Posts Tagged With: Atenas

 
 

Photo of the day

Photo of the Day

Pura Vida!

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Sorry to say, but happy to say at the same time

My new project My Life Book has taken over my life. In a week we have already gained almost 5K members! That is great. So much of my time is now spent there I can no longer keep this up over here as well.

So Best of Costa Rica now has a presence on MLB. All blogs and other items will be posted there. This site will stay here for achive purposes, but anything new will be posted on Best of Costa Rica’s coffee house page. Please follow me over on MLB.  You will get everything you get here, but there. If you sign up before Monday you get a free lifetime membership. After Monday there is a yearly subscription fee depending on what you wish to do.

Here are two video’s for MLB. Hope you enjoy them and will join us over there. Look us up.

Hopefully I will see you there!

Pura Vida!

Categories: Costa Rica Life Experience, Food, YouTube, Photo, Facebook Posts, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Costa Rica starts imposing immigration law from 2010 as of 8/1/14

Costa Rica News – Seems that Costa Rica has finally decided to start getting imposing laws in regards to illegal immigration and visa status in the country. The $100 a month fine for over staying your visa is finally being implemented. There are also fines for hotels and landlords that are housing those that do not have legal visa status.  The question is will this have a negative effect in Costa Rica down the line?

nicaragua-costa-rica-border 1On 1st August, the Director General for Migration and Immigration announced that from that day forward, they would be imposing fines on employers with workers in either construction or the domestic service if they couldn’t prove the legal residency of these workers.

Kathya Rodríguez, the General Director of Migration, explains that the penalty range between ¢798.800 to ¢4,8 million, depending on the degree of the breach of the law.

This is how the General Migration Law is set up, which became valid on 1st March 2010. However, collection of these imposed fines was often not properly organised; firstly due to an amnesty, and then due to an extension period which lasted around 2 years.

Rodriguez and the Government’s vice-Minister, Carmen Muñoz, explained that they were awarded a new extension, but one which would apply only to employers in agricultural industries.

Businesses in this sector would have from now until the 31st January 2015 to put themselves down on a special register. Following that, they would have a year in which to work through the entire legalisation process.

Migration Police, by paying attention to complaints and general disruption, will be working to detect any sorts of irregularities surrounding migrant workers.

In the case of domestic workers they will be assessing their treatment, if they are receiving minimum wage and any bonuses or benefits they may be receiving; not just their own immigration status. The higher the number of breaches found, the higher the penalty to the employer will be.

For cases outside the agricultural sector, Migration will keep the same entry policy as normal. During past extensions, it was possible to begin the immigration process for a person who illegally entered the country; from the 1st August, this will no longer be an option.

Rodriguez said that they would only process cases where the person in question has had some sort of migration status, or where they still hold a valid passport.

First paragraph added by Dan Stevens, rest of article translated by Leah Hendre from La Nacion

Pura Vida! Well maybe not any more for some! This could get ugly.

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Driving in Costa Rica

I get this question all the time, “Should I rent a car when I come to Costa Rica to drive myself?” That is actually a very good question. When we came to Costa Rica for the 1st time in Nov. 2012 we brought a friend with us who has a son who lives here with his mother. He is familiar with the area and how they drive here so it was a win for us. He made it seem so easy. He found everywhere we wanted to go, driving was a breeze for him and it just seemed so simple.

We go home and decide this is the place for us. Our purpose of our trip was to look at houses and to live here for 10 days to see if we would like it. We did! Feb. of 2013 we moved here. Our friend Will made driving here look so easy I decided I would rent a car. We get into the airport at 8pm. Great! We head out and can’t seem to find where to go pick up our car? Damn!  We walk though the parade of taxi and bus people trying to get us to use them. We finally walk past all of those and are looking around. Nope nothing. So I call and they send a pickup for us. Great!!! Now we are on our way.

We get to the rental place and get all signed in and they get our car ready. A nice gentleman puts our bag in the car. I am talking to the rental agent and trying to get directions to our hotel. He gives me this map (I am horrible with maps!) OK, no problem he writes on it which directions to go and tells me to go out turn, than turn at the end of the road take it down past the bridge and yada yada yada giving me land marks to look for in true Tico (I didn’t know this than) fashion. Many times they use places like the Coke factory (Which has been closed for years) as a land mark, but luckily the sign is still there. Or you get turn left after the cow tied to the big mango tree. Sorry for people if that farmer ever lets that cow loose or has it for dinner. Off we go me thinking I can do this! My wife thinking, “Oh God we are never going to find this place!”. She knows me so well.

We get in the car and off we go. OK made the turn, yep I see the bridge OK going good. Wait what? That’s not a road! Keep going. Oh wait maybe it was. Nope didn’t look like one and there was no sign. Keep going, and going, and going. Nope I think we missed it.

So to make a long story shorter than it already isn’t. We arrive at 8 pm we didn’t get to a hotel (not ours) until midnight. After driving and driving and driving I stopped and asked a taxi driver to take me to the hotel. Well little did I know there were two of them with that name so he took me to the old one not the new one. I got a room and the actual hotel send a car in the morning to take us to the right hotel that was and I kid you not 10 min drive from the car rental place! Yep that was our 1st adventure in Costa Rica. I did however get to see a lot of Costa Rica that day! Back to what this article is about.

We have now been hear in Costa Rica for 1 year and 5 months! I have learned a number of things that will help you should you decide to drive yourself here in Costa Rica. Before I give you my top things you need to know one of the basic things you need is a course in defensive driving! You will need it! Here are my top things to know about driving in Costa Rica.

1. Laws we don’t need no damn laws! All traffic laws are just suggestions. You come to an intersection with a stop sign, expect someone isn’t going to stop! Be careful of any intersection no matter if it is a stop sign, a red light, a flashing yellow on their end, it doesn’t matter. Always check and be on the look out. Now should you be caught in violation of those rules you will be stopped and fined. So follow them, but know others may not!

OH and by the way this bike is for sale. :-) It is located in MD. Titan 9/11 tribute bike called “Rudy” That is Peter Reckell from Days of our lives. I bought it from him.

2. 2 Wheels Cool and 4 wheels drool! 2 wheel vehicles will come out of no where and dart in and out like nobody’s business. They will cut you off, they will come up behind you and along side of you even if there isn’t really a lane on either side. They are going to be hard to see and God help you if you are not on the look out for them.  They seem to think they rule the road and they really do not have to pay attention to any rules at all! None!

3. Honk if I’m sexy! Oh yea! They love to honk their horn! All the time and for any and all reasons. In the states we were always taught that you don’t honk unless it is an emergency! Here if you sit 2 seconds past the light changing they honk. They like your car they honk. You are going to slow for them they honk. They want you to get the hell out of their way they honk. They win the world cup match they honk like mad!!!! That one I understand! Go Tico! They didn’t win but they did one hell of a job. They see a pretty girl or a nice looking guy they honk. I think you get it they honk a lot!

This is a 2 way 2 lane highway. See a problem?

4. Leap Car anyone? If there is a car in front of you than you must pass it! It doesn’t matter if they are going the speed limit if they are in front of them they must speed up and pass any vehicle that is in front of them. I totally understand when there are slow moving cars or those big trucks that can’t do the hills. If I am going 10 km over the speed limit and you still feel the need to pass me you go right ahead. Make sure you honk at me as you pass me as well. :-)

5. Chicken anyone? Watch for vehicles coming at you in your lane!!! Again the whole passing thing. If they have to drive in the wrong lane to pass they will do so and will do so as long as they feel they can. I was driving on day and we had two lanes on our side and there was a very slow moving 18 wheeler on my right side lane so I was in the left. There was only a single lane for the oncoming traffic and it was a down hill thing. We had a double yellow line meaning neither I nor they should cross as well all know. Well good luck with that. A truck pulls out into my lane to pass the 18 wheeler and 3 other vehicles that were in front of him moving slowly down the hill. So I keep going and going and he is getting closer and closer and closer. Finally I had to speed up to pass the cars on my right so that I can swerve to the right so that he misses me by inches and he cuts off the 18 wheeler to miss me. Vehicles coming at you in your lane is not uncommon here. Either for passing or because the road on their side is so bad they need to move into your lane. Its just how it is.

6. No Hay Paso (gringo speak Do not enter one way) Yea ok sure! remember rule number 1. I can’t tell you how many times vehicles have come the wrong direction on a road just because it is quicker. I understand it to a point because sometimes in towns the way they have roads flowing just doesn’t makes sense. If it say do not enter don’t enter just because you are in a hurry.

7. Here a Tico there a Tico everywhere a Tico. Yes most don’t have cars so they walk everywhere. Day, night doesn’t matter the time you will have people walking in and along the street. Why? There are no sidewalks really. So driving at night can be a little dangerous as some like to walk in the road and wearing all black!!!!!!! Some do have reflective gear. Some don’t. People will ride bikes everywhere they go as well so they fall under rule #2 above. Now most people on bikes do wear reflective gear or have something reflective on their bike and some don’t.

8. Bark, Bark, Hissss, Moo, and Cockadoodledo. When driving please, please watch for the animals. There are a lot of street dogs that wonder the roads, or just sit in the middle of the road. That one I don’t understand as you would think as hot as it gets here the road would be so hot for them. Not sure how they can stand to do that. Most won’t chase your car. I always say if a dog barks at your car and chases you its an expat its not from here. Yes dogs, cats, cows, horses, rooster and chickens can all be found wondering the roads. Not just the back roads, but the main highways as well. So don’t think just because you are traveling a highway like 27 that there won’t be an animal or two or 20 that you must contend with!

9. Stop Police! There are a couple different types of police here, but for this article I will only speak about the Traffic police. There are usually somewhere a check point setup. If you are here for a few days or a week or living here now you will at the very least see one. If they step out and wave you down stop!!!!! You really don’t want them to come chance you and they will. They are checking to see if you are here legally. They will ask for the drivers passport and valid drivers licenses. Now a couple schools of thought on this. Most will only carry a copy of the front of their passport and the current visa stamped page. I hear that is ok. I carry my actual passport. I have heard stories of the police taking the actual passport and requiring you to pay them to get it back. I have never had that issue (*knock on wood) I also have only been stopped 1 in 15 months. The one time I was stopped my passport was in the back seat in my man purse. Yes I have a purse and I am secure enough to admit it! :-) They did let me get it, but he was willing to accept my wife’s as well who was sitting next to me. So up to you, but stop if they stop you! Only the traffic police can give you a ticket. The regular policía are for criminal activities only. The tráfico policía can only stop you for traffic violations. Now the tráfico policía are usually accompanied by regular policía at the traffic stops so that if you are in violation of immigration rules or criminal laws they can lock you up.

10. Last and by no means least! GPS systems actually do a fairly decent job here. Not wonderful, but most do work. So if you have one and it has Costa Rica maps that you can download you should do it. Get that done before you come and bring it with you. Do not leave it in plain site or anything of value when you leave your car. There is one system that I happen to love! It is called Waze! If you have a smart phone download it! You will love it. Our GPS is about 90% accurate with roads and such but Waze is 99.99% up to date at all times. Its great! If you have data on your phone it will give you live up to date traffic conditions from accidents to traffic stops! All entered by other Waze members as it happens. It really is great!

Not taken in Costa Rica, but it sums it up! :-)

So, that pretty much covers it. I am working on compiling some video’s of how they drive here and once I get that done I  will post it. I have a lot of footage to go though to pull out the specific examples so that is going to take a while to get done. I will get it done and post it here. So enjoy visiting Costa Rica and driving here. Really just use your head and be alert at all times and you should be fine. Think of it this way if you get lost what an adventure! Be sure to stop at the local places where you are lost and check things out, takes some pictures and enjoy it! Sample the local food and maybe just maybe if you don’t speak English you will run into someone who does and they will help you find your way. Even sometimes when you don’t speak Spanish you can still get a taxi driver to help you out like I did! Just pay them for their meter to take you where you need to go! That is what I did! Oh I almost forgot make sure you rental is a min. of 6 cylinders under the hood or you could be one of those slow moving cars on the road!

Pura Vida! 

 

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HOME FRIES AND FAUX POTATOES

HOME FRIES
This can be a lifesaver for a meat and potatoes man (or woman). 
Recipe from Nourished; a Cookbook for Health, Weight Loss, and Metabolic Balance.

4 slices bacon (3¼ ounce or 93 grams)
2½ cups (15½ ounces) Rutabaga Faux Potatoes (See following recipe.)
½ cup (2½ ounces) peeled and chopped onion
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the bacon in a skillet until crisp. Chop and reserve. Pour off the fat from the pan. Measure 2 tablespoons of bacon fat and return to pan. Sauté  the cooked rutabaga, stirring occasionally, until browned. Add onion to the skillet with rutabaga and sauté until the onion is soft. Add the reserved bacon and the salt and pepper and cook until heated through.

“I appreciate the potato only as protection against famine, except for that, I know of nothing more eminently tasteless.”– Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste, 1825

Makes 5 servings of ½ cup.
Per serving—Net carbohydrate: 7.8 g; Protein: 3.7 g; Fiber: 2 g; Fat: 2.9 g; Calories: 77
Total weight: 14 ounces or 398 grams
Weight per serving: 2¾ ounces or 78 grams
Preparation time: 5 minutes active; 20 total

Notes: RUTABAGA
Some sources list the carbohydrate count for rutabaga as being higher than that for turnips; some list them as being about the same. I prefer rutabaga as a potato substitute because it is a bit milder and the texture is more like potatoes, but rutabagas and turnips can be used interchangeably in most recipes.

Buy the smallest, freshest rutabagas you can find. Fresh ones will be heavy for their size and they will feel firm to the touch. Avoid ones that have been waxed to give them a longer shelf life; they may feel hard but the older they are, the stronger they will taste.

~~

RUTABAGA FAUX POTATOES (Basic Recipe)
Try this when you are missing those hash browns and home fries. They may not pass for russets, but they are very much like Yukon gold potatoes. Unless you tell them, your guests may be convinced that they are eating potatoes.

3 small rutabagas (about 1¼ pounds total)
2 walnuts in the shell
1 slice of lemon with peel, optional
Salt and pepper to taste
Sweetener, if needed

Peel the rutabaga and dice into ½- to 1-inch cubes. Simmer for 10 minutes in a generous amount of water to which you have added salt and pepper and the 2 whole walnuts. Change the water if desired, add the lemon, if using, and continue to cook for 10 to 15 minutes more or until fork tender. Drain well. Discard walnuts and lemon. Return the rutabaga to the pan on low heat and stir a minute or two longer to dry. Taste the rutabaga and if it is bitter, sprinkle with a small amount of sugar substitute. Use like potatoes in soups or chowders or to make faux potato salad or Home Fries. (See previous recipe.)

Notes: Adding walnuts in the shell to the cooking liquid will neutralize the odor of cooking cabbage; I have discovered that it also helps counteract the turnip or cabbage flavor of similar vegetables, like cauliflower and rutabaga. Lemon also helps to neutralize strong flavors. Changing the water once while boiling makes them even milder.

If the recipe you will be using calls for cream, rinse the rutabaga well after draining to remove any trace of the lemon so the cream won’t curdle.

“There is nothing so tragic on earth as the sight of a fat man eating a potato.”
– Vance Thompson, Eat and Grow Thin, 1914

Makes 5 servings of ½ cup each.
Per serving—Net carbohydrate: 6.5 g; Protein: 1.4 g; Fiber: 2.9 g; Fat: 0.2 g; Calories: 41
Total weight: 15½ ounces or 440 grams
Weight per serving: 3 ounces or 88 grams
Preparation time: 15 minutes active; 35 minutes total

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. They do mail to Costa Rica fairly cheap. I did a test of a mouse pad and got it in 12 days delivered to my house! Amazing!!!!



