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In This Edition:

1. Broken News (All the News That's Fit to Reprint): a. Increased U.S. Embassy Security Alert; b. The Prez as Manager; c. MA Beach in Top World 25; d. Marijuana Oversupply in Costa Rica.

2. Economic Drumbeat (Costa Rica Business Happenings): a. Gasoline Price Roller Coaster; b. Unemployment Steady; c. Government Still Pushing the sale of the Bank of Costa Rica; d. New Law Incentivizes Film Investments; e. Government Redefines Uber; f. Government Starts Process on Southern Airport.

3. Latin America Update (Major Events in Neighboring Countries):. a. Ecuador - Free Trade Agreement Signed With Costa Rica; b. Nicaragua - Ortega Cuts Diplomatic Ties With The Vatican.

4. Feature: Deciding Where to Live in Costa Rica (How GG Ended Up In The Central Pacific Coast).

5. Rumble and Weather Talk: a. Rumble: 6.8 in Ecuador; b. Weather: Rainy Season Forecast to Begin April 23.

6. ¿Que es Eso?: Now why would 30 mounted policemen be gathered in front of the Metropolitan Cathedral?

7. Health Stuff: a. 3 Year Anniversary of Covid.

8. GGC Bookshelf and More: Books from GGC Publications, Golden Gringo T-Shirts and Coffee Mugs as Well as Suggested Books from Local Writers.

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

10. ROMEO Corner: Kerala at Planeta Sano, Manuel Antonio.

Wisdom of the Ages

"Now that I´m too old to give a bad example,
.... I delight in given good advice."

- Anonymous

Holidays In Cost Rica In April

Originally dedicated for April 11, 1856, which this year is a Tuesday, The Battle of Rivas memorial holiday, in accordance with the new law on maximizing holidays to fall on Mondays and Friday, will be celebrated on Monday, April 10.

The battle of Rivas (Nicaragua) was fought by Costa Rican nationals who reached across the border into Nicaragua to thwart the ambitions of one William Walker, a Philadelphia Lawyer and "filibuster" of that time who was intent at setting up his own kingdom of Central America with his private army.

A young Costa Rican hero by the name of Juan Santamaria, for whom the major airport here is now named is commemorated by the statue left which graces the entrance to SJO airport. What the battle and his actions did do was raise the fellow to a heroic level as he... but you can read more about it here: Battle of Rivas.

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

Increased U.S. Embassy Security Alerts

It seems like every time we see a notice from the U.S. Embassy these days it offers a travel cautionary. While that was the norm for the past two years because of Covid, the alarms seem to be continuing. Just for the heck of it I googled current embassy travel advisories for Latin countries starting with the north (Mexico) and going all the way down to the middle of South America, representing about 250 million in population. I got the following:


Mexico: Warns travelers to completely avoid travel to six Mexican states (Colima state, Guerrero state, Michoacan state, Sinaloa state, Tamaulipas state, and Zacatecas) due to increasing violent crime and kidnapping. Guerrero is where Acapulco, Zihuatanejo, and Ixtapa are located. (malo=bad) More on specific areas in Mexico to avoid HERE.


Guatemala: Reconsider travel to Guatemala due to crime. Do not travel to San Marcos Department (except the city of San Marcos) due to crime, Huehuetenango Department (except the city of Huehuetenango) due to crime, Zone 18+ city of Villa Nueva in Guatemala City due to crime. (malo)


Honduras: Reconsider travel to Honduras due to crime and kidnapping. Do not travel to Gacias a Dios Department due to crime. (malo)



Belize: Exercise increased caution in Belize due to crime (OK)




El Salvador: If you decide to travel to El Salvador, be aware of surroundings. Avoid walking or driving at night. Do not physically resist any robbery attempt. Be extra vigilant when visiting banks or ATMs. Do not display signs of wealth, such as wearing expensive watches or jewelry. This is the mildest cautionary in this group.


