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This smug guy has just played a monkey trick on a visiting tourist at  Cahuita on the Caribbean coast. That is why he is so pleased with himself.

See out story HERE!

smug monkey
A.M. Costa Rica/Kayla Pearson

Optional way to tax U.S. expats proposed to end ills
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An expat advocacy organization is urging the U.S. Congress to set up a taxation system that can free overseas Americans from the current  citizenship-based system.

The proposal is an optional system under which overseas Americans will not have to pay U.S. taxes on foreign earnings. They still would have to pay taxes on income from U.S. sources.

The organization, American Citizens Abroad, notes that the United States and the tiny African state of  Eritrea are the only two nations to require citizens-based taxation.

"While other developed countries tax their residents on their worldwide income, they do not tax their citizens who have formally established residence outside their national borders," said the organization. "Some countries have various procedures for the transition phase when citizens move abroad. Others have no transition requirements."  The American Citizens Abroad proposal is similar to the Canadian system and provides for transition requirements, the organization said.

U.S. workers overseas for 2011 are entitled to a $95,000 annual exemption from earned income. But they still have to pay Social Security and Medicare charges on the income. U.S. citizens are fully taxed on higher overseas incomes, unearned income like dividends and capital gains overseas.

American Citizens Abroad proposes a one-time $500 fee paid by overseas Americans to choose this new system. They would have to be up-to-date with all their U.S. taxes. There are an estimated 6.2 to 7 million U.S. citizens living overseas.

The organization says its plan would result in far less paperwork at the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and also would increase the competitiveness of U.S. workers overseas. It estimated an additional $35 billion in U.S. revenue over 10 years due to export
income and job creation as a result of work by overseas Americans.

More importantly for expats, the proposal would eliminate all the current paperwork over foreign income and bank accounts that U.S. citizens overseas now must file.

"U.S. business people and entrepreneurs working
overseas will be more competitive, no longer subject to U.S. Social Security and Medicare in addition to contributions to foreign social systems and double tax reporting," said the organization.  "Without tax discrimination or signature authority limitation, foreign partnerships will be greatly facilitated."

The system is similar to that now enjoyed by non-resident aliens who have U.S. income. For most Americans abroad, the Americans abroad taxation election form is the last IRS or Treasury form to be filed during their lifetime, said the organization.

The organization said that IRS enforcement of reports of foreign bank accounts and the passage of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, known as FATCA, have devastating impacts, adding:

"American citizens abroad are now being systematically excluded from overseas banking relationships, pension funds, insurance policies, business ventures, and joint bank accounts and home ownership with a foreign spouse. The combination and incompatibilities of FATCA and citizenship-based taxation are so toxic that it is forcing increasing numbers of Americans to renounce their citizenship.

"Citizenship-based taxation is a human rights issue, as it unduly punishes U.S. citizens working and living worldwide. Ironically, the United States condemned Eritrea in December 2011 at the United Nations for its citizenship-based taxation."

The heavily footnoted 25-page proposal is on the association's Web site. Both it and the Association of American Residents Overseas maintain lobbying efforts in Washington and frequently work together.

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There are a lot of gray areas
in rules governing aguinaldos

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The time for paying the 2012 aguinaldo or Christmas bonus is approaching fast, and expats can find detailed discussions of the mandatory payment on the Web site of the Ministerio de Trabajo in Spanish and on the sites of a number of local lawyers.

The payment is due to employees by Dec. 20, based on earnings from Dec. 1, 2011, to Nov. 30, 2012. The payment is supposed to be an additional twelfth of what the employee earned. Those employers who do not pay can end up in labor court.

Still expats have a lot of questions, such as how the aguinaldo is calculated for someone who has been ill or incapacitated for a period during the year. Or do they have to compensate the live-in maid for her housing and her food as well as her salary?

The ministry is quick to point out that plenty of gray areas exist in the law. Pretty well established is that expats do not have to pay aguinaldos to their plumbers or their lawyers. These are people who provide professional services. But how about the gardener or the guy who comes around each week to wash the car?

