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Broken News

Economic Drumbeat

Latin America Update

F#1: Gran Fondo
Andrey Amador
(New CR Heritage Event)

Rumble and Weather Talk

¿Que Es Eso?

F#2: Earthquakes
Shake, Rattle and Roll

Health Stuff

GGC Bookshelf


ROMEO Corner

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In This Edition:

1. Broken News (All the News That's Fit to Reprint): a. Long Weekend Holidays Defined; b. Landslides and Rockslides Department; c. Chinese Spy Balloon Over Costa Rica; d. New Ban on Shark Fishing.

2. Economic Drumbeat (CR Business Happenings): a. Falling Dollar Rate Hurts Some Segments, Helps Others; b. Costa Rica Has Highest Minimum Wage Rate in Latin America; c. Boston Scientific Expanding in Costa Rica.

3. Latin America Update (Major Events in Neighboring Countries): a. El Salvador - Claims Lowest Murder Rate in All the Americas; b. Nicaragua - Ortega Proposes Nukes for All Countries, Then Expels 222 Political Prisoners; c. Panama - Fuel Price Freeze Extended.

4. Feature #1: Gran Fondo Andrey Amador (Birth of a New Heritage Event in Costa Rica)

5. Rumble and Weather Talk: a. Rumble: Low Activity in Costa Rica; b. Weather: Summer is Here!

6. ¿Que es Eso?: Wierd Tree.

7. Feature #2: Terremotos (Earthquakes) - Shake, Rattle & Roll.

8. Health Stuff: Kraken Detected

9. GGC Bookshelf and More: Books from GGC Publications, Golden Gringo T-Shirts and Coffee Mugs as Well as Suggested Books from Local Writers. a. New Book on Self-Touring San José.

10. What's-in-a-Word: a. Answer to Que Es Eso.

11. ROMEO Corner: Le Papillon at Hotel La Mariposa



Wisdom of the Ages

Memories of the Covid Adventure:

Holidays In Cost Rica In November

See the article in the Broken News section below about the government´s rearrangement of annual holiday celebrations in Costa Rica to maximize the possibility of three-day weekends. Unfortunately none of this action will change holidays in the month of March, as there are no holidays, so we´ll have to wait until April for the first one. See article below.

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

Long Weekend Holidays Defined


Let´s Go to the Beach!

The legislature recently (2022) approved the reorganization of holidays to maximize the possibility of creating long weekends and further enable people to spend more money on tourism at the beach or in the mountains.


For the 2023-24 period the following planned celebrations were outlined and approved which total seven long weekends:

  1. Batalla de Rivas (Battle of Rivas) – Tuesday April 11, but moved to Monday, April 10.
  2. Día del Trabajo (Labor Day) - Monday, May 1.
  3. Anexión de Guanacaste (Annexation of Guanacaste) = Tuesday, July 25, but moved to Monday, July 24.
  4. Día de la Madre (Mother’s Day) –  Tuesday August 15, moved to Monday, August 14.
  5. If the past is any indication, this is a super long weekend, as most Costa Ricans will celebrate the mother of holidays on the 15th no matter what government policy says*.
  6. Día de la Independencia  (Independence Day) - Friday, September 15.
  7. Abolición del Ejército  (Abolition of the Army) - Friday, December 1.
  8. Navidad (Christmas) - Monday, December 15.

*Love the comment on Mother´s Day - no one dares mess with mom´s day. The Chronicles will bring up the above information as a reminder each month as they occur.

Landslides and Rockslides Department

Landslides are common in a country that is basically mountainous; and they can be deadly (just check HERE). But what do you do if you´re locked into traffic on a narrow expressway and a huge boulder, capable of completely crushing your car, starts rolling towards you. I think that the answer is a resounding "pray"!


This situation occurred recently on our Ruta 27, an important expressway that runs from San José west to the coast about 77 km (48 mi). When commissioned in 2010 the new road dramatically improved the access from the Central Valley to the West Coast. It also brought with it its own set of problems including landslides, roadbed distortions and a new level of multi vehicle accidents resulting from much of the route being two-lanes and quite curvy being built on the slopes of mountains.


