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(506) 2223-1327                           Published Monday, Sept. 15, 2014, in Vol. 14, No. 182                       Email us
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Congratulations, Costa Rica, on 193 years of independence
bander bandera

What's the best way to frustrate property pirates?
By Garland M. Baker
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Why do foreigners get hoodwinked and bamboozled out of their stuff in Costa Rica? Or, any place else in the world for that matter.

Usually, because people tend to be too trusting. Or lack knowledge. Why do attorneys get a bad rap? Because knowledge is power. Some legal professionals use their know-how to steal. And then they know how to weasel out of the crime.

When an expat comes to this country to buy a property for retirement or investment, he or she faces the need to make many decisions. One on the top of the list is whether to use a company to hold the assets purchased or to hold them in a personal name. There are positive tax implications for doing the latter, but most believe they are outweighed by security and liability concerns.

Thieves love properties held personally because when someone dies they get a dishonest notary to forge a signature and, voila, the asset is transferred to someone else. Dead people cannot fight for their rights. Heirs have a hard time proving fraud in court.  Physical stock certificates of sociedades anónimas are easy to forge too. This is probably the second most common way to steal property in this country.

There are many different types of company structures in Costa Rica. However, only two are used in common practice: Sociedades anónimas or S.A.s; and, Sociedades de responsabilidad limitada, abbreviated as S.R.L.s.  These company types pay Law 9024 taxes each year along with income and sales taxes, if they are in business.

Here is a refresher course on their use and an update regarding changes.

A sociedad anónima is similar to a standard corporation in the United States and other parts of the world. This type of entity has a corporate charter and four directors: 1. president; 2. secretary; 3. treasurer; and, 4. fiscal. Stock certificates are usually issued representing stockholder ownership, but they are not mandatory.  The company also must have an attorney as a registered legal agent if the principal has a foreign address.

In the past, three legal and three accounting books were issued for a sociedad anónima by the tax department. This is not true today. Three are authorized by the national registry: stockholders, general assembly, and board of director’s minute books. The legal professional creating the entity usually prepares these items for a new company. The paper accounting books of the past are no longer required because the country’s tax department has modernized. Accounting still must be up-to-date in an accounting system, paper or digital.

S.R.L.s, are the second most popular structure. They are taxed on profits just like a sociedad anónima in Costa Rica. This is not true elsewhere. Taxes vary by country.  They also pay Law 9024 income and sales taxes if they are in business just like sociedades anónimas do.

They are easier to administrate and safer than S.A.s.  They have a constitution or charter like a sociedad anónima but do not have directors, only a manager or managers. Only two books are authorized by the national registry: Cuotas and,  assembly minute books.

The most important aspect to an S.R.L. is shares cannot be transferred by simple endorsement, and any shareholder has the right of first refusal in the case of any share transfer.  Any movement of shares also needs confirmation written in the shareholders’ book.

Liability is one of the most important considerations in choosing a company structure.  If something goes wrong and a company runs into financial problems, the liability created should stop with the company.

This means one’s personal assets are safe because legally a properly formed company is a separate entity in the eyes of the law and solely responsible for its debts.

Many use S.R.L.s to hold assets, but they are used for doing business too. Even large
protect assets

companies in Costa Rica are changing their corporate structure from a sociedad anónima to sociedad de responsabilidad limitada because they are easier to administrate.

Allan Garro of Garro Law, a legal expert, found another company form, and it is raising interest in the legal community. It was hidden for years in the civil code, the sociedad civil. It is much like a sociedad de responsabilidad limitada with one big difference. It does not pay Law 9024 taxes each year. So it is a perfect vehicle for asset ownership. Even though they can be used for doing business, it is not recommended to use them for such. If a company gets into financial problems, a third party can petition the court to dissolve the company to cover its debts.

What is the best use for each of the company structures discussed here?

Sociedaded anónimas are best for business entities when there are many stockholders, and a board of directors manages it for them. That is why a special legal book is issued to these organizations. Directors write their minutes and decisions in the board of director’s book for shareholder scrutiny. Shareholders write their minutes in the general assembly book.

