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(506) 2223-1327                         Published Monday, Nov. 25, 2013,  Vol. 13, No. 233                               Email us
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Jo Stuart
Anti aging

Two groups try to professionalize real estate agents
By Garland M. Baker
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

In a country where real estate or attorney used in the same sentence as ethics is an oxymoron, two organizations are trying very hard to bring some sanity to the real estate profession.  There are two real estate associations here: CGGAR, the Costa Rica Global Association of Realtors, and CCCBR, the Camara Costarricense de Corredores de Bienes Raices (Costa Rica Chamber of Real Estate Brokers).

Linda Gray, vice president of Coldwell Banker, started CRGAR 12 years ago because she felt Costa Rica needed more global real estate exposure.  Allen Lungo of the Costa Rica Real Estate Store is the organization’s current president. CCCBR was founded in 1974 to improve professionalism among local realtors.  The two organizations worked together up until about three years ago when they had a falling out.  A new president took over in August and Lungo has high hopes the two associations can again work in concert to improve the quality of professionals working in the realty business. 

Carlos Angulo of BLP Legal, did a fine job last week in CRGAR’s two days of licensing classes training new applicants.  He emphasized how honesty and disclosure were the key factors in a successful real estate career.  Angulo and Lungo both were impressed at the attendance of the event.  Angulo said on day one, “I have not seen a group this large in the time I have been doing the training. It appears the market is blooming again.”

Lungo mentioned on day two, “This is the largest group we have had in over 5 years, it looks like the real estate market is turning around.” Trips around Costa Rica for the last several months seems to confirm the property market is showing signs of improvement.

Both organizations offer licensing after training.  However, a license is not required to sell real estate in Costa Rica.  There was a proposed bill some years back in the legislature to license real estate professionals, but Angulo of BLP Legal said he feels it was too comprehensive, thus making it difficult to pass it into law.

This is too bad because the country’s judicial system has sent the wrong message to crooks and thieves.  One would think Costa Rica’s legal system would be on top of wrongdoers, but it is not. Property fraud is still rampant.  

One poor Tica women met an unlicensed real estate agent through an advertisement on a TV channel, and he convinced her to use a very valuable property she owned as a down payment on an overpriced house in Guápiles. The agent and an attorney put the transfers in three different deeds at fictitious prices so the deal did not alert workers at the Registro Nacional or the Ministerio de Hacienda of their nasty business.

In another case, after a Gringo who owned a house in Jacó was deported in August, his property was illegally transferred and on the market within two weeks after he left the country. 

It is common knowledge that people working in consort with dishonest attorneys can be scheming, crafty, aggressive and malicious. Gavilanes or vultures regularly read obituaries and cross-reference the information with the Registro National to see if deceased persons own property.
A.M. Costa Rica file photo
The only licenses here now are not obligatory

Criminal and civil cases against these bad guys and gals end up in court for years and many times never arrive at a conviction.

Title insurance companies that came to Costa Rica and tried to make business were not much help.  Their policies were not what expats expected and only exacerbated problems in some cases.

Real estate people are not police. Neither are attorneys for that matter. Trained, licensed professionals can work together with attorneys to gather information necessary to assist good legal counsel in performing proper due diligence.  The Registro Nacional is now an excellent digital resource. Anyone can access their services. Professional agents are trained to do so.  A good broker also can show a new property owner how to protect the property inexpensively with asset monitoring.

The real estate profession is full of illegal workers. Since most agents do not earn a wage or salary only commission, it is easy for them to hide under the labor law’s radar. Costa Rica is known by some as the land of the “wanted and the unwanted.” This is finally changing because the country joined the International Police Agency’s global membership of 190 countries, enabling law enforcement to work together to fight crime and trafficking. 

CRGAR is committed to insuring its membership can legally work in Costa Rica and that each member pays taxes.  The organization requires applicants to prove legal residency or that they are in the legal process to obtain same. They also require every person or company to be registered with the tax authority. From CCCBR’s application requirements, it appears they also have such requirements.

Ethics, honesty and disclosure are not islands in the Caribbean.  They are important contextual words which everyone should follow, especially attorneys, accountants and real estate agents doing business in Costa Rica.  CRGAR and CCCBR should work closely together to insure new retirees, second home buyers, and property investors have a good buying and selling experience here. The country needs positive press. 

The two organizations should merge into one and lobby the powers to be for a colegio, an official professional organization, of their own which would require real estate licensing.

This would surely curb illicit property transactions and improve the world’s view of the country.

Garland M. Baker is a 42-year resident and naturalized citizen of Costa Rica who provides multidisciplinary professional services to the international community.  Reach him at  Baker has undertaken the research leading to these series of articles in conjunction with A.M. Costa Rica.  Find the collection at, a complimentary reprint is available at the end of each article.  Copyright 2013, Use without permission prohibited.

Anti-drug agency seeking reports on large cash deals
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Lawmakers are considering a bill that would require persons who make cash transactions with a value of $10,000 or more to report those deals on a form to the nation's anti-drug agency.

Internal cash transactions would be reported the same way travelers have to submit a form if they are entering the country with $10,000 or more in cash.

The requirement is contained in bill No. 18.756 that is being studied in the Comisión Permanente Especial de Narcotráfico y Seguridad.  The express purpose of the legislation would be to regulate real estate sales, the sale of metals, the transfer of cash, casinos and lawyers, notaries and accountants, according to a legislative summary issued Friday.

Carlos Alvarado, director of the Instituto Costarricense sobre Drogas, appeared before the committee to explain how the legislation would close the door to various forms of money laundering.

The proposed legislation would add a new section to
 a 2001 anti-drug law.  It says that anyone who makes a transaction equal to or greater than $10,000 in U.S. dollars or colons has to fill out a form designed by the appropriate authority.

Merchants who routinely make such transactions would be compelled to register with the anti-drug agency. The security ministry would continue its supervision of casinos, the bill says.