Nicaragua: Reconsider travel to Nicaragua due to limited healthcare availability and arbitrary enforcement of laws. Exercise increased caution in Nicaragua due to crime, and wrongful detentions. The government of Nicaragua arbitrarily enforces laws for political purposes. Throughout Nicaragua, government officials and law enforcement continue to target those opposed to the rule of President Ortega. The government and its affiliated groups have been reported to:

U.S. citizens have reported being subject to this treatment. U.S. citizen residents of Nicaragua also report increased scrutiny of alleged political speech and additional scrutiny by immigration officials. The Department has determined the risk of wrongful detention of U.S. nationals by the Government of Nicaragua exists. This was the harshest advisory of those researched. (malo)


Costa Rica: While petty crime is the predominant threat for tourists in Costa Rica, violent crime, including armed robbery, homicide and sexual assault, occurs in Costa Rica. The Costa Rican government provides additional security resources in areas frequented by tourists.


Panama: On October 26, the State Department changed its Travel Advisory for Panama from Level 4: Do Not Travel to Level 3: Reconsider Travel. The Embassy advises all U.S. citizens to read the full travel advisory at travel.state.gov or on the Embassy web page at pa.usembassy.gov.


Colombia: Reconsider travel due to crime and terrorism. Exercise increased caution due to civil unrest and kidnapping. Do Not Travel to: Arauca, Cauca (excluding Popayán), and Norte de Santander departments due to crime and terrorism or the Colombia-Venezuela border region due to crime, kidnapping, and risk of detention when crossing into Venezuela from Colombia. (malo)


Venezuela: Do not travel to Venezuela due to crime, civil unrest, kidnapping, and the arbitrary enforcement of local laws.  Reconsider travel due to wrongful detentions, terrorism, and poor health infrastructure.  On March 11, 2019, the U.S. Department of State announced the withdrawal of diplomatic personnel from U.S. Embassy Caracas.  All consular services, routine and emergency, remain suspended until further notice.  The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Venezuela.  U.S. citizens in Venezuela who require consular services should try to leave the country as soon as safely possible and contact a U.S. embassy or consulate in another country.


While GG can agree with cautionary procedures on most of these countries and complete avoidance for a few, it seems that the U.S. State Department is being a little too enthusiastic about warnings. I couldn´t help but wonder what the Travel Advisories would look like for Chicago, St. Louis, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia and Los Angeles. (malo, I suspect)


The countries above represent about 40% of the 600+ million population in continental Latin America (Mexico to Argentina).


The Prez as Manager


A press report about Costa Rica´s President said it this way: "Since taking office in May 2022, Chaves is making history with having the highest number of casualties in Costa Rican history for a first year: 21 changes between ministers, vice ministers, and executive presidents of state institutions." Those changes (dismissals and replacements) were:

  1. Joselyn Chacón, Minister of Health
  2. Carlos Alvarado Briceño, Minister of Science
  3. Laura Bonilla, Minister of Agriculture
  4. Patricia Navarro, Minister of Communication
  5. Marta Eugenia Esquivel, Minister of Labor
  6. Mario Arce Executive, President Incofer
  7. Allan Trigueros, President Sinart
  8. Eduardo Robert, President Inder
  9. Roberto Guzmán President AYA
  10. Álvaro Ramos, President CCSS
  11. Laura Ulloa, Vice Minister of Transport
  12. Edgar Mata, Vice Minister of Agriculture
  13. Rocío Valerio, Vice Minister of Agriculture
  14. Rodolfo Chévez, Vice Minister of Education
  15. Rocío Solís, Vice Minister of Education
  16. Ricardo Seravalli, Vice Minister of Culture
  17. Ernesto Calvo, Vice Minister of Culture
  18. Luis Paulino, Mora Vice Minister of Labor
  19. Randall Vega, Vice Minister of Security
  20. Alejandro Guillén, Vice Minister of Labor
  21. Laura Bogantes, Vice Minister of Commerce

Seems we have somebody in charge who believes in performance and, says Chaves (who holds a Ph.D. in economics from Ohio State University):


“I measure the key performance indicators for each leader and that includes what they achieve, in what time they do it, and how fast the progress is going, as well as the perspectives and route to achieve the goals. I have a matrix that I personally follow and it includes 92 points, there I can see how everything is going and for this reason, talking with them, we came to the conviction that a change was necessary because things were not progressing.”


