A.M. Costa Rica
Top stories from
Sept. 28, 2009, July 12, 2010

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A.M. Costa Rica top stories

This is a summary of the most important or most interesting stories that have appeared recently in A.M. Costa Rica, the English-language daily newspaper between Sept. 28, 2009, and July 12,  2010. The latest daily news feed is HERE!

Top stories   Oct. 1, 2008 and Sept, 24, 2009 HERE!
Top stories three Dec. 10, 2009, and Dec. 29, 2010 HERE!
Top stories four May 11, 2010, to  Aug. 30, 2011 HERE!

The true story about the U.S. troops
July 12, 2010 1:39 AM

An Irish mystic announced that 7,000 U.S. troops are being sent to Costa Rica because the gulf oil spill is lubricating a Caribbean earthquake zone with potential devastating results.

Can you speak pachuco?
July 12, 2010 1:39 AM

Most people think English is Costa Rica’s second language, but surprisingly that is not the case. In Costa Rica, the word pachuco refers to a person who has manners that are socially unacceptable and often uses shocking language when speaking. Pachuco is also a pejorative name given to certain colloquial words and expressions. Some consider pachuco and its pachuquísmos to be Costa Rica’s second language.

Bilingual individuals think better, study said
July 9, 2010 2:33 AM

Bilingual individuals appear to think faster and more efficiently due to a different form of cerebral control.

No blockages on Río Sucio
July 9, 2010 2:32 AM

Scientists concerned about a change in the water color of the Río Sucio flew over the watershed Wednesday and determined that there are no blockages in the river that could cause a flash flood later.

Anti-American sentiment stoked
July 8, 2010 2:18 AM

The legislature's approval of shore leave for U.S. Navy and Coast Guard crews has galvanized the left and stoked anti-American sentiment.

Environmental tribunal reports 13 more Osa cases
July 8, 2010 2:17 AM

The Tribunal Ambiental Administrativo says it has uncovered 13 more cases of environmental damage in Osa, and that brings the number of open cases to 60.

New study shows sportfishing big tourism sector
July 7, 2010 3:00 AM

Tourism is Costa Rica’s top industry and new research shows North Americans traveling there in 2008 to fish generated $599 million or about 2 percent of Costa Rica’s gross domestic product.

Backpack searches reinstituted after principal shot
July 7, 2010 3:00 AM

Like after many other school crimes elsewhere, the shooting of a school director Thursday has produced a lot of hand wringing.

Companies need to use their marketing options
July 6, 2010 2:47 AM

Businesses, including hotels, real estate agencies, tour operators and developers, to name a few, need to plan their long-term Internet strategies today. Social media is transforming the world dramatically, and a simple Web site is just not good enough anymore.

Big turnout for July 4 picnic
July 6, 2010 2:46 AM

The annual July 4th picnic east of San José brought an estimated 3,000 persons to the Cervercería Costa Rica picnic grounds Sunday, and the weather cooperated.

Cops will welcome tourists
July 5, 2010 2:10 AM

Bilingual tourist police are being stationed at Juan Santamaría airport to welcome tourists and give them some security tips.

The river becomes a puzzle
July 5, 2010 2:01 AM

Scientists have a puzzle on their hands. Why did the normally yellow water of the Río Sucio suddenly turn gray?

July 4 Web site is dynamite
July 2, 2010 2:41 AM

Getting to the American Colony Committee July 4th bash Sunday is easier, thanks to a dynamite Web site.

U.N. taps Dall'Anese for Guatemalan post
July 2, 2010 2:41 AM

The United Nations secretary general tapped Francisco Dall'Anese Wednesday to direct the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala. Dall'Anese is Costa Rica's chief prosecutor, and the appointment means he will go to Guatemala and leave his job here.

Public opinion redefines rights every day
July 1, 2010 3:18 AM

The Sala IV constitutional court Tuesday threw out a challenge to a proposed referendum on civil unions. The Defensoría de los Habitantes had argued that the proposed referendum is contrary to human dignity and violates the Costa Rican Constitution.

Uncle sam's jacking up the fees
June 30, 2010 4:06 AM

Getting a document notarized at the U.S. consulate in Pavas will cost $50 starting July 13, a 66 percent increase over the current $30 fee.

White tailed deer and a national bird
June 30, 2010 4:06 AM

The Correos de Costa Rica has come out with a new issue of stamps featuring the yigüirro and the white-tailed deer. These are national symbols that the postal department said it wanted to bring to the attention of the public.

Milanes hearing is Thursday
June 29, 2010 3:16 AM

The Luis Milanes cases finally reaches a courtroom Thursday, the day a preliminary hearing is scheduled.

Defensoría files appeal against civil union vote
June 28, 2010 2:38 AM

Defensoría files appeal against civil union vote

The Defensoría de los Habitantes filed a constitutional appeal Thursday to derail a proposed referendum on civil unions between persons of the same sex.

New salaries are slight boost for low earners
June 25, 2010 2:52 AM

Workers getting lower wages will get a slight boost when the new minimum salaries take effect July 1. The Consejo Nacional de Salarios approved Wednesday a 4.2 increase for the lowest three levels of workers.

Legality was key to Villalobos decision
June 25, 2010 2:52 AM

An attempt by Canadians to get back money lost in the Villalobos Brothers high interest scheme failed mainly because an international arbitration panel did not think the case involved legal investments.

President defends administration on all the right spots
June 23, 2010 2:52 AM

President Laura Chinchilla has turned to the social networks to tell Costa Ricans about her successes in the first 45 days in office and also to counter opinions that her administration is overwhelmed by problems.

Online solicitation in U.S. could solve sex tourism problem here
June 22, 2010 2:33 AM

Social media like Facebook and Myspace, among others, have officially overtaken pornography as the No. 1 activity on the Web. Obviously, people have not lost an interest in sex, but clearly the marketplace is moving, growing and operating with relative impunity in the United States via social networks.

Car thefts reported to be down
June 21, 2010 2:59 AM

The head of the judicial police said Thursday that vehicle thefts have dropped from the monthly high of 226 in 2009 to 133 in May. That is a decline of nearly 100 vehicles a month, said the police director, Jorge Rojas.

How about some baby iguana?
June 18, 2010 2:57 AM

An iguana captive breeding program at the Kèköldi Wak ka koneke indigenous center has released over 36,000 green iguanas into the wild in its 22-year history, says Duaro Mayorga, one of the group’s members in charge of the operation.

Two faces of competitivity:abstract and concrete
June 17, 2010 2:59 AM

There were two developments in the area of competitivity Tuesday. President Laura Chinchilla invited business leaders to discuss with her administration the challenges of competitivity with the goal of making Costa Rica the first developed nation in Latin America. Meanwhile, in an appeals courtroom judges declined to lift a ban on the open pit gold mine in Cutris de San Carlos because a lower court had not issued a final ruling.

Counting big cats in the Osa
June 16, 2010 3:08 AM

Research on big cats in the Osa Peninsula is not limited to the large protected areas which are the last strongholds of jaguar in Costa Rica. Areas outside Parque Nacional Corcovado are the focus of Yaguará, which studies use of altered habitats and the interaction of jaguars and pumas with human activities.

Protesters get action from government
June 16, 2010 3:08 AM

Rural residents in Cartago found out Monday how to get public works started. They blocked bridges in their area and then marched, 100 persons strong, down a main highway to Casa Presidencial.

The unpopular people
June 15, 2010 3:35 AM

Academics describe them as unpopular people involved in an unpopular business. Taxi drivers who see new arrivals to San José staring at the elegant and obviously available figures on the corner are quick to break the mood with "Hey, they're guys!"

A portrait of poverty in paradise
June 14, 2010 2:22 AM

Under an afternoon rain Thursday Alejandro Martínez Coronado came to the legislative complex looking for work in construction. He went to the former Edificio Daniel Oduber Quirós, which is being demolished to make way for a parking lot.

The nails make the woman
June 11, 2010 2:24 AM

Nail art is not exclusively Latin, but Central and South American women are known for their devotion to beauty.

Prostitutes say immigration hosts trafficking ring
June 9, 2010 2:50 AM

The security ministry, which seeks to fight human trafficking, seems to harbor — unknown to officials — a trafficking ring of its own.

Skateboarders to have their day
June 9, 2010 2:49 AM

More than 1,000 skateboarders are expected to take to the San José streets June 20 to celebrate the international day of their sport.

Social networking can ravage country's image
June 8, 2010 3:03 AM

Internet social networking accelerates life in the 21st century. It also proposes challenges to everyone doing business in Costa Rica.

Chinchilla administration moves against sex tourism
June 7, 2010 2:23 AM

The central government wants to jail anyone who promotes Costa Rica as sex tourism destination. That is part of a lengthy proposal for a trafficking-in-persons law that Casa Presidencial has kept on ice for more than a year but authorized its publication in the La Gaceta official newspaper Thursday.

Tropical waves continue to roll in
June 7, 2010 2:23 AM

Tropical waves, which have been an abstract meteorological concept, became all too real for the central Pacific coast.

Unexpected storm ravages coast
June 4, 2010 2:55 AM

Just four days after the weather system that would become the deadly tropical storm Agatha moved north, a surprise storm with high winds struck much of the near Pacific coast from Golfito to Jacó. One fisherman is missing, thousands were without power, and Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio is closed through the weekend because of fallen trees and damage to trails. Internet and phone lines were down, too.

How about those Latin soap operas?
June 4, 2010 2:55 AM

A telenovela or novela is a Spanish language soap opera. Telenovelas seem to be the opiate of the masses in Latin America.

