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(506) 2223-1327                         Publshed Monday, March 31, 2014, in Vol. 14, No. 63                         Email us
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Opening or keeping bank account now a paper chase
By Garland M. Baker
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

An expat went to his bank Friday to open a new account. He said to the customer service representative, “I would like to close a bank account for one company I have had for 10 years and open a new one for a new company.” The agent look at him perplexed and said, “Why in the world do you want to do that.”

The man explained that one business was stopping operations and has been legally closed with the tax agency and that he started a new company. The bank employee said, “Do you have any idea all the paperwork you need? It would be easier to use the old account and not close it.”

The diligent expat had previously requested a form with all the requirements and showed the representative his folder.  He also explained he was a long-time loyal customer and there had never been a problem with his account.  The agent said, “It does not matter how long you have been a customer with our bank, everything is different now. I will go talk to my boss to see if I can open the account. After a long wait, the person finally came back and said, “We will open your new account, but you still need more information.”

The crux of the story is the bank employee was correct. The red tape and requirements to open a new bank account for a company are a bad dream. Here they are on this abridged short list.

1.Certificación de personería jurídica (legal resume of a business that states who is what in a company). This is one of the most important legal documents in Costa Rica. It can be prepared by an attorney or downloaded from the Registro Nacional Digital. It cannot be obtained if Law 9024 taxes are due. A “certificación literal,” is a similar document with more information and can be used in place of a personería. This document is available without having Law 9024 taxes paid.

2. A certified copy of the company’s constitution and any relevant changes, for example, change of name or legal address.

3. A certification prepared by an attorney outlining exactly who are the stockholders and their participation in the company. It must coincide with the entities stockholders register. If any stockholder is another company, the certification must extend through it, until a physical person is reached.

4. A certification of origin of any funds used to open the bank account. For new companies a projected cash flow for six months to a year is needed.

5. An electric bill or water bill indicating the name and address of the entity opening the bank account. If these do not exist or they do not have the correct information on them, then a valid rental or lease agreement can be used to fulfill this requirement.

6. A copy of the identification cédula for Costa Ricans or a DIMEX card for residents. This is known as the immigration identity card. In some cases a N.I.T.E. number may work depending on the bank. This stands for Número de Identificación Tributaria Especial. It is used in cases where an individual does not have a Costa Rican cedula or DIMEX card. Also a copy of the identification of the registered agent is required. Registered agents of companies in Costa Rica must be attorneys.

7. A completed know your customer form provided by the bank.

8. A zillion signatures and a few hours to waste to complete all the paperwork.
red tape
It is not surprising Citibank is advising its foreign customers they are closing their accounts and more importantly closing their branches outside the Central Valley. They are probably finding it hard to keep customers, let alone get new ones.

What foreign investor in his right mind wants to go through all this baloney just to open a bank account to pay monthly bills? The bank representative was right. It is easier to keep an old account open.

Well, not so fast. That is not exactly true. Banks have been calling customers and placing ads in all available media for them to come in and update their information. And, believe it or not, almost the same gobbledygook to open a new account is needed to maintain an old one.

Costa Rican Law 8204 and its subsequent regulations of implementation are at fault.  This law is the anti-drug and terrorism legislation of Costa Rica. It is not a new law, but it was extensively reformed a few years back, and institutions are now in high gear to enforce its directives.

U.S. H.R. 2847, the Hire Incentives to Restore Employment Act that was signed into law in 2010 is also at fault. This is the bill which included the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act.  This law known to most as FATCA, makes U.S. residents accountable for money invested in foreign banks.  It requires offshore financial institutions to provide information on their American customers to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. 

What is important to expats, especially ones who have second homes here or are invested in some way in Costa Rica but do not have residency, is that they will most likely not be able to open a bank account. If they have one, it will probably be closed soon.

One expat when asked why he was selling his beautiful house close to the beach, said, “Costa Rica is just making it impossible to live here.” This feeling is echoed all over the country. Banking goes hand-in-hand with investment. Citibank’s decision to close many of its branches is the writing on the wall and a prelude for things to come.

The country works on a pendulum. It is never in the middle. It is always nothing or too much. Like the music ones hears on the streets and in social gathering places. It is either off or full blast.

Garland M. Baker is a 44-year resident and naturalized citizen of Costa Rica who provides multidisciplinary professional services to the international community.  Reach him at  Baker has undertaken the research leading to these series of articles in conjunction with A.M. Costa Rica.  Find the collection at, a complimentary reprint is available at the end of each article.  Copyright 2014, use without permission prohibited.

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Tourism police officers listen to officials praise agency.

New tourist police HQ opening
brings praise for the agency

By Michael Krumholtz
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Leaders from both the public security and tourism sectors met at the new Policía Turística headquarters for its official unveiling and a show of support for the officers. In addition to the new facility, the government has also invested in new vehicles, uniforms, and weapons for the agency.

Friday morning the minister of Seguridad Pública, Mario Zamora, joined with the ministers of  Turismo and the Presidencia, and the heads of the Fuerza Pública and the Policía Turística to announce the economic support directed towards the specialized police force.

Zamora drew upon the increasingly critical connection between the state's tourism industry and it's overall safety. As Costa Rica's tourism industry remains lucrative, Zamora said the work of the Policía Turística should not be overlooked.

“You all are carrying out critical duties for our country,” said Zamora to the audience of police officers. “You are responsible for the nation's tourism success.”

Carlos Ricardo Benavides, the minster of the Presidencia, echoed Zamora's words and said he remembered in past years when the ruling administration's biggest worry was national security. He recalled a time when drug dealers had nicer, more efficient cars than the police offers trying to track them down. Because of the government's ability to cut off this disparity, Benavides said the investments have been worth it.