Also check out our House for Sale and Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

Use this link to see all thing Costa Rica on Amazon! Make your purchase today! All things Costa Rica

Remember if you get an account with the Unblock-US vpn you can than Live stream your movie and tv shows at our link! 

Booking a vacation? Use our link below! 


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Water sports in Costa Rica

Water sports in Costa Rica: Unlimited thrills for you by Costa Rica Dave

If you get an adrenaline rush from participating in water sports, head over to Costa Rica, one of the world’s best destinations for this. Its superb climate, virgin beaches, tropical rainforests and whacky night life all add to the charm of this paradise on earth.

The best thing about enjoying water sports here is that you can come to this country at any part of the year and you can enjoy all the water sports they have to offer. The large gushing lakes and rivers and the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean make it the best place to enjoy water sports.

Here are some of them that you’re sure to enjoy:

Whitewater rafting: Central America’s best rapids are in Costa Rica which are suited to novice rafters and experienced ones too. The best rivers for rafting are Río Reventazón and Río Pacuare. It’s best to raft in all parts of the year except June to October.

Fishing: Serious fishers consider this an amazing place for fishing. They bring their personally owned equipment and fish here for hours. The winter is the best time to come fishing here and you can also take a fishing tour, if you like.

Waterfall rappelling: Something that water sports enthusiasts love indulging in, waterfall rappelling gives you a real close look at the waterfalls here. Also called canyoning, waterfall rappelling excursions can be taken between Manuel Antonio and Arenal, though the best spot is Los Chorros Waterfall, a superb cascading waterfall all of 180 feet. This highly visited tourist spot is very close to San Jose.

Sea kayaking: Here’s something not as stomach curdling as other water sports. Sea kayaking can be done on the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean side at sunset. You can also go kayaking on the bays along the Pacific Ocean. You can rent a kayak from most of Costa Rican beaches for an hour or for a maximum of one day.

Scuba diving: Scuba diving is popular here because divers love the warm waters here. Additionally, there are unimaginably beautiful coral reefs on the side of the Caribbean Sea that you can see at Playa Manuel Antonio (Pacific), Gandoca-Manzanilla (Caribbean), Isla del Caño (Pacific), Cahuita (Caribbean) and Parque Nacional Ballena Marina (Pacific). Here, you can also see several species of crustaceans and dolphins.

Along the Pacific Ocean coast, you can dive at these locations: Playas del Coco, Bahia Drake, Playa Ocotal and Playa Hermosa.

Surfing: You can find just the waves you want on the Caribbean and Pacific coasts. Manuel Antonio, one of the most superlative Costa Rican beaches, is home to surfers and also has surf camps where beginners can learn the sport. Here, surfing also takes the forms of standup paddle surfing and windsurfing, which you can enjoy at Lake Arenal at the foothills of Arenal Volcano. This is the country’s top destination for windsurfing, so die-hard windsurfers will never leave this country without spending some valuable time here.

If these sports grab you, come to Costa Rica and enjoy what thrills you most–water sports.

 Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. They do mail to Costa Rica fairly cheap. I did a test of a mouse pad and got it in 12 days delivered to my house! Amazing!!!!



Also check out our House for Sale and Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

Use this link to see all thing Costa Rica on Amazon! Make your purchase today! All things Costa Rica

Remember if you get an account with the Unblock-US vpn you can than Live stream your movie and tv shows at our link! 

Booking a vacation? Use our link below! 


 

Categories: Costa Rica Dave, Travel, Writers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Restaurant Review: La Divina Comida

La Divina Comida

We have had dinner here 3x now and it has been very consistent with is quality, price and presentation. Now it is not a cheap place to eat so you are not going to go here everyday. It is what I call Fu-Fu food. In other words very high end stuff. As far as high end food goes the price for what you get is pretty good.

Let us begin with the food. We were here on the day we went to Cartago. We stopped in for dinner. There were 4 of us so the bill was up there.

IMG_2312

This was our free starter. It was a little over grilled for me, but tasty none the less. The butter was an herb butter and it was very, very good! The bread was soft and warm. Again free! So even better!

IMG_2313

Ceviche Limeno. The lemon was a little over powering, but it had a nice flavor to it. Warning there is octopus in there so if you don’t like that kind of thing you may want to avoid this dish. Presentation was nice, but a bit over sauced really. This cost 5,609.76 colones or $10.36. It was a good portion and I think worth the price. It can most definitely be shared by two!

 

IMG_2314

Believe it or not this is a salad. Ensalad Arugula. A wonderfully tasty salad. One of the BEST SALADS I have had in Costa Rica! Yes the Salad Nazi said it is one of the BEST SALADS in Cost Rica! It had flavor and needed no dressing at all. The avacodo on top was wonderful! Nuts and leafy greens and all sorts of stuff put into that stack! I love how they stacked it! 7,235.77 colones or $13.36 and again enough that two could share it and make an nice salad appetizer.

 

IMG_2316

Lomito Funghi was very good. The sauce was very nice! The grilled veggies had a good seasoning on them. Now that steak was cooked to perfection Medium rare as I like mine. Sometimes I like it more on the rare side, but this was as I asked for it. The meat this trip was just a little tougher than I am use to having from it, but still nothing that horrible. Just needs to be mentioned. This cost 14,552.85 colones or $26.88. Now that is a bit on the high side. If the meat was a little more tender I would say sure. I would have been comfortable paying maybe $18.00 for this. So no I wouldn’t order this one again. While the presentation and it was cooked to perfection the tenderness and amount puts this more at $18 and not $27.

IMG_2317

Lomito Saltado and I have no clue what that means, but it is steak medallions. I was told it had a good flavor. The steak was again a little tough to eat. I’m surprised as the other times we have been here the steak has been tender. Not sure of the issue today. This was priced at 9,674.80 colones or $17.87 a little better price with the exception of you get a lot less steak on this plate. Plus you add that it has fries and rice and I’m sorry not at this price. I would not have paid more than $12 for this really, maybe not even that.

IMG_2318

Risotto Lomito Saltado and I was told this was very, very good. The best he has had. He loved the Risotto. Again steak was just a little on the tough side, but he said nothing to really complain about. Again just noting it. This dish was 10,487.80 colones or $19.37. I again would not pay this much for this plate again. Personally if this was priced at $15.00 I would not hesitate to order it again!

IMG_2319

Salmon Cointreau was very good. This was my wife’s dinner. The salmon was cooked perfectly and the veggies were nicely grilled and the butter sauce always makes a big hit with us! The cost of this dish was 9,674.80 so that would be $17.87. Now this I would pay for this dish.

IMG_2320

Mouse Tres Chocolates was scrumptious I was told. Nicely done, looks great and its cost was 3,170.73 r $5.86 an well worth this price. Taste and size makes it worth a try!

IMG_2321

This Suspiro Limento dessert needs to be savored and eaten slowly. It is very rich and very creamy and has just a lovely taste to it. The lime is not over powering and the sweetness is just a great match. We had two of these and the cost was 6,341.46 colones or $11.71  or $5.85 for one. Well worth the price no doubt!!!!!

Now we also had 4 bottle of San Pellegrino 750ml size which came to 9,430.84 colones or $17.42 an we had 1 coke zero which was 1,422.76 colones or $2.63. Now I was surprised to see that if we had all had soda it would of cost more.  Plus side is that Pellegrino is better for you than Coke zero so if you like sparkling water it is a better option here than a coke!

The balance of the meal was 2 Cafe Americano’s which cost 1,951.22 or $3.60 for the two. They were small cups and the typical bad restaurant coffee. We also had 1 herbal mint tea for 813.01 colones or $1.50 which isn’t bad for a cup of tea I guess. Not much of a tea drinker myself. Its as bag so it was what it was nothing special.

Our total price with tax and tip came to 98,850.00 colones on the nose or $182.57 for 4 people so that comes to $45.65 per person. That really doesn’t sound that bad when you break it down like that.

So lets wrap this bad boy up and tie a bow around it shall we. Very nice restaurant inside and out. The place is wonderful. The staff was very, very attentive and took care of our every need. The food had great presentation. The steaks were tough so I had to take a point off for that. The prices for the amount of food was a little high. So again a point off for that as well. The bathroom were very nice, clean, maintained and had what was needed. So would I go back? Sure! Would I get the steak? No. I would go for the seafood next time.

So I give them 3 Rating seashellout of 5. Took off as I stated for the toughness of the steak and the prices. As I stated I would go back no doubt.
Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. They do mail to Costa Rica fairly cheap. I did a test of a mouse pad and got it in 12 days delivered to my house! Amazing!!!!



Also check out our House for Sale and Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

Use this link to see all thing Costa Rica on Amazon! Make your purchase today! All things Costa Rica

Remember if you get an account with the Unblock-US vpn you can than Live stream your movie and tv shows at our link! 

Booking a vacation? Use our link below! 


Categories: News, Restaurant Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What you can see and enjoy in Costa Rica

What you can see and enjoy in Costa Rica

A tropical paradise you could never imagine–that’s the simplest and most appropriate way of describing this stunning country in Central America. The Panama Canal is to this country’s southeast. Beautifully located, this country is home to the most verdant tropical rain forests, lush and dense.

It is also home to the most amazing variety of exotic animals and plant life. Here’s a peek in to what you can see and be fascinated about on your trip to Costa Rica or the “rich coast” in Spanish:

Pristine and stunning beaches: Perhaps you want a quiet holiday by the beach or you may want to indulge in thrillingwater sports. Whatever your level of adrenaline rush, you can visit this miniscule country of 1,200 miles-long of beaches, with rocky coves and bustling coastal small towns.

Lush, dense tropical rainforests: You can also see a wealth of birds, insects and reptiles at the tropical rainforests and the most spectacular views on Earth.

Active volcanoes: Bang on the Pacific Ring of Fire, you will have the opportunity to see Costa Rica’s five volcanoes–each of them active! You can visit them by hiking here and enjoy a lava eruption.

Take your pick of national parks: With over 60 national parks, biological zones in 12 ecologically dense areas, wildlife refuges, you can get a never-before experience of the national parks insideCosta Rica has more than 60 national parks, wildlife refuges and biological zones spread across 12 ecological areas, offering the ultimate rainforest exploration experience. Visit the Manuel Antonio National Park, which though small, is home to four stunning beaches, unforgettable views of the Pacific Ocean, animal life like monkeys, sloths, ocelots, anteaters, etc. Coral reefs here will amaze you just as the occasional dolphin and whale will. You can also go scuba diving from here.

Another national park not to be missed here is the Corcovado National Park, home to over 100 amphibian and reptile species, and big cats, bats, jaguars and over 400 bird species. Don’t miss a trek from here.

Water sports–ride the waves here: If you’re a water sports buff, this is home for you. You can enjoy the water in an amazing array of water sports here, or go out for a small excursion where you can go bungee jumping, horseback riding or hot air ballooning.

Bird life watching: If you love being in the midst of Nature, you can’t leave Costa Rica without bird watching. This country regularly invests inenvironmental protection, so it has a huge and impressive wealth of biodiversity that is home to the world’s endangered species. This makes it a wonderful spot for bird watching tropical birds. You’ll be in the wonderful company of 900 bird species that you can’t find anywhere else.

However you may want to spend your holiday, you can’t do it better anywhere else than in Costa Rica. So, pack your bags and get here soon. There’s so much to see and enjoy here and memories to go home with.

Ready to book your vacation? Click on the link below!

Written by CostaRicaDave Best of Costa Rica Author

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. They do mail to Costa Rica fairly cheap. I did a test of a mouse pad and got it in 12 days delivered to my house! Amazing!!!!



Also check out our House for Sale and Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

Use this link to see all thing Costa Rica on Amazon! Make your purchase today! All things Costa Rica

Remember if you get an account with the Unblock-US vpn you can than Live stream your movie and tv shows at our link! 

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Exchange Rates July 7th 2014

Here are the current exchage rates at BAC San Jose

BAC San Jose exhcange rates
Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. They do mail to Costa Rica fairly cheap. I did a test of a mouse pad and got it in 12 days delivered to my house! Amazing!!!!



Also check out our House for Sale and Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

Use this link to see all thing Costa Rica on Amazon! Make your purchase today! All things Costa Rica

Remember if you get an account with the Unblock-US vpn you can than Live stream your movie and tv shows at our link! 

Booking a vacation? Use our link below! 


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Photo of the day

Our photo of the day comes from my Doctors Facbeook page at Cima. Yes my doctor has a Facebook page and you can communicate with her via this page. Costa Rica is amazing!!!!!!!!

Dra Yamilah Bouzid

La contemplacion de la naturaleza, desencadena hormonas saludables en nuestro cerebro y sistema circulatorio, aumenta nuestras defensas contra infecciones y nuestra capacidad de respuesta ante celulas cancerosas y envejecimiento! Dsfrutemos esta maravilla …

The contemplation of nature, triggers in our brain and circulatory system healthy hormones, increases our defenses against infections and our responsiveness to cancer cells and aging! Dsfrutemos this wonder…
Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. They do mail to Costa Rica fairly cheap. I did a test of a mouse pad and got it in 12 days delivered to my house! Amazing!!!!



Also check out our House for Sale and Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

Use this link to see all thing Costa Rica on Amazon! Make your purchase today! All things Costa Rica

Remember if you get an account with the Unblock-US vpn you can than Live stream your movie and tv shows at our link! 

Booking a vacation? Use our link below! 


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Food Chick Tip

Today’s Chick Tip…..We all have different lifestyles. Weight loss is different for everyone. The key to finding what works for you is experimentation. The two common factors are diet and exercise. Find what works for you and enjoy the ride!

I have been using my Nutri-Bullet for four weeks, once a day five days a week. I have discovered my favorite concoction; organic spinach and blueberries, cantaloupe, banana, almond milk and either chia meal or hemp hearts (sometimes both).
I have noticed a reduction in my fluid retention as well as increased energy levels. In addition I have opted to make my mid afternoon meal the largest meal of the day on most days.

For exercise my goal is five hours of cardio a week with three days of weight training. I mix up my workouts with walking, rowing, hula hooping, circuit and core work. This week I will begin Body Flow classes at my gym.

To date I have lost eight pounds and am six pounds away from my first target weight. I will set my next goal after that.
The key for me is to keep it changing, no monotony.

I am not a nutritionist or personal trainer. This is what works for me. Find what works for you. If you want me to help you I can do that. Contact me for more information through my website, www.thefoodchick.biz

Click here to get you magic bullet from Amazon! Magic Bullet

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. They do mail to Costa Rica fairly cheap. I did a test of a mouse pad and got it in 12 days delivered to my house! Amazing!!!!



Also check out our House for Sale and Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

Use this link to see all thing Costa Rica on Amazon! Make your purchase today! All things Costa Rica

Remember if you get an account with the Unblock-US vpn you can than Live stream your movie and tv shows at our link! 

Booking a vacation? Use our link below! 


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4th of July Celebration in Costa Rica

I was invited to a 4th of July celebration at a resort here in Costa Rica. The owner Jerry invited me and his lovely wife Maggie who I had yet to meet were wonderful hosts! The party, I think was a great success. He had his staff on hand to help everyone. There were a ton of people there. It was a pot luck type of event. People brought all kinds of side dishes to share. There was the normal BBQ fair of hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken and such. All the fixings. I got to meet some new people and some people I know sort of though facebook and who know me the same way.

That gathering was very eclectic as there were people there from all over the world. British, Canadan, US, Tico, etc. This just shows that no matter your nationality people will come together for a party and especially if there is free food involved! Even the British who we are celebration our independence were there. :-) I know after over 200 years its all water in the Boston harbor now. :-) I know I am only funny to me.

So of course I had to sample everything! I did just sample I only took a tablespoon of everything that was there. I have to say nothing was disappointing. I think everyone did a wonderful job. They had a really good grill master who handled the grill perfectly. My next BBQ I will most certainly use him.

