Feature and Department Links:

Broken News

Economic Drumbeat

Latin America Update

Tropical Fruit Anyone?

Rumble and Weather Talk

¿Que Es Eso?

Health Stuff

GGC Bookshelf


ROMEO Corner

Use our Archives:

Archived Editions

Topical Archives


Search Website

Subscribe to GGC

In This Edition:

1. Broken News (All the News That's Fit to Reprint): a. Costa Rica Ranks High Worldwide In English; b. Costa Rica Has New Biometric Passport; c. Virgin Crocodile Birth Reported In Costa Rica.

2. Economic Drumbeat (CR Business Happenings): a. Latest Gas Price Changes; b. Inflation Negative First Five Months; c. Circumvalacion Nearing Completion; d. Employers To Hire More In Coming Months.

3. Latin American Update (Major Events in Neighboring Countries):. a. Nicaragua - Ortega Authorizes Foreign Military Presence; b. Panama; Increasing Relations With The Chinese.

4. Feature #1: Tropical Fruit Anyone? (How About Nancetes?)

5. Rumble and Weather Talk: a. Rumble: Quiet Period is Over; b. Weather: Green Alert as Rainy Season Begins.

6. ¿Que es Eso?: Apples, Onions, Garlic or Some Kind of a Berry?

7. Health Stuff: Bye-Bye Covid and Good Riddance.

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: Runaway Grill, Marina Pez Vela.

Wisdom of the Ages

A friend caught W.C. Fields, who was ill and approaching death,
reading the Bible.

"Why are you reading that?" asked the friend. Fields replied:

"Loopholes, Looking for loopholes!"

Holidays In Cost Rica In July

There is indeed a holiday in Costa Rica in July, an important one too, as it reflects the early strength and growth of the country. The title of this holiday is Guanacaste Day, celebrated on July 25. It represents the day in 1824 when the province of Guanacaste, before that date neither associated with Nicaragua or Costa Rica, was welcomed into the republic of Costa Rica.

Guanacaste has since grown substantially and now includes important cities such as Puntarenas (pop. 134,000) and Liberia (pop. 67,000) as well as being a formidable tourist location with many resorts, expansive beaches and the second busiest airport (Liberia-LIR) in Costa Rica .

For more on this holiday, go HERE.

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

Costa Rica Ranks High Worldwide in English

According to the international education organization called Education First, Costa Rica ranks 37th of 111 countries in English on the basis of 2.1 million interviews worldwide. Costa Rica also ranks in English as #2 of the 33 countries in Latin America after #1 Argentina. In Latin America Costa Rica is followed by Cuba, Paraguay, Bolivia and Chile in this rating.


Methinks the push the government has on learning English helps give an international perspective here and certainly helps to make Costa Rica more business competitive worldwide.


Costa Rica Has New Biometric Passport


For the past year or so Costa Rica has been issuing new biometric passports, a system that has been recognized as the best in security in Latin America. When it started being issued in 2022, the new passport was awarded "Best New Passport" in recognition of the advanced security of its new system.


This passport has over 60 security features, and it uses materials like polycarbonate for the data page and a transparent portrait window.


The enhanced features also include a chip and an antenna embedded in the passport to store personal data in order to be able to perform biometric validations, such as fingerprints.


One special innovation is a flexible and thin data page, made of 100% polycarbonate material, which provides a longer useful life and allows the incorporation of new measures such as a bright and durable color photo that is incorporated into the polycarbonate data page using a printing technique that combines a vivid color photo in combination with laser engraving. The data chip also carries biometric data like fingerprints taken from people 18 years of age and older, which will allow proof of their identity.


The Costa Rica Department of Immigration expects the new passport with cutting-edge features will go a long way in preventing a rampant increase in identity fraud as well as ease the identity verification and authentication processes at airports.


GG got his first Costa Rican passport in 2020 and must renew it in 2026; I presume the old one will continue to work until then. It was good to hear another reason that the new passport will be better as it has a ten year life span. Estimated cost of the new passport, including delivery, is ₡51,000 or about $93.

Virgin Crocodile Birth Reported In Costa Rica

International news agencies have been reporting what is believed to be a virgin birth by a female crocodile at a reptile park between the towns of Dominical and Pérez Zeledón, only about 30-40 miles from GGC Headquarters. The lady croc is known as "Coquito" and has been isolated at the facility for 16 years.