“And now today we are one of the best tourism destinations in Latin America,” he said. He is a former tourism minister.

Created in 2006, the Policía Turística is now made up of 345 officials dispersed into 10 locations throughout the country. The agency is under the direction of Xinia Vásquez Mora, whose work received great praise from the government ministers.

Allan Flores, the current minister of Turismo, promised that the Policía Turística could expect additional aid from the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo in the near future. Flores said he is in favor of any taxes concentrated on public security measures and that these investments in facilities, vehicles, and uniforms are invaluable.

“This is obviously an important subject because no one visits this country without first being assured of its safety,” he said.

The new two-story building is located on Calle 11 and between Avenidas 10 and 12. Officers from all over the country will have access to the new headquarters since it includes a training room.

Water bill is on agenda
for lawmakers to vote today

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Lawmakers are expected to vote today on first reading of a bill that restructures the management of water in Costa Rica.

This is the measure that was brought to the legislature by popular demand in 2010. There were some 140,000 signatures on a petition.

The bill would restructure the Dirección Nacional del Agua, which would continue to be within the Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía. It also declares that humans have priority to water and that there is a human right to access to water.  Still unclear is what this might mean in practice.

The bill also declares a water table as a unity for management and planning.

The measure was voted out of the Comisión de Ambiente.

Water is a disputed commodity in Costa Rica. Those who oppose private hydro projects claim that use of water is a private taking of a public commodity. A big irrigation pipeline in Guanacaste is facing similar criticism. And there have been public protests in Sardinal over the diversion of water from there to condo projects on the Pacific coast.

Earthquakes hit to north,
south, east and above Jacó

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The country was bracketed by earthquakes over the weekend.
The strongest, magnitude 5.3, took place Friday at 8:36 a.m. off the Pacific coast of Nicaragua. It was felt in some sections of Costa Rica.

A 4.0 quake at 11:59 Saturday had an epicenter estimated to be off the northern coast of the province of Limón. A 4.0 magnitude quake at 8:09 a.m. Sunday has estimated to have taken place on the border with Panamá in extreme southwest Costa Rica. A second quake Sunday was estimated to have taken place in the hills above Jacó at 12:42 p.m. The magnitude was estimated to be 3.4.

Our reader's opinion
Balance urged between reality
of change and status quo

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I read the letter to the editor dated March 28 by Carol Meeds about the new land use law involving the Caribbean Coast and was surprised by some of the conclusions.  As Ms. Meeds explained that she moved here and has stayed between the lines by getting all her paperwork in order and trying to abide by the State and Local rules . . . me, too.  As many expats, my wife and I moved here over 18 years ago and loved the remoteness and natural beauty.  But Ms. Meeds argues of everything changing, ”little by little that feeling of being back in time has been eroded.”  Really?

There are still lots of locations in Costa Rica that have not changed in the years since we arrived, but you probably would not want to live there. That is what happens as more people want to move here, live near the beach and enjoy your lifestyle. That is what happens with change.

In my opinion, where your argument really falls apart is when you state, ”Five miles away, nestled between the maritime zone and the Gandoca Preserve, I found a paradise of nature and wildlife.  I built my home here.”    So, I’m on board now, pull up the ladder, and no one else is welcome?  That’s not fair to everyone wanting to retire here. That is what happens with change

It is not greed and corruption driving these changes, as you stated. It is people who already live here and folks who purchased titled land and want to develop their property.  I live on the other end of the spectrum. People have purchased expensive land here on the Pacific side and have been told they cannot build on their titled property because certain groups want to save the beaches for the turtles.  After 10 years of very little construction, the turtle count is almost nothing, and no construction has equated to high unemployment and investors losing large sums of money and then walking away. 

We all want to stop time and say "I want it to stay just like when we first moved here." In the early years we never had to lock our doors because theft was not an issue, but today you would be a fool to not lock your doors and set your alarms.

So, Ms. Meeds, I agree with you and hate to see change, but it is going to come, and in my humble opinion, we need to help establish good building practices that find a balance between the Costa Rica you and I want with the reality of change.

Robert Lawson
Playa Grande

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, March 31, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 63
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Heredia author chronicles the rich folklore and cuisine of country
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Heredia expat Jack Donnelly travels the country investigating and documenting folkloric events.  The result is a new book, his first.

Donnelly, who spent his adult life in New Hampshire as a teacher and school administrator, nurtured a long-standing interest in Latin culture stemming from when he studied cultural anthropology at the Universidad de las Américas in Mexico City in the 1960s. He later worked in a Mayan cooperative in the western highlands of Guatemala with the U.S. Peace Corps.

"The goal of this book is to fill a gap in the English-language literature about Costa Rica," he said. "I am trying to illuminate at least a portion of the traditional folk culture of the country. I also identify and describe many of the national traditions and Costa Rican cuisine. In doing so, I hope to dispel the common belief that Costa Rica doesn’t have a vibrant folk culture or tasty different dishes worthy of trying. This is a great country to travel around for many reasons, including the folk culture and cuisine. To my mind, travel should involve learning about the customs of the area and trying new and exciting dishes."

"COSTA RICA: Folk Culture, Traditions, and Cuisine" will be available on Amazon in the next week, he said by email.