Thankfully, legislation does not require the payment of social charges on the aguinaldo. There is no Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social involved nor does the amount show up in the riesgo de trabajo workmen's compensation premium.

For the live-in maid, the ministry advises figuring that the food and housing represents about 50 percent of the salary, so the aguinaldo payment would be 150 percent of a twelfth of the salary.

Generally employers do not have to pay for the period that an employee has been on sick leave or otherwise not at work even if they received a full or partial payment during that time, according to the ministry.

Workers who pay their own Caja charges, such as a professional gardener, generally are not entitled to aguinaldo, although a wise expat might be inclined to pay the money to avoid future conflicts.

And this is a good time for expats to review their employment relationships to make sure there are valid contracts that defined the job. At the same time, expats should check that all who come on a property to do work are covered by the Caja, either by the expats him or herself or with an independent worker policy.

Some presumed independent workers have been known to bring labor court actions against an employer claiming they really were employees and are entitled to years of back vacation pay and aguinaldos.

Gathering Thursday marks
night of Nazi violence

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

German Nazis tore through the streets attacking Jews Nov. 9, 1938.  Many Jews were killed, and others were arrested and taken to concentration camps.  The streets were left littered with broken glass from windows of Jewish stores and synagogues, resulting in a sweep being called Kristallnacht  “Crystal Night.”

Bnai Brith Costa Rica has organized an event in commemoration of the event Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Centro Israelita Sionista de Costa Rica in Pavas.

“The greatest tragedy of the Jewish people and humanity began during the sad celebrated night of the broken glass,” said a release.  “The day marked the end of the period of segregation and the beginning of physical violence, deportations and murders, as the prologue to World War II.”

The central theme of the commemoration will be children during the Holocaust.  It is accompanied by a quote from Irena Sendler, a Polish woman who saved 2,500 children from death in a Warsaw Ghetto:

“The reason why I rescued children from the ghetto dates back to my family home and childhood,” the quote said.  “I was brought up to react that a person must be rescued when drowning, regardless of religion and nationality. A requirement dictated by the heart.”

Special guest speakers for the night will be Elizabeth Odio, former vice president of Costa Rica and former judge of the international criminal court, and Alejandro Toledo, former president of the Republic of Peru.

The facility of the event is located adjacent to the Instituto Nacional de Acueductos y Alcantarillados building.

Home invaders even beat
an 80-year-old woman

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Six armed individuals stormed and sacked a home occupied by at least seven persons in Hatillo 4 Monday night, according to a judicial bulletin.

The attackers beat all of the persons in the home during the robbery, officials said. The more serious injuries were inflicted on a 44-year-old man who was shot in the head and an 80-year-old woman who was pistol-whipped in the face, said the Judicial Investigating Organization.

The report said that the injured were taken to Hospital San Juan de Dios.

Investigators have not yet determined how much money was stolen from the home.

Find out what the papers
said today in Spanish

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Here is the section where you can scan short summaries from the Spanish-language press. If you want to know more, just click on a link and you will see and longer summary and have the opportunity to read the entire news story on the page of the Spanish-language newspaper but translated into English.

Translations may be a bit rough, but software is improving every day.

When you see the Summary in English of news stories not covered today by A.M. Costa Rica, you will have a chance to comment.

This is a new service of A.M. Costa Rica called Costa Rica Report. Editor is Daniel Woodall, and you can contact him
From the Costa Rican press
News items posted Monday through Friday by 8 a.m.
Click a story for the summary

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A.M. Costa Rica Third News Page
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, Vol. 12, No. 227
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That'll teach you to monkey around with a smug critter
By Kayla Pearson
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Lying in a hammock, feeling the breeze on my face and enjoying the paradise that is the Caribbean coast, my tranquility was disturbed by the rustling of leaves above my cabin.

Quickly, I peered out in time to see a black and white Capuchin monkey extend its arms to catch a branch on a nearby tree.

I had seen a plethora of monkeys before, caged together in a confined section of the North Carolina Zoo.  This was the first time I could catch the magnificent creature in the natural habitat.

