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(506) 2223-1327                               Published Monday, Sept. 8, 2014, in Vol. 14, No. 177                                Email us
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This time the asteroid continued on its journey
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A meteor impact in Nicaragua and a close flyby of an asteroid demonstrate the fragility of the current civilization.

Many scientists say they believe that an impact from space about 13,000 years ago wiped out large animals and even the existing human population in North America south to what today is Costa Rica.

Current research raises suspicion that the meteor impact was in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in Canada where an underwater crater has been dated to about 12,900 years ago.

A news story Monday said that a new study and an international group of scientists have focused on the character and distribution of nanodiamonds, one type of material produced during such an extraterrestrial collision. The researchers found an abundance of these tiny diamonds distributed over 50 million square kilometers across the Northern Hemisphere, including Costa Rica. This thin, carbon-rich layer is often visible as a thin black line a few meters below the surface, it said.

The only similar layer is one dated to 65 million years ago at the time dinosaurs were exterminated. An impact at the eastern end of the Yucatan peninsula has been blamed for that.

Investigators from 21 universities in six countries researched nanodiamonds at 32 sites in 11 countries across North America, Europe and the Middle East.

Their hypothesis suggests that a cosmic-impact event precipitated the Younger Dryas period of global cooling close to 12,800 years ago. This cosmic impact caused abrupt environmental stress and degradation that contributed to the extinction of most large animal species then inhabiting the Americas, the news story said.

The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration predicted that the small asteroid, designated 2014 RC, would safely pass very close to Earth. In fact, it did at 12:18 p.m Costa Rica time Sunday.

More than 13 hours earlier, at 11:04 p.m., Residents in the Managua, Nicaragua, area heard the small meteorite there breaking the sound barrier just before crashing into a rural area. At daybreak officials quickly located the 12-meter, 39-foot crater.

So far, earth's military have not developed techniques to deflect or destroy asteroids that are a threat.

The theory that a meteor impact resulted in the death of the large animals that inhabited the Americas 13,000 years ago is not accepted universally. Some say the decline of creatures like mammoths began years earlier. Others blame massive extinctions on disease or even a volcanic eruption. Some say humans killed them off.

Regardless of the cause, Costa Rica 13,000 years ago would not have been a good tourist location. By that time giant armadillos, glyptodonts, would have moved up from South
Costa Rica's e;ip[hant species
A Costa Rica elephant: Cuvieronius.

grown sloth
Megatherium, the 6- to 7-ton ground sloth.

America. Panamá closed with northern South America some 3 million years ago permitting an exchange of species.

3,000-pound toxodons, rhino-like critters, mingled with equus, the American horse now extinct. Remains of both animals have been found associated with artifacts from humans suggesting that they were hunted and eaten. Mixotoxodons, similar to but heavier than toxodons also thrived here. The remains of one was found in Bajo de los Barrantes, Alajuela in 1939.

There also were short-faced bears, dire wolves and  Smilodon fatalis, a 600-pound saber-tooth cat.

Mastodons and mammoth shared the grassland, perhaps in what now is the gulf of Nicoya, with their cousins the gomphotherium and cuvieronius. All were elephant-like. Remains of gomphotherium showed up in San Gerardo de Lemoncito and Santa Rita.  Researchers found cuvieronius in Agua Caliente, at Gayiabo de Mora, on Paso Colón, at Hacienta el Silencio, along the Río María Aguila in San José, at two locations in Tibás, at five locations on the Nicoya peninsula, at Santa Ana and in Santo Domingo de Heredia.

Mammoth remains were found in Hacienda el Silencio in central Costa Rica.

An impressive creature from that time is megatherium, the six-ton giant ground sloth. The Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica has a life-sized statue of this giant creature on display.

Sept. 11, 2001, terrorism victims to be remembered
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The U.S, Embassy staff has not yet announced it, but the annual commemoration for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States will be Thursday at 10 a.m.