That´s one for Buckeyes! Are you kidding me, a politician that demands performance; what is this world coming to? (Sanity, I hope)


MA Beach in Top World 25


Tripadvisor recently ranked Manuel Antonio Beach as #18 best in the world. Number 1 went to Baia Do Sancho in Brazil, #2 to Eagle Beach in Aruba, #3 Cable Beach, Australia; #4 Reynisfjara Beach in Iceland and #5 to Grace Bay Beach, Providenciales. That last one, Providenciales, I had to look up and found it to be in the Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean. "Calm waters, the sand and the contact with biodiversity contributed to Manuel Antonio´s rating" said the report.


Marijuana Oversupply in Costa Rica


The use of marijuana in Costa Rica has been technically illegal in Costa Rica since 1961 but today it usually is described as "nominally illegal". The percentage of the population here using marijuana is estimated to be around 3.2% and descriptions are also made that the locally produced pot is low in the active ingredient, THC.


The geographical position of Costa Rica in the Caribbean as well as the Pacific and the proximity of the country to the Panama Canal has made it attractive to cartels. In the early years much of the influx of pot was from Jamaica which was used to supply the local market but even more importantly the area became a hub to export supplies to the U.S. and Europe. In recent years supplies from the Pacific, chiefly Colombia, have increased substantially and international trafficking and criminal organizations began competing for the lucrative markets.


With all this expansion it was only a matter of time before the cartels would raise the level of violence as they competed with each other to get the best share of the international markets. The OIJ (Costa Rica´s version of the FBI) credits this competition with an increase in violent activity, chiefly homicide, in the country in the last several years (above).


¡Pura Vida!


Economic Drumbeat
(Costa Rica Business Happenings)

Gasoline Price Roller Coaster


Just like a roller coaster, up and down, up and down, and despite a strengthening in the Colon versus the dollar (or perhaps because of it), the price of two of the three major grades of gasoline was once more increased by the regulating authority in early March. Not much later the strengthening of the colon against the dollar triggered an effective drop and then a regulatory drop in the cost of gasoline here.


Here are the gasoline gas prices as of the middle of March 2023 in colones per liter and dollars per gallon at the current exchange rate. These are somewhat down from the previous month.


At the same time, the internet was reporting an average price of regular in the U.S. of $3.50/gal.


Unemployment Steady


National unemployment in January in Costa Rica (11.8%) was pretty much the same rate as the past quarterly average. It had been recovering from the Covid episode but in recent months it has been steadier and leveling off. On an year to year basis the unemployment rate dropped 1.3% versus last year. The rate of 11.8% equates to 287,000 without jobs.


Government Still Pushing Sale of Bank of Costa Rica


One of the early proposals of the new government administered by President Rodrigo Chaves was to sell the largest commercial bank owned by the government, BCR, or the Banco de Costa Rica. One must assume that the powers in control don´t see the logic of the government owning a commercial bank but they also see an income from the sale of the bank, estimated to be US$1.8-$2.45 billion. That´s not peanuts on a national expenditures budget of about $15 billion.


When the bill proposing the sale hit the Assembly it was quickly stopped by its opponents. That was easy because Sr. Chaves´ party, the Partido Progreso Social Democrático (PPSD) only controls 10 of the 56 seats in the legislative body. After collecting the arguments and questions, Chaves & Co. stated they "insist" on the sale and will resubmit the bill along with answers to the objections. (gotta admit they got Moxie!)


GG is watching this one with more than a passive interest as BCR is his bank and I hope this sale does not portend additional fees coming. More to be revealed.


New Law Incentivizes Film Investments


Come to Our Jungle Amigos

President Chaves and a few key ministers (Foreign Trade, Finance, Interior and Police) recently signed the Film Investment Attraction Law of Costa Rica.


The idea behind this law is premised on the need to reactivate the economy by attracting some of the $42 Billion film making industry to Costa Rica.


PROCOMER, a government agency, is responsible for promoting exports of Costa Rican goods and services worldwide. It currently services some 2,377 exporter companies, over 4,000 products going to 153 export locations. PROCOMER also simplifies and facilitates export procedures and generates export chains. A supply chain involves the movement of goods from a country to another country and it includes streamlining of order handling, transportation, inventory management and handling, storage, packaging, and clearing of the export goods.


