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(506) 2223-1327                                     Published Tuesday, July 21, 2015, in Vol. 15, No. 142                                 Email us
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Road agency plans a new $40 million headquarters
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The transport ministry has set Aug. 4 as the date to pick a contractor to erect a new  $40 million building.

The site is in Plaza Víquez where the ministry, the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y
Transportes., already owns land where driving tests are administered.

The project is not without critics because of the state of the nation's roads and bridges.

The new building will be eight stories and include a number of environmentally progressive aspects, including solar and recycling of water for an efficient air conditioning system, said the ministry.

The ministry now occupies a sprawling complex of buildings to the west of Plaza Víquez, but the property is owned by Liceo de Costa Rica, which has won a court case to recover the structures, said the ministry.

One of two firms,  Productos de Concreto or the Eurobau-Escosa consortium, is expected to win the contract for a prefabricated concrete structure. The action today will be to further define the bidding period in the Comprared purchasing system.

The ministry says it will save large amounts of money with the new, more efficient building.

After the bid is awarded, the design process starts. Construction is supposed to take eight months, said the ministry.

U.S. candidate Bernie Sanders finds expat support
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

U.S. expats who are Democrats here are showing increasing support for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont politician who wants to be president.

The support was obvious at the U.S. Independence Day picnic July 4. Expats in the vicinity of the Democrats Abroad booth wore Sanders t-shirts.

Sanders is further to the left than his opponent for the nomination, Hillary Clinton. He advocates breaking up major Wall Street financial institutions, supports free health care for all, promotes more progressive taxation and seeks a federal minimum wage of $15 an hour. He also opposes the Keystone pipeline and  international trade agreements and backs unionization of workers.

In a December op-ed piece in the Washington Post he asked:

"Do we continue the 40-year decline of our middle class and the growing gap between the very rich and everyone else, or do we fight for a progressive economic agenda that creates jobs, raises wages, protects the environment and provides health care for all? Are we prepared to take on the enormous economic and political power of the billionaire class, or do we continue to slide into economic and political oligarchy?"

His attraction here is based, in part, on disenchantment with President Barack Obama and concern that Mrs. Clinton carries too much political baggage to be elected if Republicans field a viable opponent.

Typically overseas political organizations
Bernie Sanders photo
Bernie Sanders

do not support candidates before a party  nomination. But individual U.S. citizens can make political donations and urge others to vote for their candidate.

Sanders, 73, is serving his second term in the U.S. Senate. He entered as an independent. He was mayor of Burlington, Vermont, before winning a congressional seat.

Affinity also is a consideration. One outspoken expat at the picnic said he was supporting Sanders because the candidate also was Jewish. Religion aside, members of Democrats Abroad here generally are seen to be more liberal than the average party member.

Defensoría urges adoption of a value-added tax
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Defensoría de los Habitantes once again has warned that the country's tax system is unequal because the sales tax is the same for rich and poor alike.

The agency issued a message of support Monday for a value-added tax instead of the current 13 percent sales tax. It said that the sales tax was regressive for those of limited resources.

The agency said that the tax system should shift to more direct levies such as income taxes.

Also suggested was a global tax system that covered income for any place in the world instead of the current system that is territorial.

Until now such a system would have been impossible to verify, but the country has negotiated a number of tax treaties so that information about income earned by Costa Ricans and residents in other countries would be available.

President Laura Chinchilla issued a directive during her term in office that removed the sales tax from food items that might be purchased by those on an economical budget.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, July 21, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 142
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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.

Hearing Services

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Fraud trial hinges on health of Milanes

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Luis Milanes arrived in court Monday late and in the company of an oxygen tank.

Expats who expected the start of a fraud trial expressed dissatisfaction that the three-judge panel delayed the case until Wednesday so Milanes, the casino owner, can receive a medical examination.

Expats who were victims of his failed Savings Unlimited high interest operation expressed suspicion, but the larger than life Milanes, who is in his 60s, might well be ailing.

Expats probably will be disappointed Wednesday even if Milanes is found fit to stand trial. The case has been complicated by conciliation agreements entered into by Milanes and his former investors in 2011.

His legal team, headed by Hugo Navas, is likely to argue that even though one of the agreements failed that Milanes is exposed unjustly by the agreements. He already admitted guilt by agreeing to the conciliations.

Milanes has a long history of using the law cleverly for his personal advantage. He also is believed to have launched civil suits against a committee set up as a result of a conciliation agreement.

The second conciliation failed when a few of the affected investors declined to accept steep discounts in what they said they were owed.

Although Milanes has admitted fraud, he also has said that an associate fled to Europe with the money.

Milanes, a Cuban American, closed his Paseo Colón office in November 2002 and fled.  Milanes returned to Costa Rica in June 2008 and has been involved with the legal process and his former investors since.

The complicated case has been delayed frequently, sometimes by factors like a pregnancy leave for a judge and repeated changes in the prosecutors. One conciliation agreement included the surrender of the Hotel Europa downtown. Former investors still have not been able to obtain full control of the business from Milanes.

Savings Unlimited was one of those too-good-to-be-true investment deals that proliferated in Costa Rica in the 1990s. More than 500 took advantage of the high monthly interest rates and gave money to Savings Unlimited with the expectation that the cash would be used for casino development. In fact, the casinos were maintained in corporations separate from Savings Unlimited and are not involved in the current action. Milanes is believed to have sold most of them.

If Milanes is found unfit for trial, the case will be in limbo again.

Former vice minister to run for mayor

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Luis Álvarez has officially registered as a candidate for San José mayor. The elections are in February. He is a candidate of the Partido Liberación Nacional.

Álvarez was a vice minister of  Economía, Industria y Comercio from 2010 to 2014. He was involved in small business development.

Our reader's opinion
Gold called impractical for hedging

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

You recently printed a letter from a reader who advocates hedging one’s financial bets by hoarding gold. Others advocate a mixture of precious metals including silver, platinum and maybe more. It’s an interesting position to take at a time when gold is trading at a multi-year low and on a downward price trend.

