Mar 15 2012

Newsletter – Mid-March 2012

Welcome to our Newsletter!

Paul & Gloria


In this issue:

  • Featured Tour: San Lucas Island
  • Featured Article: DIMEX, What Is It? And Why Should It Matter To Me?
  • Article Update:  11.75% Colones CDs: Answering Your Questions
  • Your Vote Counts: Absentee Voting Information




Featured Tour: San Lucas Island

San Lucas Island was used as a prison from 1873 to 1991. Modeled after Devil’s Island, it housed Costa Rica’s worst criminals, kind of like Alcatraz with a Papillion twist. The prison is often referred to as “The Island of Lonely Men,” based on the book of the same name (La Isla de Los Hombres Solos) written by Jose Leon Sanchez, a prisoner who claimed his innocence and tried to escape multiple times.

The island is located 8 kilometers and 40 minutes by boat from the tip of Puntarenas. The former buildings of the penal island are considered “patrimonio de cultural” (cultural heritage sites). During the tour, you will see the historic waterfront with original dock, the church, a medical building, a former office, and of course, the prison cells, complete with graffiti typical of prisons in Latin America.

Click to Enlarge

San Lucas Island was designated a national wildlife refuge on February 12, 2001. Its 1156 acres (470 hectares) are home to howler monkeys, snakes, deer, pheasants, and at least 8 species of bats. The waters surrounding the island provide habitat for manta rays and turtles.

Another important aspect of the island’s history is that, from 1500 to 800 BC, indigenous groups lived on San Lucas and used it as a burial place. There are 8 known archeological sites on the island. San Lucas is one of only two islands in the Gulf of Nicoya with fresh water on it.

Our tour of San Lucas Island includes:

  • Round trip boat transportation from the dock in Puntarenas
  • Bilingual guide and entrance fees. Entrance fees are $2 for Costa Rica residents & citizens – must show a current cedula (residency card), and $10 for tourists
  • Fresh fruit and water
  • Picnic lunch on a deserted beach (a 45 minute walk from the prison, or you can take the boat to the beach)

Pricing:  Residents – $50    Tourists – $58

  • Discounts available for groups of 6 or more
  • Transportation can be provided for groups of 10 or more at an additional charge
  • Call for dates

Featured Article: DIMEX, What is it? And Why Should It Matter To Me?

After our recent articles about our bank, Coopenae, & their 11.75% 12 month CD, more inquiries came in regarding investing here in Costa Rica. In the articles, we tried to address investors fears by answering questions about Coopenae , but in the process left out the fact that, in addition to being a legal resident, you must have DIMEX on your resident’s card. But what is DIMEX?

DIMEX is a tracking number the allows Immigration & the banking industry to keep tabs on the flow of money, on who is investing in Costa Rica, how much, & from what sources. The acronym means Documento de Identificación Migratorio para Extranjeros. The DIMEX tracking # is embedded on every resident’s Cedula (identification card), be they Pensianados, Rentistas or Investors. It was designed to insure that every person at the teller window could be readily identified as a legal resident of Costa Rica.

For his part, Mauricio Boraschi, Vice-ministro de la Presidencia y Comisionado Nacional Antidrogas (anti-drug-trafficking czar) stated that the use of the card in banking will help fight international drug trafficking in the country, while  protecting  foreigners from getting ripped off by someone posing as them, withdrawing money at the teller’s window, & being cleaned out or scammed.

“What we are doing is strengthening the banking system to prevent and control money laundering and terrorist financing, we are also creating regulated economic activities, which may be poorly exploited by criminal organizations to launder money, such as in real estate, purchase and sale of jewelry, gems, art, new and used vehicles, and criminal organizations looking for any lawful business to get into,” said Boraschi.

All Cedulas for the last five years have had the DIMEX identifier, but it’s been only since January 2012 that it was made operational. In compliance with US requests, it also allows the US to track its citizens’ overseas financial activities in Costa Rica.

Mario Zamora, ministro de Seguridad Publica (Security Minister) stressed that this electronic system will protect the foreigner while simultaneously controlling illegal activities in bank accounts.

The DIMEX identity card holds “reliable” data on the identity of the person and the immigration status of the foreigner, all contained in the card’s magnetic strip.

Source Articles:


Article Update – 11.75% Colones CDs: Answering Your Questions

Some of our readers didn’t realize that we included Coopenae’s entire slide presentation in English in our last newsletter. If you missed it, here is the link to take a look at it: The slide presentation is located at the bottom of the article. To move to the next or the previous slide, just click the arrows in the top right-hand corner of the slide. There are 15 slides in total. To read our original article about Coopenae, click here: If you are interested in more information about Coopenae, your first point of contact is Asdrúbal Zamora Corrales, their English-speaking financial advisor, at or call 011-506-2257-9060, ext. 3721.


Your Vote Counts: Absentee Voting Information

Are you a U.S. Citizen living outside the U.S.? Do you want to vote in the 2012 elections? If you haven’t signed up for an Absentee Ballot, here’s the info on how to do it.

The U.S. has made it easy. Just go to the website for the Federal Voting Assistance Program, located at  Click the “Get Started” button under “I am a citizen living outside the U.S.” Next, you will select your state. On the following screen, you will click the “Get Started” button under “Register to Vote and/or Request Ballot.” Then follow the prompts to use FVAP’s automated assistant to complete and print your voter registration/ballot request form. You can even print out the mailing address directly onto your own envelope.

Drop the request form in the mail. We heard back about three weeks after mailing our forms from our local Costa Rican post office.

Your vote counts, no matter where you live!


Facebook, Twitter, & YouTube

You can now follow us on Facebook and Twitter, so please “like” us on Facebook“follow” us on Twitter, and watch and share our videos on YouTube.


That’s all for this month, but we’ll be back in touch soon!  If you enjoy our newsletter, please share it with your friends.  We hope to see you online! Gloria & Paul Yeatman San Ramon de Alajuela, Costa Rica

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