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In This Issue:

1. Broken News: 1. Panama and Costa Rica Lead in Expat Retirement Ranking; 2. Costa Rican Band Shows Off at Rose Parade; 3. Football News - a. Heredia Wins National Championship; b. Keylor Navas Happier Now; 4. Nicaragua Status; 5. Blood Moon, 6. Uber to be Legalized

2. Rumble and Weather Talk: Rain, Rain Go Away (and it did); More Precautions Being Taken at Our More Active Volcanoes.

3. Feature Article #1: Profiles in Quepos - Dr. Alberto Gonzales Camacho (Dentistry with a Smile)

4. ¿Que Es Eso? Department: Upe, Say What?

5. Feature Article #2: Time On, Time Off (Vacations and Holidays, U.S. Versus Costa Rica)

6. Health Stuff: Rice and Beans; Inquiring Minds Want to Know

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

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

9. ROMEO Corner: La Cantina, Manuel Antonio

Wisdom of the Ages



The Golden Gringo and the entire staff at GGC Publications (guess who that is) wish you and yours every blessing and good wishes for Valentine's Day.



¡Happy Valentine's Day Amigos!


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

Panama and Costa Rica Lead in Expat Retirement Ranking


International Living magazine publishes an annual survey which they call the Global Retirement Index. For 2019 Panama and Costa Rica led the list of the top 25 retirement spots for expats. The rating technique they use was described as follows:


¨This yearly Index examines safe, good-value destinations beyond the U.S. or Canadian borders—comparing, contrasting, ranking, and rating them to select spots across the globe where a retired couple can live a comfortable, carefree life on $1,800 or less a month, all in¨, explains the press release.


¨The 2019 Index itself is more comprehensive than ever, including evaluations in 13 categories (one more than last year): buying and investing, renting, benefits and discounts, visas and residence, cost of living, fitting in, entertainment and amenities, healthcare, healthy lifestyle, development, climate, opportunity, and governance¨.


As a retired dude GG thinks it's nice to know I retired to a place that compares well around the world.


Costa Rican Band Shows Off at Rose Parade


The town of Acosta, Costa Rica is a pueblo of approximately 20,000 souls located about 15 miles southwest of the capital, San José. GG was surprised to learn that the Acosta Band was founded only ten years ago in 2008.


The current band is so good it got to represent Costa Rica in this year's Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, California on January 1. This troupe is more than just a band as it also offers a substantial group of interpretive dancers dressed in traditional costumes. To see them in action go here: Acosta Band at Rose Bowl Parade.


Buen trabajo Los Acostans.


Football News


Look, Keylor Can Block with His Eyes Closed

OK, OK, we're not going to talk about the fact that GG's favorite team, Saprissa, lost the national championship to Heredia in a squeaker 3-2. No, we're not going to talk about that...grrrr. Next year (actually it's the end of this year) it'll be different, right guys?


Meanwhile, our favorite Costa Rican born futbol star, Keylor Navas, a few weeks ago was reported to be a little unhappy with his team (Spain's legendary Real Madrid Club); some of the feeling was because he was making only a couple of mil ($) a year.


By the end of December Keylor's attitude had changed after signing a new three year contract. The new contract will give the dude, who will be 37 at the end of that term, $5.7 Mil annually. That's a lot of colones amigos (about ₡3.5 billion in fact). I think my attitude would have changed under that sweetening situation also.


A couple of weeks later Don Keylor received the best Ibero-American player trophy at the National Sports Award celebration from King Philipe of Spain. Not bad K, congrats.


Nicaragua Status


There continues to be no progress between the current president of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, and popular opposition to his heavy-handed policies. During the past few weeks:


Nicaragua ejected human rights investigating teams from the OAS (Organization of American States - 35 members including the United States). In response, the OAS is drafting a directive to formally assess the state of democracy in Nicaragua and possibly to take action to "foster the restoration of democracy."