The highlights of the dishes I tasted, for me were, the meat balls! They were cooked just right and the sauce was very nice. The beans were perfection on a plate. There were a number of sauerkraut type sides which all were tasty. Like I said there wasn’t a dish there that I went, “Oh hell no who made this crap”.

See my video of the day at YouTube Video of the Day  for how not so American our most American celebration really is.

Very nice night the views are amazing from the resort. I could see my house very clearly from his back and front viewing areas. Have to wonder if he uses that telescope he has to watch me nude sunbath? lol Just kidding Jerry.

Now remember I get nothing an accept nothing when I talk up a place be it a restaurant or a resort. This place is a great place to stay if you are coming to Costa Rica. It is a great couples resort no doubt. He put a lot of thought into the design of the rooms as well as how to maximize his views. So if you are coming I would most definitely recommend you stay at Barons Resort. Here are some photo’s of the resort from their facebook page. Barons Facebook

So looking for a nice place to stay while visiting or moving to Costa Rica this really is a place you should try! The view alone is well worth the price. So check them out on the Facebook link.
Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. They do mail to Costa Rica fairly cheap. I did a test of a mouse pad and got it in 12 days delivered to my house! Amazing!!!!



Also check out our House for Sale and Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

Use this link to see all thing Costa Rica on Amazon! Make your purchase today! All things Costa Rica

Remember if you get an account with the Unblock-US vpn you can than Live stream your movie and tv shows at our link! 

Booking a vacation? Use our link below! 


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Final Update on Budget report June Recap

Well I have to admit I have learned a lot from doing this blog. I have learned where to shop and where not to shop no doubt. Pricesmart was way over priced, but I kind of knew that, just didn’t want to admit it to my self. I am now shopping more at that local Coope. Here are the last few days of the budget.

day 24 thur 30

As you can see we did do a little exploring and really all it cost was lunch one day. The other day because I drove both days they treated us for lunch on the 2nd day. Which was very nice. I still haven’t had to fill my gas tank yet. I love my car!!!!! You can see I am $757.73 over budget, but I think you can do it for less.  You really can live for under $2k a month and even under $1k a month and it all depends on how you wish to live. Size of the house, employees, etc. So lets look at how we can trim this thing down and what I have leaned from all of this.

final summary

If we look at the final summary and see what I have removed. You would have $604.14 left on the $2k budget. Now if we add back an amount for additional food because of the eating home more and not out. I also added back 4 of the cheaper meals so you can eat out once a month. Really you could eat our more on that if you know where to go. As you can see I also added Rent of $700 and I still only failed the challenge by $211.12. Really if I would have shopped more local and not at the expensive places I would have come out of this under budget!

So what are the tings I have really learned? I eat out way to much. The place I eat are way expensive and I will now avoid them, as the food and service isn’t any better than the cheaper places. Some of the cheaper places like Dingo’s the food was amazing! Yes I know I owe you all a ton of restaurant reviews! I promise I will get to them. I have all my receipts right here to be sure I remember which ones I need to do. :-)  Dingo’s review is in our trip overview for Zarcero. You can find that blog here: Zarcero when I finalize the Cartago trip there will be two reviews in it since we ate out 2x. Now the dinner I did not include in my budget as it was hella expensive and I knew I would take it out and not include it at all in any of my calculations. I have learned I need to be smarter about how I shop and not just look for what I am familiar with. I’m not going to do and full blown budget like this one, but at the end of July I will give you an update on how well I did in July. See where we end up shall we. Did I really learn anything and could I put what I have learned into action and change my habits? Only time will tell. Oh wait I can’t do it for July we are going back to the states so that won’t be fair. Ok so August.

I think my Goal is going to be in July to find the cheapest and best places to eat in Costa Rica. Yep that is going to be my goal!

Well that wraps it up. I hope you have enjoyed it and have learned a few things. Keep following our blog and we will keep you updated on where we go and the things we do and the bargains we can find in Costa Rica. Have fun today and thanks for reading!!!!
Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. They do mail to Costa Rica fairly cheap. I did a test of a mouse pad and got it in 12 days delivered to my house! Amazing!!!!



Also check out our House for Sale and Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!


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Today’s Exchange Rate 6/30/14

BAC San José

BAC San Jose Bank

Exchange Rate 6/30/14

El tipo de cambio del dólar US$ para hoy es: Compra ¢540 y Venta ¢550
¡Buenos días amigos!

The exchange rate of the dollar $ for today is: buy ¢ 540 and sale ¢ 550 good morning amigos!
Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. They do mail to Costa Rica fairly cheap. I did a test of a mouse pad and got it in 12 days delivered to my house! Amazing!!!!



Also check out our House for Sale and Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!


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Solis Demands Explanation From ARESEP for High Gas Prices

The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – Due to the constant increases in the price of gasoline that have been adopted in at least the past two months, President Solis shall request for the Regulatory Authority of Public Services (Aresep) to provide a precise explanation of why these increases have occurred.

“I want to know if the formula they are using is the best way. We will request a review of the tariff model because gasoline keeps rising. I am not a technician. I want someone to simply explain to me why we are paying so much,” said Solis.  

In particular, the president wants to know if there are alternative formulas for calculating the price of oil.. 

Franklin Chang, someone you know very well told me about this formula. He’s an astronaut and he can’t figure it out,” he added.

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. Also check out our House for Sale and Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

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Atenas Costa Rica Home For Sale

Atenas Costa Rica Home For Sale.

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. Also check out our House for Sale and Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

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Medical Tourism in Costa Rica

 Medical Tourism in Costa Rica

As we all know, our bodies are far from perfect. At times, medical intervention is necessary for recovery. Other times, medical intervention is essential for our comfort. However, American healthcare can be quite costly and a pain to schedule. A root canal, hysterectomy, (removal of the uterus) rhinoplasty, (nose job) or a shot of Botox to smooth wrinkles may not be readily available to eager patients. Some patients have opted to travel in order to receive medical treatment. This is known as “medical tourism”. Many choose to seek it in Costa Rica.

 RESEARCH

Of course, medical tourism holds many unique challenges in obtaining quality medical treatment. Firstly, the tourist would have to research the procedure, the doctor, and facility thoroughly. Some cases of malpractice due to unqualified “doctors” have been reported. However, in the age of information, it is quite possible to gain knowledge and a honest reputation of any medical practitioner, even if (s)he lives in a different country.

 TRAVEL

Even if someone is traveling for medical treatment, it is still traveling. A plane ticket and luggage is essential (or a lot of money to cover all the costs). A passport would also be necessary. And, of course, a place to rest (before and after the procedure) may also need to be planned before the trip. Depending on the procedure, schedule, and recovery, it is possible to enjoy and explore a different country. It would be a shame to travel anywhere and fail to explore its beauty and unique culture.

 COSTS

It has been reported that costs for medical or dental procedures in Costa Rica is 40%-70% less than that in the USA. And this figure is a major reason for medical travel. However, there are other costs one must consider. There is the costs of the flight and travel, necessities during the trip, (such as toiletries and clothes) food, boarding, and anything else that may be needed for a successful trip, glitch-free procedure, and a full recovery. Costs should be carefully researched and considered.

 PROCEDURE

There are many procedures that could be obtained in Costa Rica, although cosmetic and dental procedure are among the most popular. Americans have sought treatment in fields such as dermatology (skin) and more serious medical issues. The need for any procedure cannot be life threatening as the patient will face an increased risk of death.

 RECOVERY

Although recovery can be an unpleasant time, it is just as essential to the patient as the procedure itself. There is no point in getting a gastric bypass surgery if the patient eats an entire pizza to him/herself daily. As with any surgery, it is important to follow instructions. Costa Rica has several ‘recovery spas’ to help patient recover. Of course, it is important to include those costs while planning the trip (or verifying coverage with your insurance company).

 RISKS

Every procedure carries potential risks every surgery has a risk of infection, for example. It is important to know these risks. Medical tourism, however, may present even more risks. As stated before, it is important to do thorough research on any doctor before receiving treatment from them. It is imperative that the patient confirms (or plans) that the costs for the procedure (and trip) is covered. Some insurance policies will dismiss the claim because the treatment did not take place in the USA, or in their network. Recovering in a foreign country may add stress to a patient, and that is never a good thing after a major medical procedure.

 BENEFITS

Obviously (as stated before) medical costs are much lower in Costa Rica than in the United States of America. Also, there is minimal waiting for procedures there. In the USA, patients could possibly wait a while before receiving treatment. And, you cannot ignore the excitement of being in a foreign land!

 CONCLUSION

There is much to think about when discussing medical tourism. Weighing the pros and cons is essential in deciding if it is the right move for you. But, with all the controversy in healthcare in the USA today, medical travel has the potential of becoming more popular than ever before!

source: http://www.anywherecostarica.com/travel-guide/medical-tourism

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. Also check out our House for Saleand Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

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Crocodile problems in Costa Rica!

A crocodile slithers into the water from the muddy bank of Costa Rica’s Tempisque River. Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Times

For 14 years Jason Vargas has made a living by dangling raw cuts of chicken breast in front of massive crocodiles.

As the main tour guide for Crocodile Man Tours, based at the Tárcoles River, Vargas usually spends his workdays wading barefoot down the river’s banks, putting himself within inches of the beasts’ deadly maws for the amusement of tourists. Born and raised near the Tárcoles, in the country’s Central Pacific, Vargas’ unusual career path has roots tracing back to a childhood fascination with the giant reptiles.

“When I was a boy we used to drive up and down the river in a boat,” Vargas said. “Eventually we started throwing the crocodiles food and I just became obsessed with it.”

Vargas’ death-defying antics have turned him into a celebrity. He has been the subject of news stories, a French documentary and an episode of Animal Planet. But his success came to a screeching halt in May when officials from Costa Rica’s National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) held a meeting and told all Tárcoles tour operators to stop feeding the crocodiles.

“If we had 100 people on our tours before, now we have about 50,” Vargas said. “The hotels in San José and Jacó can’t sell a river boat tour as well as they can sell a crocodile feeding tour.”

But Vargas’ tour woes are of little concern to SINAC, which says operations like his make crocodiles more aggressive, and have spurred a sea of other croc-related complaints from the rest of the tourism sector.

In the past year, crocodiles have lounged on beachesattacked surfers, closed down national park entrances and eaten a man alive. The mounting number of incidents has sparked public concern, and members of the tourism industry are now asking for a crocodile intervention.

Though Environment Ministry officials have appointed a task force to assess the state of the crocodile population, they say it may be the tourism industry, not the crocodiles, that needs to change.

Watch Jason Vargas feed crocodiles on the Tárcoles River:

The Tárcoles River is among the most polluted waterways in all of Central America. Full of trash and teeming with crocodiles, the river is hardly an appealing place for a swim. But for one reason or another, the murky waters managed to tempt Omar de Jesús Jirón, a 32-year-old Nicaraguan man who drunkenly attempted a swim near the Tárcoles’ main bridge on April 29 of this year.

Police and Red Cross responders still dispute the exact details of why and how Jirón entered the water that evening, but one thing is certain: He never came back.

After swimming for several meters, Jirón was nabbed by a group of the river’s crocs. Unable to pull Jirón from the reptiles’ jaws, witnesses watched helplessly as the crocs ripped the man apart. Several days later a woman on a walk near the river’s edge discovered the only part of Jirón police were ever able to recover: his head.

The horror of Jirón’s death captivated Costa Ricans for weeks, and drew attention to the river’s unusually aggressive American Crocodiles.

Though crocodile attacks are not statistically common, the reptiles still sit among the top 10 most deadly animals in the world. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s crocodile specialist group, there have been 1,159 reported crocodile attacks on humans since 2010, and many other attacks go unreported.

The Nile crocodile and the saltwater crocodile are responsible for nearly all of these attacks, neither of which can be found on the American continents.

“Nile crocodiles view humans as prey, but new world crocodiles won’t hunt humans,” said Brandon Sideleau, a crocodile attack specialist with the IUCN. “With that said, Costa Rica sits at the top in the new world for croc attacks.”

Though country-by-country comparisons of crocodile aggression can be misleading due to inconsistencies in reporting, the number of recorded attacks in Costa Rica is significantly higher than most in the region.

According to CrocBITE, a worldwide crocodilian attack database that reports attacks from as far back as 1816, only the much larger American crocodile populations in the U.S. and Brazil outstrip Costa Rica’s in terms of aggression. Other than those two countries, in the Western Hemisphere, Costa Rica has seen more fatalities and more than double the amount of attacks than any other nation.

Five of these attacks occurred in the past year.

In rural parts of the Caribbean Coast, a 14-year-old girl lost her leg to a croc, and another crocodile pulled a 65-year-old man from his rowboat and killed him. But these types of attacks have always been common.

“People who live in rural areas near crocodiles have always been at risk, but education has helped with that,” said Juan Bolaños, a former professor at Costa Rica’s National University and a local crocodile expert for the IUCN. “Crocodile attacks as a whole are not increasing.”

According to Bolaños, crocodile attacks in communities near rivers used to be a common occurrence; the media just never reported them. Both Bolaños and MINAE say that any seeming growth in the number of crocodile attacks is due to better reporting rather than an actual increase.

Attacks near beaches and tourist hotspots, however, are increasing.

In February, a man nearly had his legs ripped off by a croc in a river near the popular Pacific surf beach Tivives, and a Spanish surfer was attacked in the ocean near the northwestern party hub of Tamarindo. The spot where Jirón was attacked, the Tárcoles River, has more than 100,000 tourists a year who stop off at the bridge to gawk at the crocodiles, according to local business owners.

“People near the Pacific Coast are worried because it seems like crocodiles are leaving rivers for beaches,” said Flora Ayub, executive director of the Costa Rican Chamber of Hotel Owners. “At this rate, an accident could happen to anyone.”

Earlier this month, the Chamber of Hotel Owners sent out an open letter to members of the government asking for controls on the crocodile population. In the letter, the chamber’s president, Gustavo Araya, wrote that tourists were getting scared of the high numbers of crocodiles near beaches, and asked that MINAE take action. The letter noted that in the case of overpopulation, MINAE officials can legally kill or relocate crocodiles.

“We aren’t necessarily asking for them to kill all of the crocodiles,” Ayub said. “What we want is for MINAE to do something.”

Siquirres native Gilberto Sheedon, or Chito, became famous for his close friendship with an American crocodile named Pocho. The Tico Times

While owners of tourism businesses complain of the lack of croc protection from MINAE, ministry officials claim that tour operators are part of the problem.

As the country develops, crocodiles’ traditional habitat has come under threat from agriculture, human settlements and, most recently, eco-tourism. Tourists who visit Costa Rica no longer stick to the well-treaded beaches and volcanoes that made the country famous, but also explore the lesser-traveled corners of the country that used to harbor wildlife.

“You didn’t used to have surfers and kayakers coming into close contact with crocodiles,” Bolaños said. “Tourists have invaded the areas that crocodiles used to be, so now crocodiles are invading the areas where tourists are.”

But some tours go beyond just entering croc territory. According to experts, crocodile feeding tours like Vargas’ Crocodile Man Tours actually change the way crocodiles perceive humans.

“As a rule feeding crocodiles makes them more aggressive,” Sideleau said. “Feeding a crocodile makes it associate people with food, even if it does not traditionally consider humans as prey.”

Costa Rica has a long-standing law that prohibits feeding crocodiles, but MINAE officials tolerated the Tárcoles tours for years because they were not perceived as a threat. After the recent attacks on tourists, MINAE decided it was time to enforce the regulations. They gathered the area’s tour operators, explained the law and told them if they did not conform they would be fined. According to Adrian Arce, MINAE’s director of wildlife for the Tárcoles region, not all of the tour operators have been cooperating.

To Vargas, it is not the tours that are causing a problem, but the dozens – if not hundreds – of other tourists who visit the Tárcoles bridge every day.

“On our tours we will feed one crocodile every hundred meters or so. That kind of feeding doesn’t make them aggressive,” Vargas said. “The problem is all the people feeding them from the bridge. Crocodiles don’t stay in groups like that anywhere else. The crocodiles there are crazy and aggressive because they have to fight for food.”

