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¿Que Es Eso?

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In This Issue:

1. Broken News: Señor Alvarado and Frugality; Futbol News (Catch and Release Russian Style, Keylormania; World Cup Rankings, Look Who's Hosting the 2026 Games, Early Tournament Results,); Nicaragua Turmoil.

2. Rumble and Weather Talk: Guatemala Eruption Was the Big News

3. Feature: iRescue Animal Sanctuary (Helping the Distressed Animals of Costa Rica)

4. ¿Que Es Eso? Department: Maybe It's a feral puppy?

5. Feature: Tico Nostalgia (Costa Rica 70 Years Ago)

6. Health Stuff: Traveler's Diarrhea

7. GGC Bookshelf and More: Books, Golden Gringo T-Shirts and Coffee Mugs from GGC Publications as Well as Suggested Books from the Quepos-Manuel Antonio Writers Group.

8. What's-in-a-Word: Answer to ¿Que Es Eso? Puppy Question

9. ROMEO Corner: Uncle Charly - San Jose; El Lirio - Manuel-Antonio



Wisdom of the Ages

Lots of flat frogs in Costa Rica also, especially after a good rain. When I see one in the street I refer to it as an historical frog.

Broken News
(All the News That's Fit to Reprint)

Señor Alvarado and Frugality


What Next Amigo?

The definition of frugality is: "economical in use or expenditure; prudently saving or sparing; not wasteful": Also: "entailing little expense; requiring few resources; meager; scanty: a frugal meal". So far, the new president of Costa Rica has gotten it right.


Sr. Carlos Alvarado Quesada promised in his inauguration speech to halve the current deficit rate (6.3% of GDP to 3%). Appropriately, he started his term by


1) cutting the cost of his own inaugural by nearly half,

2) screwing down on international travel by government officials and, recently

3) freezing government salaries by executive order, to wit:


“The salaries of the president and vice-presidents of the Republic, ministers, vice-ministers, executive presidents, managers and sub-managers of the decentralized sector, will remain fixed, not receiving any raises”.


Shortly after the above was accomplished Sr. Alvarado issued another order. The salaries of the general managers of the three state commercial banks, i.e., Banco Nacionál, Banco de Costa Rica and Banco Popular will be reduced to the same rate as that of the general manager of the Central Bank, namely, about ¢9.5 million colones per month (about $16,800).


That meant a cut of ¢4.7 million ($8,300) up to ¢7.2 million ($12,700) per month for these three choice positions. Keep in mind that the per capita income in Costa Rica is about $15,000 per year (it's about $58,000 in the United States). Anyway you do the arithmetic it amounts to a pay cut of 33-43% for the big bankers. Ouch!


Evidently, on that last one, El President meant it as in early June, when the cuts had not been made at Banco Popular, Carlos "separated the Popular Bank Execs from their duties", although they continue to get paid for attending the government council meetings (?). They also are now subject to a disciplinary action. Que bravado, Señor.


On the other side of the ledger, Sr. Alvarado signed a law in mid-June providing access to a line of credit from the International Development Bank of $500 million. It's to be used for renewable electric projects such as geothermal plants. Good intentions, but does that not increase debt by another half bil?


Let's see where Chuck goes from here.


Futbol News


One would expect that, in a month when the quadrennial World Cup of Futbol commences there would be a lot of futbol news. This month does not come up short in that regard;there is much to report.


Catch and Release Russian Style

The Four Tico Miscreants

Four Ticos intent on attending the World Cup games decided to drive across the Latvian border. They were surprised in their Airbnb apartment by Russian national police, escorted by police car to the local police station and detained. Their crime? Failing to register their place of lodging to local police. As the Costa Rican Consul in Russia put it:


"All the people who come to a hotel are automatically registered, because the hotel registers them, there is no problem there. But during the World Cup many are arriving at apartments, friends' houses and other places whose owners must inform the police about the people they are hosting,


Neither the owner of the apartment nor Airbnb had registered them. The four had to pay a fine, the amount not disclosed in the press report, in order to be released.


