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Residencias Los Jardines - Life & Times

ISSUE #476: Sept. 15-21, 2013

...and there's always a jerk!!

...and there's always a jerk!!

Brian Timmons, Newsletter Author
Brian Timmons

Dear friends,

When I started Residencias Los Jardines, I started writing a weekly news letter -determined to tell all the good, bad, and the ugly. I knew some readers would be interested in the construction process. I expected others might be interested in the lifestyle of two people who had decided to live outside the box. For others, the adventures of Lita, the parrot and the cat took on an entertainment saga all its own.

Residencias Los Jardines is finished. We periodically have resales and rental availability. Some readers may be interested in this information.

Brian Timmons
Residencias Los Jardines /


Featured house this week

UNIT #121:
FOR RENT: $1,600 mo.
Available Immediately
Short Term

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1423
Total area (Sq M): 131
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2.5
Floor(s): 2 story
Type: Detached
Furnished: Yes

This two story, detached 1,423 sf home + parking for one car has two bedrooms, 2 ½ bathrooms and a 2nd. floor covered terrace. The open railed wrought iron cement stair case leads to the 2nd. level where the master bedroom with en-suite master bathroom as well as 2nd. bedroom and en-suite bathroom are located. Also accessed from the 2nd. floor hallway is the covered terrace. This is a very nicely furnished home with a good floor plan for those wanting two floors.


Residencias Los Jardines
Property Management, Rentals, Re-Sales

Market Activity

Sales: one call / no viewings -- not the right product.

Rentals: 4 viewings / two rentals.



Unit #114: $235,000 / See Unit


Unit #121: $1,600 mo. / Available Immediately - Short term / See Unit

Site Plan



UNIT #114
FOR SALE $235,000

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1290
Total area (Sq M): 120
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Floor(s): Single Floor
Type: Attached
Furnished: Yes

This 1,290 sf. (plus covered parking for one car and two lockers 67 sf.) single story, semi detached house, with garden terrace, two bedrooms is a beautiful executive style home. This home consists of two large bedrooms one with six piece en-suite bathroom with additional access to separate full shower. Each bedroom has large closets with extensive built-ins for personal organization. The vaulted living room and bathroom ceilings provide a feeling of grandeur while allowing the warmer air to rise and exit through the ceiling ventilating system. There are four TVs (one in each bedroom, one in the living room and one in breakfast / dinning room.) This is a beautiful well appointed home.



UNIT #121
FOR RENT $1,600 mo.
Available Immediately -Short term

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1423
Total area (Sq M): 131
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2.5
Floor(s): 2 Story
Type: Detached
Furnished: Yes

This two story, detached 1,423 sf home + parking for one car has two bedrooms, 2 ½ bathrooms and a 2nd. floor covered terrace. The open railed wrought iron cement stair case leads to the 2nd. level where the master bedroom with en-suite master bathroom as well as 2nd. bedroom and en-suite bathroom are located. Also accessed from the 2nd. floor hallway is the covered terrace. This is a very nicely furnished home with a good floor plan for those wanting two floors.



Our Lives

WEATHER: September weather continues to be normal... beautiful sunny mornings, with clouding around mid day, followed for shower and then clearing. So far, we have not, in this area, had a torrential rain storms...

All in a Week's Living in CR:

...and there's always a jerk!!: On Friday morning, Lita and I were at Parque Vale del Sol -a gated development with public roads and private golf course and tennis courts which are open to the public. We had just started exercise walk -the location works well for Lita due to her eyesight because the roadway is even without potholes, wide roads and limited traffic. A middle aged gringo started an innocent conversation with us which quickly degenerated into an aggressive monologue. For reasons which I couldn't understand, Lita and I were endangering the children and lowering his property values. I did the dismissive "Have a good day" while secretly wishing he'd have a massive heart attack right in front of me so I could stand on his throat and choke the living life right out of him... the world would be better off without that attitude.