Sala IV takes on credit reporting data bases
June 3, 2010 2:50 AM

The Sala IV constitutional court has determined that the addresses of individuals, their telephone numbers and their photos are private and ordered a credit reporting company to eliminate the information from its data bases.

Young eco designers gather at Lincoln School
June 3, 2010 2:49 AM

High school students from around Costa Rica met last weekend at Eco3, the third annual environmental awareness conference at Lincoln School north of San José. The best ideas will earn a $500 grant to be put into practice.

Shaken, not stirred
June 2, 2010 3:00 AM

Another earthquake rocked Costa Ricans Monday night, the latest in a series of tremors.

Explosion preceded earthquake
June 1, 2010 2:33 AM

The last thing Costa Rica needs now is another erupting volcano. Poás, Arenal, Irazú and Turrialba are misbehaving daily, and residents in the northern zone thought that the Tenorio volcano joined in last week.

Reader's guide to Internet statistics
June 1, 2010 2:33 AM

A.M. Costa Rica continues to improve in its Internet rankings. The Amazon subsidiary Alexa said Sunday that the newspaper now had a world ranking of 85,012 and a ranking the United States of 37,979.

Experts begin to assess storm damage
May 31, 2010 2:27 AM

Engineers and technicians from the emergency commission and other agencies went to work Thursday to evaluate the damage caused by heavy rains that ravaged the Pacific coast.

Expat seeks to protect Arenal from pollution
May 31, 2010 2:26 AM

A local expat’s efforts to prevent contamination in Lake Arenal have taken him to many government offices with little to show for it. The expat, Al Almeida, is concerned that once the lake is dirtied with human waste, it will no longer be the focal point for recreation it is now.

Building homes for the fishes
May 28, 2010 2:37 AM

Costa Rica has no aircraft carriers to sink to help the ocean environment, but the Playa Hermosa Association in Guanacaste constructed 12 igloos just offshore using the building blocks.

A wish list for expats
May 27, 2010 3:16 AM

At the start of a new administration everyone has a wish list. Here are some suggestions for President Laura Chinchilla Miranda that would be helpful to expats, if accepted.

Crocodile killings are a shocker
May 26, 2010 2:41 AM

The execution of two crocodiles shocked television viewers Monday. Residents of a Guanacaste community burned one reptile alive as revenge for the death of a swimmer.

A U.S. teacher reports on her deportation
May 26, 2010 2:41 AM

My deportation from Costa Rica, for a time period of five years, came to me as a rude awakening to the injustice of the immigration system.

Expats' tax situations become more complex
May 25, 2010 2:53 AM

There are several types of company structures in Costa Rica. The two most common are the sociedad anónima and the S.R.L. However, there are only two types of tax statuses, active and inactive. This fact complicates tax filings for expats and is becoming more of a problem every day due to the enforcement of the country's new banking regulations.

18 days to go for the World Cup matches
May 25, 2010 2:52 AM

With the World Cup just 18 days away the interest in soccer here is really heating up. The Cup is contested every four years and is the Super Bowl of soccer. This year’s edition of the cup will be held in South Africa. Retirees in Costa Rica are bound to become interested in soccer or fútbol as it is called in the Spanish-speaking world. The game is almost a religion.

Costa Rica wins arbitration case
May 24, 2010 2:43 AM

An effort by mainly Canadian Villalobos creditors to get money from Costa Rica has failed. A group of investors brought Costa Rica into arbitration under a treaty that exists between the two countries. The group claimed that Costa Rica did not exercise sufficient oversight to prevent Luis Enrique and Oswaldo Villalobos from taking their money.

Traffic law changes back to square one
May 21, 2010 2:20 AM

The draconian traffic law will not be changed easily, even though the former group of legislative deputies appeared ready to pass it.

Just how do they compute that gas price anyway?
May 21, 2010 2:20 AM

Gasoline in Costa Rica seem to vary without too much attention to international crude prices, but there is actually a clear system for setting prices at the pump.

Court cases gather around Paragon
May 20, 2010 2:29 AM

Many Paragon customers have complained that they have not received deeds or that there has been little or no infrastructure work done on the project in which they purchased land. Others have complained that they cannot get clear answers from Paragon.

A whole bunch of birds
May 20, 2010 2:28 AM

Final counts from the Kèköldi raptor observatory for the spring migration season are in, with slightly over 600,000 birds of prey, vulture, and storks recorded. The count had complete coverage from Feb. 17 to May 6.

U.S. high court backs father in abduction case
May 19, 2010 2:30 AM

The U.S. Supreme Court has validated the parental right of a father in Chile whose wife took their son to the United States.

Vicious attack unites a community
May 18, 2010 1:50 AM

A violent attack against a well-known expat in the Canton de Osa produced an outpouring of community spirit and brought home the reality of violent crime.

Child seats ordered for all taxis
May 17, 2010 2:24 AM

Taxi drivers must provide booster seats for children, the Sala IV constitutional court has ruled.

Earthquake sensors becoming state of the art
May 17, 2010 2:23 AM

Enthusiasm is obvious among Costa Rica’s top earthquake experts for the new equipment to expand and modernize the country’s seismic sensor network. Once it’s finished, the system will be “if not the best in Latin America, one of the best,” according to Juan Segura, head of the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica.

Getting to the sole of Spanish
May 14, 2010 3:32 AM

There are many uses of the words “feet “ and “foot” in idiomatic expressions. The word for foot in Spanish is “el pie,” pronounced (pee-ay). The word “pata” is generally used to refer to the leg on a piece of furniture or an animal’s foot.

Water Kingdom being constructed
May 14, 2010 3:31 AM

A water park that can handle 10,000 persons a day is being constructed in Bagaces, Guanacaste.

Stamp series honors railroad
May 13, 2010 2:28 AM

Railroad buffs and stamp collectors will be excited when they learn that Correos de Costa Rica S.A., the postal service, has come out with a four-stamp series honoring the country's rail history.

Security improvements might mean a tax
May 13, 2010 2:28 AM

Citizens and expats alike are expecting action from the Laura Chinchilla administration to reduce criminality. The new president has empaneled a committee to develop a plan of action. There is a 100-day deadline.

(U.S. expat picnic is on a Sunday this year
May 12, 2010 2:21 AM

The 50th annual July 4 picnic will be on July 4 this year, even though the date is a Sunday.

Bankers had final say on animals on new bills
May 12, 2010 2:21 AM

The biodiversity and wildlife themes proposed for Costa Rica’s new paper money ended up taking a back seat to the security interests and tastes of the bankers, according to Jesus Ugalde, scientific director at the Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad.

Domestic violence laws fracture families
May 11, 2010 2:18 AM

Domestic violence is real and women and men get hurt. Some even die horrible deaths at the hands of an aggressor. But, what has happened in Costa Rica is that a spouse that really wants to hurt his mate in many cases ends up doing it anyway. The law does not work when it should. The reality of the law is that women use it to humiliate and extort from men, meaning it works when it should not. This thesis is based on observation of a number of such cases.

Battery casings headed for river
May 10, 2010 2:14 AM

A large number of battery casings have appeared on the banks of the Río Tibás at a site near San Isidro de Heredia.

Half day off for some as diplomats arrive Friday
May 7, 2010 2:46 AM

School children and public employees will get a half day off Friday because the central government wants to clear the way for arriving foreign diplomats who will attend the presidential inauguration Saturday.

Alternatives considered for blocked Ruta 32
May 7, 2010 2:45 AM

The Arias administration had been dogged by transportation problems for the last four years, so there is no surprise that as Óscar Arias Sánchez leaves office, one gigantic problem endures.

Attention turns to volcanoes
May 6, 2010 2:57 AM

Even on the 100th anniversary of the 1910 Cartago earthquake, the major concern in the country is its volcanoes. Póas, Irazú and Turrialba continue to be active. The activity at Arenal has increased somewhat.

Whither toxic cell phone batteries?
May 6, 2010 2:56 AM

he eventual demise of the Instituto Costarricence de Electricidad’s TDMA cell phone system will result in a flush of dangerous batteries into the solid waste stream if users fail to dispose of their phones correctly.

Drivers have to keep one eye on the hillsides
May 5, 2010 2:28 AM

Gaping potholes are nothing compared to hundreds of cubic meters of rock, dirt and trees racing down a hillside toward passing vehicles. That is a danger that the Costa Rican highway network faces as rainy weather moves into the country.

The pressing question is when will a new quake come
May 5, 2010 2:27 AM

A major principal of geology is that what has happenedin the past will happen in the present, according to Víctor González, an earthquake expert with the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica of Universidad Nacional. He was talking about the 1910 Cartago earthquake that killed from 600 to 1,200 persons 100 years ago tonight.

Do-it-yourself solar can be profitable
May 4, 2010 2:12 AM

Given regular increases in the cost of electricity in Costa Rica, solar water heating has gained potential especially in lowland climates. A Universidad Nacional professor, Shyam Nandwani, has developed designs appropriate for local conditions that can be constructed at low cost.

Not much in Arias speech for expats
May 4, 2010 2:12 AM

President Óscar Arias Sánchez defined his administration in his final state of the nation address Saturday. But there was little specifically for expats.

Day of protests began with violence
May 3, 2010 2:29 AM

The country descended into chaos Thursday as multiple protests paralyzed daily life. In Moín violent demonstrators shot two policemen and burned eight semi-trailers. The Fuerza Pública said they detained 26 persons, including two suspects in the shootings.

Expat data base going online
April 30, 2010 2:47 AM

The immigration agency is putting on line the personal information of legal foreign residents in the country. The agency has contracted with Radiográfica Costarricense S.A. to offer a service to firms and individual who want to check out the status of foreigners.

