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(506) 2223-1327                           Published Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014, in Vol. 14, No. 158                       Email us
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Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Sgruidad Púbica photo
These are some of the firearms that have come into police hands. The long guns are elsewhere

The citizenry here appears to be well-armed
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Just how many firearms are on the street?

From the daily activities of the police, the answer has to be a bunch. Fuerza Pública officers confiscated four over the weekend. And that does not include weapons other agencies turn up when they make drug raids or other arrests.

Who would even think of running a drug operation without some heavy duty firearms nearby?

In addition there were about a dozen shootings, some fatal, over the weekend.

With the change in the legislature, former president Laura Chinchilla's restrictive firearms bill appears to be dead. Many felt that her approach of taking weapons from the law abiding was not the correct one.

Typically when an individual is caught carrying a firearm on the streets police take the weapons. They have a large collection at any one time. Periodically the firearms are cut up in a made-for-television publicity event under the auspices of the United Nations. There seems to be only a few court cases generated by the confiscations.

Despite police action, the flow of firearms is not diminished. One firearm confiscated from a man in front of a bar in La Unión, Cartago, over the weekend had been stolen from a security company several days earlier.
Guards are easy targets, too, and most carry firearms. Only the most uncreative crook has to resort to making his own weapon. They tape together a couple of steel tubes that are about 12-gauge diameter. One weapon confiscated last month could only be fired by pulling a string.

Not every person with a firearm is a crook. In rural areas, police frequently encounter hunters and take their weapons. Plenty of expats have unregistered pistols or shotguns close at hand in their homes. Sometimes they are caught.

The complexities of the country's firearms laws were highlighted last week when the public watchdog declared that all police officers were carrying weapons illegally. The report came from the Contraloría General de la República. The reasons were technical, but the weapons still were being carried illegally, the report said.

Police officials had been certifying their own officers instead of sending them through the lengthy process citizens and residents must face.  In addition, the police were being certified to carry a firearm for four years instead of the legal limit of two.

Among those detained over the weekend were three men who are believed to have been involved in a shooting spree on Avenida Primera around Calle 9.

Police caught them near the Caribbean bus station, but it appears they had ditched the weapon. All police found was a .25-caliber magazine.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 158

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Professional Directory
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.

Lucinda Gray, Ph.D.
California Licensed Psychologist
International Practice via the Web
Lucinda Gray
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   •  Anxiety
   •  Relationship Issues
   •  New World Meditation
           Training & Support
U.S. Phone: 310-827-4241
Costa Rica: (506) 2228-2041


U.S. Tax International
U.S. Tax rollover
Plus Costa Rican taxes, accounting, and legal services
Over 15 years in Costa Rica
(English Spoken)

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  U.S 786-206-9473
FAX: 2231-3300


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US Income Tax,  US GAAP Accounting
& Business Consulting

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• Associate of David Housman

Telephone 8305-3149 or 2256-8620

Legal services

Lic.Gregory Kearney Lawson.
Attorneys at Law and real estate brokers
Relocation services, Wedding Planning
Greg Kearney
*Investments  *Corporations
*Tax Shelters *Immigration
*Real Estate Sales in Costa Rica
*Name & Product registration
*Business procedures 
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*Locate People   *Private Investigations
Phone: 7157-9092

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Remodelling and Construction


Are you looking to buy property in Costa Rica. I am a professional builder with over 30 years experience in the remodel and construction business in the U.S. and C.R. I can inspect any building new or old meticulously and fix, remodel, do additions, whatever it needs or you want to add. I am very knowledgeable of all phases of construction and my rates are competitive.  Fully bilingual. Rainy season discounts. Contact:  Rodolfo Jimenez, Phone (506) 7129-3622  or (506) 8802-2176  Email :  
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Architecture-Real Estate-Development

At Architect Orange we are inspired by the visions of each of our clients, and have worked diligently to embody those visions in our work.

We have locations in Atenas (servicing Central Valley/Beach areas)
Arenal (servicing Guanacaste/Nicoya Peninsula)

Contact Information:
 (506) 2694-4712
Arenal office located at Agua Inn Spa


Real estate agents and services

CR Beach
Jaco Beach Central Pacific Real Estate
CR Beach Investment Real Estate Broker-Owner
Jeff Fisher invites you to see why this 20-year resident of Costa Rica believes the Central Pacific areas of Jacó Beach-Playa Hermosa-Los Suenos Marina & Golf and Esterillos-Bejuco Beaches are the best place to live and invest.
Reason #1:  SJO Int’l Airport and S.J. suburbs are little more than one hour away.
#2: Jaco has everything you need, from tourist attractions to government offices.
#3: Amazingly, it’s still a BUYERS’ MARKET and our “brutally honest” agents will help you find your perfect property-
See why Jeff and Colin Miller (12 years here), Frances Winborne (more than 23 years), and Junior Diaz (Jacó born & bred) chose the Central Pacific!

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Colinas del Sol is a fenced and gated project  in a quiet area. There are 88 clear titled lots, some in mountain areas with great views and the rest on gently sloping level areas ideal for hobby farms, gardening, fruit tree orchards, or just a quiet place to get away from the busy city and beach crowds.  All lots have gravel roads to them, water and electricity at each lot, and all lots are 5,000 sq. meters or larger, starting at only $35,000, and many can be combined for those wanting a larger area for their chosen passion be it a hobby horse farm or retirement haven.
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and 20 minutes to Liberia airport.
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Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía         
y Seguridad Pública/Alonso Alvarez         
Officer with the tax department inspects the load

Tax police intercept big load of cigarettes

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Someone tried to smuggle a bright orange container filled with out-of-date cigarettes into Costa Rica. The effort was not successful.