...a mystery in the street: On our way to our morning exercise walk, we passed an 3-4 yr. old Toyota "4 runner" in the middle of our street, flashers on, no one inside or around. I wondered at the arrogance of such a positioning; when we returned an hour later, it was still there but police were beginning to check it out. 45 min. later I passed again and saw the SUV being hauled onto a flatbed tow truck for removal... what was that all about????? Who knows??

Rentals: I'm happy we rented the two units this week. That means fewer showings for me and money for the owners... I have one left (121) which I'd like to get rented -I have a showing later today.



News Items of the Week


1. Real Estate: Interesting but we haven't seen it in our market... most clients have been renters from Europe and Venezuela lately. One American from Las Vegas was here doing research into CR.

2. Luxury Home Tax: This was to be the savior and funding element for social housing. It hasn't yet worked because it is based on "self declaration" with no enforcement -to date... a pilot program determined most who qualified under the law were did not so declare. The criteria for valuation is very complex -142 pages of minutia and algorythms ... because of it's complexity and self declaration without punishment, it has to date, never accomplished its purpose. That may be beginning to change. I wonder if the "jerk" is paying this????

3. / 4. and 8. There's a bully on the block... Oretega of Nicaragua. Based on a picture which clearly shows a dredge and a newly constructed canal, there is little doubt as to CR's allegation. and Columbia has a problem as well with San Andreas... in the latter case, it is all about possible oil... and possibly in the case of the dredging as well.

5 / 6: AyA: Not only can this organization not respond to removing high levels of arsenic in the water about which they have know for years, they can't even clean the bacteria from public water even in communities with treatment plants because the operators haven't been trained... and if that isn't enough AyA has not invested in basic infrastructure and is not able to deliver reliable clean water to many communities... in my observation, it is a very poorly run organization which is more focused on preserving itself and in extorting the government at the expense of the public service than in fulfilling it's assigned role... when trying to develop El Dorado, AyA was the most difficult to work with...

7. Rice: Several years ago the 15 or so wealthy land owners growing rice blocked the government to exclude a shipment of US rice and to put in a subsidy saying they needed this to be competitive and that such price support would allow them to increase production to compete. Well, surprise, surprise, it didn't happen. The result is that all residents who eat rice -virtually all living in CR and especially the lower income who eat an inordinate about of rice- are paying a premium over what the free market price would be... Again, the local disenfranchised get screwed while the wealthy rake in $$ and it's those same people who are eating rice contaminated with arsnic and since they eat a disproportionate amount of rice, some are getting poisoned faster than those up the food chain...

9. Unemployment: Substantially higher than the USA; lower than southern Europe; virtually steady...

10. FBI police report: In order to get residency status, applicants have to have a police report. Until recently, this has come from one's local police department in N. Am. N. Am. has a disjointed system that does not connect databases. As a result, CR has unwittingly let in a number of people with federal or in some cases state violations. They are trying to correct that. Unfortunately, this adds to the complexity of the application process and the time lines are unrealistic.

11. Shark fining and government corruption: This is no surprise to anyone here... Again CR talks one line and performs very differently... I predict that this corruption effort too will die out as the sharks are largely wiped out so no wide spread public interest anymore...

...and so it goes... the mornings are glorious -beautiful sunny skies, warm breeze, the garden is at it's peak this time of year and while the hammock and I are getting a little long in the tooth, I'm still above ground and able to take nurishment on my own, and I can't think of a better place to do it than here... friends who just returned on a "where next" research mission to the States are having difficulty finding a better place... and the electricity is out again... it happens about once or twice a week... ICE... another failed government monopoly...

1. Real estate market shows signs of improvement
By Garland M. Baker / Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Up and down the coast of Guanacaste, real estate circles are buzzing with talk that properties are selling again and that there are buyers in the market.

Linda Grey, vice president of Coldwell Banker Costa Rica, which includes 10 franchises said, “Real estate sales and activity since the start of the New Year 2013 has increased over 2012.” A representative of Century 21 Beach Area Properties in Tambor echoed this view: “Business is better this year than last.” He also said Ticos are in the market buying second homes.

This could be related to the fact there is new home financing with competitive interest rates available from local banks for nationals. The threshold for housing termed social interest was increased to 58.6 million colons or about $118,000 as related in a news story Aug. 19.

