San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Arenal Report

Arenal is a great place to hold a destination wedding. The wedding of Tara Eisenbeis and William Behn took place July 5 at the house of the bride’s parents, Myrna Kastner and Jim Vernon, in Nuevo Arenal. Tara and William live in the U.S. city of Atlanta, Georgia, and the 35 guests came from many parts of the U.S. and as far afield as New Zealand.

Heavy rain prevented the wedding from being held in the garden, but this did not dampen the spirits of the wedding party; everyone thoroughly enjoyed the occasion and the reception that followed. The wedding dinner and dance was held nearby in a private home, with music from Brad Moodie’s band, Los Mojitos, from Liberia. 

The majority of the guests were visiting Costa Rica for the first time and all were impressed with the hospitality and range of activities. Guests arrived a week prior to the wedding and stayed at the recently renovated Hotel Lago Arenal. Therapeutic massages provided by Gerardina Fonseca were popular – many visitors scheduled repeat sessions.

On July 4, the staff at Hotel Lago Arenal arranged for the wedding party to celebrate Independence Day with a whole pig roast accompanied by typical Costa Rican dishes and music by a local Nuevo Arenal marimba band. The dinner and dance lasted well into the night and ended with a fireworks display. 

You can schedule a massage with the masseuse, Gerardina, a graduate of IECSA Institute in San José who has worked at two hotels near Jacó – Punta Leona and Villa Lapas. She makes house calls. Dial 8524-6226 for Spanish or 8896-2048 for English.

Guanacaste Province Animal Welfare foundation (G-PAW), a nonprofit that provides low-cost animal clinics to Guanacaste residents, will be holding two spay/neuter clinics in August: Saturday, Aug. 18, in Río Piedras and Sunday, Aug. 19, in Tilarán. For more info, visit:

Property issues are on the minds of Arenal-area residents. Representative of Corfoga, an organization of cattle producers, held a well-attended meeting Tuesday, July 17, to explain Proposal 18,070, which concerns the preservation of agricultural land use. The issue is now being debated in Congress, and if passed would give farmers a tax break.

If property has an agricultural use, taxes are calculated slightly more than 20 percent of the value of the property. Corfoga sent a bus to San José on Tuesday, July 31, with protesters from Arenal. Five buses traveled from the Tilarán area. Protesters marched from La Sabana Park, on the west side of town, to the legislature.

Another meeting was held July 19, for the Regularization of Maps and Records at the National Registry. Workers equipped with aerial photos delineating property boundaries plan to visit every owner to verify information about their lot, farm or property. In some cases, there are properties overlapping and this will be pointed out. Neighbors will need to discuss the situation, and if there are still problems there will be a free conflict resolution service. They plan to hold a second meeting in the near future.

Thanks to Michelle Cloutier, Myrna Kastner and Jim Vernon Myra for their assistance with this article. 

-Lynn Farris

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