Post report, San José, Costa Rica


Material Information

Post report, San José, Costa Rica
Physical Description:
31 p. : ill., map ; 28 cm.
United States -- Dept. of State
Department of State
Place of Publication:
Washington, D.C
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Diplomatic and consular service, American -- Costa Rica -- San José   ( lcsh )
Description and travel -- San José (Costa Rica)   ( lcsh )
federal government publication   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
Costa Rica


General Note:
Cover title.
General Note:
"April 1967."
General Note:
Official post report prepared at the post.
General Note:
Includes list of recommended reading.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
oclc - 695564293
lcc - F1549.S15 P67 1967
System ID:

Full Text




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APRIL 1967

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This is the official post report prepared at
the post. Any other information you receive
coverthg the facts as set forth herewith is
to be regarded as unofficial information.

IrF.~ll~e);r J.:r
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.L' ~CS~Z;I:(l
.i -' r r.


San Jos6, capital of Costa Rica,the southern-
most country of Central America, can be a
pleasant and interesting post. The city is
situated on the Central Plateau of the country,
scenically encircled by mountains, and en-
joying a generally agreeable climate despite
high annual rainfall. This neat compact city
is one of contrast s, combining the traditional
Spanish colonial styles with the modern in its
parks and building. The people are quite
friendly and genuinely like Americans. The
countryside around San Jos6 is rolling ter-
rain, largely planted with coffee and other
crops, reflecting the predominantly agrarian

base of the Costa Rican economy.

Working in San Jos6 is both interesting and
challenging. The Post is small enough to
permit one to become well acquainted with
all members of the Country Team, and there
is a very harmonious relationship between
Americans and Costa Rican employees. As
a democracy of long standing, Costa Rica'
offers the opportunityto work in an environ-
ment of constitutionalism and popular sov-
ereignty. This canbe immensely rewarding,
occasionally frustrating, but rarely dull.


capital and principal city of Costa Rica, is
situated in the coffeegrowing plateau known
as the Mleseta Central at an elevation of 3, 8 14
feet. The city occupies approximately 5. 5
square miles between the Torres River to
the north and the Maria Aguilar River to the

The capital is divided into sections by Ave-
nida Central (Central Avenue), running east
and west, and Calle Central (Central Street),
running north and south. Numbering of houses
and exact street addresses are not commonly
used, nor are street signs much in evidence
outside the downtown area. The majority of
the streets of the city are paved, but some
are narrow and rough.

Most of the commercial buildings in the
downt own section are one or two -story st ruc -
tures, but there are a number of new and

modern buildings of up to thirteen stories.
In the residential sections there are many
modern homes, most homes being one story
and of wood, brick or concrete construction
with galvanized iron roofs. There are some
large two-story :residences inthemore ex-
clusive sections. With few exceptions, the
plazas and public buildings are designed to
be in harmony with their surroundings and
their uses. There are several small parks
located throughout the city. Because of its
comparatively small size and the fact that
it lies in the heart of a predominantly agricul-
tural area, the city is more suburban than
cosmopolitan in appearance. San JosO has a
population of approximately 200, 000 as of
1967, but Mletropolitan San Josh, including
eight contiguous suburban areas, has over
300, 000 people. (It takes 10-20 minutes to
reach the heart of the city from the residen-
tial suburbs).

Morazin Park


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Weather in San Jos6- during recent years Lat. 906' North, Altitude 3800 ft.

Jan. Feb. M~ar. Apr. Mlay Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.

Low 57. 570 580 600 61* 620 600 600 600 600 590 580

High 76 78 80 81 81 80 78 79 80 79 78 77

Average 67 68 69 71 71 71 69 70 70 69 68 67
Days of
rain 2 2 2 5 19 21 19 20 24 24 18 7
of rain 0. 5 0. 2 0. 5 1. 7 8. 7 10. 6 8. 4 9. 5 12. 8 13. 5 5. 9 1. 8

The climate in San Jos6 is generally pleasant
with the daily average temperature ranging
from 550 to 800 F. almost all year around.
Occasionally the temperature may drop a
few degrees below or rise a few degrees a-
bove the average temperature, but this is
not too common. The seasons are based on
temperature changes. Thus the dry season,
January to April, is commonly called sum-
mer; while the rainy season, May to De-
cember, is known as winter. San Jos4 has

about 75 inches of rain a year, while the
average in many other parts of the country
is much higher. The average humidity is 78
per cent.

Humidity in San Jos6 is high and, except
during the dry season, mildew and mould
are problems. Dehumidifiers are useful,
though not absolutely necessary when proper
precautions are taken, e. g. periodic airing,
light bulbs in closets, etc.

February 1, 1967

U. S. 31 6 1 7 33 14 5 13 11 5 3 129

Contract 0 16 5 21

Employees 20 9 2 1 57 10 2 3 2 106

Volunteers I 169 169

Contract 16 8 4 2 5 35

Total 67 23 3 8 110 24 178 21 13 5 8 460








Employees IEMB



The racial composition of the population is
predominantly Caucasian, with a small mi-
nority of Negro and Indian origins. Almost
all of the Negroes came to Costa Rica from
the West Indies, and are concentrated on the
Atlantic coast. Most of the members of that
community speak English. There are approx-
imately 2, 000 American residents in Cos-
ta Rica, and an estimated 5, 000 Ame rican
tourists visit the country annually. The other
main groups of foreign residents include Bri-
tish, French, German, Italian, Chinese,
Spanish and Latin-Ame ricans.

Besides the Department of State, there are
several other U. S. Government agencies
represented in Costa Rica, they are: The
Agency for International Development, Bu-
reau of Public Roads, Inter-American Geo-
detic Survey, Peace Corps and the United
States Military Group. The AID Mlission is
relatively substantial with its employees
assigned to various government ministries
and in charge of special projects within the
country. The Peace Corps contingent, station-
ed throughout the country, has most of its
volunteers working in the fields of education,
rural community development and physical

The three story Government-owned chancery
is located downtown, in the heart of the city,
at the corner of First Street and Third Ave-
nue. This building, constructed in 1947-48,
contains the Embassy Staff as well as USIS

and part of AID, The telephone number is
22-55-66. All agencies meet new arrivals,
but if you should happen to arrive unannounc-
ed, you can call the Chancery at the above
number at any time, as there is someone on
duty 24 hours a day. Most of the AID offices
are located in a new building across the
street from the Embassy.

Embassy Chancery

Points of Interest

The nearest cities of any size are Heredia,
seven miles to the northwest; Alajuela, 16
milestothe northwest;and Cartago, former-
ly the capital of the country, 15 miles to the
southeast. These three cities are also located
on the agricultural central plateau, and are
interconnected by paved highways. There are
a number of scenic drives that may be taken
throughout the central tableland, which is
rolling and relatively heavily forested with
tropical foliage and flowering and fruit-
bearing trees. For a change in climate and
elevation, a trip to Port Lim6n by narrow
gauge railroad train through the jungle can
be very interesting. Lim6n is the principal
port on the Atlantic, and tours of banana
plantations can be arranged. The trip takes
45 minutes by plane or 5-7 hours by train
from San Jos6. Puntarenas, the Pacific port,
is 30 minutes away by plane, 4 hours by train
and 2Q-39 hours (84 miles) by car. It has a
beach, excellent fishing and is a much-fre-
quented resort area.

most well-known volcano in Costa Rica is
IrazC1, whose spectacular eruption in M~arch
1963 caused much devastation to the sur-
rounding area. These eruptions of large
quantities of volcanic ash continued perio-
dically until October 1964, and it is felt that
there is no threat of a renewal of volcanic
activity in the near future. A visit to Irazli
(11, 322 feet) can be a fascinating experience.
Poas Volcano (8, 900 feet) can be reached by
car as well. Each trip takes 2-3 hours.


Ojo de Agua
Ojo de Agua is a small recreation-resort that
can be reached by car in a half hour from
San JosC. It has a natural spring. Olympic
size swimming pool and picnic, boating and
sports facilities.

Eruption of Trazid Volcano 1963

--.~.- rcPrYIICIE~I~Z~E~

Playa del Coco

Playa del Coco, a beautiful tropical gray
sand beach on the Pacific near the Nicara-
guan border, is also accessible by: car in 4-
5 hours and by plane in 45 minutes. Moderate
lodging is available overlooking the beach,
and a restaurant serves a Costa Rican menu.

Poas volcano

Volcanos:Costa Rica, like other countries of
Central America, is a land of volcanos. The

Lagos Lindora, located in Santa Ana less
than an hour from San Jos6, is another
pleasant spot for picnics, boating, horse-
back riding and go-carting. It has a very rus-
tic restaurant with tables and benches carved
from huge three trunks.

Besides these resorts and recreation areas,
Costa Rica abounds in beautiful picnic spots
and scenic views.

For those who like motoring, the Inter-Ame-
rican highway is passable all year from bor-
der to border. The road is paved, though in
some spots rougfh, from San Jos6 to the Ni-
caraguanfrontier(195 miles) and south from

San Jos$ to Cartago (15 miles). From Car-
tagoto the border of PanamIB (204 miles) the
highway has an allweather unpaved surface,
but is considered a hard drive. The drive
from Cartago to San Isidro del General offers
the more picturesque scenery as it traverses
71 miles of continuous mountains, reaching
an elevation of 10, 975 feet about 43 miles
south of Cartago, the highest point on the
Inter-American Kighway in Central America.
During the rainy season (May to December)
this mountainous section of the highways
frequently obscured by fog and clouds, espe-
cially in late afternoon and evening, making
travel extremely hazardous. It is scheduled
to be paved by l970,

Costa Rica, the southernmost Central Ame-
rican republic, has an area of approximately
19, 652 square miles (about four-fifths the
size of West Virginia) and a population of
approximately 1. 6 million. It is bounded on
the north by Nicaragua, on the east by the
Caribbean Sea, on the south by Panama and
on the west by the Pacific Ocean. Port Li-
mdn, the Atlantic port with a population a-
bout 20, 000,is 2, 400 statute miles from New
York. Puntarenas, the Pacific port, popu-
lation approximately 25, 000, is 2, 700 statute
miles from San Francisco.