High court case over renouncing U.S. citizenship
April 30, 2010 2:46 AM

A Playas del Coco woman has filed a Sala IV constitutional case challenging the section of the immigration law that mandates surrendering a previous citizenship when taking Costa Rican nationalilty. She is a U.S. citizen.

Family at midpoint of their big trip
April 29, 2010 2:22 AM

A family trio from Scotland is peddling somewhere between Arenal and Grecia today as they continue on what they call a trip of a lifetime.

Plaques and ribbons for last weeks as president
April 28, 2010 1:43 AM

As his second term as president approaches its end, Óscar Arias Sánchez is hustling to enlarge his place in the history books.

Reassuring forecast for country on hurricanes
April 28, 2010 1:43 AM

Colorado hurricane forecasters say that the chance of a major storm passing through the Caribbean this year is greater than average. The team predicted a 58 percent chance of a major hurricane tracking into the Caribbean compared to the long-term average of 42 percent.

Smart money seeking failed projects
April 27, 2010 3:06 AM

There are international developers currently looking for deals in Costa Rica. The past boom in the country created some opportunities because many projects were left unfinished when the market fizzled in late 2008. They are looking for the money trees of the next boom.

100th anniversary of Cartago tragedy next week
April 27, 2010 3:05 AM

A hundred years ago residents of Cartago were enjoying the rebirth of the city, thanks to the rail line and the prosperous banana trade nearby. The town had suffered the loss of population when the central government moved to San José. The reborn city was a cosmopolitan one with many foreigners and stately buildings. Some said it looked more Spanish than Costa Rican.

Some regional airports got makeovers
April 26, 2010 2:35 AM

A little known achievement of the Óscar Arias Sánchez administration is upgrading some of the country's secondary airports.

Marchers hope court will change its decision
April 26, 2010 2:34 AM

Opponents of the open pit gold mine in Cutris de San Carlos say that the last word rests with the people and not the Sala IV constitutional court. That is why hundreds marched Thursday to protest a constitutional court decision that gave a green light to the controversial project.

$100 bill design unveiled
April 23, 2010 2:45 AM

The U.S. Department of the Treasury unveiled the new design for the $100 note. Wednesday Complete with advanced technology to combat counterfeiting, the new design for the $100 note retains the traditional look of U.S. currency.

We're going into the bookmaking business
April 22, 2010 2:33 AM

The central government is going into the bookmaking business. Steps were made Tuesday to set up a framework so Costa Ricans can bet on first- and second-divisionsoccer games through the Junta de Protección Social, which already runs the state lotteries.

Rain influences the language
April 21, 2010 4:04 AM

Whether you like it or not the rainy season is now upon us. Anyone who lives here knows that in Costa Rica there are more rainy months than dry months. The rainy season or invierno, usually runs from May to November but this can vary from year to year.

ICE behaves like the monopoly it was
April 21, 2010 4:04 AM

The manner which the Instituto Costarricence de Electricidad has handled the changeover from old to newer technologies has provided a test run for the regulating authorities to consider the consumer’s rights to service.

There's no truce in war with crooks
April 20, 2010 2:27 AM

Each day at least three home robberies or burglaries take place in which the crooks are able to foil the property's security system, according to statistics of the Judicial Investigating Organization. The majority of the cases take place when no one is home.

Opponents plan a march over Crucitas
April 20, 2010 2:27 AM

A Sala IV constitutional court decision finding only a minor fault with the Crucitas open pit mining project has sparked a strong response from opponents.

In-country visa renewal a challenge
April 19, 2010 3:16 AM

Tourists are best advised to avoid from the immigration offices if they seek to renew their 90-days visas. A reporter accompanied a Swiss citizen there Wednesday and the best immigration officials could suggest was that the man marry the newswoman so he could have his visa renewed via a relationship with a Costa Rican.

Know any exceptional trees?
April 19, 2010 3:16 AM

The deadline for submissions to the Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad’s 2010 exceptional tree competition is approaching. Contributors have a chance to document why their favorite oak tree should be considered.

Pedestrian malls appear to be winners
April 16, 2010 2:26 AM

The life of a downtown merchant is not always easy. Parking for customers is a continual problem, the area sometimes attracts trouble and then aggressive young men come by and demand that you close your store.

The security question for expats
April 16, 2010 2:25 AM

"Why does Costa Rica insist on protecting the criminals when it should be protecting the innocent people who are being victimized daily by runaway crime? Instead of releasing criminals three hours after they are caught in the act, driving a stolen car with no tags, and not carrying identification, why not make it a crime to break and enter and hold them for prosecution? Why not make it a crime to hold and sell stolen property? Why not punish violent criminals, instead of letting them go in an hour or two."

We introduce our sports fishing page
April 15, 2010 3:56 AM

We only want the most competent captains to be seeking business on our new page.

Regulations for new immigration law delayed again
April 15, 2010 3:56 AM

Regulations in support of the new immigration law will not be published until at least May 15, according to the current immigration director. The regulations are vital for clearing up the finer points in the law, such as how tourists can extend their visa with the payment of $100.

University students riot and block streets
April 14, 2010 4:56 AM

University students had a run-in with police on the San Pedro campus Monday, and the subsequent protests brought traffic to a halt in eastern San José and in San Pedro.

El Niño probably will not affect rainy season
April 14, 2010 4:56 AM

The “El Niño” temperature phenomenon present in Pacific offshore waters since June 2009 is drawing to a close, according to Carlos Brenes of the oceanography department at the Universidad Nacional.

Cloud will be good for property values
April 13, 2010 3:37 AM

There is great news for expats and tourists in the cloud. Speaking of cloud computing, that is. Most expats — people of other nationalities who have made Costa Rica their home — do not have a clue what the term cloud computing means even though the concept could greatly change their lives, especially those who would like to make Costa Rica their home or at least visit the country more ofte

Horses and their riders have their day downtown
April 13, 2010 3:37 AM

Sunday was celebrated as the Día Internacional de Caballo in San José, and a group of especially selected riders and their horses provided a smaller version of the traditional Dec. 26 tope.

New credit card rules said to favor consumer
April 12, 2010 3:46 AM

New rules for credit and debit cards went into effect Thursday, and officials involved writing the regulations say that the general philosophy is that in case of doubt, the consumer is favored.

Makeover of Antigua Aduana cost $6.3 million
April 12, 2010 3:45 AM

Three years and $6.3 million later, the culture ministry has inaugurated the former Aduana building as a cultural arts center. The structure contains 161,459 square meters under roof. That is 3.7 acres.

Cable connection problems remain downtown
April 8, 2010 2:48 AM

The problems still continue because Amnet, the cable television and Internet provider, inexplicably abandoned its franchise in the middle of San José last year.

After the military why not abolish the legislature?
April 9, 2010 2:13 AM

President Óscar Arias Sánchez wants Uruguay to eliminate its military, a request that was not accepted very well there. But Arias has missed the boat when he said that dumping the military could generate lots more money for development. He should have gone further. Costa Rica could save tons of money by eliminating the legislature.

Dry weather confusing rain birds
April 8, 2010 2:48 AM

A wet March has sowed doubt in the Central Valley’s yigüirro population as to the start of the nesting season. As the national bird, the clay-colored thrush is known for “calling the rain” at the end of the dry season.

The poaching problem at Caño Negro
April 7, 2010 2:29 AM

The sprawling refuge is called Caño Negro, and it consists of 10,000 hectares, some 24,700 acres along the border with Nicaragua. The area is rich in game and fish, and that's the problem. Taking animals or fish is prohibited in the wildlife reserve, but commercial hunters and fishermen pay little heed to borders.

Butterflies to return to museum
April 7, 2010 2:28 AM

The butterflies are coming back to the Museo Nacional. The museum took much of the former butterfly garden when it constructed a new access ramp at the same time that the adjacent Plaza de la Democracia was remodeled two years ago.

Teens rampage on highways and at game
April 6, 2010 2:20 AM

The weekend highlighted Costa Rica's growing juvenile problem. This time the problem was not teenage killers. It was the annual burning of Judas, which has degenerated into arson and vandalism. The Fuerza Pública said it had detained more than 116 person, mostly in Central Valley communities. Then Sunday soccer fans torched material at an Alajuela stadium and launched fireworks and bottle rockets at the professional players.

Long-distance love
April 6, 2010 2:19 AM

Every couple knows that a long-distance relationship is tough. But how about if there is a language barrier. That did not matter to Tarín Gutiérrez Montero and Thomas Liebig, who were married Saturday after a seven-year courtship.

Time to enrich your Easter vocabulary
April 5, 2010 2:21 AM

Here are some Spanish words and phrases to help you discuss the holiday with Costa Rican friends.

Arias urges Uruguay to abolish military
April 1, 2010 12:27 AM

President Óscar Arias Sánchez, apparently without outside encouragement, has urged the new leftist president of Uruguay to disband the military there.

Puntarenas mangroves have big problems
April 1, 2010 12:26 AM

The nation's environmental police last week started an intensive investigation of the Puntarenas mangroves, an important natural resource that extends from the Puntarenas estuary to Chomes.

Managing the flood of Internet info
March 31, 2010 4:14 AM

This is the era of very free speech. Some individuals in Playas del Coco are using the Web to warn their friends about local crooks. A former La Nación staffer is using a Web page as a way to expose sharp business practices here. If you don't like someone, put up an unflattering Web page. For almost no money except the cost of computer rental, someone can launch their detailed opinions to the world.

Developer seeks arbitration with its banks
March 31, 2010 4:14 AM

The developer of a troubled Jacó condo and hotel project is suing its lenders and seeks to force them into arbitration.