The law would require the accountant, lawyer and notary professional organizations, the colegios, to monitor transactions by their members.

Law enforcement officials say that real estate and casinos can be major sources of money laundering.

For example, drug dealers could purchase a piece of real estate for cash and then sell it later without having to explain where the initial purchase price originated.  Precious metals and gemstones could be purchased the same way.

Just about any business that deals in cash could slip drug money into the daily bank deposits.

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A.M. Costa Rica's  Second news page
San José, Costa Rica, Monday,  Nov. 25, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 233

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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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Rate increase for electricity
called justified due to costs

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The nation's price regulating agency has rejected a request by the industrial chamber to reconsider including extra charges in the price of electricity.

The agency, the Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Públicos, said that the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad was due the additional amount because of increased costs in operating the Garabito generating station.

The decision said that the state firm known as ICE had to use a more expensive diesel fuel to generate the heat to create power in February and March. The agency said that a supplier of cheaper bunker fuel provided a shipment that the Refinadora Costarricense de Petróleo S.A. had to reject for technical reasons.

Consequently the more expensive diesel was fed to the thermal generation system at a cost of 5.6 billion colons more. That is about $11.2 million.

ICE was not responsible for the problem, so the increased cost is justified, said the Autoridad Reguladora.

The agency also announced that it has returned a rate hike request from Riteve SyC without a decision. The firm operates the nation's vehicle inspection stations.

The Autoridad Reguladora said it did not act on the request because it lacks the methodology to evaluate the tariffs charged by the firm, which has about 13 inspection stations around the country. The Autoridad blamed the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes and its Consejo de Transporte Público for failing to create such a system.

Murder suspects caught
at sea by coast guard

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Coast guardsmen frustrated a murder plan when they intercepted fleeing suspects at sea Friday night.

The suspects are believed to be the men who invaded a home in La Cruz en Liberia, killed one man and wounded two others. The motive for the gunplay has not been shared with the public by investigators.

Dead is a man with the last name of Chaves. He was with a group at a house in Barrio Cangrejal, when men in a vehicle broke through the porton and began firing.

After they fled, the gunmen set the vehicle afire and appear to have had a vehicle and driver waiting to carry them to Junquillal de Guanacaste where a boat was waiting.

There was a boat of the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas nearby whose crew had been alerted. The boat was able to stop the flight of the suspects, said the Judicial Investigating Organization. Five persons were detained.

In another Friday shooting a bus driver with the last name of Rubí died.  The 60-year-old man picked up a passenger along Ruta 32 who is believed to have shot him in a robbery.

Zelaya's wife one of two
who claim Honduras win

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Two of the eight presidential candidates in Honduras have declared victory in Sunday's vote.

Xiomara Castro de Zelaya and Juan Orlando Hernández have both claimed victory, but the final results have yet to be tallied.

Ms. Castro is the wife of former president Manuel Zelaya, who was ousted in a coup in 2009. Hernandez is the candidate of the governing Partido Nacional.

Election officials say preliminary results give Hernández a slight edge. Final results are expected to come in sometime today.

International observers monitoring the election say the balloting process was conducted without irregularities.

Election officials say voter turnout was high.

Honduras is one of the poorest and most violent countries in the Western Hemisphere.

Militants in Pakistan take
polio vaccination workers

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Officials in Pakistan say militants have kidnapped 11 teachers involved in a polio vaccination campaign for children.

Authorities say the workers were kidnapped Saturday in the Bara district of the Khyber tribal region along the border with Afghanistan.

Militants frequently attack polio vaccination workers in Pakistan, accusing them of being Western spies or part of a plot to sterilize Muslims.

The disease is highly infectious and can cause irreversible paralysis.

The Global Eradication Initiative says polio remains endemic in three countries,Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. The initiative says until poliovirus transmission is interrupted in these countries, all countries remain at risk of importation of polio.

Our readers' opinions
Social Security form
is called reasonable request

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I read with interest your coverage of some expats' dissatisfaction with the requirement to submit the form which Social Security has sent out asking for verification of some information. Of course, I can't say why Sr. Art Sulenski's form was returned as undeliverable, but I do think that there is a reasonable justification for the requirement to return the form, and Sra. Carol Meeds hit on it directly when she said, "I am alive and well until you hear otherwise."

The problem, of course, is that outside the United States the Social Security Administration has no reliable means of learning when a beneficiary has died unless someone informs them. The death records held by U.S. states vital records offices are public and accessible to Social Security in a way that Costa Rican vital records (and the records of 150 or so other countries) are not. Should any of us die outside the U.S., payments could continue to be made for months or years. Sra. Meeds' "otherwise" could be a very long time if no verification is required.

The Social Security Administration has a reasonable obligation to maintain the integrity of its payment system and periodic (and infrequent) verification that its beneficiaries living outside the U.S. are, in fact, still alive is a reasonable and nonintrusive check. The beneficiary, of course, always has the option not to return the form.

David C. Murray
Grecia, Alajuela

EDITOR'S NOTE: A news story for part of the day Friday said that the U.S. Embassy did not reply to a reporter's question. In fact, the embassy staffer did reply via email but the reponse ended up in the editor's spam folder. The embassy staffer's response was that they were seeking to assist with the delivery problem.

Questionnaire generates
 a warm, fuzzy feeling

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

The question was asked “ Who the hell is the government to make citizens jump through hoops to receive their Social Security payments?” At a time when the federal government appears to be in a total state of disarray, inclusive of all three branches, the Social Security program (labeled as an entitlement program by those legislators who truly have a pension plan which is truly an entitlement program.)

In my opinion Social Security is an investment program, set up by the government for its citizens to participate in by congressional decree. Even though the government has taken these funds and mixed them with other funds which they have missed managed as they have the entire federal budget, it gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling to know that some bureaucrat someplace in the government had the good sense to check that they are not issuing payments to people who have either passed away or are otherwise not entitled to these payments. This practice makes sense and is done by most countries who have federal retirement programs.