To see the moving boulder in action follow this Twitter link:




Fortunately there were no injuries as the boulder came to rest in the gully below the overpass but GG bets those people in the cars waiting to pass the reduced-lane portion caused by construction were a bit startled.


Chinese Spy Balloon over Costa Rica


Routes for Chinese Balloons #1 and #2

When it comes to Chinese Spy Balloons the U.S. has nothing over Costa Rica. Somewhat after the first Chinese balloon traversed 4,000 miles across the U.S. before being shot down by a USAF F-22 fighter, a second Chinese balloon deviated along a route south of balloon #1 and actually ended up crossing Costa Rica on February 2 on it´s way to Venezuela.


Eye witnesses across all of Costa Rica were a bit startled by seeing such a large object poised in the sky for almost a whole day. The same type of balloon as spotted in the US (photo right) was visible all day in the Costa Rican sky. “I was super excited thinking it was my first UFO lol… but still, it was amazing to see such a big object absolutely clear,” wrote UAP Costa Rica on its Twitter feed.


Reported in another press release: "Through its embassy in San José, China offered an apology to Costa Rica for the incident, noting that the object was civil and had scientific purposes in the area of meteorology. It also indicated that it did not represent a threat to the country." Uh-huh, sure. The Chinese Embassy here also stated: “Due to weather forces and its limited maneuverability, the airship seriously deviated from its scheduled route” and “accidentally entered the airspace of Latin America and the Caribbean”.


Hey Chinese Dudes: Doubt whether you´ll find any nuclear response facilities in Ticoland and you need to get control over these errant balloons; keep them over international space only, you know like the suburbs of Bejing.


New Ban On Shark Fishing


If runaway rocks or earthquakes don´t get to you maybe sharks will (hope not). That is if the sharks are around. Environmentalists have been concerned for sometime that the Hammerhead Shark is heading for extinction. Recently, the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) of Costa Rica issued a regulation: "prohibiting the capture, retention on board, transshipment, unloading, storage, and commercialization of products and by-products of hammerhead sharks."


Isla del Coco is a Costa Rican island in the Pacific Ocean about 550km or 345 mi southwest of the Costa Rican mainland. It happens to enjoy avery large congregation of hammerhead sharks. The 9.2 sq mile island has been designated a World Heritage Site that enjoys the largest congregations of hammerhead sharks. The island itself is uninhabited except for Costa Rican Park Rangers.


The island has been described as having "rich coral reefs, volcanic tunnels, caves, massifs and deeper waters surrounding the Island that are home to more than 30 species of coral, 60 species of crustaceans, 600 species of mollusks, and over 300 species of fish including large populations of yellow-fin tuna (Thunnus Albacares), giant mantas (Manta Birostris), Sailfish (Istiophorus Platypterus) and Sharks, such as white-tips (Triaenodon Obesus) and scalloped hammerheads (Sphyrna Lewini)". - That last one is shown in the photo left.


This is a place that Jacques Cousteau often mentioned as having given him inspiration.


¡Pura Vida!


Economic Drumbeat
(Costa Rica Business Happenings)

Falling Dollar Rate Hurts Some Segments, Helps Others


The exchange rate for dollars to colones has been falling recently (in Wall Street-speak the Colon was strengthening or the dollar was weakening in respect to each other). The reader may remember that only a couple of months ago the exchange rate hit a high of 700¢/$. But by early February the rate had fallen such that one $ would bring only 550 colones, a decline of over 20%.


Segment most likely to be effected by this kind of change are tourism, exporters of agricultural goods and service companies. It will in turn likely result, as economic experts warn, that if this trend continues, there will likely be fewer job opportunities and could result in thousands of layoffs.


According to university economist, the most benefited sectors are the importer and retailers that acquire goods and services from abroad at lower prices in terms of colones.


End of February Update: sell Colones/buy Dollars: 562; sell dollars/buy colones: 565.

Costa Rica Has Highest Minimum Wage Rate in Latin America


According to Statista, a leading statistics company on the Internet, Costa Rica has the highest nominal (not adjusted based on purchasing power or the cost of living) minimum wage of any country in Latin America.