La Prensa Front Page

Rafel Solis, head of the Nicaraguan Supreme Court and an old friend of Ortega's, Solis having been best man at Ortega's wedding, resigned from the court, to which Ortega and his regime described his resignation as committing "an act of treason". Solis sought refuge in Costa Rica.


After shutting down the cable news channel Noticias the government impounded ink and printing supplies that were en route to La Prensa, the most widely read newspaper in Nicaragua. In response, La Prensa issued their next and perhaps last edition with a blank front page which said:


“Have you imagined living without information?”


The only friends Ortaga seems to have left are Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela and Miguel Díaz-Canel of Cuba. Most observers fear violent trouble ahead.


Blood Moon


The clear summer skies in Costa Rica provided a perfect backdrop for a "Super Blood Moon" which occurred here on the night of January 21. A blood moon is nothing more than an eclipse of the moon caused by the earth's shadow crossing the orb. While it is not a total blackout, the refraction of light in this situation favors the red spectrum, hence the term blood moon.


Let's remember that the true color of the moon is dull gray as reported by those who had a close up look, the astronauts who landed there in 1969. They were more impressed with the view of earth they saw from the moon, a perfect sphere with brilliant blue hues and creamy clouds crossing the surface.


Uber to be Legalized


Last month's Chronicle noted a recent telephone poll which concluded that Uber taxis were the most popular mode of public transportation in Costa Rica ahead of Pirate Taxis, Red Taxis and Trains.


On January 22 the government submitted a bill to the legislature which would legalize Uber (and similar companies) as an EPT (Spanish acronym for Transportation Platform Company). They would then be subjected to the 13% VAT plus a new 3% National Mobility Fund supposedly to underwrite some kind of vague "modernization" of the fleet. My guess is that this latter item would go to the Reds as the Ubers are already quite modern. In addition to the these taxes, the new Uber must pay a "registration" fee and fine of some $13.4 million.


So hold on amigos, the government has their hand in the till now, your Uber fares are about to jump significantly.


¡Pura Vida!

Rumble and Weather Talk

Rain, Rain, Go Away


And it did, on schedule, about December 15. Since New Year's we've only had a couple of short and weak showers (a friend calls them "spritzers"). The beach is sunny, the ocean is warm and the waves at this time of year are quite small which is good for old dudes like GG but not for surfers; the more adept at this sport will have to go to the north and south of us to get the big curls.


More Precautions Being Taken at Our More Active Volcanoes


Costa Rica's Major Active Volcanoes

Costa Rica is a country about 80% the size of the State of West Virginia. We count a minimum of five active volcanoes (left): Poas, Irizu, Turrialba, Rincon de la Vieja, and Arenal. That last one is shown in the Chronicle Header and Logo at the top.


During last year and leading up to January 2019 both Turrialba and Poas have exhibited activity that sometimes can be dangerous. In recent months new shelters have been constructed at both national parks in order to "provide protection to scientists, park rangers and other authorized personnel near the crater".


Rincon de la Vieja

Rincon de la Vieja has also shown activity in an almost unbroken string of eruptions in the last 500 years, here's it's Eruption History: 1529(?), 1765, 1844, 1849, 1851(?), 1853-54, 1860, 1861-63, 1902(?), 1912, 1917(?), 1922, 1966-67, 1969, 1969, 1970, 1983, 1984, 1985-86, 1987, 1991-92, 1995, 1998 (Feb.-Sep.), 2011-2012, 2014, 2015-ongoing.


As if to emphasize its place in the world of volcanoes, Rincon had two eruptions in January, on the 17th and 20th. In both cases there was a lahar, a "violent flow of pyroclastic material, rocky debris and water". Besides that, some of the highly acidic (pH=0) lake associated with the volcano seeped into local rivers (Niño and the Pénjamo) resulting in fish kills where some of the "... dead fish collected have gills burned, and the skin yellowed and partially burned, and a dead caiman was found on the river bank".


