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Chili Cook Off in Atenas. Worth Going! Charity Event

January 17th, 2013

chiliThis year’s Chili Cook Off will be on February 10, 2013 and seems to have become an annual event.  I seldom promote this kind of stuff, but in this case, the organizers are honest and the money goes to the Hogar de Vida, a home for abused, abandoned and orphaned kids that houses up to 35 children ages birth to 10 years old.  Good cause.

I could not go last year… some conflict as I recall, but it is on my calendar for this year.

Give it a shot! I am sure that Diet Chili is available for those of us calorically  challenged.

Or… maybe not.

Arenal Volcano Watching in Costa Rica

June 14th, 2011

Arenal VolcanoThose of you who subscribe to my Twitter account (right side >>>) received the word about ten days ago that tha Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico, the volcano watching people, have set up a web cam so they can see what’s a happenin‘. You can too.  Just click here!

Arenal is a favorite tourist spot.  It is always erupting and has been for years… though some eruptions are more interesting than others.

During the rainy season (now) Arenal volcano watching can be pretty boring… but if that thing goes off, it’s a good show. Also, it is often clear late at night.  Worth an occasional visit.  It refreshes every ten seconds.

Hint! If you want to get my other updates that do not sometimes make the blog immediately or ever, Follow Me on Twitter.

Costa Rica Tourist and Visitor Advisory

May 10th, 2011

Road Closure – Route 32 to Limón

Before I start… Quite nice feedback to last week’s Costa Rica Tourist and Visitor Advisory. Had no idea it would get the response it did.

Anyway… here is a quickie!  Route 32 San Jose to Limón is closed due to landslides. See below why this is important.

Now while these notices apparently are welcome, it now occurs to be I may not be able to update these things on a timely, so my best guess is that it will take a week or so to get it fixed, so best check when you arrive here if arriving soon.

One of the toughest things to get your mind around when living or traveling here is how often you are faced with the odd fact that there are many times few or NO alternative routes to wherever  you are going. In the US and many countries, a road closure is no big deal.  A minor inconvenience. Not here. An example is, in fact, San Jose to Limón. When route 32 is blocked, you are pretty much screwed, especially if you need to get there quickly. There is only one other (practical) route and taking that doubles the drive time to 5+ hours and maybe more as it is now carrying more traffic.
 

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 »

Leaked Wikileaks Embassy Cable – Costa Rica

April 7th, 2011

I am sure one of the jobs of any United States Embassy regardless of location is to constantly evaluate the host country in terms of  law, infrastructure, political persuasion, stability, attitude towards the USA, geographical considerations and probably a bunch of other stuff of which I have no idea…. like maybe the cool spy stuff! They likely collect info in many ways, but I am not at all sure of the accuracy of their sources.

In fact, one of my favorite sources for pretty excellent info regarding Costa Rica is the good ol’ CIA!  Their World Factbook Costa Rica is handy and is quite accurate. A lot of the info can be really useful to folks studying Costa Rica, planning to move or relocate here, considering opening or moving  a business operation to the country and for many other reasons.

Costa Rica newspaper La Nacion recently made a deal with those idiots at Wikileaks to get copies of various cables sent by various US diplomats to the State Department that pertain to Costa Rica.  If you wish to download a copy of the cable I will be discussing, just click here. Now when you do that, you will supposed see the actual document submitted 4 April 2007, by Laurie Weitzenkorn, an official of Public Affairs U.S. Embassy, but other news sources (La Nacion etc)  have published  lists of comments that do not appear on that document and while I am pretty sure they are accurate, I have not been able to track down the actual Wikileaks document.  All have been published in various online or actual newspapers. The comments by Weitzenkorn and others are a few years old, and perhaps my readers would like to know my thoughts as to whether some of these issues are still valid. Cables like these give the viewpoint of a single person whom we do not know. Did they live here for a a few weeks. months or years? Where did they get their info?  Was/is it biased?  Quien sabe?

Anyway, here are excerpts… some topics I think might be of the most general interest.  If interested, read on!

Continue reading »

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!

Continue reading »

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 »

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