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Guanacaste, Costa Rica by Joseph Emanuelli

Real information and stories from Guanacaste , Costa Rica. Presneted by a long time expat living and working in Costa Rica
Building a House in Playa Hermosa Costa Rica? It is Easy or a Nightmare?

Well about a year ago after a good search Pam and I finally found a lot that we really liked to build our Costa Rican dream home on. We spent probably 2 months looking around the area and standing on a lot of properties until we finally decided on the present location looking over the Pacific Ocean and still being in the Playa Hermosa area. We took a lot of things onto consideration, location, view, neighborhood, and ease of access and of course the ability to build on it.

I know there are a lot of web sites and blog sites out there that say what a nightmare it is to build in a foreign country including Costa Rica. Well that can be true even for Costa Rica, but the way to make sure that is not the case is to utilize the services of a reliable builder, one that you can communicate with. Remember English is not the first language here, Spanish is, so if you speak Spanish this is even better for you.

I know many people that have done just this, used a reliable builder and there are many. I also know a lot of people that though well if they work with a local builder that the restaurant manager or the hotel front desk dude or the tour operator told them about, they are going to get a better deal, “ I am going to get the Locals price” In the long run this is the biggest mistake so many people make. You have to look at it this way. Pay now or pay latter. The decision is all yours. So let me give you some advice here. PAY NOW!! Make sure you hire the right builder and engineer to make sure your home is built properly and to code. Be very suspicious when the guy that is building your dream says “Oh we can start now before we get the permits, this will save time”. If you hear this RUN and fast so you don’t lose your shirt and your dream does not turn into a nightmare.

Let me give you a quick break down of how this should go. This is a abbreviated versions but still on on course.

1)      Your builder should have a good designer on staff or know one that can do the floor plans and layout of the type of home you would like to build

2)      Once the design is completed, and this could take up to 2 months or longer depending on you and how many changes you make towards the design. When I did mine it took about 2 month. Then the plans will need to go to Costa Rica licensed architect to create the actual blue prints of the home.

3)      Once the blue prints are finalized and you are satisfied with them, the builder will need to submit and complete set of Plans to the College of engineers of Costa Rica. They will review the plans to ensure that the structure built meets the construction codes of the country. This process takes about 2 weeks if all is good.

4)      When the plans are finalized and approved by the college of engineers, then the builder will submit them to the local municipality for approval from the municipal engineer and the construction permits will be issued.

This is when the actual construction can start. Depending on the builder you utilize building in Costa Rica can be a very easy adventure. Average time from breaking ground to moving in is from 9 months to a year depending on the size of the house and the builder as well as any changes you make along the way. I know many people that say “But don’t I have to be there to oversee what is happening” well if you use the right builder you should not have to. Although I do recommend that at certain periods of the construction process you do come back for and meet with the build again, as you may have to pick out tile, bathroom fixtures, window styles, pain colors and so on.

In all honesty, the process of building a home in Costa Rica that I am going through right now, and we are almost at the end, has been a breeze and we even made changes while the construction started. I a working with  great builder that I can communicate with we are happy we chose the builder we did.

If you would like more information or a more detailed explanation please feel free to send me a email to jaaechef@gmail.com and I will be happy to set up a time so we can talk.

Thanks for stopping by and send any comments to me- Joseph Emanuelli @ jaaechef@gmail.com If you have a interest in real estate or just starting to get a feel for he Playa Hermosa area of Costa Rica, click this link for more information. www.costarican-american-connection.com  or send me a note and I will help point you in the right direction. “Pura Vida”

Playa Hermosa Costa Rica, Where is the rain for 2014?

Well it has been a long time since I wrote a blog here and I apologize about that, I am not making any excuses, although I might have some really good ones but I won’t. So you can call me lazy, you can call me not interested or whatever you want. It is just not worth going into.

As a lot of people may know I stated this blog post over a year ago talking about the weather here in the Playa Hermosa area. This year due to the fact of the el Nino effect in the Pacifico Ocean we are experiencing a drought. That does not mean that we have not received any rain, we have but not a lot. To date I have measured 13.3 inches of rain at my house in Playa Hermosa. So Far this year it has only rained 29 times since the beginning of the “rainy” season. As a comparison to last year to date, we had received 35.4 inches of rain as of September 12, 2013. The total days that we actually had rain was 52 days. So yes we are in a drought and down about 22 inches from last year, but not as bad as some areas in Central America and not as bad as some reports make it out to be.

