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In This Edition:

1. Broken News (All the News That's Fit to Reprint): a. Only 50% Expected To Vote In 2024 Municipal Elections; b. Costa Rica #2 In Central America for Ransom-ware Attacks; c. Seasonal Flights Increasing; d. School Is Out In Costa Rica.

2. Economic Drumbeat (CR Business Happenings): a. Cruising Costa Rica Rebounding Fast; b. How About A Really New Way of Cruising; c. Tourism Recovering Nicely; d. Chaves Says 2023 a "Miraculous Year" Economically;.

3. Latin American Update (Major Events in Neighboring Countries):. a. Argentina - Shock Effect From Currency Change; b. Brazil - New eVisa Required For 2024; c. Cuba - Fidel´s Biggest Critic, His Sister, Dies; d. Guatemala - Attempts to Reverse Election Results; e. Guyana - Guyana Threatened; f. Nicaragua - Student Leader Harassed By Government; g. Panama - Contentious Copper Mine to Close.

4. Feature: Migration And The Drug Culture: (How They Relate).

5. Rumble and Weather Talk: a. Rumble: Nada to Report - Yeah; b. Weather: Signs of the Expected Drought Starting.

6. ¿Que es Eso?: A Tree or What?

7. Feature #2: Golden Gringo University: The Costa Rican Education System: How It´s Structured and How It Works.

8. Health Stuff: Back to Normal After Covid; like with Dengue Fever.

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

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

11. ROMEO Corner: Restaurant Tentación - Quepos

Wisdom of the Ages

"The years between 50 and 70 are the hardest. You are always being asked to do things, and yet you are not decrepit enough to turn them down." - T.S. Elliot

Holidays in Costa Rica in January

Like most places, at least in the Western World, Costa Rica celebrates the first day of the Gregorian Calendar on January 1, also known as New Year´s Day,
and here, like elsewhere, it´s also a national paid holiday.

That´s all for holidays this month amigos.
The GGC Staff (guess who that is) wishes you the best for 2024.

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

Only 50% Expected to Vote in 2024 Municipal Elections


A recent study and poll by (Idespo) Instituto de Estudios Sociales en Población or Social Studies Institute on Population, a department of the National University or Universidad Nacional (UNA) concluded that currently only 46.3% of those polled are convinced they should cast a vote this coming February in the country-wide municipal elections. In addition, 15.5% plan definitely not to vote.


Believe it or not the nearly 50% polling rate is actually an improvement over recent history (chart) as it was noted that since 2002 the average abstention rate in municipal elections has been about 70%. And of those surveyed 43.5% would lean toward a cantonal (county) party rather than one of the traditional national parties (in Costa Rica cantonal or local political parties are often formed to support a specific candidate).


OK, this citizen (GG) is ready to do his civic duty but I still need to figure out who are the people I favor for the dozen or so positions open, and my inexperience in municipal elections here shows.


Costa Rica #2 In Central America for Ransom Ware Attacks


Protection of computer files integrity has come to be a major priority among businesses and government in the past few years all over the world. A strong example of what can happen in an incident of this type was reported in the July 2022 Chronicle when the Costa Rican Ministry of Health files were hacked into by a Russian ransom ware outfit; that report can be seen HERE .


For several weeks of the system being down, access was prohibited to appointment times, distribution of medications and numerous backup activities. The thieves demanded $20 million as ransom to restore the files. After flipping them the electronic bird, the president of Costa Rica took several weeks and considerable extra expense to restore the system as well as mandating extra security equipment and procedures to prevent future losses.


A recent study by the Kapersky Group (an international organization specializing in cybersecurity) and digital privacy recently reported that Costa Rica had the second highest rate of infection attempts in the 12 months ending July 2023 of the seven countries in Central America. Leading the pack was Panama (7,900 threats), then Costa Rica (5,100), El Salvador (1,700) and Guatemala (1,200).


