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Cocal for Jan. 20
    Playa Vista
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(506) 2223-1327                        Published Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014,  in Vol. 14, No. 345                          Email us
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This is the vehicle in which a 29-year-old woman with the last name of Rodríguez. died Sunday when a tree fell on the vehicle. Neighbor Henry Kantrowitz said he doubts wind was a factor, but that an earthquake an hour earlier might have provoked the tragedy.
The scene (see inset) was in Punta Leona, north of Jacó.
crash scene
A.M. Costa Rica/Henry Kantrowitz

Tourism industry seeks changes with new president
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Tourism in Costa Rica is either pretty good or pretty bad, depending on who is doing the assessment.

With a new president comes change, and that is true of the country's tourism agency, the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo.

Already, the national tourism chamber is on record urging that its members be named to the institute's board of directors.

Many in the tourism industry fear that the government efforts in tourism are aimed mainly to the benefit of the large corporations, the multi-nationals, without regard to the small owner-operators.

That feeling coalesced in the creation of an alternative tourism organization four years ago. This is the Asociacion Para La Proteccion del Turismo en Costa Rica, known as ProTur, which declares on its Facebook page that it consists of disgruntled small- and medium-size tourism companies in Costa Rica who got together as a lobbying group to make public the wheeling and dealing cozy relationships.

The national tourism chamber, the Cámera Nacional de Turismo, has been more outspoken lately, and ProTur seems to have lost its revolutionary spirit.

That may be because the national chamber is beginning to talk tough. This is the group that says the new directors of the government tourism agency should be people who work in the field.

The president, Isabel Vargas Rodríguez, posted a blistering critique of the government and politicians in general on the chamber's Web site:

"We demand a just government, a favorable business climate, a modern and efficient state. Finally we want to feel proud to belong to this country with a vision of the future, with upright and knowledgeable leaders. Choosing the future officials is our responsibility but the job and the challenge will be for this new administration to avoid being the last made up of egotists or the inept without the conviction, the consistency and the commitment that Costa Rica needs.

The chamber outlined its demand for inclusion Feb. 3 in a press release, the day after the general elections. It said that members wished to discuss priorities with the two runoff candidates.

Tourism, it said, needs to be repositioned as a key sector in social mobilization and economic growth in the national development plan with clear directives that articulate public and private actions with the administration's backing through state policies that promote fundamental development of the tourism industry.

Many in the industry see the tourism institute as what they call a piñata, a basket of goodies that only the privileged can access.

PorTur threatened to sue the tourism institute because officials promoted the country with inflated tourism figures, the organization said at the time.
A.M. Costa Rica has been saying for years that the tourism numbers include hundreds of thousands of Nicaraguans who are not traditional tourists. So any entrepreneur who comes here on the strength of the institute's claim of more than 2 million tourists a year is sure to be disappointed.

Yet some are doing well during this high season. The San José Palacio was turning away would-be guests last week. Tourism operators on the Pacific coast report that business is good.

The tourism institute just announced that it is investing nearly $700,000 in advertising related to the Winter Olympics.  The campaign calls for 267 commercials for $500,000 on NBC Universal networks through Sunday. There also is $192,000 allocated for social media and pay-per-click ads with Google and Yahoo|Bing. That was announced Feb. 9, and such big campaigns are typical of the tourism institute.

ProTur questioned this type of promotion publicly in 2012 when it critiqued the Gift of Happiness, which was the campaign that featured a talking sloth and handed out free trips to North Americans. ProTur wondered why an Atlanta, Georgia, ad agency got the contract for the project without any kind of competitive bidding.

This was a $6.5 million promotional scheme that gave away 80 free trips for two with the hope that the recipients say good things about the country on the social networks.

The institute also got bad reviews because it seemed to favor the places it paid to lodge the trip winners.

The tourism institute also is certain to come up with an expensive campaign for the World Cup soccer championships in June as it did eight years ago when the event was held in Germany. And some officials may be able to attend as institute guests.

Then there was the campaign that put ads on buses and as video advertising in movie houses.

In none of these campaigns did the institute report results, although assessing results is a major segment of any advertising campaign.

In addition, the tourism institute is involved now in constructing a convention center in Heredia. This is a project that private enterprise did not see as profitable.

All of these projects are being done with public money.

Although the tourism institute has other functions, such as ratifying maritime property concessions, its marketing efforts are the most visible.

The latest campaign embedded in the Winter Olympics is the first where the institute has expressed an advertising goal. The campaign seeks to raise the ranking of the institute's Web site,

The site was in 155,605th place worldwide, based on Alexa figures when the campaign began Feb. 7

The ranking was 153,988th place Monday night. Alexa said that 29.7 percent of the visitors come from the United States.

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Venezuelans and friends here
worry about safety in Caracas

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Following another day of turmoil on Venezuelan streets, Costa Ricans and Venezuelan residents say they worry about the safety of people.

Venezuelan oppositional leader Leopoldo López gave himself up to government officials Tuesday. After walking through a sea of his supporters during a demonstration in Caracas, he was arrested and taken into a military tank.

President Nicolás Maduro issued an arrest warrant last week for the former politician who has organized recent protests around the country. Operación Libertad is a student-driven group that has propelled the opposition's protest of rising inflation and lack of security in Venezuela. Ana María Vargas, the director of Operación Libertad's Costa Rica division, said the group was waiting to see what would happen next with López. She said that she and colleagues feared receiving news of harm done to him or to more protestors.

“What worries us is potential violence,” Ms. Vargas said. “But no matter what we will still communicate our message of peace.”

Recent demonstrations centered in the capital of Caracas that were supposed to be peaceful were mired in violence last Wednesday when three protestors from the opposition were gunned down. The government has painted their rivals as fascist and blood-thirsty, while opposition leaders contend the protests are peaceful and that it was government police who opened fire.

“We have concerns about the security of the people,” said Ricardo Lizano, who is the director of El Venezolano newspaper in San José. “Not just the opposition, but of all citizens.”

An estimated 10,000 Venezuelans live in Costa Rica, where political leaders like Oscar Arías Sánchez have voiced their displeasure with the Maduro-led government and have backed the opposition's cause. The Human Rights Foundation issued a release to say that it condemned López's arrest because Venezuelan authorities have failed to cultivate a democratic atmosphere with constructive dialogues.

