Daily Archives: June 17, 2014

ABOUT COSTA RICA FROM THE EYES OF A TICO

Costa Rica is a small country located in Central America with a population of around 4.7 million with 7 provinces and a lot of beautiful places to visit. It’s a very popular country for tourists to come visit when they want to be in the heat, relax at the beach and see nature. But what most tourists don’t see is what the country is like, so read on to learn all about Costa Rica, from the eyes of a Tico!

I am proud to say that I am Costarican even though I know that we have a lot of things to improve. But every time I watch the news or read about attacks, terrorism or nuclear weapons, I say to myself that I am lucky to live in a country like this.

We might not have super fast Internet speed like South Korea, the USA infrastructure or huge cities, but we don’t have to worry about paying taxes to finance an army or paying deep student loans since Costa Rican education is not as expensive as other countries.

The education in Costa Rica is for free and mandatory at the age of 6, kids starts kindergarten, then elementary school for 6 years, and finally to high school for 5 years. After you graduate from high school you can apply to go to a public university. Most of the Costaricans go to public universities since they are nearly for free and most of the times you get scholarships. The education level here is very good, people go to NASA and work for huge companies that move here because of the quality of our education.

My brother is a doctor and he works for the government. Every time I go to the EBAIS (that’s how we call the local clinics), I feel so lucky because we get all the medication and tests for free as we pay 9.17% tax out of our salaries for health insurance. I am very happy with our medical system. Sometimes you have to have a little bit of patience but you do receive excellent service.

Our economy is not as good as our beaches but we are number 11 in Latin America and like I mentioned before, several companies are moving to Costa Rica to open their operation centers such as: P&G, Amazon, HP, IBM, Microsoft, Bank of America and many more.

The Costa Rican minimum salary is 270 000 colones (Around $540) a month which depends on your education. For example, a doctor can make a base salary of $2,000 a month and a janitor around $600 but thanks to all the offshore companies, salaries are getting better. If you work for Amazon, the minimum you can make is $800 a month.

I know it doesn’t sound like $85,000 a year but if you compare it with our cost of living it makes sense. I pay $400 a month for my apartment rent which is average for the coast. In the city, you can rent a house for $300 a month.

I love beer and it is an excellent economy indicator because the price in the supermarket is around $1 and $2 in a bar. The price of gasoline is high compared to the US, a liter cost around 700 colones (around $5.3 a gallon) but prices are changing constantly.

Just like any country you can find poor people and wealthy people but on average we have a good life. We don’t have that much money to spend on new things but we do what we can to have quality time. It is common for people to live well into their 90’s and 100’s here.

Nowadays it is normal to find people from all over the world living in Costa Rica. I went to the mall the other day and I thought I was in the states as everyone was gringo and Chinese people own 90% of all the minimarkets. But I love the diversity here, you can have a Chinese New Year celebration and a Thanksgiving dinner. I love food so every celebration is more than welcome for me!

Most of the Costarican are Catholics (80%) but you can find big groups of Christians, Jews, Mormons and any other kind of religion here, we respect everyone’s beliefs.

We are a democratic country so we chose a new president every 4 years. The main political groups are Liberación Nacional and PAC.

Our main transportation system is the bus system. It needs a bit more work but if you have patience you can go to almost anywhere in the country and it is very cheap.

But our biggest treasure of all is our nature, 25% of the territory is protected and we shelter almost 6% of the world’s biodiversity which is not bad for a country that covers only 0.03% of the world. So if you are looking for rainforests, jungles, black and white sand beaches, volcanoes, rivers, or any kind of flora and fauna, this is the right place. I’d probably have to write a hundred different posts just on the types of birds that are here!

Quality time and life: that’s the most important thing you can have, you don’t need to have too much in order to have a quality life. Costa Rica has given me so much, every day I learn something new. Ticos (nickname of costaricans) are very nice people, we love to talk to people even if we don’t know them and we try to help as much as we can. We respect laws but we are not afraid of the police or the government.

This post was about Costa Rica through the eyes of a Costarican and I may be missing some more points but feel free to ask me whatever you want in the comment section and you will get a Tico point of view!

