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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
A Day at the Feria in Liberia Costa Rica

The Cost of 3 medium pineapples = 1000 or  $1.87. Yes….you read that right!  These are the juiciest, best tasting pineapples ever!

The feria (farmer’s market) in Liberia is open on Thursday afternoons and all day on Friday.  Each of the vendors sets their own prices and they are competitive.  And yes, you can even negotiate with them!  In addition to fruits and vegetables, you can also purchase homemade smoked cheeses, fresh farm eggs, fresh squeezed juice, plants such as basil, mint & rosemary, coconuts, and even bags of really good dirt!

Another great purchase this day was bananas! 22 bananas = 1000 or $1.87! where in North America can you get a beal like this?

You can save a good amount of money by purchasing your fruits and vegetables at the local feria. There are several smaller ferias in Playas Del Coco that are open daily.  The feria in Liberia is about 30 minutes away but it is much larger with more vendors. 

Can you buy your vegetables at the local supermarket?  Of course!  But again, you’ll save money by going to the ferias.  Plus, spending an afternoon at the feria is a lot of fun.  You get to interact with the locals, discover new vegetables and meet a lot of great people!  It’s a great adventure!!

So next time you come to the Playa Hermosa area, take a day and a short ride to Liberia and experience a true farmers market Costa Rica Style!! You won’t be disappointed.

A visit to Caja (The Medical System in Costa Rica)

Once you receive your official residency in Costa Rica, you become a “voluntary” member of Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS or Caja).  This enables you to access the socialized medical system here in Costa Rica.  By voluntary, this means you are choosing to become a resident and therefore are a voluntary member of the CCSS system. You are charged a certain amount each month based on your residency category.  Married couples pay as one unit.  In return, you are allowed to use the medical system in Costa Rica called Caja.  

To an American or other foreigners who are not familiar with socialized medicine, this can be a huge adjustment.  The main reason is because Caja does not have fancy offices or waiting rooms that many of you are accustomed to seeing

With this said, I have found that once you learn how the system works it is quite easy to use.  The hardest visit is your first visit.  You will need to be fluent in Spanish or take someone with you that is fluent.  This is when they will set up your folder and develop a medical plan for you.  All your background information is taken and recorded.  If you are on high blood pressure medicine, are diabetic, have high cholesterol, etc., they will set you up with an appointment every six months to monitor your condition.  They will go over what medications you are taking and what medications they have that are either the same or similar.  At this time the doctor will give you a script for blood and urine tests, x-rays, mammograms, EKG or any other test they deem necessary.  The Doctor will prescribe any medications necessary and you can pick them up at the pharmacy there in the clinic.  Medications usually take a few hours to fill so you must be patient.  This is not Walgreens!  Go grab a bite to eat or run some errands.

If you still have health insurance in the country you are moving from you may want to take all Caja results and let your family doctor review them.  I have been very pleased to find out that my test results have been spot on.  

 One thing you may hear about Caja is that it is a slow process if you need an MRI or other diagnostic procedures.  This is can be true depending on the situation so you will have to decide if you feel you can wait or if you need to seek private screening.

 All in all, the system does work.  You just have to be patient, literally, and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results!

New Lower Gas Prices in Costa Rica

When gas prices drop in Costa Rica it is a big deal for consumers!  Costa Rican's pay some of the highest gas prices in all of Central America.  This decrease has been one of the largest and thus, most exciting for Costa Rica.

The Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP) approved a new decrease in the per-liter price of fuel, the second consecutive one during January.  the approval will mean a 43 drop in the price of Super gasoline, a 49 decrease for Plus gasoline, and a 48 decrease for diesel. Per-liter prices will change from 580 to 537 ($1.10-1.02) for a liter of Super gasoline, while Regular gasoline will change from 552 to 503 ($1.04-0.95) and diesel will decrease from 522 to 474 ($0.99-0.90).  So on an average, we are now paying about $3.59 a gallon for Regular gas!  Yay!

This drop in pricing will make a big difference in the wallets of both the locals and expats that live in this beautiful paradise.

 If you've never been to the gas station in Costa Rica, it may remind you of the gas stations in the United States back before the 70’s.  Here, you never have to leave your vehicle.  Attendants pump your gas, will check your oil if you ask, wash your windshield and take your money!  Getting out and pumping your own gas is one habit that was easy to break, that’s for sure!  For those that travel late at night, have no fear…..most gas stations are open 24 hours a day!