The conflict remains on the minds of many Costa Ricans and Venezuelan immigrants. For those who have family and friends back in the embattled nation, safety remains the major prerogative.

“We are concerned about the leadership, with the threat of security,” Lizano said. “Security is the main problem in Venezuela.”

Still no agreement reached
in Panama Canal standoff

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Panama Canal Authority still has not reached an agreement with the Grupo Unidos por el Canal S.A. consortium, and one of the partners in the group is in deep financial trouble in Europe, according to the Panama News.

The newspaper said Tuesday that reports are that the deal in principle that was announced a few days earlier lacked approval by a Zurich insurance group which holds $400 million in performance bonds for three of the four companies in the consortium, and Spain’s state-owned CESCE insurance company, which holds the $200 million bond put up by the Spanish government for the consortium’s leading company, Sacyr Vallehermoso.

One of Sacyr's subsidiaries is being auctioned off in Spain to pay creditors, the newspaper also reported.

This is the latest chapter in the standoff between the canal authority and the consortium contracted to the third set of locks, the main project of the canal expansion program,

The consortium is trying to get more money from the canal authority, and The Panamá News has noted in the past that the original $3.12 billion contract was issued for an unrealistically low price.

Talks have been going on since early January when the consortium said it wanted more money, some $1.6 billion more.

The canal project is supposed to be finished in 2015, and the expansion is supposed to double the capacity of the 50-mile Pacific-Atlantic route.

Even if there is a settlement between the consortium and the canal authority, the negative publicity has been substantial, the Panamá News noted.

One option is for the canal authority to assume the contracting role itself, the Panama News noted Tuesday.

New police headquarters
had help from municipalidad

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The security ministry has put slightly more than a billion colons into a new police headquarters in Cartago. The facility is designed to accommodate 150 persons. The price is nearly $2 million.

The project was a joint one with the Municipalidad de Cartago. The new facility can sleep 70 officers. It also contains cells, a weapons area and meeting rooms. There also is space for administrative personnel, said the ministry.
The Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública is calling the facility the most modern in Costa Rica.

In addition, the ministry has resources for eight new police stations, thanks to the municipality, it said. The ministry also said it was increasing the number of police vehicles and officers assigned to the region.

Invasion of water property
in Potrero causes political flap

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A political flap is growing over an early morning raid in which the Instituto Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados moved to take over the wells of the local water company in Playa Potrero.

Area residents said that about 3 a.m. police accompanied by workers from the national water firm effected an invasion of the property.

The water in the community is supplied by what is known as an asociación administradora de acueductos comunales. It is one of a number in rural areas of the country.

The police action drew a rebuff from a legislator.  Yolanda Acuña Castro of the Partido Acción Ciudadana questioned the need for so many police and equipment. She said later Tuesday that there were seven police vehicles as well as one from the Acueductos y Alcantarillados.

The national water company contends that the management of the local water association is not competent. The lawmakers noted this is the second time that such a takeover had been attempted. There is a long-running legal dispute between the two water suppliers.

Pet adoption fair planned
for Sunday in Heredia

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Expats can take their choice of a dog or cat when the Animales de Asís organization holds an adoption fair Sunday at the Banco de Costa Rica parking lot at Centro Comercial Manolo in San Rafael de Heredia. The time is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Both the dogs and cats have been castrated, and there is an adoption fee of 10,000 colons for dogs and 6,000 colons for cats, said the organization.

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A.M. Costa Rica

Third News Page
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 35
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Cuban baseballer who lived here gets a contract in Japan
By Michael Krumholtz
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

No matter where he has played, Michel Abreu has always found success at the end of his bat.

The Nippon Ham Fighters of the Nippon Professional League in Japan recently tripled Abreu's salary when they signed him to a one-year extension for 60 million yen, or roughly $600,000. The former Cuban defector lived in Costa Rica for a short while trying to establish residency in the United States.

Among his 2013 highlights included a home run off of pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, who landed a mega-deal $155 million contract with the New York Yankees this offseason. The power-swinging Abreu led the Pacific League in home runs with 31.

While he lived in San José, Abreu was one of the most sought-after major league prospects. The Boston Red Sox offered him a six-figure contract in 2005, but it was later voided because Abreu could not become a U.S. resident in time for the upcoming season.

The first baseman finally made it to U.S. soil after the New York Mets offered him a spot in the minor leagues, where he played for a farm team in Binghamton and led the league in batting in 2006.

Thanks to his impressive play with the Ham Fighters, many other Japanese baseball organizations have started to take chances on other Cuban and Latin American players. One such player, Barbaro Canizares, agreed to a deal with the Softbank Hawks this offseason. Though they are now league-rivals Abreu and Canizares were close friends and training partners while they both lived in San José.

Abreu finished near the top of the Pacific League with a .284
Richard Simms photo  
Michel Abreu with the tools of his trade

batting average, 95 runs batted in and a .506 slugging percentage.

In the offseason he lives in Tampa Bay, Fla. with his wife and two children. Opening day for the Nippon Professional League is March 28.

Araya enlists former Banco Central presidents as supporters
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Presidential candidate Johnny Araya met with the press at his house in Sabana Sur to discuss his economic proposal for the country's future. Two ex-presidents of the Banco Central, Francisco de Paula Gutiérrez and Eduardo Lizano, joined the Partido Liberación Nacional candidate at the Tuesday press conference to reaffirm the party's vision.

Araya said Costa Rica's economy has made optimistic strides in recent years, pointing out a stronger influence in international trade and recent steady investments as examples. Though he was hesitant to delve into specifics, he said that the country can afford to make some adjustments but should not abandon its way along a path to success.

Regarding the issue of rising taxes, Araya acknowledged the concern and said adjustments would be made in his tenure. "The financial problem can not be changed solely by adjusting taxes. However you still have to address it."

Lizano addressed the importance of a stronger union between the private and public sectors, so critical fiscal decisions could have better support. He said that without a better relationship between the corporate and industrial groups, Costa Rica can expect to see much of the same.

"We are going to have to make advances that better our private sector," Lizano said.