The event will be at the Academia de Cuerpo de Bomberos, the firefighter training school, in San
Antonio de Desamparados.

Each year U.S. expats and their Costa Rican and other foreign friends gather to pay tribute to those who died in the attack on the World Trade Center,
the Pentagon and aboard a passenger jet in a Shanksville, Pennsylvania, farm field. In the past, the event was at the Parque de 11 de Setiembre in Sabana Norte.

The park was the site of a statue created by sculptor Roland Hockett. Vandals and metal thieves ravaged the copper statue that stood near the Centro Cultural Costarricense Norteamericano in Sabana Norte.

So the art work was moved for protection to the firefighter training facility, and Hockett made repairs.

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A.M. Costa Rica's
Second news page

San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Sept. 8, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 177

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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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   •  Relationship Issues
   •  New World Meditation
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U.S. Phone: 310-827-4241
Costa Rica: (506) 2228-2041


U.S. Tax International
Plus Costa Rican taxes, accounting, and legal
 services. Over 15 years in Costa Rica

U.S. Tax rollover
(English spoken). Tamarindo office hours now available.  If you or anyone you know would like an appointment in Tamarindo, please call our San José office at 2288-2201 to make an appointment.
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 U.S 786-206-9473         CR 506-2288-2001
FAX: 506 2231-3300
Web page:

James Brohl, C.P.A. & M.B.A.
US Income Tax,  US GAAP Accounting
& Business Consulting

• US Tax return preparation  for
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• eFile returns: secure with faster refunds
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• Business Consulting to facilitate working in Costa Rica
• Accounting for US and International Financial Reporting
• Associate of David Housman

Telephone 8305-3149 or 2256-8620

Legal services

Pablo Mata

Lic. Pablo Mata Ferreto, MBA.

Legal – Financial Adviser

Real Estate and Business Transactions

Avoid Real Estate scams, get independent advice and have due diligence performed before signing or making a deposit.

Phone number: (506) 8853-0000

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Serving the English-speaking community for over a

decade with offices in San Jose, Alajuela and Jaco
You deserve to communicate fluently with your lawyer.
Visit our Web site:


Marco Cavallini & Associates
Dental Implants and Crowns

Dr. Marco A. Muñoz Cavallini has placed and restored
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Remodelling and Construction

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!

Member of the N.A.R., the Costa Rican Real Estate Board CRGAR and the Central Pacific Chamber of Commerce.
Toll Free: 1-888-782-1119 OR  2643-4334, 2643-3672
Office: IL Galeone Center, Jacó Beach, Costa Rica

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   • Specialized in the Central and South Pacific.
   • Great network of realtors, to find your dream
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del Pacifico, S.A.


* Colinas del Sol is a fenced and gated project  in a quiet area.
* There are 88 clear titled lots.
* Mountain areas with great views.
* Gently sloping level areas ideal for hobby farms, gardening, fruit tree orchards.
* Quiet place to get away from the busy city and beach crowds.
* All lots have gravel roads to them, water and electricity at each.
* Lots are 5,000 sq. meters or larger, starting at only $39,000 USD , and many can be combined for those wanting a larger area for their chosen passion, be it a hobby horse farm or retirement haven.
* Located in Libertad, Guanacaste, Northwest Pacific area of Costa Rica.
* Electricity and water to each of 79 clear0titled lots.
* 20 minutes to the Liberia International Airport
* 15 minutes to the Pacific Beaches
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* 25 minutes to the Liberia Hospital
* 5 minutes to Papagayo  Golf & Country Club
Contact Jim Day
or Phone:  001 517 484-3675.
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Residency experts

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Missing family's vehicle found in Heredia

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The case of the missing Caribbean coast family continues to be a strange one.

Victor Blanco Vega and Andrea Angulo Fernández vanished with their two children Monday night.

The Fuerza Pública reported that the family's car turned up over the weekend in Calle Víquez in Llorente de Flores in Heredia.

