Moo…Moo…Slaughter…Grill…Eat Updated

It may be wise to see the Original Post before you continue to reading this blog, as I will be making references to items in the original post. 

Now for the bad news. Uncle Earls is no more! It closed down many years ago. Where there is bad news sometimes there is good news as well. I have found a new place recently and it has some very tasty meats! I will go into more detail later in this blog post.

4384cThis chart may help you as you shop for meat in Costa Rica. You still have to keep in mind that they still only raise Brahma cows here for the most part. Brahma cows are used here because of their ability to adapt to the warmer and more humid climates.

In the United States they are mainly used for breading and not eating. They are very lean animals and have very little fat in comparison to other cows. It has been used to develop numerous other U.S. beef breeds including Brangus, Beefmaster, Simbrah and Santa Gertrudis.

lomito-al-trapoWhile it isn’t the best beef for eating, you can with proper prep make it a fairly good choice. The best cut of course is the lomito. You will need to ask the butcher to cut the piece for you. The lomito is usually a very thin and long piece of meat, as seen in the image above. They still do not butcher like they do in other countries like the U.S. Make friends with your local butcher and ask him to cut your lomito 2 fingers thick and you will have a steak you can cook medium rare to rare with no problem. You can get a piece that looks like this.

o.jpg

Again with all this said as you can see the lomito from a Brahma cow is not as nice as one from an Angus cow, but it can be a very good piece. 

So the big question is where can you get good beef?????? That answer is simple and complex at the same time. Like many things in Costa Rica there is no one good answer to this question. This week you could find it in your local grocery, next week you may not. You may have to drive an hour or two to get good beef. You could have a special restaurant who is willing to sell you the good beef they sell if you want some at home as well. I have done this. I had a party once and asked our local restaurant if they could get me their steaks for a party. They did. Sure I paid more for them, but they were tender, they were juicy and I cooked them the way I wanted them. Well worth it. Here is the one and only way you can keep getting good meet. When you find a place to get it tell your friends and family. Spread the word like wild fire. Keep that place in business! It can disappear as quickly as you found it!

Here are my top 3 groceries where you can find good meat.

  1. Walmart (Yes I said walmart) no I will not get into a debate over whatever issues you have with the company. Walmart Costa Rica is not Walmart U.S.A. get over it. They have good products for a good price. You can even find USDA steaks and other products if that is what you are looking for.
  2. Auto mercado is a chain that has a lot of specialties from around the world. You can find items from Asia, Europe, and U.S.A. You will pay a hefty price for these items.
  3. Pricesmart is hit and miss. Which is why it is 3rd on my list. They sometimes have good meat and sometimes they don’t. Where as the other two above are more consistent in the quality.

Restaurants are a different story. I have found a few in my 4+ years here, who have good steaks and do them well. Some have since gone away, but some have endured. You will pay more for eating those steak out rather than in, so if you are on a budget going to a restaurant to get good steak may not be in the cards for you. Here are my top restaurants where I have found good steaks. There may be others and if you know of some please post their information in the comments section. I would love to know where else to go!

  1. la trocha steakHere in our little town of Atenas the only place I will eat steak is La Trocha.  It is a family owned and operated restaurant. Not many know about it, but it is nice and the people are friendly and it is very tico. He has many items on his menu that are delicious. We do mainly go there for steak since it is the only place we feel in all of Atenas that has steak worth eating. Now it is a very tico place. Only the daughter if she is there speaks English so be prepared for that. It is a nice place to go no doubt. If you have not tried it you really should. I love the filet minion medium rare with the La Trocha sauce made spicy! Frank makes it hot, hot, hot for me! I love it!
  2. 8ctavo steak8octavo roof top in Escazu has a really nice steak. This steak is going to cost you. Make sure you go with money in your pocket or a good balance on your credit card. You are getting a good steak, but for the value go with our #1 choice above. This is a great anniversary/special event type place. Not your once a week when you want a steak place.
  3. adacus steak.jpgAdacus Restaurant in Crocks casino is another good place. Now the steak on the menu is a platter they call it Waygu. I personally do not think it is. It could be low end waygu. None the less it was a delicious and tender $24 steak meal. I would get it again no doubt. I did not care of the sauces, but the veggies in the banana leaf were very tasty as well. Honestly almost any restaurant that serves steak in Jaco is worth eating. There are a number of restaurants that have delicious steaks. There is Graffiti , and Lemon Zest . Give any of them a try and you won’t be disappointed.

jaco meatThere is one place in Jaco I just found, that I mentioned above if you want to get good steaks, reasonable price for the house. There is a butcher shop called Jaco Fine Meats. It is a butcher shop that has some amazing meats, not just steak. If you are in the area take a cooler, get some ice and bring back some meat for your freezer. I just picked up 26 prime rib steaks for 12,950 colones per kilo. Which is about $10 per lb. You will not be disappointed if you go there!

This now ends my tale of meat in Costa Rica. I am once again a happy meat eater. It takes time, but you can find what you want in Costa rica. Sometimes you have to pay a little more, but sometimes you don’t. It all depends on how badly do you want what it is you want. This sometimes is the price you pay for living in paradise.

Pura Vida! 

 

 

 

 

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Costa Rica’s Pequeño Mundo Stores Being Searched for Counterfeit Products

At around 10:30 this morning, police closed the Pequeño Mundo in San Rafael de Escazú for several hours while they apparently searched for possible counterfeit items, according to police reports.

All 11 branches of the large outlet type store will be searched by judiciary investigative police officials (known in Spanish as the OIJ), continued reports.

The store, which is reminiscent of Kmart in the U.S. and often features overstock items of major brands, especially clothing, has stores in San Pedro, Escazú, Curridabat, Guachipelín, YGriega, Alajuela, Moravia, Cartago, Heredia, Guapiles, and Puntarenas.

The store has recently started carrying food items in addition to its traditional offering of clothing, household items, tools, school and party supplies, and garden supplies.

By Wendy Anders – September 20, 2017 (source)


All I have to say to that is What the fuck really? This is what they are really known for is knock off merchandise and cheap stuff. You go there if you want some great values on knock off products. Sometimes I just wonder why OIJ do what they do here. Now if they are selling products like Victoria secrets that are not really Victoria secrets but labeled that way close them down. My experience shopping there they don’t do this. Now they may sell Victory secrets, but you know this is a knock off and I don’t believe it is illegal. Oh well, I hope they will find nothing and we can still shop there! 🙂 They do have some good prices.

Pura Vida! 

 

 

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Best laid plans….

Today we planned a day out and about. Which in most places isn’t a problem. You go where you need to go and get what you need to get and you are done. Well not always in Costa Rica. Sometimes the smallest misstep could take you way out of the way.

We leave at 12:15 pm and head to our favorite pharmacy Farmacias San Gabriel and had I been thinking this would have been our 2nd stop not our 1st stop. It is on the way out of town so I drove there and than drove back into town to have lunch.

We had lunch at one of our favorite places, Kay’s Postres, Café & Restaurante Today’s special was a chicken parm with noodles. I have a picture that I can no longer access due to the reason for our trip out today. So no spoilers yet. Lunch was uneventful and very delicious. I also got some fresh off the farm pulled out the chickens butts today eggs from Mercedes. Which is awesome!

Back out of town we go and head to route 27 and as we drove by for a 2nd time we waved at the pharmacy for the 2nd time today. The travel was pretty uneventful until we miss our exit! Oh no! You say! Oh no is right! Unlike in the United states a missed exit is just a short turn around and back on track. Here in Costa Rica if you miss your exit this could take you miles and miles out of your way.  This misstep cost me an additional 10 km (about 6 miles) of driving. It was in areas we were unfamiliar with, but with the help of Waze we were able to finally reach our destination.

If you don not have waze and travel in Costa Rica, you really should download it for your phone. It has been a while since we used it and it seems it has been taken over by Google. Now there are advertisements every time you stop. It use to work without wifi and now it seems it needs it. No worries. We have a wifi hotspot from movistar. We try to never leave home without it.

11986939_1130962246917265_8460758375278022140_nWe finally reach City Mall , Yes I know it is easy to get to. Miss that exit and not so much. My wife Denise says she know right were we need to go.

Backstory: I have been in need of  a phone for like 2 years. I resist getting one anytime I need it. It has finally gotten to the point that it will no longer charge and dies quickly. 2 years ago our pool guy dropped his phone in the pool. OH NO! Nope it was ok! The construction rental equipment company sells a C.A.T. phone. It is virtually indestructible.  I want one. Many trips to the C.A.T. place in Sata Ana and no phone. They told me 3x come back next week and we will have them. So no luck and I took it as a sign and that a new phone was not needed. Fast forward a year and there is a Kiosks for C.A.T. in City Mall. A friend and my wife went there without me and saw it. Me being me just never got there.

Well until today and guess what! The kiosk is no longer there! Nope gone! Look there is a movistar place! So I bite the bullet and head in to look at phones. My current phone that has died is a Huawie and has an andriod operating system. This will be important later.

I go in look at phones and just can’t decide. Wife says, “Just get an Iphone!” Well I know the X is coming out and no way do I want it. Hopefully the older phone will be cheaper. Nope not in Costa Rica they are not. Actually more expensive. So 560,000 (about $970.00) colones later I have an Iphone 7 plus.

I ask can you transfer over my contacts. They hate to say NO so he says, “Yes”. When the time comes he tells me they could not do it. Oh joy all my contacts will have to be put in again. Oh well such is life.

Now he takes out my old sim card and sets up the new one because of course the Iphone 7 plus sim is a micro and I have a mini. So he fiddles with the phone. We wait and wait and he gives it to me to setup. Great! Wait! No Service. “Oh give it a few minutes”. Ok, one hour later it finally has service.

Yikes we have to get home. We ordered dinner to pick up at 5 pm. I stop at another Kiosk because I just paid over $900 for a phone that I know I will destroy. I pick up a case that is waterproof, shock proof, snow proof (Gods help me if I need this feature!)  and dust proof (good feature for dry season!). Now we had home.

My GPS can get us there! Oh no wait it is now 5pm! Traffic!!!!!!!!! We made good time and go to the pickup at 5:30. Which was very good time! I am a fast driver when the road is clear to make up time.

Now I am setting up my new phone! Cross your fingers!

Pura Vida! 

 

 

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Costa Rica a Snapshot Past to Present

I have now lived in Costa Rica for 4 years going on 5 as of Feb. 2018. There are many facts I have found very interesting and not many people know.

Costa Rica is actually the Republic of Costa Rica.

Capital City: San Jose

Population: 4.8 million

Area: 51,100 sq km or for you non metric people 19,730 sq miles.

Languages: Spanish (official) and English

Religion: Christianity

Life expectancy: Men 77 years and Women 82 years. Which I find interesting in general.

Fact 1: Did you know a majority of the public (who do not live here) think Costa Rica is an Island. As you can see below it is in fact not an island, as it is land locked in both it’s norther and southern region.

costa rica map

Fact 2: Costa Rica is a country in America! Many American’s from the United States come here and when asked where they are from say, “Oh I am an American from America” Really? So are the people who were born in Costa Rica! My sister came to visit me one year and we went to the Harley dealership. When asked if she had her Harley discount card with her she said, “Oh no I left it back in America”. Now the owner who was waiting on her said, “Good should be easy to get since you are in America!” My sister being who she is just looked at him and I had to explain it to her. So, remember when you are in Costa Rica you are still in America. Which is why Making America Great is a bad catch phase for a U.S. President. He has no control over the other countries that are a part of the Americas.

Fact 3: Costa Rica is the ONLY Central AMERICAN state that does not have an army. It was abolished in 1948.

Fact 4: There are only 114,000 indigenous people who live in Costa Rica. That is 2.4% of it’s total population. This fact shocked me. I did not realize that the people I have meet and called Tico are not really indigenous people. The history of the indigenous people here mirrors that of the Native American’s of the United States.

In 1977 an Indigenous Law was passed that created reserves where the indigenous people now live. They are still fighting for some of their rights in their own country.

There are 24 indigenous territories in Costa Rica. There are only 8 recognized indigenous ethnicity: Chorotegas, Bribri, Guatusos, Terraba, Huetares, Boruca, Cabecar and Ngobe.

Most tourist never meet or even know they exist. If you plan a trip to Costa Rica why not look some of these people up and visit!

GETTY IMAGES

Fact 5: Current President as of 2014 is Luis Guillermo Solis. He is a candidate of the moderate citizen Action Party (PAC). He won with a 78% vote. What is important about this is that his win ended their traditional two party system. The government in the past was either run by the National Liberation Party (PLN) or the Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC). President Solis is not married but he is now engages to his life long girlfriend, and who is the mother of his children. In some respects Costa Rica is far ahead of the U.S.

Fact 6: More than 88% of the population have unrestricted access to the internet. Now the speed and the reliability of said internet varies from area to area.

 

I will end this blog with some Key dates in Costa Rica’s history: (source)

1502 – Christopher Columbus visits the area, naming it Costa Rica, (Rich Coast), but disease and resistance by the local population delay the establishment of a permanent settlement for nearly 60 years.

1540 onwards – Costa Rica is part of the vice-royalty of New Spain.

1561 – Spain’s Juan de Cavallon leads the first successful colonisers into Costa Rica.

1808 – Coffee is introduced into Costa Rica from Cuba and becomes the principal crop.

1821 – Central America gains independence from Spain. A dispute ensues over whether Costa Rica should join an independent Mexico or a confederation of Central American states.

1823 – Costa Rica joins the United Provinces of Central America, which also embraces El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

1824-25 – Province of Guanacaste secedes from Nicaragua and becomes part of Costa Rica.

Independence

1838 – Costa Rica becomes fully independent.

1849-59 – Under the leadership of Juan Rafael Mora, Costa Rica takes the lead in organising Central American resistance against William Walker, the US adventurer who took over Nicaragua in 1855.

1859 – Mora ousted in a bloodless coup.

1870-82 – Under the leadership of Tomas Guardia Costa Rica encourages intensive foreign investment in railways.

1874 – US businessman Minor Cooper Keith introduces banana cultivation and starts the United Fruit Company.

1917 – Frederico Tinoco ousts the elected president, Alfredo Gonzalez, but is himself deposed two years later.

Socialism and civil war

1940-44 – President Rafael Angel Calderon Guradia, founder of the United Christian Socialist Party (PUSC), introduces liberal reforms, including recognition of workers’ rights and minimum wages.

1948 – Six-week civil war over a disputed presidential election result.

1949 – New constitution gives women and people of African descent the right to vote; armed forces abolished and replaced by civil guard; Jose Figueres Ferrer, co-founder of National Liberation Party (PLN), elected president and begins ambitious socialist programme, including introducing a social security system and nationalising banks.

1958-73 – Costa Rica governed by mainly conservative administrations.

1963-64 – Irazu volcano erupts, causing serious damage to agriculture.

1968 – Arenal volcano erupts, causing many casualties.

1974 – Daniel Oduber (PLN) elected president and pursues socialist policies.

Conservatism and economic deterioration

1978 – Rodrigo Carazo, a conservative, elected president amid a sharp deterioration in the economy.

1982 – Luis Alberto Monge (PLN) elected president and introduces harsh austerity programme. Meanwhile, Costa Rica comes under pressure from the US to weigh in against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua.

1985 – US-trained anti-guerrilla force begins operating following clashes with Sandinista troops.

1986 – Oscar Arias Sanchez (PLN) elected president on a neutral platform.

