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A.M. Costa Rica
Your daily English-language news source Monday through Friday

Hotel and Casino     Playa Vista
Eco Realtors
(506) 2223-1327                          Published Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013, in Vol. 13, No. 201                 Email us
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Jo Stuart
Cascata del Bosco

Expats will have weekend filled with entertainment
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Expats can take a tip from Christopher Columbus this weekend and go exploring.

Columbus no longer gets full recognition in Costa Rica, and the day is now Oct. 12, Saturday, called El Día de las Culturas, honoring the multiple groups that make up the country's population. It is a legal holiday.

The U.S. Embassy notes that the Italian navigator, who once visited Costa Rica, still is remembered in the United States where the day is Columbus Day. That's why the embassy will be closed Monday because the observance is moved ahead two days to create a three-day weekend.

In Costa Rica, the big celebration is the carnival in Limón, which starts Friday. and runs through Oct. 21. The Afro-Caribbean population of that area is one of the cultures honored Saturday.

But there are many other activities. In San José there are two events. TheEl Costa Rica-Festival Internacional de Cine 2013 begins a nine-day run Friday. And Sunday there is the El Festival Semillas con Identidad put on by the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud honoring the native strains of food products.

Food is the attraction in San Ramón Saturday with the Festival de Comidas Tradicionales organized by the Centro Cultural e Histórico José Figueres .

Movie festival

The movie festival will screen 140 works during its run in the Antigua Aduana on Calle 23. The  Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud is co-sponsor with the Centro Costarricense de Producción Cinematográfica. Screenings also will be in the nearby Cine Magaly, the Cine Variedades downtown, the Sala Garbo at Avenida 2 at Calle 28, and Teatro Melico Salazar, also downtown on Avenida 2.

The movie production of Argentina will be featured.

As a teaser, the acclaimed movie "Gravity" about lost astronauts will be screened tonight in Cine Magaly at 8 p.m.

The movie is by Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón and stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.
Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud photo
These are offered as native seeds.

Food festival

The Saturday food festival in San Ramón begins at 11 a.m. in the cultural center. There also will be an arts and crafts show and Italian folk dancing at 1 p.m. by the groups "Añoranza Italiana” and “Cosecha de Oro Fino.”

There are contests for chefs and prizes in three categories of 50,000 colons each, about $100. Entries still are being accepted.

Naturally there will be a lot of food for sampling and sale.

Festival of the seeds

Native Costa Rican seeds have been in the news because of opposition to genetically modified plants. Some opponents say modified plants will pollute the genome of existing crops.

The culture ministry said that the Sunday event is to rescue and promote the use of  the traditional strains of the native seeds
The event is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Centro Nacional de la Cultura on Avenida 7. Admission is free. Some seeds will be shared with the public, organizers say.

There also will be a duel of street bands at noon. a dance for the public at 2 p.m. and workshops all day. There will also be food sales.

Organizers say that Costa Ricans have forgotten the tradition of sitting at the table and eating basic grains because they have been lured away by fast food.  The effort is to counter that trend.

Tattoo marathon will aid breast cancer campaign
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Tattoo artist will try to put 300 pink breast cancer awareness ribbons on as many bodies Saturday in a 12-hour marathon with the backing of the  Fundación Nacional de Solidaridad Contra el Cáncer de Mama. Saturday is the international day to fight breast cancer, and the 15 tattoo artists at Sailor's Grave Tattoo are volunteers.

They are trying to raise at least 1.5 million colons for the cancer Hope campaign.  That's about $3,000. The campaign seeks a 5,000-colón donation per tattoo.

Last year a similar 12-hour event resulted in the placing of 153 tattoos on those who sought them. The effort raised 700,000 colons then, about $1.400, said a release from the tattoo salon, which is in Heredia 100 meters west of the Catholic church in Barrio Corazón de Jesús.

The rose awareness ribbon is an international symbol of support for the prevention of breast cancer and support for victims of the disease. Many persons are wearing more portable ribbons this week.


Doctor again drops out of the presidential race
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Today is Thursday, so Rodolfo Hernández is not a presidential candidate.

The medical doctor seems to be as uncertain and torn as Shakespeare's Hamlet. He said again Wednesday that he was quitting the race.

Officials of the Partido Unidad Social Cristiana most likely were out seeking solace from Johnny Walker Wednesday night. The candidate quit a week ago and then issued a blistering statement citing back
stabbing, traitors and all those aspects that make politics fun for reporters.

Then Friday after talking with party leaders, he said he was back in the race. By that time, most observers counted him out as a serious candidate.

The reversal prevented the party from choosing another candidate Saturday.

Polls had Hernández in second position after Johnny Araya Monge of Partido Liberación Nacionals before the first resignation.

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A.M. Costa Rica's  Second news page
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday,  Oct. 10, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 201

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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.


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Our reader's opinions
Here are 14 points to help
improve conditions for all

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Here's some fodder for the editorial mill.  In my humble opinion, this is what would improve conditions for expats and Costa Ricans alike:

1. Control prices for consumer goods.  They are spiraling upwards at an alarming rate which decays quality of life in Costa Rica and dampens enthusiasm for tourism and expat migration.  Keep the economy vibrant by keeping it more favorable for those who pay.  The corporations don't need to get richer, but we need to stop getting poorer.  Offset losses by steps 3 and 4 below.