A trip across the gulf of Nicoya by ferry and up the coast from Paquera to Manzanillo and back again last week with a jaunt to Jacó and Quepos showed quite a bit of building going on. People are apparently expecting a better tourism season this year, which starts in December.

If the signals are true, this is good news, perhaps the best since the days of skyrocketing real estate prices when people thought there was no limit on how high prices might go. The market burst in 2007 to 2008, but there were danger signs appearing as far back as 2005 to 2006.

Most markets run in cycles. Real estate is no different. Analysts believe property markets run in around 15- to 20-year cycles. Four to five of the years are recession or a downturn and the rest has activity slowly creeping up again. If this is true, Costa Rica is five to six years into the down cycle and it may be time for the real estate market to go up again.

One expat interviewed on the road trip said he felt it was too early to start talking about a turnaround, but the buzz and the building give another impression. A local construction worker out of Paquera does not think things are any better. He believes local municipalities stifle building and overall progress. It seems the government has done its best to discourage some investments. Zoning plans for concession properties on the beach are at a virtual standstill in most areas of the country. Some have not been renewed or canceled outright.

The Barcelo group in Los Delfines appears to be fixing up its properties in a big way. One person speculates they are planning to offer time-sharing and factional ownership to improve sales and overall tourism in the area. The gated community is one of the best in Costa Rica with impeccable grounds, golf course and security.

So is the market going up, down or stay the same? According to news on the Internet, housing sales plunged in July in the U.S. relinquishing gains.

Analysts attribute the loss to rising interest rates. Ms. Grey wrote in her newsletter, “I am hearing from associates in California and Atlanta that homes priced right are selling within weeks. I am also hearing that loans are being given for 100 percent of value plus closing costs." Mortgage lenders are probably trying to boost the market so people borrow at the higher rates. This is not great news because it is one of the reasons the real estate markets of the world blew up in the first place.

If the U.S. economy is getting better, Costa Rica’s soon follows. There is an old adage here that if the U.S. gets a cold, Costa Rica gets pneumonia. This is not as true now as it was in the not-so-distant past, but the economy of the U.S. does impact this country as it does the rest of the world.

There are signs people are at their wits end, capitulating and selling cheap to leave as soon as they sell. This is another sign a market is about to turn around. It is also a signal to buy not sell. Most prudent investors know money is made buying not selling, especially in real estate. There are also bunches of shady deals out there where properties have hidden problems. If a deal is too good to be true, readers should watch out. They always should get good advice from a legal professional. They need to find one who knows what he or she is doing. Some do not know up from down.

There is significant building in the Jacó area. Croc’s Casino Resort is making a significant investment there. It is also bustling with activity even in low season. Jacó is somewhat of a gauge of things to come because of its proximity to San José and Juan Santamaría airport. The new highway makes the hour and a half drive a pleasure. One San José hotel has made an investment in Jacó and will shuttle tourists back and forth.

Air traffic is on the rise, another good metric. In 2012, it was up 104 percent from 2009 and 5.6 percent from 2011 to 2012. The trend is up. It will be interesting to see this year’s numbers to see if the trend continues.

People arriving to buy property and invest in Costa Rica come in many sizes and shapes with interests just as varied. Some want a retirement home or vacation retreat. Others are looking for a good investment. Whatever the case may be, buying at the tippy top of a market during a shark eating frenzy is not the time to buy. The best time is at the bottom when things are just about to turn around.

Is this that time?

Garland M. Baker is a 42-year resident and naturalized citizen of Costa Rica who provides multidisciplinary professional services to the international community. Reach him at Baker has undertaken the research leading to these series of articles in conjunction with A.M. Costa Rica. Find the collection at, a complimentary reprint is available at the end of each article. Copyright 2004-2013, use without permission prohibited.

2. Hacienda urged to improve tax collection on luxury homes
September 16th, 2013 (

The public Ombudsman’s office, known locally as the Defensoría de los Habitantes is urging the Treasury tax authorities to improve tax collection on luxury homes.