Want to straighten out Social Security? Put all members of our federal legislature on the program we are all on. Want to straighten out federal health care? Put all members of our federal legislature on the same program we are all on.

Gordon L Balter
Atenas, Costa Rica  

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday,  Nov. 25, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 233
Real Estate
About us

 put to test

Fire fighters race the clock to put on gear during a Sunday competition among area volunteer units. Some 10 groups of volunteers participated and accomplished typical fire fighting chores, such as rolling hoses, entering buildings and putting on their gear.  Volunteers from  Guadalupe in Goicoechea were the winners, followed by Zarcero and Paraíso, said the  Cuerpo de Bomberos de Costa Rica.
fire fighters
Cuerpo de Bomberos de Costa Rica  photo

Costa Rica praises as historic nuclear agreement with Iran
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
and wire service reports

The country has praised an agreement between a five-nation commission and Iran as historic.

The Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto said that that agreement will represent a first solid step toward an enduring solution.

Under the deal reached in Geneva early Sunday, Iran must limit its enrichment of uranium and freeze reactor construction.

Representatives from Germany, China, The United States, The United Kingdom and Russia negotiated the deal with Iran.

Costa Rica noted that it is a member of the International Atomic Energy Organization and that it will support the monitoring and verification of the Iranian nuclear program.

The deal drew strong criticism from Israel and silence from its main Gulf rival, Saudi Arabia.
Israel and Saudi Arabia have long feared Iran will divert nuclear activities to make atomic weapons that could threaten their interests.  Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful.
In return for Iran's concessions, the United States and five other world powers agreed to ease some international sanctions on Iran's economy.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Israeli Cabinet the Geneva agreement is an historic mistake that makes the world a much more dangerous place. 

Israel wants more sanctions on Iran and a complete dismantling of its nuclear facilities.
Israeli leaders see a nuclear-armed Iran as a threat to their nation's existence due to Iran's frequent calls for Israel's demise. Netanyahu said Israel will "not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapons capability."
President Barack Obama offered reassurance late Saturday, saying Washington's commitment to Israel and to its Gulf partners will "remain firm."  He also said those nations have "good reason to be skeptical about Iran's intentions."
In an interview with CNN, Secretary of State John Kerry said the deal with Iran will make Israel "safer" because it is designed to expand the amount of time Iran would need to make a nuclear weapon.

Is your home all decked out for the holidays?
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Do you have or will you have some cool holiday lighting of your Costa Rican home?

Some expats really knock themselves out to decorate their homes or business. None probably go so far as the Hospital del Niños where a live evergreen bears
12,000 bulbs. But some come close.

A.M. Costa Rica will publish a picture of these holiday creations if homeowners send in a .jpeg photo to The photo should be accompanied by a note giving the names of the homeowner or business owner, location and any interesting details.

Del Rey thaknsgiving

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Monday,  Nov. 25, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 233
Real Estate
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90 experts give predictions of sea level rise for this century and 2300
By the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research news staff

Sea-level rise in this century is likely to be 70 to 120 centimeters, about 31 to 47 inches, by 2100 if greenhouse-gas emissions are not mitigated, a broad assessment of the most active scientific publishers on that topic has revealed.

The 90 experts participating in the survey anticipate a median sea-level rise of 200 to 300 centimeters, about 79 to 118 inches,  by the year 2300 for a scenario with unmitigated emissions. In contrast, for a scenario with strong emissions reductions, experts expect a sea-level rise of 40 to 60 centimeters by 2100 and 60-100 centimeters by 2300. The survey was conducted by a team of scientists from the United States and Germany.

“While the results for the scenario with climate mitigation suggest a good chance of limiting future sea-level rise to one meter, the high emissions scenario would threaten the survival of some coastal cities and low-lying islands,” says Stefan Rahmstorf from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. “From a risk management perspective, projections of future sea-level rise are of major importance for coastal planning, and for weighing options of different levels of ambition in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.”

Projecting sea-level rise, however, comes with large uncertainties, since the physical processes causing the rise are complex. They include the expansion of ocean water as it warms, the melting of mountain glaciers and ice caps and of the two large ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica, and the pumping of ground water for irrigation purposes. Different modeling approaches yield widely differing answers. The recently published United Nations report had to revise its projections upwards by about 60 percent compared to the previous report published in 2007, and other assessments of sea-level rise compiled by groups of scientists resulted in even higher projections. The observed sea-level rise as measured by satellites over the past two decades has exceeded earlier expectations.

“It this therefore useful to know what the larger community of sea-level experts thinks, and we make this transparent to the public,” says lead author Benjamin Horton from the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers University in New Jersey. “We report the largest elicitation on future sea-level rise conducted from ninety objectively selected experts from 18 countries.”

The experts were identified from peer-reviewed literature published since 2007 using the publication database Web of Science of Thomson Reuters, an online scientific indexing service, to make sure they are all active researchers in this area. The 90 international experts, all of whom published at least six
peer-reviewed papers on the topic of sea-level during the past 5 years, provided their probabilistic assessment.

The survey finds most experts expecting a higher rise than the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projections of 28 to 98 centimeters by the year 2100. Two thirds (65 percent) of the respondents gave a higher value than the Intergovernmental Panel for the upper end of this range, confirming that the U.N. reports tend to be conservative in their assessment.

The experts were also asked for a high-end estimate below which they expect sea-level to stay with 95 percent certainty until the year 2100. This high-end value is relevant for coastal planning. For unmitigated emissions, half of the experts (51 percent) gave 1.5 meters or more and a quarter (27 percent) 2 meters or more. The high-end value in the year 2300 was given as 4.0 meters or higher by the majority of experts (58 percent).