Blanco, a former police officer, faces a criminal trial for robbery in November, so police do not know if he and his family have been abducted or are on the run. His wife is a police officer who is on maternity leave.

The family lives in Boston de Matina.

Police said that when they found the family's vehicle, someone had removed the license plates.  Investigators said they were able to confirm the ownership of the vehicle from the window stickers.

Agrochemical use reported to be lower

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rican farmers, who are notorious for their use of chemicals has cut usage more than half, said the Servicio Fitosanitario del Estado.

Over six years, the use of active ingredients per hectare fell from 20.1 kilos to 9.1 kilos the agency said.

In 2013 farmers planted 767,331 hectares. some 1.9 million acres.

Congress returns to talk about terrorists

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Congress is back in session today after more than a month away from Washington. The House and Senate must pass a spending bill by the end of September to keep the U.S. government funded. Lawmakers hope to act quickly so they can head home to campaign ahead of November, when the entire House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate are up for election. However, major international developments may command lawmakers' attention.

The second beheading last week of an American journalist, Steven Sotloff, elicited an emotional response from many members of Congress across the country. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, a Republican, said the Islamic State militant group poses a singular threat.

"What is unique about ISIS's strategy is the release of this information, the way in which it boasts of its capacity to kill and terrorize," said Royce.

Royce and others say the U.S. must lead an international coalition to go after Islamic State targets with drones and air strikes. President Barack Obama said he will meet with congressional leaders Tuesday to discuss his strategy for going after the Islamic State and will address the nation Wednesday. The House will hold five hearings this week focusing on terrorism.

Some lawmakers say President Obama should seek congressional authorization for a broader military campaign in Iraq, and possibly even in Syria. Steve Billet is a professor at George Washington University.

"I think they probably will pass something related to ISIS. What form that actually takes in the end is another issue. Will we move beyond using drones for air strikes? Will we put more people on the ground? Will we actually put people on the ground that will engage in military exercises? That’s a bigger issue," said Billet.

Another unresolved issue is immigration reform and the influx of Central American children at the U.S. southern border. The president said Saturday he will postpone any executive action on immigration reform until after the midterm elections. Immigrants' rights groups and pro-immigration lawmakers say they are disappointed and have accused the president of playing politics with immigrants' lives, as more undocumented people are deported daily. Several Republicans also said the president's decision can be attributed to raw politics.

For months, the Democratic-led Senate and the Republican-led House have been unable to agree on legislation on a number of pressing issues such as immigration reform, and many lawmakers would like to avoid votes on controversial issues just weeks before the mid-term elections.

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A.M. Costa Rica

Third News Page
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Sept. 8, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 177
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About us
Potential investor in Jacó banned from job and securities trading
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The president of a firm that was involved in buying real estate in Jacó has resigned after being ordered to do so by the British Columbia Securities Commission.

The outgoing president is Ken Chua, and the firm is Oriens Travel & Hotel Management Corp.

A British Columbia securities panel ordered that Chua resign any position he holds as an officer or a director of an issuer or registrant. He is banned from trading in securities, purchasing securities or exchange contracts and from becoming or acting as a director or officer of any issuer or registrant for six years. He is also prohibited, for the same period, from becoming or acting as a registrant or promoter, from engaging in investor relations activities, and from acting in a management or consultative capacity in connection with the securities market, the panel said.

The sanctions come after the securities panel said it found that Chua and another man distributed shares of Oriens to three British Columbia residents without filing a prospectus and for which no prospectus exemptions were available. Oriens raised proceeds of U.S. $58,500, it said.

In its sanctions decision, the panel noted that Chua, "continues to pose a risk to our investors and our markets" and that Alexander Anderson, the second man, had a limited role in the misconduct.

A.M. Cost Rica reported in July that Chua's firm has agreed to buy an interest in half of a building at the north end of Jacó.
The statement adds that Oriens has been pre-approved for $1.2 million of financing and expects to raise additional amounts through asset-backed financing.