If you ever had thought about coming to Playa Hermosa in the rainy season and were concerned it rains every day, don’t be. There might be a passing afternoon thunderstorm or a morning shower but there are always great things to do outside, even if it rains!

Thanks for stopping by and send any comments to me- Joseph Emanuelli @ jaaechef@gmail.com If you have a interest in real estate or just starting to get a feel for he Playa Hermosa area of Costa Rica, click this link for more information. www.costarican-american-connection.com  or send me a note and I will help point you in the right direction. “Pura Vida”

 

Costa Rica, Land Border Tax, So Typical

Costa Rica has recently passed and started enforcing a new exit tax of $5 (USD) on people leaving Costa Rica at both its northern and southern borders. While the fee is very minimal and is a common practice at many border crossings through out the world, Costa Rica’s implantation of the new tax can only be considered one thing, a complete failure.

As anybody attempting to cross the border over the last month can tell you, the system suffers some major flaws that lead to long lines, delays and anger that eventually caused the Immigration Administration to temporarily suspend verification of the tax to keep some resemblance of order at the border.

1- Lack of Awareness

Costa Ricans, Nicaraguans and tourists from all over the world all had one thing in common when trying to leave Costa Rica, no one new that there had been a new Tax put into place and if they did it was unclear when it was going to be enforced. This tends to be a issues with the government, pass a new law and let no one know about it until the last possible minute.

2- Paying the Exit Fee

The new Costa Rican exit fee can only be paid at Bancredito branched or ATM’s. Now here is the kicker, there are no Bancreidto branched or ATM’s at the border. That is right, you can not pay the exit fee at the border… Confused, you are not alone on this one. The nearest branch is located Liberia which is an hour plus drive each way from the border.

Conclusion on Costa Rica Border Tax

Penas Blancas Costa Rica BorderAs of now the border issue has not been resolved and while the bank contracted to take the $5 exit tax has stated they will have ATM in place by next Monday. They also stated they would have ATM up and running by the time the tax would start to be enforced and we now know how that worked out. I am willing to bet that when they do put the ATM in it will only be that type of machine that dispenses money and not one that you can make a deposit in. But only time will tell!!

As soon as I verify that the ATM’s at the border are working and are the correct type, I will update this post but based on past experiences I would highly recommend doing the following.

To save your self the trouble of the ATM not being ready or not working after they are installed, before leaving town make sure you stop in Liberia and pay your exit tax before you start your drive to the border. You can even stop at the Liberia International airport as there is a branch there that take the $29.00 exit tax for all those flying out side of Costa Rica.

The rains may have finally come to end in Guanacaste!

Well this past week we had a passing thunderstorm that lasted about 20 minutes in Playa Hermosa.  A total of .2 of an inch was recorded and I feel this will be the last measurable rain this season. The total amount received was 54.8 inches of rain this year. This is a normal rain fall as the average is between 40 and 60 inches

The great thing about Guanacaste is that we do not get the damaging rains like the central valley of Costa Rica or the southern zone. You don’t read about landslides and roads being destroyed and people having to leave their home because of severe flooding and raising rivers.

We are back to having low humidity, sunny skies and light breeze. The perfect time to be in Playa Hermosa to enjoy all the splendor and nature of Costa Rica

Here is an article from the local AM Costa Rica news site that describes the problems of landslides and road closures that happened yesterday.

Rains cause landslides that close key Ruta 32.

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Heavy rains Monday afternoon north of San José caused landslides that closed Ruta 32, the key highway to the north and to the province of Limón. The Consejo Nacional de Vialidad announced the closure about 5 p.m. and said that the area around the Río Danta and in Zurquí had problems. The highway runs through the Parque Nacional Braulio Carrillo where there are steep cliffs alongside the roadway. The road agency said that heavy machinery was on the job but gave no estimate as to when the highway would be reopened. It said motorists should seek another route. The most likely is through Cartago and Turrialba to Limón or through Heredia for travel to the northern zone. The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional said there were heavy rains Monday afternoon in the northern zone and on the Caribbean coast. Rains in the mountains caused rivers to rise. Elsewhere in the country there were high winds. The weather institute said that the winds and the rains would continue for the first couple of days of the week.