A quick search of “Tárcoles River” on YouTube, confirms Vargas’ claims. Coming from all corners of the world, camera-touting tourists have saturated the Internet with videos of near misses with the river’s massive reptiles. Some of the bridge’s visitors drop meat from above to watch the crocs fight, while the truly courageous (read: stupid) will approach the riverbank and stand face-to-face with one of the river’s massive beasts.

Surprising to most crocodile experts, Jirón’s accident was the first crocodile attack on the Tárcoles since 1995, but officials say if the indiscriminate feeding continues it’s only a matter of time before a tourist is taken out.

“It’s time we get a handle on what is going on at the Tárcoles,” Arce said. “The situation is dangerous and out-of-control.”

Though wildlife experts point to tourism as the probable cause for the crocodiles’ aggression, they remain unsure if overpopulation is also a contributing factor.

MINAE has had to address crocodile overpopulation before — just last month, SINAC officials killed 80 crocodiles in the Tempisque River, in the country’s northwest, to lower the population before breeding season — but a lack of resources has prevented the organization from studying most of the country’s rivers. The Tárcoles has not had a comprehensive population study for six years.

“For now we are educating the public about how to avoid an attack,” Arce said. “We are trying to do population studies as quickly as we can, but we are not going to allow indiscriminate killing of crocodiles just because tourists are scared.”

Watch this guy nearly fall into the jaws of a Tárcoles crocodile at 1:42:

For now, MINAE is managing the problem with a special crocodile task force charged with creating education programs and conducting population studies when funding is available. But crocodile experts say that the only real solution is to develop a comprehensive management system for all of the country’s rivers.

This would require population studies of all of the country’s rivers and personnel to continually monitor the animals. Those studies require money, money that the universally disliked crocodile has never been able to attract.

“Crocodiles have killed 14 people in the past 20 years, but still no one wants to give money to help manage them,” Bolaños said. “Jaguars, on the other hand, never kill anyone, but they are beautiful and people like them so they get all the money. Apparently people care more about saving pretty animals than they do about saving lives and protecting reptiles.”

Originally posted at Tico Times

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. Also check out our House for Saleand Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

 

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Cost of Living Update days 17 – 23rd.

Sorry for the lapse in updates, but really not a  lot to show. A few things and I was waiting on hearing from my Insurance guy on how much I pay for Ins. both house and car to post that for a monthly item. As it is in Costa Rica it took him forever to send it to me. So here is the update. Pretty boring!

day 17 thru 23

 

I can post pictures, but to be honest it really was a boring week. We had great lunch for the Expat’s group. Oh wait I have pictures of that I should post those. Hold on let me get them!

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I had the special This was yummy! and at 4,500 colones along with a piece of cake and all the ice tea I could drink a bargain as well!!!!!! He so should put this in as a regular special! Anywhere that gives you free refills is a place to go!

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Pretty good event. They handled all 20+ people very well. Food was good! Service was excellent. I think we could do it here again. If you are in Atenas you should stop by and see them and have a bite to eat!

So as you can see over budget by $700, but we still have month end to get to. We will evaluate the budget and see where we can trim without too much of a sacrifice and see where we land.

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. Also check out our House for Sale and Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

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This weeks speical at Kay’s Gringo Postres

This Week’s Daily Specials – Jun. 24 – Jun. 29 (all specials now come with coffee or tea (free refills), and Free baker’s choice of dessert)  

Tues. – Herb-roasted chicken with steamed rice and a side salad – ₵3,500

Wed. – Green salad with tomato, cucumber, hard-boiled egg, carrot, red cabbage and avocado, with choice of house homemade Ranch or Vidalia Onion vinaigrette – ₵3,500

Thur.– Kay’s famous chunky Gazpacho with a grilled cheese sandwich – ₵3,500

Fri.  –   Beer-battered shrimp with hand-cut Steak Fries and a side salad – ₵3,500

Sat.  –  Chili dog and French fries – ₵3,500

Sun. –  Breakfast buffet featuring omelet station along with frresh fruit, bacon, smoked pork  chops,  gallo pinto, scrambled eggs, home fries, biscuits with sausage gravy, and Lisa’s Home-Made Cinnamon Rolls  – ₵6,000.  Fresh orange juice ₵600 extra  Watch for new items on the menu, including Mexican Breakfast Tacos with Pico de Gallo, as well as Fresh Fruit Yogurt with Granola, for breakfast offerings.

You can find them at Kay’s Gringo Postres Facebook Page!

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. Also check out our House for Saleand Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

 

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Joke of the day

I will apologize to all my viewers in England now. I did chuckle and little at this one and said. Oh my out loud. Go England!

The wife said to me, “Whenever a World Cup game is on, let’s eat something to do with that particular team for dinner that night.”
Mexico was on, we had burritos.
Japan was on, we had sushi.
USA was on, we had burgers.
Italy was on, we had pizza.
Tuesday is England, so we’re going out.

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. Also check out our House for Saleand Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

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Marriage of pork, beans and rice was invented here as chifrijo

Chifrijo

Bar food, whether it´s fried, spicy or starchy, is a necessity with beer, friends and sporting events. This cultural fact is not lost in Costa Rica. The bars and restaurants have a litany of dishes to choose from, but one stands out because of its origins in the country.

The chifrijo is a dish that has been around since the early 90s when it started being served in local bars and restaurants in and around San José. Shortly after the genesis of the chifrijo, the dish began to spread through Latin America and was registered by the dish’s claimed creator Miguel Angel Araya Cordero, the owner of bars and restaurants.

The term chifrijo was coined by Cordero and comes from the combination of two terms. Chicharrones, or fried pork rinds, and frijoles, which is basically what the dish is at the core.

The combination of pork and beans is combined in a bowl with rice and then topped with diced onions, tomatoes, peppers and cilantro. After corn chips and a spritz of lime are added, the chifrijo is complete.

There are subtle variations on the dish from bar to bar, but the chain of Cordero´s restaurants maintains the original can only be tasted at their locations. The price is from 800 colons ($1.60) to 1,300 colons (about $2.60) depending on the restaurnt and the size of the serving.

To date, the chifrijo is the only culinary invention in Costa Rica to be patented in the Registro de la Propiedad, the bar owner said.
By Zach McDonald
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. Also check out our House for Saleand Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

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Green coffee is bitter, but study says it takes off the weight

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Scientists today reported striking new evidence that green, or unroasted, coffee beans can produce a substantial decrease in body weight in a relatively short period of time.

In a study presented at the 243rd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, Joe Vinson and colleagues described how a group of overweight or obese people who consumed a fraction of an ounce of ground green coffee beans each day lost about 10 percent of their body weight.

“Based on our results, taking multiple capsules of green coffee extract a day — while eating a low-fat, healthful diet and exercising regularly — appears to be a safe, effective, inexpensive way to lose weight,” Vinson said at the society meeting being held in San Diego, California. He is with the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania.

The study involved 16 overweight or obese people aged 22 to 26 years who took capsules of the extract or capsules containing a placebo, an inactive powder, for a total of 22 weeks. The subjects alternated between a low dose and a higher dose of the extract. The low dose consisted of 700 miligrams of the coffee extract, and the high dose was 1,050 miligrams. It was a so-called cross-over study in which people cycled through the two doses and the placebo, each for six weeks. Such studies have advantages because each person serves as his or her own control, improving the chances of getting an accurate result, researchers said.

All of the participants were monitored for their overall diet and exercise over the study period. “Their calories, carbohydrates, fats and protein intake did not change during the study, nor did their exercise regimen change,” Vinson said.

Participants lost an average of 17 pounds during the 22 weeks of the study. It included an average of a 10.5 percent decrease in overall body weight and a 16 percent decrease in body fat. Vinson noted that weight loss might have been significantly faster, except that participants received the placebo and the lower dose of green coffee extract for part of the study period.

Vinson pointed out that previous studies have shown weight loss with green coffee. But this was the first to use higher amounts of the coffee extract and the first to measure the response to various doses. Based on those studies, Vinson believes that green coffee beans’ effects likely are due to a substance called chlorogenic acid that is present in unroasted coffee beans. Chlorogenic acid breaks down when coffee beans are roasted, usually at a temperature of 464 to 482 degrees F. Roasting gives coffee beans their distinctive color, aroma and flavor. Green coffee beans, in contrast, have little aroma and a slightly bitter taste.

By the American Chemical Society news staff

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. Also check out our House for Saleand Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

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Best of Costa Rica’s Top 10 Restaurants

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Update: Who knew this would be so controversial. :-)Let me clarify a few things about this list. 1. It mainly covers the Central Valley area. While we do travel out of the area we do not eat out of the area enough at any one place to be able to evaluate it property. 2. You must be able to get a meal for 2 for under $60. and 3. Consistency is key. Please visit my blog I wrote on this subject to understand more of my guidelines that I used to select the following places. Yes there are 3 US chain restaurants. That is just the way it is. There are none that I have found that can replace them for the items I suggested you eat at each one. They meet all my requirements for being on this list.

Best of Costa Rica’s Top 10 Restaurants you must visit when you are here in Costa Rica. We will start with 10 and count down!

10. SOLO Camaron - It is reasonably priced and the food has good flavor. Don’t go in there with a large crowd. It is a small space, but comfortable. Clean and the service is very good. Everything and I mean everything has shrimp. So if allergic you may want to avoid it!

9. Hooters - Is pretty much the same as they are in the states. You only go in there for 2 thing. One is the wings and the other well it is what it is. :-) We have tried a few other items on the menu and were not impressed. They do have a limited selection of wings sauces, unlike in the states. If you are in the mood for wings this is your place to go no doubt!

8. Tony Roma’s - It is a little on the pricey side, but not as bad as some places. If you are looking for a good Italian meal this is your place to go. Don’t get the beef products as tey are on the tough side, but pasta is delicious!

 7. Chilis – After being here for over a year we finally went and we were pleasantly surprised. It was really good. It had the best pizza I have had in Costa Rica. I know sounds strange, but it is true. So for no other reason you should go here for the pizza! The prices are reasonable. Our friend who was with us said they had the best ribs he has ever eaten in Costa Rica as well. Give it a try.

6. Sisso - Another new find and we loved it. If you are a vegetarian this is one of the best places to go no doubt. They don’t have a salad bar, but they do have a make your own salad. So always a plus in my book. Food was good, prices were very good for what you got and the place was nice. Service was very good.

5. Los Antojitos – This is one of our favorite places to have lunch. I’m sure dinner would be just as excellent. We have been to two different ones and the food and services was great at both of them. So if you see on in your travels stop in and have a bite. You won’t regret it. I love their grilled salad!

4. Alida Ristorante – If you like a true Italian pizza this is your place. It has that thin crust you are hoping for and they are tasty. They have a great salad and the other food is good as well. It is a little pricey, but worth it. Nice place and great service.

3. Grego’s Bar and Grill - We do go here often. The prices are a little high for a bar, but not really that bad. The food is good! The only problem with it is the consistency of the food. One week its good, next its ok, than it is good again. I love their chicken soup! It is served with an egg that is cooked by the heat of the broth. Our favorite is the Chicken and the Corvina and I do like their churrascos as well but it is hit and miss as to its toughness.

2. Kay’s Gringo Postres – Is one of our favorite places to go in Atenas. The food is good, reason prices, and the desserts are a little bit of heaven. They are only open for breakfast and lunch, but worth a stop on in no doubt. It is the Cheer’s of Costa Rica just no booze. The staff is friendly and helpful and you will always find helpful people.

1. La Trocha - If you want a good steak this is the place to go! We love their steaks! Their ceviche is very good as well. Service is wonderful and the owners are just great people. If  you get their pasta dishes they do sauce it very generously! They have a signature sauce that is great! I love their jalapeno sauce!  If you want just a bit of heat or full tears and red lips you can get it. Just tell them how hot you want it! They will cook your steak medium rare! The only way to have a steak!

So that pretty much covers it. If you are here for 7 days or 10 days this list pretty much has you covered. Check these places out and let me know about your experience.

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. Also check out our House for Saleand Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

 

 

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Photo of the day

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Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. Also check out our House for Saleand Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

 

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Fun In Costa Rica’s Central Valley

Fun in Costa Rica’s Central Valley

Costa Rica is one of the safest and most exciting places to visit in Central America.  The Central Valley area has a wide variety of fun activities with something for everyone.  Whether you want to relax, have an adventure, or both, the following things to do will be sure to please novice and seasoned travelers alike.

National Theatre of Costa Rica

If you are flying into or out of San Jose, you will find that Costa Rica’s capital city has plenty of unique attractions.  The National Theatre of Costa Rica is one of the most beautiful and ornate buildings in the country.  With famous paintings, lavish furnishings, and a floor comprised solely of Costa Rican woods, this cultural landmark is not to be missed.

Jade Museum

Pop quiz:  where is the world’s largest collection of jade located?  Hint:  it is not in Asia.  This fabulous and famous collection can be found in the heart of San Jose.  The museum also features many pre-Columbian gold artifacts.  It is a must for everyone who loves rich and sparkly things.

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Catch a Saprissa Soccer Game

Even if futbol is not your favorite sport, taking in a home game at the Estadio Ricardo Saprissa Ayma will give you a taste of local Costa Rican flavor like nothing else can!  Ticos are passionate about Saprissa and many of their players headline Costa Rica’s national team.

Our Lady of the Angels Basilica

Costa Rica is a Catholic country with no shortage of churches done in the old Spanish style.  If you love beautiful architecture, you will adore this Basilica in Cartago, outside San Jose.  Outside the church, a spring with healing waters can cure your ailments.  Inside, the statue of La Negrita the Black Madonna is usually covered with many charms shaped like body parts for Our Lady to heal.  There really is nothing like it anywhere else in the country!

Poas Volcano

Located in the Alajuela Province, this is one of the most active volcanoes in the country.  Scientists think that a new eruption is imminent given the noisy gas that can be seen rising from the crater.  The sulfur and other chemicals give the water in the crater an usual grayish hue.  Get there early because you will enjoy a lovely view of the Central Valley from the crater’s viewing platform.  However at about 9AM clouds will completely obscure it for the rest of the day.  It is called a cloud forest for a reason!  Despite standing on an active volcano, you should dress for the cold and wet.  The hiking trails offer many opportunities for bird watching.

Veragua Rainforest

What can’t you do at this lush rainforest?  Enjoy a tram ride, zip lining, and hiking.  Exhibits include hummingbirds, snakes, butterflies, and much more.  Explore the waterfalls and observe scientists at their work in the biological research station.  You will certainly achieve a better appreciation for this beautiful ecosystem after this fun and educational visit.

Doka Coffee Plantation

What trip to Costa Rica would be complete without a trip to a coffee plantation?  This plantation is unique to the especially immersive tours that are offered.  The tour begins at the seedbed and takes you all the way through the coffee making process.  There are also free samples of Costa Rica’s most notable export for everyone to try.

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Tarcoles Bridge

This bridge in the Alajuela Province is famous for its smiling crocodiles.  Enjoy these wonders of nature from the top of the bridge but don’t get too close!  Disney World this isn’t!

Botanical Orchid Garden

A stop at this beautiful location in La Garita will please any gardener you may be traveling with.  With hundreds of rare and beautiful orchids and other tropical flowers, something is always in bloom for you to admire.

Atenas Central Park

Get a taste of classic Costa Rica at this quaint park.  With lots of trails that wind through the palm trees and other tropical vegetation, you can work up quite a sweat!  Afterwords, grab a refreshing traditional repast at any of the little restaurants around the park.

Farmers Market

In Atenas on a Friday afternoon?  Get a taste of local culture and flair at this market.  Fresh produce and traditional handicrafts are on offer and haggling can be fun!