At $603/month Costa Rica is followed by Uruguay (US$540) and Chile (US$475). On the bottom of the scale are Colombia ($242), the Dominican Republic, and Argentina ($198) finally Venezuela ($8). Essentially that last one means Venezuela has no minimum wage.


For background info, U.S. minimum wage ($7.25/hr) translates to about $1,160 per month and Canada ranges by province from about $10.50 to $12.50/hr ($1,850-$2,025/month).


Boston Scientific Expanding in Costa Rica


Boston Scientific is expanding its facilities in Costa Rica with a new investment in Cartago which is expected to add at least 1,200 new employees. This will add to the more than 7,000 employees already employed by the company in two locations here in El Coyol de Alajuela and La Aurora de Heredia.


The company and Costa Rica have enjoyed steady growth together here during the 19 years since Boston Scientific first came to Costa Rica. Boston Scientific has been at the forefront of Costa Rica´s expansion into the medical devices market over these years and being today the largest employer and exporter of medical devices in the country.


To see what Boston Scientific is all about go HERE.


¡A Cachete!



Latin America Updates
(Major Events in Neighboring Counties)


El Salvador

El Salvador Claims Lowest Murder Rate in All the Americas. President Nayib Armando Bukele Ortez, only 41 years old and now the 43rd President of El Salvador since June 1, 2019, recently commented on Twitter that “To this day, El Salvador’s annualized homicide rate is 1.8 per 100,000 inhabitants. The lowest in all of America, even below that of Canada."


President Nayib Armando Bukele Ortez

GG´s question is: what does "to this day" mean - year to date 2023? Even assuming that´s what he meant (or that which the press intended to report) the change is dramatic. The official data for 2022 listed 496 homicides or a rate of 7.8 per 100,000 (population = 6.3 million). So whereforth cometh the 1.8 number; methinks he was talking just about January. Still, there has been strong progress.


Bukele inherited a crime wave resulting from gang activity and has been fighting them with his militarily since he became president in 2019. One statiscal watcher noted in his report that gang deaths are no longer reported as homicides in the data. Along with Bukele´s statement was another from the police department on the same day of the announcement that claimed zero homicides country wide that day.


Stay tuned, more to be revealed.





Ortega Porposes Nukes for all Countries. Using the occasion of the visit of Iranian Foreign Minister, Hosein Amir Abdolahian, to Managua, President Daniel Ortega used the opportunity to harangue about the big, bad western democracies, particularly the United States.


Ortega questioned the authority of the United States to ask Iran or North Korea not to manufacture nuclear weapons, when they (the U.S.) have been “the only criminals in the history of humanity that have launched atomic bombs, where they annihilated at once more than 250,000 citizens in Hiroshima and Nagasaki". According to Ortega, every country has the right to develop nuclear weapons. A few months ago Ortega announced that Nicaragua would be pursuing a nuclear capability "for peaceful purposes". Yeah, right.


Guess Danny needs something to do since his proposal a couple of years ago for a canal across Nicaragua to compete with the Panama Canal got canceled when his Chinese friends pulled their financial support for the project.


Ortega Revokes Citizenship on 222 Dissidents. On another front, the Nicaraguan government under the Ortegas, in early February expelled 222 political prisoners and cancelled their Nicaraguan citizenship. The prisoners were flown in early morning hours to Washington, D.C. for the U.S. to deal with. The magistrate of the Court of Appeals said: “Those sentenced who for different crimes violated the legal and constitutional order, attacking the State of Nicaragua and Nicaraguan society, harming the supreme interest of the nation, therefore the immediate and effective deportation of 222 people is ordered,”


Such an act is directly prohibited under the Rome Statutes for handling political prisoners as said in article 7.1 subsection D and article 7.2 subsection D: , “the deportation or forced transfer of a population, whether by expulsion or other coercive acts, from the area in which a person is present is a crime against humanity, in this case, of Nicaraguan citizens being exiled from their own country.” The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court is the treaty that established the International Criminal Court. It was adopted in Rome, Italy on 17 July 1998.