Beyond that, I’m always struck by the matter of practical application. Gold, like other forms of wealth, only has value (beyond its limited application in some high-tech devices and jewelry) because someone else agrees that it does.(It has that in common with money.) You can’t eat gold. You can’t burn it for heat. You can’t wear it. So just what good is it?

Well, the hoarder’s assumption is that it can be traded for something of more practical value, but just how might that work in real life? And just how many of us will, when faced with the collapse of the world economy, run out to buy a new laptop and another gold chain?

Imagine taking your ingot down to the local gram scale-equipped pulperia to exchange it for a bag of rice and some dried beans. First, you must (somehow) convince the owner that your ingot is really gold. Then, you and the owner must (somehow) agree on how much gold his rice and beans are worth, and you scrape off enough to satisfy his demands. This all presumes that you and he have (somehow) determined that his gram scale is accurate. Now imagine the same process at your local Wal-mart or PriceSmart. How, just how, will this work?

I’m a firm believer in diversifying one’s assets, but basing one’s financial future on precious metals seems unlikely to afford much real protection.

David C. Murray

American Zach Johnson takes British Open

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Thirteen golfers have won the Masters and the British Open Championship. American Zach Johnson has now joined that elite group.

The 39-year-old Iowa native outlasted a crowded leaderboard, turbulent conditions and a three-man playoff to win the 144th edition of the Open Championship on Monday at St. Andrews, Scotland.

Johnson defeated the previous winner of the Open Championship when it was played at the Old Course in 2010, South African Louis Oosthuizen, by one stroke in a four-hole playoff, and by three over Australian Marc Leishman.

Johnson birdied the first two holes of the cumulative score playoff, which gave him a one-shot lead over Oosthuizen and the ultimate edge.

Oosthuizen had a chance to tie Johnson for the lead with a eight-foot (2.5-meter) birdie putt on the final playoff hole, but his ball rolled just below the cup. The missed putt secured Johnson his 12th career PGA Tour victory and his second major, the first coming at The Masters in Augusta, Georgia, in 2007.

“I’m fairly speechless right now,” Johnson told officials, media and fans during the trophy presentation. “Dreams have been realized and goals accomplished. I’m humbled and honored to be your Open Champion golfer of the year.”

Highlighting Johnson’s remarkable round was a 25-foot (7.6-meter) birdie putt on the final hole of regulation to secure him a playoff position at 15-under-par 273 for the four rounds of the tournament. “I had a great read,” he stated after his victory. “I thought, ‘You know what, let’s just hit a good putt.’ I was able to make it in. The rest is history.”

Zach Johnson's six-under 66 is the lowest final round of his major career and arguably his biggest. His superb wedge play and putting were key to his victory.

“This really puts things into perspective for me,” he said. “It’s a beautiful game and provides great opportunity. I’m just so thankful.”
Louis Oosthuizen became the third player in the modern era to finish runner-up in both the U.S. Open and British Open Championship in the same year, joining South African Ernie Els and retired American legend Jack Nicklaus.

He sunk a six-footer (2-meters) at the last hole of regulation for a birdie, putting him in the playoff. However, his two missed putts on the final two playoff holes assured that Oosthuizen would have to wait for next month's PGA Championship at Whistling Straights in Wisconsin to try to win his second major championship.

“I really did well getting into the playoff,” Oosthuizen stated. “It’s never nice to lose a playoff. But I’ll take a lot out of this week. I love this place and I can’t wait to come back to it again.”

Leishman, whose bogey on the first playoff hole was costly, had made the halfway cut by only one stroke, nine shots off the lead after two rounds. Leishman made it to the top with six holes to play in his final round Monday, only to lose his outright lead by missing a four-foot (1.2-meter) putt at the 16th hole.

But he did accomplish a combined 36-hole Open record low eight-under-par 64 and six-under-par 66 in the third and fourth rounds that put him in contention for the championship.

Because of severe wind disruption to an already weather-affected event on Friday and Saturday, the tournament’s final round was extended until Monday. It was only the second Monday finish in history for an Open Championship.

The only previous need for that scenario was in 1988 at Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club, when Seve Ballesteros of Spain claimed the Claret Jug.

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In the Spanish-language press

Today, July 21

Free zones tax exonerations not on the table

La Prensa Libre: Free zones attract and increased the investment flows and generate more and better sources of employment, said the president.

Productivity is being affected by poor infrastructure

La República: The country could save significant amounts of time and fuel, reduce the cost of imported goods and increase the importance of Limón as a regional port.

Perverts are outed on social networks

CR Hoy: Public areas like buses and parks are now the favorite spots of these men to molest their victims.

Pensions would be reduced if bill is passed

El Financiero: This measure proposes to lower pensions by up to 80 percent. For example, if a retiree is receiving a pension of $32.000, the highest reported to date, the bill would reduce the amount to $7,000.

Some schools may get equipment to measure tremors

CR Hoy: Thanks to a campaign led by the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica, some schools could receive instruments known as Hop for monitoring seismic activity.

Water supply in Liberia improved

La Prensa Libre: An amplification of drinking water supply will benefit around 95 000 inhabitants. The Instituto Nacional de Acueductos y Alcantarillados is improving the system to capture more water.

— Compiled by Sylvia Quesada Hidalgo


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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, July 21, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 142
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Sunday drawing honors fire fighters and is good practice for Gordo
By the A.M. Costs Rica staff

Expats who never have played the national lottery might find the one decided Sunday to be good practice for the Christmas Gordo.

The lottery this week marks the 150th anniversary of the  Cuerpo de Bomberos. Two winners will each get 140 millions colons, about $265,000 tax free.

Winning is a real longshot with 200,000 tickets in play. Yet there is plenty of entertainment in sitting at home watching the lottery drawing Sunday night. The drawing is a long affair with three canastas or baskets in play at once. The operator of one selects the series. One selects the number, and the operator of a smaller basket selects the price.

A real downer would be to have the correct series and number only to be awarded 400,000 colons instead of $265,000. Each ticket has 10 parts that sell for 800 colons each, about $1.50 A full ticket is 8,000 colons.

