San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Arenal Report

In an effort to find and socialize expats in the La Fortuna area, Wendy Holt, owner with husband Dave of Villa Hermosa guesthouse (, hosted the first meeting of the Fortuna Social Club at the Lava Lounge on May 18. Wendy and Dave moved to the area from Southern California in November 2009, and established their upscale (swimming pool, etc.) accommodations near The Springs Resort and Spa, between Lake Arenal and La Fortuna. Wendy has already been volunteering with the animals at the animal rescue center at Proyecto Asis ( and is hoping to entice the scattered expats out of the woods. We’ll get a count from her later. Call her at 2478-0508 to join the next meeting of the Fortuna Social Club.

Tilarán, already perhaps the country’s nicest town, received a North American-style face-lift recently with new asphalt on its broad streets, painted center lines and crosswalks, new stop signs and even street signs, a rarity in the country. The town, master-planned in 1912, is basically six blocks by six blocks at its flat hilltop core. The streets east and west are now – and may have been all along – avenidas. The streets north and south are calles. The central intersection, Calle 0 and Avenida 0, is bordered by the cathedral, the Central Park, Hotel Mary and Casa Blanca, an appliance store.

Probably, as more than the current three signs are added, we will find ourselves with a system like San José’s, with avenidas north of Avenida 0 having odd numbers and signs south given even numbers. The same system will probably apply to the streets east or west of Calle 0. Most helped by these improvements will be tourists in rental cars, especially because they lack the communal knowledge of where the long-missing stop signs used to be. From the central hilltop, neighborhoods have grown down the hillsides along the roads to Monteverde, Líbano, Cañas, the lake and El Silencio. The new central signage system can hardly apply to them, and their streets are likely to remain incognito. 

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