An example of his explorations is what he calls the wonderful blended Catholic-Chorotega festival that has been taking place for 360 years in Nicoya, Guaancaste. It is called the Danza de la Yegüita, and he provided this book excerpt to explain:
"On Dec. 12th of every year, a centuries-old folkloric celebration of la Virgen de Guadalupe and la Yegüita ("the Little Mare") takes place in Nicoya, Guanacaste. This festival marks the culmination of a long, complex, and highly structured community effort. This year-long process is supervised by a religious brotherhood, la Cofradía de Nuestra Señorita La Virgen de Guadalupe.
"La Yegüita comes from a Chorotega Indian legend about twin brothers. On Dec. 12th in 1653, the brothers were celebrating la Virgen de Guadalupe and had consumed an ample amount of chicha (corn beer). Both brothers were in love with the same woman, Nantiume. They began to fight over her with machetes. Terrified neighbors implored la Virgen de Guadalupe to intervene and save them. Suddenly, a small black mare came out of nowhere. Kicking
Little mare
Jack Donnelly photo
Danza de la Yegüita takes place in front of priests, a statue of the Virgin and residents and visitors in Nicoya.

and biting, she got between the combatants and separated them. This was seen by the Chorotegas as divine intervention by la Virgen and has been celebrated ever since.
"Today it is commemorated and celebrated with la Danza de la Yegüita. In the dance, la Yegüita (a carved wood and fabric costume with a braided tail) dances in quick swirling steps with la Muñeca (a small dressed doll on a stick), who represents a Chorotega woman calling to la Yegüita with her movements. The dark color of the doll and the mare is seen as an indigenous attribute.  The dance takes place in advance of la Virgen as she makes her way around town and, briefly, in the Iglesia Nueva ("New Church") at the end of a special Mass on the 12th."

Festival de las Artes will fill the capital with a multitude of events
By Michael Krumholtz
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A massive artistic invasion is about to fill San José with dance, painting, music, theater, and more. Thursday the Festival Internacional de las Artes returns to its base in Parque Sabana, although art galleries and live performances will take place across the metro area.

The festival works from the stated philosophy of promoting and strengthening art and its production within Costa Rica. In featuring national talents alongside many innovative minds from around the globe, the festival explores endless disciplines and varieties of popular art.

Here's a rundown of some of the art forms being featured from April 3 to April 13:

Bulevar: Interactive pieces from Spain that transform everyday public spaces into entertaining and visually inviting areas. There will be a steel labyrinth set up everyday in Parque la Sabana that festival-goers can try to conquer.

Workshops: A variety of workshops and classes, from acting to flamenco to hip-hip, allow attendees another way to get involved.

One such workshop is a kids-only session that teaches the works
and styles of Salvador Dalí, the famous Spanish surrealist painter.

Music: Loads of concerts and intimate sets will entertain audience members with a diverse lineup of bands that span nearly every genre. Gandhi, the famous Costa Rican group, will play Friday night at the Plaza La Soledad in front of the church of the same name downtown.

Theater: Traditional and street theater performances that include more than 30 plays from troupes spanning the globe. Costa Rica's very own national theater company will be performing King Lear Wednesday at Teatro Melico Salazar.

Visual art: Paintings, structures, and other visual art pieces will be on display throughout the city's museums and parks. The Antigua Aduana has already unveiled some exhibitions and is housing four full-time galleries that features artists from Spain, Holland, Argentina, and Costa Rica.

Numerous other disciplines like film, poetry, and even pantomiming will also be on display. Details are at, including a full-schedule arranged by art genre and artist.

The Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud began the international festival in 1989 as a theater-only event. Now every year the festival cycles between being nationally and internationally based.

Runoff election Sunday is at least a little weird and may get worse
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The runoff election next Sunday is a weird one with a candidate who is not campaigning, another who never expected to get this far and a lot of citizens who may not vote.

In addition, the election is being observed by successful legislative candidates who probably had no idea that they would win.

Luis Antonio Sobrado, president of the election tribunal, took to the television Sunday night to encourage Costa Ricans to vote. He also told those who had manned voting locations Feb. 2 that they also should show up Sunday.

Luis Guillermo Solís, the Acción Ciudadana presidential candidate, has been campaigning all over the country even though Johnny Araya Monge of Partido Liberación Nacional, his runoff opponent, has said he ceased his campaign. Solís and his campaign strategists are well aware of the strength that the 66-year-old Liberación party has even without an active candidate.
Although Araya says he is not campaigning, his party members are very much in the fray. No one in Acción Ciudadana has said so in public, but some fear they may be blindsided if supporters of Solís stay home. Araya has been clear that he has stopped campaigning but that he still is a candidate.

It was the well-oiled Liberación network outside of the Central Valley that brought a close victory to Óscar Arias Sánchez eight years ago.

For Sobrado at the Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones, much of the concern is logistical. If enough of those who have been assigned to staff the voting locations fail to show up, election day will be a catastrophe. Even with a close election, perhaps as many as 40 percent of the eligible voters stay home.  So with what appears to be a shoo-in for Solís might set new records in absenteeism.

Whoever wins will face a divided legislature. Liberación and Acción Ciudadana are both left of center, but the far left new lawmakers of Frente Amplio, who never expected to be elected, are certain to try to promote legislation in that direction. They also are expected to be rambunctious.

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Animal welfare officials pleased by first fine issued here for dog fighting
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A Costa Rican man charged with acts against animal welfare for organizing dog fights received sanctions for the first time in Costa Rica, according to Humane Society International.

Andrey Josue Montero was ordered to pay a fine for 105,000 colons and told he cannot be involved in any action that could potentially put an animal's well-being at risk. If he were to violate that accord, judicial authorities said they would seek greater punishments. The fine is about $200.

He was suspected of promoting dog fighting in Desamparados, according to a complaint from December 2012 that started the case. The Servicio Nacional de Salud Animal was involved in carrying out the prosecution and requested the initial search warrant to find evidence that could support the case against Montero in court.

The service's regional director, Allan Sánchez, said he admires Costa Rican officials for taking an important stand for the protection of animals.

