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Cocal for Jan. 20
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(506) 2223-1327                         Published Friday, March 7, 2014,  in Vol. 14, No. 47                          Email us
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Rock Constructors

Berlin dancers
Instituto Costarricense de Turismo photo    
The Costa Rican group La Lajuela presents a traditional Costa Rican dance in Berlin.
Tourism links established with Brazil and Germany
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The tourism chamber said Thursday that it has entered into a cooperation agreement with the city of Santo, Brazil.

At the same time, government tourism officials said that the country was being represented at what is considered the world's biggest tourism show in Berlin, Germany.

The agreement between the Brazilian city and the Cámera Nacional de Turismo seeks to increase the more than 15,000 tourists who come from that country each year. Brazil also is the site for the World Cup soccer championships in June, and a lot of Costa Ricans will be going there.

The agreement calls for exchanges of expertise
and perhaps joint promotions.

Meanwhile, European tourism workers are being treated to Costa Rican dancers and singers as well as demonstrations by a Sarchí artisan and one of the Boruca tradition.

Some 27 private firms, including hotels and car rental operations also are showing their products at the show, said the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo.

The five-day travel show runs through Sunday, and the first three days were devoted to tourism wholesalers, the institute said. The purpose is to market the country's new slogan, Essential Costa Rica.

180,000 visitors are expected, and there are 188 countries represented with perhaps 10,000 exhibits.

Orchestra's permanent director debuts tonight
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Carl St. Clair debuts tonight as the permanent director of the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional. The U.S. director has appeared as a guest, but this is his first set of performances as the regular conductor. He has a long relationship with Costa Rica.

The orchestra plays tonight at 8 p.m. and again Sunday at 10 a.m. at the Teatro Popular Melico Salazar. French pianist David Kadouch is the featured soloist.

The program includes works by Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Bernstein. The performance also is the start of the orchestra's season.

St. Clair was named in September to direct the orchestra. Officials here began seeking a new director in 2011. The orchestra has been without a permanent leader since Chosei Komatsu left in 2010. Basically all the invited conductors who led the orchestra since then were being considered for the permanent post.

St. Clair projects an exuberant personality when he conducts. In the past he has opened the concerts with the playing of the Costa Rican national anthem.

Music of Argentina and México will be presented Saturday at the weekly Enamorate de tu Ciudad program that takes over the city parks. The group La sin hueso & Gabo Garrobo will perform in Parque Morazán at 3:30 p.m.  Music of Patagonia and Veracruz is promised.
St. Clair
Ministerio de culturas y Juventud photo
Carl St. Clair

The  concert band of the culture ministry will perform Sunday at 10 a.m. in Alajuela's Parque Central.

And the concert band of Heredia will perform also Sunday in the Parque Central of Barva.

Afternoon showers are serving as a warning of things to come
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The rainy season is not here yet, but Mother Nature is trying.

More afternoon showers are predicted for today. There have been showers in the Central Valley, the central Pacific and on the Nicoya peninsula for the last three days.

The intense heat of the mornings created the
conditions for afternoon showers.

The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional put out an advisory Thursday afternoon over the rains, but although heavy at times and with some lightning the durations were short.

At least the thunderstorms serve as a reminder to expats that they have to plan now to protect electronic gear for when the rains come regularly in the afternoons.

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Taxi drivers get tiny raise
based on low exchange rate

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Taxi drivers are getting a 10-colon a kilometer raise, about 2.24 percent, the nation's regulating agency said Thursday.

The one exception is the firm that supplies taxi service at Juan Santamaría airport. The agency said that the firm, Taxis Unidos Aeropuerto Internacional Juan Santamaría S.A., still has not made its concession payment for 2006, 2007 and 2008, so the rate will remain as it has been since 2012.

Taxi rates are reviewed twice a year, in February and August. The taxi drivers miss out because the quickly strengthened dollar has not been considered. The Autoridad Reguladora de Servicios Públicos used an exchange rate of 519.63 colons to the dollar for the computation of the new 615-colon-a-kilometer fee.

In fact the exchange rate Thursday was 564 colons to the dollar.

Former Quepos resident
sentenced in child case

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A former elder in the Jehovah's Witnesses denomination has been sentenced for committing a lewd act upon a child.  The man, Michael Norris, lived in Quepos from 2006 until he recently flew back to California to face a warrant for his arrest in Santa Barbara.

According to the criminal division of the Santa Barbara Superior Court, Norris was sentenced to three years in Wasco State Prison in California last week. Through a plea agreement in which he must register as a sex offender, the 69-year-old man was charged by the district attorney with just one count.

The criminal trial received a great deal of attention from concerned advocacy groups. Advocates for Awareness of Watchtower Abuses deals specifically with giving basic rights and monitoring common transgressions among members of the Jehovah's Witnesses community.

President Lee Marsh said that the legally incorporated organization will be keeping close tabs on Norris, even if he possibly returns to Costa Rica upon his release.

