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Deciding on Where to Live in CR

¿Que Es Eso?

Seeing the Way Clearly

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In This Issue:

1. Broken News: Ten Year Anniversary; A Special Cup of Java; Futbol News; Nicaragua Status, Monorail System for San Jose?.

2. Rumble and Weather Talk: Heavy Rainy Season; Early Quake Warning System

3. Feature: Golden Gringo University (Deciding on Where to Live in Costa Rica)

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

5. Feature: Seeing the Way Clearly (Adventures in Socialized Medicine)

6. Health Stuff: New Puntarenas Hospital Update

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

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

9. ROMEO Corner: Jiuberth's Marisqueria, Quepos

Wisdom of the Ages

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

GGC Ten Year Anniversary


Yup, that's right, this edition, the 120th, marks the tenth year anniversary of the Golden Gringo Chronicles.


The first edition rolled off the electronic press in September of 2008, the month that GG officially moved to Quepos from Sarasota, Florida. Go here to see the First Edition (Edition 00). Edition 00 was a report on my attempts to drive from Sarasota to Brownsville, Texas, cross the Rio Grande in my Honda and then motor down to Costa Rica.


People ask me if I've ever been to Mexico and I respond: "Yes, twice...for a total of an hour and a half". I never did make it beyond the Mexican side of the border so I returned to Sarasota and took a plane down a few weeks later. The story of why that happened is quite funny now but it sure wasn't back then.


It started out as nothing more than a series of emails sent to my kids and friends in Sarasota chronicling progress on the move and how I was acclimating to the new lifestyle. I added the name Golden Gringo Chronicles about a year later and back-named the earlier issues. As the months went on the reports turned into a newsletter about living the expat experience. At last count the monthly distribution has reached just under 1,500 subscribers.


GG's On the Way With
His Mighty Pen!

I didn't realize it at the time that the person that would gain the most from of the Chronicles was me. The monthly discipline gave me a good retirement hobby but it also caused me to research the various topics I had to write about. I've learned much more about Costa Rica by writing the Chronicles than I ever would have by just absorbing information from daily conversations.


I have been encouraged along the way by good friends and my readers to keep writing and I very much appreciate their support. I even managed to pump out two books about Costa Rica along the way (Golden Gringo Chronicles, The Novel and Mariposa, a Love Story of Costa Rica - see Bookshelf below)


¡Gracias and Pura Vida Amigos!


A Special Cup of Java


It's not news, either breaking or broken, that Costa Rica produces some of the best coffee in the world. Without a couple of cups of pure, strong dark brown-to-black java (no creamer, no sugar - Pura Costa Rica!), before and with breakfast, GG can get grumpy. With it I have a strong tendency to take on the demeanor of a happy Tico.


Local Arabica beans (the only kind permitted to grow in Costa Rica) have a "benchmark" wholesale price of $1.12 per pound. So, how is it that a large number of pounds of a certain bean were sold last month at auction for $300 per pound. Some math smithy calculated that price to be more than 27,000% over the benchmark; it's also 130% higher than the previous specialty coffee record purchased in Brazil last year where the winner fetched $130.20 per pound.


The record high priced beans were bought by a consortium of three Japanese coffee companies at the 18th annual Cup of Excellence competition and auction, this year held in San José. Another interesting facet of this event is that while premiums were doing so well, the average price of standard grades declined by 12% over the last year because of bounty harvests worldwide. (Come on fellow coffee-holics, we're not drinking it fast enough)


The grower of this year's record bean, a plant that originally came from Ethiopia, is a Costa Rican farmer whose 70 hectare/173 acre farm is located in the mountain town of Copey de Dota, some 96 kilometers or 60 miles southeast of San José. The press reported that he ended up selling 529 pounds of the special coffee for $158,780 and another, less special lot at only $111 per pound (yuk,yuk).


Not a bad day's work for a farmer.


Futbol News


OK, it's over. The Costa Rican national selection team, the "Sele", lost all three of their initial qualifying games during the competition, barely able to get a total of just one goal for all those games. The silence around Quepos, normally broken by cheering, hooting of horns and impromptu car parades around town when they win, was not to be. The team returned home quietly, the coach was relieved of his duties permanently and Ticos went back to thinking about the next World Cup which will be in Qatar in 2022.


