Friday, December 20, 2013

Why invest in Agricultural Commodities in Latin America

Here are just a few reasons to consider an investment in agricultural commodities in Latin America

  • World population is projected to grow from 6.1 billion in 2000 to 8.9 billion in 2050, increasing therefore by 47 per cent. (source UN World Population to 2050). There is a corresponding requirement to increase food production accordingly.

  • Favourable weather conditions in Latin America mean two harvests can be achieved every 12-14 months, twice the productivity of some other agricultural regions.

  • The food price index has doubled since 2004, despite some short-term volatility the trend is upwards and increases in adverse weather continue to support the price.

In Naturewalk, you have the double benefit of owning development land, with permission for a home, and the land has fully managed crops giving you an income.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Road Construction continues in Naturewalk

Building Agricultural Reservoirs in Naturewalk

As the dry season is upon us, and more and more land is now planted with various crops in Naturewalk irrigation is a necessity to keep crop yields up.

Here are some pictures of some of the agricultural reservoirs under construction in Naturewalk:

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Costa Rica signs agreement to report holdings of U.S. citizens living here

Costa Rica becomes the second country in Latin America to sign an agreement to comply with the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, FATCA. 
U.S. Chargé d'Affairs Gonzalo Gallegos (left) and Costa Rican Finance Minister Edgar Ayales (right) signed a memo of understanding Tuesday, Nov. 26, on the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, FATCA, making Costa Rica the second country in Latin America after Mexico to sign such an agreement with the United States.

At Costa Rica’s Foreign Ministry, Costa Rica joined Mexico as the second country in Latin America to sign a memorandum of understanding to comply with the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) on Tuesday afternoon.

Costa Rican Finance Minister Edgar Ayales and U.S. ChargĂ© d’Affairs Gonzalo Gallegos signed the memo, ratifying the agreement that financial institutions would report the holdings of U.S. citizens living in Costa Rica, or face a 30 percent retention tax on payments from the United States.

Under the memorandum, Costa Rican financial institutions will report this information to the Finance Ministry, who will then submit it to the Internal Revenue Service.

Starting on March 31, 2015, local financial institutions will have to start reporting to the IRS information about their U.S. taxpayer clients who conducted transactions during 2013 and 2014. Starting in 2016, personal accounts containing more than $50,000 and corporate accounts containing more than $250,000 will be reported.

“This shows Costa Rica’s willingness to be transparent [and] collaborate in the fight against tax evasion, money laundering, and legal loopholes,” said Ayales, who added that sharing financial information would improve the country’s once notorious reputation as a tax haven and bring Costa Rica in line with international banking standards.

Gallegos added that the mechanism would benefit both countries.

"FATCA is not a mechanism to collect taxes directly,” Manrique Blen, a tax specialist with Deloitte in Costa Rica, told The Tico Times, “It's a mechanism to collect information, investigate and then decide if there needs to be additional collection."

Blen reminded U.S. expats living in Costa Rica that the U.S. tax system obliges them to report their holdings abroad, even if they don’t receive an income. The tax specialist added that besides personal accounts, FATCA requires financial institutions to list any U.S. shareholders with at least a 10 percent stake in a Costa Rican corporation.

In 2010 the United States passed the HIRE Act, which grants incentives to employers who contract persons who have been unemployed for a certain period of time. To cover the cost of these incentives, the government created FATCA, which institutes a series of controls over international financial operations.

Story by Zach Dyer for the Tico Times (26th November 2013). Read the full story in the Tico Times here

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Teak and Tiquisque in Permalife Farms, Naturewalk 3

Teak and tiquisque intercropped in Permalife farms, Naturewalk 3.

The plant in the foreground is teak.

The tiqusque on this lot is currently being harvested.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Camping in Naturewalk

A number of campsites have been created close to the river in Naturewalk 3.

Papas Chino (Yampee) and Nampi Intercropped on Permalife Farms, Naturewalk 3

A new intercrop of yampee and nampi is being trialled on Permalife Farms, Naturewalk 3.

Yampee in Permalife Farms, Naturewalk 3

The Papas Chino has sprouted in Permalife farms, Naturewalk 3:

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Harvesting tiquisque in Permalife Farms, Naturewalk 3

Tiquisque harvesting begins in Permalife Farms, Naturewalk 3, this week. The first stage of the process is to pick some sample plants to ensure the crop is ready to harvest.

The good news is that it is ready and the yield looks healthy and high.

Harvest starts immediately, closely followed by replanting.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Moringa in Naturewalk 1

The moringa recently planted in Naturewalk 1 is flourishing.

This moringa is being used as a shade plant for the Vanilla vines growing in Naturewalk 1.

Moringa is a very interesting and useful plant and you can read more about moringa here.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Medical care in Costa Rica

More and more companies are offering medical care for their employees outside of the US as medical tourists.

ABC news investigates further and turns the spotlight on the Costa Rica medical system.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Costa Rica ranks 31st in Legatum Prosperity Index 2013

Costa Rica ranks 31st out of 142 countries in the Legatum prosperity index.