Now that's catch and release, Russian style.




ertThe aura around Keylor Navas continues. The talented Costa Rican native and goalie of the Spanish Real Madrid team is also the goalie for this year's Costa Rican National Selection team that is going to the World Cup games in Russia which began on June 17.


Keylor in Action

Keylor as a name is not that common either in Costa Rica or Spain yet there has been a spike in both countries in the number of new babies being registered under that moniker. It started in Costa Rica after the 2014 World Cup and Navas' stellar performance that helped Costa Rica reach the quarter finals, their best historical performance in that event ever.


In Costa Rica (population 4.9 million) there have been 24 babies registered with the first name Keylor since the 2014 Cup. If you add the second (middle) names to that number the total of first and second names comes to 391. In Spain (population 45.6 million) over 600 babies were registered with the first name Keylor during the same period. So lots of little Keylors will be running around during this World Cup competition going "ba, ba, boo,boo, beat 'em Keylor".


Bernabeu Left - Navas Right

And then in another recent report, someone noticed the resemblance between Navas and a legendary figure in Spain, Señor Santiago Bernabeu, a former soccer layer (1912-1927) and President of the Real Madrid club (where Keylor plays professionally) for 35 years. The resemblance is, admittedly, uncanny (photo left).


Reincarnation anyone? Methinks we had better get the world cup games going before Keylor is seen descending into the stadium on a cloud holding a gold orb that looks like a pelota (futbol).



World Cup Rankings


Costa Rica was recently improved in world ranking by FIFA to #23, 8 points behind Mexico and two points ahead of the United States. There are 211 teams in FIFA worldwide but only 32 make the cut to play for the world cup (31 actually as the host country is always the first to be invited - that's Russia this year). The points to qualify come from certain FIFA sanctioned games over the four year period leading up to the games and are credited as 2 for a win and 1 for a tie. If there is a tie on total points, the total number of goals from the qualifiers determines the winner.


The recent upgrading of Costa Rica by three levels to the rank of number 23 in the world was done on the basis of the qualifiers. The top ten are Germany, Brazil, Belgium, Portugal, Argentina, Switzerland, France, Poland, Spain and Chile. For the opening games, Costa Rica is in group E, meaning they will first face Serbia (ranked 34), Switzerland (#6) and Brazil (#2). Getting beyond those two top 10 teams in the world will indeed be the first, and a major, challenge (see the last item in this section).


Look Who's Hosting the 2026 Games


Just before the 2018 games were scheduled to start in Russia, the International Federation of Associated Soccer, better known by its French acronym - FIFA - announced that the 2026 World Cup, two cycles down from the current one (i.e. eight years from now), will be hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico in a joint effort they self-named United 2026. This will be the first time the United States and Canada have hosted the World Cup but Mexico will achieve a FIFA landmark becoming the first country to host three times.


The selling points made by United 2026 cited major expansion in futbol (soccer) popularity in North America with the leagues there going from 10 teams in 1996 to 23 now, spread across various states and provinces. Three more franchises are expected to be added by 2020. There is also a large infrastructure in place, very important to holding such a large scale event as the World Cup, with "23 acceptable sports venues, three in Mexico, three in Canada and 17 in the United States". By 2026 FIFA expects the number of teams competing in the world cup to be increased from 32 to 48 making the event even more huge. For the 2026 tournament, FIFA expects 80 games will be played, 60 in the U.S., 10 in Canada and 10 in Mexico


Unfortunately the U.S. team will not be participating in this year's games as they came up just shy of qualification. OK, guys come on, start practicing for 2026.


Early Tournament Results


Uh-oh, that didn't take long. The Ticos went down to defeat 1-0 by Serbia in their first game and the Brazilians made it official in the second game 2-0, putting Costa Rica out of the competition altogether. Their last game, with Switzerland, ended in a 2-2 tie but the one point they got for a draw won't take them anywhere but home. But at least they got two goals; otherwise they would have come home goal-less, the only team at the competition to do so.


