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Hidden Coast Realty moves...
07/11/2011 06:14 PM

Hidden Coast Realty has moved their office to a new location in the commercial center where Bar One, ABC, RPM and Mr. Tom are located. We are located on the second floor in the back corner, unit #19. Please stop by the next time you are in town and meet our new sales affiliates Mark Brown and Brenda Burback.
Brenda, born in Canada, has many years of experience in the Real Estate industry and has been in Costa Rica since 1997. Mark Brown has been in Costa Rica since 2008 and knows the area and people like no other, combined with a passion to help newcomers he will certainly be a great man to meet when you are looking for real estate opportunities.

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Costa Rica Tax Reform Hits A Dead End
05/07/2011 12:26 PM
Costa Rica Tax Reform Hits A Dead End

The control of the legislative directory by the opposition bloc on Monday is sure to kill the tax reform plan introduced earlier this year by the government of Laura Chinchilla.

The opposition bloc, a group of 31 legislators from five different political parties, calling themselves "Alianza por Costa Rica" signed an agreement which calls for thwarting the tax reform plans by the ruling party, the Partido Liberación Nacional (PLN), which does not have sufficient members in the 57 member house for a majority.

The not-so surprising move by the opposition bloc has not been seen in Costa Rica in decades. The opposition say they felt cornered and came together to fight the governments intention to increase taxes to generate badly needed revenue.

The opposition bloc say there are alternative ways to generate revenue without raising taxes, one of which is curb government spending and waste.

The key part of the government's tax reform proposal or "paquetazo" as it is being called, is the introduction of a 14% value-added tax expanded to included goods and services and replace the present 13% sales tax.

In addition, changes were proposed to corporate deductibility and small business tax rules, and the taxation of capital income, which would be harmonized at a rate of 15%. An increase to the tax on vehicles by 10% was also under consideration.

A major fiscal reform plan designed to enhance the government's tax take has been under consideration in Costa Rica for almost 10 years in one form or another, but opposition parties have used all sorts of procedural tricks to block the legislation.

With the latest events in the legislative assembly, it could yet be a considerable time before any changes take effect.

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Direct flights between San Jose and Panama City
05/06/2011 10:33 AM
Aeroperlas Announces Costa Rica - Panama Flights

Panama's regional airline announced the start of a direct flight between San José, Costa Rica and Panama City beginning May 16.

The airline, with a 40 year history, is part of TACA Avianca offers discounts of up to 40% within Panama.

Although prices have for the San José - Panama have not been announced and tickets cannot yet be booked online, it is expected that the airline will offer a less expensive alternative to current flights between the two cities offered by TACA, Avianca and Copa.

The regional airline currently only offers flights in Panama. For travel within the region it connects with SANSA Regional in Costa Rica, and TACA Regional in Honduras and soon in Nicaragua and Guatemala.

Aeroplas Regional has been awarded, for the second consecutive year, "Best Airline Central America and the Caribbean".

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Costa Rica celebrating opening of its new national stadium
04/05/2011 02:38 PM

The new National Stadium opened Saturday evening with a colorful display of binational pride and camaraderie between Costa Rica and China. Deemed “the jewel of La Sabana,” the 35,000 fans in attendance were treated to a night of rousing fireworks, cultural song and dance and a spirited 2-2 draw between the countries’ national soccer teams. The $100 million National Stadium was a gift from the government of China and was constructed by Chinese laborers during the last two years.

Festivities began around 6 p.m. with government representatives from the two countries addressing the crowd on a stage decorated with giant Costa Rican and Chinese flags waving gently behind them. Amid a mixture of jeers and applause, former Costa Rican President Oscar Arias spoke to the crowd about the significance of the inauguration and the progressive step that the relationship with China, the world’s second largest economy, means for the country. In 2007, Arias severed diplomatic relations with Taiwan to establish ties with China.

“Countries have to grow and mature,” Arias said of his government’s decision to create diplomatic relations with China. “And so, like a mother understands that her son can’t wear the same shoes that he was wearing 10 years ago, we should accept that there is clothing that we shouldn’t continue to wear. Sooner or later all countries have to wear long pants.”

Arias also said, in his allegorical oratory style that marked his four years in office from 2006-2010, that Costa Rica shouldn’t fear the change that this relationship will bring and that “some countries are slaves to their own past.” He also referred to the bilateral relationship as a “young Bonzai tree” and that it creates a “bridge over the Pacific Ocean.”

Arias’s speech was followed by words from Chen Changzhi, the vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, and a speech from President Laura Chinchilla, who praised Arias and also trumpeted the benefits of the relationship with China.