The nation's tax police and several other agencies became involved when a routine inspection showed that import duties had not been paid on the 200,000 cartons of cigarettes. Police estimated the value at $600,000.

The container appears to have done a lot of traveling. The cigarettes are of the Hobby brand and were made in Paraguay.

The security ministry said that the container was in Honduras and then went to Houston, Texas, before ending up on the Muelle Alemán in Limón. Officials have placed the container under guard. They noted that the cartons show a February expiration date.

Lawmaker seeks legal medical marijuana

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Medicinal marijuana in Costa Rica may not be far from becoming a reality. Through a proposal for a law, legislator Marvin Atencio Delgado said Monday he hopes the country would consider passing reform that could legalize the drug.

The new proposal suggests that the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social start distributing marijuana to prescribed patients of certain ailments. Atencio, a representative of Partido Acción Ciudadana, said legalizing the drug could present benefits to sick Costa Ricans.

“Numerous scientific studies have demonstrated cannabis' potential to treat diseases like AIDS, cancer, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis,” Atencio said. “For the health of thousands of potential patients, it's necessary to have a law that adequately regulates the medicinal production of the plant.”

The proposal includes the potential creation of a medical marijuana regulatory board under the Caja, called the Instituto de Investigaciones, Regulación y Control de la Cannabis y el Cáñamo. This institute would be in charge of cultivating the marijuana, as well as making sure its tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient known as THC, levels are kept at a low and stable level.

According to the proposal, the institute would file prescription licenses so patients can receive the medicinal marijuana at regulated dispensaries. The Caja would also be charged with distributing marijuana to those with prescriptions.

“One of the emphases for this proposal is the creation of conditions that will investigate the qualities of cannabis used for medicine,” Atencio said. “Costa Rica will be one of the only countries in the world that has a standard and appropriate infrastructure.

For a Costa Rican government that remains in debt, the financial positives that come from taxing medical marijuana are hard to ignore. The proposal calls for a 7 percent tax from any businesses or entities that participate in the medicinal trade. These profits would then go to public institutions like the Caja, the Universidad de Costa Rica, the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes, and the Instituto sobre Alcoholismo y Farmacodependencia.

At the beginning of this year, Colorado made marijuana legal for recreational purposes. According to the Colorado Department of Revenue, the Centennial State raked in more than $6.5 million worth of taxes, licenses, and fees in the month of June alone. Since January, Colorado has received $29.8 million total in related taxes.

Defense exercise involves Panama Canal

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The U. S. Southern Command is again sponsoring the Panama Canal defense exercise event known as Panamax. Seventeen countries, including Costa Rica, are taking part in the training that is taking place across the U.S., including military bases in Jacksonville, Florida, Tuscon, Arizona, and San Antonio, Texas.

This annual event focuses on the multinational effort to keep the Panama Canal secure. Three Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas staffers and the public relations head of the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública are representing Costa Rica.

Exercises consist of various simulations through air, sea, land, and the Internet that respond to hypothetical threats of violence, natural disasters, and other widespread emergencies involving Panamá and Central America. Costa Rican officials are focused on two key areas through their neighboring role with Panamá and through communication infrastructure that would allow intervention from outside nations in case of a disaster.

The Panama Canal is considered one of the most important infrastructures in the world in terms of economics. Six percent of the world's trade passes through the canal each year, according to a report from the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública.

This also happens to be the centennial year for the canal, which was first used on Aug. 15, 1914.

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A.M. Costa Rica

Third News Page
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 158
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Consejo Nacional de Vialidad photo
A contractor for the nation's highway agency is about 50 percent finished with this retention wall on Ruta 118 in Poás de Alajuela. This is a 130 million-colon project, some $238,500. The wall will
be nearly 200 feet long and 37 feet deep. The work is expected to be done by the end of the month and protect any slippage from the road above.

Shopping for Mom is fraught with many pitfalls, ministry finds
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Not even a mother could be proud of a family member who gets swindled on apparent deals. That's why, as Costa Rica's version of Mother's Day this Friday nears, the Ministerio de Economía Industria y Comercio released a consumer protection report warning of false advertising or overpriced promotions for the holiday.

The report, which surveyed 132 stores in San José, Alajuela, and Heredia, found reporting errors in nearly a third of the establishments. Most errors came from not revealing the previous price of a sale item. Another irregularity found by the ministry was having deals only available through cash payments.

Importadora Monge, the Costa Rican electronics and home supply firm, was found to have incorrectly calculated the annual interest rate by 16 percent on a refrigerator. The ministry gave the company a  warning that it had 10 days to fix the error and also sent the complaint to the country's consumer commission.

Of the 37 stores that were found to have not complied with consumer regulations, 12 are located in Mall San Pedro and seven
on Avenida Segunda in the center of San José. The report said a second field study will take place to confirm that such stores have corrected these problems.

In addition, the study analyzed ads in local newspapers and found that 42 percent of those reviewed had misleading promotions for Mother's Day, including those that didn't put in an explicit expiration date for the limited deal or didn't elaborate on stated restrictions.