It is still common practice for attorneys to create S.A.s for property holdings with one or two stockholders. This is not recommended because the individuals are always asking their friends and strangers to be on the board.

Sociedades de responsabilidad limitada are great vehicles to hold assets. They have no board and are relatively easy to manage.  This is not a good structure for many shareholders. Approval to get things passed in assembly meetings is more restrictive than S.A.s. However, it is bad news they must pay Law 9024 taxes, even if not doing business.

The best of all to hold property are sociedades civiles. They do not pay the new tax on companies. They are easy to setup, administrate, and protect against liability and fraud.

This is the key for most expats, fraud. What company structure works the best? They all do if they are managed correctly. The key elements:

1. Know who has powers of attorney;

2. Know exactly what the charter of the company says;

3. Have the shareholder books in a safe place held by honest people; and, most importantly,

4. Have a succession plan, which includes a will, trust or contingent power of attorney for an executor to manage life’s eventualities.

Garland M. Baker, a certified international property specialist, is a 44-year resident and naturalized citizen of Costa Rica. His firm’s team provides multidisciplinary professional services to the country’s international community.  Reach him at  Baker has undertaken the research leading to these series of articles in conjunction with A.M. Costa Rica.  Find the collection at, a free reprint is available at the end of each article.  Copyright2014. Use without permission prohibited


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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Sept. 15, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 182

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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
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Costa Rica: (506) 2228-2041


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Legal services

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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.
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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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Toll Free: 1-888-782-1119 OR  2643-4334, 2643-3672
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Wooden horse
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública photo             
A youngster on his wooden horse is dwarfed by a mascarada.

Kids get chance to show wooden horses

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

With the universality of smartphones, television and video games, guess what youngster in Barrio México showed off Friday?

Many have wooden horses, or as they are called in Spanish caballitos de palo. The Fuerza Pública set up a procession of youngsters and their wooden horses to make friends with children and also to stress concerns for child abuse.

The procession went from the park in Barrio México Friday to the former Mercado Borbón that is now a police communications center. There the children were entertained by clowns, various games and refreshments. Also there were the mascaradas.

Proposed Mexican law worries media

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

The Inter American Press Association has expressed its deep concern to the leaders of the Mexican congress that a law that President Enrique Peña Nieto has submitted with the good intentions of protecting children and minors, could become an instrument to restrict freedom of the press and of expression, with the aggravating circumstance of sentencing reporters, editors and publishers to prison.

On Sept. 1 Peña Nieto sent to the Senate a bill for a General Law for the Protection of Girls, Boys and Teenagers “to be dealt with on a preferential basis.”  This implies that the bill should be debated by the Senate within the next 30 days of its ordinary session.

In a letter sent to chamber of deputies Speaker Silvano Aureoles Conejo and senate President Miguel Barbosa Huerta, the chairman of the association's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Claudio Paolillo, asked for restraint in the debate and possible enactment of the law “with the intent to preserve freedom of expression and the public’s right to information without restrictions, in line with constitutional guarantees and those that derive from international treaties that Mexico has pledged to respect.”

Paolillo, editor of the Montevideo, Uruguay, weekly Búsqueda, added that despite the good intentions that might guide the government in preserving and caring for the rights of minors “there is concern about the many ambiguities in the bill, which gives the government a license to interfere in media content, giving rise to a framework conducive to prior censorship.”

The concern is based on legislative experience in the Americas, where many laws for the protection of minors and television blockages to protect children were trojan horses to include and justify restrictions of news content and media’s editorial policies.

Paolillo said that in taking into account that the media shall not be harmful to minors by advocating criminal behavior (Article 82) or that they shall not give information “which negatively impacts childhood” or be a “risk derived from the access to news media” (Article 80), it will imply that the media will remain at the discretion of the authorities, which will be able to punish the media outlet and the journalist for providing news about violent incidents, drug-trafficking, human trafficking, domestic violence, alcoholism and corruption.

In addition to the ambiguities, the press association noted contradictions. Among these the future law requires radio broadcasters to provide air time for minors (Article 78), even though on the other hand it prohibits the violation of the privacy of boys, girls and teenagers (Article 87) through any use of their image, name or personal information without the authorization of parents, teachers or competent authorities.