I'm guessing there will be a lot less Futbol Talk in the Chronicles in the next edition and probably a lot fewer babies being named Keylor (he's still a damn good goalie). I asked some locals who their favorite is now that the Sele has been eliminated but they're still reeling from the shock and had few answers, just mumbles.


Nicaragua Turmoil


In April of this year, Señor Presidente Daniel Ortega attempted to put in place revisions to their social security system that would increase individual contributions (currently 7% for individuals and 23% for employers) and reduce benefits by 5%. Riots ensued, largely driven by university students, with 10 fatalities from police action recorded on the first day or two.


Since then the violence has spread from Managua across the country and by the second week of June the death count from anti--demonstration national police action had risen to 135 with hundreds more injured. Despite a voluntary intervention by the Catholic episcopate to mediate and encourage discussion between the government and labor unions, the demonstrations and the severe police reaction continue.


One of the labor leaders, Sandra Ramos. who heads a movement of unemployed and working women publicly backed the episcopate effort but also made a direct appeal to the police:


“I call upon the National Police, those policemen and women who don’t want to carry out the orders to attack their people, to put down their arms. They should remember that the police need to be on the side of the people. We trust them. They’re people from the neighborhoods. They are the poor, the children of the poor, who are those dying and because of that there’s no pressure higher up, because no son of any of the rich parent has died.”


In another facet of the current Nicaraguan problem, trucks have begun to back up inside the country. A recent report stated that there may be as many as 6,000 trucks backed up because of blockage caused by demonstrators and counter measures by police. That means weeks in delays for durable products, spoilage for perishable products and difficult situations for all those drivers. Shipping companies are already reporting up to 70% increase in distribution costs due to rescheduling via air and ship.


Update: The death toll since the uprisings began two months ago kept rising week by week and by June 27th had reached 285 (plus 156 missing, 42 permanently disabled and hundreds injured) according to the Organization of American States. With no relief in sight, the number of Nicaraguans seeking asylum in Costa Rica keeps increasing. They recently overwhelmed the facilities of the Ministerio de Migración in La Uruca, a barrio of San José ( see photo right).


Let's hope and pray that our beautiful neighbor country will soon return to its peaceful ways and we can all get back to normal day to day behaviour across all of Central America.


¡Pura Vida!


Rumble and Weather Talk



Volcan De Fuego Erupting

The big rumble action this past month occurred way up the Central American volcano chain, this time in Guatemala. The volcano that blew its top is known as Volcan de Fuego (Volcano of Fire - aptly name) and is located only about 40 km southwest, as the ash flies, from the capital at Guatemala City. De Fuego has been periodically erupting since 2016.


The volcano had a major eruption on Sunday, June 3 and was described in the press as: "...spewing a river of lava and plumes of smoke almost 6 miles into the air". Early counts were that over 60 people had been killed and hundreds more injured but local residents reiterated that they expect the death and injury toll to increase more as many were actually buried by the fallout and lava flow and won't be discovered for some time. Later body counts came in over 115 with a significant number still missing.


The population in the immediate area affected by the eruption is about 1.7 million, not counting the almost three million in nearby Guatemala City. The major capital city airport, La Aurora, was also shut down by the eruption. The total population of Guatemala is about 17 million.


In Costa Rica, volcanoes Turrialba and Poas still continue to be on watch and the national parks associated with them closed. Mid-month the Costa Rican Seismological Institute Rinco de la Vieja to the "watch" list because of observed vibrations of a certain type that are sometimes a valid precursor to an eruption.


