Rainy Season, Almost Here in Costa Rica, Are You Ready?
It is about that time of the year when the seasonal rains should start in Costa Rica. Thank God the Papagayo region and specifically Playa Hermosa and surrounding towns do not get anything like the flooding that happened in Houston, Texas recently or other parts of Costa Rica.
Mother Nature played a trick on us here. Early in the morning on April first, April’s Fools Day, I heard what I thought was running water. Only having one cup of the great locally grown coffee in me I was still a bit groggy. It never really dawned on me that it could be raining as it was just the first of April, since the rainy season usually does not start until the end of the month or mid-May sometime. So I stated running around my place checking under all the sinks to see if a pipe burst or a hose sprung a leak, but nothing. I keep hearing what sounded like water running and I know I was not hung over or anything. So I changed out of my pj’s and opened the front door and steeped out onto my terrace and in total amazement I see it raining, not a drizzle but a real rain.
The birds were singing, the monkeys howling like there was a war and aroma of freshness was in the air. I was thinking WOW the raining season sure is early this year, APRIL FOOLS, nope it has not rained one drop since. When the rain stopped about an hour later and the sky cleared up, out of curiosity I went down to the parking area where I had already set up my rain gauges in anticipation of rainy season, I was just thinking ahead here, and for sure it was a officially measured amount. At least officially in my gauges HA! That morning the town of Playa Hermosa, at least where I live, received 2/10’s of an inch of rain.
Now this is just a friendly reminder to all that already own a Costa Rica property or are thinking of acquiring one soon. When you own a home in the tropics, a second home or condo as a vacation spot or an investment rental property, there is always maintenance, just like the property you live in full time.
So do not forget to have your gutters and down spouts cleaned out before the rains start. Maybe have someone check the seals of any windows that usually get the rain hitting against them or it may be a back door that needs a new door sweep or something or clear storm drains of debris. Better to think ahead than have to deal with a problem later.
Though we are still weeks away from the start of the rainy season, parts of the country like the central valley have already started receiving strong passing thunderstorms dropping buckets of rain. The same has happened for the mountainous northern regions and the Caribbean slopes.
Just a friendly reminder, and by the way the rainy season is actually a wonderful time to come and visit Costa Rica. It does not rain every day, the rain is not cold at all, and just remember when you were a kid on summer vacation and playing in the rain, it was fun right?? If you did not do this as a kid, relive your childhood and try it in Costa Rica.
Costa Rica Lawmakers Working to Bring Back the Corporate Tax
Well did you really think any government would let a tax that raised millions of dollars just go away, even though the first time it was found to be unconstitutional .The Legislative Committee on Financial Affairs this month approved the latest version of a bill to reinstate the country’s corporate tax laws.
The current bill would tax all corporations, except for small businesses registered as such, and to be based on their gross income. The new formula will have a lower tax for all except the highest-earning firms. The highest-earning companies, those making ₡119 million or more (roughly $375,000 USD and higher) in gross income during the previous fiscal year, would be taxed ₡212,000, or just under $400. Corporations with income from ₡51 million to ₡119 million or roughly $96,000 to $375,000, would pay ₡127,000 or about $240.00USD and companies with income below ₡51 million would pay ₡106,000 or around $200.00 USD.
Corporations that are registered as inactive, one not generating any income, these are usually corporation that hold assets only like cars, boats, and homes will be paying approximately ₡64,000 or $120.00USD all depends on the exchange rate when paying.
The tax was suspended this year of 2106, but if passed into law again, companies would be expected to pay a tax for 2016 proportional to the amount of time left in the year from when the law is enacted. You can bet they are trying and pushing pretty hard to get this law passed as soon as possible.
Now are you wondering, like I did, where is this tax money going? My first thought was sure it is going to line the pockets of those in power, just like every other government or into the black hole of a government budget?
Well the good news is that 90% of the funds are to be used only by the Public Security Ministry while the Judicial Investigation Police and the prison system would each get 5 percent. Under the current bill, funds from the corporate tax could not be used to pay salaries, overtime or travel expenses, so hopefully it will not be wasted.
The bill has to be approved by the full Assembly in two separate rounds of voting before it can be published in the official newspaper for notices ,La Gazeta. Keep your fingers crossed they don’t get it done this year!!
The British are Coming the British are Coming
Do you remember that call? Probably not unless your American and over 50, I doubt it is even taught in the US schools any longer because it may not be “Politically Correct” Hell nothing is politically correct any longer, anything can be misconstrued, depends on who is looking at it.
Any way the British are coming to Costa Rica! For all those in the UK that want a warm, sunny tropical getaway after April to Costa Rica, it is going to get much easier now.
British Airways has announced from the 27th of April 2016, they will be flying a direct route from the London Gatwick Airport (LGW) to San Jose (SJO). The direct flights are scheduled to take place twice a week during the summer and then increasing to three flights a week for those craving a tropical getaway and very different from what they are used to.
The flight time is about 11 hours, which is a pretty long time to be in a plane, but the alternative is longer with lay over in the US or Spain ( that going the wrong way) and having to deal with 2 immigration scenarios not to forget about a possible missed or delayed connections.