Included in the group extradited and stripped of their nationality were former presidential candidates Medardo Mairena, Félix Maradiaga, Juan Sebastián Chamorro, Miguel Mora Barberena, Arturo Cruz, Cristiana Chamorro and Noel Vidaurre.


"Harming the supreme interest of the nation"; hmmmm, I guess running against Ortega harms the supreme interest of the nation.




Gasoline Price Freeze Extended. In an effort to keep their economy rolling through the pandemic, Panama froze their gasoline prices in mid-2022 at $3.25/gal. The price freeze has recently been extended for the third time. This compares to the latest posted price for regular gas in Costa Rica of about $4.40/gal and an average price for regular gas in the U.S. of $3.42/gal.


How can they support such a generous program? Simple answer, the Canal. This past year the Canal income exceeded expenses by just over $1 billion, a nice income stream for a country whose national budget is just about $13 billion.


So I looked up the data and the table above gives a selective look (only Panama, Costa Rica and the U.S.) and comparison. This strong income stream has also resulted in a deficit/GDP ratio of less 1% in Panama while in Costa Rica it´s 2.4% and in the United States it´s 7.3%. So with this financial strength behind them, the Panamanian Government approved a state contribution of up to US$320 million dollars to sustain the fuel subsidy until January 15, 2023 which has now been futher extended.


¡A Cachete!

Feature #1
Gran Fondo Andrey Amador
(The Birth of a New Heritage Event in Costa Rica)

A few weeks ago the son of my landlord, (or more likely a better description might be ´my Costa Rican family or GG´s CR nephew´), who is also generally known in these parts as one Josue Madrigal, was displaying a very kool looking brand new bicycle outside his apartment. When I asked about the bike Josue mentioned he was soon going to participate in a bicycle race from San José to Quepos. Really, says I !?


Other than making a mental note that I admired his fortitude, I thought nothing more about the race until it happened on Sunday, February 12. Then the press reports began flowing in and I learned that this wasn´t just an event, it was a grand event just like its title implies.


What else would you call a 160 km (100 mile) bicycle race across the Cordillera (Central Mountain Range) with almost 6,000 participants? Check out the official photo right that shows the Gran Fondo bikers assembling in San José at the start of this year´s race. With such a large number of cycling enthusiasts turning out, the event itself is hard to believe, but it is true. And consider that this was only the second running of the Gran Fondo, the first having been in February of 2022 which attracted over 4,000 competitors.


The event has already developed a Tico-appropriate FIFA-like short name: Gran Fondo Andrey Amador or GFAA. It also has been recognized and approved by FECOCI, La Federación Costarricense de Ciclismo (the Costa Rican Federation of Cyclists).


Andrey Amador Bikkazakova

In it´s short life span, the nature of the sport and the realization of the broad number of fans that now look to bicycling everywhere has brought about the cultural birth of this event that is likely to become a heritage happening. In Costa Rica, it all starts with a Tico gentleman named Andrey Amador, the son of Rodolfo Amador, a Costa Rican and Raisa Bikkazakova, a Russian immigrant who arrived in the country after meeting and marrying Amador's father, hence Andrey became Andrey Amador Bikkazakova (recent photo right).


As a result of that Costa Rican - Russian union, Andrey was born in 1986 and is now a 36 year old professional biker. It appears that Amador has become to Costa Rica Cycling as Franklyn Chang-Diaz is to the NASA Space Program or Keylor Navas is to Costa Rican Futbol, namely an international star. Andrey started early in the Children´s division of cycling and went on to make respectable showings in mountain biking, winning races or even stages of a race; in biking one can compete for individual stages of a race - note there are three stages on the GFAA2023 route map below.


In his early days Andrey went on the road competing in the Vuelta de la Juventud de Colombia and the Vuelta a Costa Rica. His career caught him attention in Europe, where he was signed in 2008 by the Navarrese amateur team Lizarte, under the tutelage of Manuel Azcona. In his time and with this team he won the first stage of the Tour de L'Avenir.