2.  Stop treating expats like the fairy tale pitcher that never runs out of milk.  We are not all wealthy snobs who don't care how much we are ripped off by punitive financial policies, taxes, fees, duties, prices, etc.  Level our burden with the citizens and reduce taxes for all while broadening the tax base to spread the burden.  Make it possible for us to bring in our possessions without the punishing costs.

3.  Shorten and streamline the long and unnecessarily complicated process of legal migration.  More illegal perpetual tourists will then come into the system.  It doesn't need to take a year.  The goal should be one month.

4.  Reduce bureaucracy in general.  Streamline systems to save time, effort, frustration, and cost.

5.  Bring more revenue into the Caja Costarricensese de Seguro Social by allowing expats to sign up much sooner in the process and receive services.

6.  Make medical translators available for expats who must use government services, especially medical at Caja where bad communication can be tragic.

7.  Educate the citizens about entrepreneurialism and enable them to start and run their own businesses more successfully.  Seed local business with funding and expertise.  Reset the economic base to become small private businesses rather than foreign corporate interests.

8.  Work on the balance of trade.  Increase exportations of a wider variety of goods and commodities.

9.  Foster greater understanding and cultural interchange between expats and citizens.  We are not all perverts looking for a chance to molest a child.

10.  Find ways to enable and reward individual progress in the three pillars of prosperity for individuals and the country: English language, digital technology and expanded world view.

11.  Educate the citizens to become independent, critical thinkers who reach a freely chosen world view, historical perspective, and personal ethical system.  Loosen the grip of the Catholic Church on their minds and hearts.  Break them free from addiction to their family dynamics so they can act more as free individuals.

12.  Foster creativity and individual self-expression in all forms.  People who can and do bring new things into being regularly are happier and more fulfilled.  Support the arts but go beyond that with new programs that deepen engagement by teaching creative thinking and expression.

13.  One more on the Caja:  upgrade the system!  Improve the quality of services and medicines.  Make more and better medicines available.  Shorten and streamline the processes.

14.  Teach Costa Ricans that holding a government position doesn't make them a minor god who can abuse power at will.  Foster and encourage a culture of service and efficiency and general compassion.

That should tweak a few people's thinking.  Hope you find something worth mentioning.

Joseph Riden

Garbage, bribes and criminals
are priorities for candidates

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

A message for political candidates:

Dear Candidate:

If you are elected, encourage your government to repair and use the rail line from Limón to the Central Valley (and destinations between) to transport goods and get the heavy trucks off the highway, which might as a result last longer and be safer. This would also have the effect of reducing pollution and putting a modicum of truth into Costa Rica’s vaunted claim of being “green.”

Take seriously complaints about break & enter, home and hotel invasions, and even petty theft. Stop letting the tourism boards of the prime vacation areas downplay these events in order that tourists keep coming. When stolen items are found on or near the grounds of a B&E, clearly dropped during the escape, return the items to the legal owners instead of locking them away as “evidence” for a potential court case which will, of course, never occur because the thieves won’t be caught despite fingerprint and DNA evidence. When victims can give brand names, receipts showing date and place of purchase, model and serial numbers of stolen articles, send honest (I’m sure there must be one or two) police officers to pawn shops to see if the stolen goods can be recovered and the thieves traced and punished.

Before and after you are elected, quit taking bribes. It starts at the top. You and your colleagues in the legislature are the ones with the opportunity to finally run a clean government. If a hotel or other business is polluting or cheating or breaking laws in any way, or not paying their fair share of taxes, put a stop to it. Don't be bought off. I’d like to feel confident you want to be elected to care for the people who voted for you, to do what's right for your country, not to line your own pockets. If the last is your only, or most important reason for running in this election, back out now. I can't read your heart or mind or conscience. Only you can do that.

Educate your country’s citizens to pick up the damn garbage! Fine people who litter. Place warning signs in buses (like the ones about standing water leading to dengue infections), on streets, in schools, in churches, in fast-food restaurants detailing what it will cost people caught tossing junk into the gutter, down the hill behind the barrio, over the sides of bridges or along the country’s highways. Make the fines hefty.

If the people dumping junk have no money to pay the fines, enact a law by which they can be put to work cleaning up after themselves and others. As I said in the first paragraph, this would also have the effect of reducing pollution (though of a different kind) and putting a modicum of truth into Costa Rica’s self-delusion of being “green.” Limón stinks. San José stinks. Heredia stinks. Puntarenas stinks. Puerto Viejo stinks. They do not stink mainly of truck and automobile exhaust fumes — hey stink of rotting food, urine and feces from humans and other animals. They stink of broken or non-existent sewer pipes, of the crap dumped into massive holes in sidewalks no one insists be repaired at the owners expense.  

If Costa Rica wants to be seen worldwide as a good place to visit or live, stop fooling yourself into believing it’s true and start making it true.

Judy Griffith Gill

Some questions for politicos
who are running for office

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Here are a couple points I would like to hear all the candidates position on.

1) Country's debt, out of control, like the U.S.A. How are you going to resolve this?

2) Crime.

3) Government bureaucracy is horrible.

4) Rivers are polluting both oceans (for different reasons). What is the plan to stop the pollution.

5) Inflation (yes government "numbers are low," but in reality inflation is real high.) is really hurting the people.

6) Tourism. There seems to be a government ambivalence, toward tourism industry y tourists. This seems like a good place to generate more jobs and revenues. Tourists complain about, crime, high prices, bad infrastructure, no freaking signs.

