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Published Friday, April 22, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 79
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Kidney disease epidemic stressed Caja's resources
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The national health service says it is concerned by the growing number of individuals afflicted with kidney disfunction.

This is the sugar cane cutter’s disease that affects mainly young men in agricultural work.

Officials in the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social said it now has to devote more services to the hospitals that are treating this chronic kidney insufficiency.

So far there is no direct cause found for the ailment, but dehydration and extensive labor in the hot sun has been determined to be contributors.

The U.S. National Kidney Foundation said the incidence of the disease in younger men is up to 15 times higher in coastal Central America than in the United States. In Nicaragua and El Salvador, age-adjusted mortality rates from kidney disease are among the highest in the world, said the foundation. The situation is being considered an epidemic.

María del Rocío Sáenz Madrigal, executive president of the Caja, said that her agency needs to review all the programs of promotion, prevention and attention that it is developing in the province of Guanacaste, the principal area where the disease is found.

She said hospitals there have seen a 50 percent increase in the frequently fatal ailment.

Dr.  Sáenz said that a second shift was being added at the Centro de Atención Integral de Cañas for dialysis patients with staff from the  Hospital Enrique Baltodano Briceño de Liberia and that in April a dialysis unit would open in the new tower of the Hospital La Anexión en Nicoya.

By next year, health officials hope to have dialysis available at the Liberia hospital so that patients needing this treatment will not have to travel to Hospital México in La Uruca, San José, the doctor said. The treatment is a way to remove impurities from the blood stream, something that failing kidneys cannot do.

Dr. Sáenz added that the Caja has put into action a health kidney program in Guanacaste to make sure the population knows about the importance of hydration, overexposure to the sun and self-medication.

Still, she said, medical workers and officials in Guanacaste are seeing more and more affected patients, including young men who are heads of families and who run the danger of leaving their children without fathers. She said the medial teams there were considering the epidemic as having major social impact.

The Caja also has long-term scientific studies underway to better isolate the cause.  The Caja’s statistical department notes that the incidence of kidney insufficiency in Guanacaste is 112.9 per 100,000 residents compared to 43.8 per each 100,000 residents in the province of Cartago.

In some area, the rate soars to 1,100 per 100,000 population, said the Caja, noting that the places with the highest incidences were

Cañas, Bagaces, Santa Cruz and Carrillo.

Roy Wong, the coordinator of the long-term
Wikipedia/Anna Frodesiak
Dialysis involves periodic cleansing of the blood with highly complex equipment.

Caja study, has cited a clear association with kidney insufficiency and young men who are agricultural workers with demanding working hours in high temperatures. They also generally have a lower education level, he was quoted as saying. Dr. Sáenz said that the study needs to go deeper.

The  National Kidney Foundation in the United States seconds the opinion that the epidemic of kidney disease among young Central American agricultural workers involves heat stress and volume depletion. That is according to research published in its American Journal of Kidney Diseases.

For the study, researchers followed 284 sugarcane workers in seven different jobs from one company in northwestern Nicaragua. Blood and urine samples were collected from participants before and near the end of the six-month harvest season. Those workers who had the most labor-intensive jobs, cane cutters, had increased urinary biomarkers of kidney injury, said the foundation.

While self-reported hydration didn’t seem to offer any protective benefit to sugarcane workers overall, when stratified by job, researchers observed a protective effect of consuming an electrolyte solution among cane cutters and seed cutters. This indicates there are ways to prevent kidney injury among laborers in high-heat settings, they said.

“At this point we don’t know for certain that heat stress and volume depletion are causal, but we can say that electrolyte supplementation appears to reduce risks of kidney damage in occupations that expose workers to heat stress and volume depletion,” said Rebecca Laws. She is a postdoctoral associate at Boston University’s School of Public Health and lead author on the study.

“Most researchers believe the causes are multifactorial, and it is at least in part related to occupation, given the severe toll that kidney disease is taking on heavy manual laborers in the region,” she was quoted as saying in a summary of the research by the kidney foundation.

The magnitude of the disease only became known five years ago, and researchers have been struggling to pinpoint the cause. Women also are affected but in lesser numbers. All studies cite hard labor in the hot sun as causal factors, but some also point out to the use of cheap cane alcohol, called guaro, in Costa Rica. There also is a percentage of bootlegged alcohol in use in the agricultural communities.

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A.M. Costa Rica's  Second news page
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, April 22, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 79
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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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Rental law
Casa Presidencial photo
President  Luis Guillermo Solís displays his signature on the rent capping bill.

President signs law to cap rent hikes

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Casa Presidencial says that the new law that ties rent increases to the rate of inflation will not go into effect until the first of the year.

The summary of the new law came as President Luis Guillermo Solís signed the measure in a ceremony.

The law will prohibit owners from raising rents over the course of a rental agreement more than the inflation rate as long as the rate is less than 10 percent.

The current law provides for a 15 percent ceiling per year because when it was passed the expectation was that the colon would continue to inflate. But the currency has been stable because the Banco Central is protecting the colon.

Rental agreements in foreign currencies already are frozen at the initial rate over the length of the agreement, which usually is three years.

The measures does not apply to vacation rental.

There is a possibility that landlord organizations will challenge the new law in the courts. And some have already said that the owner will set the initial rent high enough to compensate for the inability to get substantial annual increases.