The ranges of the Cordillera traverse Costa
Rica slightly to the west of the center of the
country, with altitudes up to 12, 000 feet, and
give a variety of climate to a country en-
tirelywithinthe tropics. Costa Rica has four
distinct geographical regions:
(1). The Caribbean Lowlands hot and rainy
all year, densely forested, comprising one-
fourth of the country with only 6%/ of the pop-
(2). The Highlands containing the Volcdni-
ca, Central and de Talamanca Cordilleras or
mountain ranges,and the M~eseta Central. The

Meseta, at an elevation of 3, 000 to 4, 500
feet, and adjacent areas of the population of Costa Rica. This region,
with rolling, well-drained land, productive
soil and pleasant subtropical temperature,
is the economic, cultural and political heart
of the country. It has an annual rainfall of 60
to 75 inches, of which about 70%l falls from
May to November, with dry occasionally-
sunny weather the rest of the year. The Me-
seta has most of the nation's improved roads
and direct access to both coasts--by railway
to the Caribbean port of Lim6n and by rail-
way and highway to the Pacific port of Pun-
(3). The plains of Guanacaste, the hilly land
of the Nicoya peninsula and the northern Pun-
tarenas provinces-contain about 15%0 of the
population. Despite having the lowest annual
rainfall (50-80 inches) in Costa Rica as well
as the longest dry season, this region is ve-
ry important for agriculture and livestock.
(4). Southeastern Costa Rica contains a-
bout 9%/ of the population, is extremely rainy
and the major banana exporting region of
the country.


The economy of the country is primarily
agricultural. The chief export crops are ba-
nanas, coffee, sugar and cacao. Manufac-
turing is largely ~confined ito consum er-goods

Areas below 3, 000 feet have average annual
temperatures of about 800, with little monthly
variation. Temperatures decrease from a-
bout 740 at 3, 000 feet to 590 at 5, 000 feet.
Above 5, 000 feet the mean temperatures
ranges from 410 to 57o, with frost occurring
during severalmonths. East of the continen-
tal divide rainfall is heavy; in some areas
the mean annual rainfall exceeds 200 inches.
West of the divide rainfallis less. The north-
w est ern plains and hills receive 50 -8 0 inches,
with five very dry months. The southwestern
plains and mountain slopes, with 80-130 in-
ches of rain annually, have three very dry
Palms are abundant in fresh water and
brackish swamps along the Caribbean coast,
as are broad belts of mangroves along the
Pacific shore and tidal streams. Broadleaf
evergreen forests cover 60% of the country,
and include mahogany, Spanish ceda.r. lig-
num vitae, balsa, rosewood, ceiba, nfspero,
zapote, Castilla rubber, brasilwood and
others. Oaks and grasslands once covered the
Mleseta Central, but it is now devoted largely
to crops and pastureland.

Native animallife is abundant. Deer, squir-
rel, opossum, tapir and porcupine are pre-
sent in many areas. There are many species
of reptiles, snakes and turtles Fresh-water
and salt-water fish and mollusks are abun-
dant; tuna, swordfish, marlin, dolphin, shark

and others are caught in quantities in Pacific
coastal waters.

Although there have been no recent severe
earthquakes, Costa Rica records slight tre-
mors from time to time.


Costa Rica's population of 1. 6 million is
growing at 3. 8 percent annually, one of the
highest rates in the world. Costa Ricans are
proud of their racial homogeneity. About 98
percent of Costa Rica's people are Cauca-
sian. Although Costa Ricans have some In-
dian ancestryfromthe remote past, the Spa-
nish heritage predominates because the ori-
gmnal Indian population was scattered ana
small. The present day Indians, estimated
at about 4, 000 in 1956, live in remote moun-
tain districts. Negroes are also few, per-
haps 2%b of the population, and live chiefly in
the coastal banana-producing regions. Ex-
cept for the few Indians, all Costa Ricans
speak Spanish. Because of their extensive
use of diminutives, such as "momentico" for
"momento",they are called "Ticos" by their
Central American neighbors.

Catholicism is the state religion. About 90%1
of the population is affiliated, though in many
cases only nominally, with the Roman Ca-
tholic Church. Priests are few in proportion
to the population. Protestant missions are
active, but have made relatively few con-
verts. There is a small but active Jewish
community of about 250 families in the San
JosC area.

~f .;pP Drying Coffee Beans

The culture of Costa Rica, like its racial
composition, is relati vely homogeneous. The
basic Spanish-Catholic pattern persists des-
pite changes brought about by contacts with
German planters, French, Belgian and Uni-
ted States teachers, and foreign goods and
motion pictures. This typically Latin-Ame-
rican culture is evident in the great impor-
tance attached to family ties, in rather se-
date, ritualized conventional behavior, in the
yearly round of festivals, in an outwardly
male-dominated and oriented society, etc.
Folk arts and crafts are not developed or ex-
tensive, probably due to the small Indian po-

supreme Court Buildinn
The judicial power of the State is exercised
by the Supreme Court of Justice and other
lower courts zs established by law. The Su-
preme Court's 17 justices serve 8-year
terms, automatically renewed unless opposed
by two-thirds of the Legislative Assembly.


Socia SeuityBidn

There ~ ~ ~ I ar abu 15 autnoou and semi
autnomus genie tht ae o maorim-

theye are sbubet to some budgetary control

by the Legislative Assembly, the Executive
appoints members of their boards of direc-
tors as vacancies occur. These institutions
are roughly equal to the Executive branch in
size and budget, and include the nationalized
banks, the National Insurance Institute (INS),
the Institute of Electricity (ICE), etc.

The Constitution of Costa Rica, ratified in
1949, prohibitsthe establishment of military
forces on a permanent basis, although such
forces may be constituted for national de-
fense. Costa Rica has no army, a Civil

Legislative Assembly

Public Institutions

Costa Rica is a democratic republic with a
centralized government consisting of Execu-
tive, Legislative and Judicial branches as
well~as autonomous and semi- autonomous
institutions. The President and all 57 deputies
of the N~ational Legislative Assembly are e-
lected every four years. There is universal
suffrage for all Costa Ricans over 20 years
of age, and no party has succeeded itself in
the Presidency since the promulgation of the
present Constitution in 1949.

The Pre sid ent may not be immediately
re-elected, and two terms must expire be-
fore he can run again for that office. A cabi-
net of about 11 M~inisters (depending upon the
President) serves at the wXill of the Chief

Legislative power rests in the 57i-member
unicameral Legislative Assembly. The De-
puties are elected by a system of proportion-
al representation and may not be elected to
consecutive terms.

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tral de Costa Rica directs monetary policy,
foreign exchange credit facilities, and super-
vises the banking system. There are four
government-owned commercialbanks and one
foreign-owned bank. The latter cannotaccept
private deposits, since deposit banking was
nationalized in 1948.
The col6n had been readily convertible into
dollars at a rate of 6. 62to 1 until early 1967.
On January 2, 1967 the Central Bank put
temporary currency controls on foreign ex-
change, and a free market has been operating
in Costa Rica ever since. The free exchange
rate in January 1967 was about 7. O to 1.

Weights and measures are the same as the
United States, except that in land measure-
ment the vara(32. 9 inches), manzana ( (1. 7 2
acres), and hectare (2. 41 acres) are gen-
neral use. In some measurements the metric
system is used, e. g. road distances and
speeds are expressed in terms of kilometers
(one kilometer equals 5/8 miles), and weights
are sometimes stated in kilos (one kilogram
equals 2. 2 pounds), although pounds are also

Educational, Scientific & Artistic Activities

Costa Rica puts much stress on education,
devoting some 30 percent of its national bud-
get to education, the highest of all its minis-

About 80 percent of the population is literate.
More than 200, 000 students attend public,
and 8, 000 attend private, primary schools ;
over 27, 000 students attend public, and 5, 000
attend private, secondary schools; about
6, 000 students are enrolled in the Universityi
of Costa Rica. Elementary education is free
and compulsory for children between the ages
of 7 and 14 years, but many do not attend
school, especially in rural areas.

Guard carries out police responsibilities
and has para-military functions as well.
Also of importance are the Treasury Police
and the town a~nd village police forces.
At the present time the President of the Re-
public is Professor Jos6 Joaqufn Trejos, the
candidate of a coalition of parties in the 1966
election. The opposition National Liberation
Party, however, controls 29 of the 57 votes
in the Legislative Assembly.

Commerce and Industry

Costa Rica's agriculture based economy,
especially coffee and bananas, has expe-
rienced moderate growth in recent years.
Gross nationalproduct in 1965 was estimated
at C. R. (3, 920 ($590 million). With a pop-
ulation of 1. 6 million, GNP per capital is
about C$2600 ($390). Income per capitals
about $330.

To stimulate industrial development and
diversify the economy. Costa Rica in 1959
passed the "Law for the Protection and
Development of Industry. Among the bene-
fits under this law are tax and customs ex-
emptions to new industries and to certain
established industries. Major recent private
indu st rial inve stm ent s include e the $ 10 million
Esso-backed fertilizer plant at Puntarenas,
the $4 million National Cement plant, and an
8, 000 bbl-per-day refinery recently complet-
ed at Lim6n. One of the largest tire and rub-
ber plants in Central America is presently
under construction by Firestone. Other A-
merican investments include utilities and
plant processing or producing food and meat
products, cigarettes, drugs, lumber and
toiletries. Also among U. S. -owned enter-
prises are numerous farming operations,
particularly bananas.

Costa Rica's signing of the General Treaty
of Central American Economic Integration
(CentralAmerican Common MVarket), in Au-
gust, 1962 has had a far-reaching impact on
industry and trade and has encouraged the
development of new industries.

Under the law, the National Wage Council
revises minimum wage rates in nearly all
categories every two years. Wages are high
by Central American standards. On the cof-
fee farms, the daily minimum wage is $10. 20
($1. 50); a skilled construction worker earns
$222. 00 ($3. 15). In Costa Rica, the minimum
wage is usually the actual wage.