The tax on luxury homes, known as the “solidarity tax” was created in 2008 to finance housing for those living in poverty.

The Defensoría said that Treasury (Hacienda) is faced with several weaknesses in the collection of the tax. Tax collectors are currently collecting only about one-quarter of expected revenues from the tax.

The Defensoría points to the fact that tax collection is based on an affidavit made by the taxpayers themselves, who are also responsible for estimating their own properties’ values, which leaves open the possibility of taxpayers declaring a value lower than that established by the criteria of the tax code.

The office also believes that the significant reduction in the amount of fines for those who fail to file the tax are to blame for low collection rates. The Solidarity Tax originally imposed a fine of ten times the amount of tax owed for those who failed to file and pay the tax, but a reform in place since 2011 has lowered the fine to 50% of a base salary.

In addition, though Hacienda began a pilot program of field inspections in an attempt to identify properties that are out of compliance, the program has so far only been implemented in the canton of Belen.

Defensoría emphasized the importance of a establishing a coordinated strategy within municipalities and cantons where residents with higher income levels reside in order to obtain information necessary for more and effective and widespread tax enforcement, as well as to publicly denounce and expose tax evaders.

“Only a united society can create the conditions for an improvement in income distribution, and from this, further progress in the realization of human rights of the weaker [sectors of society], which involves thousands of families who do not have adequate housing,” said Defensoría, Ofelia Taitelbaum.

The Solidarity Tax applies to homes whose values exceed 117 million colones (about $234,000).

In calculating values, all construction, fit and finish, as well as electrical and plumbing systems are included. If this value exceeds 117 million colones, the home is considered a luxury home. After the construction cost is calculated, the value of the land is added, and the tax is finally calculated at a rate of 0.25% to 0.55% of the total estimated value, based on a sliding scale.

3. Costa Rica denounces latest Nicaraguan “invasion” of Portillo wetlands
September 18th, 2013 (

The government of Costa Rica announced yesterday that it is considering expanding its charges against Nicaragua before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) as a result of a new “invasion” of its territory by its northern neighbor.

President Laura Chinchilla said during a televised press conference yesterday that the government of Nicaragua has begun dredging two new canals through the wetlands surrounding Isla Portillo, territory that Costa Rica claims as its own. Chinchilla said it is an attempt to make a connection between the neighboring San Juan River and the wetlands, “in clear violation of the measures issued by the ICJ.”

“The team of lawyers that Costa Rica has at its call, which have been advising the ongoing litigation at the ICJ, are also considering the new facts [on the ground] and [are considering] a possible additional action,” Chinchilla said.

The government has presented satellite photos as evidence of Nicaragua’s latest incursion into the disputed territory.

Chinchilla said her government has already sent a formal communiqué to the ICJ and the Ramsar Convention (Convention on Wetlands of International Importance).

Chinchilla also said her government was looking to have a meeting with the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), the Chilean Jose Miguel Insulza, next week.

After informing Costa Ricans of Nicaragua’s latest actions, Chinchilla described her government’s relations with Nicaraguan President, Daniel Ortega as now “very poor.”

4. Officials try to construct unified position on canal
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rican officials are trying to enlist all sides of the political spectrum in a unified position against the Nicaraguan invasion of the country.

Gioconda Ubeda, the vice foreign minister, held a series of meetings Thursday with individuals as diverse as Luis Guillermo Solís, the presidential candidate of the Partido Acción Ciudadana, and Elizabeth Odio Benito, a former vice president and a former judge on the international criminal court. More meetings are planned.

Meanwhile, a photo of one of the channels believed constructed by nicaragua shows it is about 200 meters long connecting the Río San Juan and the Caribbean. That is about 656 feet. The channel also appears to be between 20 and 30 meters wide, some 65 to 99 feet.

The whole area has been under a freeze ordered by the International Court of Justice as the jurists consider the original case brought by Costa Rica after Nicaraguan soldiers invaded a small piece of Costa Rica in October 2010.

Under a temporary order, Costa Rica was supposed to be able to send environmental workers into the area but Nicaragua was not supposed to do that.