When the inflation rate is higher than 10 percent, the government in the form of the Ministerio de Vivienda y Asentamientos Humanos would be empowered to set the cap.

Five held in La Guácima kidnapping case

 By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Judicial investigators detained five men Thursday with the allegation that they kidnapped a businessman for money.

The crooks grabbed the victim, whose name was not given, while he was driving in Guácima on the evening of March 4. He was held overnight until his family came up with 1.75 million colons, about $3,300.  The crooks had wanted 7 million colons.

The man was freed in Río Grande de Atenas, said agents.

Delivery of the ransom involved leaving a plastic bag with the money near a utility pole in Siquiares de Alajuela. The victim was reported to have been held at the home of one of the kidnappers. That, too, was in La Guácima, said agents.

The Judicial Investigating Organization said that raids to make arrests took place in Tambor, La Guácima and Ciruelas de Alajuela. They said they found firearms.

Canadian's death under investigation

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The body of a man believed to be a Canadian was the object of an investigation Thursday night at the upscale Hotel Grano de Oro in western San José.

An initial report said that the man suffered cuts but that the injuries were not life-threatening. The hotel management identified him as Danny Belanger, 32. The hotel said that alcohol and pills were found in his room and that he suffered cardiac arrest while being treated in his room by emergency attendants.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, April 22, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 79
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Capital has no shortage of Argentine fare for every pocketbook
By D.M. Flynn, Jr.
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Fans of choripanes, churrasco, vacio and chorizo can find those famous succulent cuts of the Pampas at a number of places in San José. Here are a few of those places:

Aquí Es!
Avenida 2/Calle 38
Across the street from Parque Benemeritos
Monday through Thursday: 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Also on Facebook

A good option on the west side of town in the Paseo Colon/La Sabana area.  Aquí Es! is a cozy place with a full offering of Argentine-styled meats, empanadas, desserts, and pastas.  This place is consistently good with a decent wine list, nice atmosphere, and terrific service. Only evening hours are Friday and Saturday.  Street parking.

La Esquina de Buenos Aires
Calle 11 at Avenida 4
Behind La Soledad Church
Monday through Friday: 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday:  11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.
On Facebook

Open since 2004, La Esquina is one of San José’s most renowned fine dining establishments and a go-to place in the downtown area. Featuring an extensive menu of wines as well as the requisite meat dishes including a churrasco finished off at the table.  Offerings also include pastas, salads, empanadas, and desserts with a full bar and knowledgeable bartenders. La Esquina is usually crowded with an eclectic array of customers including expats, local intelligentsia, politicians, and chepe society. Service is excellent, perhaps the best in town.  Reservations are recommended. Parking available in a lot or on the street.

Tierra Sur Restó
250 meters west of Plaza Mayor
Plaza de la Amistad shopping center
Rohrmoser Boulevard in Rohrmoser
Monday to Friday: 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 6 to 10 p.m.
Closed weekends
On Facebook

This cozy place on the west side of San José on the tree-lined boulevard in Rohrmoser and near the U.S. Embassy has a modest but adequate menu of Argentine empanadas, steaks, chorizo, pastas, salads, and desserts.  Malbec lovers will find an ample number of choices moderately priced.  Service is good.  The place is small so reservations for larger parties are recommended.  Parking in the shopping center lot.

Tierra Gaucha
25 meters north of the Rostipollos
Sabana Norte
Monday to Saturday: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

If you can’t make it to downtown, Tierra Gaucha may be the next best thing after La Esquina de Buenos Aires. Located in a pleasant neighborhood close to other restaurants and an easy walk from the Crown Plaza Coribici, Tierra Gaucha features large steaks, churrasco, pastas, etc. along with an excellent list of malbecs and other wines. They can handle larger groups. Weekends are crowded and reservations are recommended. Street parking.

La Parrillita Delicias Argentinas
In the Plaza Mayor food court
No web or Facebook listings

This new place serves Argentine fast food. Quick stop for choripan, milanesas al caballo, empanadas, etc. Most for under 5,000 colons. Parking in the Plaza Mayor covered or uncovered lots.

From time to time A.M. Costa Rica will publish informational articles on various restaurants in the country. These are writer-generated news stories and not paid placements. But suggestions are welcome.



La Gauchada
175 meters south of Channel 7
La Sabana area
Monday to Saturday: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
No web or Facebook listings

Think soda rather than restaurant, this tiny place has been well known since the 1980s for their excellent fried Argentine empanadas. La Gauchada is a favorite of expat Argentines, local television personalities, and business people who work on the west side of La Sabana park. Most people order to take out and eat in their home, office, or across the street in the park. Street parking.

Tenedor Argentino
Avenida 2a, south side of the Teatro Nacional
Monday to Friday: 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Whether you’re going to the Teatro Nacional or one of the dozens of small theaters in the area around the national theatre, you might want to take advantage of Tenedor Argentino’s best feature which is its location on Avenida Segunda. Upstairs seating on the balcony offers a tremendous view of the national theatre, the busy avenue and the Gran Hotel Costa Rica. Although the restaurant has steaks and full entrees, most diners delve into the appetizers including the empanadas.  An ample wine selection makes it a perfect stop before a show.  Street parking.

