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(506) 2223-1327                               Published Monday, Oct. 19, 2015, in Vol. 16, No. 206                                 Email us
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Solís seeks to boost the economy with borrowing
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The president proposed a series of steps Sunday night that are designed to improve the national economy. Nearly half of the proposals are based on borrowed money.

The president, Luis Guilermo Solís, appeared upbeat and smiling as he spoke to the nation on the weekly Cadena Nacional.  Major stations did not air the nearly seven minute presentation. Instead there was soccer and dancing on channels 6 and 7.

Solís said that the economy already was improving and cited statistics that showed unemployment was 9.5 percent. He cited a Banco Central statistic that said national production had increased 2.1 percent.

Eliminating the production of free zones, the increase is 3 percent in the last four months, said the president.

The president promised this major statement on the economy Thursday. He plans to amplify the 10 proposals at a press conference today.

Top on the list were two projects that would benefit tourism. The president said that as of January a ferry service would begin between the Puerto Caldera in Costa Rica and Puerto La Libertad in El Salvador. This would cut transportation time by trucks from three days to 20 hours and reduce the cst by a half, he said.

Second on the list was the $35 million convention center in Barreal de Heredia. Bids for construction would be sought before the end of the year, he said, adding that the center was expected to boost tourism by 4 percent.

He also said that the Consejo Nacional de Producción would increase purchases from small and medium producers by 10 billion colons ($19 million) this year and in 2016.

In nine months the Banca para el Desarrollo will double to 200 billion colons ($379
Presdient on cvadena
Casa Presdiencial photo
Solís talks to nation with sign translation.

million) the amount allocated for loans to small business operators, he said. This would benefit 70,000 persons, he added.

Next year the Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje will create some 21,648 new spots for the institute's training classes, Solís added.

The government in 2016 will make an effort to begin work on some $650 million in infrastructure based on external financing, he said.

He also promised that paperwork would be simplified and that the Secretaría Técnica Nacional Ambiental would have a group of professionals  designated before the end of the year to give priority to public works project plans. Before the end of the year, the same  Secretaría Técnica Nacional Ambiental would begin a system of certification of those involved in the creation of private projects, he added.

The president also promised to speed up within 90 days the system of granting sanitary permits to activities of low risk and that the permits would have automatic renewal for five years, he said.

The final proposal was to simplify the paperwork in registering products of low risk, cosmetics and foods to reduce the processing time from 30 days to only five. Such approval is required for new products and the importation of products from abroad.

The speech is available HERE!

Two key presidential proposals seem to lack certainty
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Two proposals by President Luis Guillermo Solís might not be as sure as he suggested.

Both the $35 million convention center and a ferry service between Puerto Caldera and El Salvador have been in the works for years.

The ferry service was supposed to start last January. This is a $14 million project of  Naviera Odiel, a Spanish shipping company. The initial approval was given in 2000. El Salvador's vice president, Óscar Ortiz, has been promoting the plan since he took office. He sees a ferry route as a tourism draw.

The shipping firm has been hard to pin down, according to local press reports. One early report promised a ferry that would include restaurants and even a casino.

The convention center has been promised for years. The Solís administration has been trying to resurrect the project. Plans already have been prepared, and the government owns the land. The center is supposed to accommodate 4,500 persons.

convention center
Casa Presidencial graphic
Rendering of proposed convention center

The convention center is a business, not just a public work. Feasibility studies are said to exist.  A.M. Costa Rica has reported that to justify the $35 million debt, the center would have to have a continuous flow of income.

In addition, the government would be in competition with its own Estadio Nacional and private venues such as the nearby Centro de Eventos Pedregal.

For international conventions there are competitors in other countries who have locations close to beaches and other attractions.

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Oct. 19, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 206
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A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.


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Our reader's opinion
Bank ATM limit directed against expats

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Yet another issue has arisen that appears to be directed against American expats and/or tourists in Costa Rica.

Banco de Costa Rica has recently instituted a policy of dispensing only 100 U.S. dollars per transaction, with only two transactions a day from their ATMs.  For people who pay their rent in dollars, this necessitates making several trips to the bank just to get sufficient dollars to pay rent. 

My rent, for example, is greater than $1000.00 a month. This new policy requires me to make many trips to the bank just to obtain funds for rent.    With this ridiculous policy it takes me almost two weeks to extract rent money from BCR.  Consequently, items that I may have purchased from other businesses will be left on the shelf.  And my day-to-day needs will be put on hold while trying to amass funds to pay the rent.

This ridiculous policy will also affect tourism.  A typical family of tourists spends more than a measly $200 a day while on vacation.  

After addressing the issue with Banco de Costa Rica on their Facebook page, their response indicated that this decision was motivated by a desire for better security for their customers.  Apparently they have not only developed a prejudice against American expats, but also they think we are stupid. Really BCR??

My personal theory and that of other expats, is that BCR is trying to gain additional monies in conversion and cash advance fees from those who need more than this limit in dollars each day.  They stated on Facebook that if a customer needs more money they can come into the bank and take a cash advance.  So they gouge foreigners that way. Additionally most U.S. and Canadian banks charge ATM fees in the $5 range for each transaction.  Making the fees ridiculous for those of us who have to make five to 10 withdrawals just for rent.

The (hopefully) unintended consequences of this decision might include expat customers switching to more expat-friendly banks, fewer American tourists visiting Costa Rica as the word spreads to friends and families back home and a whole host of bad publicity on Facebook and other social networks for Banco BCR.

This bad publicity will not only sully the reputation of BCR, it will also reflect poorly on the entire country. It sends the message to American travelers who perceive Costa Rica to be a friendly destination where they are welcomed and encouraged to vacation or retire, that they in fact, are not really welcome here.

Pura Vida indeed!
Darlene Mokrycki

Long-term rise in sea-level predicted

By the University of New South Wales news staff

A jump in global average temperatures of 1.5 to 2 degrees C will see the collapse of Antarctic ice shelves and lead to hundreds and even thousands of years of sea level rise, according to new research published in Nature.

The research highlights the moral significance of decisions made now about mitigating climate change.

