000 and up. Email   Tel. 8383-6388.

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.
apartment view
 There are 15 restaurants and American- style bars on this block and four supermarkets within a few blocks. There are 5 casinos within 2 blocks and dozens of hotels around this apartment. Included in your rental price, fast Internet, the best they have in Costa Rica, cable TV with 80 stations, water, washer
 and dryer. All you pay extra for is electricity. You have your own meter and receive a bill from the electric company every month.  This apartment has a American-style hot water system, hot water in both bathrooms and the kitchen. There is a 25-foot balcony to sit on and watch the people in San José walk by. The neighborhood Barrio Amón is the safest in San José For photos and more information contact:

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 
coffee retreat
at  night with 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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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday March 4, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 44
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Ban urges Caracas officials
to listen to the protesters

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Monday called on the government of Venezuela to listen to protesters, many of them students, who have been demonstrating for weeks over economic stagnation, high crime rates and harsh political harassment.

Ban said the government of President Nicolás Maduro should listen to the demands of the protesters

"I urge the Venezuelan authorities to listen to the legitimate aspirations of the protesters," said Ban at the 25th session of the Human Rights Council. 

Ban said the Venezuelan government must ensure that the rights to freedom of speech and expression are respected, but he called on the protesters to demonstrate peacefully.

Ban met with Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Juau in Geneva, who told the Human Rights Council that his country was the victim of an international campaign of lies and falsehoods.

The people of Venezuela have been subjected to continuous harassment to see the state as a violator of human rights and to tear the population away from a tradition and commitment to peace, Juau said in a speech to the council.

The U.S. Congress is scheduled to vote on a resolution in support of Venezuelans protesting for democratic change.  Resolution 488 will be introduced today for a vote before the full House of Representatives.   It was sponsored by Rep. Elena Ros-Lehtinen of Miami who says she will introduce a sanctions bill targeted at the Maduro government.

Meanwhile students continued their protests Monday in Caracas by marching to the headquarters of the Organization of American States.  Last week an emergency organization meeting to address the crisis in Venezuela was postponed. 

The protests that began three weeks ago, have left at least 18 dead, over 260 injured and hundreds arrested.

World diets are converging
with reliance on few foods

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Around the world, human plates are looking more and more the same, according to a new study.

Several crops have risen to dominate global food supplies. That’s good news and bad, the study says.

National food supplies have become less dependent on a single crop. But today’s globalized diet centers around just a handful of crops, which the researchers say raises food security concerns.

And, the study notes, some of the world-conquering crops are key ingredients in unhealthy diets.

The research in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, analyzed national per-capita food supply data collected by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization since 1961.
It found the number of crops making up a significant part of people’s diets has increased in most countries in the last half-century.

In China, for example, rice is still the top crop, making up about one third of the average person’s calories from plants per day. But the Chinese now eat almost as much wheat as rice.

On the other hand, what used to be minor crops are now slipping further.

The consumption of sweet potatoes in China fell from 20 percent of daily calories in 1961 to 2.9 percent in 2009, the latest available data.

In Kenya, more than a third of daily calories come from corn, but that is down from nearly half in 1961. Meanwhile, wheat has grown from less than 3 percent to more than 10 percent.

“As the major crops become more important in more places for more people, the regionally important, locally important crops are becoming marginalized,” according to lead author Colin Khoury at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture.

Khoury says as a few crops become the basis of diets, “those crops need to be resilient, need to be productive year after year after year."

That means preserving genetic diversity to safeguard against new threats to productivity from climate change or other factors. And, Khoury said, it means improving the nutritional content of the crops that make up a growing part of diets.

Climate change and the environmental risks of current agricultural practices make some of the marginalized crops more attractive, the researchers said.

“These crops have a lot of potential,” said Danielle Nierenberg, head of the Washington-based research institute Food Tank, who was not involved in the research. “They’re often highly nutritious. They can grow in very harsh conditions. Most are very resilient to things like pests and disease and drought or flooding, and they’re easy to grow.”