Croatia National Flag

The team from a little country to watch in this world cup was the national team from Croatia. A country (part of the old Yugoslavian confederation located just east and across the Adriatic from Venice, Italy) has a population nearly the same as Costa Rica. The Croats battled ecstatically all the way to the finals and lost 4-2 to the French. A great performance for the Croats.


Et pour les Français, felicitations!


Nicaragua Status


The conflict between the Nicaragua government headed by President Daniel Ortega against rebellious students and now many others, continued to foment during July. By July 5, the fatality count from the riots across much of the country reached 285 officially (by the end of July it was over 300) with as many as 1500 more injured and over 150 still missing.


Masaya Paramilitary Group

On July 18 in Masaya, a town 30 km southeast of Managua, a government paramilitary group (photo left) retook the town from young rebels in a 7-hour battle they called a "clean-up" operation. Three non-combatant bystanders were killed.


In early July Ortega's brother and former head of the army published a letter calling on the government of his brother to abolish the paramilitary groups that were causing much of the killings and to advance national elections from 2022 to 2019. There was no public indication that his bro was listening.


The Organization of American States, a group of 34 countries in North, Central and South America and the Caribbean was reported readying a vote supported by at least 21 of their members condemning the violence and calling for its cessation. A similar resolution was issued by the U.N. And Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. pointed out that “...there have been more innocent people murdered by (Daniel) Ortega than by (Nicolás) Maduro in Venezuela”.


There are reports coming in from various sources in Coast Rica that applications for refugee status are increasing dramatically here. Another report said: "Every year the University of Costa Rica receives requests from only a couple of students from Nicaragua applying to the exchange or mobility project, this year the requests already add up to over 55".


It is unclear if all this international pressure will eventually convince Mr. Ortega to step aside. He remains in control of the army and appears to be adamant that he and his Vice-President, who also is his wife, intend to be there as long as possible.


Monorail System for San José?


It's been pointed out before that the population of Costa Rica has grown over 500% since the 1940's. Much of the growth has been in the Central Valley, now known as the GAM or Gran Area Metropolitano (Greater Metropolitan Area, but you figured that out by yourself, didn't you?) where the population now exceeds 2.5 million. Along with that growth has come inevitable auto congestion and cries for better transportation.


The options heretofore mostly have been based on a street level rail system (the current one is shunned by most people because of its slow pace crawling through the metropolis and tendency to run into automobiles) or a metro system (subway) plus ineffective street and highway redesigns, They're running out of ideas. A subway system would probably be way too costly for the government (much of the underworld of San José is built on dense volcanic rock) and therefore an unlikely investment target for a private firm.


Monorail in Chile

Now, a serious proposal for a monorail has been put forward by the Colegio Federado de Ingenerieros y de Arquitectos de Costa Rica (CFIA) or Federated College of Engineers and Architects of Costa Rica (did'ya get that one?). The concept proposed is similar to what is in operation in Santiago, Chile (photo). The advantages of such a system are obvious: 1) no interference with ground traffic, 2) does not require expropriations of land, 3) the investment requirement is expected to be one-fifth that of a metro (making a private concession much more likely), 4) it's electrical with frictional recharging meaning it's clean environmentally.


The initial route proposed, unsurprisingly, would be around what is called the circumvalacion, the ring road around center city which is often clogged with traffic. Later (not yet proposed) I'm sure there would be spurs heading into the west side communities of Escazu, Heredia and Alejuela where much of the GAM growth is.


OK, amigos, let me know when the spur to Quepos is ready.


¡Pura Vida!


Rumble and Weather Talk

Heavy Rainy Season


This rainy season continues to be different and heavier than the typical rainy season in Costa Rica which, of course, is rainier than many places on earth. Getting good statistics about rainfall year-to-date for Costa Rica is not easy as the variation from area to area is substantial but the consensus is that the Caribbean and Northeast quadrants of the country are experiencing much heavier rainfalls this year. An unscientific analysis by some in Quepos would back that up even for Quepos (southwest) where there have been many more morning and full-day rains than in previous years.


Landslide Killed Truck Driver on Ruta32

Of course the other signal that the rains have been torrential is the flooding, landslides and road closures that have occurred in substantial numbers this year. Ruta 32 between San José in particular has been subject to several major landslides and closed to traffic for days more than once. Several hundred homes in the Limón, Turrialba and Guapiles areas have lost power for days.