Prudence suggests visitors should be aware of potential dangers in those nearby rivers to the Rincon. In addition to the fish kills due to high acidity, the level of the Pénjamo River increased more than four meters (13+ feet) and expanded horizontally more than 12 meters or almost forty feet, almost like a flash flood.


N.E.C. Planning Session

In an additional move in late January, and because of the continued activity in the volcano, the National Emergency Commission set up a technical center near the Rincon de la Vieja National Park to review the emergency plan with authorities of nearby communities. Photo left.


Recall that Costa Rica, as a land mass, is a relatively young part of the world having been created only 2.8 million years ago when the Central American isthmus rose between North and South America to separate the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The Earth on the other hand is estimated to be 4.5 billion years old (the North American section of the continent being created from 500 million to one billion years ago). Costa Rica has been around for only 0.06% of our global history. We're still in a relatively young formation area, geologically speaking, so beware folks; this ain't Kansas, Dorothy.


It behooves visitors to the national parks in the vicinity of the active volcanoes to check with reputable tour operators, the tourist bureau and the U.S. Department of State to see what's popping at the moment before going wherever you're going to go in Costa Rica.


¡Pura Vida!

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


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Profiles in Quepos Series

Dr. Alberto González Chacón
(Dentistry with a Smile)



This gentleman is better known among many ex-pats here simply as "Dr. Alberto" or even "Alberto" (the nickname for Alberto in Spanish is "Beto"). Alberto was also one of the first service merchants that GG came in contact with when I first moved here. At that first encounter I was impressed with his openness, professionalism and good humor. I still am.


Dr. Alberto Gonzales Chacón

Alberto González Chacón was born November 28, 1980 (making him 38 at this writing) and grew up in San José where his parents still reside. After graduating from high school in 1997, Alberto elected to take the five year licenciatura program at Universidad Latina in San José and received his degree in dentistry in 2002.


Alberto, having become Dr. Alberto, moved to Quepos after graduation and has since been a permanent resident here for some 16 years now. He joined his uncle, also a dentist but one with 30 years experience, and set up his office in the same building as his uncle. That's where I first met him, when he was only about a four block walk West of my apartment.


About a year ago Alberto moved into a separate office located near the Quepos futbol field (second floor Velamar Building). One of the reasons he moved to this location was because two of his uncle's sons, who happen to be recent dental school graduates were moving to Quepos to practice and planned to move in with their father - just like Alberto had done. Of course that meant more family space would be needed and Alberto elected to move. The new office is about a three block walk South of my apartment (I love Quepos for its Quepos Qonvenience).


Alberto's extended family now includes a total of six dentists; Alberto, his uncle, a sister and three of his cousins, some specializing in specific areas such as root canal, orthodonture etc. and the others practicing general dentistry like Alberto. If you can't get a dental problem solved within this family amigos, you're out of luck in Costa Rica. Sounds to GG like there may be a Gonzales-Chacon Dental Institute in the future.


Business Philosophy


The dentists community here has changed significantly in the 16 years since Alberto first hung out his shingle. At that time he was the third dentist in Quepos. Now there are approximately one dozen including a couple of them attached to local clinics.


Alberto in his Treatment Center

I believe everyone who is in business has a business philosophy even if they don't think they do (GG still can't get the business consultant out of his system). Alberto's philosophy was clear to him when he told me he believed in "General Dentistry".


By that term he means that he is able to provide most types of dental services including some of the items that others specialize in, yet he prefers not to specialize. "Why?" says I. Because according to the Colegio de Odontòlogos says he, the technical organization for this profession, if you are a specialist you can't practice general dentistry. Alberto wants to be able to do it all, and does, but he will refer specific cases if he thinks it preferable or necessary.


Another part of Alberto's philosophy is to suggest the simplest procedure required for the problem at hand and charge accordingly. He will not try to "upgrade" you (read that as "upsell"). My personal experience with Alberto verifies that. I cracked a front tooth in half horizontally a few years ago and immediately self-diagnosed myself that a cap would be needed. I went to see him thinking that if this is going to cost more than $300, I just might choose to walk around for a while looking like Joe Palooka after a fight.