Excited, I jolted up from where I was resting, grabbed my digital SLR camera, called out to a friend and rushed to get pictures of the mammal in action.

To my luck, a whole family was passing through the Cahuita lodge in which I was residing.  I watched as the white faced monkeys of all different sizes gracefully leapt from limb to limb. 

They looked at me and posed then jumped to give me a show.

Camera to eye, I clicked away to capture the scene. 

After about two minutes, my eyes fixated on a mother carrying an infant on her back.  “This is my golden shot,” I thought, and worked to capture the two.

In the midst of my shooting, I felt a slight pain in my left arm.  It didn't take me long to realize that I had been hit by something and prayed it was not what I heard about in the stories.

Before glancing at my arm, I gazed upward to see if I could find the culprit.  Our eyes met, and in a flicker he appeared to smirk.

“Ok, you got me,” I thought and braved the look down to my arm.  There in the throbbing spot, I saw a smear of a brown squishy solid.

“That monkey just threw something at me,” I exclaimed to
playful monkey
A.M. Costa Rica/Kayla Pearson
'. . . in a flicker he appeared to smirk.'

my friend.  Laughing, she gazed at my arm then playfully asked, “Did you smell it?”

My first instinct was to wipe my arm on her and tell her to smell it for me, but I decided against it and instead cleaned my arm with a leaf.

Seeing my discomfort, my friend, pointing to half eaten debris by our feet, tried to console me by saying that the material was a fruit

Yet, I knew the truth.  Shaking my head, I thought about how monkeys have over 90 percent of human DNA. 

Just like I don't want to be gawked at for the way I live. Monkeys don't either.

“Lesson learned,” I said to my friend in the tree, then turned away to take a shower.

'This is like a light or a window to the infinite for me,' said Alexandra Falla of her painting.

Limon painter
A.M. Costa Rica/Aaron Knapp

They achieve success, thanks to a program of small loans
By Aaron Knapp
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Eight years ago Karla Solano was barely making ends meet as she cleaned and worked in the homes of other people.

She envisioned a way that she could pull herself out of this situation through her fondness for knitting.

About seven years ago, she saw her chance. Ms. Solano learned that a government organization was giving out loans to impoverished persons with good ideas and an entrepreneurial drive.

Ms. Solano used that loan to buy materials to make scarves, hats, shirts and other clothing articles and accessories. Her business, Cambiáre, took off from there.

“I'm not poor anymore,” she said.

Ms. Solano, 40, still makes and sells her products at a workshop she has set up in her home in Concepción de Tres Ríos. However, she also sells her products online at and makes a comfortable living.

She told her story in front of a cubicle containing dozens of her products at the Antigua Aduana in eastern San José Tuesday. She had one of the 150 small businesses selling products during the first annual Feria Nacional Empresarial.

The two-day fair began Tuesday and will continue all day today. Small business owners, primarily families, are selling products as common as coffee, strawberries and blouses but also products as uncommon as bean bag chairs, bonsai trees and wood-carved models of cars.

Christmas music, vendors selling hand-made Christmas ornaments as well as tamales set a holiday mood for the event.

The fair was organized by the Instituto Mixto de Ayuda Social, the government organization that gave Ms. Solano the loan to start her business. The institute's goal is to implement policies and initiatives that will end poverty in Costa Rica.

One of the institute's initiatives is apoyo para la microempresa, which gives financial and technical assistance to persons who want to start a small business. The initiative is particularly designed to assist very poor women and families who have ideas with potential but lack the money to start up.

The businesses featured at this fair are the greatest success stories of people who have turned their lives around using this initiative, said Mayra Diaz, general manager of the agency.

“We have these businesses here today so that they can present their products, so that they can have business between each other and so that the country can get to know them and buy their products,” said Ms. Diaz.

The institute operates 10 regional offices throughout the country. Each office selected 15 successful businesses to have booths at the fair.

Ivannia Blanca, vice-mayor of Moravia, and Lorena Solís stopped at Ms. Solano's booth to look at some of her clothing products. Ms. Blanca said that she was there to get to know these women, especially from her canton, and to reward them for their efforts with her business.