The GFAA Route

Just the first iteration of the event, GFAA 2022, the event attracted the international participation of Italians Ivan Basso and Vincenzo Nibali, the Spanish Joaquim Purito Rodriguez, Dani Moreno and the Spanish-Colombian cyclist Óscar Sevilla. GFAA has already become an international event here.


So, in talking further with my friend Josue I couldn´t help but ask him why he entered the race along with more than 6,000 others. It turns out he had been thinking about doing it at a time when he suffered a break-up in his relationship with his girlfriend. After a while he decided to go through with the race competition if only for it´s value in the diversion from the emotional difficulty he was having (some people I know would call this realization a spiritual inspiration).


Josue Ready to Pedal

First he bought a new bike, an XDS Fibre de Carbon (Carbon Fiber). Then he got busy working with bike mechanics to make the twelve changes required to bring the bike´s transmission system up to International Biking Standards. During this time he was also doing daily work-out sessions at the gym and, when the bike was ready, he started daily biking exercises including 50-60 kilometer runs on the bike. Those daily sessions on the bike lasted from December 5, 2022 to February 12 of this year. Any mechanical abnormality noted during these runs was immediately reviewed and corrected by the bike mechanics.


As part of his self-education Josue learned to drink lots of water and Poweraid-type drinks that replace electrolytes. By the time his pre-event training was complete the training had made him as fit as he had ever been and by the end of the race he would see his weight drop from 99 to 90 kilos (218 pounds to 198). This experience resulted in him now envisioning his ideal weight to be 85 kg or 187 lbs at his height of 1.83 meters or 6´0".


GFAA Riders on Ruta 32

When I asked Josue what he thought was the most difficult part of the bike ride he quickly responded "Villas Calo to Orotina". This section runs about 30 km west of Atenas to Orotina and is essentially a strong upgrade. Add to that a brutal summer sun and riding any vehicle, let alone a bicycle, can be challenging, taxing and tiring. The other difficulty Josue mentioned was the last 20 km into Quepos, although this road is essentially flat, he experienced a bit of a loss in muscle control (yeah amigo, the last 10% of a hundred mile run just might do that to you).


Personally, I am gratified that someone like Josue has found a new passion.


Leonora Jimenez, organizer of the GFAA notes that this event is not only endorsed by FECOCI but "Emphasizes the social commitment and economic reactivation for the neighboring areas through which the GFAA passes, as well as influence in the national promotion of sport and the promotion of health and road safety." Local municipalities are taking note of the economic and social impact of such an event; a recent audit of GFAA 22 indicates a total economic impact of at least 500,000,000 colones (about $880,000).


Not only entrepreneurs but politicians are seeing what an event like this can mean. Said Johnny Araya, Mayor of San José: "...GFAA sets a precedent with the second edition of a world-class event, making it a traditional one for the future of Costa Rica. In addition, he adds that with this race the country is placed on the international sports map, generating great opportunities for different sectors".


And the President of Costa Rica, Rodrigo Chaves said: “We do the GFAA, for something that goes beyond cycling and the sport itself, we meet for what the sport itself represents. It is knowing that if we put our hearts into something and dedicate ourselves to that cause with frank dedication, there is no obstacle too great, no goal impossible to be achieved by the human spirit.”


Plans are already underway for GFAA 2024.


¡Pura Vida!


Rumble and Weather Talk
(Shaky Happenings/Weather Observations Around the Pacific Rim)


While the fatality count in the multiple Turkey-Syria earthquakes of early February was nearing 50,000 by the end of February, we are happy to report only mild tremors being reported in Costa Rica in the same period. Those Middle East shakers reached as high as 7.8 on the Richter scale while the strongest reported in all the Americas was a 5.0 near Matanzas in the Dominican Republic which was not felt here.


Check Out Recent Earthquakes All Around the World Posted by the U.S.G.S. 
Recent Quakes




OK, OK, we can start getting ready to unleash verbal abuse on anyone handy because of the heat, which now reaches full summer proportions between noon and 2 PM each day. But if you´re a beachophile like GG that´s like preaching heresy to the gods.


Bring on the summer amigos!


¡Pura Vida!