Check Out Recent Earthquakes Around the World Posted by the U.S. Geodetic Survey: Recent Quakes


Search the Golden Gringo Chronicles Archives for Topics That Interest You


You can use our Archives to search for anything that has been written in more than 220 feature articles of the Golden Gringo Chronicles plus find Broken News items and ROMEO restaurant reviews. Enter your topic or item to search in the Google Search Routine below and follow the links offered from the search results. Suggestion: Enter only a simple, precise and unique as possible keyword or two in order to narrow the number of references retrieved:


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iRescue Animal Sanctuary
(Helping the Distressed Animals of Costa Rica)

Carol Vaughn is a resident of Costa Rica, an author (her latest book - Crazy Jungle Love - is listed below in the Publisher's Corner) and a member of our Quepos-Manuel Antonio Writers Group. She also started and runs an expat luncheon group that meets once per month in San Isidro where she presents people and topics of keen interest to the expat community.


One of her recent presentations (which I missed, unfortunately) was about an organization called iRescue that does a lot of good work helping injured animals in the southern quadrant of Costa Rica. I asked Carol if she could write an article for the Chronicles about this organization and what follows is Carol's response:

Blue Jay to Bubba
The Story of Costa Rica’s Most Unique Animal Sanctuary
By Carol Vaughn

What happens in Costa Rica when a rescued feral animal is too injured to ever return to the wild, but is not at the end of its natural life?


iRescue Animal Sanctuary steps in. And what a blessing that is for both the animals and over-crowded animal sanctuaries throughout the country.

The sad truth is that Costa Rican animal sanctuaries are overwhelmed by wild animals, many too injured or handicapped to ever return to the wild and survive. These animals syphon off scarce and valuable resources — think veterinary care, food, living space, labor, and of course, money. The sanctuary becomes severely compromised in its operational resources. The animals find themselves disabled, confined to a small space, and often ignored due to overcrowding of the sanctuary combined with insufficient staffing, These animals usually do not live very long. These animals need a compassionate animal retirement "forever home”.

The mission of iRescue is to save those doomed creatures who have nowhere else to go, and often have been harmed by humans, automobiles, or misguided pet owners who think a wild raccoon might make a fun pet only to lose interest soon thereafter. iRescue provides these animals with a comfortable existence for their final years, including healthy food, vet care, and a custom habitat where they can live out the remainder of their lives in peace and comfort. They are located in Pejibaye in Costa Rica’s Southern Zone.


iRescue Animal Sanctuary is a nonprofit 501c3 organization, meaning that Americans can deduct any and all donations to them off their US tax returns, even though the sanctuary is operated in Costa Rica. The mission statement for the organization states:

“Here at the iRescue Sanctuary we are committed to providing permanent housing, care, and quality of life to a very special category of animals. These are the animals and birds that can never be released back into the wild because of permanent disability or severe over domestication."

"Bubba" the Coati

What a charming group of animals iRescue has collected! A standout example is “Bubba”, a white-nosed Coati (known in Costa Rica as a pizote), who was found as a tiny baby, barely alive, and brought to iRescue in an empty mayonnaise jar. In the subsequent twelve years, Bubba has become an ambassador for his species, appearing on TV more than ten times. He now kicks back in his retirement enclosure with several raccoon buddies.

Also living a retirement Life of Riley are “Hook” the one-eyed Osprey, "Blossom” the Porcupine,“Jack" and "Jill" the raccoons, a Hawk, a white tailed deer and twin fawns, “Earl the Squirrel" & buddies, and birds too numerous to count. The birds live in twin geodesic domes, which need to be replaced soon due to tropical corrosion. The food preparation area of the sanctuary needs to be updated and moved —funds are needed for this project — food prep is an endless task with so many animals with special diets.


Some More Residents of iRescue Animal Sanctuary

Even more amazing at iRescue is the staff who keep the place functioning smoothly, despite the challenges of unique animal diets, living space needs, and animals just not meant to cohabit.

