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
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 appear to think faster
and more efficiently due to a different form of cerebral control.
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.
The legislature's approval of shore leave for
U.S. Navy and Coast Guard crews has galvanized the left and stoked
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.
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
Like after many other school crimes
elsewhere, the shooting of a school director Thursday has produced a
lot of hand wringing.
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
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
Bilingual tourist police are being stationed
at Juan Santamaría airport to welcome tourists and give them
some security tips.
Scientists have a puzzle on their hands. Why
did the normally yellow water of the Río Sucio suddenly turn
Getting to the American Colony Committee July
4th bash Sunday is easier, thanks to a dynamite Web site.
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.
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
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.
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.
The Luis Milanes cases finally reaches a
courtroom Thursday, the day a preliminary hearing is scheduled.
Defensoría files appeal against civil
The Defensoría de los Habitantes filed a constitutional appeal
Thursday to derail a proposed referendum on civil unions between
persons of the same sex.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!"
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.
Nail art is not exclusively Latin, but
Central and South American women are known for their devotion to beauty.
The security ministry, which seeks to fight
human trafficking, seems to harbor — unknown to officials — a
trafficking ring of its own.
More than 1,000 skateboarders are expected to
take to the San José streets June 20 to celebrate the
international day of their sport.
Internet social networking accelerates life
in the 21st century. It also proposes challenges to everyone doing
business in Costa Rica.
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, which have been an abstract
meteorological concept, became all too real for the central Pacific
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.
A telenovela or novela is a Spanish language
soap opera. Telenovelas seem to be the opiate of the masses in Latin
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.
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.
Another earthquake rocked Costa Ricans Monday
night, the latest in a series of tremors.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The draconian traffic law will not be changed
easily, even though the former group of legislative deputies appeared
ready to pass it.
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.
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.
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.
The U.S. Supreme Court has validated the
parental right of a father in Chile whose wife took their son to the
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.
Taxi drivers must provide booster seats for
children, the Sala IV constitutional court has ruled.
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.
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.
A water park that can handle 10,000 persons a
day is being constructed in Bagaces, Guanacaste.
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
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.
The 50th annual July 4 picnic will be on July
4 this year, even though the date is a Sunday.
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 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.
A large number of battery casings have
appeared on the banks of the Río Tibás at a site near San
Isidro de Heredia.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
President Óscar Arias Sánchez
defined his administration in his final state of the nation address
Saturday. But there was little specifically for expats.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As his second term as president approaches
its end, Óscar Arias Sánchez is hustling to enlarge his
place in the history books.
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.
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.
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.
A little known achievement of the
Óscar Arias Sánchez administration is upgrading some of
the country's secondary airports.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
"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 only want the most competent captains to
be seeking business on our new page.
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 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.
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
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
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 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
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.
The problems still continue because Amnet,
the cable television and Internet provider, inexplicably abandoned its
franchise in the middle of San José last year.
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.
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 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
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.
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.
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.
Here are some Spanish words and phrases to
help you discuss the holiday with Costa Rican friends.
President Óscar Arias Sánchez,
apparently without outside encouragement, has urged the new leftist
president of Uruguay to disband the military there.
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
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.
The developer of a troubled Jacó condo
and hotel project is suing its lenders and seeks to force them into
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.
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.
Just like other tourist operations, the
country's museums are feeling the pinch from fewer visitors.
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
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Playas del Coco residents have turned an
eyesore wall into a work of art.
Forget about any governmental business during
Holy Week. Central government officials have declared the entire week
to be a vacation.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
There is a much quoted phrase in Costa Rica
between lawyers. Everything legal is not always right and everything
right is not always legal.
Successful victims in the action against
Oswaldo Villalobos Camacho are sharing $7,804,995.79 in a
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.
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.
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.
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.
The case of Coopemex is beginning to look a
lot like Banco Elca, which was taken over by regulators in 2004.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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
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.
