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Perpetual Tourists – Good Time to Get Legal or Get Gone

October 1st, 2013

pp.jpgPerpetual Tourists (PTs) are those folks who come to Costa Rica to live but have no intention of applying for legal residency.  They are under the mistaken impression that they can just leave Costa Rica every 90 days to “renew” their visa.  Some have done this for years and so will argue that it is OK.  However… This has never been legal, but sadly, it has never been made strictly illegal. Immigration has had many opportunities to remedy or clarify this problem, but instead it has skirted the issue time and again. Therefore, what we have now is a most unpleasant and even dangerous situation.  We have the immigration officials at airports and at the international frontiers  who pretty much seem to be acting on their own seemingly having received no guidance from their supervisors.  I know of nothing worse than bureaucrats acting on their own.

Interested in this topic?  Read on… Continue reading »

A Disgrace for Costa Rica – Opinion

June 30th, 2012

Jorge Rojas VargasI generally do not write op-ed blog posts, but today Costa Rica has lost a fine man who more than any other, has changed the face of professional law enforcement in Costa Rica.  His name is Jorge Rojas Vargas, pictured left, and while I have never met him personally, (or professionally thank God), I would consider it a high honor if someday I might make his acquaintance and shake his hand. He is to me a hero in a land where heros in government are hard to find.  I have delayed writing this post because I thought that just maybe… someone in the government might come to their senses and not permit this man to retire from public service. I mean all he really wanted was enough funding for he and his staff  to do their jobs. Sadly, that has not come to pass.  For shame.

Should you like more info on Mr Rojas and his importance to Costa Rica, read on…

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My Readers Write – More Questions about Costa Rica

October 10th, 2011

Hi to my faithful readers.  Here is yet another addition of “My Readers Write”

In this post  you will find both emails and comments asking me questions are generally not covered in The REAL Costa Rica or this Blog…. or maybe they are answered, but there is some other twist that I think might be of interest.

As some of these were sent more than 5 weeks ago, I do appreciate your patience. I am just bombarded with email.

I do correct grammar where practical and some spelling of the various emails/comments, but I do not change the content other than maybe a swear word.

If this interests you, please read on.

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Costa Rica Tourist and Visitor Advisory

May 6th, 2011

I know a lot of the visitors to the REAL Costa Rica are folks either planning a trip to Costa Rica or are considering a move here either for retirement or work related. It occurred to me that many of these people are not Spanish speakers and have no idea of some of the issues that may affect them when they arrive here.

With this in mind, I am starting a new Category names TRAVEL ADVISORY. This way, travelers can perhaps learn about some things that may affect them negatively while in country and perhaps better prepares themselves for their visit.

If any of my Costa Rica readers have an idea of other topics (and no, I am not going to revisit crime as it is overworked everywhere), add your thoughts to the comments. I am going to start with two advisories that may or may not be well known outside of the country. The at-times dangerous beaches of Costa Rica and the travel resstrictions around San Jose. If the topic interests you… read on! Continue reading »

The Costa Rica Ley de Transito Verily Sucketh!

April 21st, 2011

I use the words “verily sucketh” as it is Semana Santa (Easter week) and if not for the events of yesterday, I’d be happy about Easter and all the fun stuff…. grrr.

So there I was in town yesterday for a 2 minute stop at the drug store. I will admit that I did park next to a yellow curb, so I guess I am guilty, though there were no signs or warnings about how big a sin I was committing nor what was about to happen to me.

So…I grab my pills and start to chat up the regente (pharmacist) as we are old buddies.  Almost immediately he asks me where I parked.  I pointed and he says “RUN! They wait out there to get you and the ticket is HUGE!!”.  How huge I wonder as I am hauling my non-to-light butt outta his store and across the street.

Too Late.  There were two of them.  One was a municipal cop (generally pretty nice folks where I live)  and the other a much dreaded transit cop, also known as “tourism killers”.  As I am from the 60’s, you have no idea how hard it was to type transit cop and not transit pig… but those days are gone…. I guess…sigh.

So I try to be friendly which seldom works as nearly every “transito” I have ever met seems to express equal opportunity hatred to every living creature. It seems they all suffer from some form of terminal hemorrhoids that makes them the nastiest sourpusses on earth. I have no idea how many tourists these clowns have offended and caused never to return to Costa Rica, but it is a BIG number if I can judge from the many emails I receive complaining about them… but I digress!

Interested? read on!

 

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Same Sex Unions (Gay Marriage) in Costa Rica

September 11th, 2010

Same Sex Mariage in Costa RicaJust as in the US, the issue of same sex unions (gay marriage) is in the forefront of the news in Costa Rica.