1987 – Leaders of Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras sign peace plan devised by Oscar Arias Sanchez, who in turn wins the Nobel Peace Prize for the plan.

1990 – Rafael Calderon, of the centrist PUSC, elected president.

1994 – Jose Maria Figueres Olsen (PLN) elected president.

1998 – Miguel Angel Rodriguez (PUSC) elected president.

2000 – President Rodriguez and his Nicaraguan counterpart resolve long-standing dispute over navigation along San Juan river, which serves as their border.

2002 April – Abel Pacheco of the ruling Social Christian Unity Party wins a comfortable 58% of the vote in the second round of presidential elections.

2003 May – Energy and telecommunications workers strike over President Pacheco’s privatisation plans; teachers strike over problems in paying their salaries. Strikes prompt three ministers to resign.

2004 July – Three Chilean diplomats are killed by a security guard at their embassy in San Jose.

Corruption

2004 October – Mounting concern over corruption as three former presidents – Jose Maria Figueres, Miguel Angel Rodriguez and Rafael Angel Calderon – are investigated over contractor payments.

2005 January – National emergency declared as days of heavy rain lead to serious flooding along the Caribbean coast.

2006 February-March – Presidential election ends in a neck-and-neck race between Oscar Arias and Otton Solis. Mr Solis concedes defeat after a manual count and legal challenges.

2006 October – Two-day public workers strike is held in protest at proposed free trade deal with the US.

2007 May – Government says Costa Rica on course to become first voluntarily “carbon neutral” country.

2007 June – Costa Rica switches diplomatic allegiance from Taiwan to China in a bid to attract Chinese investment.

2007 October – National referendum narrowly decides in favour of ratifying the Central American Free Trade Agreement (Cafta).

2008 November – Chinese President Hu Jintao makes highest-level visit by a Chinese official since Costa Rica ended diplomatic relations with Taiwan in 2007.

2009 March – President Arias says Costa Rica to re-establish ties with Cuba, 48 years after they broken off in 1961.

2009 October – Former president Rafael Angel Calderon is sentenced to five years in jail after being convicted of corruption.

First woman president

2010 February – Costa Rica elects first woman president, Laura Chinchilla, who takes office in May.

2011 March – UN International Court of Justice orders Nicaragua and Costa Rica to keep troops back from a disputed river border.

2012 September – A powerful earthquake kills two people in the Nicoya peninsula west of San Jose, coinciding with the eruption of the San Cristobal volcano in neighbouring Nicaragua.

2013 May – Costa Rica-based Liberty Reserve, considered to be the world’s biggest online currency exchange, is shut down after its founder is arrested on suspicion of money-laundering.

2014 April – Luis Guillermo Solis wins presidential election.

2014 August – The government says it will investigate undercover US programmes to destabilise Cuba allegedly operated from Costa RIca and using its citizens.

2015 March – The last of nearly 8,000 Cuban migrants stranded for nearly four months in Costa Rica, after Nicaragua refused them passage through its territory to reach the United States, leave for El Salvador as part of a pilot programme agreed by Central American countries to allow them safe passage to the US.

2015 December – Costa Rica wins a long-standing territorial row with Nicaragua after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) rules it has sovereignty over a small patch of wetlands known as Isla Portillo on the San Juan river.

Pura Vida! 

 

 

 

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An American millionaire died after plummeting 30 and a half meters

http-prod.static9.net.au_media201709201151200917johnandersonAn American millionaire celebrating his 65th milestone in Costa Rica has died after plummeting 30 and a half meters while propelling down the side of a treetop restaurant.

The upstate New York millionaire, John Anderson, was having dinner at the Pacurare Lodge in the “Nest” where guests are able to rappel down to the ground after dinner.

The man’s business partner, James Ryan Jr told the New York Post he was not on a rappelling adventure when he died.

Costa Rica authorities are investigating the incident and funeral arrangements for Mr Anderson are pending.

© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2017

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Costa Rica Independence Day Sept. 15th

September 15th 1821 Costa Rica declared it’s independence from Spain. The 1st constitution was signed shortly after and they held their 1st elections in December 1821. The day is filled with laughter, joy and celebration. There are many parades all around Costa Rica.

This tradition of the torch run is based on the factual accounts of one Dolores Bedoya, a Guatemalan woman who took a torch in hand to celebrate the announcement of freedom from Spanish rule.  This was actually communicated on September 14th, 1821, which is why most festivities begin on the 14th. She is also attributed to the National Anthem of Costa Rica being chanted at 6:00 pm on September 14th.

Check out this link for some beautiful pictures:  Tico Times article

Here is a short video:

Pura Vida! 

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Has it been over 2 years since my last blog?

Yikes!

I guess it really has been that long! A lot has happened in two years. People have come and gone in our lives. Many have left Costa Rica for good. New people have come to Costa Rica. They say if you can make it past the 6th month in Costa Rica you can stay the rest of your life here, but that doesn’t always seem to be the case. The old country (for us the U.S.) seems to draw people back for one reason or another. Friends who have been here for 7 or more years have gone back to the U.S. for one reason or another. Many where very happy here but their spouses were not. Sometimes they just missed their family too much. Others for health reasons, but this one I don’t understand as the healthcare here is wonderful! Maybe my next blog will be on the healthcare systems here. Whatever the reason they have left many others have come. Seems to be a net effect of people leaving and moving here.

So a little history: A long story short! Kay and Tom opened up Kay’s many years ago. 3 years ago they sold the restaurant to Harold and Lisa. They too have now left Costa Rica about 5 months ago. So they owned it for about 3 years or so. Now it is owned by Ania and Tomek. They moved here from Canada but they are both originally from Poland. Their families both migrated to Canada when they were 11 years old. Great people! They are doing the one and only original Kay proud no doubt.

Kay and Tom were  very missed by the community and we decided to see if we could get them to come back for a visit. We had been trying for years and schedules just didn’t seem to work out, but finally in May 2017 we did it! With the help of our Auntie Laurel (well we call her that and she is sister to Kay not by blood) we were able to bring Kay back for a visit. Tom had other commitments and was unable to join her.

Here are some pictures of Kay’s return:

Here are just a couple of videos:

Mercede’s and Katia see Kay for the 1st time. They had no clue she was coming for a visit. I had to lie to them whenever they asked me about Kay and if I thought she would come for a visit. I think they forgive me. 🙂

We had a party that day where a select group got to see her 1st as well. `

This was about 9 days of food, hugs, tears, and just plain fun! Kay stayed with us at our house for the most part and we were at Kay’s restaurant every day for lunch so people could meet up and get to see her. It was a great time no doubt.

As this blog started so it shall end. Kay returned to the U.S. and life went back to normal. More tears for her departure back, but it was fun! We will always remember the good times!

So to now this blog must end. I hope you enjoyed it. I will try to keep up with it once again. Have a great day and

Pura Vida! 

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Dental Procedure in Costa Rica

I asked a local dentist to send me some information on a new procedure they are doing and this is what I received. My wife uses them and she loves them! I hope you will enjoy it.

Over the past few decades, Costa Rica and plastic or cosmetic surgery have been become almost interchangeable. For the wealthy who wish to have their surgery in private, Costa Rica has become an internationally recognized center for high quality cosmetic surgery. Many consider it the ideal place to have surgery, due to its almost perfect weather and the peaceful natural surroundings in which to recuperate.

Due to the aforementioned reasons, we are able to offer the same or better quality than what you might receive in your own home town at a much better price. All this bined with the highly trained staff and quality medical facilities combine to make Costa Rica a much more desirable place to have dental work done.

If you are considering having cosmetic dental work done, we certainly hope you will consider a visit to Costa Rica. The savings you will enjoy, can also end up paying for a very nice vacation and more. Costa Rica dental implants are considerably less expensive, as are most other cosmetic surgery procedures, materials and treatments in Costa Rica.

Today I would like to speak to you about how much dentistry has radically changed over the past 20 years. For instance, in the past, we performed full mouth rehabilitation using large bone grafts involving complex hip grafting to restore a patient who was edentulous, that is being essentially toothless. As implant dentistry has become more technologically sophisticated we are able to address this condition in a more efficient and less invasive way. This name for this new technique is the All on 4. This new surgical procedure has become very popular because now we can treat many edentulous patients in a more economical and efficient way to obtain the best result for the patient in the shortest amount of time with less trauma. This new technique means fewer bone grafts, less aggressive surgery, more efficient use of implants with the tremendous benefit of having fixed non removable temporary bridges fabricated and attached at the time of surgery. You literally walk out of the office with a full set of teeth in one day! The advanced bone grafting protocol involving a mix of new materials has, in most cases, eliminated the need for complex bone grafts. This new grafting procedure has proven itself to be very successful and has become the medical standard. Using 3D technology permits us to fabricate a custom internal titanium frame structure for your temporary and permanent bridges. This results in a very precise fit over the implants and provides a long term resolution for edentulous patients, plus the maintenance of the bridges is simple and has a very low cost. Once again everything now is greatly simplified. With the new protocol the patient can be seen early in the morning and they can literally walk out with their temporary teeth fixed to their implants for one or both arches in a few hours. I have been doing this protocol for over two years now with excellent results. I will be more than happy to make myself available to call you to go through the process and explain it in greater detail. Also, I now operate my practice in a new, English fluent, multi-million, state-of-the-art facility with its own laboratory in San Jose.

I invite you to come and visit us at your pleasure to meet the staff and tour our new facilities. Please call 305.517.5172 to arrange a phone consultation or tour of the new facility.

Pura Vida!

 

 

 

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Dentists From 18 Countries Gather in Costa Rica for International Conference By TCRN on August 7, 2014

Dentists From 18 Countries Gather in Costa Rica for International Conference

The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – From August 21 to 23, the Congress of the Latin American Association of Operative Dentistry will be held for the first time in Costa Rica. This activity will include the participation of 56 international speakers who will talk about the latest advances in dental treatments.

The conference will be held at the Crowne Plaza Corobicí and will be open to students of dentistry who can listen to specialists from 18 countries, ranging from Mexico to Patagonia.

Sylvia Gudino, president of the Organizing Committee, explained that it is a unique conference, “It will cover operative, endodontics, cosmetic, bio-technological advances and then there will be four concurrent conference rooms where participants can decide which conference they want to attend.”

Most of the lecturers are professors from different universities throughout Latin America with the goal is to train dentists and refresh their general knowledge.

The Costa Rica News (TCRN)

San Jose, Costa Rica

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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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Be on the lookout for this scam, it could cost you thousands of dollars

July 16th, 2014 (InsideCostaRica.com) While not a new problem in Costa Rica, credit and debit card fraud through the use of electronic devices called ‘skimmers’ is becoming ever more common as the skimming devices become ever easier to obtain.

 

The devices do their work after a criminal inserts the thin plastic device into an ATM machine’s card reader.  The device than reads and stores every ATM users’ card information the moment they insert the card into the machine.  The criminal returns later in the day and retrieves the device, which may by then have the full data of hundreds of cards stored on it. That information is later used to create clones of the users’ cards, or for online purchases.

 

Most of the devices allow the ATM machine to function like normal, and as a result many users have no idea that their card information has just been stolen.

 

Inside Costa Rica first reported on a rash of such scams in March 2013.  Recent reports by readers indicate that the scam is back and claiming more victims.

 

One reader reported to Inside Costa Rica that criminals nabbed $600 from her account and $2,000 from two other friends’ accounts earlier this month using ATM skimming devices, one of which was apparently installed at the Banco Costa Rica branch location in Grecia.

 

Upon notifying their banks (both U.S. and Costa Rican cards were cloned), the reader’s friends were directed to file a report at the courthouse, where she reportedly learned that a rash of clonings have occurred in recent weeks in six cities across the country.

 

Francisco Segura of the Judicial Investigation Organization (OIJ) said last year that many cardholders have no idea that they have become victims, and that many times it is instead the banks that alert judicial authorities to possible fraud.

 

In an operation last year, the OIJ conducted 13 raids in various locations, collecting evidence such as payment receipts, skimming devices, and computers.

 

The skimmers are also sometimes placed in the credit card terminals at retail establishments, restaurants, and other places that accept credit cards.

 

The skimming devices used by criminals can be found for sale on certain web sites in Costa Rica, sometimes carrying a price tag of nearly 1 million colones ($2,000).

 

To avoid becoming the victim of these fraudsters, it is suggested to check closely the area on ATM machines where you insert your card for anything that may look like a hidden our out of place device, and also to not allow retail clerks, gas station attendants, and others to take your card out of sight.

 

Image courtesy of Banco de Costa Rica.

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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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Another adventure yesterday in Costa Rica

i thought my wife was never going to make it home!

Keeping You In Stitches

Thursday is a Beach Day and I decided I needed to have a hat that would cover my face – more than a baseball cap would.

Asked Denise and Michele if they would like to go to MultiPlaza on Sunday; they agreed to go. Spent most of the day there….yes, during the World Cup, we were shopping!

I look stupid in hats; just plain stupid!!! Felt even more stupid when I tried on “visor-type” with the top of my head sticking out. We searched and searched; into any store that had hats. Most hats are too big for me unless I stick my ears inside the hat, which is uncomfortable. However, if I “sit” it on top of my head, one gust of wind and off it will go!

Tried many hats with various brims sizes; finally settled on one; has any one bought a hat for themselves they have…

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Why growing numbers of pot smokers eat mango before lighting up

Not only is the fruit high in vitamin C, it could be the secret to unlocking marijuana’s true potential

Why growing numbers of pot smokers eat mango before lighting up

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

It’s not a proven scientific fact, but many pot smokers are consuming mangoes an hour before lighting up to boost their highs. According to Marijuana.com, there’s a good chance that the myrcene molecules found in mango can possibly “increase, strengthen and even lengthen” the euphoric feeling from smoking marijuana.

Marijuana already contains more than 100 terpene molecules that are responsible for affecting THC in the brain and giving highs their ebbs and flows. But marijuana contains the myrcene terpene more than any other kind. So, if you eat a mango rich in myrcenes, you can potentially improve the high for low-quality buds or give a high-quality bud a little extra. As for how myrcene and terpene work, the research is still in its infancy.

“I don’t know the answer and the reason we don’t know the answer is because our government in its infinite wisdom didn’t permit any research in this area for many years,” said Christopher Hudalla, chief scientific officer at ProVerde Labs. “In many cases we are just starting to do this research.”

Myrcene is responsible for the aromas of apricots, walnuts and Valencia oranges and is widely used in the perfume industry. It gets its name from the plant mercia and is also found in lemon grass, verbena, hops and the West Indian bay tree used to make bay rum. Its aroma is much like cannabis as it can be woodsy, citrusy and fruity.

But one of its lesser-known qualities is that the myrcene allows THC to pass through the blood brain barrier much faster. On average, it takes THC seven seconds to reach the brain after inhaling. But if you eat a mango — or a mango smoothie — 90 minutes before smoking, you could potentially halve that time.

The “Big Book of Buds” notes that the Cavalo, Rosa, Espada and Paulista variety of mangoes are excellent sources of myrcene.

Pura Vida!

 

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Fidelity Bans U.S. Investors Overseas From Buying Mutual Funds

Prohibition Applies to Both Fidelity and Non-Fidelity Mutual Funds

Updated July 1, 2014 7:07 p.m. ET
By LAURA SAUNDERS
Fidelity Investments and other asset managers are telling U.S. clients who live outside the country that they can no longer buy or trade mutual funds in their brokerage accounts.Stephen Austin, a spokesman for the financial-services firm, said the change, effective Aug. 1, was prompted by “today’s continually evolving global regulatory environment,” but he said it wasn’t in response to a specific issue.The change will affect about 50,000 accounts, or less than 0.3% of Fidelity’s 20 million accounts, he said.