An international team led by Nicholas Golledge, a senior research fellow at New Zealand's Victoria University’s Antarctic Research Centre, published the study "The multi-millennial Antarctic commitment to future sea-level rise," which predicts how the Antarctic ice-sheet will respond to future atmospheric warming.

“Without significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, we will commit the Antarctic ice sheet to ongoing and widespread melting for the next few thousand years. Is that something for which we really want to be responsible?”

Using state-of-the-art computer modeling, Golledge and his colleagues including researchers from the University of New South Wales simulated the ice-sheet’s response to a warming climate under a range of greenhouse gas emission scenarios. They found in all but one scenario (that of significantly reduced emissions beyond 2020) large parts of the Antarctic ice-sheet were lost, resulting in a substantial rise in global sea-level.

“The long reaction time of the Antarctic ice-sheet, which can take thousands of years to fully manifest its response to changes in environmental conditions, coupled with the fact that CO₂ lingers in the atmosphere for a very long time means that the warming we generate now will affect the ice sheet in ways that will be incredibly hard to undo,” Golledge said.

The 2013 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report predicted that the Antarctic ice sheet would contribute only five centimeters to global sea-level rise by the end of this century even for its warmest emissions scenario.

But Tim Naish, who worked with Golledge on the study and was also a lead Intergovernmental Panel author, said that when the report was written there was insufficient scientific knowledge about how the Antarctic ice sheet might respond to future warming. Those sea-level projections could have been too modest.

“Our new models include processes that take place when ice sheets come into contact with the ocean, he said.

“Around 93 percent of the heat from anthropogenic global warming has gone into the ocean, and these warming ocean waters are now coming into contact with the floating margins of the Antarctic ice sheet, known as ice shelves. If we lose these ice shelves, the Antarctic contribution to sea-level rise by 2100 will be nearer 40 centimeters.”

To avoid the loss of the Antarctic ice shelves, and a long-term commitment to many meters of sea-level rise, atmospheric warming needs to be kept below 2 degrees C above present levels.

“Missing the 2 degree C target will result in an Antarctic contribution to sea-level rise that could be up to 10 meters higher than today,” Golledge said.

“The stakes are obviously very high. 10 percent of the world’s population lives within 10 meters of present sea level.”

What makes the report particularly compelling is the way the results were reached. “The striking thing about these findings is that we have taken the most conservative estimates possible,”
Golledge said.

“The striking thing about these findings is that we have taken the most conservative estimates possible,” said co-author of the paper, Chris Fogwill from the University of New South Wales Australia's Climate Change Research Centre.

“In all IPCC global warming scenarios, only one saw Antarctic ice shelves avoid ongoing collapse. In every other case we saw significant collapse and rising sea levels continue for hundreds to thousands of years.

“The results suggest Antarctic ice shelf stability has a tipping point dependent on a critical temperature threshold that can lead to substantial sea level rise even if we reduce emissions after that threshold has been reached.”

The findings raise an ethical decision, according to Golledge.

“Without significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over the next couple of decades, we will commit the Antarctic ice sheet to ongoing and widespread melting for the next few thousand years. Is that something for which we really want to be responsible?”

“It becomes an issue of whether we choose to mitigate now for the benefit of future generations or adapt to a world in which shorelines are significantly re-drawn.

Since the Ice Age started to decline about 19,000 years ago, the sea has risen about 120 meters already. That's about 360 feet.

News for the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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A.M. Costa Rica

Third News Page

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Oct. 19, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 206
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Expats irked at new limit for Banco de Costa Rica ATM withdrawals
By Gabriela Vega Barrantes
and the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Banco de Costa Rica has upset some expats because it has instituted low limits on dollar emissions from automatic tellers.

A bank official said that the limit only exists for those using a non-Banco de Costa Rica credit or debit card to seek funds. That would include a lot of expats who have accounts in their home country and routinely withdraw money here to pay bills.

Zacarías Esquivel, deputy general manager of the bank, said in a statement to A.M. Costa Rica that there is no change for customers of his bank who withdraw funds from their accounts there.

Automatic teller emissions for those with cards issued by other banks are limited to two transactions a day and an amount up to 110,000 colons or the equivalent in dollars, he said.

Those with non-Banco de Costa Rica debit cards can get additional money by going to a teller inside the bank, he said. No commission will be charged for this service, he promised.

However, the bank official and others contacted at Banco de Costa Rica were not specific on why the state institution established this rule. A reporter has asked for clarification.

A customer service representive also added that the automatic tellers only would recognize Visa- or MasterCard-branded cards.

Technicians have been making changes to the automatic
Banco de Costa Rica

tellers since Oct. 1, which is why some expats have been 
able to obtain dollars normally and others have not. The new policy was supposed to start officially Friday.

Expats such as Darlene Mokrycki of Atenas speculated that the bank is just trying to obtain more money from repeated use of the automatic tellers or the use of a card at a teller window.

She said she had to make trips to the Central Valley to obtain dollars from the machine of a private bank.

More pessimistic observers noted that similar controls on foreign currency presaged major financial disruptions in Argentina, Venezuela and even México.

Banco Nacional has had a similar, although not identical rule, for months. The bank simply does not allow emissions of U.S. dollars from automatic tellers to persons who do not have a dollar account at the bank. So far, colons could be obtained up to at least the equivalent of $500 dollars.

Less conspiratorial observers suggested that Banco de Costa Rica is just trying to hold on to dollars because the Banco Central has been maintaining an artificial exchange rate that favors the colon for two years.

Three more victims added to the growing list of this year's murders
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The wave of killings continued over the weekend.

At Ochomogo Sunday at 5 a.m. five men in a vehicle sustained fire from a second car. One man died. The Judicial Investigating Organization identified him by the last name of Chacón. He was 26.

Agents said his 16-year-old brother was one of the passengers.

In Pijije de Bagaces shortly after midnight, a dispute at a bar ended in the shooting of a bystander.

Judicial agents said that the dead man had the last name of  Dormes and was 20 years old.

The fight began in the bar but moved into the street where three shots were heard, judicial agents reported. The dead man was found in the street.

At the Clínica Solón Núñez in Hatillo a 29-year-old man died shortly after he was brought in.