“We will not forget about him, and as soon as Norris is out we will do what we can to limit his preaching activities where ever he chooses to reside,” Ms. Marsh said via email correspondence. “What we know is that the Jehovah's Witness elders are under orders not to disclose to anyone that a person in the congregation is a convicted and registered sex offender.”

Messages left for Ben Ladinig, the deputy district attorney that was involved with the case, were not returned by Thursday night. A representative from Santa Barbara court's criminal division said Norris must serve the full term of three years.

Gas supplier ordered to quit
business for taking cylinders

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The nation's regulatory agency has revoked the concession of Solgas LPG de Costa Rica S. A. on the allegation that it took and used gas cylinders of other companies.

The revocation is effective as of May 27, but the company may go to court.

The Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Públicos said it acted on complaints from other providers of liquid petroleum gas. The order also says that the firm has to return all cylinders that belong to other companies.

Gas companies are in the news because the Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía is establishing new rules that will allow bar code scans of each cylinder to provide a readout of its history. Many cylinders are being replaced, and newer types of valves are being installed for safety.

Signals being unveiled
for metro area rail lines

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The transport ministry said Thursday that it would put into service today the first two rail crossing signals for motorists.

Since the reactivation of the valley train line, motorists have been clashing with trains.

A spectacular collision between a train and a truck Tuesday morning closed the Circunvalación near the Universidad de Costa Rica for four hours. There the train line crosses the six-lane highway, and there are no signals. However, train engineers generally provide extensive warning with the train horns.

There have been three collisions between vehicles and trains in the last four days. There also has been an earlier one where the truck suffered damage. A pedestrian died at that crossing, too, in February.

There have been other deaths, including one of a police officer since 2012.

Railroad officials did not put in crossing gates or other signals because of the expense.

The early morning horn blowing by train engineers at each street crossing was enough for a Barrio Otoya hotel owner to hire crossing guards so his guests would not be jolted out of their sleep at 5:30 a.m.

Police begin a campaign
against window breakers

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Crooks, mostly young men, have a steady business along the Circunvalación in Hatillo.

When vehicles stop at traffic lights there, the crooks break a side window and try to steal whatever is in reach. Main targets are women driving alone. They usually leave their purse on the passenger seat.

Business was slow when officials closed the highway due to a washout nearby. But now the highway is fully back in service and so are the young crooks. Many are well below 18.

The Fuerza Pública officers in Hatillo said Thursday that they were setting up preventative campaigns along the highway.  There are only three traffic lights, so the zones where motorists are at risk are limited.

The young crooks even have their own name in Spanish: quiebravidrios, basically "window breakers."

A major problem for enforcement is that the youngsters because of their age usually are returned to the streets when caught.

Lawmaker agree to accept
$35 million for innovation

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Lawmakers have given final approval to a $35 million loan from the  Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo that is designed to be used in a five-year program to encourage innovation.

Some $25 million will be invested in what the lawmakers call human capital, that is scholarships and grants for some 500 individuals. The remainder, $10 million, will be be bestowed on some 200 Costa Rican companies over the five years.

The use of the money will be supervised by the Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología y Telecomunicaciones  with the help of the  Promotora de Comercio Exterior.

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U.S. student flow to Costa Rica is measured by annual surveys
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Institute of International Education is pretty confident of its report that Costa Rica got 7,900 U.S. students to study here in the academic year 2011 to 2013.

A spokesperson for the institute said Thursday that the number comes from a survey that counts only those students who received academic credit from an accredited U.S. institution of higher education after they returned from their study abroad experience. So the entities being surveyed are not the students but the academic institutions that gave credit for the work abroad.
And the number probably is higher. Students who travel and take courses abroad without receiving academic credit are not reported in the institute's survey nor are students who are enrolled overseas for degrees from non-U.S. institutions.

So students who, for example, take Spanish courses at the Universidad de Costa Rica are not counted unless they have an arrangement to transfer the credit to some U.S. college or university. Many public and private schools that offer Spanish courses here provide that option, but not all students take advantage of the possibility.

"So the 7,900 students who received credit at a U.S, institution for study in Costa Rica in 2011/12 went as part of their education at their home institution," said the spokesperson. "They went for 
periods of anywhere from two weeks to a full year, with the trend being more toward short-term, an academic quarter, a January term, a summer term, etc., although some certainly could have gone for a semester or a year. Any amount of time for which their studies earned them academic credit."

Although Spanish courses are popular, they are by no means the only reason students come here. There are many active programs in environment and ecology as well as government, medicine and human services.

The Institute of International Education has just announced an ambitious plan to double the number of U.S. students who study abroad over the next five years.

The project has the support of hundreds of U.S. academic institutions, and the institute itself has put in $2 million for scholarships.

For Costa Rica, the results could be lucrative because the country ranks eighth in the institute list of foreign lands that provide classes for U.S. students. That was the subject of a news story Thursday HERE!

The institute survey showed that about 295,000 U.S. students studied abroad in the 2011 to 2012 academic year. These visiting students are large consumers of short-term property rentals, tours and adventure experiences. A new survey will be done in November, the institute said.