Says Kapersky: "Government entities is the sector that attracts the most attention from criminals with 15.5% of infection attempts followed by agriculture (11.8%), commerce (11.6%), industry (8.6%), education (6.9%), health (5.3%), telecommunications (4.6%) and finance/insurance (4.6%)." (Hey guys, there must be a whole slew of minor segments as all of the above only adds up to less than 70%)


Seasonal Flights Increasing


The tourism industry, very important to the Costa Rica economy, continues to rebound after the pandemic and in some cases exceeds previous levels. One recent announcement by a major U.S. airline brought pleased attention by the tourism industry including the Costa Rican Chamber of Hotels (CCH).


United Airlines is increasing their scheduled fights from six cities in the U.S. to San José to provide more service here. They plan 45 weekly non-stop flights from Houston, Denver, Washington DC, Nevada, Chicago and New York. (Although the announcement didn´t say so, I suspect some of those are also landing at the airport in Liberia as well as SJO).


The Friendly Skies are on the move.



School Is Out In Costa Rica


The Costa Rican school calendar for 2023 was completed on December 12. Students of both primary and secondary levels participated in graduation ceremonies on December 13th or 14th. This signaled the end of their current educational level; and they then will seek new academic or professional pursuits. Students are not scheduled to return to classes until February 8, the start of the 2024 school calendar, giving students time off for Christmas, New Years and the month of January.


The school year in Costa Rica typically runs from February to November or December, with a 2-week break in April and a 3-month break from July to September. Classes usually run from Monday to Friday, with some schools offering half-day courses on Saturdays and Sundays.


This year, during the school vacation time the buildings will be converted to polling centers in time for the country-wide municipal elections that take place on February 4, 2024.


Have fun on your time off kids but be careful with the fireworks.


P.S. Check out the article on Costa Rican Education BELOW.


¡Pura Vida!


Economic Drumbeat
(Costa Rica Business Happenings)

Cruising Costa Rica On The Rebound


During the 2020-21 pandemic period the cruise season was suspended for over 17 months. According to Costa Rican Tourism Board, from September to December 2021, 28,709 cruise passengers were reported to have arrived in the country on a total of 21 ships that arrived at the Pacific ports and 22 cruise ships in the Caribbean (Puerto Limón) in 2022-2023. Now, as the industry regains its robustness, the Instituto Costarricense de Puertos del Pacífico (Incop) or Costa Rican Institute of Pacific Ports, has also proposed a new cruise route. It would run from "Puerto Amador, in Panama, to Puerto Quetzal, in Guatemala, and would include the Costa Rican Pacific port terminals along the way (Golfito, Quepos and Puntarenas), as well as the ports in Nicaragua and El Salvador."


The resurgence of the cruise industry also includes participation in attendance at specialized annual international fairs such as Seatrade Cruise World in the United States (Miami, April 25 to 28). For this, Costa Rica together with its neighboring countries will have their stands located nearby to tout our own strengths.


How About A Really New Way of Cruising


Like by airship; that is, in a dirigible. Dirigibles, or air ships have been constructed for 120 years and the technology is simple compared to jet or propeller airplanes. And we´ve learned the hard way to not float them with hydrogen (like with the Hindenburg) but that they can be maneuvered quite well and safely with non-flammable helium as a flotation agent.


Not only that but the nature of the animal supports many of the characteristics that are favored by greenies, to wit: 1. Low energy use as they´ll be run by electric motors like Teslas at a fraction of the cost of a fuel engine, 2. little noise pollution, 3. little of any kind of pollution, 4., freedom of design from 2-passenger up to 80 with comfortable travel space, 5. simple docking without the need for runways.


A Costa Rican businessman (and aviation mechanic) by the name of Jesse Blenn has developed a project he calls Da Vinci Costa Rica in which he plans to design airships from 2 per ship (essentially an ultralight) up to 80 passenger versions as long as 110 meters. Alternatively, the longer version could transport up to 8 tons of freight. Several other projects by other groups are also in the works worldwide.


What´s Jesse´s biggest challenge - financing of course. Ah, it´s good to hear about the basic story of the struggling and creative entrepreneur once more.


Tourism Is Recovering Nicely


Nearly 30,000 more tourists arrived in Costa Rica in November 2023 (total 212,000) versus November 2022 (total 181,000). That´s the best figure since 2019, said the Minister of Tourism and president of the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (ICT).