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 320 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 key word or two in order to narrow the number of references retrieved:


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Feature #2
Terremotos (Earthquakes)
(Shake, Rattle, Roll and Kill

Like everyone else, GG has been watching the reports from the Middle East on the terrible earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. Southeastern Turkey registered a 7.8 magnitude quake on Monday, February 6 while Northern Syria suffered a 7.5 tremor nine hours later.


The damage was horrendous and, as of this writing the death toll was approaching 50,000 in Turkey and an additional 5,000 in Syria. Both of these totals are sure to rise as the first responders and others continue to pick through the rubble. While miracles have occurred where people of various age, from children all the way up to seniors in their 60´s have been extracted from the debris, experts point out that "the odds of people trapped in wreckage and surviving, severely decrease after five days - and is nearly zero after nine days, though there have been exceptions."


GG had virtually no experience with tremors when he moved to Costa Rica. Oh yeah, there was that weak shaker when I lived in Marietta, Ohio back in the '70's that gave a gentle vibration one day to our second floor bedroom. We found out later that the magnitude was in the 3´s, not a significant number by tremor standards. Recall that the Richter measurement scale is logarithmic, meaning that a 4.0 is not a third more powerful than a 3.0, it is ten times as powerful and a 5.0 would generate 100 times the energy of a 3.0. Scale that up to a 7.8 and you can see the enormous energy possible with these things and why a 7.8 is so potent.


My first experience after moving here in 2008 was an earthquake that came in January 2009 when a 6.3R hit near the city of Alejuela in the Central Valley. That´s only about 63 km or 40 miles as the crow flies (or vibration travels) from Quepos. It lasted here about 20 seconds and it was a pretty good ride but did not generate much damage locally. It was by this experience that I discovered the basic problem in dealing with a terremoto (Spanish for earthquake): when it begins, you have no idea how strong or how long it will last. And you don´t have any idea when the next one is coming either in the short or long term.


Puntarenas Hospital Before 9-05-2012

Watching the newscast on the Turkey incident caused GG to reflect on his most indelibly remembered terremoto experience, having been in the middle of a 7.6 quake in Puntarenas on September 5, 2012, at 8.42 AM. Here´s why that experience is frozen in my memory: I was on the ground floor of the ten-story Puntarenas Hospital checking in for a procedure, although what the procedure was I no longer remember. After checking in with the assistant I was told to sit and wait to be called. I spied some chairs permanently secured by a metal frame and went for them.


Half way to the chairs the quake began. This particular tremor seemed like it had three phases and took about 45 seconds to complete (which I´m told is a long time for one of these things). Phase 1 was building intensity, Phase 2 - max intensity shake, rattle and roll and Phase 3, denouement to 0. During phase 2 the brick facades you see in the picture above, which were mostly decorative, tore apart and showered the grounds with bricks. There was screaming among the 30-40 people in the waiting room as the lights flickered on and off and the emergency lights reluctantly came on.


Puntarenas Hospital Today - 3 Floors

My own thoughts turned personal. I reflected that my affairs were in order having spread copies of my will to my daughter and a close friend. So I closed my eyes and thought: "If it´s going to be today Big Guy (and I wasn´t thinking of Joe Biden), can you make it quick please?" A couple seconds later Phase 3 began and the shaking slowly decreased. Like many others I made a dash for the door; and there I turned to see if anyone needed help but was only to be pushed forward by a hospital security guard - "Váyase!"; translate: "get the heck out of here".


Later, a few dozen of we refugees stood on the lawn mostly in shock as we watched people being wheeled out of the hospital emergency room on gurneys complete with I.V. tubes dangling about them. I saw no one hurt and I started thinking that maybe I could do a little tour of Puntarenas or go to the beach since there was no way that the appointment was going to happen that day. Just as I was planning my further conquest of Puntarenas a gentleman with a cell phone yelled out that authorities had just issued a Tsunami warning. It was then I realized that the hospital is on the beach. So about 300 of us from the various buildings in the complex began slowly walking inland with the intent of getting some form, any form of transportation south and away from the town and the Tsunami. Because of cell phone system overload and failure we didn´t learn until later that day that the Tsunami warning had been lifted a few minutes after it had been issued.