Overall, the results for 2300 by the expert survey as well as the Intergovernmental Panel illustrate the risk that temperature increases from unmitigated emissions could commit coastal populations to a long-term, multi-meter sea-level rise, says Rahmstorf. “They do, however, illustrate also the potential for escaping such large sea-level rise through substantial reductions of emissions.”

Extra day still fails to find accord
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Climate talks in Warsaw carried over into an extra day with little hope for an agreement between developed and developing countries at the U.N. Climate Change Conference.

After two weeks of negotiations, delegates from more than 190 countries still argued Saturday about apportioning targets for carbon emissions cuts between rich and poor nations, and about funding for climate-vulnerable countries.

Developing nations like China and India insist that richer countries adopt stricter targets than they do. Poor countries also want wealthy nations to ramp up their aid to help those countries deal with weather disasters they say are made worse by climate change.

An agreement needs to be reached within two years before a deal can be signed in Paris, then enter into effect in 2020.

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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.
Lundquist patio
Exotic gardens next to one
of our patios

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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Christopher Howard's Award-winning Combination Relocation/Retirement Tour. NO other retirement tour offers MORE options...MORE areas visited, MORE information, MORE people just like you who have made the move and a LONGER
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Christ Howard with Max
retiring in Costa Rica,  and who has personally helped over 10,000 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.  Customer satisfaction 100% guaranteed! MY REFERENCES.

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MONTHLY $800 TO $1,200

Villas Casa Loma has everything you are looking for.  Best vistas, climate, value.  Four unique homes in a secure private compound on a ridge near Alajuela overlooking the entire Central Valley.  Two are available fully furnished and equipped, each a complete home accommodating 4 persons in two bedrooms with ensuite baths.  Pool, rancho, mirador, other features.  Ask about part-month rates.  Call Gerry at (506) 2441-8796 or e-mail at  See virtual tour of accommodations HERE!
Get to know the real Costa Rica – you may want to live here someday.

Beautiful studio home with garden patio
Completely furnished with best bed (Jiron™ Full), refri, stove, dishes, pans, etc. TV and high-speed internet connected. Free.
Located high above a river. You will sleep like a baby. Perfect weather, never too hot nor cold. Secure, private and secluded, and yet, only 10 minutes to San Isidro de El General (fairly large city in the mountains with everything) and from there, 40 minutes to beaches. Bus is close and costs 35 cents to San Isidro. Special price for single, long-term renter, nonsmoker: $425 + utilities. Go to and put in, #969365 for pics and full description Then write to us, Thanks. Email:

Beautiful 2-bedroom 2-bathroom American-style apartments with an elevator to your front door in a secure building located in Gringo Gulch the American Section of downtown San José. Costa Rica. Located between the Hotel Del Rey, the Hotel Mona Lisa and the Sportsman's Lodge and The Zona Blue (AKA) Little Habana across the street from Harry's Poas Bar, and next to the Holiday Inn.
apartment view
 There are 15 restaurants and American- style bars on this block and four supermarkets within a few blocks. There are 5 casinos within 2 blocks and dozens of hotels around this apartment. Included in your rental price, fast Internet, the best they have in Costa Rica, cable TV with 80
stations, water, washer and dryer. All you pay extra for is electricity. You have your own meter and receive a bill from the electric company every month.  This apartment has a American-style hot water system, hot water in both bathrooms and the kitchen. There is a 25-foot balcony to sit on and watch the people in San José walk by. The neighborhood Barrio Amón is the safest in San José For photos and more information contact:

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

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

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


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A.M. Costa Rica's
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San José, Costa Rica, Monday,  Nov. 25, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 233
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Pacific Estates

New explanation offered
for tropical species diversity

By the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center news staff

A new study of 2,300 species of mammals and nearly 6,700 species of birds from across the globe helps explain why there are so many more species of plants and animals in the tropics than at higher latitudes.

In a study supported by the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in North Carolina, researchers found that while the tropics harbor a greater diversity of species, the number of subspecies, potential stepping stones in the process by which one species becomes two, is actually greater in the harsher environments typical of higher latitudes.

The surprising results suggest that the latitudinal diversity gradient may be due higher species turnover -- a higher potential for speciation counterbalanced by a higher potential for extinction -- towards the poles than near the equator, the researchers say.

Scientists have known for more than a century that species diversity increases towards the equator.  Tropical rain forests, for example, house two thirds of the world's species. They are teeming with buzzing insects, screeching birds and howling monkeys, versus the frigid tundra, where life is largely limited to scattered trees and only a few dozen kinds of mammals, such as caribou and foxes.

Numerous hypotheses have been proposed to explain this pattern. One idea is that tropical regions harbor greater biodiversity because they are especially fertile grounds for the formation of new species. Another idea is that biodiversity hotspots are less likely to lose the species they already have.

"There's a lot of controversy over what explains the global pattern of biodiversity," said lead author Carlos Botero of North Carolina State University.

In a study to appear in the Friday issue of Molecular Ecology, Botero and colleagues assembled a data set of climate and weather patterns across the globe, and combined it with genetic data other information for nearly 50 percent and 70 percent of all mammals and birds known to be alive today.

The team was surprised to find that while the number of bird and mammal species increases closer to the equator, the number of genetically distinct groups within each species, known as subspecies, is greater in the harsher environments typical of higher latitudes.

"These are environments that are colder and drier, and where the differences between the hottest and coolest months are more extreme," Botero explained.

Animals in these environments are more likely to freeze during cold winters or die during usually hot summers. "If extreme weather events wipe out a population every now and then, but don't wipe out an entire species, the populations that survive will be geographically separated and could start to diverge from one another," Botero said.

The results are consistent with a 2007 study by researchers at the University of British Columbia suggesting that contrary to conventional wisdom species arise faster in temperate zones than in the tropics. "It may be that species come and go more frequently in the temperate zones," Botero said.