Atenas Swimming Pool

Atenas is more of a mountain town and is a little bit of a drive from the beach.  If you need to take a dip, there are two public swimming pools.  Bring a picnic lunch and prepare to spend the day swimming and sunning.

I think that about covers it. That is more than you can do in 10 days. :-) Well maybe. So come and enjoy!

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. Also check out our House for Sale and Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

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New service to our readers

for sale for rent

We have added a Houses for Sale and Houses for rent  links on the left side of our page. We currently only have one house listed in each, but nice houses! This does give you an example of what your listing can look like if you want to list with us.

We charge $25 a month for you ad to be listed. Houses are listed top to bottom in the order in which they were submitted and paid. For $150 a month you can be the top 5 listed houses. 10% of all listing fees collected for the month will be added to our charity pool for that month. If you want to be in the to 5 it is a 1st paid 1st get for the month. You can pay ahead and reserve your month. Or pay for more than one month at a time to save your space. We only accept US paypal as payment at this time.

You can add up to 15 pictures in the slide show. See the example for space regarding description and additional information. So check it out and let me know if you have a listing you want to list.

If you decide on one of our listing be sure to let them know where you saw it!

Pura Vida!

 

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Photo of the Day

Back Camera

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Costa Rica expects 7 percent higher yields in next coffee harvest

ICAFÉ says better management of coffee plantations and preventive measures against diseases, especially rust, are helping boost yields. The Tico Times

The Costa Rican Coffee Institute (ICAFÉ) on Tuesday said current estimates indicate the 2014-2015 coffee harvest will be better than the previous season, due mostly to the implementation of better agricultural practices and actions to control rust fungus.

ICAFÉ forecast a harvest of 2.1 million bushels (sacks of 46 kilograms) – a 7.25 percent increase over the 1.9 million bushels recorded during the 2013-2014 harvest, which was severely affected by rust fungus on plantations throught the country.

“Farmers had better management of their plantations in 2013 and at the start of 2014. They did a better job fertilizing and using mechanisms to prevent diseases, especially rust,” an ICAFÉ report noted.

The report states that crop renovation at many farms and a decrease in rainfall this year has benefited farmers in areas that are characterized by early grain maturity.

Coffee is Costa Rica’s third most important agricultural export, behind pineapple and bananas. The 2014-2015 harvest starts in November and runs through April.

Costa Rican coffee exports in 2013 totaled $301.9 million, a decrease of 26.7 percent from $412.2 million in 2012, mostly due to rust fungus.

The fungus and climatic factors caused the loss of about 15 percent of the 2013-2014 harvest, according to ICAFÉ.

Originally Posted on the Tico Times

Click the link below to order your Costa Rican Coffee today!!!!

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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!

 

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What do you need to carry with you while traveling in Costa Rica?

There was a question posted today in a facebook group I am the admin of. The person recently got stopped by immigration police and was asked for his passport. Well he didn’t have it on him. Now they could have impounded his car, taken him to the police station and processed him to the immigration center for deportation. He used the “No Habla Espanol” trick which will only work once in a blue moon, so he was very, very lucky. Here is my suggestion to you.

  1. Passport. If you do not want to carry your passport with you you should have a copy of the main page with photo all information. It should be a color copy. You also need your most recent visa stamp page as well.
  2. If you have submitted your paperwork for residency and received your expedente papers you should have that as well.

  3. If you are driving you should always have either your Costa Rican license (if you were lucky enough to have one) or your home country license with you.

  4. If you are lucky enough to have one your cedula. If you have a cedula the other items with the exception of some form of drivers license is not necessary.

  5. Again driving you should have a copy of all the information needed in relation to the car in the glove compartment. Copy of title, registration, and insurance (other than you marchomo sticker if you have it).

That should keep you covered should you be stopped by any of the police that are here in Costa Rica. Any of them can ask for any ID they deem necessary to verify that you are here and you are here legally.

Pura Vida!

 

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List of the Festivals and Celebrations throughout Costa Rica.

Here is a comprehensive list of the Festivals and Celebrations throughout Costa Rica.

January
New Year’s Day
—Revelers who were partying in the clubs the night before gather in San José’s Parque Central and Buenos Aires, and Puntarenas to continue the festivities.  It’s a wild time.
Fiesta Palmares —Traditional (no bloodshed) bullfights, live music, folk dancing, carnival with rides and games take place the first two week of the year in Palmares
Fiesta Santa Cruz—The fiesta in Santa Cruz on the Nicoya peninsula takes place the second week in January and has a western flair with bullfights and a parade followed by a party with food, concerts and fireworks.
Día de Santo Cristo de Esquipulas—Popular religious festival celebrated with fiestas and dancing in Alajuelita.

February
Fiesta de los Diablitos—The festival of the little devils takes place in the second half of February. This celebration is a re-enactment of a battle between the toro (Spanish troops) and the diablitos (Boruca Indians).  The Baruka mask is beautifully hand carved.  You will see traditional costumes, great food and fireworks complete the scene in Rey Curre south of San Isidro.
Ash Wednesday—Again, given the Costa Rica’s Catholic faith, this is a very sacred day across all areas of the country
Carnival and Festival del Mar—A week of local celebrations in Puntarenas and Quepos including street fairs and fiestas, dancing and sporting events.

March
Día de los Boyeros
— Get you cameras ready in San Antonio in Escazú on the second Sunday in March! The  parade of beautifully handmade and painted oxcarts are surrounded by traditional costumes, food and dancing. There also is a driving competition.
Día de San José—Saint Joseph is the patron saint of the capital city, San José, and is a national holiday where banks, schools and businesses are typically closed. Special masses are said across the entire country in celebration of Saint Joseph.

April
Semana Santa
—Holy week is one of the biggest observed times in Costa Rica. Holy Thursday and Good Friday prior to Easter Sunday are celebrated with masses and processions.  There is NO Public transportation on Thursday and Friday and NO alcohol sales Thursday and Friday.  This is a very busy and crowded week to come to Costa Rica.
Fiesta San Vincente de Moravia—Another toro a la Tica (Bulls without bloodshed) street fair with music, dancing, and traditional food.
Easter—Family and religious observations are held throughout the country.
Día de Juan Santamaría—Although this is a national holiday the majority of activities are held in Alajuela.  The day honors a young fighter from Alajuela who defended Costa Rica to the death against William Walkers forces at the battle of Rivas in 1856.
Fiesta San Rafael de Santa Ana—Street fair with music, dancing, traditional food and toro a la Tica (bullfights without the bloodshed).
Fiesta Tarrazu—Street fair with music, dancing, traditional food and toro a la Tica (bullfights without the bloodshed).

May
Día de los Trabajadores
—This is Costa Rican Labor Day which is filled with parades, marches and traditional food.  This is also the day for  the “state of the union” address from the President to Congress and the people of Costa Rica. Costa Rica does NOT have an Army.

Fiesta Pattronale Desamparados—Street fair with music, dancing, traditional food and toro a la Tica (bullfights without the bloodshed)
Día de San Isidro Labrador— This holiday is celebrated all over Costa Rica honoring the patron saint of farmers with blessings of animals and crops. There are street fairs and parades with music, dancing and traditional food.

Fiestas Pattronales San Marcos de Tarrazu, and Coronado—Street fair with music, dancing, traditional food and toro a la Tica (bullfights without the bloodshed).

June
Fiestas Pattronales Trinidad de Moravia, San Pedro de Montes de Oca, Leon Cortes, and San Jeronimo—Street fair with music, dancing, traditional food and toro a la Tica (bullfights without the bloodshed).
Día de los Padres—This is the traditional Father’s Day in Costa Rica
Fiesta San Juan de Tibas—Street fair with music, dancing, traditional food and toro a la Tica (bullfights without the bloodshed)
Día de San Pedro y San Pablo—Saint Peter and Saint Paul’s are marked by a day with processions and masses.

July
Fiesta de La Virgen del Mar—The Fiesta of the Virgin of the Sea on the Saturday closest to the 16th is marked in Puntarenas by a procession of decorated fishing boats carrying the city’s patron Saint the statue of La Virgen del Monte Carmelo There’s also a celebratory mass. The secular celebrations include a week of parades, dances, regattas, parades and fireworks. Playas del Coco also celebrates the Virgin of the Sea.
Día de Guanacaste—Guanacaste Day celebrates the annexation of Guancaste from Nicaragua in 1824. Street fiestas, folk dancing, topes (horse show/parade), traditional bullfights, rodeos and cattle shows are colorful and great photo opportunities

August
Virgen de Los Angeles
— This National holiday celebrates the patron saint of Costa Rica; La Negrita. Pilgrims come from all over the country for the special mass at Cartago and a religious procession from San José to La Basilica de Cartago.  The sick come to her year round for she is said to have healing powers.
Fiesta Ciudad Colon (San Carlos)—Street fair with music, dancing, traditional food and toro a la Tica (bullfights without the bloodshed).
Día de la Madre, Feast of the Assumption—Mother’s day is a National holiday.  All banks, school and most businesses are closed. Fiesta Pattronale Aserri—Street fair with music, dancing, traditional food and toro a la Tica (bullfights without the bloodshed).

September
Independence Day—Costa Rica gained independence from Spain on the same day as the rest of Central America in 1821. The nationwide celebration starts with parades, traditional dancers, and street parties and culminates with the arrival of the Freedom Torch in Cartago (delivered from Nicaragua by relay runners) when everyone in the country stops and simultaneously sings the national anthem. Later in the day, children carry small lanterns through their towns.  This is one of Costa Rica’s biggest celebrations.

October
Fiesta Pattronale San Francisco de Dos Ríos
—Street fair with music, dancing, traditional food and toro a la Tica (bullfights without the bloodshed).
Carnival/ Día de la Raza —Think Río on the streets of Límon, Costa Rica. This celebration of Columbus’ arrival in the new world culminates on October 12.  It caps off several days of Carnival on the Caribbean coast. Although it is the rainy season, it is a must see event!
Fiesta Pattronale Escazú—One of the wealthiest areas of Costa Rica, this street fair has music, dancing, traditional food and toro a la Tica (bullfights without the bloodshed).

November
Día de los Muertos—(All Soul’s Day) A very religious and sad day observed across all of Costa Rica with Catholic masses and pilgrimages to visit dead loved ones.
El Desfile de Carretas—One of the largest parades of ox-carts takes place in San José.  Definitely a colorful celebration.

December
Festival de la Luz—(Festival of Lights) This is San José’s weeklong event is marked by lighting displays, concerts and fireworks.
Fiesta Pattronale Pavas—Street fair with music, dancing, traditional food and toro a la Tica (bullfights without the bloodshed).
Fiesta de la Yeguita—Bullfights and a parade followed by a party in the parque central of Nicoya with food, concerts and fireworks.
Misa de Gallo—(Mass of the Rooster)This is traditional Christmas eve.
Christmas Week—Not an official holiday but the week of Christmas is so commonly observed throughout the country.Christmas Day—Family get togethers after Christmas mass
Tope Caballos—The horses parade throughout downtown San José proudly displays the equine traditions and unique Criollo breed of horses.

Originally post here: AllthingsCostaRica

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Enter our contest and win amazon gift card!

Follow our blog and if we reach 10K followers before 6/30/14 we will give at random a $100 amazon gift card to one of our lucky followers on 7/1/14.

Pura Vida!

 

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Cost of living Day 7, 8, 9 and 10!

Sorry for the long update, but 7th and 8th were pretty boring days. Just sat at home, watched some TV. Started to watch the Orange is the new black, and trying to catch up on American Horror story. We are starting season 3 The Coven. Hopefully it is as  good as the others were. We did some shopping and stuff on the 9th so lets get to that.

Day 9 was a busy day as Monday’s usually are. The housekeeper and Gardener was here. So that is when we do a lot of our running for the week as they will keep and eye on the dogs for us. We did happen to have a little mishap while we were gone. The gardener accidentally hit the pipe coming from the solar hot water on our rancho roof to the pool. :-( He ran down to the gate and had them call our pool guy who came right out and patched it. He fixed it today on the 10th. So won’t see that bill until next month. He only sends a bill once a month. Otherwise the house ran smoothly while we were gone.

We went to see the dietitian as we do on Mondays. Had a good week my wife and I both lost weight. So cheers! Even though I am no longer on the diet she till wanted to weigh me and measure me. She is interested in how I am doing. She follows me on facebook and looks at my fitbit auto post to my timeline that shows what my exercise is and what I am eating. Its a great tool for weight loss.

After we were done there we heading to Escazu to go to Pricesmart to pick up dog food. Well we decided to have lunch at the Avaneda. We scoped out a place we have never been before. You will see it on the budget. It is our 1st time there and I doubt we will be back. I will be writing a review in the next couple of days so look out for that as well.

Lunch ran pretty long about 2 hours so by the time we were done I was kind of done so I wanted to head home. Then I realized we really need dog food and really need to pay the electric bill. So we head off to the bank to take out some cash. We head to the local grocery store which is really nice and in expensive. I also realized once we were there I needed to pick up a few other things as well so we walked the entire store. We also pay our Electric and Cable/internet bills there. I did make a mistake on my internet bill and have corrected it on the budget sheet. It was $90 a month but $57 for my 5Mbps download and 500Kbps upload service. Here is what I got at the market.

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29,205 colones or $52.67

This is a 66lb bag. I will last a good while. I would say almost a month along with the 50lb bag I buy at pricesmart of the Kirkland brand. I buy both so I can mix them as there are times when for whatever reason I can’t find one or the other. So mixing them allows me to be out of on or the other without upsetting tummies. I will need a bag of Kirkland soon so hopefully in he next day or two I will go pick one up.

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739 Colones or $1.33

It takes about 3 of these to equal the amount I got at Pricesmart. So that puts this at $7.98 and I paid $11.93 at pricesmart. ok I’m convinced I will get my Broccoli from Coop from now on!!!!!

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1034 colones or $1.86

The onions I bought at maxipali same amount and actually these are a little bigger cost me 788 colones or $1.42 not worth an extra trip to save a few pennies. So Coop wins again! These actually looked better.

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1,800 colones or $3.25

Again looks like the coop wins! This is 10 for $3.25 and they are bigger than the ones I got at Pricesmart where I paid $2.12 for 5.

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336 colones or $0.61

We have a very clear winner on this one. Coop! These were bigger then what I got at Pricesmart and I paid $1.03 for 3 smaller ones. I’m starting to see the light how about you?

The next expense on our budget is the vet bill. When we came home out housekeeper showed us a spot where one of our dogs made a mess. The reason she left it for us to see is that it had some blood in it. So we had to run our poor little gizzy to the vet to be checked out. Here is Gizzy!

Gizmo

Gizmo

We still as of yet don’t know what is wrong, but Dr. Solano thinks it is some sort of intestinal something or other.  He did put him on medication just in case. He wasn’t acting sick or looking sick. The bill was for the following:

Consult 9000 colones

Complete Hemograma 9500 colones

lopelisan shot 2300 colones

jeringa shot 1700 colones

poop sample 1150 colones

So the total bill was 23650 or $42.65

Most people say that Dr. Solano is one of the more expensive vets in town. That could be true, but he is well worth it! He is one great vet and is a pleasure to deal with and is very knowledgeable! We love, love, love him! That price is nothing compared to what I would have had to pay back it the states!

That pretty much covers I think everything. Here is the budget so far.

day 7 thru 10

As you can see we had lunch at Kay’s again! We do love the place. We were there from 11:30 until about 3:30 today. Ate and had some good conversation with friends. So its a little more this time. I only got 2 salads and my wife got her 2 egg veggie omelets, but we got a lot of Coke Zero and Gin Light. Again the food was good as always! The salads have gotten much better!