 As always, thanks to my steady followers for stopping by my blog. I hope you enjoy some of my rants, craziness and even some good information, if you want to make a comment just send me an email to jaaechef@gmail.com  my personal email address or post it here. If you have an interest in or are just curious about Costa Rica and want to learn more and why so many people are talking about it, click this link to my new web page and blog site http://costarica-connection.com   

Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you. Pura Vida!!

November Business Round Up - Costa Rica

As November comes to an end we are one month closer to high season here in Costa Rica. With every high season comes a fresh buzz in the air as local businesses get ready for their busiest time of the year.

Black Friday in Costa Rica

Even though it is only expats from the US that celebrate Thanksgiving in Costa Rica it appears that Black Friday (Viernes Negro in Spanish) has become an ever growing and popular world wide holiday and in Costa Rica it was no different. It seems like every business was getting in on the celebration with 50% discounts at clothing stores, grocery stores, hardware stores, bars, restaurants and tour agencies. Some businesses even had lines out the door waiting for the savings.

While the idea of Black Friday may seem strange in Costa Rica the fact is that it was a huge success for the businesses that participated. The number of participants this year was much larger than last year and I expect with its success next year will see even moire business getting in on the event.

Costa Rica to Build Three New Power Plants

Costa Rica's quest to reach its goal of 95% renewable energy has taken a huge step forward with the announcement of three new geothermal power plants that will be built around the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano. The deal was announced mid November and will move forawrd thanks to a large ($560 million) loan from Japan that will be paid back over the next 40 years.

For more information on the topic read more here:
http://costarica-connection.com/costa-rica-building-3-geothermal-power-plants-japanese-funding/

4G Network Coming to Costa Rica... along with the iPhone 5s

After only six months of testing, the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) has announced that 4G service will become available in Costa Rica starting in mid December. The date coincides with the news that ICE will alsobe offering new contracts for the iPhone 5s. At first ICE will be the only company offering 4G service to its monthly clients but representatives from two of the larger pre-paid carriers in Costa Rica (Claro and Moviestar) have announced that they will be offering 4G service in Costa Rica in the very near future.

http://costarica-connection.com/4g-cell-phone-service-available-costa-rica-starting-december-2013/

Hybrid Buses Coming to Guanacaste

Guanacastan transportation firm of Reyna del Campo has just announced that they received a loan from th Bank of Costa Rica that will allow them to import a new fleet of Daewoo hybrid buses. These buses will take over the popular routs running from the Nicaraguan border to the city of Liberia and from Liberia to many of the  Guanacaste beach town including Playas del Coco, Playa Flamingo and Tamarindo.

Hidden Cash Crop of Costa Rica and it is not Drugs

Juicy and delicious oranges that could rival those grown in California, Florida, Brazil, ad Spain are being grown right here in Costa Rica, particularly in certain coffee farms in Guanacaste where citrus trees are being introduced to break up the monoculture practice of cultivating a single crop. Oranges are now the fastest-growing crops in Costa Rica; in 2012, production grew by more than 75 percent compared to 2011.

My fried lives up in the mountains of Guanacaste and he planted orange tress 10 years ago and are producing fruit that is out of this world. he first stated giving them away as he had so much. I told him he was nuts sell them, people with buy them if that are good and they are. So know i get a slightly lower price because I put the thought in his head and the juice I make from them is better than any I have ever had period!! Just wish he would cut me a better price!

According to a news report by Gilda Gonzalez Sandoval of business weekly El Financiero, the Ministry of Agriculture (Spanish initials:MAG) estimates that about 280,000 metric tons of oranges were harvested last year in Costa Rica. Coffee farmers in Guanacaste are particularly pleased with this development for various reasons. First, agriculture has seen a vertiginous drop in the region due to the growth of the real estate and tourism industries. Second, the planting of citrus trees has been carefully managed to yield up to 800 trees per hectare, which makes coffee farms more bird-friendly. Third, coffee farms in Guanacaste affected by the Hemileia vastatrix fungus (coffee rust, or roya in Spanish) in 2013 found a new cash crop in oranges.