Currency, Banking, Weights and M~easures.

The monetary unit is the col6n, official
valued at 15. 04 U. S. cents. The Banco Cen -

Embassy Residence

A. HOUSING A Government-leased residence is
available for the Chief of Mission. It is a
large, two-storybrick and concrete residence
designed in the southern colonial style. The
houses located in a suburb of San Jos6, San
Rafael de Escaz~il, near the Costa Rica Coun-
try Club, approximately 20 minutes from the
center of the city. There are nine principal
rooms, including the living room, dining
room, drawing room, four bedrooms, and a
large reception room. Servants' quarters are
provided for four servants. All the floors are
hardwood except for "terrazo" in the main
hall, reception room, and kitchen area.
The residence is furnished in a pleasing man-
ner with Hmerican furniture. All rooms have
rugs, draperies, curtains, and pictures, as
well as all basic pieces of furniture such as
sofas, chairs, tables, and lamps. There are
a number of original paintings by American
artists as part of the Department's "Art in
Embassy" program. If an incoming Chief of
Mission cares to bring any personal effects,
there is an opportunity to use them to fill in
and to lend a personaltouch to the residence.

There are on hand for normal needs suffi-
cient Government-owned bed linens, including
sheets, pillow-cases, bedspreads, bathmats,
towels, face cloths and blankets. The kitchen
has adequate cooking utensils and is equipped
with two stoves, one electric and the other
usingbottled gas,two refrigerators, a 20 cu.
ft. deep freeze, an automatic washing ma-
chine and dryer. There is adequate electric
rug and floor-cleaning equipment. For daily


~- r~SIF~F~~C'
I~ r, ...

DCM Residence

and official use there are four complete sets
of crested chinaware and crystal. A twenty-
four place setting of Peruvian flat silver and
a set of plated silverware for 12 comprise
the Government-supplied silverware.

A supply of table linen is available but it is
suggested that the Chief of M/ission bring ta-
ble linens with him. Banquet-size tablecloths,
smaller cloths for 10 or 12 people, place
mats and cardtable-size cloths are neces-
sary. The dining room set is of dark mahogany
and has 24 chairs with green upholstered
seats. The residence has two fireplaces, and
several electric heaters are available to take
the chill off rooms.

The residence is equipped with a General E-
lectric stereo radio-phonograph and a Knabe
baby grand piano.

A residence for the Counselor-Deputy Chief
of Mission is owned by the Embassy. This
house is located in Los Yoses, one of the
better residential sections of San Jos6, ap-
proximately five minutes from the center of
the city.
The house is a two-story Spanish stucco si-
tuated in a reasonably large, terraced gar-
den. The first floor contains a living room
with large fireplace and an extended patio,
dining room, study, half -bath, kitchen, laun-
dry, pantry, double-car garage. The second
floor consists of four bedrooms (master bed-
room has fireplace), three baths and, in a
separate wing, two servants' itooms. Floors
throughout are hardwood, except for the en-

trance hall, patio, baths, and the kitchen
wings, which are? tile.

The DCM residence is adequately furnished
with lamps, rugs, draperies, as well as ba-
sic pieces of furniture such as sofas, chairs,
etc. The house is also equipped with a gas
stove, an electric stove, refrigerator, wash-
ing machine, electric dryer, silver, kitchen
utensils and china.

Residence for the AID Director, Public Af-
fairs Officer, Agricultural Attach&, the U. S.
Marine Corps Guard personnel and certain
other houses are under U. S. Government

In the case of AID, San Jos6 was declared a
limited post from the standpoint of shipment
of household effects, and basic furniture'
consisting of living room, dining room, bed-
room and kitchen equipment, is provided
USAID personnel.

Newly arrived personnel are usually taken
to one of the six leading hotels, the Gran
Hotel Costa Rica, Europa, Amstel, Presi-
dent, Royal Dutch, and Balmoral. The av-
erage daily rate per couple European plan is
$12. 00. There are also apartment projects
which have recently been completed and in
some instances are fully furnished. The Em-
bassy also mainitain~s four furnished apart -
ments in the building across from the Chan~
cery, where the AID offices are located*
Each apartment can accommodate up to six
people and is available to transients on a
'first come, first served" basis.

It is usually possible to find suitable and
comfortable homes within 45 days of the
three-month period of the temporary lodging
allowance. The most usual size for Costa
Ricanhouses and apartments is twJo to three
bedrooms; homes larger than this are more
difficult to find and usually rather expensive,
Rentals on almost all new houses and apart-
ments are relatively high. However, with
care one can usually find suitable unfur-

Residence of AID Director

nished quarters within his housing allowance.
Furnished quarters are available, from ten
to twenty per cent higher than unfurnished
ones. There are a number of very attractive
suburbs around San Jos6 with homes as mo-
dern in design as any in the United States.
Roofs are usually tile or galvanized iron with
either hardwood or tile floors. Interior walls
are generally plaster finished. Houses and
apartments are seldom screened.
Most furnished homes are equipped with on-
ly the basic items and there is need for ad-
ditional personal furniture such as lamps,
linens, silverware and glassware, toasters,
kitchen gadgets, curtains, bric-a-brac, etc.
It is advisable for incoming personnel who
prefer to rent furnished quarters to bring
whatever furnishings they may desire within
their weight allowance. It is almost impos -
sible to find a furniture store in San Jos6
where one can purchase adequate ready-
made furniture. Cabinet makers are availa-
ble and their workmanship, materials and
cost compare favorably with the items in the
United States. In this connection, care must
be taken that only dry seasoned material is
used as unseasoned woods will crack, warp
and split if exposed to temperature and mois -
ture variation.

While the majority of the older homes have
standard casement windows known in the U.
S., many of the newer residences favor the
wide sliding windows which require venetian
blinds and/or draperies or draw curtains.
The purchase of curtain materials should
be deferred until permanent quarters are
located since some houses come equipped
with venetian blinds and/or draw curtains,
and window sizes vary considerable. Except
for AID personnel, it is suggested that one
bring his own furniture, since the selection
of ready-made furniture here is very poor,
and the cost very high. All types of furniture
maybe used in San Jose, and no special pre-
cautions need be taken. Major and minor ap-
pliances are available locally at prices much
higher than in the United States.

Staff Apartment

PAO Residence

Los Yoses Suburb


-" I,

Marine Guards' House

Mid Career Officer's Home


Typical Junior Officer's Home

Typical Senior Officer's Home

!'s~i ~eCC'IY~:


~c-~ Q
~u~ `s-~iL


List of AID Household Furniture ar
1- Sofa (single or 3-pc. sectional)
2-Lounge (or Club) Chairs
C-Ho tess (or Arm) Chair mm
1-End Table I h 8-4U -IJ)...,0
1-Step-end Table p~?
1-Wedge Table
1-Bookcase Unit
1-Cabinet with doors
1-Open Press
1-Dining Table
6-Side Chairs.
1-Buffet with Hutch
4-6 Single Beds (complete with
headboard, frame, boxspring, LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

-o be B dd pcwplse~te as above)
AID Fumnished Home


3- Double Dressers
3- Chests of Drawers-
4-Night Tables
1-Desk Chair
3-Arm Chairs for Bedroom
1-Rug, 9' x 12', for Living Room
1-Rug, 6' x 9', for Dining Room
6;-Rugs, small, for Bedroom
4-6 Bedspreads, single
1-Bedspread, double
SAllowance up to $300 for Curtain Material
1-Floor Lamp
1-Desk Lamp
4 ...8-Table Lamps
1-Electric Stove
1-Washing Machine
1-Refrigerator, Electric
1-Ironing Board
Dining Room AID Home

The electric current (very dependable) is AC,
110 volts, 60 cycles and 220 volts-3 phase, 60
---- cycles. This is the same as that of the Uni-
ted States, therefore no transformers are
required. Electric stoves and refrigerators
should be included in effects brought to this
post for those who live in unfurnished quar-
ma mm ters. Butane gas is available for gas stoves
mm mm but service is erratic. Most rented homes
have ceiling light fixtures. Heating facilities
are non-existent except for fireplaces in
some homes. One or more portable electric
heaters are very useful to have on chilly days
HillI and to help combat mould and mildew.

All electrical equipment such as irons, toas-
.,. ters, floor polishers, blenders, vacuum
cleaners, radios etc. used in the United
States may be used here. It would be very
useful to include an iron in one's advance
4 Family Apartment Buildingshpet
Automatic washing machines usually function
properly; however, since water pressure
occasionally is low, the semi-automatic va-
riety (where the stages are dialed manually)
might be preferable. Due to the long rainy
season an electric dryer is highly recom-
1 -Fmended, especially for families with children.
...Air conditioners are not needed at this post.
L~P~:Some families use dehumidifiers to reduce
: dampness and mildew. However, it is advis-
I~ able. to defer purchases until choosing your
house. It should be noted, however, that
suburbs onthe east side of San Josi are more
~s damp and humid than on the west side. Due
to San Jose's high relative humidity, mildew
r~r is a constant menace to furniture, clothes,
leather goods, etc. Regular airings and other
_: i : measures are necessary.
..A new modern dial-telephone system in San
';'' Jos6 makes such communication efficient
and convenient.

Moravia Suburb

Utilities and Equipment -----I=

Practically all homes are adequately equip- r
ped with running water (hot and cold) in the
bathrooms; however, a substantial number ras~.P
do not have hot water in the kitchen and/or
laundry room Very few homes have bath
tubs; showers are the rule, although almost
all have a built -up (8-12 inches) threshold soI
which permits the bathing of small children. *
Extrawatertanks for storage are to be found --j
in some homes and may prove useful during
a severe dry season. All areas have low
water pressure and therefore a water pump
is necessary (and usually present )in the
Automercado Supermarket

Mutton and lamb are almost never available
on the local market. Beef prices are gener-
ally lower than those prevailing in the U. S.
Fresh frozen fish and shrimp are flown into
the city from the Pacific coast and are usual-
ly of good quality but relatively expensive.
Fresh chickens and turkeys are available.
Good dressed frozen chicken and ducks are
for sale in most of the better grocery stores,
but are expensive. Baby foods are available
intheU. S. Cooperative Exchange, and on the
local market at considerably higher prices.