Originally posted by  on MyTanFeet

Categories: Costa Rica Life Experience, News, Travel | Leave a comment

The United States Embassy with Costa Rica Presents

The United States Embassy with Costa Rica Presents:
An International Book Fair Will be Held on August 22-31, 2014

If you are an American ex-pat and your are an author, a lecturer, a sculptor, musician, artist or photographer, here is your opportunity to be involved in an International Book Fair sponsored by the Costa Rica Ministry de Culture and The United States Embassy in Pavas. Each year a host country is chosen to represent their country. This year, The United States of America has been chosen. As a result The Embassy is inviting anyone who is an American and lives in Costa Rica, who has a hand in the Arts to be a participant. The even will be held in San Jose and run for ten days. The Embassy will have a booth area 50’X 50’which will be located in the middle of the symposiums, name, address or email address.

Last year the Host country was Mexico. Over 65,000 attendees visited the Cultural fair. The US Embassy is looking for people who want to attend and participate in this very unique Book Fair. It will be staffed by authors, arious writers, Publishers, photographers, musicians and a host of other people involved in the many arts represented by American Ex-Pats living here in Costa Rica. Everyone will be considered and selling your books, photos, art pieces and so forth is encouraged. Each person will have their own individual exhibit and booth. Feel free to send your name, email address and description of what your art is for consideration of a wonderful and golden opportunity to exhibit and sell your works of art.

The United States Embassy
Ligia Alpizar – IRC Director
Public Affairs Section
U.S. Embassy San José, Costa Rica
Ph: (506) 2519-2022
Fax: (506) 2232-7944

Categories: Festivals & Holidays, News | Leave a comment

Have a property to rent in Costa Rica?

I am starting a properties for rent (long term or short term) page on my website. Send me the details of your rental to info@bestofcostarica.net and I will post it on our blog (one post)  and list it on our bestofcostaricas.net page for 1 month at $25. $15 of that will be added to the Charity fund.  The money in that fund will get distributed to a charity voted on by my readers each month.We have a world wide viewership. We will push your listing to our facebook page when we do your blog posting, that has almost 6K likes from people around the world and some posts get upwards of 50K views. Here is a screen shot of the last message we pushed on Facebook. We do have plans available for more views on Facebook. Ask us for our rates.

65K served

Posting your listing to our page is on a 1st come 1st serve basis. 1st to pay and get us information will be at the top of the page.  We have other available pricing to keep your listing above everyone else. You may send us a detailed description of no more than 300 words, and upto 8 pictures. We will adjust size of pictures as needed on the page. Should be no larger than 425×285 pixels. Which is the size of the For Rent image above.  Payment is only accepted by US paypal.

If this goes well I will also add a For Sale page as well with a Flat advertising fee per month.

Pura Vida!

 

Categories: Travel | Leave a comment

Tomás the Cat needs a home before the end of June!

This was posted on Facebook. See if we can’t help her out with this! 
32 mins · 

Hi, I am Tomás, and I need a new home by the end of June. I was supposed to go to a new home but there are too many cats there already and I wouldn’t like that. I am little, 6 pounds and I prefer to be the only cat but a dog is ok. If you can open your home to me, I can teach you what I like, meaning I will…., I like to snuggle at night and roam around in the daytime. I don’t know how to purr tho I try, maybe you can help me. Please? 6073 2757

Pura Vida!

Categories: Charity, Pets | Leave a comment

Cost of living up date days 11 – 16

So here we are at day 16 and budget is almost gone! :-( Lets see how we end up at the end of the month and see what we have learned from my mistakes while living in Costa Rica.

Most of the days were pretty easy and simple. Hang out at the house. Life is pretty simple and easy here in Costa Rica. I caught up on the current season of Orange is the New Black #OITNB. Started watching Breaking Bad. Pretty good show. You have to love a psychopathic chemistry teacher with nothing to lose. He can cook up some trouble no doubt!

Day 9 Paid all the monthly bills finally! Did a lot of running around.