The total number of tourists who entered the country From January to early December amounted to 2.1 million and is expected to close at about 2.5 million for the entire year. The United States led the countries of origin while other significant sources came from Canada, Spain, Mexico, Germany, France and the United Kingdom.


Said Senor Minister of Tourism Rodriguez: “We have put aside the pandemic and achieved growth that generates employment and greater economic income.”


Chaves Says 2023 "Miraculous Year" Economically


President Rodrigo Chaves Robles

The president of Costa Rica, Rodrigo Chaves, was glowing when he stated in an interview that the country’s economic year has been “miraculous”, with “world champion” results for some indicators. Chaves claimed that "Costa Rica is a ´world champion´ in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) with an amount at a rate of 12% of GDP, and is the leader of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in economic growth and low inflation." According to OECD projections in 2023, Costa Rica will grow 5.1% and is expected to add another 3.5% in 2024 while the consumer price index increase is expected to end up only 0.6% this year.


Chaves did concede that security is a main concern with intentional homicides in Costa Rica hitting an all time high in 2023 (around 900). He attributed the increase in homicides to conflicts within organized crime and drug trafficking organizations. "The only way to prevent these young people from killing each other is to isolate them from the society and that means jail,” he declared. “You can throw all the money in the world at a problem that is not going to fix it without addressing the fundamental issues, which are the detention and imprisonment of individuals participating in contract killings and gang warfare." Chaves stated that he believes stronger legislation related to imprisonment of "sicarios" (hitmen) is needed.


¡Pura Vida!



Latin America Updates
(Major Events In Neighboring Countries)



Shock Effect from New Currency Plan. It was reported last month that the new president of Argentina, Javier Milei, would activate his plan to change the Argentine currency to a US dollar basis. To further his efforts shortly after taking office he had the Argentine Peso devalued by 50%.


Said the new government: The “shock” plan is a strong fiscal adjustment with the goal of achieving a balanced budget in 2024. It includes several cuts in public spending and the reduction of state subsidies for public services and transportation as of January. The government stated that the "urgent” measures were “unavoidable” to achieve a “zero deficit” and avoid the “catastrophe” of hyperinflation. In the meantime the devaluation resulted in "steep price increases in supermarkets and gas stations."


Organized labor did not react favorably to the new package. The CGT (General Confederation of Labor) and Argentina’s main labor union, criticized the adjustment saying that “it will be paid by the people and not by the caste.” (meaning the upper class).


Milei stated that with the shock fiscal plan announced on Tuesday, the government is trying to avoid an annual hyperinflation of 15,000%. Official numbers were stated that inflation reached 12.8% in November (160.9% year-on-year), with further projections of monthly rates of 20-40% through February.




New eVisa 2024. The government of Brazil recently announced the not-so-good news, namely, that a formal visa will be required to enter the country in 2024. The good news is that the visa can be applied for and obtained electronically (an eVisa) which can be, once approved, printed out in PDF format and shown at boarding time and port of entry. The fee for the eVisa is $80.90.


To obtain the particulars on how to apply for the new eVisa go HERE.




Fidel Castro´s Biggest Critic, His Sister, Dies. Juanita Castro, the younger sister of Fidel and Raul Castro of Cuba died Monday, December 4. Her older brothers and she were from a family of seven children.


Fidel became president of Cuba after toppling Fulgencia Batista in 1959. By 1962 Castro had signed an agreement with the Russians to store nuclear missiles in Cuba and a two-week period ensued of very tense interaction between Cuba and the U.S. which came to be known as the Cuban Missile Crisis. By 1964, Juanita had become a detractor of the communist regime and secretly fled to the United States where she settled in Miami, Florida and operated a drug store she owned for several decades.


Juanita had hoped to be part of the exiled community in Florida but according to reports she felt herself ostracized: “For those in Cuba, I am a deserter because I left and denounced the regime in place. For many in Miami I am ‘persona non grata’ because I am the sister of Fidel and Raul.” Later she wrote her memoir: “My Brothers Fidel and Raul, the Secret History.” (Title shown in the photo right)


Juanita not only became a detractor of the regime but also an outspoken critic of it. She also collaborated with the CIA providing information to the CIA about the situation in Cuba. She even had a code name at one point: "Donna".


Sounds to me like a movie in the making folks.