Judicial agents identified him by the last name of  Mesa. They said he was gunned down while walking in Ciudadela 25 de Julio in Hatillo about 2 a.m. Sunday.

He suffered multiple gunshots wounds including one to the head after two men on a motorcycle approached him.

The Fuerza Pública said that a motorist fired and wounded a man on a motorcycle in the center of Guápiles, also Sunday. Police were able to detain the man in the car. They identified the critically injured motorcycle driver as a man with a record of having brought drugs into a prison, robbery and another drug crime.

The number of killings this year has become a political issue with former president Laura Chinchilla blaming the current administration. In fact, investigating crimes and making arrests is the responsibility of the judiciary, and the Judicial Investigating Organization has the responsibility to do that.

Government officials blame revenge over drugs as a principal cause. They estimate that the murder toll might be as much as 500 this year or about 10 deaths per 100,000 persons.

A.M. Costa Rica proudly presents
three new members of our hotel directory:


Hacienda Baru

Recreo Verde

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, Oct. 19, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 206
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Research team links rainfall to rise and decline of great civilizations
By the Pennsylvania State University news staff

Climate variability is one of the major forces in the rise and fall of agrarian states in México and Perú, according to a team of researchers looking at both climate and archaeological records.

"We are arguing that the climate information in both areas is good enough to establish that climate is playing some role in the rise and fall of these city states," said Douglas Kennett, professor of environmental archaeology at Penn State. "Now we need to further refine the archaeological data."

Kennett, working with Norbert Marwan, climatologist and statistician, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany, looked at climate records for central México gleaned from a stalagmite collected from Juxtlahuaca Cave in the state of Guerrero. They also looked at the climate record preserved in the Quelccaya ice cape in the Cordillera Vilcanota portion of the Peruvian Andes.

In both cases the climate records are based on oxygen isotope measurements on datable layers of ice or stalagmite cave deposition. These records show annual changes in rainfall and temperature for 2,000 years in México and 1,800 years in Perú.

"There is a long tradition of archaeology in both central México and the Peruvian highlands," said Kennett. "There are also new high resolution climate records available that have not yet been capitalized on by archaeologists."

The researchers note that some refinement in archaeological dating in some areas is still needed, but that the rise and fall of major cities is reasonably well known.

Comparing the climate record with organized agrarian state level societies in Mexico, Kennett and Marwan looked at the rise and falls of three states -- Teotihuacán from 100 BCE to 650 CE, Toltec from 900 to 1150 CE and the Aztec Empire from 1400 to 1519.

"The fluorescence and expansion of Teotihuacán as a regional power between 100 and 400 CE occurred during an interval of persistent and stable rainfall," the researchers report in Philosophical Transactions A. Teotihuacán, during its heyday, influenced large portions of central México.

The decline of Teotihuacán from 600 to 700 occurred during "some of the most volatile climate conditions evident in the Juxtlahuaca Cave climate record." This was followed by extended drought after 700 recognized by previous studies.

The decline of major states was typically followed by dispersal or decentralization of populations and power. Smaller, usually weaker cities arose in these regions, but were highly unstable and controlled little territory.

In the early 10th century, Tula emerged as a major force in the central highlands. This corresponded to a wetter and more stable climate period than the 7th century. The researchers note that while there is some discussion as to the dating of the Tula civilization, "it appears that Tula was established during a relatively stable climatic interval and went into decline as climatic conditions became more volatile."

"While there is some support for the hypothesis that stable climatic conditions favored political centralization and that unstable climatic conditions contributed to sociopolitical instability and decentralization," said Kennett. "Additional chronological work is needed."

Moon pyramid
Pennsylvania State University/Gina Buckley-Yost
Moon pyramid view from Sun pyramid at Teotihuacan.

By the early 15th century, Tenochtitlan, now Mexico City, was one of the large cities vying for control of the Basin of México. It eventually grew to a city of 200,000 people. The growth of the Aztec empire coincided with an extremely wet and stable climatic period. The empire fell under the conquistadors who arrived in 1519, so the potential societal effects of highly volatile climatic conditions during the 16th century are difficult to evaluate.

During each of these time periods urban populations developed agricultural methods that relied on the persistent availability of rainfall – irrigation. During the climate's unstable periods, evidence of population dispersal, destruction and warfare are evident in the archaeological record.

About 3,000 miles to the south, the situation in Perú looks very similar to México. Three civilizations, Wari and Tiwanaku from 300 B.C. to 1000 A.D. and Inca from 1438 to 1525,  emerged in the Andes. The Wari and Tiwanaku states developed side by side in the highlands covering the area from what is now northern Perú to northern Chile. These civilizations developed sophisticated methods of intensive agriculture suitable for these high elevations. However, these methods were sensitive to changes in temperature and precipitation. States developed when the climate was warm, wet and stable. The climate became highly volatile and dry in 1000 when these states both went into decline.

Again from 1000 to 1300 the climate was highly volatile, populations dispersed, and smaller competing cities are evident throughout the highlands. As conditions stabilized the Inca Empire emerged and dominated the Andes from Ecuador to southern Chile by the end of the 15th century. A complex combination of irrigation, cropping and other agricultural approaches along with an intricate network of regional capitals, rituals and military campaigns created this large empire. This time was also a stable climate period. Just as the Aztec empire fell, the Inka Empire fell to the Spanish conquistadors in 1533.

Both of these regions show the formation, decline and eventual reestablishment of states in a pattern that mirrors the stability and instability of climate conditions in each region. It appears that political fragmentation, sociopolitical instability and warfare occurred during the unstable climate periods, while the growth of strong, stable, successful states were favored during stable climatic intervals.

The researchers suggest that modeling the effects of future climate variations should focus on human response to transient short-term changes in addition to the traditional focus on long-term mean changes in climate.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

Click photo for another video

The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

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

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

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

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

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


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

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Largest art gallery in Guanacaste
Drop in to see some of Costa Rica's finest art
at the largest gallery in Guanacaste.

The Hidden Garden Art Gallery near the Liberia airport is a great place to find quality remembrances of Costa Rica to take home or to decorate your home or office in Costa Rica.  We also offer commissioned pieces so you can create your own unique masterpiece to cherish forever.  With more than 60 artists on exhibit and fine art in 15 rooms full of paintings, prints, sculptures, and diverse artistic expressions, we are easy to locate just 5 kms west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport. Visit our Web site at
or contact us by email:   
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.