“The local government wants to empower women of the canton through the initiatives that IMAS offers,” said Ms. Blanca. “What I'm doing is learning about women selling their own products.”

For two shoppers, Yalile and her mother Jazmín, this fair is unique because the products and the people who sell them are much more genuine.

“This is different from other fairs because each person has a different product,” said the daughter.

“The people from these towns are more friendly,” added the mother.

One booth they stopped at was that of Montesland, a quail farm in Atenas. Eduardo Hidalgo, his wife, Jenny Gatgens, and their children all do their share to make the 5-year-old business successful.

“It's a family business,” said Ms. Gatgens. “We have four children, and everybody works.

Their table featured hard-boiled quail eggs to sample, but the
Ms. Solano
A.M. Costa Rica/Aaron Knapp
Karla Solano shows Ivianna Blanco a scarf.

quail eggs
A.M. Costa Rica/Aaron Knapp
 Jenny Gatgens and Eduardo Hidalgo show products from
 their family farm.

family also sells eggs in different forms as well as quail meat.

Hidalgo worked at a similar farm in Colombia and decided to start his own business in Costa Rica. They originally got funds from a bank, but along the way, the couple also received funds from the institute. 

Passionate about green sustainable farming, Hidalgo said that he hopes that he can start selling the products abroad to customers who share these values.

“In this moment we have the product permissions, and we just need contacts to export our products,” he said.

Across the hall, Alexandra Fallas, 39, sat at a booth that she had filled with landscapes she had painted of scenery near her home in San Clemente, Limón. Her paintings feature majestic scenes of waterfalls, beaches, and forests, as well as more mundane but equally stimulating images of homes and railroad tracks in the area.

“I like to capture that which is typical in Limón,” said Ms. Fallas. She added she has been painting her surroundings since she was very young.

She explained the mental process she goes through when painting an image with exuberant rapidity. She said that she starts with a vague image and colors in her mind, and then goes blank while she paints until the piece is completed.

She started her business, Artesana y Pintura Alexandra, three years ago when she received a loan from the institute. She designed clothes and painted images before that, but she said the loan allowed her to start using high quality materials for her business.

She said that the fair is very important for her because it allows her to make contacts with people who want to commission pieces from her.

“It's important because it lets me meet people,” said Ms. Fallas. “I can get opinions from other people to better my work.”

The fair will continue today from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. The Antigua Aduana is on Calle 23 in San José and admission is free.

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Alert issued for high seas
along the Pacific coast

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica's emergency commission issued an alert Tuesday that residents on the Pacific Coast should expect to experience high seas for the next three days.

Commission data indicates that waves could reach 3.2 meters or nearly 10 feet in height at times from crest to trough.

People living in communities on that coast that are susceptible to tidal flooding and erosion should take extra precautions, said a press release from the commission.

The announcement came from the Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias, a government body responsible for planning and managing responses to natural disasters.

The alert was issued Tuesday based on data collected from the Centro de Investigaciones en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología of the Universidad de Costa Rica.

The press release said that the rough seas on the Pacific Coast are a combination of high swells approaching from the south and strong winds off of the northern Pacific.

The press release highlights Estero de Puntarenas, Barrio El Carmen and Cocal in Puntarenas, Boca Vieja, Isla Damas, Playa Palo Seco and Cocal in Quepos, and Playa Azul and Corralillo in Tarcoles as communities that should take extra precautions.

Work to begin in Flamingo
for new coast guard station

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A cornerstone for a new station for the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas is being placed today in Flamingo with a ceremony that includes representatives of the U.S. Embassy.

The coast guard is an agency under the Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública, and Mario Zamora, the minister, is scheduled to attend.

Also expected to attend are Anne S. Andrew, the U.S. ambassador, and Rear Admiral Charles D. Michel, director. Joint Interagency Task Force South. The U.S. Coast Guard officer also is a lawyer.