“Customers will not be forced to sell holdings simply because they live in a foreign country,” Mr. Austin said.

Observers said fund managers are becoming more conservative in the wake of global developments such as the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act and other U.S. efforts.

Following large settlements paid to the U.S. by Credit Suisse Group AG CS +0.35% andBNP Paribas SA, BNP.FR -0.40% “Other countries are getting angry about the size of the fines and are grumbling about retaliation,” said Jonathan Lachowitz, a cross-border investment adviser based in Lexington, Mass., and Lausanne, Switzerland.

Mutual funds are regulated differently from other investments and could be a target, he said.

David Kuenzi, an investment manager in Madison, Wis., who works with Americans abroad, said that selling U.S. mutual funds to those investors had long been prohibited. “But it was matter of ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell.’ Now the firms are getting more aggressive about compliance,” he said.

Other fund companies also are changing policies for investors who live abroad.

A spokesman for Putnam Investments said the firm is no longer accepting additional investments into existing accounts held by non-U.S. residents.

The spokesman said the changes were made “in accordance with U.S. anti-money-laundering and ‘Know Your Customer’ policies” and in response to recent tightening of European laws limiting sales of funds not registered in their jurisdictions.

A spokesman for Charles Schwab Corp. SCHW -0.33% said the firm “has made changes and will continue to make changes to our policies” in reaction to regulatory changes but declined to specify them.

In a recent letter to overseas clients, Fidelity said that its prohibition would apply to both Fidelity and non-Fidelity mutual funds, and to exchanges between funds.

However, account holders still will be permitted to reinvest dividends in additional shares of a fund.

Employer-sponsored plans such as 401(k) and 403(b) plans aren’t affected by the prohibition, but individual retirement accounts and Roth IRAs are, the spokesman said.

The letter also said that if an investor has an automatic investment plan with periodic deposits of cash, then the additions can continue but the money won’t be invested in mutual funds. Instead, the funds will be added to the investor’s other “core position,” such as a money-market fund. The letter added that additions to such funds will still be permitted, but that this could change in the future.

The Fidelity spokesman said that account holders’ ability to purchase individual securities or exchange-traded funds varies from country to country.

A spokesman for the Investment Company Institute, a fund industry group, declined to comment.

A spokesman for Vanguard Group said its funds are typically only for sale to people who live in the U.S., although there are some exceptions for investors residing abroad, for example, some people with inherited accounts.

Write to Laura Saunders at laura.saunders@wsj.com

Pura Vida!

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NICARAGUA OKAYS ROUTE FOR $40B CANAL LINKING OCEANS

MANAGUA – A Nicaraguan committee approved a proposed route on Monday for a $40 billion shipping channel across the Central American country that would compete with the Panama Canal.
The committee of government officials, businessmen and academics approved a 172 mile route from the mouth of the Brito river on the Pacific side to the Punto Gorda river on the Caribbean that was proposed by executives from the HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co Ltd.
The Hong Kong-based HKND group, which is leading the project, is headed by Chinese lawyer Wang Jing, who also heads Chinese company Xinwei Telecom Enterprise Group.
The proposed canal would pass through Lake Nicaragua, Central America’s largest lake, and will be between 230 metres and 520 metres (755 feet to 1,706 feet) wide and 27.6 metres (90 feet) deep, said HKND engineer Dong Yunsong.
The proposed route still faces environmental and social impact studies that could recommend some changes to the plan, but those studies should be finished later this year to allow work to begin by December, said committee member Telemaco Talavera.
Opponents of the plan are concerned about the canal’s effect on Lake Nicaragua, an important fresh water source for the country, as well as the impact on poor communities.
The plan is to finish the canal in 2019 and begin operations in 2020, Talavera said.
The proposed channel would be more than three times longer than the 48-mile (77-km) Panama Canal, which took the United States a decade to build at the narrowest part of the Central American isthmus. It was completed in 1914.


Interesting Engineering Event

THE NICARAGUAN CANAL: THE BEST RESPONSE TO

THE RISE IN GLOBAL TRADE

Lisa Langhorst (lil90@pitt.edu)

 INTRODUCTION: THE EFFECT OF THE NICARAUAN CANAL

The rise in Global trade has made the need for an alternative trade route to the Panama Canal a definite necessity. Even with the expansions on the Panama Canal, it cannot support vessels with capacities over 150,000tons according to an article in the Business Daily update [1]. An old idea for a canal that would go through the impoverished country of Nicaragua is now become a viable option to enhance global trade, as Nicaragua attempts to latch onto the back of this rise in trade and counter the monopoly of the Panama Canal.
I think that this is an important issue because the construction of the Nicaraguan Canal would benefit shale export from the United States. This would result in a better economic standing for our country, and give the United States a greater geopolitical leverage, according to an article in the Wall Street journal about the effect of oil and natural gas production on the country’s standing [2]. A better economy stands to increase the well being of every citizen of the United States of America.
There are many issues that face this project, such as environmental impact on Lake Nicaragua, the financial expense, and alternative trade route plans to connect the Pacific and Atlantic oceans through other South American countries. However, the Nicaraguan Canal stands to be the best option for a trade route especially considering the revolution in shale gas exports from the United States. Currently the vessels used to export shale exceed the capacity allowable by the Panama Canal, so they are forces to go around South America instead of through Central America. The technology is there, and has been there since the construction of the Panama Canal in the early twentieth century.

BACKGROUND: THE CONSTRUCTORS AND THE COUNTRY

A Brief History and a Bright Outlook

Nicaragua has long been considered an excellent route for a canal between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. It was considered at the same time as the Panama Canal, but did not make it to construction at that time because of political unrest in Nicaragua. Now Nicaragua is “the poorest country in Central America and second poorest in the Western Hemisphere” according to the CNN wire [2]. In Nicaragua almost half of the population cannot afford enough food to meet the minimal necessary caloric intake to maintain good nutrition. The Washington Times stated that “According to the company�s projections, the canal would create some 40,000 construction jobs and virtually double Nicaragua’s per-capita gross domestic product ‘ [3]. This means that if the Nicaraguan Canal is built, Nicaragua will be able to sustain its economy, and its population. By 2015, before the canal is even finished, employment could triple and over 700,000 people could be pulled from poverty or extreme poverty. The economy could double, reaching $24 billion [4]. Nicaragua could be one of the fastest growing economies in history.
According to The Business Daily Update, the annual revenue of the canal is estimated to be $5.5 billion [1]. The total cost of the canal is estimated at $40 billion, with a building period of six to ten years, and sustainable operation for over a century, according to an article in International Construction [5]. This means that its total revenue would far exceed the cost of construction and maintenance for the next 100 years.

Financial Logistics

The project was granted to, and is being funded by, a Chinese businessman, Mr. Wang Jing, and the HKND Hong Kong based group. This past summer Mr. Jing was awarded a fifty-year concession for the project, with a possible fifty-year extension [2]. Mr. Jing made a point that the project would be funded by private investors [5]. Since Nicaragua still recognizes Taiwan and not mainland China, the two countries do not have diplomatic relations. Therefore, the Chinese government will not be investing in the project initially[6]. An investment such as this might scare away private investors, but I would not be surprised if China offers some low interest loans further into the project, as they stand to gain from the construction of the Nicaraguan Canal as well, since the Nicaraguan Canal would make trade key trading partners like South Africa more cost effective [2].

CONSTRUCTION AND TECHNOLOGY

Routes

The Nicaraguan Canal is potentially the largest civil engineering project in the world. It would be about three times the size of the Panama Canal [3]. The route of the canal has not yet been finalized, but over 100 kilometers of land will have to be excavated [5].

Figure 1 [7]

Route Options for the Nicaraguan Canal

Figure 1 displays the route options for the canal. All of these routes go through Lake Nicaragua, the largest lake in South America. The simplest route would be route 6, along the San Juan River, but that has been ruled out due to some territorial discrepancies between Nicaragua and Costa Rica, the country that lies along the southern side of the San Juan River. This leaves several overland routes, which would require extensive excavation. In addition to the canal, HKND also has rights to build two deep water ports, two airports, an oil pipeline across the country, and a transoceanic railroad, all of which fits into the timeline and budget [2, 7].

Construction of the Panama Canal: a Comparison

The feasibility check and environmental impact study for the Nicaraguan Canal have not yet been completed, so the exact method as to how the Nicaraguan Canal will be constructed is not yet released to the public, but looking to the past, at the construction of the Panama Canal we can get a good idea of the process by which the Panama was built. The canals were dug into “V” shapes by several techniques of excavation. Pneumatic power drills were used to drill holes for explosives, steam shovels, steam powered cranes, dredges- devices for underwater excavation-, and hydraulic rock crushers were then used to further break down the rock which was then transported to dumping sites by way of railroads. The technology will have improved by now, but the general process remains the same.

THE NICARAGUAN CANAL IS THE BEST TRADE ROUTE OPTION

Competitive Trade Routes

Nicaragua is not the only country with the intention to open up another trade route between the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean. In Honduras plans are being made to build Pacific and Atlantic ports connected by a series of rail lines. Guatemala is making similar plans to have ports connected by a high-speed rail line along gas and oil pipelines [5]. This would be cheaper, but less efficient for trade in the long run. The additional time spent transferring goods to and from rail lines would add time to the shipping process and make the product more expensive.

US Shale Exports

From the perspective of the United States, the Nicaraguan Canal stands to be the best option. America has recently experienced a boon in shale gas production as well as shifts in trade policy to more exports [1]. The vessels used to transport shale exceed the 150,000-ton capacity of the Panama Canal. These vessels then have to round Cape Horn on the southern tip of South America in order to export to China. Because of this, the price advantage of shale exports to China is very low. However, with the construction of the wider, deeper Nicaraguan Canal these vessels will no longer need to take such an extensive trade route. The Nicaraguan canal will be able to support vessels of 400,000 tons, vessels two and a half times the size of the largest vessels going through the Panama Canal.

CONCLUSION: A BRIGHT FUTURE

The Nicaraguan Canal will be the most efficient trade route from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean. It benefits the United States, particularly by increasing shale export efficiency, it benefits Nicaragua by allowing it to tap into the expanse of world maritime trade, and it benefits China by making their trade more cost effective as well. There are challenges that face the construction of the Nicaraguan Canal, as there were challenges that faced the construction of the Panama Canal. These challenges will be overcome by the advancement of technology, and motivation of the economic prosperity produced by this canal. The expense will most definitely be worth the outcome, and the future of world trade will be made brighter.

REFERENCES

  1. (2013, June 26). “New canal a lifeline for energy. ” Business Daily Update.(Online article).http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?action=interpret&id=GALE%7CA335278599&v=2.1&u=upitt_main&it=r&p=ITOF&sw=w&authCount=1
  2. A. Jaffe. (2013, March27). “Experts: How the U.S. Oil Boom Will Change the Markets and Geopolitics. ” Wall Street Journal.(Online article). http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324105204578382690249436084.html
  3. C. Riley. (2013, June 26). “China canal project in Nicaragua has investors. ” CNN Wire. (Online article).http://ic.galegroup.com/ic/ovic/NewsDetailsPage/NewsDetailsWindow?failOverType=&query=&prodId=OVIC&windowstate=normal&contentModules=&mode=view&displayGroupName=News&limiter=&currPage=&disableHighlighting=false&displayGroups=&sortBy=&source=&search_within_results=&action=e&catId=&activityType=&scanId=&documentId=GALE%7CA335033445
  4. A. Yu. (2013, July 16). “Chinese tycoon maps out rival canal; Nicaragua OKs $40B waterway. ” The Washington Times.(Online article).http://ic.galegroup.com/ic/ovic/NewsDetailsPage/NewsDetailsWindow?failOverType=&query=&prodId=OVIC&windowstate=normal&contentModules=&mode=view&displayGroupName=News&limiter=&currPage=&disableHighlighting=false&displayGroups=&sortBy=&source=&search_within_results=&action=e&catId=&activityType=&scanId=&documentId=GALE%7CA336935740
  5. T. Rogers. (2013, July 24). “Can China finally make the Nicaragua canal dream happen? ” The Christian Science Monitor.(Online article).http://ic.galegroup.com/ic/ovic/NewsDetailsPage/NewsDetailsWindow?failOverType=&query=&prodId=OVIC&windowstate=normal&contentModules=&mode=view&displayGroupName=News&limiter=&currPage=&disableHighlighting=false&displayGroups=&sortBy=&source=&search_within_results=&action=e&catId=&activityType=&scanId=&documentId=GALE%7CA337749275
  6. C. Arduz, C. Sleight. (2013, June 24). “Nicaragua approves Panama Canal Alternative. ” International Construction. (Online article).http://www.khl.com/magazines/international-construction/detail/item86199/
  7. J. Hobson. (2013, July 22). “Chinese Company Attempts to Build Panama Canal Alternative.� “Here & Now. (Interview). http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2013/07/22/panama-canal-alternative
  8. (2013, June 14) “Living on Earth: Nicaraguan Canal. ” Living on Earth. (Interview). http://ic.galegroup.com/ic/ovic/AudioDetailsPage/AudioDetailsWindow?failOverType=&query=&prodId=OVIC&windowstate=normal&contentModules=&mode=view&displayGroupName=Audio&limiter=&currPage=&disableHighlighting=false&displayGroups=&sortBy=&source=&search_within_results=&action=e&catId=&activityType=&scanId=&documentId=GALE%7CA334434874

ADDITIONAL SOURCES

(2013). “The Nicaragua Canal and Development Project. ” HKND Group. (Website).http://hknd-group.com/the-project/

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Dr. Dan Budny for the opportunity to do a research project that solidified my interest in civil engineering.

I would like to thank Judith Brink for assistance in research and refinement of sources through the University of Pittsburgh Library.

I would like to thank Heinz Langhorst for discussion on the construction and issues of building the Nicaraguan Canal.

I would like to thank Alexandra George for her advice on editing and refining the diction, content, and argument of my paper.

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Report About Costa Rica Real Estate Reveals Some Surprises

Costa Rica Real Estate News – According to a recent study by San Jose-based CRREC, the real estate market in Costa Rica is displaying signs of significant interest towards pre-built construction of coastal gated communities while pressure rises from competing markets such as Panama.

costa rica real estate market 1Costa Rica Real Estate’s study contains information pertaining to market size (both volume and value), leading players, key financial metrics and an in-depth analysis in to the competitive pressures Panama holds in the road ahead. Also inside the report are growth predictions for the 2014-2015 season including trend data from a variety of reputable sources.

Only a few weeks back, Costa Rica inducted a new president and while many believe the change in power will bring economic stimulus, others remain skeptical with recent announcements from Intel and HP that they will be closing operations in the country.

Reports of increasing sales and reductions in interest rates within the real estate sector are being pointed to by many as indicators the market is witnessing an upward trend.

One agent cited in the study said, “Normally come this time of year [June] we see a drastic decline in interest from foreign investors however this year it appears to remain consistent with earlier years where sales were strong straight through.”

Although the study reveals the various areas of interest to investors, it shed light most specifically on the Guanacaste region.

There are a few contributing factors that make the region strong including expansion at the Liberia International airport, a thriving luxury resort market with the likes of the Westin Conchal and RUI, and of course we have to mention a strong commercial interest with “high roller” investors coming in on the Flamingo marina and upcoming Hard Rock projects. In fact a stand out point in the study uncovered an emerging trend for low to medium priced gated communities situated along the coastal regions.