Artists´s Rendition - New Puntarenas Hospital

As following weeks progressed, early engineering assessments suggested that the hospital building could be restored. Several months later, after more detailed investigation, that conclusion was reversed and ultimately the top seven floors of the hospital had to be razed; now the place is only three stories high instead of ten as shown in the photo above. Instead the Ministry of Health (Caja) opted to build a whole new hospital (artist´s rendition right) on a 150,000 sq mtr (about 37 acres) site in Barranca which is less than 20 km southeast of the current hospital. Under-roof construction will be about 72,132 sq mtrs (about 765,000 sq ft).


The new hospital, like the old one, will still be dedicated as the Monsignor Sanabria Hospital. It is expected to cost $225 million and be the largest construction project for the Ministry of Health since Hospital Mexico was built in the Uruca suburb of San José in the 1960s. Site preparation (earthworks) at Barranca is underway and official completion date has been estimated to be 2030 but some services will be available earlier.


Even more importantly it was announced that: "When fully operational, the new Hospital Monseñor Sanabria is expected to feature interventional cardiology and chemotherapy equipment to provide advanced care for patients without requiring a trip to major medical centers in San José."


¡Solo Bueno!

___ ___ ___


Addendum - Who Was Msgr. Sanabria?:


Monsignor Sanabria was Víctor Manuel Sanabria Martínez (born in San Rafael, January 17, 1898 and died in San José, June 8, 1952) who was a Costa Rican priest, doctor of canon law, Bishop of Alajuela, Vicar General of the Metropolitan Curia, Canon Theological of the Metropolitan Council and also Archbishop of San José from March 7, 1940 until his death.


Sanabria was known for his work in support of social guarantees in the articles of the constitution of the Second Republic and particularly in trade unionism, work which took place after the civil war in the 1940´s.


An historical and humanitarian figure of Costa Rica without doubt.



¡Pura Vida!


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


That can´t be real!


Looks like some kind of paper maché concoction posing as a root system.


Is that a real person?

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

¡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 amigos?)



Kraken Detected


Officially its known as Covid-19 XBB.1.5 but it has been named the "Kraken" variant of Covid-19. Originally discovered in the U.S., Kraken is now popping up in various countries around the world incuding Latin America. Costa Rica reported its first three cases in January.

It appears, like other strains of Covid in that it is more prone to infection but hospitalizations and deaths from it are showing lower rates currently.


¡Pura Vida!



Travel Quote of the Month

 “The more I traveled the more I realized that fear makes
strangers of people who should be friends.”
Shirley MacLaine

¡A Cachete!

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:


The GGC Bookshelf this month welcomes a new book by fellow regional author Michael Miller entitled "San José Costa Rica, A Stroll Through the ´Heart and Soul´ of Costa Rica´s Capital City". Michael has become our leading guide for self-touring information on San José, especially if you want to read it in English. For more information follow the links on Book #17 below. Best wishes on the book amigo!


lop uio cvb jio
Costa Rica`s Mystery Spheres Mariposa - English

Mariposa - Español The Chronicles as a Narrative

#1 Read More #2 Read More #3 Leer más aquí #4 Read More
gty ikl dft drt
Small Business Guide Making Time Count Overcoming Drinking Murder or Suicide?
#5 Read More #6 Read More #7 Read More #8 Read More
ser kio fty
Getting Around the Capital Retiring in Costa Rica Avoiding the Pitfalls What's the Sleuth Up To?
#9 Read More #10 Read More #11 Read More #12 Read More


awe drt
Spiritual Love Connection World War II True Story Wildfire and the Tribune World´s First Crypto Caper
#13 Read More #14 Read More #15 Read More #16 Read More
  Plenty of room for additional books from GGC´s author friends.  
Costa Rica´s Capital      
#17 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 find more detail on all of them on our GGC Publications Page.

GGC Products Store

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! (shown) with Photo of White Faced Monkey, e. It's OK to be Slothful with photo of Three-Toed Sloth.