Attempts to Reverse Election Results. Bernardo Arevalo

was elected President of Guatemala on August 23 after surviving the first round of elections followed by a runoff in which he beat his rival by a wide margin. Since then Arevalo has been plagued by attempts to have his immunity revoked, the one that comes with being president-elect. Prosecutors are alleging vote irregularities in some precincts.


Bernardo Arevalo - President Guatemala

The president of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (similar to Costa Rica´s Tribunal Supremo de Electiones and the organization that verifies elections), stated: "The results are valid, certified, and the people [who won their races] are necessarily accredited and must take office January 14. If not, it would be a rupture of the constitutional order.” The OAS (Organization of American States) added to that, saying: "Prosecutors were seeking to subvert “the will of the people.”


With the attempted actions on disqualifying the election by opposing forces the U.S. State Department announced that "it banned, via visa restrictions, the entry into the U.S. of 300 Guatemalans, including 100 members of Congress, for “undermining democracy” in the Central American country."


More to be revealed in January.




Guyana Threatened. Guyana is the 3rd smallest country in areaof the 12 in South America (after Uruguay and Suriname) and #10 in population (787,000). It is situated on the northeast Atlantic coast of South America and is bordered by Venezuela on the west, Suriname to the east and Brazil to the south.


An important and beautiful river runs from the north coast to the southern border with Brazil and passes through an area called Essequibo, the area being known for two factors: 1) its richness in oil fields and 2) it offers spectacular beauty, especially Kaieteur, the world´s largest single drop waterfall (see photo below).


Kaieteur Falls - Essequibo, Guyana

Recently its larger neighbor Venezuela (+4 times the land area of Guyana and 35 times the population) by way of the Maduro government constructed a referendum, which has come to be known as the Essequibo referendum. It was an attempt to further Maduro´s claim that most of the territory in Guyana really belongs to Venezuela and to give support to Maduro in the upcoming election in 2024. The key question in the referendum: "Should Essequibo be declared a Venezuelan state?"


Despite physical observation of low turnout at the polls Maduro´s government reported a higher turnout than the last election for president and a 95% "Yes" favor-ability to the referendum question. In addition, in recent times, Venezuela has raised tensions in the region by shifting military assets to areas near its border with Guyana. It also claims to have begun construction of a military airfield near the border.


Signs are not good, lay off Guyana Señor Maduro.




Student Leader Harassed By Government. Her name is Justina Orozco, aged 23 and a native Nicaraguan. She claims no record of anti-government demonstration after 2018 when, at the age of 18, she participated in the turbulent government opposition of that period when over 350 people were killed by police and government backed paramilitary units.


Justina Orozco

It was then that the police developed a file on her and subsequently periodically harassed her. After five years of such harassment she finally decided to leave Nicaragua legally by crossing the border into Honduras with the eventual objective of going through Mexico and claiming asylum at the U.S. border (she didn´t have the money to pay a coyote).


The Nicaraguan border police detained her and eventually would let her go on to Honduras only if she signed a letter asking Daniel Ortega to forgive her (!) for her “acts of vandalism in 2018.” The same letter also committed her to not returning to the county and “voluntarily” renouncing her citizen rights. (This latter part is illegal according to the U.N.´s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, of which Nicaragua is a signer.)


If she refused to sign, they told her, she’d be taken to jail in Managua. She signed but was never given a copy of the letter. If that wasn´t enough Justina was captured by a Mexican cartel and held for three days while her family came up with enough money to buy her ransom. She eventually reached friends in Arizona.


This year in Nicaragua became the sixth in a row for a campaign called “Christmas Without Political Prisoners” a movement started by relatives of political prisoners jailed by the Ortega regime. The movement noted that, despite the revoking of national citizenship and forced release of some 222 political prisoners to the United States in February of 2023, and twelve priests to the Vatican in October, the regime still holds at least 151 persons as political reasons.




First Quantum Mine

Copper Mine to Close. Since late October a confrontation has been ongoing in Panama regarding a Canadian company called First Quantum Minerals, doing business in Panama as Cobre Panama. First Quantum has been operating a large copper mine under a contract awarded by the Panamanian Government. Panama's top court struck down First Quantum's previous contract in 2017, but the company was allowed to mine while a new contract was approved.


