The Trajectory of Life Hasn't Changed

ISSUE #909: June 12-18, 2022


Brian Timmons, Newsletter Author
Brian Timmons

Dear friends,

When I started Residencias Los Jardines, I started writing a weekly newsletter -determined to tell all the good, bad, and the ugly. I knew some readers would be interested in the construction process. I expected others might be interested in the lifestyle of two people who had decided to live outside the box. For others, the adventures of Lita, the parrot and the cat took on an entertainment saga all its own.

Residencias Los Jardines is finished. We periodically have re-sales and rental availability. Some readers may be interested in this information.

Brian Timmons
Developer / Property manager
Residencias Los Jardines


Market activity
sales & rentals

Sales: Los Jardines: Units #114 and #116

Los Jardines: Unit #105 - $ 1,000 mo.
Paradisus: Nothing available

Residencias Los Jardines
property management, rentals & re-sales

Unit #114: $ 185,000 $ 178,000 PRICE REDUCTION / See Unit
Unit #116: $ 189,995 $ 179,000 PRICE REDUCTION / See Unit

Unit #105: $ 1,000 mo. / See Unit

For sale

UNIT #114
$ 185,000 $ 178,000

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1290
Total area (Sq M): 120
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Floor(s): Single Floor
Type: Attached
Furnished: Yes

This 1,290 sf. (plus covered parking for one car and two lockers 67 sf.) single story, semi detached house, with garden terrace, two bedrooms is a beautiful executive style home. This home consists of two large bedrooms one with six piece en-suite bathroom with additional access to separate full shower. Each bedroom has large closets with extensive built-ins for personal organization. The vaulted living room and bathroom ceilings provide a feeling of grandeur while allowing the warmer air to rise and exit through the ceiling ventilating system. There are four TVs (one in each bedroom, one in the living room and one in breakfast / dinning room.) This is a beautiful well appointed home.

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1345
Total area (Sq M): 124
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Floor(s): 1 Story
Type: Attached
Furnished: Yes

Two bedroom / two bathroom, lots of built-ins, appliances and furniture included. 125m2 / 1,345sf. Pictures to follow. One covered parking space and bodega included. Monthly HOA fees $268, taxes and water included. The long time owner passed away / the unit has been transferred to his sister / she wants to sell and has set up POAs to facilitate this. This can be a good deal for some buyer. All offers will be presented.

UNIT #116
$ 189,995 $ 179,000

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1290
Total area (Sq M): 120
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Floor(s): 1
Type: Semi-Attached
Furnished: Yes

This 1,290 sf single floor home includes a 300 sf front terrace plus parking for one car and a separate, secure storage locker. It is and end unit and therefore attached on only one side by a 6 inch cement demising (common) wall, which prevents sound transfer.

For rent

UNIT #105
$ 1,000 mo.

Total Area (Sq Ft): 915
Total area (Sq M): 85
Bedrooms: 1
Bathrooms: 1
Floor(s): Single Floor
Type: Detached
Furnished: Yes

2 bdrm / 1 Bthrm / detached, single story with AC / laundry, vaulted ceilings, nicely furnished and decorated. 85m2 / 915 sq ft., one parking space. $1,000 + Internet, electricity, gas. Available immediately.

Our Lives

What Happened This Week

Weather: Normal for the rainy season...


This could not have been achieved without the collaboration, enginuity, and physical effort of Bryan Flannery —. Mr MaGyver

1. Accident: One of our three staff was away on vacation. I brought in anther person to help with a two person job... cleaning a drain which was suspected to be clogged with grease. We have an electric Roto-router... My regular employee was on the lead end, the outside person was on the tail end... The cutter end of the snake hit solid material and the flexible drive shaft instantly kinked. In the process, it some how wrapped around the lead person's small finger (he was wearing heavy rubber gloves), snapped it and destroyed the flesh. I get the prefilled out accident report form (missing only the date and the nature of the accident) .We head off to the Santa Ana emergency, they clean it, tape two fingers together. They send him by Ambulance to San Juan Dios, the large CAJA hospital in San Jose. I guess they assessed it, and did ??? He returned to Los Jardines the next morning looking asking for a blank accident report form... the hospital would not accept the pre-filled out form... ie pre-filled in with factual information about the, ID number, location, etc and the employee's personal information... name, ID #, age, etc... nope... the hospital had to fill this form out so he needed a blank form... incredible... anyway, later that night I received notice that the finger would have to be amputated... I was not surprised... I suspected that gangrene would develop given the nature of the accident... From San Juan Dios he was sent to a trauma center where he remains as of this writing... He now expects to be released to his home tomorrow...Monday. Wow!!!!!!!! I do not know how long he will be off... In the interim, when we absolutely need a second mtnc person, I have one to call on.