All the statements from Oriens have come through commercial investment public relations services. Reporters have never been able to reach Chua by telephone.

Oriens in its latest statement never mentioned British Columbia or said why Chua was leaving.  A company spokesperson said,  "In light of recent events, along with those changes soon to be implemented for the growth and well-being of the company, the timing for Mr. Chau's resignation is best for both Oriens' and its shareholders."

It said the company soon will name a successor. There was no word of the firm's plans for Jacó. Oriens, a Las Vegas firm, is traded on the pink sheets.  Chua and Anderson were identified as British Columbia residents by the securities panel.

During its continuing announcement of projects in Jacó, Oriens said it has worked with Hundley's Daystar Properties.  Patrick Hundley, the principal in Daystar, said Sunday that his firm has no relationship with Oriens or Chua.   Oriens operates an online reservation service.

In addition to being barred from the securities industry, the British Columbia panel also ordered Chua to pay to the commission the U.S. $58,500 obtained as a result of his and Oriens' misconduct. He and Oriens are jointly and severally liable for this amount.

Furthermore, Chua was ordered to pay an administrative penalty of $35,000, the panel said.

Young Ticos come to the rescue when a storm sewer tries to eat a tire
By Jay Brodell
editor of A.M. Costa Rica

The phrase has already been used, but it really was a dark and stormy night, Friday about 7 p.m. on Avenida 7 in a place where police do not like to go.

This is a tale of two idiots and a redemption.

Idiot No. 1 was the clown who pulled his car forward to block the intersection. Idiot No. 2 is me because I tried to maneuver my car around his because I had the green light and was in a hurry.


One of my first observations when I arrived in Costa Rica was the depth of the storm gutters. Later, when the rains came, I realized why some are two feet deep.

The one I dropped the front right wheel of the car into was a good two and a half feet. A helpful young street vendor suggested that I just back out. Clearly he never had driven.

I stared at the front wheel in its concrete vault. The left rear wheel was dangling in the air.  I contemplated a $50 tow truck bill to just pull the car to the asphalt.

The cavalry came in the form of two groups of young men in their 20s.  They quickly concluded they could lift the vehicle out of the pit. I doubted it.

A.M. Costa Rica graphic
The SUV was down by the bow!

But I returned to the driver's seat while the eight young men braced  themselves and then righted the car. The job was easy to just back up slightly with three wheels on the ground.

Another example of Costa Rican kindness when you least expect it. They dispersed so quickly that I did not have a chance to thank them all.

But I do so now.

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Sept. 8, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 177
Real Estate
About us

Scientists sequence genome of robusta coffee species and are surprised
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The genetic sequence of the coffee plant, robusta, has been deciphered by an international team of scientists.  Robusta accounts for about one-third of the coffee consumed worldwide.

The coffee grown in Costa Rica is arabica.

By laying bare the plant’s genetic building blocks, researchers will be able to improve breeding as well as genetically modify it.

Most surprising to geneticists was discovering the genes for caffeine.
Scientists have speculated the plant evolved a mechanism for producing caffeine to lure insect pollinators, just as people can get addicted to coffee.  It’s also been thought that caffeine, which can be
 toxic, is a defense against leaf-destroying insects.

The researchers determined that coffee's caffeine genes are not related to the genes responsible for caffeine in the cacao tree, the source of chocolate. That they developed separately indicates that caffeine is a valuable evolutionary asset.

Having mapped the coffee plant’s genome, researchers say they could potentially make plants resistant to climate change and eliminate caffeine in coffee, producing a better tasting brew for those who only drink the decaffeinated variety.

It's estimated that 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed each day, making it the principal agricultural crop in many tropical countries.
The genetic blueprint of the coffee plant robusta is published in the journal Science.

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
          the move.
   * Access the country's affordable health care system
   * Informative two-day seminar given by local experts in their
          relevant fields.
   * Tours led by Christopher Howard, 34-year resident, citizen,
          and the author of "The New Golden Door to Retirement
          and  Living in Costa Rica – the Official Guide to Relocation”
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.