But these crops are left out when it comes to research and development, she says, as the vast majority of funding goes toward the starchy staple crops.

The study also noted that sugar and oil crops such as soybean, palm and sunflower have seen substantial growth in the last 50 years. But increasing consumption of high-calorie foods made with these crops is associated with diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

The researchers found signs of a shift in response to health, environmental and climate concerns, beginning in northern Europe. And, they concluded further diversifying the food supply could encourage the trend.

"Gravity,' '12 Years a Slave'
take most major Oscars

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The films "Gravity" and "12 Years a Slave" took top honors at the Academy Awards in Hollywood Sunday night.  The space odyssey "Gravity" earned seven Oscars, including one for director Alfonso Cuaron. Meanwhile, "12 Years a Slave" earned three major awards, including the top prize of the evening.
“The Oscar goes to '12 Years a Slave,'” said Will Smith as the actor announced the best picture winner.
The film tells the true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man sold into slavery in Louisiana before the American Civil War. British director Steve McQueen accepted the award with his fellow producers, including the actor and filmmaker Brad Pitt. McQueen dedicated the Oscar to victims of slavery.
“Everyone deserves not just to survive, but to live. This is the most important legacy of Solomon Northup.  I dedicate this award to all the people who have endured slavery, and the 21 million people who still suffer slavery today,” said McQueen.
Kenya-born actress Lupita Nyong’o was honored for her supporting role in the film as the female slave Patsey. She edged out Jennifer Lawrence of the crime caper "American Hustle," and Julia Roberts, of the drama "August: Osage County." Ms. Nyong’o recalled the life of the character she played, a story passed down through Northrop’s memoir.
“It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s. And so I want to salute the spirit of Patsey for her guidance, and for Solomon, thank you for telling her story and your own,” said Ms. Nyong'o.
"12 Years a Slave" was also honored for its adapted screenplay by John Ridley.

The space drama "Gravity" earned Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron the Oscar for best directing. "Gravity" was also honored for its cinematography, film editing, sound editing and sound mixing, visual effects and original score.  "American Hustle," which was nominated for 10 awards, earned none.

Matthew McConaughey earned the Oscar for best actor for his role as an AIDS activist in "Dallas Buyers Club." The contested field included Christian Bale for "American Hustle," Bruce Dern for the tale of family relationships, "Nebraska," Leonardo DiCaprio for the story of greed "The Wolf of Wall Street," and Chiwetel Ejiofor for his role as Solomon Northup in "12 Years a Slave." McConaughey paid his respects to the other nominees.
“All these performances were impeccable, in my opinion. I didn’t see a false note anywhere,” said McConaughey.
Jared Leto was named best supporting actor for his role as a transgender AIDS patient in "Dallas Buyers Club."  Accepting the Oscar, Leto recalled those whose stories the film recounts.
“This is for the 36 million people who have lost the battle to AIDS, and to those of you out there who have ever felt injustice because of who you are or who you love. Tonight, I stand here in front of the world with you and for you,” said Leto.
Cate Blanchett was named best actress for her role in the Woody Allen comedy-drama "Blue Jasmine."  She said this year's film nominees make a statement.
“Perhaps those of us in the industry who are still foolishly clinging to the idea that female films with women at the center are niche experiences. They are not.  Audiences want to see them and in fact, they earn money," said Ms. Blanchett.
"Frozen," by Disney, was named best animated feature and also earned an Oscar for its original song "Let It Go." The Italian entry "The Great Beauty" was named best foreign language film.  The Oscar for best documentary feature went to "20 Feet from Stardom," which looks at the lives of backup singers in the music industry.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presents the Oscars. The ceremony is the highlight of the year for the Hollywood movie industry.

fruit fly
Stanford University archive photo/ Damon A. Clark
A fly, this time a fruit fly, watches moving dots while walking in place on a trackball.

Humans, flies share attributes
for movement, study reports

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The last common ancestor of flies and humans lived more than 500 million years ago.  But scientists say that as both organisms evolved they developed similar strategies to sense movement around them.  So scientists at Stanford University are using flies  in an effort to better understand how the human brain works.