For the majority of the alleged offenses that the media could commit heavy fines are set that go as high as $600,000 and imprisonment of up to four years (Article 137) for reporters and media employees, doubling up when such offenses are attributed to media editors and publishers.

In addition to these civil and criminal sanctions, those for repeated offenses will include shutdown of media, both traditional and digital, and cancellations of their operating licenses.

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A.M. Costa Rica

Third News Page
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Sept. 15, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 182
Real Estate
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Law enforcement officers held their own independence day celebration Sunday morning with a flag raising.

The event was accompanied by a traditional dance group and a parade of the varios police units. These included the Fuerza Pública, the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas, the Servicio de Vigilancia Aérea and cadets from the Escuela Nacional de Policía.

police parade
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública photo

Cartago, the former capital, is the center of independence day activities
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Runners braved wet weather in the Central Valley Sunday night to deliver the Antorcha de Independencia to Cartago. Untypically, the torch arrived about 40 minutes late.

That gave the politicians time for speeches. President Luis Guillermo Solís sketched out the various historic dates that provided a road for Costa Rica. He speech was short, patriotic and did not address any current issues.

However, earlier the president and his cabinet approved a host of decrees relating to Cartago. There were 10, including one that declared that the production of potatoes was in the national interest. Cartago is known for its potatoes.

The decree seeks to increase research about the tuber and also to increase the amount of land dedicated to its cultivation.

Another decree gave central government blessing to a proposal to
build a new hospital in Cartago.  The structure would replace the current Hospital Max Peralta.  The Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social is working on the preliminary plans and the purchase of land.

Another decree declared that a special economic zone in Turriabla was in the public interest.

The gathering of central government officials also put weight behind a proposal to extend the valley rail line 5.3 kilometers more from Cartago Centro to Paraíso de Cartago by 2016.

A proposed law that would provide support for the Instituto Costarricense de Ferrocarriles is in the legislature.

The crowd at the Ruinas de Cartago was spared the heavy rains that hampered runners. There also was entertainment from dance groups and singers.

Cartago was the colonial capital of the province of Costa Rica. And that is  where the news of independence was delivered 193 years ago.

Five held after home invasion and shootout with police in Grecia
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Armed men invaded a home in Puente Piedra de Grecia Saturday night, tied up the family they found there and ransacked the place.

Fuerza Pública officers received a tip and showed up when the intruders still were in the residence, officers said. What followed was a shootout, a search and finally three arrests early Sunday morning of five suspects.

One police officer suffered a bullet wound to his right arm. He was due to undergo surgery at Hospital San Juan de Dios.

One of the suspects is from Purral de Goicoechea, but the remaining four are from Grecia. One of the suspects has other cases of aggravated robbery on his record, said police.
The invasion was at the home of a family with the last name of  Solórzano. There were three men and a woman in the home when the Saturday night invasion took place.

Also Saturday night, a 40-year-old man with the last name of Obando suffered a bullet wound to his left foot in Indiana 3, Siquirres. He is a fruit vendor who was selling his products to a family about 7 p.m. when masked bandits showed up.

The Judicial Investigating Organization said that the vendor entered the home to protect it and began a firefight. A man in the home suffered a superficial bullet wound, and the woman who had been buying fruit when bandits appeared suffered a fractured hip, said agents.

The crooks fled with 400,000 colons, agents reported. That is about $734.

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. 15, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 182
Real Estate
About us

Sharks and rays receive better protection for international trade
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services
and the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Conservationists are hailing what they call an historic agreement to give greater protection to sharks threatened by illegal trading practices. The agreement, which took effect Sunday, puts several shark and manta ray species under the protection of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna, known as CITES.

This theme music from Jaws, the 1975 Hollywood thriller about a killer shark, has terrified generations of moviegoers. John Scanlon, CITES secretary-general, thinks the bad rap sharks are getting is unfair.

“The reality is the number of shark attacks are extremely low. The risk is extremely low, but it is a very hard profile.  Scientifically, you know, you need sharks. You need the top-end predators. They are a critical part of the eco-system. And, the fact that something poses a risk to human beings is no reason to be rid of it,” he said.

