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Broken News

Economic Drumbeat

Latin America Update

Los Sabaneros
(Cowboys of Costa Rica)

Rumble and Weather Talk

¿Que Es Eso?

Health Stuff

GGC Bookshelf


ROMEO Corner

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In This Edition:

1. Broken News (All the News That's Fit to Reprint): a. Costa Rica Murder Rate Up In 2022; b. Traffic Fines Up Significantly.

2. Economic Drumbeat (Costa Rica Business Happenings): a. Two Gas Price Decreases in January; b. Guanacaste Airport to be Expanded; c. Cruise Season Hits Its Stride; d. Trepidation Among Costa Ricans Due to U.S. Tech Job Cuts.

3. Latin America Update (Major Events in Neighboring Countries):. a. Brazil - Government Experiences Invasions After Election; b. Colombia & Venezuela - ; c. Nicaragua - 5% of Nicaragua Left Country in 2022; d. Panama - Pizza Hut Closes All Its Panama Stores; e. Venezuela - Government Closes 34 More Radio Stations.

4. Feature: ¡Yippie Ay Yo Cay Yeh! (Los Sabaneros of Costa Rica)

5. Rumble and Weather Talk: a. Rumble: No Sizeable Rumbles - Yeh!; b. Weather: Summer is here amigos!

6. ¿Que es Eso?: Bubble Lizard?

7. Health Stuff: a. Covid Cases Continue to Decline; b. Watching the Signs of Aging.

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

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

10. ROMEO Corner: Hola India, Manuel Antonio

Wisdom of the Ages

“It’s paradoxical that the idea of living a long life appeals to everyone, but the idea of getting old doesn’t appeal to anyone.”- Andy Rooney

Holidays In Cost Rica In February

We draw a complete blank as to holidays in Costa Rica in February.
Now that´s an unusual month - just keep working amigos.

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

Costa Rica Murder Rate Up in 2022

Homicides in Costa Rica increased about 11.5% in 2022 to a total of 658 or a rate of 12.6 per 100,000 population. This is a new all time record rate having surpassed the previous record in 2017 of 12.1/100,000. According to the Organismo de Investigación Judicial (OIJ)  – Judicial Investigation Agency some 62% of these homicides are a result of “ajuste de cuentas” (adjustment of accounts, but meaning colloquially revenge).


Said the deputy director of OIJ: "Between 56% and 60% of homicides in Costa Rica have to do with settling scores that we can relate to drug trafficking issues, mainly due to conflicts between groups.”


By comparison, homicide rate (murders/100,000 population) for Canada was 2.0, U.S. 6.5, Mexico 26.6 and Venezuela 36.7.


Traffic Fines Up Significantly


The new year brought increases in vehicle traffic fines, some quite significant. Leading the pack was driving under the influence of alcohol which increased 10% to ₡367,000 (about $612). Other miscreant behaviors falling into the same fine level are: 1) driving +120 kilometers per hour over the limit, and 2) overtaking (passing) on curves, intersections, bridges and tunnels or making U-turns. Less serious offenses such as driving without a seatbelt (₡124,000 or $206) and driving without a valid inspection certificate (₡61,000 or $102) were also increased 10%.


¡Pura Vida!


Economic Drumbeat
(Costa Rica Business Happenings)

Two Gas Price Decreases in January


A gasoline price adjustment, a drop, was instituted in the second week of January and another one is planned by January 31. If they both happen the price of gasoline will then be as shown on the table to the left. Note also that the price of a 25 lb cylinder of compressed gas will drop also. At the current exchange rate (572¢/$) that will make Super about $4.75 per gallon, Regular $4.40 per gallon and a 25 lb cylinder $12.50.


Guanacaste Airport to be Expanded


In January the government announced a major investment of US$105 million in the Daniel Oduber International Airport (LIR), more commonly known as the Guanacaste or Liberia airport (call letters LIR) located near Liberia. The money is to be spent to increase "operational capacity" to build and expand the runway, taxi areas and gate access, as well as improvements in the departures hall.


Current LIR Passenger Departure Hall

This airport has become important to service the North Pacific and central areas of the country and has become the second most important air terminal in the country as more and more flights are scheduled there each year. Said President Rodrigo Chaves: “Tourism is an investment and economic dynamism for the country. Our visitors deserve spacious, safe facilities. We want to offer optimal conditions for the airlines, for the tourist and that their visiting experience increases tourism.


