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Costa Rica’s “Territorio de Zaguates” (Land of the Strays)





San Jose, Costa Rica – This from, an experience you will never forget. Imagine taking a hike with more than 500 dogs, an experience that cannot be found anywhere else in the country, and maybe the world.

This is “Territorio de Zaguates” (Land of the Strays).

The finca (property), where the hike takes place, is huge and scenic.  The dogs have to be exercised anyway.

Periodically, the public is able to participate.  The dogs benefit from this by being socialized with more people and they are better able to be adopted.

You are able to bring your own well-behaved dogs for some exercise and socializing too.  There are water troughs along the hiking route so that all the dogs can stay hydrated.


Equipment:  Good walking shoes.  Water and snacks for the hike.  Rain gear, if it looks like rain.

Fitness Level:  Moderate to advanced.  You don’t have to go on the hike if you don’t feel up to it.  You are welcome to remain at the shelter and hang out with the dogs that stay behind.  It’s still a wonderful place for anyone who loves dogs, no matter the fitness level.

Cost:  Free

Time: 9am until 12:30pm.

Next Scheduled Hike:  As of this writing (June 2015), they are planning to do another hike in July.

Facebook:  Territorio de Zaguates. Follow them on Facebook to get notified when they set the date.


Getting There:  There are two ways to get there.  1)You can go directly to the shelter location.  You need to be there at 8:45am on the day of the hike.  2)You can meet representatives from the shelter in Alajuela.  You can either drive with the group of cars going to the shelter or get a ride in the bus provided, for a small fee.  Meet-up time is 8am in Alajuela on the day of the hike.

Meet-Up Location in Alajuela: At 8am on the day of the hike, the location is opposite the front of Centro Commercial Plaza Real, which is 400 meters east of the McDonalds, next to the Tropicana gas station.  From there, the whole group of cars and transport busses leaves together in caravan.

What if you don’t have a car?:  The shelter provides a shuttle bus on the day of the hike at the meet-up point.  Cost is 2,500 colones ($5) and covers transportation to the shelter and the return trip back to the meet-up point in Alajuela when the hike is done.

How to reserve a space on the shuttle:  Text message to 8815-2514 with how many people are going.  A deposit or transfer of half the shuttle fee needs to be made to Territorio de Zaguates’ bank account when you reserve seats on the bus.  Show the voucher from the transfer or deposit when you get on the bus in Alajuela.


Thanks to for this great information. Click here to go to their site.


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All photos from Territorio de Zaguates Facebook page.

"In my spare time I'm a really nice guy!" RICO is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! Rico brings his special kind of savvy to online marketing. His websites are engaging, provocative, informative and sometimes off the wall, where you either like or you leave it. The same goes for him, like him or leave him.There is no middle ground. No compromises, only a passion to present reality as he sees it!

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The BULL and BAD Parking In Costa Rica





Breaking the bad parking habit can be hard. For the longest time, anyone could park anywhere and mostly without consequences. The least from the Policia de Transito (traffic police), whose officials were powerless to move or ticket parked vehicle if (as in the most cases) the driver was not present.

But that all changed on July 17 last, when the latest reforms to the Ley de Transito (Traffic Act) allowed for ticketing and/or towing and/or confiscation of license plates of any badly parked vehicle, whether the driver was present or not.

The fine for the illegal parking is ¢51,316 colones plus court costs, and costs of the tow and storage. But, given the lack of towing units and over saturated ‘patios’ (lots) of the of the Policia de Transito, the favorite is to confiscate license plates.

The latter is the most sensible for traffic officials, though it does not remove the obstacle, the cost of the ticket and the process of recovering confiscated license plates is a lesson not to soon be forgotten.

For one, to retrieve confiscated license plates there is typically a three day wait, this is the time Ttransitos (traffic officials) have to hand over the plates to the Cosevi, the national roads safety council.