Furthermore the report delves in to defining emerging segments with analysis and forecasts of what to expect leading in to the 2015 season.

The housing market [pre-built construction] saw the most significant growth through the 2014 season which accounted for 62.35% of all real estate transactions from the period between June 2013 and now. The trend is expected to rise to a projected 65% as the market segways in to the upcoming high season.

A surprising statistic unveiled within the report details an emerging trend of expatriates opting for the more progressive neighboring country of Panama. For decades, Panama and Costa Rica have fought toe to toe over tourism and the economic boost of attracting foreign investors. During the term of the previous president, Laura Chinchilla, the country experienced a step back in this direction with major corporations moving their operations to other emerging markets in Asia.

Professionals within the real estate sector in Costa Rica remain optimistic that Costa Rica can gain back some ground previously given up to Panama with the newly elected governing party. Forecasts cited within the report support the theory on growth through the 2015 season.

By Don Halbert, from www.worldpropertychannel.com

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Dengue Virus Spreading Through Costa Rica’s Limon Province

Costa Rica Health News – According to the Costa Rican Health Ministry, the Limon Province is where the most active transmission of the dengue virus is taking place this year. Matina is the town where the greatest number of dengue cases have been found: 309 so far this year.

dengue costa rica virusAuthorities reported 3,648 cases of dengue by June 21st and although this number is 71% lower than last year, it is still worrisome.

The Caribbean Zone is the most mosquito-infested area with more than 3 in 100 houses containing recognizable breeding grounds. This number indicates a very high risk and authorities recommend neighbors take actions to control the plague by eliminating breeding grounds such as any still water in houses and on the streets.

Dengue is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito and causes intense body pain and high fever as well as diarrhea and vomiting in some cases. Cases seem to increase at the peak of winter or rainy season when still water becomes more common throughout the country.

80% of patients with dengue have been reported as living in Guanacaste, Limon and Puntarenas. Last year was reported as the worst epidemic of dengue in the past two decades and health officials want to keep the number down this year as much as possible, especially with the possibility of the chikungunya fever in the mix.

Originally posted on Costarican Times

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FACTA July 1st Implementaion Starts With 30% Penalties for Banks

Costa Rica News – In 2013, 2,999 Americans renounced citizenship, the highest number on record. The four highest totals have all occurred since Fatca became law, though the exact reasons for renunciations aren’t reported.

fatca implementationThe Internal Revenue Service is about to get an unprecedented look at bank accounts and investments U.S. citizens hold abroad, through a law that is making it harder to hide assets from the tax collector.

Tomorrow, the U.S. government will start imposing 30 percent taxes on many overseas payments to financial institutions that don’t share information with the IRS.

That new burden has frustrated overseas banks and U.S. expatriates. It’s also created a new standard of global bank-to-government information sharing designed to throw light on often difficult-to-trace accounts.

No one knows yet how successful the law will be in combating tax evasion. Still, it allows the U.S. to scoop up data from more than 77,000 financial institutions and 80 governments about its citizens’ overseas financial activities.

“I don’t think anything on this scale has ever been tried before,” said John Harrington, a former international tax counsel at the Treasury Department who is now a partner at Dentons in Washington. “The idea that it would go off without a hitch is sort of hard to imagine.”

What led to the 2010 Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, or Fatca, was the inability of federal tax authorities to obtain clear information about financial accounts that U.S. citizens have outside the country. That’s especially important for the U.S., because unlike many other countries, it taxes citizens on their worldwide income regardless of where they actually live.

‘Honor’ System
“If you had an account outside of the U.S., you were pretty much on your honor to disclose that information,” said Denise Hintzke, the global tax leader for Deloitte Tax LLP’s Fatca practice.
In establishing the law, Congress and President Barack Obama in effect threatened to cut off banks and other companies from easy access to the U.S. market if they didn’t pass along such information. The U.S. was able to leverage its status as a financial center to demand action from governments and banks in other countries.

The proposal was barely debated when Congress in 2010 passed it as a budgetary offset to a tax credit for hiring. It was projected to raise $8.7 billion in revenue over a decade.

Congress hasn’t addressed it since then, although the Republican National Committee voted earlier this year in favor of repeal.

Withholding Tax
Under Fatca, U.S. banks and other companies making certain cross-border payments — such as interest and dividends — to foreign financial institutions must withhold a 30 percent tax if the recipient isn’t providing information about its U.S. account holders.

Later phases of the law will apply to a broader set of cross-border payments, such as gross proceeds from stock sales. Many non-financial companies will be affected, too.

The law has been accompanied by a new set of regulations and definitions, creating a cottage industry of advisers and interpreters. It was supposed to start Jan. 1, 2013, which was put off until tomorrow to give taxpayers more time to comply.

Fatca prompted more than 77,000 financial institutions to register for the program to avoid the withholding tax. As a result of that compliance, the government doesn’t expect to collect much direct revenue from the 30 percent levy, said a senior Treasury official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss planning for Fatca.

Direct Disclosurefatca implementation 1
In most cases, the law isn’t being implemented as written, because foreign banks said direct disclosure to the IRS would violate local laws. The prospect of withholding spurred negotiations between the U.S. and foreign governments, and other countries saw the potential benefits of reciprocal information exchange.
“This will become a sharing, automatically, between the various countries,” Hintzke said.

So far, the U.S. has reached final or provisional agreements with more than 80 jurisdictions, allowing for government-to-government information exchange or streamlined business-to-government exchanges.
The list includes jurisdictions that often are labeled as tax havens, such as the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands and Guernsey. It also includes most of the world’s major economies, such as Germany, Japan, Canada and the U.K.

Renouncing Citizenship
In 2013, 2,999 Americans renounced citizenship, the highest number on record, according to Treasury data compiled by Andrew Mitchel, an international tax lawyer. The four highest totals have all occurred since Fatca became law, though the exact reasons for renunciations aren’t reported.

“Fatca has been a pretty difficult blow for our U.S. expatriates,” said Martin Karges, senior director in international tax at BDO USA LLP in New York. “They may be shifting money to noncompliant jurisdictions.”

As the account information comes into the U.S. starting in 2015, the focus shifts to the IRS, which will use the data to guide its investigations into offshore tax evasion.

Even without Fatca in place, the U.S. has used prosecutions against Credit Suisse AG (CSGN) and UBS AG (UBSN) to glean information on Americans hiding overseas accounts.

Bankers, Lawyers
Prosecutors have charged more than 70 U.S. taxpayers and three dozen bankers, lawyers and advisers in their crackdown on offshore tax evasion. Those charged include H. Ty Warner, the billionaire creator of Beanie Babies plush toys; Igor Olenicoff, a billionaire real estate developer; and Brad Birkenfeld, a former UBS AG banker who blew the whistle on the bank.

The IRS has sponsored offshore voluntary disclosure programs since 2009 that have brought in about $6.5 billion in interest, taxes and penalties and prompted more than 45,000 Americans to reveal offshore holdings.

The tax agency has said it’ll have a relatively light enforcement touch for the first two years of Fatca for financial institutions that are trying to comply.

The resource-constrained IRS is making Fatca a priority without spending too much time on “small-scale” compliance matters, Commissioner John Koskinen said in a speech at a Washington tax conference earlier this month.

In ‘Shadows’
“The IRS and other enforcement agencies around the world will be able to focus on the structures and arrangements that, unfortunately but inevitably, will be devised to stay in the shadows in a new world of tax transparency,” he said. “And in that new world, governments will need to work closely together to shine light into those shadowy spaces until they no longer exist.”

Almost right up to the deadline, the IRS has been issuing forms and instructions and Treasury has been signing international agreements.

“We can question whether the cost is worth the benefits,” Harrington said. “But there’s no question there’s a cost, a big one. And it’s going to be ongoing too.”

By Richard Rubin, bloomberg.com

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Patrick Hundley, DayStar, Costa Rica Human Rights Violations; Posting Bail?

Costa Rica – Since February, DayStar condominium owners, friends and family of Patrick Hundley and the entire Jaco community have been watching as the court case against Hundley plays out.  The arrest came from alleged charges of defrauding multiple foreign investors out of $7 million.

Patrick Hundley Prison DayStar Jaco 1Investors assert that they signed legal agreements then started out making monthly installments of as much as $500,000 for a year and a half, based on the promise that they would turn into shareholders in the Costa Rican corporation possessing the property after the $7 million was transferred.  The investors state that they never became owners in this corporation and never received their promised shares.

The most recent news about the case is that on Monday at the latest hearing the bail was again reduced. The bail has gone from $3 million, to $2 million to now $1.5 million.

Recently it seems that Hundley is trying to divert attention from the case and start a fight against the Costa Rican justice system and the prison conditions which he is experiencing.  This has been done with an open letter from Patrick Hundley about the prison conditions and now a website has been developed in support of Patrick Hundley called  http://www.costaricainjustice.com/.

But we really need to ask ourselves, what is the real motive behind these calls to open eyes about the Costa Rica justice system? It has been inhumane for years now and now just because there is a “gringo” in jail it should be fixed?

In order to bring some legal perspective to the claims being made on the Costa Rica Injustice Website, we had Rafael Valerde of Outlier Legal Services to review the site and set the record straight. I have added my thoughts as well in regards to the legal information being provided.

Let’s go through what is being claimed on the Costa Rica Injustice Website:

FALSE PRETENSES

On February 17, 2014, Mr. Hundley voluntarily showed up for a deposition at the Prosecutors office in Puntarenas with documents to present his side of the business dispute.  The prosecuting attorney’s request for Mr. Hundley to give a deposition turned out to be false pretenses.  After asking Mr. Hundley a couple of personal family questions several officers came into the room and handcuffed him.  He does not speak Spanish and the translator available could not explain to him what was happening.  Mr. Hundley never presented his side of the dispute.  Instead of giving a deposition, he was arrested with no explanation and no legal rights.

Questions to Rafael Valverde, Outlier Legal Services

  1. Is there ever a circumstance where the above situation would happen in which the defendant would come to present his side of a case and would be arrested and not have knowledge of the case being presented against him? 

This would never happen in Costa Rica.  The criminal procedure starts when the victims file a complaint with either the OIJ or the District Attorney. If the DA knows who the defendant is, he will summon him to give a deposition. They DA would not proceed to arrest the defendant at the deposition unless there is an outstanding warrant for his arrest.  Only a Criminal Judge can issue a warrant for arrest. The DA cannot decide unilaterally to arrest a person.

Pat Hundley could not have showed up there “voluntarily” and wound up being arrested. Most likely, he was summoned to appear for a deposition with the DA. If the DA proceeded to arrest him is because there was already the outstanding warrant, which was issued because they deemed him a flight risk.

  1. In a situation like the above is the defendant normally present with his own counsel? Is there a reason he would not appear in a deposition without counsel or translator?

Per Costa Rican law just like the Miranda rights in the USA counsel is provided if the defendant does not bring their own. Also if the plaintiff does not speak Spanish they are provided a translator.  These are rights granted to every person in the Costa Rican court system.It is the prerogative of the defendant to waive his right to an attorney. If Mr. Hundley was not assisted by an attorney during the deposition it was because he did not want to.

My hypothesis based on these facts and various sources around the case:

Mr. Hundley knew that he was being charged and ignored the communication with the District Attorney.  After ignoring these requests for an extended period of time arrest warrants were issued for both he and his legal counsel.  (This in fact happened). If he did not know what was going on when he arrived (very unlikely), he would have been provided legal counsel as well as a translator.  If these things were not done then yes, they would have violated his rights, but there would have been no reason to not follow the law in this case.

PREVENTIVA

Mr. Hundley has been held in prison in Costa Rica for over four months with no probable cause, no hearing on the facts of the case and no end in sight.  The judge determined that he should be held in Preventiva while the prosecutor attempts to build his case against Mr.Hundley.  Mr. Hundley is now in Perez Zeledon Prison where he is in a cell with 60 other men (the cell was built for 22 people), some of whom are convicted murders.  Sixty men share one shower, one toilet and one urinal. Most men sleep on the concrete floor.  The conditions at this prison are inhumane and something you hear about in third world countries.

Question to Rafael Valverde, Outlier Legal Services

  1. If there was no case nor probable cause against a client would a judge put them in preventive detention?Patrick Hundley Prison DayStar Jaco

Section 293 a) of the Code of Criminal Procedures requires probable cause in order put a person in preventive detention. The Judge can issue a warrant for arrest, and once the defendant is detained, there is a 48 hour period to revoke and appeal the order for the preventive detention. It is the responsibility of the defendant’s attorney to request the withdrawal of the preventive detention.

Preventive detention is requested by the DA and the judge can dismiss the request for preventive custody by default, provided that the request by the DA does not meet either of the elements for the request, being probable cause, flight risk, danger to the victims. In this case, it appears that there is probable cause that he committed the offenses and there is certainly a risk of fleeing the country since he is a foreigner. It seems reasonable that the court would order preventive detention for this case.

My hypothesis based on these facts and various sources around the case:

While Hundley is claiming that he is being held without probable cause; it is the responsibility of his lawyer to prove thiswithin the designated time frame.  Each client is given this opportunity in order to get out of preventiva. If he does not like it there he can pay the bail that has been set by the judge.  He would not have been arrested had he handled this case in a diligent manner. This detainment could have been avoided.

That being said, yes the prisons in Costa Rica are terrible. It has been reported on by various new sources and even reported on in the USA.http://www.qcostarica.com/2014/03/04/u-s-report-bares-naked-serious-abuses-in-costa-ricas-prisons/

HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION

Holding Mr. Hundley in prison under Preventiva is an injustice and a violation of the standards of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 11 (1.):

“Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.”

Question to Rafael Valverde, Outlier Legal Services

  1. How is this not different than the US bail system where a person remains in jail until trial or paying bail? Is it basically the same premise?  

The bail system in Costa Rica is the same as the one in the USA. If a defendant wants to get out of jail before the trial their lawyer can present their case to the judge in order to get a release or the defendant can pay bail.

My thoughts  based on these facts and various sources around the case:

This is the system in Costa Rica, and although it may be flawed it is the way it is. He is going to be provided a trial as are his rights.  Are we supposed to change everything for one gringo? What about all the other cases that no one cared about for the others in jail?

UNJUST BAIL – This section has been edited to show the real verbiage of the law

Mr. Hundley’s bail was lowered from 3.5 million dollars down to 2 million dollars on June 16th (four months after arrest).  Legal opinion is that these bail amounts are the largest bails in Costa Rican history, and one must come up with the full amount, not 10% like in some countries.

According to Section #250 in The Criminal Law Procedure Code of Costa Rica, the judge sets the bail based on the particulars of the case. For instance, the type of felony, the background of the defendant, and the economic situation of the defendant.

Patrick Hundley Prison DayStar Jaco 2On June 16, the Judge accepted Pat Hundley’s Income Tax Return, Bank Statements and Credit Card Statements (all notarized, stamped and sealed) and acknowledged the bail should be set according to the law.  The judge also gave no reason for the two million dollar amount.  Once again, Pat Hundley has been treated unfairly by the Costa Rican legal system.  By contrast, Luis Milanes Tamayo, accused of fraud by taking $200 million from investors in 2002, has served just a single day in jail while his case drags through the courts in San José.  Mr. Hundley should be able to surrender his passport, post reasonable bail and wait for a trial based on the facts.