Coquito:No Thanks Señor Croc, Don´t Need You

Crocs, like chickens, can lay infertile eggs. At 18 years of age Coquito laid 14 eggs, one of which contained a non-viable fully-formed fetus and biological testing confirmed that the fetus was 99.9% similar to Coquito. The self-propagating process, called facultative parthenogenesis (or FP) occurs when, in making an egg cell, a precursor cell divides into four cells, then one of those cells essentially acts as a sperm cell and fuses with the egg to become “fertilized.”


Researchers believe that FP may have been inherited in Coquito from ancient ancestors such as dinosaurs who are believed to have had the FP capability also.


How ´bout them apples Mr. Croc; or is it eggs? Once more the male species is marginalized.


¡Pura Vida!


Economic Drumbeat
(Costa Rica Business Happenings)

Latest Gas Price Changes


Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Públicos (ARESEP), the regulatory authority for such things as gas prices, posted gasoline price changes in early June. Regular gas remained essentially the same increasing only 1 colon per liter to 709¢/l ($4.94/gal), super went up 22¢/l to 759¢/l ($5.28/gal) and diesel dropped 53¢/l to 583¢/l ($4.06/gal). The $ to colones ratio was based on the current exchange rate of 540¢/$.


Inflation Negative First Five Months


The government was happy to report that their core inflation index actually dropped -1.36% in May somewhat taking the sting off price increases that occurred during the supply chain pressures caused by the Covid adventure.


Of the 289 goods and services that make up the core consumption basket, 48% of them increased in price, 37% decreased and the remaining 15% remained unchanged. Those items that fell in price included mobile phones, tomatoes, oil, tourist packages abroad, onions, beans, and canned tuna, among others.


Another good indicator that inflation is waning is the fact that from June 2022 to May 2023 the inflation rate came in at 0.88%, the lowest in that period in the last ten years.


Circumvalacion Nearing Completion


Some sixty years ago, with population and commerce increasing and expected to increase even faster, planners realized that San José would benefit from a highway that would connect different parts of the city yet improve traffic flow and provide for connections to major highways. That gave rise to a concept called the circumvalacion (gringos might simply call it a ring road) that traverses many of the busiest neighborhoods of the city.


Construction work on the route began in 1979. "Ring Road" is probably not a good descriptor of this project because, although it´s a circular road, it doesn´t ring the city, it traverses it. It also means that acquisition or expropriation of land slows the process down. In addition the project required a large number of exit ramps and new or upgraded roundabouts. Quite a complex and difficult project to accomplish in an urban environment, but necessary.


The last stage of the project, between Tibás and Calle Blancos, is currently 58% complete, and is expected to be finished in April 2024. What has resulted is a route that is 14.9 km (9.3 miles) long and provides access to major connecting routes in the Costa Rica system.


President Rodrigo Chaves couldn´t wait until April next and decided to gather his minister of MOPT (Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes), Luis Amador and dedicate the circumvalacion which he accomplished recently with great fanfare.


Employers To Hire More In Coming Months


In a recent survey of over 1,000 employers, the ManpowerGroup of Costa Rica reported that 43% of those surveyed expect to hire more employees in the third quarter of 2023.


Communication Services was the leading commercial segment in this survey with a hiring expectation of 60%, an increase of 18% compared to the previous quarter. The survey also noted that large companies (+250 employees) have the highest expectations and that the most active labor areas are expected to be in the Alajuela, Heredia and Guanacaste provinces.


The report also noted a shortage of talent in Costa Rica of 71% and that the positions most sought after by employers are sales and marketing, reception and customer service, engineering, IT positions and data analysis, as well as operations and logistics.


The President of ManpowerGroup noted: “As all aspects of life become more technological, human strengths stand out in the digital age. The 5 most demanded soft skills in Costa Rica are: reliability and self-discipline, initiative taking, resilience and adaptability, creativity and originality, leadership and social influence.”


Not a bad professional code for most individuals to develop and live by.


¡Pura Vida!



Latin America Updates
(Major Events In Neighboring Countries)





Ortega Authorizes Foreign Military Presence. President Daniel Ortega recently authorized the entry of an undefined number of military personnel from Russia, Mexico, Venezuela, the United States, Cuba, and the Conference of Central American Armed Forces (Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and the Dominican Republic).