Click photo for another video

The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Real estate rental services (paid category)

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

Real estate for rent (paid category)

oranic farm
$800 plus utilities, 2-bedroom, 2-bath house, fully furnished, elecricity and 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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The contents of this page and this Web site are copyrighted by A.M. Costa Ltda. 2014 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details

A.M. Costa Rica's   Fifth news page

cat trees
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Sept. 8, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 177
Real Estate
About us

U.N. Internet forum considers
surveillance of journalists

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

In the wake of major whistleblower scandals, from the emergence of WikiLeaks to Edward Snowden's revelations about mass state surveillance operations conducted by the United States, concerns over increasing national and international surveillance is dominating the dialogue of several round-table talks at this year's U.N.-sponsored Internet Governance Forum in Istanbul.

At the heart of the debate: the rapid growth of companies selling powerful Internet surveillance software in a lucrative international market that remains largely unregulated and, some say, unregulable.

While U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has proposed measures to protect journalists and bloggers from surveillance, the specter of an unregulated multi-billion dollar, privately-run surveillance software industry has been, for some, one of the most alarming concerns.

"It's sold all over the world ... and what we have to do — since journalists and bloggers and net citizens can be spied on by this kind of surveillance technology, which its extremely powerful— is try to regulate the export,"  said Gregoire Pouget of Reporters Without Borders.

Laura Tresca, Brazilian representative for the anti-censorship group Article 19, says Latin America is also becoming a big market for the new software industry.

"Brazil in the last four years spent nearly $200 million on software and technology for surveillance in Brazil. The excuse was the World Cup, but we have several evidence that this software was used to monitor activists to avoid protests," she said.

Scott Busby of the U.S. State Department says it is using current regulations used to control the weapons industry to try to monitor the distribution of surveillance software.

"It’s an issue of great concern to us, not only because some of the companies doing this are American companies," he said. "I would point out is being addressed under the VASNA arrangement, for the non-proliferation of dangerous items. It formally dealt with weapons and now looking at surveillance technologies."

But experts and activists say surveillance software is very different from weapons and that the industry will need specific regulations.

Silvia Grundmann, head of the media division of the Council of Europe, says European companies are among the leaders in the surveillance software industry.

She says finding the balance between human rights, the Internet and trade is invariably a time-consuming process.

"If you go into new regulation, new laws either on the domestic level or the international level — notably international level — it takes a long period time," she said. "And during this period of time journalists get surveilled and they might even lose their lives as a result of it. So I think time is crucial factor there, and my call is to use domestic laws."

Pouget agrees.

"There is a really new market, which is around $5 billion .... so more and more companies will invest in that, so we need to regulate," he said. "Otherwise, every state — democracy or not — will use this technology, and these technologies will [become] less and less expensive and more widely used."

For now, Pouget says, the prohibitive cost of the software means only nation-states can afford it.

But as the cost of the software declines, large companies and even wealthy individuals may be able to purchase it, at which point the power of surveillance enjoyed by a few nation-states could find its way to the mass market.

Ebola in Liberia continues
to stress health system

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The ebola caseload continues to grow in Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, even as more people accept the disease and try to stay safe. Health workers are struggling to identify and isolate the sick before they can infect others.

The outbreak has paralyzed the country’s public health system, and existing Ebola treatment units are having to turn suspected cases away. And health volunteers are now even going door-to-door looking for the sick.
There was a brief celebration amid all the sickness and death when 12 Ebola survivors were released from the government-run ELWA-2 treatment unit.
Deputy Health Minister Tolbert Nyensuah said they are making progress every day in Monrovia but added to that the struggle is far from over.
“The fact is that transmission is still going on. I’m not saying that transmission has been broken. No, I cannot deceive the world,” said Nyensuah.
In an effort to outflank the virus health volunteers have started doing rounds in Monrovia’s West Point shantytown. They don’t use the word "ebola" and introduce themselves casually.
“We are here on health matters,” said one in a group of volunteers stopping at a local home. “We want to know as to whether you have any sick persons. Somebody suffering from malaria, fever, typhoid, pressure?”

