COSTA RICA CHOCOLATE HAS STRONG SHOWING!

Did you know that Costa Rica chocolate is some of the best chocolate in the world?  That’s because Costa Rica grows some of the best cocoa in the world. Chocolate made in Costa Rica from Costa Rican cocoa took home prizes in the 2018 Americas International Chocolate Competition held in New York in the category of specialty chocolates.

Costa Rica Chocolate
The competition was very tough–there were over 16 different countries in the Americas competing. Participants came from North America, Central America, the Caribbean, and South America.

Costa Rica Cocoa
I wish I was one of the judges, I love the stuff, not the basic stuff that’s in a Snickers bar, although in a pinch it works. There were over 800 different products produced for this event by 130 different companies. Costa Rica chocolate and cocoa took home silver and bronze medals. Here is a link for all the winners.
https://www.internationalchocolateawards.com/2018/09/americas-2018-competition-winners/
Because Costa Rican made chocolates won medals in the competition, those companies either using cocoa from Costa Rica or Costa Rica born and bred companies, like SiBu, are eligible to compete in the world international chocolate competition held in Florence, Italy next month. Some companies from the US and Canada also scored medals for quality by using over 70 percent cocoa grown in various regions of Costa Rica.

Sibu Chocolate Costa Rica
Do you love chocolate? Come on, tell the truth, who really doesn’t? Over 65% of people polled love the stuff. Have you ever thought how cool it would be to live here,  grow your own cocoa, and make your own Costa Rica chocolate? Well, check out this property–it has over 30 cocoa trees that are already producing beans and guess who is buying them?? https://www.costarican-american-connection.com/alajuela_mountains/alajuela/farms_and_acreages/alajuela_mountains/agent/listing_279097157.html
Keep reading below:

chocolate Playa Hermosa
Next time you are in Costa Rica, stop and look for locally grown cocoa and locally made chocolate.  You won’t be disappointed. Here is a small hint; right in Playa del Coco, there is a custom chocolate maker that uses 100% cocoa from the volcanic regions of Guanacaste.  Here’s the link to their website, and they purchase cocoa beans from the farm listed above https://www.catachocolate.com/

COSTA RICA GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES STRIKE

On September 10, 2018, the labor unions of Costa Rica government employees went on strike against a tax-reform bill that seeks to address a growing fiscal deficit. The new law plans to substitute the current sales tax of 13 percent for a value-added tax by the same percentage, allowing the government to collect taxes on services also, thus raising more funds.

Costa Rica government employees on strike

The largest groups of protesters come from educators, health workers, and employees of the state-owned electric company (ICE). Strikers fear that rising taxes coupled with a freeze on government employee salaries would punish the middle class while allowing corporations and the rich to profit through loopholes. Very typical thinking of socialistic leaning unions.

The government says that 80 percent of the new taxes fall on the richest 20 percent of the population. And do we really believe what governments say? I always question it myself.

The strike began with thousands of citizens marching peacefully through the streets the first couple of days chanting, “A united people will never be defeated.” Protests against the Costa Rica government continued during the first week, and there were sparks of violence initiated by the union employees. An employee of the national refinery was arrested for sabotaging the institution’s electrical grid. Some highways were blocked by protestors, causing traffic to back up for miles. There was also a pipeline spill in Puntarenas for which sabotage is suspected and was most likely the cause.

strike against Costa Rica government

More than 50 percent of public schools were completely closed and others were left with a skeleton crew for the past 4 weeks while employees of the Ministry of Education were on strike. Healthcare took a hit as government operated clinics and hospitals around the country were left understaffed, resulting in the suspension of 3,552 surgeries and the cancellation of over 111,000 appointments.

costa rica

I agree with one thing–the employees do have a right to strike.  It is built into their contracts between the union and the government. But that’s does not give them the right to block roads, damage personal property, and cause vandalism.
Unions claim, (key word here is CLAIM) that the reform creates a higher tax burden for the lower income sectors. However, when you talk to the locals, taxes seem to be a secondary issue. What’s really fueling their anger is the profligate waste of any tax money the government collects, which goes to pay enormous government salaries, benefits and pensions. Some pensions are as much as $30,000 per month, and the pension can be inherited by the pensioner’s descendants upon his demise.

Now here is the kicker, in my opinion. The union employees don’t want taxes raised, and they don’t want their pensions cut or capped.  But, then they complain about the government not cutting high government salaries or pensions of its employees. HELLO!! They are part of the same Costa Rica government that hires them and pays them!! Please tell me if I am missing something here.

A week after the strike started, the Catholic Church stepped in to try to mediate an agreement between the unions and the government. After 100 hours of negotiation, the talks came to a dead halt after an agreement could not be reached. Because the unions would not negotiate, it was their way or no way at all.

Last week, the Labor Court deemed the strike illegal. The judges ruled that health services, electricity, phone service and education are essential to life; therefore, employees are forbidden to join a movement that affects the general population. The Labor Code requires that at least 50 percent of the workers support the action; the national insurer (INS) did not meet that criteria and their strike was also deemed illegal. The ICE and INS trade unions will have to pay fines.

strike in Costa Rica

After the ruling, the labor unions of the Social Security Service negotiated an agreement with authorities and returned to their work on Monday, October 9. The agreement basically guaranteed that there would be no reprisals against workers who participated in the strike if they just return to work. If they refuse, they risk being fired.