Interior Commissary

The American personnel of the Embassy and
all other U. S. Government agencies operating
in San JosB are entitled to purchase at the
U. S. Cooperative Exchange. Prices on prac-
tically all items, except for liquor, cigar-
ettes and toiletries, in the commissary are
somewhat higher than U. S. prices for iden-
tical articles. Refundable working-capital
shares are $150 for each family and $75 for
each single person; this must be paid in dol-
lars. All purchases must also be paid for in
The commissary maintains a stock of baby
food, processed meats, vegetables, soups,
desserts, paper products, soaps & cleaning
supplies, fruits & juices, cake mixes, spices,
condiments, breakfast foods, sandwich
spreads, candies, liquors, cigars and cigar-
etts. Also, at various times, a line of man-
ufactured goods, e. g. toys, radios, electric
shavers, etc. is available.

There are several dairies in the city that
deliver bottled milk to your door. At least
two of the larger dairies pasteurize milk
which is considered safe for general con-
sumption. Such dairy products as chocolate
milk, ice cream in assorted flavors, skim
and powdered milk, cheese, fresh butter,
cottage cheese, sweet and sour cream, whip-


6! i-- I ~T~ tl
;U" ~e, ,,

Interior Automercado


Most fresh fruits and vegetables, such as
bananas, papaya, grapefruit, oranges, limes,
pineapples, plantains, tomatoes, beets, egg -
plant, radishes, cucumbers, potatoes, (both
white and sweet), carrots, cauliflower, spin-
ach, red, white and black beans, squash,
lettuce, green and wax beans, cabbage and
celery are available throughout the year.
Local fruits and vegetables are usually of
good quality, but must be peeled or thorough-
ly cooked. Apricots, peaches, apples, plums,
pears, and grapes are not grown in Costa
Rica but are imported by the better grocers.
Prices on all imported fruit are very high.
A freezer would be useful, especially for a
large family, since it reduces the number of
shopping trips one has to make, and enables
you to buy in plentiful quantity. Good quality
''fresh killed" meats are available at all
times. Beef, veal and pork are plentiful.

~ift ~. ~

ping cream and yoghurt are also sold. The
quality of dairy products in San Jos6 is very
Because of the relatively narrow variance in
temperature, men wear basically the same
type of clothing 12 months of the year. Local
tastes and standards are much like those of
the United States, perhaps in some cases a
bit less casual and more formal.

For everyday street and office wear, very
lightweight worsteds, wash-and-wear, ga-
bardines, etc. are recommended. Dark co-
lors are preferred and white is never worn,
except occasionally in the tropical areas,
Heavy winter clothes, overcoats and top-
coats will not be needed. Some lightweight
woolens might edme in handy on those rela-
tively few days when it is colder than usual.
Sweaters, jackets, sport shirts knd slacks
are customary for casual wear.

Locally-manufactured sports shirts and some
dress shirts of satisfactory quality are~avail-
able; however, styles and sizes are limited.
Locally-manufactured name-brand shirts are
slightly nlore expensive than in the U. S. An
umbrella and a light raincoat are necessary.
A repellent cloth-type is definitely preferred
to a plastic raincoat, and umbrellas are a-
vailable locally at reasonable prices.

Hats are almost never worn in Costa Rica.
It is possible to purchase minor accessories
such as ties, belts, handkerchiefs, socks,
garters, cufflinks, etc. locally, but the pri-
ces are usually much higher than those in the
U. S. Most accessories of local manufacture
are not up to Americanstandards.

Shoes are made locally, but most do not com-
pare, with U. S. quality, design and style.
Sizes and styles are very limited. Brown and
black are the most useful colors. White or
two-tone shoes are very rarely seen. It is
recommended that one bring a two-year sup-
ply of shoes or plan to purchase them from
sources outside of Costa Rica.

There are a few qualified tailors in Costa
Rica. Good-quality woolens are available at
reasonable prices. Sports clothes are usual-
ly available but at higher prices and in less
variety than in the U. S. Fair-quality tennis
shoes and good jungle boots canbe purchased
at reasonable prices.


Although women in San Jos6 follow the same
basic styles which are popular in the U. S. at
a given time, they tend to wear "dressier"
apparel than their American counterpart

might on the same occasion. More jewelry
and more extreme coiffures are the rule,
especially in the afternoon. Clothing weight
is very similar to that worn in the U. S. du-
ring the spring and early fall.

Dark or light cottons ,dacrons, summer
sheers, washable silks and rayons are al-
ways popular and can be worn all year .
A large supply of washable dresses is de-
sirable for easy, inexpensive care, including
the coldwater-washable type. Daytime cot-
ton dresses or skirts and blouses are worn
for shopping, etc. Dressier things, e. g.
silks, cottons or lightweight woolens, are
appropriate for afternoon functions. Shift
dresses for daytime wear and for parties are
currently popular; such straight skirts also
offer good resistance against the gusty winds.

Ladies assigned to the staff are advised to
bring along suits, preferably the 3- piece
knit type, for year-round use in the office,
as well as lightweight wool dresses, and
dresses with jackets or matching sweaters.
Wives will also find practical several light-
weight wool dresses and suits.
Teaparties for wives require a more formal
type of afternoon dress, in prints or solid
colors (including black), and these same
dresses can also be worn for formal lunch-
cons, informal dinners and cocktails. Cock-
tail dresses in silks, cottons or lightweight
woolens are worn. A basic black dress for
wear during mourning periods is recom-
Embassy wives who attend official dinners
will need one or more short formals. Long
evening dresses will be required rarely and
only at very formal official evening functions.
Spring-weight coats, sweaters, jackets and
stoles are worn as evening wraps all year,
and during the winter months sweaters are
needed all day. Fur stoles are popular for
evening wear, but a long coat would not be
used. A good lightweight raincoat (preferably
the all-weathertype rather thanplastic) and
umbrellas are necessities. Light plastic rain
boots or "tips" for shoes are very useful in
the long rainy season,

Hats are seldom worn. Mantillas or small
veil-type hats (preferably black) are worn
for church and funerals. Gloves are worn
occasionally; they may be purchased locally
at higher prices and in a limited range of
styles and sizes. Shoes of every style and
color are worn, though white is not very
practical for daytime wear because of muddy
conditions around town. One's wardrobe
should include, in addition to shoes for office
and parties, shoes for golf, tennis and casual
wear. Since American-last shoes are almost
impossible to buy, and locally-manufactured
shoes are not always of a satisfactory fit for

shoes of a good quality may be purchased
here at reasonable prices, although "Hush-
Puppies'' are unavailable. However, if your
child has a narrow foot or needs corrective
shoes, these should be brought from the Uni-
ted States. Baby clothes are expensive here
unless they are locally-made, and these tend
to be of inferior quality,

Jackets with a hood are comfortable on a
chilly, windy day, the best type beingthe
water-repellent, lightweight type normally
used in spring and fall in the U. S. Under-
wear for girls is available but expensive;
locally-made garments are of an inferior
quality. Boys' underwear of a good quality
and reasonably priced is produced here. It
is best to bring a good supply of socks; good
stretch socks are especially expensive.
There will be occasional school and birthday
parties for young children for which a dressy
cotton dress or a better -than-usual boy's
suitmight be advisable. A lightweight rain-
coat for all children and plastic boots for
girls are essential, Wools for knitting sweat-
ers and baby clothes are available locally.


Most toiletries are available, at higher pri-
ces than U. S. cost, at several small but
well-stocked drug stores which carry Amer-
ican and European products. You will not
find it necessary to order many drug items
from the U. S. To be on the safe side, it is
suggested that you bring a six-month supply
of your favorite toiletries and then, depend-
ing upon your needs and preference, either
buy items locally or place mail orders for
additional items.

Almost all brand of cigarettes, one or two
brands of cigars and two or three brands of
pipe tobacco are available in the U. S. Co-
operative Exchange.

Generalhousehold needs, e. g. soaps, deter-
gents, floor wax, furniture polish, shioe pol-
ish, glass wax, insecticides and sprays,
laundry material, etc., are usually stocked
at the commissary or can be purchased lo-
cally. Pots, pans, kitchen utensils and dishes
are available at several local stores and are
moderately expensive.
As part of the Department' s medical program,
the Embassy dispenses certain ordinary drugs
ahd a few special medicines. All other drug
needs, unless of a special nature, can be
filled locally without difficulty and at reason-
able prices,

Basic Community Services

Satisfactory shoe repair facilities are avail-
able. There are several laundries and dry

Americans, it is desirable to bring an ade-
quate supply or make arrangements to order
shoesbymail from the U. S. European ladies
have found the local shoes very satisfactory
in quality and fit.

Blouse s and skirt s are worn for golf and bowl-
ing; slacks can be worn to the Country *Club
and on picnics and fishing trips. Shorts are
worn for tennis and fishing only, and never
in town. Sun dresses and cruise wear are
rarely seen in San Jos6, though they can be
worn on trips to coastal areas where it is
very warm.

Due to the climate, swimming is quite popu-
lar and one should bring bathing; suits, caps
and other beach equipment. A one-piece style
suit is the most usually seen and some clubs
will not permit two-piece suits. Bikinis are
almost never worn. A good supplyoflingerie
and stockings should be brought with you.
Imported nylonhose and other items of ladies
wear canbe purchasedlocally at high prices.
A selection of excellent dress material is
available locally, sometimes cheaper than
in the U. S. However, one must be careful in
buying as many "seconds" are sold.

Accessories, such as costume jewelry, ar"
tificial flowers, handbags (for daytime and
evening use), belts, etc. should all be
brought from the United States. Such items
are usually available here but in a limited
selection and at high prices. Good quality
leather and crocodile handbags are manufac-
tured locally and are available at lower pri~
ces than in the U. S. Almost anything made
of leather can be reproduced here at very
reasonable prices.