"This ruling and its associated penalty represents a major legal
 precedent," he said. "Not to mention the fact that it will also have a considerable public impact, warning dog fight promoters of the legal consequences of animal abuse."

Humane Society International representatives said that their alliance with the Servicio Nacional de Salud Animal has unearthed many illegal canine breeding operations in Costa Rica. These dogs are being raised and bred specifically for fighting, the representatives said, and most all of them live in unhealthy environments where their basic needs are disregarded.

Cynthia Dent, who heads the Humane Society's Latin American branch, said that dog fighting is very common in Costa Rica and that it is often found alongside gambling, drug dealing, and illegal arms sales. Like Sánchez, Ms. Dent also said she stands behind Costa Rica's actions in helping out maltreated dogs.

“We commend the Costa Rican authorities for their great effort and excellent work in the struggle against dog fights," Ms. Dent said. "We are pleased to witness the real, efficient and tangible results of the trainings we’ve given to help authorities fight this shameful industry."

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

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

Click photo for another video

The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

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

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

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

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

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


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

Payless Car Rental
Excellent prices

at both Juan Santamaría airport in Alajuela
and Daniel Oduber airport
in Liberia.

 Click the logo to check availability.

Need a book about Costa Rica?

Check out our special selections available at Amazon logo


A.M. Costa Rica
Real estate rentals
Real estate rental agents
Real estate for rent
Real estate wanted

Real estate rental services (paid category)

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

Real estate for rent (paid category)

Gorgeous views, safe and peaceful, above Alajuela
bedroom, three-bath house for rent, near Pura Vida Yoga Center. Perfect weather, great views, nice neighbors. Two phone lines. Internet access through Cable Tica. Long-term rental only. $900 plus utilities. Click HERE for more information. Contact

Guanacaste rental
Long Term Rental. Villa Jardin
Gated Community in desirable North Playas Del Coco, Guanacaste.
Hear the waves, walk to the beach. Only 100 meters from the ocean. Two-bedrooms, two-bath home, large terrace with ocean view.  Hear the waves.   A/C, satellite TV, high-speed Internet available, fully furnished.  Carport, washer/dryer,  barbeque grill. Surrounded by gardens, palm trees and tropical trees frequented by monkeys.   Possible to include a one-bedroom apartment. with separate entrance, below villa. Long term:  main house — $1,250 per month and with the separate apartment. $1,600/month.  Owner Linda Gray; 8347-4705,

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. Retired persons preferred. Call 8375-6838.

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

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

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:

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, March 31, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 63
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U.S. black box device
heads into area of search

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

An Australian navy ship, fitted with a sophisticated U.S. black box locator and an underwater drone, is set to join the search for the missing Malaysian passenger plane.
The "Ocean Shield" was to set out today to join the nine planes and eight ships already searching a large swath of the Indian Ocean west of Australia.
The search for the missing Boeing 777 jet is in its fourth week, but searchers have yet to identify any ocean-borne debris as connected to the aircraft.
It will take a few days for the "Ocean Shield" to arrive at the location where officials say Flight 370 may have gone down on March 8.
Meanwhile, dozens of angry Chinese relatives of missing passengers arrived in Kuala Lumpur Sunday, demanding more information about what happened to the aircraft and accusing Malaysian officials of withholding vital information.  About two-thirds of the people on board the jet were Chinese.
The jet disappeared thousands of kilometers west of its intended flight path from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
Officials believe the aircraft crashed into the southern Indian Ocean far from land.  They have not ruled out any cause, including terrorism or a hijacking.

Putin appears to be seeking
a greater Russia with Crimea

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

With the stroke of his pen, Russian President Vladimir Putin deepened the divide between East and West by signing a document that officially made Ukraine’s Black Sea region of Crimea part of the Russian Federation.

Some Russian experts see that act as a marking of the end of the post-Cold War era in Europe that the world has known since the days of Reagan and Gorbachev. It is no less than a tectonic shift, “one defined by ideological clashes, nationalistic resurgence and territorial occupation," wrote Michael McFaul, former U.S. ambassador to Russia, in an opinion piece for The New York Times newspaper this week.
Speculation over whether or not Putin has nursed a desire to grab Crimea, a region with deep Russian roots, has sparked debate among Kremlin observers.   

“This is not something that one could have predicted,” said Russian expert Thomas Graham, senior director at Kissinger Associates, Inc. “I think if you look at the record of the past few weeks, a month ago, Putin didn’t believe or know that he was going to annex Crimea,” he said. “You know, a lot of this was a response to events that unfolded very rapidly.”

Those included street protests over ousted Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovich’s decision to back away from a deal to form closer ties with the European Union. Putin, too, saw it as an opportunity to divert attention away from what is becoming a problematic economy in Russia, Graham said.
And when the European Union and the United States responded to his moves with tough talk and threats of economic sanctions, it drove him to seize territory to use as a bargaining chip with the West, Graham said.

“But also, as he thought about it, he began to see an opportunity that this very vigorous action would play into Russian nationalism, but would also bring him significant domestic political benefits, particularly in the short term,” he said. 

Considered even by his closest confidants as icy cold, Putin has often been described as a highly self-controlled, practical leader who does not rely on charm to get the job done.

"You see someone very intense, very focused, clearly a man with a mission, who believed that his goal was to rebuild Russia and to defend Russia's national interests,” said Graham, who met Putin when Graham worked in various posts as a Russian expert under the Bush administration. “He was prepared to expend a lot of effort to do that,” he said. “He was also prepared to suffer a lot of pain in order to achieve that goal. And I think you see those same characteristics today.” Journalist Adi Ignatius, who spent time with the Russian leader in 2007 for Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, wrote that Putin was prickly and humorless.  