Way cleared for paperless office
March 30, 2010 2:27 AM

A recent request for clarification to the Ministerio de Hacienda, the mother organization of the local tax department found that according to a resolution DGT-02-09 from the "Direccion General De Tributacion," dated Jan. 9, 2009, people can keep electronic documents and forget the paper.

Arias administration says it has met its housing promise
March 30, 2010 2:27 AM

As the Oscar Arias Sánchez administration draws to a close, the housing ministry has declared success in meeting the president's campaign promises, delivering a total of 47,000 grants to needy households. These range from money to repair an existing home or for construction, up to handing over the keys to a finished dwelling.

Museums feeling the pinch from fewer tourists
March 29, 2010 2:51 AM

Just like other tourist operations, the country's museums are feeling the pinch from fewer visitors.

Agents raid Barrio Amón hotel
March 29, 2010 2:51 AM

Judicial agents raided a downtown hotel that caters to U.S. men Thursday, but they did not find the underage prostitutes they were seeking. The location was the Hotel Little Havana Costa Rica, formerly known as Hotel Zona Blue. It is on Avenida 9 in Barrio Amón.

Sphere evaluators have returned home
March 25, 2010 2:59 AM

The United Nations panel of experts who came to Costa Rica to evaluate the stone spheres have returned home. There is no word yet on when their report will be issued.

Chief magistrate wants objective review of juvenile laws
March 24, 2010 3:35 AM

The head of the courts has asked the United Nations Children's Fund to conduct an objective assessment of the country's laws on juvenile crime.

Osa hotel owners dispute tribunal allegations
March 24, 2010 3:34 AM

Hotel owners mentioned in a report by the Tribunal Ambiental Administrativo roundly disputed the conclusions about their respective properties. Most of those threatened with sanctions are in the Drake Bay area and the Osa Peninsula. Additional hotels, as well as a number of private houses, are also under investigation, according to as report from the agency.

Magma on the move inside Turrialba
March 23, 2010 1:40 AM

Magma was on the move inside Volcán Turrialba Sunday. A park guard, Sergio Guillén, reported a series of tremors Sunday afternoon, and volcano experts said that the data shows the tremors came from a type of activity resulting from the movement of magma rather than other causes.

Friend of Enrique wants part of the spoils
March 23, 2010 1:39 AM

John Manners, the man who led a campaign for Villalobos investors to drop their criminal case, now wants part of the money the courts have awarded to successful litigants.

Vigil designed to change minds of lawmakers
March 22, 2010 3:56 AM

A white wave of citizens showed up at the Asamblea Legislativa Thursday to demand a strong law against alcohol and the restoration of the point system for violators.

Chinese get a benefit from traffic law
March 19, 2010 3:55 AM

Insiders are joking that the new traffic law contains a stimulus plan for the People's Republic of China. The bulk of the items motorists are required to carry under the new law are products of the Communist country.

Eight Osa Peninsula hotels under investigation
March 19, 2010 3:54 AM

The environmental tribunal is investigating eight more hotels in the Peninsula de Osa and three saw mills that officials think are operating illegally. The latest cases bring to nearly 50 the individual files of environmental investigations being carried out in the Cantón de Osa.

Irish had an impact in Latin America, too
March 18, 2010 4:22 AM

Saint Patrick's Day is celebrated in many places in Latin America, including Costa Rica. There is a usually some type of Saint Patrick's Day celebration at any of the local bars where Americans hang out.

The route to seek Costa Rican citizenship
March 18, 2010 4:22 AM

One way expat residents might avoid paying the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social for health care is to take out Costa Rican nationality. There are two ways to qualify: marry a citizen or live legally in the country for seven years.

Rainy season debut is slightly early, experts say
March 17, 2010 4:19 AM

Local weather forecasters say that the rainy seasons will be slightly early this year in all areas except the Central Valley. The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional said that the season would arrive May 6 to 10 in the Central Valley, as normal.

Puntarenas is a sitting duck for tsunamis
March 17, 2010 4:19 AM

The coasts of Costa Rica are the potential targets of tsunamis caused by earthquakes locally or even from the Pacific coast of South America. The city of Puntarenas is especially vulnerable.

Don't forget that pesky educational tax
March 16, 2010 3:06 AM

There is only one tax inactive companies need to pay every year. It is the education and culture tax. The tax is due by March 31 which falls on a Wednesday this year. However, it can be paid anytime during the month of March.

A wall gets pretty in Playas del Coco
March 15, 2010 3:31 AM

Playas del Coco residents have turned an eyesore wall into a work of art.

Public employees get the whole week off
March 12, 2010 2:26 AM

Forget about any governmental business during Holy Week. Central government officials have declared the entire week to be a vacation.

That dancing dollar
March 11, 2010 4:34 AM

The value of the dollar against the colon Tuesday fell to its lowest since the end of 2008 with an abrupt drop of almost two colons to 540.38. Volatility has been an issue in the four years since the Banco Central dropped a long-term policy of micro-devaluations.

Costa Rica would fare better than Haiti
March 10, 2010 3:57 AM

If an earthquake the magnitude of the 1991 event were to occur in the Central Valley, damage would be widespread. About 25 percent of dwellings countrywide are not in compliance with building codes, said Sigifredo Pérez, operations chief for the national emergency commission. Many of these would collapse.

Saturday earthquake was puny by comparison
March 9, 2010 2:13 AM

For those near the epicenter of Saturday night’s temblor, it was level V Rather Strong, with vibrations like a freight train passing near the house. It was barely felt outside the Central Valley.

Stadium comes before trees
March 9, 2010 2:12 AM

Workmen were on the job Sunday cutting down what were described as sick trees in Parque la Sabana. The ailing trees just happened to be in front of the main entrance of the new stadium being built by the People's Republic of China.

Prostitutes being recruited as spies
March 8, 2010 2:19 AM

The statement may seem very obvious, but customers of prostitutes should not provide a lot of personal information. Some of San José more expensive call girls report that they have been approached by individual they think are Mexican with offers to purchase information regarding their customers.

Stadium, a checkbook gift, is 65 percent finished
March 5, 2010 3:57 AM

Costa Rica has taken advantage of geopolitical rivalries to improve infrastructure in recent years, the beneficiary of “checkbook diplomacy.” It seems one football stadium trumps one bridge.

Pending legislation: rising ocean levels
March 4, 2010 2:09 AM

New legislators who take office in two months will be facing major decision involving the rising sea and coastal changes during their four years in the Asamblea Legislativa.

Tax agency told to move on luxury homes
March 4, 2010 2:09 AM

The national government's financial watchdog has ordered tax authorities to move on their plans to enforce the tax on luxury homes. The deadline for voluntary compliance was Jan. 15. In theory enforcement will start later this year, but analysis of the task and resources needed is only now underway.

Toad's demise not due to warming, study says
March 3, 2010 2:14 AM

Globall warming did not kill the Monteverde golden toad, an often cited example of climate-triggered extinction, says a new study. The toad vanished from Costa Rica’s Pacific coastal-mountain cloud forest in the late 1980s, the apparent victim of a pathogen outbreak that has wiped out dozens of other amphibians in the Americas. Many researchers have linked outbreaks of the deadly chytrid fungus to climate change, but the new study asserts that the weather patterns, at Monteverde at least, were not out of the ordinary.

It's cops vs. vendors downtown
March 3, 2010 2:14 AM

Every day there are at least two clashes between street vendors and the Policia Municipal. The San José police officers, themselves, admit that each month the number of vendors on the downtown pedestrian boulevard and other similar streets increases.

As real estate rebounds, caution is the word
March 2, 2010 2:34 AM

There is a much quoted phrase in Costa Rica between lawyers. Everything legal is not always right and everything right is not always legal.

Villalobos victims will share nearly $8 million
March 2, 2010 2:34 AM

Successful victims in the action against Oswaldo Villalobos Camacho are sharing $7,804,995.79 in a court-approved settlement.

So you need to join the Caja?
March 1, 2010 2:25 AM

The immigration law includes a new requirement for foreigners resident in Costa Rica. To renew residency status, the applicant must show proof of insurance from the government Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social.

Arrests made in Coopemex case
March 1, 2010 2:25 AM

Five persons related to the financial cooperative Coopemex were detained for questioning. The individuals are suspected of the bad management of the finances of the cooperative.

Real estate damage still mainly hidden
February 25, 2010 4:00 AM

The fallout from the heady real estate bubble is getting grimmer as more and more would-be property owners realize that their money has vanished.

Man jailed unjustly in Nicaragua writes a book
February 25, 2010 3:59 AM

Eric Volz, the U.S. citizen most people believe was railroaded on a murder charge in Nicaragua, is coming out with a book on his ordeal.

Coopemex depositors might have a long wait
February 25, 2010 3:59 AM

The case of Coopemex is beginning to look a lot like Banco Elca, which was taken over by regulators in 2004.

Fishman ends up a winner
February 24, 2010 1:34 AM

The up-and-down political fortunes of Luis Fishman were up Monday as the Tribunal Supreme de Elecciones said that he had won a legislative seat from San José. Fishman, who also was his party's presidential candidate, bested José Manuel Bustos. by just 260 votes in the complex calculations that distribute legislative seats on the basis of total popular vote.

Some Villalobos victims getting a percentage
February 24, 2010 1:33 AM

Some victims of the Villalobos Brothers investment debacle will be getting some money. These are the creditors who persisted and filed civil cases parallel to the criminal fraud case against Oswaldo Villalobos, one of the brothers.

U.N. delegation will evaluate spheres as heritage nominee
February 23, 2010 3:07 AM

A delegation from the United Nations will visit Costa Rica next month to evaluate those prehistoric stone spheres with an eye to including them as world heritage artifacts.