In all, 57 warnings were handed out for both in-store and advertising consumer compliance failures. The study released Monday was carried out between July 29 and Aug. 4.

Vice minister Geaninna Dinarte, who authored the report, said this information is crucial for shopper's who should do their homework before getting mom's gift.

“In dealing with financial information, the consumer's effort to achieve clarity and understanding should be better,” Ms. Dinarte said. “And companies are called on to advise and provide their clients with clear and sufficient information, not only before credit transaction but also throughout the whole shopping process.”

Specialists study situation on Ruta 27 where rocks fell Sunday
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

More rocks and debris fell from a roadside cliff onto Ruta 27, the Caldera highway, Sunday. That prompted a study Monday by a firm that has expertise in geological situations.

The highway at Kilometer 46 at a spot known as Dantas was not closed but one lane was blocked by the rock and dirt.

This is a continual problem with the highway as well as Ruta 32
north of San José. Rains loosen the rocks which then threaten motorists.

The Consejo Nacional de Concesiones estimated the debris at eight cubic meters. That is about 10.5 cubic yards.

The Consejo said that the roadway is monitored continually.

The highway experienced extensive trouble with falling rocks when it first opened. There even was the death of a woman who was hit by rocks while a passenger on a motorcycle.

DelRey nightlife

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 158
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Norms exist to keep wooden packaging materials from carrying pests
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

There are plenty of important jobs that are usually hidden from the eyes of the public. One such job is keeping exports free of pests and diseases that might thrive in a foreign country. That is the job of the Servicio Fitosanitario del Estado.

Most individuals would not think to look at the wooden packaging of products for dangerous insects or diseases. But the wood used to protect exported goods can carry all kinds of pests that would not be welcome on a foreign shore. There are international norms that specify how to handle such material.

Costa Rica ships a lot of ornamental plants and cable on wooden spools. Well out of the sight of the public, exporters use thermal treatment to eliminate any pests that might be in the wood.

There are 77 ovens designed for this purpose that handle the production of 83 companies, said the Servicio Fitosanitario del Estado.

The packaging materials undergo temperatures of at least 56 degrees C (139 F) for at least 30 minutes, the service noted in a summary of its work. Only then does the pallet or other wooden packaging device get a certification mark. Other countries use chemicals for the same purposes.
Servicio Fitosanitario del Estado photo
Soon these pallets will be in the oven.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

Will Costa Rica Retirement Work For You?
Find out for yourself on Live In Costa Rica Tours

When you visit Costa Rica, you'll want to discover what you need to know to  make the right choice about moving to this tropical paradise.  Our familiarization tours have won hard-earned credentials that prove general excellence and the right focus.  These are the only retirement tours that are licensed and approved by the Costa Rican government and tourism institute  (ICT). In 2006 we were featured on the NBC Today Show and World News.  In 2010, we won the  prestigious Latin America-Asia Travel Excellence Award for the Best and Most Unique Tour in Latin America.

   * Discover how to make the right choices about moving here
   * Find out how to live affordably
   * See how other expats live. Meet other expats who have made
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          relevant fields.
   * Tours led by Christopher Howard, 34-year resident, citizen,
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Click HERE  to learn all about our Association of Residents (ARCR)  approved tours at

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

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:   
Gallery hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tel. 2667-0592 / 8386-6872; U.S. telephone 702-953-7073. International shipping available.

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The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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oranic farm
$800 plus utilities, 2-bedroom, 2-bath house, fully furnished, Internet included, cable TV available. Inside organic farm, safe and secure. In the country but close to town. Santa Barbara de Heredia,  Email for more info and pictures. Long term, NO DOGS.

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.

eredia home
Beautiful house for rent in Heredia
On a large property surrounded by fruit trees and garden and on bus line. Fully furnished, complete laundry room, two bedrooms, plus extra room for office.  Security, electric gate,  Internet available.  Located in Monte de la Cruz, San Rafael de Heredia. $500 monthly.  Call Leda (506) 2267-6306   Email

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.

HP Cattle rentals
Mountain homes or farm for rent
Barva volcano, Heredia province
We offer for rent a gorgeous two-bedroom mountain chalet and a one-bedroom mountain home located on the slopes of the Barva Volcano, Heredia Province. The homes are situated at 7,300 feet altitude and within a working horse ranch just three kilometers from the Braulio Carrillo National Park entrance. From our homes one can hike to the Barva volcano crater-lake.  Enjoy a spacious living room, kitchen, fireplace and breathtaking views of the Irazú volcano and the Central Valley. Observe dozens of cloud forest bird species to include the resplendent quetzal.  The homes are incomparable in beauty and attention to detail within the Barva highland area.  We are only 35-55 minutes from Costa Rica’s three principal cities (Heredia, Alajuela, and San José), less than two hours from the central Pacific beaches, and three hours from the Caribbean beaches. Enjoy the tranquility of the mountains while maintaining quick access to the conveniences of the city and rapid access to other eco-tourist destinations in Costa Rica. Additionally, we can board your horses at a reasonable fee.  We can also offer our clients rental of a small and fully functional farm complete with stables, pasture, and office space.
Mountain chalet: $750.  Basic mountain home: $400.
Boutique mountain home: One-bedroom $850. Two-bedroom $1,000.
Small Farm that includes a chalet, basic mountain home, stables, and 8,000m2 of pasture/green areas: $1,500.