At this point, farming co-ops such as Coopecerroazul in Nanadayure, province of Guanacaste, stand to benefit the most from this relatively unexploited cash crop. For example, this Coopecerroazul has 82 orange growers who have picked 5.5 million units this year. More than 95 percent of oranges are sold in wholesale markets around the Central Valley, where they are quickly scooped up by citrus lovers.

It’s not just Guanacaste that is finding success with oranges. In the Acosta canton, province of San Jose, MAG citrus experts are evaluating how certain orange strains brought from California adjust to the local conditions. There are several microclimates across Costa Rica where orange cultivation could thrive, and this could lead to an eventual citrus certification program for exports.

Chase Bank Not allowing International wire Transfers!!!

I tend not to be an alarmist, there are a lot of conspiracy theorists in the world, and some of them are just plain crazy, but I feel it is important that I share this link with you only because the US main stream media does not cover real news any longer. They only want you to read and see their false agendas. Click the link below to see what I am writing about.

This is very scary news to me! If a major bank states that you cannot do what you want with the money you worked hard to grow and save and you have entrusted them to hold, it is really time to think about moving some of your assets out of the US.  It may only be time and time will tell the truth, if the US government will start to take your hard earned money just to get it out of the hole it is in.

Now this is not a ploy to try to sell you anything, yes I am a Realtor in Costa Rica, and yes I do sell to make a living, but the reality is when a bank or a government, any government, starts to put restrictions on what you can and cannot do with the money you have legally obtained, by working your butt off and saving and investing wisely, you should take your head out of the proverbial sand and investigate this further for your own benefit. Don’t believe everything you read. I do not claim to be a financial expert but hard assets like solid real estate cannot be falsified when properly purchased and registered.

http://www.infowars.com/confirmed-chase-bank-drops-the-hammer-on-capital-controls-no-money-allowed-to-transfer-out-of-usa-starting-nov-17th/

A good friend of mine happens to be from Canada, but he might as well be American. He cannot believe the things he is reading and seeing about the US economy and the future of the US from Canadian sources. It makes him sick. As he said to me the other day, “I hope and pray I am long gone before the destruction of the greatest nation on the planet happens, I cannot believe what is happening in the US. What is wrong with the people of the US are they blind”? And this came from a Canadian citizen.

Now I am not trying to scare anybody here, you need to do your own homework and make the decision yourself. If you have been thinking about investing in real estate, why not consider Costa Rica? The worst that can happen is you have a great place to escape to and live the Pura Vida life style.

 

Thanks for reading my post and rants. If you would like to make a comment feel free to email me at jaaechef@gmail.com and I will personally answer you. If you have an interest in looking at real estate visit www.Costarica-American-Connection.com  and while you are at it visit www.Costarica-Connection.com  for news and information about the local happening in Guanacaste and surrounding areas. Thanks again and I look forward to hearing from you and possible having a cold beer together to watch the sunsets over the pacific from beautiful Playa Hermosa.

Guanacaste Rainy Season Still Going

Guanacaste Rainy Season Still Going

Well here we are the beginning of the second week of November and the 2013 Costa Rica rainy season is still chugging along. In past years the rains had stopped in the end of October with just an occasional thunderstorm or sprinkling of rain here and there. This year so far it has rained almost every day in November. Not great amounts of rain but still measurable. As of today I have measured 3.2 inches of rain. In some places in the US and Canada, this is the average annual rain fall.

Yesterday while enjoying the afternoon sitting on the beach 2 different times clouds moved over the beach and a light rain fell for just a few minutes. A good friend of mine actually liked the idea that it was not over powering sun shine and the light rain cooled him down. He is from the far northern regions of the US so 88o weather may be screaming hot for him. Anyway it was a lovely day, the ocean was nice and warm, my friend commented on that as well, saying he could not go in the Ocean even in August on the coast of New Hampshire without a wet suit on! The sun set was just dynamic for the clouds causing all sorts of pinks, and purples and oranges it was spectacular.