The same weight factor which applies to
men' s and women' s clothing also applies to
children's wear. For smaller children wash-
able cottons are ideal; however, washable
rayon or very light wool can be used. Girls
usually wear cottons, or skirt, blouse and
sweater combinations to school. Dresses
and slacks (especially stretch slacks) are
expensive unless locally made. Suits, slacks,
sport coats, jackets,sweaters, sweat shirts,
etc. are expensive and should probablybe
brought with you. Imported name-brand
shirts are quite digh here, while locally-
made garments, especially sport shirts, are
relatively good and inexpensive.
The wash and wear" types are of poorer
quality. Boys wear the same clothing they
would wear in the U. S. Locally-made west-
ern-type jeans are of fair quality, inexpens-
ive, and available in several colors.

No shoes are imported from the U. S. Leather

cleaning establishments in San Jos6. These
firms have modern equipment and prices are
comparable to U. S. prices, but the work is
consideredtobe somewhat below U. S. stand-
ards. As a rule, most Americans find it more
convenient and economical to have a laundress
or one of the servants do all washing and
ironing in the home. There are no laundro-
mats in San Jos6.

Fairly good radio repair shops are available
and all normal repairs to radio equipment
(including the rewinding of transformers)
can be performed locally. Firms and individ-
uals performing household repair services
are sometimes undependable. Therefore, if
you have some basic household tools, they
will probably come in handy, There are
several beauty parlors with adequate equip-
ment and competent operators, some of
whom speak a little English.

There are a few good tailors in San Jros&.
However, since the cost of imported cloth is
high, it would be worthwhile to bring ma-
terial from the U. S. San Jos6 also has some
competent "high fashion" dressmakers who
make better dresses (cocktail dresses, suits,
etc. ) at veryreasonable cost. It is advisable
to bring or order your fabric (silks, bro-
cades, laces, linens, etc. ) as imported fab-
rics are high, although the selection is ex-

There are several dressmakers who will
come to your home and sew for a day for a
few dollars. However, many of them are not
very competent, having completed only a ba-
sic sewing course. Talented dressmakers
are few but available.

Se rvant s

Americans in San Josb usually conform to
the local standard of having one or two live-
in maids in their house. A live-in maid is
both a convenience and a deterrent to petty
thieves when you leave your house. (Deco-
rative iron grillwork is often used on win-
dows for the same purpose.) The general
practice is to have one girl who does gener.
al t housework and simple cooking for a small
family. Families with several children usual-
ly employ a maid and a cook. If they have
small children, they sometimes employ a
"china" or nursemaid to take care of the
children, take them for walks, bathe and
dress them, etc.

For families who do not speak any Spanish,
there are maids available of Jamaican des-
cent who speak English, and who usually are
good cooks.
Naturally, Costa Rican Spanish -speaking
maids are available. For heavy work, some
people employ a man who comes once a week

towaxthe floors, wash windows, do the gar-
dening, etc.
The minimum wage established by law is
around $ 20. 00 per month, but Americans
usually pay at least $25. 00 and up. Cooks
usually receive at least $ 30. 00 monthly, and
the gardener-handyman is paid < $. 20-
$. 30 per hour or $1. 50 $2. 25 per day,
and is provided with one hot meal and coffee
twice daily. In addition to their salaries,
servants are legally entitled to two weeks'
vacation with pay after one year of employ-
ment, as well as a Christmas bonus of two
weeks' pay.

The American Embassy has translations
available of the Costa Rican Labor Code with
reference to domestic servants, a copy of
whichis included in the welcome kit given to
new arrivals.

Some families prefer to furnish uniforms for
their servants. All residential homes have
servants' quarters, but the employer must
provide bed and bedding as well as other fur-
niture, since most maids' rooms do not have
anmy closets. Most American women drive
their own cars, but a few families do employ
a full-time driver,

Religious Activities

The Roman Catholic Church is the state
church in Costa Rica. There are numerous
Catholic churches in all parts of the city.
Sermons are in Spanish, with the exception
of one chapel that has an English Mass one
Sunday a month. There are several Protes-
tant denominations including Baptist, Epis-
copalian, Jehovah's Witnesses Lutheran,.
Methodist, Mormon, Seventh Day Adventist
and Theosophists. There is also a Jewish
Synagogue. The Union, Methodist and Epis-
copal churches hold English services. All of
the above churches hold Sunday morning
services with the exception of the Seventh
Day Adventists who hold Saturday services,
and the Jewish Synagogue which holds Friday
evening and Saturday morning services.
Most Protestant Americans attend the Ep;is-
copal Church or the non-denominational U-
nion Church; both have Sunday Schools.


The educational facilities available are con-
sidered adequate at all levels. The school
year is from March through November for
all1schools except Country Day,whose sched-
ulie: follows the U. S. pattern.

The Lincoln School, which is partly supported
by U. 8. Government financial grants, has
spacious quarters in M~oravia, a suburbj of
San Jos6; it has an American director. This

school is operated on the American system,
has a kindergarten, elementary grades 1 to
6,and secondary grades 7 to 12. All courses
are taught in English except a few Spanish
requirements. Classes are held from 8 a. m.
to 3 p. m. daily except Saturday and Sunday.

reliable teachers who teach according to
American school standards and follow an
American curriculum in English and Spanish.
The M~ethodist School occupies modern quar-
ters in a suburb of San Jos4. Classes are
held from 7 a. m. until 12 noon. Noboarding
facilities are available. Tuition is $15 per
month for elementary school and $20 for
secondary school.

The Anglo-American School, a grade school
opened in 19'49, is quite satisfactory. Several
American children attend the school; the Di-
rector is an American but most of the teach-
ers are non-American. Its tuition, fees and
teaching programs are about the same as
those of the M~ethodist School. Most classes
are in English but Spanish grammar is com-
pulsory. Facilities are limited. Monthly tui-
tion is $15-19. There are other fees aF

The Ame rican Franciscan Fathers of the Or
der of Conventual Franciscans sponsor a hig
school (St. Francis) for boys only. The course
es follow the Costa Rican Government pro
gram and instruction is in English and ii
Spanish. The bus service to San Vicente de
Moravia is adequate, and the school also has
an arrangement with a local bus service for
its students. Nearby Saint Clare, a girls
high school, has the same program as Saint
Francis. Noboarding facilities are available.
Monthly tuition is $17. 00.

The Country Day School, located downtown
near Parque Mloraz~n, has a complete ele-
mentary school(grades 1 to 6) and secondary
school (grades 7 to 12); it awards a high
school diploma upon completion of studies.
The majority of teachers are American and
the curriculum is similar to that of U. S.
schools. Classes are held from 8 a. m. until
3 p. m. The student body is almost 10040 A-
merican. No boarding facilities are avail-
able. Tuition is $38 per month for elementa-
ry school and $44 for secondary school. Al-
though the school is not U. S. accredited,
manyEmbassy personnelsend their children

There are several free, state -supported
elementary and secondary schools of good
repute in the city. In general, boys and girls
go to separate schools; the teachers are all
Costa Ricans, Spanish is the language used
in all classes and school uniforms are re-
quired. Several religious orders have good
private schools for both boys and girls fol-
lowingthe Costa Rican Government's educa-
tional program and award a high school di-
ploma at the end of the course,

In some cases employees have preferred to
return their children of high school age to
the United States for schooling.

Library Lincoln School

Bus transportation from several points in
the city's residential sections to the school
is provided. The Lincoln School and St. Fran-
cis are the only ones to provide bus service
to their students. The 12th grade comple-
tion of secondary school" certificate, which
the Lincoln School gives its graduates, has
been recognized by the Costa Rican M~inistry
of Education. The Lincoln School is ac-
credited by the United States Southern As-
sociation of Secondary Schools & Colleges
and its graduates may enroll in U. S. univer-
sities or at the University of Costa Rica. A-
bout half the student body is American.
There are no boarding facilities available.
Lincoln School also has Junior College spe-
cializing in business and secretarial train-
ing. Monthly tuition is $15-23 for elementa-
ry school and $25-30 for secondary school,

The M~ethodist School oeaebyMtdit
missionaries, has complete elementary
school grades 1 to 6 and 7 to 12 secondary;
it awards the high school diploma approved
by the Costa Rican Government. There are

.. *

'University of Costa Rica

TheUniversityof Costa Rica is situated on a
new modern campus in a suburb of San Jos6.
The University has a faculty of 533 profes-
sors and a student body of 6600. History,
law, art, education, science, economics,
dentistry, medicine, microbiology, social
work, agronomy, pharmacy and engineering
degrees are offered. The courses take from
twoto sixyears to complete, depending upon
the subject.

TheEmbassyhas dailySpanish language in-
struction.This program uses Foreign Service
Institute language materials and has a regu-
lar language instructor.

The Binational Center ( Centro Cultural )
as classes in elementary Spanish, and pri-
vate tutors canbe obtained for more advanced
studies at reasonable rates.

Courses in art are available at the School of
Fine Arts of the University of Costa Rica and
in music at the National Conservatory, as
well as with private teachers of voice, music,
painting, ballet, etc.

An automatic telephone system has recently
been installed in San Jos6 replacing the an-
tiquated manual system. Newly arrived per~
sonnel should endeavor to rent quarters
which have telephones already installed.Com-
pafida Radiogr~fica in San Jos6 handles all
internal and international telegraphic mes-
sages. The rate within Costa Rica is $. 07
per word; to Washington the rate is $. 44
per word.