Mike Graeber

Mike Graeber is the Managing Director and visionary force behind iRescue. Mike is a craggy faced outdoors-man with an animal whisperer aura which allows him to walk into the hawk enclosure holding only chunks of raw chicken, and emerge unscathed. He manages all facets of the operation with ease and kindness toward both the animals and his staff. Mike began his animal rescue mission at age ten when he found an injured Blue Jay, and nursed it back to full health. He has operated two other animal rescue organizations prior to his involvement in iRescue.

The on-site veterinarian is a Tica named Dr. Pricilla Ortiz, who is doing amazing stem cell research, as well as miraculously curing blind and handicapped animals as part of her regular pet care. Flavia Fiorillo, an Italian student of animal care, is on site feeding and caring for animals and keeping the sanctuary running seamlessly and happily. Juan Luis Torres Vargas is General Manager of the mother farm on which iRescue operates and master of all upkeep and maintenance. This is an incredibly small, yet powerful team, who keep the 5OO-acre Sanctuary functioning.

It's a Jungle Out There

iRescue is funded completely through donations. The land was donated seven years ago by American philanthropist John Merritt, who still visits and supports the Sanctuary. He has built a mansion made entirely of bamboo on the property where distinguished visitors may soon be able to stay. The Sanctuary has launched a new website, and is planning a fundraising drive to support their Animal Kitchen Project, Dome Project, vet clinic and animal bodega, Perico Project, Jaguar Project, and other needed additions and improvements to the Sanctuary. These are ambitious goals, but ones Graeber plans to achieve with the help of community donations, and corporate sponsorships. And of course, his amazing staff.

The Sanctuary works closely with MlNAE, Costa Rica's Ministerio de Ambiente y Energia, the government organization in charge of the environment and animals. MlNAE brings many animals they find injured or in distress directly to iRescue knowing they will be well attended.

Want to help iRescue in their animal rescue mission? The easiest way to support this wonderful endeavor, is by going to https://irescuewildlife.org and clicking the Donate button. At least look at the photos of the animals enjoying their recycled lives in the mountains high above Ojochal enjoying their own Pura Vida paradise. It will surely warm your heart, and hopefully inspire you to give generously to support this vital nonprofit organization, saving injured animals of the jungle and rain forest.

___ ___ ___ 


Thanks so much Carol for an excellent article on a very worthy cause. Our readers should take note that the link to the iRescue website, https://irescuewildlife.org, works quite well and the Donate button is obvious. Also, check out many more animals in the photo gallery on the site.


¡Solo Bueno!




¿Que es Eso? Department (What is That?)



Maybe it's a feral puppy?


It's a coyote cub? (but wait a minute, the snout's wrong)



Answer in What's-in-a-Word section below.





¡Solo Bueno!


Tico Nostalgia
(Costa Rica Seventy Years Ago)

That would make it 1948. GG was five years old. World War II had been over only three years and everyone was excited about peace and new prosperity.


And the Winner Is...

This was the year the LP record (33-1/3) was introduced, remember those? Among the many recording hits in the U.S. that year were "Ballerina" (Vaughn Monroe), "I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover" (Art Mooney), "Mañana Is Soon Enough for Me" (Peggy Lee), "Nature Boy" (Nat King Cole) and Buttons and Bows (Dinah Shore).


The the 20th annual Oscars went to 20th Century Fox's Gentleman's Agreement for Best Picture, Ronald Coleman for Best Actor in a "A Double Life" and Loretta Young for Best Actress in "The Farmer's Daughter". (What, no "action" movies with multiple scenes of wanton slaughter; how boring?)


And in Costa Rica the country was just getting over a bitter, but short civil war that lasted 44 days (from 12 March to 24 April 1948). It would be the last war that Ticos would be involved in. In 1949 a new constitution was drawn up beginning the Second Republic (the first republic had been formed a few years after independence from Spain was declared in 1821). The constitution of the second republic established a democratic state, eliminated the army and set term limits on all executive officers of the government, a status still retained today. (read more on the history of Costa Rica HERE)


What was life like during the 1940's in Costa Rica? GG came across the following 1947 video in a report by local press (The Costa Rica Star) that answers much of that question. The style of the video is akin to what we used to see in movie theaters long ago (you older amigos will recognize that). It's a bit schmaltzy and tends to over sell most things but the scenes are fascinating. The video shows the original airport near La Sabana park that is now the Costa Rican Museum of Art.