I read a report in the local newspaper from the meteorological service that the real pros are declaring the rainy season to be over in 2 weeks. Well as we all know you cannot really predict Mother Nature so we will just have to see what comes our way.

As always, thanks to my steady followers for stopping by my blog. I hope you enjoy some of my rants, craziness and even some good information, if you want to make a comment just send me an email to jaaechef@gmail.com  my personal email address or post it here. If you have an interest in or are just curious about Costa Rica and want to learn more and why so many people are talking about it, click this link to my new web page and blog site http://costarica-connection.com 

Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you. Pura Vida!!  

  

October Costa RIca Business Round Up

As many of you may know, October tends to be one of the slower months here in Costa Rica. In Guanacaste we see our only true rainy month of the year which gives people time to take a break from the hard life of spending time at the beaches or playing 18 holes when ever we feel like it. Even with the rain falling there where a couple of big pieces of news to develop over the last month and several of them are happening right here in Guanacaste.

Lake Arenal to get Costa Rica's first fresh water beach?

The news of a large plan to help revitalize tourism to Lake Arenal brought a bit of buzz to the local area. The plan involves a $3 million dollar project that would bring Lake Arenal, Costa Rica's first fresh water beach. The goal is to start the project in 2015 and is currently under review by the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT), but appears to be gaining momentum toward approval.

http://costarica-connection.com/costa-ricas-first-fresh-water-beach-coming-to-arenal/

Plans for a Playas del Coco Art Center

In what will be the first project of its kind in Guanacaste, plans are moving forward on a $7 million Major Arts Center that will be built in the beautiful beach town of Playas del Coco. What makes this project more likely than other rumored development? Well the capital is already there and the developers (from the US) have a proven track record of getting things built in Costa Rica. So far the project has been very well received by the Municipal Council and if things continue at the same pace we couple be looking at a ground breaking ceremony with in the next 2 years.


http://costarica-connection.com/art-center-planned-for-playas-del-coco/

iPhone 5C and 5S are Coming Costa Rica

ICE has officially announced the newest iPhones will be coming to Costa Rica and are slated for availability sometime in the month of November. While the exact price and contracts available for the new iPhones are not know yet, it is sure to be a big hit with the colored skins the 5C's lower price point.
http://costarica-connection.com/iphone-5c-and-5s-coming-to-costa-rica/

Going golfing for a good cause at Costa Rica’s luxurious Four Seasons

I found this article on www.TicoTimes.net   web site. What a great idea, I am going to have to round up some of the hackers I know here and played golf with in the past, and play in this tournament. Normally it would cost about the same amount for a non-member to play this spectacular course. The Best part is Most of the money will be going toward the clinic.

Here is the article:

On Nov. 10, the Children’s Well Being Foundation (CWB), the nonprofit organization Creciendo Juntos and the Guanacaste Community Fund are hosting a golf tournament open to the public to benefit a children’s health clinic in Comunidad de Carillo, in the northwestern province of Guanacaste. The Four Seasons Resort is donating the use of its golf course and offering special room rates for participants.

Treating more than 3,500 children and adolescents who would otherwise have limited access to health care, the award-winning community children’s health clinic in Carillo is a creative and successful example of very different organizations joining together to meet a pressing need.

Before 2011, the children of Comunidad, an economically depressed crossroads town at the northern end of the Nicoya Peninsula, had very limited access to health care. The local clinic, built by the Social Security Administration, or Caja, and operated by the local Community Development Association, was only open one day a month, meaning its impact was almost nil.

In March of that year, Creciendo Juntos, the social responsibility program of Ecodesarrollos Peninsula Papayo, the Caja, and the CWB entered into an innovative tripartite agreement to manage the clinic so that it would be open full-time. Creciendo Juntos assumes the task of renovating and managing the clinic, CWB pays for the salaries of a full-time doctor and part-time psychologist, and the Caja provides medicines and laboratory tests.

This model – which joins private business, a public sector agency and an international nongovernmental organization to meet a pressing community need – can easily be replicated in other parts of the country.

The Second Annual Children’s Welfare Golf Tournament seeks to raise funds to cover a substantial part of the operating costs of the Comunidad clinic, which are approximately $70,000 per year. The Guanacaste Community Fund, an initiative of The Costa Rica-USA Foundation for Cooperation (CRUSA), is offering $15,000 in matching funds.