Donde Carlos
100 meters south of Plaza Vivo
100 meters north of Fátima church
Los Yoses
Monday and Tuesday: noon until 3 p.m.
Wednesday and Thursday: 6:30 to 10:30 p.m.
Friday: noon to 3 p.m. and 6:30 to 11 p.m.
Saturday: noon to 11 p.m.
Sunday: noon to 7 p.m.

Established in 2003 on the east side of San José in Los Yoses, Donde Carlos is a favorite haunt of San José’s business community out for an elegant expense account style lunch or dinner.  The place exudes exclusivity and lacks the atmosphere of La Esquina or Aqui Es.  Still, the menu has something for everyone in the genre of Argentine cuisine for those who don’t want to make the trek downtown.  Wines abound as well. Service and food are good, but not always consistent. Parking.

Editor’s Note: Author Flynn is a fan of Costa Rica and of good restaurants.

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, April 22, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 79
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Policia Municipal de Escazú photo
Off-duty Escazú police officer holds a robbery suspect at gunpoint until uniformed officers arrive.
Police officer with firearm surprises robbery suspect in Escazú
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A robbery suspect came face-to-face with a gun-wielding off-duty Escazú police officer Thursday. Those at a Musmanni bakery had been robbed seconds earlier by a man with a sharp object and a woman.

The Policía Municipal de Escazú said the officer received word of the robbery and went into action. A video of the incident shows that the suspect was frustrated while he stood in the street

under the gun of the police officer. That lasted for a few minutes until uniformed officers arrived, got him to the ground and placed the suspect in handcuffs.

The police officer was not identified and police did not say if the weapon he used was his own or one issued by the department. Unlike many police agencies in the United States, most Costa Rican departments do not permit officers to carry firearms off-duty unless they buy them themselves. The woman suspect in the bakery robbery still is at large.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

                        Garden 2016
Largest art gallery in Guanacaste
Drop in to see some of Costa Rica's finest art
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The Hidden Garden Art Gallery near the Liberia airport is a great place to find quality remembrances of Costa Rica to take home or to decorate your home or office in Costa Rica.  We also offer commissioned pieces so you can create your own unique masterpiece to cherish forever.  With more than 60 artists on exhibit and fine art in 15 rooms full of paintings, prints, sculptures, and diverse artistic expressions, we are easy to locate just 5 kms west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport. Visit our Web site at
or contact us by email:   
Gallery hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tel. 2667-0592 / 8386-6872; U.S. telephone 702-953-7073. International shipping available.

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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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Real estate-related services (paid category)
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Real estate rentals (paid category)

Beautiful House Inside Gated Farm for Rent
House inside gated farm. Two bedroom, One bath fully-furnished. Close to town in Santa Barbara de Heredia.  $650 includes:  Internet, Wifi, Cable TV, Water, Electric.  Located in Santa Barbara de Heredia. American owner lives onsite, quiet, secure.  More information to my email:

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

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

Real estate for rent (paid category)

Puriscal rental
A peaceful place near Puriscal.
Property is a small house on a 16-acre farm in Desamparaditos, a small village located 5K NW of Santiago de Puriscal. 15 minutes to Puriscal, 1 hour to San José and the airport, all paved roads. House has 2 bedrooms and 1 bath, large  open kitchen/dining/living area and is fully furnished. Nice veranda with great views. Many fruit trees. Private but not isolated with all utilities. Rent $550/month long term, short term negotiable. Tenant pays for electricity and phone. Landlord pays water. No pets, please. In Costa Rica call Liz Guegan at 7187-8577, in the USA call Pete Todd at 970-221-1457 or 720-951-7928.
Peter and Debbie Todd

                                              Valley view

Boutique quality mountain homes for rent located on a small horse ranch on the slopes of the Barva Volcano, Heredia Province. The homes have stunning views of Costa Rica's Central Valley. Located at 7,300-foot altitude, our ranch borders the Braulio Carrillo National Park and the homes are hiking distance to the Barva Volcano crater lake. We offer various rental options for our 1- and 2-bedroom homes. Contact us at Ajsanch783@AOL.COM for more details.

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

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A.M. Costa Rica's  
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, April 22, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 79
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FBI Hacker got $1million+
for cracking terrorist’s iPhone

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The director of the FBI says the agency paid more than $1 million for the hacking tool that thwarted the security features of the iPhone of a terrorist gunman in San Bernardino, California.

Speaking at a security forum Thursday in London, FBI Director James Comey declined to say exactly how much was paid for the solution, nor who developed it, but he disclosed that the amount was more than his total salary for the next seven years remaining in his term. The director makes $180,000 per year, which means the agency paid $1.26 million or more.

Apple and the Justice Department battled publicly for 43 days over Apple's refusal to hack into the phone. Apple defended its unwillingness to cooperate, saying that creating such a tool would force the company to weaken the security on its devices.

Comey said the publicity over their standoff stimulated a bit of a marketplace for breaking into the iPhone model that the FBI had in its possession.

"Somebody approached us from outside the government and said, ‘We think we've come up with a solution,’ " he said.

Once the solution was confirmed, the FBI dropped its suit against Apple. But Comey said he hopes the attention that the lawsuit generated will spark a broader discussion about how to resolve the ongoing tension between protecting people's digital privacy and giving law enforcement adequate tools to investigate threats.

