San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Arenal Report

As world adventurer, Merriweather Adam Pleasure is often quoted as saying,

“Some days you eat the bear, some days the bear eats you.” Just after the temporary one-lane road reopened the collapsed main highway around Lake Arenal, the elation of finally having a connection for vehicles to La Fortuna was crushed by the government’s announcement that it will be closing the post office in Nuevo Arenal.

Gringos who once believed the U.S. government to have a lock on ineptness and stupidity are having second thoughts. Why?

1. Nuevo Arenal is an actively growing community. The influx of people with money to spend is on the rise as more retirees realize they won’t make it trying to live on what’s left of their gutted retirement portfolios coupled with the horrendous increase in taxes planned for 2014-2016. 

2. Presently, there is a growing waiting list for P.O. boxes in Nuevo Arenal, some of which are already shared by more than one family.

3. With no post office, people in the Arenal area will have to travel 45 minutes to Tilarán to get their mail. There are no P.O. boxes available in Tilarán. Will they have us wade through a gigantic bin of loose mail to find letters addressed to us?     

4. The small building occupied by both the local police and the post office

is owned by Costa Rica Electricity Institute (ICE), which wants it now for its own use. The police have relocated to another building a few blocks away. As for a new location for a post office, here is the present thinking by the authorities seems to be, “since the Post Office is used mainly by Gringos, Gringos should pay for and maintain the post office in Nuevo Arenal.” So far, no one has stepped up to claim this. The usual response is, “Are you kidding?”

Most countries that have emerged from third-world status understand that the postal service usually is a function of the government. If Costa Rica wants to consider itself an emerging country rather than a “demerging” country, this type of thinking must cease.

Petitions are being circulated throughout the communities being served by the Nuevo Arenal Post Office. They are being sent to the appropriate offices of the government, including the Chamber of Commerce. Please sign the petition explaining the need to retain a postal facility in Nuevo Arenal.

There is more local news, but there isn’t enough space for this issue. Look for it in next Friday’s Arenal Report.

-William & Jean Priest

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