Jim Mateosky

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From A.M. Costa Rica

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A.M. Costa Rica

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday,  Oct. 10, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 201
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a mess

This is a section of Ruta 142 between La Fortuna and Tilarán where workmen are trying to remove another slide.

highway mess
Consejo Nacional de Vialidad photo

Multiple slides keep key highway at Lake Arenal closed
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Rains brought more slides to Ruta 142, the highway that runs from La Fortuna to Tilarán along the northeast edge of Lake Arenal.

The Consejo Nacional de Vialidad declared the highway closed because of the several slides.

Meanwhile, there has been extensive work near La Unión where a man and his son appear to have been swept away by a landslide.

A reader reported that more than 100 workers were on the scene Wednesday, but they have been unable to locate any trace of the missing individuals. Both are local.
Said the reader, Victoria Torley, who lives nearby:

"The town really pulled together with donations to keep people working.  There were about 100 men on site today moving mountains of dirt and rock from both sides of the road.  There were at least 30 fire, police, ambulance and rescue personnel, plus dozens of people ensuring that the workers had food, water, fruit and snacks throughout the day.  Some cooking was done on site, but donations from restaurants came in periodically. 

"Thousands of tons of dirt and rock were removed by hand and machine, loaded on dump trucks and taken from the site."

The Consejo said that work would continue through the weekend to open up and clear the key highway.

Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública photo
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública photo

Rifles and enough bullets for a small war were part
of the stash uncovered in northern Costa Rica.
Police on trail of men who had hefty stash of firearms and RPG
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Offices of the Policía de Fronteras are in the mountains around  Limoncito de Cutris seeking five individuals who may be linked to a large stash of firearms that have been confiscated.

The security minister said that 15 AK-47s and M-16 rifles have been found at a makeshift camp in those mountains. The weapons are new and not leftovers from the Nicaraguan civil war of the 1980s, said Mario Zamora, the minister of  Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública.

Police also located a rocket launcher, an RPG-7, a product of low-budget Russian engineering.
The shoulder-launched  device can destroy a tank.

The big question remains: What were the men doing.

The ministry said that there was a rough helicopter landing pad nearby and that there were 10 large containers with fuel, perhaps for a helicopter. Officials suspect arms smuggling or some kind of drug smuggling set up, but they cannot be sure.

They said they were directed to the site by neighbors who reported suspicious persons in the mountains.

Zamora said that anti-mine experts swept the site of anti-personnel devices but did not find any.

Milanes case is still deadlocked by holdout investors
By the A.M. Costa  Rica staff

Former investors of Luis Milanes will meet in a court session again Oct. 28 after another session this week that did not result in a conciliation agreement.

Milanes is the former owner of Savings Unlimited from whom reimbursement is being asked by about 500 former investors. That is far fewer than the number of individuals and firms that
lost money when he fled the country in November 2002. The bulk of the investors want some $570,000 that Milanes owes distributed, but there are a few holdouts who have derailed the process.

Meanwhile other investors have made contact with A.M. Costa Rica to see if they could become involved in this case at such a late date. They were attracted by news stories. They are expected to contact prosecutors.

Del Rey HOtel

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday,  Oct. 10, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 201
Real Estate
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Peanut butter smell test seen as a diagnostic tool to spot Alzheimer's
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Detecting early stage Alzheimer’s disease may be as easy as sniffing a dollop of peanut butter.

Researchers at the University of Florida’s McKnight Brain Institute Center for Smell and Taste came up with the idea to test smell sensitivity because it can be one of the first things to be affected in cognitive decline. Also, the ability to smell is associated with the first cranial nerve.

Jennifer Stamps, a graduate student at the University of Florida came up with the idea for using peanut butter because it is a pure odorant that is only detected by the olfactory nerve and is easy to access.

In the study, test subjects sat down with a clinician, 14 grams of peanut butter, which equals about one tablespoon, and a metric ruler. The patient closed his or her eyes and mouth and blocked one nostril. The clinician opened the peanut butter container and held the ruler next to the open nostril while the patient breathed normally. The clinician then moved the peanut butter up the ruler one centimeter at a time during the patient’s exhale until the person could detect an odor. The distance was recorded and the procedure repeated on the other nostril after a 90-second delay.

The clinicians running the test did not know the patients’ diagnoses, which 
were not usually confirmed until weeks after the initial clinical testing.

The scientists found that patients in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease had a dramatic difference in detecting odor between the left and right nostril — the left nostril was impaired and did not detect the smell until it was an average of 10 centimeters (about four inches) closer to the nose than the right nostril had made the detection in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. This was not the case in patients with other kinds of dementia; instead, these patients had either no differences in odor detection between nostrils or the right nostril was worse at detecting odor than the left one.

Of the 24 patients tested who had mild cognitive impairment, which sometimes signals Alzheimer’s disease and sometimes turns out to be something else, about 10 patients showed a left nostril impairment and 14 patients did not. The researchers said more studies must be conducted to fully understand the implications.

“At the moment, we can use this test to confirm diagnosis,” Ms. Stamps said. “But we plan to study patients with mild cognitive impairment to see if this test might be used to predict which patients are going to get Alzheimer’s disease.”

The results of the study were published in the Journal of Neurological Sciences.