The threat is real and the government has had to issue an emergency warning status in various areas several times.


In later July some 220 schools in Talamanca, Limón, Sarapiquí, Guápiles and Turrialba were unable to provide educational services due to flooding, lack of access, or because they are being used as shelters. By the end of July 120 of these schools had been reopened leaving about 100 still closed.


Early Quake Warning System


A press report in July said that a test is beginning on a new system (funded by the U.S. A.I.D. and U.S.G.S. organizations) that may predict an imminent earthquake. It's based on the installation of some 100 sensors in earthquake prone areas that register initial movements that in turn signal an earthquake is about to happen. The early warning is estimated to be 30-40 seconds before the major shake occurs. The effective range of the equipment currently for people receiving the warning is 50-75 kilometers or 31-47 miles. Evidently, less than 30 miles does not produce a warning tremor and over 75 the quake is inconsequential.


GG thought about the 7.6 he endured in 2012 while standing in the first floor of Puntarenas hospital. According to the map the epicenter was about 75 kilometers from that hospital. I could have used the 30-40 second warning to exit the building.


To my amigo technical experts: Please lets get version 2.0 of this equipment operating that will give us a 24 hour warning so we can get the hell out of Dodge in time.

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


Search the Golden Gringo Chronicles Archives for Topics That Interest You


You can use our Archives to search for anything that has been written in more than 220 feature articles of the Golden Gringo Chronicles plus find Broken News items and ROMEO restaurant reviews. Enter your topic or item to search in the Google Search Routine below and follow the links offered from the search results.


Suggestion: Enter only a simple, precise and unique as possible keyword or two in order to narrow the number of references retrieved:


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.


Golden Gringo University
(Deciding on Where to Live Within Costa Rica)


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.


Our goal and objective at GGU is to provide accurate information that readers will find helpful in their efforts to be a good expat resident or visitor in Costa Rica.


For additional topics that have been covered under the GGU theme go here: GGU Archive. In this issue we discuss how to go about selecting an area in which to live in Costa Rica that particularly fits your needs.


People who come to Costa Rica to live do so for varying reasons.


Some are enthralled by the wildness, natural beauty and hyper-biodiversity. Others like the pace of life in a relatively tranquil society. Retirees like GG, in particular find the combination of these two characteristics very attractive and I often joke to visitors: "Be careful, Costa Rica can be addictive".


Still others come here to start a new life or to leave something behind. As a friend of mine once said: "People come here who are unwanted or wanted".


GG's Cédula

This September 21st GG will have been a resident of Costa Rica for ten years. I have also been an official resident for just over six of those years having obtained my first cédula in 2012. A cédula, is that credit card looking piece of plastic that confirms the holder has been approved by the government to be a resident. The Costa Rican constitution grants that all the rights enumerated in that document that accrue to citizens also accrue to an official resident, with the sole exception being the right to vote.


Standard 90-Day Visa

There are different types of cédulas with different requirements (elaborated here). But without the cédula you are here as a visitor with a 90-day visa stamp in your passport. Current policy is that you can renew the visa every 90 days for an unlimited number of cycles. You do this by crossing one of the borders (some call it a "border run") to the north (Nicaragua) or south (Panama) and reentering. You can also make a trip somewhere out of the country. GG used the 90-day renewal in the early years as an excuse to visit other places including Nicaragua (several times), Panama (several times), San Andres Island (Colombia) and by making a couple of return trips to the U.S.


I've known people who have been on the 90-day visa renewal option for over ten years making regular quarterly border runs. These people are known here as "perpetual tourists". The reasons they do this are usually not the costs of obtaining a cédula but are related to not being able to qualify in some respect (minimum income requirement, police report) to be awarded a cédula.


The discussion below considers the factors that might (or should) be important to you in making a decision to move to Costa Rica as well as what area of the country might be best for you and how to get started.


Investigate Before Deciding


This is the self-examination part. Don't jump, look before you leap.


Many Norteamericanos (a handy Latin American word for a U.S. or Canadian citizen) think that moving here is just like moving to another state or province. Wrong. It's more complicated and more tedious than that and you are likely to encounter more bureaucracy than you thought possible (check out the health article below about bureaucracy). Nevertheless, with a steady determination, patience, a positive attitude and perhaps with the knowledge and help of others that have gone before you, a good decision can be made and a successful move accomplished.