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


Coffee Mugs:


a. Golden Gringo, b. Wanna Monkey Around?, c. It's 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!

To see ALL the products available in the Golden Gringo Store go here: GGC Store.


¡Solo Bueno!


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


Answer to Que Es Eso


It is very real ladies and gentleman. It´s a Ceiba Tree, or at least one species of a ceiba. It tends to grow an obvious and unusual root system and so large that it can be used as a shelter or hiding place for an animal or even humans. Ceibas grow wild in tropical areas like Costa Rica and span a region from Mexico to Northern Argentina as well as being found in West Africa.


GG thought this tree so intriguing he used it for a secret meeting place in one of his novels (#2 on the GGC bookshelf above - Mariposa). Mariposa is a tragic love story of two young lovers who meet at a ceiba tree half way between their home camps, both from different ribes and against both their chiefs wishes. The story is premised on an old Costa Rican legend that tries to explain where butterflies come from.



¡Pura Vida!



ROMEO Corner
(Retired Old Men Eating Out)

Le Papillon at Hotel La Mariposa

Location: About 50 meters west of Emilio's Restaurant.
Monday thru Sunday, breakfast, lunch and dinner (closes at 22:00).

Parking: Some inside the hotel perimeter as well as on the main road.
Contacts: Tel: +506 2777 0355

Reviewing ROMEOS: Annie C., Barry S., Bob N., Carl M., Gale C., Glen N., Harry R., Julia S., Karen M., Kathy P., Olga C., Roger B., Ruth R.


To Review Our Rating System Go Here: R.O.M.E.O. Rating System. And to read an earlier review of this restaurant go: HERE.


Part of the Vista At La Papillon

This restaurant is on a deck at the top of the hotel, and is open-air except for a roof and it offers a panoramic view of the Pacific. In fact, the view is so panoramic (ranging from the southwestern tip of Manuel Antonio National Park all the way to the far north and the tip of Jacó peninsula it makes it difficult to capture in a photo; the one to the left is less than half the overall panorama. It suggests a video is necessary (which I didn´t get around to - my bad).


The decoration of the dining room is modern, white and clean. The composite score for ambiance came in at 4.9 sloths/5.0 max, strongly pulled upward by the vista and yielding a score that is as high as we've ever given for a local restaurant.


The menu proffered to us was not the largest selection ever seen in these parts but did have a reasonable selection of seafood, meats, pastas and salads. GG was particularly intrigued by a salad that included grilled chicken, greens, vegetables, sliced almonds and an undefined berry: I ordered it and was given a piquant sauce with it that somewhat surprised me but then I hadn´t asked beforehand. Overall, it was tasty, fresh and delicious.


Several other ROMEOs ordered other combinations of salads (Mexican, chicken, quinoa), as well as rice dishes with shrimp or chicken, a fillet of chicken or burgers (including an Ocean Burger or fish sandwich).

Value Index= 125


All ROMEOs reported positively concerning their food quality although one comment stated that the chicken fillet was a little too well cooked (grilled). The composite score for food quality came in at 4.3/5.0.


ROMEOs Doing Their Duty at La Papillon

The table had been adequately prepared for us as we arrived and we were served by a young gentleman named John who was attentive, courteous and friendly. The kitchen was a bit slow but it wasn´t like we were having a high pressure lunch and had to rush back to work. The composite score for service came in at 4.7/5.0. This resulted in an average of 4.62/5.0 for Ambiance, Food Quality and Service.


The cost for my berry salad, a piece of passion fruit cheesecake (yummy) and a ginger-ale Michelada came to ₡14,883 or about $26. The composite score for cost came in at 3.7/5.0, a very good (low) rating for a place like this. That made the average for ambiance, food quality and service 4.62 and the overall Value Index = 4.62/3.7 = 125. That puts La Papillon in the top 1/3 of restaurants we´ve evaluated in this area for value index.


The ROMEOs can once more confirm Le Papillon at Hotel La Mariposa as a good restaurant with an incredible vista, perhaps the best vista in the area.



¡Solo Bueno!




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Pura Vida!

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