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Howard Spanish cover


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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)


Homes for rent in Palmares, Alajuela

See our Web page:

Unfurnished 2-bedroom 2-bathroom house.. One large room for living room, dining room and kitchen. Separate bath.  2 bedrooms with bath on second floor. Washroom. Large 3-bay garage with bathroom, secure  for warehousing and storage. Located  approximately 6 miles east of San José and 1 mile west of Concepcion Tres Rios.  Map on request.  Telephone installed, cable and Internet available.  $250 a month plus utilities. 6 months minimum lease, deposit. Available after Oct. 15.  Tel. 2256-9426 

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

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

Lovely cottage on private coffee farm
One spacious bedroom, one bath, office room/spare room with high speed DSL internet, fully equipped kitchen, phone line,
Sarchi cottage
balcony with beautiful view, especially at night with the far off lights of San José. Farm is gated and guarded, private and peaceful, owner on-site. Sarchi is a quiet small town about 30-40 min from the airport, a perfect base to explore from and also get a
feel for normal, day-to-day Tico life. Rental is $575 per month, 3 months minimum. All utilities included. Shorter stays at $45 per night, 2 nights minimum. $225 per week, and $30 per additional night. Sorry, no pets.  Contact or 8308-7732.

house for rent
House for rent on a large property surrounded by fruit trees and garden on a 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. $475 monthly. Call 2267-6306  Or email:

Cute rental house
Beautiful and cozy mountain cottages
in San Rafael de Heredia.
Surrounded by nature. Bus line service. Security.
One or two bedrooms, one or two baths.
$500 or $425, monthly with furniture.
$325 or $250 without furniture. No bills included.
MORE INFO:  (506) 8739-0638.

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.

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

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.

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About us
What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this page and this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2013 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, Thursday,  Oct. 10, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 201
Real Estate
About us


Pacific Estates

White House spokesman says
Republicans will blink first

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

With the U.S. budget crisis in its ninth day, the White House says it believes Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives will do the right thing and pass legislation to lift the debt limit and reopen the parts of the government that are closed.

White House spokesman Jay Carney also said Wednesday that President Barack Obama has directed the Defense Department and budget office to find an immediate legal fix for paying benefits to military families, which have been cut off during the government shutdown.

House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner had criticized the administration for withholding the payments. He said Congress gave the Pentagon authority to continue payments in a law signed before the Oct. 1 shutdown.

The partial government shutdown is a result of Congress's failure to pass a temporary spending bill.  Congress is also at an impasse over extending the government's borrowing authority after Oct. 17, when the United States will not be able to pay all its bills.

Republicans are demanding talks on deficit reduction and overhauling the 2010 health care law before boosting the borrowing authority and returning the furloughed civil servants to work. Democrats want Congress to first end the shutdown and extend the debt limit.

Meanwhile, a new public opinion poll indicates only 5 percent of Americans approve of the way Congress is doing its job. 

The Associated Press/GfK poll also found 62 percent of the 1,200 surveyed blame Republicans for the partial U.S. government shutdown.

But President Obama does not fair well either, with only 37 percent approval of the job he is doing.

Global impact of U.S. default
could be a domino effect

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

With the U.S. government shutdown in its second week and the possibility of an American debt default next week, the global economy is beginning to feel the effects.

The action, or lack of action, on the U.S. government’s funding crisis is in Washington, but concern about it spans the globe.  One financial market indicator known as the fear index jumped 15 percent on Monday alone.

But while the headlines look ominous, London-based Wall Street Journal reporter Charles Forelle noted that global markets have so far not had the strong negative reaction some had expected.

“If there’s an apocalypse on the horizon, the financial markets don’t see it coming,” he said.

Global markets have been drifting lower, but have not fallen dramatically.  Still, Forelle warned the enthusiasm over investing will change dramatically if the shutdown continues, and especially if the U.S. government defaults on its debt.

“The other longer, bigger scale issue is the destruction of confidence in the U.S. government and in U.S. treasuries.  And that’s a much more difficult thing both to measure and to fix,” Forelle said.

Such concerns are keenly felt in places like the London investment firm Charles Stanley and Co.  Its chief investment commentator, Garry White, said the room will look very different next week if there is a default.

“Phones would be ringing off the hook," White predicted.  "There would be panic selling as investors tried to minimize their losses.  And it would be mass panic in the investment community.”

Experts say if Congress does not raise the debt ceiling and allow the government to continue routine payments, there would be a cascade of defaults worldwide, and financial institutions would not know how to set some of their key interest rates.  They say the financial collapse of five years ago that hurt people around the world would be repeated, and could possibly be worse.

White said that prospect could just be enough to motivate the politicians in Washington to settle their differences.

“One would hope that the consequences are so serious that they will sort it out before the deadline arrives. And we think it’s in the interest of people on both sides to resolve this issue before there is some sort of financial Armageddon,” he said.

Three who modeled reactions
win Nobel Chemistry Prize

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

This year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry goes to three scientists who developed computer programs that have become as important to chemists as test tubes.

These programs accurately simulate how large, complex molecules behave. The work is central to drug discovery, materials science and much more. 

Chemistry is all about the interactions of atoms. But these building blocks of all matter are far too small to see, even with the most powerful microscope.

So, over time, chemists have come up with two different ways of visualizing atoms and the molecules they form. And they have written computer programs to simulate each approach.

This year's winners are:

* Martin Karplus of the Universite de Strasbourg and Harvard University,

* Michael Levitt of Stanford University School of Medicine and

* Arieh Warshel of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

Simpler, classical models treat the bonds between atoms as springs, said Middle Tennessee State University chemistry professor Preston MacDougall. "Some springs are stiff, some springs are floppy. Some things twist easily, some things are harder to twist.”

Those models are fine for looking at how the shapes of molecules change in different conditions, for example, when they are hot or cold.