Question to Rafael Valverde, Outlier Legal Services

  1. How is bail determined by judges in Costa Rica? Do they need to follow the above law every time or can they make determinations based on the individual?

Indeed, as noted in section 250 of the Code of Criminal procedures the bail is set on a case by case basis depending on the particulars of the defendant and the case.

My thoughts based on these facts and various sources around the case:

I do think that the bail may have been set too high at the beginning  but I am not the judge nor do I know the case that was presented to him.  If the defendant ignored requests to communicate with the plaintiffs then he would be considered a flight risk. If you are considered a flight risk then most likely your bail is going to be set higher in order to ensure that you appear for your trial.  Again I think this could have been avoided had Mr. Hundley been in communication with the clients before arrest warrants were issued.

The other questions I have in regards to this statement on the Costa Rica injustice website are the following:

Are the plaintiffs investigating Hundley’s finances and is that part of the case against him? If so wouldn’t that challenge the validity of the tax documents Hundley presented to court on June 16th?

EXTORTION

Furthermore, the fact that if Mr. Hundley meets the demands of his business partner he will be released from prison reads like the definition of extortion: pay the money or continue to suffer in prison.  And the government of Costa Rica is a party to this.

Question to Rafael Valverde, Outlier Legal Services

  1. What is the process when it comes to settling in the Costa Rican court system?Does this differ from the USA?

In the Costa Rica legal system there are 2 types of cases civil and criminal.  In civil cases it is encouraged to settle outside of court in order to not waste time and money in the legal system.  If the settlement is agreed upon the case is dismissed. There is no jail time or arrests in civil cases. In criminal cases such as Mr. Hundley’s there is also the option to settle.  The settlement terms are presented by the plaintiffs and then the defendant can agree or go to trial.  This is the exact same process that is used in the USA.

My thoughts based on these facts and various sources around the case:

When it comes to the plaintiffs in this case, they have offered settlement terms which have supposedly been rejected.  I do not know how this can be seen as extortion as it is the right of the plaintiffs in most legal systems to request reasonable terms of settlement. It seems that the “business partners” are asking for their $7 million back. If Mr. Hundley cannot come up with the $2 million bail then perhaps his claims of extortion are a bit off base and he just does not have the money to pay back the plaintiffs.  Although 7 million might seem like extortion to some people, if I stole $10,000 from someone then I would expect the people bringing charges against me to want that $10,000 back. The same goes for a higher amount of money. It is not the plaintiff’s fault he does not have that liquid right now.

In Conclusion

In regards to all of the above statements, if they are true then you would think that his lawyer would be pleading to the judge and legal system about the injustices against his client.  There are too many sketchy facts to determine what the truth is, and many of these questions need to be answered before any of us come to any judgments.

However, there is one assumption we candraw from all the above data.  Mr. Hundley placed himself in this position by not responding to requests by the plaintiffs over the past year to talk about the case. While he is sitting in his jail cell complaining about the conditions, he should only look at himself and his legal counsel for being in that situation. He may not have known the law, but his lawyers should have.  It should be noted that his attorneys were also arrested and held for 30 days as accomplices.  Nowhere in the world is ignorance a valid legal argument. If I did not have a safety kit in my vehicle in Costa Rica and received a ticket for it, I could not use the excuse “ I didn’t know” as a valid legal argument.

The current rumor flying around the Jaco area is that Hundley is coming up with the $1.5 million bail money through a property sale and will pay this in after his next hearing which occurred, Monday July 7th in Puntarenas.

One would think that over the next months the truth will come out in the Costa Rican legal system through the court proceedings, combined with the findings of the audit currently underway within DayStar .

If you have any questions for Rafael Valverde of Outlier Legal Services, Visit his Website Here. 

Originally posted Costarican Times

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I was just bragging how this stuff doesn’t happen here. :-(

A National Police officer overlooks a crowd gathering at the Fuente de la Hispanidad in San Pedro, San José, after the Costa Rica-Netherlands World Cup match on July 5, 2014. (Courtesy Public Security Ministry)

National Police arrested 90 people in brawls and other incidents during and after Costa Rica’s match against the Netherlands on Saturday, according to a statement from the Public Security Ministry. More than half the arrests involved domestic violence, despite a government campaign to curb a recent spike in domestic abuse complaints during the World Cup.

Members of the national men’s football team, known as “La Sele,” hold signs in Brazil reading “No to violence,” as part of the government’s campaign against domestic violence.

Courtesy Public Security Ministry

 

One of the most dramatic events of the weekend took place in the Plaza de la Democracia in downtown San José, where a brawl broke out between several fans. Police confirmed Saturday evening that two victims were stabbed and another hit with a bottle. Eight arrests were reported, but no motive was disclosed.

More than half of Saturday’s arrests – 48 – involved domestic violence. Violent intrafamily incidents spiked during Costa Rica’s games during the World Cup. Guillermo Aroyo, president of the Costa Rican Red Cross, said that during Costa Rica’s June 29 match against Greece the organization responded to 200 more calls than usual. The Public Security Ministry, Presidency Ministry and other government bodies launched a campaign called “Give Domestic Violence the Red Card” last week to raise awareness about celebrating the games responsibly.

Some 23 suspects were arrested for fighting in alcohol-related incidents during or after the game that knocked Costa Rica out of the World Cup. Most of the arrests took place in San José, where police confiscated drugs and knives. Police also aprehended three suspects in the act of committing a crime, three for property damage, four for drug possession, one for robbery, and two for illegal gun possession, among others.

Some 3,500 police were out across the country and on the streets of San José, including at the Fuente de la Hispanidad, Plaza de la Democracia and Parque Central for Saturday’s game.

Originally posted Tico Times

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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

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UPDATE: 2 Costa Rica fans stabbed, another hit with a bottle in Plaza de la Democracia while watching Netherlands match

No Costa Rica say it isn’t so. 😦 Don’t be like the U.S.!!!!!!

Police cleared the front of the Plaza de la Democracia where Costa Ricans were gathered to watch the game after a stabbing that injured at least three. Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Times

The Public Security Ministry (MSP) released a statement Saturday evening reporting that Red Cross responders attended to three victims from a fight that broke out in the capital’s Plaza de la Democracia. Two victims were injured from a stabbing and a third received treatment after being hit with a bottle. Police arrested eight involved in the disturbance, including one suspect identified by the last names Delgadillo Ruiz who was wanted on a weapon possession charge.

Authorities still don’t know what started the brawl that interrupted an otherwise peaceful gathering. More than 1,000 fans watched Costa Rica and the Netherlands battle for a spot in the World Cup semifinals on a large LED screen at the plaza in downtown San José.

Tico Times reporter Lindsay Fendt, who was at the scene, said that fans toward the back of the plaza did not realize what was unfolding in front of them and continued cheering the national team.

An ambulance arrived soon arrived to the area and removed the injured on stretchers.

Original article continues here:

A Costa Rican fan lies in the Plaza de la Democracía in downtown San José after being stabbed in the back while watching Costa Rica play the Netherlands in the World Cup quarterfinals.AFP

Police and spectators rushed to assist injured Costa Rican fans at the Plaza de la Democracia in San José. Three people were reportedly injured, although the extent of those injuries has not yet been confirmed by authorities.

Fans  gathered in the capital’s public plaza to watch the match. Police have sealed off the scene of the alleged crime and are investigating.

A Costa Rican fan lies on the street after being stabbed in his back in the Parque de la Democracia in downtown San José, while watching Costa Rica play the Netherlands in the World Cup quarterfinals on Saturday.AFP

Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Times

 

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Originally Posted Tico Times
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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!

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Expatriate Americans Break up with Uncle Sam

Record Numbers Living Abroad Renounce U.S. Citizenship over IRS Reporting Requirements

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Patricia Moon was born in Dayton, Ohio, to a family descended from Quakers who settled in the New World before the American Revolution.

As a young woman, Ms. Moon fell for a Canadian man and moved to Toronto. The 59-year-old homemaker, who still visits the U.S. to see relatives, said she feels American in her bones, even after three decades abroad.

Yet despite her deep roots, Ms. Moon walked into a U.S. consulate two years ago, raised her right hand and recited an oath renouncing her U.S. citizenship. Afterward, she said, “I bawled my eyes out.”

Ms. Moon is among record numbers of Americans cutting ties. U.S. offices abroad reported that 1,001 U.S. citizens and green-card holders had renounced their allegiance in the first three months of the year, according to Andrew Mitchel, a lawyer in Centerbrook, Conn., who analyzes Treasury Department data. That figure puts 2014 on track to top last year’s total of 2,999 renunciations, he said, which was the most since the government began disclosing the data.

Helping boost the exodus, experts say, is a five-year-old U.S. campaign to hunt for undeclared accounts held by Americans abroad.

Since 2009, the government campaign has collected more than $6 billion in taxes, interest and penalties from more than 43,000 U.S. taxpayers. Federal prosecutors have filed more than 100 criminal indictments, including the high-profile case of Beanie Babies inventor Ty Warner, who last year pleaded guilty to tax evasion involving secret Swiss bank accounts.

The tax dragnet has also swept up many middle-income Americans living abroad, prompting some to give up their U.S. citizenship. While people who renounce aren’t freed of taxes due for past years, they don’t want to risk sizable taxes and penalties for them and their children in the years ahead, experts say. Nearly 8,000 taxpayers have renounced U.S. citizenship in the past five years, Mr. Mitchel found, compared with fewer than 5,000 in the preceding decade.

“The increase is due to current and future changes in tax law and enforcement,” said Freddi Weintraub, a New York attorney at the Fragomen firm who specializes in immigration law. She said in recent years she has seen a threefold increase in expatriation inquiries related to taxes.

Ms. Moon, for example, feared the IRS could charge her family nearly a half-million dollars in penalties on undeclared savings and checking accounts—even though, she said, the accounts never held more than $102,000, weren’t intentionally hidden and didn’t have any U.S. taxes owed. “I was afraid we would have to cash in our retirement accounts and sell our home,” she said.

Experts say the U.S. campaign could affect millions of Americans like Ms. Moon—people who aren’t wealthy, pay taxes in their host country, and who say they weren’t trying to dodge U.S. taxes.

“We have reached the point where middle-class American citizens abroad are being forced to renounce—especially if they have assets and are moving toward retirement—because of taxes, paperwork and huge potential penalties,” said John Richardson, a Toronto lawyer with dual U.S. and Canadian citizenship. He and Ms. Moon help run a nonprofit group seeking to keep Canada from sharing private account information with U.S. authorities.

As word spreads, experts said, more Americans are likely to consider surrendering their citizenship. The State Department estimates that 7.6 million American citizens live outside the U.S., but only a fraction file required financial disclosure forms.

Mark Mazur, the Treasury Department’s assistant secretary for tax policy, said the government’s new enforcement was intended to help make sure all taxpayers pay what they owe “regardless of where they live.”

At the same time, Mr. Mazur said, Treasury needs to “maintain a balance between enforcement efforts and equity, including the burdens that may be placed on taxpayers.”

Mr. Mazur said Treasury was looking into how best to work with Congress and the IRS to fine-tune the system: “You can always improve.”

U.S. officials launched their campaign after Swiss banking giant UBS AG admitted in 2009 that it helped wealthy American taxpayers hide money overseas. To avoid criminal charges, the bank paid $780 million to the U.S. and turned over information on more than 4,400 accounts, ending decades of Swiss bank secrecy.

In May, Credit Suisse Group pleaded guilty to similar charges and agreed to pay $2.6 billion. Dozens of other Swiss banks are currently negotiating penalties with the U.S. Department of Justice, officials said.

Following the UBS revelations, U.S. officials announced they would begin vigorously enforcing both new and long-dormant tax rules.

Unlike other developed nations, the U.S. government taxes citizens on income they earn anywhere in the world. The rule dates to the Civil War, when Ms. Moon’s great-great grandfather served with Union forces.

U.S. tax liabilities also cover children born to Americans abroad, extending the reach of the IRS across generations, as well as oceans.

For decades, wealthy taxpayers were able to hide foreign assets in countries where bank-secrecy laws fostered attractive tax havens, including Switzerland, the Cayman Islands and Panama.

But the UBS case signaled the beginning of the end for such havens. Armed with information from the Swiss bank, U.S. authorities pursued individuals for back taxes, and pressured the tax professionals who helped them.

As a result of the crackdown, Ms. Moon and others learned they had failed to comply with the law. “We call it the ‘Oh, my God! moment.’ Every expatriate has it,” Ms. Moon said. “They were going to take every dime we had, that was my fear.”

The violations often don’t involve unpaid U.S. taxes on wages: The law currently exempts about $100,000 of income earned abroad each year. Ms. Moon, for example, didn’t owe any income tax. She said she never made more than $11,000 a year when she worked from 2007 to 2012 as a bookkeeper for a business run by her husband, who earned about $65,000 a year devising special effects for movies and TV.

The most common mistakes usually involved Americans failing to submit a form called the Foreign Bank Account Report, or Fbar. Since 1970, U.S. taxpayers have been required to file if they held one or more foreign accounts totaling more than $10,000 over the course of a year. Until the enforcement push, many Americans never filed an Fbar.

The law is more than 40 years old, but “no one ever heard of it” before the crackdown, said Edward Kleinbard, a former chief of staff on Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation, and an expert in international tax law at the University of Southern California.

Fbar penalties are as steep as 50% of the highest value of the account for each year no report was filed. The IRS fined one taxpayer for Fbar violations in four separate years, and a settlement reached this month in the case yielded $1.7 million in penalties, which was more than the account held at the time. Experts say the stiff penalties were originally enacted to discourage wealthy tycoons from hiding assets abroad.

In the fall of 2011, Ms. Moon learned she should have been filing Fbar forms on joint accounts she held with her husband. She calculated she could owe about $455,000 in penalties for the years she failed to file.

The IRS was unlikely to have imposed penalties that high, experts said, but it could have. “Getting professional help to correct her mistakes could easily have cost $15,000 to $20,000,” said Bryan Skarlatos, a lawyer with Kostelanetz & Fink in New York, which has advised thousands of taxpayers with secret offshore accounts.

Ms. Moon considered what to do. One of the IRS’s limited-amnesty programs had just ended and a new one didn’t start until 2012. She said she wouldn’t have entered a program in any case because she considered Fbar penalties too steep for “failing to file a piece of paper.” Penalties and other costs can amount to a third of the balance in an account or more.

“The programs are best for people who have done things serious enough to land them in prison and are willing to pay huge penalties to stay out,” said Philip Hodgen, an international tax lawyer in Pasadena, Calif.

Americans with smaller offshore accounts who entered the first IRS limited amnesty program paid proportionately higher penalties than taxpayers with larger accounts, according to Nina Olson, the National Taxpayer Advocate, an IRS ombudsman.

The typical taxpayer with less than $45,000 in undeclared accounts paid nearly six times the back taxes owed, while the typical taxpayer with more than $7 million in such accounts paid closer to three times their back taxes, Ms. Olson found.

IRS officials “didn’t think about the demographics of the population” of overseas Americans, Ms. Olson said, often treating middle-class taxpayers the same as “bad actors.”

“There’s an awful lot of minnows caught up in this,” said Marvin Van Horn, a 66-year-old retired financial controller for Alaska Airlines. He said he entered an IRS limited-amnesty program in 2009: “I assumed it would be very clear I was not one of those quote-unquote offshore tax cheats, those big whales they were looking for.”

In prior U.S. tax filings, Mr. Van Horn said he hadn’t declared rental income from a house he and his Australian wife own in New Zealand, as well as interest income. He said he didn’t know such declarations were required.