APO privileges are not available at this post.
First class airmail and air express from al-
most any point in the U. S. to Costa Rica takes
from 2to8 days, although during the Christ -
mas holiday period the delivery of all mail
is unpredictable. Ordinary surface mail u-
sually requires 45 to 60 days for delivery,
There are several daily international flights
which carry airmail letters and air express
packages. In general, the airmail service
for letters and small packages (weight limit
2. 2 pounds) is satisfactory.
For regular international mail from the Uni-
ted States the address is:
John Doe
American Embassy
San Jos6, Costa Rica
The safest and most reliable method of send-
ing packages from the U. S. is through the
diplomatic surface pouch. By this method, the
sender only pays the postage to Washington,
D. C. Delivery time is 4-6 weeks. There is
a limitation as tothe size and weight of these
packages. The address is:
John Doe
American Embassy
Department of State
Washington, D. C. 20521
It is recommended that a good shortwave set
be brought if United States and other short-
wave broadcasts are to be received. Short-
wave radio reception in San Josb is good. A
good combination radio-phonograph is also
recommended. It is suggested that a supply
of records be brought from the U. S. as the
cost of records in Costa Rica is considerably
more expensive. There are 42 commercial
radio stations, including two FMI stations.

For those who enjoy classical music there
are two stations devoted to classical pro-
graming. Their record libraries are limited,
but USIS-provided and other recordings of
good music are used increasingly. There are
fourtelevision stations operating in San Jos6
which largely offer U. S. programs in Span-
ish. The programing leaves a lot to be de-
sired, consisting of older feature-films week-
ly series: e. g. Combat, Bonanza, Batman,
soap operas, cartoons for children, etc.

There is a small mimeographed daily En-
glish-language news bulletin which carries
a limited account of United States and world
news. It is not an adequate source of inter-
nationalnews events. The Miami-Herald ar-
rives in San Jose in the afternoon ofthe same
day that it is published. There are three
daily Spanish-language newspapers which
carry a small amount of world news. The
Embassy subscribesto the airmail edition of
The New York Times which is received daily,
a day late (although lower-ranking person-
nel have access to it much later). Anyone in-
terested in obtaining his own personal copy
of sany United States papers may subscribe
through a local agency: the prices for U. S.
papers flown in by air are very high, e. g.
$250. 00 per year for The New York Times.

Most American magazines are available at
local newsstands. These magazine are
usually current issues; however the prices
are considerably higher than in the U. S. M~a-
ny members of the staff have subscriptions
to magazines which have no current news
value, delivered via surface pouch (approxi-
mately 4-6 weeks. to reach San Jos6) and
subscribe locally for news magazines. Pe-
riodicals such as Time and Newsweek can
be ordered by air mail subscription at a con-
siderable savings over the newsstands price.
The Binational Center in San Jos6 has a
small but up-to-date library of current books,
periodicals and newspapers. Membership iS
$9. 00 per year for families; and the Center
offers an excellent social program as well as
a very good opportunity to meet Costa Ri-
cans. The Costa Rican National ~Library
maintains current periodicals in English.
Technical information is also available in
the Ministry of Industry's library and in the
Embassy commercial library.


Principal cities in Costa Rica are connected
by highway, air (by LACSA, the national air-
line) or rail with San Jos6. Pan American
(jet service several days a week), TACA and
LACSA include San Jos6 as a stopover point
ontheir regular Central American schedules,
with connecting services to any destination
in this hemisphere. All international flights

land at E1 Coc oAirport,1o cat ed approximat ely
12 miles (a 20-minute drive) from downtown
San Jos6.

El Coco Airport

Autopista Superhighway

San Jos6 is within 24 hours by air of al-
most any destination in the United States.
Air connections from the U. S. are generally
made at PanamA City or at San Salvador. The
nearest U. S. city is M~iami, Florida, 1130
air miles or 6 hours by air. LACSA offers
the only direct flight to Miami.

Several steamship lines have service along
the Pacific coast, docking at Puntarenas on
occasions, Puntarenas is connected with San
Jos6 by air, highway and railroad. Several
other shipping lines have freight service
from Houston, New Orleans, Baltimore and
New York to the Atlantic port of Lim6n. Li-
m6n is connected with San Jos6 by air and

Taxis are often used by most of the staff
members who do not own an automobile. Taxi
charges are not excessive. There are many
taxi companies operating small fleets of taxi-
cabs consisting of all makes of cars. Radio
-dispatchedtaxis are available. There is bus
service to all parts of the city and nearby
suburbs. However. the buses are crowded
during rush hours and during periods of bad
weather, and older cones are uncomfortable
and emit fumes.

It is desirable to bring an automobile to the
post. Very few families find it necessary to
have more than one automobile. However, if
the location of one's home or a particular fa'
mily situation makes a second car advisable,
it can be imported from the U. S. Or purchased
from a dealer locally. An automobile can
normally be bought locally at the factory
price plus the dealer's commission and the
transportation charges.

All U. S. Government personnel and person-
nel of other agencies, regardless of rank or
title, may import or purchase locally personal
automobiles duty-free during their tour of
service. However, there are restrictions on
the number of vehicles which may be import ed
and the period after which they may be sold*

The only American and spare parts organi-
zations with dealerships in San Jos6 are
Chevrolet, B3uick and Rambler. There is a
German Ford dealer who services Ford au-
tomobiles under a working agreement with
Ford Mlotor Company. There is an American
Motors assembly plant in Costa Rica, and
the Rambler is one of the more popular cars.
Most spare parts are imported through ser-
vice agencies in M~iami and other U. S. cities.
Local repair service is adequate for most
repairs. Painting and body repairs are of a
high grade and cheaper than in the U. S-

Because the streets and roads are narrow
and parking is a problem, a small or medium
weight car is thebest choice for generaluse.
M~anyemployees, however, have the standard
size Chevrolet, Plymouth, Ford, etc. Left-
hand-drive models should be brought, as all
driving follows American custom, .A four"
door automobile has a better resale value
than a two-door or station-wagon model. Co~
lor is, generally speaking, of no considera-
tion. Since only low-octane gasoline is avail-
able, a car using this grade fuel should be

In accordance with current State Department
regulations, all personal vehicles are sold
through the Vehicle Control Commitee. Any
profit over the purchase price of the vehicle
is donated to the charity of choice of the car
owner. Incoming personnel are requested to

bring whatever purchase documents they have
which will verify the purchase price of their

Duty-free gasoline is presently available to
allU. S. Government employees. The impor-
tation of a car on a duty-free basis will be
handled by the Embassy for all members of
this combined diplomatic-consular establish-
ment or by the United States Government a-
gency concerned. All Embassy, USIS, Agri-
culturalAttach6 and Defense Attach& person-
nel are assueck CD license plates for their
personalcar. USAID, Bureau of Public Roads
and Army Mission personnel are issued MII
(International Mission) license plates.

Automobile insurance is a government mono-
poly, and the Embassy requires employees to
carry a minimum of $10, 000 and $20, 000 for
third-partyliability and $5, 000 for property
damage. Insurance premiums are generally

much higher than in the U. S. Since few Amer-
ican insurance companies have local agents
or adjusters, personnel desiring information
on Costa Rican insurance should cont act their
respective missions before proceeding. Loss
thru malicious damage to automobile b~dy
and paintwork which is usually done by street
urchins is not covered under local policies.

Officers with diplomatic status are issued
driver's licenses upon presentation of their
valid U. S. driver's license. Non-diplomatic
personnel are also entitled to local driver's
licenses upon presentation of their valid U. S.
driver's license.


Adequate and reliable medical services for
most purposes are available. There are Eng-
lish-speaking well-trained competent,and
reputable doctors, dentists, oculists, opti-
cians and specialists practicing in the city,
who havebeen trained in the United States or
Europe. There are capable pediatricians,
neurologists, dermatologists and heart and
respiratory specialists.

The hospitals, clinics and diagnostic labora-
tories are generally adequate for normal
medical requirements. Most .Americans
patronize the Clfnica Bfblica, a small 33-bed
hospitaloperated byAmerican missionaries,
which is staffed with American-nurse su-
pervisors and local nurses. Its equipment is
good and it is equipped to handle most types
of medical cases. C1fnica Santa Rita is a
new, modern hospital used by many Ameri-
cans primarily for pregnancies. It is well
equipped and provides much personal atten-
tion to its patients.


There are a number of other good hospitals
in San Jos4, e. g. San Juan de Dios Hospital,
with 1300 beds; Hospital Seguro Social, a
350-bed hospital and the new ultramodern
Children's Hospital and Clfnica Cat61ica.

Essential medical supplies are available on
the local market at reasonable costs.

Medical cases requiring specialized treat-
ment are referred to the U. S. Government
-operated Gorgas Hospital, Canal Zone, Pa-
namA, which is availableto all U. S. Govern-
ment personnel and their families.

For those coming from the United States, a
completemedicaland dental check-up should
be performed before departing. The Embas-
symaintains a Health Room that is open one
afternoon a week where a trained nurse is
available to administer innoculations, dis-
pense certain drugs and provide assistance
for minor health and medical problems.

There are no unusual health features or se-
rious risks affecting either children or wo-
men. The altitude (3, 814 feet) and relative
humidity may affect adversely persons who
have trouble with sinusitis, hay fever or

New arrivals who have not experienced living
at relatively high elevations will probably
notice a general slowing-downfeeling at first
but this will be overcome as one becomes ac-
The general level of sanitation and health
control is lower than the accepted standard
in an average American city. The city sani-
tation department operates a fleet of garbage
collection trucks which collect refuse from
all parts of the city on regular schedule. In
the city there is a central sewage and storm
sewer system. Although the city water supply,
is filtered and chlorinated, opportunities for
contamination of water are always present
and it is not considered safe to drink before
boilingforten minutes. One of the most fre-
quent causes of intestinal disorders is con-
taminated drinking water. Sanitary regula-
tions are not rigidly enforced.

The most serious health hazards in San Jos6
are intestinal diseases, including common
diarrhea, amoebic dysentery, bacillary dy-
sentery, typhoid and para-typhoid fevers.
Common sources of these intestinal diseases
are contamination from flies, polluted water,
impure or unpasteurized milk and exposed
fruits and vegetables. Illness resulting from
intestinal diseases generally can be treated
successfully but precautions should always
be taken to avoid them. Cases of yellow fe-
ver and malaria in the coastal areas below
21000 feet have been reported but are not
now prevalent. More than one-third of the

/I; '` r Ir I -
1I1 r. k

Clihica Biblica Hospital

Hospital de Niflos (Childrens' Hospital)

santa Rita clinic

total population has been vaccinated against
yellow fever. In certain remote areas, tro-
pical diseases present a serious health haz-
ard. There is a substantial incidence of asth-
ma and sinusitis in San Jos4.