A human brain contains more than 100 billion neurons while the fly’s brain has just 100,000. So it is much easier for scientists to study how a fly reacts to a perceived motion.

To do this, scientists designed a tiny treadmill in the shape of a ball, which a fly attached to a pole can move with its feet in any direction.

A small panoramic screen in front of it displays moving objects, causing the fly to avoid them by moving its feet.

Thomas Clandinin is associate professor of neurobiology at Stanford University:

“By moving the treadmill they tell us what they saw, and we can measure the relationship between what they see and what they do by this kind of automatic report," said Clandinin.

In another part of the lab a volunteer is watching the same images while his brain activity is being recorded. Scientists say they were surprised to find that human brains and fly brains both follow the same patterns.

“The basic algorithms that the brain uses to do very fundamental things in vision seem to be very similar," said Clandinin.

Scientists say they are now trying to identify which neurons the flies use to react to perceived motion looking for a clue to how the human brain processes the same information.

Their ultimate goal is to develop better strategies for helping people with psychiatric and neurological diseases.

Binge drinking by seniors said to double deaths odds

By the University of Texas at Austin news service

Numerous studies have highlighted the purported association between moderate drinking and reduced mortality. However, these analyses have focused overwhelmingly on average consumption, a measure that masks diverse, underlying drinking patterns such as weekend heavy episodic or binge drinking. A study of the association between binge drinking and mortality among moderate-drinking older adults has found that those who engage in binge drinking have more than two times higher odds of 20-year mortality in comparison to regular moderate drinkers.

Results will be published in the online-only issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

"Binge drinking is increasingly being recognized as a significant public health concern," said Charles J. Holahan, a professor of psychology at The University of Texas at Austin as well as corresponding author for the study. "In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control recently concluded that binge drinking is a bigger problem than previously thought. Ours is one of the first studies to focus explicitly on an older population in examining binge drinking among, on average, moderate drinkers."

"Some of the greater attention to binge drinking is due to increases in binge drinking since the mid-1990s, but perhaps more because of growing recognition of the importance of patterns: it's not just how much you drink but how you drink," added Timothy Naimi, a physician and alcohol researcher at Boston Medical Center at Boston University. "All told, excessive alcohol use causes about 80,000 deaths annually in the U.S., and many of these deaths are among youth and young and working-age adults."

For this study, researchers used data from a larger project examining late-life patterns of alcohol consumption and drinking problems. The baseline sample was comprised of 446 adults (334 men, 112 women) aged 55 to 65: 74 moderate drinkers who engaged in episodic heavy drinking and 372 regular moderate drinkers. Study authors controlled for a broad set of socio-demographic, behavioral, and health-status variables. Death across a 20-year follow-up period was confirmed primarily by death certificate.

The findings highlight the importance of focusing on drinking patterns, as well as absolute amounts of ethanol consumed, as predictors of health and mortality outcomes among older adults.

"We found that among older adults, those who engage in heavy episodic drinking – even when average consumption is moderate – show significantly increased total mortality risk compared to regular moderate drinkers," said Holahan. "These findings demonstrate that, among older adults, drinking patterns need to be addressed along with overall consumption in order to understand alcohol's health effects."

"This is a crucial point," added Naimi, "since approximately a quarter of moderate drinkers report binge drinking, and most folks in the U.S. don't typically drink in an average way or on a daily basis. Clinicians should understand that even among those with apparently modest average consumption, a number of these folks may be drinking in risky ways."

Both Holahan and Naimi said these findings may pose special health concerns for these older adults, even though binge drinking is damaging at any age.

"Binge drinking concentrates alcohol's toxicity and is linked to mortality by damaging body organs and increasing accident risk," said Holahan. "Binge drinking may be additionally risky for older adults due to aging-related elevations in comorbidities as well as medication use."