The tax law incentives for the film makers are significant:

Why does GG think some of the old classics would have come out differently had they been filmed here? You know, like The Wild Bunch, Gone With the Wind and Some Like It Hot.

Government Redefines Uber


Concluding that there was an employment relationship between UBER and the plaintiff (a former Uber driver), the San José Labor Court (officially the Juzgado de Trabajo del Tercer Circuito Judicial de San José) must pay the driver for back Aguinaldo (year-end month bonus) as well as "vacations, and matters relating to pensions, between 2017 and 2022, the period in which he worked."


The ruling cites four conditions to support the action: 1) the driver provided a "personal" service which is characteristic of an employment contract, 2) the driver received remuneration from the Employer (Uber), 3) the driver was subject to orders and guidelines from Uber and 4) the results of the agreement do not accrue to the driver but to Uber.


The ruling essentially brings independent Uber into and under the regulations for standard taxi drivers. Methinks the average price of a taxi ride just went up.


New Airport Planning Starts


The government has ordered a series of archaeological feasibility studies for a major new airport to service the southern part of the country, particularly the Osa Peninsula area. This would make it much easier and faster for tourists and other visitors to visit this area rather than by vehicular traffic from the Central Valley which currently takes 6-7 hours of driving. In this way the government hopes to accelerate tourism in the southern area substantially.


The currently planned location of the new airport is about half way between Ciudad Cortes and Sierpe, two small towns in the Osa shown on the map above, right. This is about 50 miles south of Quepos and will permit quick access to Corcovado National Park as well as much of the south jungle area, the Térraba-Sierpe Wetland and the Ballena Marine National Park. The scope of the project as planned would include the handling of the Airbus A319/320/321 family, B737 Family, executive and other medium-range aircraft.


This area is known as the Brunca Region, the name respecting the prevalent indigenous people in the area, Of course, it´s quite possible that artifacts of various kinds related to the Bruncas could show up. The chosen site is not far from Finca 6, the ancient farm where the mysterious spheres of Costa Rica were first found in the 1940´s. The Bookshelf Section below also has a book on the Spheres of Costa Rica (item #1).


The archaeological study is expected to take 1-1/2 to 2 years and will be carried out by the National Museum. Assuming the archaeological study clears the way, the airport construction ground-breaking work would begin in 2026. No expected completion date has yet been given.



¡Pura Vida!



Latin America Updates
(Major Events In Neighboring Countries)



Costa Rica and Ecuador Sign Free Trade Agreement. The President of Ecuador, Sr. Guillermo Lasso, was in San José recently with Costa Rica´s president Rodrigo Chaves and the two leaders signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA in loudspeaker).


Senores Lasso and Chaves

Sr. Lasso stressed: "...that the FTA means “integrating the economies between two Latin American countries and hermanos (brothers), which are neighbors by the ocean and also share the vocation for sustainable development.”


For his part, Sr. Chaves said: “This is a very positive step to reaffirm our commitment as countries, but it is also a signal to the world of democracies that we share the idea, the notion, the ideal that the private sector should generate wealth together with the public sector.”


Good work gentlemen.





Ortega Cuts Diplomatic Ties With The Vatican. After 115 years of diplomatic relations between the Nicaraguan state and the Vatican, President Daniel Ortega has severed diplomatic relations with the Vatican.


Nicaragua has not had an ambassador to the Apostolic See since September 21, 2021, when Ortega canceled the appointment of Ellette Ortega Sotomayor. Ortega has described bishops as “terrorists” and “coup plotters” and currently has one bishop, Monsignor Rolando José Álvarez, bishop of Matagalpa jailed in La Modelo prison in Managua with a sentence of 26 years for “treason to the homeland” after he refused to accept exile to the U.S. along with 222 other political opponents (read that HERE).


For his part, Pope Francis recently dubbed Ortega and his VP wife Rosario Murillo as a "Hitlerean Dictatorship" with a leader who has an "imbalance".


Nicaragua now joins 13 countries who do not have diplomatic relations with the Vatican: (4 are communist run (Vietnam, North Korea, China, and Laos), 8 are under Muslim rule (Somalia, Oman, Mauritania, Maldives, Comoros Islands, Brunei, Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia), and there is one Buddhist kingdom in Asia.


