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International Guanacaste Veteran´s Association Is Working to Positively Impact the Community

Veterans PicRetiring in Costa Rica is amazing! Playas del Coco in Guanacaste, has a large number of retired foreigners who have made this place their new home. Attracted by the outstanding ocean views and the relaxed lifestyle, the proximity to an International Airport with daily flights to the U.S. and Canada, the area becomes a convenient location for retirement. One of the main questions people ask themselves when they are considering to retire to a certain community is “what is there for me to do?” Luckly, Guanacaste has a pretty active retired association called International Guanacaste Veteran´s Association.

The International Guanacaste Veteran’s Association had their monthly meeting March 19, 2016 at the A Lo Tico Restaurant (new owners – one is an active duty Navy Seal soon to retire in Coco). Linda Gray, Owner/Broker of Coldwell Banker Coast to Coast Properties, member of the Veteran’s Association (her husband Jim is a retired Lt. Commander U.S. Navy Submarines), organized the event with the help of a devoted volunteer Lee Rhea.

There were guest speakers at the meeting. First speaker was Priscilla Solano, President of the Chamber of Tourism Guanacaste (CATURGUA). She spoke about all the projects the Chamber is working on. The primary project is to provide water for our area (Sardinal, Playa Hermosa and Playas del Coco).  It appears that between the local government, AyA (government owned water company) and the local community of Sardinal, there have been disagreements about area water use, volume and infrastructure. After several years it appears the local government will be on a fast track to solve problems and approach the minority in disagreement (long story) that it is the good of the general/majority public who must prevail.  She discussed different options for water systems; desalinization, water collection/storage, and a fairly new water collection system that collects the water from the air/humidity, purifying and collecting to storage facilities.  She also talked about the airport expanding to include cargo plans and mentioned that the last week of December 2015, 149 airplanes landed at the Daniel Oduber International Airport located in Liberia, Guanacaste. (Click to Tweet this great news!)

The next speaker was Diego Lopez from the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica, he used to be in the Navy, now working for the Embassy as the Representative in the United States Office of Defense and he is also connected to the Humanitarian Assistance Program.  He is currently working on a project in the Filadelfia (Carrillo) area where they are delivering water filter systems to a number of communities.

He is happy to work with our local government who must submit to him and the U.S. Embassy their requests for funding special projects like water filtration, collection and desalinization.  A non-for-profit organization cannot submit directly to the Humanitarian Assistance Program.  However, Diego encourages the Veteran’s Organization and the Chamber of Tourism of Guanacaste to work together to present ideas/projects to the city in order for them to submit requests to the U.S. Embassy.  Diego said he has already contacted the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers for possible assistance with the water projects.  He said they can also assist with security issues and requests also medical emergency (additional defibrillators, CPR training for the police, etc).

One of the Municipality of Carrillo attorneys was present at the meeting, Katherine Mourelo. Diego and Priscilla had the opportunity to speak to her about the projects they presented at the meeting.

The event attendees asked several questions of both speakers and there was a great deal of interaction after the presentation. The meeting created a great deal of synergy and hopefully will motivate volunteers to get and STAY involved.

Linda encourages the community to attend the Guanacaste Veteran’s Association meetings. You don’t have to be a veteran to attend or join but you do get the benefit of meeting new people, attending events that are informative and fun and the opportunity to get involved, volunteer and help promote worthwhile projects in the community.  The Association meets every 3rd Saturday of the month (except this last meeting) at Coconutz Restaurant on Playas del Coco Main Street at 11:00 A.M.

Just a reminder (another Veteran’s Project) – the Cardio Safe Community Project is having a CPR class, April 12, 2016 at the Bosque Del Mar Hotel (beach front) in Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste from 9:00am to 4:00pm.  To reserve a space call Linda’s office 2670-0805 or write to her at

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