The dredge that has been photographed from a private helicopters appears to be one of the same crafts that have been working in the river for nearly three years.

In one challenge to the central government, a lawmaker claimed officials obtained infrared photos of the area from Colombian intelligence services, Enrique Castillo the foreign minister, reported that the photos came from Geosolutions Consulting Inc., a Costa Rican firm.

Colombia also has an ax to grind with Nicaragua over disputed maritime territories that may contain petroleum. A reader raised the possibility that if Nicaragua managed to hang on to the small piece of Costa Rica that it has seized, the country to the north also will be able to claim a stretch of Caribbean maritime territory.

5. More than just arsenic: 370 community water systems are contaminated – report
September 18th, 2013 (

A new report by the Comptroller General of the Republic (CGR) indicates that 370 community-operated water systems in the country are contaminated with microbiological and other elements in excess of allowed limits.

The findings were made during an investigation by the National Water Laboratory, part of the Costa Rican Institute of Aqueducts and Sewers (AyA), conducted in 2012, but analyzed and released by the Comptroller only recently. The new revelations are in addition to the arsenic contamination in some 24 communities.

In addition to other areas, contamination was found to be present in the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM) and the Central Pacific.

In addition to excessive microbiological contamination, reports indicate contamination by agrochemicals, grey water, excessive amounts of iron and calcium, and hydrocarbons.

According to reports, the problem is in large part due to insufficient water treatment.

As many as 1,350 systems are not chlorinated at all. Those that do treat their water and were visited by the Comptroller General said they have never received the advice of AyA in regards to proper dosage or treatment methods. Operators who do chlorinate their supplies use a number of varying methods, from chlorination pills, sodium chloride and liquid chlorine.

AyA has not responded to the Comptroller’s report.

6. National water company promises major improvements
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The country has at least 19 urban water systems that are not sufficient for local needs or are deteriorating, according to the national water company, the Instituto Nacional de Acueductos y Alcantarillados.

The institute plans to spend nearly $900 million to resolve the problems, and the first stage that focuses mainly on the metropolitan area just received and additional $35 million in credit from the Banco Centroamericano de Integración Económica. That brings the proposed loans by the bank to $68.5 million.

Two storage tanks are in the works, one in the west and one in the northeast of San José. There also are plans to replace the underground pipes and improve the treatment plants.

Projects also are planned on the water services of Pérez Zeldón, Quepos and Manuel Antonio, San Ramón and Palmares and the area south of Limón.

Also planned and part of the reason the Central American bank provides a credit line is a sewage system for the Puerto Viejo de Talamanca area.

Some residents of the Caribbean coast would prefer a water project instead of sewerage. There is water rationing, according to residents there, in Cocles and Playa Chiquita where the water comes from shallow local wells.

Private water delivery service is being used, according to correspondent Connie Foss. Over the past several weeks, residents experienced sporadic cutoffs of the public water supply, and due to weeks of little or no rainfall, many wells are now dry and rainwater tanks are empty, she said.

Puerto Viejo and Manzanillo do not experience water shortages because their systems are connected to regular water sources in the Talamanca mountains.

A second round of projects includes improving the water storage capacities in Ciudad Cortés, Buenos Aires de Puntarenas, Ciudad Neilly and Canoas, Palmar Norte, San Vito, Golfito, El Pasito de Alajuela, Atenas, Limón Centro, San Mateo, Jacó, Esparza, Nicoya and Liberia.

7. Rice prices about to become a major political issue
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

There is a political battle looming over rice. The Laura Chinchilla administration decreed in May that the government would end price controls on the food staple next March 1, at the start of the 2014 harvest.

The decision comes from Mayi Antillón Guerrero, the economics minister who has shown a strong free market tendency during her tenure.

Naturally rice growers and their Corporación Arrocera Nacional are not happy with the removal of price controls because Costa Rican rice has been more expensive than foreign imports.

The original decree noted that the Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio sought help from the Instituto de Investigaciones en Ciencias Económicas at the Universidad de Costa Rica. The institute report said that consumers have paid higher prices due to the government support and that there is no economic or social argument to justify the current system.