In a further innovation by the management of the LIR airport, pedal-operated charging stations for smart devices such as cell phones have recently been installed. The operation is seen as both a convenience for people whose devices need recharging between flights and an opportunity to do some exercise. It also, of course, can be classified as a "green" activity as it is independent of the normal power grid.


Said an operator representative: "The dynamos can be used by travelers to charge 1% of their phone’s battery for every minute of pedaling, while also having the added benefit of keeping fit – pedaling for 10 minutes burns up to 100 calories."


GG is guessing we´ll see, at least in the Liberia area, more and more sweaty people with well-charged phones.


Cruise Season Hits Its Stride


Friday the 13th of January was not an unlucky day for the tourist industry in Costa Rica. On the contrary, the tourist season hit its stride with some nine cruise ships and over 6,500 passengers at dockside spread over six ports: Limón (3), Puntarenas (2), Quepos (2), Playas del Coco (1) and Gulf of Nicoya (1). The ships docked in the Gulf of Nicoya and Quepos are classified as Luxury Ships or expedition ships with the result meaning that their presence in the ports will likely span 3-5 days. The others offer a quicker turnaround of 8-12 hours.


The luxury and expedition ships tend to be favored by American, German, British, Canadian and French nationals and data shows that in-port stops of ships in this category can result in a per passenger expenditure in excess of $3,000.


Said Gustavo Alvarado, ICT director of Tourism Management and Consulting for the government, “After two very difficult years for the cruise industry due to the pandemic, it is satisfying to serve nine cruise ships simultaneously with the consequent benefit that the visitation of cruise passengers brings to port communities, a situation that validates an improved 2022 season – 2023.” The ICT (Instituto Costarricense de Turismo) is forecasting a total of more than 300 ships expected to anchor in the six authorized ports in the country: Puntarenas, Caldera, Quepos, Golfito, Playas del Coco, and Limón during the 2022-23 season.


Trepidation Among Costa Ricans Due to U.S. Tech Job Cuts


With plans for substantial job cuts being announced in the U.S. among such giants as Amazon and Microsoft, Costa Ricans in local subsidiaries of these companies are feeling nervous.


When Times Were Good

Amazon employs some 17,000 in Costa Rica and Microsoft 1,500 both having some of the more lucrative jobs in the local economy. Amazon has announced that 18,000 jobs will be cut in the U.S., Canada and Costa Rica but did not detail the number by country. Microsoft announced the layoff of about 5% of its staff or 10,000 employees but also has not detailed the number by country.


The Costa Rican Coalition of Development Initiatives (known by the Spanish acronym CINDE) as well as several chambers of commerce were contacted for comment but CINDE declined and the others have not responded.


¡Pura Vida!



Latin America Updates
(Major Events In Neighboring Countries)



Government experiences invasions after the election. In an action reminiscent of the January 6th demonstration in congress in the United States, but maybe larger and more intense, several thousands of former president Jair Bolsonaro´s supporters stormed the Congress and other government buildings in Brazilia causing damage.


Several democratic countries quickly condemned the “aggression against democracy” including the United States, France, Mexico, and Argentina. Said Costa Rica president Rodrigo Chaves on Twitter: “Democracy must always prevail. Our government will always support it internationally and defend it at home.”


Bolsonaro offered his comment shortly after the incident: “Peaceful demonstrations are part of democracy. However, looting and invasions of public buildings such as those that occurred today, as well as those practiced by the left in 2013 and 2017, are out of the rule.”


Brazil being the largest country in South America, let´s hope this is the end of it.




5% of Nicaragua left the country in 2022. A Nicaraguan digital news outlet reported recently that 328,443 Nicaraguan people, or just under 5% of the total population of 6,664,400 left the country in 2022; the report called it "The year of the exodus". Of that number, some 181,566 were arrested at the U.S. border (my guess is they were then released) which is the biggest target country for Nicaraguan immigrants. At the same time as this was going on Costa Rica experienced 76,676 new refugee applications in 2022.


Nicaraguan "Exodus"

The number of immigrants leaving Nicaragua increases to 504,485 or 7.6% if the period 2020-2022 is viewed. Of these 70,201 left for other destinations, such as Spain, Panama, Mexico, Canada, El Salvador and Guatemala.


As another indication of the "exodus", Nicaraguans received a new record of US$2.578 billion dollars in remittances (expats sending home part of their earnings) between January and October 2022, 47.6% more than in the same period of 2021, according to data from the Central Bank of Nicaragua.