Those interested in playing on one of Costa Rica’s premier golf courses while contributing to a very important cause can register online here. Hole sponsorships are still available. The cost of playing in the tournament is $300, including a practice round the day before and a gift bag. More than $20,000 worth of prizes has been donated and will be awarded or auctioned to participants.

The Four Seasons Resort is offering a special rate of $250 per night for players. Other lodging nearby at special rates is also available.

 

 Now If I can only convince some of my friends to cough up the 300 bucks to play it will be a great day. One way to get them to do it is say I will drive, that will soften the load a bit, I Hope!!

 

Insurance in Costa Rica

There are many types of Insurance available in Costa Rica from Home Owners, Liability, Car, Health and Life, 

Since the enactment of CAFTA, the Central American Free Trade Agreement, which was enacted in in 2008, the country of Costa Rica was required to open up the insurance market to other companies along with other monopolies that had to be dismantled

Prior to CAFTA, there was only 1 insurance agency in Costa Rica INS, Instituto Nacional de Seguros , which is basically a government run agency but separate.  It is the only government backed insurance agency in the country. You could work with any of the hundreds of agents that worked for them as the rates were the same it just depended on the service you would get. Some of the agents were actually quoting higher priced rats than other, the difference when into their pockets as extra commission. So it was important to find a trust worthy individual.

The gambit of all insurance options are available here in Costa Rica, from home owners , to health, to auto, boat and motorcycle, to liability and more.

Now there are more options to choose from and independent brokers that can offer you the best rats at the coverage that works for you from different companies.

One thing I have learned over the years of living here is to get comparable rates from different agents from different companies. One thing to remember when getting home owners insurance is when the agent asks you what you paid for the house, you need to stop and think about it for a minute or already have a number in mind.

Here are my reasons; you finally made the dream come true and purchased the house in Costa Rica, but you also purchased the land under it. The land is going nowhere but the house could. So do not over valuate the property or you paying more than you have to.

What I did was bring a builder over to my place and paid him, $100 bucks and a six pack of beer to give me a good and honest total cost summary of what it would cost to rebuild my home exactly as it is at current prices. Then I took that number and added 15% to it to cover any unexpected things and really looked at what I have in the house for the contents part of the home insurance. This saved me almost $300 per year in insurance cost.  If you just purchased a lot and you built a home you know the cost already.

Car Insurance here in Costa Rica is really affordable, let me tell you why. I only have liability insurance on my car in the event I do something stupid and cause an accident so the issuance will take care of the other guy. That’s all I carry, no collision, no theft. Way you may ask, it is simple to get good body work done here is more than 60% cheaper than in the US or Canada. The body shop guys don’t charge $100 bucks per hour and the quality of the work is amazing, I know I have had some done more than once. As far as the theft of the car, well that another story, as the company will wait almost 6-8 months to pay it off as it can take that long to find the car. If it is found it could take another 6-8 months to get it back especially if it was found by the police or the OIJ (the equivalent of the US FBI)

Health Insurance all depends on you, if you are in good shape and don’t smoke and don’t have major pre-existing condition it can be quite affordable.  The great thing about Costa Rica is the Quality of private health services. As an example I recently had 4 crowns and 2 root canals done and it was only $1990.00. I had a 3 day fully body examination meeting with a cardiologists, nutritionists, urologist, had a stress test, colonoscopy, full body scan, EKG, blood tests out the wazoo and other tests I have no Idea what they were looking for nor could I even say and the entire thing cost me $2,500.00 US. I told a friend about this in the US and he said just the colonoscopy and blood tests would have cost more.

So if you are interested in learning about your options for insurance in Costa Rica just send me a note and I will direct you to a reliable broker that can handle all your insurance needs.

Crocodiles Attacking People in Costa Rica!!!

Crocodiles Attacking People in Costa Rica, REALLY!!

Wholly Molly!!! I read this article in the Tico Times about a surfer that got clawed and bit by a crock while surfing in Tamarindo. Below is the link.