“I have to take some responsibility,” Mr. Van Horn said. “It was stupidity and not paying attention on my part.”

The IRS fined him more than $172,000, roughly eight times his back taxes, which amounted to about $21,000 over six years, Mr. Van Horn said. With help from Ms. Olson’s office, he said, the fine was reduced to about $25,000. Spokesmen for the IRS and Ms. Olson said they couldn’t comment on individual cases.

In a June 3 speech, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said the agency may not have been accommodating enough to U.S. citizens who have lived abroad for years. “We have been considering whether these individuals should have an opportunity to come into compliance that doesn’t involve the type of penalties that are appropriate for U.S.-resident taxpayers who were willfully hiding their investments overseas,” he said.

Scrutiny of Americans abroad will intensify, however, under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, or Fatca, which Congress passed in 2010. The law’s main provisions, which take effect in July, will require foreign financial institutions to report income of their U.S. customers to the IRS, much as U.S. banks and brokers file 1099 forms.

Middle-class Americans “face overwhelming problems when they try to engage in standard financial practices, such as having a small business, saving for retirement, investing, buying life insurance, and making wills and trusts,” because of the laws governing assets abroad, said David Kuenzi, a financial planner with Thun Financial Advisors in Madison, Wis., who works with expatriates.

The U.S. tax code, for example, doesn’t recognize Australia’s version of an individual retirement account, Mr. Kuenzi said. American taxpayers with these accounts must file at least two forms a year declaring the account a “foreign trust,” and paying taxes on annual appreciation.

The penalty for failing to file can be as much as 35% of both contributions and withdrawals each year, plus 5% of the assets, said Mr. Hodgen, the Pasadena tax lawyer.

Ms. Moon learned that U.S. law requires her to file annual reports on retirement accounts, such as her Tax-Free Savings Account—similar to a Roth IRA.

Her husband, Ken Whitmore, objected to divulging financial information on joint accounts to the IRS. “Would you want the Canada revenue service to know what your financial situation is?” he said.

Ms. Moon concluded that even if the IRS didn’t levy the stiffest fines, the potential consequences down the road for missing a deadline or making a mistake were too costly. She later learned she would have been required to pay U.S. taxes on part of the gain on the couple’s Toronto house, which they hope to sell for a retirement nest egg. They bought the house in the mid-1980s for $125,000, she said, and it was now worth an estimated $800,000.

Before renouncing her citizenship, Ms. Moon spoke with her sister, Sue Moon, a certified public accountant in Kansas City, Mo.

U.S. citizenship is the most coveted citizenship in the world. To give it up, it has to be pretty serious,” Sue Moon said. “There was just a sadness on her part, that she had to make that decision. She didn’t take it lightly.”

Months after Ms. Moon renounced her citizenship, her official notice arrived in Toronto. Ms. Moon went to the U.S. consulate to pick it up and paid a $450 processing fee. She told the clerk it was “the saddest $450 I’ll ever spend.”

Originally posted by The Wall Street Journal

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Zarcero, boy did you have a surprise for us!

Today we decided to take a trip to Zarcero and boy and I glad we did! I went with the wife and 2 friends. It was a really good trip. Good company beautiful town and just a wonderful feel. Boy if I knew about this place it could have been in the running for where we may live instead of Atenas, but I really do lover our town of Atenas.

Our morning started at 10:45 as we drove off out on our adventure. We stopped to pick up one friend, the other drove to our house. We went to the gas station to fill up. Not that it was that far, but I have learned that in Costa Rica you should always fill up before you go on any adventure to anywhere you have never been before. You just don’t know what will happen.

It was a pretty uneventful drive. We had good company so the drive went pretty quickly. The roads can be a little twisty and windy from Atenas, but during the day and when it isn’t raining its pretty easy.

We got there right at 12:00 on the dot! It was time for lunch and we really wasn’t sure where to go. As we drove into town one of our friends saw a little shop area that had 2 restaurants listed. One had fast food in its name so we figured we would check out the other. So we go in and can’t find the one that was listed that wasn’t fast food. I went upstairs and saw what could have been it, but it wasn’t open. So we decided to take a chance. Here are some photo’s of the little center.

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Oh my are we glad we took the chance. The food was amazing and the prices were just as amazing! Dingo’s fast food  is where we ate. Don’t let the words Fast Food fool you. It was nothing like fast food!

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Patacones were ok. So at this point we were not 100% sure this was a right decision, but than we tasted the salsa! It was delicious! So we had hope. The only problem with this was there was way too much breading and too little plantains. This was 1,450 colones.

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My friends call me the Salad Nazi and with good reason. I am very picky over my salads. Now this doesn’t have a lot of nutritional value to it, but let me tell you it was good. The chicken was a pleasant surprise. This was the Ensalada Dingo. I don’t think that was dingo on our plate! The croutons were toasted bread and not too soft but not too hard either. The dressing was a ranch and just ok, but he chicken was the hero here. The added ham and cheese was nice as well.  This was 2,950 colones and actually it was enough to be a nice lunch in and of its self. \WP_20140625_12_44_22_Pro

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Next up our friend got the Super Hamburgesa. This is a direct quote from our friend who ordered it, “This is the best hamburger I have ever had in Costa Rica.” This is high praise coming from her. It had 2 kinds of cheese, pickles and just a small piece of bacon, but it was about 1/2 lb of burger! It came with a side of fries. This cost 2,950 colones as well and well worth the price!

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There is that wonderful salsa again! This was a Burrito and again direct quote, “One of the best I have had!” So again another winner and it comes in at 2,800 colones.

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Ok so Alitas Buffalo and there are 7 of them here. I took some flack for putting Hooters on my top 10 restaurants list and this place knocks them off! I would have liked a little more heat, but there was enough to make me happy and not too much that some who doesn’t like a lot of heat wouldn’t want to eat them. They were crispy and the breading was very different, but wonderful. They were very generously sauced as you can see. 7 of them cost 1,900 colones. Amazing price!

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This was the Costilla BBQ which is BBQ ribs. They cut them into pieces which made it easier to eat. Left the bone so you have to watch when you bit them. Pretty good. Wasn’t a wonderful BBQ sauce, but it was good. Now these potatoes were amazing! I don’t know what they did to them, but they were very tasty and flavorful! This dish was 4,000 colones.

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Ok so I was a little skeptical about getting the Churrasco. I am glad I did. Again served with those wonderful potatoes! The side salad was the same minus the chicken as our main salad. So the steak I am going to let this video speak for me.

Yes it was that tender. It needed a little salt, but other than that it was really good! So very surprised and wasn’t not expected this from a little shop that had Fast Food in its name! It was a good 6oz cooked so a good size. It cost 3,450 colones. I was shocked!

We also got 2 Cafe Negro, 1 Te frio and 4 Coke lights. The cold drinks were 1,000 colones each and the coffee was only 600 colones. We also got a dessert that we shared. I didn’t get a picture of it. There was a cinnamon roll and a fruit roll and I swear it was made from angle food cake batter. We couldn’t believe it. Very nice and it was only 500 colones for each one. Very good deal.

So total for our lunch for 4 with all that food and drink was only 29,450 colones or $53.69 for those who don’t know the conversion. I was amazed! It is one of those great accidental finds that you just never know will happen. We are so glad we decided to take a chance and not go anywhere else.

Now we get to the reason we were in Zarcero. We went for the garden and the church. Both were amazing! Love the beauty of the gardens and the church. So here are the pictures I took at the garden.  Click on the images below to see larger views.

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The other reason we went was to visit the church. It is one beautiful place, no doubt. The art and paintings are amazing. So here are the photo’s I took while at the church. Again click on the images below to see larger views.

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Over all it was a very nice day. Good friends, Good food, beautiful town and a wonderful drive. If you get a chance you should go visit this wonderful place and eat at that wonderful restaurant. Here is the blog of one of the friends that went with us. Check it out. Keeping you in Stitches

The only downside was the drive home. The rain held out until we were ready to leave, but I had to drive those twisty windy roads in the rain. We made it home safe and sound and that is all that matter.

Pura Vida!

Categories: Costa Rica Life Experience, Food, News, Restaurant Reviews, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lightning kills 18 year old

So for those living here or just visiting you need to know about this story.

On Sunday 6/22/14 at Playa Penca in Costa Rica an 18 year old died when he was struck by lightning. He was identified as David Otoniel Rocha Rivera. It is said he was getting out of the water when the bolt hit. Rainy season is very beautiful and also can be very deadly as well. As soon as you see the clouds turn dark get inside! Do not take a chance.

This is a sad story and one that hopefully can be prevented in the future.

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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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!

Categories: Costa Rica Dave, Health, Healthcare | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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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Eat Costa Rica Today!

I have decided to every now and again, unless you all want this more often, to post a days worth of meals starting with Breakfast and working our way though dinner. all Costa Rican Style meals and how to prepare them. So hope you enjoy it!

Breakfast or Desayuno

Costa Rican Rice and Beans With Fried Eggs

Not the actual dish there was no picture to go along with this dish. Sorry.

Ingredients: 

3/4 cup long-grain white rice
kosher salt, to taste
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 small yellow onion, cut into small dice
1/2 medium red bell pepper, seeded and cut into small dice
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1 (16 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons Lizano sauce, more to taste
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
8 large eggs
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

Directions:

Step 1
Put the rice, a big pinch of salt, and 1 1/2 cups of water in a 3-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the rice has absorbed the water and is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside with the lid on.

Step 2
Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, and a pinch of salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened about 3 minutes. Add the cumin and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Step 3
Add the tomato sauce and stir for 1 minute. Add the beans and 1 cup of water and simmer until the liquid reduces to the level of the beans, about 4 minutes.

Step 4
Add the rice to the beans and mix well. Stir in the Salsa Lizano and season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

Step 5
Heat the remaining 1 Tbsp of oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat, swirling the pan to coat evenly. Gently crack the eggs into the pan. Season with salt and pepper, cover, and cook until the yolks’ edges have just begun to set, 2 to 3 minutes. (The eggs should cook gently, so lower the heat if needed.) Separate the eggs with the edge of a spatula.

Step 6
To serve, put a heaping spoonful of the rice and beans on a plate and slide 2 eggs on top. Sprinkle with the cilantro.

Time Prep 10 min. Cook 20 min. Serves 4

Lunch or Almuerzo

Hearts of Palm Parmesan Salad.

Ingredients: 

1 (14 ounce) can hearts of palm, drained & rinsed
2 medium tomatoes, seeded & chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 green onions, chopped (use white & green parts)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper (Use fresh cracked pepper)
2 ounces parmesan cheese, freshly shaved
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

If you want this to be a meal add the following:

2 medium sized Cucumbers chopped, 1 Shredded carrot, 2 oz each shredded cabbage (Purple and green), 1 while onion chopped or sliced, optional but very nice to have is some sliced mushrooms.

Directions:

Chop and mix in a a large bow. Let sit in fridge for about 1/2 hour to marinade.

Serves 2 to 4 depending on your cutting abilities about 10 min. prep.

Dinner or Cena

Appetizer or Aperitivo

Black Bean Quesadillas

Ingredients: 

1/4 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed, mashed with a fork
1 whole wheat tortilla
1/4 cup spinach, cleaned and dry
1/4 cup shredded Monterrey jack pepper cheese
1/4 cup salsa

Directions:

Step 1
Spread black beans on half of the tortilla.

Step 2
Spread the spinach on top of the black beans.

Step 3
Spread the cheese on top of the spinach.

Step 4
Fold tortilla in half.

Step 5
When time to heat up, cover tortilla with a napkin and heat in the microwave until heated through 1 – 1.5 minutes.

Step 6
Top with salsa and enjoy

Serves 2 Prep to cook time about 5 min.

Entree

Corvina a La Chorillana (Peruvian Fish in Spicy Tomato Sauce). Photo by vvoci

Corvina a La Chorillana (Peruvian Fish in Spicy Tomato Sauce)

Ingredients: 

1 tablespoon annatto oil, divided (see note)
2/3 large onions, thinly sliced, divided
1 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped, divided
2/3 fresh hot chili peppers, seeded and cut into 1/8-inch strips, divided (red or green)
1/4 teaspoon finely chopped garlic, divided
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, divided
1/3 teaspoon salt, divided (or to taste)
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, divided
1 lb sea bass (cut into 1/2-inch steaks)

Directions:

Step 1
Heat 1 tablespoon annatto oil in a heavy 4-quart pot over moderate heat, tipping pot to spread oil across the bottom.

Step 2
Spread half the onion slices, tomatoes, and chili strips in the hot oil.

Step 3
Sprinkle with half the garlic, oregano, salt and pepper.

Step 4
Lay fish steaks on top of vegetable mixture.

Step 5
Cover with remaining vegetables and seasonings.

Step 6
Drizzle remaining annatto oil over top.

Step 7
Cover and simmer over low heat until fish is opaque and firm, 20-30 minutes. Do not overcook.

Step 8
NOTE: to make annatto oil, heat 1/2 cup vegetable oil in a saucepan over moderate heat. Stir in 1/4 cup annatto (achiote) seeds. Stir for 30 seconds. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, cool, and strain. This will keep several months if tightly covered and refrigerated, but it will lose flavor as it ages.

Dessert or Postre

Oven Baked Sweet Plantains. Photo by Sue Lau

Oven Baked Sweet Plantains

Ingredients: 

2 very ripe plantains (when the skin is yellow with spots of black they’re perfect)

Directions:

Step 1
Preheat oven to 450°F.

Step 2
Coat a nonstick cookie sheet with cooking spray.

Step 3
Cut the ends off of the plantains and peel.

Step 4
Cut each plantain on the diagonal into 1/2 inch slices.

Step 5
Arrange in single layer and coat tops with cooking spray.

Step 6
Bake, turning occasionally, for 10-15 minutes, until plantains are golden brown and very tender.

Serves about 2 Prep and cook time about 17 min.

So there you have it! A complete day of meals Costa Rican Style! I hope you enjoy it. Please let me know if you try and how it turned out. Either comment here or send us an email. If you want us to show your creation email us what you did and the pictures and we will post on our blog. Thanks!

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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Unlock your iPhone Part II Verizon

I do not have a Verizon service phone so I have not tried this process. Here is the process as it has been explained to me by Verizon on how to unlock your phone. 

How do I know if my phone is Global ready?

You can use our Global Ready tool in My Verizon Mobile to find out if your device and account are set up for global travel.

  1. Sign in to My Verizon Mobile
  2. Tap Device
  3. Tap Global Ready CheckFollow the prompts to see if your device and account are eligible to use available services in the location you’re visiting.

If your device or features aren’t global ready, you can visit My Verizon to see if you’re eligible for an upgrade, or to add global features to your account.

There’s one more option if your device isn’t global ready or you aren’t eligible to upgrade. The Global Travel program can help for trips of 21 days or less. Visit our Global Travel Program page for more information on how it works.

How do I get my non-global ready (CDMA-only) phone ready to use outside the US?

Before traveling with your non-global ready (CDMA only) device:

  1. Visit our Trip Planner to determine if your device will work in the country to which you’re traveling. The Trip Planner will also provide rates and dialing information for the country you’ll be in.
  2. Call *611 from your mobile phone or (800) 922-0204 to check your international eligibility and add Global Services.

Notes:

  • If you’re traveling to a country that follows the North American dialing pattern, you don’t need to add Global Services.
  • Non-global ready devices can’t add Global Services in My Verizon.