Sharks play an important role in maintaining a healthy ocean by eating other fish. While they are preying on smaller fish, conservationists say human sharks are preying on these undersea animals for their fins, meat, leather, liver oil and cartilage.

CITES says the demand for shark fins in Asia is the greatest driver of overfishing and population declines. Shark’s-fin soup is a delicacy served at important events, such as weddings and banquets in Asia.

On the other end of the eating spectrum, it notes fish and chips meals are made from shark meat in Europe. The gill plates of manta rays are highly valued as a health tonic in southern China.  Conservation groups agree that, instead of being beneficial, gill plates may be harmful to human health because they contain arsenic, cadmium, and other lethal metals.
The head of CITES scientific services, David Morgan, says profits from the unregulated trade of these products are huge. Unfortunately, he said this is leading to overfishing and an 80 percent decline in several species.

“That is a substantial decline. It has resulted in local extinctions. One of the species, the hammerhead shark, the scalloped hammerhead shark has become virtually extinct in the Mediterranean Sea. The population decline there is estimated at 99.9 percent. So it has resulted in local extinctions in some places. What can we do to recover them? Well, they need time and space to recover. ... We need to reduce the fishing pressure on these species,” he said.

The new CITES agreement provides stronger protection for five shark species and all manta ray species whose survival is under threat. The agreement does not ban international trade, but it regulates the trade to make sure these endangered species are being harvested sustainably and legally.

Several of the species are relevant for Costa Rica, said a local environmental organization. The three listed species of hammerhead sharks (scalloped hammerhead, smooth hammerhead, great hammerhead) were proposed by Costa Rica, Honduras and Brazil at an international convention last year, according to the Programa Restauración Tiburones y Tortugas Marinas.

The oceanic white tip shark, a highly valued species in the international shark fin trade and once an abundant catch in Costa Rican fisheries, has now become a rare catch, and its commerce has been banned by the Inter American Tropical Tuna Commission, the organization said.

Manta rays are common in Costa Rica waters, and even though it is not acknowledged as a targeted catch, the truth is that an export market exists for ray meat, the composition by species of which is unknown, it added.

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

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

San Ramon
Mountain home w/million dollar view near San Ramón
Beautiful home in the mountains near San Ramón with 180-degree view of the gulf of Nicoya.7 miles from San Ramón, 1 mile from Interamerica highway. 3,200 ft. elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 baths, frig, dishwasher, washer, dryer, TV, DVD player, high-speed internet, direct TV via sling box on Internet. rent is $750 plus electricity & water. free Internet. Prefer 3 months or more. Available Nov. 1. Contact   Check out slide show HERE!

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

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, Monday, Sept. 15, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 182
Real Estate
About us

U.S. Hurricane Center graphic
Map shows hurricane as it makes landfall.

Hurricane Odile comes ashore
at tip of the Baja peninsula

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
with wire service reports

Hurricane Odile made landfall about 10:45 p.m. Costa Rican time Sunday near Cabo San Lucas, México, the U.S. Hurricane Center reported. The report was based on satellite imagery, said the center.

The center downgraded Odile to a strong Category 3 storm, with top sustained winds of 205 kph, about 135 mph.

An automated observing station near Cabo San Lucas reported a sustained wind of 89 mph (144 kph) with a gust to 116 mph (187 kph). 

Forecasters predict Odile will bring as much as 38 centimeters of rain in some of the more mountainous regions.

They also warn of large and destructive waves, significant coastal flooding, and life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.

happy couple
Rutgers University photo

Wife's happiness is called key
to long-term union's success

By the Rutgers University news staff

When it comes to a happy marriage, a new Rutgers study finds that the more content the wife is with the long-term union, the happier the husband is with his life no matter how he feels about their nuptials.

“I think it comes down to the fact that when a wife is satisfied with the marriage she tends to do a lot more for her husband, which has a positive effect on his life,” said Deborah Carr, a professor in the Department of Sociology, School of Arts and Science. ”Men tend to be less vocal about their relationships and their level of marital unhappiness might not be translated to their wives.”

Professor Carr and Vicki Freedman, a research professor at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, co-authored a research study published in the October issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family on marital quality and happiness among older adults.