Anti-Mine Demonstrators

What wasn´t expected was the recent formation of a broad coalition of opposition concerning the mine that included environmentalists, commercial fishermen and striking teachers that set up blockages along highways like the Pan American and other major routes. Those blockages lasted for several weeks and caused shortages in the northern provinces of key materials like fuel and medical supplies. For their part, the fisherman choked off the ports where raw materials like coal and mine-working supplies could not be delivered to Quantum. Finally, on Tuesday, November 28 the Panama Supreme Court declared the contract unconstitutional. A Panamanian GGC reader noted that during the blockage period some supplies were forthcoming from Costa Rica sources that helped alleviate the critical supplies problem in northern Panama, in towns like Boquete and David.


The downside of this problem of no action is largely financial as the mine accounts for 1% of global copper production and 5% of Panama´s total GDP. Copper is also one of the key ingredients that goes into the making of electric vehicles. The price of copper on the market has begun to increase and, in addition, the market value of the Quantum organization dropped by a whopping $7.6 billion.


¡Solo Bueno!


Feature: Migration And The Drug Culture
(How They Relate)

In addition to the temporary migration of thousands of unidentified people that have passed through the isthmus corridor we call Costa Rica, on their way chiefly to the United States, there has been a significant increase in permanent refugees here in Costa Rica as well but mainly from Nicaragua. They come to be part of what was known in the past as "peaceful Costa Rica" but which has changed in recent years by the growing drug culture.


The Nicaraguan migration got heavier in 2018 when many people left our northern neighbor after the demonstrations and revolts that occurred against a heavy-handed government where some 350 people were killed. So many came that the population of people here with an original birth place of Nicaragua has now reached 10% of Costa Rica´s total population or 500,000+.


Remember, the people doing these studies are not saying that Nicaraguans are involved in the drug infusion nor the increased homicide rate. Nevertheless the migration situation has resulted in tough economic times for many who often find it difficult, as an immigrant worker, to earn $1,000 per month and to pay 20-30% of that for basic (like sleep-on-the-floor) housing. Some have also turned to dealing drugs which supports an increasing drug culture. The photo right shows a recent 5-ton cocaine bust destined for Holland but using Costa Rica as a transfer point; it indicates Costa Rica is also being used as a major transfer point by the cartels.


And, in recent years the homicide statistics are reflecting the changing atmosphere. The press recently pointed out that 824 "intentional homicides" were committed in the first 11 months of 2023 and that 900+ are likely to be reported for the year, the highest in Costa Rican history and equivalent to a rate of 17 per 100,000 population. The figure also includes some 71 Nicaraguans in Costa Rica that were murdered.


With the interaction of the drug culture with migration, authorities have watched the homicide rate continue to spike and the challenge now is clear: the government must re-establish security so that we return to the old Peaceful Costa Rica. To read the complete article on this problem from which the above was drawn go HERE.


¡Solo Bueno!



Rumble and Weather Talk
(Shaky Happenings And Weather Observations From the Pacific Rim)

Rumbling - Nada

The USGS worldwide earthquake map, at this writing, showed virtually nothing in the way of a significant tremor (i.e., 2.5R+) in Central America for this past month. There was a 4.9R shaker just off the southwest tip of Mexico but other than that, nada. Great, let´s keep it that way.


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

Weather - Drought Is Beginning


We appear to be entering the dry summer period in Costa Rica at a deficit of rainfall mentioned in many press reports. The reports go this way: “According to the data, the amounts of rain that have occurred in recent months have been very low for what the hydrographic basins really require. In general, the rains were quite scarce throughout the country, linked to the behavior of the El Niño phenomenon, which was present in most of the 2023 rainy season.


The Central and South Pacific zones, the Central Valley, the entire Caribbean and the North zone are experiencing drought. “...the beginning of 2024 comes with a meteorological drought, where sectors such as agriculture and energy are being affected and the situation may worsen. The population is being called upon to make rational use of water.” In some places, like Liberia in Guanacaste,  tanker trucks are being used to supply the population.

¡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.