But if Putin is unemotional in the political arena, he is passionate about restoring Russia what he sees as its rightful place on the global state.

The annexation of Crimea fits neatly within that worldview, according to Ariel Cohen, senior fellow of Russian and Eurasian studies at the Heritage Foundation.

“He views this action in historic context of correcting the wrong of the collapse of the Soviet Union, which he called the greatest geo-political tragedy of the 20th century,” Cohen said. 

And Putin has been open about his concern for the plight of the estimated 25 million ethnic Russian’s who ended up living outside the borders of Russia after the breakup of the Soviet Union.

But to really understand how Putin operates, one must keep in mind his KGB career, Cohen said.

“Mr. Putin is an intelligence officer, and his specialty is what is called human intelligence, so he had experience recruiting and running agents when he was in Germany and having these agents working for the Soviet intelligence apparatus,” he said.

“As such, I think he considers himself a judge of human character, and he took an assessment of Mr. Obama, Mrs. Merkel and others and decided that this is a team he can play against and win,” Cohen said, referring to Barrack Obama, the U.S. president, and Angela Merkel, the German chancellor.

And that comes after years of engaging with three American presidents to work on U.S.-Russian relations, including Obama’s reset policy, said Russian historian Yuri Felshtinsky.

“I think Putin slowly, this took him several years, moved from a period when he was trying to be friendly with the West and be a partner with the West to a period when he is trying to recreate the empire,” Felshtinksy said.

“Whether this is going to be Soviet empire or mini Soviet empire or Russian empire, it’s difficult to say because probably Putin doesn’t know himself what this empire is going to be,” he said.

Felshtinsky also believes, that Putin has calculated that Western leaders like President Obama and Merkel are politically unable to prevent Russian expansion. 

To understand what is driving Putin with regard to Ukraine, just think back to the days when former Russian leader Boris Yeltsin, weakened both physically and politically, plucked Putin out of the KGB to become his successor in 1999, analysts say. 

“It was very clear that he believed that Russia had gone through a period, a decade, of socio-economic decline, national humiliation in the 1990s after the breakup of the Soviet Union,” Graham said.

Fast forward to 2014.  After spending years successfully engineering a remarkable economic and military comeback, Putin revealed his intentions only days after Crimea was officially annexed, Graham said.

His message: Russia’s period of geo-political retreat is now over. 

The Ukraine drama has sparked Cold War jitters and a revisiting of an era of deep political tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union during the 1950s and 60s, when fears of nuclear war were at their highest.

But unlike Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, who squared off with former President John F. Kennedy over the Cuban Missile Crisis, Putin is not a Communist, analysts say.

“He doesn't believe in state ownership of all the industrial assets,” Cohen said. “But he is a great Russian nationalist. “He believes that the Crimea, for example, and possibly other places in the former Soviet Union, like Northern Kazakhstan, possibly Belarus, possibly Ukraine, belong to greater Russia.” he said.

But despite reports of Russian troop buildups on the Ukraine border, Graham predicts that Putin will not move ahead with seizing more territory.

"He gains very little by absorbing eastern Ukraine, with its large ethnic Russian population,” Graham said. “Because what he needs is all of Ukraine, he's not going seize territory,” he said. “What he wants to be able to do is project confidence, the ability, the capacity to use power and hope that those levers give him increasing influence in the states along Russia's borders."

And if Ukraine moves closer to the West, as its new government wants to, Putin will have lost strategically, some analysts say. Since 2008, Ukraine has been a candidate to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. In Putin’s mind, NATO expansion on Russia’s borders would be intolerable, analysts say.

“There is still a formal promise on the table they will eventually become members of NATO,” said Henrik Larsen, post-doctoral research fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

“So from a Russian perspective what happened in Kyiv was a new orange revolution that over time could maybe lead to NATO membership,” Larsen said. “And for the Russian perspective, the prospect of U.S. or NATO troops in Ukraine is unthinkable.”

Being green can pay off,
Los Angeles hotel discovers

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Many businesses are adopting green practices and products, and business owners say not only is it good for the environment, it is also good for their bottom line. One Los Angeles hotel is saving money by going green, and is helping the planet.

Near the busy Los Angeles International Airport, five hotels are participating in a program of recycling and conservation. They use environmentally safe products and do sustainable waste disposal.

The largest of the five, the Hilton Los Angeles Airport, has more than 1,200 guest rooms, and general manager Grant Coonley said he has saved money.

“The lighting retrofit, almost $200,000 a year from last year until this year. Waste removal is down 10 percent from a year ago.”

As costs are cut, energy and water use have dropped. Reservations, though, are up. Coonley said guests are more likely to book a hotel like his, with a conservation program.

“There are a lot of groups requesting this. They're requesting the recycle bins,” he said.

The hotel uses low-energy lights and water-efficient toilets.

Coonley said the staff is on board with the program. “Because for the most part, I think even at home, a lot of people are recycling by the three different garbage cans that might be at your house. So they wanted to know what the hotel's doing too.”

The hotel is working with Green Seal, a non-profit group that certifies environmentally sound products and practices. Green Seal President Arthur Weissman said getting the certification requires careful tracking by a restaurant or hotel. “Looking at the energy it uses, the water it uses, any of the waste that it produces, the chemicals that it uses,” he said.

Weissman said the Hilton LAX is meeting the standard for Green certification.

Green Seal certifies a range of products, in addition to services like hotels.

“We do paper products, cleaning products, paints, other building maintenance products. We also do windows,” said Weissman.

Weissman said, today green practices are good for business, but there are more important reasons for going green. He has written a recent book exploring the issues.