Guanacaste Veterans group
is seeking new members

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Guanacaste Veteran’s Association plans a meeting Saturday at noon at Coconutz in Playa del Coco.  The association is looking for members who have served in the military or support the military and want to be part of the membership, it said.   

"Join us for camaraderie, fellowship, and a chance to offer services to our adopted country of Costa Rica," the organization said in a release.

Those interested should RSVP, for planning purposes as soon as possible, said the organization.  More information is available from Karen and Quinn Slack at 8938-3251, 8708-1325 and, or from Dave Reynolds at

Marchers will tour country
opposing modified corn

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Opponents of genetically modified corn plan to march around the country from Nov. 25 until Dec. 2 when they will end up in a vigil at the Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería in La Sabana.

The object of the protest is corn produced by Monsanto that resists weed killers. That means a farmer can spray a product like Roundup on a field without killing the corn. The local subsidiary of Monsanto is seeking permission to use the seeds of this variety in Costa Rica. The appeal is to the Comisión Técnica Nacional en Bioseguridad.

Opponents argue that the pollen from the Monsanto corn will invade the genetic structure of local corn and that the corn is a health risk.

The opponents cite a September study by a French research team that has been generally dismissed as flawed.

The march is being organized by the Red por una América Latina Libre de Transgénicos. Also involved is the organizations Amigos de la Tierra and the Bloque Verde.
Amigos de la Tierra also is promoting on its Web site a march against what they say is police repression. The march is Thursday and stemmed from the confrontation between police and a group of protesters that included lawmakers and rowdy students last Thursday.

Amigos de la Tierra organization also opposes free trade and foreign investment.

Contralora general cites
criminality in new highway

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The contralora general de la República told lawmakers Tuesday that her study of the new highway along the Río San Juan disclosed information that she thought warranted a criminal investigation.

The contralora general, Marta Acosta Zúñiga, said she reported this information to the prosecutors in the Ministerio Público. She was speaking before the  Comisión Permanente Especial de Control de Ingreso y Gasto Público.

There already are investigations under way involving the new Ruta 1856. It was badly built with shoddy materials and parts are already collapsing. The road was designed to open up the area along the river to vehicle traffic because Nicaragua owns the river.

Construction began after Nicaraguan soldiers invaded part of Costa Rica.

Ms. Acosta declined to give detailed information citing laws that prohibit disclosure of criminal investigations. However, it is well known that many employees and former employees of the Ministerio de Obras Pública y Transportes are under investigation.

Ms. Acosta's study covered more complex areas than construction and included a look into the financing and handling of money.

Quake estimated at 4.0+
took place in San Ramón

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Laboratorio de Ingenieria Sismica reported that a 4.0-magnitude earthquake took place Tuesday about 10.3 kilometers (about 6 miles) south southwest of San Isidro de Penas Blancas, San Ramón, Alajuela. The quake was felt in Ciudad Quesada and Palmares, the Laboratorio said.

The Red Sismológica Nacional estimated the magnitude at 4.2 and said the epicenter was 4.6 kilometers south of La Tigra, San Carlos, and that it was felt in La Tigra and  Zarcero. The Red said the cause was a local fault.

The various earthquake monitoring agencies frequently disagree on magnitude because they use different technologies. Both agreed Tuesday on the time: 11:15 a.m.
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Vacation, travel and hospitality

Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat
Steve and Debbie Legg
Toll Free: 1-888-828-9245       In Costa Rica: (506)-2478-0023 or 8333-6863

Our Vision at Leaves and Lizards Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat is to create the perfect blend of Adventure, Discovery and Tranquility for each guest.  Plan an Adventure zooming along a zip line high in the canopy or horseback riding though forests, farms and rivers. Discover the magical wonders of the flora and fauna of Costa Rica. Experience Tranquility in one of our cabins tucked in our 26 acres. Located in Monterrey, San Carlos, in the mountains above Fortuna, we enjoy spectacular, panoramic views of the Arenal Volcano and its lava flow. Please see our Web site for more information. or e-mail us at

Ready For a Vacation to Costa Rica?
Customized vacation packages to Costa Rica planned by our team of in-country travel experts. Call us Toll Free: 1-800-606-1860 or locally in San Jose: 2296-7715. You can sit back and relax while we plan your dream Costa Rica Vacation.