This places Costa Rica as the top country in Central America and it trails Uruguay by one place out of all Central and Southern American Countries

Costa Rica ranks 11th in the personal freedom sub index and has a pupil to teacher ratio of 17.3/1

 Read the full report here!/country/CRI

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Yampee trellises in Permalife Farms, Naturewalk 3

Yampee (papas chino / yam) trellises completed and awaiting planting in Permalife Farms, Naturewalk 3

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Companies look to medical tourism to cut costs

With the high cost of medical procedures and care in the USA many companies are looking to medical tourism to provide a better standard of care at reduced costs:

Monday, October 21, 2013

Hiking and Trekking Opportunities from Naturewalk

Located as it is between the high Talamanca Ridge, the central ridge of Costa Rica and the Pacific Coast. Naturewalk 3 offers a wide range of routes of various lengths and levels to suit everyone wishing to explore and find out more about the diversity of flora and fauna and the landforms of this beautiful Country.
From half- day bird watching tours, through to day hikes, overnighters in hammocks, and multi-day expeditions you can find it all.

Birdwatching: The site itself is home to a wide range of birdlife making bird watching here a delight. The location on the Tulin River and proximity of Carara National Park provide an ideal base where you can be accompanied by knowledgeable guides who can help you in looking for the best spots for great bird watching. We have hides sited in and around the area, and also carry equipment to set up hides in some remote spots for best viewing opportunities.
Overnighters: Experience the rainforest by night, hike before a campfire supper. Sleep out in the forest under cover of one of our jungle hammocks – accompanied by an experienced guide. Go deeper into the forest, looking for tracks and wildlife sightings. In the mornings you will have fantastic opportunities for dawn sightings before breakfast and hiking back with opportunity for more viewing on the return journey to the centre.
Day hikes: Hikes from the centre or from locations nearby can be arranged. Locations include the Carara National Park, Cangreja National Park, Cerro Pital, or Cerro Dragon. All of which can provide the most spectacular views above the forest down to the Pacific, as well as plenty of opportunity for spotting wildlife. As well as being mountain leading qualified and rainforest experienced Tim the Walking Leader is a qualified Biologist and enthusiastic about the range of environments and habitats the region has to offer
Multi-day trips: If you like the sound of carrying out 2 day trips from the centre, the Carara Park area or Cerro Pital . Depending on the route, accommodation can be in huts, homestay or camping with food provided.
Further afield, 3 or 4 day expeditions are possible all within easy reach of Naturewalk. These include Ruta Sukia a classic 3 day hike, Ruta el Rey from Cerro de la Muerte on the main Talamanca Ridge down to sea level over 4 days, plus a range of possibilities in the Rio Blanco, Chirrpo areas, where multi-day trips including camping up on the main ridge can be arranged. Multi-day trips give opportunity to trek through a whole range of bio-zones from high paramo or montane, down through, primary cloud forest and rainforest and eventually down to coastal secondary and mangrove forests.
Some trips will require camping or staying in basic huts, whilst others have accommodation provided in local Tico houses, where you can really enjoy local hospitality.
We use a combination of local guides who can provide insightful knowledge of their areas and English speaking qualified international mountain guides to ensure that your experience is a safe as well as an intensely enjoyable one.
Prices are dependent on number, we try to keep group numbers small for your enjoyment. Larger groups can be accommodated by arrangement.

From $30 half a day (3 hours) , $70 full day (lunch provided) , $90 overnighters, $140 for 2day hikes, multi-day from $75 per day, dependent upon level of accommodation up to $110 per day for homestays. Prices based on a minimum group number of 3, please enquire for individual or couple rates.
Trek in style: for those requiring a more relaxing evening after a day’s hike, routes can be organised using local hotels in the most beautiful and out of the way locations. Please contact us for a suggestion.

Please note that some of the treks such as Sukia and Ruta el Rey are demanding and a certain level of fitness and familiarity with steep and rugged terrain is required. Please advise us of your ability level and experience in order that we can provide you with a rewarding and enjoyable experience.

Papas Chino in Naturewalk

Known as “Papas Chino” in Costa Rica or Yampee is a species of yam called Dioscorea Trifida.  It is a flowering tropical yam. Currently trellises are being installed on some lots in Permalife farms, Naturewalk 3 for planting Papas Chino.

Dioscorea trifida is a species of flowering plant in the family Dioscoreaceae. It is a species of yam (genus Dioscorea). It is native to the Caribbean and Central and South America. Its many common names include Indian yam, cush-cush, and yampee. It is called mapuey in Venezuela, inhame in Brazil, tabena in Colombia, and sacha papa in Peru.

This plant is a vine that can exceed 3 meters in length. One plant produces up to 12 stems, which are lined with several membranous wings. They emerge from roots with tubers of various shape and size, generally up to 20 centimeters long by 8 wide. The leaves are up to 23 to 30 centimeters long with blades divided into pointed lobes and borne on long, winged petioles. Green flowers with six tiny tepals are borne in the axils. The fruit is a winged, lightly hairy capsule up to about 2.7 centimeters long.