The study, done by the two universities, differs from previous research, according to Professor Carr, because it examines the personal feelings of both spouses to determine how these marital appraisals influence the psychological well-being of older adults. Researchers analyzed data of 394 couples who were part of a national study of income, health and disability in 2009.  At least one of the spouses was 60 or older and, on average, couples were married for 39 years.

In order to assess marital quality, those involved in the study were asked several questions, such as whether their spouse appreciates them, argues with them, understands their feelings or gets on their nerves. They were also asked to keep detailed diaries about how happy they were in the previous 24 hours doing selected activities like shopping, doing household chores and watching television.

Those involved in the study, on average, rated their general life satisfaction high, typically five out of six points – with husbands rating their marriage slightly more positive than their wives.

“For both spouses being in a better-rated marriage was linked to greater life satisfaction and happiness,” Professor Carr said.

Still, she said, the study also found that while wives became less happy if their spouses became ill, the husbands’ happiness level didn’t change or reflect the same outcome if their wives got sick.

“We know that when a partner is sick it is the wife that often does the caregiving which can be a stressful experience,” said Professor Carr. “But often when a women gets sick it is not her husband she relies on but her daughter.”

The study is important, the researchers said, because the quality of a marriage can affect the health and well-being of older individuals as they continue to age.

“The quality of a marriage is important because it provides a buffer against the health-depleting effects of later life stressors and helps couples manage difficult decisions regarding health and medical decision making,” Professor Carr said.

Obama administration says
its confident with coalition

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Obama administration is expressing confidence in the formation of an international coalition to combat Islamic State radicals who control swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria. But congressional action in support of the effort is a matter of growing debate.

After meeting with allies and partners in the Middle East, Secretary of State John Kerry says a growing list of nations is prepared to strike against Sunni militants, a point echoed by White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, who uses the ISIL acronym for the group.

“What we want to make sure happens is that we have committed partners who can take the fight to ISIL on the ground. And they will have not only support from us from the air, but training and equipment,” said McDonough, speaking on ABC’s This Week program.

That coalition will be essential if Islamic State militants are to be defeated without the deployment of U.S. ground forces in a combat role.  Another encouraging sign is the formation of a broad-based Iraqi government, according to McDonough.

“There is now a new, multi-ethnic government in Baghdad. They will support a unified, capable, multi-ethnic Iraqi force, so that they can take this fight to ISIL,” said McDonough.

A supporting U.S. role has the backing of independent Sen. Angus King.

“This cannot be a war of Westerners against Islam.  This has to be an area of the world that is willing to police itself,” said King.

But with lawmakers eager to adjourn well in advance of the November midterm elections, it is not clear whether or when votes will be held to authorize any portion of the strategy President Barack Obama outlined last week. 

Republican Sen. Susan Collins believes the U.S. commander-in-chief should have acted sooner.

“The president waited far too long to present a strategy to the American people and to Congress.  Now we are being asked to react on a very short timeline, in a matter of days,” said Ms. Collins.

President Obama is not asking formal congressional authorization to strike against the Islamic State.  That is a mistake, according to Republican Sen. Bob Corker, who nonetheless backs military action.

“Problems occur.  And I think the administration would be so much wiser to get that authorization from Congress on the front end, instead of having over time 535 Monday morning quarterbacks,” said Corker, referring to the number of lawmakers in the U.S. legislature.

Meanwhile, the Islamic State’s latest atrocity, the beheading of British aid worker David Haines, is provoking strong reactions on both sides of the Atlantic.  The White House condemned the killing as barbaric, while British Prime Minister David Cameron said IS militants are “the embodiment of evil.”

North Korea sentences man
who wanted to obtain asylum

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

North Korea has sentenced detained American Matthew Miller to six years of hard labor on a conviction of hostile acts against Pyongyang.

The brief trial Sunday came two weeks after Miller and two other American detainees appealed to the U.S. government to help free them. The U.S. has said it will do everything it can to work for the release of the three Americans. 

Miller, in his mid-20s, was arrested in April after ripping up his visa at immigration and demanding asylum in North Korea. After a brief session Sunday morning, Miller was denied the possibility of appeal.

