San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

The Good, the Bad, the Wacky, Joan Rivers

Year in Review

Luis Fishman:

The “Menos Malo

By far the most talked about campaign slogan for the Feb. 7 presidential election was Luis Fishman’s. Fishman is a candidate from the dying Social Christian  Unity Party. The former lawmaker and public security minister labeled himself the “menos malo” (the “least bad”) of the line-up of presidential aspirants. He may not have gotten many votes in the polls, but his slogan certainly turned heads.

Costa Rica’s First Man

Takes World Cup Fall

The day the Spanish beat the Dutch in the World Cup final in South Africa, the country’s First Man (President Laura Chinchilla’s husband) was airlifted to the hospital.

 Rumor had it that José María Rico, who was born in Spain, was cheering for his national team when he slipped and fractured his hip.

Rush Limbaugh Says

He’ll Move to Costa Rica 

During the debate over health care in the United States, conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh threatened to leave the country if the reform passed. His destination of choice? One of only a handful of country’s in the world with a socialized health care system: Costa Rica.

Left-wingers celebrated the proposed self-imposed exile of the conservative tycoon and vowed to plug more money into the health reform campaign.

Limbaugh later clarified his remarks and said that he’d travel for treatment in Costa Rica’s private hospitals, but not move here.

That’s right. Leave “Pura Vida” to the hippies.

Guevara’s Girlfriend

Pockets  Communion

In a country that’s more than 90 percent Catholic, the last thing you probably want to do is cause a national scene during communion. Unfortunately, Deborah Formal, girlfriend of presidential candidate Otto Guevara, did exactly that during a presidential mass on Election Day in February.

 Formal approached Bishop Hugo Barrantes, took a communion wafer and walked back to her seat. After biting the Eucharist in half, she reached over the row in front of her and placed the remaining half in Guevara’s front shirt pocket. Guevara is divorced and not permitted to take communion.

World Cup Is For Soccer,

Not Sex

On the eve of the World Cup in South Africa, the Costa Rican Health Ministry warned Africa-bound soccer aficionados against having sex during their stay. In a press release emitted in May, health officials said no tap water, no street food, no forgetting to wash your hands and definitely no sex.

 The Health Ministry said that because South Africa has a high number of people with HIV, “We strongly recommend abstinence during your stay in the area.” Although Costa Rica’s national team didn’t make it South Africa, government officials expected many Tico fans to make the trek anyway.

Did You See the Tico Winter

Fashion Line?

It was a year of extremes. The weather in 2010 bounced around like a racquetball in a rubber room.

The year exploded with a steaming hot volcanic ash eruption in Turrialba, poured more rain on the country in the opening days of November than it normally does in the entire month, and finished off with the coldest day in San José in at least 15 years – a bone-chilling 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Not since Dec. 5, 1995 had Ticos needed to bust out the polyester leg warmers, wool gloves, thick coats, hats and scarves. But, for having spent 15 years in the closet, those winter outfits didn’t look half bad.

Hey Mr. President,

Inaugurate This!

In the weeks before he left office, former president Oscar Arias went on an inauguration spree, putting his stamp on all sorts of public works, whether they were finished or not. At one point, he inaugurated a new Casa Presidencial from an empty parking lot kiddie-corner to the offices of the Legislative Assembly. The land for the government office still hadn’t been purchased.

 A handful of social network-savvy young people created a group in which fans were invited to help Oscar inaugurate everything we’ve got before May 8.

Chilean Miners Robbed

In Costa Rica

Two of the 33 miners who survived seventy days underground on rationed food and in 100-degree temperature arrived in Costa Rica in December only to suffer another trauma (although not nearly as dramatic as what they’d been through in October).

While Juan Illanes and Raúl Bustos were at a speaking engagement at the Universidad Latina in San Pedro, their laptops and passports were swiped. Though their passports were eventually returned, the thieves held onto the laptops and were never caught.

In the words of President Laura Chinchilla, Costa Rica’s security problem knows no bounds.

Joan Rivers Stranded

In Costa Rica

Comedian and actress Joan Rivers was turned away by a gate agent at the Liberia International Airport and told she couldn’t get on her flight to New York after presenting a boarding ticket with the wrong name. She had been vacationing in the plush Four Seasons Resort in Papagayo and was the last one to leave in her posse of friends and family.

Recounting the story to The Tico Times, she said, “It was probably the worst experience I have ever had in my life. I was in the car, crying, going on a 6.5-hour journey to San José with a driver I didn’t know and going in the dark. It was awful.”

“Wild Bill” Serial Killer on

Loose in Costa Rica

In July, a serial killer nicknamed “Wild Bill” had Costa Rican and Panamanian authorities in hot pursuit. William Dathan Holdbert, alias “Wild Bill,” was suspected in the murder of his wife, Manchittha Nankratoke, their son, Watson Brown, and another man whose bodies were found on a property Holbert owned in Panama. Holbert was also thought to have killed two other people, Bo Icelar and Cheryl Hughes, in a plot to steal their land.

“Wild Bill” led authorities on a hunt across three countries before being captured along the Nicaraguan border. He traveled from the Caribbean border between Panama and Costa Rica, to Santa Cruz de Turrialba, a mountainous village on the Caribbean slope east of San José; from there he fled through the north-central Costa Rican town of Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí, and on to Barra del Colorado on the northern Caribbean coast.

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