Oh and Friday I will have a cost for repair of our weed whacker that I dropped off today. The gardener has not been taken care of it the way he should and he refused to use it until I got it fixed. Which is why he cut our pipe with the machete. As the repair guy told me nothing really wrong with it, but he replace the part that had a piece that broke off and he did some maintenance that needed to be done as its not being handled well. You are suppose to mix oil and gas together and than put it in the machine??? I had no clue and apparently neither did the gardener. So I am taking him with me Friday so they can show him what he needs to do from now on!

Still have 20 days left and I know I am not going to make it for under $2k. Well we will see. Once I am done we will do a recap of the month and see where things could have been eliminated and or saved money and such and see where that lands our final budget. Have a great day!

Oh and drop me a comment if you want to see more pictures and instructions on the food I cook here at the house.

Pura Vida!

 

 

 

 

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Update on Visa Runs Rio Indio Lodge

This was posted to a facebook group called Atenas Costa Rica Classified. Since I did a review of this group about visa runs, I thought I would share this with everyone.

I have some bad news for those who enjoy the half day flights to the Rio Indio Resort in Nicaragua. Because the Costa Rica immigration is apparently cracking down on ‘habitual tourism,’ the last trip will be next month. The young immigration agents at the Tobias Bolanos airport have been stamping passports with 30 day stamps instead of 90. Not good for the animal lovers or people who like to save on trips out of the country. It would be very hypocritical of the Costa Rican government to complain about the lack of tourist dollars, and at the same time make tourists leave the country to spend money somewhere else!!!

Pura Vida!

 

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Cost of living day 7

Well today was a relax in the pool and chill day. Nope I did not make it to the Coop to pay the electric bill or to pick up dog food. So I guess that waits until Monday. Pura Vida right? Dogs still have food so we are good and it should last until Monday. :-) So what did I do today?

I went out and worked out on the bowflex. I did about 1/2 hour on it. I had to figure out how it works, but that time isn’t included in the workout time. Ran on the treadmill for about an hour or so. Got in the pool for about 2 hours and swam around and just hung out. I cooked all day so the highlight of this day will be the lunch and dinner I cooked.

My breakfast was just two eggs over easy and 3 plum tomatoes cut and cooked with a little salt and pepper. It sounds very plain but it was very nice. You take the eggs and place them over the tomatoes so when you cut into the egg the yummy yellow center mixes with the tomatoes and and their juiciness. :-) Really yummy you should try it.

lunch was an Asian stir fry. Very simple only need a couple of ingredients but full of flavor! As well as fills you up! I did however forget to get out the mushrooms! :-) It was still yummy here are the pictures and what I did.

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Here is you need. Red cabbage (about 3 oz), orange bell peppers (1/2 regular size) (can be any pepper you want), cucumbers (1/2 regular size), broccoli (2.5 oz), and tomatoes (2 plum). Do whatever quantity you want. Cut everything up into small pieces as you see above.

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This is what makes it an Asian dish. A dish’s ethnicity is created by the spices you use in the dish. Some ingredients will also lend to what region you dish can be assigned to, but he spices are what makes any dish! I only use 1/4 of a teaspoon of each of these in a cast iron pan that is hot!!!!! very hot!!!! We will also be adding 1 tablespoon of soy sauce later so don’t salt the dish until end.

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These items will take the longest to cook so you want to get them in 1st and get the oil moving around and coating them. Here you can start to pepper your dish, but DON”T salt it yet!

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Now we have added the peppers. You only wait about a min or two before you add the next ingredient. Flavor not only comes from what you put in your pan, but also from how you put it in. Layering you food is very important as well.

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Now you add the cucumbers! At this point you will want to taste the dish after about a min or two of cooking to see if you have enough pepper in the dish. If not now is when you want to add it.

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Finally you add the tomatoes and the soy sauce. You let that cook and allow the soy to reduce down along with the juices from the cucumbers and tomatoes. This should take about 3 min. Remember to keep moving that food around. Now taste it. If you think the soy has added enough salt to the dish you are done. If you need to add salt do so and let it cook as you do until you get it to where you want it. Remember salt a little at a time let it mix and heat for about 30 seconds than taste it again and keep doing this until you get it as you like it. Also if you think it needs a little more kick to it either add a little more hot oil or you can add some crushed red peppers!

That was my lunch! So give it a try and let me know how yours turned out as mine was very yummy and just the right amount of kick to it!

Dinner was Chicken and broccoli. It is a pretty simple dish. I just cooked the chicken I bought earlier in the week in a pan with a little evoo salt, pepper, and lemon juice. I than steamed the broccoli in a microwave steamer. Once it was done I added some “I can’t believe its not butter” to it with some salt and pepper and this is what you get!

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Day 7

So day 7 nothing! Whoot! Have a great day! Onto day 8. Which is going to look a lot like day 7.

Pura Vida!

 

 

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Cost of living Day 6

Day 6 was pretty uneventful. We didn’t do much other than go out to Kay’s Gringo Postres again for lunch. Had some good conversation with friends who happen to stop in while we were there. I did go out and buy a bowflex used, but I’m not putting that in the budget as it is an expense that isn’t normal every day stuff.

I got it for $400. Its in almost new shape so I think I got a deal on it. Now if I can figure out how the damn thing works I will be good to go. Have my own personal gym at this point. I brought down with us a treadmill and stationary bike. Now the bowflex. I should be all buff in no time at all! :) So her is the budget to get you all caught up. Still have not gotten to the store to pay the electric or pick up the dog food. I should do that today! Or maybe go to a movie? Not sure we will see how the day goes. Have a great one!

Day 4 5 and 6

 

Oh and the lunch at Kay’s was higher because I had 3 of the garden salads instead of 1. I was hungry. They had no dressing on them and I had them grilled. So it was 3 garden salads, 2 veggie omelets, 1 gin light, 2 coke zero’s and a full size chocolate cake! I love their chocolate cake!

Pura Vida!

 

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Restaurant Review: Hard Rock Cafe

On June 2 2014 my wife and I decided to head to the Hard Rock Cafe to have some lunch. Our original plan was to eat at a mall in the area, but the only thing they had was a food court and that just wasn’t what we wanted. We are both on a diet plan and food court food just isn’t what we wanted to do. So we figured why not the Hard Rock Cafe. They should have some pretty health options and it is close to where we were. Off we go to the Cafe!

Very nice place! Cafe is clean and neat and the service was pretty damn good. WE love the gift shop. We bought a few things for our selves and family members back home. Lets get into why you are reading this. You want to know how the food was! We didn’t get many items, but here is what we did get.

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These were really tasty and really hot! Which I loved! By the time I ate all 10 of them my lips were on fire. They had even turned red and gotten a little swollen. No breading was nice and the skin was crispy. There was a lot of sauce on them. The cost for them was 6,097.56 colones and that is about $11.00 so that is about $1.10 a wing. A bit pricey. We used to sell wings in my pizza shop for .75 per wing regular price and would put them on special for .50 and even sometimes .25. They were very good. These were the Heavy Metal sauce just FYI.

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OK, my wife and I got two of these. It was a pretty good salad. Taste was spot on and they both looked the same so the consistency was there. Very little dressing on it, but you knew it was there. The two salads cost us 13821.14 colones so that is about $24.93 again a bit pricey, but it was a good salad.

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We ended our meal with 2 coffee’s. Got the Americano black of course. Said this was Costa Rican coffee that they used, but I have my doubts. Didn’t like it much. I had to put 3 sweeteners in it to make it drinkable. Now if you like a strong bitter coffee this is the coffee for you no doubt. We paid 2113.82 colones which is about $3.81 so not bad for two cups of coffee. You will pay way more in a starbucks! So really the only reasonable price was the coffee and only if you like this kind of coffee. We also had 1 Pepsi light at 1544.72 colones and an unsweetened ice tea for 1544.72 colones. Their individual prices is about $2.79 and that is expensive. Not as expensive as Te Con Te the other day, but up there. Most times the drinks like this cost about 1000 colones, maybe 1200. Our total bill with tax and tip came to 30,900.00 colones or $55.74. That really is a big pricey for 2 salads, 10 wings, 2 drinks and 2 coffees. Hey Its a chain so you expect to pay more.

All that sound wonderful doesn’t it! Well with the exception of the price. I though so as well. I thought, OK the wings were a stretch on the healthy eating side, but how bad could they be?  They were not breaded! Got the salad and it have very little dressing on it so thought we were doing pretty good. WRONG!!!!!! This meal was almost 3K calories. I went home and looked up the items so I could put them in my fitbit log and have an idea of how many calories I had eaten today. I was shocked and almost fell on the floor when I saw it. When it comes to healthy food this place is not the place for you! It is horrible!!!!! So if you are tying to eat healthy avoid this place like the plague!!!!!!!! Do not and I reapeat do not go here. The following is a food chart from their own website. They only give the calories and sodium. I have looked and looked on the internet to find more information and I can’t. Very strange if you ask me.

Hard Rock Cafe – Print Menu If I would have known I would have picked a salad with less calories and I would have never gotten the wings.

So here are some random photo’s I took just to try and forget what we just experienced. Read over the menu, you will be shocked!

IMG_2162 IMG_2163 IMG_2168 IMG_2170 IMG_2171 IMG_2172 IMG_2173

 

So, lets get to the final on this one. The food was good as far as taste goes, the service was excellent, the place was clean (it is brand new so it should be), the bathrooms were nice and clean. The price is a bit high. I should be able to give them 3 seashell1out of 5, but I just can’t. I have to give them 2. I have to take off for the price to value and the very, very, very bad nutrition of the food. I just can’t bring myself to give them more. I tried to calculate how they could come up with those number on the calories. I just couldn’t do it. I have no clue what they put in there to do that, but it is insane! Well another one down the drain. Lesson here is don’t go to Chain restaurants in Costa Rica! Stick with the local places. You will get a good meal for a fair price.

Pura Vida!

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Cost of Living day 4 and Day 5

The one thing you can count on while living in Costa Rica is your day will never go as planned. I think I have said that already. So, yesterday was going to be a stay at home day and thank I hear my wife’s knitting group is going to eat lunch at a local pizza place that I have been dying to try, but because of the diet I couldn’t. So I jump on that! Not a knitter myself, but figured I could catch up on some writing while they all talk knitting and I can sample some pizza. So we get there and guess what. Not open! They are suppose to be open, but they aren’t. Ok so plan B. We go to the next pizza joint. Again a place that opened while on the diet and have not tried them so cool. Guess what? Not open again! Ok on to plan C. We go to Antono’s. A place we have had a meal or two before. Good food and good prices. After lunch we headed to the Maxi Pali. A very controversial store that just opened in Atenas. Long story short Expats are upset as its a Walmart owned store. Read my blog titled Unhappy Gringo’s it kind of gives my feelings on Gringo’s telling people what they can and can’t do. Again still did not complete all of my shopping. I did pick up a few more items, but I still need dog food. Glad I don’t wait till the last minute or the dogs we be starving by now. :-)

Lets start with lunch Here is what we had. I was starving and I have no clue why.

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1100 colones or $1.98

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3700 colones or $6.67

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2600 colones or $4.69

 

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1800 colones or $3.25 I got it without the bun.

We also had a total of 5 Coke Lights @1000 colones each. So our total bill with tax and tip came to 17620 colones $31.79. Not a bad price really. It is a little more expensive but the food was really good. My salad was entree size. So with the burger and my wife’s meal we actually got 3 entrees.

Here are the groceries I bought on this day.

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Gin light 1,800 colones $3.25 and the Coke Zero 1,460 colones or $2.63. Which is pretty good prices.

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1,275 colones or $2.30

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788 colones or $1.42

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559 Colones or $1.01

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1,000 colones or $1.80 These were really, really good!

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4,517.50 colones or $8.50 this is 1/2 kilo or 1lb of sea bass.

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8,100 colones or $14.61 this again is 1/2 kilo or 1lb.

 Here is what we spend on day 4 $151.57 spent and a total left on the budget of $739.41.  Paid $59.73 for community fees which covers water, security and trash removal. Still have to pay electric once we get the bill.

Day 5 was a pretty much stay at home day. So nothing really spent. At this rate I may have to have more stay at home day. Lets see how it goes. I still need to go get dog food! When I go to Coop to do that on day 7 I will also pay the electric bill.

Here is some of the food I prepared on day 5 while I was home hope you enjoy it!

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So this is the start of Breakfast. 3 eggs, a couple slices of onion, 1/4 of a red pepper, and some mushrooms that were marinated in minced garlic. Yummy! I call it the Maryland Scramble.

 

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You put the onions and peppers in with just a 1/2 teaspoon of evoo. Let them cook until they are nice and tender.

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Than you add the mushrooms! Let it cook make sure you keep moving thing around so nothing burns.

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Here is what makes it Maryland. You put just a pinch of Old Bay. Yea right a pinch! You cover that shit with old bay!

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Scrabble your eggs and poor it in! Again keep that food moving so nothing stick or burns. Cook it to the point that you like your eggs. If you like them a little wet or completely dry. I like mine in the middle.

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Here is the final dish. It was very filling. You can use what ever veggies you want its all good.

Here are some of the pictures from dinner.

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That is onion, broccoli, tomatoes, red bell pepper and of course the garlic marinated mushrooms. Have I mentioned how much I love garlic and mushrooms?

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Place 1/2 teaspoon of evoo with the onions and broccoli. They take the longest to cook. Just cook until they are soft. Keep moving it around don’t burn it.

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Add the peppers! Add salt and pepper at this point.

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Now add the tomatoes and keep it moving.

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Now the mushrooms!

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The final product! It is very tasty! Sorry picture is a little blurry. So that is it for day 4 and 5.

Pura Vida.

 



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How to Avoid Personal Banking Disasters in Costa Rica

Coopenae Bank Costa Rica

Personal banking at the large state-sponsored institutions in Costa Rica is not for the squeamish. There are many horror stories among expatriates about frozen funds, incorrect account information, blocked debit cards, lost term deposits, excessive red tape, etc. Most of the time, these problems can be avoided in the first place with the assistance of a bilingual account executive who really cares. Asdrubal Zamora of credit union COOPENAE tells us more about this:

About 30 years ago, I remember going to a state-sponsored bank and standing in line for over an hour. More than 15 years later, I returned to that bank and endured a similar experience. In late 2013, I happened to visit that same bank and noticed that the building had been nicely remodeled, but the long lines and slow customer service had not changed at all, which did not surprise me.

Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity of listening to expatriates in Costa Rica talk about their experiences in dealing with state-sponsored banks. I am going to share some of them, and I should mention that they are not the usual complaints about long waiting lines, dubious service and excessive red tape: The following experiences are caused by the sad fact that major language and culture barriers persist at state-sponsored banks to this very day.

1 – Residency Status and the Future of Personal Banking in Costa Rica

Every day, I get inquiries by expats who ask about the possibility of opening a personal account or a fixed term deposit such as a Certificate of Deposit (CD). In general, this will require a residency permit; in fact, even some who opened bank accounts in Costa Rica with just their passports in the past may have troubles using the SINPE transfer system these days.

What everyone should be aware of is that inquiring about the possibility of opening an account is a good first step. Each case may be different, and there may be a chance to open an account, but it is highly recommended to do it. The current political climate is ripe for the creation of new taxes and levies, which in the future may very well apply to expats who wish to open bank accounts. Personal banking in Costa Rica is bound to get more restrictive and invasive in the future, which is why expats should try to get their accounts now so that they can be grandfathered later.

2 – The Frustration of Debit Cards Not Working Overseas

One of the most unfortunate situations travelers can run into is having their debit or credit cards declined abroad. Imagine going back home and trying to access funds deposited in Costa Rica, only to find out that it is impossible. On top of that, there’s also the likelihood of the card being blocked upon return.

Account executives must be notified when a debit card is intended to be used outside of Costa Rica, but this is something that many expat account holders are not aware of because they are never notified inasmuch. There goes the language and cultural barrier again, but the fact is that must be done at all banks, I always tell my clients to contact us before they travel to activate their cards overseas, and to also keep all their purchase and payment receipts, which must be attached to all claims and chargebacks within one month.