 

The steps required to unlock your device vary by the type of device you have:

4G Global Ready devices – 4G Global Ready devices are unlocked by default. You don’t need to do anything to unlock it.
3G Global Ready devices – If you have a 3G device, call Customer Service at *611 from your mobile phone or (800) 922-0204. For the unlock request to be processed, you must have an active Verizon Wireless account for at least 60 days in good standing.
Notes:

When using a local SIM card, you’ll be using a different (local) number. We can’t troubleshoot network issues when a local SIM card is being used.
SIM cards come in different sizes. Be sure to find the proper SIM card size before inserting into your device.

Remember, if you use a local SIM card/service, you’re receiving service from the carrier that supplied the SIM card and not from Verizon Wireless. Therefore, you’ll be billed by the carrier supplying your service and not Verizon Wireless.

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!

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

Unlock your iPhone?

How do you Unlock your iPhone? 

Well I had this same question just recently. I have and iPhone with a US phone number on AT&T. No one really calls me on it. I never really make any calls out on it. So why am I paying over $150 a month for a phone with an international plan with data on it? I decided to figure out this Unlock thing so I can use a local sim card.

I could not believe how easy it was!!!!

I can only tell you the way I did it on AT&T. I have no clue if there is a way to do it on the other service providers. AT&T will unlock for free up to 5 devices that have or have had their service. Now if you had it and you switch this won’t work and they won’t do it for you. The last or current service provider has to be AT&T. It has to be their sim card in when you do it. So here is what  you do.

Step 1:

You go to this website AT&T unlock portal fill out all requested information and submit

Step 2:

Wait for the confirmation email that looks like this


Thank you for contacting AT&T Customer Service about unlocking your AT&T Mobile device. We have received your request to unlock your AT&T Mobile device. Your Request Number is: (some number here)

Please click here within the next 24 hours to confirm your request.

Your request is subject to AT&T Mobile device unlocking requirements. If we have further questions or instructions, we’ll contact you by email.

You may also check the status of your unlock request by clicking the link for AT&T’s Device Unlock Status Portal.


Sincerely, 

The AT&T Customer Care Team 

Now click on the line where it says click here and wait.

Step 3:

You will hopefully now get an email that looks like this:


Request number:

Thank you for contacting AT&T Customer Care about unlocking your AT&T Mobile device.

We have reviewed your request and confirmed that the device may be unlocked. You should complete the unlock process before porting out your number for use with another carrier.

Please allow 24 hours upon receipt of this notification to complete the unlock process.

1. Open iTunes on your Mac or PC and verify that you have Internet connectivity.

2. Ensure the original SIM card that came with this device is inserted in your iPhone.

3. Connect your iPhone using the dock connector to USB cable that came with your iPhone.

4. Backup and restore your iPhone using iTunes. For information on backup and restore, please visit http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1414.

5. After restoring, your iPhone will be unlocked.

Additional information on unlocking can be found at http://support.apple.com/kb/TS3198

For questions regarding AT&T Mobile device, please visit the Phone/Device Learning Center.

Thank you for your business. For other questions about our AT&T wireless service or other Mobile devices, please visit att.com.


Sincerely, 

AT&T Customer Care Team 

Follow these instructions and in less than 48 hours you phone is unlocked free of charge! I did it and it was simple, easy and no issues. I am now using my moviestar SIM card in my iPhone.

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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In Search of Wild Costa Rica

Clockwise from top left: Rain forest in Corcovado National Park; a tapir in the park; a cabin at Bosque del Cabo Rainforest Lodge; spying on a toucan at the lodge. CreditScott Matthews for The New York Times

By the end of our fourth day on the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica, we had seen, according to the tally kept by my 9-year-old, Sasha, dozens of species of animals. We had peered at leafcutter ants, army ants and zombie ants. We had been deafened by howler monkeys, beguiled by squirrel monkeys and strangely stirred by capuchin monkeys, whose feet bear an eerie resemblance to human hands. That afternoon, in the national park that covers a third of the peninsula, we had even spied two tapirs, endangered mammals that look like hornless rhinoceroses with long snouts.

To sample this extravaganza of biodiversity, we had risen early each morning of our vacation. So when our guide informed us that he would be taking us out at 4:30 a.m. to witness the rain forest waking up, I — the motivating force behind, and thus bearer of responsibility for, this trip — glanced apprehensively at my family and swallowed hard.

“We’ll be up!” I said brightly.

I had shepherded Sasha and my husband, Scott, to Osa in hopes of a tropical wildlife experience that was, in fact, wild. But as we crawled into our tent that night, the beaten path from which I had so resolutely steered clear was starting to look more inviting.

Photo

Nito Paniagua, a guide, finds an anole lizard. CreditScott Matthews for The New York Times

Costa Rica, home to large tracts of untouched yet accessible rain forest, had seemed the obvious place to immerse ourselves in nature for a week in February. On Facebook, people responded with the Costa Rican phrase “pura vida!” (“pure life”) at the mere mention of the country. We had admired photographs of bright-colored birds, frogs and butterflies from the preserves near the capital, San José, which could be reached by direct flight from New York. The ubiquitous “canopy tours” through the treetops seemed a great way to indulge Sasha’s love of zip lining.

But as I researched where to go in the West Virginia-size country, I began to suspect that its popular ecotourist destinations might not quench my yearning for the untamed. On TripAdvisor, phrases like “well-developed” and the less-charitable “Disneyfied” arose in regard to the storied Monteverde Cloud Forest in the central highlands. Manuel Antonio National Park on the central Pacific Coast, widely loved for its beaches and restaurants, was reportedly better for night life than wildlife.

The more people who can enjoy the rain forest without destroying it the better, of course: The 70,000 or so who visit a sliver of Monteverde each year help pay to preserve the rest of it. But the remote Osa Peninsula, which juts into the Pacific Ocean from Costa Rica’s southwestern corner, seemed to hold an increasingly rare chance to observe the rain forest in all its fecund, carbon-storing, oxygen-producing glory, without quite so much human company.

Mostly mentioned in travel guides as an alternative for those who had hit the other highlights, Osa did not rank on Lonely Planet’s list of “Top 10 Costa Rica Spots for First-Timers.” To get there requires a second flight or a seven-hour drive from San José. And while the draw is the 160-square-mile Corcovado National Park, accommodations there are limited to a few dozen bunks and a tent platform at the Sirena Ranger Station.

I mapped a tentative itinerary that would bring us to each of two jumping-off points to the park, Puerto Jiménez to the southeast, and Drake Bay to the northwest, both of which have several excellent lodging options. In between, we would stay one night in the park, perhaps the last refuge in the country, I read, of the sweet-looking Baird’s tapirs Sasha and I had fallen for while searching online for “Costa Rica animals.”

An email from a well-traveled friend sealed the deal: “Costa Rica is very touristy,” he wrote. “Osa is not.”

Our first stop, Bosque del Cabo, was a 40-minute ride by taxi from Puerto Jiménez, the biggest town on the peninsula with a population of 1,780. I had chosen one of the two cabins at Bosque just steps from the rain forest, at the edge of a large clearing planted with native trees and plants. A half-mile away from the main lodge area, these “garden cabinas” are reached by a trail through the forest that crosses high above a river over a suspension bridge.

Photo

The author and her daughter in a tide pool near Bosque del Cabo Rainforest Lodge.CreditScott Matthews for The New York Times

“We ask that only guests that feel they will be comfortable with the walk and the increased isolation of these accommodations book into them,” the lodge’s website warns.

Any pangs I might have had about passing up the dozen or so bungalows with ocean views disappeared as soon as we found ourselves in the company of spider monkeys, swinging from branch to branch at eye level on our first pass over the bridge. The lodge staff member escorting us waited patiently, albeit with the amusement of a New Yorker watching tourists marvel at pigeons.

“Do you feed them?” I couldn’t help asking. He assured me they did not.

A few steps off the bridge, we stopped short with the odd sensation that the earth was shifting under our feet. The highway of leafcutter ants hauling their leaf-bits toward the entrance to their underground caverns was our first inkling, repeatedly confirmed over the next few days, that they were in charge there. (“Are there more ants in Costa Rica than there are humans in the world?” Sasha would ask. Answer: many more).

Bosque itself sits on 750 acres that encompass some primary-growth rain forest and large swaths of “jungle,” rain forest that has grown back on land that had once been cleared — in Bosque’s case, for cattle grazing. We would have virtually no chance of seeing a tapir on the hotel’s trails, the staff told us candidly (even in Corcovado, we were told, our chances were 50-50). But we spotted poison dart frogs, lizards and monkeys dozing in the sun. A wild pig called a peccary often visited the lodge’s modest pool, where we cooled off and sipped ginger lemonades.

The hotel also offered nature-oriented activities: One morning we rappelled 70 feet down a strangler fig tree, another we hiked down the empty beach to a waterfall, splashing in the tide pools that form in the reef formations along the way. On an evening wildlife tour, the hotel naturalist taught us the trick of holding our flashlights against our temples, revealing the reflection of thousands of spider eyes shining in the grass.

Dinner, served buffet-style with a bounty of delicious choices (panko-crusted eggplant, roasted hearts of palm, crispy chicken with figs) was eaten at communal tables. And if I needed validation on my destination choice, we found ourselves dining more than once with others who had firsthand knowledge of Costa Rica’s well-traveled spots.

Photo

Capuchin monkeys near Drake Bay. CreditScott Matthews for The New York Times

“Osa is — crunchier,” said one civil rights lawyer from Washington, D.C., as Sasha and another girl her age excused themselves to look at the bats hanging from the bamboo light fixtures.

His wife, a judge, concurred about their desire for a less-processed experience.

“More what we had in mind when we thought about Costa Rica,” she said.

In our cabin, open on three sides, we felt less like observers than residents of the forest, along with monkeys playing in the trees directly above us and the leafcutter ants below. One late afternoon, a rainbow of toucans and scarlet macaws flew by a few feet away, on their way to the fruit trees in the clearing behind us.

Yet knowing that the trees had been planted to attract the birds undercut, just a bit, the pleasure of their proximity. Perhaps it was our own fault, too, for being diverted by rappelling adventures and poolside lemonades. But when we landed the next morning at the ranger station, the headquarters of Corcovado park, it quickly became apparent that there would be no distractions from the natural world. Other than lounging on the shaded porch of the low-slung ranger station, there was really was nothing to do but be in it.

Our guide, Nito Paniagua, who met us in Puerto Jiménez for the 15-minute charter flight, lost no time snagging us a spot on the tent platform at the station and heading out on a trail to the river.

The park has just started requiring tourists to be accompanied by a guide, but in any case we would have been lost without Nito’s six senses. He caught lizards and hung them from our ears, trained his scope on resplendent birds no one else could see and produced bats from furled-up leaves.

Photo

Tent platform at the Sirena Ranger Station in Corcovado National Park. CreditScott Matthews for The New York Times

“Look at the two species playing together,” he said at the trail’s entrance, pointing his viewing scope so we could see the howler and spider monkeys teasing each other in the branches above. “That’s so nice to see.”

Unlike the many hardy backpacker types who had walked 12 miles or more to camp at Sirena, we were not big hikers. But the walk down to the river where we ate lunch was not so much strenuous as it was intense. It took two hours only because we stopped every few steps for a new creature: the bird with the small heart, the carnivorous cricket, bright blue butterflies, the notorious fer-de-lance snake.

And because Nito had quickly divined that we were keen to see tapirs, he brought us to a spot where they are known to nap.

That we were lucky enough to see two of them through the trees from perhaps 50 feet away was one reason for the collective groan that night when Nito announced the 4:30 a.m. wake-up call.

What else, we wondered, did we have to see that couldn’t wait until dawn?

In my grogginess I left the tent without my glasses and had to run back to get them while Scott, Sasha and Nito waited for me on the grass beyond the porch of the ranger station. We stopped to admire a spider web at the start of the dirt trail, then traipsed on toward the beach where Nito wanted us to watch the sky grow light.

That was when the tapir came crashing out of the forest right in front of us. My heart beating hard, I held my breath, wishing I could freeze the moment. Scott and Sasha, too, stood transfixed. For just a split second, the large, strange animal seemed to register our presence. Then the tapir lumbered away from us, down the trail, toward the river as we followed, until it veered off into the darkness.

map ny times

I didn’t know it until then, but this, more than anything, was what I had hoped we would find on the Osa Peninsula. It wasn’t like seeing an animal lured to a spot by human guile, or to where all the guides know it’s likely to go on its own. If I hadn’t forgotten my glasses, we might well have missed it.

It felt wild.

There was no shortage of moments like that in our short time at Sirena. Sasha’s favorite siting may have been the anteater carrying a baby on her back all the way up to the top of a tree, spied that morning after a breakfast of eggs and ham that was, like our dinner there the night before, plain but tasty. We all oohed over the baby hummingbirds in the nest Nito found, and the baby hawks the ranger showed us through his scope in between his other chores at the understaffed station.

Before we left, we walked one more trail, cooler and less dense than the one we had taken the previous day because the soaring tree canopies blocked the light others might use to grow. The logging and slash-and-burn agriculture that had prompted the formation of the park in 1975, Nito told us, had never reached here. As we stumbled into a clearing where one tree, an espavel, or wild cashew, towered some 150 feet above us, we stood again in silent awe. That tens of thousands of acres of such forest are destroyed each day worldwide seemed inconceivable.

Most life in the rain forest, Nito reminded us, lives in the canopy, and never descends to the forest floor. Speaking of untamed, no one even knows entirely what’s up there.

We might have been happy staying longer at Sirena had our tent been pitched on the lawn, rather than the platform, which was hot and crowded at night. (Nito was scheming to go in with other guides on tents with rain flaps that could be used on the lawn.) The ticks, albeit not disease carrying, were also not a plus, especially for Sasha, who pried five off her legs.

As it was, we were happy to get to our final Osa destination, La Paloma Lodge on Drake Bay, after an hourlong boat ride from Corcovado that afternoon. It felt good to take a hot shower and to enjoy the rain forest as a view from the hotel’s elegant dining room, set high on a cliff above the Pacific Ocean.

At night, Tracie Stice, a local naturalist universally known as the “bug lady,” showed us a scorpion (“Don’t sit down,” she suggested as we leaned against the stone wall) and gently pried open the well-camouflaged home of a “trap-door” spider so that we could see the creature promptly slam it shut again.

On our last day, we went on a decidedly human-manufactured, 13-zip-line canopy tour arranged for us, a highlight of the trip for Sasha. But when Scott asked her which leg of the trip she would eliminate, if she had to lose one, she couldn’t choose. Like her parents, she could have happily lived for decades in our first cabin. She wouldn’t give up zip lining.

“And I can’t take out Sirena,” she said. “Because that’s where we saw everything.”

By 

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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Controversial Top 10 list

So I am making a new post and need help from you the readers. Given the conversation created from my top 10 Restaurant list on a number of facebook groups I have decided to create a new list complied from you the views recommendations.

Send me your top 10 restaurants list. I will than compile them into one post. Give Restaurant name, a web link (Facebook is best but whatever you can find. Tripadvisor whatever) if possible if not than directions, tell us what is best to eat there.

Send it to info@bestofcostarica.net. all entries have to be in by midnight on Tuesday 6/24/14 Costa Rica Time so I can post it on Wed.

Now keep in mind the guidelines from the blog I posted which is located here: https://bestofcostarica.org/…/5-top-things-costa-rican…/

You have to be able to get a meal for 2 for under $60. Appetizers, drinks (non-alcoholic), entree and dessert. That is tax and tip included in the $60.