Day 10 had lunch At Kay’s Gringo Postres. As you can tell we like to eat there a lot. The food is good, prices reasonable, but the company is usually amazing. Its like Cheers in Atenas, just no booze! Its where everyone knows you name!!! Well the new owners are working on it, but Kay let me tell you she is one sharp lady! We call her mom!

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This was the special that day. Yummy!!! You get all this plus the dessert for 3,500 colones or $6.31

 

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Again very yummy home made cheese cake! Still a little on the small side for my taste, but hell its FREE!!!!!!!!

 

Denise got a garden salad with an order of bacon! We love the bacon here!!!!

Day 11 Didn’t really do much just hung out. I did finally have to put diesel in the car! I think even with all the trips we make to either Santa Ana or Escazu I only fill up once a month maybe 2x. Love my Toyota Furtuner.

Day 12 It was time to go to church! Well not that kind of church. Greggo’s Bar has a deal on Thursdays certain things you drink if you drink a min of 5 next week when you come in you get that number for FREE so its like a delayed BOGO deal on beer and some liquors! It is only Thursday and you have to redeem the next week or it is lost. Here was our meal at Greggo’s.

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Oh and we had Ceviche, but I forgot to take a picture of it. Sorry! Consider my hand smacked! Steak was tasty. It was a little tough this night, but still not bad at all.

Day 13 Yep you guess it had lunch at Kay’s again. Normal stuff this time. Just salads and drinks. Again good lunch! We did go to a new place for dinner El Tronco and here is what we go for dinner. Everyone should eat here! Good food. Review will be coming. I know I owe you guys a lot of reviews! I will get them out I promise.

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Day 14 was a do nothing day. I get a lot of those. Well I didn’t do nothing. Did lots of stuff around the house. Played with the dogs, went swimming, worked out. I cooked. We did eat after all. :-) If you want to see the food I cook you need to let me know. I’m not going to take the time to post it if you don’t want to see it. So drop me a comment on this post and tell me you want to see my cooking. :)

Day 15 I got to have Fathers day dinner at one of my favorite places! La Trocha!!! I will review them the next time we go. I love their food and the owners are wonderful. I am proud of myself we almost had a conversation in Spanish with them. The owner/chef doesn’t speak English and with our limited Spanish we actually had a conversation!!!!! Yea us! Every day we get better! Denise more than me, but we did it! Here is what we had:

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Its hard to tell but that is a hell of a lot of food. If you go here and you eat there is no way you will go home hungry! We love all their pasta’s and steaks.

Day 16 We decided to try a different place for lunch today. Again I will review it in another post, but here is the food we had for the price listed on our budget.

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Since we were out and we were in the area I did stop at PriceSmart. I got very little there. I mainly went in for dog good. This is what I come out with. You can never just go in and get the one thing you need. You always have to find more! Well I do anyway.

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I got the 50lb bag of Kirkland dog food. So now I am set for dog food for a while. I had just ran out of this one. Remember I use it and the Super Perro just in case I can’t find one or the other. So I mix them. We did go in for treats as I’m running low, but guess what. NONE!!! No dog treats at all. No biscuits, not cookies nothing! This is why I buy so much when I do buy. You never know when it is going to be there or not. So you buy a few. I still have some left, but I’m going to start cutting them in 1/2 or else I may run out before Monday when I go back again or they may not have them yet again. So we will see.

Here is what the budget looks like. Yep day 16 and I have gone over my $2K budget. We can learn from this and we will keep going and see where I end up at the end of the month. Thank we can analyze it and see where I can do better. Thanks for reading and drop me a comment or two!

Don’t forget to check out our Amazon Page, and our Cafe Press page. Almost all our profits after expenses have been paid go to local Charties here in Costa Rica. So buy some stuff would ya!!!!! Also don’t forget to vote on which charity will get the money we raise. We have only raised like $12 so far. So that $24 with my matching donation. We need more people to buy more stuff! Come on help us out! Lets buy the stuff we want or need and at the same time help charity! The poll is at the top of the page. Vote and buy today!!!!!

Day 11 thru 16

 

Pura Vida!