But they don’t tell you much about what happens when bonds between atoms break and reform, as happens in the enzymes that do the work in our bodies.

For that, you need much more accurate and complicated models that use quantum physics.

But using quantum models for all the bonds in a big molecule like an enzyme would take an enormous amount of computer power.

“In modeling, as in many aspects of life, there’s a certain ‘you get what you pay for’ aspect,” says University of Minnesota chemist Chris Cramer.

Beginning in the 1970s, Karplus, Levitt and Warshel developed computer models that successfully combined the two.

“They figured out a way to have a connection between the two that would let you have really fine-grained focus on an interesting piece of the big system, while not spending as much to include the larger system,” Cramer said of computer power.

For example, he said, computer programs today use quantum models to study how a drug will react with the small part of an enzyme that performs chemical reactions. But the programs use simpler classical models to understand how the rest of the enzyme interacts with its surroundings.

These models have proven extremely valuable across the field of chemistry. For instance, scientists designing solar panels use them.

“Certain atoms are absorbing light and undergoing transitions which you must use quantum theory to model,” said Preston MacDougall. “But then, you also want to describe the plastic material that it’s embedded in, so that their bending properties are modeled properly, their thermal expansion, their mechanical properties are also modeled correctly.”

These models are so good that they accurately predict what happens in real life.

And according to the Nobel Prize committee, “Today the computer is just as important a tool for chemists as the test tube.”

Voice of America photo
The Rev. Carroll Pickett. and his box of tapes

Death row minister rejects
capital punishment in Texas

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A number of U.S. states have taken steps to limit the death penalty over fears that innocent people may have already been executed. But not Texas, which has put to death more than 500 people since capital punishment was reinstated there in 1982. The former chaplain of the Huntsville state prison, the busiest execution chamber in the country, has some strong thoughts on the situation.

“Okay, nobody’s been in here before, but this is part of the tapes,” said the Rev. Carroll Pickett.

There are ghosts in Pickett’s closet. Ninety-five to be exact.

That’s the number of inmates put to death while he was chaplain at the Texas state execution chamber in Huntsville.

“I made the tapes the next day, or the next night, to get it all out,” he said. “He admitted he was nervous, and it showed in many ways that he was scared.”

Pickett keeps a scrapbook of the 1974 prison siege that killed two employees who belonged to his church. He was a Presbyterian minister and was already a prison chaplain when Texas reinstated executions in 1982. He favored the death penalty until execution number 33, Carlos DeLuna.

“He had big eyes. Big brown eyes. He was innocent. I knew he was innocent. I knew by talking to him and listening to him,” said Pickett.

DeLuna was convicted for the fatal stabbing of a gas station attendant.

But Pickett believes it was a case of mistaken identity. And while he promised DeLuna his death would be painless, it was far from that. 

“It was horrible. I couldn’t sleep for days and days,” he said.

Pickett came out against the death penalty after retiring in 1995. He is now a powerful voice in the movement to abolish it.

There were massive protests right here in front of the death house, back when Pickett attended his first execution. Now the death of number 505 Arturo Diaz draws only a committed core of anti-death penalty activists, including a group from a local Catholic church.

“When we execute, we take away the possibility of redemption," said Kelly Epstein, a Catholic protester.

The Rev. Fred Valone of St. Thomas Catholic Church believes change is coming.

“Well you know I think, state by state, people are realizing that the death penalty is against our moral fiber,” he said.

But not Texas Gov. Rick Perry. He supports the death penalty and says Texas has never executed an innocent person.

Pickett disagrees. “I was a witness to a murder in the name of the state.”

Twitter overtakes Facebook
among U.S. Teens, survey says

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A new survey shows that Twitter has overtaken Facebook as the most popular social network among American teens.

American teens have changed their preference when it comes to social media, said a study.

The study by the financial firm Piper Jaffray found that 26 percent of U.S. teens surveyed last month chose Twitter as their most important social network. Only 23 percent of American teens chose social media giant Facebook, down 10 percentage points from earlier this year.

The news comes about a week after Twitter unveiled plans for a $1 billion initial public offering. The filing shows the company is experiencing decent growth with 218 million active users and a revenue of $316 million last year.

But Piper Jaffray senior analyst Gene Munster says Facebook still has a reason to smile, for the camera that is. He says Facebook's acquisition of the photo and video sharing outlet Instagram continues to look like a smart purchase.

"Instagram picked up a lot of share. Probably the best way to think about Facebook is to look at Instagram and Facebook in aggregate," said Munster.

Instagram jumped seven points to tie Facebook in popularity among American teens.

Twitter, Facebook and Instagram remain well ahead of other social media used by teens. Less than 10 percent chose either Tumblr, Google+ or Pinterest as their most important social network.

Piper Jaffray senior analyst Steph Wissink said the data could predict a global transition.

“Our survey is really domestically focused, but I think there's been a very high correlation between what we've seen internationally and what we've seen domestically, with somewhat of a lag," said Wissink.

The company's survey covered teen tastes from technology to clothing. In addition to the social media change, the survey found that iPhone ownership among teens exceeded 50 percent for the first time ever, jumping from 48 percent of the market in April to 55 percent in September.

Fed vice chairwoman tapped
to head agency next year

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

President Barack Obama has named Federal Reserve Vice Chairwoman Janet Yellen to head the U.S. central bank after Ben Bernanke steps down at the end of January. The U.S. Senate still has to confirm Ms. Yellen, but analysts believe she’s a safe choice to steer U.S. monetary policy in troubled economic times.

