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(506) 2223-1327                         Published July 15, 2013, in Vol. 13, No. 138                  Email us
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Jo Stuart
                del bosque

Turning likes into money by the (Face)book
By Garland M. Baker
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

People engaged in business all over the world use Facebook and other social media services to reach customers.  Facebook statistics are impressive indeed.  Many are not aware that older people use Facebook, too. It is not just for the young.  The numbers among retired people are growing rapidly as they start to use all the new gadgets on the market.  It is just dang convenient to lookup what friends are doing using an iPhone, iPad, Kindle, Nook, or whatever.  Facebook works on just about anything.  Expats in Costa Rica are strong users.

In light of this, there is a concern.  Many businesses using Facebook to reach customers are using personal fan profiles instead of business pages.  This is in direct violation of Facebook’s terms of service.  Here is an excerpt, “Facebook profiles are meant to represent a single individual. Organizations of any type are not permitted to maintain an account under the name of their organization…If you create a profile for your business, your account may be disabled for violating our Terms of Use.”

Are people unaware of this rule?  Why are so many using personal Facebook fan pages for their business in violation of the rules?  Reviewing the Costa Rica institutions listed in the article “Got a problem? Facebook is where the action is,” found these institutions using the service correctly. However, searching the web for Facebook pages of Costa Rican companies found many are not.  Next time online, check it out.

What business people do not realize is that it is better to use an organization page instead of personal profile for a business.  Used correctly, an enterprise can track mounds of data using Insights. This is a Facebook service for business customers.  Social media as a whole uses people’s information to target them. These services have tons of information on everyone. It can be put to good use marketing to these individuals.

All this data on people is quantified in the form of metrics.  Metrics are the numbers that revel important information about a market audience.  With social media, very specific groups of individuals can be targeted using these tools. This is good for advertisers.  However, for a person trying to reach people interested in Costa Rica it is more cost-efficient to use local media publishing to that group.  The reason is because social media is somewhat a shotgun approach while the latter is more like precision targeting.

Facebook business pages have access to promoting events and offers. They cannot do this with a personal profile. Applications for shopping carts, newsletters, sweepstakes, blogs, YouTube and designating special landing pages for ads are available too. The list of applications that can be tied to a Facebook business page are growing daily. Posts can be scheduled natively or by using an array of third party tools.  Personal profiles are limited to 5,000 friends where business pages do not have a limit as to the number of likes they can receive.

Another big problem is most people are not using

their security settings.  They are letting everyone
see all their contacts and other information.  This
is not good for the casual user and it sure is bad for businesses.  A company or organization using a personal fan page is letting everyone know too much about who likes them.

A personal user can hide their friends easily.  Here are the instructions to do so:

Login to a profile and go to the timeline page.   Click on the box in the lower header that says “friends.”  Click on the pencil icon next to “find friends” to edit. 

Select “edit privacy” and then on one of the options to limit friend viewing.  It can be limited to “only me,” “friends,” “close friends,” “family,” or custom.  It probably should not be set to public.

If a business wants to do things correctly, it is possible to change a personal page used for an organization to a business page.  Here are the steps: Download the timeline. Appoint an administrator and then start the conversion process. 

Why is using Facebook for a business correctly important? Because anyone including a competitor can complain and likely, the personal profile used for the business will be taken down.  If this happens, all the contacts will be lost and the activity log gone as well. It would also be embarrassing.

Why is it important to limit who see friends? Among many reasons, it is a security risk.  Especially in Latin American countries where thefts, home invasions and kidnappings are a problem.

Garland M. Baker is a 42-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 2013, use without permission prohibited.

Another great day predicted for much of the country today
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The national weather institute is predicting similar conditions today as the Central Valley experienced over the weekend. The morning will see bright sun,  but there is a possibility of isolated afternoon showers
The end of last week and the weekend were unseasonable with little rain and bright skies for much of the day.

But the rains might  take place mainly in the higher elevations, said the Instituto Meterológico Nacional.

Alto de

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, July 15, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 138

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


Dr. Vargas

Dental implants in Costa Rica

Call us: Within C.R.  2225-1189
From USA    1-866-7060-248
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Psychological Services

√ Individual, group and couple therapy.
Quiros logo
√ Adults, teenagers and children.
√ Consulting services in education.
√ Consulting services in
        organizational psychology.
√ Consulting services in sports
√ Diagnostic tests, weapon
        carrying permit and others.
Dr. Pablo Quirós, License #8486
We are located in Escazú Corporate Center, 6th floor. Phone number: (506) 2201-4718


Lucinda Gray, Ph.D.
California Licensed Psychologist
25 years experience
Dr. KLycinda
Lucinda Gray, Ph.D.
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Phone : 2203-4954

Real estate agents and services

Clinas del
Jim Day, retirement specialist Representing Colinas del Sol del Pacifico, S. A
A fenced and gated project with the ex-pat hortaculturalist in mind. There are 88 clear-title hobby farms with water and electricity.  The layout is designed to provide ample space for your vegetable gardening ands fruit tree projects.
You can see more on our Web site:
 Libertad, Guanacaste, Costa Rica, 15 minutes to Playa del Coco or Playa Hermosa
and 20 minutes to Liberia airport.
Please contact Jim Day at   or    Phone:  001 517 484-3675.

Grecia logo
Grecia Real Estate
Here in Costa Rica, Central America , the most beautiful houses, lots and farms in Grecia,
western Central Valley.
Great climate and safe communities.
Great deals for you!
Visit our Web site:
Contact Christian Arce in English:
Cell phone (506) 8538-6186
Contact Luis Arce in English: 
Cell phone (506) 7100 8489
Contact Luis G. Jiménez in Spanish:
Cell phone (506) 8707-4016
Send us your request to our email:

CR Beach

CR Beach Investment Real Estate
reminds you that Costa Rica’s #1 beachtown,“the new Jacó,” invites you to see the recent changes:  clean paved roads; more bilingual police; more trendy & tipico restaurants; new a/c movie 4plex & new theatrical-conference center; new central park with activities; more bargain priced properties for sale, and lower priced rentals…
Our agents have been here a minimum of 10 years:
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Let CR Beach show you why we know this is the best area for you to  invest-retire-enjoy!
Special Offer this Week: Best Condo deal in Jacó
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A full service immigration agency
U.S. and San José offices
Getting and authenticating documents can be a chore —

we know how to do it. Experienced with many nationalities. Up-to-date on
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Tel: (323) 255-6116


Project completion specialists

Pacifica living
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. We customize to suit each client’s personal taste, lifestyle and budget.
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We regularly exceed client expectations. We guarantee it.
Cell phone: (506) - 8707-8008
Office phone: (506) - 2288-5644

Legal services


Arcelio Hernandez

Official English/Spanish translator and interpreter
Serving the international community  since 2001
Lic. Arcelio Hernandez Mussio, Jr.
With over a decade of experience in the fields of:
Family law, criminal & constitutional law, civil & commercial law

Visit the website at:
Cell: 8710-9827
Skype:  hernandez.mussio
Serving the Great Metropolitan Area, Central and South Pacific
Member of the Colegio de Abogados de Costa Rica
Lawyer ID number: 12.358

Lic.Gregory Kearney Lawson.
Attorneys at Law and real estate brokers
Relocation services, Wedding Planning
Greg Kearney
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  Phone:  7157-7092
 Phone: (506) 2232-1014

RE&B Attorneys S.A
Attorneys & Notaries
Tels: 2201-8012/2637-7640
USA phone number: (305) 748-4340
REB Abogadso logo
Our law firm offers services
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Attorney At Law – CPA

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We've been helping people like you since 1986.
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U.S. Tax International

Plus Costa Rican taxes, accounting, and legal services
Over 15 years in Costa Rica
(English Spoken)
C.R. 2288-2201   U.S 786-206-9473
FAX: 2231-3300

U.S. Income Tax
David G. Housman Attorney & C.P.A
in Costa Rica 32 years.
Specializing in all matters of concern to U.S. taxpayers residing abroad, including all new passport and other
I.R.S.  filling requirements foreign income tax exclusion (to $95,100 per year) for all back years. Taxpayers filling past-due tax returns before I.R.S. notice do not face criminal sanctions
• Associate of James Brohl
Phone: (506) 2239-2005 Fax 2239-2437

E mail:

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US Income Tax,  US GAAP Accounting
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Uncle Sam's
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• Business Consulting to facilitate working in Costa Rica
• Accounting for US and International Financial Reporting
• Associate of David Housman

Telephone 8305-3149 or 2256-8620

Nicaragua Dispatch graphic     
Rogers used his iconic graphic to say good-bye.