This is a cultivated yam species used for food in parts of the Americas, especially South America and some Caribbean nations. The starchy tuber has a thin, smooth skin marked with some cracks. It takes different shapes but is commonly spherical or club-shaped, or shaped like a horse hoof, sometimes with a cleft. It comes in various colors, including white, purple, and black.The crop is cultivated like the potato, but the must be given a strong trellis for support. It is propaged by planting small tubers or tuber chunks. The crop can be harvested in 10 to 11 months.
Yampee trellises

The tuber is cooked for food. It can be baked or boiled. In Venezuela it is mashed or used in soups. In parts of the Caribbean "it is known as the best of the yams". It is a staple food for some indigenous peoples.

The tuber is about 38% starch. It is a waxy starch that lacks amylose and has potential uses as a binder and thickener in food processing.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Papas Chino planting in Permalife, Naturewalk 3

Preparing the trellis for Papas Chino planting in Permalife farms, Naturewalk 3.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Obamacare and Costa Rica

Many US citizens are concerned about the high costs and consequences of the health insurance they must purchase under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). For everyone paying expensive health insurance premiums worldwide the recent debate about Obamacare has brought the high costs of their medical care and insurance into sharp focus.

For those US citizens resident outside the USA the good news is that they are not required to purchase a mandated health plan in the USA as they are assumed to have “minimum essential coverage”. You can read more about that here:
The better news for those US Citizens and other Nationalities resident in Costa Rica is that they have access to an excellent health care system for a fraction of the cost of similar care elsewhere.
Hospitals are of a very high standard as is medical care. So much so that medical tourism is booming in Costa Rica.
If you live in Costa Rica you can buy private medical insurance through Instituto Nacional de Seguros (INS). This costs from just US$550 to US$1300 per person per year depending on your age.
If you become a Costa Rica resident you must purchase Costa Rica Government medical insurance CCSS (Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social commonly known as CAJA). This is social medical care and costs between just $40 and $60 per month for family coverage.
Excellent health care in paradise for a fraction of what you currently pay - just another reason to consider Costa Rica.
Don’t forget our bookstore,, is an excellent source of information on Costa Rica.
Blue Skies and Pura Vida

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Kayaking in Punta Leona

Greg from the Naturewalk Adventure Center kayaking in Punta Leona.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Costa Rica 1947

Record levels of real estate acquisition and development in Costa Rica

La Nacion reported a sharp increase in real estate acquisition and development by foreign investors in Costa Rica in the first quarter of 2013

This contributed $377 million to the national economy.

These increases are confrmed by an increase of 13% in real estate purchases in the Central Valley during the the first quarter of 2013 (Q1). 

La Nacion reports that the Pacific Coast has experienced an increase in residential investment whilst San Jose and the Central Valley have seen  more commericial real estate investment. 

The Central Bank of Costa Rica reported that the $377 million enjoyed by the real estate sector represents 90 percent of revenue in 2012; in other words, the real property industry seems to be booming once again. 

Estimates by La Nacion indicate that the quarterly increase has been the highest since the year 2000.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Ruta Del Rey, Costa Rica

Pictures from the Ruta del Rey trek with Tim Ryan.

Available through the Naturewalk Adventure Center - +1 866 990 1123 or on

Trip to the summit of Chirripo and Rio Blanco

Tim Ryan, will run hikes through the Naturewalk Adventure Centre. So if conquering the summit of Chirripo is for you just contact the Naturewalk adventure centre at +1 866 990 1123 or on

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Recovery in Global Real Estate affects Property Prices in Costa Rica


Global real estate prices are recovering and this is having a strong effect on property prices throughout Costa Rica.
The Economist reports a year on year growth of house prices of 12.1% across to USA to the end of the second quarter of 2013.

Further they report that "the recovery still appears to be sound, since prices remain undervalued against income"
Read the full report here.

Knight Frank, in its Global House Price Index Report for the second quarter 2013, reports that worldwide house prices rose 2.4% for the quarter and that "the US housing market recovery appears to be on firmer ground"

The report is available for download here.

As property markets have recovered worldwide more and more buyers are looking at Costa Rica for both holiday homes and investments. This is pushing up real estate prices in Costa Rica and a number of recent articles reflect these increases:

This increased demand is resulting in more development. For example some recently announced developements are covered in the National newspapers here and here

And don't forget for US clients the implementation of the HIRE Act may make it more difficult and more expensive to get funds out of the US.

So if you are seriously considering a purchase in Costa Rica the time to act is now.

The offices in Quepos and Manuel Antonio can assist with your Central Pacific requirements. The San Jose office with your Central Valley requirements.

And of course Naturewalk is ideal for clients seeking a home and income in Costa Rica.

The "fly and buy" programs are worth up to US$2,000 to you.

To find out more about these and for assistance with your property requirements just call  
USA +1-866-990-1123 (toll free) or Europe +353-1-272-4184 or e mail

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Tiquisque and Teak in Permalife farms

The teak and tiquisque are growing quickly and strongly in Permalife Farms Naturewalk 3.

The plant in the foreground is a teak sapling.