Naimi agreed. "Binge drinking is dangerous and many bad things have happened to drinkers or to others – car accidents, fights, injuries, domestic violence, sexual assaults – on the basis of binge drinking even if it is 'atypical of how they drink and/or among those who are not alcoholic," he said. "While it is less common among those who are older than among youth and younger adults, it may carry as much or more risk on a per-person basis as older individuals have less physiologic reserves, for example."

"The take-home message here for readers is that binge drinking is a significant public health problem that is frequent among middle-aged and older adults," said Holahan.

More young marijuana users
expected with legalization

By the New York University news staff

Prevalence of high school seniors' marijuana use is expected to increase with legalization.

Researchers found that 10 percent of non-lifetime marijuana users surveyed reported that they would try marijuana if legal.

National support for marijuana legalization is increasing in the United States. Recreational use was recently legalized in the states of Colorado and Washington. Other states across the country are expected to follow suit. To date, an additional 15 states have decriminalized marijuana use, and 19 states and the District of Columbia now allow medical marijuana to be prescribed.

Now, a study published in the International Journal of Drug Policy by researchers affiliated with New York University's Center for Drug Use and HIV Research, finds large proportions of high school students normally at low risk for marijuana use reported intention to use marijuana if it were legal. These are students who are non-cigarette-smokers, religious or those with friends who disapprove of use.

The research used data from Monitoring the Future, a nationwide ongoing study of the behaviors, attitudes, and values of American secondary school students. The researchers found that 10 percent of non-lifetime marijuana users surveyed reported that they would try marijuana if legal.

"Our study focused on intention to use and it was the first to find that groups generally not at risk become more at risk when legalized," said Joseph J. Palamar, assistant professor at the Department of Population Health, NYU Langone Medical Center.

The researchers examined the most current attitudes, focusing on cohorts from 2007 to 2011. The data were collected prior to the legalization of recreational marijuana use in Colorado and Washington, but after legalization of medical marijuana was pending or enacted in up to 16 states.

Data were analyzed separately for the 6,116 seniors who reported no lifetime use of marijuana and the 3,829 seniors who reported lifetime use. The researchers looked at whether demographic characteristics, substance use and perceived friend disapproval towards marijuana use were associated with the intention to try marijuana among non-lifetime users, and intention to use marijuana as often or more often among lifetime users, if marijuana was legal to use.

Not surprisingly, odds for intention to use outcomes increased among groups already at high risk such as males, whites, cigarette smokers and odds were reduced when friends disapproved of use. However, large proportions of subgroups of students normally at low risk for use, such as non-cigarette-smokers, religious students, those with friends who disapprove of use, reported intention to try marijuana if legal. Recent use was also a risk factor for reporting intention to use as often or more often among lifetime users.

The researchers caution that as marijuana use increases, regardless of legal status, it will become increasingly important to prevent adverse consequences that may be associated with use.

Organic agriculture creates
pollution from leaching

By the Ben-Gurion University news service

Researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, using specialized monitoring technology, have determined that intensive organic agriculture in greenhouses in Israel can cause significant pollution from nitrate leaching into groundwater.

Public demand has led to the rapid development of organic farming in recent years to provide healthy food products that are free of chemical additives and to reduce industrial and groundwater pollution worldwide. But, according to the paper published in Journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, intensive organic matter using composted manure prior to planting resulted in significantly higher groundwater pollution rates compared with liquid fertilization techniques.

The study used Vadose Zone Monitoring System technology developed at the university to compare the water quality across the entire unsaturated zone under organic and conventional greenhouses in Israel. The system is designed to monitor liquid, gas and soil hydraulic properties and allows real time continuous tracking of water from land surface to groundwater. It is currently being used in more than 25 commercial and research sites in the United States, Israel, Spain, Namibia, and South Africa.

While groundwater pollution is usually attributed to a large array of chemicals, high nitrate concentration in aquifer water is the main cause for drinking-water well shutdowns. The leaching of nitrates under intensive organic farming is due to nutrient release from the compost to the soil during the early stages of the growing season. In this stage, nutrient uptake capacity of the young plants is very low and leaching of nitrates to the deeper parts of the soil and groundwater is unavoidable, the researchers said.