The discussion resulted in Alberto offering me a choice: 1) I could get a porcelain crown; after he makes a cast and sends it out to an outside service to make a porcelain version - $300 or 2) try an acrylic cast, something he could provide on the spot in his own office. "What's the diff, amigo" says GG. Alberto told me: "The porcelain will last virtually forever; the acrylic will last a number of years but I can't predict how long." My response: "Give me the acrylic version because I don't know how many years I'm going to last either!" The cost was $90 and after four years it's still functioning perfectly.

Personal Life


Dr. Alberto and His Family

In interviewing Dr. Alberto I found out that he is not yet married, so all you young single ladies with ideas out there may have a chance yet.


Some of Dr. Alberto's Art Work

The photo to the left is of Alberto and his family; from left to right: Alberto, his dad, mom, his sister and sister's husband. If you blow up the picture as I did you won't see a bad tooth in the whole group; I wonder why?


Look at that photo again. I'm not used to Ticos being 6'4" like Alberto; he towers over his own family. But that shirt amigo Beto, it'll scare the fish!


When not improving people's dental structure Alberto enjoys going to the beach, swimming, hiking, drawing and painting. Sounds like a well-rounded life to me.


A sample of his art work is to the right. Bright colors amigo but is that a Buddha on the desk above the sketch book or a selfie taken after Christmas dinner? (Beto later confirmed it is indeed a Buddha, a gift from his father)


Dr. Alberto is a credit to the community and GG is very happy he found him early in my residence here. Best wishes for continued success amigo!


¡Solo Bueno!



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


So, a man walks up to a neighbor's house, stands at the gate and yells out several times: "Upe!" (ooo-pay)


Is he selling something?


Could it be Mr. Upe himself?






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


¡Pura Vida!


Holidays and Vacations

(Costa Rica versus United States)


One of the things that impressed me about watching people work in Costa Rica (dude, that's what retirees do, watch people work) was that many, if not most businesses here run a six day work week. I noticed that most workers covered all those days with only one day off per week. So GG thought it might be interesting to compare holiday and vacation policies enjoyed by workers in the U.S. versus Costa Rica.




In the USA, employer paid time off appears in an employee benefits package as voluntary. No Federal law in the United States requires an employer to provide time off, paid or otherwise, but in practice very few employers fail to give paid holidays and vacation time and Federal holidays are often used as the standard by both states and private employers.


There are ten U.S. Federal holidays which are shown in the table to the left. As noted, four of the holidays (MLK Day, Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day and Columbus Day) are moved from date to date on an annual basis to take advantage of putting them on Mondays or Fridays to create long weekends. The other six (New Year's, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veteran's Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas) are immutable as to date celebrated.


The table to the right shows the list of holidays in Costa Rica which numbers about the same as the U.S., i.e. eleven (two are hidden within Semana Santa). Only two of the holidays here agree with the U.S. list; New Year's and Christmas. Two others seem the same but are quite different; Labor Day, which is actually the May Day celebrated in many parts of the world, and Independence Day which is September 15 but of course in Costa Rica it is the celebration of independence from Spain (1821).


Note that there are five holidays in the chart to which I've attached notes and here are the explanations:


1. Juan Santamaria Day. Juan was the 25-year old gent who was part of the rag-tag army sent north to Rivas, Nicaragua in 1856 to help defeat the filibuster William Wallace who had designs on becoming king of Central America (used in this sense filibuster means: "an irregular military adventurer, especially one who engages in an unauthorized military expedition into a foreign country to foment or support a revolution"). The Costa Ricans did win that battle with the help of some nighttime bravery on Santamaria's part. Unfortunately he died in the battle becoming a early hero of independent Costa Rica. Our major international airport in Alejuela is named after him (see the Santamaria story HERE).