Costa Rica Vacations
Customized, all inclusive Costa Rica vacations planned by our team of in-country travel experts. Call us Toll Free: 1-800-606-1860 or locally in San Jose: 2296-7715. Sit back and relax while we plan your trip or dream Costa Rica Honeymoon.

Panama Vacations
Custom, all-inclusive vacations to Panama by 100% locally based experts in Panama.  See "the new Costa Rica" before the secret gets out!  We offer customized trips to the best all inclusive Panama hotels and Panama resorts. Call 1-866-393-4192 if from the U.S. or 00 (507)-264-1279 from Costa Rica.

view from the house
An evening View from George’s Puriscal home
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. 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.
See how to choose a Retirement tour video by past guest!
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.


Costa Rica Fishing Experts
Customized, upscale fishing packages & Costa Rica fishing vacations designed by 100% local experts. Call Toll Free: 1-866-901-0683

Mead Brown
Rent villas, homes, and condos for your Costa Rica vacation.
Daily housekeeping, WiFi and concierge services included.
Visit us at Costa Rica Vacation Rentals.

Christopher Howard’s Costa Rica Starter Kit!
costa Rica Starter Kit

    * The 16th edition of the 680-page  “New Golden Door to Retirement
             and Living  in Costa Rica”
    * The 545-page “Official Guide to Real Estate in Costa Rica”
    * Speak Spanish like a Costa Rican! “The Official Guide to Costa Rican Spanish”
    * Christopher Howard’s “Official Guide to Costa Rica’s Legal System for Tontos
Purchase through Pay Pal at:

Costa Rica’s #1 Time –Tested Relocation/Retirement Tours
Christopher Howard's Award-winning Combination Relocation/Retirement Tour.  NO other retirement tour offers MORE options...MORE areas visited, MORE information and a LONGER fact-filled tour for your money. Winner of the 2010 

Latin America-Asia Travel Excellence Award for the BEST and most unique tour in Latin America. This is the ONLY relocation/retirement tour really APPROVED with a LEGAL tour guide to operate in Costa Rica by the government’s Institute of Tourism ICT (license number DL-658-2004) in 2004. ALL tours are personally led by Christopher Howard, the author of the perennial best-selling ”New Golden Door to Retirement and Living in Costa Rica,” the most read authority on living and retiring in Costa Rica, and who has personally helped over 10,000
with Max
  people with ALL BUDGETS relocate SUCCESSFULLY over the last 35 years. CUSTOM TAILOR-MADE TOURS are also available for people with special needs or who can’t take one of our fixed-date tours. ALL tours include EXTENSIVE touring and a highly informative SEMINAR by the country’s most renowned EXPERTS in their respective fields.  Also visit: Live in Costa Rica to check out our NEW tour prices and specials. See a video about Chris Howard’s Book and Tours Costa Rica HERE! Customer satisfaction 100% guaranteed! MY REFERENCES.

*BONUS all people who sign up for the tour receive a FREE copy of the 16th edition of the bestseller “New Golden Door to Retirement and Living in Costa Rica. At the conclusion of the tour they also receive FREE eBook copies of Christopher Howard’s other one-of-a-kind  bestsellers “Official Guide to Costa Rican Spanish,” “The Official Guide to Real Estate In Costa Rica” and “The Official Guide to Costa Rica’s Legal System for Tontos (dumbells).” Almost 2000 pages of INVALUABLE material in all!

Howard Spanish cover
ALL you need to handle most daily situations. ALL of the Tico slang you cannot find in a dictionary. Practical pronunciation exercises to help you lose your Gringo accent. Social situations and everything else you need to know in the #1 Best-selling “Christopher Howard’s Official Guide to Costa Rica Spanish.”  Also see our #1 Web site on Google  for FREE Spanish lessons. eBook available through

Squaremouth travel insurance

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

Need a book about Costa Rica?