Panamá seems to be taking sides in Colombian conflict
February 23, 2010 3:06 AM

The policies of the conservative Martinelli administration are raising fears that Panamá may become more deeply involved in the Colombian war against the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia.

Renewal rules being tightened for tourists
February 22, 2010 2:58 AM

When the new immigration law goes into effect March 1 tourists here will still be able to renew their visa by going to and returning from a nearby country. But the rules are changing.

Grecia murder case gets more complex
February 19, 2010 3:18 AM

Agents have a difficult murder case to solve in Grecia. Initially the crime seemed to be another case of a man killing the woman with whom he lived. That was the way investigators initially saw it as they took into custody Tuesday a man with the last names of Segura Jiménez.

Forced linked sales of TV and Internet to be studied
February 18, 2010 2:47 AM

Want internet but don’t need 82 television channels? While competition should eventually provide more options, at present heavy demand for Internet services allows a few providers to ignore consumer protection regulations, A.M. Costa Rica has learned.

Arrests made in murder of Parrita expat
February 18, 2010 2:46 AM

Judicial agents and prosecutors blame the girlfriend of a Parrita businessman for arranging his contract murder nearly a year ago. The businessman was a U.S. citizen. The motive is reported to be greed.<

A baby whale is rescued
February 17, 2010 2:25 AM

A newborn whale calf entangled in more than 100 feet of an abandoned gill net is alive today because fishermen and dive company workers risked their lives to free the young creature.

A step toward a dengue vaccine
February 17, 2010 2:24 AM

The La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology said it has validated the long-held and controversial hypothesis that antibodies, usually the good guys in the body's fight against viruses, instead contribute to severe dengue virus-induced disease.

Dangers of the internet mixed with text messaging
February 16, 2010 2:21 AM

Most people hide behind avatars — an icon or figure used as a personification the computer user — and give false information when using social networks. This is good practice but does not curb the danger and can even exacerbate it.

Be a Latin lover
February 15, 2010 1:56 AM

We give you the words and phrases to handle any situation.

Semana Santa just weeks away
February 12, 2010 4:13 AM

The next major vacation period in Costa Rica is just 43 days away. Easter is April 4 this year, and many residents will start the Semana Santa holiday Friday. March 26. This is a critical period for tourism that can make or break many hospitality and restaurant operations.

La Libertad park prepared for planting
February 12, 2010 4:13 AM

There is not a lot to see now at the Parque Metropolitano La Libertad. There are high weeds, trash, industrial remnants and a lot of dust. Workmen are preparing the site for a botanical garden and for reforestation of the entire 32 hectares, some 79 acres.

Patronato plays a trick on Facebook fans
February 11, 2010 4:25 AM

The Patronato Nacional de la Infancia managed to snag the personal data and photos of some 800 Costa Ricans by promising them fame.

Shaping up Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio
February 11, 2010 4:25 AM

An innovative rehabilitation and anti-litter project in Manuel Antonio is celebrating its fourth successful year. Based in Quepos, the Asociación Esfuerzos Humanitarios created the project to protect the second-most-visited area in the country by enlisting the help of people in the local community who have voluntarily entered into the association’s rehabilitation program.

Price increases use inflated dollar value
February 10, 2010 3:55 AM

The increases are a bit more than 6 percent for super gasoline and about 4.5 percent for plus gasoline. The increases are based on the estimated inflation from Dec. 24 to Jan. 7, the depreciation of the colon and the international price of petroleum.

Laura Chinchilla wins in a landslide
February 9, 2010 2:26 AM

Laura Chinchilla won the nation's presidency Sunday with a landslide victory in which she prevailed in each of the country's seven provinces.

Tax evasion is substantial, report says
February 8, 2010 5:16 AM

The Contraloría de la República estimated that the country lost out on the bulk of the taxes residents were supposed to pay from 1991 to 2007.

Teens accused of running a murder-for-hire business
February 8, 2010 5:15 AM

Costa Rican officials are wrestling tonight with how juvenile offenders should be treated after two teens have been detained as repeat hired gunmen.

Arias would accept a delay in cell phone auction
February 5, 2010 4:21 AM

Accompanied by political pressure on the part of presidential candidate Ottón Solis, yet another delay in the process leading to new cell phone services has surfaced.

A tree that grows in the highway
February 5, 2010 4:20 AM

A tourist from the U.S. just asked me in an e-mail if it would be safe to travel this road at night because they had heard that people with guns would stop your car and steal all of your possessions and possibly kill you. I replied that “You would more likely to get killed by the condition of the roads than the former.”

How to talk about the election in Spanish
February 4, 2010 4:18 AM

Costa Ricans approach the presidential elections with such enthusiasm that they celebrate election day as if it were a big party or national holiday. People wear party colors and honk car horns. Bands play Latin music. All this all contribute to the festive atmosphere. And here is some vocabulary to help you relate.

Bridge crash becoming political issue
February 4, 2010 4:17 AM

A fiery fatal collision at a bridge in Abangares Monday has become a political hot potato because the pothole that triggered the crash has been there for three years.

Big plans at Manuel Antonio park
February 3, 2010 4:18 AM

Friday as a big day at Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio, the crown jewel of the country's park system.

Real estate market nears a rebound
February 2, 2010 3:15 AM

The good news is the Costa Rica market will correct itself. The bad news is it will take some time. The peak of the market was probably 2006 and 2007. The market came to a screeching halt in mid 2008, much in parallel with the United States. The banks in Costa Rica stopped lending money to developers during that time. This was another signal of the downturn.

Hospital of Heredia 98 percent finished
February 1, 2010 3:20 AM

President Óscar Arias Sánchez inaugurated the new Hospital de Heredia Thursday. It's traditional for presidents at the end of their term to cut a lot of ribbons and take credit for public works. In this case, Arias has a legitimate claim.

More help coming for consumers
January 29, 2010 4:08 AM

The insurance market and the telephone markets are opening up to private competition, perhaps as soon as September. But most Costa Ricans are not used to comparison shopping.

Turrialba volcano can be monitored on Internet
January 28, 2010 3:58 AM

Now everyone can keep an eye on Volcán Turrialba, the mountain that has become the center of attention by geologists and Central Valley residents.

Expat custody fights have unique twists here
January 28, 2010 3:57 AM

Divorces and custody disputes are grim events around the world. But some special aspects of Costa Rica law frequently surprise expats and those who come to the country in search of an abducted child.

Another U.S. custody case in the courts here
January 27, 2010 3:42 AM

Another U.S. child custody case is playing itself out in a Costa Rican court, and this one has some twists.

Trip to Pacific will be great Sunday fun
January 27, 2010 3:41 AM

Everyone is going to want to take a trip on the new Autopista del Sol that will be inaugurated by central government officials Wednesday.

Election platforms at mercy of outside forces
January 26, 2010 3:38 AM

When Costa Ricans go to the polls in less than two weeks, they face a clear choice, from left to right.

Birder accumulates more than 800 species
January 26, 2010 3:37 AM

A Cocos Island cuckoo seen in April was Jim Zook’s 800th species recorded in Costa Rica, making him the first active birdwatcher to reach that level. The total number of species ever reliably recorded for the country by anyone is about 890.

Telegram your love
January 25, 2010 2:09 AM

Correos de Costa Rica wants to play Cupid and has announced a program to send telegrams of love or friendship on Feb. 12, the Friday before St. Valentine's Day.

Fiesta bull takes a life
January 22, 2010 4:37 AM

A bull rider has died after being gored by the animal he had just dismounted. Dead is Willy Cubillo, a well-known participant in the amateur bull fights that take place at various fiestas in the county all year. The incident happened Tuesday at a fiesta in Santa Cruz.

Bender had a run-in with local police
January 22, 2010 4:37 AM

John Felix Bender may have led a secluded life at his private wildlife refuge in La Florida de Barú de Pérez Zeledón, but that did not keep him out of the eye of the local police.

Secret of living here is a meaningful life
January 21, 2010 4:02 AM

Hardly any guidebooks mention the problem, but boredom is a major threat to expats who seek a successful life in Costa Rica. There are only so many times a new arrival can rave over a Pacific sunset. There are only so many times that a a successful trip to the local market is a personal victory.

Choice in cell phones may come in September
January 20, 2010 4:32 AM

Mobile telephone customers might see new players in the industry by September, if the plans of the regulating agency work out.

You can put your trust in a trust
January 19, 2010 3:25 AM

Trusts are one of the most important legal documents a lawyer can make for a client in Costa Rica. It is amazing that most attorneys do not know how to create or administer them here. Most people think of trusts in the case of death and inheritance, but they can be used for many more situations.

Another thrilling bank customer service story
January 18, 2010 2:57 AM

"The day after, the money finally arrived in our account, and we were overcome with glee. Exactly three weeks, many phone calls, and a visit to the bank with my lawyer was all it took to fix a banking error."

Internet scam offers U.S. green cards
January 18, 2010 2:57 AM

In an updated versions of the lottery scam, Internet spammers are using the U.S. green card lottery as a ploy to make money.

Haitians here can only worry and wait
January 15, 2010 4:11 AM

For the Haitians living in Costa Rica life is on hold. Nearly all have family in the ravaged island. None has been able to communicate with family and friends there.

World freedom takes another big hit
January 14, 2010 3:52 AM

For the fourth consecutive year, global declines in freedom outweighed gains in 2009, as measured by Freedom House’s annual survey of political rights and civil liberties, "Freedom in the World 2010." This represents the longest continuous period of decline for global freedom in the nearly 40-year history of the report.

There's a new variation of an old scam in town
January 13, 2010 4:35 AM

A fake homebuyer is breaking new ground with a unique variation of the advanced fee scam.