Obama expected to propose
expanding U.S. tax credits

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

U.S. President Barack Obama is calling for an expansion of a popular tax break for low-income workers as part of his annual budget proposal.

Mr. Obama will formally unveil his proposed spending plan for 2015 today during a speech in Washington. The president wants to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit, for more than 13 million childless Americans.

He also wants to expand an existing tax credit for child care, make permanent a tax credit for those paying college tuition, and create automatic retirement accounts for millions of workers without an employer-sponsored retirement plan.

In order to pay for his proposals, Obama will call for eliminating several tax deductions that benefit wealthy Americans.

The president's proposed 2015 spending plan is a reflection of his efforts to address income inequality, the wide disparity between the wealthiest and poorest Americans.

Obama's plan will likely be rejected by Republicans who control the House of Representatives, but will serve as a blueprint for Democratic candidates heading into this November's congressional elections.

cat worm
This is the nasty parasitic worm, common in wildlife now infecting U.S. cats

Study says  lengthy worm
now infecting U.S. cats

By the Cornell University news service

When Cornell University veterinarians found half-foot-long worms living in their feline patients, they had discovered something new. The worms, Dracunculus insignis, had never before been seen in cats.

“First Report of Dracunculus Insignis in Two Naturally Infected Cats from the Northeastern USA,” published in the February issue of the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, documents the first proof that this raccoon parasite can infect cats.

The worms can grow to almost a foot long and must emerge from its host to lay eggs that hatch into larvae. It forms a blister-like protrusion in an extremity, such as a leg, from which it slowly emerges over the course of days to deposit its young into the water.

Worms in the Dracunculus genus are well known in human medicine. D. insignis’ sister worm, the waterborne Guinea worm, infected millions of humans around the world until eradication efforts beginning in the 1980s removed it from all but four countries – with only 148 cases reported in 2013. Other Dracunculus worms infect a host of other mammals, but Dranunculus insignis mainly infects raccoons and other wild mammals and, in rare cases, dogs. It does not infect humans.

The cats that contracted the Dranunculus insignis worms likely ingested the parasites by drinking unfiltered water or by hunting frogs,” said Araceli Lucio-Forster, a Cornell veterinary researcher and the paper’s lead author.

It takes a year from the time a mammal ingests the worm until the females are ready to migrate to an extremity and start the cycle anew.

While the worms do little direct harm beyond creating shallow ulcers in the skin, secondary infections and painful inflammatory responses may result from the worm’s emergence from the host. There are no drugs to treat a D. insignis infection. The worms must be removed surgically.

“Although rare in cats, this worm may be common in wildlife and the only way to protect animals from it is to keep them from drinking unfiltered water and from hunting. In other words, keep them indoors,” said Ms. Lucio-Forster.

Liberia plans three weekends
of its 2014 cultural festival

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Liberia will be the site of  Guanacaste 2014, a cultural festival that will take place on three weekends from March 14 to 31.

The culture ministry said that the event will bring in 40 artistic groups and some 2,500 individual artists and story tellers. An announcement also said that there will be more than 100 volunteers assisting the artists and maintaining the various facilities.

The event will take place along with the women's world soccer championships for players younger than 17.
Real estate-related services (paid category)

Interior Design & Custom Furniture Manufacturing
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Pacific living
“We regularly exceed client expectations. We guarantee it.”
Customizing for your vision, lifestyle and budget.
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:

• Interior Design
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Our primary goal is to assist our clients with a smooth transition to occupancy while providing highly personalized and distinctive services. We have refined the process to be a hassle free experience, especially valuable for clients who live abroad. We customize to suit each client’s personal taste, lifestyle and budget.
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Cell phone: (506) - 8707-8008
Office phone: (506) - 2288-5644

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.