Thanks for all your help. Oh and the restaurant has to be in Costa Rica. I didn’t think that needed to be said, but I guess it does. 🙂

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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5 Tips for Monument Photography

5 Tips for Monument Photography.

Travel to any destination would be incomplete if you don’t check out the historical monuments. The old structures and stories play an influential role in creating the society and its culture. They often get etched in our memories as post cards from the past and are cherished as few of the most wonderful moments of our lives. As tourists, you are naturally tempted to take photos of yourself along with the monuments. You want to capture every square inch of the periphery for memory’s sake. But photographing monuments can sometimes be very challenging. It can also turn out to be a bummer owning to various reasons. Here are some tips to get the best photos of monuments.

monument photography

Camera

Needless to say, your camera needs to be of a good quality. If you plan to buy a camera, look for the one which does well in low –light conditions. Many monuments tend to have a lot of shadows and can be a challenge to capture well. Cameras with capabilities in low lights will be helpful in such cases to capture an even tone picture while maintaining details.

Flash

Sometimes, the shadows can be really difficult to capture in natural light. Consider using your flash light for an even tone exposure. Clicking a photo with flash needs a bit of trial and error as it depends on your judgement of distance from the subject. Being too close to the subject can over expose the image and being too far can under expose it. Find the optimum distance and get shooting.

Patience

Patience is a virtue and it would be tested. Clicking photos of monuments can demand a bit of patience from you. You need to be careful of the shadows of people coming into the frame and ruining your image. Look around the place and search for interesting angles to frame the image. Sometimes composing the image in your mind before clicking can make life much easier.

Time of Visit

Plan your visit smartly. Shoot during the golden hours, (7am to 10am and 4pm to 6pm) for the best light.  Diffused light is excellent for your photos; giving you stunning picture quality with high quality details.

Try Panoramas

Capturing the entire scene can be more convenient than clicking at every few metres. Most modern cameras have a Panorama mode built-in them. However if you have to do it manually, stand straight with your feet apart and click, turning from your waist. Overlap the photos so it is easier to stitch them together through a digital editing software.

It is very rewarding to have wonderful pictures from your trips. Some day in the future, you’ll look back and reminiscence the amazing monuments and the golden moments. Follow these tips for monument photography and get the perfect shots for your next trip to beautiful monuments.

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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Chikungunya Virus Now Threatens All of Central America and the Caribbean

Last December the first case of the chikungunya virus was recorded in America, which still has no cure and is expanding rapidly across the continent. In the Caribbean alone there have been 165,990 cases of infection.

The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – Last December the first case of the chikungunya virus was recorded in America, which still has no cure and is expanding rapidly across the continent. In the Caribbean alone there have been 165,990 cases of infection.

The chikungunya virus is transmitted by a species of mosquito and is very similar to dengue, making it difficult to diagnose. The virus is not curable and treatment is limited to the relief of symptoms such as fever, rash, severe muscle and joint pain and headache. Only rarely chikungunya kills (mostly among elderly people), but its consequences can be felt for months or even years.

The virus is originated in Africa, Southeast Asia and Oceania, but last December a first case in America, on the Caribbean island St. Maarten, was recorded. From then until June 13 only in the Caribbean 165,990 cases were reported with similar disease symptoms, although only 4,576 of these were officially confirmed as chikungunya, according to the Pan American Health Organization. 14 cases were fatal. The absolute majority of documented cases have been reported in the Dominican Republic and Martinique

On Wednesday, authorities of Cuba confirmed the first six (at least) cases on the island. In addition, the virus has spread along most of the continent, reaching the U.S. and 18 other countries and territories of the continent including Brazil, Panama, Venezuela, Chile and Puerto Rico, as reports the newspaper ‘El Espectador’ citing data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC English) of the U.S. In fact, the region that might be the most affected, is Central America where the chikungunya epidemic threatens to acquire character.

On Wednesday the Salvadoran President, Salvador Sanchez Ceren, announced that an alert condition shall be declared to fight chikungunya transmitters in areas where the disease has appeared in order to avoid its extension across the whole country. He argues that it “could become an epidemic”, especially during this rainy season. So far about 1,119 people have been affected in that country, which has no outlet to the Caribbean Sea. Nicaragua and Costa Rica also have taken steps to deal with a potential outbreak of the virus.

Originally posted by The Costa Rica News (TCRN)

San Jose, Costa Rica

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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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.

WCCR2

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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An Overabundance of Fruit? Make juice!

Today’s offering from the Veggie Gringa!

Veggie Gringa Devours Costa Rica

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I was picking pineapples this morning, and I still had some fruit to use up…This might seem over-simplistic – but I have friends who have lived here for years who don’t know how to make the juices, (locally called frescos, or batidos when made with milk).

This is a good thing to do with all of the citrus fruits, guyaba hawaiana, guanabana. papaya, sancoya, starfruit, berries, pineapple, and what we have above, maracuya, aka passionfruit.  The citrussy fruits don’t work well with milk, but papaya, berries and banana make excellent milkshakes type goodies – perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up.

My general recipe:  1/4 part fruit, 3/4 part water (or milk) and sugar to taste.  In the case of some fruits that are strong flavored, like the passionfruit or limes, you use less fruit and more water.  With experimentation, tasting and practice, you figure out how you like it.

If its too…

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GALLO PINTO EFFECT?

Ticos consume some 49,000 tons of beans per year. Most are imported as Costa Rica only produces some 14,000 tons. Ronald Reyes/The Tico Times

 

Call it the gallo pinto effect.

Officials from Costa Rica’s Agriculture and Livestock Ministry (MAG) this week warned of a shortage of beans in the country, and issued an order to allow tax-free importation from any country in order to meet an estimated shortage of 21,000 tons needed to supply local demand from July to January.

The country currently has reserves of 3,200 metric tons of black beans and 1,200 metric tons of red beans. But with domestic consumption at 4,100 tons per month, there are barely enough beans for this month. Beans and rice are essential in Ticos’ daily diet.

According to the National Production Council (CNP) a change in agricultural production strategies in Nicaragua – Costa Rica’s main bean provider – severely decreased supplies from that country.

But local producers blame the possible shortage on a requirement of MAG’s State Phytosanitary Service (SFE), which states that all imported beans must be completely clean, without any residue or dirt. The rule this year has prevented some 100 containers of beans – mainly from Nicaragua – from entering the country, producers say.

Alejandro Monge, executive director of the National Association of Bean Industrials (ANIFRI), confirmed that Costa Rica currently produces only 20 percent of all beans consumed in the country, and the remaining 80 percent must be imported from Nicaragua, Argentina and China.

“Strict SFE measures are preventing the entry of imported beans in time to meet current demand,” he said.

The shortage particularly affects red beans. Nicaragua in 2013 supplied 99 percent of Costa Rican red bean imports and 50 percent of all imported beans, according to the CNP.

The situation already is affecting consumers, as the price of red beans this year increased by 10 percent, according to the CNP. Prices likely will continue to increase if the shortage extends longer. The Costa Rican Consumers Association last week asked the Economy Ministry to conduct periodic inspections to prevent price speculation from retailers.

The Grain Industries Chamber agrees with the consumers’ group, forecasting a significant increase in prices in coming months, especially for red beans. They also said in a press release that the situation will not be resolved with MAG’s shortage alert, and they urged the government to modify SFE guidelines and regulations.

ANIFRI requested a change in SFE legislation during a meeting with Agriculture and Livestock Vice Minister Joaquín Salazar. At the meeting they suggested an amendment of legislation to allow up to 2 percent of impurities in imported beans, depending on the grains’ quality. They also suggested fumigation of trucks that might represent contamination risks. However, both sides failed to reach an agreement at the meeting.

ANIFRI will continue pushing for a change in legislation, and in coming days will meet with officials from the Foreign Trade Ministry and the Economy Ministry to propose an amendment of SFE regulations.

 

Originally posted Tico Times

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5 extraordinary treetop hotels

Wow Costa Rica made  this list as well!!!! 

Tree 1 tree 2 Tree 3 tree 4 tree 5

 

 

Book your trip today using the link below:


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Manzana de Aguas are falling from the trees!

I have been meaning to try these and just haven’t gotten around to it. I haven’t seen them in the local Coope. 😦

Veggie Gringa Devours Costa Rica

Photo: This morning's project : applesauce from manzana de aguas.

Also known as water apples, and sometimes confused with another similar one, rose apples, these things are mildly sweet, citrussy and a little astringent. This is in the process of becoming applesauce, which came out really good, and a lovely shade of pink.   I cleaned, took out the seed (at left) and chopped them into chunks. Cooked them in a little bit of water until fork-mashable. (about half hour) Then I added a small amount of the natural turbinado sugar (not the brown caramelized stuff, just the dried cane juice – Zukra brand).  I don’t like overpowering sweet – I just added enough to take out the astringency. Then, ran it through the blender.  Delicious! Keeps in the fridge a couple of days. My little farm has three trees bearing for the first time.  I have made apple crisps, apple fritters, apple cobbler, and have run about two 2-gallon buckets…

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I.R.S. makes major changes to Offshore Compliance Programs

WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service announced today major changes in its offshore voluntary compliance programs, providing new options to help both taxpayers residing overseas and those residing in the United States. The changes are anticipated to provide thousands of people a new avenue to come into compliance with their U.S. tax obligations.

The changes include an expansion of the streamlined filing compliance procedures announced in 2012 and important modifications to the 2012 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP). The expanded streamlined procedures are intended for U.S. taxpayers whose failure to disclose their offshore assets was non-willful.

“This opens a new pathway for people with offshore assets to come into tax compliance,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “The new versions of our offshore programs reflect a carefully balanced approach to ensure everyone pays their fair share of taxes owed. Through the changes we are announcing today, we provide additional flexibility in key respects while maintaining the central components of our voluntary programs.”

Balanced against the modified programs is the government’s ongoing effort to combat the misuse of offshore assets. The IRS, working closely with the U.S. Department of Justice, continues to investigate foreign financial institutions that may have assisted U.S. taxpayers in avoiding their tax filing and payment obligations. In addition, on July 1, the new information reporting regime resulting from the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) will go into effect. Thousands of foreign financial institutions will begin to report to the IRS the foreign accounts held by U.S. persons.

The current Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program was launched in 2012 and is the successor to prior voluntary programs offered in 2011 and 2009. Since the launch of the first program, more than 45,000 taxpayers have come into compliance voluntarily, paying about $6.5 billion in taxes, interest and penalties.

The expansion of the streamlined procedures and modifications to OVDP reflect the thoughtful input of the tax community given the growing awareness among U.S. taxpayers of their offshore tax obligations.

“Through our enforcement efforts and implementation of FATCA, taxpayers are more aware of their obligations, and we believe want to come into compliance,” Koskinen said. “In this rapidly changing environment, we listened to feedback from the tax community as well as the National Taxpayer Advocate about our voluntary programs. We have made important adjustments to provide opportunities for all U.S. taxpayers to come in, including those who are not willfully hiding assets.”

Streamlined Procedures Expanded

The changes announced today make key expansions in the streamlined procedures to accommodate a wider group of U.S. taxpayers who have unreported foreign financial accounts.

The original streamlined procedures announced in 2012 were available only to non–resident, non–filers. Taxpayer submissions were subject to different degrees of review based on the amount of the tax due and the taxpayer’s response to a “risk” questionnaire.

The expanded streamlined procedures are available to a wider population of U.S. taxpayers living outside the country and, for the first time, to certain U.S. taxpayers residing in the United States. The changes include:

  • Eliminating a requirement that the taxpayer have $1,500 or less of unpaid tax per year;
  • Eliminating the required risk questionnaire;
  • Requiring the taxpayer to certify that previous failures to comply were due to non–willful conduct.

For eligible U.S. taxpayers residing outside the United States, all penalties will be waived. For eligible U.S. taxpayers residing in the United States, the only penalty will be a miscellaneous offshore penalty equal to 5 percent of the foreign financial assets that gave rise to the tax compliance issue.

Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) Modified

The changes announced today also make important modifications to the OVDP. The changes include:

  • Requiring additional information from taxpayers applying to the program;
  • Eliminating the existing reduced penalty percentage for certain non–willful taxpayers in light of the expansion of the streamlined procedures;
  • Requiring taxpayers to submit all account statements and pay the offshore penalty at the time of the OVDP application;
  • Enabling taxpayers to submit voluminous records electronically rather than on paper;
  • Increasing the offshore penalty percentage (from 27.5% to 50%) if, before the taxpayer’s OVDP pre–clearance request is submitted, it becomes public that a financial institution where the taxpayer holds an account or another party facilitating the taxpayer’s offshore arrangement is under investigation by the IRS or Department of Justice.

Full details of the changes to both the streamlined procedures and OVDP can be found on IRS.gov.

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News: IBM Costa RIca Investment

IBM INVESTS U.S. $ 300 MILLION IN COSTA RICA

The firm will establish a central provision of information technology, making a major investment in recent years that will generate 1,000 jobs.

IBM Costa Rica

The company chose IBM to Costa Rica to expand its operations and install a new service center information technology in which to invest U.S. $ 300 million over the next ten years.

The company plans to install a new plant will generate 1,000 new jobs. This investment is one of the most significant of the last thirteen years in the service sector is the most important in the last seven.

The Center will provide support services strategic outsourcing, server systems operations, security services, maintenance and monitoring of Harvard computer and software systems, among others. Work with other centers that have signed in China, Brazil, India and Argentina, said Patt Croning, general manager of Global Technology Delivery and Delivery Excellence, IBM.

IBM already has operations in the country, are based on human resources, customer relationship management, finance, accounting and shared services.

The decision to open a new service center in Costa Rican soil thanks is given to the country is connected with the international economy by opening up telecommunications and the Free Trade Treaty with the United States, said Anabel Gonzalez, Minister of Commerce Exterior (Comex).

This investment is also part of the strategies promoted by the government of the Republic to attract foreign investment. IBM began negotiations on a tour of the Comex and the Coalition of Development Initiatives (CINDE) in October last year in New York and strengthened in a trip he took the president Laura Chinchilla to Washington last May.

The decision to install the new center was made last week so the place where the plant will be located is still unknown but is expected to be in the province of Heredia or Alajuela and to begin operations in 2014. However, the contracts will begin in the coming days, said Croning.

Costa Rica is home to major multinationals such as Intel and Hewlett-Packard have set up their businesses, have invested large sums of money and generate thousands of jobs. Only last year the medical device company St. Jude Medical announced an investment of U.S. $ 670 million.

“This news is part of the efforts towards economic recovery and attracting investment, which seeks to position Costa Rica as an innovation economy for the quality of investment that is being installed, as in this case that the high-tech sector create skilled jobs, “said President Chinchilla.

The announcement of the new IBM investment was held Thursday morning at the Presidential Palace and was attended by the president of the Republic, the Minister of Comex, Alejandro Cruz, Minister of Science and Technology, Jorge Rossi, president of Cinde and Croning IBM.

Links: http://www.revistasumma.com/

Source: http://www.revistasumma.com/negocios/13795-ibm-invierte-us$300-millones-en-costa-rica.html

English version originally posted Euro Center

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ABOUT COSTA RICA FROM THE EYES OF A TICO

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Originally posted by  on MyTanFeet

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

The United States Embassy with Costa Rica Presents

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

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

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

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

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Have a property to rent in Costa Rica?

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

65K served

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

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

Pura Vida!

 

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