I found some of the statements in the video interesting, for example:

  • The population of San José was estimated at 70,000 in 1947. The current population of the GAM (Gran Área Metropolitana or greater metropolitan area) of San José today is estimated to be 2.2 million which, about 45% of the total country population concentrated in about 4% of its land area. The total population of Costa Rica in 1947 was about 726,000 vs 4.9 million today, an increase of 569% (as a point of reference, the U.S. grew 129% during that period from 141 to 323 million.

  • the video stated that William Walker, the infamous adventurer (and Philadelphia lawyer) who tried to make himself king of Central America and who was defeated at the Battle of Rivas in 1856 at the hands of the young hero who later would have the current airport named after him, Juan Santamaria, was shot. My information is that Walker escaped from Nicaragua and was caught by the British in Honduras where he was hung. Different story, same result.

  • the video stated that Costa Rican roads were among the finest in the world at the time. Okey dokey, so what happened?

  • the main industries at the time were bananas and coffee. Still important today but the country has a much more diversified industrial and technical base than in 1947.

The video doesn't mention it but the forties were also the time of the significant banana blight in Costa Rica, particularly in the Pacific coastal areas north and south of Quepos. Unable to eradicate the disease at the time, the banana companies in the area replaced banana plants with African palm trees that are much more resistant to disease and which yield dates from which food grade oil can be extracted. (see Palma Tica) Palm Oil plantations are now the primary agricultural crop in southwestern Costa Rica.


Still, the video is a fascinating walk through time.


¡Pura Vida!



Health Stuff

Note: The information given in this section is offered as news information only and does not indicate GGC confirmation or denial of the accuracy of the treatment or a recommendation to pursue it, nor can we or do we guarantee the efficacy of the results nor validity of the conclusions proffered. (How's that for a disclaimer?)



Traveler’s Diarrhea

It is not unusual for travelers to experience some mild form of stomach upset after being here for a few days. This is usually not due to food poisoning or bad tap water (Tico Revenge?). In almost all areas of Costa Rica the tap water is safe to drink but be wary of unpurified sources in the countryside.


The upset is usually caused by your system trying to compensate for differences in what biologists call "entero-bacteria", the natural bacteria that exists in your intestines to properly digest food. Different food can require a different type of entero-bacteria to process it. The first year that GG was here I had two or three bouts of upset stomach and ran for the Imodium. Then a Tica mother suggested I go buy a fresh, ripe papaya, cut it open and consume a couple of table spoons of the seeds whole. Le Voila! No more problem. Every time I process a papaya to get fruit for breakfast, which usually means a big fruit every two weeks, I take a spoonful of the seeds for precaution.


Be aware that this problem can reverse itself. The last time I visited the States, after about three days I got Gringo Revenge. Probiotics seemed to do the trick on that one (the papaya I saw in the supermarket was green and raw and I deemed it good only for cooking a Thai dinner).


¡Pura Vida!



Travel Quote of the Month



GGC Bookshelf

drfGGC Publications Group is the parent organization that publishes the Golden Gringo Chronicles as well as a number of books and paraphernalia related to the Chronicles and Costa Rica. The GGC Bookshelf also includes works from a number of other authors that belong to the Quepos-Manuel Antonio Writers Group in which GGC has been a founding member.


Here are the books currently on our bookshelf:


jio uio
The Chronicles as a Narrative

Mariposa - English

Mariposa - Spanish Small Business Guide
Read More Read More Read More Read More
Overcoming Drinking Making Time Count Spiritual Love Connection Murder or Suicide?
Read More Read More Read More Read More


All of the above books are available on Amazon.com and the "Read More" links above will lead you to them. You can also find them all on our GGC Publications Page.


