Your Complete Guide to Paradise
Be on the lookout for this scam, it could cost you thousan
July 16th, 2014 (InsideCostaRica.com) While not a new problem in Costa Rica, credit and debit card fraud through the use of electronic devices called ‘skimmers’ is becoming ever more common as the skimming devices become ever easier to obtain.
The devices do their work after a criminal inserts the thin plastic device into an ATM machine’s card reader. The device than reads and stores every ATM users’ card information the moment they insert the card into the machine. The criminal returns later in the day and retrieves the device, which may by then have the full data of hundreds of cards stored on it. That information is later used to create clones of the users’ cards, or for online purchases. Continue Reading
RECOPE withdraws request for another large increase in fuel prices
July 16th, 2014 (InsideCostaRica.com) The Costa Rican Oil Refinery (RECOPE) has withdrawn a request to regulator ARESEP for another large increase in fuel prices.
RECOPE had filed a request with the regulator on July 9th to increase the price of premium gasoline by ¢29 per liter and regular gasoline by ¢27 per liter. Continue Reading
Public works deals should go back to the drawing board, says Solís in meeting with Chinese president
President Luis Guillermo Solís asked that several major Chinese projects in Costa Rica go back to the drawing board in a bilateral meeting between the Costa Rican leader and Chinese President Xi Jinping Wednesday evening during the meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in Brasilia, Brazil.
The renegotiations targeted several legacy projects devised by previous National Liberation Party administrations, including former presidents Óscar Arias (1986-1990, 2006-2010) and Laura Chinchilla (2010-2014), including Route 32 and the stalled Moín oil refinery.
Solís asked the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party to extend the period of consideration on a $485 million Chinese loan to expand Route 32 highway between San José and the Caribbean port city of Limón from the current two-and-a-half-month period to five months. Solís said that more time was needed to analyze the project and review the loan’s terms.
Costa Rican Electricity Institute rules out blackouts in coming months
Although the National Meteorological Institute (IMN) confirmed a drop in rainfall levels for the current rainy season, the Costa Rica Electricity Institute (ICE) has ruled out power outages later this year.
A lack of rainfall this season, which runs from May to November, is evident in most of the country. But ICE electricity manager Luis Pacheco said current reservoir levels remain stable and expected rainfall will be enough to keep the reserves filled for use in hydroelectric power generation for the rest of the year.
Gringo. Some bristle at the word while others embrace it.
Is it a stand-in for ugly American? A warmhearted nickname? A slanderous sobriquet? There are few things expats come across here that can set off such impassioned debates as a discussion over the word’s weight.
During the American Colony’s July 4 picnic The Tico Times spoke with several U.S. expats, tourists and Costa Ricans about their opinions on the controversial label. Most respondents said the moniker carried a neutral connotation for them, comparing it to Costa Ricans’ diminutive, Tico.
Naming a new ombudsman could take weeks, Costa Rica Assembly president says
Legislative Assembly President Henry Mora on Monday evening asked the legislative appointments commission to immediately start the process of selecting candidates for ombudsman following the resignation Monday of Ofelia Taitelbaum.
Mora said he hopes lawmakers would agree on a name quickly and that former candidates in the past two elections should be reconsidered.
The appointment could take two weeks, he said, but that will depend on whether lawmakers can reach consensus on a candidate.
White House names Democratic donor as nominee for ambassador to Costa Rica
After more than a year without an ambassador in Costa Rica, the White House on Tuesday finally announced its choice to head the United States’ diplomatic mission here.
The Obama administration named S. Fitzgerald Haney, an international businessman with experience in marketing, financial services and manufacturing in Latin America, as its pick for the next ambassador to Costa Rica. Most recently, Haney has been a principal and director of business development and client services for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Pzena Investment Management in New York City. He has held the position since 2007.
In Bolivia, silver mountain at risk of collapse
POTOSÍ, Bolivia – Cerro Rico, the fabled peak towering over the Bolivian city of Potosí that supplied silver to fund Spain’s colonial empire, is at risk of collapse from overmining, putting thousands of workers in jeopardy.
Potosí, which earned UNESCO World Heritage status in 1987, was seen as the world’s largest industrial complex in the 16th century thanks to its massive deposits of silver and tin.