The normal children's diseases such as
whooping cough, measles, mumps and chick-
en pox occur with normal regularity, but
effective treatment by local doctors can be

During 1954 San Jos6 and all of Costa Rica
experienced it s largest poliomyelitis epidem-
ic which was considered serious but did not
compare in severity with U. S. cases. The
Government of Costa Rica has purchased
vaccine which is administered free of charge
by the M~inistry of Public Health,

Since the water system of San Jos6 is not
completely free of contamination, people use
bottled water, sterilizers on their water out-
lets or boiltheir water. There are two dair-
ies offeringpasteurized milk and dairy pro-
ducts which are safe for children and adults.
Raw fruits and vegetables should be avoided
unless properl~ywashed and treated.

Vaccination against smallpox is required for
San Jos6 and must be completed before ar-
rival. All other necessary iinmunizations,
including yellow fever, can be obtained local-
ly if desired.

Colds and influenza are frequent due to the
change in t temperature from midday to evening
and during the long rainy season.

center of sports activities is the Costa Rica
Country Club, a private and fairly exclusive
sports and social center located about six
miles from the city. The Country Club has a
beautifully landscaped nine-hole golf course,
a swimming pool and wading pool for children,
seven tennis courts (cement surface), four
bowling alleys, a ping-pong table and restau-
rant and bar facilities. The Chief of Mission,
Diplomati c S ecret arie s and Att ach~ s officially
accredited in Costa Rica may join Country
Club as "Diplomatic members" by paying
$15. 00 monthly dues.

Other Embassy staff personnel and members
of other U. S. agenciess operating in Costa
Rica may join as regular or transient mem-
bers. However, this is costly and few can
afford the initiation fee ($1, 000), which
may be resold when one leaves.

.. dy\Crp~~~l~

Costa Rica Tennis Club

The Costa Rica Tennis Club is also a rather
exclusive club located very close to the cen-
ter of town. It has tennis courts, a swim-
ming and wading pool, and restaurant and
bar facilities.

There are also quite a few moderately priced
($4-$9 per month) local clubs that have
tennis courts, swimming pools, and modest
restaurant facilities. Most of them are si-
tuated in the suburbs, and take their names
from the suburbs in which they are located,
e. g. Bello Horizonte Club, Mloravia (Guaria)
Club, etc.

Dining out in San Jose is a pleasant expe-
rience because of the variety of cuisine of -
fered in the more than 15 restaurants and

Costa Rica Country Club

Outdoor sports available include golf (at the
Country Club only), tennis, riding, swimming,
hiking, hunting, fishing, and sightseeing. The

-- rL --e
I *
-rr, ~C

La Guaria (Moravia) Club
hotel dining rooms, which are rated from
good to excellent by personnel of the U. S.
Government agencies. One can choose Swiss,
French, Italian, international and local fare.
There are some drive-ins which offer good
barbecue dishes, and the leading dairy ope-
rates a hamburger drive-in serving a full
line of sodas, sundaes, banana splits and

It is possible to hunt deer, wildcat, boar,
tapir, pigeons, ducks and wild turkey and
many sportsmen do so as participants. River
fishing, principally bait casting in the rivers
of the lowlands is excellent but difficult to
get to, Texcept by jeep or small plane. Every
fdrm of salt water fishing, from tarpon in
the Caribbean to marlin and sailfish in the
Pacific, canbe arranged. Hunting and fishing
licenses are required. It is recommended
that hunters include their firearms in the
initial shipment of household effects. Guns
must be registered in Costa Rica.

Hiking is not currently too popular, but for
one interested in this activity there is a vast
field of interesting terrain to be explored.

Spectator events include soccer, baseball,
basketball, boxing and horse racing, of which
soccer is by far the most popular and best
attended. Most of the sports events are held
in the National Stadium. During the Christ-
mas holidays bull-baiting events are held in
specially-built arenas.

Sports equipment; can be purchased in San
Jos6, but is expensive and limited. It is re-
c omm end ed that one bring the ba sic equipm ent
with him that he will need to participate in
his favorite sport. Sport dress is the same
as in the United States, informal and comfort -
table. Tennis shoes of satisfactory quality

Los Angeles (Sabana) Club

3 8ss:TpA_$"P .

Bello Horizonte Club

are now available locally at prices less than
intheU. S. Tennis balls are sold at the com-
missary at U. S. prices.

There is one bowling alley with 12 lanes and
semi automatic equipment. The Embassy
has formed a ten-pin league open to all U. S.
Government -agency personnel and Costa Ri-
cans, and it plays continuously.

There are several children's playgrounds, a
miniature golf course, 2 roller skating rinks,
a zoo with monkeys and small animals, and
a small recreation park with merry -go-
rounds and other attractions. In 1961 Little
League Baseball was organized.

The decision to build a national theater was
made in 1887 and on October 21, 1897 the
National 'Theater was inaugurated by a per-
formance of Faust. It is constructed in ela-
borate rococo style, copied from the Opera
Comique in Paris, and has solid marble
stairways, beautiful sculpture, beaten gold
and bronze decorations, and very large
ceiling and wall paintings. Many plays,.con-
certs, pageants, festivals, etc. are presented fi
in the National Theater. It was the site of the
196 meeting of the Central .American Chiefs ;
of State, which President Kennedy attended. ,~

... National Museum

The National M~useum located in a pictures-
que former military barracks, has many in-
teresting pieces of ancient Indian lore col-
lected from all parts of Costa Rica. It is
particularly interesting for its pre-Colum-

Sb~ianol Roancient goldsmiths' techniques in the

National Theatre

Rex Theatre & Office Building
There are several excellent motion picture
theaters which show current American and
many of the better foreign-produced films.
The American and English films have English
dialogue with Spanish sub-titles. Newsreels,
short subjects, and occasionally a cartoon
are included with the main feature. There
are a good number of smaller theaters in the
city which usually run second-class Ameri-
can and Spanish-language films or show films
after they have had their local premieres
at the leading theaters.

National Theatre Reception Room

----- .

Casa Amarilla (Foreign Relations)
The Casa Amarilla The Ministry of Foreign
Relations of Costa Rica is housed in the Ca
saAmarilla (Yellow House), a colonial-style
buildingfacing the Parque Espanla. State re-
ceptions are held in the Gold Room, which
is across an open patio from the building's
main street entrance. Historically, the build-
ing stands as a symbol of one of the historic
efforts for Central American cooperation.
It had its origin in a convention signed on
January 10, 1911 by the Central American
nations, designating San Jos4 as the seat of
the Central American Court of Justice. The
American philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie,
donated $100, 000 for the construction of the
court building. This was completed in 1912.
Unfortunately, the court soon became in-
operative (although it remained a legal entity
until 1918), and the Casa Amarilla was taken
over by the Costa Rican Ministry of Foreign
Relations in 1913

The countryside around San Jos6, with its
colorful tropical flowers, shrubs, and plant
life of varied types, presents many opportu-
nities for photographs the year around. Stocks
of color and black and white film in all re-
gular sizes, including 8mm. movie film, are
available locally at prices substantially high
er than in the U. S. Special film must be im.
ported. Adequate facilities are available for
developing and printing locally all black and
white film. Color film is usually sent to Pa.
nam8 or the U. S. for 4- to 6-day service.

The Country Club and Tennis Club (previously
mentioned), the Unio~n Club, a men' s club in
downtown San Josi6, and the Casa Italia are
centers of large social functions and special
events. The Costa Ricans are friendly people
who, for the most part, welcome association
with Americans. The members of the Diplo-
matic and Consular Corps are frequently en-
countered at social functions,



There is a Government Women's Organiza-
tion open to the wives of all U. S. Govern-
ment personnel and members of the staff.
The Women's Club of Costa Rica, whose
membership is open to all English-speaking
women of whatever nationality, also provides
the opportunity for social contacts and in-
teresting and worthwhile charitable proj ect s.
Social obligations are not of the tedious and
to-be-dreaded type in San Jost. There are
enough social functions of one type or another
to keep the average married officer and wife
occupied. In time one finds a group or a rou-
tinethat suits his own likes or dislikes. Un-
married personnel will probably find social
life lacking in many respects unless they are
prepared to entertain among themselves.
The Centro Cultural Costarricense-Nortea-
mericano (Binational Center), offers a pro-
gram of activities which includes lessons in
Spanish and English, square dance groups,
chamber music concerts prepared by local
artists, exhibits by the Club Fotogrdfico de
Costa Rica and by national and visiting paint -
ers, student dances withlocal orchestras and
a movie program featuring USIS films as
well as American commercial movies. To
the American transient or resident,the Cen-
tro makes available for a very nominal
monthly fee its library collection of fiction
and non-fiction books, periodicals and re-

6. OFFIGAL FUN(TIONS Black tie social functions
are infrequent in San JosC. A black or mid-
night blue summer-weight tuxedo (white
dinner jackets are not worn) should be brought
if one expects to attend such functions. Only
the Chief of Mission and the Counselor of
Embassy need bring formal diplomatic ap-
parel such as morning coat, striped trousers,
etc. White tie and tails are rarely worn in
San Josg and should not be essential, except
for the Chief of Mission and Counselor.

Other newly arrived officers and their wives
will want to make their usual calls on the
Chief of Mis sion and the Deputy Chief of Mis -
sion. It is suggested that single officers bring
a minimum of 100 calling cards for use in
the diplomatic community. A married officer
should bring a minimum of 200 calling cards.
His wife should bring 100 Mrs. or Mr. &
Mrs. cards. There are no facilities for cop-
per-engraving cards and stationery inSan
Jos6) however, printed cards are quite sa-
tisfactory for initial distribution and can be
obtained locally.