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

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

Real estate rental services (paid category)

Fully Furnished American style Apartments for Rent
2-bedroom, 2- bathroom, fully furnished American-style apartments with elevator in a secure building in Barrio Amó. Cable, Internet, water included. Shared laundry. Convenient to Parque Morazán,
hotels, restaurants, casinos, city government, national registry. $600-$650 per month plus electricity. ½ month security deposit. No lease.  The larger apartments are $650 per month. They have larger bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens. It would be best for the prospective tenants to visit
Barrio Amon
the building to see the apartments.   For more information contact:  or call Hilda at 2221-7161.

Beautiful Apartment

Lemur del Bosque
for Rent

San Francisco de Dos Ríos, 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. $450/month. Retired persons preferred. Call 8375-6838. Email:

Unfurnished 400-sq. ft. apartment, with modern kitchen, located on beautiful Junquillal Beach is waiting for you. Sea Turtles are common to this beach. Great area for surfing one of C.R.'s premier surf spots or boogie boarding. Close to a market, restaurants and more touristy areas - Playa Negra and Tamarindo, if you want shopping, etc. This area is a great community. If you are looking for a nice relaxing area, this is it. $500 month + electric, visit our Web page -  - for more info, photos and to view a video. Or call (506) 5004-3473.

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
tropical homes
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

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

Real estate for rent

house for rent
Beautiful fully furnished house for tent
2 bedrooms, 2 baths, fully furnished $800 + electric, includes cable TV, Wifi, Internet. Inside gated property close to town. Contact

Small furnished apartment with private entrance for one or two adults. No pets. Located in Colonia del Rio, San José, approx. 1.5 miles northeast of San José Centro. Location can be seen in Google maps: Calle 24 on the Rio Torres. Apartment fronts the river.  All utilities including Wi-Fi and TV cable. Photos on request. $350 a month with a month's deposit and three months minimum rent. Enclosed garage available for $50. Available Oct. 26. Email telephone 2256-9426.

Coco rental
For Rent: Terms negotiable (long term)
Available immediately. Rural, secure (24/7) gated community. 20 minutes from Playas del Coco and only 7 minutes. from Playa Matapalo (think RIU Hotel).  Two-story, 3-bedroom, 2 1/2-bath home with pool, carport, wifi and access to the community pool and workout center. $1,100 USD plus utilities. (Agents: flat fee)  Contact: Wanda R Dunn at 8337-0032 or 1-610-732-3204 from U.S.
DunnRight Property Management, Lomas del Mar

Oganic farm rental
2 bedroom, 1 bath, $700 includes electric, water, cable, Internet & WiFi. Fully furnished. Inside gated property close to town, Santa Bárbara de Heredia. No dogs please.

Spectacular rentals are available for low weekly prices on at resorts such as Bahia Turquesa Residences and Villas Sol Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste. We have 
1- to 3-bedroom ocean and garden view timeshares available and most offer air conditioning, cable TV, fully equipped kitchens, and relaxing hammocks on private balconies. Enjoy the unique combination of seclusion and convenience as all resorts listed on our site are close to popular Costa Rican attractions and downtown 
centers, but are surrounded in lush, tropical forest. Villas are also available for sale in our inventory, so you can enjoy yearly vacations to this mesmerizing rainforest paradise. Please visit our rental inventory HERE!  or call us toll free at 877-815-4227, International: 603-516-0200.  Email:

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

Real Estate
About us
What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2015 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
Manuel Antonio
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Oct. 19, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 206
Real Estate
About us

Congress in disarray faces
critical fiscal deadlines

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. Congress faces critical fiscal deadlines at a time of upheaval and uncertainty on Capitol Hill.  Lawmakers are returning from a week-long recess still wondering who will lead the House of Representatives.

It has been nearly a month since House Speaker John Boehner announced his departure effective at the end of this month.

No successor has been identified, much less chosen.  Rep. Paul Ryan, the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee, gives no sign of acquiescing to intense pressure from party elders to seek the post.  A leadership vacuum could force Boehner to postpone his retirement and lead a fractured Republican caucus as momentous deadlines loom.

Last week, the Treasury Department informed Boehner the U.S. government risks running out of funds by Nov. 3 unless the federal borrowing limit is increased.

“It would put the United States at real risk for the very first time in our history of not being able to pay our bills,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest Thursday.

Many Republicans, especially ultra-conservative hardliners, have long refused to vote to raise the debt ceiling unless the measure is accompanied by spending cuts to slow the pace at which America runs up the national debt.

"You know, to be honest, what I'd like to see on the debt limit is Republican leaders fight for something, for Pete's sake. Anything,” said Republican senator and presidential candidate Ted Cruz on NBC’s "Meet the Press" program Sunday.

“We have a $19 trillion debt.  The reason that is a problem is we only have an $18 trillion economy,” said another presidential aspirant, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio at a recent campaign event.

President Barack Obama has ruled out negotiations over the borrowing limit, arguing it's Congress’ duty to avoid a catastrophic U.S. debt default.

“Increasing the debt limit does not authorize any new spending.  It simply allows the Treasury to pay for expenditures that Congress themselves already have approved,” said Earnest.

In addition to the debt ceiling deadline, Congress has until Dec. 11 to extend the U.S. government’s spending authority or risk another partial federal shutdown.  Discussions between the White House and congressional leaders are reportedly progressing on a longer term spending deal, but until a new House speaker is chosen, it is not clear who would see a deal to fruition or bring it up for a vote.

Obama orders government
to prepare to lift sanctions

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

President Barak Obama Sunday ordered the U.S. government to start preparing to lift sanctions against Iran on what was called Adoption Day, the day all parties who signed the nuclear deal in July take the first steps towards implementing it.

"I welcome this important step forward, and we, together with our partners, must now focus on the critical work of fully implementing this comprehensive resolution that addresses our concerns over Iran's nuclear program," Obama said Sunday.