Nicaraguan paper in English
ceases its Internet publication

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Nicaraguan Dispatch, an English-language Internet newspaper there, has posted its last edition.

Editor and owner Tim Rogers made the announcement on the newspaper Web site. Rogers, a former reporter for The Tico Times, noted he has spent nine years reporting in Nicaragua. The last two were spent producing the newspaper, which was well respected because of the quality of its news. There were readers in Costa Rica, too.

Rogers, who is an internationally recognized reporter on Latin American topics, blamed economics. He said:

"Launching an English-language news site in an unproven, small-market country like Nicaragua, where less than 10 percent of the population is online and the government obstructs independent journalism, was perhaps a quixotic endeavor. But in the land of windmills, sometimes a frontal charge is the best strategy." 

Without giving specifics, Rogers said he had been accepted into a fellowship in the United States. The farewell piece was upbeat with thanks and recognition for many persons, including Rogers' wife, Cecilia, and even for the office cat. Some of the thanks went to sponsors. Of the newspaper's financial situation, Rogers said: "Although we experimented with several different revenue streams — sponsorship, media partnerships, reader donations and traditional advertising — we were never able to lift our head high enough out of the water to figure out which way was land."

Earlier Rogers was the reporter for The Nica Times, a Tico Times weekly publication that also folded. He said the Web site of the Dispatch would remain live as a free reference source on Nicaragua.

One of the last new stories was pure Rogers. It began:

"With an unfathomable price tag, an uncharted route, unknown environmental consequences, unidentified financial backers, unclear ties to the Chinese government, and an unproven company headed by an unfamiliar man of undetermined experience, Nicaragua’s private Chinese canal project has more than a few people asking   什麼赫克?"

Online dictionaries translate the chinese characters to mean "What the heck?"

limon boats
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública photo     
Officers show off the boats that are now in service.

Guardacostas are on sea patrol
with four confiscated fastboats

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas has put into service launches confiscated as part of anti-drug operation.

Smugglers use these fastboats to elude capture. Now the coast guard is using the same vessels to run down boats carrying cocaine and marijuana in the Caribbean.

This is all part of a larger program to bring more law enforcement to Limón Centro and the areas around it. Most of the boats that have been confiscated are from Colombian smugglers. Each has two powerful outboard motors.

The announcement about the boats comes at a time when the security ministry to which the coast guard is attached is trying to change the lawless image of the Caribbean coast, particularly in the light of the recent death of an environmentalist who was killed by presumed drug smugglers.

Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes photo    
Workers and volunteers place the trees along the shoulder
of the four-lane highway.

Capital's southern bypass route
being beautified with more trees

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A local adopt-a-highway program resulted in the planting of 100 native trees and ornamental plants along the Circunvalción Friday.

This project is between the  Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes and the Universidad de Ciencias medical school which has a facility facing the highway.

The reforestation of areas along the public right-of -way is part of the program  bosque urbano, which also is supported by the Municipalidad de San josé.

The ministry said that the native trees that were planted are cortés negro, lorito, cortés amarillo, roble de sabana, vainillo and dama.

Cruz Roja mounts campaign
to help eliminate dengue

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Volunteers of the Cruz Roja took to the streets of central Pacific communities last weekend to spread the word about dengue.

Crews were assigned to  Parrita, Garabito, Barranca, Orotina and Aguirre to carry the message that homes should be free of space for the dengue mosquito.

The project is continuing for additional weekends, the Cruz Roja said. The rescue agency is suggesting that families team up to root out the breeding places of the  Aedes aegypti, which carries the dengue. They also made some obvious suggestions like changing the water in the bowls of pets and farm animals each day. That prevents the breeding of the mosquito larvae.

Our reader's opinion
Letter on Social Security form
jogged him into quick action

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I have been reading the comments made by readers regarding the relative values of the content of A.M. Costa Rica.  By coincidence, a letter published today from Tom Branham saved my neck.  I go to my Post Office Box in Sabanilla about six times a year.  When I read Mr. Branham's letter about the form SSA 7162 used to verify continuing eligibility for Social Security benefits, I realized that it had been a long time since I filled out one. I dropped everything and caught a cab to the post office.  Sure enough, one was there. and I had about three weeks left to get my response to SSA, or my check would be held.  I am almost certain I would have missed that deadline without Mr. Branham's message.

Regarding your advertising:  I am glad that you have what you have, and I hope you get more.  To me, that assures that you will be here tomorrow and with a staff that can provide a quality product.  I actually use the ads, and, at times, I have forwarded them to friends in the U.S. when they have asked me for information.  That includes your classified section which I check at least once a week.

As for your news from the United States, that is 'meh' for me since I have an e-subscription to the New York Times and read other news outlets.  I would not be visiting your site daily except I expect quality news about Costa Rica, and I have you down as delivering on that.   

In other words, keep doing what you are doing.
Harlan Wolfe

Smartphones said to promote,
encourage a sedentary lifestyle

By the Kent State University news staff

Today’s smartphones allow for increased opportunities for activities traditionally defined as sedentary behaviors, such as surfing the internet, emailing and playing video games. However, researchers Jacob Barkley and Andrew Lepp, faculty members in the College of Education, Health and Human Services at Kent State University, linked high cell phone use to poor fitness in college students.

Barkley and Lepp were interested in the relationship between smartphones and fitness levels because, unlike the television, phones are small and portable, therefore making it possible to use them while doing physical activity. But what the researchers found was that despite the phone’s mobility, high use contributed to a sedentary lifestyle for some subjects.

More than 300 college students from the Midwest were surveyed on their cell phone usage and activity level. Of those students, 49 had their fitness level and body composition tested. The researchers’ results showed that students who spent large amounts of time on their cell phones – as much as 14 hours per day – were less fit than those who averaged a little more than 90 minutes of cell phone use daily.

One subject said in the interview data: “Now that I have switched to the iPhone I would say it definitely decreases my physical activity because before I just had a Blackberry, so I didn’t have much stuff on it. But now, if I’m bored, I can just download whatever I want.”

The study is believed to the first to assess the relationship between cell phone use and fitness level among any population. Barkley and Lepp conclude that their findings suggest that cell phone use may be able to gauge a person’s risk for a multitude of health issues related to an inactive lifestyle.

The study appears online in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, July 15, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 138
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Vacation is over, but three major holidays are coming soon
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Mid-year vacation ended Sunday, and students are back at their desks today. Anyone lucky enough to have had two weeks off also is supposed to return today.

But not for long. There is a legal holiday in nine days, the Anexión del Partido de Nicoya a Costa Rica. The day is Thursday, July 25, and may public employees will be able to take off the following Friday for a four-day weekend.

Then eight days later, Aug. 2, is the Día de la Virgen de los Ángeles. The day is a Friday, so there is a three-day weekend. But there is more. This is the holiday when the faithful, more than a million of them, take a pilgrimage on foot from their homes to the basilica in Cartago.  Some walk from Nicaragua or Panamá.

A good time to start the pilgrimage and avoid the end-of-month rush would be July 25. So pilgrims, known as romeros, will be on the road at least a week before Aug. 2. The real crush is Aug. 1 when many in the metro area head for Cartago to be there for the religious ceremonies the morning of Aug. 2.

This year, valley train officials said they would be ready to take home pilgrims after the ceremony. Many will consider taking the train to Cartago to be cheating. The Catholic Church has not yet weighed in on this issue.

After the blisters and the sore muscles heal, there is a third legal holiday Aug. 15.  This is the Día de la Madre and the religious festival of the Asunción de la Virgen. The day is a

mother's day
Correos de Costa Rica photo
This is the candy pack that the postal service is promoting.

Thursday this year, so many might engineer a four-day weekend.
Mother's day is a major event in Costa Rica with the family matriarch being showered with gifts and dinners.

Correos de Costa Rica came out with another special mother's day deal Friday. Instead of just a card, the postal service says this year it can deliver a small box filled with candy anywhere in the country Aug. 14, the day before the holiday.

The box bears the legend Feliz día with the postal service logo. The cost is 2,000 colons for the box, candy and delivery.

The postal service also will deliver an empty box to an international address for the same price. Correos said that various rules elsewhere restrict sending candy.

Home invading suspects have been detained 50 times, police say
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Three men who are suspects in a Ciudad Colón home invasion Saturday have been arrested a total of 50 times, the Fuerza Pública reported.