The institute maintains a Web site that lists available programs abroad.

Hollywood evening highlights some of the big problems of society
The American Oscars program was Sunday, and although I had not seen one single movie of those nominated, I watched the whole thing, waiting for Bette Midler to sing.  Besides having a lovely voice, Ms. Midler has the same qualities as Barbra Streisand as a singer . . . and you can understand every word she sings, unlike most of the popular singers of today who seem to be drowned out by the instruments or maybe they just don’t enunciate.

Finally, at 10 p.m., Bette sang “You are the Wind beneath My Wings,” following the tribute to the long list of people in the movie industry who have died this past year.

I thought the funniest part of the evening was the commercial for Pepsi Mini.

It was a huge production with several scenes and lots of action, including a building blowing up, to show people overjoyed to drink from a smaller can of Pepsi.  As a once upon a time copywriter, I would have done it all with a simple, “It stays cold until the last drop.”

Along with Bette, this was the year of the women and minorities. Ellen DeGeneres, of TV, and a role model for LGBT was the host for the program. Alfonso Cuaron of Mexico and mastermind behind the movie “Gravity,” won an Oscar.  Two first-time actors from Africa were nominated for their supporting roles, and Lupita Nyong’o of Kenya won.  Director Steve McQueen won as best director of the movie, “Twelve Years a Slave.”  Two of the nominees were women over 75, Judy Dench and June Squibb. The documentary, “20 Feet From Stardom,” featuring many black female singers, also won. 

In spite of the encouraging outcome of the Oscars, neither women nor young black men will have achieved equality with the remaining population until the following conversation won’t enter our minds.

Michael Dunn was found not guilty of murder in a Florida Court, claiming self defense when he shot into a car of black teenagers 10 times, killing 17-year-old Jordan Davis. Dunn had told the teenagers to turn down their music and they refused. After covering the story, Esther Armah, political commentator and writer on Alternet, wrote the following:

“I hear an emerging and troubling "what do we tell our black boys about how to behave?" narrative. This framing is deeply problematic. It is the equivalent of asking 'what do we tell girls and young women about what to wear and how to act so they don't get  sexually assaulted?' . . . .  ”It implies if black boys would just 
Butterfly in the City
. . .  Musings from San José

By Jo Stuart

Jo Stuart

behave differently they would be less likely to meet the bullets from ‘stand your ground’ gun-toting white men equipped with irrational fear and backed by a law that legitimizes their feelings.”

And, I might add, how can women behave differently so they will not continue to be raped by soldiers in wartime and peace, attacked on the street, or college campus?

Until those questions are no longer a part of our thoughts, neither
women nor young black men will be entirely free and able to just be or realize their own potential.

Although there were also some excellent documentaries, some showing the violence and injustice and shameful actions of governments, the Academy seems to have had enough of violence and is now concentrating on greed and what someone in a court trial in Florida has call “affluenza.”  Loosely defined, affluenza is the state of being so rich you don’t appreciate the consequences of your criminal acts, which, if you are rich enough, are called mistakes.  So money and its loss seem to have captured the Academy. But the movie that won in the best picture category was “12 years a Slave,” and is the story of freedom and its loss.  In the movie, “12 years a Slave,” Solomon Northrup, a freeborn black man living in New York State in 1853, makes the mistake of going to Washington, D.C., part of the slave-owning South.  He is kidnapped and sold into slavery. His treatment is appalling and in some cases, justified, according to a plantation owner, by the Bible.

I have no idea what this has to say of the way of the world, if anything.  Just maybe the world, along with Hollywood, has had enough of war and its glory, of violence as a choice in solving problems.  You wouldn’t know it by the news, but humans have other serious problems on a personal level with which we have to deal. One of them is freedom. 

We need a world where people who have every right to be free are not punished by others who object to behavior that happens to arouse their anger or lust.

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Top drummer helps scientists probe the internal clock of the brain
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Researchers at the University of California say exposure to rhythm may help people with neurological diseases lead a better life. In their experiments, they are using the expertise of a well-known rock drummer.

Scientists say that timing is a key part of how the human brain works, and when the timing is off, so is the processing of information.

Using advanced technology, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, are monitoring the brain of Mickey Hart. The drummer for the world-famous rock group The Grateful Dead is trying to navigate through a computer game using a set of electronic drums.  Neurologist Adam Gazzaley says the experiment combines neuroscience, gaming and the virtual world.

“So we couple these three different worlds together and use them to inform each other and create really the most powerful real time neural activity visualizer that anyone has ever seen," he said.

Hart wears a special headgear with screens and sensors as he plays. In the other room, scientists monitor how his brain responds to the rhythms, together with his eye movements, pulse and temperature.

All this translates to a real-time display of his brain’s activity. Hart says he is intrigued to know how what he calls, "this master clock,” works.

“What is this power and how do we use it and how to we repeat and how can we make a better world using the tools that we have been given," he said. "This super organism, there is nothing better than this, this master clock."
rock drummer
Voice of America photo
Mickey Hart combines rhythms with skill to test timing.