Nicaraguan Russian Tanks on Parade

The stated purpose is to support “exchange and humanitarian assistance for mutual benefit, in case of emergency situations”. Basically the first part of this decree allows military personnel to station or transit for the purpose of conducting "exercises in humanitarian aid operations, search, rescue, and rescue missions in emergency situations or natural disasters” and includes United States military.


With regard to the Russians the decree also allows “training and exchange of information on operations against illegal acts in maritime spaces in the Caribbean Sea and jurisdictional waters in the Pacific Ocean of Nicaragua, with the Nicaraguan Naval Force”.


The military ties between Russia and Nicaragua continue to grow stronger ever since Ortega bought 50 Russian T-72B1 tanks back in 2016 (shown in parade upper right).




Increased Chinese Relations. Recent press reports noted the increasing level of Chinese participation in the economy of Panama. Others have noted a decline in the United States influence in the Central American region since the Canal ownership was transferred to Panama by President Jimmy Carter and the U.S. Congress in 1977.


The Chinese have shown an increasing influence and interest in Latin America in these last decades. Reported recently: "Trade between China and Latin America has gone through the roof, from US$12 billion in 2000 to a huge US$495 billion today, making Beijing the region’s biggest trading partner." The Chinese ambassador to Panama, has made it clear that China is interested in the area for energy, mining, natural resources, and trade purposes.


While the U.S. remains Panama´s largest trade partner, the development of trade to and through Panama by China continues to surge.


Some 140 multinationals have their headquarters in Panama because of the incentives they get and the country’s position as a financial and logistics hub in the region. In 2017, Panama cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan and officially announced that they only recognized one China, with Taiwan as a part of it. Chile, Peru, Costa Rica and Ecuador have already signed free trade agreements with China.


The United States has taken a low-key, wait and see attitude about the Chinese economic progress in Latin America. Says one analyst: “The United States is not taking steps to counter this Chinese advance. They complain about the Chinese presence, but beyond that they do nothing.”


¡A Cachete!


Feature: Tropical Fruit Anyone?
(How About Nancetes?)

So there was GG riding in a car to Puntarenas with my Tico friend Jessie and his wife. Both his wife and I had appointments at the Caja (national health center) at Hospital Monsignor Sanabria there for different needs; me to pick up my new hearing aid(s) and she to pickup a special prescription not available in the Caja pharmacy in Quepos, nor the local pharmacies. Our trip would pretty much take the day, starting out at 7 AM and arriving back in Quepos at 5 PM, partly because of a four hour delay in getting the prescription in Puntarenas as well as travel time of about 2 hours each way and stops for breakfast, lunch and gas.


Having accomplished our two Caja objectives by around 3 PM we headed the vehicle back home. About an hour later we came to the infamous traffic light in Herradura, just north of Jacó. I say infamous, but dangerous might be a better descriptor as the intersection is dwarfed on the east and west sides by busy shopping centers and the north/south main route is usually very busy, as it was that day. The only signal working was like the one in the photo left although I don´t remember the stop sign being there and I believe it was a two level blinker, yellow and red, the one we had continuously blinking yellow. 


All of a sudden my friend gently pulled the car, which had slowed to a crawl because of the congestion at the light, over to the right. As I looked up I came to the realization that he had positioned the car right in front of a stand offering numerous plastic bags and cups containing a small yellow fruit (picture right). GG had seen this fruit before in Quepos but somehow I never had gotten around to sampling it. After that day I would not be unable to make that claim any more.


My amigo quickly negotiated a price on a plastic bag full (cost: 1,000 colones [also called 1 rojo because the bill is red] and equal to about $1.85). I got to hold the fruit as my friend negotiated our car back onto the main road. Negotiating a place in line is a Tico art form that requires just the right kind of slow edging movements into a line of traffic until the edger (mi amigo) has secured more that 50% of the space at which point the edgee just gives up and both parties gently tap their horn in acceptance of the obvious as well as their competitor´s success. My amigo is very good at edging.


Arbol de Nance (Byrsonima Crassifolia)
Nance Tree Flowering

My buddy used the term nancetes when he bought the bag of fruit. In English they´re known as nance fruit and come from the Arbol de Nance (Nance Tree - left, known technically as Byrsonima Crassifolia). This tree and its fruit are common in Central America, Southern Mexico and the Caribbean islands. The tree is considered a bush even though it can reach as high as 30 feet.