Re/Max, the Pacific coast expert
Re/Max offers comprehensive Costa Rica Real Estate, vacation rental and relocation services. Our award-winning team is the largest in the country, and can show you the best lifestyle and financial investment properties in the most desirable locations including prime real estate in Tamarindo, Langosta, Conchal, Flamingo, Pinilla, Coco, Hermosa and Playa Panama.  Give us a call in Costa Rica at 506-2653-0073, or toll free from the U.S. and Canada 1-800-385-5930. Re/Max, the name you trust for the finest real estate services in Costa Rica.

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

Check with our Web site at
Contact us at the office: (506) 2694-0088
Cell (506) 8880-8888
Phone number from the U.S. (305) 307-0088
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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)
(506) 8309-0173  
English:  (Luis Arce)
(506) 7100-8489  
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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 home
1,000 square meters of land, 350 square meters of construction.  CLICK HERE
Grecia 807
  18,000 square meters of land and 300 square meters of construction. HERE!
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Real estate for sale (paid category)


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

Five bedrooms
Puntarenas City, Puntarenas
Beach home central Pacific Ocean
Five bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths plus guest house
Features include out door BBQ, swimming pool, plus on the beach.  The home is completely furnished including all linens, kitchen cook ware, pots, pans, all dishes and much much more. Each room is individually air conditioned.  Office with all connections for WiFi,  Hot water in bathrooms, kitchen and laundry room.  Fully furnished. Includes all linens, TV’s, refrigerator/freezer, dish washer, microwave, electric stove/oven, washer & dryer and many “as seen on TV” appliances   Will consider trade for U.S. Property.  Asking  $250,000. 
Call Gary 8784-2945  English only, or email

Tiliran property
Turnkey commercial/apartment building for sale in San Luis, Tilaran, Guanacaste. In a corporation. 100 percent occupancy and all permits in place. Great opportunity to gain investor status residency. New construction - 2012. Consists of three studio apartments upstairs with lake view and 4 storefronts on ground level, including laundry service, soda, consigment store. Comes with purchase or start your own business while you live in one of the apartments. $308,000. Please email

Spectacular 79-acre view property in Guanacaste overlooking tens of miles of pristine coastline with sunset over the Pacific. Own water, electricity, hi-speed internet, property roads, huge building view sites, terraced landscape perfect for growing trees, fruits and vegetables or run horses or cattle, hidden access and high-level security. 169,000 USD. Contact:   or text messages to  8916-5550.

Excazu montage
Trejos  Montealegre, Escazú.
Two bedrooms and two baths.  220 m2 construction on  289 m2 of land. Beautiful contemporary house across from a small park, easy walk to Avenida Escazú.
Great views. Only 7 years old. Two patios and a balcony. In a quiet and secure neighborhood with guard shack across the street. Nice landscaped garden. Sale includes all furniture.  Price: $275,000. Owner will work with real estate sales people.   Phone  Ron Eaton  at 8997-1799. Email:

Balcony view
This is a great opportunity
Get your home in one of the best locations. Four-bedroom condo near Universidad de Costa Rica, ULatina & UFidelitas   $170,000. USD.  24/7 gate security with in-home alarm, three levels, parking for two cars and play area for children. First Level: Living room/dining room, kitchen with breakfast bar, laundry room, patio/garden with roof, storage area, & guest bathroom. Second Level: Large master bedroom with full bathroom and walk-in closet, two additonal bedrooms, linen closet, full bathroom. Third Level: Large fourth bedroom or TV room, full bath, large storage attic, spacious roofed balcony   and breathtaking views of mountains to the east, south, west. Call Bill   (English) C.R. Phone: (506) 6011-6987 / U.S. Phone:  (630) 886-4458 . C.R. Spanish  phone number: (506) 8799-4041  or  (506) 8363-9898.  Email:

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.

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:

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.

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.

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!