“This impressive stadium in La Sabana stands as a permanent reminder of our gratitude to the people of China,” Chinchilla said. “(It also serves) as recognition for our ex-President Arias and, above all, as the reason to assume, as a nation, the responsibility to grow to the height of this modern coliseum.”

Chinchilla’s speech was followed by a performance of traditional Costa Rican dance, a video montage of Costa Rican sports accomplishments, and several traditional Chinese dance and song performances.

A little after 8 p.m., the national soccer teams of each country took the field for the first-ever match in the National Stadium. Costa Rica dominated for most of the first half. Forward Alvaro Saborio scored the first goal in stadium history when he found himself open on the left side of the box and pushed a low shot into the far corner of the net. Saborio’s goal was followed by a frenzied celebration in the stadium and explosive fireworks into the night sky.

Seven minutes later, just before the halftime whistle, Randall Brenes tapped in a rebound to give Costa Rica a 2-0 advantage at the break.

In the first minute of the second half, Gao Lin cut the Tico lead in half when he rose above Costa Rican defenders to head the ball into the side netting. In the final minute of the game, a pass split the Costa Rican defense and found Lin alone on the right side of the box. Lin struck a low shot through the legs of Costa Rican goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado to force the draw.

The organization of the event seemed to go off without a hitch, as parking was controlled, bus routes to the stadium were fluid and police and stadium officials were well-coordinated in and around the stadium. The only concern within the stadium was the absence of a game clock, leaving fans in the dark on the game time. Outside the stadium, a lack of trash receptacles resulted in an excessive pile-up of trash along the streets of La Sabana and around the stadium.

On Sunday, a marathon will be run that finishes in the National Stadium and on Tuesday, Argentina comes to town to play Costa Rica in a friendly between the two Latin American rivals. Argentina tied with the U.S. 1-1 on Saturday night in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Argentina star Lionel Messi played in the match Saturday night, which is a good sign for Costa Rican fans hoping to see the star of the Spanish club Barcelona in action. Inauguration events will continue until April 10.

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Esmeralda lot reduced from $95.000 to $65.000
09/20/2010 04:00 PM
This 1/2 acre lot is located in the Josefina area, within a residential community with a total of 15 lots.

Flat land, with access to all utilities.

Contact us for more details, great value!
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Marbella lot dropped in price from $69.000 to $49.000
09/20/2010 03:55 PM
Great lot in Posada del Sol subdivision only 1.5 km from the beach. Large lot with creek running through it, many mature trees.

Lot comes with water and electric.
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Casa Charly $149,000 Best Deal in Playa Grande
09/16/2010 06:45 PM
[caption id="attachment_104" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Casa Charly Pool"]Casa Charly[/caption]

Once in a while a truly great opportunity comes along.  Yes, there are good deals in this down economy, but there are also great deals.  Casa Charly #4 is a two bedroom, 1 bath home located in a small community of six units that share a pool.  The kitchen is open to the living area, and the living area has French doors that open onto a lanai facing the pool.

Casa Charly is located in Palm Beach Estates, Playa Grande.  Palm Beach is a residential community with a huge portion reserved as nature reserve.  The community has a couple great restaurants, a small supermarket, and a boat dock where you can take a water taxi to Tamarindo. There are approximately 60 single family homes in Palm Beach Estates.

Casa Charly is roughly 35o meters to the beach.  You can easily walk with your surf board to the surf break called Casitas.  The six units are managed by a property manager, so if you want to purchase this home for your vacations, it is easy to have it taken care of.

[caption id="attachment_105" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Casa Charly Patio"]Playa Grande Real Estate[/caption]

Playa Grande is a national park, with leatherback turtles making it their nesting ground.  For that reason, the beach is very pristine looking with almost not visible construction.  Homes are set back into the foliage, and there are now zoning laws to ensure that future construction is low density anywhere near the national park.

See more info about Casa Charly or other Playa Grande real estate.
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Las Catalinas Phase I Arriving in December
08/30/2010 11:58 AM
[caption id="attachment_92" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Las Catalinas"]Las Catalinas Costa Rica[/caption]

On Friday I had the pleasure of meeting with Charles Brewer, principal of Las Catalinas, a development underway on the north end of Potrero Bay.  Charles formerly founded and sold Mindspring, an early internet service provider, and later developed a new urbanism project in Atlanta called Glenwood Park.  These days his attention is devoted fully to Las Catalinas, where he plans to create the most attractive and friendly beach community in the world.