Two of the men came into police hands at a roadblock  erected shortly after the 9 p.m. invasion, robbery and shootout. Police found the third suspect wounded near the targeted home.

The home is located in  El Rodeo de Ciudad Colón.

The Fuerza Pública and the Judicial Investigating Organization said this is what happened:

The woman of the house and a domestic servant went outside the home to investigate why their dogs were barking so much. Three men appeared and tied up the domestic employee. As they were doing likewise with the woman of the house, her husband appeared armed and exchanged fire with the bandits. The husband suffered a bullet wound to the back.

The confrontation was enough for the bandits to flee. Meanwhile a neighbor who heard shots called police.

Officers arrived in time to see bandits drive off in the woman's BMW. They had abducted her.

As the car approached a police roadblock, the  bandits threw the woman from the moving vehicle. She is in stable condition at a hospital, police said.

The suspect who was found near the house has the last name of Del Palacio, said the Fuerza Pública. They said he had been detained 20 times for allegations of robbery, aggravated theft, rape, assault, attempted murder, and robbery with violence. They did not report how these allegations have been resolved.
The two suspect detained at the roadblock have the last names of Álvarez Alvarado and Lacayo Lacayo, said the Fuerza Pública.

Álvarez  has been detained for aggravated robbery, faking documents, receiving stolen goods, drug trafficking and international drug trafficking. 

Lacayo has been detained for illegal possession of firearms, resisting arrest and drug use, said the Fuerza Pública.

In another weekend shooting, gunmen killed a woman and wounded her husband in  Barrio Limoncito, Limón, about 7:40 p.m. Saturday.

The man and the woman, identified by the last name of Sánchez, were at their home when three men drove up and opened fire, said the Judicial Investigating Organization. The woman died at the scene with 10 bullet wounds to her body. The man suffered six wounds and was hospitalized.

The man is a school teacher in Batán, and the woman, 26, worked in a freight operation connected with the Limón ports, said agents.

In Barrio La Pitahaya, Cartago, about 9 p.m. Saturday a store customers died in a struggle with a bandit. Investigators said the victim was a 32-year-old man with the last name of  Fernández. He was in the small supermarket when two men dressed in black and with their faces covered came in and announced a robbery. The store owner began to struggle with one of the men, and Fernández came to his aid. He suffered two bullets in the stomach.

The robbers took the store cash register with about 20,000 colons and some 15,000 colons that was the change due the dead customers, said agents. The total is about $70.

Del Rey HOtel

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, July 15, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 138
Real Estate
About us

Murder trials with U.S. citizens as victims wrapping up in southern zone
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Two murder trials in which U.S. citizens who ran hotels figured as victims are winding up in the southern zone.

The first is the case of Lisa Artz, who was the resident manager of  Casa Tres Palmas in upper Matapalo, just south of Puerto Jiménez on the east shore of the Osa peninsula. Detained were three men and a woman. The men have the last names of  González, Chaves and Cedeño. The woman has the last name of  Sánchez,

The second is the trial of a man with the last name of  Miranda in the murder of  Kelly Robert Nutting, a Grants Pass, Oregon, native has spent years in Golfito managing the family's  Hotel Delfina. Fishermen noticed the body floating in the Golfo Dulce not far from the Golfito docks March 8, 2010.
Ms. Artz, 52, died July 20, 2011. She was planning a trip to the United States, and the murder was attributed to robbery. The Judicial Investigating Organization said at the time that she was found in a small cabina bound hands and feet with a blanket over her face. Agents presumed she was smothered. Acquaintances said the woman lived in the small cabina, the first structure her family build on the land, because the adjacent 6,000-square-foot structure was rented frequently to vacationers.

The Poder Judicial said that the four persons were detained after they tried to sell some of the possessions of Ms. Artz. When agents searched the homes of the defendants, they said they found a laptop, an iPod and some computer cables that belonged to the dead woman.  The murder is believed to have been sparked by a labor dispute.

Both cases are expected to be finalized later this week.

Vacation, travel and hospitality
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Visit us at Costa Rica Vacation Rentals.

Anywhere Costa Rica plans custom vacations, and has the most comprehensive travel services in the country including travel guides, resorts and vacation homes,
Costa Rica tours and car rentals.   Call 1-888.456.3212 or 2479-8811 locally.

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.
Geroge's view
An evening View
from George’s Puriscal home
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.

Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat
Steve and Debbie Legg
Toll Free: 1-888-828-9245       In Costa Rica: (506)-2478-0023 or 8333-6863

Our Vision at Leaves and Lizards Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat is to create the perfect blend of Adventure, Discovery and Tranquility for each guest.  Plan an Adventure zooming along a zip line high in the canopy or horseback riding though forests, farms and rivers. Discover the magical wonders of the flora and fauna of Costa Rica. Experience Tranquility in one of our cabins tucked in our 26 acres. Located in Monterrey, San Carlos, in the mountains above Fortuna, we enjoy spectacular, panoramic views of the Arenal Volcano and its lava flow. Please see our Web site for more information. or e-mail us at

Costa Rica’s #1 Time –Tested Relocation/Retirement Tours
Christopher Howard's Award-winning Combination Relocation/Retirement Tour. NO other retirement tour offers MORE options...MORE areas visited, MORE information, MORE people just like you who have made the move and a LONGER
fact-filled tour for your money. Winner of the 2010 Latin America-Asia Travel Excellence Award for the most UNIQUE and OUTSTANDING tour in Latin America. This  is the ONLY relocation/retirement tour really APPROVED with a LEGAL tour guide to operate in Costa Rica by the government’s Institute of Tourism ICT (license number DL-658-2004) in 2004. ALL tours are personally led by Christopher Howard, the author of the perennial best-selling ”New Golden Door to Retirement and Living in Costa Rica,” the MOST read authority on living and 
Christ Howard with Max
retiring in Costa Rica,  and who has personally helped over 10,000 people with ALL BUDGETS relocate SUCCESSFULLY over the last 35 years. CUSTOM TAILOR-MADE TOURS are also available for people with special needs or who can’t take one of our fixed-date tours. ALL tours include EXTENSIVE touring and a highly informative SEMINAR by the country’s most renowned EXPERTS in their respective fields. Also visit: Live in Costa Rica to check out our NEW tour prices and specials.  Customer satisfaction 100% guaranteed! MY REFERENCES.

* Recommended by the Association of Residents of Costa Rica ARCR as part of the new Costa Rica Alliance (made up of the most renowned experts in their respective fields).

* FREE 50% DISCOUNT on the first year's MEMBERSHIP for the Association of Residents of Costa Rica ARCR with these tours
*FREE BONUS all people who sign up for the tour receive a FREE copy of the 16th edition of  the bestseller “New Golden Door to Retirement and Living in Costa Rica. At the conclusion of the tour they also receive FREE eBook copies of Christopher Howard’s other one-of-a-kind  bestsellers “Official Guide to Costa Rican Spanish,” “The Official Guide to Real Estate In Costa Rica” and “The Official Guide to Costa Rica’s Legal System for Tontos (dumbells).” Almost 2,000 pages of INVALUABLE material in all!

Howard Spanish cover


ALL you need to handle most daily situation. ALL of the Tico slang you cannot find in a dictionary. Practical pronunciation exercises to help you lose your Gringo accent. Social situations and everything else you need to know in the #1 Best-selling “Christopher Howard’s Official Guide to Costa Rica Spanish.”  Also see our #1 Web site on Google  for FREE Spanish lessons. eBook available through

Christopher Howard’s Costa Rica Starter Kit!
costa Rica Starter Kit

    * The 16th edition of the 680-page  “New Golden Door to Retirement
             and Living  in Costa Rica”
    * The 545-page “Official Guide to Real Estate in Costa Rica”
    * Speak Spanish like a Costa Rican! “The Official Guide to Costa Rican Spanish”
    * Christopher Howard’s “Official Guide to Costa Rica’s Legal System for Tontos
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Customized vacation packages to Costa Rica planned by our team of in-country travel experts. Call us Toll Free: 1-800-606-1860 or locally in San Jose: 2296-7715. You can sit back and relax while we plan your dream Costa Rica Vacation.

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Customized, all inclusive Costa Rica vacations planned by our team of in-country travel experts. Call us Toll Free: 1-800-606-1860 or locally in San Jose: 2296-7715. Sit back and relax while we plan your trip or dream Costa Rica Honeymoon.

Panama Vacations
Custom, all-inclusive vacations to Panama by 100% locally based experts in Panama.  See "the new Costa Rica" before the secret gets out!  We offer customized trips to the best all inclusive Panama hotels and Panama resorts. Call 1-866-393-4192 if from the U.S. or 00 (507)-264-1279 from Costa Rica.