3 – Zombie Certificates of Deposit in Costa Rica

An expat couple once contacted me for assistance in transferring their CD, which was issued by a state-sponsored bank, into a COOPENAE account. On the maturity and expiration date of the contract, they personally went to their bank and were not able to get cash in their CD. The problem? It was set to renew automatically; the account holders were expected to notify the bank well in advance to prevent this feature from being triggered.

The couple was able to withdraw the funds and terminate the CD the next day; albeit by having to pay an expensive penalty. This is what I tell my clients: If you are going to be away from Costa Rica when your term deposit matures, it is better to be able to renegotiate the terms than to have renew by default. In terms of customer service, the bank should be making an effort to contact the CD holders beforehand to notify them of the upcoming maturity and expiration.

4 – Exorbitant Credit Card Rates and Unreasonable Collateral

Credit card rates in Costa Rica tend to be extremely high. We are talking about 23 to 52 percent, depending on the bank. Under such terms, I cannot recommend them. Still, some people like them and such was the case with this expat couple who wanted to transfer their money from their bank into COOPENAE so that they could take advantage of certain investments that were performing well at the time. It turns out that their money was tied up because their CD served as a collateral for their high-interest credit card!

Naturally, the couple’s request to cancel their credit card and liberate the funds in their CD was denied by the stuffy state-sponsored bank, which had created a Catch-22 situation by using the term deposit as collateral for the credit card. In the end, I went to the bank and performed the required, yet confusing, steps on behalf of the couple: Paying off the balance on the card with funds outside of the collateral, terminating the credit account, turning over the CD to my clients, and finally having them endorse it to my bank. It is important to remember that physical bonds in Costa Rica are as negotiable as check.

The lesson here is that complex personal banking transactions such as putting up term deposits as guarantees for credit cards should not be attempted by expats who are not familiar with the language or the system. It’s ok to handle certain basic transactions in rudimentary Spanish or English, but more involved procedures require bilingual assistance.

5 – The Case of the Lost CD and the Four-Year Wait

So an expat CD investor asked for a replacement since he lost the original paper certificate. It should be noted that CDs in Costa Rica, whether they are issued by a state-sponsored or private bank, can be obtained in physical or virtual (electronic) formats. Investors who take their physical CDs are responsible for their safekeeping.

By law, investors who lose their physical CDs in Costa Rica must wait four years until they see get their money, and only after filing a report with OIJ, sitting down with a notary to issue a public affidavit, and publishing the latter in the newspaper of record. This should not have to happen since:

  • Banks should be encouraging virtual CDs, which are eco-friendly and cannot be lost.
  • Virtual CDs promote savings and disciplined investing since they cannot be negotiated as checks before maturity.
  • Banks should offer physical CD investors to keep custody of their paper certificates in their safe or strongbox.

For more information about COOPENAE’s services and investment options, please contact Mr. Zamora directly.

Originally posted at http://news.co.cr/how-to-avoid-personal-banking-disasters-in-costa-rica/34452/

Pura Vida!

 

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Cost of Living day 3

So you know that one thing you can count on in Costa Rica is that your day will never go as you planned, but it will go as it should be. I actually went out to have lunch at one of our favorite restaurants and thank finish my grocery shopping and look for some gym equipment. Well I got most of that accomplished in 5 hours. :-)

So lets start with lunch shall we. Got to Kay’s at about 12. Had a very nice lunch see pictures below. It was a much better price than we had the other day at Hard Rock Cafe and there was more food! it didn’t cost me 2 additional trips to the Treadmill to work it off either, so it was a win all the way around by eating local and not at a chain. The price of 10,500 colones in addition to what you are about to see 2 coke lights as well.

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This was the Mama’s Meatloaf special. It was very tasty. The meatloaf was seasoned well and it was not dry! Always a plus! The string beans were very good and the potato was a nice touch and there was bacon!!!!! The side salad was good as well.

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This was 2 veggie omelets that had a good taste, lots of veggies and very filling.

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That is the chocolate cake that came with my meatloaf special. It was good as usual, but a little on the small size. I know it was free with the meal, but a little bigger would be nice.  It was smaller than what is usually served. I’m sure Kay was looking after my diet for me! :-) Over all still a good price for 2 coke zero’s, and unlimited ice tea (came with my special) and a full size piece of chocolate cake my wife ate, that I forgot to show which was about 3x bigger or more than this one. Cost was 10,500 colones.  Much better deal than yesterday!

So, after lunch we went off to find the gym equipment store that a couple people told me about. Guess what! Its not there any more! Go figure! It always seems to work that way. When you want something it just all of a sudden goes away. So that wasted time. Ok so lets go to the mall and visit the GNC. I did not include those purchases as it is very special items for our diet. That really shouldn’t count in the budget. We did get everything we wanted to get there. Some protein powder and protein bars and such. Mainly for snacking. You will notice no fruit in my shopping. So finally we are off to the grocery store.

This trip I decided to shop at Pricesmart for the few items. I say a few items as I forgot to make a list and didn’t get everything. So I will be going out later today to get what I forgot yesterday. What I would like to do is pick up the same items in the same quantities at other places each week so you can see the difference. I should have bought less but its Pricesmart so everything is in bulk!  Here is what I bought and the cost. This will last me about 2 weeks. I still need to get me some eggplant, onions, fish, and dog food. Hopefully that will  happen today. May check out the dreaded Maxi Pali that just opened up yesterday. If its not too crowded.

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6500 Colones $11.73

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950 colones or $1.71

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1350 colones or $2.44

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2125 colones or $3.84

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5195 Colones or $9.38 I get these to handle my sugar drops. They are the best calories for the carbs.

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1175 colones or $2.12

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7173 colones or $12.95 this will make about 4 meals for us or more.

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5198 colones or $9.38 There are 60 eggs total. Yes I had 3 for breakfast today.

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3695 colones or $6.67 I buy this as I use mushroom in everything. i like fresh but a small tray of fresh is almost this price. They are good if you marinate them before you use them. I put them in a bowl in the fridge with garlic since I put them and garlic in almost everything I make.

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7295 colones or $13.17 in the states this would be under $10 a bit more, but really what else can you use? Never looked if there is a local brand?

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8995 colones or $16.23 Dog treats. This might last a week. Remember I have 10 dogs. :-) I’ve tasted them they are pretty good. :-) I wouldn’t eat a whole one, but I understand why my dogs love them!

 

So there are the groceries for the day. Yes you can get them cheaper other places and I will try to do that next time. I like the broccoli at pricesmart as it is precut and always looks good. Sometimes the local Ferria or Grocery stores have dark areas all though out so I don’t like getting it there. Ok now for the budget update.

day 3

Doesn’t look good for me. Still have electric, pool service, and community fees to pay. We are eating out again today for lunch. Again local place so cross your fingers.

Pura Vida!

 

 

 

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Cost of Living Day 1

Hello all. Day one of my 3 day Cost of living was pretty uneventful. We really didn’t go anywhere kind of stayed at home and watched TV and had some pool time. It was a really beautiful day out today. So nothing really spent today as we ate what we had in the house. Manly diet food and veggies. My breakfast was a diet drink, 2nd breakfast was diet pancake mix, Denise was diet drink, our lunch was grilled veggies and a diet drink. Her dinner was steamed broccoli and 8oz of chicken cooked with a little EVOO , salt and pepper. Mine was 2 cups of veggies sauteed in I can’t believe its not butter and garlic and I had a chocolate protein drink.

Today we maybe spent on Breakfast, lunch and dinner:

Veggies $3

Diet food (very expensive) $45

Misc food consumed about another (chicken and protein drink) $2

So total without diet food $5 for the day. AS we mostly drink water. So no cost here. $45 for the diet food. So total for today is $50.

Well see you tomorrow. Tomorrow we go out for our weigh in and grocery shopping and such. So I will update you on how that goes at the end of the day.

Pura Vida!

 

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Photo of the day Monkey Monday!!!!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Pura Vida!

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Open Letter to Costa Rica

Dear Costa Rica,

I wake up in the morning at 5 am, but try to stay in bed until 6 am and then take in your beauty and I am thankful for that which you decided to present to me. It doesn’t matter if you have given me bright sun in my eyes that make me cringe as I pull my head out of the covers, or clouds that will bring rain. You bring something beautiful to me each day.

After I wake and you are presenting to me rain that my dogs will go out and play in and track mud all over the house and on the furniture and even me, I do wonder about your wisdom, but I understand that you must water yourself in order to bring that beauty to me each day.

Could you ask some of your creatures like the cane toads, snakes, tarantulas, and scorpions to see shelter in other areas and not in my yard or house that I share with my 10 dogs. They are a handful in and of themselves and well your wonderful and totally needed creatures do make it more of a challenge for me. So if you could direct them in another direction I would greatly appreciate it!

Oh and while I have you can I just say I can’t wait to explore more of you. You really are a super model of countries in the entire world. If I do say so myself I would rank you as the #1 super model!

Thanks for being who you are and all your wonders and challenges you bring to me every day I am thankful! Keep up the good work and we will talk again soon!

Pura Vida!

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5 Top things Costa Rican Restaurants need to know

no inconsistency

In the wake of last night dinner and a friend making the suggestion to create a post about the top things Restaurants in Costa Rica need to know that they are doing wrong!

  1. INCONSISTENCY!!!!!! Yes please just say no! This if you listen to nothing else I say can save your Restaurant. Everything you serve should come out the same every time. If you salad calls for cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes and onions. Make sure that is what it has on it every time. How do you combat this? Keep a recipe for every item listed on you menu. Say what you do and do what you say! Keep things measured. If one day your plate has 6oz of beef on it and the next there is only 4oz you will lose a customer or two or more when they talk to their friends or write a blog seen by hundreds  of people a day all over the world!  For the love of all that is the Food Gods if you have it on your menu be sure you have it at every service! Telling a customer you are out is bad! Yes it happens sometimes, but it shouldn’t always happen. Offer a discount on another option. They will lover you for it!
  2. Service believe it or not can actually make your restaurant a success even if you just have ok food and prices. A great wait staff that knows what they are doing, is attentive, knows when to play with the customer and when to leave them alone is golden! A glass should never go empty unless the customer says so. There should never be a dirty dish on the table. You should not have to ask for salt, pepper, napkins, or for gods sake silverware. You are in the service industry and you need to stand out above the rest! If a customer asks a question about a menu item you server should not have to run and go check for you. They should know the menu in and out.
  3. Price for Quality is again a big point and one of the hardest points for a restaurant to control. You are not going to pull the wool over a customers eyes buy charging more and serving less. I like most, but not all customers are willing to pay a little more if #1 and #2 are there and the quality of the food being served is there as well. In Costa Rica local fruits and veggies are the cheapest anywhere. You should be shopping and looking for those bargains. If you are selling a $12 salad it better be one amazing salad! If your steak dinner is $30 you better have over 8oz of meat and it better be tender and juicy. Don’t be greedy. Higher prices will kill your business. Restaurants thrive on repeat business not the one timers. If your price for the quality is way too high that is all you are going to get is one timers.
  4. Presentation of the food is the cherry on top of the Sunday. If what you are serving looks like you just slopped it on a plate it tells the customer you really don’t care. If you don’t care whey should they care to come back. I’m not talking big and fancy and swirls and stacks that like like you created a master piece, but something presentable. It should be neat and organized on the plate. There should be room and space for people to cut their food without it falling off the plate. This doesn’t mean give them less. See #3 it means get new plates! If it doesn’t look appetizing it may not be appetizing!
  5. Cleanliness is that which binds all these things together and makes you THE RESTAURANT to go to.  The tables should be neat and in order and bused. See #2. Utensils, floors, counters, etc should be clean. Here is a big tip! Bathrooms need to be clean, orderly and functional! Nothing will turn off a customer faster and have them not return than a bathroom that is disgusting. If that is  how you keep the bathroom, the customer is going to wonder how do you keep your kitchen! I have been to places where there is no running water to wash your hands, no toilet seats, no paper towels.

So in summary Good food, good service, good prices, good presentation, and a clean place will keep your customers coming back time and time again. They will also tell their friends who will tell theirs. People will blog your praises to hundreds of views a day all over the world! So please restaurant owners of Costa Rica heed my words and take care. You never know who is there and what reach they have to either praise you or bury you in the sand!

Want to turn your restaurant around? Email  me at info@bestofcostarica.net I would be happy to come in and evaluate (not review) your place and help you to make it the best place in town!

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. Also check out our House for Saleand Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

 

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Spanish names for Cuts of Meat!

This will come in handy! I know I will be using it next time. Although my butcher speaks English, so but you never know. Always good to have!

This was posted byt Ninfa DePalma on a facebook group. 

Spanish meat cuts

Pura Vida!

 

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Life in Costa Rica: “Just say No? I don’t think so!”

just say no

Recently a friend was in the car with me and said something that made me think. He said, “Costa Rican’s don’t like to say no!” So I thought about it. I can’t remember a single time in the last 14 months that I have been here that any Costa Rican or Tico (male) Tica (female) as they are called here,  has said no to me. Not sure how I feel about that. Can you be so polite and accommodating that you can never ever say “NO”? Is this possible to live this way? If I asked a Tico to do something that he doesn’t know how to do what will he/she do? They won’t say no or sorry I can’t do that. They will say, “No problem” They will than go and find a friend, relative, or even a stranger who knows how to do it and bring them on. Now that I think about it that has happened a number of times with me on the various projects I have had done around the house. Its like every Tico can do everything, with a little help from someone else sometimes. I will give you an example.

I have a guy who was referred to me to do some electrical work around the house. He came with a friend and they looked and said, “No problem we can fix that for you.” I have to admit they did a great job. I was told they were both electricians. So needed some other things done so I asked, “Do you know someone who can weld? My gate hinges need to be fixed.” his response was, “Sure we can do that no problem.” We work out a price and a time to come back and sure enough they fix it. OK this seems to be working out well so I say, “My house needs to be sanded and refinished. All the windows and doors do you happen to know someone?” Again he says to me, “Sure no problem we can do that.” Again work out a price and date they come back and this time there are 5 of them and the work gets done. Great job was done at that. So again I ask, “I have some plumbing issues know anyone?” He responds, “Yep we can do that.” So again he shows up with someone new and fixes the plumbing issues. So my last example is, “I am having a party do you know anyone who can BBQ, bar tend, and do karaoke?” His response and I bet you can guess what it is, “No problem I can do that.” So we work out a price and he shows up with a Bar tender, he cooks the food, a waitress, and a guy to run the music.

So I am thinking they really don’t like to say no. Each time he did a great job. I used him for many other things and each time I ask he said, “No problem”. It was no problem. He was good, fast, effective and not overly priced.

I always ask friend who they use and so far it has not been a bad experience for me. I have heard many horror stories from people who have hired people who said yes to everything and just really screwed it all up. So I know I have been very blessed to have round 2 guys who have done great jobs for me.

Now here is the problem. I have had 2 guys like this now. Why? Well something happens and you can no longer get in touch with them. Their number changes, they move, all sorts of reasons. Its a shame when you find someone who can find anyone to do what you need to do for a good price and good quality of work. So you can’t get in touch with them and more and  you have to go and find another guy, and I can bet you this guy won’t tell you No either no matter what task you ask him to do.

This is one of the many things I love and not so love about this country and its people. Elliot if you are out there and reading this call me. :-)

Pura Vida!

 

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Costa Rica Expensive? What? Part II Groceries

 

So this is Part II and in this one I will talk about the cost of Groceries and what they cost. So sit back have a cup of your favorite coffee and I really hope you are drinking Costa Rica Coffee and not Nesacafe instant! and enjoy today’s offering.