2. Foreclosures: La Trinidad: Last Sunday a contractor and I visited the property to assess what needed to be done and to speak with a neighbor who complained that the building was dumping rain water on his property... and on his illegal construction... We came up with a plan... which was to separate the rain water from the black water, drain the rain water into a tank and put in a pump to pump it up to the road way. This was not a good plan because pumps always fail either mechanically or the electricity fails but one that could work even though I was not a happy about it plan... Later that day after working my way down a bottle of rum, I had a stroke of genius (I thought)... Use gravity to flow the rain water... all I had to do was to verify that the rainwater gutter was sufficiently higher than the street drainage... I sent the contractor to determine the fall... only about 6" from back to front... 120m... not enough... well, there goes that idea... In the discussions, he mentioned something which I was missing...and again, I had learned this on the District Cuatro property... (but had again forgotten the lesson)... the land is probably more valuable than the land with terrible construction. So now the plan is to raize it... I have a squatter living there for the past three years... I asked the contractor to speak with him and with the neighbor... advise them of the plan, and ask them for cooperation and if they knew of anyone locals wanting jobs, a truck, and a bobcat...

4. San Bosco: On Monday I drove up (about 45 min.) to see if the electricity was on and to meet with two locals... I thought they were working together but later realized they do work together but in this case, were working independently... so they were competitors... each wanted either the land for dairy cattle pasture or the grass for feed. I determined I really did not want cattle on the property but did not completely rule it out. In return, they would look after the property. I made a deal with one..the same one I had previously hired to cut the grass around the house... He had proven reliable up to that point so ...and I agreed to allow him to put cattle on the property believing that with cattle there, he would be more attentive to the house... o.k. deal done... I gave him keys to the new locks. Tuesday I received a foto of a broken key and a message that the key had broken off and was stuck inside the these were new locks, all worked very smoothly... I send the contractor up to deal with it... What had happened was that the farmer did not know how the lock worked!!!!! two turns clockwise, 1/2 turn counter clockwise and then withdraw the key... nope... WTF!!!!!... brawn, not brains... but...

5. INS lawsuit... after 3+ weeks I finally had a conversation with the lead attorney; I wanted an assessment of my case relative to the three other cases they were leading and with the various other cases involved in this issue. Basically we are waiting on a judge to enforce a Tribunal's decision in my favor. Based on other cases slightly advanced from mine, the ruling will be favorable but it will also be appealed by INS... I am looking at another two years...

6. Los Jardines: Fortunately, most of the two person work has been completed... The person I called back from vacation and the gardener can handle most of the current work... if I need another, I have the independent contractor to call on. and yes, we still have the inevitable on-going problems... gate failed and a hot water heater failed. kitchen faucet failed, fixing an idiot's "renovation" in which he removed the frig to a different room and put in a pantry... what a completely stupid move... wow!!! or the young gardner who over fills the pool, who doesn't clean the waste trap on the waterfalls so the falls work / filtration system works, and who orders food delivery, forgets, doesn't have his phone on, doesn't have enough money to pay for it when a tenant steps in and pays for it, someone leaves for months and leaves perishable items in the frig which needs to be cleaned out. Our guests need to be let in and the unit needs to be locked up when they leave... it never ends...

7. Rental activity: I continue to show 105... clients usually show late and or cancel at the last minute... no commitments...

News Items of the Week


1. Soccer / Futbol: It is serious business in CR. Somehow this article from last week did not make it into the newsletter but CR won over New Zealand and is now going to the World Cup... this is a big deal for CR... I remember it happening about 7 years ago... the whole country shut down and that was all the news there was... CR was eliminated after three games as I remember but it was a great time for the country.

2. Exchange rate: the CR central bank defended it last week driving it to around 690 --now it is back to around 699... The central bank is reported to have lost $32 mil playing this fools game. And as the article points out, it had to loan $20+ mil to "non-banking sector entities... these are goverrment agencies that are broke... e. ICE. The foreign reserves are virtual peanuts... the solution? borrow more money and to require banks to keep more reserves... well that cripples business activity because banks have no money now to loan.

3. Ruta 27: Preventative mtnc is done year round and each year the same thing happens. It really does not take a genius to figure out that an 80 degree angle of incline is going to collapse as soon as it gets wet... Normal is 45 degree and in this soil, it is less... duh!!!!!! and we are at Tropical Wave #10... and we are in the front half of the rainy season...

4. Diesel: Big reduction after bigger increases... but still very expensive... and still no apparent reduction of cars on the road.