Check out our special selections available at Amazon logo


Real Estate
About us
Jo Stuart
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 2012 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, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, Vol. 12, No. 227
Real Estate
About us
Jo Stuart


                vacations in Costa Rica

U.N. once again condemns
U.S. blockade of Cuba

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

For the 21st consecutive year at the United Nations, the General Assembly Tuesday adopted a resolution calling for an end to the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba.

By a vote of 188 in favor to three against with two abstentions, the Assembly reiterated its call to all states to refrain from promulgating and applying laws and measures not conforming with their obligations to reaffirm freedom of trade and navigation.  Voting against were Israel, Palau and the United States. The abstentions were the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia

The 193-member Assembly “once again urges states that have and continue to apply such laws and measures to take the necessary steps to repeal or invalidate them as soon as possible,” the text added.

The minister of foreign affairs of Cuba, Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, told the assembly during the debate that preceded the vote that the last four years of U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration has witnessed a persistent tightening of the blockade, which has been in place for over half a century.

“There is no legitimate or moral reason to maintain this blockade,” he stated, adding that the use of “less strident and threatening rhetoric” and certain partial measures to relax the travel restrictions on residents of Cuban origin and others for academic, scientific or cultural purposes have failed to conceal the tightening of the blockade over the last four years.

“The blockade is one of the main causes of the economic problems of our country and the major obstacle to its economic and social development,” he added.

The U.S. delegate, Ronald Godard, said that his country, like others, determined the conduct of its economic relationships with other States based on its best interest. With regards to Cuba, the priority of President Obama’s administration was to empower Cubans to determine their own future.

Graphic tobacco images
are effective, study said

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The more graphic the better is the conclusion of a new study of warnings on cigarette packages.  A team at the University of South Carolina in the United States analyzed what kind of warning labels deter adults from smoking.

“Smokers rated warning labels with pictures and text to be stronger in terms of their believability, their relevance to smokers themselves and in terms of their effectiveness than the warnings that only contain text,” said the lead investigator, James Thrasher of the Department of Health Promotion, Education and Behavior at the university's Arnold School of Public Health.

The team's findings will appear in the December issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

More than 40 countries have implemented health warning labels with pictures.  “The warnings that were more graphic, that show physical damage of smoking on the body were more effective than other kinds of imagery, such as showing human beings suffering the impacts of smoking or more symbolic or abstract imagery like, for example, showing tombstones to represent death that could be caused by smoking,” Thrasher said.

Smokers with low literacy rated pictorial labels as more credible than text-only warnings — a major finding for developing countries with high illiteracy and smoking rates.

But researchers also found that smokers eventually become desensitized to even the most graphic imagery on packages, such as photographs of diseased organs.

“These warnings wear out over time, no matter what kind of content you have on them — whether they're text only or whether they include these more graphic images or more symbolic, abstract images,” explained Thrasher.  The World Health Organization recommends that the warnings are refreshed on a regular basis, about every two years or so, he noted.

Australia has taken matters a step farther.  It recently became the first country to mandate plain packaging.  That move is being hailed by Margaret Chan, World Health director general.  Speaking at a six-day global tobacco control conference in Seoul, Ms. Chan urged other countries to get their governments to require packaging without brand logos.  “It peels off the glamour of a package full of harm and replaces it with the truth.  It will have vast benefits for health,” she said Monday at the opening of the organization's Convention on Tobacco Control.

Your place to stay here
As high season approaches, we like to feature our advertisers who offer long- and short-term rentals for expats and tourists.

Looking 4 Costa Rica Villas?
Rent our all-inclusive, 7 bedroom rental home in Guanacaste.  Just 20 minutes from the Liberia airport, this deluxe ocean view mansion sleeps 6-22 guests.  Ideal for company events & Costa Rica weddings. With 3 meals served daily and a full-time staff to pamper guests, it's more than a Costa Rica vacation rental ...It's your own Private Resort!  Call toll free: 1-800-606-1860.