The Christmas Gordo is an institution with significantly
higher prizes. Like the Sunday drawing there are many lesser prizes.
Lottery tickets promise 140 million colons

Fire fighters also are celebrating their anniversary Sunday morning in the  Teatro Nacional.

Editor's note: An earlier version of the story gave an incorrect amount for the top prize because reporters were hitting the sauce a bit early.

Sea Shepherd volunteers rescued after boat has mechanical problems
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Sea Shepherd volunteers on anti-poaching patrol became stranded late Friday on a small island near the mouth of the Rio Matina, said the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas.

The coast guard said that a launch rescued the eight volunteers and the four-man crew of their launch that had suffered mechanical trouble.

Sea Shepherd has maintained patrols to prevent the poaching of turtle eggs on the Caribbean coast.

The coast guard said that the rescue was accomplished despite driving rain and heavy currents at the river mouth.

The four crew members of the stricken launch were Costa Rican but the volunteers were Dutch and British, said the coast guard.

Alajuela chamber agrees to help offer tourism training to workers there
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Tourism operators and workers in the province of Alajuela will be able to obtain training under an agreement that has been signed with the  Cámera de Comercio. The agreement is with the  Asociación Costarricense de Profesionales en Turismo.

The goal is to develop the tourism in the province. The two organizations will be setting up a schedule of workshops at which the training will be delivered, said an announcement.

Those who attend the workshops will be able to obtain certification from the  Asociación Costarricense de Profesionales en Turismo.

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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Jury still out on long-term effects of soccer head injuries on kids
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Soccer is one of the most popular sports played by children in the United States. At the same time, research is under way to study head injuries such as concussions suffered by youths playing the game and the long-term effects of those injuries.

Soccer players take blows to the head through headers, as well as collisions with other players, the ground and goal posts.

Catherine McGill, a neuropsychologist for the Children’s National Health System in Washington, examines many children who have suffered concussions playing soccer.

She said concussions sustained while playing soccer and other youth sports are on the rise for a number of reasons.

“One, we are getting better — and I say 'we' meaning parents, coaches and medical providers alike — are getting better at recognizing and responding to that injury," Ms. McGill said.

"That’s a huge testament to media paying more attention to this and leagues paying more attention to the safety of their players.

"Also, kids are getting bigger, faster, stronger across the sports, and so more injuries may be occurring simply because of that, and more kids are playing sports, and they’re playing more frequently.

"I used to have kids who played soccer for one season, and they played a different sport the next season," she added.  "But now you've got multiple sports in multiple seasons, so it's just increased playing time, which is going to result in increased injuries, concussions included."

Ms. McGill participated this week in a panel discussion in Washington on efforts to make American-style football safer at the youth level.

Speaking later about soccer, she said researchers are looking into questions about soccer-related head injuries, including

the impact from repeated headers and the degree of cognitive dysfunction a soccer player can suffer.

"We're often asked by parents, what’s the age, what age do they start heading, or should there be heading at all?" Ms. McGill said. "The answer is this is a very individual decision. The age for one child may be very different for the age of another child.

"You need to look at how strong is that child, how tall is their neck, how agile are they, and what is their level of skill development. You don't want to put someone on the field who hasn't developed in an automatic way the technique necessary to head the ball."

According to Ms. McGill, researchers also are studying the possible long-term effects from soccer-related head injuries, including chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease.

Two soccer players who suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy were Hilderado Luiz Bellini, who played on Brazil's World Cup-winning teams in 1958 and 1962, and Patrick Grange, an American semiprofessional player. Bellini died last year at age 83, and Grange died in 2012 at age 29.

Researchers also are trying to learn whether blows to the head from American-style football, boxing and other violent sports can lead to chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

“We don’t know if there are long-term effects from repeated head injuries," Ms. McGill said. "What we do know is that the vast majority of people do get better, and that there’s probably a minority who seem to take longer to get better and may have long-lasting consequences, and we need more research to fully understand that. 

"There’s a lot of talk in the media about CTE and the relationship between that and repeated head injuries," she added. "Especially with kids in soccer, we just haven’t fully established that relationship, and we need more research so that we can make educated decisions.”

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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.


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Adventures in Costa Rica are awaiting you.
Each of the five individual Villas  boasts its own unique charm with pleasant, moderately priced accommodations and all gives you the opportunity of taking in the sights and sounds of the jungle from your own private balcony which has views of the river bed and the ocean. If you’re up for an adventure  we can help you arrange it and choose from the many tour options available in our region. Ojochal has some of the most secluded and pristine beaches in all of Costa Rica, as well as some outstanding surfing opportunities. Enjoy our local attractions such as white water rafting, whale and dolphins tour, Corcovado national park tours, Osa canopy tour, San Buenas golf course, horseback ride to the beach and waterfalls,
Osa field institute and much more.
Contact us Now for reservations at: or  Or phone 506-2786-5170
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Mar de
Hotel Mar de Luz
Designed for families to provide peaceful & ecologically balanced environment, where all can enjoy healthy & pollution free stay. Built in harmony with nature & were used to reflect a subtropical atmosphere. Main source of energy is sunlight, converted by solar panels on the roofs. High quality services at a reasonable cost allowing guests to enjoy dream holiday at an attractive rate. Come and enjoy a great vacation. Comfortable accommodation, personalized services and quality amenities. Cosy rooms, breakfast, pools, architectural design, surrounded by lush vegetation in beautiful tropical gardens with coconut, almond, etc. Address : Jacó  beach, next to Subway Restaurant, Avenida Pastor Díaz, Costa Rica. Local phone (506) 2643-3000. Email:  Web page:

                        Playa Bejuco
Hotel Boutique Playa Bejuco
Cozy, opened in 2007 just 90 minutes from the capital, with good access. Go shopping or enjoy the evening entertainment. Hosting services, friendly, quality and comfortable, discreet under the concept of 100 percent family hotel, the reason we do not allow or endorse any activity related to prostitution or drugs. Natural beauty, recommended for tourists for a relaxing holiday. Nearby is Manuel Antonio National Park. Tours, canopy, fishing, rainforest, horseback riding, ATV, rafting, etc. 20 deluxe rooms equipped with 3 for disabled. All with air conditioning, cable TV, telephone, refrigerator, private bathroom, hot water, free wireless Internet, etc. Maximum 5 people. Main restaurant, pools (adults & children), jacuzzi, private parking, 24 hours security, pool bar, playground equipped. At front desk currency conversions, confirm your flight or coordinate tours. Address : Playa Bejuco, Esterillos, Costa Rica. Local phone (506) : 2779-2000. Email:   Web page

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Largest art gallery in Guanacaste
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:   
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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)

The vacation homes at Manuel Antonio Estates offers luxury, comfort and peace of mind. We have numerous homes from 2 bedrooms to 8 bedrooms ocean view with private pool,  all within walking distance of the town’s shops and restaurants and just a few minutes to the best beaches and the famous Manuel Antonio national park. While the homes are secluded and hidden among the rainforest, the surrounding area offers adventures like zip lines, whitewater rafting, mangrove kayaking and many more. All of the homes are available for short-term rentals, Fully equipped, Pool, concierge,  parking, cable TV, and Internet. We are happy to assist with all your need for the perfect Costa Rican vacation, Call us for your family vacation package.
TOLL FREE: 1800 346=9724 or (506) 2777-3339

Real estate for rent (paid category)

Playa del Coco
Hear the waves and walk to the beach
Villa with separate studio apartment in north Playas del Coco. Two bedrooms and two baths in the villa. Fully furnished.  Laundry facilities. Yard fenced in. Pets Ok. Large covered terrace with views. A/C, satellite TV. Surrounded by gardens, palms and other tropical trees frequented by monkeys. Rent villa for $1,300/month or both for $1,500. Contact owner Linda: 2670-0779 or 8347-4705.

2-bedroom, 2-bathroom, fully furnished American-style apartments with elevator in a secure building in Barrio Amón. Cable, Internet, 
apartment view
water  included.  Shared laundry.  Convenient to Parque Morazán, hotels, restaurants, casinos, city government, National Registry.  $600 per month plus electric.  $300 security.  No lease. For photos and more information contact: 

montage of thre homes
Beautiful Cottages for rent
Cottages located in the mountains of Los Angeles, San Rafael, Heredia. Surrounded by trees and nature, beautiful gardens. 45 minutes from San José. Bus line service, security. Pets allowed.
    - 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2 balcony, 1 ranch. $900 monthly
          + utilities.
    - 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom. $450 monthly + utilities.
    - 1 bedroom, 1 and 1/2 bathroom, 1 balcony. $500 monthly
         + utilities.
Phone: (506) 8739-0638, (506) 7019-9457, (506) 8993-5801

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.
apartment view
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. 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:   Call us: 506-2221-7161. 

Beautiful cottage in San Rafael, Heredia

 Surrounded by nature.
One or two bedrooms, 1 or 1.5 bathrooms. Bus line service, security. Pets allowed. $450 and $500 monthly. Phone: (506) 7019-9457,  8739-0638, 8993-5801. Or

Heredia cottage

house for rent
$800 plus electric
Two-bedrooms, two-bath house, fully furnished, INCLUDES internet, WiFi, cable TV, water bill. Inside private property, safe and secure. In the country but close to town. Santa Bárbara de Heredia. Email for more info and pictures. Long term. NO DOGS.

Furnished apartment for rent  Available Now!
Impeccable newly remodeled villa in Villas de Cariari for rent day, week or month. Rates from US$85 per day. Utilities, washer and dryer, car parking,  24 hour security, Wi-Fi, close to airport and shopping. Long=term and corporate renters are accepted.
Contact: Chris English/Spanish U.S. phone: 1-804-699-8073
Costa Rica phone : (506) 6145-7003 Email:

Mountain home w/million dollar view near San Ramón
Beautiful home in the mountains near San Ramón with 180-degree view of the gulf of Nicoya. 7 miles from San Ramón, 1 mile from Interamericana highway. 3,200 foot elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 baths, appliances included. High-speed internet installed, Direct TV via sling box on Internet.  Rent per month $750 plus utilities with free internet.  Price for Sale $179,000   Contact Mike:  Check out slide show HERE!

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

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A.M. Costa Rica's   Fifth news page
Builder special

San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, July 21, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 142
Real Estate
About us

U.N. Security Council OKs
lifting sanctions against Iran

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved the Iran nuclear deal Monday, clearing a path to lift crippling economic sanctions against Tehran while restraining it its nuclear development program.

Monday's vote was largely a formality, because all of the Council's five permanent members — the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China — along with Germany, negotiated the deal with Iran. The council ordered its nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, to undertake the necessary verification and monitoring of Iran's nuclear commitments, and it called on Iran to cooperate fully with the agency officials.

Assuming Iran adheres to the nuclear agreement, the approved U.N. resolution calls for an eventual end to seven sets of sanctions passed since 2006 to force Iran to halt what the United Nations and the West contended was an effort to develop a nuclear weapon. Tehran has always said its nuclear program was for peaceful purposes.

The sanctions will be dropped when the U.N. inspectors confirm that Iran's nuclear program is being conducted peacefully.

U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Samantha Powers, praised the council for testing diplomacy, while adding that the deal does not diminish continuing American concerns about Iran. She said those concerns include human rights violations, Iran's support for terrorism and its ballistic missiles program.

Israel’s ambassador to the U.N., Ron Prosor, called the resolution a tragedy.

“Iran will now have $150 billion to fund terrorist groups," he said. How much money will go to Hezbollah and Hamas? How much money will go to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, he asked. "How much money will go to fund worldwide terror activities?”

Germany Monday became the first of the countries that negotiated the pact with Iran to take steps to renew trade with Tehran. Berlin's economic minister, Sigmar Gabriel, visited the Iranian capital, but warned Tehran that Israel's security is of significant importance to Germany. Iran does not recognize the Jewish state and has vowed its destruction.