¡A Cachete!


Deciding Where to Live in Costa Rica
(How GG Ended Up In The Central Pacific Coast)

GG has had the pleasure of attending and presenting information at three symposiums here in Costa Rica over the last several years that were run by a major international travel magazine. These meetings are an opportunity to meet people from many parts of the world, but particularly from North America, and talk about why I love Costa Rica and why I chose to retire here. Some come with an adventurous attitude but little or no knowledge of what they may be getting into. The discussion here is intended to address some of the average expat´s basic concerns.


Let´s First Remember Where Costa Rica Is Located


First of all Dorothy, Costa Rica is not an Island, it´s in the heart of the Isthmus that connects North and South Americas (Dorothy, you´re thinking of Puerto Rico which is an island north of Cuba). Getting a good map of the country will help orient and formulate the questions below.


In talking about the characteristics that lead one to selecting a location in Costa Rica, GG suggests you establish a rating system (sorry, it´s the engineer in me). A rating of 1 to 5 for each of what you define as characteristics important to you, 5 being most important, is easy to use. Also, the process requires rating your chosen characteristics for each location. GG decided his important location characteristics would be Weather, Rural/City, "Stuff", Cultural and Health. Let me explain what these meant to me and how I rated them.


Even though the land area of Costa Rica is slightly less than that of West Virginia, the variations in climate across Ticoland can be substantial. So the first thing to realize is the remarkable difference in what is often called here "micro-climates", the variations in weather, humidity and rainfall that occur north, south, central and coasts (two of them). So...


Let´s Talk Weather


Being located near the equator (9º lateral north) the country is generally referred to as tropical but temperatures can vary widely. It can be 90-95ºF in the flat land on the coasts in the heat of summer (December to May) while being as low as 50ºF at higher elevations in the central mountain range. In the winter (May to December) it´s even been reported that people have occasionally seen snow flurries at the top of Costa Rica´s highest mountain (Mount Chiripo - El. 3,820 mtrs/12,536 ft.); yet in most places it´s still temperate.


Manuel Antonio

Quepos/Manuel Antonio where GG lives is known for being hot and humid, especially in summertime, while Central Valley people (San José) will always tell you how much cooler it is in the Central Valley. But to me it´s more like chilly there, even in summer.


GG´s background and desire was for the beach, which is now 15 minutes for me by bus from where I live in Quepos to Manuel Antonio Beach. I´ve never felt too hot at the beach sitting under an umbrella enjoying the Pacific breeze. And you can always take a dunk in water that I´ve never seen register below 72ºF or higher than 85. Away from the beach, such as at home for example, can be handled by air conditioning which I find is not needed during the sleeping hours.


I gave the Weather factor an importance rating of 4 and Quepos a personal rating of 4 for my ranking table (see below).


How About Rural Versus City Living


Here I´m talking about the daily business of getting around as well as access and convenience to various businesses. Here I´m not considering the array of products and services available (which GG summarizes as "Stuff" below) or access to extensive cultural entertainments or sports (listed as "Culture" below), both of these factors are listed and rated separately below.


"We´re Almost Home Maria" (SJO)

GG has always preferred small town living not only because of getting around (in Quepos, GG has walking access to all basic needs, i.e., banking, supermarkets, hardware stores, pharmacies, a goodly number of restaurants of various types and sizes, etc. etc. Getting around without hassles, road blocks or traffic jams is standard life here. Although the only really large town I have ever lived in was Brussels, Belgium (pop. 1.2 million) - I remember the traffic congestion and jams there really well and much like our San José (may the Force be with you).


Interpreting Rural/City category in this way and because I felt this to be important in my personal life I set the Rural/City factor at 5. Later I gave Quepos the highest rating for its ease of getting around, a 5.


What About "Stuff"?


Now we´re talking about the availability of an "array of products and services" within a reasonable distance from where you live. There´s no doubt in GG´s mind that the Central Valley has the top rating in this regard as a result of all the malls and specialty stores supported by a metropolitan area population of over two million souls. For that reason I set the location rating for San José at the highest level, 5. But for me the lure of stuff is not that great so I rated the importance of being close to "Stuff" for me as 1.