"We have a problem where all of us share a set of values that are in conflict and we have to figure out how to resolve privacy and security on the internet and on our devices with public safety," Comey said.

World leaders meet at U.N.
to sign climate change pact

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Today  world leaders will take historic action at the United Nations to try to slow the effects of climate change.

More than 60 presidents and prime ministers, as well as dozens of other top officials from more than 130 countries will gather in New York to sign the climate change deal reached in Paris in December.

The agreement works to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees C. It also lays out a road map for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating the effects of a warming planet.

While leaders hammered out the details in Paris, in New York Friday they will sign and signal their readiness to start implementing the agreement.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hailed the Paris accord as a “turning point in the world's response to climate change.

“For the first time, every country in the world pledged to curb their emissions, strengthen resilience and join in common cause for the common good,” he said recently. “In Paris, governments demonstrated that by acting together, they can achieve something none could achieve alone.”

The agreement will enter into force 30 days after 55 countries either ratify or deposit their instruments of ratification with the U.N. chief. Those 55 countries must also account for at least 55 percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions.

The target date is 2020, but if enough countries ratify, officials say the agreement could enter into force much sooner, this year or early 2017.

China and the United States, which together account for about 40 percent of the world’s emissions, will be represented at the signing ceremony. They have been using their political influence to urge an early implementation of the accord.

“So that’s a signal, significant signal, really, of continued commitment and momentum coming from the two largest emitters, which together account for virtually 40 percent of global emissions,” a senior U.S. State Department official said.

About 10 countries have said they plan to sign and deposit their instrument of ratifications on Friday. Those countries are mainly small island states, which are most threatened by warming oceans and rising sea levels.

In February, Fiji was hit by Cyclone Winston, the strongest cyclone ever to hit the South Pacific. The island-nation sustained a billion dollars in damage and lost 44 people to the natural disaster.

“The frequency of such weather events like Winston is increasing,” Prime Minister Josaia Bainimarama told reporters. “We all have to be fearful about what this means, not just for ourselves, but for future generations.”

Fiji will be among the first nations to sign and launch ratification of the climate deal on Friday.
The signing ceremony, which is taking place on Earth Day, will be accompanied by a lot of speeches and even some Hollywood star power. Actor and climate change activist Leonardo DiCaprio is expected to speak. The Academy Award-winning actor appealed to leaders to do more to protect the planet in his Best Actor acceptance speech at February’s Oscar’s ceremony.

“Climate change is real, it is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating,” he warned.

Former U.S. vice president Al Gore will also attend Friday, and will address a luncheon co-hosted by the U.N. secretary-general and French President François Hollande.

British government warning
against travel to U.S. states

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The British Foreign office released a travel advisory Tuesday to gay tourists looking to visit North Carolina or Mississippi.

“The U.S. is an extremely diverse society and attitudes towards LGBT people differ hugely across the country,” reads the advisory, posted on the Foreign Office’s website. "LGBT travelers may be affected by legislation passed recently in the states of North Carolina and Mississippi. Before traveling please read our general travel advice for the LGBT community.”

The travel advice includes warnings to avoid excessive public displays of affection, to exercise caution particularly in rural areas, and to be mindful that some hotels may reserve the right to turn away a gay couple.

Jonathan Lovitz, vice president of external affairs of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce  said it is interesting that this is receiving attention internationally.

“It’s clear that governments around the world have an eye on what’s happening,” he said. “We’re facing a patchwork of laws here in the United States. You can drive 20 minutes across state lines and your protections are radically different. That’s dangerous . . . on an economic level.”

North Carolina’s bathroom bill, as it’s called, signed into law on March 23, mandates that individuals use the public bathroom corresponding to their gender at birth. Private schools and businesses are allowed to determine their own policies for bathrooms and locker rooms, but all public schools, agencies, and universities must follow the new law.

North Carolina has already been subjected to many high-profile boycotts, including rocker Bruce Springsteen’s cancelled tour dates in the southern state and financial business PayPal ended plans to open a facility in the central city of Charlotte.

Mississippi has been subject to similar boycotts after passing a controversial state law allowing businesses to deny service to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender customers based on religious beliefs.

These state laws are being contested. A recent decision in Virginia that ruled in favor of a transgender teen is expected to affect a lawsuit against the new law in North Carolina.

Law suit in Norway seeks
to secure visit by Snowden

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A Norwegian law firm says it has filed a lawsuit with an Oslo court so American whistleblower Edward Snowden, the leaker of U.S. government documents, can safely travel to Norway for a prestigious award ceremony without fear of extradition to the United States.
Lawyers at the Schjodt law firm in the Norwegian capital said they filed the petition on behalf of the former U.S. intelligence contractor and the Norwegian PEN, which has invited him to receive its Ossietzky Prize for 2016 Nov. 18.

The lawsuit asserts that the extradition of Snowden would be contrary to Norwegian and international laws, and for that Schjodt is seeking a declaratory judgment from the court.