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Groceries

Like most things in Costa Rica it is really all about location and what you are willing to accept and not accept. As an example I was walking though Pricesmart and there were a couple items I was looking for. One was way to pricey even for me and the other item was way to pricey even for me, but I bought it anyway. So why did I buy one, but not the other. I know the 1st one I could get somewhere else cheaper and I would be going there as my next stop and the other I know I wouldn’t be able to get it anywhere else. Now I could have just done without it as it wasn’t a necessity to have, but I bought it any way. Its all a matter of your outlook and your pocketbook. There are so many options for your grocery needs in Costa Rica. Sometimes I think more than even in the states. I have complied below a list of a couple of those options with prices at each for the same or very similar items. You will notice that I only gave prices for 1 place for meats. I find all the other places to be inferior quality meat and thus would not suggest buying it at any of the places listed on the chart. As you can see his prices are so much better and so is the quality!

So lets 1st talk about Pricesmart. There are a couple of them here in Costa Rica. They are the equivalent to Costco in the states. They do have kirkland brands and a majority of your US brands you are looking for. Some items are cheaper while others are not. The difference between the bulk stores in the US and the ones in Costa Rica, is that bulk doesn’t mean cheaper here. You can go to a local market and buy 6 let say Paper towel rolls and it be the same price as a pack of 6 in Pricesmart. The meat products here are in larger quantities and they just don’t look good to me. Many people get their meat here, but there are better options!

Auto Mercado is the equivalent to Giant in the states. Its design and layout is very much the same. Again many US, Canadan, and German products can be found here. Their chicken and seafood is very good. The meats are hit and miss. They are way more expensive than Uncle Earls. You can find North American style cuts here as well as the local stuff.

Coope is the local Co-operative market here in Atenas. Now the prices I gave for them in the chart is the regular everyday prices. All items have two price stickers on the shelves. One is higher than the other. On Wednesdays the Coop day you get the lower price. Some items it is worth going in when they are busy for while others not so much. You do have options for lower prices if you shop on a Wednesday.

Feria is the local farmers market. Prices are cheaper here. Mostly fruits and veggies. There are many other things you can get at the Feria and many people buy their meat here. Me personally can’t bring myself to do it. Just don’t like the looks of things and again beef you can forget about it!!!!!!! Don’t even bother. If you missed it here is the video of my trip to the Feria with Eunice from Remax.

Uncle Earls is a butcher. A very good one at that. I will only buy my North American style beef products from him. See my blog post where I talk about the meat here in Costa Rica. Moo…Mooo…Slaughter…Grill…Eat!

Last but not least is Walmart! Yes they have Walmart here in Costa Rica. All of them have groceries. They are very much like the Walmarts in the states. I really can’t see a difference. Not even in the prices really. So, it should go without saying but I am going to say it they have US brands here. Walk into a Costa Rica Walmart and you feel like you have just went back to the states.

Now in addition to these you also have the Mega Super’s, The Pali’s, the, Mas x Menos, and the list could go on. There is a war raging right now for your $’s. So I would suggest taking a list and checking out the prices at all of these places and decide which is cheaper and most convenient for you to shop at. Once you know plan out your day and set a driving route that maximizes your drive and you get the best products at the best prices.  It will take a little work on your part, but your pocketbook will thank you!

So below is a price comparison chart for groceries at each one of these places. I used Giant from the US to show US prices. I have used a currency converter to get the most recent exchange rates. I converted everything from KG to Lbs, and gallons to liters or liters to gallons. I tried to match the quantities at each location as best I could. This is pretty much comparing apples to apples. If I couldn’t find a US brand at one of the Costa Rica stores I used a local brand that was comparable to it. So take a look at the chart and than lets talk! :-)

grocery prices

Ok so as you can see Costa Rica is the winner! Most of the items I priced were cheaper here in Costa Rica than in the states. Yes some were more expensive, but over all grocery shopping is less expensive here than in the US. Now this next chart really bring it home.

groceries compared

Now with this chart I made sure that each store I added up the same items. If the items didn’t exist in the big chart at the top in all the stores than I did not include the item in the total. So this is apples to apples again. What you should notice is that for your produce it is cheaper to go to the Feria. As it should be! Again the US loses! Your other items its kind of  a close run. The US did win when it comes to the other non food items, but not by much if you look at Pricesmart. Again because it is mainly a US brand store its pretty close to Giant prices in the US.  It would pale in comparison to a Costco in the states. This isn’t a bad thing, because as you can see the other items are more expensive at the other stores.

Here are a few other things you need to know about shopping in Costa Rica. Let me stress this one point by telling you a little story. I promise to make it short. :-) Well as short as I can tell a story. Oh god its already gone on too long and I haven’t even begun the story yet.

So when we 1st got to Costa Rica and got our pricesmart card we were so happy. We shopped there all the time. There was this one item that my wife loved. It was Pineapple jelly! We bought it every time we went shopping. All of a sudden it isn’t there? Strange? Did they move it? Nope. Ok they are just out. So we go back the next time. Yes its there. We buy a jar. Next time nope not there. Next time nope not there. It has been over 8 months and the Pineapple jelly has not returned to pricesmart. I thought to myself, self ok they discontinued it or can’t get it any more. I started to see this trend in Auto Mercado and Walmart and Coope. Ok there is something to this, so I asked around. What I was told by a couple of people was this. If an items begins to sell like hot cakes, they will discontinue the item. It is more work to keep restocking the shelves so they just don’t carry it any more. This falls under the Pura Vida category. So the moral of this short yet now so short story is do not fall in love with any item. One day it is here and the next it is gone. Make sure you have options and alternatives.

  1. Buy it while you can and every time you can. You never know when it will go away or for how long it will go away. So stock up. I have 7 jars of minced garlic in my pantry right now as it went away for 2 months once.
  2. Price shop. This is common anywhere. Check your prices. Check them closely. Sometimes the local brands are cheaper and just as good, but sometimes they are not. I have been shocked that an imported items was way cheaper than a local product. Don’t just grab the item you know. It will raise the cost of your grocery shopping!
  3. Sometimes once you factor in costs driving around to other places it doesn’t save you money to save on certain items by going to more than one place to shop.

We go shopping once a week. We make a day of it. We go to our dietitian in the morning. We have lunch some where. I than hit the Pricesmart (right near where we usually have lunch) than we hit the Auto Mercado, on the way home, and than Coope if we need. I very seldom every shop at Walmart. Kind of out of the way and their prices are too much like those in the states. So we leave in the am and are home about 4pm. Its an all day event. Now I have to admit that I do not shop at the Feria much. As I get my veggies at either Pricesmart or Auto Mercado or Coope. Its a matter of convenience I am there and the prices are just a little more expensive and the Feria isn’t on the day I do my shopping. I could change the day, but again its a matter of preference really. I have developed my route that I’m only going maybe 10 min. out of my way driving time to visit all 3 places in one day.

There really isn’t anything you can’t either find here in Costa Rica or substitute. Its a matter of changing your mind set. You are in a new land and new ways of doing things and new foods in some cases. Shop local and shop fresh! Change the way you eat and shop and you can spend very little on groceries.

Part III will be on transportation costs. Own a car or take public transportation?

So let me go ahead and wrap this one up. I give Costa Rica 4 seashell1 out of 5 for Groceries! The only reason I didn’t give it a 5 out of 5 is the now you see it now you don’t aspect of what may or may not be available.

Pura Vida!

 

 

 

Categories: Costa Rica Life Experience, Food, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Charities in Atenas: Light House animal Rescue

I have decided to do a series of posts on charities here in Atenas, since I will be donating a portion of the advertising fees and amazon referral fees we receive to them. So here is the 1st in this series. I requested information from the person who runs this animal rescue shelter. Here is what I received from them.

I have been doing animal rescue for 61 years. I started when I was four years old and lived on a farm in Georgia.  My husband of 44 years is also an animal lover and is now the other half of the team.  We call our shelter Lighthouse Animal Rescue. (Faro Rescate Animal in Spanish) We are, of course, a no kill shelter. We have always worked mainly out of our own pocket and don’t ask for donations except in emergencies like the earthquake rescue a few years back.

We have done rescue in Georgia, Tennessee, Florida and now Costa Rica. I also still assist in rescues in the US by internet. People notify me about animals in danger and I locate someone in their area to get the dog/cat and arrange to have the dog/cat fostered  or possibly adopted. We even arrange for transport for the dog/cat from one end of the  US to the other if there is an acceptable home for them in another state. We are an “animal rescue” meaning we rescue not only pets but also some wildlife and farm animals when the need arises. We have raised many orphaned wild creatures, rehabbed them, and released them back into their natural habitat.

When we lived in the states we were a “not for profit” corporation but have never been a 501c3. We always felt that the money it would cost for attorneys and filing for a 501c3 was better spent directly on the animals in our care. Our shelter operates differently from most shelters in that the animals at Lighthouse are only crated or kenneled for a few days of quarantine to make sure they are not carrying any contagious diseases. They are then introduced to the other residents and have free run of the walled, one and a half acre property and our home. They sleep on one of the 15 to 20 dog beds located throughout the house, on the couches, or even in the beds with us.

Most of the animals we get have been through a traumatic experience of one kind or another and we feel that they should be introduced to love and caring instead of being locked away in a kennel or pen. This method also affords them the opportunity to become well socialized with other animals and with people who come to visit. We don’t make them available for adoption until they have lost the fear and wariness of humans and are happy, healthy, spayed/neutered pets ready for a forever home of their own.

We are very selective about where we place the animals. We want the new family to be a loving “forever” home for the pet. The pet must be treated as part of the family and never chained or tied for more than a few minutes.  If, for any reason, they cannot keep the animal they must contact us and allow us to re-home the animal in another proper, loving home. Some, who come to us from terribly abusive situations, retain too many vivid memories.  Some have aggression issues that other people would not understand. Some are badly scarred, physically and emotionally, and most people don’t want to adopt a dog or cat with scars or handicaps. They love us and are comfortable here…but would never be able to adjust to another change in their life. So they remain here as part of our family.

When we purchased our home here, 7 years ago, we did some remodeling, adding a clinic room to our home. This clinic is used to care for local animals, host low cost spay/neuter clinics, and provide care for animals that come into our care.  Since moving here, we are proud to say, we have helped the local animals by offering low cost spay/neuter, vaccines, emergency care, etc. In our village 98% of the animals, who had never seen vets before, are now spayed/neutered, vaccinated and living much better lives.

We have many “special needs” animals, such as the little dog Nadine rescued, come into our care and of course their expenses always run higher than normal. As I mentioned before, we have always done rescue out of our own pocket. If expenses got too high we would just take on another job for extra money. But now, since we’ve retired and with the cost of living rising, that is getting much harder to do. We board dogs/cats and rent out our spare room to vacationing animal lovers in order to raise funds for the shelter but not that many people can imagine what a wonderful feeling it is to be WITH this many animals.

We also participate in a “Shelter Challenge” sponsored by Petfinder.com and animalrescuesite.com. The prize is $1,000.00 and the competition lasts 4 months. In order to win we have to get the most votes. That means sending out reminders every morning during the competition. It’s a lot of work but we have won it a few times and that $1,000.00 pays for food for about 4 months!!

Our doors are always open for visitors and people who just want to see how we operate. We would love to have you visit our shelter at any time. Frances Jones Lighthouse Animal Rescue Atenas Costa Rica

She has the following up for adoption at this time

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Donna, golden retriever, appr. 4 years old. Spayed. Friendly. Gets along well with everybody

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Dolly, lamb, appr. one month old. Being bottle fed. Partially blind. Needs a pet home.

Please check this shelter out and give them some love, Donations and help!

Pura Vida!

Categories: Charity, Costa Rica Life Experience, Pets | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Restaurant Review: Hidalgo’s Steak House

Hidalgo's logo

Yes Hidalgo’s steak house is up on the chopping block today for review. Can I say I really like this place a lot. So lets start with showing you some pictures of the property. This place is huge! You should go during the day so you can walk around and look and explore. He has what I like to call a little museum. I keep going at night so I don’t get to look around much, but I do plan to go during the day one day this week. So here are some pictures of the property.

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So let us get to the bigger point and the reason we are all here reading this blog. THE FOOD!!!! Well I can actually say I have been here many times before. I have never, ever been disappointed by my meal. Here is what we got the night we were there. We started off with these two dishes.

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Yep you guess it Ceviche! Mine is on the top and my wife’s is on the bottom. Mine was just corvina and hers was a mix of corvina and shrimp. It was very, very tasty. Now I will have to say the shrimp in my wife’s dish did taste like it was steamed not cooked in the juice of the Ceviche. I think he may have been out and didn’t want to disappoint my wife.

Just a quick tip I learned a long time ago in the Restaurant business. It is much better to say you are out and apologize and try to sell something else than to try to throw something together and have it not be as good as what you could have served. As an example in my restaurant we served pizza. Well someone didn’t order enough cheese, not me, and we had this huge rush over the weekend and Sunday (we are closed on Mondays) we run out at like 1pm. We are open until 10pm. I have my guys go out and buy cheese from one of the other pizza shops in the area. (Yes we would help each other out like that from time to time. I sold bread and other items to other shop owners) I got nothing but complaints! They hated the cheese! I explained it to them and offered them a discount on the next order. Now the consensus from the people who complained, as I did ask what they would have liked us to do was that I should tell them we are out and offer them another choice with a discount. That is what I did the next time it happened and I got Zero complaints!

So back to the food. This was very tasty! It was presented well and had a good flavor to it.

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OH the great salad war of 2014 comes to mind with this one. If you have not read that blog post please click on the link and read it before you go any further. This was an ok salad. It had Lettuce, Tomatoes, Cucumber, peppers, and onions. Now if he would just added maybe some Zucchini and broccoli this would be a very good salad. I would also suggest cutting the veggies up a bit. I hate having it on my plate and trying to cut everything and the food falling off the plate as it was full. Plate being full is a great thing, but not when you have to cut up the veggies. The dressing was a mustard and was very tasty!

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Crap didn’t notice not a good picture,but this is the T-Bone! Nice! It was cooked just the way we ordered it. It had a very good flavor, even without a salsa on it. We got double veggies so he gave us grilled broccoli and its under the steak and it was a good amount! Very tender! It did have a bit of gristle on the one side, but that is to be expected on T-Bones. My suggestion would be to check it before it is cooked and trim that off before you put it on the grill. Very nice meal!

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This was the rib eye! Nice! Tender! Juicy!  Cooked just the way I ordered it medium rare! This is in a jalapeno sauce! Not to hot, but has a nice kick to it. I do like my sauce to make me cry and sweat, but this was still a very nice sauce for the normal person! I enjoyed it very much. My wife tasted it and said she is going to get it next time! Again the same broccoli as my wife’s dish. The presentation is very good! This was a great steak dinner!

Now he does have limited hours so be sure to check is Facebook page. The link to his page is at the top of this article if you haven’t already checked it out you should and once you have gone and had a great meal at his place give him a like!!!!!!

So lets wrap this one up shall we. The place was very clean and neat and very nice. The grounds are huge and beautiful even at night. I will tell you at night you need to bring some bug spray. It doesn’t interfere with your dining experience so don’t let that stop you from coming at night. Its Costa Rica after all and all the restaurant are open air. The food was excellent! The service was amazing! The presentation was as you can see very nice! The proprietors are so nice and so accommodating and so, well just wonderful! The husband waits on everyone and the wife cooks. The prices are reasonable. Not the cheapest, but fair. So we had the 2 ceviche, 2 large salads, 2 steak dinners, 4 coke zero, a coffee (local not instant) he grinds the beans for each serving and a tea and it was about $60. Not bad for that!

I give them 4 seashell1out of 5. Now if the salad just had two more items, the steak had no gristle and the shrimp were not steamed I would have given them 5 out of 5!!!!!!!!!!!!!  You must go see them! Facebook message them or call ahead to check that they are open. Sometimes they close for private parties. Love this place!

Pura Vida!

 

 

 

 

Categories: Costa Rica Life Experience, Food, Restaurant Reviews, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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