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

Beautiful 2-bedroom 2-bathroom American-style apartments with an elevator to your front door in a secure building located in Gringo Gulch the American Section of downtown San José. Costa Rica. Located between the Hotel Del Rey, the Hotel Mona Lisa and the Sportsman's Lodge and The Zona Blue (AKA) Little Habana across the street from Harry's Poas Bar, and next to the Holiday Inn.
apartment view
 There are 15 restaurants and American- style bars on this block and four supermarkets within a few blocks. There are 5 casinos within 2 blocks and dozens of hotels around this apartment. Included in your rental price, fast Internet, the best they have in Costa Rica, cable TV with 80 stations, water, washer
 and dryer. All you pay extra for is electricity. You have your own meter and receive a bill from the electric company every month.  This apartment has a American-style hot water system, hot water in both bathrooms and the kitchen. There is a 25-foot balcony to sit on and watch the people in San José walk by. The neighborhood Barrio Amón is the safest in San José For photos and more information contact:

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A.M. Costa Rica's   Fifth news page

cat trees
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 158
Real Estate
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Peace Corps volunteers post
their memories of their work

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Since 1961, hundreds of thousands of young Americans have been sent around the world as Peace Corps volunteers: teachers, community organizers and friends. The program was the brainchild of president John F. Kennedy, but the youthful enthusiasm of the volunteers really was what brought this idea to life.

Those volunteers come back from the experience with a wealth of memories and photos. More than two dozen of those images are now on display at Round Hill Arts Center, a non-profit art organization in Virginia.

"Bringing The World Home" showcases photographs submitted by Peace Corps volunteers who served in Africa and Latin America from 1971 to 1991.

Jill Evans-Kavaldjian, spokeswoman for the Art Center, said some of the volunteers attended the show's opening and shared their stories with the public, especially youngsters, who had a lot of questions for the Peace Corps veterans.

“For example, how they got their water? How they lived from day-to-day? And the pictures are part of the answer," she said.

The poster the Round Hill Arts Center printed to publicize the show features a photograph of two little girls in a window. It was taken in 1991 by Lisa Zimmer-Chu, who organized an environmental education program in Panama, and has remained in public service after her Peace Corps experience.

“The children were the first ones who kind of came over first with a great deal of curiosity about us,” she said. “They were really the ones who introduced us to the community in a greater way. These girls were at our house every day. They became family to us.” The girls, Laurena and Leisi, were 5 and 3 years old at the time.

Another photo shows Ms. Zimmer-Chu holding hands with one of the girls at the ruins of an American church.

“My husband had taken the picture from inside of the church,” she recalled. “That church had not been built by the hands of the people in the community. And the basic tenant of development work is a phrase that goes; ‘if you give a person a fish, they eat for a day. If you teach them to fish, they eat for lifetime.' This church hadn’t been built by the people, not given to them. It was allowed to go to ruin.”

Meredith Cornett, who also served in Panama in 1991, submitted one picture for the exhibit.

“It’s a very animated shot of the four children who were most essential to my life,” she explained. "I saw them every day, several times a day. They were immigrants to Panama from Colombia. Their family was the most welcoming to me, especially early on. They brought me fish. They sent me meals.

"They really embraced me in a way that I think the rest of the community had trouble doing," Ms. Cornett continued. "And I think it was really because of their sort of outsider and marginalized status. They sort of realized I was in the same position so they went out of their way to be kind to me.”

Ms. Cornett, who recently published her memoir, "Heart of Palms: My Peace Corps Years in Tranquilla," worked in environmental education in the Panamanian town of Tranquilla, which was in the middle of a national park.

“We had 3,000 Panamanians living within the borders of a national park. So we were trying to figure out how to continue their farming lifestyle in what had just recently become a protected area,” she said.

Ms. Cornett, who is now a scientist with the Nature Conservancy in Minnesota, said her experience in Panamá had an enormous impact on her.

“To some, people who are living in that park are viewed as a threat to the natural resources, the forest. I felt - and still feel having gone back and seen all of the amazing restoration work they have been doing - that much more than being a threat, people can also be part of an important restoration or healing process for the natural areas,” she said.

George Bergeman and his wife, Clarissa, taught college and high school students and elementary children in Buchanan, Liberia, in 1972.

They submitted six photos of daily life in the country: images of women doing their daily chores, selling fish in the market, baking bread, picking out tiny rocks from rice.

“That is one of the things that you do before you cook rice," George Bergeman explained about one photo. "She was quite elegant and had moved to Buchanan from Monrovia 30 years, 40 years before we arrived. It was fun visit with her. She talked about her life. She came down in a boat. She brought down a piano with her. The piano fell unfortunately in the ocean. So she regretted it ever since.”

Bergeman’s other images reflect community and traditions and rituals, like a dancing devil.

“There were two kinds of devil in Liberia. Those that were more commercial that would dance in occasions, and others which were sort of religious. Those wouldn’t be allowed to look upon them.  But this was dancing in the occasion of the chief’s birthday," he said. "If you see the picture, you would see someone who is dancing in parallel to this dancing devil and then two musicians are behind him playing large box instrument. It’s pretty fantastic music.”

Bergeman says he and his wife believe they gained a lot from their Peace Corps experience in Liberia.