The U.S. Espionage Act prohibits Snowden or any whistleblower in his position from raising any defense that he acted in the public interest, that the disclosures benefited society, or that the disclosed information had been improperly withheld by the government, Schjodt said.
Norwegian PEN has awarded Snowden the Ossietzky Prize for 2016 for his contribution to defend freedom of expression, the group said in a statement, and will do its utmost to ensure that Snowden may receive the prize in person.

In 2013, the former U.S. National Security Agency contractor leaked to the press details of a secret government eavesdropping program and left the country.

PEN is the original acronym for "Poets, Essayists, Novelists" and now it stands for "Poets, Playwrights, Editors, Essayists, Novelists." It includes writers of any form of literature, such as journalists and historians.

Elevated bike path in Brazil
collapses with two deaths

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

At least two people were killed Thursday when a newly elevated bike path collapsed in Rio de Janeiro, damaging the city’s credibility as an Olympic host.

City officials said a third person was thought to be missing after a giant wave swept up a rocky cliff, lifted an approximately 50-meter stretch of the bike path and sent it plunging onto the rocks and sea below.

The accident on the Tim Maia bike path was the latest in a series of problems besetting preparations for the August games, which include worries about an outbreak of the zika virus, political turmoil that threatens to topple President Dilma Rousseff, underwhelming ticket sales and budget cuts amid Brazil's worst recession in decades.

The tragedy came the same day the Olympic flame was lit in Greece during an elaborate ceremony in Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympics and began its 15-week journey to Rio.

Some 450 people will carry the torch on a six-day relay across Greece, including a Syrian refugee who has claimed asylum in the country.

The torch will arrive in host country Brazil to begin a relay there on May 3. The flame will go through 83 Brazilian cities and 500 towns with the help of 12,000 torchbearers.

The final person will carry the torch to a cauldron inside Maracana Stadium during the opening ceremony on August 5. The 2016 games will be the first ever held in South America.

Cause of death for Prince
still remains a mystery

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

American pop icon Prince has died at the age of 57.

The news was confirmed by the artist's publicist after reports that police were investigating a death at his home outside the northern city of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Sheriff's officials in Minnesota say deputies found music superstar Prince unresponsive in an elevator after they were summoned to his suburban compound. He was pronounced dead after their attempts to revive him failed.

"It is with profound sadness that I am confirming that the legendary, iconic performer Prince Rogers Nelson has died at his Paisley Park residence this morning at the age of 57," publicist Yvette Noel-Schure said Thursday. "There are no further details as to the cause of death at this time."

Prince was hospitalized last week. His private plane reportedly made an emergency landing in Illinois following concerts in Georgia. No details were released at the time regarding his health.

Prince was just 19 when he released his first album, “For You,” in 1978. In the decades that followed, the multi-talented musician released "1999," "Little Red Corvette" and "Purple Rain," the title track of his breakthrough 1984 album and movie.

He sold more than 100 million albums worldwide, won seven Grammys and picked up an Oscar for Best Original Song score for “Purple Rain."

Prince was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.

"He rewrote the rulebook, forging a synthesis of black funk and white rock that served as a blueprint for cutting-edge music in the ‘80s," said a posting on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Web site. "Prince made dance music that rocked and rock music that had a bristling, funky backbone."

Chinese national faces trial
for economic espionage

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A Florida woman is facing charges of conspiring to illegally export technology used in underwater drones to state-owned entities in China, according to an indictment unsealed Thursday.

The U.S. Department of Justice indicted Amin Yu with 18 counts of conspiring to obtain systems and parts used in marine submersible vehicles from companies and deliver them to co-conspirators at Harbin Engineering University in China and other state-controlled entities.

The indictment says Ms. Yu, a resident of Orlando, Florida, worked to export the technology from 2002 until February 2014. As a citizen of China and a legal permanent resident of the U.S., she is accused of obtaining parts from companies in the U.S., Canada and Europe.

The case could further strain relations between the U.S. and China, which have repeatedly engaged in protracted spats over intellectual property and other matters.

The case was investigated by several U.S. government agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which said economic espionage cases jumped 53 percent in 2015 and a majority of the cases involved Chinese nationals.

The 53-year-old Ms. Yu could spend many years in federal prison if convicted. She faces maximum sentences of 20 years for each count of money laundering, 10 years for acting as an illegal agent for a foreign government, and five years on all other counts.

The case will be tried in a U.S. District Court in Florida.

GOP candidates, aides meet
with national committee

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The three U.S. Republican presidential candidates are wooing party officials at an oceanside resort in Florida to try to shape rules that could govern a contested nomination fight at the party's national convention in July.

The campaign front-runner, billionaire Donald Trump, says he expects to have a majority of convention delegates necessary to claim the nomination by the time state-by-state nominating contests end in early June.

Nonetheless, Trump, who has often attacked party officials and claimed that election rules that vary from state to state have rigged the outcome against him, sent his top aides to meet Thursday with the 168 local and state officials who constitute the Republican National Committee.

A Trump campaign memo this week vowed that he would have 1,400 delegates pledged to vote for him at the convention. If so, that number outweighs the 1,237 simple majority needed to be the party's standard bearer in the November national election to pick the successor to President Barack Obama, who leaves office in January.

But numerous U.S. political analysts say a contested convention fight over the nomination is a distinct possibility. It would be the first contested convention for Republicans since 1976.

With 15 states yet to hold nominating contests, Trump has a narrow path to claim the nomination ahead of the convention.

