• Subscribe by Email!

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner


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!

Continue reading »

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!

Continue reading »

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.

Continue reading »

American Airlines Responds (sort of) Plus more!

December 3rd, 2009

A short while ago, I blogged about the crappy behavior of an American Airlines  flight attendant during our recent trip back to the US.  Read it here. I made a complaint which can can read in the other post.

If you are following this topic, read on!

Continue reading »

Secure Wireless in Costa Rica (and Elsewhere)

December 2nd, 2009

crookI have wanted to cover this topic for some time as I get a lot of questions from people who use a wireless connection (inalámbrico(a)) to access the Internet. This post will be a bit long… be patient.  It will be worth it.

There was no wireless when I arrived here many years ago  and just a few hotspots (wireless locations) until maybe 2-3 years ago. Since then, wireless has “gone viral” and has become available in numerous locations, especially in the central valley around San Jose. Nearly every hotel offers wireless and/or direct connects in the rooms. Internet cafes offer wireless as do bagel shops and pizza parlors.  More and more people are getting familiar with wireless both for home and for “on-the-road” use and they ARE using it.  A lot!

Sadly, the vast majority of the people I deal with think wireless is is a reliable, convenient, safe and secure form of communications. Reliable and convenient? Maybe. Safe and secure? Absolutely 100% NOT.

This is one of the topics I cover in my REAL Costa Rica Tour, and it is so very important, I have decided to add it here. Also, I cannot cover it sufficiently during a tour, so this will be a reference for my tour clients.

If this topic is of interest to you, (and it should be!), read on.

Continue reading »

TDMA System Will Not Be Discontinued – 3G Coming with Reduced Service

November 27th, 2009

cellAs many of my readers know, there are two cell phone systems here.  One is called TDMA, also known ss “the old system” and equally accurate, “The system that actually works!”.

The second is GSM and truly  is lousy, but requires a more expensive phone that is more sexy, and everyone knows, women go for a guy with a sexy phone even if it does not work. The GSM system was installed by Alcatel a French company, apparently after they paid a few bribes to various government and ICE officials.  As a matter of fact, January marks the month for the trial of still another ex-president of Costa Rica who alledgedly accepted the chorizo (bribe).  Costa Rica seems to routinely send ex-presidents to jail, the last one just a few weeks ago!

So what is happening? If this topic interests you, read on!

Continue reading »

Happy Thanksgiving from Costa Rica

November 26th, 2009

moooI really miss Thanksgiving!

There are two or three US holidays that are not celebrated  here… well more if you add all those goofy ones like President’s day where nobody does anything special.  Of them all, Thanksgiving is the worst for me maybe followed by the 4th of July. No fireworks.

First, everyone is working on a Thursday… everyone meaning everyone in my family who would normally be invited to celebrate, so we celebrate it on the following Saturday.

Turkey is easy to buy, but ludicrously expensive.  I cannot buy sage here, required for traditional sage and onion dressing. I also cannot find rutabagas! I know rutabaga is not for everyone, but it is an integral part of my family tradition.  One nice person brought me **ONE** from the USA a couple of days ago. I am hiding it.  We have maybe 8 people coming Saturday and one is not enough to split 8 ways.

I miss the Thanksgiving day TV stuff too.  Football, parades, you know, all the things we do.

It may be the only day when I really miss living in the USA.

Worse, today is the day my wife is having surgery. Just another Thursday.  That was at 7 AM this morning, supposedly no biggie, maybe 45 minutes, but no one has called to let me know she is OK.  It is 10:30 AM I am worried and after posting this, I am heading out to the hospital to find out what is going on.

To all my readers… I have much to be thankful for, and I wish all you you the very happiest of Thanksgivings!

I especially wish a happy Thanksgiving to anyone serving in the armed forces who cannot be with their families.  You are very special people, too many times not appreciated, but by me, you are very appreciated.

Be well and be safe.

American Airlines and How They Handle Latinos

November 25th, 2009

po_dI am really torqued!

Recently, my wife and I flew back to the US and we used American Airlines (AA) for our flight to Dallas. It turned out kinda ugly. It seems AA, or at least their international flight attendants, have an issue if you do not speak English!  Rather than re-write it all, here is the email I sent to AA:

I am VERY upset about American Airlines treatment of Latinos, in this case my wife who is Costa Rican.

While flying to Dallas, a flight attendant named “Sherrill” (or similar) was VERY rude.  There were three of us in the row. Sherrill asked first the man in the window seat what he wished to drink.  After that, she asked my wife in the center seat and I replied, “she would like apple juice”. The flight attendant then states very loudly:  “Sir, I am talking to the woman not to YOU!”  So I replied “that is fine, but my wife does not speak English so you must speak to her in Spanish”.  Sherril then said: “I do NOT have to speak Spanish,  I am an American and I live in Texas!”

This remark was heard by a large number of Latinos seated nearby and was VERY insulting both to them AND the 3 other folks who later told me how bad they felt.

If you do not want Latinos to fly American, SAY SO! I always thought international flights required bi-lingual attendants and were the plum jobs. This rude person insulted MANY people, not just my wife. If at all possible we will NEVER fly AA again and this story will appear on my two blogs (http://blog.therealcostarica.com/ and http://www.hisfault.com/) as well as in Facebook.

You should be ashamed and while I am 99% sure NOTHING will happen to this employee, no apology, NOTHING, I WILL do what I can to spread this story so other Latinos know how AA stands on flying Latin minorities.

That should be clear enough!

As I found out later, AA policy is that only ONE person need speak Spanish on a flight to/from Costa Rica.  ONE person for what… 120 people or more? In this case, that person was the head flight attendant in first class (John) and as we all know.  the first class attendants never associate themselves with the hoi polloi or in Spanish, la chusma.

To the many Ticos and other Latinos who I know read my blog, I would urge you to let your spending show AA that this kind of rude treatment is not acceptable.  Delta, Spirit, Jet Blue, Taca, Lacsa and others all have service to the US.

I am pretty sure I will get the “canned BS” from AA if I get a reply at all.  That flight attendants union is pretty strong so she will certainly be permitted to continue venting her disrespect for Latinos…

If I do get a reply, you’ll see it here.

Renewing My Residency and Ummm Groveling

August 18th, 2009

23minBack in July, I  blogged about the new cedula renewal process (this also applies to lost cedulas). The days of visiting Immigration (migracion) are over… at least that was what I was told.  I have lived far too long here to think that any process here can change literally overnight.  Overnight in Costa Rica can mean anything less than two years

Well.. I was wrong.  It seems there is a process in Costa Rica that can take less than a decade to change for the better.  Today was my appointment for my cedula renewal at at the American International Mall branch of Banco de Costa Rica in Alajuela.  It went without a hitch… and if this interests you… read on!

Continue reading »

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!

Continue reading »

Subscribe in a reader

Search this Blog