“The longer we were there in Liberia the more we understood things that were in common from people to people and things that were different,” he said. “Today especially, I think Peace Corps volunteers can have an impact and make a difference in terms of the work they do but also just the people to people aspect.”

Haitian prison breakout
leads to massive manhunt

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Haitian law enforcement officials continued their search Monday for 328 inmates on the run following an attack at a high security prison on the outskirts of Haiti's capital that led to a mass jailbreak from the facility.

Authorities said the attack was apparently intended to free Clifford Brandt, a member of a prominent and wealthy family jailed since 2012 on kidnapping charges.

Brandt escaped with the other prisoners, only 10 of whom have been recaptured.

Witnesses said about 15 gunmen in two SUVs showed up at the prison in Croix-des-Bouquets before noon on Sunday and opened fire on guards, wounding two.

All the escapees are reportedly either convicted or accused of drug trafficking or kidnapping for ransom.

Authorities in Haiti have offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to Brandt's recapture.

Haiti also has asked the neighboring Dominican Republic and nearby Jamaica for help in its international manhunt, and has notified Interpol.

The prison, near Port-au-Prince, held 899 inmates at the time of the attack, about 130 over capacity.

Alcatraz celebrates a birthday
of being a national symbol

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Alcatraz was open for less than 30 years, but the former prison left an indelible mark on American culture.

Monday marked the 80th anniversary that Alcatraz Island, site of a former fortress and military prison, became a federal penitentiary for America’s most dangerous prisoners.

Alcatraz, which was also called The Rock, was infamous because no prisoner ever successfully escaped. Over its history, 36 prisoners made 14 attempts to break free. 

However, in 1962, three men were able to get out of the prison and into San Francisco Bay, but it is believed they drowned attempting to make the 2 kilometer journey in the chilly choppy waters.

Their plan was elaborate and executed over a long period of time. The three meticulously tunneled through their prison cell walls. They made rubber rafts from raincoats and left behind fake heads made of cardboard, toilet paper and human hair collected from the prison’s barber shop to trick the guards into thinking they were still in their cots.

The prison was also made famous by Hollywood. The 1962 escape attempt was the subject of a popular 1979 movie, “Escape from Alcatraz,” starring Clint Eastwood. The prison has been depicted in several other movies, television shows and video games.

1,576 inmates called Alcatraz home during the time it was open. Some of the more famous convicts included Al Capone, Robert Franklin Stroud and George "Machine Gun" Kelly.

Stroud was depicted in the movie “The Birdman of Alcatraz,” starring Burt Lancaster.

Life in Alcatraz was hard. Inmates were housed individually, spending the majority of their time in their cells. According to the National Park Service Web site, Alcatraz prisoners “had to earn their way out of the cells through good behavior.”

In 1963, having fallen into a state of disrepair, Alcatraz’s remaining prisoners were transferred to other jails and Alcatraz was shuttered.

Today, Alcatraz Island is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and is visited by over one million people annually.

Virginia corruption trial
involves ex-governor, wife

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A public corruption trial in the U.S. state of Virginia has made headlines across the nation, with stories of expensive gifts, a faltering marriage and infatuation.

The former governor, Bob McDonnell, and his wife, Maureen, are charged with accepting more than $165,000 in gifts and loans from a wealthy businessman in exchange for promoting his company's products.

Once entrusted by voters with fighting for the people of Virginia, McDonnell is now fighting in a court of law.

"I can't comment on any of the testimony in the trial, as you know," he said.

It’s the first time a Virginia governor has faced trial on public corruption charges.

The McDonnells are charged with accepting numerous lavish gifts and loans from businessman Jonnie Williams, including $15,000 for their daughter’s wedding.

Defense lawyers said Maureen McDonnell developed a crush on Williams and reject the prosecution's claim the McDonnells used the governor's office to promote the businessman's dietary supplement company.

Trials of U.S. politicians are not new.

"Certainly the behaviors before this court today will never be repeated," said former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, who is serving jail time after being convicted of sexual harassment last year.

Florida Congressman Trey Radel resigned from office after pleading guilty to cocaine possession.

“I have let down our country, I have let down our constituents. I’ve let down my family,” Radel said.

Political corruption trials, like that of the McDonnells, often stem from investigative reports published in the U.S. media, according to Newport University's Quentin Kidd.

"We have a media that will go after these stories and expose them, and then prosecutors will come in behind them and say 'Oh yeah, we see there’s a potential crime here,' and they’ll investigate it and charge public officials sometimes, other times they don't,” Kidd said.

A free and open news media often keeps corruption in check.

“I think as long as human nature is what it is, there will probably always be corruption, which is why we need a free media and which is why we need a judiciary that’s independent of the political process,” Kidd said.

"We're looking forward to continue to having the truth come out," McDonnell said.

If convicted, he and his wife face decades in prison.

Death of black teenager
inflames Missouri town

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A police shooting that resulted in the death of an unarmed black teenager has sparked protests and rioting in the U.S. state of Missouri.

At least 32 people were arrested after Sunday night's unrest near the town of Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis.

Officials say they will face charges for various offenses including assault, burglary and theft.

The violence broke out after demonstrators gathered for a vigil near the site of the shooting.

Television footage shows a crowd of protesters confronting a line of riot police. Later, as the initial demonstration dissipated, rioters were seen looting stores and setting fire to a gas station.