Trump's chief rival for the nomination, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, showed up at the party conclave and scoffed at Trump's claim that he will have the nomination sewed up by the time the quadrennial convention convenes.

"What is clear today," Cruz said Wednesday, "is that we are headed toward a contested convention.  Nobody is able to reach 1,237. I am not going to reach 1,237, and Donald Trump is not going to reach 1,237."

A third presidential contender, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, told the party’s gathering that surveys of U.S. voters show that he is the only Republican who can defeat the likely Democratic presidential nominee, former U.S. secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in the November election.

"My message to the delegates is that I can win," Kasich told reporters. "It's reflected in every poll."

Mrs. Clinton, the country's top diplomat from 2009 to 2013, has yet to wrap up the Democratic nomination, but has a commanding lead over her sole challenger,  Sen.Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

There are five more state nominating contests for both parties Tuesday in the five northeastern states of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Delaware.

Australia plans to beef up
its cyber security system

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Australia says it is building up its capability to thwart cyber crime. Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull recently unveiled his $220 million Cyber Security Strategy, aimed at boosting the nation's defenses against online assaults by hackers on individuals, businesses and governments.

Turnbull said defenses need to be boosted against foreign hackers because of what he called the unprecedented scale and reach of malicious cyber activity.

To help in this effort, the prime minister is seeking closer collaboration between the government and businesses, and appointing a special ambassador to coordinate efforts with foreign governments.  Australia has also admitted that it has the capacity to respond to threats by launching cyber attacks of its own. Although Turnbull did not elaborate on what techniques or technology could be used if the government launched such cyber attacks, he said the use of offensive cyber capability was subject to stringent legal oversight.

Tobias Feakin, a government adviser and head of the International Cyber Policy Center at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, says online threats are becoming more serious.

“If you're a big business, you're probably having to deal with thousands of instances each week. Prime Minister Turnbull is clearly focused on this issue. It's an issue that, you know, he's incredibly interested in. He's one of the most technically astute leaders that this country's ever had, if not, to be honest, globally. So he's engaged on this topic,” said Feakin.

Last year China was suspected of infiltrating Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology. The bureau has a direct link to the Defense Department and it is thought the intrusion was an attempt to steal information. Beijing denied any involvement.

Now for the first time, the government in Canberra has confirmed that the security breach did take place, although there has been no official declaration of who was responsible.

Titanic  memorabilia brings
tragedy up close to viewers

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

New memorabilia from the RMS Titanic reveals more about the ship and its passengers, while a virtual reality animation is giving viewers a real-time look at the events that unfolded on a dark night in the chilly North Atlantic Ocean.

One of the lots to be sold Saturday by British auction house Henry Aldridge and Son is a once-crumpled memo handed to ship captain Edward Smith. It warns of an obstacle on the Titanic's course: the mast of a submerged ship.

The document was saved by the owners of the Titanic as evidence the company prepared responsibly for the voyage that ended with the loss of more than 1,500 lives.

Also being sold is a letter from the parents of Titanic bandmaster Wallace Hartley, who famously ordered that the ship's musicians play for the doomed passengers as the ship went down. The letter, found on Hartley's body after the disaster, reveals that the musician was denied a request for leave that would have kept him from making the doomed voyage.

Meanwhile, a new virtual reality simulation is giving viewers a real-time view of the event, making clear the steps and missteps that led to the rescue of more than 700 people and the loss of 1,500 others.

An organization called Titanic Hope and Glory has released the historically accurate video, which depicts the ship's first subtle, later dramatic slide into the depths; the demise of a supposedly unsinkable vessel, lost on its maiden voyage.
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Office phone: 506-2446-0543
Cell phone: 506-8898-9398
or 506-8314-8090


Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

If you are looking for information on condos, homes, lots, commercial real estate or development properties our award-winning team of professional agents are ready to help you buying property in Costa Rica. We have over 18 years of experience to educate our buyers in all aspects of purchasing property. Call us or email us today for more information on how to purchase that perfect piece of Costa Rica Real Estate.

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Axiom one

Sierra Collection. Meridian House or Chateau Montage.
Near Parque Nacional Marino Ballena,
Pacific Coast. 
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Axiom two
The Terraces at San Martin.  Discover the essence of Costa Rica on our Luxury Ocean View Villas . Near Dominicalito Beach and Parque Nacional Marino Ballena.
For more information
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Axiom three
Ellan At Ballena Beach.  Welcome to a world of endless adventure on our beachside condominiums at Ballena Beach, Pacific Coast.  For more information click  HERE!
We will be happy to give all the information you need. Contact:

Costa Rica Office: +506.4001-2343
Mobile: +506.8367-2466
USA Office: +1.786233-1579

Rich Coast
Costa Rica Real Estate
    2.47 acre ocean view property w/ 2 houses & 2 unfinished apartments $249k!!!
    2 houses and pool furnished, great rental potential walk to the beach $327k w/ owner financing
    2-bedroom furnished condo 400 feet from Jacó beach $179,000

and lots of other great properties! Property listings in Escazú, Herradura, Jacó, Manuel Antonio, Dominical and beyond. We offer efficient, personalized service always protecting our client’s interests. Contact us today with your questions about buying property in Costa Rica. With 11 years experience in Costa Rica real estate.