GGU suggests that you first visit the country in different parts to get a feel for what living in different areas might be like. I recommend at least three visits of 10-14 days each. Don't just visit the beautiful parks and tourist sites (volcanoes are fascinating but very few people live near them) check out the towns and cities, beaches, mountains and forests. GG visited Costa Rica eight times over a five year period (2003-2008) and most of those times I ended up for some portion of the trip in the South Central Pacific Coast, particularly in Quepos/Manuel Antonio. During the last two visits to QMA I felt very comfortable here and experienced difficulty going home, a feeling that suggested that this area is where I should retire and indeed that's what I did in 2008. I have never regretted that decision.


N.B. The numbers following each category below will be explained later in this article.


Weather (2)


One of the biggest questions to ask yourself is "What kind of climate do you prefer?" Yes, the country is totally in a tropical zone but within that zone it offers at least three significant variations in climate. There's the dry, hotter northwest, the hot and higher humidity of the southern rain forest, the cooler, windier central valley or the even cooler, sometimes chilly mountains. Do you prefer cool mountain air during the day and particularly at night? How do you feel about rain? We have a lot of it, particularly in the southern regions and Caribbean. The good news is that no matter where you go in Costa Rica you can leave your snow shovel and mukluks behind.


Do get an idea of how rainy the rainy season is (May to November) go HERE.


Rural/City: City Slicker, Country Bumpkin or Beach Bum (5)


Some people just thrive on the pulse of city life. Paradise to others is being surrounded by country greenery and we have plenty of that in Costa Rica. Still others are quite happy living in a country setting and only seeing a beach occasionally (much like GG feels about the city).


Others, like GG, have a thing for the beach. I guess it's because I lived on an island growing up with a very short walk to the Atlantic Ocean and salt got into my blood. Over the decades I estimate we probably vacationed at an ocean beach over 80% of the time. If you like pools and lakes, God bless you, but for me an ocean beach = life, and offers therapy. You need to decide what style and surroundings really is "your thing" and has a higher priority to you, the city, the country life or the call of the ocean.


City Slicker...or Country Bumpkin...or Beach Bum (Manuel Antonio)


Access to "Stuff" (2)


City Mall Near San José

How important is it to you that you live near to a diverse array of shopping facilities? Norteamericanos are spoiled in this regard with about 95% of us having lived within a fifteen minute drive to one or more super-malls. The closest you'll come to that in Costa Rica is in the Central Valley within a 20 kilometer radius of the Teatro Nacionál in San José. GG lives at least two hours by car from that kind of mall and, these days, three and a half hours by bus.


GG handles the need for "stuff" by making occasional visits (2-3 times per year) to the city of San José and the large and various surrounding malls in the Central Valley.


Availability of Cultural Activities (3)


The Piazza in Front of National Theater

Another concern for some is the possibility of, or availability to cultural activities. These range from performance arts such as theater to major entertainment, professional sports, fiestas and festivals of many kinds and even restaurants.


Costa Rica is small enough to offer at least some of these attractions in most parts of the country but it's obvious that these kinds of activities are going to be more abundant, and therefore more available, in areas of the country with higher and denser populations (read Central Valley).


Access to Health Care (5)


Quepos Hospital (and Caja Center)

For many an expat, particularly retirees, this topic is extremely important. It includes having access to both public and private health care as well as to medical specialties and preventative care. GG came here in 2008 with no diagnosed illnesses but later developed at different times, congestive heart failure, hypothyroidism and a need for cataract surgery. Treatment and regular care was available through the public system (Caja) for all three of those problems but one of them (cataracts) required referral to remote hospitals for different treatment which, in turn, involved several trips each. That story is covered in the second feature section below.


Today GG is well ensconced in the Caja system and receives regular (4-6 months) preventive health care check ups in Quepos. The cost is a moderate $80 per month for everything including medicines.


In addition to the public health care system there are some excellent private hospitals and medical services most of which are located in the Central Valley. While the costs are more expensive by far than the public system they are still below typical costs for procedures in North America which is why "medical tourism" (people who come here just for medical service) is a significant industry here. GG has a recent and rare example of using the private system and that is reported in the next article below.