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles called for calm and promised a thorough and impartial investigation by local officials. The Federal Bureau of Investigation says it will launch a separate investigation into the incident as well.

Michael Brown, 18, was killed Saturday during an encounter with a police officer. The details remain unclear.

Local media says the case has highlighted tensions between the mainly black suburb of Ferguson and the majority white police force.

Nigeria nurses is victim
of spreading ebola virus

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Nigerian officials Monday said one new ebola case was diagnosed over the weekend, raising the country's total to 10 confirmed cases, while Ivory Coast banned air travel from West African nations heavily hit by the virus.

Since Patrick Sawyer, a Liberian-American financial consultant, flew into Lagos from Liberia about three weeks ago, the number of new ebola cases has slowly grown and the number of people who may have been exposed is growing, officials said.

Officials are now monitoring 177 people for symptoms of the disease.

Over the weekend, a 10th person who had an apparent connection with Sawyer was diagnosed with ebola, said Onyebuchi Chukwu, Nigerian minister of health.

“It was one of the nurses that were primary contacts when he got ill. We then brought her into isolation and we just tested her over the weekend and she tested positive," Chukwu said.

Of the 10 cases of ebola in Nigeria, there have been two deaths: Sawyer and a nurse who treated him when he first arrived in Lagos. The other eight cases are people who also had direct contact with Sawyer, Chukwu said.

Ebola has killed 961 people since the outbreak began early this year, with all but two deaths occurring in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

Ebola is one of the world's most deadly diseases, with no known vaccine or cure. The Zaire strain - the one currently spreading through West Africa - can kill up to 90 percent of sufferers, although in the latest outbreak the death toll has been around 55 percent. 

Reports that experimental drugs have had success in treating American and European health workers and missionaries who contracted the disease in West Africa have prompted many Nigerians to demand access to the drugs in case it spreads further.

“Nigeria is actually, as of now, reaching out to various laboratories, various governments, including the U.S.A. government to see how these untried ... drugs that seem to hold some hope could also be deployed in Nigeria. We’re in touch," Chukwu said.

The World Health Organization said it expects a vaccine to be developed by 2015, but currently there is no known cure.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan Friday pledged $11.7 million dollars to try to stop the spread in Nigeria and $3.5 million to help other countries fight the disease.

Chukwu said, so far in Nigeria, the disease has not spread out of Lagos, a megacity of 21 million people that is often called the heartbeat of the Nigerian economy.

As Nigeria joins the group of West African nations battling an ebola outbreak, other countries are taking stronger measures to prevent the virus from entering its borders.

In Ivory Coast, the government has banned, until further notice, all passenger flights into the country from Liberia, Guinea or Seirra Leone, the three countries hardest hit by the virus.

Ivory Coast has not reported any cases of ebola and government spokesman Bruno Kone said they want to keep it that way.

The government said in addition to the ban on flights, authorities at the Abidjan airport will be screening all arriving passengers for fever, using infrared thermometers. Fever can be one of the early symptoms of ebola.

It can take up to 21 days for symptoms to appear, and once they do, a person is contagious. Other people can catch the disease by coming into contact with the sick person's bodily fluids.

While Ivory Coast shares land borders with two of the four affected countries, Liberia and Guinea, Health Minister Raymonde Goudou Coffie said it doesn’t make sense to shut those borders.

Dr. Coffie said the borders are very porous, and even if they close the official borders, people know other ways across.

Instead, she said, health officials have worked on educating villages and local leaders to have them refer new arrivals to health authorities.

Liberia closed its land border with Ivory Coast last week in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus.

Ivory Coast’s defense minister said in recent days, border authorities have already repatriated nearly 100 people who have tried to cross illegally from Guinea or Liberia.

The Ivory Coast government said it continues to train health workers and will be holding a simulation drill later this week for first responders.

In Malawi, health authorities said the government was taking measures to prevent the spread of the ebola virus into the country, including airport screenings of international passengers. Critics said they weren’t doing enough.

Charles Mwansambo, director of health services in the ministry of health, told journalists in Lilongwe that the government was screening international passengers at the airports, and had set up quarantine centers at Kamuzu International Airport in the capital, Lilongwe, and Chileka Airport, in the commercial capital of Blantyre.

However, critics said that medical workers needed urgent training on how to handle an infected person, lacked specialized equipment for containing the virus and could improve public education efforts.

Ministry of health officials said the airport screenings are currently done to those passengers from West African countries hit hardest by the Ebola virus, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

Mwansambo said, “I want to assure the members of the general public not to panic because Ebola is spread by direct contact with bodily fluids like blood, saliva and urine. And chances of Malawians going to West Africa and getting in touch with these bodily fluids are very minimal.”

Juliana Lunguzi, chairwoman of Malawi’s Parliamentary Committee on Health, criticized his comments, saying there is no logic in telling people not to panic when the situation on the ground shows the government is doing nothing to prevent the outbreak.

Lunguzi, who is also a nurse, said her committee will soon summon government authorities to explain their readiness in terms of medical equipment for combating the possible spread of Ebola into the country.
Real estate-related services (paid category)

Best Kitchen
Best Kitchen Depot is the leading kitchen and bath company in the Central American market. We represent the most fast-growing American solid wood cabinet manufacturers. All our products boast the three major industry certifications: Carb2, KCMA environment stewardship and KCMA
construction certifications. We also have state-of-the-art design
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Please visit our Web site at: and then email or call (506) 2261-0287 or (506) 8383-3104.   