Gazzaley says he wants to see if rhythmic patterns could potentially re-wire damaged connections in a patient’s brain.

“So the idea is if we can teach the brain how to become a better timing machine, better rhythmically, that you, your brain can perform at a more optimal level and it will translate into how you interact with the world around you and lead to a better quality of life," he said.

Scientists say their ultimate goal is to use rhythm training and even video games to improve cognition and have a positive impact on the lives of people, with and without neurological issues.

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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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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.
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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

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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

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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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Temperature affects altitude
where malaria vectors thrive

By the University of Michigan news service
Researchers have debated for more than two decades the likely impacts, if any, of global warming on the worldwide incidence of malaria, a mosquito-borne disease that infects more than 300 million people each year.
Now, University of Michigan ecologists and their colleagues are reporting the first hard evidence that malaria does — as had long been predicted — creep to higher elevations during warmer years and back down to lower altitudes when temperatures cool.
The study, based on an analysis of records from highland regions of Ethiopia and Colombia, suggests that future climate warming will result in a significant increase in malaria cases in densely populated regions of Africa and South America, unless disease monitoring and control efforts are boosted and sustained.
"We saw an upward expansion of malaria cases to higher altitudes in warmer years, which is a clear signal of a response by highland malaria to changes in climate," said theoretical ecologist Mercedes Pascual, senior author of a paper scheduled for online publication in Science.
"This is indisputable evidence of a climate effect," said Ms. Pascual. "The main implication is that with warmer temperatures, we expect to see a higher number of people exposed to the risk of malaria in tropical highland areas like these."
More than 20 years ago, malaria was identified as a disease expected to be especially sensitive to climate change because both the Plasmodium parasites that cause it and the Anopheles mosquitoes that spread it thrive as temperatures warm.
Some early studies concluded that climate change would lead to a big increase in malaria cases as the disease expanded its range into higher elevations, but some of the assumptions behind those predictions were later criticized. More recently, some researchers have argued that improved socioeconomic conditions and more aggressive mosquito-control efforts will likely exert a far greater influence over the extent and intensity of malaria worldwide than climatic factors.

What's been missing in this debate has been an analysis of regional records with sufficient resolution to determine how the distribution of malaria cases has changed in response to year-to-year temperature variations, especially in countries of East Africa and South America with densely populated highlands that have historically provided havens from the disease.
Ms. Pascual and her colleagues looked for evidence of a changing distribution of malaria with varying temperature in the highlands of Ethiopia and Colombia. They examined malaria case records from the Antioquia region of western Colombia from 1990 to 2005 and from the Debre Zeit area of central Ethiopia from 1993 to 2005.
By focusing solely on the altitudinal response to year-to-year temperature changes, they were able to exclude other variables that can influence malaria case numbers, such as mosquito-control programs, resistance to anti-malarial drugs and fluctuations in rainfall amounts.
They found that the median altitude of malaria cases shifted to higher elevations in warmer years and back to lower elevations in cooler years. The relatively simple analysis yielded a clear, unambiguous signal that can only be explained by temperature changes, they said.
"Our latest research suggests that with progressive global warming, malaria will creep up the mountains and spread to new high-altitude areas. And because these populations lack protective immunity, they will be particularly vulnerable to severe morbidity and mortality," said co-author Menno Bouma, senior clinical lecturer at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
In addition, the study results suggest that climate change can explain malaria trends in both the highland regions in recent decades.
In the Debre Zeit region of Ethiopia, at an elevation range of between 5,280 feet and 7,920 feet, about 37 million people (roughly 43 percent of the country's population) live in rural areas at risk of higher malaria exposure under a warming climate.
In a previous study, the researchers estimated that a 1 degree Celsius temperature increase could result in an additional 3 million malaria cases annually in Ethiopia in the under-15 population, unless control efforts are strengthened.
"Our findings here underscore the size of the problem and emphasize the need for sustained intervention efforts in these regions, especially in Africa," Ms. Pascual said.

Pope's impact on U.S. flock
is minimal, surveys show

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Late last year the British newspaper The Sunday Times reported that Pope Francis had inspired a surge in attendance at churches in Britain and other countries.  The report triggered a debate about whether the new pontiff has been bringing about a change of heart among former Catholics, many of whom lost their faith in the Church after decades of scandals and doctrinal rigidity.

There has been evidence of pews refilling in places like Italy and in the pope’s native Argentina. The so-called Francis Effect  is credited with a record turnout at last year’s pilgrimage to the Basilica of the Virgin of Lujan, the nation’s patron saint.

Surveys by the Pew Research Center in Washington, however, suggest the effect is negligible in the United States, which has the fifth largest Catholic population in the world, and where ex-Catholics represent 10 percent of the national population.

The Church of the Nativity in Timonium, a suburb of Baltimore, Maryland, is one of the few that has managed to buck the trend.  It has been attracting worshippers for years with methods that now have the blessing of Francis.