It should be interesting to see how this all shakes out. Costa Rica is quite socialistic in its leanings, especially insofar as human rights are concerned.   That would seem to bode well for those in favor of same sex marriages. It is just not that simple.

All things being equal, and they are not, it would seem to be  a distinct possibility that this issue could end up in the SALA IV, the Costa Rica constitutional court where it just might be favorably considered.  All things are not equal however.

If this topic is of interest, read on!

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Ley de tránsito – Results Day One

March 2nd, 2010

Typical of Costa Rica, news reports differ as to how went day one following implementation of the new ley de tránsito (traffic laws). One English language online stated that more than 300 fines were handed out in San José  alone. This was kinda amazing as the transit officers union stated in pretty clear terms that their membership would not be handing out tickets except for violations that could be dangerous to other drivers.

I normally only read La Nacion or some other Spanish language newspapers as they tend to get it right… and as I suspected, the information reported was not quite accurate.  The actual number of tickets was far less.  By 4 PM yesterday,  218 tickets had been handed out nationwide.

These tickets were for:

Using mobile phones without a hands free device or failure to use seat belts. (¢ 220,050  or $400.00)  (Yeah!!)

Driving in San José in violation of vehicle plate restrictions (¢ 29,340 –   $53.00)

Driving with polarized (darkened) rear window (¢ 117,360 – $213.00) and finally,

two people who were caught driving without a driver’s license (¢ 293,400 – $533.00 ) and whose cars were impounded on the spot. Wow!

Also, La Nacion staffers apparently did a bit of reconnoitering around the country and found that many transit officials had apparently not even been on duty, prompting the response “Promise Fulfilled” by Joselito Ureña, secretary of the Unión Nacional de Técnicos y Profesionales en Tránsito the transit officers union.  Interestingly…. Those officers did give out tickets  were officers who were working directly  under the supervision of Marin Germain, transit director aka the big cheese. Guess that confirms who is the real boss.

So the verdict?  None of the big cheeses (transit bosses nor the diputados) are thrilled about the officers not obeying orders and  handing out those tickets…  still it would be wise to keep your foot under control, not talk on your cell phone,  use your seat belts and generally be good little boys and girls!

Cops Won’t Enforce New Transit Law

February 28th, 2010

I have been waiting patiently for many months for someone in the government of Costa Rica (ummm – that would be the diputados),  to realize just how idiotic is the new ley de tránsito (traffic law) that goes into effect tomorrow, March 1, 2010.

In fact I have re-written this post about 3 times, the last time being Friday when they decided not to enforce some laws requiring everyone carry fire extinguishers, those reflective triangle thingies, and a couple of other items (like child seats)  that they probably should have left in! I was running out of time… but my guardian angel told me to wait until Sunday…

So I did wait, only to learn last night that the least likely group of all (that would be the transit police officers union) voted overwhelmingly to not enforce the new laws, but will enforce really tough drunk driving laws and those regarding reckless driving!  Sadly, those are the laws the courts are ignoring with only eleven convictions in over a year. I am thinking now that the police officers (that would be the group with the brains) should perhaps trade places with the diputados!

Interested?  Read on!

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Internet & Commmunications in Costa Rica. Peace or War?

August 14th, 2009

leapFor a long time,  the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE and pronounced EEEE-SAY) has enjoyed a monopoly on a wide variety of services. The two biggies are communications (cell and home phone service) and Internet connectivity. The end began with the passage and ratification of the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) then last year the Ley General de Telecommunicaciones broke monopoly on telephone and internet services in Costa Rica enjoyed by ICE.

A lot of people think that now there will be wholesale changes now that ICE will face competition.  I am not so sure… at least in the short term.  Let’s examine what has been happening. If this topic interests you, read on!

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Bad News for Drivers in San José

July 2nd, 2009

jamupLast year, the Ministerio de Obras Públicas (MOPT or as North Americans might call it, the Transportation Department)  made a rule that drivers could not enter San Jose on certain days of the week, dependent upon the last digit of their license plate.  For numbers 1-2 it was Monday,  2-3 Tuesday, etc.  I immediately hated this rule as it restricted my freedom. Well, I did not Blog about it… just as well because about 3 hours later, I changed my mind!  Suddenly, the traffic in San Jose dropped and while I had to be inventive on Mondays, the other 4 days were wonderful!

Crow tasted just fine. Besides, I knew that some offended person would file an appeal with Sala IV, the Costa Rica Constitutional Court.They did, and just days ago, the court  deemed  this restriction unconstitutional and thus declared it null and void.

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