Government Stability (5)


All of the above is academic if the country and its government structure is not stable. The good news is that Costa Rica has enjoyed the strongest and stablest democratic government in Central America now for almost 70 years. The country has its problems related to budget imbalance and a too large fiscal deficit but "they're working on it" and they enjoy an affluence ranking second only to Panama in Central America in personal income as well as a vibrant economy.


The Government Stability characteristic is not included in the next section on analysis because it's a country to country comparison rather than area to area within a country but it is, of course, an important underpinning to the whole analysis. To see an earlier country to country comparison done in the Chronicles go HERE.


Competitive Analysis


It's probably the engineer in me but in making a decision as important as moving to another country I am likely put it down on paper a comparative and competitive analysis. Likewise, had I not become very familiar with the Quepos-Manuel Antonio area through eight visits prior to moving there I suspect I would have done a summary like that below for all the areas of Costa Rica I might move to.


A general format for something like this is shown at left. It involves both a ranking of importance (1-not really important to 5-very important) These are my rating numbers following the sections above in the ranking of importance. Different people will see the importance of the characteristics differently. As for the judgment of the ranking for an area, I use 1=poor to 5=excellent. The product of the importance times the rating (I x R) summed up for all the characteristics in an area is the grand score for the location. Many of these ratings will be different for different people because of the personalization resulting from the importance rating and the judgment made of how you see it for an area. This type of analysis is much more specific to an individual than a country rating.


The above, of course, is a rather analytical way of doing ratings and maybe you can do this intuitively but I think the value in the process is to make you think through the possibilities and your preferences so you have a minimum of surprises later or maybe unnecessarily develop buyer's remorse after you've taken up residence. I suspect it will also bring out some interesting differences between husbands and wives (yuk,yuk).


I think "go slow, go far" is a good strategy to use amigos.


¡Solo Bueno!




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





It's a seafood hamburger?


It's a crab inside a mollusk?


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






¡Solo Bueno!


Seeing the Way Clearly
(Adventures in Socialized Medicine)

I don't want this article to come across as a case of just another expat bitching about bureaucracy. Yet the story deserves airing as an exercise in patience and how best to maneuver when the system doesn't respond. This is the story about private health care that I referred to in the health section of the GGU article above.


I received cataract surgery on my left eye on August 5, 2013 and then on my right eye on January 14, 2014. Both of these surgeries were done under the national health system (Caja) at Hospital Mexico in San José, the largest public hospital in Costa Rica. It was not done at Monsignor Sanabria hospital in Puntarenas, which is the first place you are referred to as a Quepos resident since Quepos is in Puntarenas Province. At the time neither Quepos nor Puntarenas hospital were doing such surgeries. In Puntarenas' case it may have been because most of the hospital had been destroyed by the second strongest earthquake in Costa Rican history in 2012 (story HERE).


After the surgeries, and a minor laser correction a couple of months later, my vision was A-OK (as my generation used to say; the saying comes from the early space program). About three years later the left eye had developed a significant blurriness and I sought another appointment with the Puntarenas Opthalmic Section, my guess being I just needed another laser correction. I was frustrated at several turns and could only come up with an appointment for August 31, 2021. Yup, that's right, 2021, more than three years hence. You can read the whole sad story HERE.


I think you can imagine how disappointed and frustrated I was. I decided that I would just bear the burden of living with the blurry eye for a while until I figured out what to do next. A few weeks later I told the story to my regular Caja medico, the good Dr. Fallas, during a regular check-up. After he stopped shaking his head he said: "You might want to try Asembis for the correction, if that's really what is needed". Of course I said: "What's an Asembis?". He described Asembis as a medical clinic that specializes in testing and light medical treatments. "They won't charge you a fortune either, says the doc". That last part sounded good.


Snellen Chart

A week or so later, after finding out that the Asembis appointments office is located one bock from the Plaza de la Cultura just around the corner from the hotel where I usually stay in San José, I walked into the office. Busy place but I was served by one of the two ladies at the appointments desk within about fifteen minutes. I then had to wait another half hour to see a technician who examined my eye and ran me through the chart that all such people seem to rely on (I think they call it a Snellen Chart).