28 photos from La Sele’s homecoming party in Costa Rica on Tuesday
Tax Administration to fight evasion with technology, citizens’ help
[Note, as a libertarian I consider taxation to be theft, and that people are morally bound to do everything they can to stop the thieves. These thieves in government will continue to waste money until the cows come home. There are certainly better ways for society to be organized. ]
The Finance Ministry last week launched a public awareness campaign to encourage tourists and citizens to report hotels, restaurants and other businesses that fail to issue receipts for products or services.
The campaign uses mass media and social networks in an effort to improve taxpayer compliance with laws, with support from customers.
Finance Minister Helio Fallas said the campaign is part of a short-term strategy to improve the filing and payment of sales tax, especially during mid-year vacations when the country sees an increase in tourism and spending on entertainment and commerce.
Nicaragua’s ambitious interoceanic canal will cross Lake Nicaragua, officials say
MANAGUA, Nicaragua – An interoceanic canal in Nicaragua will be built via Lake Nicaragua, also known as el Gran Lago Cocibolca – Latin America’s second-largest lake after South America’s Lake Titicaca – and its tributaries, the Nicaraguan government and Chinese concessionaire HKND announced on Monday.
“The canal will cross Nicaraguan territory from east to west with a total estimated length of 278 kilometers, including a 105-km stretch in Lake Nicaragua,” canal engineer Dong YungSong said during a meeting with government officials and academics in Managua.
The route will begin at the mouth of Brito River, on Nicaragua’s southern Pacific coast in the department of Rivas and near the country’s border with Costa Rica, and will continue through Lake Nicaragua and tributaries Tule and Punta Gorda, which empty into Nicaragua’s southern Caribbean, he said.
National Seismological Network to monitor Poás Volcano with four new cameras
Volcanologists from the University of Costa Rica’s National Seismological Network (RSN) are installing two video cameras and two thermal cameras at Poás Volcano, one of the most active volcanoes in the country.
Last week RSN experts began transporting materials to the Poás Volcano National Park in the province of Alajuela and building the foundations for the cameras, which will broadcast real-time video and thermal video feeds to monitor frequent emissions of steam and other materials. Scientists also will be able to track of temperature changes inside the crater.
Video feeds broadcast by the four cameras will be available to the public at the RSN website. Currently the Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (OVSICORI) has cameras at Poás, but they only take and broadcast snapshots in intervals.
Costa Rica Ombudsman’s Office pushes for better marine conservation
Costa Rica’s Ombudsman’s Office issued a statement Tuesday urging the government to prioritize marine resource management. According to research by the agency – which is responsible for petitioning the state on behalf of Costa Rican citizens – climate change, poor technology, inadequate marine management and a lack of political will have depleted the country’s marine resources, leaving coastal residents who rely on fishing with few options to support their families.
“Some 15,000 families rely on fishing to support themselves,” the statement said. “Currently those families are in crisis.”
How the Clintons went from ‘dead broke’ to rich
Former U.S. President William J. Clinton (1993-2001) is visiting Costa Rica today, July 1, as part of the inauguration of a new medical research and teaching facility at the Universidad Latina in San Pedro, east of San José.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Over seven frenetic days, Bill Clinton addressed corporate executives in Switzerland and Denmark, an investors’ group in Sweden and a cluster of business and political leaders in Austria. The former president wrapped up his European trip in the triumphant Spanish Hall at Prague Castle, where he shared his thoughts on energy to a Czech business summit.
His pay: $1.4 million.
Costa Rica uniforms are international best-sellers thanks to World Cup run
And now, just like that, everyone wants Costa Rica’s jerseys. The World Cup uniform – with the simple one-stripe design – received much criticism for its bare-bones style. Mashable called the uniforms, created by Italian company Lotto, one of the worst designs at the 2014 World Cup. Tico fans didn’t care for them much, either. However, the apparel suddenly is a best seller thanks to the Ticos’ shocking appearance in the quarterfinals of the tournament in Brazil.
According to Reuters, Lotto is selling out jerseys faster than the sportswear brand can make them:
It is a rare triumph for a smaller kitmaker of an ilk that has been increasingly squeezed out of the World Cup with major brands such as Nike, Adidas and Puma paying millions to hog the stage at the world’s most watched sporting event. Lotto is struggling to keep up with demand and says an extra 50,000 shirts have been sold since Costa Rica won their opening game against Uruguay. At Fifa’s online store the red home strip is no longer available in the usual short sleeves.