From the outside it looks like an ordinary suburban church, but inside the darkened chapel a seven-piece band accompanies the Mass, which is magnified on large TV screens throughout the church as well as in the café.

The priest, Rev. Michael White, is in demand as a speaker around the country because of a book he wrote called "Rebuilt," about his success in bringing parishioners back into the pews.

"Before the book, you know how many invitations I received to speak?  That would be none, ever.  Not once!" he joked during a recent homily.

Switching to a tone of humility he added, “there are plenty of pastors out there who are far better at this than I am.”

If that is the case, then the church needs them badly.  Surveys show a third of Americans who were born into the Roman Catholic faith have left it.  If America’s 23 million ex-Catholics formed their own denomination, it would be the second largest in the country, after Catholics themselves.

Like Pope Francis, Rev. White does not contradict Vatican teaching, but he has dispensed with the elaborate rituals and ceremony that can be found in many Catholic churches.

Instead, the Church of the Nativity borrows heavily from Evangelical Protestant megachurches, with a kind of worship style where you would be forgiven if you thought you'd stepped into a pop music concert or a coffee shop.

Tom Corcoran, a lay minister at the church who co-authored the book with White, concedes there has been criticism from traditionally-minded Catholics.

"You hear those whisperings of 'Catholic light,' or -- we have a café here - Our Lady of Mt. Starbucks,” he said. “I think if you want to do anything worth doing, you're going to get criticized."

His church’s new approach predated Francis, with his own emphasis on simplicity and message to Catholics that they should be more outward-looking and adopt methods that have worked for Evangelicals.

"Since we've written our book 'Rebuilt,' people have come up and said, 'Hey, it's like you guys were quoting him even before he was pope,' and all that kind of stuff," Corcoran says.

"We can be so focused on our sanctuary, our buildings, and wait for people to come to us,” says Rev. John Conley, a Jesuit scholar at Loyola University Maryland. "Now decades ago you could be in a religious nation like America. We had so many immigrants, who basically would follow this tradition.  We can no longer do that today."

Although the Church of the Nativity's Mass still hews to basic tradition and some segments are even conducted in Latin recent convert Cathy McErlean says she was attracted to the church by the informal style.

"It was a lot less intimidating than a more traditional Catholic environment," she said.

The pope's less-intimidating style, not to mention his emphasis on social justice, has turned him into a virtual rock star even among non-Catholics.  Time magazine named him Person of the Year and even Rolling Stone magazine put him on its cover.  That said, the new pontiff’s style has not undone all the damage of the clerical scandals and doctrinal rigidity that are among the main reasons many American Catholics left in the first place.

U.S. Senate votes to keep
sex claims with commanders

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. Senate has defeated one measure to boost prosecution of sexual offenders in the armed forces and unanimously voted to advance another. Passionate debate centered on whether to remove authority for such prosecutions from the military chain of command.

The Pentagon reports that 26,000 cases of unwanted sexual contact occurred in America’s armed forces in 2012, only a small faction of which were prosecuted. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called that unacceptable.

“These are really courageous men and women. And while we cannot protect every member of our military from harm at the hands of America’s enemies, we should at least guarantee them protection from harm at the hands of their fellow service members," said Reid.

Thursday, the Senate ended debate on a bill that boosts protections for victims of sexual assault and holds military commanders accountable for their units’ compliance with regulations on sexual conduct. But it retains commanders’ authority to decide which cases are brought to trial.

That is a problem, according to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat.

“The people who do not trust the chain of command are the victims," said Sen. Gillibrand.

Sen. Gillibrand championed a competing bill that would have given military prosecutors authority to decide which cases to try. It was defeated on a procedural vote despite the backing of many sexual assault victims, including Paula Coughlin, who helped bring the issue to the nation’s attention more than 20 years ago. Ms. Coughlin and scores of other service members, most of them female, were assaulted at a 1991 military symposium in Las Vegas, Nevada, an incident that came to be known as the Tailhook scandal.

Ms. Coughlin, then a Navy lieutenant, says she first reported the abuse to her commander.

“And he was not receptive. In fact, he brushed off the complaint. The military chain of command is inherently biased, whether they do not believe that the victim was actually assaulted, or whether prosecution of that assault would adversely affect their command," said Ms. Coughlin.

Ms. Coughlin went public with her allegations, triggering a widely publicized investigation that led to demotions and early retirements of top Navy commanders.

Today, the Pentagon says it has zero tolerance for sexual misconduct. But Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel defends the role of commanders in deciding prosecutorial matters.

“It is my strong belief that the ultimate authority has to remain within the command structure," said Hagel.

The Pentagon strongly opposed the defeated Gillibrand bill, but backs the alternative measure, which is widely expected to be approved by the Senate next week.

During floor debate, senators were unanimous in condemning sexual abuse. For Paula Coughlin, the emotional scars of the Tailhook experience are still with her. She says, “Not a day goes by that I do not think how things could have been for me in the military, and how they should have been.”