“I call them moral values, our care and concern for others. Other people, other nations, and indeed other species,” he said.

Weissman said most businesses and governments have not yet modified their wasteful and polluting practices. “But I hope ultimately they will, because they'll see it's in their best interest to do that, that we're all here together. All the stereotyped images of the spaceship earth, but it's all true. We're all in this world together and we all have to survive in it together.”

He said the stakes are high: Well being and the health of the planet.

Local leaders here agree. Los Angeles has implemented a green business and lodging program in partnership with Green Seal and other organizations.

Washington state searchers
pause for silent moment

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Crews looking for survivors in the debris of a mudslide north of Seattle, Washington, stopped work Saturday for a moment of silence for those killed in the disaster.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee urged all residents across the state to pause at the exact time one week ago when a wall of mud and rocks buried dozens of homes near the town of Oso.

Days of rain have made the search for possible survivors very difficult. Crews say the thick mud is like quicksand.

At least 25 bodies have been pulled out of the tangled debris so far. Authorities say 90 others are reported missing.

Strong aftershock follows
Saturday California shaker

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A 4.1 magnitude earthquake shook Los Angeles Saturday, a day after a 5.1 temblor hit the region.

More than 100 aftershocks have hit the southern region of the U.S. state of California since Friday's quake.

The U.S. Geological Survey had been recording the aftershocks, the largest of which appeared to be a 3.4-magnitude quake that struck near the city of La Habra in Orange County.

Authorities have issued no reports of major damage or injuries from the quakes, which led to the temporary displacement of about 50 people.

Public safety crews have been inspecting bridges, dams, rail tracks and other infrastructure systems for signs of damage.

The 5.1-magnitude earthquake hit late Friday and was centered near Brea in Orange County, about 32 kilometers southeast of downtown Los Angeles. Broken glass, gas leaks, water main breaks and a rock slide were reported near the epicenter.

The earthquake followed a 4.4-magnitude quake that jolted Los Angeles last week.

California is on the so-called Ring of Fire, which circles the Pacific Ocean and has produced devastating quakes, including Japan's 2011 quake-tsunami.

Southern California has not experienced a destructive earthquake since the 6.7-magnitude Northridge quake in 1994 that killed several dozen people and caused billions of dollars worth of damage.

Jimmy Carter pens book
deploring violence to women

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The World Health Organization reports one in three women around the world will experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.

Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter calls abuse of women the most serious human rights issue facing the world today. In an interview and in his new book "A Call to Action," he outlines the seriousness of the abuse both globally and in the United States. Human rights organizations and activists hope his attention to the issue will give them a boost in fighting the problem.

Former President Carter learned about these abuses through the global work of the Atlanta-based Carter Center, where abuse of women was the focus of a 2013 human rights conference.

"The most serious problem is murder of baby girls by their parents. And the abortion of the girl fetus if the parents find out she's going to be female," Carter said.

"We've been dealing with 79 different countries, and as I've been in those foreign countries, and also throughout the United States, I've seen the tangible examples of how horribly women and girls are treated, much worse than anyone knows," he added.
His research into the scope and seriousness of abuse against women culminated in his 28th book, which explores the culture and causes of the abuse. He says the United States is not immune to the problem.
"One of the worst places in America for sexual abuse or rape is on the great university campuses," he said. "On university campuses, about one out of four women are sexually assaulted while she is in college. About four percent, one in 25, ever reports a rape when it's committed."

But for Elizabeth Powley of the Chicago-based non-profit Heartland Alliance, there is no shortage of heartache and pain in the stories she hears from abroad.

"Violence against women is a transnational issue, it's not an issue just for women overseas," said Powley, who has spent time working with women in earthquake-ravaged Haiti.
"Simply the lack of street lighting at night made it extremely dangerous for them to leave their homes, to leave their tents at night to go out in search of water or whatever it was they needed to take care of their family," she said. "And we saw incidents of rape and violence skyrocket in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake."

She views President Carter as an ally in the fight against the abuse of women, and she said his voice in the issue helps combat long held views and attitudes, particularly with men.
"Gender based violence won't be solved if only women want to solve it, so he brings an extremely important voice to the conversation," said Ms. Powley.
She said one of the best ways to curb the growing violence is by educating boys and young men to respect women, leading to better decision-making when they become adults.

Many research teams try
to stem spread of ebola

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Amid a deadly outbreak of ebola virus in the western African country of Guinea, an international team of researchers has stepped up production of experimental antibodies that scientists say have the potential to cure people infected with the virus, which has a 90 percent fatality rate. 

Twenty laboratories and research sites around the world, including in Canada, Japan, Israel, Uganda, and the United States are working simultaneously to develop manmade antibodies against ebola virus. Antibodies are frontline immune system proteins the body makes naturally to fight illness when first exposed to an infection.
Immune system proteins targeting ebola, when administered by injection, have a high cure rate in animal experiments, says Erica Ollmann Saphire, an immunologist with Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California.

“We have done a lot of experiments in non-human primates and if you can get the antibody into them within 48 hours after exposure, you can save nearly all of the animals. And even if you wait four or five days, say, someone that did not know they had been exposed, you wait four or five days for that animal to develop complete hemorrhagic fever, you can save more than half,” said Ms. Saphire.

The disease, contracted through consumption of infected bats and tainted bush meat, quickly causes severe headache, fever and muscle aches before patients develop full-blown symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea and hemorrhaging. 

The United States has contributed $28 million to an effort aimed at determining which of the half dozen or so antibodies being developed around the world are the most effective in fighting the deadly virus. A successful treatment for ebola may ultimately contain a mix of several antibodies.