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Real estate for sale (paid category)

Pavo onr
FOR SALE - $270,000
Exceptional 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom, fully furnished luxury apartment for sale at the exclusive Terrazas de Escazú highrise complex in Escazú near La Paco Commerical Center.  Situated on the third floor, this apartment has an exceptional layout with stunning views of the Central Valley. 140 m2 bright and spacious floor plan with open sky terrace with 180-degree unobstructed view of the Escazú mountains and Central Valley.  One covered parking spot with additional guest parking available. HOA fee:  $250/month. Held in Costa Rica corporation for easy property transfer. Building features: 12-meter atrium with controlled access entrance to the building, surrounding landscaping, lower level pool, communal rooftop terrace and small rooftop gym. 24-hour security. Contact: José Granados in Costa Rica, phone 506- 6051-5249  email:
paco two

first image
B&B for sale in Costa Rica $650,000

I believe this is the finest area of Costa Rica in which to live and, with a lock on 80percent of all tourists visiting Costa Rica, to invest. There are birds and flowers of every description, terrific neighbors, incredible views, wonderful weather with a healthy climate, visits by sloth, deer, monkeys, a very good business that can expand and grow, if desired, or simply a beautiful place to live. Please look at my Web site and the guest reviews, the people's reaction to the property, and you'll see just what a wonderful opportunity this is

There is about 7,000 square meters of land included (over 1 3/4 acres) as well as another smaller home and an apartment above the carport, designed as maid's quarters but usually rented out to tourists. The rear of the property is bordered by a small and very clean spring-fed creek/river. Across the river there is jungle, which makes for a great deal of all around privacy and which will never be developed. Restaurants, a supermarket, services, and many natural attractions are just a short distance away. The property was appraised at over $1.7 million (US) a few years ago, which might indicate what an incredible bargain this is.

It can also include a franchise for Best Western Hotel, if interested in growing with the tourism business, and a small hobby farm bordering Arenal National Park with spectacular views of Lake Arenal, is also available. All is available at an excellent price for the right person (people) and a package price can certainly be arranged. Email me at: For more photos and info click HERE!


Dorn Home
Beverly Hills Style House for Sale on Pacific Coast, Guanacaste

Lot of 2,866.33 square meters with three terraces, inside luxury house  property with 326 square meters construction. Two-story house with front porch, entry lobby, living room, dinning room, large kitchen, breakfast room, large cupboard, 3 1⁄2 bathrooms, 3 large bedrooms, the main bedroom includes jacuzzi and balcony. Playground, office, laundry area, garage for two cars, own and municipal potable water supply, electricity service, cable TV system, A/C. Located 700 meters from Las Colinas Golf Course, near the airport, Tamarindo Beach and the best beaches of the country. Excellent construction and great details. Price $349,000.   We have another extra large lot (next to the main property)  priced at $75,000.  For more information, please contact us: Emails:   or    Call Lia or Stanley phones:  (506) 2653-6417 /   (506) 7079-6577.

Negotiable price. Thirty thousand seventy square meters. The house is seven hundred fifty squared meters, built three years ago. Five bedrooms plus servant's room with bathroom. Each bedroom includes private bathroom. Master's room includes Jacuzzi and hidromassage. Two main living rooms plus visitor's parlor and hall, two furnished kitchens, all ceramic. Nineteen rooms total counting three offices, eight-car garage. Has 220-volt current with three distribution panels. First-quality water plus well, decorated stone walls, recreational area, second house eighty squared meters, hot water systems, cable, telephone, light system throughout property, river, part forest..

For health situation, the owner make a INCREDIBLE DISCOUNT!!!!

ORIGINAL PRICE: $1.800.000    OFFER PRICE: $1.200.000
 For more information click HERE!
To see more photos click HERE!  To see house video click HERE!

English language contact:
Christian Arce
Phone: (506) 2494-0016
Cell phone: (506) 8309-0173

Spanish language contact:
Luis Gustavo Jiménez
Phone: (506) 2494-0016
Cell phone: (506) 8707-4016

A beautiful American style suburban home just reduced.

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


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

Ocean View Property for Sale in San Ramón
1.5-acre lot with spectacular ocean views. Ready to build. Mild climate year round with an average temperature a cool 74 degrees. Spectacular panoramic views of
                                for sale
the ocean and port of Puntarenas during the day, breathtaking views of Esparza at night. Fully titled and owned under a Costa Rican corporation. $50,000. Short-term owner financing available. For more info: Contact: Frank

Jacó beach unique home. First time offered
This house has never been listed.  It is a 3-bedroom, 1-bath home approx. 100 feet above sea level on the only hill in Jacó one mile to the beach.  Totally remodeled to a Gringo house.Has great fenced yard for dogs and a huge screened porch with  great views all around, including a small ocean view.  New in the last two years includes: new kitchen with granite counter, cedar cabinets, all new windows, tile, water system, updated electric & plumbing, superb new AC units (low electric bill), This is half of a duplex with a platted yard.  Other side is the chief of police.  Secure & private.  $169.900. Call Glenn at 506-6214-0056 or