Republicans wanted deep cuts
in Obama's proposed budget

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The release of the U.S. fiscal budget for 2015 is getting a lukewarm response from both supporters and critics of President Barack Obama. The $3.9 trillion budget promises to lower the annual deficit even as it expands opportunities for poor and working-class Americans.  But critics say it does so by raising taxes on the wealthy while ignoring the nation’s most pressing fiscal problems.

Whether it’s improving aging roads and bridges or expanding opportunities for low-income Americans and school-age children, President Barack Obama says it’s about making the right choices.
“As a country, we have got to make a decision if we are going to protect tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans, or if we are going to make smart investments necessary to create jobs and grow our economy, and expand opportunity for every American,” said Obama.

The president proposes paying for some of those programs by eliminating loopholes and raising taxes on wealthy Americans. Republicans say this budget, however, is nothing more than an election year blueprint, one that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said is bad for the economy.

"It’s time the president realizes that doubling down on the same failed policies is simply not going to work. Yet that's what this budget proposes to do,” he said.

Those who study economic minutiae are not as harsh in their assessment.

Marc Goldwein, a senior policy director at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, said, “I do think the president importantly focuses on investments, and I appreciate that he actually does reduce the deficit in this budget, but I don’t think he goes nearly far enough.”

That's because discretionary spending, which includes things such as job training and transportation projects, makes up less than a third of the nearly $4 trillion the government will spend next year. The largest share will go toward paying fixed costs for programs such as Social Security and Medicare. 

"The smart thing to do would actually be to accompany entitlement reform and immigration reform, so we have this new tax base and we have a system where we can afford to actually pay the benefits," said Goldwein.

Without major reforms to entitlement programs and what he called an unwieldy tax code, Goldwein said U.S. debt will become unsustainable. While he admitted that lawmakers are unlikely to approve the budget in an election year, he said neither Congress nor the president can afford to wait too long.

Midwives seen as remedy
to help low-income moms

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Home births in the United States are increasing, although they still account for only 1 percent of overall deliveries. Los Angeles is one place where there is a rising interest in giving birth at home with the help of midwives.  Some of those midwives are making an effort to reach out to minority women.

In 2012, Jasmine Lavender delivered her second child in a bathtub in south Los Angeles.

“It was an amazing experience. Very empowering. You know I encourage other moms to have a vaginal birth. It was life changing to be honest,” she said.

She chose to give birth in an informal setting because she feels the hospital performed an unnecessary and rushed surgical procedure, a Caesarean-section, when she delivered her first child.

“I was on a time clock and my time was out,” she said.

The tub where Jasmine gave birth is located at The Community Birth Center. The women who work here specialize in maternity care.

But founder Racha Lawler said they also offer some general health services.

“It’s seeing ourselves really truly as a clinician. Where, you know, as a midwife you can draw people’s blood and test people’s blood and test people for STDs. You can, you know, teach women about how their bodies work in regards to their ovulation and fertility," she said. "So why not make sure everyone in the community knows that?”

Ms. Lawler, a licensed midwife, also goes to the patient's home to help her give birth. And after the birth, she provide services to the mother and her newborn.

Midwife apprentice Tanya Smith-Johnson said the center believes in keeping the process as natural as possible.

“We do things to keep women from tearing. You know, rub oil as opposed to, 'Ok You tore? We’re just going to suture you up. We’re going to cut you,' that kind of thing.  We do all the things to make it as few interventions as possible,” she said.

When the center first opened, there were about 300 licensed midwives in the state of California.  Most of them were white. But Ms. Lawler hopes to double the number of midwives of color through advocacy and free mentorship for apprentices like Tanya Smith-Johnson.

“The stats show women of color, we’re the ones who need maternity care. Our babies die at rates three or four times that of white women. And one of the solutions to that is having more women of color tend to women like themselves,” Ms. Smith-Johnson said.

World Health issues rules
on contraception rights

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The World Health Organization says human rights must be respected and protected when women seek contraception services. World Health has issued new guidelines for policy makers and healthcare providers in conjunction with International Women’s Day Saturday.

The World Health estimates over 220 million women are not able to meet their needs for modern contraception. It says many are among the most vulnerable, including the poor, those living with HIV and women displaced by conflict or other causes.

Marleen Temmerman is an obstetrician and director of the World Health’s Department of Reproductive Health and Research.

“It’s the first time that there is a guidance from the WHO where human rights is actually in the title – and not only in the title, but also in the content of the guidelines. We have guidelines for contraceptive use from the medical perspective looking at what is safe – what are the medical eligibility criteria – what the contraindications and so on. But now we have worked towards ensuring human rights in the contraceptive guidelines,” she said.

World Health has been developing the guidelines for the past year.

“We want to make sure that the human rights principles, such as acceptability, accessibility, affordability, choice, informed consent are high in the guidelines,” she said.

The guidelines recommend providing sexual and reproductive health services to women and girls, including family planning information and contraceptive methods.

Dr. Temmerman said that access to contraception has risen on the political agenda in recent years.

“If you look at the Millennium Development Goals, number five is to reduce maternal mortality. And that of course is linked to better care, better antenatal care, better delivery care, but also to the rights of a woman to decide when she will get pregnant. How many children she wants.”