            I don’t know about you but that kind of stuff freaks me out. I love swimming in the ocean and from time to time some fish my brush my leg or a small stingray my swim by and I am cool with that. But a Six foot long prehistoric creature that could take me down with no effort makes me very concerned.

Anytime I go to any new beach here in Costa Rica and there are countless beautiful beaches I always check first to see if there are any estuaries close by and if there are any mangroves close as well. Reason for this is that is where the crock hangout as they like brackish water (part salt water, part fresh water) and it is safe place for them to build a nest for their eggs. If the beach I decided on that day, does have two or more estuaries close to each other, I never go out further than waist high. Here is my reasoning whether based on fact or fiction, I don’t care, it makes good sense to me; if there are 2 estuaries close by that means there are mangrove and that’s where the creatures live, at waist high water I can still see the ground below and my feet and anything that might come along, second if for some reason I need to get out fast I am close to shore and the main reason, at least for me, is that if I happen to see a crock and it is close by I still have my arms and fists available to protect myself if under attack.

Now I am not trying to scar anybody here but it is important to know that the American Crocodile is here and they can get big. I am sure you may have heard about the crocs of Tarcoles, if not here is YouTube video link to check out. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kf9Dlq3JS_Q

Here is the crazy thing, my wife just took up surfing and goes to Tamarindo to take lessons, after reading this article, I think I am going to go along for the ride next time she goes, just keep an eye out for her. I will be the strange guy standing on the beach with a pair of binoculars checking out any movment around her. Twenty bucks says, someone will think I am just checking out all the other hot women surfing. Well can you blame me!

Here is the link to the article and just play safe

http://www.ticotimes.net/More-news/News-Briefs/Surfers-survive-attack-by-7-foot-Costa-Rican-crocodile-in-Tamarindo-_Monday-October-14-2013

 As always, thanks to my steady followers for stopping by my blog. I hope you enjoy some of my rants, craziness and even some good information, if you want to make a comment just send me an email to jaaechef@gmail.com  my personal email address or post it here. If you have an interest in or are just curious about Costa Rica and want to learn more and why so many people are talking about it, click this link to my new web page and blog site http://costarica-connection.com    

Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you. Pura Vida!!

The Costa Rica Rainy Season is in Full Force

In the past I wrote about the weather on a daily basis, and as I also have written that I bite off a bit too much. See I don’t sit at home every day, I have to make a living to. Although I would like nothing more to retire for good I guess I am just too young to do so and don’t have buckets of money, so I work and write these crazy blogs.

Anyway enough of that “OH woo Me” stuff, this is not a place to complain anyway. Besides do you care? I didn’t think so. But that ok!

Yes we are in the heaviest part of the rainy season. Not a lot of people in town, which is kind of nice for a month or two, but that gets old as well. So here is a shot breakdown of the rain we have received here in Playa Hermosa so far this year. Oh sorry to any new readers, but this is a hobby of mine, measuring rain and have been doing it for over 45 years. I know it sounds a bit strange but aren’t we all a bit strange in one way or another

So far this year I have measured 42.1 inches of rain as of yesterday and guess what it is raining today as well. In the month of September, which starts the heaviest of the rainy season, it rained 21 days for a total of only 10.2 inches. Most of the rain comes in the late afternoon or overnight. Almost every morning I wake up to Sunny skies, than by early afternoon it starts. Most of the rain came is small amount less than a half an inch but we had a few that were over 2 inches. I know you must be thinking wow why would I want to go there. Well you should come at this time of year it is actually very nice. The rain is not hard and it does not get cold so you just hang out at some beach bar or restaurant meet interesting people and then head off to another location or some friends house.  As a matter of fact it happened to be about 4:40 in the afternoon as I write this and soon as I post it, I am heading to the beach and one of my favorite spots Agua Sport, to meet some friends that came down for a week, my whistle is dry and the cold bear is calling my name, So what if it is raining a bit, It is only water As my dad always said to me “ what are you scared about it is just rain you’re not made of sugar so you won’t melt”!

My dad was right!!! 100% so see you around some time maybe under a palm tree when it is raining!

 As always, thanks to my steady followers for stopping by my blog. I hope you enjoy some of my rants, craziness and even some good information, if you want to make a comment just send me an email to jaaechef@gmail.com  my personal email address or post it here. If you have an interest in or are just curious about Costa Rica and want to learn more and why so many people are talking about it, click this link to my new web page and blog site    http://costarica-connection.com    

Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you. Pura Vida!!