Windy and cold . . . for Costa Rica!
January 13, 2010 4:34 AM

House roofs and electric lines took a beating Monday as high winds, spawned by a cold front, chilled the country. In Matina, Sarapiquí and Turrialba, homes were flooded due to unseasonable rain.

Good news from volcano watchers
January 12, 2010 3:01 AM

The ash put out by the Volcán Turrialba last week is not very acidic or caustic, according to an analysis done by scientists at Universidad Nacional.

Experts cannot predict actions of vocano
January 8, 2010 3:58 AM

Emergency officials may have had indications that the Volcán Turrialba was about to make a geological statement, but they now have little data to predict what will happen now.

Volcán Turrialba joins the chorus
January 7, 2010 4:32 AM

Central Valley residents now have the unusual situation of being in the middle of three misbehaving volcanoes. The third mountain. Turrialba, gave forth with gas and ashes Tuesday afternoon, and the Comisión de Emergencia issued a green, preventative alert. Some 21 persons have been evacuated from their homes in La Pastora, the community closest to the volcano.

Nation experienced 6,000 quakes in 2009
January 7, 2010 4:31 AM

More than 6,000 earthquakes took place in Costa Rica during 2009, but most were not felt by humans.

Presidential election is anything but boring
January 6, 2010 2:36 AM

The country came out of the election blackout period Monday with Laura Chinchilla, the Partido Liberación Nacional candidate, appearing to maintain her lead. But the campaign for the Feb. 7 election is not as boring as it might look.

Family posts reward for son's safe return
January 5, 2010 2:42 AM

The family of a missing British tourist has established a $10,000 reward for information leading to his safe return.

The beauty can be a bandit
December 31, 2009 4:03 AM

The two beauties patrolled the nightspots of San José looking for victims. They would lure men to a supposed romantic encounter that climaxed with a gun in the face.

New ambassador was generous political donor
December 31, 2009 4:02 AM

The Center for Responsive Politics on its OpenSecrets.org Web site said that Mrs. Andrew and her husband, Joseph J., have contributed about $88,000 mostly to Democratic candidates and fund-raising committees since 1989. It said that since 1960 about a third of U.S. ambassadors were political appointments, based on information from the American Academy of Diplomacy.

Vehicle weights restricted at Paquera ramp
December 30, 2009 3:00 AM

The transport ministry has issued a weight restriction on the loading ramp at Paquera, according to one of the two organizations that runs the popular ferries.

Airlines say arrive even earlier!
December 30, 2009 3:00 AM

Longer processing times are causing delays at airports as a result of the attempted bombing of a jet Christmas Day. Continental Airlines reported Monday that the processing time at Juan Santamaría airport was 2.5 hours. American Airlines said that international passengers need to be at the airport three hours before their flight. Some travel experts are recommending four hours for international flights.

Airline passengers facing more checks
December 29, 2009 1:30 AM

Air travelers can expect more delays and searches when that are traveling to the United stats, thanks to what appears to be an attempted bombing of a Detroit, Michigan, bound aircraft Christmas Day,

There are some true Spanish Christmas carols
December 28, 2009 4:01 AM

This is the time of villancicos, Christmas carols. The First World media dominates even in Latin America, but there are some traditional Christmas songs that appear to have come from Spain.

Luxury tax not very taxing for many
December 24, 2009 2:15 AM

All is not grim in the luxury tax category. Several professionals who have been doing evaluations for homeowners report that a low percentage of homes actually qualifies for the extra tax.

Light look at Chávez and his saber rattling
December 23, 2009 2:21 AM

Venezuela's president, Hugo Chávez, said last week that he fears an invasion from the nearby Dutch island of Curaçao. Indeed, he should. If Venezuela were invaded by the Dutch, the country would run the risk of beings propelled into First World status.

Election code chips at a basic freedom
December 22, 2009 4:06 AM

The new election code prohibits political advertising for 15 days around Christmas, and no one seems to be objecting to this unusual prohibition on speech.

Homeowners get a bit of a break on luxury home tax
December 21, 2009 2:35 AM

Expats and residents got a small break this week when the Ministerio de Hacienda announced that the deadline for filing luxury home paperwork would be Jan. 15 instead of Dec. 31.

Two female U.S. tourists have a really bad day
December 18, 2009 4:10 AM

The plane left without two U.S. female tourists who now stand accused of drug trafficking.

Sales for future delivery get stronger regulations
December 17, 2009 4:00 AM

Real estate developers who offer proposed projects or projects in development must now comply with strict rules for the protection of consumers.

Canada seeking expanded free trade treaty
December 16, 2009 3:21 AM

Canada would like to amplify its free trade treaty with Costa Rica to include access to telecommunications and insurance here, and Costa Rica would like Canada to issue visas here to Ticos instead of shipping the documents to Guatemala.

U.S. plans to raise the visa application fee
December 16, 2009 3:20 AM

The U.S. government is proposing a $9 increase in tourist and business visas. The State Department has published a proposed rule in the Federal Register to do just that. In addition, the proposal contains a $19 increase for certain other visas.

Can the winners handle the lottery prizes?
December 15, 2009 4:03 AM

Somewhere this morning there is joy in an undetermined number of Costa Rican homes. Here live those who have been lucky and got a piece of the Gordo Christmas lottery, which was drawn Sunday night.

Tico singer misses becoming and idol
December 14, 2009 4:28 AM

The country took it on the musical chin again Thursday night when a female singer from the Dominican Republic won the title of Latin American Idol. In No. 2 place was Eduardo Aguirre of Esparza.

Museum features barrios of San José
December 14, 2009 4:27 AM

The Museo Nacional inaugurates a new exhibit tonight that features four of the cities neighborhoods, called barrios in Spanish.

New study says ocean is rising higher and faster
December 11, 2009 4:41 AM

Costal residents of Costa Rica could face sea level increase of between 75 and 190 centimeters by 2100, according to a new study by European researchers. Converted to the U.S. measurement system, the rise would be between 29.5 and 74.8 inches.

Former president's funeral
December 11, 2009 4:40 AM

Former president Rodrigo Carazo Odio will receive a state funeral with services at 3:30 p.m. at the Catedral Metropolitana.

More pitfalls in the marketplace
December 10, 2009 4:05 AM

Tamales and toys got the eagle eye from government consumer inspectors at the end of last month. They found major differences in the prices. For tamales, a tradition Christmas dish, similar ingredients had price differences up to 314 percent. Super Saretto in San Rafael de Escazú and Super Cristal in Curridabat tied for having the highest prices.

A reader's brief on the luxury home tax
December 10, 2009 4:04 AM

Laws are written by politicians with good intent but with very little understanding of how difficult or impossible it is to comply with them. Most laws passed in Costa Rica are eventually challenged in the supreme court and ruled unconstitutional. I would hope that this will happen in the case of the Costa Rica luxury tax on homes.

It pays to shop around, ministry concludes
December 9, 2009 4:17 AM

Some popular food products vary in price by as much as 289 percent depending on where they are purchased. That is the main finding of the Ministerio de Economía. Industría y Comercio in another one of its surveys of local stores.

Cruz Roja fixes up some yucky water wells
December 9, 2009 4:17 AM

Some 150 families in the Provincia de Limón have been getting their water from wells that sometimes were no more than holes in the ground.

More investigation sought in case of suicide victim shot twice
December 8, 2009 4:36 AM

A Swiss woman has asked prosecutors in Nicoya to reopen the investigation into the death of her German husband. The case has been ruled a suicide and shelved. But in a filing made via a San José lawyer, the woman, Barbara Antoinette Ruegg, points out that her husband was shot twice and that the bulk of the evidence has not been examined throughly.

Escazú police snag apartment invasion suspects
December 8, 2009 4:36 AM

Bandits who presented themselves as judicial police raided an apartment complex in Guachipelín de Escazú Friday and took computers, cell phones and money.

26 foreigners have weapons permits suspended
December 7, 2009 2:57 AM

The security minister has pulled the permits of 26 foreigners so that they no longer are able to carry firearms. The minister also established additional rules for foreigners who seek these carry permits.

Airport taxis have their permit pulled
December 7, 2009 2:56 AM

The price regulating agency had pulled the permits of Taxis Unidos. the operator of the orange vehicles that service Juan Santamaría airport.

Climate change is a really complex issue
December 4, 2009 4:03 AM

Climate change is one of those complex issues that average citizens have difficulty understanding. For most, the easiest course is to accept an ideology and not study the scientific facts. So some viewers of Fox television accept the belief that global warming is a fake issue designed to steal billions from First World taxpayers. Radical environmentalists, on the other end of the scale, are convinced that any change in temperature is manmade.

Security issue resonates with voters
December 4, 2009 4:03 AM

Two presidential candidates have grasped the security issue and seem to be making headway in the polls. They are Otto Guevara of the Movimiento Libertario and Luis Fishman Zonzinski of Partido Unidad Social Cristiana. Both seem to be cutting into the strong lead held by Laura Chinchilla Miranda, who quit as the nation's vice president to seek the top office.

This was a sweet hurricane season
December 3, 2009 4:45 AM

The 2009 Atlantic hurricane season officially ended Monday. The season had the fewest named storms and hurricanes since 1997 thanks, in part, to El Niño, said the U.S. Climate Prediction Center.

Coffee exports taking a big hit
December 3, 2009 4:44 AM

The country's coffee producers are taking a major hit on the world market. Coffee is one of the major pillars of the country's economy. Dow Jones said Tuesday that November exports of coffee were down 50 percent when compared to the year before. The country exported 32,200 60-kilo bags of coffee in November, according to the financial service.