As time went on living here GG adjusted his thinking in this regard. There were very few items that I had to have but there were always things that I might want or thought I could use. It so happened that I would find myself in San José once or twice a year and I learned to use these trips get those things that were scarce or not available in Quepos. This was particularly useful when it came to clothing items, where the selection is much more varied in malls and stores that are part of the megalopolis.


In later years I also developed a DHL/Aeropost source. I could order a product at U.S. pricing, let´s say through Amazon, ship it to a DHL/Aeropost Miami address where it would in turn be shipped to Costa Rica and delivered to a local DHL office four blocks from where I live. The cost of international shipping and possible taxes in this way was rarely much more expensive than taking a road trip to San José. On "Stuff" I gave the Quepos location a rating of 3.




This would, of course, include availability to museums, historical places and events, festivals, theater performances, professional sports and other cultural activities. Although these are somewhat available and do occur in the rural life in a place like Quepos, the frequency and intensity of them is considerably less there when compared to the Central Valley. For this reason GG gave a location rating of 5 to the Central Valley and 3 to Quepos.




This is another category that favors a greater availability, at least of possibilities, such as in the Central Valley. GG has watched the health care offering in Quepos expand slowly over the past 15 years with the adding of Caja services and the addition of more availability from private sources such as Hospital Metropolitano and Medismart. Nevertheless, when health needs turn specialty, such as cardiovascular or psychiatric, the availability in the populated region is superior. GG rated the importance factor for this category as 5 with location rating of 3 for Quepos.


Putting It All Together


So, assembling this data in a table GG gets the following:



It´s true that everything cannot be reduced to a number, but I believe the process used to construct the table reinforces one´s thinking about what is important to oneself and requires a more thorough evaluation and assessment as to how these factors apply to your location possibilities.


Hope this helps you make a better decision.


¡Pura Vida!



Rumble and Weather Talk
(Shaky Happenings & Weather Observations About the Pacific Rim)



Nothing substantial to report for Costa Rica but around noon on Saturday, March 18 a 6.8 magnitude hit the Golfo de Guayaquil area on the southeastern border of Ecuador near Peru.


Early estimates said 15 people were killed, hundreds injured, 44 homes destroyed, 50 schools and 31 medical centers damaged.


So while I was writing and reporting on the Ecuadorian episode above and started writing about nothing happening this month in Costa Rica, in late afternoon (6:45 pm) the old familiar rumble and shake started to move me, my computer and the room. It lasted several seconds and, like usual, the unnerving part of these episodes is that one doesn´t know if it will dissipate or get tragically worse. This one let go after about 10 seconds and the USGS recorded it at an intensity of 5.5, located just off he coast of southwestern Costa Rica (just south of where I live).


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




The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional (IMN) is forecasting that the rainy season for 2023 will begin this April 23 and that "by mid-May, the entire country will be in the rainy or “green season". In addition, these "Experts forecast 14-18 named storms, 7-9 hurricanes, and 2-4 major hurricanes for this year’s Atlantic hurricane season which officially begins on June 1, and ends on November 30". Of course hurricanes at F-1 or above wind levels hardly ever happen in happyland because we are too far south of the action and they tend to downgrade to tropical storms.


Nevertheless, tropical storms and dissipated hurricanes that do come here can cause considerable damage to people and businesses - take Tropical Storm Nate in 2017 for example.


¡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:


Golden Gringo Chronicles - Enter Search Here

Readers: Our publication is open to suggestions regarding future articles and will accept pieces written by others but we reserve the right to decline anything that the editorial staff (that's GG) thinks is inappropriate for this format. Send proposals, comments, suggestions, ideas, meaningless statements and jocular observations concerning the Chronicles to GG here: gg@goldengringo.com.

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


I didn´t do it officer, I didn´t!



What are 30 police mounted on horseback doing here?



Funny place for a riding academy.

Answer in
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?)



a. 3rd Year Anniversary of Covid


March 6 marked three years since the first Covid 19 case was reported in Costa Rica. The health ministry is happy about the statistics at this point citing a successful vaccination program that counts 90% of the population having one dose, 83% of the people completing their second dose but 1.5 million still not getting their 3rd dose (that translates to about 71% with a third dose. Unfortunately along the way some 9,000 people were lost to this disease.