A trial is also expected soon for Jeffrey Fowle who entered the North as a tourist and was arrested in May for leaving a Bible at a provincial club.

A third U.S. citizen, Korean-American missionary Kenneth Bae, is serving out a 15-year sentence for what Pyongyang says are hostile acts intended to overthrow the government.

Planned trips by a U.S. diplomat to secure Bae's freedom have been canceled by Pyongyang. Those visits were scheduled to take place before Miller and Fowle were arrested.

In the past, North Korea has released detained Americans after high-profile visits by former U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.

U.S. wins basketball title
and seals berth in Olympics

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The United States has won the men's basketball World Cup and the automatic Olympic berth that goes with the title.

Fielding the youngest U.S. team since NBA professionals debuted at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, the Americans routed Serbia in Madrid Sunday, 129-92.  This is the first time the U.S. men have won back-to-back world championships.

Point guard Kyrie Irving, 22, of the Cleveland Cavaliers led the U.S. scoring with 26 points, hitting all six of his three-point field goal attempts. He was named the tournament's most valuable player.

The victory gives the U.S. men a berth in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The American men now have won 63 straight games in international play, 45 in official International Basketball Federation games and 18 in exhibition play.

Finishing third behind the U.S. and Serbia was France, which defeated Lithuania by two points for the bronze medal Saturday, 95-93.

It was the first men's world basketball medal for Serbia, which was part of Yugoslavia when it won five gold medals. The U.S. tied that mark of five golds with Sunday's title.  The tournament has been held 17 times.  It was formerly known as the FIBA World Championship, but basketball's world governing body changed the name for this year to the FIBA World Cup.

The next edition of the tournament will be held in five years, instead of four, so it won't be held the same year as soccer's World Cup.

Judge determines Pistorius
was negligent in shooting

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

South African track star Oscar Pistorius has been found guilty of culpable homicide, but cleared of more serious murder charges in connection with the killing of his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, at his home last year.

The Olympic sprinter known as the blade runner for his carbon-fiber prosthetic legs, showed little emotion as Judge Thokozile Masipa delivered the long-awaited verdict Friday.

He was the first double-amputee to compete in the Olympics, at the 2012 games in London.

"On count one, murder read with section 51-1 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 105 of 1997, the accused is found not guilty and is discharged," Judge Masipa said as she read the verdict. "Instead, he is found guilty of culpable homicide."

Prosecutors argued Pistorius acted intentionally when he shot Ms. Steenkamp through a locked bathroom door at his Pretoria home last year. Pistorius said he mistook her for an intruder in the middle of the night and did not mean to kill her.

Judge Masipa agreed. "The state has not proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of premeditated murder,” she said. “… The accused is found not guilty and is discharged. Instead, he is found guilty of culpable homicide."

Culpable homicide, or negligent killing, is punishable in South Africa by up to 15 years in prison.

Pistorius would have faced a prison sentence of 25 years or more had he been found guilty of premeditated murder.

The judge explained her decision during Thursday's proceedings, when she said Pistorius was negligent and had "acted too hastily and used excessive force."

She said Pistorius did not act reasonably when he fired the fatal shots, but said he did not act consistently with someone who had just committed murder, noting he quickly called authorities and tried to resuscitate Steenkamp.

The judge ruled Pistorius can remain free on bail until the sentencing, set for Oct. 13.

Pistorius was also convicted of unlawfully firing a gun at a Johannesburg restaurant in early 2013 just weeks before he shot Steenkamp. He was found not guilty of illegal possession of ammunition and firing a pistol out of the sun-roof of a car.

South Africa does not have jury trials. Judge Masipa decided the case with the help of two legal assistants.

The 66-year-old jurist was only the second black woman to be appointed a high court judge in South Africa. She has a reputation for handing down stiff sentences in crimes against women.

The Pistorius family, which has been in the court for months, reacted impassively. Pistorius's uncle Arnold said Friday the family was grateful the 27-year-old was found not guilty of murder.

Meanwhile, Ms. Steenkamp's supporters and relatives wept quietly or stared ahead in what appeared to be shock. Ms. Steenkamp's parents expressed disbelief at the ruling. 
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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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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)

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.