Personally, I wish the government would have fired them all, just like President Reagan did in the US in the 80’s when the air traffic controller went on strike in the U.S.

All other unions have until the end of this week to accept the agreement, according to Labor Minister Steven Nunez. Those who resume their work would not be docked pay for the days they participated in the strike. The agreement includes provisions for future dialogue and would allow unions to negotiate measures to be included in the tax reform. Meanwhile, the Legislative Assembly started voting on tax reforms in an accelerated way and passed it by a narrow margin. Now the law is sent to the supreme court of Costa Rica to see if there is anything written in the law that is unconstitutional. If there is, it will be sent back to the Legislative Assembly to be rewritten and voted on again.

On a positive note, there have not been any protests in the Playa Hermosa, Playa del Coco and surrounding areas.  There were a few in Liberia and by the Liberia International Airport, but that only lasted 2 days. So don’t be scared to come and visit–all is still very “Pura Vida”.

We shall see where this Costa Rica government employee strike finally ends up. Stay tuned.

BEST TIME TO VISIT COSTA RICA

What is the best time to visit Costa Rica to look for your tropical dream property? Frankly, there is no bad time to visit Costa Rica! A couple of hours’ drive in any direction will change the scenery, the temperature and even the ecosystem completely.

Playa del Coco For Sale

Click here for more information of the house above

That is because Costa Rica is a tiny country with a dramatic mountain range running down the middle and an ocean on both sides. Because it is near the equator, there is no annual seasonal change–the daytime temperatures vary at the most 10 degrees all year. If you are at sea level, it is hot (80-90’s). But if you climb the mountains just a little, the temperature begins to cool off. For example, if you land at the Liberia International Airport, the temperature will likely be around 85. However, if you drive just a forty-five minutes up toward the Rincon De La Vieja volcano, you will experience about a 1400ft change in altitude and the temperature will drop about 5-10 degrees. So, if you are hot, climb. If you are cold, drop your altitude. It’s as easy as that.

Costa Rica Volcano

 

The other variable in Costa Rica weather has to do with rainfall. Generally speaking, December through April is the dry season (it may only rain a couple of times during those months, of course, depending where you are) and May through November is the rainy season. During the rainy season, the day will usually start out sunny and then start clouding up after noon. The rain comes in the form of 3-4 hours of downpour–often with lightning and thunder–and then lets up around sunset (5-6 pm).

best time to visit Costa Rica to enjoy this Playa Hermosa View

The Caribbean and Southern Pacific coasts follow different climatic rules. It is off-and-on rainy all year. Although September and October are the driest months in the Caribbean, they are incredibly wet in the Southern Pacific. It is very rare for the Pacific northwest part of the country to have 2 completely overcast days in a row and if it does happen it will occur in September or October. Just like this past week.

Let’s focus our meteorological attention on the northwest Pacific coast (Guanacaste) where you as a beach-seeking purchaser and retiree are most likely to visit and purchase as it has some of the best conveniences without the crowds of the Central Valley or as desolate as other parts of Costa Rica. So when it comes to Guanacaste, when is the best time to visit Costa Rica? We’ll take it month by month:

sun set Playa Hermosa

December is the first month of the dry season, so the landscape is still lush and green.   It is a beautiful month to visit as skies are clear and the landscape is still verdant. But please come in the first part of December! All of Costa Rica gets the last 2 weeks around Christmas and New Years off, and they head for the beach. Everything gets pretty crowded along the Pacific coast, and lodging can be tough to find if not planned well in advance. And I do not mean 2 weeks–I am talking months in advance!

February has fantastic weather, but the lack of rainfall starts to dry out the low lying vegetation and trees start to lose their leaves. The local children return to school this month, so there are much less people on the beaches.

By March things are heating up and drying out, and you will want to plan a lot of time at the beach. You will have clear blue skies every day. If Easter falls in March, rooming will be sparse and rates hiked. Costa Ricans flock to the beaches during Easter week as well. So if you want to check out the Central Valley of San Jose, Christmas week and Easter week are the time to do it.

Dry Season visit to Costa Rica

April is generally the hottest month of the year in Guanacaste. It may start to rain a bit, but it will be just a quick rain now and then. And this is the month the region starts to bloom. Trees flower out in bright yellow and orange, and in pastels of lavender and peach. It is as though nature was putting on a show to attract rain! As with March, if Easter falls in April, you can expect a tourist spike over the holiday.

Finally, in May the rains arrive to cool off the heat and resurrect the landscape. After three inches of rain, it’s a tropical forest again. Typically, the morning will be sunny with a cloudburst of rain mid- to late afternoon. Along with the drop in temperature comes a drop in hotel prices and the number of tourists. So if you’re looking for low prices and solitary beaches, May is the best time to visit Costa Rica.

Costa Rica Rainbow

June sees a small surge in tourists as the kids up north get out of school and family vacations start.

The months of July and August are pretty much the same with the exception that the first two weeks of July are school vacation for Costa Rica and we experience what the locals call “El Veranillo de San Juan”: Costa Rica’s “Little Summer”. This is a two week period normally of no rain and no clouds. It is just an incredible time of year.

Visit Costa Rica

November is a shoulder month between the rainy and dry seasons and could go either way. Surfing and rafting are fantastic. Hotel rates are still low and tourists are few and far between.

So, green season or dry season? That depends on your tastes, activities and budget. But remember, there is never a bad time to visit Costa Rica and look for that dream property.
Have a look at some of these great options Click Here