La Uruca condo
Situated three miles west of the capital, eight miles from the airport. Quiet, secluded area within walking distance to a commercial center including a hotel, six restaurants,  next to two bus line stops. Car ownership is not needed. January-March air temperatures are 72 to 80 degrees F. Apartment 1,200 sq. ft (100 sq. meters), on ground floor, indoor  patio. Large windows without bars, parquet floors. Spacious living room-dining area, two bedrooms, maid's room, two bathrooms, four closets  (including walk-in), fully equipped kitchen (refrigerator, washing machine, small appliances, all necessary utensils, work tools).  Many amenities, (pictures, indoor plants, sewing machine, books, keyboard, dishes, glassware, silverware). Annual cost of maintenance about $1,350 includes water, landscaping service, garbage disposal, 24-7 security and property taxes. Price $120,000. Available for viewing:  Mid-January to beginning of April. Contact:  USA :  585 544-4296. Costa Rica : 506 2231-0410

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

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

Grecia casa
Mountain home for sale
in Grecia.
Less than a year old. Owners are motivated.  All information regarding the home as well as many photos can be found at Mountain view home for sale Grecia, Costa Rica.   Contact email:

puriscal photo
Costa Rica home for sale $163,500 / 2bedroom - 1,984 ft2

Central Valley view home: 10 minutes from Santiago de Puriscal and shopping, hospital services, and soon Maxi Pali. Only one hour to San José or Pacific beaches.
- On .55-acre lot with river on one boundary
- Area under roof, 1,984 sq. ft., Area inside walls, 925 sq. ft. Steel, recycled
      Styrofoam, and concrete construction.
- 2 ½ years old with central living room and kitchen, 2 bedrooms and 2 baths,
       ceramic tile throughout.
- Central Valley volcano and SJO airport views from every room.
- Vaulted ceilings give bright open feeling.
- Entrance from concrete road to large graveled parking area
- VERY energy efficient with VERY low property taxes.
- Covered attached carport with entrance to front door or laundry-guest bath
- 2 carport storage bodegas.
- 12 foot x 14 foot storage bodega
- Security lights, And Amcrest day & night video recorder system.
- Producing banana trees, and mango, bread fruit, and guanabana trees

Includes: Refrigerator, gas stove & oven with electric grill element, microwave, electric washer-gas dryer stacked style, gas on demand whole house water heater. Other furnishings are negotiable. ICE electric service and land line phone. Bajo Burgos Water district. Metro-wireless WiFi is available. Tigo Star Satellite T.V. House is in a Costa Rican corporation, will transfer shares. Contract or call 506 2416-9324.  Additional photos are available on Flickr album

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, April 22, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 79
Real Estate
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Buckingham Palace photo
The Queen is surrounded by her two youngest grandchildren and her five great-grandchildren in this, the first in a series of official photographs released Thursday to mark her 90th birthday.

Britain unified in saluting Elizabeth

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Special celebrations are taking place in Britain and the Commonwealth to mark the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II. Royal gun salutes were fired in London, while the Westminster Abbey bells tolled in the queen’s honor.

British Prime Minister David Cameron and opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn led tributes in the House of Commons Thursday to the country’s longest-serving monarch.

“Her Majesty has been steadfast, a rock of strength for our nation, for our Commonwealth and on many occasions for the whole world,” Cameron said, adding that with her unshakable sense of duty the queen had provided counsel to 12 British prime ministers and met a quarter of all the U.S. presidents in history.

"Her Majesty has lived through some extraordinary times in our world,” the prime minister said, ". . . As her grandson Prince William has said, time and again, quietly and modestly the queen has shown us all that we can confidently embrace the future without compromising the things that are important."

Labor Party leader Corbyn said Queen Elizabeth had served her country with a clear sense of public service and public duty.

“Today we are talking about a highly respected individual who is 90.  And Mr. Speaker whatever different views people across this country have about the institution, " Corbyn said, adding "the vast majority share an opinion that Her Majesty has served this country and has overwhelming support with a clear sense of public service and public duty, which the prime minister has just indicated."

Outside Windsor Castle, a royal family residence near London, people lined the streets as the monarch walked out accompanied by her husband, Prince Philip, to greet the crowd.

Queen Elizabeth cut a cake that won a British television contest, while the well-wishers were singing "Happy Birthday" and applauding. The queen and Prince Philip then traveled the streets of Windsor in an open top Range Rover. The monarch unveiled a plaque marking The Queen's Walkway, a 6.3 kilometer trail that links 63 significant points in Windsor.

The British postal service has issued a series of 10 stamps to mark the milestone birthday. Buckingham Palace released three photographs of the royal family taken for the occasion by renowned American portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz.

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Real Estate
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From Page 7:

Customer service firm opens fourth location

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

SYKES Costa Rica said that it would be hiring 900 persons for its fourth service center adjacent to Mall San Pedro in San Pedro de Montes de Oca.

The company describes itself as a global leader in providing customer contact management solutions and services in the business process outsourcing arena. The parent firm has 70 centers in 21 countries and more than 50,000 employees.  SYKES Latinoamérica operates in Costa Rica, Colombia, Brazil, El Salvador and México. The firm came to Costa Rica in 1999.

Other locations Are in La Aurora de Heredia, San Vicente de Moravia and Hatillo Centro.

Many of the employees are fluent English speakers, but the firm also services Portuguese-speaking callers from here.