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

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

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

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

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.


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:

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

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

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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

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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

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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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Call center for rent ready to go !
13 work stations, good equipment, good location, Rohrmoser, two blocks from Plaza Mayor. $4.000 per month. Call Kevin 8366-6861.

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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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
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Sept. 15, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 182
Real Estate
About us

News from the BBC up to the minute

BBC news feeds are disabled on archived pages.

Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
A lot of thinking goes into a pot!

Many people think that container gardening starts with the pot. You just pick a nice pot and off you go.  But container gardening actually begins with some questions:  Why do you want a container?  Where are you going to put it?  What is it supposed to do?  When do you want the
Victoria torley
plants in it to perform?  How big are the plantings going to get?

You may want a container to cover a bare area, a spot your eye goes to and you think, “Wow, that spot is just . . . . there.  And not very interesting.”  Or you may have a vertical space that you want to accent, but there is no place to
dig, such as a spot near your pool that is concrete with a screen that hides your pump.  Or you may have an entry that needs to be more welcoming.  So, why do you want that container?

Where am I going to put it?  Do I need to leave space so that people have a clear walk-way around the pool or to the door?   If I put it here, will the dog (or a passing cow) chew it?  Is the plant in the pot toxic like poinsettia or oleander?

What is the pot doing?  Is it only there to hold a vine or cover a barren area, or is it there to create an impression at the doorway or accent an architectural feature?  A large pot can hold a small tree, so the “what is the pot doing” could be “providing shade from the tropical sun.”

When do I need the plants to perform?  Well, in the tropics, I want them to be on their toes all the time.  If you don’t want to have to keep replacing them with new plants and flowers, annuals are out for you.  Zinnias, for example, flower for about a month and then are gone.  So now you need to pick plants that will continue to perform for at least a year.

How big will the plants be?  Very tall plants need a tall pot – nothing looks sillier than a pot, 10 inches (25 cm) tall with a 4 foot (1.2 meter) papyrus growing up and out of it.  And nothing is worse that realizing that you grew a lovely plant in just the right pot, but now no one can get around it to get to the front steps. 

Think these questions through, and then it’s time to ask a couple more questions.  Will the pot be stationary or will you need to move it occasionally?  This will help determine what the pot is made of – plastic is lightweight and made to travel, concrete is heavy and resists moving.  One nice thing (and there are many) about the tropics is we don’t have to move our plants inside for the winter so a concrete pot can be a good choice.  Then choose a color for the pot and make sure that the pot provides good drainage for your plants. 

More about containers later, but now, the plant of the day:

The jade vine, Strongylodon macrobotrys, is an exotic well worth growing.  The flowers grow in hanging trusses that can be meters in length (this one is about 1 meter) and individual flowers are shaped like claws or Aladdin’s slippers.  The flowers are a shade of aqua or jade and the plant is pollinated by bats.  The vine can grow to 18 meters, so be sure you have plenty of space prior to planting it.

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 Web site of the Arenal Gardeners.
Jade vine
A.M.Costa Rica/Victoria Torley

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Gtom Pge 7:

New York is just around the corner

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Nothing says New York more than all-beef hot dogs. Those Nedick's dogs did not quite fill out the bun, but who cared because they were cheap and mixed well with the orange drink at the 42nd Street outlet.

Out in Cony Island, there was Nathan's Famous dogs. The hot dog in many variations was obligatory for seaside visitors. There was another outlet on Long island, and Nathan's sold its famous dogs all over the East Coast.

A Polish immigrant started the firm nearly 100 years ago, and he had guaranteed customers because the dogs were kosher. But the quality and the taste quickly transcended religious preferences, and the Nathan's dog became a New York institution.

The original Nedick's chain vanished in the face of modern competition, but Nathan's has opened two San José locations without much fanfare.

The dogs are available at Mall San Pedro and at the food court on the fourth floor of Universal on Avenida Central.

Beef dogs were available in Costa Rica before the mad cow disease scare when beef imports from the United States were cut off.

Nathan's said it also opened outlets in Russia, México City, the Dominican Republic, Turkey, Kuwait, and Canada. More outlets, including some with a drive-thru are planned for Costa Rica, the firm said.