In addition, the report said, the price control has not resulted in an increase in productivity by rice farmers because the level of cultivation has declined over the last 20 years.

Representatives of the Corporación Arrocera were at the legislature Tuesday seeking a reversal of the decree. They were before the Comisión Permanente de Asuntos Agropecuarios. Minor Cruz, representing rice growers said that the removal of the price controls would jeopardize the basic food supply of Costa Ricans.

Fernando Apuy, the lawyers for the rice growing organization said that the action by the executive branch was not constitutional and that there soon would be a case brought before the appropriate court.

Johnny Araya, the presidential candidate for the Partido Liberación Nacional, said he would discuss the decree with the current government when he appeared before rice growers. He also said that Ms. Antillón, Gloria Abrahams, minister of Agricultura y Gandería, and Anabel González, the minister of Comercio Exterior, would have no role in his government.

Rice growers were strong opponents of the free trade treaty with the United States because that country has extensive production of the grain. Even now they battle against imports. Ms. González was a chief architect of the treaty for Costa Rica.

8. Nicaragua claims Colombian islands of San Andres and Providencia before ICJ
September 20th, 2013 (

The ongoing conflict between Costa Rica and Nicaragua is not the only international dispute for Nicaragua’s Sandinista government. This week Nicaragua filed a complaint before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, in which it claims the Colombian islands of San Andres and Providencia and the waters surrounding them.

Nicaragua’s basis for the claim is that the Sandinista government lays claim to the continental shelf extending more than 200 nautical miles off its Caribbean coast.

“We vehemently reject this new demand, which is asking to extend the continental shelf, which the International Court of Justice in The Hague has already denied,” Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said in response.

A ruling on November 19th, 2012 by the ICJ granted Nicaragua economic rights over 75,000 square kilometers in the Caribbean Sea near San Andres. Tensions between the two governments have increased since.

9. Costa Rica unemployment rate up slightly at 10.4%
September 20th, 2013 (

Costa Rica’s unemployment rate for the second quarter of 2013 stood at 10.4%, a slight increase from the same period last year when the figure was recorded at 10.2%, according to a report issued yesterday by the National Institute of Statistics and Census (INEC).

As part of a statement, INEC said that the change was insignificant and indicated that there was no significant change in the Costa Rican labor market in the last year.

The data also revealed that the unemployment rate for women was 13.1%, significantly higher than that of men, which stood at 8.8%.

Overall, Costa Rica added 43,000 jobs since the same period last year. Costa Rica, with a population of 4.7 million, has nearly two million people in the workforce.

Costa Rica’s unemployment rate has ranged between 9.6% and 10.9% since 2011.

10. FBI being asked to clear U.S. residency applicants
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Another wrinkle has developed that may delay even further the lengthy processes for U.S. expats to obtain residency in Costa Rica.

At least in some cases, the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería demands a criminal history report generated by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation. This became known to Javier Zavaleta of Residency in Costa Rica when a client failed to obtain an expected approval of pensionado status. A processor at the immigration office said FBI clearance is required, Zavaleta said in an email.

The pensionado applicant already provided a police clearance letter from the State of Florida, but that was not good enough for the immigration agency. Until now, U.S. residency applicants provided a police clearance letter from their municipality, county or state.

Of course, under the U.S. federal system that left a big gap in information. An individual could provide a clean police report from one city while having had convictions for serious crimes in another.

Zavaleta said he does not object to the change, but he worries about how the new requirement will be put into practice.

The FBI maintains its criminal justice division in West Virginia. There is an established system for getting a federal criminal history or rap sheet. The FBI requires a standard fingerprint form FD-258. The details are set out on the FBI Web site. The fee is $18 payable by credit card.

The FBI says that processing may take five to six weeks. Documents submitted to immigration here have a short life span after which the agency rejects them. So waiting for the FBI report might cause problems with the application.

Zavaleta said he has that base covered. He said he thinks his U.S. clients will have a two- to three-week delay and that he may use private companies that specialize in getting these reports from the FBI.