Dickens was thinking of the aguinaldos
December 2, 2009 3:57 AM

Expats can be pardoned for reciting the line made famous by a successful businessman in "A Christmas Carol":

Let there be light!
December 2, 2009 3:56 AM

The electric company says it has installed 600,000 Christmas lights in the city and elsewhere, not counting the 31,000 lights that will illuminate the tree on the grounds of the Hospital Nacional del Niño.

Yet another U.S. runaway mom
December 1, 2009 4:17 AM

Another U.S. father was in Costa Rica last week seeking a son for whom he has full custody.

Tributación has a few more forms for you
November 30, 2009 4:19 AM

Expat business operators are finishing up this weekend their 2008-2009 annual report of sales and purchases, which is due Monday. But the Dirección General de Tributación, the tax collecting agency, has a surprise for them. This fiscal year they will have to do the same job every three months.

Sexual harassment law beefed up
November 27, 2009 4:24 AM

The legislature Wednesday beefed up a law prohibiting sexual harassment and created a secret process to evaluate such claims. The law covers all forms of sexual harassment but with an emphasis on harassment of women. Public, private and academic areas are included in the law, which is a modification of existing legislation.

Can a mere mortal evaluate a house for the luxury tax?
November 26, 2009 4:14 AM

Can a normal human compute the new tax on so-called luxury homes? Editors asked Dennis Rogers, a fluent Spanish speaker and frequent contributer, to try to do it.

Condo invading suspects captured
November 25, 2009 4:44 AM

Investigators have detained four more suspects in what is turning out to be a massive case of home and condo invasions, mostly in the Escazú and Santa Ana areas.

Dark horse entry wins trans-Atlantic race
November 25, 2009 4:43 AM

The multi-hull Crêpes Whaou! crossed the finish line off Puerto Limón Monday night at 10:31 p.m. to claim victory in the Transat Jacques Vabre trans-Atlantic boat race. The expected leader, the Safran was still some 70 miles back but still expected to claim the honors in the mono-hull class.

Groaning infrastructure cries to be updated
November 24, 2009 4:25 AM

Narrow streets, massive amounts of potholes, century-old rotting bridges and two-hour long traffic jams for a trip that should take 10 minutes. Sounds like one dreaded Monday morning? Such is the reality of transportation in Costa Rica, which just last month reached a breaking point. The tragedy Oct. 22 when the bridge that communicated Orotina and Turrubares collapsed has opened perhaps the biggest can of worms: the long overdue and deliberate negligence towards investing and maintaining local infrastructure has become clear.

Lawyer wants Milanes sent to jail
November 24, 2009 4:24 AM

The lawyer for a group of Saving Unlimited investors is asking the Corte Suprema de Justicia to step in and take action against Luis Milanes and his assets to protect her clients.

U.S. Embassy customer service is a hot-button issue
November 23, 2009 2:56 AM

The vice consuls who make the decisions are aided by advanced notice of who is appearing for a visa interview and a number of various data bases that might show how an applicant has conducted him or herself on a previous visit to the United States. For example, any applicant who has held a driver's license from any U.S. state probably would be rejected for a visitor's visa.

Lawmakers on crusade against internet porno
November 20, 2009 4:27 AM

A legislative committee has reported out a bill that is designed to protect children from harmful material on the Internet. The measure, which was introduced a year ago, covers Internet cafe owners and others who have public or private locations where computer users can access the Internet.

War talk in Caracas
November 19, 2009 4:23 AM

Now there are threats of war in Venezuela. Strongman Hugo Chávez called upon his military Nov. 8 to protect the country from the presumed threats of having 800 U.S. soldiers and technicians set up shop at seven Colombian bases.

Reader wants action on personal security here
November 18, 2009 4:37 AM

We take a risk, a life and death risk just to have dinner out as my friend 75 year old Antonio Lehmann discovered Sunday evening at 7:30 p.m. He was shot in the head and died instantly while dinning with a friend. (For those of you who do not recognize the name, he was the owner the Liberias Lehmann chain, a Costa Rican institution for many years.)

Lawmakers consider extending luxury home tax
November 18, 2009 4:37 AM

The ink is hardly dry on the luxury home tax, and lawmakers are proposing to extend the measure past the 10 years that are specified in the text.

Noise here approaches the danger level
November 17, 2009 4:10 AM

Noise is one of the issues likely to provoke conflict between expats wishing for a little peace and quiet and their neighbors who might not be so sensitive. Conventional wisdom has it that Costa Ricans who grew up with larger families in smaller spaces with the television blaring all day are less perceptive of noise, but a wide range exists within both populations.

Time to start thinking about marchamo
November 17, 2009 4:10 AM

It's time to dig down for the road tax. The Instituto Nacional de Seguros has activated its Web page where motorists can find out how much they own. The amount is based on the fiscal value of the vehicle.

The scammers are back at it
November 16, 2009 4:07 AM

Scamsters in Costa Rica are again at work defrauding U.S. citizens with the advance fee lottery trap.

Armed robbery might be on the menu
November 13, 2009 3:58 AM

Successful home invasions appear to have encouraged bandits to try their hand at commercial establishments. More and more bars, restaurants and even houses of ill repute are being targeted by gunmen.

Carbon dioxide study says concentration has not changed
November 13, 2009 3:58 AM

A controversial new study challenges Costa Rica's philosophy to be carbon neutral by 2021. It also puts a shadow over those commercial enterprises set up to sell carbon sequestration.

How to avoid the luxury home tax
November 12, 2009 4:20 AM

The specter of the luxury housing tax is haunting expat and snowbird property owners, but like everything else in Costa Rica, there are some easy solutions.

What's the election tribunal anyway?
November 11, 2009 4:31 AM

When elections are held in February, there is a pretty good chance that the results will be generally accepted because the Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones is on the job.

Two state banks face probe over linked sales
November 11, 2009 4:30 AM

The economics ministry's competition agency has launched an investigation of two state banks for what is being described as illegal linked sales.

Rental law is best protection for expats
November 10, 2009 3:58 AM

Renting properties in Costa Rica is as common for locals as it is for foreigners. However, relationships with landlords may be negative for expats who expect property owners to adhere to the basic rental laws. When renting a property in Costa Rica, expats can expect many headaches along the way, most of them provoked by landlord negligence.

At the very least, ballots are colorful
November 9, 2009 4:30 AM

The event was a lottery in every sense of the word. Political parties gathered Thursday to determine their place on the February ballot.

Costa Rica will study a digital television format
November 9, 2009 4:30 AM

Costa Rica will explore its options as it considers switching to a digital television system.

Government restricts foreigners' right to carry weapon
November 6, 2009 4:13 AM

The central government froze the issuance of permits to foreigners to carry firearms Wednesday. The order to the security ministry from Casa Presidencial was made with the backdrop of a shootout between Jamaicans and judicial agents Tuesday, but the weapons involved in that firefight and many other crimes were illegal in the first place.

Law officers round up window-breaking robbery suspects
November 6, 2009 4:12 AM

In a massive law enforcement action, some 150 officers and agents swept down on 17 locations early Wednesday to arrest 19 persons who are suspects in the plague of robberies that women motorists encountered, mostly in the Hatillo area.

Double tragedies had their start long ago
November 6, 2009 4:12 AM

There was a long chain of events that led up to the killing a week ago of an innocent university student in Los Yoses and the shootout that killed a judicial policeman Tuesday afternoon.

Judicial agent dies making arrest in coed killing
November 5, 2009 4:36 AM

Agents caught up with a suspect Tuesday in the murder of university student, and a Judicial investigator died in the subsequent shootout.

Army commanders' homes now museum exhibit area
November 5, 2009 4:35 AM

The Museo Nacional opened two new exhibition areas with a ceremony Tuesday night. The areas are the former homes of the commander and deputy commander of the Costa Rican army. The houses never have been open to the public.

Asian specialty items flunk inspection
November 4, 2009 1:27 AM

A survey of mostly Asian groceries have turned up a number of failures to adhere to the country's labeling and health regulations.

Limón language called endangered
November 4, 2009 1:26 AM

Limón creole as a language was recently upgraded to “definitely endangered” from “vulnerable,” according to the U. N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Luxury home fine can be 10 times the tax
November 3, 2009 6:50 AM

Foreign nationals should be especially carefull about the new lluxury home tax (casa de lujo in Spanish) because Tico attorneys and accountants have expressed confusion about how this new law affects owners. The penalty for not filing is 10 times the tax and five times the tax if the declaration is not within 10 percent of what the Hacienda determines.

Another man is missing in Guanacaste
November 2, 2009 7:45 AM

There is another case of a missing man in Guanacaste. The latest to be listed as missing is Michael George Dixon, 33. He was seen last Oct. 19, and the Judicial Investigating Organization issued a bulletin this week. He was staying at the Villas Macondo Hotel in Tamarindo. An investigation is just being started, and his brother, David, was reported to be flying in from the United Kingdoms.

It's a 5 percent hike for Jan. 1
November 2, 2009 7:45 AM

Costa Ricans who work at the minimum wage will get a 5 percent increase starting Jan. 1.

Luxury housing law likely to figure in political campaign
October 30, 2009 4:31 AM

Foreign owners of property here and Costa Ricans are just waking up to the fact that the luxury home tax will take a bite out of their wallet this Christmas season.

A.M. Costa Rica thinks luxury housing tax should be voided
October 29, 2009 4:58 AM

The Sala IV should void this law, and legislative staffers should go back to the drawing board . . . after passing an intelligence test.

We used to call them zip guns
October 28, 2009 4:16 AM

But not everyone who wants a weapon can get one, so homemade guns frequently are found by police. Usually it is the younger set who fabricate the weapon from some pipes and spare metal parts.