Costa Rica Property a Sellers’ Biggest Mistake

As a professional real estate broker here in Costa Rica, I come across some crazy stuff and sellers that sometimes are very unrealistic. This happens to brokers worldwide as well but it seems to be a recurring theme here. Let me give you some back ground and facts before you start slamming me with your thoughts as I am sure this article will provoke some from any sellers that might read it.

Here in Costa Rica, if you did not know, realtors are not licensed by the government; meaning just about anybody can be a realtor and believe me many try. However there are two government recognized real estate association CCCBR “Camara Costarricense de Corredores de Bienes Raices” or in English “Costa Rican Chamber of Real Estate Brokers” and the other is CRGAR “Costa Rica Global Association of Realtors”. I happen to be a member of both and a past board of director member for CRGAR.  To be a member you have to go through the associations’ classes and pass tests in order to receive a license from them. By being a member in both associations, I am also a member of NAR, the National Association of Realtors that is based in North America. So I have a really good working knowledge of whats what in Costa Rica real estate as I have been here for almost seven years now do it.

Most people believe that a realtors’ main job is to get the best possible price for the seller, which is true, but it is only part of what we need to do to help the seller. The responsibility of the broker is also to help the seller understand the ramifications of holding onto a property to long. As an example more taxes, or home owners’ association fees, maintenance of the property, property manager and the list goes on. The broker is also a sounding board and has a wealth of information to help the seller.

Here in Costa Rica most of the sellers were originally investors from back in 2000 to 2006, when the market was a new up and coming market and screaming hot. Many people purchased property because of all the great things that Costa Rica has to offer. But over 60% of these past buyers which some are now sellers never really planned on living here full time. The purchase was either for investment purposes only or for a second vacation home. As we all know in life, the best laid out plans always change.

Well the market has changed as well, over the past 5 years, more and more buyer are actually looking to relocate to Costa Rica full time, for tons of obvious reason but that’s another article, and those that are selling have changed their plans. I know you saying about now reading this “when are you going to get to the point of this article”, easy now I am getting there.

Ok so one of the biggest mistakes a seller makes, but not the biggest, is over pricing their property from the get go. Even though the brokers they may interviewed and finally decide on tell them otherwise, they just do not listen. I personally have been interviewed by some sellers that when I recommended a selling price they call me every name in the book. I have heard” Oh your just trying to get me to a lower the price so you can make a quick buck” or I hear “ are you kidding me I paid $$$$ for my property I want to make a profit on it” and the list goes on from there.

In my professional opinion the really biggest mistake a seller makes is when the broker present an offer and the seller says “I am insulted by that offer, it is too low and I will not even counter back”. This is just plan lunacy! Real estate is a business, too many sellers let their personal feeling about the property get in the way of finally selling it. Never as a seller, be the one to walk away from an initial offer, always counter back!! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain, like selling that piece of real estates you want to sell

I am writing this because I am facing this right now. I presented an offer to a seller. The property is priced according to the market and not overpriced, although it did take two plus years to get the seller to see the light and finally price it right. So you can’t say I was trying to make a quick buck. So I presented an offer to this seller two days ago, I immediately called them to discuss and emailed then the signed offer to review. We spent almost two hours on the phone discussing it and the seller said they would get back to me. This morning I get an email from the seller basically saying “I do not accept the offer and tell the buyer to jump in a lake”. Here we go, BIGGEST MISTAKE EVER and dumbest mind set ever!!! By not countering back they let a potential sale slip through their hands. The smart thing to do is always counter back, take the advice of the broker they hired; he or she is the pro, at least if they hired a professional. Yes the price may not be what they want, but in three years with no offers at least it is a starting point.

So after receiving this email I called then right away and discussed. They hired me to sell the property not fold like a house of cards when the table gets knocked a bit. I spent another two hours on the phone helping them realize based on market comparable properties, the present condition of the market, the condition of their property and a whole lot more, that they should never be the ones to walk away at the first offer. Let the buyers be the ones to walk away from a counter offer.

Just because the offer was low that does not mean the buyer may not have more money to spend, think about it, you go and what to buy a car, do you pay the sticker price? Or do you try to negotiate the price down. Buyers of real estate do the same exact same thing; they are trying to get the best price for the property they like. So don’t be offended, be smart and don’t make the same big mistake this seller just did when you are trying to sell your Costa Rica property if you have one.

If you don’t own in Costa Rica you should consider it as there are some really good deals out there still.

Thanks for stopping by and send any comments to me- Joseph Emanuelli @ jaaechef@gmail.com. If you have an interest in real estate or just starting to get a feel for the Playa Hermosa area of Costa Rica, click this link to my personal web site 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”

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:

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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.

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