Pizza Hut closes all its stores in Panama. Pizza Hut recently announced that it closed all 12 of its stores in Panama as of December 26, 2020. Franchisor Franquicias Panameñas stated that “The difficult decision is made after administrative considerations that seek to ensure and optimize its operations in the future.” Franquicias Panameñas will continue to operate  KFC and Dairy Queen restaurants in Panama. In December 2018, the company ceased operations of the Taco Bell brand there.





Government Closes 34 More Radio Stations. In another blow to freedom of speech in this beleaguered country, the dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro, in recent months, has closed some 34 radio stations in five states of the country. The number and location of these stations was published by The National Association of Journalists of Venezuela (CNPVEN) on Twitter along with the Association´s denouncement of the action.


Said CNPVEN: “The Maduro government continues to attack freedom of expression, the right to information and access to information in Venezuela. In recent months, at the National Association of Journalists we have been denouncing and observing with concern an escalation in the closure of radio stations that just in the month of September accounted for 16."


"Censorship Is Dictatorship"

According to other sources (Reporters Without Borders, the Press, Society Institute of Venezuela, and the NGO Espacio Públicothe) the data is overwhelming: "One in which journalists are persecuted by security forces, censorship bodies track down to the commas what is being said on social networks, critical media lose their licenses, run out of printing paper or have their equipment stolen, journalists are imprisoned and tortured, many are forced into exile and segments of society from one moment to another is left without an Internet connection."


Violence and attacks on news people reportedly are common in Venezuela with little or no retaliation or legal remedies available to the victims against the government.


¡A Cahete!


¡Yippy Ay Oh Cay Yeh!
(Los Sabaneros of Costa Rica)

When many people think of Costa Rica they think of monkeys, sloths, snakes and a variety of other animals as they tend to relate to the thick jungle or the mountains.


A Plain (Sabana) in Guanacaste

Yet the Costa Rica isthmus, located in the heart of the Central American peninsula connecting Nicaragua and Panama, is blessed with several distinct sub-climates and topographies.


Take Guanacaste for example. This northwest province of Costa Rica is totally different in climate and topography when compared to the central and southern areas like Quepos where GG lives. In Guanacaste you can find large tracts of plains and gentle flatlands which are more similar to parts of the mid-West and Western United States. A sample of a plain (una vega) is shown to the right; the telltale tree shown with its distinct shape is also called a Guanacaste and it was designated the Costa Rican National Tree in 1959.


Not only is the topography different in Guanacaste but so is the weather. Long about late November to early December, the rains moderate or even quit, much like other parts of Costa Rica, but in Guanacaste it´s not unusual for the climate to remain completely free of rain for as much as 3-4 months, often into April. This causes the plains to change their hue from green to a sunburnt brown and yellow, like in the photo. A friend who lived there a while told me that watching the first sizeable rain in the spring renew the green color was like God took out his paint brush and just swept away the brown.


Herding Some (Mostly) White Brahmins

This is good cattle raising country and it´s no surprise that where you find cattle you´re likely to find cowboys. There are many small and some large cattle producers in Guanacaste, totaling over 20,000 livestock producers, most of these small farmers being cattle producers. A large proportion of the cattle raised are of the white Brahmin variety, originally named after the cattle that the Brahmins (teachers) of India raised and a species that does best in grueling summer heat and incessant insects. Sometimes you can find signs of a herd by watching for Cattle Egrets that follow the cattle feasting on the insects.


And then there´s the people that manage the cattle. Here we don´t (usually) call them cowboys but instead tag them with a Spanish version of the name: Sabaneros. The word Sabonero is derived from Sabana which can be translated as both a "savanna" or a "sheet", in other words a topographically flat area such as a plain. Los Sabaneros come in all ages and are very particular in how well they care for their horses.


Note the gent to the right prancing his steed with pride and how well groomed the horse is with a bobbed tail and a trimmed main.


And of course, where there are Cowboys or Saboneros, there just must be two other important things: 1) a rodeo and 2) fiestas! Rodeos are held regularly but particularly around November 13 which is national Sabanero Day. There is a wide range of prancing and wrangling activities culminating in bull riding (bull fighting in Costa Rica, like that done in Spain to the death of the bull, is outlawed here). Many participants and attendees become loudly enthusiastic during these events and are egged on by extensive consumption of beverages like guaro (a cane-sugar distillate that probably could serve as a second use similar to a paint thinner).