After seeing I had difficulty determining the letters beyond "Z" on the Snellen Chart with the problem eye and that the right eye was OK, the tech made a bunch of notes and forwarded me to the opthalmology section one floor above. After dilation by another tech, I got to see the ophthalmologist who used more sophisticated devices than the downstairs office (at least they were bigger and had stronger lights). He confirmed my own diagnosis that I needed another laser lens correction. Unfortunately, this particular office did not have the proper equipment to do the correction so I was given another appointment for a week later at the Asembis office in Guadelupe. Cost of visit #1: 27,000 colones (about $48) payable before the test; cash or credit cards accepted.


I returned the next week to the much larger Guadelupe office and after paying 66,000 colones (about $117) in advance for the treatment and waiting about an hour I sat in front of an ophthalmologist who zapped the bad eye with the laser maybe twenty times. All of a sudden I could see clearly again. Yeah, baby! They set up a third appointment for me for exactly one month hence at the Centro office and I left. I'm sure there were some police reports later of a crazy gringo dancing down main street in Guadelupe singing "I can see clearly now the blur is gone..."


I returned one month later (26,000 colones/$46) to be checked out by the same ophthalmologist that had done the correction and he was happy with the check-up, as was I. Then he said with a smile: "Check back with me in a year". I went to the desk to make an appointment for a year later but the girl read the notes from the ophthalmologist, handed me a flyer with their telephone number on it and said simply: "Call us if you need us". Total cost for the three visits including treatment: 119,000 colones or about $210 plus maybe another $35 for six bus tickets. So I can report that I am a satisfied customer.


I've come to the conclusion that the Caja is good for the bulk of medical needs but when you need some relatively minor treatment for something that is not life-threatening, you can get bogged down in the bureaucracy. It cases like that it's good to know there is an alternative source for medical treatment that won't empty your bank account.


For a list of services at Asembis, go HERE:


¡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?)

New Puntarenas Hospital Update

GG has several times mentioned being on the first floor of the ten story Hospital Monsigñor Sanabria, better known as the Puntarenas hospital, on September 5, 2012 when the second strongest earthquake in Costa Rican history (Richter 7.6) hit 20 miles to the northwest. I suspect I will continue to mention this event because, when you're in a strong building as it turns to rubbery jello, it is a life-changing moment. Thank God it didn't totally collapse. The experience is seared in the memory amigos.


In earlier analyses the engineers thought the building could be repaired but subsequent testing caused them to abandoned that idea and the top eight floors were eventually razed. The remaining two floors were barely adequate for administrative facilities and plans were soon underway to construct a whole new hospital.


A press report in mid-July said: "...in Puntarenas, the new Monseñor Sanabria Hospital will be ready at the end of December and will provide an integral response to the specialized health care needs of the population of Puntarenas. This medical center will be located in Barranca and will have a substantial increase in infrastructure and services for the 276,000 people currently enrolled in the central canton of Puntarenas." (Note: I believe they meant Province, not canton of Puntarenas; the province includes the canton of Quepos - Ed.)


The driving distance from Quepos to Barranca is about the same as Quepos to Puntarenas. But the map I took off Google (right) positions the town of Barranca somewhat east of Puntarenas and may require two buses to reach it from Quepos versus the current one; we'll see. We look forward to the opening of the new hospital.


To see photos of the old Puntarenas Hospital, the current building and the artist's rendition of the new hospital, go HERE.


¡Pura Vida!



Travel Quote of the Month



GGC Bookshelf

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


Here are the books currently on our bookshelf:


jio uio
The Chronicles as a Narrative

Mariposa - English

Mariposa - Español Small Business Guide
Read More Read More Leer Más Aquí Read More
Overcoming Drinking Making Time Count Spiritual Love Connection Murder or Suicide?
Read More Read More Read More Read More
There's Room for More on the QMA Writers Group Bookshelf There's Room for More on the QMA Writers Group Bookshelf There's Room for More on the QMA Writers Group Bookshelf
Getting Around the Capital      
Read More      


The Real Guide to San José is new to the bookshelf this month. Michael Miller has produced the best English guide to our capital and has had several of his articles reprinted in the Chronicles, making him an honorary member of the QMA/Manuel-Antonio Writers Group. We welcome Michael him to the Bookshelf.


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


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




a. Golden Gringo Chronicles with Logo,

b. Official Golden Gringo with Monkey on Banana Hammock,

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

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

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


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


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

See them all HERE:

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


¡Solo Bueno!




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


Answer to Que Es Eso?