Gutiérrez, who presided over Banco Central from 2002 to 2010, said that in four years the deficit could be expected to be cut in half to 3 percent with proper management. The current deficit sits at 5.4 percent, which is the second highest in Latin America. "We have to enter this by attacking the
A.M. Costa Rica/Michael Krumholtz 
Johnny Araya is flanked by former Banco Central chiefs

true triggers of public spending and the issues of tax collection," he said.

The second round of voting is only six weeks away. Araya said that the nation needs a clear vision with a trusted leader. "I will again repeat that this country is not for experiments," he said using a phrase that has become a campaign tagline. While taking a few digs at his opposition, he remained steadfast in saying that his party is the safe bet to make on April 6. With lingering concerns of an uncertain job market, Araya said now is when the country should put the economy in stable hands.

"One of the greatest challenges is to create more jobs," Araya said. "Good management of the economy directly allows more jobs to be generated."

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 35
Real Estate
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Neolithic farmers in Britain were not big fans of fish and chips, study shows
By the University of Bristol news service

Studies of old rubbish dumps and dirty dishes have revealed that, 6,000 years ago, ancient Britons gave up their passion for fish to begin a love affair with milk. The research by archaeologists and chemists from the University of Bristol and Cardiff University is published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

The change from hunter-gathers to farmers is one of the most intensively researched aspects of archaeology. Now a large-scale investigation of British archaeological sites dating from around 4,600 BC to 1,400 AD has examined millions of fragments of bone and analyzed more than 1,000 cooking pots.

The team, led by Richard Evershed of the University of Bristol's School of Chemistry, developed new techniques in an effort to identify fish oils in the pots.  Remarkably, they showed that more than 99 percent of the earliest farmer’s cooking pots lacked sea food residues.

Other clues to ancient diets lie within human bones themselves, explored by the Cardiff group led by Jacqui Mulville.  The sea passes on a unique chemical signature to the skeletons of those eating seafood; while the early fisher folk possessed this signature it was lacking in the later farmers.

Lead author of the study, Lucy Cramp said: "The absence of lipid residues of marine foods in hundreds of cooking pots is really significant.  It certainly stacks up with the skeletal isotope evidence to provide a clear picture that seafood was of little importance in the diets of the Neolithic farmers of the region."

Returning to the pots, the Bristol team used a compound-specific carbon isotope technique they have developed to identify the actual fats preserved in the cooking pots, showing that dairy products dominated the menu right across Britain and Ireland as soon as cattle and sheep arrived.

The ability to milk animals was a revolution in food production as, for the first time humans did not have to kill animals to obtain food.  As every farmer knows, milking stock requires a high level of skill and knowledge.  In view of this, team member, Alison Sheridan from National Museums Scotland concludes that: "The use of cattle for dairy products from the earliest Neolithic confirms the view that farming was introduced by experienced immigrants."

Viewed together the findings show that early British hunters feasted on venison and wild boar and ate large quantities of sea food, including seals
neolitic bolw of type used in the study.
Knocknab, Dumfries & Galloway/Alison Sheridan, National Museums Scotland
Neolithic bowl of type used in the study.

and shellfish.  With the introduction of domestic animals some 6,000 years ago they quickly gave up wild foods and fishing was largely abandoned, and people adopted a new diet based around dairying.

Dr. Cramp continued: "Amazingly, it was another 4,000 years before sea food remains appeared in pots again, during the Iron Age, and it was only with the arrival of the Vikings that fish became a significant part of our diet."

Mulville said: "Whilst we like to think of ourselves as a nation of fish eaters, with fish and chips as our national dish, it seems that early British farmers preferred beef, mutton and milk."

Why people changed so abruptly from a seafood to farming diet remains a mystery.  Evershed said: "Since such a clear transition is not seen in the Baltic region, perhaps the hazardous North Atlantic waters were simply too difficult to fish effectively until new technologies arrived, making dairying the only sustainable option."

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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.

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

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Real estate for rent (paid category)
Lovely cottage on private coffee farm. One spacious bedroom, one bath, office room/spare room with high speed WiFi internet, fully equipped
coffee retreat
kitchen, phone line, balcony with beautiful view, especially at night with the far off lights of San José. Farm is gated and guarded, private and peaceful. Owner on-site. Sarchi is a quiet and safe small town about 30-40 min from the airport, a perfect base to explore from and also get a feel for normal, day-to-day Tico life. Rental is $575 per month, (Longer term rent is negotiable) All utilities included. Sorry, NO PETS. Contact

Beautiful single studio apartment for rent in Guacima, Alajuela. 20 minutes from airport, San José or Alajuela and 30 minutes from Heredia. near Cadera highway, Route 27.  $500 a month. All services included (Internet, water, electricity, security). very private, very quiet, green areas. High resolution photos in Flickr HERE! Email: or

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

                                                in Heredia
Surrounded by nature in large property. Chalet for rent located in Monte de la Cruz, Heredia. Two bedrooms, two bathrooms,  laundry room, fully furnished, security, electric gate. $500 monthly. Phone  2267-6306

100 houses

CARIARI AND LINDORA areas, nice garden apartments, furnished or not, ideal for small family, couple/singles. US $1,000 and up. Email   Tel. 8383-6388.

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.

Los Arcos gated community 2 bedroom 2 bath apartment $500 monthly. aAso efficiency apartment $300 month. 8841-1606

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:

Lovely cottage on private coffee farm. One spacious bedroom, one bath, office room/spare room with high speed WiFi internet, fully equipped kitchen, phone  line, balcony with beautiful view, especially at  night with
coffee retreat
 the far off lights of San José. Farm is gated and guarded, private and peaceful. Owner on-site. Sarchi is a quiet and safe small town about 30-40 min from the airport, a perfect base to explore from and also get a feel for normal, day-to-day Tico life. Rental is $575 per month, (Longer term rent is negotiable) All utilities included. Sorry, NO PETS. Contact

Test Drive Costa Rica
Asuncion de Belen. Home in exclusive Residencial La Jolla.  Gated community with controlled access,  security 24/7. Resort swimming pool and gym. Spacious and elegant finishes, private jacuzzi and social areas. 3 bedrooms. 2.5 baths.  Private gardens. Conveniently located close to airport, shopping, bilingual schools, Intel and Duty Free Zones. 322m2 on 249m2 corner lot. Lease with purchase option  $3,400/ $428,000 USD Contact owner for details:

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.

