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The Road To Caldera

February 7th, 2010

Click photo to enlarge. Dotted line is now completed

San Jose to Caldera HighwayThe long awaited (30+ years) highway from San Jose to Caldera opened a couple of weeks ago. I had a hunch that anything that long in the making would draw the curious and traffic would be a disaster.  Turns out that I called it, and the touted 45-60 minute trip to the Port of Caldera (Puerto Caldera), Costa Rica’s only commercial and cruise terminal on the Pacific coast, took up to three hours for much of last week

Not so yesterday!

Yesterday, I thought it might be worth a chance, so my wife Maria Luisa, my sister Pamela and I jumped on the new highway and found ourselves pretty much alone with pretty minimal traffic.  Better yet, we were in Orotina in 45 minutes and in  Caldera in 60.  Another 15 minutes put us in Puntarenas and walking on the beach. this is a big deal to expats and Ticos and will certainly have a positive commercial effect in all those locations.

Thirty years or not, this was worth the wait.  Interested?  Read on!

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One Way Airline Tickets to Costa Rica

December 10th, 2009

customerserviceI was preparing another of those “My Readers Write” posts that I do every so often, and this topic came up… again. Maybe it is time to give it its own space as apparently it is not clear to some people.

The question is always something like this: “I have heard I cannot fly to Costs Rica using a one-way ticket.”

My answer is, as always, “No, you can NOT unless you are a citizen of Costa Rica or have in your possession a valid and current residency ID card (cedula) proving that you live here. If you try, you will almost assuredly not be permitted to board the plane. If you do make it on board, you may well get caught at THIS end by immigration. Airlines are required to verify that any person attempting to fly and using a one way ticket is, in fact, a legal resident of Costa Rica. Most airlines (read that as all) try to follow the procedure religiously as they are faced not only with large potential fines, but also for paying for the return flight for the passenger when he is refused entry in Costa Rica.

Now please, before you start composing your comment telling me that you, your friend, your friend’s girlfriend and her auntie, etc flew here on a one-way ticket with no issue, please remember my “job” on this blog and in the RCR Web Site is to deal with facts, not luck or urban legend.

Read on if you wish!

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One Less Way to Get Taken in Costa Rica

December 4th, 2009

taxiFor those of you who have had the pleasure of being forced to use those orange airport (SJO only) taxis and thus overpaying for every trip, your time has arrived.

These taxis have had a monopoly at the San Jose airport for many years, and for many years, they have had free reign to overcharge visitors to Costa Rica.  I say visitors as most of us who live here know the rates are just over the top and we arrange other transportation.  The news today is that they will probably be gone in 90 days.

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Gasoline Prices Drop Again

January 19th, 2009

OuchBetter late than never!  I wonder if there is such a thing as getting  “less screwed”.

While oil prices have dropped from the $145 per barrel levels of just a few months ago, to less than $36.00 per barrel, Costa Rica has been very slow adjusting gas prices here to reflect that decrease. Somebody is making some serious cash, and it is NOT me.  However, prices are due to come down this week.

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Earthquake Update

January 16th, 2009

paxFirst, a correction and an apology to my readers!  In an earlier Post, I stated the the La Paz waterfall was no more. This  mistake brought to my attention by a reader Mario and since verified.  Although La Paz is still running muddy, it is still there, although the damage to the surrounding area is extensive.

More and more aftershocks are hitting the same area and those still there are living in constant fear. Yesterday afternoon at least 10 aftershocks were felt areas of Sararipiqui. The smallest was 2.7 and and the largest was 4.5 (about 2 PM yesterday) on the Richter Scale.  Many could be felt here in the Central Valley.

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Earthquake Update – Town Disappears

January 13th, 2009

poasNew Quakes

Five more earthquakes hit Costa Rica last night and in the early morning hours.  All occurred in the same general area and the massive 6.2 from last Thursday. The biggest was 4.3, not a biggie, but enough strike great fear into the people of that already badly affected area.

If you are interested in an interactive web page showing who felt what during the many quakes, click here.

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At Least 30 Dead and Many Missing

January 10th, 2009

richorscaleI guess it takes an earthquake to get me online again!  My apologies for being away so long, but had some work issues that took a lot of time. Miguel will be happy though! Thanks to the others who wrote to inquire if we survived.

Those of us who live here deal with the many earthquakes.  Just a fact of life.  Those who live or have lived in California know all about it. The vast majority are small shocks (3-4) that rock the bed, make some noise and are generally not big deals.  Buildings in Costa Rica generally are built with a LOT of Rebar and concrete and most are very safe and suffer little damage. There are, however, many homes, especially in the country and areas not prosperous, that fall apart in the quakes.

This earthquake was nasty… 6.2. It was supposedly the strongest in 150 years… though I am not sure how they know that as the Richter Scale was not developed until the 1930’s.

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Travels with Della and Joanna

July 8th, 2008

The LadiesThis post was actually sent in as a comment to an earlier post about crime in Costa Rica, but after reading it, I thought it not really relevant to crime… or maybe it was as these ladies apparently did a lot of cool things and experienced nothing but a fun time.

However, I did not want to discard it, and I decided it might be of general interest to a lot of readers, especially to older folks considering a trip to Costa Rica and more especially to older women who might like to travel together! Here is the account or the trip taken by Della and her female companion and written by Della.

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Oops!

June 30th, 2008

My Brain SometimesI really do try to make sure everything I write is exactly correct (personal opinions excepted!), but on occasion, I experience what my late great-grandmother termed a “brain fart”. She was an earthy sort of woman!

This phenomena occured on 9 June when I wrote the post entitled “3,000 Jobs Gone? Why?“. I am 99% sure I read in La Nacion that the new regulation had been published in La Gaceta. It appears I was wrong and it was not published. As Bugs Bunny would say, “Whatta maroon!”.

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Arenal Volcano is Putting on a Show!

June 19th, 2008

Arenal volcano eruptingTourism is getting big boost these days as travelers from all over the world are descending on Costa Rica to see the Arenal Volcano, always a big draw at any time.

Lately, the active volcano has been strutting her stuff, and this has been going on for some weeks now. Customers of mine witnessed a fine show just this week.

The volcano is near the town of La Fortuna de San Carlos, about three hours northwest of San Jose by car. We go fairly often and rooms are always easy to get, especially now in the low season. The beds in many of the hotels are positioned so you can watch it at night. Beats Leno!

Wanna see something cool? Come take a peak! Bring the camera.

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