Former US President Bill Clinton lauds Costa Rica, urges students to make most of their futures
Hoarse from watching the U.S. soccer team fall to Belgium on Tuesday, former U.S. President Bill Clinton (1993-2001) found his voice long enough to call on Costa Rican students to work for a better world, during a speech at the Universidad Latina east of San José.
Clinton landed a few jokes about how La Sele goalie Keylor Navas would have given Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís a run for his money in an election before Clinton moved on to issues related to the future of the country. The former U.S. president lauded Costa Rica’s record on environmentalism and said the small country of less than 5 million people was well positioned to meet the challenges of the 21st century through its investment in education, health and the environment. Clinton called Costa Rica one of the countries he most admires.
Here are today’s headlines from Costa Rica:
President Solís says proposals to lower record-high fuel prices are not viable
The Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP) sent President Luis Guillermo Solís two proposals for lowering record-high fuel prices: 1) Eliminate fuel taxes and 2) Reduce spending at the National Oil Refinery (RECOPE).
However Solís believes that the tax elimination proposal “is not a valid option considering the harsh fiscal situation the country is facing.” Continue Reading
Supreme Court asks Solís to clarify Cabinet post for Lutheran bishop
The Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, or Sala IV, on Wednesday admitted a citizen’s complaint over whether the appointment of Lutheran bishop Melvin Jiménez Marín as presidency minister is constitutional. Justices gave President Luis Guillermo Solís 15 days to formally respond.
Attorney Álvaro Orozco Carballo filed the appeal on June 11. According to Orozco, Jiménez’s appointment violates Article 142 of Costa Rica’s Constitution. Paragraph 3 of that article states that all government ministers must be “members of the secular state,” which the complaint interprets to mean that government ministers cannot be active members of religious organizations. Continue Reading
Costa Rica leads Central America in Cup of Excellence coffee auction
The breakaway favorite of Costa Rica’s 2014 Cup of Excellence competition took home the highest bid in the Alliance for Coffee Excellence international auction Tuesday.
Luis Enrique Navarro of Monte Copey in Dota, Tarrazú, winner of the Cup of Excellence in May, received $41.20/lb. for his lot. Maruyama Coffee, Sugi Coffee Roasting, Ponpon Coffee, and Orsir Coffee of Taiwan purchased 1,518 lbs. of Navarro’s coffee for $62,541.60. Continue Reading
In pictures: Passenger jet converted into luxury hotel in Costa Rica rainforest
Revealed: How governments can take control of smartphones
Legal malware’ produced by the Italian firm Hacking Team can take total control of your mobile phone. That’s according to Russian security firm Kaspersky Lab and University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab(which also obtained a user manual).
Operating since 2001, the Milan-based Hacking Team employs over 50 people and offers clients the ability to “take control of your targets and monitor them regardless of encryption and mobility,” while “keeping an eye on all your targets and manage them remotely, all from a single screen.” Continue Reading
Here are today’s headlines.
As the FBAR deadline approaches, here’s what you need to know
U.S. citizens and permanent residents with bank accounts abroad may have to report those accounts to the U.S. government by June 30, 2014. The report is on form FinCen 114, titled the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, sometimes called the FBAR. Many U.S. citizens and permanent residents have questions about their FBAR requirements. Hopefully, the answers below will help illustrate what is necessary. Continue reading.
Police arrest suspect selling poached turtle eggs
olice arrested a man with the last names Calvo Alvarado on Monday for selling turtle eggs outside of the Río Blanco stadium in Limón, on the country’s Caribbean coast.
Calvo was caught with 65 leatherback sea turtle eggs, which he was hawking for ₡1,000 ($1.82). Only Olive Ridley sea turtle eggs collected from Playa Ostional on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast –certified by the Environment Ministry – can be legally sold in Costa Rica. If convicted, the suspect faces up to two years in prison. Continue Reading
Seriously? Winless England predicted by oddsmakers to beat Costa Rica
With a knockout round berth already clinched, Costa Rica is now setting its sights on a first-ever run to the World Cup quarterfinals.
The Ticos will try to wrap up the top spot in Group D against England at 10 a.m. Tuesday in Belo Horizonte. With a result against the English, Costa Rica’s path to history gets much easier. Continue Reading.
Green turtle links Costa Rica’s Cocos Island with Ecuador’s Galapagos
One normal migration for turtles, one giant discovery for humankind.