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.

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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Cat trees
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 35
Real Estate
About us


  Voice of America photo 
The offending Tshirt

T-shirt designer wins case
against government agencies

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security suffered a legal defeat Tuesday as a feisty T-shirt designer reaffirmed the right to ridicule these large and powerful federal agencies. The issue concerns satire, free speech, and the process of democracy.

Shirts designed by Dan McCall poke fun at the NSA as "the only part of the government that actually listens."  After the NSA's alleged overzealous monitoring of millions of people, many Americans find that satiric message very funny.

Another shirt spoofs the Department of Homeland Security logo as the "Department of Homeland Stupidity."  Not as funny, but just as critical. 

The agencies were not amused and had threatened legal action against the printer who made and distributed McCall's satiric T-shirts.

McCall said the threats violated the constitutional guarantee of free speech.

Tuesday, the government agencies agreed to end their legal threats and pay McCall $500 to cover his legal expenses. 

"I think it's important to keep your sense of humor about yourself, as a nation, as a person, as individuals," said McCall.

Attorney Paul Levy of the activist group Public Citizen helped McCall.  He says the case is about satire and free speech, elements that are critical for democracy.   

"Sometimes talking about your government with a sense of humor is the best way to capture people's imagination and move them to take action.  We can't be serious all the time," said Levy.

McCall plans to make and sell more T-shirts. 

The Department of Homeland Security declined comment.

Catholic nun among those
sent to prison for protest

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

An 84-year-old Catholic nun will spend nearly three years in a federal prison for breaking into a U.S. nuclear weapons complex in a protest action that exposed serious flaws in security.

Two other activists who broke into the facility in 2012 with Megan Rice were sentenced to more than five years in prison.

Sister Rice and fellow anti-nuclear activists Michael Walli, 64, and Greg Boertje-Obed, 58, were convicted in May of sabotage for their actions at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. All three are members of the Plowshares movement of Christian pacifists.

The three cut through fences and made it through multiple layers of security. They spent more than two hours in a restricted area and had time to hang banners, paint slogans and splash blood on the outside of the building before security personnel apprehended them.

Bookstores in D.C. prosper
despite electronic competition

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

For generations, Americans visited local, independently operated bookstores to buy something to read.

However, in the past two decades, these stores have faced growing competition from national chains as well as from the discounted digital titles that have become available online.

It looked as if independent bookstores would be driven out of business. However, recent industry figures show these bookshops are not only surviving, they are thriving.

There’s a simple reason 3-year-old Oliver Kalm likes going to the bookstore with his mother. He loves to read.

“Every night before he goes to sleep, he reads at least five books,” said Patigul Kalm. “It’s his favorite thing to do.”

Oliver and his mother are among the thousands of regular customers who visit Politics & Prose, a popular independent bookstore in northwest Washington, that has been a neighborhood fixture for 30 years.

Patrons come for the lively book discussions, to visit the coffee shop or to attend daily author readings.

Even President Barack Obama visited the store with his daughters last November to show his support for small businesses.

In recent years however, more and more Americans have turned to digital or e-books while also buying their books online and at bookstore chains. As a result, there's a perception that independent bookstores are slowly disappearing.

That's not the case, according to Oren Teicher, head of the American Booksellers Association, which represents about 1,600 independently-owned retail bookstores across the United States.

“In 2012, we had about an 8 percent increase in total sales in our member stores," Teicher said. "We’ve held that increase in 2013 which we’re absolutely delighted about.”

Teicher said one reason independent bookstores are doing well is because owners are deeply engaged in the community.

Lissa Muscatine, who along with husband Bradley Graham bought Politics and Prose from its original owners a few years ago, believes independent bookstores play a vital role in their communities and are becoming even more valued over time.

“It’s what’s called a third place. It’s not home, it’s not office, but now you might also say it’s not the screen,” Ms. Muscatine said. "As people’s lives become more homogenized, more digitized, more anonymous, more impersonal, they want and crave places to go where they’re interacting with real people and I think a bookstore, especially more than almost any institution in a community, provides that."

Jeanie Kahn, who was walking around the iconic bookstore on a recent Friday afternoon with a stack of books in her arms, has been buying her books at Politics and Prose ever since it opened.

“I love reading and have become a voracious reader and would much rather buy books at an independent bookstore than at one of the mega bookstores or Amazon,” Kahn said.

Ms. Muscatine and Graham have taken measures to keep up with the times, while maintaining the main mission of the bookstore’s original founders.

Graham said they offer a service that enables customers to download titles onto almost any kind of e-reader except a Kindle, while still providing what their customers like best.

“We’ve expanded in a number of areas,” Graham said, “including literary classes and trips. We have our own book-printing machine now in the store and we’re doing more and more with author events.”

Ms. Muscatine said their bookstore is a place where customers can meet and interact with their favorite authors. Politics and Prose holds hundreds of in-store author events annually which feature best-selling as well as emerging writers. The bookshop also organizes author events at dozens of outside venues.
“You can’t do that clicking a button on a screen in the same way,” she said.

Graham also points out that even though a certain segment of the population has turned to e-books, interest in them has waned.

“You see a certain plateauing now in the rise of e-books and that those who have gone in that direction and are reading e-books still are buying physical books,” Graham said. “So the most avid users of e-books have remained among the most avid buyers of physical books.”

A recent survey by the Codex Group, a book market research and consulting company, finds that about 64 percent of book buyers in the United States read in both print and digital formats.

“So there is a sort of a hybrid kind of reader out there," said Graham, "and so we’re very confident that physical books are going to survive and continue to be the dominant way that people want to read.”

The owners also point out another draw for customers; knowledgeable sales staff who are well-read and familiar with the store’s inventory. They regularly help customers with everything from finding exact book titles, to helping them choose books for themselves as well as for gifts.

And at the end of the day, Muscatine said there’s another essential element that keeps customers coming back.

“I think that reading a physical book still provides a tactile experience for people that simply can’t be replicated on a screen,” she said.

Jeanie Kahn agrees.

“I like to be able to pick up the book, feel it," she said. "I’ve gotten off my e-reader because I need to feel the book.”

“It’s just something unsatisfying about holding a Kindle or holding an iPad trying to read a book," said her husband Marc. "It just doesn’t feel right.”