 

Categories: Costa Rica Life Experience, Food, Restaurant Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Five US tourists survive after fire sinks yacht sailing from Los Sueños

Five US tourists survive after fire sinks yacht sailing from Los Sueños (via http://insidecostarica.com)

What is this? June 17th, 2014 (InsideCostaRica.com) Five tourists from the United States were able to escape the sinking of a 40-foot sportfishing yacht after the vessel caught fire and sank while at sea yesterday morning.   The boat, an American-flagged

vessel named “Foxy Lady,” was sailing about four kilometers off the shores of Herradura after departing from the Los Sueños marina when the fire broke out.

Five passengers were on board, including the owner and captain of the vessel, Peter Wishney and his wife.  All of the passengers were U.S. citizens.

Eduardo Lizano, a dock manager at Los Sueños, said the tourists had planned to go sportfishing.

The emergency began at 8:20 a.m. yesterday morning, when Wishney reported to the marina that he was having engine problems.  After requesting assistance, he added that there was also a small fire below deck, which he believed could be controlled.

Apparently, at some point it became evident that the fire could not be controlled and all of the passengers were evacuated with the assistance of an emergency vessel sent by the Coast Guard from the port of Caldera, which also sent a naval fire extinguishing unit to attempt to put out the blaze.

Despite their efforts, the fire eventually consumed the vessel, sinking it.

Back on land, the passengers were taken by ambulance to a private medical center.  All were reported in stable condition.

Authorities said the fire is believed to have started in a bedroom on the vessel, adding that a full investigation would not be possible as the vessel had sunk.

Continue reading

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Banco Popular Selling Homes at 50% Discount All Over Costa Rica

Banco Popular Selling Homes at 50% Discount All Over Costa Rica

Banco Popular Selling Homes at 50% Discount All Over Costa Rica

The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – The People’s Bank and Community Development announced it will sell 775 properties across the country, which will have attractive financing up to 50% off.

The supply of houses and lots will have alternative financing up to 100% of its value with terms ranging up to 30 years to repay.

Milagro Hernandez, head of the Popular Credit Bank and Community Development, said that these properties allow families to buy a property at a good price with excellent financing options.

Those interested in one of these properties may obtain further information at their web site or in any of the 100 banks nationwide.

The Costa Rica News (TCRN)

San Jose, Costa Rica

Categories: Banking, Finance, News | Leave a comment

Oh my God to Cute not to Share

Pura Vida!

 

Categories: Travel, YouTube | Leave a comment

Photo’s of the day

 

 

580296_10200733566926789_903383603_nYes many photo’s today! I have decided that today is food day! I guess I’m just hungry! So lets start of with some starters shall we! All food was purchased and consumed here in Costa Rica!!!! Enjoy!

 

 

 

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Now how about some Salads!

10363369_10202353032732422_3354611962999825591_n ok salad

 

good salad 2 good salad

 

 

Now on to some Entree’s!

934909_10200243691320205_839945112_n 941430_10200243694720290_1041541018_n 1001461_10200243688360131_749372504_n 10373748_10202353003411689_4446017627787642786_n 10408651_10202353011051880_3135877137668671835_n 10414585_10202353011211884_809757453786349602_n 10426331_10202353045652745_7854614976890594102_n tico eggs benedict

 

No meal is ever complete without a dessert!!!!!!

10462775_10202353005331737_3633428938629610844_n tico french toast

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Whoever says all you get in Costa Rica is beans and rice has never really eaten in Costa Rica! You should come to visit for the food alone!!!!

Pura Vida!

 

 

 

Categories: Food, Photo | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Costa Rica’s president says no plans for corruption probe

Costa Rica’s president says no plans for corruption probe

NEW YORK Mon Jun 16, 2014 6:24pm BST

Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis poses before an interview in New York June 13, 2014. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis poses before an interview in New York June 13, 2014. CREDIT: REUTERS/SHANNON STAPLETON

 

(Reuters) – Costa Rica’s new president, Luis Guillermo Solis, who won a landslide victory in April after campaigning against poverty and corruption, said in an interview on Friday there are no plans to open a formal investigation into his predecessor’s tenure.

Instead, Solis said he will tell the nation what he has discovered about the government’s operations during his first 100 days in office. He took office on May 8.