"With the recent nuclear agreement and the future events, new issues will be raised for Iran and we have developed the bases, both inside and outside the country, to produce security in the Middle East, and I believe it is for the benefit of Iran as well," Gabriel said. "Developing security in the region and securing Israel is of significant importance to us."

With the U.N. resolution approved, the Iranian accord could take effect within 90 days. The next key milestone would come after the atomic energy agency issues a report, expected in December, on the resolution of past and present issues with Iran's nuclear program. That is when Iran would see relief from the sanctions that have hurt its economy.

The U.N. vote comes as U.S. lawmakers begin their own review of the agreement, which President Barack Obama's administration sent to Congress Sunday, setting off a 60-day review period. Lawmakers can choose to approve the deal or reject it and refuse to lift congressionally imposed sanctions against Iran. Obama has said he would veto any rejection, which would then force both the Senate and House to produce a two-thirds majority to override the veto.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Monday that there will be separate classified briefings on Wednesday for House and Senate members, and an open hearing Thursday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has predicted President Obama will have a real challenge getting the pact through a skeptical, Republican-led Congress. McConnell has criticized it as “the best deal acceptable to Iran, rather than one that might actually end Iran’s nuclear program."

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter is on a tour of the Middle East as part of efforts to ease fears about the nuclear deal. Carter began the trip in Israel Sunday and will travel to Saudi Arabia, Iran's main regional rival, as well as Jordan.

Tuesday Carter will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has called the deal a historic mistake that would only make it easier for Iran to back its proxies in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia has officially said it supports the deal, although it is also thought to have similar concerns to Israel's that the agreement will enhance the Shi'ite power’s influence across the Middle East.

“One of the reasons this deal is a good one is that it does nothing to prevent the military option . . . which we are preserving and continually improving,” Carter told reporters en route to Tel Aviv. “But the point of the nuclear deal is to get the result of no Iranian nuclear weapon without carrying out a military strike.”

He said he does not expect to change Israeli officials’ minds about the deal, but said the two countries could “agree to disagree.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry addressed reporters Monday, following a series of high-profile television appearances over the weekend, in which he said the deal likely won't restart U.S. diplomatic relations with Tehran and that he is not planning to visit Tehran.

"I look forward to continuing over the next 60 days to having discussions and testimony and private meetings and whatever form is necessary to help convince the Congress that this deal does exactly what it says it does," he said Monday. The deal prevents the possibility of a nuclear weapon from falling into the hands of another country while simultaneously opening up the opportunity for the United States to, at this moment in time, put to test the verification measures and all of those things that Iran has agreed to, rather than choosing today to force the potential of a conflict almost immediately, which is exactly what would happen if the Congress does not accept this agreement, he said.

Kerry made the statement during a news conference with Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla at the State Department.

Saturday, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei commented the deal does not signal cooperation with the United States and its allies on other issues, triggering a stern response from Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.

"If anyone thought that the sweeping concessions for Iran would bring about a change in its policy, they have received a decisive answer over the weekend . . . ," Netanyahu said Sunday during a weekly Cabinet meeting. "The Iranians don't even make an effort to hide the fact that they will use the hundreds of billions of dollars they will receive in this deal to arm their terror machine."

In an interview that aired Sunday, British Prime Minister David Cameron said he isn't idealistic about what the deal means for diplomatic relations with Iran.

"We shouldn't be naive or starry-eyed in any way about the regime that we are dealing with. I am certainly not," he told NBC's Meet the Press. "I spoke to President Rouhani yesterday and said we want to see a change in approach that Iran takes to issues like Syria and Yemen and to terrorism in the region, and we want the change in behavior that should follow from that change. So we are not starry-eyed at all, and I would reassure our Gulf allies about that, but actually taking the nuclear weapon issue off the table, that is a success."

Paul Wachtel, an economics professor at New York University, said that long-standing U.S. sanctions and the more recent U.N. restrictions severely hampered Tehran's economy, pushing it into a deep recession. He said Iran's economy could recover within two or three years of the lifting of the sanctions. But Wachtel said questions remain about what Tehran might do with its windfall of cash, as frozen bank accounts are unlocked at the same time the country boosts its oil exports.

"It is enough money to make a lot of trouble" in the Mideast through support of insurgencies Iran favors, Wachtel said. "As the sanctions are moved, to what extent is it interested in trading with the rest of the world?  Which they do, I have no idea."

Iran deal and Cuban embassy
get mixed reviews in D.C.

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A momentous day in U.S. diplomacy is being lauded and condemned by American lawmakers, as Washington and Havana reopened embassies and the United Nations gave its blessing to a landmark nuclear accord with Iran.
Sen. Richard Durbin, a Democrat, tweeted: “Opening our embassy in Havana will begin to open #Cuba to the value of our democracy … The power of ideas and the force of an open economy and an open society will succeed #Cuba.”
Cuban-American Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican, said he saw nothing to celebrate.
“History will remember July 20, 2015, as Obama’s Capitulation Monday, the day two sworn enemies of the United States were able to out-maneuver President Obama to secure historic concessions,” Rubio said in a statement. “Monday’s events at the U.N., Washington and Havana leave no doubt that we have entered the most dangerous phase of the Obama presidency in which the president is flat-out abandoning America’s vital national security interests to cozy up to the world’s most reprehensible regimes.”
“July 20th will be a powerfully symbolic day for the Obama-Clinton foreign policy legacy, which will be remembered as a dark time in American history when the mullahs in Iran and the thugs in Havana celebrated at America’s expense,” Rubio added.

Fellow-Republican senator and 2016 presidential contender Lindsey Graham focused his comments on the accord with Iran.
“The Iranian deal may be good enough for the United Nations but it's a terrible deal for the United States,” said Graham in a statement. “Taking it to the U.N. before Congress reviews it is an affront to the American people and further evidence of a weak president trying to sell a bad deal. Congress is not bound by today’s U.N. decision. I look forward to a full and complete debate in the coming weeks.”