She said millions of women must seek permission of their husbands to use contraception, while adolescent girls need permission from their parents or guardians. Many adolescent boys also lack access to modern contraception.

Dr. Temmerman said women and girls often have no power in deciding whether to become pregnant.

“Many women are coerced in their decision to be pregnant or not to be pregnant by their family, their father, the mother, the husband, the mother-in-law, the society, the community, by cultural and religious obstacles. But sometimes also by the governments, who are forcing tubal ligation, forcing sterilization onto some women and not giving access to others,” she said.

She added that teenage girls – who become pregnant – may face severe risks. World Health estimates 16 million girls between 15 and 19 give birth each year. Nearly all the births are in low- and middle-income countries.

“We see a lot of pregnancy complications in adolescents that are really leading to a lot of mortality and morbidity, so a huge health burden,” said Dr. Temmerman.

World Health reports some of the problems associated with negative outcomes for adolescent pregnancies include hemorrhaging, obstetric fistula, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections and mental disorders, such as depression.

Dr. Temmerman said countries where women and girls have access to modern contraception often fare better overall than countries that do not.

“I think what we have to do is to look at statistics. Those countries -- which are providing sexuality education and information to the population and to the youth in the schools – those countries which are providing adolescents and women-friendly services – have the lowest figures of unwanted pregnancies, maternal mortality and so on. So, health wise they do much better.”

She said besides the health benefits of investing in reproductive services, countries benefit economically by having a more productive workforce.

The new World Health guidelines say sexual and reproductive health services should help ensure “fully-informed decision-making and respect dignity, autonomy, privacy and confidentiality and be sensitive to individual needs.”

Cheap, easy test urged
to catch cervical cancer

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Most people think of malaria, AIDS and childbirth as leading causes of death for women in sub-Saharan Africa. But there's another killer: Cervical cancer. There is a simple test and technology that can save the lives of women in developing countries.

Every year, around the globe, half a million women develop cervical cancer and more than a quarter of a million die. The overwhelming majority of those deaths occur in developing countries.

In Burkina Faso, Adjaratou Kinda learned too late that she had cervical cancer. 

"They said there is nothing else they can do for me here," she said.

A simple, inexpensive test could have saved her life.

In developed countries, most women can be screened for cervical cancer with a non-invasive test at a doctor's office. If lab results show abnormal cells, they have options: cryotherapy, killing pre-cancerous cells by freezing the cervix, and, in more advanced cases, radiation or surgery. 

In developing countries, women don't have these options. 

As a result, in sub-Saharan Africa, women who are HIV positive are surviving AIDS, but dying of cervical cancer.

"In the pre-cancerous stage there are no symptoms. There’s no pain. There’s no bleeding.  There’s no discharge," said John Varallo, who is with Jhpiego, a non-profit health organization. "The woman feels well.  But that’s when she needs to be screened."

Jhpiego is helping establish programs in Burkina Faso and other countries so doctors, nurses and midwives can screen and treat pre-cancerous cells in one visit. A solution of simple table vinegar turns pre-cancerous cells white. During the same visit, cryotherapy kills them.

It takes 10 years or more for those cells to become cancerous. And yet cervical cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women worldwide. 

"It’s projected that by 2030, 98 percent of those cases will be occurring in developing countries. And, it’s really unnecessary because cervical cancer is almost completely preventable," said Varallo.

The World Health Organization calls cervical cancer a leading public health concern, and now with an inexpensive test, more women can be screened and their lives saved.

"It’s relatively easy to learn, does not require anesthesia, does not require electricity and you put a probe on the cervix with compressed gas through a tank and you do, what we call, a double freeze technique," continued Varallo.

Varallo says the procedure is 95 percent effective. If screening and treatment can become more widespread, there will be no need for women like Adjaratou Kinda to learn that it's too late.

Several advances suggest
treatments to cure AIDS

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Scientists in the U.S. are calling attention to a pair of promising treatments that could lead to a cure for AIDS. 

In a study published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine, doctors at the University of Pennsylvania removed blood cells from a dozen HIV patients and used a technique that removed a protein that allows the virus to latch on to blood cells. Doctors injected the blood cells back into the patients, then took them off their antiviral medication for a month.

The virus returned in all but one of the patients, but doctors found that the treated blood cells appeared to be protected from the virus. The results of the study could mean that some HIV patients could be freed from taking daily medication to control their infection.

Meanwhile, doctors at an AIDS conference in Boston Wednesday announced that a second infant in the U.S. born with HIV now shows no sign of the virus, thanks to undergoing aggressive drug treatments immediately after she was born in a Los Angeles-area hospital last year.

The first reported case of its kind occurred in the southeastern state of Mississippi, where an HIV-infected baby girl was put on antiviral drugs about 30 hours after she was born. Doctors continued to treat the child until she was 18 months old, when the mother stopped taking her to her appointments. 

When the mother resumed the baby's treatments several months later, doctors found no sign of HIV in her blood cells. The girl is now 3 years old and remains free of infection.  