Whether little Oliver Kalm sticks with physical books, or grows up to read e-books, or both, right now he has a simple message for readers of all kinds:

“Keep reading books!”

Navy debuts laser weapon
that is going to Persian Gulf

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. Navy is preparing to deploy its first laser weapon on a warship this year.

The new weapon is designed to destroy and disable such threats as surveillance drones and speed boats. The laser can be operated by one sailor, and can be fired continuously, making it far cheaper than conventional missiles and bombs, which eventually run out.

The laser will be installed on the USS Ponce, an amphibious transport docking ship that will be deployed to the Persian Gulf.

Another electric weapon the U.S. Navy is building is a rail gun that can either replace or supplement conventional guns, since it can fire a projectile at six or seven times the speed of sound.

But there are shortcomings with both new weapons. The laser is less efficient if there is heavy rain, dust or a turbulence in the atmosphere, while the rail gun requires a huge amount of electricity to launch its projectiles.

Mammograms are questioned
by lengthy study of women

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Do mammograms save lives? That's the question being asked after a major new study, one of the biggest ever, released its results. Since then, doctors and others have weighed in.
Mammograms are often considered the most powerful weapon in the war against breast cancer, but results from one of the largest studies ever done question their value. The study involved 90,000 women and spanned a quarter of a century.
The women were divided into two groups. The first got regular mammograms, while the second group received physical breast exams only. After 25 years, the researchers found an equal number of women died from breast cancer in both groups.
Breast surgeons like Negar Golesorkhi said mammograms are imperfect tools in finding tumors, particularly for women with dense breasts.
"When we look for cancer on a mammogram in dense breast tissue, we’re looking for a polar bear in a snow storm so it would be very difficult to find," said Golesorki.
The study also found the screening led to unnecessary surgery, chemotherapy or radiation treatment because tumors found were not always life-threatening.
Author Cornelia Baines said the study's message is loud and clear.
"It isn't screening that's helping women. It's better therapy and probably increased awareness," said Ms. Baines.
So what to do? A routine mammogram caught an aggressive form of breast cancer for 54 year old Beth Shulman.
"I'm 100 percent sure that it did save me," said Ms. Shulman.
Other women, like Zuli Palacio, had routine mammograms that failed to catch three, fairly advanced cancerous tumors. 
"Even a month before it was detected, I went for a mammogram and they told me, 'You're fine. Go home,'” recalled Ms. Palacio.
A breast cancer specialist found the tumors that mammograms missed. After chemotherapy and surgery, Ms. Palacio is cancer free.
There are a lot of questions about the Canadian study. It's the only major study that doesn't show that mammograms save lives, according to Richard Wender, from the American Cancer Society.
"When you put all of the trials together, there’s a unanimity of opinion that the best way to avoid a premature death is to have a mammogram regularly, for all women 40 and older," Wender said.
The question remains: how can women with breast cancer find it early enough to save their lives?
The American Cancer Society recommends yearly mammogram screenings starting at age 40. The group may recommend women with dense breasts also have an MRI when the society revises its guidelines later this year.

Extreme weather images said
to desensitize media viewers

By the Taylor & Francis news staff

New research has shown that images of extreme weather in the media create negative emotional meanings and might lead to disengagement with the issue of climate change.

Reporting on extreme weather has increased over the last few years. In the past, social scientists, and media and communication analysts have studied how climate change is depicted in the text of media and social media. While researchers have become increasingly interested in climate change images, they have not yet studied them with respect to symbolizing certain emotions.

The International Panel on Climate Change published a draft report on extreme weather and climate change adaptation. The report was covered in the news and illustrated with images. Some of these depicted extreme weather, in particular with relation to floods, droughts and heat waves, hurricanes and ice and sea-level rise.

The study by Brigitte Nerlich and Rusi Jaspal was published in Science as Culture,

Researchers studied images published in the news to illustrate their coverage of the panel report. They used visual thematic analysis, examining the way they might symbolize certain emotional responses, such as compassion, fear, guilt, vulnerability, helpless, courage or resilience.

Results showed that images of flooding in the developing world portrayed individuals accustomed to flooding and that they can overcome the extreme weather. The images showed cheerful behavior of those who are affected by flooding, lack of victimhood, engagement in their day-to-day activities and communal aspects of coping with flooding.

Images of extreme weather in the media symbolized fear, helplessness and vulnerability and, in some cases, guilt and compassion. Appealing to fear of disaster can lead to denial and paralysis rather than positive behavior change, according to the study.

The research confirmed: “There is no indication of victimhood or desperation, but rather a mundane sense of routine. Crucially, these images represent flooding as a distant phenomenon, with which viewers are not invited or necessarily encouraged to identify. For readers in the West such images may not symbolize, or indeed convey, compassion”

It added: “In particular, might not encourage reflection upon one's own environmental behavior, and how this might contribute to climatic change and/or the apparent prevalence of extreme weather, unlike images of floods closer to home.”

The visual images show Westerners as less able to cope with extreme flooding and that their homes are susceptible to widespread damage as a result of flooding.

Further results revealed: “It shows human beings could disappear between the cracks of a dried-out earth; extreme heat is too unbearable for human life to sustain and the planet and vulnerable islets are gradually being engulfed by hurricanes and rising sea levels. This essentially does bring extreme weather ‘closer to us’ constructing it, in many respects, as ‘alarming’.”

Images give the impression that man-made industrial activities have contributed to climatic change, resulting in extreme weather events. This includes cars as the cause of extreme heat; modern high-rise buildings, industrial buildings and power lines. This in turn may link these images to emotions of guilt and blame.

Unlike the guilt-inducing visual representation of people in developing countries, images of human-induced extreme weather encourages individuals to reflect upon their role in causing extreme weather.

Visual elements show the earth as being slowly engulfed by flooding and hurricanes. The earth is prematurely aging due to a deathly lack of water. The landscape is barren and infertile. There is an absolute absence of human and animal life, and ice sheets are deteriorating.

In addition, analysis found subtler ways of representing extreme weather as a threat by positioning it in familiar settings such as architecture and modernity.

Press groups ask action
on British royal charter

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

The Inter American Press Association Tuesday joined other international organizations defending press freedom in calling on the British government to take immediate action to protect freedom of the press, in response to a royal charter that imposes a regime of censorship, disguised as a system of self-regulation.