Feature: Golden Gringo University
The Costa Rican Education System
(How It´s Structured And How It Works)


frtThe idea behind Golden Gringo University is to present educational topics of wide interest to expats who have recently moved to Costa Rica, or to future expats who might be thinking of moving here, or to those who simply visit here frequently. The goal and objective of Golden Gringo University is to provide accurate information that readers will find helpful in their efforts to be a good expat resident or visitor in Costa Rica.


The information presented here is the best information available at the time of the writing; always check for updates with the appropriate authorities and credible advisers because procedures and requirements can and do change frequently.


For additional GGU topics in past editions go here: GGU Archives.

Second Graders

The Costa Rican education system is divided into 4 levels: preschool, primary, secondary, and tertiary (University Level).


Pre-school (of age 7 or less) is non-compulsory and not free. Basic General Education, i.e. Primary Education (from ages 6-7 to 12-13) plus Secondary Education is compulsory and free of charge. It consists of 6 years of primary school ("Escuela" or Elementary) and 3 years of secondary school ("Collegio" or High School).


Yes, public primary and secondary education is free in Costa Rica, and higher education is tuition free for citizens and residents at public universities.

Upon graduation students who wish to pursue higher education can select from a long and growing list of both public and private colleges and universities. The two largest universities are UNA (National University - about 30,000 students nation wide) and UCR (University of Costa Rica - about 45,000 students nation wide). The following is a current list of all the public universities:

A UCR Building Entrance

UCR is by far the oldest of the public universities here having been founded originally as the Universidad de Santo Tomás (University of Saint Thomas) in 1843 by the Catholic Church. It was later (1940) separated as a non-sectarian public university. It is the oldest, largest, and most prestigious institution of higher learning in Costa Rica. It has educational disciplines leading to undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in over 100 disciplines. The university is also a research institution with more than 25 research units.


The photo right is of the famous "Sunflower Mural" on the building of the Escuela de Estudios Generales at Ciudad Universitaria Rodrigo Facio. The mural is a part of the Riverside Resiliency Mural project, which is supported by the UC Riverside Department. The mural is painted in bright yellow and green colors and features a large sunflower with a blue background and it is meant to be and considered a symbol of hope and resilience for the community 


The good news is that public universities are tuition free except for basic fees and living expenses for citizens and official residents. For international or visiting students tuition at UCR, for example, currently costs $80 per credit hour for undergraduate students and $140 for graduate students. Miscellaneous fees run around $100 per year.


Costa Rica takes education very, very seriously. The stats on how students have succeeded in the past and how they´re doing currently support that. For one, the over 90% literacy rate by international standards supports that. With high standards of education and a stunning natural environment, Costa Rica is an attractive destination for international students enriching our culture further.


On the other hand spokespeople for the MEP (Ministerio de Educación Publica (MEP) – Ministry of Public Education) recently noted that 7 out of 10 secondary school graduates do not achieve a B1 rating in English (fluency) but only A1 (beginner) or A2 (basic proficiency). Said one MEP spokesperson: “It is impressive that today some still have to be convinced about the importance of English and that they do not understand the impact and benefits that this brings them. It is not just about employment, but about connection, learning and living in society. The mastery of a second language, digital skills and other aspects are questions of survival.” To help improve this, a 47 billion colones (about $90 million) program is being instituted to improve results in the learning of English.


Kiddies Ready to Learn

On a personal note, one of the things that impressed GG most when I arrived in Quepos was seeing the local school kids going to school in "uniforms", i.e., white shirts and dark trousers or skirts, all dazzlingly clean. Of course the actual color code and combination used at any school is decided by the administration at each school.


The pride and seriousness that students and their parents display by carefully (and professionally) dressing is encouraging and reminds me of the 12 years GG spent in primary and secondary education in the States (in a parochial school).


To see other topics under the Golden Gringo University logo go HERE.

¡Solo Bueno!


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




That´s the strangest looking tree branch I´ve ever seen.




How could that be or even happen?




Looks like GG´s grand pop with whiskers at the bottom.



What natural or unnatural forces could cause that?




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?)