Then there are the lines, lines that can mean hours of waiting. Just to give you an idea, between July 17 (the first day of the new traffic regulations) and July 28, the Policia de Transito reports the confiscation of 1,500 pairs of license plates for bad parking alone.

Then there is the figuring out which Cosevi office do you visit to get your plates back. Not too much of a problem if the plates were confiscated in the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM) and where one lives. But say the driver lives in Guanacaste or the Southern Zone where the parking law is not being that strongly enforced. How do you get back home?

Driving without license plates will usually attract the attention of Transitos. I have it on good word from a Transito I know well that the typical courtesy is up to an hour, that is you can drive the vehicle to get it home or park it somewhere. Last I checked the drive to Guanacaste, for example, is at least 3 hours.

According to the Cosevi person I spoke to, the driver can arrange to have the confiscated plates sent to the Guana office, how long it takes, it depends.

Then there are the costs. Besides the payment of the parking fine, the court costs, the vehicle needs to have the Marchamo (circulation permit) and Riteve (vehicular inspection) current. Also to be paid, before anyone gets their plates back, are outstanding traffic fines, fines against the driver and/or the vehicle.

Examples of bad parking the Transitos can now pull out their screwdrivers and pliers out are for parking in a yellow zone (you know the yellow painted curbs); blocking driveways, even if it is your own driveway; blocking a fire hydrant; parking on the sidewalk; too close to the corner, and more, all of those things that make life in San Jose especially ‘interesting’.

The best way to avoid all the above? DO NOT park illegally!

In the downtown core, there are parking lots all over, in my opinion, one of the best businesses in the entire country. An hour on Avenida 1, by Calle 5, costs ¢1,000 colones. A few blocks in every direction, you can save a few hundred colones an hour.

Do the math: ¢1,000 colones for an hour (or less) or ¢51,316 + + + + and all the frustrations for 5 minutes?

And please remember, although the focus of the Transitos is in the downtown area of San Jose, the law applies equally across the country.

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You Know It’s Christmas In Costa Rica…





Last night, Saturday, was the Festival de la Luz in San Jose, a magical time.

TICO BULL by Rico –You know it’s Christmas and you know school’s out by two simple events. The first one is the Festival de la Luz, the other is a total slowdown of the internet.

Let me comment on the second first. As soon as school is out there is a noticeable difference in the use of the internet, mostly in the speed and connection.

The end of the school year in Costa Rica is in the beginning of December. The new school year starts in February.

From the first days of the end of the school year to the new, you can experience at least a 25% drop in connection speed. In my case, connected to the www via Cabletica, my 12 Mbps down can get between 8 and 9 at the best of times.

Only in the small hours of the night, between 2am and 4am can I now see my 12, in between the speeds are from slow to a crawl to a standstill. This is most notable for us who work online, who are not just downloading (browsing or surfing the net), but actually sending data up to the server (or cloud). The connection speed advertises is mostly always the downspeed, internet service providers (ISPs) don’t make it a habit of telling you the upspeed. Back to my Cabletica, the 12Mbps sound great (for Costa Rica), but the 2 Mbps upspeed sucks, that is why they don’t highlight it.

These are the times you know school is out because sending a small image, for example, less than 100 Kb and getting confirmation to continue publishing, can take forever. Even more at times, if that is even possible.

As I sit, waiting for things to happen, I am quickly reminded, “school’s out”.

As to the first, the most magical time in Costa Rica is the one night of the Festival de la Luz (Festival of Lights), a time when the entire country comes together to watch, in person or on live television, the fireworks, the floats, the marching bands and of course Santa.

The night is a magical one.

In person, some arrive early Saturday morning (the even is always on a Saturday) to get a spot on the sidewalk. By early afternoon the few become the many. By dusk, there is little sidewalk space to call one’s own.

Up to only a few years ago, more than a million people – that is more than 20% of the country’s population – would gather in person in the area from La Sabana on the west side of San Jose, along Paseo Colon and the Avenida Segunda, to the Plaza de la Democracia on the east side.