So if you friends or family living in the UK now they can meet you in Costa Rica for a reunion, wouldn’t that be pretty cool?
Costa Rica Tourist Police, Added Responsibility.
Did you know that there are basically four different police forces in Costa Rica? Just a bit of information about the police forces here in Costa Rica. There are a few more but hopefully you will never need one or be detained by one so be good!
There is the “OIJ” or officially called Organismo De Investigacion Judicial, They do the investigating of crimes and make arrests. Then there is the La Fuerza Publica or the public force, these are the cops that can arrest you for doing something wrong and also take reports of crimes but do not much else. Then there is my favorite the Policia de Transito or transit police, these are the guys that usually are on the side of the road stopping cars for speeding and making sure that the drives have the proper documents and requirements to operate the vehicle. They have been known to take bribes in return for not writing a traffic ticket. First hand knowledge on this aspect “SHHHHH” you did not hear me say this!
Then there is the tourist police and the basis of this article. For a long time the tourist police basically were in areas of well Tourist spots, they would drive up on their motorcycles look around and really do nothing.
However now there is a change being implemented that is good thing for locals and tourists alike. In few select coastal communities an “experimental” pilot program that will begin next month. People that have had things stolen or want to file a official complaint will soon be able to submit formal criminal complaints to Costa Rica’s Tourist Police, instead of having to go the closest office of the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ)
Under the pilot program, officers of the Tourist Police will be trained and able to accept any type of criminal complaint, ranging from property crimes to assault with a deadly weapon, as disclosed by Gustavo Mata, the minister of public security.
Currently, if you wanted to file a criminal complaint, you had to travel to the nearest office of the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ), The closest one to the papagayao region is in the city of Liberia, about a 40 minute drive away.
The pilot program will initially be implemented in Playas del Coco, Tamarindo, Jaco, and Manuel Antonio on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast; as well as Puerto Viejo in the country’s Caribbean province of Limon. If the pilot program is successful, it could be expanded, officials said
Costa Rica Solar Power Finally Makes Sense
For a few years now, yes I said years, there has been a push to allow homeowners and business to utilize the power of the sun, along with other green options, for their own use. The cost was crazy as you needed lots of batteries to store the electricity or you own electric grid system if a business.
Finally the pricing scales for net metering, which will enable Costa Rican homes and businesses that generate their own electricity to store surplus in the grid, goes into effect this month.
Environment and Energy Minister (MINAE) Edgar Gutiérrez announced the launch of the program, which will allow consumers who have solar panels or other renewable energy systems, but who are also connected to the grid, to save even more on monthly bills.
Homes and businesses that produce renewable energy for self-consumption will pay interconnection fees approved by the Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP). The same guys that set gas pricing, electrical rates and so on.
All power companies have set their tariffs and are ready to start offering interconnections to the national electricity grid. With this new program, customers are allowed to send up to 49 percent of the energy they produce to the grid. They can use that stored energy later. There is already an initial list of some 50 customers of the National Power and Light Company. Most of them are industrial and commercial consumers.
Now the important part, what is it going to cost? Beside the cost of the Solar panels and the batteries and the other stuff you need to set up, well that’s another topic.
The Interconnection fees for each kilowatt-hour (kwh) range from ₡11 to ₡29 ($0.02 to $0.05), depending on the power company. Regular users of the electricity grid, you and me pay, on average ₡90 ($0.17) per kWh, according to ARESEP supplied data. Now here is where it starts to add up! But it is not that bad as anticipated. In order to join the distributed generation program, customers must pay for a technical feasibility study and inspection fees from power companies.
Total costs for the feasibility study and inspections range from ₡60,000 to ₡170,000 ($110 to $313). In addition, each consumer must acquire a two-way meter, which measures energy taken from and sent to the grid, and pay for setup fees. Costs for additional inspections might apply if power companies request them.
Besides solar, hydro, biomass and wind energy also qualify for the program.
So not sure if it is worth it at this stage but it is looking better and better, finally! At least for those that are young enough to beninefit from it. At my age I may be dead before I could recoup the cost, so I will just keep it the same.
Direct Flights from Los Angles to Liberia
Southwest Airlines maybe California’s largest carrier has started direct flights to Liberia’s International airport (LIR) from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). This helps open up getting to Costa Rica from the west coast of the US and Canada
The inaugural flight to Costa Rica was the airline’s first international route out of L.A. The carrier’s initial flight schedule of one flight daily in each direction also brings connectivity between Liberia/Guanacaste and cities on the Southwest network, including Oakland, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.
Southwest Airlines began flying to California in 1982 and now serves nine airports in the Golden State, with service beginning at its tenth California airport, Long Beach (LGB), on June 5. Offering more daily departures in California than any other airline, 324 of those flights will take off and land within the state this summer, connecting 20 unique city-pair combinations within California.
So if your excuse for not coming to Costa Rica was because of the connections, well that has just come to an end. Come and see why more and more people are coming to Costa Rica.