Obama said Iran has also started carrying out its side of the deal, removing centrifuges, slashing its uranium stockpiles, and filling the Arak heavy-water nuclear reactor with concrete, all to ensure it cannot build a nuclear weapon.

The European Union also passed legislation Sunday allowing its members to start looking at ending sanctions.

But German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier predicted the sanctions will remain until Iran proves it is living up to its side of the bargain.

"That definitely won't be the case before the end of January. Now the question is whether Iran shows that it can fulfill its commitments," he said Sunday.

A newscast on Iranian state television Sunday said Tehran will act upon its commitments. Iranian officials suggested last week the country could meet its requirements by the end of the year.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said a finalized deal could have ramifications for years to come.

Iran will now begin taking all of the necessary steps outlined in the agreement to restrain its nuclear program and ensure that it is exclusively peaceful, Kerry said in a statement Sunday.

Representatives from Iran and the six world powers who signed the deal, Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United States, meet in Vienna today to set up a commission that will oversee implementation.

Iran test-fired a medium-range missile earlier this month which U.S. officials say may be capable of carrying a nuclear weapon.

While the test does not violate the nuclear deal, it does violate a U.N. Security Council resolution.

But a senior U.S. official said he is reluctant to link the missile test to Iran's willingness to comply with the nuclear deal. The official called it another in a long pattern of Iran ignoring resolutions on ballistic missiles.

Stratfor analyst Reva Bhalla said if Iran can meet the conditions that lead to sanctions relief, it could economically rehabilitate itself.
“In the immediate sense, it means between 40 and 50 million barrels of oil that Iran has in storage will be released on the market,” she said. 
But as Iranian officials work to get their nuclear sites into compliance, they will need to sell the deal to the country’s hardliners, said Berman.
“They have to sell their constituency that the Islamic Republic has not changed its stripes, ideologically, despite the deal.”
He also said there is concern about whether Iran will remain in compliance once it begins reaping the benefits of sanctions relief.

Colombia, rebels agree
to account for missing

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Colombian government and Marxist rebels have unveiled a breakthrough deal aimed at officially determining the fate of tens of thousands of people missing and presumed dead during a half century of war.

The agreement, reached late Saturday in Havana, comes just weeks after Bogota government negotiators and their rebel counterparts publicly vowed to sign a peace deal by March 2016.

Colombian authorities say at least 51,000 people have gone missing since rebels launched their rebellion in 1964.  Victim groups place the missing toll as high as 100,000. Government tallies show some 220,000 people killed and millions more displaced by the conflict.

Cuban diplomat Rodolfo Benitez told reporters the deal establishes a special unit to focus on the missing from Latin America's longest war.  Both sides will furnish data on the missing to Colombia's National Institute of Legal Medicine and the International Committee of the Red Cross.  The Red Cross, in turn, will design a search program.

Last month, government negotiator Humberto de la Calle said both sides will definitely meet a March 23 deadline for a peace accord.  At that time, President Juan Manuel Santos met with rebel commander Timoleon Jiménez for the first time.  Both said a deal had been reached on the delicate issue of justice for crimes committed by rebels.

Colombia's rebel movement has been weakened in recent years, and right-wing paramilitary forces formed to counter leftist fighters have been disbanded.

The Bogota government estimated the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia had about 16,000 fighters in 2001.  But analysts say that number may have dropped to as low as 7,000 in recent years, largely because of desertions.

Government and rebel envoys have been engaged in peace talks sponsored by Cuba and Norway for nearly three years.

Fleeing drug lord reported
to have injured himself

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Mexican federal authorities hunting fugitive drug lord Joaquin Guzmán say they are focusing their manhunt on a mountainous region of his northwestern home state of Sinaloa, following the outlaw's brazen prison escape through a 1.5-kilometer long tunnel in July.

In a statement late Friday, Mexico's security cabinet said trackers believe Guzmán recently sustained injuries while fleeing Mexican marines in the rugged terrain near the borders of Sinaloa and Durango states. 

The statement did not say when the injuries occurred or how they learned of them.  But earlier in the week, Mexican Attorney General Arely Gomez said authorities had captured a pilot who helped Guzmán escape in a small plane from a maximum security prison near Mexico City.

Wire services quote an unnamed government official saying Guzmán hurt himself in one of several falls as he fled marines in the Sierra Madre mountains.  A second official is quoted as saying the operation took place earlier this month.  Both said marines had been hunting the fugitive for weeks in the Sinaloa-Durango area known as the Golden Triangle.

The U.S. network NBC also reported on the near-capture, saying it came after U.S. agents intercepted cellphone signals from an area ranch.

Guzman's July 11 prison escape, his second in the past 14 years, remains a major embarrassment to the administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto, which had been praised for its aggressive push against his country's top drug lords.

Guzmán was captured in early 2014, with the help of U.S. intelligence, after more than a decade as a fugitive.  He was first captured in 1993, but escaped in 2001 with the help of prison guards.

Mexico has issued arrest warrants for more than 20 former officials, guards and police officers for their alleged participation in Guzman's latest escape.  Ten civilians are also in detention.

Guzmán escaped through a rectangular hole found underneath a shower of his prison cell, moving through a fully ventilated tunnel equipped with electric lighting.  Authorities also found a motorcycle modified to run on rails that they believe was used to haul tools and dirt from the subterranean site during construction.

Big names in the Internet
seek laser connectivity

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Several tech companies are looking at laser or a combination of radio and laser technologies to take Internet connectivity the next level.

Spearheading the effort are Google and Facebook. Google, which is deploying helium balloons in the stratosphere to provide Internet connectivity in remote areas as part of Project Loon, wants to use radio or laser to enable its balloons to transfer data in areas that are far from ground relay stations.

Facebook wants to launch drones that use laser beams for high-speed Internet connectivity in remote regions. The idea is that the drone closest to urban areas would use laser to connect to the Internet and then pass along the connection to drones flying over rural area.

“Both Google and Facebook think that if they can these aircraft in the stratosphere, roughly 20 kilometers above the Earth, they could kind of function like aerial cell towers and spread the connections more easily and without having to figure out the power and the cabling and everything on the ground,” said Tom Simonite, the San Francisco Bureau Chief of the MIT Tech Review.