With his 14-day journey from the waters of Costa Rica’s Cocos Island National Park to the Galapagos Marine Reserve in Ecuador, “Sanjay,” an endangered green sea turtle, established the first direct migration link between the two protected areas. Continue Reading
Costa Rica amongst countries negotiating secret trade deal leaked by WikiLeaks
June 24th, 2014 (InsideCostaRica.com) Costa Rica is party to negotiations surrounding a secret trade deal which critics say is aimed at ensuring financial deregulation for major international banks and financial services firms that was leaked by the whistleblower web site WikiLeaks on Thursday.
By CESAR BARRANTES, Associated Press – 13 hours ago
CANGREJAL, Costa Rica (AP) — The bulletins were terrifying: a powerful earthquake had struck off the coast of this Central American country, spawning a tsunami warning and bringing fears of widespread catastrophe.
But Costa Rica suffered remarkably little damage from Wednesday’s magnitude-7.6 quake — a few blocked highways, some collapsed houses and one death, of a heart attack caused by fright. Officials credited the relatively deep location of the quake and building codes that Costa Rican officials call as strict as those in California and Japan.
The quake was 25 miles (41 kilometers) below the surface. Tremors that occur deep underground tend to be less damaging, but their shaking can be felt over a wider area.
“If it was a shallower event, it would be a significantly higher hazard,” said seismologist Daniel McNamara of the U.S. Geological Survey.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centered about 38 miles (60 kilometers) from the town of Liberia and 87 miles (140 kilometers) west of the capital, San Jose.
The area is a seismically active zone where the Cocos tectonic plate dives beneath the Caribbean plate. “All along the Pacific coast of Central America, you can expect fairly big earthquakes,” McNamara said.
The quake was followed by three strong aftershocks of magnitudes above 4.
The relatively little damage was due in large part to strict building codes in Costa Rica, a country that has long enjoyed more stability, better governance and stronger economic development than many of its Central American neighbors, said Olman Vargas, president of the national College of Architecture and Engineering.
“We have a culture of concrete and steel,” he told The Associated Press. “Years ago we abandoned building in mud and adobe, something that’s caused a lot of problems and that they’re continuing in other countries.”
Costa Rica’s anti-earthquake structural codes have been updated in line with the latest international standards three times since they were enacted in 1974, most recently last year.
“I can assure you we comply with all global standards — the same as in California and Japan, places well-known for their high tectonic activity,” Vargas said.
Officials said the quake collapsed some houses and at least one bridge and caused landslides that blocked highways. But Costa Rica President Laura Chinchilla said there were no reports of major damage.
Residents described being shocked by the force of the quake, which was felt as far away as Panama and Nicaragua and was the biggest since a 7.6-magnitude quake in 1991 that killed 47 people.
Michelle Landwer, owner of the Belvedere Hotel in Samara, north of the epicenter, said she was having breakfast with about 10 people when the quake hit.
“The whole building was moving; I couldn’t even walk,” Landwer said. “Everything was falling, like glasses and everything.” Still, she added, “Here in my building there was no real damage.”
The Guanacaste region around the epicenter is a popular tourist destination known for its pristine beaches and nature and marine reserves. Costa Rica is also a popular destination for American retirees, tens of thousands of whom have settled here.
Officials initially warned of a possible tsunami. Samara local police supervisor Jose Angel Gomez said about 5,000 people had been evacuated from coastal towns in and near the quake’s epicenter, but they were allowed to return by midday.
In San Jose, frightened residents ran into the streets, and cellphone and Internet service failed across the city. Some neighborhoods lost electricity. Services were almost entirely restored by Wednesday night.
At the hospitals of Nicoya and Liberia, in Guanacaste, hundreds of people packed emergency rooms seeking treatment for shock and minor injuries.
One death was confirmed, a man who died of a heart attack caused by fright, said Carlos Miranda, a Red Cross worker in the city of Liberia.
Douglas Salgado, a geographer with Costa Rica’s National Commission of Risk Prevention and Emergency Attention, said a landslide hit the main highway that connects the capital to the Pacific coast city of Puntarenas, and hotels and other structures had cracked walls and items knocked from shelves.
In the town of Hojancha, a few miles (kilometers) from the epicenter, city official Kenia Campos said the quake knocked down some houses and landslides blocked several roads.
“People were really scared … We have had moderate quakes but an earthquake (this strong) hadn’t happened in … years,” she said.