Ms. Saphire is leading the research effort, which is being coordinated by the Scripps Institute.  She says normally, it takes several days for the body to make antibodies against an infection, time which most ebola patients do not have.

“It is a way to make somebody immediately immune. And so the idea is that we have gotten these antibodies either from cells donated by survivors or by immunizing mice, and we humanize the antibodies. We can just take these things that we have grown in cell culture and give them to you right now to protect you from your infection that you have immediately without, you know, having to wait four days,” she said.

Ms. Saphire said limited supplies of the antibodies, so far untested in humans, have been sent to Guinea to help ebola victims. 

The global effort to develop an antibody drug against ebola, Ms. Saphire said, is unique in the world of virology.

“And so that kind of the magnificent thing about this is that the whole field is contributing to the study to come up with the single best treatment available in the world. So, it is not going to be the Canadian treatment versus the American treatment versus competing labs.  Everyone is on the same page in one set of ... experiments,” she said.

In the early stages, ebola can be difficult to distinguish from other diseases that are endemic to Africa, including malaria and cholera. So, diagnostic tests also have been sent to Guinea and neighboring countries to aid in detection and efforts to treat those infected with the virus.

Trevor Cox photo
Technician records sounds of California dune.

Sounds of planet outlined
in engineer's new book

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The planet is speaking, if people would just stop and listen, says Trevor Cox, an acoustic engineer at the University of Salford in England and author of "The Sound Book: The Science of the Sonic Wonders of the World."

A companion Web site offers sonic gems that resonate far beyond the pages of the book.

Cox recorded an organ made from cave formations in Luray Caverns in Virginia that plays Chopin, a listening wall in Grand Central Station in New York, and the honk of a bittern, one of the shyest creatures in the freshwater wetlands, but certainly among the loudest.

“I imagined that it would be fairly easy to find lots of interesting places to listen to, but actually, we’re a quite visually dominated society," Cox said. "So it’s easy to find descriptions of beautiful views, but much harder to find descriptions of beautiful sounds.”
With help from sound artists, acoustic engineers and social media, Cox pieced together an itinerary to listen and record. One fork in the road led him to an abandoned tunneled network of World War II oil storage tanks buried in a Scottish hillside.

“And it is the most incredible space, because if I were to go in there and just sing a note, the notes would linger there 30 seconds, a minute," he said. "The sound goes on in that space for an incredibly long time.” 

The music bounces off the walls; the location became the test site for the world's longest echo, a gunshot that reverberated for two minutes.
Cox also reports on the pyramids in Guatemala that were built as tombs and shrines to please the gods. He finds a sonic gem hidden in its design that mimics a bird when you clap hands descending the steps.

“Well, it sort of goes choo, choo, choo, a chirping sound," he said.

But how? Cox chalks it up to geometry.

"If you work out how long it takes sound to go from your hands to each tread of the stair and back again, you find that actually this frequency drops as the sound comes back to you, so the echo kind of droops down in frequency.”

Cox found a natural sonic wonder in California’s Mohave Desert. Singing sand dunes are rare but, he says, the ancient Chinese, Charles Darwin and Marco Polo all wrote about them. The hum is caused by an avalanche of sand grains pushed by the wind.

“Unfortunately the wind wasn’t moving the sound when I was there. So, I had to create my own avalanche," he said. "So you sit down on your backside and scoot down the hill and create an avalanche and you get this amazing droning sound, which not only can you hear it, but it kind of vibrates your whole body as well.”

And, not far away, also in California, Cox drove over a stretch of road that plays a well-known tune, very out of tune. He explains that a car company designed the road with grooves deliberately placed in the pavement, so they play a melody as tires roll over them.

“And if the grooves are spaced far apart, you get the low notes. And if the grooves are spaced close together, you get high notes," he said. "And by having different patches of grooves spaced at different distances, you can get different notes out. And that just worked out, how to get the patches in a line, to give you the William Tell Overture.”
Cox says people don’t really have to go anywhere exotic to hear remarkable sounds. He suggests they unplug from the music players to hear the wonders.

“It can be as simple as that, just sort of being in silence a bit and listening around for some of your day is enough to suddenly notice that there’s all these sounds that you normally just ignore, and some of them are great.”

African cattle strains linked
to migrations from north

By the University of Missouri news service

Geneticists and anthropologists previously suspected that ancient Africans domesticated cattle native to the continent nearly 10,000 years ago. Now, a team of University of Missouri researchers has completed the genetic history of 134 cattle breeds from around the world. In the process of completing this history, they found that ancient domesticated African cattle originated in the Fertile Crescent, a region that covered modern day Iraq, Jordan, Syria and Israel.

Lead researcher Jared Decker, an assistant professor of animal science at the university, says the genetics of these African cattle breeds are similar to those of cattle first domesticated in the Middle East nearly 10,000 years ago, proving that those cattle were brought to Africa as farmers migrated south. Those cattle then interbred with wild cattle, or aurochs, which were native to the region, and changed their genetic makeup enough to confuse geneticists.

In their study published in PLOS Genetics, Decker and a team of international researchers compared the similarities and differences among the genetics of many different cattle breeds to determine how the breeds are related. Their research found mixing of native cattle in Indonesia with imports from India, European and African cattle in Italy and Spain, and European and Asian cattle in Korea and Japan.  The researchers also determined that unique American cattle breeds, such as Texas longhorns, are the result of breeding between Spanish cattle, transported from Europe by explorers in the 16th century, and breeds of Zebu, or Brahman cattle from India imported into the U.S. from Brazil in the late 1800s. Decker says these discoveries help advance genetics and uncover important information about human history.

Real estate-related services (paid category)

Interior Design & Custom Furniture Manufacturing
“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:

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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.
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Cell phone: (506) - 8707-8008
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Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

Swimming pool at night
A Buyer’s Broker offering the best
of Costa Rica Real Estate.