A resident responded that there were no sick people in the home.
It's the height of the malaria and typhoid season, and those people need care, but ebola also has similar symptoms. Suspected cases must be found and taken to isolation, the volunteers say.
Back at the area’s health center, the waiting room is near empty. Staff say people are scared to come, scared it may be contaminated or that they may be taken to isolation.
Contact tracers deliver their reports. They have just visited about 150 people related to 30 suspected ebola victims. Supervisor Marie Hiding says these daily follow-ups are chipping away at resistance.
“Because when you see someone going to your house every day asking ‘Oh how are you coming on? Are you sick today? No.’ They will be happy to see us because they see that we care for them and we are concerned.”
The government lifted the quarantine on West Point Aug. 30.
Authorities barricaded the area after a mob attacked the holding center for suspected ebola patients on Aug. 17. The quarantine led to panic and was criticized as counterproductive.
But Liberia’s information minister, Lewis Brown, defended it.
“There was a level of denial that needed, in our mind, shock therapy, that needed to be awakened to the fact that 'look, this is deadly. This is serious. This is no hanky-panky business.'”
But as resistance fades, another challenge is amplified. Where can sick people go? Ebola treatment units in the capital are full. Doctors Without Borders is expanding one of the units to add 280 beds. Other agencies are building five more units to open later this month.

British government plans
sweeteners for Scotland

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The British government scrambled Sunday to respond to a lurch in the opinion polls toward a vote for Scottish independence this month by pledging greater autonomy for Scotland if it chooses to stay within the United Kingdom.

British finance minister George Osborne said on Sunday greater tax, welfare and spending powers would be announced in the coming days and would be implemented if Scotland votes in a historic referendum on Sept. 18 to remain in the 300-year-old union with England.

The government's offer came after a YouGov poll published in The Sunday Times newspaper gave the "Yes" camp 51 percent support compared to the "No" camp's 49 percent, excluding undecided voters. Six percent said they had not made up their minds.

A month ago, the no vote held a 22-point lead.

Although the two-point lead is within the margin of error, the findings dramatically up the stakes ahead of the vote, giving momentum to Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond and his separatist Scottish National Party.

Scottish Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the British government's Better Together campaign seemed to be engulfed in panic as the competition for votes tightens.

Ms. Sturgeon said that if the British government was serious about giving Scotland more financial powers it would not have waited until two weeks before the referendum.

"There is no option of more powers short of independence on the ballot paper," she said. "There is no guarantee whatsoever that if Scotland votes 'no' we will get a single additional power for the Scottish Parliament."

Osborne said the changes, being agreed by all three major parties in the British parliament, would be put into effect the moment there was a no vote in the referendum.

“You will see in the next few days a plan of action to give more powers to Scotland. ... Then Scotland will have the best of both worlds. They will both avoid the risks of separation but have more control over their own destiny, which is where I think many Scots want to be,” Osborne said.

“More tax-raising powers, much greater fiscal autonomy ... more control over public expenditure, more control over welfare rates and a host of other changes," he added.

Osborne's comments echo those of former British Prime Minister and opposition Labor party lawmaker Gordon Brown, who said on Friday he would spearhead a push for Scotland to gain more powers if it voted against independence.

British Prime Minister David Cameron had, ironically, vetoed a third ballot option for greater devolution, betting that the stark choice of yes or no to independence would deliver a clear victory for the status quo as cautious voters turned away from an uncertain future.

After months of surveys showing nationalists heading for defeat, recent polls have seen the gap narrow to the extent that they raise the real prospect that secessionists could achieve their goal of breaking with England.

“A two-point gap is too small for us to call the outcome. But the fact that the contest is too close to call is itself remarkable, as Better Together seemed to have victory in the bag,” YouGov President Peter Kellner wrote on his blog.