2. Semana Santa or Holy Week leading up to Easter really only includes two legal holidays, Holy Thursday and Good Friday (hence the 11th holiday as mentioned above) but many people take the whole week as vacation paid or not; if you don't believe me, come to the beach in Manuel Antonio that week.


Celebrating Guanacaste Day

3. Annexation of Guanacaste Day. After Costa Rica gained independence in 1821 this Central American province elected to align itself with Costa Rica rather than Nicaragua for which the Nicas have never forgiven us nor the Guanacastans either for that matter (you can't have if back Danny Ortega).


Basilica at Cartago and the Faithful

4. Virgin de Los Angeles. This version of Mary is the patron saint of Costa Rica and the miracle of La Negrita. It inspires a huge devotional parade every year where many thousands (this year over two million) march around Costa Rica many up to the Basilica de la Virgin de Los Angeles in Cartago.


5. Cultures Day. Originally this was Dia de la Raza, a day to commemorate the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus and the subsequent spreading of Spanish culture in the Americas. About 25 years ago it was changed to Dia de las Culturas to celebrate all the diverse cultures that have contributed to the making of Costa Rica.


In Costa Rica whether or not a holiday is paid is something codified into law. Of the eleven holidays listed above, eight of them are paid holidays by law. The three that are not are Holy Thursday, Virgin of Los Angeles Day and Cultures Day (although I'll bet some of these get paid by many employers).


(P.S. An aside):


(I've never quite understood why we celebrate Columbus Day in the United States as Columbus never landed nor founded a settlement in what is now the United States. That honor belongs to Ponce de Leon , a conquistador and Governor of Puerto Rico in Columbus' time, who founded a settlement at St. Augustine, Florida, claiming it and anything attached to it like a continent or ocean (the conquistadors thought big in those days) for Spain in 1513. That was almost 100 years before the settlement in Jamestown, Virginia (1607) or Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts (1620). We should be celebrating Ponce de Leon Day amigos.)




Vacations, like holidays in the United States are not required to be paid by employers but in most cases are. GG worked for two large companies (+ $1 Billion sales in the 1970's) that had similar programs like the following: 1-5 years 1 week; 5-9 years 2 weeks; 10-19 years 3 weeks and 20+ years 4 weeks. There are no true standards but that structure might be considered typical, at least at that time.


For federal government workers vacation policy is a bit more generous: for the first three years of government service employees earn 13 days of vacation per year, for 3-15 years of service they earn 20 days and after 15 years of service they are entitled to 26 days of vacation.


Hmmm, almost four weeks vacation for less that three years of service - schweeeet.


In Costa Rica every person is entitled by law to two weeks vacation defined as "twelve days plus two days of rest" which I guess takes care of both of those working on a five day or six day work week. Now I understand why some Tico friends value their vacation so much: you work five and a half or six days a week for 50 weeks and then get two weeks off. Try that schedule my U.S. government worker friends.


Average Working Hours


So what might be the effect of all these policies which show a great variation from country to country? Well, one way to measure it is to look at the OECD data on average hours actually worked per year. OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) is a transatlantic organization made up of some 36 countries, mostly European and American countries, where the organization first got started, that collaborate and share financial information.


As you can see, Costa Rica comes in second highest annual work hours after Mexico and is 22% higher in average work hours than the U.S. (#14).


Mexico, Costa Rica, Chile in the top six eh; so what was that about the people in Latin American countries not working hard?


¡Solo Bueno!




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?)



Rice and Beans


Gallo Pinto

A recent article in a Costa Rican English electronic newspaper noted that Costa Ricans consume, per capita, 45.7 kilos or a little over 100 lbs per year (hmmm, dry or cooked, hmmm, probably dry) which averages out to 148 grams or 5 ounces per day. Add to that daily consumption another 32 grams or a little over an ounce of beans. Much of that comes by way of a delivery system known as Gallo Pinto (photo). GG has come to love pinto as a daily breakfast staple at least 2-3 times per week.