The letter, sent to United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron, was signed by association President Elizabeth Ballantine and representatives from the Committee to Protect Journalists, International Broadcasting Association, International Press Institutes, World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, World Press Freedom Committee, and International Federation of the Periodical Press, organizations belonging to the Press Organizations Coordinating Committee.

In the letter the British government is asked “to distance itself from the Parliamentary investigation of The Guardian” and it urges Parliament to repeal anti-press regulations, among them “any other regulation that gives legal force to the royal charter.”

This joint action came about following a mission headed by the above mentioned organizations to the United Kingdom Jan. 15 to 16. The objective was to investigate complaints of governmental pressure on The Guardian and its editor, Alan Rusbridger, since May last year after the newspaper decided to publish articles on the leaks that Edward Snowden made on spying activities of the United States’ National Security Agency.

Representing the press association were Claudio Paolillo, chairman of the Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, and Edward Seaton, former president of the organization.

In the letter the major complaint of the organizations is that the mechanism, known as voluntary self-regulation, becomes futile, when forcefully applied by the Royal Charter. It will serve to censure, with the aggravating circumstance that it can potentially be imitated by autocratic governments, said the organizations.

In this regard, the letter served as an example Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa, who justified his country’s new communication law, or gag law referencing the obligatory rules that politicians want to impose in the United Kingdom.

Three convicted in California
in $30 million Medicare fraud

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Three people linked to a Glendale, California, medical clinic, including a doctor who took money to let his name be used thousands of times on bogus prescriptions, were found guilty Tuesday of federal fraud charges related to a $20 million scheme to defraud Medicare and Medi-Cal by, among other things, fraudulently prescribing expensive anti-psychotic medications and then re-billing the government for those drugs over and over.

The convictions stem from the first case in the nation alleging an organized scheme to defraud government health care programs through fraudulent claims for anti-psychotic medications. The evidence presented at trial showed how the operators of Manor Medical Imaging in Glendale operated a clinic authorized to make claims to Medicare and Medi-Cal, employed an unlicensed medical practitioner to write bogus prescriptions using an American doctor’s name and license number, and had close relationships with pharmacies and a fraudulent drug wholesale company that were used to funnel prescription drugs back to the pharmacies participating in the scheme.

In the largest case of its kind in Southern California brought against defendants who bilked Medicare, prosecutors showed a federal jury how employees of Manor Medical generated thousands of prescriptions for identity theft victims such as elderly Vietnamese beneficiaries of Medicare or Medi-Cal, military veterans who were recruited from drug rehab programs, and denizens of Skid Row. Members of the conspiracy created or doctored patient files to make it falsely appear the drugs were necessary and the patients were legitimately treated. After the prescriptions were filled at pharmacies and paid for by Medicare and Medi-Cal, they were sold on the black market and redistributed to pharmacies, where the drugs would be subject to new claims made to Medicare and Medi-Cal as though they were new bottles of drugs.

The scheme generated fraudulent billings of more than $20 million of which Medi-Cal and Medicare actually paid more than $8 million.

The three defendants convicted Tuesday are:

• Kenneth Johnson, 47, a physician of Ladera Heights, who served as the face of Manor with pharmacists and auditors from Medicare and Medi-Cal, and who pre-signed thousands of blank prescriptions that were filled out by co-conspirators;

• Nuritsa Grigoryan, 49, of Glendale, who holds an Armenian medical license and who pretended to be an American doctor when she saw homeless patients at the clinic and filled out the bogus prescriptions pre-signed by Johnson; and

• Artak Ovsepian, 32, of Tujunga, one of the leaders of the conspiracy who oversaw the acquisition of drugs at pharmacies using the bogus prescriptions.

The three defendants were convicted of health care fraud conspiracy, aggravated identity theft, conspiracy to misbrand pharmaceutical drugs, false statements to the federal government, and conspiracy to use other persons’ identification documents in furtherance of fraud.

Following the reading of the verdicts, United States District Judge S. James Otero, who presided over the three-week trial, said, “The scope of the fraud was breathtaking.” Judge Otero said the defendants “preyed upon the poor, used them as pawns.”

Judge Otero is scheduled to sentence Dr. Grigoryan and Ovsepian June 9.  Johnson is scheduled to be sentenced June 30. At sentencing, all three defendants will face a mandatory sentence of two years in federal prison for committing aggravated identity theft. In addition to the two-year terms, Johnson and Dr. Grigoryan face statutory maximum sentences of 30 years in federal prison, while Ovsepian will face an additional sentence of up to 35 years.

With Tuesday’s verdicts, a total of 16 defendants have now been convicted of various charges related to the health care fraud scheme.
Real estate-related services (paid category)

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

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

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

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

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

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

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

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

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

Costa Rica,

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

Visit our Web Site:

English: (Cristian Arce)
(506) 8309-0173  
English:  (Luis Arce)
(506) 7100-8489  
 Español: (Luis G. Jiménez)
  (506) 8707-4016  
Grecia 794
This is the BIGGEST DEAL of the month now at $850.000: HERE!
30,000 square meters of land and 750 square-meters of construction.
Grecia 792
300 square meters of land, 195 square meters of construction HERE
Grecia 807
  18,000 square meters of land and 300 square meters of construction. HERE!
  Send us your request to our email:

Real estate for sale (paid category)

Five bedrooms
Puntarenas City, Puntarenas
Beach home central Pacific Ocean
Five bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths plus guest house
Features include out door BBQ, swimming pool, plus on the beach.  The home is completely furnished including all linens, kitchen cook ware, pots, pans, all dishes and much much more. Each room is individually air conditioned.  Office with all connections for WiFi,  Hot water in bathrooms, kitchen and laundry room.  Fully furnished. Includes all linens, TV’s, refrigerator/freezer, dish washer, microwave, electric stove/oven, washer & dryer and many “as seen on TV” appliances   Will consider trade for U.S. Property.  Asking  $250,000. 
Call Gary 8784-2945  English only, or email

Tiliran property
Turnkey commercial/apartment building for sale in San Luis, Tilaran, Guanacaste. In a corporation. 100 percent occupancy and all permits in place. Great opportunity to gain investor status residency. New construction - 2012. Consists of three studio apartments upstairs with lake view and 4 storefronts on ground level, including laundry service, soda, consigment store. Comes with purchase or start your own business while you live in one of the apartments. $308,000. Please email

Spectacular 79-acre view property in Guanacaste overlooking tens of miles of pristine coastline with sunset over the Pacific. Own water, electricity, hi-speed internet, property roads, huge building view sites, terraced landscape perfect for growing trees, fruits and vegetables or run horses or cattle, hidden access and high-level security. 169,000 USD. Contact:   or text messages to  8916-5550.