Comparing biodiversity in the temperate zones with that in the tropics is like comparing the coins in your pocket with the coins in your piggy bank, he added. "There are usually more coins in your piggy bank than in your pocket. But you're always spending the coins in your pocket, and receiving new coins in the form of change. The coins in your piggy bank turn over less often, but over time they add up."

Wake Forest University photo
Graduate biology student Max Messinger flies a robotic drone equipped with a visible light camera.

Peru’s tropical cloud forest
to be studied via robot drones

By the Wake Forest University news staff

A flying, insect-like robot developed by scientists at Wake Forest University will give an unprecedented look at Peru’s tropical cloud forest, one of the world’s most biodiverse ecosystems and a key indicator of global climate change.

A research team led by conservation biologist Miles Silman will launch two different drones to conduct climate research in the region, giving a never-before-seen bird’s eye view of one of the most difficult locations in the world to study.

The drones will allow researchers to gather thermal data down to a few centimeters and visible light data down to the sub-centimeter level, a big improvement over current satellite capabilities.

“This will allow us for the first time to see how individual canopies are functioning on a landscape level to fix carbon and release oxygen and water,” said Max Messinger, a biology graduate student who worked with chemistry lab manager Marcus Wright to assemble and test the drones. “Once we build a better understanding of why the forest is behaving in a certain way, we can start making decisions about how do we conserve this region and ensure that it continues to function.”

One of the researchers’ robots, a copter drone, relies on eight small propeller units and is capable of flying at 15 mph for up to 20 minutes at a time. It can be equipped with either a conventional visible light or thermal imaging camera to gather data on everything from leaf and flower characteristics to temperature readings and animal behavior.

“We will utilize its hover capability to take off from small tree-fall gaps in the rainforest and observe things like monkeys feeding or something like that for an extended period of time,” Messinger said.

Their second robot resembles a small airplane. Launched like a javelin, it uses a single electric motor and propeller to fly up to 50 mph for over an hour.

“We can map much more territory with the plane because it can fly three times farther,” Messinger said. “The drawback is that it can’t carry the fancier sensors we use on the copter.”

Both robots are capable of taking pictures of an object from multiple viewpoints. They then use that data to build three-dimensional models that can be studied in the lab. “It works in a way that is really quite similar to how a human uses their eyes,” he said.

Rather than relying on a human operator, the drones fly autonomously, using global positioning data, compass coordinates and onboard stabilization systems.

“We plug all of that info into our mission planning software, which generates the flight plan and sends it to the aircraft,” Messinger said. “It is then as simple as launching it, flipping a switch and waiting for it to finish.”

To date, data about the forest canopy comprised of 390 billion trees is hard to come by.

Silman, who has spent his career conducting research in the tropics, said data is currently collected via remote satellite sensing or manually from the ground or a crane.

“While there is satellite data on temperature and thermal distribution in the Amazon going back to the early 1970s, it doesn’t provide the resolution necessary to build the detailed models we need,” Silman said. “The only other alternative is to rent out a helicopter, which is far too expensive for any kind of continuous observation.”

Mixture of natural products
said to kill breast cancer cells

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A new study finds a cocktail of compounds found naturally in plants killed all of the breast cancer cells collected in a laboratory, without any toxic side effects on normal cells.

Researchers at Louisiana State University tested six known protective chemical nutrients from turmeric, soybeans, broccoli, grapes and tea. Individually, they were ineffective against cancer.

But combined, they suppressed breast cancer cell growth in the lab by more than 80 percent, and eventually triggered the process leading to cell death.

The next step for the scientists is to see whether the compounds can prevent tumor formation and growth in mice.

Dr. Madhwa Raj, who led the study published in the Journal of Cancer, points out that all the ingredients in the cocktail come from foods people eat everyday, but at much higher levels than they could possibly get from their diet.

Because he "really believes it can help women now," he has established a bio-tech start-up company to bring the super-cocktail to market as a nutritional supplement for breast health, which does not require approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

Hagel says U.S. strategy
is geared for warmer Arctic

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Friday the Pentagon's first Arctic strategy to guide changes in military planning as rapidly thawing ice reshapes global commerce and energy exploration, possibly raising tensions along the way.

Ice on the Arctic Ocean shrank last year to its lowest levels since satellite observations began in the 1970s, and many experts expect it will vanish in summers by mid-century due to climate change.

As the sea ice thaws, ships are increasingly using a shortcut between the Atlantic and the Pacific, and competition is intensifying for Arctic oil and gas.

Hagel, addressing a security forum in Canada, said the military would evolve its infrastructure and capabilities and would keep defending U.S. sovereignty in and around Alaska while working to help ensure freedom of the seas.

Part of the strategy would also include bolstering U.S. military ties with fellow Arctic nations, including Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has described the Arctic as crucial to Russia's economic future and security, and has redeployed forces to the region.

“Throughout human history, mankind has raced to discover the next frontier. And time after time, discovery was swiftly followed by conflict,” said Hagel.

“We cannot erase this history. But we can assure that history does not repeat itself in the Arctic.”

In September, Putin announced Russia was reopening a Soviet-era military base in the Arctic, part of a drive to make the northern coast a global shipping route and secure the region's vast energy resources.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military has an extensive presence in Alaska, with roughly 27,000 U.S. forces there. Hagel noted that the U.S. military had ski-equipped C-130s and nuclear submarines with decades of operations in polar regions.

Beyond potential tensions over energy, Hagel noted that increased tourism and commercial activity on Arctic sea routes would increase the risk of accidents.

“Migrating fish stocks will draw fishermen to new areas, challenging existing management plans,” said Hagel.

Hagel said the U.S. military would adapt infrastructure and capabilities “at a pace consistent with changing conditions.” He did not offer specific details or promise specific resources, and the speech came as the Pentagon reels from funding shortfalls.

One U.S. official, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity, played down any current tensions with Russia over the Arctic. The official noted that the U.S. Coast Guard had experienced quite positive interaction with its Russian counterparts over the years.