In Costa Rica there is a typical meal called a casado which is a platter or large plate containing a small piece of meat or fish, the inevitable rice and beans, typically two to three starch/carbohydrates such as yucca, plantains or even french fries and a mini-salad or chimichurry (chopped tomatoes with spices). This dish and it's several versions are served in just about all real ("tipico") Costa Rican restaurants. It is tasty and filling and, unfortunately also loaded with carbohydrates.


A Casado

Casados hearken back to simpler days when most Ticos worked as farmers and laborers and needed an energy boost in the middle of the day. The custom was that they ate a big breakfast, an even bigger main meal at lunch and a modest meal at dinner. That practice of taking the main meal of the day as lunch was highlighted in reports as one of the reasons why rural people in the Nicoya peninsula qualified the region to be a Blue Zone by the U.N. (an area with an exceptionally high percentage of centenarians).


As Costa Rica developed, these high energy meals became high (unburned) calorie meals as people took more sedentary jobs, like in offices. The result, aided by diets that turned to higher and higher amounts of grains and carbohydrates, have resulted in a shocking increase in obesity and diabetes in Costa Rica in recent years (the U.S. too).


Which leads me to the next article....


Inquiring Minds Want to Know


As mentioned in last month's Chronicle GG lost a second sibling, a sister, to Alzheimer's recently. It so happened I have recently begun reading a book (right) suggested by a friend, the author of which claims a connection between carbohydrates and Alzheimer's and several other diseases.


I promised last month that I would share the highlights of this book published in 2013 with you as I read it. Here is a salient point from the book's introduction:


"The fate of your brain is not in your genes, it's in the food you eat. Modern grains are silently destroying your brain. I believe that the shift in our diet that has occurred over the last century - from high fat, low carb to today's low fat, high carb diet, fundamentally consisting of grains and damaging carbohydrates - is the origin of many of our modern scourges linked to the brain, including chronic headaches, insomnia, anxiety, depression, epilepsy, movement disorders, schizophrenia, ADHD, and those senior moments that quite likely herald serious cognitive decline and full-blown, irreversible, untreatable and incurable brain disease."... Dr. David Perlmutter. Perlmutter goes on to quote numerous studies (over 300) that link carbohydrates with diabetes (this is old news) and the higher risk of dementia and Alzheimer's especially for diabetics. He believes ath the relationship between carbohydrates and Alzheimer's is strong enough that he describes Alzheimer's (as other researchers have) simply as "Type III Diabetes".


Wow, that's quite a claim! The author, Dr. Perlmutter, also claims as his credentials to be the only doctor in the U.S. that is both a board-certified neurologist and a fellow of the American College of Nutrition. He also has some 336 citations in his bibliography about studies that back him up. I have not the inclination, desire not technical proficiency to read all those studies in his bibliopgraphy but it tends to make me want to take the good doctor seriously.


So far I have only read the first few chapters but I was struck by the data in the following two charts:


I found it interesting to note that Perlmutter has confirmed everything Dr. Atkins claimed in his breakthrough book in 1981 about carbohydrates causing weight gain and, by restricting them, causing weight loss. He didn't have to sell me on that one as I lost 68 pounds in five months on the Atkins diet in the early 2000's when I joined a small group of five friends in Sarasota, FL who tried the plan as a group. The results were outstanding for all of us that took it seriously. I not only dropped the weight but had much more energy during that period than before. I was in my late fifties at the time.


A year or two after that I began to travel again regularly on business and slowly started to include more carbs. By the time I reached Costa Rica in 2008 I had "slipped" into more carbs in the diet. The damn things sure are tasty and filling.


So maybe it's time to get back on the wagon, eh?


What Perlmutter is bringing to the discussion is a new understanding that our ever increasing use of carbohydrates in the last decades has caused us severe health problems and we'd better get with it in changing our habits and our diets.


I'll give another episode in the book report again next month after I read a few more chapters. There is much more to be revealed.


¡Pura Vida!



Travel Quote of the Month

¡Solo Bueno!