Generally speaking, the social life in San Jo-
s6 includes cocktail parties, small dinner
parties (buffet-style dinners are popular),
official and semi-official receptions, club
life from both a sports and informal gather-
ing aspect, bridge-canasta parties, teas, and


informal get -togethers.Officers, especially
those with diplomatic status, will participate
in most activities. Staff personnel may par-

ticipate in all except the strictly official ca-
tegory, which are usually attended by the di-
plomatic officers only.

Persons assigned to Costa' Rica for official
duty require an entry visa issued by a Costa
Rican diplomatic or consular official. Upon
arrivalat the port of entry, the traveler will
be required to present a valid small pox
certificate indicating vaccination against
smallpox within the past three years,

Officers on the diplomatic list and their wives
will need to submit two photographs for the
carnet, which will also serve as a driver's
license. Personnel not on the diplomatic list
will need two photos for the identity card
plus four for the driver's license. Those who
arrive without photos can easily have them
taken at one of the many shops hear the Em-

The Costa Rican Government grants free-en-
try privileges to all non-resident American
personnel in the Foreign Service and AID,
regardless of rank or title. In accordance
withtheterms of the Vienna Convention, non-
diplomatic staff personnel are allowed these
privileges at the time of first installation,
which has been defined as a six-month period
fromthe date of arrival. This privilege also
applies to U. S. employees of other U. S.
Government agencies. American personnel
of other government agencies are covered by
individual agreements, and newly-assigned
personnel should become acquainted with
their limitations by communicating with the
Chief of their respective organization. The
Costa Rican Government now requires that
all cars driven into the country register at
the Customs House in San Jos6 within 48
hours after entry.

Customs clearance requires two to three
weeks following presentation of required

documents to the appropriate Costa Rican
Government minist rie s. The only good which
can be immediately cleared are unaccom-
panied air cargo shipments which are mani-
fested as "Personal Effects. The Costa Ri-
can Government sometimes exercises' its
right to open household effects shipments of
diplomatic as well as non-diplomatic em-

As previouslymentioned, on January 2, 1967
the Central Bank imposed temporary cur-
rency controls and thereafter would not con-
vert colones to dollars nor cash a dollar
check for dollars. However, they would issue
dollar travelers checks for a dollar Tr~easury
check. The legal currency of Costa Rica is
the col6n, The present legal exchange rate
is $6. 62 to U. S. $1. 00, however, as of Ja-
nuary 1967 the free market rate was about
$7. 00 to U. S. $1. 00.

The importation of all pets, dogs, cats, etc.
is strictly controlled by the Costa Rican M~i-
nistry of Public Health and permits for their
entry must be obtained in advance of the ar-
rival of the pet at the port of entry. Failure
to obtain that permit may result in the pet
being refused entry or its detention by health
authorities. The following documents should
be certified by a Costa Rican consul prior
to the departure of the pet, and must accom-
pany the pet:
1. Certificate of good health
2. Certificate of recent anti-rabies vac-
cination and that no rabies have existed
in the area for the past five years,
3. Certificate stating that the pet is free
of Taenia Equinococus.
Without the above documents, the Costa Ri-
can Government will require a quarantine



The pet should have a proper cage or crate
with screen cover,
It is emphasized that persons planning to
bring a pet to Costa Rica should notify the
Embassy well in advance so that the neces-
sary preparations may be completed.
PERSONAL PROPERTY Regulations concerning
the disposal of personal property, disposal
of motor vehicles, and the acquisition and
conversion of local currency by employees
of the U. S. Government residing in Costa
Rica are covered by Post Regulations which
are as follows:

I. Purpose The purpose of these regula-
tions is to insure that there will be no abuses
by employees of the U. S. Government resid-
ing in Costa Rica, and to avoid or minimize
any adverse impact upon the prestige of the
United States arising from rights and privi-
leges officials of the U. S. enjoy because of
their official status.

II. General Principles-(a) Allactionstaken
by employees of the U. b. Government in re-
lationto the above subject shall be consistent
with the regulations, customs and practices
of the Government of Costa Rica.
(b) All actions taken in this respect shall be
such that they will not bring discredit upon
the employees concerned or the Government
of the United States of America.

III. Importation of Items of Personal Prop-
erty ()Personalproperty shallbe import-
ed only for the use of employees and their
families while stationed in Costa Rica. No
items will be imported for sale purposes.
(b) After an individual's initial shipment of
personal property to complete his household
has been received, advance approval by the
Head of the individual's Government Agency
or an official designated to act in behalf of
the Head of Agencymust be obtained to order
and/or import any it ems of personal property
of high resale value. Such value will be any
amount more than $100. 00 for each item*

Sale and/or disposal of personal property to
Other than U. S. Government personnel en-
joyingthe same privileges as the seller, will
require the approval of the Head of Agency
or an official designated to act in his behalf
and the Embassy (JAS) Administrative Of-
ficer. It will be limited to situations such as
the transfer of the individual from his place
of assignment or other valid purpose not con-
trary to the principle of these regulations
and procedures. A record of each request
and the action taken for such permission on
it will be made and a copy of this record will
be sent to the Embassy.

Upon requesting permission to sell personal
property (including automobiles) employees

will be expected to certify that the items sold
will not be sold for a profit, or if a profit
is realized, it will be donated to charity, and
certification to this effect will be submitted
to the Administrative Officer. All importa-
tion and sales of personal vehicles must be
cleared through the Vehicle Control Com-
mission. It is expected that in almost every
casethe sale of personal items will occur at
the end of one's tour only.
The Costa Rican Government has a law which
provides that U. S. Government personnel in
Costa Rica duly accredited to the Govern-
ment of the Republic may sell their automo-
biles without payment of duty aft er the automo-
bile has been registered and in the country
for two years. If the automobile has not been
registered in the country for a period of two
years, the amount of customs duties ex-
onerated will be considered and divided into
(24) equal parts for the purpose of the appli-
cation of the present law--Decree 2252 dated
October 18, 1958.

Adequate exchange and banking facilities are
available in the city, except that the banks
will not convert colones to dollars.

All American Embassy personnel are paid
in local currency, by U. S. Treasury check,
or a combination of the two methods. Pay
periods are every other Wednesday through-
out the year. Personnel of other U. S. Go-
vernment agencies are paid by U. S. Treasury
checkonly. USAID personnelare payrolled
from Washington. Checks may be cashed at
the Embassy at free market rate of exchange.

It is possible to purchase American travel-
ers checks in Costa Rica only with dollar
bills or Treasury checks.
If a personal checking account is maintained
in the United States it is not necessary to
bring large quantities of U. S. currency--only
what you prefer to carry. Ifa checking
account is not maintained it is suggested
that a minimum of $200 in cash be brought
to pay all expenses until regular salary pay-
ments begin.

It is recommended that all personnel have a
bank account and a checking account in the
United States.

No direct Costa Rican taxes are levied
against American employees of the U. S.


Effective June 1, 1966, the Administrative
Sections of USAID and the Embassy were
consolidated into a Joint Administrative Serv-
ices Section (JAS). This merger has suc-
ceeded in providing better management and
more efficient administrative support serv-

ices. Due to the size of the mission, orien-
tation of personnel is accomplished primarily
by means of discussion with each section
chief, as is considered appropriate by each
chief of agency. This is supplemented by
orientation (welcome) kits, and a program of
periodic introductory briefings for new per-

The Embassy is open to the public five days
a week, exclusive of American and local ho'
lidays, between the hours of 8 am. -12 noon

and 1:30 5:30 pm. Duty personnel are as-
signed on a weekly basis starting on Wednes-
days at 8 am.

Upon appropriate notification,all personnel
arriving at E1Coco Airport are met by mem-
bers of their respective mission. For per-
sonnel who might arrive via ship, Port Li-
m6n has air and rail facilities to San JosB
and Puntarenas has air, rail and road trans-

Because of the tropical climate on both coast s
of Costa Rica, all incoming surface ship-
ments must be heavily protected against


A suggested reading list for background in-
formation on Costa Rica is given below:

BIESANS, John and Mlavis
Costa Rican Life Columbia University
Press, New York, 1944

A History of Latin America from the Be-
ginning to the Present Knopf, New York,

JONES, Chester Lloyd
Costa Rica and Civilization in the Carib-
bean Editorial Borrasb, San Jos6, 1941

LOOMIIS, Charles P. and others, eds.
Turrialba, Social Systems and the Intro-
duction of Change The Free Press,
Glencoe, Illinois, 1953

LUNBERG, Donald E.
Adventure in Costa Rica Dixie Publish-
ers, Tallahassee, 1960

MIAY, Stacy and Associates
Costa Rica: A Study in Economic Develop-
ment Twentleth Century Fund, I~ew York,

NEEDLER, Martin C.
Political Systems of Latin America -
Van Nostrand, Princeton, 16

The Central American Republics Roy-
al Institute e of Int ernational Affairs, Oxford
Press, New York, 1964

Incidents of Travel in Central America,
Chiapas and Yucat~n Rutgers Univer-
sity Press of New Brunswick, N. J., 1949

STUART, Graham H-.
Latin America and the United States -
Appleton-C entury-Croft s, Inc. New
York, 1955



Category of Information Page

Automobiles. .................. .22
Churches .................. ....18
Clim ate.. .. 3
Clothing ................... ....16, 17
Commissary ................... 15, 17
Community Services .. .. .. .. ..17, 18
Currency ....... ....... ...... .
Customs and Entry Requirements. 28, 29 P PvY r
Education ................... ...18-20
Electricity...........14 lriiB901t;`-
Food .. .. .. .15
Furniture ................... ...11, 13, 14
Housing........ ................10-14
Language ......................200
Mail and Communications .......2,2
Medical Facilities .. .. ... .. .. .22-24
Office ............,,.... ......4, 29, 30 r b ei.
P ets ........ ........ .......2
Points of Interest ...............5
Recreation and Social Activities. .5, 24-29
Servants.. . .18
Transportation ................ .21, 22

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