Back to Normal


With all the news about Covid, its ramifications and effect on all expects of our lives having been relegated largely to history, health news has reverted to what used to be considered "normal". Thus things like Dengue Fever, a perrenial topic in tropical countries are drawing more headlines. Reports are that Costa Rica ranks fourth in Dengue incidence in Central America after Nicaragua, Guatemala and Honduras and is higher than Panama, El Salvador and Belize.


Here are some facts about Dengue:


Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection. The infection causes flu-like illness, and occasionally develops into a potentially lethal complication called severe dengue. The global incidence of dengue has grown dramatically in recent decades. About half of the world’s population is now at risk.


Huetar Caribe Region

What happens when a person has dengue? Most people who get dengue won’t have symptoms. But for those that do, the most common symptoms are high fever, headache, body aches, nausea and rash. Most will also get better in 1–2 weeks. Some people develop severe dengue and need hospital care.


Dengue fever is not contagious, so it can’t spread directly from person to person. When a mosquito bites a person who has dengue fever, the mosquito becomes infected with the virus that causes the disease. It can then spread the virus to other people by biting them.


The highest number of cases within the country are found in the Huetar Caribe region shown on the map upper right.


¡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!

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¡Solo Bueno!


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

Answer to Que Es Eso


The forces of nature that caused that piece were the gift of an artist named Javier. It is a natural piece of wood enhanced by his carving.


Javier at Work

Javier maintains his workshop in an area near the main dining room at El Avion restaurant in Manuel Antonio. Javier produces artistic wood carvings of all types and sizes using old, fallen timbers. Many of his creations are reproductions of the wildlife in the area.


Many man hours go into the carvings as demonstrated by the larger ones, like the one in the photo to the right depicting an armadillo coming over a tree trunk with a curious snake coming on the scene at the bottom right.


There are many more in various sizes displayed on the walls of the El Avion dining room. Check them out amigos, you won´t be disappointed.



¡Pura Vida!




ROMEO Corner
(Retired Old Men Eating Out)

Tentación, Quepos

Location: Front Street Quepos Across from Malecón.

Parking: Street Parking Only.

Hours: Monday-Sunday, Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner (Closes 22.00 hrs)

Contacts: Tel.: 506-2777-3663; Email: N/A; Website: Facebook


Reviewing ROMEOS: Alma L., Annie C., Barry S., Bob N., Carl M., Carol A., Chris D., Christel R., Christian B., Glen N., Harry R., Jack R., Jorge M., Karen M., Lawrence L., Mark P., Olga C., Roger B., Ruth R.


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

This is a recently renovated downtown cafe situated across from the Malecón (the harbor walk along the bay). The restaurant is neatly and simply decorated and gives the impression of a business lunch eatery; and the location is convenient to downtown workers and residents. The composite score for ambiance among our ROMEOs in attendance came in at 3.5 out of a 5.0 max.


The menu in this writer´s opinion offers a nice array of options that lives up to it´s slogan for "breakfast, lunch and snacks". This includes a good variety of sandwiches and light platters of various meats and seafoods.


GG chose a dish that was described as capellini with chicken or fish as options. What arrived was an un-sauced bowl of spaghetti with a piece of breaded, deep-fried fish laying on top of the pasta. I should have asked about it first as I expected more flavor treatment than that but, of course, I survived once more.


Other ROMEOs ordered salads with fish, sandwiches (BLT, hamburger, ham & cheese), quesadillas, beef burrito, fish&chips, and a casado.


The composite score for food quality came in at 3.8/5.0 the highest of the four items we rated on this restaurant.


Value Index= 116


We were serviced by two young men who were courteous, helpful and attentive. I timed the arrival of our orders and the first began arriving just under 30 minutes from when the last order was taken, not bad for a string of 19 orders. The composite score for service came in at 3.5/5.0. That gave an average for ambiance, food quality and service of (3.5+3.8+3.5)/3 = 3.59.


The cost of my main dish plus a soft drink came in at around 12,000 colones or about $23. and the composite score from the group for cost came in at 3.1/5.0 which in turn yields a Value Index of 3.59/3.1= 116 and putting Tentación dead center in the list of recent restaurants we´ve reviewed in the area.


Conclusion: Tentación remains a convenient lunch place in this area for quick or light meals at a reasonable cost.




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Bob Normand, Editor & The Golden Gringo
Pura Vida!

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