As one wag put it about the cowboys: "Saboneros are wiry men, with dark tanned skin like leather aged from many days spent in the sun and dry air which makes it difficult to guess their age." (To my knowledge there are no Saboneras or women in this category)



Rodeos and Fiestas bring out the macho men (or those that think they are) and among competing Sabaneros comments like ‘quí pi pía‘ are often heard. The saying is a declaration by the Sabonero that he drinks guaro, rides bulls (even Malacrianza (photo right), an historical bull that died a few years ago but which was credited with killing two riders over a period of 16 years by throwing and goring them). Another brag is that the Sabanero is big with women (I cleaned that up).


That guaro stuff must be really bad.


During January and February there are a series of festivals in the region, including carnival rides, music, dancing, eating and drinking. There are also a Tope and the Montaderas Festival. The Tope is a horse parade where the Sabaneros showcase their horses, skills and outfits, then parade through the town with both the Sabaneros and their horses decked out in their best finery. Quite the show.


The central feature of the Montaderas Festival is bull riding and the one minute video left gives one a good idea of how rough that can be. He who stays on the bull without being thrown wins; he who gets thrown by the bull is fair game to those horns.

Be aware that the continuation of traditional life in Guanacaste as we know it has suffered somewhat because of encroaching modern lifestyles that shift practices from farming to industrial. So, if you are like GG and have only placed Guanacaste on your bucket list and have not actually visited there yet, I suggest you elevate it to a higher priority and enjoy the old world while we still have it.


And ‘quí pi pía‘ to us all!


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



Another month relatively free of any sizeable rumbles over pretty much all of Central America - nothing to complain about or even to report - niiiiicccce.


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




We´re into it amigos! Summer has started. We are being flailed by sunny days, acosted by radiant bue skies. I checked, just for the fun of it, how current conditions compare for two of GG´s old stomping grounds, Allentown, PA and Sarasota, Fl and got this (as of 25 January):



I think I´m in the right place!


¡Pura Vida!



Search the Golden Gringo Chronicles Archives for Topics That Interest You


You can use our Archives to search for anything that has been written in more than 320 feature articles of the Golden Gringo Chronicles plus find Broken News items and ROMEO restaurant reviews. Enter your topic or item to search in the Google Search Routine below and follow the links offered from the search results.


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


Golden Gringo Chronicles - Enter Search Here

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

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


That's a Large Water Bubble on Its Nose?


Maybe the Poor Reptile has a Tumor?



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



¡Pura Vida!



Health Stuff



Note: The information given in this section is offered as news information only and does not indicate GGC confirmation or denial of the accuracy of the treatment or a recommendation to pursue it, nor can we or do we guarantee the efficacy of the results nor validity of the conclusions proffered. (How's that for a disclaimer amigos?)


a. Covid Cases Continue to Decline


"¡Hemos recorrido un largo camino bebé!" That´s my best Spanish for "We´ve come a long way baby!" Comparing typical stats for the last epidimiological week in January 2022 to its similar version in 2023 we get the stats right.


Let´s kill this damn thing once and for all!


b. Watching the Signs of Aging


They Looked at Me Strangely

One of the things I like about Quepos is the ability to walk virtually everywhere around town and get things done in a reasonable amount of time. That includes my taking the local bus to Manuel Antonio almost on a daily basis. To get to the bus station from where I live is about four blocks and when I recently turned the corner of my block onto the next street from my apartment on the way to the bus station I was confronted with the scene appearing in the photo left.


There on the wire fence at the local futbol field were a baker´s dozen of buzzards perched on the wire fence in back of the goal. I´ve never seen that many buzzards in one place since I´ve lived here. Even more than that I got the distinct feeling they were eyeing and inspecting me, not with fear or suspicion but with interest. Believe me, they are much bigger than they appear in that photo.


I guess that when you´re 79 years old one is given to unrealistic thinking. Be aware boys, not much meat left on these bones these days guys!


¡Pura Vida!



Travel Quote of the Month


¡A Cachete!


GGC Bookshelf

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


Here are the books currently on our bookshelf:


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Costa Rica`s Mystery Spheres Mariposa - English

Mariposa - Español The Chronicles as a Narrative

#1 Read More #2 Read More #3 Leer más aquí #4 Read More
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Small Business Guide Making Time Count Overcoming Drinking Murder or Suicide?
#5 Read More #6 Read More #7 Read More #8 Read More
ser kio fty
Getting Around the Capital Retiring in Costa Rica Avoiding the Pitfalls What's the Sleuth Up To?
#9 Read More #10 Read More #11 Read More #12 Read More


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Spiritual Love Connection World War II True Story Wildfire and the Tribune World´s First Crypto Caper
#13 Read More #14 Read More #15 Read More #16 Read More


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

GGC Products Store

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






a. Golden Gringo Chronicles with Logo
b. Official Golden Gringo with Monkey on Banana Hammock
c. ¡Quepo en Quepos! ("I Fit In Quepos!") with Photo of Quepos
d. Wanna Monkey Around? - Come on Down! (shown) with Photo of White Faced Monkey, e. It's OK to be Slothful with photo of Three-Toed Sloth.