¡Pura Vida!



Travel Quote of the Month


¡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:


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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
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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


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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
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


Some of you may recognize the monument in the photo below as the one in front of the National Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana) in San José. As I remember its history the gazebo was donated by none other than former Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza but I don´t remember why or what its significance means. Visitors and lunch goers find it also provides a brief respite from the sun and it has become a favorite gathering spot.


While walking in downtown San Jose on March 8 this year I came across a small crowd surrounding another group of about 30 horse-mounted police (photo left). I approached them with my limited Spanish to ask what was going on but one of the police quickly signaled for an English speaking officer to the front (I guess the first one wasn´t impressed by my Spanish). Both guys were very friendly.


The English-speaking officer told me they were preparing for a woman "manifestation". The American English version of that word is demonstration. I had forgotten that March 8th this year was International Woman´s Day. Sure enough, walking a few blocks more I ran into a group of about 50 ladies with signs who were headed towards the Cathedral. I suspect everything came off peacefully.



¡Pura Vida!




ROMEO Corner
(Retired Old Men Eating Out)

Kerala at Planeta Sano, Manuel Antonio

Location: Take road next to Tico-Tico to Hotel Planeta Sano (formerly Hotel California).
Currently 12-4pm weekdays (brunch) and 12-9 pm Saturday and Sunday for dinner.

Parking: Adequate at the Restaurant
Contact Info: Tel: 8765-3590, Facebook


Reviewing ROMEOS: Alma L., Annie C., Barry S., Bob N., David H., Glen N., Joanne., Olga C., Sari H.

To Review Our Rating System Go Here: R.O.M.E.O. Rating System


This restaurant is based at the old California Hotel which has been renovated and recommissioned as the Planeta Sano or "Healthy Planet" Hotel. The theme repositions the hotel (and also indirectly the restaurant) as being oriented to physical and spiritual well-being as well as good, wholesome food.


View from Restaurant Kerala

The restaurant is brand new and run by a lady by the name of Kera who has a long history of cheffing. The restaurant is perched on the side of the mountain and is an open-air platform that offers one of Manuel Antonio´s best views, a long stretch of the coast going north, perhaps as far up as the Jacó peninsula. Most of the ROMEOs commented on the view.


The dining area was simply furnished with typical Costa Rican wooden furniture; the tables having simple decorations in the blue and white format in which is prevalent in the hotel. The composite score from the ROMEOs for ambiance came in at 4.8 out of a possible 5.0 max sloths.


We were first offered a drink menu with a number of intriguing combinations. GG chose a drink with a chop of mango-limon-orange-honey-mint: delicious and refreshing. Several other combinations of fruits and natural ingredients will have to be tried at a later time. The menu for brunch is fairly short but creative with several choices that follow along the healthy theme. and

To the table was first offered a plate of fresh, sliced fruit to pick from.


GG opted for a broasted focaccia de romero covered with aguacate and laden with sliced pickled onions, cherry tomatoes, radishes and sea salt. Very different and very tasty. Other ROMEOs had different versions of the foccacia and a couple of them opted for what looked to me like a tipico Costa Rican desayuno described as "classic" (scrambled eggs, pinto etc.) as well as French Toast.


After the main plate, the table was supplied with a sample of sweet bread with banana sprinkled with a light caramel sauce. Nice touch and delicious.


Value Index= 105


ROMEOs at Work Once More

The composite score for food quality from the nine ROMEOs came in at 4.4/5.0 max.


We were served by a young lady named Deniella who was attentive, polite and helpful. The composite score for service came in at 4.1/5.0. That resulted in an average for Ambiance, Food Quality and Service of (4.8+4.4+4.1)/3 = 4.4


GG´s foccacia and fruit drink came to ¢12,200 (about $22). The composite score for cost came in at 4.2 making the Value Index 4.4/4.2=105, which is in the middle of all our ratings for Manuel Antonio restaurants.



The ROMEOs can attest to Kerala being another good restaurant in our area with an incredible vista and offering a cuisine that is different and interesting.


¡Solo Bueno!




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