Archives for August 2016

Exciting News For Playas Del Coco and surrounding communities…

Presented by:  Coldwell Banker Coast to Coast Properties, Linda Gray Owner/Broker and Cynthia Urena
marketing and rental associate.

Coco Gas Station photo 1Por Fin, At last Coco will have a fully operational gas station. Introducing Servicentro El Coco.

The Fisherman Chamber of Guanacaste (started in 2,000) announces the grand opening of the new gas station in Coco Beach this Thursday, September 1st at 3:00 P.M. The Chamber members are commercial fishing boat owners and fisherman.  There are 700 members located from Cabo Blanco to Bahia Salinas.

The Chamber lobbied for and acquired the rights for licensed commercial fisherman (which includes boats providing tourist services) to purchase gasoline tax free!  To be eligible for this tax free benefit you have to get a license from INCOPESCA (goverment entity that oversees fishing related regulations and activities) and acquire an insurance policy from CCSS ( “caja” govermnet owned insurance entity).  There are only three categories of eligibility; 1) Artesanal (small boats that fish commercially) 2) Palangre (the larger commercial boats) and 3) turistico  (fishing as a tourist recreation).

The President of the Chamber is Martin Leonardo Contreras.  He has an interesting and community related
background:  born and raised in Coco from a family of fisherman and a former math teacher.
He was asked what motivated him to get involved and lead the Chamber and he replied stating that during his childhood and wonderful lifestyle his parents provided for  him (his family have been and are fisherman) he wants to pay back  the community of fisherman.

The chamber promotes and lobbies for the rights of fisherman and continuously works to maintain and enhance the Chamber’s goals and objectives. In addition to pursuing the gas station project (financial and service oriented objective) they are also involved in the social and Martin Contreras president of Fisherman Chamber of Guanacaste signing Banco Popular loan to finance the gas station (1) - Copycommunity interests of their members by investing in the advancement of their members’ education; 25% of the chamber income is dedicated to providing scholarships and helping schools where the members live.

The Chamber and Martin have diligently worked and with painstaking efforts to get the necessary permits and paperwork to have their gas station project become a reality (4 years). The project was approved during a general “asamblea” of chamber members.  After signing with RECOPE “Refinadora Costarricense de Petroleo” (another goverment entity) August 30, 2016, they are ready to open to the public  this coming Thursday September 1, 2016 at 3:00 P.M.  The station has 5 pumps offering;  super Gasoline, regular Gasoline and diesel, as well as the tax free gasoline for the licensed fisherman (one pump will be exclusive for the tax free gasoline).

The gas station project has been funded by Banco Popular de Costa Rica as well as with the backing of their 700 Chamber members.  Additionally, ADICOCO (Community association) and the local residents of Playas del Coco openly showed their  approval and support.

OK – now we share with you the location: the gas station is located 200 meters south from the Coco Public School. It will be open 24/7.  Think of the time and money we can save not having to drive all the way to Sardinal!  AND hopefully a very profitable venture for the Chamber and eventual scholarship endeavors.

Great news…. What is next for Coco?

Costa Rica Is Fighting Against Tobacco and its Effects on Public Health

TobaccoIn 2012, Costa Rican Government signed and implemented Law 9028, commonly known as Anti-Tobacco Law. Since its implementation, one person per day has been sanctioned for non-compliance with the law. According to the Health Ministry, they are sanctioning both, individuals and companies.

Health Ministry indicates that over 1,000 people have been charged with penalty fees as high as $8,000. Although this higher fees are not as common today as they were at the beginning.

One of the main goals that this law was trying to reach, was to protect non-smokers from the negative effects of cigarette smoke, and that is being accomplished. In this regard, people can report public transportation operators, such as taxi and bus drivers, for non-compliance through the Health Ministry website (www.ministeriodesalud.go.cr) and local Ministry offices all throughout the country.

Anyone who doesn´t comply with the Anti-tobacco law, will be charged about $80 and the penalty will stay in the individual´s record for up to 4 years.

Another advantages of this law is that the new taxes on tobacco products, allow the government to have additional resources to implement new and better control and prevention programs on tobacco uses. It prohibits the sale of tobacco products to minors under 18 years of age. It forbids the selling of tobacco products on certain business types. Also, it prohibits publicity of tobacco products and brands, and forced all the tobacco producers to change the packaging on all of their products.

In less than five years, there are less cigarettes being sold in Costa Rica. Also, the amount of adult smokers from almost 500,000 in 2014 to around 300,000 in 2015. Additionally, the government is trying to reduce the amount spend on the treatment of diseases caused by cigarette smoke. In 2014, the Costa Rican medical authority spend over $127 million.

Original article taken from La Prensa Libre.

What´s Next for UBER in Costa Rica?

BA37D41EFCUBER has been operating in Costa Rica for one year. Yes, one year! Despite the fact that many want to see it come to a close. Others, have tried to block the app. And yet, others have reacted with violence against UBER drivers. The business is still running and becoming stronger.

Humber Pacheco, UBER manager in Costa Rica, gave and interview to La Republica, which we are summarizing here.

One of the major improvements UBER has accomplished in Costa Rica, is the opportunity to build small businesses. Some car owners, started with one car but now have several cars operating the business. They stablish schedules and split income with drivers. So, UBER is becoming a job source for those who cannot afford a new car, but are needing a job. Humberto Pacheco, says some of these partners are contacting each other through Facebook Pages and other marketing venues.

However, some drivers complain that their earnings are not as high as it was one year ago. According to Pacheco, this makes sense because the demand at the beginning was much higher than expected. Also, there are a lot more UBER drivers in Costa Rica today than there was one year ago. Despite that, UBER Costa Rica is not planning to limit the number of affiliated drivers or cars that are involved in the business.

Pacheco was clear to specify what UBER goal is. The company is not trying to compete with the official taxi drivers. The company is trying to offer a solution for people not to use their personal car in a regular basis. It is also trying to help the country in reducing the carbon dioxide emissions and reduce the amount of cars that are out on the street every day; and in that way, helping reduce traffic jams in the Central Valley.

One of the main concerns is that, UBER drivers who are working for another UBER Partner in Costa Rica will be exploited, and this will create a similar situation as what happens with taxi drivers in Costa Rica today. However, Pacheco did not offer much details about that and rather said that the market will accommodate itself, and that the laws of offer and demand will dictate what happens in the UBER “labor market”.

The last question was related to government regulation. As of today, UBER is not regulated by any government laws in Costa Rica. Pacheco, said they are open to government regulation because they are a legal company, but that any regulation should always be created to benefit the final consumer and not any company or group.

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