5. Salary Increase: I can understand this but the optics are not great... regardless of the rationale.

6. Digital Nomads: Regardless of what you think of the idea, CR has totally, as usual, screwed it up.

2. Exchange rate reaches a new high of ¢694.43 in the wholesale market

Exchange rose ¢8.17 during the week on the Monex, despite an injection of US$32.1 million from the Central Bank. At the commercial banks, the price rose again to ¢699.

QCOSTARICA – Despite an injection of US$32.1 million from the Banco Central de Costa Rica (BCCR) – Central Bank, the exchange rate experienced another high, rising ¢8.17 this week.

The dollar closed this Friday at ¢694.43 in the Mercado de Monedas Extranjeras (MONEX) – Foreign Currency Market, which means a new maximum value for the currency.

On June 3, the high of ¢692.33 had been reported, the day on which, precisely, the Cental Bank announced a series of measures to mitigate exchange rate pressures.

The dollar exchange opened the week (on Monday) ¢686.26, according to data published by the Central Bank on its website.

At the commercial banks, most reported a sale price of ¢699, while the buy between ¢681 and ¢685.

The increase in the exchange rate occurred despite the fact that the BCCR intervened, in three of the five weekly Monex sessions, and sold US$32.1 million to meet the demand for foreign exchange from wholesale market participants. The injection of foreign currency accounted for 47% of the total purchase-sale of dollars for the week, with US$67.5 million traded.

Additionally, the Central Bank provided US$20.6 million to non-banking public sector entities during this week. The currencies sold by the BCCR are taken from its international reserves, which, until this Thursday, reported a balance of US$6.266 billion.

Róger Madrigal, president of the Central Bank, announced on June 3, a series of measures in the foreign exchange market. One was to reduce the time of Monex sessions to one hour a day, from 12 noon to 1 pm. Previously, it was 10 am to 1 pm.

In addition, in order to recover its future reserves and be in a more comfortable position to intervene in the market, the institution initiated steps to request a loan of US$1,000 million from the Fondo Latinoamericano de Reservas (FLAR) – Latin American Reserve Fund.

Additionally, the Board of Directors of the Central Bank agreed, this Wednesday, June 15, to increase the minimum legal reserve (percentage of deposits that entities must reserve in the Central Bank) for operations in colones. The entity will take the percentage from the current 12% to 13.5% in the first half of July 2022, and to 15% from the second half of July 2022.

3. Drivers are asked to use great caution on the Ruta 27

Rain or shine, moderate your speed on the Ruta 27, in particular in areas prone to landslides.

In past several weeks, tropical waves have meant heavy downpours in most areas of the country, also affecting the 78 kilometers of the Ruta 27 in different points.

For this, Saturday, Jun 18, the national weather service, the Instituto Metereologico Nacional (IMN), in the morning we will have warming and a feeling of sultriness due to the entry of humidity from the Pacific. In addition, tropical wave #10 will be advancing through the country in the evening and night; Given this, we will continue with a pattern of rains and downpours with storms in the Pacific and North Zone during the afternoons, while for the Central Valley and the Caribbean mountains, the rains are more isolated.

In other words, drive with care. Not only on the Ruta 27.

4. Approved a reduction of ¢102 diesel and ¢2 in super and regular gasoline

Adjustments will come into force the day after their publication in the Gazette.

QCOSTARICA – The Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Públicos (ARESEP) – Public Services Regulatory Authority – approved a decrease of ¢102 colones in the price of a liter of diesel fuel and ¢2 in super and regular gasoline.

This price change resulted from a change in the calculation methodology combined with a government decree for gasoline consumers to subsidize the cost of diesel. The change in the methodology consists in the fact that, instead of using reference costs, Aresep agreed to estimate the local prices of fuels based on the real import costs of the Refinadora Costarricense de Petróleo (Recope), as well as maritime transport items, insurance and local freight.

The adjustment announced in May would have seen a reduction of ¢28 per liter in super gasoline, ¢27 in regular, and ¢43 in diesel, however, the executive decree, issued last week, the three reductions are combined to apply only to diesel.

In this way, the price of a liter of diesel will go from the current ¢1012 to ¢910, a liter of super from ¢1062 to ¢1060 and the liter of regular from ¢1024 to ¢1022.

Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) will also have a slight decrease, for example, from ¢10,434 to ¢10,372, of a 25-pound tank used by more than half of Costa Rican households.

Mario Mora, Mayor of Energy of ARESEP, explained that the biggest reduction in diesel is due to the fact that consumers of super and regular gasoline are temporarily subsidizing diesel consumers.

Erick Ulate, president of Consumers of Costa Rica, assures that it is not fair that only part of the population benefits and that it is done temporarily.

The new rates will come into force the day after their publication in the Official Gazette, which is expected in the coming days.