Customer service needs to be cultivated
October 27, 2009 3:56 AM

Having a business — despite the effort, paperwork and bureaucracy — can certainly pay off. A small entrepreneur may dream about earning so much success that the local business goes global and becomes a landmark around the world.

A very predictable tragedy
October 26, 2009 4:23 AM

Television commentators are calling it the "Crónica de una muerte anunciada." But in this case there are five deaths. The allusion is to the 1981 Gabriel García Marquéz book, but the reference could also be to the "The Bridge of San Luis Rey." There was no fiction Thursday morning when a dilapidated bridge collapsed and a bus load of Turrubares residents were dumped into the Río Grande de Tárcoles. An heroic response by victims, the Cruz Roja, firemen and other officials managed to bring most of the passengers ashore alive.

Holiday are nearly upon us
October 23, 2009 3:53 AM

The country is approaching the best season of the year. Not only is Halloween gaining a bigger foothold here, but so is Thanksgiving. And then there is Christmas, all with a veneer of the presidential election campaign. The climax is the Feb. 7 national elections, which also happens to be Superbowl Sunday.

Archaic law here reduces press freedom, report says
October 22, 2009 4:40 AM

Costa Rica fell from 22nd to 30 in international press freedom rankings in an index released by Reporters without Borders Tuesday.

Paper company to invest in the Osa
October 22, 2009 4:39 AM

Neenah Paper said Tuesday that it will help Friends of the Osa and the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin to reforest a conservation property in Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula, one of the most biologically diverse regions in the world.

Everyone is confused by new luxury housing tax law
October 21, 2009 3:55 AM

Expats can be forgiven if they are confused by the new luxury tax on homes. Even some Costa Ricans who participated in drawing up the law are confused, too.

Internet is great for your brain, study says
October 21, 2009 3:55 AM

Editors always knew that A.M. Costa Rica readers were brainy, but now U.S. scientists can say why. It turns out that middle-aged and older adults with little Internet experience were able to trigger key centers in the brain that control decision-making and complex reasoning after just one week of surfing the Web, according to a new study.

What is happening to the dollar?
October 20, 2009 2:33 AM

U.S. expats on fixed incomes are watching the dollar exchange rate nervously. Compared to the colon, the U.S. dollar has peeled off 2.5 percent of its value since Sept.23, according to figures provided by the Banco Central de Costa Rica.

A million dollar investment in Chinatown
October 20, 2009 2:32 AM

Most major cities have one, so San José is moving forward with the creation of a Barrio Chino or Chinatown.

Some key prehistoric areas grappling with progress
October 19, 2009 4:05 AM

Despite its size Costa Rica, has not been well explored archaeologically. Now important prehistorical sites are endangered by large-scale cultivation and rural activity.

Washington insider named new ambassado
October 19, 2009 4:03 AM

The wife of a man who gave a key endorsement to Barack Obama has been rewarded with the post of ambassador to Costa Rica.

Water will cost a bit more to pay for hydrants
October 16, 2009 4:25 AM

Costa Rica firemen say that about 31 percent of the country's hydrants are in terrible shape. That usually means they cannot be turned on in an emergency or that when they are no water comes out.

RACSA appears to have overspent
October 16, 2009 4:24 AM

Radiográfica Costarricense S.A., the Internet company, had a bad year in 2008, and suffered a loss of $1.7 million, according to a report from the Contraloría de la República.

We have the only veggie spider
October 15, 2009 4:33 AM

There are approximately 40,000 species of spiders in the world, all of which have been thought to be strict predators that feed on insects or other animals. Now, scientists have found that a small Central American jumping spider has a uniquely different diet: the species Bagheera kiplingi feeds predominantly on plant food.

Long prison sentences draw applause
October 15, 2009 4:32 AM

You know you have done something bad when the courtroom erupts in applause after judges sentence you to nearly 200 years in prison. That's what happened in the Tribunal de Juicio de Pavas when a three-judge panel sentenced Carlos Mena Jiménez to 193 years and Christian Mora Cantillano to 179 years. They were convicted of the horrific robbery, abduction, murder and rapes of three employees of the Jazz Casino in the White House Hotel in San Antonio de Escazú.

20 questions on the luxury home tax
October 14, 2009 4:27 AM

A new story Monday about the tax on luxury homes that went into effect Oct. 1 has generated lots of questions. Not all of them are answered easily. Here are 20.

Unhappiness with U.S. growing over radar base
October 14, 2009 4:26 AM

Slowly a United States decision to reopen a radar base on a mountainside in Nandayure and to sponsor a training site for Costa Rican coast guardsmen is attracting the interest of critics of Washington.

Earthquake preparedness is lacking
October 13, 2009 4:17 AM

Even though it is common knowledge that Costa Rica is a seismically active country, not everybody knows that it is the third country in the world with the highest seismic activity. In fact, it is the most seismic nation in Central America. One would expect that in a country ranking among the first earthquake-prone nations, its government and population would be decently prepared. However, Costa Rica might also be among the least prepared countries to deal with seismic disasters, which directly threatens not only its citizens but also its growing Expat community.

Some expats about to be blindsided by new luxury tax
October 13, 2009 4:17 AM

Most expats who own what the government categorizes as a luxury home probably are unaware that they are subject to a special tax Jan. 1.

Another police scandal
October 12, 2009 4:37 AM

In a startling allegation against policemen in Cartago, prosecutors say that 11 officers doctored a murder scene to protect two other officers who now face investigation for murder and attempted murder.

Autopista del Sol allowed to resume some work
October 12, 2009 4:37 AM

The nation's environmental tribunal is letting Autopista del Sol resume work on the unfinished stretch of the San José-Caldera highway, but it still is prohibiting constructions at key points such as those likely to affect the Barva aquifer and some 20 rivers and streams along the route.

Election season kicked off
October 9, 2009 4:10 AM

The Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones officially opened the campaign for national elections Wednesday and urged all citizens who are on the rolls to show up and vote Feb. 7.

Chinatown plan advancing
October 8, 2009 4:27 AM

The mayor of the Chinese capital Beijing will be visiting San José Oct. 17, according to Mayor Johnny Araya, who has been promoting relations with the People's Republic for three years.

More artist tackle historic buildings
October 8, 2009 4:26 AM

The Escuela Casa del Artista has another exposition of works created by the students there. This time the topic is significant buildings in the Central Valley.

What does Calderón verdict mean to expats?
October 7, 2009 3:57 AM

What is the effect of the verdict in the Caso Fischel for expats? That was a question posed by a reader Monday afternoon. Does the decision, if upheld by an appeals court, mean that public officials and those in the public sphere will be less likely to do corrupt acts. Or will the decision just mean such future crooks will just be more careful.

Calderón and others convicted
October 6, 2009 3:53 AM

A trial panel convicted former president Rafael Ángel Calderón Fournier, Eliseo Vargas Garcia and Wálter Reiche Fischel this afternoon of taking public money in the climax of the 10-month-long so called Caso Fischel.

The place called La Carpio
October 6, 2009 3:52 AM

Most Costa Ricans know about La Carpio, a gritty slum en route to a dump with the same name. La Caprio is the dark side of Costa Rican society. Located physically not far from the upscale Cariari subdivision, the two communities are light years in spirit. Correspondent Dennis Rogers spent time there to bring readers a report that begins on Page 3 today. He profiles a community of from 30,000 to 50,000 that strains the country's social net.

Arias administration puts forth a gambling tax bill
October 5, 2009 4:05 AM

The executive branch will sent legislators a bill to regulate gambling, casinos and games of chance in a few days, said Roberto Thompson, a vice minister of the Presidencia. The bill, as described by government sources, is likely to have a major impact on the gambling industry and society in general.

What to do with 600 families?
October 5, 2009 4:05 AM

More than 600 families live on what is now the Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Ostional on the Pacific coast, and the Sala IV constitutional court has ordered that they leave by January.

Some embassy guests stay 15 years!
October 2, 2009 4:25 AM

José Manuel Zelaya is spending his second week in the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa, but he has a long way to go to top the record of those who would hang out in embassies to avoid the local government.

Juan Santamaría gets more illumination
October 1, 2009 4:29 AM

New approach lights are functioning at the San Jose airport. The transport ministry spent $2.6 million to purchase the system from the German firm Siemens. These lights assist in landing under low-visibility conditions.

Heredia hospital completion expected in January
September 30, 2009 4:23 AM

The new Heredia hospital will be inaugurated during the third week of January, a lawmaker announced Monday.

Garbage baskets come in all types
September 30, 2009 4:22 AM

What to do when dogs and garbage, come together? Build a basket to keep the former from the latter.

Those working conditions for expats
September 29, 2009 4:22 AM

Common employment for expats or foreigners looking for a temporary Costa Rican experience include English teaching, sales and customer service at sportsbooks, casinos, other call centers and real estate firms. Jobs in tourism are the fewest, and they usually require applicants to speak fluent Spanish. In addition, some expats or foreigners seek to get hired or, if popular enough, get requested for cultural activities, especially in the music scene.

Unmanned sub will run down drug smugglers
September 29, 2009 4:21 AM

The U.S. Navy is testing an unmanned submarine that can maintain surveillance of key stretches of water. It may be coming soon to an ocean near you.

Environmental tribunal freezes Caldera highway work
September 28, 2009 4:11 AM

The nation's environmental court has frozen construction on much of the new highway from Ciudad Colón to Orotina. This is the much-awaited Autopista del Sol that will dramatically cut travel time from the Central Valley to the central Pacific beaches.

Those lovely old homes pose for artists
September 28, 2009 4:10 AM

No one needs an artist's eye to find and appreciate historical buildings in Costa Rica. The country is full of them, and some even have been designated as historical landmarks.

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