She’s poised to become the first woman to head the U.S. central bank. And with more than a decade at the Federal Reserve, Ms. Yellen may be one of the most qualified to run it.
President Obama described her as tough and effective.

“She sounded the alarm early about the housing bubble, about excesses in the financial sector and about the risks of a major recession.  She doesn’t have a crystal ball, but what she does have is a keen understanding about how markets and the economy work not just in theory but also in the real world," said Obama.

The 67-year-old economist thanked the president for his trust in her and vowed to preserve the Federal Reserve’s mandate.

“If confirmed by the Senate, I pledge to do my utmost to keep that trust and meet the great responsibilities that Congress has entrusted to the Federal Reserve, to promote maximum employment, stable prices and a strong and stable financial system," said Ms. Yellen.

The president also heaped praise on Bernanke for providing a steady hand through the worst financial crisis in decades.

“He has truly been a stabilizing force not just for our country but for the rest of the world," said Obama.

Under Bernanke’s leadership, the Fed cut short term interest rates to near zero and has kept long term rates at record lows with an $85 billion a month bond buying program. 

Financial markets welcomed the Yellen nomination as a nod to continuity.
Former central bank official Joseph Gagnon says Ms. Yellen is likely to continue Bernanke’s policies.

“I don’t see big changes. I think they’re both rather collegial in terms of encouraging, trying to get consensus within a group as much as possible, so I think that will continue," said Gagnon.

Analysts expect an easy confirmation by the Democratic-controlled Senate with help from moderate Republicans.  But given the sharp partisan divide in Congress, economists say Ms. Yellen’s biggest challenges are yet to come.

Monetary Fund counselor
sees major transitions ahead

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The International Monetary Fund says the global financial system is facing several difficult transitions as world economies seek greater stability.

Fund financial counselor Jose Vinals said Wednesday there are key questions facing world economic powers like the United States, Japan and Europe's 17-nation euro currency bloc, as well as fragile emerging markets.

He questioned how smoothly the United States will be able to move from a period when its central bank, the Federal Reserve, has been pumping more money into the world's largest economy to boost its recovery from the 2009 economic downturn to normalization without monetary support.

Vinals said emerging markets in developing countries also face new challenges, with some investors withdrawing funds they had invested during the global recession.

"Corporate balance sheets have weakened, financial vulnerabilities are rising, and economic growth is slowing. And all this exposes these countries to more severe market stress," he warned.

Vinals said policy changes in the eurozone countries have eased the three-year governmental debt crisis, but corporate debt remains a problem, with banks facing big losses on bad loans.

He also questioned whether stimulus measures in Japan, the world's third largest economy, will push the country out of its lengthy period of economic difficulties.

But Vinals said if policies throughout the world are "properly managed," global economic stability can be achieved, leading to greater economic growth.
Real estate-related services (paid category)

Project completion specialists
Casa del pacifico logo
Pacifica living
A turnkey home and project completion agency devoted to creative vision and flawless execution. We provide a single, solid and dedicated point of contact for the duration of your real estate project, specializing in:

                      • Building completion services
                      • Interior design & decoration
                      • Custom furniture design & manufacturing.

Our primary goal is to assist our clients with a smooth transition to occupancy while providing highly personalized and distinctive services. We have refined the process to be a hassle free experience, especially valuable for clients who live abroad. We customize to suit each client’s personal taste, lifestyle and budget.
Serving region for 10 years.
We regularly exceed client expectations. We guarantee it.
Cell phone: (506) - 8707-8008
Office phone: (506) - 2288-5644

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

Swimming pool at night
A Buyer’s Broker offering the best
of Costa Rica Real Estate.

For those looking for quality properties and service at quality prices. Central Valley Rentals. Offering honesty, experience and knowledge. Your Villa Real Expert. Call us now  Toll Free (877) 845-4533. In Costa Rica 2228-5961 or 8339-2112.

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

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

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

Costa Rica,

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

Visit our Web Site:

English: (Cristian Arce)
(506) 8309-0173  
English:  (Luis Arce)
(506) 7100-8489  
 Español: (Luis G. Jiménez)
  (506) 8707-4016  
Grecia 794
This is the BIGGEST DEAL of the month now at $850.000: HERE!
30,000 square meters of land and 750 square-meters of construction.
Grecia 803
5,000 square meters of land and 175 square-meters of construction. HERE!
2,000 square meters of land and 200 square-meters of construction.  HERE!
  Send us your request to our email:

Real estate for sale (paid category)

For sale is a beautiful 50-acre property located in Los Alpes, just 15 minutes outside of San Ramon. At about 4,000 feet above sea level, this finca provides gorgeous views of the Central Valley as well as the Pacific Ocean in the distance while also offering a wonderful climate year around. The main house is two stories with three bedrooms and two full baths. High quality construction using exotic hardwoods such as almond, which covers the ceilings throughout the entire house. There are also two corrals and a small casita on the property. This location is perfect for a farm-style home or for beginning an agricultural business. This truly is a rare piece of property and is available for $399,999. Price is somewhat negotiable and we will be happy to work with the buyer to make it work! Please call 8816-2478 or e-mail for more information ¡y se habla español!