Separately,  a bipartisan group of 60 former cabinet secretaries, national security advisors, military leaders, ambassadors and other senior national security leaders welcomed the Iran deal as “a landmark agreement unprecedented in its importance for preventing the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Iran.

The group, which includes former secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former secretary of Defense William Perry urged “members of Congress to be closely involved in the oversight, monitoring and enforcement of this agreement.”

Congressional backers of President Barack Obama’s diplomatic efforts were mostly silent initially on the U.N. vote, but not so on the official restoration of diplomatic ties between the United States and Cuba.
“This evolution in our relationship with 11 million people 90 miles off of our shore was long overdue,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat. “It is now time to not only open our own fully equipped and staffed embassy in Havana, but to lift the trade embargo once and for all.”
Another Democrat, Sen. Patrick Leahy, echoed the sentiment. “We will now have our best diplomats in Havana representing the American people,” Leahy said.

“If we only had embassies in countries whose governments we agree with we would have to close half of our current embassies.  That is not why you have embassies.  It is to protect the interests of the United States and of American citizens and to defend our ideals around the world,” said Leahy.

Reaction did not fall strictly along partisan lines. Sen. Jeff Flake, a Republican, welcomed closer U.S. ties with Havana.  “Cuban flag is raised over Cuban Embassy. Good day for Cubans and Americans,” Flake tweeted.

Scientists try to replicate
Earth's magnetic field

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Most persons hardly ever think about the Earth's magnetic field. Some might be aware that it helps guide birds as they migrate and ensures that compasses point north, but not realize that it is one of the crucial components that make life on Earth possible. Yet, the processes in the Earth’s core that create the magnetic field are poorly understood.

At a lab of University of Maryland, scientists are trying to replicate the conditions that reign 3,000 kilometers below ground.

Deep inside our planet, a 3,400 kilometer-wide sphere of molten iron and nickel, with a smaller solid iron ball at its center, creates the electric currents responsible for Earth’s magnetic field.

The most immediate benefit is its role in navigation.

But there’s more, says a University of Maryland physics professor, Daniel Lathrop.

“It’s an important part of what makes the Earth a habitable planet because it shields us from a lot of the worst radiation from the sun,” he said.

Evidence shows that the Earth’s magnetic field is not stationary. It wanders around and sometimes even ventures far away.

“We do know the Earth’s magnetic field has reversed north-south hundreds of times in Earth’s history," said Lathrop. "Of course, the spin of the Earth stays the same, but where the magnetic pole is . . . moves and has actually reversed.”

In their laboratory, funded by the National Science Foundation, Lathrop and his team are trying to find out how and why that happens.

Spinning a ball of molten iron being somewhat impractical, researchers built a suitable substitute: a 3-meter wide spinning steel ball filled with 12.5 tons of sodium, a soft metal that melts at just under 100 degrees Celsius.

A 1-meter-wide inner non-magnetic steel sphere substitutes for the solid core. Both can be rotated independently.

Spinning them slowly has not created the so-called dynamo effect, thought to be responsible for creating magnetic fields.

“We only see them when we impose small magnetic fields from the outside. But imposing small magnetic fields from outside we get a factor of 10 larger magnetic fields induced by the flow. We get large gain without the so-called dynamo. Now we’re aiming to go full speed,” said Lathrop.

Will these experiments prepare humans for the possible reversal of the Earth’s magnetic field? Lathrop says it is difficult to predict changes that happen over thousands of years.

“One second of operation of the experiment models 5,000 years of evolution of the magnetic field. So the goal is to take data from the experiment to do mock predictions and then you can improve the predictions,” he said.

Lathrop notes that the intensity of the planet’s magnetic field has dropped about 10 percent in the last 170 years, so the reversal process may have already started.

Fortunately, the change is too slow to affect normal lives.

McCain admonishes Trump
and urged him to apologize

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. Sen. John McCain, a decorated military veteran and former prisoner of war, has called on Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to apologize for belittling the wartime suffering of captive U.S. troops.

McCain, who spent more than five years as a prisoner during the Vietnam War, spoke on U.S. television Monday during a campaign appearance, two days after Trump publicly mocked his military record.

Trump said of the former captive: "he's not a war hero. He is a war hero  because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured."

McCain told MSNBC television Monday that he is not seeking a personal apology. But he suggested that billionaire Trump publicly tell American veterans and their families that he is sorry.

"I think he may owe an apology to the families of those who have sacrificed in conflict and those who have undergone the prison experience in serving their country," McCain said. ". . .  To denigrate that service, I think, is offensive to most veterans."

For his part, Trump has shown little public remorse. He said Monday his comments were taken out of context by his political rivals, as he sought to reframe his controversial remarks.

Speaking by phone Monday to NBC, he acknowledged McCain's bravery. "But we don't talk about people who weren't captured, and that's what I was trying to refer to."

Trump's comments in the state of Iowa Saturday triggered a firestorm of criticism among some high-profile veterans and the nine other Republican candidates seeking their party's presidential nomination.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, a Democrat who also served in Vietnam, described McCain Sunday as "a hero, a man of grit and guts and character . . . who endured unspeakable acts of torture" during his confinement.

Leading Republican presidential contender Jeb Bush also condemned Trump's remarks, saying "enough is enough with the slanderous attacks." Other Republicans called for Trump's withdrawal from the campaign, saying he is unfit to be president.

Democrat frontrunner Hillary Clinton also criticized Trump. But she also accused Republican hopefuls of being slow to repudiate Trump for other controversial remarks about Mexican migrants.

Trump recently called some such migrants rapists and said some of them are bringing drugs and other criminal activity to U.S. soil.

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Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

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Photo montage of penthouse
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Mafi Real Estate: Houses, lots and farms in Costa Rica
If you do not find, what are you looking for, contact us
WE HAVE A NETWORK OF OVER 500 brokers across the country to get what you are looking for.
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Costa Rica,

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

Visit our Web Site:

English calls: (Cristian Arce) Phone: 
(506) 2494-0016 
(506) 8309-0173
English calls :  (Luis David) Phone: 
(506) 6154-1940 

Español calls: (Luis G. Jiménez)  Phone:   
(506) 8707-4016
Grecia one
Big house for sale.
Great opportunity !!!

