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Asphalting Begins on the Costanera Highway

CostaneraAfter more than 30 years of promises by the Costa Rican government, paving has started on the Costanera Highway connecting Quepos and Dominical. The first section of blacktop has started just outside of Quepos and heads south to the new opened bridge at Rio Naranjo.

Paving has also commenced at a second location, just south of the Rio Savegre. In addition, work has begun on widening the Rio Savegre bridge to add another traffic lane. Road crews are working 7 days a week preparing new sections of roadbed for fresh asphalt and constructing totally new roadbeds in the areas directly north or Dominical

Happiest Place on Earth

(CNN) -- Forget Disneyland! Costa Rica is the happiest place in the world, according to an independent research group in Britain with the goal of building a new economy, "centered on people and the environment." In a report released Saturday, the group ranks nations using the "Happy Planet Index," which seeks countries with the most content people.

In addition to happiness, the index by the New Economics Foundation considers the ecological footprint and life expectancy of countries. "Costa Ricans report the highest life satisfaction in the world and have the second-highest average life expectancy of the new world (second to Canada)," the organization said in a statement. They "also have an ecological footprint that means that the country only narrowly fails to achieve the goal of ... consuming its fair share of the Earth's natural resources."

Rich experiences a bargain in Costa Rica

(CNN) -- If you consider new experiences and foreign cultures an investment, Costa Rica might be a better option than the stock market right now.

Flights are reasonable -- I paid roughly $370 from Atlanta, Georgia, on short notice -- and if you're smart, so are meals.

Sodas, small roadside stands which have minimal seating but maximum eating capacity, serve traditional dishes such as gallo pinto, a religiously devoured dish of rice, beans and alternating spices, or chicharrones, a typical fried meat dish. Cheap and delicious, they're a great way to dine your way through the country for just a few dollars.

And in Costa Rica, even indulging is cheap: For the most part, top-flight restaurants won't cost you more than $25 a person.

I was able to save some money by traveling with my friend Cristina and her family. But even if you don't know anyone in Costa Rica, you can experience the authentic Costa Rican Tico style without going broke. Just follow me.

Retirement: Best Overseas Locations

(BusinessWeek) -- After John Barclay sold his Glasgow-based Levis jeans franchise in 2005, he and his wife, Lorraine, knew they didn't want to spend their retirement braving the local weather. "We always said we didn't want to be old and cold in Scotland," says Lorraine. "I wanted to be warm all year round." They spent the next two years doing reconnaissance trips to Malaysia, which offered an enticing package aimed at foreigners over 50. But their plans to move to Malaysia evaporated on the strength of just one idyllic weekend in Bali. "We were blown away by it," Lorraine remembers.

Three months later, they had purchased a villa and were ensconced in the Indonesian tropical island. Life is good—and inexpensive. In Bali, Lorraine's monthly hair coloring bills are a third of what she used to pay in Scotland, and she and John can easily afford to employ a couple of cooks and a driver. Gasoline is dirt cheap, too, thanks to government subsidies.

Green Leaf

Dominical, Costa Rica

Tel: +506.2787.0187
US Phone: +954.300.4675
Fax: +506.2787.0214
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