Solis, the centre-left academic who never before held elected office, swept into power on April 6 by tapping into public anger at rising inequality and government corruption scandals. The address to Costa Rica’s roughly 4 million citizens should occur around Aug. 15.

The incumbent Laura Chinchilla sparked outrage by accepting flights on a private jet to Peru and Venezuela despite laws barring public officials from accepting sizeable gifts. Her first finance minister resigned in a tax evasion scandal.

Asked if he would launch an investigation into corruption allegations of the prior administration, Solis said: “Not opening a probe on my predecessor, but I do want on the 100th day of my administration to issue a state of the union address and let the people of Costa Rica know what I found.”

“I think it is honest. I think it requires a lot of care so that I don’t act arbitrarily, but it is necessary to know exactly what are the things that we are facing. What are the challenges that I find,” he said in an interview.

Solis was finishing up a multi-city visit to the United States, meeting with investors and officials to try and drum up investment to help fuel improvements in the Central American country.

The coffee-producing tourist haven has seen unemployment steadily rise alongside a public debt burden that at the start of the year was over 50 percent of gross domestic product.

“My government comes at a time when we have an accumulated amount of issues that are pending in the agenda. Dealing with infrastructure, with education, with energy, with security … if we do that and we do it very transparently it is going to be easy to move on from there,” he said.

Infrastructure has suffered from under-investment, while average growth of 4.3 percent per year since 2000 has failed to dent a poverty rate of about 20 percent.

The International Monetary Fund has Costa Rica’s gross domestic product growing at 3.8 percent versus 2.5 percent for the Latin America/Caribbean region this year.

The projection was given in April, around the time of his election and a time when technology powerhouse Intel, struggling with a shrinking personal computer market, announced 1,500 job cuts in Costa Rica. Intel’s output from Costa Rica accounted for roughly 20 percent of the country’s exports.

Solis, who worked in Costa Rica’s Foreign Ministry, said he would stick to the IMF’s projections, even with the layoffs at Intel as well as Bank of America’s decision to pull out of the country.

The sting of the job losses was soothed slightly by Intel’s announcement this week that it would open a “Mega Laboratory” for testing new products in Costa Rica and add back a fraction of the positions.

It might take a year for the economy to make up for those lost jobs, he said.

Addressing infrastructure deficiencies and high electricity costs may take longer, but Solis said the first decrees he has signed in the first month in office have been focused on these two areas.

Road and bridge repairs, and a commitment to building an electric train linking principal cities of Costa Rica’s central plateau are among his priorities.

“And regarding electricity costs, which again are a challenge for us, in the next few weeks I am going to join an effort to reduce them,” he said, referring to a review of taxes, how costs are calculated and how tariffs are established by the regulatory services.

On taxes, where he famously said there would be no new ones levied for at least two years, he reiterated better collection where evasion was “scandalous” and corruption needed to be stopped.

“The first transition we want to accomplish is from the sales tax (13 percent)… into a VAT (Value Added Tax), which if successful and I think it will be, will allow us to do the regulation and controlling of evasion.”

 

(Reporting by Daniel Bases; Editing by Dave Gregario, Bernard Orr)

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Joke of the Day

Little Johnny comes downstairs crying. His mother asked, “What’s the matter now?” “Dad was hanging pictures, and just hit his thumb with hammer,” said little Johnny through his tears. “That’s not so serious,” soothed his mother. “I know you are upset, but a big boy like you shouldn’t cry at something like that. Why didn’t you just laugh? “I did!” sobbed Johnny.

Pura Vida!

 

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Youtube video of the day

Pura Vida!

 

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Food Chick Tip of the day

Today’s Chick Tip….A super easy summer salad on this hot June day! Cucumber and Roasted Red Pepper strips with fresh basil. Combine with rice wine vinegar and salt and pepper to taste for a great side dish or snack.

BONUS TIP – keep a jar of roasted red peppers on hand year round for a great tasting addition to salads and pastas!

Check out her website The Food Chick

Pura Vida!

 

 

Categories: Food, Food Chick, Travel | Leave a comment

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