Confirming his status as one of Star Watch’s most talked-about stars, actor Matthew McConaughey surfed, rafted, sang and danced his way through a Costa Rican vacation late last month. The curly-haired Texan told a reporter upon his arrival that he wanted privacy, but his exploits made headlines throughout his stay – first on the Caribbean coast near the beach town of Puerto Viejo, then during a river trip on the Pacuare (documented by a photographer from the daily La Nación), and then in Santa Teresa de Malpaís on the southern Nicoya Peninsula. Mending a broken heart after his breakup with Spanish actress Penelope Cruz? Not by the looks of things.Wendy Angulo, owner of the Mar Azul bar in Malpaís, said McConaughey dropped by June 30 at 9 p.m. and danced the night away until 2:30 or 3 a.m., taking to the dance floor with the friends traveling with him as well as women in the bar, more than happy to take People magazine’s 2005 Sexiest Man Alive for a spin.
*Sometimes celebrity news here is as much about who’s rumored to be in Costa Rica, but isn’t, as it is about who actually makes the scene. McConaughey was incorrectly rumored to be on vacation here in January, and the same appears to have happened last week with Australian Oscar winner Nicole Kidman. Though Radio Dos reported Kidman, married June 25 to country singer Keith Urban, was headed here for her honey moon , Sydney’s Daily Telegraph reports they spent their post-nuptial days at the St. Regis resort on Bora Bora. Maybe the star of “The Hours” and “Moulin Rouge” didn’t fancy a run-in with President Oscar Arias, who has publicly declared his admiration for Kidman on various occasions. Local dailies didn’t hesitate to rib Arias on the actress’s marriage; Al Día’s headline read, “¡Se le fue al Presidente!” (roughly translated, “She got away from the President!”).
*Some stars of Costa Rica’s political scene were on display at a U.S. Embassy lunch July 3 to celebrate Independence Day. Second Vice-President Kevin Casas and Foreign Relations Minister Bruno Stagno were among the leaders, from Cabinet members to legislators, who shared a menu including Tex-Mex favorites – perhaps in honor of U.S. Ambassador Mark Langdale, who, like his friend and Commander in Chief, hails from Texas – along with red and white wine. Guests were subject to tight security, correspondent Amanda Roberson told Star Watch.
*The return of the National Soccer Team from the World Cup in Germany – empty-handed, except for two goals against host and eventual semifinalist Germany by star forward Paulo César Wanchope – brought some famous faces to Juan Santamaría International Airport June 21. Former Miss Costa Rica Nancy Soto waited for her boyfriend, Alvaro Saborío, though, according to Al Día, the star player walked right by her, perhaps because of the angry reception some disappointed fans gave the team (TT, June 23).