If you know about house for sale prices,  you will realize that this is a real deal.  Original price of  $400,000 now is $320,000.
Due to its characteristics and location, it can also be used for commercial purposes (boutique hotel, offices, medical center).  Large house, 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, one office, just 250 meters from Grecia downtown. High quality construction, built in 2009, high ceilings, balcony with beautiful views over central Grecia valley, elegant luxury furnitures included, network cabling 6 gigabits throughout the house, Giant TV flat projection system of 120 inches in the main room, sound system 7.1 channel. Air conditioning system, security system, and cameras, lighting system in open areas. 4-car parking space plus large garage, Recommended for large families.

Property Location: Central Grecia, Alajuela
Total area construction (two floors):
252 square meters
Total area: 250 square meters
Construction Type: Concrete
See more photos click HERE!

Grecias two
  Send us your request to our email:

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 4030-5480 or 8339-2112.

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The experts in buying property in Costa Rica, with more than 20 years experience and the largest networked team of agents in the country.  We can help you learn if investing in Costa Rica is right for you with our low-key, educational approach to sales. Our professional agents can tell you more about Costa Rica properties, including condos, homes, lots and commercial real estate.  Call us: Ocean Surf and Sun Int. Realty Ldta at 011 (506) 2653-0073 or send us an email at:

Real estate for sale (paid category)

San Rafael
Charming land for sale
Located in  in the mountains of Los Angeles, San Rafael, Heredia. Surrounded by trees and nature, beautiful gardens, and a small river.
Bus line service, security, 45 minutes from San José. Land with 3 houses (cottage type). The lot measures around 6.000 M2.
Sale by the owners, Offered at $750,000 USD. 
Phone: (506) 8739-0638, (506) 7019-9457, (506) 8993-5801,

Ringle resort
on one big lot in Esterillos Oeste, (Central Pacific)
Located on a breezy hill just 4 minutes walk to the beach, surf and tide-pools, only 20 minutes drive north to Jacó nightlife and shopping or south to the rural town of Parrita.

First, a 2-storey, 2-bedroom (sleeps 4), 1½-bathroom house with big kitchen and living room.  Full-width verandah with eating and sitting areas, overlooking lawn, pool and gazebo. Sitting balcony at upper, bedroom level.  Carport. and laundry. 

Second, a completely private single-storey. 2-bedroom (sleeps 4), 1-bathroom home with big back yard at a lower level on the same, big fully titled 1,100M2 lot.. Full security bars at all doors and windows, plus locking vehicle access and pedestrian gates at the street. In a very safe neighborhood, with private and natural surroundings

Well maintained, fully and tastefully furnished and equipped, hot water, local phone, cable TV/DVD and high speed wireless internet   The houses have been rented for both long-term and vacation for $100/$80 per day and $1,500/$1,200 per month respectively. See this place, you will love it! Then make an offer. E-mail or call (506) 8386-8825.  Rodney, asking $350,000.

Coffee farm
Organic coffee farm for sale
34,000 meters square zoned ARC. 130 meters paved road frontage. City water and irrigation runes through property. Year round spring. Bananas and many fruit trees on property. Approx. 1.5K from Sarchí Center, 40K from airport. Plans and permits ready for 2-bedroom house. Proposed subdivision plans are also included. @$15US per meter for total $510,000. Email or

Highway Restaurant & Bar
Golfito, Costa Rica’s paradise. About 5 acre, choice property on the highway. Ideal to build a drive-in restaurant and home. Asking Only $65,000.00 Agents inquiries welcome. Call Jens: 2775-0225 or

San Ramon
Mountain home w/million dollar view near San Ramón
Beautiful home in the mountains near San Ramón with 180-degree view of the gulf of Nicoya. 7 miles from San Ramón, 1 mile from Interamericana highway. 3,200 foot elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, appliances included. High-speed internet installed, Price for sale $179,000    Contact Mike:   Check out slide show HERE!

Goetl in Palo Seco

Charming small oceanfront hotel for sale in Playa Palo Seco
Ideal oceanfront location with back up to a mangrove estuary. The
charming small hotel has a fully equipped kitchen, bar and restaurant and is exceptionnally well maintained. Located on a very private beach of the central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica 35 minutes north of Quepos-Manuel Antonio and 45 minutes south of  Playa Jacó. The main building is a two-storey house with 12 bedrooms. The lot measures 3,054 M2. Beautiful gardens around the large pool and exceptional flora and fauna. Well mentioned in tourist guides like Lonely Planet and Guide Ulysse. Offered at $1,250,000. USD
or call (506) 8707-1037  (506) 2778-8408

A beautiful American style suburban home just reduced.

A beautiful American style suburban home, 2,700 sq ft of living space with 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, front and rear living rooms, laundry area, kitchen and small attached library nook, arched windows and doors and connected hallways, exotic wood interior ceilings and trim, tile floors thru-out.  The lot is 835 m2 with mature landscape and orchid nurseries surrounding the house. There is an enclosed workshop and BBQ area in the back yard with lots of storage under roof, plus a nursery for an herb/vegetable garden.  This is a very well-kept property with many upgrades, a private feel but yet only 5 minutes from the center of town.  Pérez Zeledón is the commercial hub of the southern zone and considered to be one of the best places to live in all of Costa Rica, the perfect size town, not too big and not too small.  The beach is 45 minutes to the west and a short drive to the cool mountains is to the east. In between, this large valley has a moderate climate.  Pérez has plenty of modern goods and services, an excellent farmers market, private schools, private doctors and clinics, all you need without having to go to the crazy madness of San José.    Just reduced to $239,000.  Call  Jeff: 8824-8113 or 8725-8176.  Email:

Aerial Ocean and Volcano Views with Boutique Coffee! 33 Acres $725,000. Click HERE!