A group of California scientists are about to launch a study funded by the U.S. government that will determine if early, aggressive treatment of HIV-infected babies will allow them to discontinue the drugs if tests prove they are free of the virus over a long period of time.

Frequent school moves
seen hurting kids' esteem

By the Warwick Medical School news service

Frequent school moves can increase the risk of psychotic symptoms in early adolescence.

Researchers at Warwick Medical School have shown that frequently moving schools during childhood can increase the risk of psychotic symptoms in later years.

The study, published in American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, found that school mobility during childhood heightens the risk of developing psychotic-like symptoms in early adolescence by up to 60 percent.

Suffering from psychotic-like symptoms at a young age is strongly associated with mental health problems in adulthood, including psychotic disorders and suicide.

Swaran Singh, who led the study, explained, “Changing schools can be very stressful for students. Our study found that the process of moving schools may itself increase the risk of psychotic symptoms – independent of other factors. But additionally, being involved in bullying, sometimes as a consequence of repeated school moves, may exacerbate risk for the individual.”

At the age of 12, participants in the study were interviewed to assess for the presence of psychotic-like symptoms including hallucinations, delusions and thought interference in the previous six months. Those that had moved school three or more times were found to be 60 percent more likely to display at least one definite psychotic symptom.

The authors suggested that moving schools often may lead to feelings of low self-esteem and a sense of social defeat. This feeling of being excluded from the majority could also render physiological consequences.

Cath Winsper, senior research fellow at Warwick Medical School and part of the study group said, “It’s clear that we need to keep school mobility in mind when clinically assessing young people with psychotic disorders. It should be explored as a matter of course as the impact can be both serious and potentially long lasting. Schools should develop strategies to help these students to establish themselves in their new environment.”

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

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

Costa Rica,

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

Visit our Web Site:

English: (Cristian Arce)
(506) 8309-0173  
English:  (Luis Arce)
(506) 7100-8489  
 Español: (Luis G. Jiménez)
  (506) 8707-4016  
Grecia 794
This is the BIGGEST DEAL of the month now at $850.000: HERE!
30,000 square meters of land and 750 square-meters of construction.
Grecia 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!
  Send us your request to our email:

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:

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale

Some of our other titles:
A.M. Panama
A.M. Colombia
A.M. Guatemala
A.M. Honduras
A.M. Cuba
A.M. Nicaragua
A.M. Venezuela
A.M. Central America
Dominican Republic

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

A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Friday, March 7, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 47
Real Estate
About us

News from the BBC up to the minute

BBC news feeds are disabled on archived pages.

Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Cuba and UK will talk
to improve economic ties

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Cuba has accepted a European Union invitation to begin talks on improving ties.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez says his country is willing to discuss human rights as part of discussions that would end what it considers a one-sided relationship with Europe

EU officials said last month the bloc would seek to upgrade ties with Cuba to broaden economic cooperation.  They cautioned they would demand more progress on respecting rights and civil liberties.

Rodriguez says Cuban diplomats will work with EU officials to determine the details and dates for negotiations. 

The European Union lifted sanctions on the Communist-ruled country in 2008.  But its 1996 common position' on Cuba places human rights and democracy conditions on improved economic relations.

EU foreign ministers say they are seeking better ties with Havana to support Cuba's market-oriented reforms and position European companies for any transition to an open economy.

Venezuelan protest planned

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Opponents to the Venezuelan government will be staging what they say will be a peaceful demonstration outside the Venezuelan Embassy today at 9 p.m. The demonstrators are members of Revolución Liberal and Operación Libertad and their supporters. Many are students just as many of the protesters in Venezuela are students.

The groups said they were expressing solidarity with protesters in Venezuela and agitating against the policies of former president Hugo Chavez.

The embassy is in Rohrmoser.

Costa Rican News
Retire NOW in Costa Rica
Fine Dining in Costa Rica
The CAFTA Report
Fish fabulous Costa Rica

Real Estate
About us
What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this page and this Web site are copyrighted by A.M. Costa Ltda. 2014 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details

From Page 7:

Transport costs of goods here called high

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Commerce in Central America is restricted by the cost of transportation, according to a study by the World Bank. The study equated high transport costs here as being in the same league as in some developing African countries. The estimate was that moving freight costs shippers about 17 U.S. cents per ton per kilometer on average.

The World Bank report, outlined Thursday, said that some of the costs can be attributed to infrastructure and wait times at border crossings. However, the main expense comes from the lack of competition, it said.

The study listed such expenses as the requirements for establishing transportation companies, rules that limit the participation of foreigners in such companies and the tacit territorial agreements among various cargo companies. There also are prohibitions on the use of foreign licensed vehicles for transport within some countries, it said.

In Costa Rica these restrictions affect about 22.5 percent of the total volume of exports, the study said.  It also noted that the costs also apply to shipments by sea because goods need to be transported by carrier to get to the ships.

The study was presented at a session arranged by the Ministerio de Comercio Exterior.