Another U.S. official said the strategy assessed a relatively low military threat in the Arctic, “and we don't see that changing in the near term.”

Hagel stressed the opportunity for strengthening ties in the region.

“By taking advantage of multilateral training opportunities with partners in the region, we will enhance our cold-weather operational experience, and strengthen our military-to-military ties with other Arctic nations,” he said. “This includes Russia.”

New 'Hunger Games' movie
has a theme of liberation

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Academy award winner Jennifer Lawrence returns fiercer than ever as Katniss Everdeen in the "The Hunger Games, Catching Fire," the second installment in the trilogy based on the books by Susan Collins.

Katniss, lithe and deadly with her bow and arrow, becomes the symbol of liberation from the tyranny of Panem’s Capitol and its venomous President Snow, played by veteran Donald Sutherland.

"She has become a big kind of hope for them," Snow says in the film. "She has to be eliminated."

He hatches a plot to pit Katniss against previous Hunger Games victors inside a deadlier-than-ever arena.

“It’s really an incredible story of a girl who doesn’t want to be a hero, but finds herself in a position where she is forced to be," Lawrence said.

The heroes of "Catching Fire" seem to be unraveling in the somber and deadly environment both inside the arena and out, in the poverty-stricken districts of Panem.
The film, intended mainly for young audiences, highlights the racial and class divisions of dystopian Panem with rich cinematography and a vast array of costumes.

Though stark and bloody at times, "Catching Fire" does not glorify violence. It exposes its ugly face and the bitter consequences of a struggle, no matter how necessary.
The movie franchise also promotes a new generation of movie heroine: strong and cunning, passionate and compassionate. Neither a temptress nor a tomboy, Katniss can be fearful and fearless, often saving her male friends in battle.
Willow Shields, 13, portrays Primrose, Katniss’s sister, and says Lawrence’s unaffected screen persona reflects the genuine human being.

“She doesn’t have to try," Shields said. "She doesn’t like to conform to the celeb image. So, it’s great to finally see someone who’s just themselves and not so much involved in Hollywood.”
Like Lawrence, Katniss has become, for younger audiences, a symbol of truth and hope in a world as ailing as the one on screen.

Scandal envelopes governor
in Virginia gift-giving case

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The outgoing governor of the mid-Atlantic state of Virginia, Republican Robert McDonnell, is widely reported to be under federal investigation for allegedly accepting gifts and gratuities. The governor has defended his actions as not violating his own state's ethic laws. While there have been scandals involving U.S. state governors over the years, less than a dozen have been removed from office.

On a prominent hill in Richmond, Virginia, sits the state’s Capitol, built in 1788, almost as old as the United States itself.

Now, this building is weathering a scandal surrounding its 71st governor. He has been widely reported to have received loans, gifts, and special favors for himself, for his wife, Maureen, and other family members.

Richmond-based investigative reporter Peter Galuszka lists what was allegedly given to the governor and his family primarily from a Richmond-area businessman named Jonnie Williams, who heads a company called Star Scientific.

He said, "Governor McDonnell has accepted some loans for a real estate corporation that he has with his family. His daughter received $15.000 for a wedding dinner. He has been given a $6,500 Rolex watch. His wife, Maureen McDonnell, has been treated to expensive shopping sprees in New York.”

Legal observers say the Virginia state laws covering the reporting and accounting of personal activities by elected officials are not strong. And, as McDonnell himself points out, these laws only cover him, not other family members.

“Gifts that come to me, I regularly, diligently report them in the Statement of Economic Interests that are done annually," said McDonnell. "But, gifts that come to other family members, under current law, are not reportable.”

McDonnell says he has repaid the nearly $125,000 in loans from Williams and that his daughter has paid back the check Williams sent for wedding expenses. Another McDonnell family member returned money given to her by Williams. The governor also said the Rolex watch was being returned.

However, a federal investigation is reported to be underway of McDonnell and Williams for possible legal violations, including the improper exchange of favors. The governor strongly denies any such deal.

He said, “Neither Mr. Williams, nor Star Scientific, has received any special benefit at all from the state, nor has any other company."

At the University of Richmond, political science professor Dan Palazolo says that what statehouse watchers have been waiting for is the results of the federal investigation. And that McDonnell’s political future may hinge on what happens.

“The most important issue upcoming is the FBI report, and whether there is an indictment," Palazolo said. "If there is no indictment, then I think that Bob McDonnell kind of survives. If there is an indictment, then things get dragged on.”
Virginia’s capitol is now preparing for the inauguration in January of McDonnell’s successor, Democrat Terry McAuliffe. McAuliffe has made clear he will seek tighter controls on gifts both to the governor and to family members.

Venezuelan give away policy
linked to December elections

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is firing up supporters for the upcoming mayors' election through a theatrical confrontation with businesses that has showered voters with cheap consumer goods, echoing the style of late socialist leader Hugo Chávez.

The Dec. 8 vote for control of 335 municipalities, ranging from urban hillside slums to isolated villages in sweltering plains, will be the first major test of Maduro's strength after he narrowly won the presidency in April.

Venezuelans are flooding shops to snatch up discounted car parts, televisions and clothes since Maduro ordered businesses to slash prices in a gambit similar to the oil-financed pre-election largesse of the Chávez era, but with private merchants footing the bill.

"These are the right measures. The shop owners themselves voluntarily lowered prices, which means they are recognizing the products were overpriced,'' said Leonardo Jimenez, a 28-year-old lawyer, in line outside a shop at a prominent Caracas mall. "This is obviously going to have a positive impact on the upcoming elections.''

Pitting working-class consumers against business leaders in the run-up to the vote could help rally Socialist Party sympathizers weary of nagging product shortages and surging inflation that is approaching 55 percent.

Flashy videos on state TV showed ministers denouncing over-pricing by retail chains to a backdrop of thumping dance music, and interviews with shoppers thanking Maduro for protecting them from rapacious capitalists.