Excazu montage
Trejos  Montealegre, Escazú.
Two bedrooms and two baths.  220 m2 construction on  289 m2 of land. Beautiful contemporary house across from a small park, easy walk to Avenida Escazú.
Great views. Only 7 years old. Two patios and a balcony. In a quiet and secure neighborhood with guard shack across the street. Nice landscaped garden. Sale includes all furniture.  Price: $275,000.    Phone  Ron Eaton  at 8997-1799. Email:

Balcony view
This is a great opportunity
Get your home in one of the best locations. Four-bedroom condo near Universidad de Costa Rica, ULatina & UFidelitas   $170,000. USD.  24/7 gate security with in-home alarm, three levels, parking for two cars and play area for children. First Level: Living room/dining room, kitchen with breakfast bar, laundry room, patio/garden with roof, storage area, & guest bathroom. Second Level: Large master bedroom with full bathroom and walk-in closet, two additonal bedrooms, linen closet, full bathroom. Third Level: Large fourth bedroom or TV room, full bath, large storage attic, spacious roofed balcony   and breathtaking views of mountains to the east, south, west. Call Bill   (English) C.R. Phone: (506) 6011-6987 / U.S. Phone:  (630) 886-4458 . C.R. Spanish  phone number: (506) 8799-4041  or  (506) 8363-9898.  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:

Los Reyes home
House for sale in La Guacima, Alajuela
Located on 9th tee of Los Reyes Country Club. Club offers golf, tennis (6 courts), swimming pool, gym and restaurant. Easy access to schools, shopping, hospitals & Caldera highway. One hour to Pacific beaches. House price: US $450,000.00. Contact Bill, Phone 506 -8878-9221  Email: Click on the link below for photos and additional details:

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:

Land near Monte de La Cruz, 27 hectors+, Must sell for best offer due to cancer, 8841-1606

beachfront home
Beautiful Palo Seco Beach home priced to sell!
Gorgeous beachfront two-story home, of roughly 2,000 square feet, set on a half acre oceanfront lot that is full of beautiful fruit and shade trees in Playa Palo Seco. This home features two bedrooms, three full baths, high quality A/C units in all rooms, huge front and backyard, and of course, a fantastic view of the Pacific Ocean just feet away from the front door! Playa Palo Seco is perfectly situated between Jacó and Quepos and is only minutes away from five-star dining such as El Clandestino.  We have reduced the price from $150,000 to $125,000 firm for a fast sale in the new year! This is a must see property! Owner financing is available. This truly is a once in a lifetime offer and it will go fast! Please call 8816-2478 or email for more information!

St. Michael
Ocean View estates inside a gated community from $5.94 M2.  Properties start at 39K. NO HOA FEES.  Community salt water modern waterfall swimming pools, organic vegetable gardens, exotic flower gardens, food forest, mature orchards, fresh fish from aquaponics, stables, community center, and much more.  Each lot comes with an edible landscaping including pineapples, plantains, papayas, guanabanas, bananas, and more.  Most lots already have mature mango, lemon, orange, or caimito trees.  This is the most secure community in CR with multiple sources of water, electric, and high \[speed internet.

Cahuita estate
Beach house in Cahuita for sale
2,000-sq. ft. house, 2 bedrooms. 2 baths. With incredible view of sea.  House has beautiful hardwood open upstairs deck. Teakwood floor upstairs. CB and ceramic downstairs, Very well built with beautiful hardwoods upstairs.  Oval bathtub, hand painted ceramic sinks  The view is through 240 meters of jungle and coconut trees to the beach. The beach in front is perfect and quiet. Very secure area. Property located adjacent to our wildlife sanctuary and botanical gardens. Great group of neighbors from U.S.A.,  Italy, Holland, Sweden, etc. This very private property is owned by Todd Scottland for more then  35 years. Taxes are paid up to date. This is a gem of a house. Must see!  Price  $205,000.00.  Email to: Email for more photos.
Phone 2755-0014 or cell phone 8610-0490.

Ojochal montage
Ojochal Paradise
Tropical paradise of 6.5 acres in Ojochal.  Cabin with one sleeping loft, all services, mountain and distant ocean views.  Several building sites available for main house or rental units. Close to surfing, fishing, golfing. Sale for $129.000  Contact:  for more photos/information or go here:

Located in Jacó at Barrio Ricos y Famosos
in Calle Europa, Casa Shangri La.
Main house: 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, 270 square meters, 2 condominiums 2 bedrooms, one bath, 110 square meters, plus one small apartment: One bedroom, one bath. Huge pool, carport for five cars. plus double garage, rancho with pool bathroom, gymnasium, laundry room, pool plumbing room, huge dog house in separate 500-square-meter garden with aviary for guacamayas (we have three birds) 60 meters of river front of Río Copey with a 4-meter-high protective and retention stone wall. Eight surveillance camera CCTV system with Internet access from anywhere. Over 2-meter-high brick wall all around the property with two layers of razor wires on top, the safest place to be! Electronic entrance gate, door phone, five telephone lines, high-speed Internet wireless access everywhere. Beautiful gardens with many fruit trees. Built to highest standard by German owner in 2005,  room for two more apartments, plans approved. Less then a 10 minutes walk to the beach and or center of Jaco. Price $ 1,350.000 negotiable. All fittings and furniture. German-built, excellent quality and well maintained. 70% owner financing available. More photos on request HERE!  Email:  cell 8838-2081 or home 2643-2979.