“In the past four weeks support for the union has drained away at an astonishing rate. The Yes campaign has not just invaded No territory; it has launched a blitzkrieg.”

A separate poll on Sunday by Panelbase, commissioned by the pro-independence campaign, showed the 'no' camp ahead by four points, 52-48. The poll showed support for a breakaway rising but still short of a majority at 48 percent. When undecideds were included, that fell to 44 percent.

Former hostage identifies
one of his jailers in Syria

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A French journalist held hostage for months by extremists in Syria has identified one of his captors as Mehdi Nemmouche, the French national accused of killing four people at the Jewish Museum in Brussels in May.

Journalist Nicolas Henin named Nemmouche on Saturday, saying he was among his jailers from July to December of last year.

Nemmouche is of Algerian decent. He was arrested in France and extradited to Brussels this year after the Jewish Museum attack.

Henin said he was very violent toward prisoners, including Syrians held in the same building as the French journalist.

Henin was one of four French journalists freed from captivity in Syria in April.

While captive, Henin was held for a time with slain American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff. Recent videos released by the Islamic State extremist group show the two men being beheaded.

Serena Williams wins third
Women's Open championship

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

American Serena Williams has won her third consecutive U.S. Open women's tennis championship.

In a dominating performance Sunday evening in Flushing Meadows, New York, the 32-year-old Williams beat her good friend, 24-year-old Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3.

With her victory, Ms. Williams ties Americans Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova with 18 career Grand Slam tournament wins, fourth on the all-time list.  Six of her championships have come at the U.S. Open, which Ms. Williams won in 1999 at age 17 for her first Grand Slam title.

Both Ms. Evert and Ms. Navratilova came on court during the awards ceremony to give Williams a hug, and they presented her with an 18-carat gold Tiffany bracelet with the number 18 on it, to commemorate the milestone.

Williams also won $4 million in prize money, $3 million for winning Sunday's championship, plus a $1 million bonus for finishing first in the U.S. Open Series, which are seven domestic hard court tournaments leading up to the U.S. Open.

Two surprise players will meet in the U.S. Open men's final today: 14th-seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia and 10th-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan. Nishikori, the first Asian-born player to reach a U.S. Open men's final, upset world No. 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia in Saturday's semifinals, and Cilic knocked off 17-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer of Switzerland.

This is the first time the men's U.S. Open final will feature two players seeded 10th or lower.


Real estate-related services (paid category)

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

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

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

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

house 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!

Beautiful home and separate apartment
The land is 289 square meters with  329 square meters of construction. Three bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, 2 floors, covered parking, with room for  a second parking space. A first floor patio and a second floor balcony with view. Attached apartment rented for $500 per month. Live free. House valued, @ $330,000. asking price with agents is $295,000. With no agent, asking $279,000, negotiable. Must see to appreciate,  Contact: Wayne Winstead,, 8820-1501/8379-7947

Farm montage

Guanacaste, Liberia Farm
$64,000 NEGOTIABLE and owner financing available.
9 hectares (24 acres). Riverfront property and amazing views of 3 volcanoes.


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

New 5,000-sq. ft. home in the middle of coffee plantation
Four bedrooms and five baths. Superb mountain views and privacy. 3.3-acre property on top of mountain. 15 minutes from local shopping. One hour from all San José has to offer. Two hours from the beaches and attractions at Quepos. Balconies for each bedroom, two large decks with stunning mountain views, octagonal gazebo, extensive rock walls and landscaping. Surrounded by trees. New home never lived in. Very quiet mountain location in exclusive coffee farm area. Two-story open dining and living room with guest bath. Spiral staircase leads to common area for parties, etc. Has room with bar and another spiral staircase leads to the skydeck. This is a balcony high up above the house that has extensive mountain views. All ceilings are wood accented with large beams. Balconies are tile and the decks are stained teak. Decks have balustrades. The second floor balcony and common area have custom wrought iron. All services available from satellite Sky TV, to high-speed Internet. All block and steel construction. Many hiking trails and rainforest zone a few miles away. If nature, quiet life and privacy is your thing, this could be for you. Juan Santamaria SJO Airport 1 hour 15 minutes away. $470,000. Picture gallery emailed on request to serious inquiries. Contact Jim Alfaro,   Cell 8714-8274.