It's a beetle and a new species at that (here we go again - another new species in Costa Rica - seems like we have one a month). It was discovered at a biological station in the lowland Atlantic rain forest of Northeastern Costa Rica - think Tortugero.


One of the cute things about this beetle is that it rides around on the backs of army ants as though it was on horseback, attaching itself to the ant by its strong mandibles. In doing so it looks just like a second stomach to the ant with a hard, hairy shell. How's that for being deceptive to your predators. It also takes advantage of the ants food supply by scooping up the uneaten food morsels found by the ants. (I know some people that act that way also)


The new beetle was named by scientists as: "Nymphister Kronaueri" (don't ask)



ROMEO Corner
(Retired Old Men Eating Out)

Jiuberth's Marisqueria - Quepos


Location: Approximately 2 kilometers east of Quepos` Pali Supermarket on the road to the hospital and Naranjito and 150 meters in on an access road to the left (there's a sign on the main road pointing left as you take the road to the hospital).
Hours: Lunch and Dinner
Parking: Sufficient at the restaurant
Contact: Tel.: 2777-1292; Email: N/A; Website: N/A


Reviewing ROMEOS: Aaron L., Bob N., Glen N., Jerry C. Julia S., Lorenzo, Miurell G.


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


This is the second time we reviewed Jiuberth's Marisqueria. We first reviewed this restaurant in January of 2015 not long after it had opened. To see that review go here: January 2015.


Not all our victims improve their ratings, especially one that came in at a high rating the first time (4.5 Sloths, 129 Value Rating); but this one did.


The restaurant is located just a couple of miles from downtown Quepos in the woods (one might say they're in the westerly hills of Inmaculada, a suburb of Quepos). The external appearance has not changed and is not impressive, just an open door on a nondescript building.


This is a Mama and Papa operation. Inside, you're immediately struck buy how homey the place is. Although the building is the same as the last time, the dining room appears to have gotten larger and the walls are now covered with a broad array of folk art. Turns out that Papa is the source of many of the art pieces. Papa is chef, bottle washer and artiste and is very proud of the place. He's also added a side room that is a store and serves up even more of his art. (For pictures of Mama and Papa check the last review)


The composite score for ambiance was 4.0/5 sloths.


This is a seafood restaurant pure and simple, supported by the fact that the family has had it's own fishing boats for a long time and is closely in league with local fishermen - the place is a perfect example of how fresh is maintained by getting seafood from dock to dish quickly.


The menu is simple, lotsa seafood from fish to lobster and various combinations in between.


GG had a fish ceviche for a starter that excelled in the freshness of the whitefish and a perfect balance of limone juice, culantro and red onion. Another order of mixed seafood ceviche got high marks also.


For a main course I ordered large shrimp (what came was more like prawns) in a light butter/garlic sauce that was cooked just tender. Outstanding. I would have appreciated the shells being removed but I dug in anyway. Other ROMEO selections included several "Plata Bombas", a large platter of mixed seafood. Others had a pescado entero (whole fish) and a fish filet ajilo, broiled with garlic.


The only postre or desert available was a slice of ice cream which of course GG ordered.


The composite score for food quality was 4.9/5.0, almost perfect.

Value Index= 168


We were waited on by Mama sin pollo (see the previous review that has a picture of Mama with a chicken under her arm). She was attentive, helpful and friendly as was Papa. (They will call you into the kitchen before you sit down to review what seafood they have for the evening). Composite score for service was 4.8, giving the average for atmosphere, food quality and service of 4.55/5.


The cost of the fish ceviche, shrimp plate and ice cream cake for GG was 11,000 colones (a little less than $20) which is very reasonable for the quality, especially for seafood. The composite score for cost was $$.7, quite low for this area. That yields a Value Index of 4.6/2.7x100=168 and puts Jiuberth's Marisqueria at the top of our list for value.


Remarks from the ROMEOs: "Food was very fresh,good portions and not too costly", "Outstanding Shrimp", "Wonderful fish", "Great food!", "GREAT MEAL, GREAT VALUE, the filet ajillo was the best tasting fish I've had in memory!", "The mixed seafood platter was terrific!", "Food was very good in a different, original atmosphere".


The ROMEOs can heartily recommend Jiuberth's Marisqueria for an excellent meal at a reasonable price. If you're in the Quepos/Manuel Antonio area and like seafood, this restaurant is not to be missed.


¡Pura Vida!




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