Facebook, in particular, is very interested in using laser to transfer data.

“They claim to have set a new record and made the fastest laser data transfer ever,” said Simonite. “And I just think it shows that they are taking it seriously and are trying to push the technology forward.”

Other companies are coupling laser technology with radio redundancy to deliver uninterrupted Internet connectivity in inclement weather. In that kind of situation, Simonite said both laser and radio connections run in parallel, so that the laser can pick up any slack in case of radio interference.

“They’re extremely fast,” he said, “but if anything gets in the path of the beam, the signal is blocked.”

If the laser cannot travel in a straight line, the radio side would cover the deficit. “So it’s like a redundancy thing so that they always have a connection that’s live,” he said.

But the need to use both radio and laser simultaneously can be limiting, said Simonite. He said “lasers can be used to fuller potential” with project like the ones Google and Facebook are undertaking.

Lasers can emit light that can be modulated at very high speeds and can carry more than a petabit of data per second. A petabit is 1,000 terabits. A terabit equals a mind-boggling one trillion bits. The average U.S. Internet connection speed topped 11.7 megabits per second in the last quarter of this year, according to Akamai’s State of the Internet Report. Globally, Internet speeds vary, depending on equipment and region.

Used in communications, they typically operate at 850 and 1550 nanometer wavelengths or colors of  light, which are invisible to the human eye.

The technology is promising for developing countries and in parts of the world where laying cables is difficult, where cables are easily damaged, or in rural areas where labor and materials tend to be expensive. Simonite said governments and cellular carriers now want to push their coverage into new, unsaturated regions.

“And it looks like this technology could help maybe with that in places where the regular way of connecting up cell towers with cables and so on doesn’t really work so well,” added Simonite.

Laser technology is not new, however. Siddharth Ramachandran of Boston University’s Nanostructured Fibers & Nonlinear Optics Lab, said laser, a critical feature of Internet connectivity, has been used for communications since the late 1970s.

One company, in particular, Washington-based TeraBeam, was interested in the idea of free-space laser communications back in 2004 and produced free-space optical transceivers for Internet access.

Ramachandran speculated TeraBeam wanted to use 1550nm laser light, which is considered eye-safe.  It is unclear, however, if it is hazardous when used at higher levels of power in free-space communications.

“The main reason I believe Terabeam planned to use1550nm light is because most of the terrestrial and undersea fiber-optic communications equipment operates at this wavelength, which means it would be cheaper to piggy back on a lot of the technological infrastructure that was already developed,” he said.

The 1550nm wavelength, invisible to the human eye, is becoming the color of choice.

“And while modern communications systems transmit a lot of laser power through the fibers or devices in the system, the laser beam seldom exits packaged devices so as to be directly harmful to human beings,” he said.

Moreover, Ramachandran said laser beams connecting consumers with fiber-to-the-home applications “that promise massive bandwidths to each user, are low enough in power to not be a health concern generally.”

Propagating light in free space to wirelessly transmit data has the same advantages as wireless or satellite links, but will be more expensive. But Ramachandran said the costs could drop if the market is looking for the kind of higher bandwidth that laser-based free-space communications will provide.

Jeffersonian era laboratory
found hidden at university

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

An architectural masterpiece designed by the third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, is revealing secrets.

During the ongoing renovation of the famed Rotunda at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, conservators discovered a chemistry laboratory that had been sealed off since the 1850s. It may be the earliest chemistry laboratory in the U.S., researchers said.

The lab was likely built between 1822 and 1826. It was walled off in 1850, a move that allowed it to survive an 1895 fire that nearly destroyed the entire rotunda.

University of Virginia officials said the design of the lab was likely a collaborative process between Jefferson and John Emmet, the first natural history professor at the school.

“For the professor of chemistry, such experiments as require the use of furnaces, cannot be exhibited in his ordinary lecturing room,” Jefferson wrote, according to an article on the university website. “We therefore prepare the rooms under the oval rooms of the ground floor of the rotunda for furnaces, stoves etc. These rooms are of 1,000 square feet area each.”

Emmet began teaching at the university in 1825 and used a small room on the north side of the building as his first lab. But the room was too hot, he complained.

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Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

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Thinking of Buying a Vacation or Retirement Home
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Rich Coast Realty is a full-service real estate company with property listings in Escazú, Santa Ana, Jacó, Esterillos, Bejuco, Palo Seco, Manuel Antonio, and beyond. We offer efficient, personalized service always protecting our client’s interests. We work hard to find you the property of your dreams, and assist with legal advice, residency, starting corporations, opening bank accounts, etc. Contact us today with your questions about buying property in, and relocating to Costa Rica. With 11 years experience in Costa Rica real estate, we look forward to hearing from you.
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Photo montage of penthouse
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Mafi Real Estate: Houses, lots and farms in Costa Rica
If you do not find, what are you looking for, contact us
WE HAVE A NETWORK OF OVER 500 brokers across the country to get what you are looking for.
English Calls: Miguel Fiatt Sauma or Paule Ortiz
Phone/Fax.+506 2238-5029
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The experts in buying property in Costa Rica, with more than 20 years experience and the largest networked team of agents in the country.  We can help you learn if investing in Costa Rica is right for you with our low-key, educational approach to sales. Our professional agents can tell you more about sCosta Rica properties, including condos, homes, lots and commercial real estate.  Call us: Ocean Surf and Sun Int. Realty Ldta at 011 (506) 2653-0073 or send us an email at:

Real estate for sale (paid category)

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

Pacific Sur montagee

These 2 lots are in the Pacific southern zone,
Tres Rio/Coronado de Osa. 