sunset view
FREE FULL-DAY TOUR and property viewing – San Ramón! 
Come visit us in San Ramón and not only will we show you some great properties but we’ll also give you a FREE day-long tour of this terrific town with a relocation expert who has lived here for many years. Since 2006, CRC has been the area’s leading creator of socially-responsible communities for foreign retirees/investors and locals. “Easy access” to San Ramón does not mean living many miles outside of town, but less than 2 miles from everything you’ll need. Live near town but in an area that only feels a world away. None of our competitors have built a school, donated a water well and completed numerous projects for the community. A few stunning, direct ocean-view home sites of 1.25 acres to nearly 4 acres from only $55,000 remain in one of San Ramón’s most desirable residential communities. Please visit us at or email us at to request a property showing AND your free full-day tour. Overnight accommodations can be arranged. Limited availability so please contact us today referencing “Free Tour” in your email:

Pacific Estates

Pacific Estates is divided into three distinct sections called Pacific Landings, Pacific Hills and Pacific Acres. Pacific Landings includes unique 2 & 3 bedroom homes incorporating pole house construction, cathedral ceilings, balconies on both the front and back of the house and eco-friendly elements. The homes also include granite counter tops, state-of-the-art stainless steel kitchen appliances, washer & dryer hook ups, internet connectivity and zone controlled A/C. These homes feature 1,290 square feet under A/C space and 1,537 square feet under A/C space with an optional Loft. To learn more about Pacific Estates, schedule a No Obligation Free Virtual Tour today by clicking here!

Samara church and lot
Commercial lot with great visibility in heart of Playa Sámara commercial district. Located alongside town's largest church, bank, hardware store/lumber yard, mini shopping plaza, and Pali (Sámara's largest supermarket). This lot has a large elevated building platform shaded with mature treees. All this makes for many commercial options.  One block from stunning "blue flag" beach. This is a perfect location for a eco/boutique hotel, restaurant/catering, apartments, or condominium. All utilities to this property. Lot size 1,414m2. Price 325K. Email:

Maui, 50 years ago!
One acre with all services located on the Nicoya Peninsula at about 2,400 feet below cloud level with the most intriguing panoramic views to the picturesque gulf, mountains and valleys, as well as sunset over the Pacific. 60,000 USD,    Cell 8916-5550.

Five bedroom home
Five bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths plus guest house
Price reduced $100,000 for quick sale. Features include out door BBQ, swimming pool, plus on the beach. The home is completely furnished with U.S. products. Each room is individually air conditioned.  Hot water in bathrooms, kitchen and laundry room.  Fully furnished. Includes TV’s, refrigerator/freezer, dish washer, microwave, electric stove/oven, washer & dryer and many “as seen on TV” appliances.  To see more, go to YouTube
Asking  $250,000.    Call Gary 8784-2945 or email

humming bird nest

Bed & Breakfast for sale and personal home with 2 houses on property of 3/4 acre (3,030 m2) and buildings w/verandas & carport approximately 350 m2. One house at entrance is central to village w/gated parking lot and a 3-bedroom house for rental or employees/family w/carport/yard/gardens. A 50-meter sendero winds to the top among lush gardens where the main house is situated w/2 buildings attached by verandas & stairway to second floor.  There are 2 bedrooms, sala, 4 baths, large kitchen, laundry rooms, work bodega, storage bodega and hot tub on veranda w/tiled shower room.  Home is surrounded by tropical gardens, views of Arenal Volcano, panoramic views of Lake Arenal, private w/school owned property on one side, pasture land on back side and connecting entry gate on other side to Cabinas El Castillo & Fusion Restaurant.  A bird watcher's paradise w/hummingbirds, Montezuma, toucans, butterflies and visits from howler monkeys.  The B&B is listed four consecutive editions of Lonely Planet and the first established B&B in this area.  Photos can be viewed on the Web site:  Make your dream come true with a slice of paradise in a quiet, private setting. Call Ellen Neely at  8835-8711.  Email:

Naranjo views


4254 msq. 1.2 acres - $59,000.00
• 10 minutes to the autopista and Naranjo centro
• Tranquil and Quiet
• Landscaped with fruit trees and flowering plants, and coffee#
• Incredible views - The Central Valley and nature reserve
• Close to public transportation - paved main road
• Building pad prepared and soil tested
• Survey/topo
• All services in place and underground - water/electricity/phone

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

Beautiful fully renovated house in Bello Horizonte, Escazu, 446 sq. meters. Four bedrooms; four baths. Price includes all furniture and fixtures - ready to move in! Light, bright and airy....$550,000 USD. Telephone 2288.6451. More details HERE!

Condo for sale in Flamingo

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

Guaancaate condos
Little Dreams La Colina Magnolias

Great Guanacaste Beach Condos Available

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

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

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:

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

For Sale By Owner
1 lot (1.5 acres)  at SIBU (8 lots total) amongst 50 acres of protected jungle gardens with sunset ocean views of Playa Nosara. Underground electric and water.13 minutes from Playa Guiones. Gated. In house financing available. Home of SIBU Sanctuary.

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Business for sale or lease (paid category)7115-12/16/11
A successful, local, long-running business for sale.
In the nine years of operation, this company has grown to cover the entire Southern Pacific Zone, and opened the door to further penetration in San Jose,  Manuel Antonio and Osa Peninsula areas.  And it is the only one of its kind with no comparable competition. With the extensive ground-work that has already been achieved, the business is now poised to expand into a new level of success. Operating since 2005, the owner retiring to another Latin American country. It is now time to turn the business over to a new owner who could expand it to  even greater success.  Details on the business, its history, a strategic analysis of its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, as well as a Pro-Forma Income Statement from 2008 through to 2013 are available upon request to

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

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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Thursday,  Oct. 10, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 201
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News from the BBC up to the minute

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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute

Cuba letting tourism agencies
contract with private business

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Cuba has authorized its state-run tourism industry to contract out lodgings, meals, excursions and other activities to private businesses in a boost to a growing non-state sector.