"My concern is for those clients who are already in Costa Rica, some of which we have not yet filed their applications pending fingerprinting or the arrival of other key documents," he said.

But he wonders about what expat applicants already in Costa Rica could do to get their fingerprint cards to be submitted to the FBI and what additional procedures would be required.

A U.S. Embassy spokesman had no additional information immediately.

For years applicants for the various forms of residency had their fingerprints taken at the security ministry in Barrio Córdoba in south San José. The prints are sent to the International Police Agency for a criminal history check. That still is done.

The immigration agency has made no formal announcement of the change in procedure. And the only real evidence is the official resolution issued Monday involving the case of the U.S. pensionado applicant.

The resolution also requires that the FBI report be provided in 10 working days along with a Spanish translation.

The new procedure is likely to involve more than just applicants for pensionado, rentista and inversionista residency, Requirements for missionary, volunteer and certain work visas also require fingerprinting and police reports.

Costa Rica, like many countries, has a central data base where criminal records of citizen are kept. Employers and other s routinely asked for such a document here. It is called an hoja de delincuencia and is available at the judicial archives and online.

11. How Deep is The CR Shark Finning Rabbit Hole?
Posted by Dan Stevens on Monday, August 26, 2013 - Costa Rica News

There are many side of the story when it comes to illegal shark finning in Costa Rica. The question out there now that needs to be answered is not whether or not the Costa Rican government is involved but how high up does it go?

The biggest critic of Costa Rica’s shark finning policies is Captain Paul Watson from Sea Shepherd. He had stated that Costa Rican government officials were involved in the trade and now it seems like his claims are starting to be validated with recent events.

Prosecutors have lodged a criminal complaint in Puntarenas against Luis Dobles, the Executive President of the National Institute of Fishing and Aquaculture (INCOPESCA). The charges are for involvement in a shark fin poaching operation. You read that right, the President of the Costa Rican government organization that is in charge of protecting the sea life has been charged with shark finning the Costa Rican waters.

The MSP (Costa Rica’s Ministry of Public Safety) has accused Dobles of authorizing the offloading of finless sharks in Puntarenas. The complaint specifies that he allowed a fishing vessel from Belize to dock although a better purchase offer was received from El Salvador. The boat returned five days later.

This fits with a tactic to avoid the law. The fishermen legally catch sharks but then illegally hack off their fins and leave them to die. The boat docks and the crew fakes selling the catch, which is actually shark fins.

The complaint is filed under docket 11-2032-431 PE and is awaiting resolution in criminal court. If the charges are deemed accurate, it would vindicate the idea that officials in Costa Rica have been secretly working with shark fin poachers and fin trade.

The courts in Puntarenas are busy with a few of these shark finning cases. They have processed seven related complaints in just two years.

As the outside world looks in on Costa Rica and how internally they are trying to promote their “green image”, it seems it is only a matter of time before the truth is revealed from behind the smoke and mirrors.

Let’s count the ways that Costa Rica has pushed away tourists in the past few months: Jairo Mora’s murder, drug cartels setting up shop in Costa Rica, getting in a pointless debate with Daniel Ortega about something that is not going to happen, and continually allowing the destruction of your environment.

But I guess we should have come to expect it from governments around the world as they sign bills into place in order to protect their image and have no plan on actually enforcing and implementing these laws.

Costa Rica your actions are in complete contradiction in regards to the environmental “green” image you are trying to portray to the world and at some point no amount of marketing is going to be able to hide the truth.

Captain Paul Watson’s claims about Costa Rica and it’s shark finning are currently coming into fruition.


Brian, Lita, the Late Hugo IV, irreverent Vicka, the pigeon toed parrot, Chico II and Chica II


Contact phone numbers

Internet Phone:
Toronto: 416-461-2203

Costa Rica:
Cell: (506) 8-455-59-35
Land: (506) 282-4142 Ext. 101

NOTE: Toronto number is "local call" for people in the area code; calls from outside the area code will be billed at the normal rate from the caller's area code.