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
Getting Around the Capital Retiring in Costa Rica World War II True Story  
Read More Read More 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 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 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!


¡Solo Bueno!


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

Answer to Que Es Eso?


In Costa Rica there is an unusual way of announcing oneself and asking permission to enter a home or any type of private space, even an office. It is customary to knock and say “upe” (ooo-pay). The response is then something like “pase adelante,” come on in.


The custom comes from Nicoya, Guanacaste where people would make themselves known as benevolent visitors by saying “Nuestra  Senorita (Señora) la Virge de Guadalupe" (in the name of the Virgin of Guadalupe). It was shortened over time to just the last syllable, Upe. Presumably, no evil doer would dare utter this holy name before assaulting a household.




The name of this dish, mentioned in the rice and beans section of the health department above, is a derivative of the verb casar, to marry. It fits the ancient concept of a husband coming in from the field in the middle of the day to get refortified for the balance of the work day with a good, solid meal. Many worked from sunrise to sunset which is typically about 12 hours here. There can be a large number of casado variations by using pork, chicken, beef (pieces or in salsa) or fish. There can also be many variations of vegetables, starchy and otherwise, to create a large repertoire of different versions.


¡Pura Vida!



ROMEO Corner
(Retired Old Men Eating Out)

La Cantina - Manuel Antonio


One of the Dining Rooms at La Cantina

Location: From El Avion (plane) restaurant at the top of Manuel Antonio go about 300 meters down the main road in the direction towards the beach - La Cantina is on the right.

Hours: Monday to Sunday, dinner only, 4-10 PM

Parking:  Ample off-street at the restaurant.

Contacts: Tel.: 2201 7516;
Email: reservations@costaverde.com ;
Website: www.lacantinabbq.com


Reviewing ROMEOS: Bob N., Charlotte H., Duston R., Mark G.


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


La Cantina is part of the Costa Verde hotel complex that includes Costa Verde Hotel and also the restaurants Anaconda, El Avion and El Wagon. The rustic motif is classic Manuel Antonio with the use of a great deal of warm woods and lighting that brings them out. The tables and chairs are also of local woods and are simply decorated. There is no view of the ocean but you feel in the middle of the jungle which it is. The only distraction is the dining room's proximity to the main Manuel Antonio road which can be a little noisy at peak times.


The restaurant includes an old wooden railroad car that now serves as a bar. The ROMEOs on this visit gave La Cantina a 3.8 sloth rating out of a possible 5.0 for ambiance.


The menu has a broad selection of seafoods, steaks and pastas as well as a couple of daily specials. The place bills itself as a Barbecue and has a large wood fired grill to offer steaks, ribs and briskets which we ended up sampling.


GG ordered one of the daily specials, a surf and turf consisting of a small steak fillet and three scallop shells filled with a mix of scallops and shrimp covered with a cheese sauce. Very tasty. but a little heavy on the cheese. Two other ROMEOS selected BBQ Ribs and a grilled brisket, the latter being judged "delicious, ample and very tender".


For dessert GG had a quite nice blueberry cheesecake while others had chocolate cake, all deemed good.


The composite score for food quality came in at 3.9/5.0.

Value Index= 96


The service from our waiter was friendly and polite yet at times GG thought it might have been a bit more attentive, especially considering the restaurant was not particularly busy (we ROMEOs tend to have dinner at an earlier hour than most). Our composite score for service came in at 3.9 sloths yielding an average for Ambiance, Food Quality and Service of 3.8.


For my lomito y conch gratin (surf and turf), a papaya/pineapple slushy, blueberry cheesecake and a cup of coffee the bill came to ₡21,496 or $35.71. The composite score for cost came in at 4.0$, pretty much in line with pricing in Manuel Antonio for the upper scale restaurants. That rating resulted in a Value Index of 3.8/4.0 x 100 = 96 placing La Cantina in the lower levels of our value ratings system.


La Cantina continues to offer a good meal option but be prepared to pay full local prices.


¡Solo Bueno!




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