Costa Rica Fishing Experts
Customized, upscale fishing packages & Costa Rica fishing vacations designed by 100% local experts. Call Toll Free: 1-866-901-0683

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

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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)

Lovely cottage on private coffee farm
One spacious bedroom, one bath, office room/spare room with high speed DSL internet, fully equipped kitchen, phone line,
Sarchi cottage
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 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, 3 months minimum. All utilities included. Shorter stays at $45 per night, 2 nights minimum. $225 per week, and $30 per additional night. Sorry, no pets.  Contact or 8308-7732.

Barrio Escalante, totally furnished, 1 BR apartment for single, responsible person. $35 daily, weekly rates. Contact 8385-2542,

1 bedroom with private bath. Rooms in large, 3.000 sq ft. historical mansion in heart of Barrio Amón.  Prices starting at $350. for long-term. Smoking ok in common areas. Includes electricity, water, commercial kitchen use, laundry, high-speed internet. 7078-6985. More info HERE!

COMPLETELY and nicely furnished apartments
apartment view
in San José, and one condo in Escazú. Fast Internet, cable TV, hot water. Large American appliances including washer and dryer. Both convenient locations. No pets. $600 per month. Contact: or call 8555-9819.

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

cahuita beach house
Unique beach house for rent in Cahuita
$400 per month furnished. House is 150 yards from a beautiful beach in a jungle area. Next to our wildlife rescue center. Very safe, good water and electricity. One large bedroom, walk-in closet. Newly built and furnished. Must see. A tropical paradise. Contact: Todd at 2755-0014.

Attn: Bikers-Swimmers..House to Rent or to Share
Conveniently located  two-bedroom, two-bathroom house, new construction, wheelchair accessible to rent for $750/month or to share with owner (female).  Located on outskirts of San José metro area, 5 minute drive to Sta. Barbara de Heredia, 20-30 minutes from SJO International Airport, an easy drive to Alajuela
front gate
or Heredia.  Natural setting with a panoramic view of Central Valley on a 1/3 acre lot (1,200m2).  A beautiful, well-maintained public pool is a 10-minute walk and road in front of house is a popular bike route.  The house is 900 ft2 (90m2) plus there is a spacious terrace, two-car carport,
covered back porch and ample additional parking.  Vaulted natural wood ceilings in all rooms except in the two bedrooms, bathrooms and laundry room.  There is also a small office which can serve as a guest bedroom. The house is unfurnished and appliances not included except for built-in cooktop/oven (gas). Tankless instant hot water heater for bathrooms, kitchen and laundry.  Rental fee does not include utilities.  Alarm system,  cable TV and DSL internet connections are in place. The owner will rent to 2-3 people, pets are allowed with the approval of the owner, and security deposit of one month's rent is required.  Alternatively owner can share house with suitable roommate, prefer female (non-smoker) but will consider a male roommate.  E-mail me for more photos or with questions:

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.

Lovely cottage on private coffee farm
One spacious bedroom, one bath, office room/spare room with high speed DSL internet, fully equipped kitchen, phone line,
Sarchi cottage
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 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, 3 months minimum. All utilities included. Shorter stays at $45 per night, 2 nights minimum. $225 per week, and $30 per additional night. Sorry, no pets.  Contact or 8308-7732.

Beautiful Golfito house for rent in Costa Rica: $300/month
Available now and please see the video!
New construction includes some wooden stairs to the main gate and a small pavilion above the house overlooking the village. The distance to Golfito harbor/downtown is 7 kms and you can get there by car, taxi or bus. The sale price is $72,000 which is negotiable and includes the property lot of 26,000 sq, ft, for more houses. The rent is $300/month, which is very reasonable for those who want to live near sea and Panamá in an inexpensive lifestyle. It was so nice to live near Panamá where people can shop for much lower prices including for groceries. Please contact me at for more details. Thank you.

Available now $650 a month
This small but new and clean American-built house is settled on an organic farm a 10-minute walk from the center of town in Santa Bárbara de Heredia. Taxis are $1 to town and buses run to
Organic farm
Heredia and Alajuela, about 30 minutes each. There is parking for one car. NO DOGS please. Rent includes: Cable television, house phone, ICE ADSL internet, water, electricity, laundry facilities. We have a family living on the farm aside from myself,  the owner, and another renter, so there is always someone around. This 2-bedroom house is brand new, 
completely furnished. Large windows overlook the valley and the gardens, There are large trees. Surrounded by fruit trees and vegetable gardens, it has a beautiful view of the valley. The kitchen comes fully equipped, with large refrigerator, gas stove and oven, all accessories. The bathroom has a large shower; both kitchen and bath have hot water. A brand new extra firm queen-size bed is included. A breakfast bar separates the living area and kitchen and a porch overlooks the farm and valley. This house is for one or two people only. $300 deposit required to be returned when renters leave house. Email for photos and questions.

Heredia rental
Beautiful mountain chalet  for rent
Beautiful mountain chalet surrounded by nature, built with tropical hardwoods and  located on a  5,000 m2  (54,000 sq feet) lot  with two other cottages.  House has basic furniture and  kitchen  appliances.  Ground floor:  Very large living/ dinning room, kitchen, office (or guest bedroom), and 1 bathroom . Upstairs:  2 bedrooms (one with a balcony), and 1 bathroom. 140 m2 approximately  Great BBQ rancho outside. Plenty space for visitor parking. Pets are welcome.  Quiet place, rural, restaurants close by. Near El Castillo Country Club, Tirol and La Condesa mountain hotels.  Only 45 minutes by car from San José.  All public services available  More information call Liseth.  Phone: (506) 7158-1548. Or send me a email:

COMPLETELY and nicely furnished apartments
apartment view
in San José, and one condo in Escazú. Fast Internet, cable TV, hot water. Large American appliances including washer and dryer. Both convenient locations. No pets. $600 per month. Contact: or call 8555-9819.

Perez  Zeledon:   Large studio home overlooking river with deck.  Elegant, ceramic floors, nice cabinets, walk-in closet.  Beautiful gardens and grounds.  Secure. Private. Only  10 minutes
River view home
to San Isidro de El General. Mountain town with everything!  Then, 40 minutes to Playa Dominical, 40 minutes to Chirripó National Park, and also near many other attractions, yet very private and secluded.  Listen to river sounds and sleep like a baby.   
Rare birds in abundance. Includes,  One  double bed and refrigerator, stove, juicer, sofa, tables,  dishes, pans, etc.  Plus, electric, (hot) water   Phone, TV connected, Internet cable connected, garbage and gardener. All included for $425. /month.  Looking for one good person, reliable, long-term.    Non-smoker.

Mountain cabin for rent
Sacramento, Barva de Heredia
We offer for rent three furnished, 2-bedroom mountain homes located on the slopes of Barva Volcano, Sacramento, Heredia. The cabin-style homes are adjacent to the Braulio Carillo National Park and walking distance to the Barva Volcano crater lake. Enjoy a spacious living room, kitchen, fireplace and garage. Take in breathtaking views of the Irazú Volcano and the Central Valley. Observe dozens of bird species, to include the occasional Resplendent Quetzal, and a pristine cloud forest. We can also offer you an occasional ride on one of our beautiful mares. Contact Allan or Cristina at, or or for more information HERE! $850 USD/month. We can also offer a weekend or short-stay package.

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.

Looking 4 Costa Rica Villas?
Rent our all-inclusive, 7 bedroom rental home in Guanacaste.  Just 20 minutes from the Liberia airport, this deluxe ocean view mansion sleeps 6-22 guests.  Ideal for company events & Costa Rica weddings. With 3 meals served daily and a full-time staff to pamper guests, it's more than a Costa Rica vacation rental ...It's your own Private Resort!  Call toll free: 1-800-606-1860.

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About us
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A.M. Costa Rica's
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Cat trees
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, July 15, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 138
Real Estate
About us


Obamacare faces a deadline
of Oct. 1 for implementation

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

With time running out, U.S. officials are struggling to cope with the task of launching the new online health insurance exchanges at the heart of President Barack Obama's signature health reforms by an Oct. 1 deadline.

The White House, and federal agencies including the Department of Health and Human Services and the Internal Revenue Service, must ensure that working marketplaces open for enrollment in all 50 states in less than 80 days, and are responding to mounting pressure by concentrating on three essential areas that will determine whether the most critical phase of Obamacare succeeds or fails.