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.

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

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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 
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For Sale: Fully Furnished OCEAN VIEW CONDOMINIUM
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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

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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.

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

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A.M. Costa Rica's
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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Sept. 8, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 177
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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
What can you do about the rain?

Here I sit with my feet up and a nice cup of tea by my side while I listen to the rain….again.  So it seems like a good time to talk about drainage.

If your land has a natural slope or your house is built on a hill, you

 probably know that the best way to deal with rain runoff is to have plantings that will absorb the water or at least send down deep roots to keep the soil from washing away.  Here in Costa Rica, one of the best yard plants for that purpose is the maní, or perennial peanut.  I know about the roots because I tried to dig
some out to put in a shrub.  Those roots are deep!  Maní looks a bit like clover – solid green leaves and a small attractive yellow flower – and it can be cut like grass.  I like it because it is a species native to South America.  Since my land is quite hilly, I have been taking plugs of maní and transplanting them to help prevent erosion.

But it’s not just problems with drainage from running water.  What we also have here is rain so intense that the lovely garden soil we worked so hard to build is washing away.  Bummer.  Even carefully planned and built raised beds are threatened by splash erosion. The rain is hitting the soil so hard that it creates craters right down to our seeds washing them away.  Sometimes it even carries away our tender seedlings.  Not good at all.  But what to do?

All the solutions I have tried so far have involved a lot of work.  Putting plastic up the sides of the raised beds and weighting it with rocks was only a little effective.  I rejected putting boards on the slopes because they attract insects.  And I once moved a board in the garden and found a rather long colorful snake hiding under it.  Non-poisonous, but startling nevertheless.  We watched each other for a while before it decided to vacate the area.  (Had it been a large spider, well, the result would have been different.  I don’t like spiders.)

So, what does work?  I have now set things up so that the valleys between the beds all slope in one direction – an outlet under the fence (fence keeps the chickens out) that slopes away to the forest.  I still have to go out and pull some of the soil back up to the mounds, but it helps.

What helps the most?  Shade cloth.  Not just for shade anymore.  The rain pummels it, but the cloth slows it down and lets it drip softly on my plants.  And it seems that a lot of the rain flows down the cloth itself and off into the trench around the raised beds.  Some soil still slides off the beds but nowhere near as much as on the unprotected beds. 

If you have a rainy season solution that works for you, let me know.  Especially if it doesn’t involve too much work.

Plant of the Day

The arachis pintoi, perennial peanut, or maní can often be found for free along the roadside or ask for a few plants from a neighbor.  It spreads nicely and has those nice deep roots.
If you would like to suggest a topic for this column, simply send a letter to the editor.  And, for more garden tips, visit the Arenal Gardeners Facebook page.

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From Pasge 7:

Goat milk will be available as powder

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Goat milk producers now have a plant that will convert 4,000 liters of the product a day into powder.

The plant in Aguas Zarcas has just started to provide the powdered milk to SuperMolina in San Ramón and Muñoz & Nanne in San Pedro. The Cooperatica de Productores de Leche de Cabra de la Zona Norte de Alajuela said that soon the product will be in the major chains.

The project was a joint one with Comercializadora Valley of  Tres Ríos de La Unión de Cartago.

By creating a milk powder, not only will the milk last much longer, but the cooperative plans exports to Panamá.

The powdered milk will be marketed under the Caprinito label.

The cooperative is made up of  95 members in San Carlos, Guatuso, Los Chiles, Upala y Sarapiquí, the organization said. They collectively have about 4,000 animals.