5. Chaves decress pay hike for ministers and deputy ministers

QCOSTARICA – “It is difficult to recruit people,” were the words by president Rodrigo Chaves prior to taking office on May 8 and again on Wednesday when announcing a pay hike for ministers and deputy ministers, from ¢1.3 million to ¢2.6 million colones monthly.

“What I am doing is rectifying the fact that in the last 12 years base salaries have been frozen. It does not seem appropriate to me and I think that to the majority it should be clear that it is not worth it for a hierarch who has administrative and legal responsibilities to earn 30% of what his subordinates earn,” said Chaves.

Recruiting people for high level government positions has been difficult. “These are unsustainable salaries compared to the market,” Chave said during a press conference after a cabinet (Governing Council) session.

Base salaries of the ministers have been frozen at ¢1,357,000 monthly and ¢1,302,650 monthly for deputy ministers, since the administration of Laura Chinchilla (2010-2014) when the decision was made halfway through her term.

The measure was maintained by her successors, Luis Guillermo Solís (2014-2018) and Carlos Alvarado (2018-2022), who both signed respective executive decrees to extend the salary freeze.

The salary adjustment, retroactive to June 1, will take effect once the decree is published in the official government newsletter, La Gaceta.

The President, in his announcement and backed up by his Ministro de Hacienda (Minister of Finance), Nogui Acosta, stressed that the salary hike will not mean an increase in government spending, rather it will be compensated with reductions in the payroll of the corresponding ministries.

Acosta explained that there is a remnant of resources because of vacancies not filled, for example, and other reasons that an established salary was not paid out (spent). “There is enough space to budget there,” said the Finance Minister, adding that an extraordinary budget is not needed to complete the resources, but only a reclassification in the remuneration item.

“We comply with all the requirements of the law and I think we are doing the right thing. That is not going to trigger the fiscal deficit,” added Chaves.

6. Costa Rica continues to close the doors to the formal arrival of digital nomads

Almost eight months have passed to regulate the activity in the country

QCOSTARICA – The stay of a remote worker and their family for a period of six months would generate income for Costa Rica around ¢15 million colones (US$22,000), according to the initial estimates of the proposal that allowed the approval of the Ley de Nómadas Digitales (Digital Nomads Law).

However, after almost eight months of waiting for a regulation for the arrival of foreigners who wish to settle in Costa Rica to work remotely, the country continues to lose out for the recovery of a sector that is barely beginning to rise from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Despite the fact that a first draft proposal for this regulation has already been presented, various sectors claimed that the text went against what the approved legislation proposed and that it would not work to compete with other destinations that also struggle to attract digital nomads.

The National Chamber of Tourism (Canatur), the Costa Rican Foreign Trade Promoter (Procomer), the Costa Rican Coalition of Development Initiatives (Cinde), the Costa Rican Chamber of Information and Communication Technologies (Camtic) and several legislators have pressed for that a regulation be presented that reduces the number of procedures for foreigners to establish themselves in the country.

The current Minister of Tourism, William Rodríguez, described it as inconceivable that at this point the regulation has not been prepared.

“We feel that the regulation, instead of facilitating or creating more interest for these people to come to Costa Rica, what it is doing is discouraging it,” Rodríguez said in an interview La Republica.

The last “cry to heaven” was given by the Partido Liberacion Nacional (PLN) legislators, Paulina Ramírez and Carolina Delgado, who called the government of Rodrigo Chaves to account for the delay.

“We also want to know if the concerns of the various sectors have been addressed, especially the National Chamber of Tourism regarding this regulation and how the concerns would have been remedied,” said Ramírez.

The liberationist sent a letter to the Minister of the Presidency, Natalia Díaz, to express her discomfort at the delay in the regulation, which prevents the economic reactivation of the tourism sector and the activities that revolve around this union.

For her part, Carolina Delgado, questioned the excessive number of requirements that would rather scare away digital nomads, as other sectors have already pointed out.

“We are still waiting for different government institutions to reach an agreement in order to have a viable regulation to be able to implement this law that would bring great development to Costa Rica,” said Delgado.

The last update of this legislation was carried out by the previous legislators, who approved that digital nomads who want to work in Costa Rica do not have to apply for a full year, but can do so for a shorter period.

In addition, an article was included so that the procedures carried out by these long-stay tourists are more agile and avoid bureaucratic processes that make it difficult for remote workers to choose Costa Rica.

  • The Digital Nomads project was approved in second and final debate by legislators on July 13, 2021
  • The bill was signed into law by former President Carlos Alvarado on August 11, 2021
  • The law was published in the official newsletter La Gaceta on September 1, 2021
  • The regulations should have been ready at the beginning of November 2021
  • A draft of the regulation was not presented until March 2022
  • The draft was criticized by various sectors for its excessive red tape
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