"The administration right now is in a triage mode. Seriously, they do not have the resources to implement all of the provisions on time," Washington and Lee University professor Timothy Jost, a healthcare reform expert and advocate, told an oversight panel in the U.S. House of Representatives last week.

Current and former administration officials, independent experts and business representatives say the three priorities are the creation of an online portal that will make it easy for consumers to compare insurance plans and enroll in coverage; the capacity to effectively process and deliver government subsidies that help consumers pay for the insurance; and retention of the law's individual mandate, which requires nearly all Americans to have health insurance when Obama's healthcare reform law comes into full force in 2014.

Measures deemed less essential, such as making larger employers provide health insurance to their full-time workers next year or face fines, and requiring exchanges to verify the health insurance and income status of applicants, have already been postponed or scaled back.

"The closer you get to the actual launch, the more you focus on what is essential versus what could be second-order issues," said a former administration official. "That concentrates the mind in a different kind of way, and that's what's happening here."

But the risk of failure in the form of major delays is palpable, given the administration's limited staff and financial resources, as well as the stubborn political opposition of Republicans, who have denied new money for the effort in Congress and prevented dozens of states from cooperating with initiatives that offer subsidized health coverage to millions of lower income uninsured people.

Any further delay could help Republicans make Obamacare's troubles a focus of their campaign in next year's congressional midterm elections and in the 2016 presidential race.

Human Services denies that its strategy has changed and insists that implementation continues to meet the milestones laid out by planners 18 months ago.

"All of the systems are exactly where we want them to be today. They will be ready to perform fully on Oct. 1," said Mike Hash, director of the agency's Office of Health Reform.

White House officials acknowledge the approach of the open enrollment deadline has put a greater emphasis on priorities. They describe the strategy as a smart, adaptive policy and assert that delayed or scaled-back regulations demonstrate better policy decisions or flexibility with stakeholders, rather than a need to minimize distractions.

Advocates point out that the reform, formally titled the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and informally known as Obamacare, constitutes the most sweeping healthcare legislation since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid, large successful government programs for the elderly and the low income that also faced fierce political opposition when they were created in 1965. Both required years of work after their launch to refine implementation.

The administration has already delayed or scaled back at least half a dozen health reform measures since last year. These include regulations involving star quality ratings for insurance company plans, the choice of insurance plans for small-business employees and a requirement that state Medicaid agencies notify individuals of their eligibility for federal assistance.

Other efforts that could still be delayed include deadlines for some health insurers to get their plans certified by Human Services as well as requirements for how the insurance exchanges provide customer service.

House Speaker John Boehner and other House Republican leaders, warning of a train wreck, have called on Obama to defer an essential task: the individual mandate, which requires people to have insurance coverage in 2014 or face penalties that begin modestly, but rise sharply by 2016.

But experts say it is the other essential tasks — establishing the high-tech capabilities necessary to process government insurance subsidies and create online shopping and enrollment for consumers – that could be most vulnerable with such a compressed timetable.

"The biggest hurdle is to get the systems up and running," said one health insurance official. "Nothing's happened so far that prevents you from being up and running on Oct. 1. But there's virtually no margin for error."

The administration is working according to an ambitious schedule for testing a technology hub and its ability to transfer consumer data on health coverage, income, tax credits and other topics between federal agencies, insurance companies and states. The hub is already exchanging data between the necessary agencies.

A report from Georgetown University's Center on Health Insurance Reforms says state-run exchanges are on track for a successful Oct. 1 launch and have exceeded federal minimum requirements in some cases.

Failure to have adequate systems in place by Sept. 4, when Health and Human Services is due to give insurers final notice about which health plans are qualified to be sold on 34 state exchanges run by the federal government, could delay open enrollment by days or weeks but still allow the law's core reform provisions to take effect on Jan. 1, experts said.

Insurers will have several days in August to review plan data as it would be presented to prospective enrollees in side-by-side comparisons online. The administration also needs to test the system with a wider audience than the IT experts working on the exchanges to make sure they are consumer-friendly.

Michael Marchand, spokesman for Washington's Health Benefit Exchange, said the state's online marketplace had conducted frequent tests with the federal data hub, which had worked well so far. But any last-minute changes to the government's requirements to its operations could throw a wrench into the IT system, he said.

"If you start adding or removing lines of code it could bring the whole thing down," he said. "As you add or take away pieces, you have to re-test from the beginning."

U.S. quakes tied to injection
of waste water underground

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The number of earthquakes in the central and eastern United States has increased dramatically over the past few years, and scientists think the reason could be due to the disposal of wastewater associated with oil and gas production.

According to a report by the U.S. Geological Survey, there were more than 300 earthquakes above magnitude 3.0 from 2010 to 2012. That’s a five-fold increase from earthquakes observed from 1967 to 2000, when the average number was 21 per year.

In 2011, a 5.6 magnitude quake struck central Oklahoma, injuring several people and damaging over a dozen homes. According to the report, wastewater disposal appears to have been the cause of the temblor. Had an earthquake that size hit a more populated area, there would be the potential for severe damage and possible deaths.

“There is a hazard, and I think it’s greater than people thought before,” said William Ellsworth, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey. “If small earthquakes start occurring near injection sites, that’s something to pay attention to. With that in mind one can ask how this can be managed. Clearly there’s a lot of research to be done.”

Wastewater earthquakes occur because water that is salty or mixed with chemicals needs to be disposed of so as not to contaminate freshwater sources such as aquifers. The most common way of doing that is to inject the water deep underground.

Ellsworth’s research showed that when wastewater is deposited near faults and underground conditions are right, earthquakes can be more likely. If water pressure inside a fault gets high enough, it can cause the release of tectonic stress in the form of an earthquake. Even faults that have not moved for millions of years can be made to slip if the conditions are right.

Wastewater is often a byproduct of certain types of energy production, extracting oil and gas from shale rock formations, for example. Wastewater can also be produced through hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, when water is injected into rock formations to extract oil and gas.

Ellsworth said no fracking sites have been implicated with earthquakes.

The time between the injection of wastewater and an earthquake is variable, Ellsworth said.

“It can be very soon, or it can be years,” he said. “It’s very complicated and very dependent on the conditions under ground.”

Despite the dramatic increase in the number of quakes, Ellsworth points out that very few of the more than 30,000 wastewater wells appear to have caused earthquakes.

Still, the research raises red flags, and according to Ellsworth, shale rock suited for this kind of drilling can be found all over the world, and how the wastewater will be dealt with remains a question.

In the U.S. the regulations about wastewater disposal center on the protection of drinking water and do not address the potential for man-made earthquakes.

Mostly peaceful protests come
Zimmerman verdict

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Passionate, but mostly peaceful protests, have erupted in several U.S. cities after a Florida man was acquitted of murder and manslaughter in the highly-publicized shooting death of a black teenager last year.

Verdicts in racially-charged cases have, on occasion, triggered violence and destruction on a massive scale.  The 1992 acquittal of Los Angeles police officers in the beating of a black motorist sparked days of ferocious riots and looting in the city.  Dozens of people were killed, hundreds were wounded, and property damage topped $1 billion.

By comparison, reaction to the acquittal of Florida shooting suspect George Zimmerman has been relatively peaceful.

Late Saturday, a six-woman jury arrived at a verdict in one of America’s most closely-watched court cases of recent years.

An attorney for the family of deceased 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, appeared on the Fox News Sunday television program.  Darryl Parks described the verdict as unbelievable, but said the Martin family wants the public to remain calm. “That is their  decision.  We accept their decision, but we do not agree with their decision," he said.

In 2012, Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, spotted Martin walking at night through his Florida community.  A confrontation and struggle ensued, ending with Zimmerman shooting Martin.

The court case appeared to hinge on conflicting accounts of who had incited hostilities, and whether Zimmerman was acting in self-defense.

The verdict was appropriate, according to a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Republican Orrin Hatch, who spoke on ABC’s This Week program. “If the rule is that you have to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, there were plenty of reasonable doubts there," he said.

Although acquitted of criminal wrongdoing, Zimmerman could still face civil charges if the Martin family or the U.S. Justice Department pursue that avenue.

French president optimistic
in his Bastille Day speech

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

World dignitaries including United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon joined French President Francois Hollande for the Bastille Day parade in Paris Sunday.

Close to 5,000 troops, including U.N. soldiers in blue berets and servicemen from 13 African countries marched past the presidential stage where Hollande stood with Ban.

France's biggest holiday took place in the shadow of a deadly train crash just 20 kilometers south of the French capital. At least seven people were reported killed in the Friday train derailment. Many others were injured.