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


Coffee Mugs:


a. Golden Gringo, b. Wanna Monkey Around?, c. It's OK to be Slothfulgty

See them all HERE:

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

To see ALL the products available in the Golden Gringo Store go here: GGC Store.


¡Solo Bueno!


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

Answer to Que Es Eso?


That funny little lizard with the bubble nose shown in the Que Es Eso section above is called an anole lizard. It's nickname in many parts is the scuba lizard or scuba-diving lizard because of its ability spend a long time underwater which it usually does to avoid a predator.


That grey beauty with the air bubble shown above is a species common in Costa Rica. There are reportedly over 450 species of anoles across the tropical and near-tropical regions of the Americas including ten southern U.S. States ranging from North Carolina to Texas.


The one with the pretty purple tank shown here is a anole specie found in Florida that carries his air in a pouch under his head rather than a bubble on top.


ROMEO Corner
(Retired Old Men Eating Out)

Hola India, Manuel Antonio

Location: Top of Manuel Antonio hill across the street from Tulemar Resort.
12 PM to 10.00 PM, Monday through Sunday; Lunch, Dinner, Brunch, Late Night

Parking: Very limited in front of restaurant, limited on-street.
Contacts: Tel: (506) 6248-2299

Reviewing ROMEOS: Alma L., Bob N., Carl M., Dennis R., Glen N., Harry R., Kathy P., Kevin W., Olga C., Rick B., Roger B., Ruth R.

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


In the last couple of years we have had the pleasure of seeing two Indian restaurants in the Quepos/Manuel Antonio area open. Hola India is one of them and this one is a small chain restaurant that also has branches in Jacó and Uvita.


Alam and the Welcome Sign

The Manuel Antonio unit is situated at the top of the MA hill just across from the Tulemar Resort and about a block south of the other Indian restaurant also in MA, i.e., Loving Indian Cuisine (to see that review go HERE). Be aware that parking is at a premium at Hola India mostly along the main street and we could only fit two autos in the space in front of the restaurant.


Hola India is a small restaurant, my guesstimate about 35 seating capacity. Our table for 12 was all set up for us when we arrived. The table decorations were simple and basic but they did supply us all with cushioned seats. (thank you Krishna)


I was pleased to see the saying on the wall (shown in the photo left with our server Alam): "Lord, bless the food before us, the family beside us and the love between us - amen". That made me feel very comfortable right away.


The composite score for ambiance at Hola India came in at 3.6/5.0 sloths.


We were given menus with extensive choices of Indian cuisine based on chicken, beef, seafood, lamb and also an extensive vegetarian section. There is also a sampling of other Asian cuisines and a selection of Indian breads (naan).


GG chose a lamb dish called Rogan Josh which came as very tender balls of lamb meat in a red sauce resplendent with Indian spices including cardamom. Although served in a small bowl the amount turned out to be quite filling. For dessert I chose Gallup Jasun described as "fried condensed milk balls in a sugar syrup". A small, sweet and perfect ending to a delicious meal.


Other ROMEOs chose a variety of Indian specialties such as Muhen Paneer, Chicken Tikka Masala, Prawns in Curry, Butter Chicken, Mushrooms Handi and Chicken Malai Tikka. ROMEOs were virtually unanimous in good remarks on the food; composite score: 4.4/5.0.


Value Index= 124

We were served from beginning to end by Alam (photo above) who informed us that he originated from New Delhi. He was very helpful, attentive and polite and well knew his Indian food. I assumed he was the wait staff but in searching the internet a bit in writing this report I saw a review that said he was the owner. Not that it matters, in either case he was a gentleman and our composite score for service came in at 4.6/5.0 making the average for ambiance, food quality and service 4.2.


For GG´s Rogan Josh, Galeb Jamun and a ginger-ale michelada the tab including required taxes and service of 23%, the total came to ¢22,880 or about $39. The composite score for cost came in at 3.4/5.0 making the Value Index 4.2/3.4=124 and putting Hola India in the top 10% of value for restaurants that we´ve evaluated in this area.


The ROMEOs can once more give their seal of approval, this time to Hola India for a pleasant, tasty and different offering at a reasonable price.


¡Solo Bueno!




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