I met with Charles on site and got to pick his brain about the project as we drove through the vast piece of land and walked the construction now underway.  The project spans Danta and Dantita beaches, and we spent most of our time at Phase I, located at Playa Danta.  The land lends itself to development perfectly as the hills rise up in a sort of bowl, directly overlooking the beach.
Phase I encompasses seven luxury homes just steps off the beach.  Staying true to their goal of community, the homes are essentially zero lot line and open to a beach front promenade.  The idea is that Las Catalinas will be a self contained and fully pedestrian friendly town, and the developers will be living right there in the heart.  As we talked Charles emphasized how it important it is to him that this place be safe for children, and for that reason, parking will be in zoned areas only and all roads through the heart of town will be pedestrian.  Additionally, new urbanism lends itself to compact spaces, so securing the area will be quite simple.  Charles envisions his three children being able to walk wherever they please at Las Catalinas without the fear of them being endangered by traffic.
Another aspect of the project that he emphasized was the need to make sure that Las Catalinas is a fun place to live.  To this end, Phase I contains two commercial establishments that will be open the public.  The first will be Lola's Norte, a beachfront restaurant run by the same geniuses that created Lola's at Playa Avellanas, a local favorite for a relaxing day at the beach for many years now.  Lola's will be serving up great food and cocktails in the heart of Las Catalinas.  Additionally, there will be an outdoor outfitter located at Playa Danta.  Here you will be able to rent whatever toys you might interested in for the day including kayaks, paddle boards, snorkel gear, etc.  Charles wanted to emphasize that the goal is community, and he would be working hard in all phases of Las Catalinas to make it an interesting place to live, instead of simply a high end resort with little to do.

[caption id="attachment_94" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Las Catalinas Construction"]Las Catalinas Construction[/caption]

As of Friday the first seven houses at Las Catalinas (owned mostly by the principal investors in the project) were in the gray work reaching the roofs with scheduled completion before the end of 2010.  Additionally, there are seven homes available for purchase through Hidden Coast Realty.  Please contact us for more information.  Hidden Coast will be happy to give you a personalized tour of Las Catalinas.
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Tips for a Gold Coast Surfing Vacation in Costa Rica
08/24/2010 07:00 PM
Surfers from all over the world love the convenience of a surfing trip to Costa Rica.  Read on to find out how to surf diverse breaks all within one hour of the international airport in Liberia, with direct flights to major cities in North America.

For beginners, the recommended spot is to go directly to Tamarindo.  Tamarindo is a sheltered beach hidden behind Isla Capitan, and thus receives less swell than most other beaches in the area.  Waves break on the beach at a size perfect for beginners.  There are many surf shops with tons of instructors and boards to rent, so stop in a get yourself a lesson.  You'll practice standing up on a large and stable board with soft foam cover.

For more advanced surfers, I recommend you stay at Playa Grande.  The beach break in front of Las Tortugas is one of the most consistent in the country.  There are may be 30 unsurfable days a year at Playa Grande.  The main peak throws lefts and rights and occassionally barrels.  There are also smaller peaks to the left and right including the rock, Pochotes, and further down, Casitas.

You might also like to try out Playa Langosta, on the southern end of Tamarindo.  You drive through Tamarindo following the signs to the Barcelo Hotel.  The break here is heavy and with a moving peak, so not ideal for novices.  It can be surfed on a mid tide, which is nice when most other beaches are best before and after high tide.

Avellanas is another great location. The rivermouth consistently breaks left and right.  Be careful if surfing on a low tide as there is a submerged rock.  Little Hawaii is the most famous break at Avellanas.  It breaks on the reef west of the Hacienda Pinilla beach club.  For an easier swim, walk well south before swimming out and you won't have to duck dive nearly as much.  Little Hawaii is mostly a right that can get double overhead with a large swell.  Going left will drop you in a rock area, so generally not recommended.Tamarindo Surf

Playa Negra is a great beach for advanced surfers.  There is a large barreling left when the swell is good.  Be careful as there are rocks on both sides of the main break.  Watch the locals to get an idea of how to surf this break.

You might consider surfing Little Hawaii on a mid tide and then making your way to Playa Negra for the rest of the day if the tide is working your way.

The great part of this area of Costa Rica is that it is slow close to the airport and has consistent swell throughout the year.  Search Playa Grande Surf Report on google to get an idea of how the waves are breaking.

Visitors love the fact that the water is so warm too!  You never need a wetsuit, only occassionaly needing a rash guard.
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Villa Moderna (Oro del Sol) Price Reduction! FIRE SALE
06/29/2010 09:02 PM
The owner of Villa Moderna at Oro del Sol is now more motivated to sell. He has dropped the price of his home to $340,000. This is a great deal. 3 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, with a pool, garage and a great landscaped lot.
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