The tree and fruit can be grown in climates ranging from grassland to tropical forests as the tree requires little water to grow. The fruit is small, GG estimated the ones in the bag we bought at 1/2 to one inch in diameter. I was also warned that each globe had a small nut at its center that must be discarded as you eat the fruit.


My friend offered me the bag and suggested I take a handful which I did. I closed my eyes to get a better value of the taste and my first bite into the pulp surrounding the nut produced a sweet flavor along with a touch of tartness. Delicious - gotta have more and I made a note to find out where the fruit could be bought in Quepos - probably at the weekend open market we know as the Feria.


Having become a quick devotee of nancetes I did a little research later and learned the following about this amazing tropical fruit: The pulp of the nance fruit has an abundance of nutrients including vitamin C, Vitamin E and vitamin K as well as a significant content of riboflavin, thiamine, pantothenic acid, niacin, folate and manganese.

Mexican Raspado With Pineapple

Note Bene: GG has no way of fact-checking the above claims but if 50% of them were 50% effective the fruit would still be worth a trial as a dietary supplement.


The ripe fruit (yellow not green) can be eaten raw, processed into a drink like a batido, or fermented into chicha, or combined with sugar which is used in Costa Rica as a candy or sweet dessert. In Panama it´s combined with sugar and flour and made into "pesada de nance".


It´s also widely combined with other fruit like mango and pineapple to create sweet and refreshing drinks called raspados, like the one to the right.


More to be confirmed later, but right now GG thinks he needs to go buy a bag or two.


¡Viva Nancetes!



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

Rumbling - The Quiet Period Is Over


Cordillera Central
Rincon de la Vieja Erupting
Arenal´s Turn

Costa Rica was formed millions of years ago as the Pacific tectonic plate (also known as the Cocos plate) pushed against the Caribbean plates creating the land bridge which is now known as Central America. If you´d like to read more about the formation of the Central American land bridge and the Cordillera go HERE.


June seemed to signal an end to the quiet period we´ve been experiencing recently. One of our old spewing faithfuls, Rincon de la Vieja, began in the first week of June with phreatic eruptions (i.e., water vapor mixed with gases such as SO2 or sulfur dioxide) that went as high as 3,500 meters (about 2.2 miles).


At the same time another old faithful by the name of Arenal was displaying increased seismic and volcanic activity described as very low-magnitude volcano-tectonic earthquakes and also some eruptions. This s one of the more color-infused and majestic spots in the country, Arenal and the area surrounding it is a favorite among tourists also (always check with Costa Rica weather advisories before approaching a volcanically active area).


Press reports said that The Observatory Vulcanology and Seismology of Costa Rica (Ovsicori), part of the National University (UNA), is currently keeping an eye on the seismic and volcanic activity in the country.


Check Out Recent Earthquakes All Around the
World Posted by the
  Recent Quakes




On June 1 the national weather service (Instituto Meteorologico Nacional or IMN) issued a "green alert" for most of Costa Rica due to increased rainfall caused by a number of factors. This is not unusual weather behavior as the seasons shift into our "winter" and is often exacerbated by the development of El Niño which causes cyclones of various severity.


Five tropical waves were recorded by June 5 and a total of 10-14 are expected this year. The severity of these rainstorms in various locals is projected by region to be (strongest to weakest): "the South Pacific, Central Pacific (that´s us folks), the Guanacaste sector, the Tempisque area, Nicoya, and possibly the Tilarán and Guanacaste mountain ranges.”


Keep your umbrellas handy and in good repair amigos.

¡Pura Vida!


Search the GGC 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?)


Are these Apples?






A type of garlic?



A berry of some kind?



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?)



Bye-Bye Covid Finally, And Good Riddance


Daily New Case Load Covid-19 Costa Rica

The statistics coming out concerning the number of active cases of Covid-19 in Costa Rica seem to show a final petering-out of the pandemic. The top chart to the right (sorry for the quality - not my chart) indicate such. Note that the frequency of the readings (right side) spreads out in recent times; that´s because at one point the record keepers shifted from a daily to 7th day cumulative readings.


The lower chart is a simple reading of the total cases, deaths from the disease and the death rate for both Costa Rica and Worldwide. The death of almost 7,000,000 people worldwide from an "accidental" virus is hard to contemplate.