In a televised interview Sunday President Hollande said more has to be done to maintain traditional rail lines.

But the president focused on France's achievements. He said that France's economy is beginning to recover, citing an increase in industrial production and a slight recovery in consumption.

The traditional military parade on the Champs Elysees was led by a Malian officer, drawing attention to France's role in liberating the African country's north from Islamist and other insurgent groups.

Bastille Day is France's biggest national holiday. It commemorates the storming of the Bastille fortress in 1789, which marked the start of the French Revolution.

Fish oil linked to cancer
of prostate in new study

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Fish oil supplements that are high in omega-3 fatty acids have been quite popular among people who take them to help with issues such as heart health.

Past research has indicated that omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish, fish oil and other foods such as wild rice and walnuts, can decrease the likelihood of cardiovascular disease.

But now new research released this week indicates that too much omega-3 could put men at a higher risk of developing prostate cancer, especially a deadly form of the disease. The finding confirms similar conclusions made in several earlier studies.  
While some experts have expressed skepticism about the study’s findings, men taking the supplement may find themselves weighing the benefits fish oil capsules may provide for their heart health versus the possible harm and increased risk of developing prostate cancer.

The study, conducted by researchers at Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, found that high concentrations of three anti-inflammatory and metabolically related fatty acids called eicosapentaenoic acid, eocosapentaenoic acid  and docosahexaenoic acid  that are found in fatty fish such as salmon as well as in fish-oil supplements, are linked with a 71 percent increased risk of developing high-grade prostate cancer, the kind that experts say are more likely to be fatal.

The Seattle study also revealed that too much of the fatty acids can also lead to a 44 percent increase in the risk of low-grade prostate cancer — which grows slowly — as well as an overall 43 percent increase in risk for all forms of prostate cancers.

To reach their findings, the researchers studied a group of about 843 men who had prostate cancer and another group of 1,383 men who didn’t have the cancer. They found that the prostate cancer patients had higher levels of the omega-3 fatty acids in their blood than those in the non-cancer group.

The researchers said that the consistency of their findings suggest that these fatty acids are connected with the development of prostate tumors. They also caution those who want to increase their dosage of omega-3 fatty acids to consider any potential risks.

The researchers said they’re unclear so far about why the high levels of omega-3 fatty acids would increase prostate cancer risk. They do point out that omega-3 fatty acids converting into compounds could damage cells and DNA, and their role in immunosuppression.  They said that they don’t know whether or not these effects can actually impact cancer risks and that further research into possible mechanisms will be needed.

These new findings, published July 11 in the online edition of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, confirm those made in 2011 by the same Seattle researchers.

Effort to end filibusters
to generate Senate battle

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Washington is bracing for a major legislative battle this week, not over a specific bill, but over the rules governing the U.S. Senate.  The ability of the minority party to block votes, a procedure known as a filibuster, could be curtailed.  Weakening the filibuster might stem chronic legislative gridlock, but could also erode a historic American safeguard against the raw will and power of majority rule.

Until recent years, filibustering meant holding the Senate floor and speaking non-stop to prevent a vote, as portrayed by Jimmy Stewart in the 1939 movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

Backers of racial segregation famously or infamously filibustered civil-rights legislation in the 1950s and 60s.  Earlier this year, Republican Sen. Rand Paul held the floor for 13 hours to draw attention to the use of domestic drones.

Most modern filibusters are never seen.  A senator files a motion to prevent a vote, and unless a three-fifths supermajority disagrees, the vote is blocked.  Once a rare practice, almost all Senate votes of consequence must now overcome a filibuster.

“Is there anybody out there in America that thinks this body is functioning well," asked Majority Leader Harry Reid.

The Nevada Democrat says his party will move to change filibuster rules this week unless Republicans allow confirmation votes on high-profile nominees submitted by President Barack Obama to lead federal agencies.  Reid says the ability of the government to function is at stake.

“The Constitution gives the president, whoever that president may be, the right and the power to choose his team.  It grants the Senate the right to advise and consent on those choices.  But consistent and unprecedented obstruction by the Republican caucus has turned ‘advise and consent into deny and obstruct," he said.

Republicans warn of dire consequences for American democracy.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “That would violate every protection of minority rights that have defined the U.S. Senate for as long as anyone can remember.  Let me assure you this Pandora’s Box, once opened, will be utilized again and again by future majorities."

In 2005, Democrats were in the minority and defended the filibuster to block judicial nominees submitted by then-president George W. Bush.

“They think the Senate should be a rubber stamp for this president," said Sen. Reid at the time.

Then-majority leader Bill Frist accused Democrats of abusing the filibuster and setting a dangerous precedent. “To enshrine new tyranny of the minority into the Senate rules forever," he said.

Changing the Senate rules by a simple majority vote has been dubbed the nuclear option, given its potential to forever alter America’s legislative landscape.

Latin leaders defend asylum
and rail against U.S. spying

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

South American leaders had strong words for Washington Friday over allegations of U.S. spying in the region and defended their right to offer asylum to fugitive former U.S spy agency contractor Edward Snowden.
Washington wants Snowden arrested on espionage charges after he divulged extensive, secret U.S. surveillance programs. Stuck in the transit area of Moscow's international airport since late June, he is seeking asylum in various countries.
Capping two weeks of strained relations over the Snowden saga, presidents from the Mercosur bloc of nations met in Montevideo, Uruguay. Complaints against the United States were high on the agenda, as Washington warned the international community not to help the 30-year-old Snowden get away.
“We repudiate any action aimed at undermining the authority of countries to grant and fully implement the right of asylum,” Mercosur said in a statement at the close of Friday's summit.
The statement called for “solidarity with the governments of Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela, which have offered to grant asylum to Mr. Edward Snowden.”
The Mercosur bloc comprises Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.
“This global espionage case has shaken the conscience of the people of the United States and has upset the world,” Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said.
The meeting began as reports emerged that Snowden wants to travel eventually to Latin America after seeking temporary asylum in Russia.
The U.S.-Russian relationship would be troubled if Moscow were to accept an asylum request from Snowden, the U.S. State Department said. President Barack Obama raised U.S. concerns directly with Russian President Vladimir Putin Friday.
Leaders throughout Latin America are also furious over reports the U.S. National Security Agency targeted most Latin American countries with spying programs that monitored Internet traffic, especially in Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil and Mexico.
In its statement, Mercosur said, “We emphatically reject the interception of  telecommunications and espionage activities in our countries, as they are a violation of human rights and citizens' right to privacy and information.”
It also called for the spy scandal to be brought before the U.N. Security Council.
The espionage allegations were published by a leading Brazilian newspaper, O Globo, Tuesday. The U.S. ambassador to Brazil, Thomas Shannon, said this week the reports gave an incorrect picture of U.S. data gathering.
“This is the world we live in; a world with new forms of colonialism,” Argentine President Cristina Fernández said in her closing remarks in Montevideo. “It is more subtle than it was two centuries ago, when they came with armies to take our silver and gold.”
Colombia, Washington's closest military ally in Latin America, and Mexico, its top business partner, have also joined the chorus of governments seeking answers.
“Any act of espionage that violates human rights, above all the basic right to privacy, and undermines the sovereignty of nations, deserves to be condemned by any country that calls itself democratic, “ Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff told reporters on arrival at the meeting.
Rousseff, who was imprisoned under military rule in Brazil in the early 1970s, said the rights issue was particularly important for South American countries that lived under dictatorships for years and are now democracies.
U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay made her first comment on the Snowden case Friday, saying people needed to be sure their communications were not being unduly scrutinized and calling on all countries to respect the right to seek asylum.
Snowden said in a letter posted Friday on the Facebook page of the New-York based Human Rights Watch that the United States had been pressuring countries not to accept him. Obama has warned of serious costs to any country that takes him in.
Despite their fiery rhetoric and public offers of asylum, few in Latin America seem particularly keen to welcome Snowden and risk damaging trade and economic ties with Washington.
Cuba and Venezuela are both in a cautious rapprochement with the United States that could be jeopardized if they helped Snowden.
Still, leaders recalled that many of their own citizens sought asylum abroad during the military dictatorships of the Cold War era.
South American leaders rallied in support of Bolivian President Evo Morales last week after he said he was denied access to the airspace of Portugal, France, Italy and Spain on suspicion Snowden might be on board his plane as Morales flew home from a visit to Russia.
Bolivia is an associate member of Mercosur, and Morales attended Friday's meeting. The Mercosur statement said bloc member countries would call their ambassadors in from the four European countries for consultations.
Real estate-related services (paid category)

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.