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale

Business for sale or lease (paid category)
Gingerbread Boutique Hotel and Fine Restaurant For Sale
botique hotel
A very  famous, highly regarded unique lake view themed boutique hotel consisting of three air conditioned suites with satellite TV and high speed Internet, two themed cottages with garden showers, one large super suite with kitchen and garden shower, managers apartment, restaurant rated one of the best restaurants in Costa Rica {see reviews} and the premier real estate office at Lake Arenal,which puts all its clients in to the hotel, plus room for additional lake view rooms and a pool, all less than a mile from Nuevo Arenal and the public park on the lake.  Go to the Web site for photos and complete information  at  This is the finest boutique hotel in Costa Rica in one of the fastest growing areas of all of Central America.  Sale opportunity $750,000.   Contact to :
Terry Moran, Owner Email: 
Office phone: 506 2694-0088  Cell phone: 506 8880-8888 
USA # rings in Costa Rica:  305 307-0088

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:

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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday March 4, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 44
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News from the BBC up to the minute

BBC news feeds are disabled on achived pages.

Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Smartphone smashups rising, expert reports

By the University of Buffalo news service

Texting and walking is a known danger, but Dietrich Jehle, professor of emergency medicine at the University at Buffalo, says distracted walking results in more injuries per mile than distracted driving.

Consequences include bumping into walls, falling down stairs, tripping over clutter or stepping into traffic. The issue is so common that in London, bumpers were placed onto light posts along a frequented avenue to prevent people from slamming into them.

“When texting, you’re not as in control with the complex actions of walking,” says Jehle, who is also an attending physician at Erie County Medical Center, a regional trauma center in western New York. “While talking on the phone is a distraction, texting is much more dangerous because you can’t see the path in front of you.”

Though injuries from car accidents involving texting are often more severe, physical harm resulting from texting and walking occurs more frequently, Jehle says.

Jehle explains that pedestrians face three types of distraction: manual, in which they are doing something else; visual, where they see something else; and cognitive, in which their mind is somewhere else.

A study at Stony Brook University found that when people used their cell phones while walking, they veered off course 61 percent more and overshot their target 13 percent more than when they were not distracted.

In his practice, Jehle has seen, first-hand, the rise of cell phone-related injuries.

Tens of thousands of pedestrians are treated in emergency rooms across the nation each year, and Jehle believes as many as 10 percent of those visits result from accidents involving cell phones. He says the number of mishaps involving texting and walking is likely higher than official statistics suggest, as patients tend to under report information about themselves when it involves a behavior that is embarrassing.

Historically, pedestrian accidents affected children, the intoxicated or the elderly, says Jehle. However, cell phone related injuries have skyrocketed over the past 10 years, coinciding with the rise of smartphones.

And with social media so pervasive, texting isn’t the only concern. It’s not uncommon to find a person walking, head down, scrolling through their Twitter feed or checking email.

A study from Ohio State University found that the number of pedestrian emergency room visits for injuries related to cell phones tripled between 2004 and 2010 — even though the total number of pedestrian injuries dropped during that period.

The study also found that the age group most at risk for cell-phone related injuries while walking are adults under 30 — chiefly those between the ages of 16 and 25.

Laws discouraging texting and walking have been written up, but are strongly voted down, says Jehle. His suggestion: mobile applications that text via voice command or use the phone's camera to display the approaching streetscape while pedestrians text.

Although Jehle prefers that pedestrians keep their eyes off of their phones until they reach their destination, he says the apps are better than nothing at all.

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From Page 7:

Small firms awarded development grants

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Some 11 small firms each received an average of 3 million colons, about $5.500, Monday from funds provided by the Sistema de Banca para el Desarrollo. In all, the bank has allocated 200 million colons or about $370,000 for the program.

The purpose of the grants is to strengthen the finances of companies that are in the process of development. The firms all are what are known as micro, small and medium enterprises, called PYMES after the Spanish words that describe them. The program is run by the Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio.

The ministry said that 10 of the 11 firms were headed by women and that eight were in the northern zone. Only one was in the Central Valley.

Each company has to produce a comprehensive business plan in conjunction with ministry experts.

The Costa Rican government favors such companies as a way to bring commercial development into rural areas. Among other advantages, corporations in the program do not have to pay the annual tax.