The fact that Costa Rica´s death rate was only 84% of the worldwide number is little solace when we realize that over nine thousand people died here from the pandemic.


¡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:


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
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


That´s the same fruit as mentioned in the article above which is called Nancetes.


If you get a chance don´t miss out on this wonderful tropical fruit.





¡Pura Vida!




ROMEO Corner
(Retired Old Men Eating Out)

Runaway Grill, Marina Pez Vela

Runaway Grill - 2nd Floor Level

Location: Marina Pez Vela, Quepos
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner; closes at 22.00.

Parking: Indoor Parking Garage + Additional
Contacts: Tel: 2774-9095; Website: Marina Pez Vela - Quepos, Costa Rica

Reviewing ROMEOS: Annie C., Bob N., Barry S., Glen N., Harry R., Jorge Y., Julia S., Lawrence L., Mark W., Lori X., Roger B., Ruth R.

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


Marina Pez Vela is situated on the northwest coast of Quepos near the old banana dock and the Coast Guard Academy. The area has undergone dramatic expansion in the last 10 years including boat slips and service facilities such as restaurants (now 6), banking, medical, shipping offices and a boatyard.


Sunset at the Marina

The Runaway Grill is located on the second floor of the main building (red arrow in the photo above) and overlooks the marina´s docks, slips and yachts as well as offering a wide view of the Pacific. The sunset view (right) is gorgeous and similar to those seen from the hills of Manuel Antonio, an area which is contiguous with Quepos.


The dining area is furnished very simply, including the hard, unpadded chairs that are typical in this area. The ROMEOs on this visit gave the Runaway Grill a composite average score for ambiance of 4.6 out of a maximum 5.0.


Runaway Grill serves a broad array of lunch type dishes ranging from hamburgers (burgers, wraps, melts, clubs) to seafood combinations (ceviche, fish, red snapper), chicken or shrimp rices or pastas, ribs, tenderloin, salads and soups. There is a kids menu, a basic Mexican offering (nachos, fajitas, tacos, quesadillas) and a limited dessert menu.


GG decided on one of his favorites, a Poke Bowl in which raw tuna cubes are combined in a bowl with sesame seeds, avocado, cucumber, green onions, carrot slivers, wasabi and unagui sauce, all over jasmine rice. Delicious and filling, especially for lunch.


GG also selected a piece of macadamia nut pie for dessert, to which a fellow ROMEO asked me after I had consumed what was more like a recrystallized wedge of sugar: "Where do you think your A1C level went with that one"?


Don´t know and I ain´t gonna find out (the nuts themselves were gooood though).



Value Index= 121


The ROMEOs Once More Are Hard at Work

Other ROMEOs selected fish tacos, a po boy fish sandwich, caesar salad, rice with shrimp and more poke bowls. The composite score for food quality came in 4.1/5.0 max.


We were served by a young lady named Natalia who was described by one of the ROMEOs as quick, efficient, friendly and professional. I´ll second that motion. The composite score for service came in at 4.3/5.0. That made the average for ambiance, food quality and service = 4.35 out of a possible 5.


GG´s Poke Bowl, a ginger ale michelada and the macadamia nut pie plus tax and required service charge came in at just under 14,000 colones or about $25. The composite score for cost came in at 4.6/5.0 making the Value Index 4.35/3.6x100= 121 and putting the Runaway Grill in the middle third of all the restaurants we´ve evaluated in this area.


The Romeos can report that one can continue to enjoy a good meal at a reasonable price in a very pleasant atmosphere at the Runaway Grill.




Opt-In Here to Receive Your Free Monthly Copy Of
The Golden Gringo Chronicles

The Golden Gringo Chronicles is a free newsletter that is non-political, non-commercial and, hopefully, informative and entertaining. By signing up you will receive an email each month around the first of the month giving you the links to the latest edition as well as to each individual feature and departmental section.


or Email me at gg@goldengringo.com, or use our Website at: www.goldengringo.com

Bob Normand, Editor & The Golden Gringo
Pura Vida!

To Contact GGC World Headquarters (yuk, yuk) to makecomments, suggest topics or criticize my bad jokes, just send an email to: gg@goldengringo.com.


Be pithy but kind; I'm sensitive.








Unsubscribe from Golden Gringo Chronicles