Today, many prefer to watch it on television, avoiding the closed streets of the inner city, the ¢10,000 colones plus for a parking spot and head home madhouse at the end. The Municipality of San Jose doesn’t seem to place a lost of importance on what happens at the end of the festival. Shame.

Typically the Festival de la Luz is between the 9th and 12th of December. This year it was on the 17th, almost a week later. That was a good decision on the part of the organizers, since the rainy season this year didn’t leave San Jose until a few days ago. In the past a light drizzle was all part of the event, this year it would have been an all out rain.

Now that the Festival de la Luz is done with, what comes next in San Jose for Christmas?

Three important events: Zapote, Tope and back this year, the Carnaval.

The Zapote Fair,a alwasys, kicks off at noon on December 25. The annual event on the east side of San Jose this year may or may not include the bulls. As every year it won’t be up to the day before the event, even up to a few houre before, when the Health department gives the OK with the chinamos (street food), the megabars and the bulls.

It’s all part of the holiday traditions, what would we talk about if all was organized ahead of time?

On December 26 is the Tope, when the horses and their riders take over the area of Avenida Segunda and Paseo Colon, much in the same way of the Festival de la Luz, but in reverse order. The event starts on the east side and moves west to La Sabana.

The Tope is a daytime event. That means lots of sun and heat. And beer. Although drinking in public is illegal, for the most part the police close an eye.

Back this year, after a 10 year absence, is the Carnaval. The event on December 27 takes on the same route as the Tope. Filled with marching bands, cheerleaders, clowns and old cars, at least that’s the way it was, the Carnaval is an entire family event.

What I never understood in the past and this year is no different, why have the Carnaval after the Tope.

We know what the horses and the other four-legged and eventwo-legged animals do in public.

A team of street cleaners follow the end of the Tope to scoop up, but… well, enjoy.


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Here’s An Idea, Use Dogs To Detect Leaky Water and Sewer Pipes





For environmental dogs, sniffing out doody is their duty

For environmental dogs, sniffing out doody is their duty. Photo from AP report.

TICO BULL by Rico – The AyA, that is the water and sewer utility in Costa Rica, could take a lesson from the efforts of Fair Haven, N.J. use of pollution-sniffing dogs at the Jersey shore using dogs being No. 1 at sniffing out No. 2.

According to a report released last week by the Clean Ocean Action environmental group, a team of specially trained dogs has pointed out more than 70 spots in three towns near the Navesink River where human waste may be making its way into the waterway. They sniffed out potentially broken or leaking sewer pipes, failed septic systems, and places where waste might be mishandled or improperly disposed.

Fair Haven Mayor Ben Lucarelli told Associated Press (AP) the dogs were invaluable in laying out in just a few days’ time a map for the town to make repairs.

Oh wait a minute, the AyA doesn’t make repairs unless it is absolutely necessary and only after days on end of water leaks. And then, after the repair, they fill the repair hole with the same dirt they dug out, leaving the problem of repairing the road and sidewalk to someone else. Those of you who live here know well what I am talking about.

OK, let’s pretend that the AyA would be even remotely interested in this, they could do as in Fair Haven, get dogs from rescue shelters and train them to detect human waste in the same way that other dogs are trained to sniff out drugs or explosives.

They give an alert either by barking or sitting down when they detect something. As important as what they find is what they don’t find: places where the dogs don’t alert are generally considered to be safe.

The dogs, instead of running around wild, could be put to use to do good in the same communtities where they are deemed to be a nuisance.

And they jobc is not only for pollution-sniffing, they could sniff out potentially broken or leaky pipes. The problems could be used on public and private property.

The plan could actually work. In Costa Rica, there is no shortage of stray dogs or leaky water and sewer pipes. What there is a shortage of will within public institutions to be proactive.


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