San Ramon rollover
Three-bedroom home with view near San Ramón
Beautiful house in magical setting in the hills above San Ramón in Costa Rica can be yours for $179,500! House was built 10 years ago with soaring 16-foot ceilings.  Enclosed area is 1,200 square feet with 3 bedrooms and 2 full bathrooms, large kitchen, and utility room.  It is located at 4,000 feet with typical temperatures ranging between 75 and the low 80s during the day and the low to mid-60s at night.  The house is offered fully furnished, including all appliances (nearly new energy-efficient Samsung refrigerator). The front of the house features a large covered veranda (another 500 square feet), with a barbecue and outdoor patio furniture to seat 8, and hooks for a hammock. There are many tropical plants, flowers, and trees are on the half-acre property.  Set on the far western edge of the Central Valley in a small, pastoral community, it's only 10 minutes to San Ramón and its many small stores, restaurants, museums, a branch campus of the University of Costa Rica, and a weekly farmers' market.
See additional pictures at
Phone: (506) 7009-0364

For sale 5,200 m2 Escazú
Fantastic location for condo, hotel, restaurant.
Large lower lot, incredible views. Flexible zoning.
Easy to get liquor license. Low interest financing.
Toll free US phone 877-778-8515
In Costa Rica 8307-0164

private ranch home
Small private ranch for sale
This exceptional private ranch sits on a 9+ hectare lot and supports 15-20 horses. Only 2 hours south of San José, on the road to Puriscal. Roomy stalls all with drains, water hookup, lights and fans, grooming and shoeing área. Two-story house all furnished and cowboy house. Don't miss your chance on that turnkey operation.  Offered at $889,000.
E-mail:  or call (506) 8707-1037 
(506) 2778-8408 Web:

For sale: Titled beachfront lot 1/2 acre (1,750m2) near Jacó $89,000. Just one hour drive from San José.
Panoramic ocean view lot 1.25 acres (5,000m2) 25 minutes from Tamarindo  $25,000.
Panoramic ocean view lot  5,400 sq. ft. (500m2)  $6,500. Financing available.
For rent two-bedroom house  five minute walk to water $350 a month.
Call 6261-7932 Or email See this Web site:

Shangra la
Located in Jacó in the best and safest location possible, 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 birds and other animals. 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, Beautiful gardens with many fruit trees. Built in year 2005 to highest standard by German owner now 69 years old, who wants to downgrade. Room for two more apartments, plans approved. Only 6 minutes walk to the beach and or center of Jacó.  Price reduced for quick sale to $1,150.000 and still negotiable. All fittings and furniture included. Excellent quality and well maintained. Just upgraded and remodeled for $ 30,000. Owner financing available.  More photos on request HERE! Email:  Cell 8838-2081 or home 2643-2979.

ARenal property
Location: Near Arenal        Price: $2.7 million
Size: 113 acres
Web site:

The farm is at the highest point on a stunning ridge bordered by pristine Costa Rican primary forest on all sides of the property, with active wildlife all throughout the area. On each of its gently rolling terraced lomas you get a glimpse of Volcán Arenal from a distance. This property has four different lagunas, a working organic farm and nursery, mature fruit trees, sheep corral, ideal for grazing horses with stunning views from all the hillsides. The Northern Zone of Costa Rica is the country's best kept secret, providing a perfect home base location to travel the country's many destinations while still maintaining the best climate at 400 meters above sea level.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, July 21, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 142
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Developing world's debt a concern

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Anti-austerity protests turned violent this week as Greece battles a debt crisis that has crippled the economy.

Athens may be in the headlines, but campaigners say the potential is building for full-blown debt crises in many parts of the developing world.

“There’s a huge boom in lending happening, especially in some of the most impoverished countries in the world," said Tim Jones of the Jubilee Debt Campaign, a movement advocating debt cancellation and alleviation of poverty. "So we’re worried that unless action is taken, they could end up in new debt crises again.”

Among the 20 countries described as most vulnerable to a debt crisis is Mozambique.

“Its economy has been booming massively," Jones said. "It’s had huge amounts of lending to the country, but actually poverty is increasing at the same time, and inequality is increasing. So the loans are not necessarily helping in tackling the problems of the country.”

The Jubilee Debt Campaign said the total amount owed by debtor countries is due to hit $14.7 trillion this year, a 30 percent rise in four years. The group said 20 nations are already mired in debt crises, with many more vulnerable to economic turbulence.

It’s all tied to the recent financial crisis, said Judith Tyson of the Overseas Development Institute, speaking from Greece.

“We’ve really seen a surge of debt being issued because of the search for yield, which is where investors in primarily Europe and the United States are looking for new investments because of the very low interest rates in our economies," she said. "And one of the places they’ve invested large amounts of money is in sovereign debt in developing countries.”

Other countries, particularly in Latin America, have been burdened with high debts for decades, Jones said.

“If we take Jamaica, their debt crisis first began in the 1970s," he said. "And actually since the 1990s they’ve had huge government surpluses, but the debt has remained because the interest is just so high, and the economy has been depressed in the attempt to pay these debts. And it just shows you can’t get out of a debt crisis by making cuts.”

That is the argument put forward by the Greek government. But Europe, led by Germany, insists spending cuts and reforms are the only way to revive the economy.

For indebted developing countries there are additional risks.

“The debts are all owed in foreign currencies, like the dollar or the euro," Jones said. "And so when a country has a currency devaluation, then the debt payments shoot up.”

As the debts grow, so do the risks. “It’s certainly very high-risk investments of the sort where we could see significant losses in the future,” Tyson said.

Campaigners are calling for much tighter regulation of lending and debt write-offs for those countries already in crisis.

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From Page 7:

Biomedical research seen as a potential boom

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Medical tourism is likely to become more than dental implants and nose jobs because the president has signed a decree endorsing regulations for biomedical research here.

Currently, said Casa Presidencial, there are 120 experiments and 230 studies being done in the country. Officials expect that the decree will result in many more.

A 2014 law covers biomedical research, but the regulations had not been produced.

The law creates a Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones en Salud to oversee such research and an ethics committee.

Officials note that Costa Rica has a health population that would be appropriate for medical research, and the various agencies that promote the country said they will take steps to capitalize on this facts.