GGC Publications also offers some accessories and paraphernalia related to the Chronicles and with Costa Rican themes, to wit;




a. Golden Gringo Chronicles with Logo,

b. Official Golden Gringo with Monkey on Banana Hammock,

c. ¡Quepo en Quepos! ("I Fit In Quepos!") with Photo of Quepos,

d. Wanna Monkey Around? - Come on Down! with Photo of White Face Monkey,

e. It's OK to be Slothful with photo of Three-Toed Sloth.


The t-shirts are available in several colors, styles and sizes. See them HERE.


Coffee Mugs: a. Golden Gringo, b. Wanna Monkey Around?, c. OK to be Slothfulgty

See them all HERE:

What's life without a great cup of Costa Rican coffee? And it tastes even better in a Golden Gringo Chronicles mug!


¡Solo Bueno!




"Tell me and I forget; teach me and I remember; involve me and I learn"
Benjamin Franklin


Answer to Que Es Eso?


No, it's not a feral puppy or a coyote cub.


serThis is a "bush dog", a new species of carnivore to Costa Rica but not to Latin America. Until now this animal was found only from as far north as eastern Panama but ranged as far south as Argentina and Paraguay.


Much is often made of the fact that Costa Rica's biodiversity represents approximately 6% of the total species in the world while the land area here is only 0.03% of the total globe, a biodiversity intensity ratio of two hundred to one.


The animal was first spotted by way of a camera trap in the Talamanca mountains about 130 km (80 miles) southeast of Quepos. This animal expands the number of known mammals in Costa Rica to over 250 and the number of carnivores to 25. Other living natural wonders that can be seen in Ticoland (approximate number of species): 1,251 butterflies, 8,000 moths, 175 amphibians (85% are frogs) and 225 reptiles (70+ lizards, 120 snakes, 5 of 7 species of sea turtles in the world) and 250 mammals.


Nice to meet you Bushy, woof, woof, welcome to Costa Rica.



ROMEO Corner
(Retired Old Men Eating Out)

This month we have the pleasure of presenting two restaurants of interest, one in San José in the burgeoning Barrio Escalante region and one in Manuel Antonio.


Uncle Charly, San José


Location: Barrio Escalante, Calle 33, Avenida 1, San José

Hours: Monday through Sunday, Lunch and Dinner

Parking: Street Parking (usually sufficient)

Contact: Tel: 4030-3248; Fax: N/A; Email: N/A; Website: N/A;

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/unclecharlycr/

Reviewing ROMEOS: Bob N., Michael M.


To Review Our Rating System and Procedure, go here: R.O.M.E.O. Rating System


GG was in San José for a couple of days to see an oftalmólogo (ophthalmologist) with the intent of getting a treatment for a lens that gradually became boroso (blurry or foggy) over the three years since I had cataract surgery. I got an appointment for the following week during which I had a 15 minute laser treatment that solved the problem. It's good to see again, especially menus.

Uncle Charly's Dining Room


While in town I thought I'd ring up an old friend, Michael Miller, a fellow writer and member of the Costa Rica Writers Group. Michael has been a guest writer in the Chronicles several times over the last few years and publishes an English guide to San José. Michael was the guy that originally put me wise to the wealth of restaurants now available in Barrio Escalante.


The restaurant is a long rectangular shape furnished with polished wooden chairs and tables, place-mats and silverware. The subdued lighting and gentle artwork on the walls give the place an immediate feeling of comfort and a 4.5/5 for ambiance.


The owner/chef of this restaurant, a fellow named Marco Caldi, enjoys a good reputation. The menu was quite extensive with Italian style dishes of meats, seafood (they claim specialty here) and pastas.


Michael and I ordered a bruschetta with a custom mix of cheeses, fresh tomato and spices that was simply delicious. We also both ordered linguine with seafood, Michael's with a different sauce than mine, both interesting and tasty. The pasta was fresh, the sauce excellent but I took one point off for finding two unopened mussels in the seafood which I pushed aside. (I've seen what shellfish poisoning can do in a previous life). The rest of the dish was excellent.