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.
Volcano View!
Santo Domingo de Heredia, gated community
Fully furnished, 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, cable, internet, hot water tank. 300 meters from Mas x Menos supermarket. 700 meters from farmers' market. Bus stop at gate. $600 all utilities paid. Available Jan. 1.

wide view a San
porch viw
New home in the mountains near San Ramón
3,200-foot elevation. 60 to 80 degrees year around. 2 bedrooms,1 bath. Fantastic 180 degree view of Gulf of Nicoya and Nicoya peninsula.  High-speed internet.  7 miles from San Ramón, 1 &1/2 miles from Interamericana Norte. Must see pics to appreciate.   $750 plus utilities.  Long- or short-term lease. Contact .   See our picture trail here:

COMPLETELY and nicely furnished large 2-bedroom
apartment view
apartment. Fast Internet, cable TV, hot water. Large American appliances including washer and dryer. Convenient location in downtown, San José. All bills paid except electric. $600 per month. Contact: or call 8555-9819.

Apartments Sudamer
Downtown completely furnished apartments, safe, secure, telephone, cable TV, Wi-Fi Internet Calle 7, Avenida 14. Weekly from $200 Monthly from $550 to $680
Phone: 2221-0247 Cel: 8342-3838 Fax: 2222-2195

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

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.

Playa Zancudo is located in the southern Pacific side of CR, out of Golfito and across from Puerto Jiménez.   Beautiful, long, sandy beach with a tranquil community of Ticos and expats. Phone and fast Internet.  Prices vary from length of time, to size of house. A one-month house rental might be $1,400, and reduced to $900 per month for 3 months.  Cabins, which have Internet and bi-weekly maid service are considerably less, and have kitchens and internet and other services. For info:

Some of our other titles:
A.M. Panama
A.M. Colombia
A.M. Guatemala
A.M. Honduras
A.M. Havana
A.M. Nicaragua
A.M. Venezuela
A.M. Central America
Dominican Republic

A.M. Ecuador A.M. San Salvador
A.M. Bolivia

Real Estate
About us
Jo Stuart
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 2012 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details

A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, Vol. 12, No. 227
Real Estate
About us
Jo Stuart

Costa Rica Reprot promo

Latin America news
Our readers' opinions
More belt tightening sought
to keep power bills lower

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

In response to your story that ICE will be raising electrical power rates, I have the following comments. ICE personnel in Nuevo Arenal are pleasant and helpful and respond in a timely manner when asked to investigate an electrical problem.

However, it is my opinion that ICE would not need to raise electrical power rates if they reduced their spending in the following areas:

a.)  Reduce or end support of professional athletic teams.

b.) Sell some of their vast property holdings.

c.) Reduce the number of ICE employers. Have you noticed ICE employers painting “ICE” on each concrete fence post on their property?

d.) Purchase less expensive vehicles. Mercedes Benz and Volvo trucks are quite expensive. Repair parts for these vehicles are very expensive.

e.) Repair their vehicles when they need repair and not let them sit until they can’t be repaired and have to be replaced.

f.) Do not permit their drivers to speed while driving their vehicles. Gas is expensive.

I am sure that I have left out other areas that ICE can reduce spending, such as executive salaries and pensions.

Al Almeida
Nuevo Aenal

It's a wonderful country
but changes are needed

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Re: Article Tuesday: "The big question among hospitality operators for the last three years has been: Where are all the tourists?"

Maybe they are starting to learn the truth about Costa Rica. Maybe if Costa Rica would spend the 30+
million on roads, crime and traffic control instead of advertising how wonderful Costa Rica is they might
get more tourist. Another thing that would help would be some turnouts on the roads so the country
can be seen.
A big start would be take all the speed bumps and put them in the holes. Take the 8 to high as 16 police
at a time checking on up-to-date stickers and have them give out tickets for speeding, improper lane usage,
running stop signs and lights — and the list goes on and on.
When I first moved here my wife (Tica) and I were inviting everyone we knew to come visit Costa Rica. About
2008 is when she said don't invite anyone to come here any more.
Bob Woodrow

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Costa Rican News
Retire NOW in Costa Rica

Real Estate
About us
Jo Stuart
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 2012 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details