Will give a great deal on one of these lots, only $29,990.  Both of these lots have water, phone lines, Internet accessibility, electricity, easy 3 kms. access to the Costanera.  2-wheel drive accessible.  Close to new hospital, beautiful beaches and county services.  Financing available.   Lote 234, This corner lote is excellently located in lower Tres Rios.  Has 2 well-sculptured lots for 2 houses or one for multiunit cabins.  Lote 236,  1 1/2 hectare.  Big lote for building a grand house, with a smaller plantel for a cabin.  Small ocean view with great sunsets.  Watch the videos for more information, Planos,  and details.   Email: CR phone   2786-5555. USA call  760-536-4717 YouTube link for more real estate deals. 

property montage
Lovely east coast property for sale
This is a huge property surrounded by beautiful tropical gardens. The house is about 85% built, but I will give you the property completely finished.  The whole land includes 7,886 m2 or 84,884 ft2 of forest and gardens in a mountain area of Cimarrones, Limón, east coast. Full house with large master bedroom plus bathroom. One extra guest bedroom. Large dining room. Large kitchen area. Another extra bathroom for guests. Large laundry room and two cellars (storage areas). The house has wide corridors where you will see a breathtaking view of large gardens and forest.  I am open to hear your offer. The full property and land price is $125,000. Call Harold Fonseca, Phone number (506) 8702-4217, Email:

Escazu villa
Escazú villa. spectacular 360 degree city and mountain views.
Enjoy the sunsets along with the sunrise

There are special properties, which are more than mere houses. Where you can appreciate moments where you build memories. Relaxing reading in the garden of 5000 sq. m. Places to enjoy moments with family or friends with large heated pool. Beautiful city views of San José with mountain view. Places, where you can enjoy the comforting warmth of the sun throughout the day with cool nights of living 1,300 meters up on your own Mountain Noel. You are away from all the noise of San José, yet you are only 15 minutes drive there. Costa Rica largest mall is also only 15-minutes drive away.
The main house four bedrooms with four bathrooms, large office with built-in wood cabinets, and beautiful hardwood ceilings throughout the whole house. The main house is 330 sq. m. For your guest, there is a self-contained apartment of 100 sq. m. consisting of two bedrooms and two baths. Nice layout with a living room and dining room and kitchen all have views. For being so near to the city and to have that much land is once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The selling price is land value will throw in the house and the apartment. Price is $690,000. Contact

Osa home
Costa Rica Tropical Paradise Beach House For Sale
Tropical 5-acre forested beachfront property with custom house and guest casita on the Osa Península, South Pacific Coast. Abundant wildlife, exotic plants and fruits, secluded beach.

Located 8 km south of Puerto Jiménez on the way to Matapalo and Corcovado National Park. Great Price $775,000. Contact:
Watch this video for full details.


Hill Villa Esterillos Oeste, Costa Rica
Property size: 3405.14 sq. mtrs or 37,000 sq. feet
Gorgeous house built 5 years ago to U.S. standards on 37,000 sq. ft TITLED property. This home (240 sq. mtrs or 2,600 sq. ft) has 360-degree ocean and mountain views and electric-gated private road access. The large open style home has soaring teak ceilings, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, custom cabinetry and ceramic tiles throughout and a doubled car electric garage door. There is also a beautiful large swimming pool surrounded by exotic garden, laundry room and bodega. This is a very special and rare property because of the INCREDIBLE VIEW and excellent location. This one of a kind home and property is truly a must to see. all custom built furniture included. Photo gallery click here:    Contact Jack  Email:   Cell: (506) 8812-1789

  Beautiful house 
in nature reserve
for sale
La Union
Sustainable design, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2 parking spaces, surrounded by nature and overlooking La Carpintera reserve. Construction 180 m2, land 670 m2. Cartago, Tres Rios La Union. Residential Sierras de la Union. Great Price $250,000. For more information, please contact us at  Phone: (506)  8922-9413.

Goetl in Palo Seco

Charming small oceanfront hotel for sale in Playa Palo Seco
Ideal oceanfront location with back up to a mangrove estuary. The
charming small hotel has a fully equipped kitchen, bar and restaurant and is exceptionnally well maintained. Located on a very private beach of the central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica 35 minutes north of Quepos-Manuel Antonio and 45 minutes south of  Playa Jacó. The main building is a two-storey house with 12 bedrooms. The lot measures 3,054 M2. Beautiful gardens around the large pool and exceptional flora and fauna. Well mentioned in tourist guides like Lonely Planet and Guide Ulysse. Offered at $999,000. USD
or call (506) 8707-1037  (506) 2778-8408

Big House for Sale in Playa Grande,
Santa Cruz, Guanacaste
834.62 square meters property with 326 square meters construction. Two-storey house with front porch, entry lobby, living room, dinning room, large kitchen, breakfast room, large cupboard, 3 ½ bathrooms, 3 large bedrooms, the main bedroom includes jacuzzi and balcony. Playground, office, laundry area, garage for two cars, own and municipal potable water supply, electricity service, cable TV system, A/C. Located 700 meters from Las Colinas Golf Course, near the airport, Tamarindo Beach and the best beaches of the country. Excellent construction and great details. Price $349,000. 2,866.33 square meters building lot with three terraces. Price $75,000. For more information, please contact us:
Email Phone (506) 2653-6417.
Cell (506) 8825-8942 / (506) 8916-0734.

private ranch home
Small private ranch for sale
This exceptional private ranch sits on a 9+ hectare lot and supports 15-20 horses. Only 2 hours south of San José, on the road to Puriscal. Roomy stalls all with drains, water hookup, lights and fans, grooming and shoeing área. Two-story house all furnished and cowboy house. Don't miss your chance on that turnkey operation.  Offered at $749,000.
E-mail:  or call (506) 8707-1037 
(506) 2778-8408 Web:

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

A beautiful American style suburban home just reduced.

A beautiful American style suburban home, 2,700 sq ft of living space with 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, front and rear living rooms, laundry area, kitchen and small attached library nook, arched windows and doors and connected hallways, exotic wood interior ceilings and trim, tile floors thru-out.  The lot is 835 m2 with mature landscape and orchid nurseries surrounding the house. There is an enclosed workshop and BBQ area in the back yard with lots of storage under roof, plus a nursery for an herb/vegetable garden.  This is a very well-kept property with many upgrades, a private feel but yet only 5 minutes from the center of town.  Pérez Zeledón is the commercial hub of the southern zone and considered to be one of the best places to live in all of Costa Rica, the perfect size town, not too big and not too small.  The beach is 45 minutes to the west and a short drive to the cool mountains is to the east. In between, this large valley has a moderate climate.  Pérez has plenty of modern goods and services, an excellent farmers market, private schools, private doctors and clinics, all you need without having to go to the crazy madness of San José.    Just reduced to $199,000.  Call  Jeff: 8824-8113 or 8725-8176.  Email:

Aerial Ocean and Volcano Views with Boutique Coffee! 33 Acres $380,000. Click HERE!