While the government has allowed some state contracting to private businesses since 2012, up until now the tourism industry was off limits.

Tourism is the country's largest industry, attracting 2.8 million visitors in 2012 with revenues approaching $3 billion.

The new regulations, published Wednesday in the official gazette, authorizes state-run tourism agencies to use the more than 5,000 bed and breakfasts and 1,700 private restaurants now operating in the Communist-run country, as well as private entertainment and transportation.

Further, hotels and other tourism facilities can now contract with private businesses to provide meals for workers, gardening and other services.

“Cuba's tourism has been stuck in a state-provides-all framework for years,” said Paul Webster Hare, former British ambassador to Cuba, who currently lectures on international relations at Boston University.

“As a service industry, small and imaginative often attracts tourists better than the one size fits all, which has been a feature of the way the big Cuban state- and military-owned companies have run the sector,” he said.

Cuban President Raúl Castro, who took over for his ailing brother Fidel in 2008, has opened up retail services to small entrepreneurs as part of a larger reform effort aimed at modernizing a Soviet-style economy where the state up until 2010 administered just about everything, down to shoe shining.

Castro is encouraging private sector growth to create jobs for the 1 million employees he hopes to slash from bloated government payrolls over the next few years. His goal is to strengthen Cuban communism to assure its future.

There currently are more than 450,000 people operating or working in small businesses, or they are self-employed, in the building trades, transportation, entertainment and other sectors, as well as more than 200 cooperatives.

State-run tourism agencies have been sounding out the owners of restaurants and small lodgings throughout the year, and many, at least in Havana, have expressed little interest, according to industry sources. They point out that individuals visiting the Caribbean island already are free to rent rooms and eat at private establishments.

Cholera lawsuit against U.N.
filed for Haitians in New York

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A U.S.-based advocacy group has filed a lawsuit demanding the United Nations provide compensation to the families of thousands of Haitians killed by a cholera outbreak.

The Boston-based Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti filed the suit Wednesday in New York, the site of the U.N. headquarters.

Studies have traced the cholera outbreak in Haiti to U.N. peacekeeping troops from Nepal, where the disease is endemic.  The peacekeepers are suspected of spreading the disease into the Haitian water supply through poor sanitation at their camp.  Cholera had not been documented in Haiti for decades, and the strain responsible for the outbreak is one that is prevalent in South Asia.

But the U.N. has rejected the compensation claims, saying it is protected by legal immunity.

More than 8,000 Haitians have died from cholera since the outbreak began in October 2010, just months after Haiti's devastating earthquake.  The lawyers working on behalf of the victims say more than 650,000 have gotten sick.

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From Page 7:

Change in emphasis was the key
to development firm's success

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The 2008 economic downturn hit construction firms hard. Plenty scaled back, and some went out of business.

That also was true of entrepreneurs trying to develop residential projects. Some sites still stand empty today.

Rock Constructions & Development S.A. also found itself caught in the
Rock logo
economic whirlpool. The firm had a reputation for upscale quality homes. The firm also had about 150 employees who were depending on their jobs.

That was the puzzle Jorge Jorge had to handle. He is the boss of the construction and development company, and he said he wanted to keep the business running.
 Clearly a change in emphasis was needed.

So Jorge, the man with the memorable name, solved his marketing problem by directing his efforts to Costa Ricans and others who did not own their own home. He and his architects designed homes that could be sold profitably at a surprising price.

The success of the decision can been seen in one simple fact: At the recent Expocasa exposition Rock sold an incredible 170 homes.

By sold, Jorge explained, he meant a signed contract and a down payment in hand.

The firm started offering new homes for under $50,000. Even today the company Web site says the firm guarantees a buy to have the keys in hand for $47,700. There is off-street parking usually roofed.

The initial project was Residencias Málaga Ciruelas 1 de Alajuela on seven hectares less than a kilometer north of  the San José-Caldera autopista. The firm sold 189 homes. Most had two bedrooms and one bath. Construction is mainly of concrete. That project is sold out now with maintenance under the control of a local homeowners committee, and the development continues to appear neat and tidy.

The free-standing homes, although designated as condos, are on individual 200-square meter lots, about 2,153 square feet.

Rock has two other projects designated as completed in that the future is in the hands of the residents. There are five projects in the metro area that are sold out and six other projects are in various stages of development, including one in Tamarindo and two in Playa Bejuco, a five-minute ride to Esterillos Este, and two in Playa Herradura near Jacó. In some locations the firm has deeded land right to the beach, an unusual situation in Costa Rica where the maritime zone usually is under the control of the government.

Jorge said Costa Ricans can get 90 percent loans for home purchases. Expats and other permanent residents probably can get a 60 percent loan from state and private banks. Expats also most likely will want living quarters a little larger and price tags of from $70,000 to $120,000.

The company owner attributes the firm's success to economics of scale and volume development which provide advantages over the competition. He also wisely targeted the Costa Rica market and not that of arriving foreigners.

Jorge said he sees his market as the estimated 30,000 Costa Rican families who need their own reasonably priced home, although he said he would welcome expats to consider beach living in traditional condos or in homes in the metro area.