In the last four decades, the region has been rocked by 30 earthquakes of magnitude-6 and larger. Two exceeded magnitude-7 — in 1978 and 1990 — but did not cause any deaths.
The last deadly quake to strike Costa Rica was in 2009, when 40 people died in a magnitude-6.1 temblor.
Associated Press writer Danica Coto reported this story in Congrejal and Cesar Barrantes reported in San Jose. AP writers Jack Chang, E. Eduardo Castillo, Olga R. Rodriguez, Santiago Torrado and Anita Snow in Mexico City and AP Science Writer Alicia Chang in Los Angeles contributed to this report.by
The other day I had to attend a business meeting in the heart of downtown San José at 2 pm. My associates and I met at the Patio Restaurant on Central Avenue.
The Patio is a great place to watch people as they walk by and the food is very good. I have held many business meetings there because of the ambience and the convenient location.
The patio is located on Central Avenue and 7th Street adjacent to the Balmoral Hotel. Retirees, tourists and or anyone living in Costa Rica looking for a little adventure should check The Patio out while in downtown San José.
Anyway it was approaching 4:30 and I needed to return to Heredia. I had two choices: take one of three buses that go to Heredia or take the train. After talking with my friend Rico of Inside Costa Rica fame, considering the time and my proximity to the train station I opted to take the train. I walked about five blocks to the station located across the street form The National Park and purchased my ticket for around 85 cents. I stood in line for about 10 minutes until it was 5 o’clock and then boarded the train.
The cars are modern, have comfortable seating and offer a less stressful option than taking the bus or making the commute by car. The trip took about 30 minutes during rush hour and the train makes three short stops to load and unload passengers before arriving at the old station in downtown Heredia. The only inconvenience was that the car I was in was not next to the ramp and I had to jump from what seemed to be a two foot drop when getting off the train. Anyone with physical problems would have to exit through the door that leads to the main ramp.
Costa Rica’s trains only run during commuter hours in the morning starting at 6 am and during the late afternoon and early evening. Schedules for all of Costa Rica’s commuter trains may be found at: http://horariodetren.com/cr/
Trains in Costa Rica (Tren Urbano)
Most part of the rail network became useless in the mean time. Only in the banana growing areas of Limon goods are still transported by rail.
In 2005 the passenger service between Pavas (Metropolis III) and the Universidad Latina in Zapote via San José was resumed by the Instituto Costarricense de Ferrocarril (INCOFER). Since August 2009, the line Heredia – San José is operating again. The connection San Antonio de Belén – San Jose was reactivated in April 2011.
In the past cellular technology in Costa Rica was at the whims of the state agency ICE, bringing us the latest when it had become old in the world. Today, after the opening of the telecommunications sector last December, things are different.
Today we have the latest phones and and mobile devices, launching in some cases at the same time as in the United States, as both the Mexican operator, Claro and Spanish operator, Movistar, move at lightning speed to entice us.
Within that framework Movistar hit first with the latest Samsung offering, the Galaxy SIII (or S3).
The Samsung Galaxy S III is the 2012 flagship device of Samsung. Like its predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy S II, the S III is a touchscreen-based, slate-sized smartphone, with a significant addition of software features, expanded hardware, and a redesigned physique. In particular, it has an intelligent personal assistant (S Voice), eye-tracking capability, wireless charging, and increased storage. Depending on countries, the 4.8-inch (120 mm) smartphone comes with different processors and RAM capacity, and 4G LTE support.
Samsung unveiled the S III at a stand-alone event on 3 May 2012 in London. The device was released in 28 European and Middle Eastern countries, including the United Kingdom, France, Germany and the United Arab Emirates, on 29 May 2012, before being rolled out in throughout the world over the following month. Prior to release, 9 million pre-orders were placed by more than 100 carriers globally, making it the fastest-selling gadget in history.
Due to high demands and a manufacturing flaw, there is currently a shortage of S IIIs, especially in the United States. But, it can be had right here in the tiny paradise of Costa Rica.
Movistar has priced it at ¢474.900 colones (us$960) and be purchased outright or FREE as part of @XL plan, one its five postpaid plans. The pricing for the other plans ranges from ¢13.250 to ¢44.000 monthly.
If you are a lover of technology, this is a must have device.
Editor’s note: Notice we didn’t include ICE in the group, for it keeps only on responding to what the competition brings, instead of innovating. The chirping frog still has a lot of ways to go!by