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

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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Oct. 19, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 206
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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
Fern can be a true primitive plant

Someone asked me about ferns and, aside from their unusual (blush) life cycle, I don't know a lot about them, so I did what I usually do. I looked them up. There are 10,000 kinds of ferns. That is enough to make me
Victoria torley
cringe. I don't want to be an expert. I just want a little information please. Well, my hubby, Metric Man, studied botany, so he got down some of his old books.

They turned out to be very old books because, when I checked them with things on the net, there was a huge difference in
information. Out came the newest book which is just on ferns in Costa Rica, but it was still dated 1989. Very sad, so back to the net.

Well, there seems to be agreement on four classes of ferns (some botanists say five [jeesh guys, make up your minds]) alive today and another four extinct classes. As much as I love hunting fossils, lets just stick to the live ones. The largest of the classes is the Polypodiopsida or Leptosporangiate ferns. Lets just call them the true ferns since that is how the American Fern Society (an international group) refers to them.

True ferns are the most common and the society states that there are about 12,000 different species around today.  Luckily, the society has a lot of pictures to use for comparison with ferns you see in the wild, and they all come with names. What a relief. Still, with 12,000 species, finding out exactly what you have growing in sun or shade will be tricky. [It would be nice to stick with the class, Equisetopsida (horsetails), it, blessedly, has only 15 species, but you don't see them much...]

So what, exactly, makes a fern a fern? Ferns have roots and stems (called rhizomes) like normal plants, but they have fronds instead of leaves, even though leaves and fronds have the same purpose. Fronds can be as small as 1/16 of an inch in length in the mosquito fern to 12 feet in length. Ferns don't make flowers or seeds. Instead, they reproduce by spores, a tricky process. Spores develop on the bottom of the frond in all species of ferns except one (there had to be an exception).

The whisk fern (Psilotum) has its spores on the tips of fronds and the fronds are unusual as well. The fern society calls it: “probably the most primitive vascular plant still in existence” and suggest it is related to the first land plants.

Well, I hope that aroused your interest in this ancient group of plants. As for me, I am going to be looking for whisk ferns from now on.

more ferns

Plant of the Week

I am going to make a stab at this one as the blechnum appendiculatum, a terrific common fern with a range from Mexico to Argentina. It seems to grow in both shade and sun and is easy to transplant if you remember to cut the fronds back to about 2 inches.

If you would like to suggest a topic for this column, simply send a letter to the editor.  And, for more garden tips, visit

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From Page 7:

Trans-Pacific trade deal opposition grows

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Trans-Pacific Partnership recently reached by the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim countries has been in the works since 2008 and, if approved by each country, will cover 40 percent of the global economy. 

But the deal is controversial in the United States, as opponents warn of job losses and other negative consequences. Those worries sparked numerous demonstrations in the United States.  

The Partnership ministers' statement says “we have come to an agreement that will support jobs, drive sustainable growth, foster inclusive development, and promote innovation across the Asia-Pacific region.”

The statement adds “we expect this historic agreement to promote economic growth, support higher-paying jobs, enhance innovation, productivity and competitiveness, raise living standards, reduce poverty in our countries and to promote transparency, good governance, and strong labor and environmental protections.”

Treaty opponents say the deal means disputes between businesses and governments can be resolved by arbitrators, a process they contend gives too much power to unelected officials.

That provision drew the ire of a New York University professor and former IBM official, Ralph Gomory.  Gomory said this provision of a three-person panel to decide any controversy that might arise is not a democratic process.  He says “it’s a process of a few people who are appointed and make a judgment.” 

Gomory says that is what “all these so-called trade treaties are now setting up.”  Gomory cited an example of one product, meat.  “We have laws,” he said, “which allowed us to label meat by country of origin.  We’d say this meat comes from Mexico.

"One of these panels said ‘nope, can’t do that anymore,’ and Congress had to follow through.  They are repealing these country of origin labels.  So we’ll no longer know where our meat comes from even though the mass of people want that information.”

A New York Stock Exchange trader, Peter Costa says, “I think it favors smaller trading partners, other trading partners on the Rim, and I think the U.S., like usual, is signing a contract we may not benefit from totally.”  Costa cited the Japanese as one of the countries that has major financial institutions that will truly benefit from the agreement. 

“It just seems that we usually get the short end of the stick,” referring to the United States in treaty agreements.  Costa added, "We abide by, or at least try to abide by, the terms of these agreements and we have competitors that try to take advantage of every loophole, and that becomes a problem.”

But Peter Cardillo, managing director of Rockwell Global New York, said he believes it is a good deal. 

“You know like every treaty it has its ups and downs, and of course it has its plusses and minuses.  And there are those who are going to try to fight it because they’re going to think that jobs are going to go abroad and there are those who are going to think, well, no, it’s really going to be good for the economy,” Cardillo said.

Another positive tone came from a University of Pennsylvania Wharton School professor, Minyuan Zhao, who says, “From the trade perspective it sounds like an interesting experiment.”  She added, “What I mean is TPP is getting into a lot of new territory and the world will be waiting to see how it’s going to be implemented.  It’s everything in the detail.” 

The professor believes the bottom line is with increased income through a successful treaty, the people of several partnership countries will be able to send their kids to school.  Ms. Zhao added, “I think the economic implications may have a bigger impact than originally believed.”

The U.S. process for approving the treaty is very complex. The steps include making the lengthy text public and the president informing Congress he plans to sign the overall deal.  Congress and the administration must also work out the legal and practical details of implementing the agreement, which is likely to be a controversial process.

If and when the implementing legislation is crafted, then Congress can vote to approve or disapprove the deal, but can’t change or amend it.  

The other countries are Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

The deal includes consumer and manufacturing goods, intellectual property, Internet/electronic commerce rules, promoting international labor rights, especially eliminating child labor, environmental issues and the protection of human, animal or plant life or health.  Discussions leading to the agreement began in 2008.