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

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

Check with our Web site at
Contact us at the office: (506) 2694-0088
Cell (506) 8880-8888
Phone number from the U.S. (305) 307-0088
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The #1 Authority in Costa Rica Real Estate

Costa Rica real estate
Since 1996, CRREC has been providing the most valuable resource for discovering real estate in Costa Rica. Our Costa Rica properties database contains some of the most exclusive and hard to find properties in the country. Not to mention how affordable some of our Costa Rica homes for sale are. So if you're in the market for Costa Rica real estate then we encourage you to
visit our Costa Rica MLS and discover for yourself why people call CRREC the #1 authority in Costa Rica real estate.
Call Today @ 506-2654-5507 (Costa Rica) or 1-888-414-1836 (Toll-Free) Email:

Costa Rica,

Central America
Houses, lots and farms in Grecia,
western Central Valley.
Great climate
and safe communities.
Grecia estate
This is the BIGGEST DEAL of the month now at $850.000: HERE!
Sarchi home
Modern three-bedroon home in San Rafael de Sarchí. Cick HERE!
 Great deals for you!
Visit our Web Site:
 English: (Cristian Arce)
English:  (Luis Arce)
 Español: (Luis G. Jiménez)

   (506) 8538-6186
   (506) 7100-8489
   (506) 8707-4016

  Send us your request to our email:

Real estate for sale (paid category)

Guiones retreat
Approximately half acre on the beach with private path to the surf. Very private three-home complex with pool, spacious patios with two wet bars, barbeque and yoga area. Featuring a three-bedroom ranch style home plus a two story Mexican villa style home with two master suites, large kitchen and living area with ocean views and breezes upstairs and a garden apartment downstairs with separate entrance. A caretaker's or teenager's cottage and lots of space for expansion. PRICED FOR QUICK SALE: $899,000.  Call 506 8867-8883 or

Monte Mar
Hacienda Monte Mar
Gated Community near the beach
located halfway between Jaco and Quepos/Manuel Antonio
 BEST DEAL in Costa Rica!!! Lots starting at just $18,500 with financing available.
 Lot/ House packages from around $60,000
Great Retirement, Vacation, or investment option!
Lots of wildlife on the property. Gated front entrance, caretakers on site,
security and lawn maintenance, no time limit to build. Absentee Owner Friendly.
Water and power on site.
USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005
CR Cell 011 506 8718-9891

Puriscal home
$71,000 SUPER Central Valley view home for you to finish
2 bedrooms, 2 baths, on 2,200 M2 lot with creek on one side. This is another "live in the view" home ready to finish out including appliances, solar water heater, PEX water distribution, custom cabinets, granite counter tops, radiant energy barrier, and tempered, bronzed, reflective windows for an additional $59,000. So total for lot and beautifully finished home is under $130,000. This home is within 7 minutes of Santiago de Puriscal at elevation of 3,200 feet on new concrete public road.
Please contact: email  or call 2417-1041 or 8888-4543.

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....$550,000 USD. Telephone 2288.6451. More details HERE!

Heredia land
San Rafael, Heredia, great opportunity, 17,000m2 land for development,
US$600,000 or best offer.  email: or call 8385-2542.

Minimum bid starts @ $10,000.
 ½ acre to 4 acres.
Walk to San Juanillo Beaches.
1 day only -10 a.m. June 15
Phone: 506-2682-0185

music studio
Musicians dream!!!
Two-story house, 2,400 sq. ft. (223 sq. mt.) total with covered porches, 2-car covered parking, 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, open kitchen/living room, bodega, laundry room, upstairs sala. Separate 320-sq. ft. (29 sq. mt.) music studio that could be used as an art studio, workshop, or additional bedroom. Studio has a patio on top, partially covered with ozonated hot tub. Mature citrus trees, avocado, mango, pineapples, bananas, and many colorful flowers. Completely fenced, security system, Internet, cable TV, automatic gates, one-car additional secured gravel parking. Double lot, 7,320 sq ft (680 sq mt). Backs up to a large cafetal and looks up to Natural Reserve Madre Verde. Located in La Granja, Residencia Palma Real, Palmares, Alajuela. Walking distance to town, 5 minutes to pista, 35 minutes to airport, and close to bus service. Comes with kitchen appliances, washer and dryer, bed set in master bedroom, shoe cabinet just inside front door. Other furnishings negotiable. More pictures available upon request. House and property are in a corporation. $208,000.

Private Gated Paradise in Grecia 3/2 home with guest apartment, 5000m2 land. $99k-/best cash offer! River access,, Phone: (506)2495-0487.

Condo for sale in Flamingo

Ocean view 3-bedroom, 3 1/2-bathroom condo. Designer furnished 1,800 square feet, gated community. Only six units. Huge pool and balcony, pet friendly, parking, walking distance to Flamingo beach, banks, grocery store, farmacia, etc. New building. $349,000 asking. Ask for photos. 8705-0056. or 1-800-536-2322.

Casa de Eden
For sale by owner Playa Conchal home. Reduced $329,000

Casa de Eden is an ocean view three-bedroom, 2.5-bath, with outdoor shower, private pool located only minutes from Playa Conchal.  The home is in a private, secure community surrounded by nature but still only 20 minutes to the resort towns of Flamingo & Tamarindo and less than an hour from the Liberia airport. There is 2,600 square feet under the roof, which includes a large outdoor terrace and has phone, Internet & satellite TV. The home boasts luxury finishings: AC & ceiling fans, Frigidaire professional series stainless steel appliances, granite kitchen countertops, marble bathroom vanities, custom wood cabinetry, ceramic tile.  Contact  U.S. 1-800-939-2617 or CR (506) 8349-2025.

San Pedro condo
Condo for Sale in Flor del Este
Lourdes, Montes de Oca San Jose

Located behind The Foundation Costa Rica Canada 500 meters north of Inglesia Lourdes. U Latina, UCR, and U Fieditas are located within 5 minutes.  Beautiful mountain view from roof covered 3rd floor terraza. Condo is a 3-story. Three/four-bedroom, three and half bath unit within a secure complex of 40 condos with high cement outside walls with only one entrance manned by an armed guard 24 hours per day. In addition, to security fencing, and electric wire, a recorded security camera system is monitored within the guard house. Residence has a telephone communication system to contact the guard house. In addition there is a green park area inside the complex for children to safely play and an outside parking area in from of guard house for visitors. Equipped with an independent wired security system in addition to iron bars on windows and patio doors. Equipped with circuit breaker box and 220-volt service for hot water heater, stove and dryer. Also has water storage tank under parking area and water pump to maintain high pressure on all three floors. American-style washer and electric dryer, Refrigerator, glass top stove, and kitchen cabinets included. $185,000. Other furniture items may be available for purchase.
Call Bill   (English) C.R. Phone: (506) 6011-6987
U.S. Phone:  6630-886-4458  or   (305) 848- 5577
Spanish  phone number: (506) 8799 4041

Guaancaate condos
Little Dreams La Colina Magnolias

Great Guanacaste Beach Condos Available

$28,500 - Little Dreams - Ocotal beach studio condo, furnished upper floor condo in great complex just 1 mile from Ocotal beach, 2 miles from Coco beach, great price for this complex.
$70,000 - La Colina - another Ocotal beach 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo, 80 m2 and fully furnished with upgraded kitchen, complex has Infinity pool, mountain views.