Rich Coast montage
Real Estate, Central Pacific Region

Central Pacific between Jacó and Quepos-Manuel Antonio
Lots in gated community near the beach  from $17,999! Only 3 left
2-bedroom house in gated community was $120k now $99,900
3-bedroom house with 2 additional residential lots, walk to the beach $160k
Turnkey coffee shop/ bakery, corner location, great ROI! $65k
2-bedroom panoramic oceanview house, guesthouse on 2.5 acres $269k
Panoramic oceanview  property, 3 houses, on-ground pool $375k
And much more!!!
   USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005
   CR Cell 011 506 8718-9891

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:

Gulf road

Beachfront pristine five-hectare (13-acre) property

includes a common open air lodge with kitchen, three cabins, a caretaker's house, a garage and a secure storeroom. The property is maritime and has a current and valid maritime user's permit, all up to date and clear. In addition to the immaculately landscaped portion of the property that is already developed with bungalows, there are an additional three hectares that are ready for expansion and are cleared and planted in grass. The sales offer includes furnishings, appliances, catamaran, kayaks, and a whole series of extras. This property has about 300 meters of beach front in a docile portion of the gulf about 15 minutes north of Puerto Jimeenez, ideal for mooring boats just off the property shoreline. Has municipal water and power. Offered at $970,000. All reasonable offers will be considered. See photos and maps and more at Contact us at: or +1-866-514-7435.

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.

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.

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!

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale

Business for sale or lease (paid category)
Tanning montage
This is your chance to acquire a totally equipped tanning salon with five machines.  Fantasia Tropical has been open 14 years but the founder needs to retire and return to the U.S. for medical reasons.  You can assume the lease in Sabana West buying the S.A. or buy the assets and move them to a location you prefer. Taxes, permits, bank accounts all in order. Excellent opportunity for an energetic, creative hands-on owner or couple. Long-time manager available to stay on if desired. With an asking price of $30,000 this won't
last long.  Some owner financing may be available.  Contact for an appointment. For a preview

A successful, local, long-running business for sale.
In the nine years of operation, this company has grown to cover the entire Southern Pacific Zone, and opened the door to further penetration in San José, Manuel Antonio and Osa Peninsula areas. And it 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 a new level of success. Operating since 2005, the owner is retiring to another Latin American country. It is now time to turn the business over to a new owner who could expand it to even greater success. Details on the business, its history, a strategic analysis of its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, as well as a pro-forma income statement from 2008 through to 2013 are available upon request to

Jaco station
Gas Station/Auto Plaza
Located on the Pan American Highway, Jacó Beach, Costa Rica, Central America. This property is  45,000  square feet or  18,000  meters.  Liquor and convenience store is operational. Room to add an automotive service, car wash, restaurant, pharmacy, lotto sales, tour sales, ATM's,  etc, for a real money maker. Also future plans for a 80-unit  auto motel and casino. See on Youtube at: Asking price  $3.9 million. Email or call: 8899-9870.

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

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, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 35
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News from the BBC up to the minute

BBC news feeds are disabled on archived pages.

Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Sea Shepherd patrol back
from Guatemalan mission

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s high-speed trimaran, the "Brigitte Bardot," has returned from its first successful patrol assisting the Guatemalan Department of Fisheries in its anti-poaching enforcement operations. Asked by fisheries officials to help battle poaching in Guatemalan waters, Sea Shepherd is acting to lower the impact of illegal fishing of billfish by commercial fishermen.

The Sea Shepherd crew of the "Brigitte Bardot" joined a three-person Naval delegation and two officials of the fisheries department for this patrol.

During the first night of patrols, as many as seven boats were boarded by the Guatemalan officials. Upon inspection, two of these boats proved to have an illegal catch of sailfish. The illegally caught wildlife was documented and then returned to the sea. Administrative action has been taken against the fishermen.

There are two types of fishing methods that the Sea Shepherd crew and fisheries officials can encounter during these patrols: longlines and gill nets. These fishing methods, which are highly destructive and often indiscriminately kill ocean life, must both be in compliance with a set of Guatemalan government standards which this confiscated illegal catch did not meet.

The "Bardot" crew will continue offering assistance to the Fisheries department on patrols, Sea Shepherd said. The main goal of these anti-poaching operations is to gather evidence to present to the Guatemalan government. Sea Shepherd said it is hopeful that if these patrols show that illegal fishing takes place on a large scale and presents a significant threat in Guatemalan waters, more action will be taken to combat this serious problem.

“Guatemala cares deeply about their natural world and we applaud the government for taking this pro-active approach against illegal fishing activities that endanger the country’s natural balance and the environment as a whole. Sea Shepherd believes that direct action is needed to fight the serious and imminent threats facing the world’s oceans,” said Capt. Alex Cornelissen, Sea Shepherd Global executive director.

When not on patrol, the crew of the "Brigitte Bardot" will continue to give talks at schools, spreading awareness and emphasizing the urgent need for ocean protection. Home port is Friday Harbor, Washington.


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From Page 7:

Costa Rica invested $1.5 billion abroad in 2013

By The CAFTA Report staff

More than $1.5 billion was invested by 105 Costa Rican businesses into foreign projects last year, according to the Promotora del Comercio Exterior de Costa Rica and the Ministerio de Comercio Exterior.

The study showed that $434 million went to the United States, Panama got $256 million and Nicaragua  got $210 million. Statistics and information were taken from 256 projects.

These latest findings hint that the Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement has so far been a positive for Costa Rica. Anabel González, the minister of Comercio Exterior, said this economic progress going beyond the border has allowed domestic businesses to boom.

"The commercial integration of Costa Rica to the rest of the world has allowed the implementation of national firms in global markets to expand operations and take advantage of new opportunities," Ms. González said. She cited the trade system as giving the nation's enterprises an increased ability to invest abroad with greater risk diversification and greater trust in those investments.

Of the $1.5 billion invested, the three main sectors in which the money was concentrated were the development of infrastructure, 33 percent, social programs 32 percent, and commercial sector 30 percent.

Francisco Gamboa, the director of commercial intelligence for Promotora del Comercio Exterior, said, "The internationalization of the Costa Rican companies, made by investing in other markets, is a logical and appropriate step that follows the activity of exporting. It reflects the maturity of these national companies who are now ready to conquer international markets."

Costa Rican businesses are finally beginning to reach into other, previously untapped markets. Since 2009, there have been 78 new projects developed, which points to the recuperation and sustainability of national businesses.

The Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censo helped with research of these findings.