We give you the words and phrases to handle
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
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
The Patronato Nacional de la Infancia managed
to snag the personal data and photos of some 800 Costa Ricans by
promising them fame.
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.
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 won the nation's presidency
Sunday with a landslide victory in which she prevailed in each of the
country's seven provinces.
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.
Costa Rican officials are wrestling tonight
with how juvenile offenders should be treated after two teens have been
detained as repeat hired gunmen.
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 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.”
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.
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.
Friday as a big day at Parque Nacional Manuel
Antonio, the crown jewel of the country's park system.
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.
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.
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.
Now everyone can keep an eye on Volcán
Turrialba, the mountain that has become the center of attention by
geologists and Central Valley residents.
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
Another U.S. child custody case is playing
itself out in a Costa Rican court, and this one has some twists.
Everyone is going to want to take a trip on
the new Autopista del Sol that will be inaugurated by central
government officials Wednesday.
When Costa Ricans go to the polls in less
than two weeks, they face a clear choice, from left to right.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mobile telephone customers might see new
players in the industry by September, if the plans of the regulating
agency work out.
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.
"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."
In an updated versions of the lottery scam,
Internet spammers are using the U.S. green card lottery as a ploy to
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.
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.
A fake homebuyer is breaking new ground with
a unique variation of the advanced fee scam.
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
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.
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
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.
More than 6,000 earthquakes took place in
Costa Rica during 2009, but most were not felt by humans.
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.
The family of a missing British tourist has
established a $10,000 reward for information leading to his safe return.
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.
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.
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.
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
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,
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
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
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
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.
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.
The plane left without two U.S. female
tourists who now stand accused of drug trafficking.
Real estate developers who offer proposed
projects or projects in development must now comply with strict rules
for the protection of consumers.
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.
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.
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
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
The Museo Nacional inaugurates a new exhibit
tonight that features four of the cities neighborhoods, called barrios
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 Rodrigo Carazo Odio will
receive a state funeral with services at 3:30 p.m. at the Catedral
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Bandits who presented themselves as judicial
police raided an apartment complex in Guachipelín de
Escazú Friday and took computers, cell phones and money.
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.
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 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.
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.
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
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.
Expats can be pardoned for reciting the line
made famous by a successful businessman in "A Christmas Carol":
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.
Another U.S. father was in Costa Rica last
week seeking a son for whom he has full custody.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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 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.
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.
Scamsters in Costa Rica are again at work
defrauding U.S. citizens with the advance fee lottery trap.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The economics ministry's competition agency
has launched an investigation of two state banks for what is being
described as illegal linked sales.
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.
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 explore its options as it
considers switching to a digital television system.
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.
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.
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
Agents caught up with a suspect Tuesday in
the murder of university student, and a Judicial investigator died in
the subsequent shootout.
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.
A survey of mostly Asian groceries have
turned up a number of failures to adhere to the country's labeling and
Limón creole as a language was
recently upgraded to “definitely endangered” from “vulnerable,”
according to the U. N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural
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.
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
Costa Ricans who work at the minimum wage
will get a 5 percent increase starting Jan. 1.
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.
The Sala IV should void this law, and
legislative staffers should go back to the drawing board . . . after
passing an intelligence test.
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
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.
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.
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.
Costa Rica fell from 22nd to 30 in
international press freedom rankings in an index released by Reporters
without Borders Tuesday.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Most major cities have one, so San
José is moving forward with the creation of a Barrio Chino or
Despite its size Costa Rica, has not been
well explored archaeologically. Now important prehistorical sites are
endangered by large-scale cultivation and rural activity.
The wife of a man who gave a key endorsement
to Barack Obama has been rewarded with the post of ambassador to Costa
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
The new Heredia hospital will be inaugurated
during the third week of January, a lawmaker announced Monday.
What to do when dogs and garbage, come
together? Build a basket to keep the former from the latter.
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.
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.
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
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.