$75,000 Magnolias 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath townhome just 1 minute's walk from Coco beach and the 2 beach clubs in Coco. Nicely furnished, walk to town, 67 m2, perfect location.
Find out more information on these and other condos at my website All 3 of these condos are about 35 minutes away from Liberia Intl. airport, no need to drive a long way to get to your condo.  Call for more information, 1-415-670-9382 or 011-506-826-1211. Or email

Rich Coast Montage
Central Pacific Coast Real Estate, from Jaco to Quepos/Manuel Antonio
- 2 Bedroom House in Gated Community near the beach, $89,000!!
 - Beachfront Residential Lots from $58,000
- Coffee Shop/ Bakery, Coastal Town, Great Location, Real Estate Office Upstairs, Turnkey $85,000 Great ROI
- Lots in Gated Community near the beach from $18,500,
with Financing Available!!
- 3 Bedroom House in Gated Community, furnished, walk to the beach, $120k
 1.25 acre + lots in ECO Development $39,000
- 58 acre Oceanview Property subdividable, $169k
and much more....
USA Toll Free 1 866 833 4005
CR Cell 011 506 8718 9891

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:

Playa Octal home
Playa Ocotal Beach Home
This home is located in a residential resort complex made up of 40 luxurious, fully furnished beachfront villas, plus a clubhouse complete with poolside bar and restaurant. Bahía Pez Vela is located in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, one kilometer from Playa Ocotal on the North Pacific coast and just 30 minutes drive from Liberia International Airport and three miles to downtown Playas Del Coco. From this home you can hear and see the waves crashing on the rocks of this pristine beach. See it HERE! This is the best priced beach home in Costa Rica! Price $225,000   Contact: Bruce Hummel, - Cell Phone: 011 (506) 8819-2119, From US/Canada: (816) 987-7166.

hree peanel montage
This dream Costa Rica beach house overlooking Carara National Park and the Pacific has been rented continuously for two years. D.C. owners are on site at the house in May and prepping for June 1 Move in and/or vacation rentals and have an unbelievable offer. Already listed way under value, $150,000 Cash or $199,500 with owner financing through May 30th. Note: This was the owner's (14 year residents of Costa Rica) dream home before their relocation to Washington, D.C., Your own salt water Infinity pool, expansive sala and balcony, views from every room. Each room is individually air-conditioned, ceramic tiles, cathedral ceiling; three bedrooms in an international community. Scarlet macaws fly by your veranda each evening.
zen/natural contemporary design ideal for your location overlooking Costa Rica's biological corridor. 50 minutes from San José, minutes from beaches/20 minutes from Jacó Beach. Tour this property online first at and if interested contact Barry in Costa Rica through May 30th for a tour. In Costa Rica: 8701-5639 or call Rosemary in the U.S. 239-910-3354. Note: On June 1 the price of this property will increase to over $200,000 after equipping, painting and acceptance of rental income. Don't wait!

La Garita
This home was built by a California contractor with all the amenities expected in a 3,000-square foot home.  There is a little less than one acre of land.  There is an 800-square foot shop easily converted to a rental unit or studio.  Located in La Garita de Atenas, 15 minutes to the international airport and 30 minutes to San José.  $225,000. 2487-4500.

Arenal Colonial
Property for sale, great potential income
Turnkey business $350K. Rental $1,250/month This luxury home (4,000 square feet and two story private home) is a botanical paradise overlooking beautiful Lake Arenal. Only one block from the lake park and boat ramp. Close to Tabacón hot springs and Monteverde cloud forest. Caño Negro national park and many beautiful beaches along the Pacific are only a short drive away. Costa Rica bird watching, wind surfing, fishing, water sports, ecotourism adventures, hiking, tennis and mountain biking are out your front door. Also has a wonderful view of the Arenal Volcano, a safe 25 miles away. Electric gated entrance. Safe private home and entire property. To see more pictures and info, click here:

Jacó compound
Located in Jacó at Barrio Ricos y Famosos in Calle Europa, Casa Shangri La.
Main house: 3 bedrooms, 3 bath 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. Price $ 1,350.000 negotiable. All fittings and furniture, included even a car. Owner financing available. German-built, excellent quality and well maintained. More photos on request.

Nicoya views
Property with ocean and gulf view for sale
Tranquil million dollar view, 5,000-sq.meter property with 3/2 home built to American standards, artistically designed and decorated, 16-foot ceilings of mango and tamarindo, appliances, plunge pool, rancho, caretaker apartment, workshop, covered parking, views of Gulf of Nicoya and ocean, in countryside near San José to Caldera highway. Near the lovely town of Esparza. Can provide extra income from bed and breakfast room rental and stellar Tripadvisor reviews. $180,000 506-8869-9274.

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.

just reduced
Just Reduced to $169,000!!!
58-acre oceanview and mountainview property

Segregated into 9 lots, Excellent Development Potential!
20 minutes from the beach Central Pacific Coast, between Jacó and Quepos.
USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005  CR Cell 8718-9891

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

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A.M. Costa Rica's
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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, July 15, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 138
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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute

Motorcycles dominate  mishaps involving fatalities

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Motorcycle mishaps continued to claim lives over the weekend. In one case, a motorcycle driver skidded out of control and killed a child on the sidewalk, said the Judicial Investigating Organization.

Early Friday a 47-year-old man died when he appears to have lost control of his motorcycle in La Tigra, near La Fortuna. The vehicle hit the wall of a house, and the driver, identified by the last name of Ulate, was dead at the scene, said investigators. That was at 2 a.m.

Friday night a 56-year-old man with the last name of Fallas died in  Hospital San Juan de Dios from injuries suffered when he was hit by a motorcycle in  Desamparados, said agents.

On the Interamericana Norte near Liberia a 28-year-old motorcyclist died when his vehicle crossed into the oncoming lane and collided head-on with a bus. That was about 3:30 a.m., said judicial investigators. The victim was identified by the last name of  Hurtado.

Saturday night a 30-year-old man identified with the last name of Quirós also crossed into the oncoming lane and his motorcycle collided with a passenger car, said agents. That was in Río Claro in the southern zone about 7 p.m.

About an hour later on the Costenara at Puntareans Centro agents said a motorcycle driver swerved to avoid a horse and the cycle skidded onto the sidewalk.  There a 4-year-old was playing in the care of his mother. He was fatally injured and died later at Hospital Monseñor Sanabria. The motorcycle driver was hospitalized there.

 The mishap took place in front of the father's tire shop.

Bicyclists also died over the weekend. A 25-year-old man with the last name of Molina died Friday about 5:30 a.m. in Santo Domingo de Heredia when he was struck down by a hit-and-run driver.

In Jacó about 5:30 p.m. Friday a man with the last name of Hernández died when his bike collided head-on with a motor car. Agents said the 29-year-old man was an agricultural worker.

In a more conventional accident, Judicial agents said that a man identified by the last name of  Guerrero died when the vehicle in which he was a passenger collided with a utility pole about 11 p.m. Saturday in  San Antonio de Escazú.

Four reported to have died
in apparent water accidents

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Pacific has claimed three lives, and a 4-year-old in San Carlos died in a tilapia tank.

Newlyweds Ruth Rowe and Bruce Loev died at a Quepos beach last week when they were caught in an undertow. The Pawling School district confirmed the pair has been married last week and were vacationing in Costa Rica. He was an engineer.

Saturday morning an Italian tourist died when he was swept out to sea at Esterillos,  Identification was pending.

The 4-year-old was the subject of a missing persons report Thursday until a youth located the boy in the tilapia tank in  Pital de San Carlos, said the Judicial Investigating Organization. An autopsy is pending.

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From Page 7:

Australia seeking more Chinese tourists
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Australia is hoping to double the number of Chinese visitors to the country by 2020.  This week a delegation from Tourism Australia, a state-run agency, has been meeting Chinese investors, airline executives and government officials. 
More tourists visit Australia from China than from any other country apart from New Zealand.
Chinese travelers spent $102 billion worldwide last year, according to the United Nation’s World Tourism Organization, and Australia is keen to cash in on a booming industry.
Andrew McEvoy, the managing director of Tourism Australia, says more needs to be done to boost the numbers of Chinese visitors.
“Look, China is our fastest growing market. It's already our highest value market - almost 700,000 Chinese visitors spending in excess of AUD$ 4.5 billion [USD  $4.1 billion].  I think we're still a long way from being completely China ready but there are a lot of steps being taken, and I would argue that the tourism industry is better geared than most industries to welcome Chinese engagement," said McEvoy.
Tourism Australia officials this week signed a three-year agreement with Air China to increase the number of flights into Australia.  The airline is the only carrier to operate a direct service between Beijing and Sydney. Other industry groups are also helping holiday companies cater to the Chinese market.
The managing director of Tourism Accommodation Australia, Rodger Powell, says even small measures can make a difference.
“It is really a matter of paying attention to the little things. Welcome letters for Chinese guests in Chinese language, kettles and teapots in the rooms and teacups and a selection of teas, specific local snacks and beverages. Some hotels are offering Chinese satellite news, Chinese newspapers available on request," said Powell.
Australia is also keen to attract Chinese gamblers, but faces competition from Macau, the world's largest gambling destination, and the Philippines.
Then there is an ambitious proposal to build a Chinese theme park north of Sydney, Australia’s biggest city.  The local authority in coastal Wyong is exploring plans by a Chinese businessman to build a $480 million tourist attraction that will include a full-size replica of Beijing's Forbidden City and a nine-story temple housing a giant Buddha.
Officials predict the bold venture, which is due to start construction next year, will attract millions of Chinese tourists.