San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Everything’s Easier Now: You Can Find It All Here

LONG-TIME Potrero resident JuneHeesaker remembers the days of shoppingin the 1970s.“A bunch of us would pile into a pickuptruck and drive to Santa Cruz to buywhat we needed,” she laughs, recountingthe bumpy excursion that took at least aday.That end-of-the-world impression ofFlamingo and Potrero lingers, but is a falseone today, assures Century 21/MarinaTrading Post agent Pennye Wheeler.“Clients always ask me, ‘Okay. Whatdo we need to bring?’ when they first thinkabout purchasing property,” she says.“Really, nothing,” is her answer.“There’s not anything these days that youcan’t get your hands on here.”AN ever-improving infrastructure andthe arrival of the butcher, the baker, and thecandlestick-maker – or their 21st-centurycounterparts – have made those long tripsto Santa Cruz or San José less necessarythese days.They’re not as large as Costa Ricansupermarket chain Más x Menos, butSuper Massai (1 km. south of Flamingo,654-4918) and Surfside Way (Potrero,654-4475) are well stocked with groceries,and both keep good selections of gourmetfoods and wine in stock.The Banco de Costa Rica (Flamingo,654-4984) has called the area home forthree years, but moved into spacious, spiffynew digs on the hill road this past year. “Weoffer all the services you’ll find at anybranch anywhere in the country,” saysstaffer Wally Campos. BCR is a state bank,of course, but the lines were quite manageableon a recent Monday-morning visit.Johnny’s Santa Fe Pharmacy(Flamingo, 654-9000) opened in late Mayon the hill road heading up to theFlamingo Marina Resort and a pharmacistis on the premises most of the time.Prescriptions and medicines are available,according to owner Johnny Beckles, whosays he tries to keep prices at a levelaffordable to local people.At this writing, two physicians are in theprocess of setting up practice at the clinicnext door to the pharmacy. One will beavailable Monday-Friday, 8-8; the other willbe in the same hours on weekends. Upstairs,a dentist will be available during the week.THE private Pacific Emergencies(Huacas, 653-8785; Tamarindo, 653-8785)offers full clinic services, medical consultationsand lab work, as well as emergencyambulance service. A third branch is scheduledto open in Flamingo in September,according to Dr. Aaron Hernández, whoheads up the Huacas office.It’s not just human health needs, either.Two Liberia-based veterinarians holdweekly ambulatory-clinic hours in thearea. Dr. César García (383-3764) visitsFlamingo each Wednesday. Dr. GiovannaBulgarelli (666-8496, 360-8767) holdsclinic hours at the Monkey Park in nearbyPortegolpe each Thursday and Fridayafternoon.Then there’s the issue of computerhealth. No place in Flamingo or Potreroservices machines, but nearby Tamarindohas two with knowledgeable techies whocan restore your computer to good health.Computer Doctor (653-0103) and Sol PC(653-8173) both receive many clients fromthe area.THERE’S even a new attorney – aweekend attorney – but, nevertheless,offering legal services in town these days.Contact Jorge Granados (Flamingo,654-4367; San José, 257-1533) for anappointment.The age-old parents’ question, “Howare the schools?” has a positive answerthese days.Nearby, Country Day Guanacaste(Brasilito, 654-5042, a U.S.-style and U.S.-accredited curriculumto students from kindergartenthrough 12th grade. (This is a branch campusof the long-operating Country DaySchool in the western San José suburb ofEscazú.) Instruction is in English, with onehour of Spanish per day.Atotal of 122 students were enrolled inthe school year that just ended – the schoolruns on the North American schedule – andthat keeps class sizes small, according tosecretary Margarita Elizondo.Pacífico del Norte (Santa Rosa, 845-2245) offers bilingual education presentlyto students from pre-school to grade 6. Theschool, which follows the Costa Rican academicyear, is a branch of the long-establishedAtlantic College in Limón provinceand lies 14 km. from Flamingo.Escuela La Mariposa (Potrero, 654-4420) serves a mix of native Spanish- andEnglish-speaking students, presently offeringclasses for those from pre-school to age6. Expansion plans are in the works tobegin serving older children.FARTHER afield, but not too far, anever-increasing number of new businessesin Liberia puts all the conveniences ofhome within a 45-minute drive.Everyone here raves about thePapagayo Do It Center (Guardia, 667-0667), actually closer than Liberia itself, asthe place to go for home building supplies.The three-floor Plaza Liberia (666-4512,southeast of Liberia) has brought NorthAmerican-style shopping-mall convenienceto the region. The mall’s four-theaterCine Liberia (665-1515) bringsrecent-release Hollywood films to thefolks up here.

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