San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Arenal Report

Lava Java Café has reopened in Nuevo Arenal to mouthwatering reviews. With Patrick Hughes, owner of Red Sunset Inn, at the helm along with James McDonald of Century 21 Real Estate, “the Java” is giving area Gringos what they evidently crave. Resident Nancy Holzheimer, who breakfasted there recently, raved about the blueberry pancakes with real whipped cream, and reported the café also offers biscuits and gravy, hot or mild homemade sausage, chicken-fried steak, hash browns, carrot pancakes and crepes. “The lunch menu looks really good, too: hamburgers with so many different toppings, hoagies and Philly steaks,” she added. “It’s worth a trip – all the comfort food you could want made from scratch by a really good cook.”

One of the lake’s internationally franchised real estate agencies has decided to go local. RE/MAX Lake Partners is now Arenal Lake Partners. Owner/broker Laura Murray (my wife), formerly licensed in the U.S. states of Washington and Colorado, says the agency, thanks largely to RE/MAX, is now strong enough to go it alone, having the largest property list at the lake – including a choice of 94 homes – and the largest staff. The website,, remains the same. Laura’s e-mail address is now

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