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

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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.

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The undiscovered jewel of Central America, 35 square miles of blue, pristine, clear water ideal for fishing, swimming, boating, Real estate values still low.
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Check with our Web site at
Contact us at the office: (506) 2694-0088
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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!
  Send us your request to our email:

Real estate for sale (paid category)

Pursical home
Another 'live in the view' home in Puriscal
$173,900 includes:
Lot on river, concrete road, custom kitchen & bath with granite counter tops, PEX plumbing, 2” Styrofoam, sandwiched in steel roof, 4” concrete/recycled Styrofoam & steel walls, laminated, bronzed windows, custom wood doors, appliances and all transfer taxes, and fees.

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

Beautiful fully renovated house in Bello Horizonte, Escazu, 446 sq. meters. Four bedrooms; four baths. Price includes all furniture and fixtures - ready to move in! Light, bright and airy....$499,500 USD. Telephone 2288.6451. More details HERE!

Atenas mansion
In 2006, the developer of a popular subdivision in Atenas chose a large 7,000 m2 corner view lot for his first spec home. Now, eight years later that home is once again for sale with first class tropical landscaping that much more mature. With 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 2-car carport, laundry room, and more than 300 m2 under roof next to a pristine pool, this home is located in a gated community with its own water sources. And the location, just 1 1/4 km from town, is convenient to shopping and services, too. The views are of  Candelaria and the central valley. No wonder this community is so popular! $495,000. More photos HERE. And then contact

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:

Belen home
Comfortable in 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 at 8309-2000 for details or email

beachfront home
Beautiful Palo Seco Beach home priced to sell!
Also looking for full-time housekeeper!
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 back yards, 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!

We are also currently looking for an English-speaking, full-time housekeeper. The housekeeper will be required to pay utilities but not rent. We are offering the chance to live rent free in this beautiful beach home at the small cost of keeping the property in good shape and keeping it safe while we are looking for a new owner! If you are interested, please e-mail for more information!!


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

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 additional 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

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.

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

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.

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

beach scenes
Established Hotel/Resort -Great Business Opportunity:
The owner/manager of a successful hotel on the Gold Coast of Costa Rica has listed their property with us. It is a successful and ongoing concern. The property and buildings are well built and maintained. The property has a history of repeat clients. To protect the business for the current and future owners, detailed information of the listing will only be shared after an expression of interest and a non-disclosure confidentiality agreement is executed. It is located about one hour of Liberia airport and less than 500 meters to beach. The land is over 1 hectare allowing room for expansion. There are 18 bedrooms in a variety of apartments, cabinas and houses, A/C, bar restaurant and shop. Near golf, horses, tennis, world class surf and more. Listing Price of $US2.4 million. Mary or Jerre West,, 8879-0235 or (303) 317-6603

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

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale

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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Monday, March 31, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 63
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
World Court tells Japan
whaling is not research

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

In a stunning victory for the whales, the International Court of Justice in The Hague announced a binding decision today in the landmark case of Australia vs. Japan, ruling that Japan’s whaling program in the Antarctic is not for scientific purposes and ordering that all permits be revoked, according to the sea Shepherd organization..

The case against Japan was heard by the international court  in July of last year to decide whether Japan is in breach of its international obligations in implementing the so-called research program in the Southern Ocean.

In a vote of 12 to 4, the world court  ruled that the scientific permits granted by Japan for its whaling program were not scientific research as defined under International Whaling Commission regulations. It ordered that Japan revoke the scientific permits and refrain from granting any further permits under that program.

Brazil invades another slum
in advance of World Cup

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

About 1,000 Brazilian troops and police officers backed by armored vehicles have entered a vast slum complex of shantytowns near Rio de Janeiro's airport.

The Sunday invasion of the Mare favela is the latest effort of the government's pacification' program intended to secure Rio before this year's World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.

The Mare slum is a drug-trafficking stronghold that is considered one of the most dangerous places in the city.

The security effort began in 2008 and has created 37 police pacification outposts in Rio de Janeiro.

Cuba takes action to make
investing more attractive

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Cuba's parliament has passed a new law aimed at making the nation more attractive to foreign investors by cutting taxes.

Lawmakers approved the new measures in an extraordinary session Saturday.

The law cuts taxes on profits in half and exempts many foreign investors from the personal income tax. The measure also exempts new businesses from paying taxes during their first eight years of operation.

Cuba's minister in charge of economic reform, Marino Murillo, said the country needs at least $2 billion a year from foreign investors to reach its goal of 5 percent annual economic growth or better.

The more than five-decade long U.S. economic embargo of Cuba bars Americans from investing there.

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

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From Page 7:

Cosmetic firm wins business of year honors

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Kio Cosmèticos Naturales del Caribe and its founder, Karla Solano, have been honored as the small business of the year. That was the highlight of the three-day Limón Emprende exposition of some 100 small businesses on the Caribbean coast.

Ms. Solano said the show was the second time exhibiting, said the sponsor, the Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio. There were other prizes, cash awards that were sometimes divided between more than one firm.

Judging by a panel of 19 was based on innovation, social impact and a vision for the future. Some of the winners produced products using raw materials typical of the Caribbean, including coconut fiber and chocolate.

Of the 21 exhibits of food producers, two were chosen to represent the Caribbean in the Expo Pyme 2014 that begins April 25 in Parque La Libertad in Desamparados with the support of the Promotora de Comercio Exterior and the Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje.

In addition to food, the products displayed came from the agricultural, commercial, services and technological sectors. About 7,000 persons attended the exposition, said the ministry, which handles the small business program.