September Business Round Up

September has brought a lot of news on the business front here in Costa Rica. Not only have several major US franchise announced their opening dates here in Costa Rica for their flag ship stores with plans to open more country wide, one long awaited project was announced in the Guanacase Province of Costa Rica.

Water Kingdom coming to Guanacaste

That's right, what was considered to only be a rumor for the past several years has officially become reality! The $10 million water project is set to open it's doors in mid 2014 and will be located just south of Liberia and will feature multiple water slides, lagoon, mini golf, restaurants and much more! This is great news for family vacationers, providing a fun day trip just an hour away from the Papagayo's Gold Coast.

American Franchise Head to Costa Rica

In August it was the popular franchise Chucky Cheese that announced it's franchising rights being given to a Costa Rican business group, and yet September was not to be out done. Not only did Dairy Queen officially announce that they will be opening there first two store in San Jose with one being an ice cream only style store and one being a full restaurant, the Hard Rock Cafe prepared for it's big grand opening in San Jose with the announcement of a new beach themed Hard Rock Cafe to open its doors in the Guanacaste. The second location has not been set in stone but the Hard Rock Cafe reps did say they are currently considering two location, Playas del Coco and Tamarindo.

Conclusion

So what does this mean for the over all business climate in Costa Rica? Well I have always been one to base my conclusions on facts, and the fact is that in the past 6 months a half dozen American and European companies have either approved franchising rights, broken ground or opened their first location in Costa Rica. The only conclusion that this can lead me two is that the Costa Rican market is proving to be a valuable commodity for business and serves as a precursor for things yet to come. So get in while you can!

Costa Rica Beach Front Property Getting a Tax Break

Expats and Costa Ricans alike that have a concession property in the maritime zone (this is the area of beach front land starting from the 50 meter, or 54.68 yards, median high tide mark going inland 200 meters or 218.7 yards) may be getting a tax break. This type of property usually cannot be titled ad that is a whole other topic. The local municipalities which control the maritime zone have raised the fees on these properties over the past few years. There have been many complaints over this.  Many of these of these people got their concessions years ago and constructed homes on the land. By law the maritime zone belongs to the state.  Only the municipalities and the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (the Costa Rica Tourism Institution) are allowed to issue concessions. The real problem came when the municipal tax collectors, Oh boy that is almost a dirty word, raised the price of the annual cánon or rental fee and some of them were down right ridiculous. The tax collectors based the fee increase on the fees that major hotels were paying to legally take over or purchase someone’s concession.

President Laura Chinchilla along with other governmental officials issued a decree placing a limit on what the canon, or rental fee can be. The decree was published on July 24, 2013 in the official La Gazetta newspaper. The 1977 Zona Marítimo Terrestre or the Maritime Terrestrial Zone law prohibits most construction within the first 50 meters above mean high tide.

The canon fee for individual homeowners is now limited to a maximum of 3% percent of the registered value of the holding, this includes the land and any construction that is on the property. Hotels and other recreational facilities can see the canon fee as high as 4%. Of course, municipal tax collectors, oh there’s those dirty words again, are not required to charge the maximum amount, so a concession holder can actually appeal their rate to the various municipal councils. But let’s face facts! How many tax collectors are really going to lower the amount that needs to be paid, but it is worth the shot at least. A good thing about this decree is that, low-income residents who live in a permanent home in the maritime zone can only be taxed at one quarter of a percent. The decree stated that the fees were being capped based on the principal of equality and proportionality.

So if you have a concession property I would consider contacting your legal representative here in Costa Rica to see what the process would entail to get your canon fee lowered or at least at the property percentage mandated by the decree.

As always, thanks to my steady followers for stopping by my blog. I hope you enjoy some of my rants, craziness and even some good information, if you want to make a comment just send me an email to jaaechef@gmail.com  my personal email address or post it here. If you have an interest in or are just curious about Costa Rica and want to learn more and why so many people are talking about it, click this link to my new web page and blog site    http://costarica-connection.com   

Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you. Pura Vida!!

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