A couple of sinful chocolate desserts topped it all off. 4.0 sloths for food quality.

Value Index= 108


Our waiter was friendly, courteous and not a bit uneasy when we custom ordered the bruschetta. For service let's call it 4.5 giving an overall rating of 4.3 sloths.


The meal for the two of us for the bruschetta, main courses, two drinks and dessert came to just over 22,000 colones including tax and required gratuity, about $38 or $19 for each of us. That equates to a cost rating of about $4 and a value index of 4.3/4x100=108.


If you're in San José near the center take a short cab ride out to Barrio Escalante and try Uncle Charly's or one of the many other fine restaurants in that area.

___ ___ ___


El Lirio, Manuel Antonio


Our second offering this month is a place off the beaten path, a hotel restaurant that many don't know exists unless you happen to have stayed at the hotel.


Location: From Quepos, head to the top of Manuel Antonio, Villas Lirio Hotel is just 50 meters before the MA football field on the left.

Hours: Monday through Sunday, Lunch and Dinner

Parking: Some, inside the hotel compound.

Contact:Tel.: 2777-1182; Email: See website; Website: http://www.bwvillaslirio.com/

Reviewing ROMEOS: Alma L., Bob N., Glen N., Jerry C., Julia C.


To Review Our Rating System and Procedure, go here: R.O.M.E.O. Rating System


This restaurant was last reviewed in December, 2015 and the review can be seen here: http://www.bobnormand.com/GGC/e77january2015.html#romeo.


This is the restaurant for the Hotel Villas Lirio located on the main Manuel Antonio road at the top of the hill next to the school and futbol field. The restaurant is not apparent from the street, nor is there a sign; it's situated at the back of the hotel compound and accessed by a path to the left of reception that goes through some jungle growth.


This is still one of the most pleasant dining rooms in the area. The heavy use of wood, the drapes, the carefully decorated tables, the comfortable seating (yeh!) and the openness to the jungle play together to make a a very attractive place to have a meal.


For atmosphere the group gave a composite score of 4.4/5.0 sloths.


The menu does not seem to have been changed at all since our last visit some three years ago. There is a good selection of meat, fish and some vegetarian selections.


GG ordered a Sopa Azteca (obviously a Mexican derivation) and a plate called Coco Fish, coconut breaded fish fillet, deep fried. Deep, deep fried methought because it was a little too crisp for me. It was served with plain boiled rice and a shredded chayote (squash) that was uninteresting. Two of us had this dish and thought we had read the menu to include a sauce on the fish but re-reading the menu later proved that was a mis-read.


Other ROMEOS ordered a fish salad (good), a steak (half of it was tough) and one diner stuck with two appetizers.


The composite score for food quality from the five ROMEOS was 3.1/5.0.


Value Index = 82


Service was the low point of the evening. The place was surprisingly busy for a Tuesday night in mid-rainy season, about 3/4 full and that the two wait staff (one actual table server) may have accounted for that. It took over an hour to realize our dinners prompting me to forgo the Aztec soup but they brought it anyway; it was devoured as an appetizer with tortilla sticks (at least they didn't try to charge us for it. Some noted the lack of table attention including water and drink refills. The composite score for service came in at 2.8/5.0, the lowest ranking of the three categories we use.


That gave the restaurant a rating of 3.4/5.0 for atmosphere, food quality and service.


My bill for the fish plate and a "gin" machalada (limone over ice with ginger ale, no gin) with salt around the top like a Margarita, was $25, not inexpensive for that plate. The group gave El Lirio a composite score of 4.2$ out of five possible. That made the Value Index 3.4/4.2x100=82, putting the restaurant in the lower brackets of our rating system for value.


Always an optimist, GG hopes another visit to El Lirio sometime will produce a better result.



¡Pura Vida!




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