People continued to line up at shops around the country even as inventories dwindle and shelves are increasingly bare.

National Guard troops bearing assault rifles and bored expressions keep watch to prevent a repeat of several instances of looting that took place shortly after Maduro's order.

One woman rose to prominence thanks to a photo showing her emerging from a shop with new electronics and a joyful smile. Assuming she had stolen the goods, opposition commentators dubbed her "The Looter.''

The woman, Clotilde Palomino, responded by producing receipts to show she had paid for the goods. Maduro invited her to the presidential palace and cited her as an example of humble Venezuelans who benefited from the measures.

The ruling Socialist Party is likely to proclaim victory if it wins the majority of mayors' seats, but pollsters say that is probable anyway because most municipalities are sparsely populated pro-government areas.

The opposition looks likely to win key metropolitan areas including the capital Caracas and second city, Maracaibo, according to a confidential presentation by one pollster.

Many high-profile pollsters no longer publish their surveys given the furious controversy they create, though they are frequently leaked to private media.

Maduro's "economic offensive'' began with the military occupation of an electronics chain and has since included aggressive inspections of thousands of businesses.

Critics call it an act of government-organized looting and say it has punished honest entrepreneurs by forcing them to sell below cost. They predict it will pave the way for more product shortages down the road.

One widely circulated online video shows an electronics merchant shouting, between sobs, that forcing him to mark down his merchandise would ruin him.

"For the love of God, this is an offense. Don't leave me with nothing!'' the man yelled, moments before officials and troops led him away.

Election campaigning officially kicked off on Saturday, but received scant attention amid the rush for cheap goods and Venezuelans' general weariness with marches, speeches and rallies after three elections in just over a year.
Real estate-related services (paid category)

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

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Our primary goal is to assist our clients with a smooth transition to occupancy while providing highly personalized and distinctive services. We have refined the process to be a hassle free experience, especially valuable for clients who live abroad. We customize to suit each client’s personal taste, lifestyle and budget.
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Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

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

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

Check with our Web site at
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Cell (506) 8880-8888
Phone number from the U.S. (305) 307-0088
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western Central Valley.
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Visit our Web Site:

English: (Cristian Arce)
(506) 8309-0173  
English:  (Luis Arce)
(506) 7100-8489  
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  (506) 8707-4016  
Grecia 794
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Grecia 792
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Real estate for sale (paid category)

Spectacular view property on a ridge near Alajuela.  Large home and 3 rental homes totaling 7,300 square feet (678 square meters) live-in construction.  Property area is 3,376 square meters (0.83 acres) including a vacant lot for expansion options.  In total there are 10 bedrooms, each with an ensuite bath.  Property has pool, rancho, mirador, courtyard and covered parking.  Homes have romantic fireplaces, built-ins, storage, other luxury features.  Turnkey sale includes all appliances, furniture, fixtures, equipment.  Call Gerry at (506) 2441-8796 or e-mail at  See property video here:

See virtual tour of accommodations here:

For more details go to:

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

Becker montage
Beach property on the Pacific Ocean in Guanacaste.

House and guest house on adjacent half acre lots. Each with separate electric,  private septic and well. Each can be sold stand alone or packaged. Modern kitchen, granite counters, Viking stove, large separate frig and freezer. Private commercial grade septic and well. No water shortages even in dry season. High speed internet and U.S. standard electric. Center of the beach -- NEVER floods. Estuary at each end of the beach with excellent kayaking and bird watching through the mangroves. Excellent fishing right off the shore. Great surfing, horseback riding, bicycling or Turtle watching. Groceries three miles away. Mentioned in "The Lonely Planet" Page 301. "Two of the most beautiful and least visited beaches in Costa Rica. Wilderness beaches of fine silver-grey sand." Despite opportunities for great surfing, kayaking and just about anything else you want to do on a sandy strip of paradise, the beaches are nearly always abandoned. $500K Will finance.  More pictures available at:  Contact information:,  US: 001-612-599-0205 or Costa Rica 011-506-2655-1202.


ULatina, UCR, & U Fidelitas San Pedro, San Jose. $185,000.
Quietly located behind The Foundation Costa Rica Canada, 500 meters north of Iglesia Lourdes, San Pedro. ULatina, UCR, U. Fidelitas, bus & new train station are within five minutes Four-bedroom, three and half-bath unit within a secure complex of 40 condos with high cement outside walls with secure entrance manned by an armed guard 24 hours per day. Security fencing with electric wire, and a CCTV recorded security camera system is monitored within the guard house.  For additional peace of mind, this residence equipped with an independently wired security system, iron bars on windows and patio doors, a telephone communication system to contact the guard house and secure parking at your front door.   Beautiful mountain view from roof covered 3rd floor terraza. A green park area inside the complex for your children to safely play and an outside parking area in from of guard house for visitors. Cable TV/Internet lines and 220-volt service for hot water heater, stove and dryer. Water storage tank with pump maintains high pressure to bathrooms on all three floors. American style washer and electric dryer, refrigerator, glass top stove, and kitchen cabinets included. Other furniture items may be available. Call Bill   (English) C.R. Phone: (506) 6011-6987   or  U.S. Phone:  (630) 886-4458  or   (305) 848-5577. C.R. Spanish  phone number: (506) 8799-4041  or  (506) 8363-9898.  Email:

Med house
Mediterranean inspired home overlooking the Bay of Nicoya and Pacific Ocean. This design allows for barrier free living, yet maximizes views from every room in the house . Vaulted ceiling over the living area and kitchen give the great room it’s spacious, open feeling with a natural stone fireplace and imported Spanish tile floors. $365,000.   Property: 22,000 m2 or 5.5 acres. Construction: 4,500 sq. ft. including porches and garage. 3 nedrooms, 2 baths, full dining room, separate office. Custom wrought iron gates, custom exotic wood cabinets, high-end stainless steel appliances, Granite countertops.    Slide show at   
For more information contact:

beach scenes
Established Hotel/Resort -Great Business Opportunity:
The owner/manager of a successful hotel on the Gold Coast of Costa Rica has listed their property with us. It is a successful and ongoing concern. The property and buildings are well built and maintained. The property has a history of repeat clients. To protect the business for the current and future owners, detailed information of the listing will only be shared after an expression of interest and a non-disclosure confidentiality agreement is executed. It is located about one hour of Liberia airport and less than 500 meters to beach. The land is over 1 hectare allowing room for expansion. There are 18 bedrooms in a variety of apartments, cabinas and houses, A/C, bar restaurant and shop. Near golf, horses, tennis, world class surf and more. Listing Price of $US2.4 million. Mary or Jerre West,, 8879-0235 or (303) 317-6603

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

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

humming bird nest

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

Naranjo views


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

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

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

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

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

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Business for sale or lease (paid category)71

beach scenes
Established Hotel/Resort -Great Business Opportunity:
The owner/manager of a successful hotel on the Gold Coast of Costa Rica has listed their property with us. It is a successful and ongoing concern. The property and buildings are well built and maintained. The property has a history of repeat clients. To protect the business for the current and future owners, detailed information of the listing will only be shared after an expression of interest and a non-disclosure confidentiality agreement is executed. It is located about one hour of Liberia airport and less than 500 meters to beach. The land is over 1 hectare allowing room for expansion. There are 18 bedrooms in a variety of apartments, cabinas and houses, A/C, bar restaurant and shop. Near golf, horses, tennis, world class surf and more. Listing Price of $US2.4 million. Mary or Jerre West,, 8879-0235 or (303) 317-6603

In the nine years of operation, DIGITS Resource Guide has grown to cover the entire Southern Pacific Zone, and opened the door to further penetration in San Jose, Jacó, Manuel Antonio, and Osa Peninsula areas.  DIGITS is the only one of its kind with no comparable competition. With the extensive groundwork that has already been achieved, the business is now poised to expand into an even greater level of success. Operating since 2005, the owner is retiring to another Latin American country. For a preview of the magazine, go to, or simply go to a local Distributor for a copy. Details on the business, its history, a strategic analysis of its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, as well as a Pro-Forma Income Statement from 2008 through to 2013 are available upon request to aha_jm@yahoo.

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

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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Monday,  Nov. 25, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 233
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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
World Court tells Nicaragua
to fill in the San Juan canal

Editor's Note;  The following story was posted Friday afternoon, and we are republishing it here for the benefit of morning readers.

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The 16 justices of the World Court in the Hague have ordered Nicaragua to fill in part of the controversial ditch in what Costa Rica considers its land.

In an interim decision issued Friday, the court basically gave Costa Rica everything it was seeking in its appeal.

The court in its decision recognized that there had been digging work on the ditches that could connect an arm of the Río San Juan to the sea. It noted that Nicaragua claimed that the additional work there was directed by Edén Pastore, the man put in charge by Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega. The country's lawyers had said in the recent arguments in the court that Ortega stopped work there as soon as he became aware of what was going on.

The court had ordered in March 2011 that no one enter the disputed territory, but Costa Rica presented overwhelming evidence, mostly satellite photos, that showed the advancement of digging operations and the presence of Nicaragua military.

The court ordered Nicaragua to fill in part of the ditch within two weeks and report back when the job had been done.

It also ordered that any government personnel, including soldiers, be ordered out of the area and that the Nicaragua government should prevent the intrusion of private parties. Groups of so-called environmentalists have been camping on the disputed land.

The court said that "The decision given in the present proceedings in no way prejudges any questions relating to the merits or any other issues to be decided at that stage. It leaves unaffected the right of the Governments of Costa Rica and Nicaragua to submit arguments in respect of those questions."

So a final decision still is awaited.

The court said that Nicaragua had argued that since dredging activities have now ceased and will not resume, there is no real and imminent risk that irreparable prejudice will be caused to Costa Rica’s claimed rights before the court has given its final decision.

The court recognized that the digging and dredging might cause the river to change course and create a new opening to the sea.

That is the main purpose of the Nicaraguan dredging. The part of the river that drains into the Caribbean is silted, and Nicaragua hopes to open a new channel that will allow increased river traffic.  To do so it must cross land that Costa Rica claims.

The south bank of the river is the international boundary over which the International Court of Justice has jurisdiction.

Said the decision:

"The Court moreover considers that there is urgency. The risk of irreparable prejudice  . . . is not only real but also appears to be imminent, for the following reasons. First, during the rainy season, the increased flow of water in the San Juan River and consequently in the eastern caño could extend the trench and connect it with the sea, thereby potentially creating a new course for the San Juan River. Secondly, the trench could also easily be connected to the sea, with minimum effort and equipment, by persons accessing this area from Nicaraguan territory. "

Caño in this reference, as defined by the court, means canal.

Since Nicaragua did not fully comply with the early court order to stay off the disputed territory, Costa Rica will be watching closely to see what its neighbor does.

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From Page 7:

Obama says that good things are happening

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

 U.S. President Barack Obama urged Americans Saturday to look beyond the frustrating political headlines to the good things happening in the economy.

Obama said in his weekly address businesses have created 7.8 million jobs in the past 44 months. He said another 200,000 went to work last month.

He also said since he has been in office the country's deficits have been cut in half, making it easier to invest in the things that create jobs, like education research and infrastructure.

President Obama noted that for the first time in nearly 20 years, America now produces more oil than it buys from other countries.

The president asked Americans to imagine how much further along the country could be if both parties worked together without what he called a reckless few holding the economy hostage every few months or wasting time on dozens of votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

In the Republican address, U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, a Texas physician, said the troubled health care law should be scrapped and a new effort started. He said the health care law does not do what the president promised, calling it "a trainwreck for doctors, a trainwreck for patients, and...a trainwreck for the American people."