• Interior Design
• Custom Furniture Manufacturing
• Building Completion Services
Interior Design & Custom Furniture Manufacturing
“We regularly exceed client expectations.
We guarantee it.”
Customizing for your vision, lifestyle and budget.
A turnkey home and project completion agency devoted to creative vision and flawless execution. We provide a single, solid and dedicated point of contact for the duration of your real estate project, specializing in:
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.
Our custom furniture designs & manufacturing can be contracted independently.
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Cell phone: (506) - 8707-8008
Office phone: (506) - 2288-5644

Rosa Monge
Rosa Monge

Real estate foreclosure specialist

Great deals available every week
Properties like this:

20.5 acres of pasture for as little as $2,400

Rosa Monge Alvarez
Please email for details

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 4030-5480 or 8339-2112.

Remax logo
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
Moran logo

Costa Rica,

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

Visit our Web Site:

English calls: (Cristian Arce) Phone: 
(506) 2494-0016  
English calls :  (Luis David) Phone: 
(506) 8331-5228

Español calls: (Luis G. Jiménez)  Phone:   
(506) 8707-4016
house 865
Beautiful chalet in Grecia, with the best fresh natural weather, 1.040 m2 of land, Price $135.000. Click HERE!
House 868
Beautiful house  in Grecia, with the best fresh natural weather, 810 m2 of land, Price $178.000. Click HERE!
House 866
Beautiful large house  in Grecia, with the best fresh natural weather,1.006 m2 of land, Price $290.000.  HERE!
  Send us your request to our email:

Real estate for sale (paid category)

Escazú condo
Spectacular furnished luxury 3-bedroom condo in Escazú
Turnkey unit has 2.5 baths, 2 balconies, 2 parking spaces, 1 bodega. A STEAL @ $250,000. Community Amenities include pool, jacuzzi, gym, sauna, racquetball, 24/7 security, concierge. No car needed: walk to supermarkets, banks, restaurants, shopping. INVESTORS: Possible long-term tenant For photos and how to contact us, go to:

Jaco condo
JACÓ BEACH - House in gated beachfront community
Titled, fully furnished turnkey single home, security 24/7. REDUCED TO $325,000. Casa Mariposa is 2100 SF with 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 1-car garage Private back yard, central A/C, kid friendly, pet friendly community This is the ONLY gated beachfront development of houses on Jacó Beach. For photos & contact information, go to:

Condo montage
Cariari luxury condo for sale
This is not an ordinary condo.
Completed one year ago, a $45,000 renovating made it an exquisite dwelling. As soon as you walk in you know it is a special home. No detail has been overlooked, even minuscule ones. The owner has a need to move on, and someone lucky will be the beneficiary of the fine detailed work. The home itself has three bedrooms, two and half bathrooms plus a maid’s quarters with its own bathroom. Also, it has a living room, dining room and a gorgeous kitchen with a kitchenette. There’s also a small outdoor patio. Being the end unit of this four-home condo complex, there’s parking space for three vehicles.  Approximately 240 sq. meters. All this near the Cariari Golf and Country Club and its renowned Tom Facio golf course. The club also has amenities such as a fitness centre, exercise room, Olympic swimming pool, sauna, 12 tennis courts and many other benefits. Tel:  8384-9608 or 2293-9054  Price $214,500.


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:

A perfect ranch in Cariari, Guápiles
Fertile 42.5 hectares (about 105 acres) with a clean river and a natural spring of good water. Perfect for cattle or horses. Property faces a main road and contains corral and living quarters. Special price: $200,000 for a quick sale.. Call (506) 8383-3104 or write

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.


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

Twice the Security & Prestige for Half the Cost

The only private guarded development in El Castillo
• 50% off for limited time only   • $26/square meter
• Neighbors are $80/square meter  • Incredible view
Clubhouse, pool, equestrian, country club
Only 2 remaining
Secure a spot in a million dollar neighborhood for under $100k
 Free architecture services
•  Full commission paid to brokers   • Financing available
Email or call the 24-hour recorded message for full info   CR: 4000-1983 (English/Español)
USA: 619-800-8550 (English only)

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

Ad three graphics
Tropical lots located walking distance to a beautiful white sandy beach
Only $49,999 with interest-free financing
These lots are located in a gated, private community with low HOA dues and offer amenities including a pool & rancho.  It is located close to Playa Conchal and Pirates beaches.  And only 20 minutes to the resort town of Tamarindo and an hour from Liberia International airport. Reserve your lot with only a $1,500 deposit.  We are offering Interest-free financing for 5 years for a limited time only. Contact: Christian 
U.S. (732) 962-6525 or CR (506) 8349-2025

ad two grpahic
For Sale: Fully Furnished OCEAN VIEW CONDOMINIUM
Reduced $199,999
Gorgeous 2-bedroom, 2-bath condo with private terrace offering spectacular ocean views and built energy green. This condo is located in a gated community with low HOA dues and offers amenities including a pool & rancho.  It is located close to a beautiful white, sandy beach. Only 20 minutes to the resort town Tamarindo and an hour from Liberia airport.  Luxury finishings: Pella double pane windows, AC & ceiling fans, Frigidaire stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, marble bathroom vanities, custom cabinets. Contact or email 
U.S. (732) 962-6525 or CR (506) 8349-2025

Ad one grpahics
For Sale by Owner: Playa Conchal ocean view home reduced $339,999

Casa de Eden is  2,600 square feet with 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath, outdoor shower, private outdoor terrace and pool located only minutes from Playa Conchal.  The home is in a private, secure, gated community surrounded by nature and close to the resort town of Tamarindo, only an hour from Liberia airport.  The home is being offered fully furnished with: AC & ceiling fans, Frigidaire Professional series stainless steel appliances, granite kitchen countertops, marble bathroom vanities, custom wood cabinetry, internet, cable. 
Contact  U.S. (732) 984-7549
or CR (506) 8349-2025.

Large estate on island with sea view !!!
Located on the Big Island and five minutes from the center of Golfito on boat.  The large land has three hills with forest in which there are many trees and animals such as parrots, parakeets and monkeys.!!   It has a beautiful view
island one
of downtown Golfito , mountains and sea. It has three entry beach options. Your own beach,  large land with fruit trees, livestock grazing.Mangrove front with lots of fish, snapper, etc. Also access to your own part of sea with full of  seafood: pianguas, cambutes, chuchecas, clams, etc. .  Natural beauty is a paradise to live, walking, diving, fishing, horse riding, climbing to the mountains, swimming in the creek or the sea, exploring
the land, animals and trees, etc.  Your paradise is here for you, your family or develop your own rain forest country club. This is  the place of your dreams !  The full land measures 119,284 m2. All legal papers and blueprints are ready to get a new owner.   Property has its own water and  ready to instal solar panel or electric  power plant.     It is Isla Grande - Segura, diagonal to grazing
 Puntarenitas Beach in Golfito for sale at $1.500.000 U.S. Further information contact : Raquel or Maria Ester at, Local phone numbers: +506 8690-2325   or  +506  8673-0112.

Lundquist photo
More photos HERE!
Another 'live in the view' home in Puriscal
$179,900 includes:
Lot on river, concrete road, custom kitchen & bath with granite counter tops, PEX plumbing, 2” Styrofoam, sandwiched in steel roof, 4” concrete/recycled Styrofoam & steel walls, laminated, bronzed windows, custom wood doors, appliances and all transfer taxes, and fees.

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

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

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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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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 158
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Illegals at border have sad tales to tell

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The tens of thousands of Central Americans who have crossed over the border in south Texas seeking asylum over the past year left their homelands to escape poverty and violence.  But they also have been drawn to the United States by the idea that they would be allowed to stay.  Even though many of them, in fact, face deportation after their expensive, difficult and dangerous journey, they say they had no choice but to try.

A man, who calls himself Eddy, fled his hometown in Guatemala with his 3-year-old daughter in fear for their lives.

“There is a lot of crime, drug trafficking and kidnapping of children. The drug traffickers have a lot of power,” he said.

The same fear drove Alma Ciro and her two children from their home in crime-plagued Honduras.

“It is an ugly situation.  There is crime, a lot of unemployment because there are few employers, and there are men who chase the girls leaving school. This happened to my daughter,” she said.

Her daughter made it home, Ms. Ciro said, but some girls have been abducted, abused and murdered.

Alma Ciro said it took her more than a month to travel through Mexico to the U.S. border, often hungry and subjected to harassment from those who prey on immigrants.

“They take money from people.  It is always about money. They take the little money people have with them,” she said.

Coming up from Guatemala through Mexico, Eddy said so many people demanded money that he arrived at the border with practically nothing.

“In Mexico, they are always swindling you, but the worst part was crossing the river because I was afraid my little girl would drown,” said Eddy.

Such stories are all too familiar to Hipolito Acosta, a former U.S. immigration special agent.

“Your heart goes out to them, because you can only imagine what they have gone through,” he said.

Acosta went through some hardships himself, going undercover as an immigrant to gather evidence against smugglers.

“I have ridden in the back of a U-Haul with a group of Mexican illegal aliens that entered the country being smuggled by smugglers across the Rio Grande River and actually I almost drowned,” he recalled.

Acosta said the recent influx of Central American immigrants is part of a much longer story.

“Poverty and violence have been a condition in Central American countries for decades; it is nothing new,” said Acosta.

He believes more are coming now because of the current U.S. policy of processing asylum seekers and then releasing them while they await their court date.

But Alma Ciro said she took the risky journey to protect her two children, adding she would voluntarily return to Honduras if things change.

“We need two things, we need more work and less crime,” said Ms. Ciro.

Solving those problems will take a long time however, so the influx at the border is likely to continue.

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From Page 7:

Argentina asks help from Obama on debt

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Argentina on Monday asked the Obama administration to stop a federal judge from ordering the country to cease false and misleading statements about its recent debt default.

Judge Thomas Griesa in New York Friday said he would hold the South American country in contempt of court if it continued to say it did not default on its debt July 30.

Argentina’s cabinet chief Jorge Capitanich argued Monday that the judge would violate Argentina’s sovereign immunity if he held the South American country in contempt.

Judge Griesa prevented last month's payment to bondholders after Argentina threatened to pay only those who had accepted its restructured debt.

Argentina last week filed a lawsuit against the United States in The Hague at the International Court of Justice. The lawsuit contends the U.S. violated Argentina's sovereignty by allowing a federal judge to interfere with its payment to bondholders.