A Well of Rocks & A Total Ripoff

ISSUE #179: March 10-15, 2008



When I started Residencias Los Jardines, I started writing a weekly news letter —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 resales and rental availabilty. Some readers may be interested in this information.

More and more, the content will be dominated by events of our new project, "El Dorado" for short. While the future is always uncertain, I again aim to tell it like it happens —the good, the bad, and the ugly, and that is what follows.

In an effort to make the format more interesting and visually appealing and to field inquiries re. El Dorado, the news letter is now being distributed by Jan Kozak, Marketing Manager, Hacienda El Dorado. I will remain the author.


Sales: One additional sale of a Ponce in building 19.

Realignment of duties and responsibilities: The meeting with the architect to do this was postponed until this coming Monday. We'll see what we can work out. He's great on some things and that is what we want him to focus on and leave other things which he isn't really interested in nor knowledgeable about or have the time for to others. This issue is workable and we hope to be able to resolve it and move forward.

A Well of Rocks: The first well, like the second, were capped when completed. In order to get water samples, we cut off the cap of the first well. We didn't reseal it. I had an uneasy feeling about this but felt the 6" diameter didn't represent a danger. Well it didn't to anyone falling in but it captured the imagination of the neighborhood kids who played inn that area and they proceeded to fill it with rocks. We now have a problem. We don't need the water now but we will have to remove the rocks. This is why the axiom in construction is that it something can screw up, it will.

TOTAL Ripoff: One of our Canadian purchasers filled up his rental car twice at the Total gas station in Santa Ana. The second time he paid substantially more than the first and it wasn't as empty. When he challenged the attendant, the attendant rapidly erased the meter reading. This practice at this station was reported twice in recent posting on an on-line bulletin board. Obviously, it is still happening.

Marketing: One of our purchasers has arranged for a feature article on us to appear in The Toronto Star. We have been feeding the freelance journalist info and photos. We'll see what happens.


Office Equipment: Paul has focused on upgrading and replacing office equipment. Dust and age wreck havoc on electronics. He's been fighting his way through the hook-ups and the software installations. It's nearly complete now.

For Sale: Nothing available at the moment

For Lease:

Unit106 C: Upper level with terrace views east and west. 1 / 2 bedrooms; 2 bathrooms. Huge terrace facing east; large master bedroom with king size bed. Fully furnished; 1,250 sf including the two covered terraces; $950 mo. April 1

Unit 107: Furnished: 1,716 sf (158 m2), two story, 2 1/2 bathrooms, separate built-in office area, private terrace, ground floor bedroom with 2 matrimonial beds and ensuite washroom, 2nd. floor master suite with east and west terrace, master bath with corner Jacuzzi, shower, bidet, large kitchen. $1,600 mo. April 1

Unit 109: Furnished: 1,500 sf (140m2), single floor, beautifully furnished with leather furniture and granite tables, wall unit, built in office area, large open concept LR.DR, Off., Ktch,, two bedrooms each with queen beds, two bathrooms, terrace storage room, detached--$1,600 mo. April 1

Unit 115: 1450 sf; 2 bedroom; 2 bathroom; private terrace; 42" and a 32" flat screen TVs; lots and lots of built-in cabinets; office desk, DW, W/D. VERY nicely furnished. $1,450. April 1

Unit 120: Furnished: 1,300 sf (127 m2), single level, 2 bedroom each with Queen beds, 2 bathrooms, beautifully furnished with wall unit, 42" flat screen TV + two standard TVs, DW, clothes washer/dryer, vaulted ceilings, ceiling fans, etc. $1,350 mo. May 1

Unit 121: 1,620 sf, two level; 2 bedroom, 2 1/2 bathroom (one with Jacuzzi), living room, dining room, den and kitchen on first floor, view terrace from 2nd level, fully furnished. $1,550 mo.

Note: We have a number of units coming available all at the same time as "snowbirds" return. We haven't had many inquiries lately—perhaps a result of the US economy or gaming industry downturn in CR or ???????

Controversy: We've had two occasions this week which have resulted in disagreements. These situations always create stress and are never pleasant, however, they are to be expected when dealing with "people". We are now forced to make distinctions between tenants which will result in a double standard and not the way we have nor want to operate.

One of the results of living on site is that you are always deemed "available" at any time of the day or night and are therefore expected to be at the beck and call of whomever. Sometimes, it's necessary to simply say "no" to discretionary requests.

Texas Hold'em: Continues with a growing and enthusiastic crowd.

New Adventure: One of our new purchasers ventured out on their own in a rental car. They went to Jaco, Dominical and returned through San Isidro de General and on through San Jose. They got lost on their way to Jaco, and Manuel Antonio Park, went over one of the notoriously rough roads, between Quepos and Dominical, over the highest mountain pass in CR during afternoon fog, and got lost in San Jose at night on their way back. They did just about everything wrong and survived with stories to tell. This was a learning experience and what they do know now is that even when everything goes wrong, you can still survive and have a good time.


If your browser does not support the hyperlinks below, you can view the COSTA RICA NEWS section on our website from the following URL: https://www.eldoradocostarica.com/English/News/index.php There are also new articles posted in Spanish on the following URL: https://www.eldoradocostarica.com/Spanish/News/index.php

March 14, 2008
ATA Flight to Costa Rica Canceled Before it Began
(Costa Rica Pages) The newest direct route between Miami and San Jose, Costa Rica was discontinued before it ever began.

March 14, 2008
Steinberg Offers Costa Rican 4 Escudos
(World Coin News) Steinberg's, Inc. has released its Winter 2008 price list, "Gold Coins of the World."

March 14, 2008
Minority of Costa Ricans Speak Fluent English
(Costa Rica Pages) Of all the countries of Central America, Costa Rica is on top in regard to call centers and industrial parks.

March 14, 2008
Costa Rica Government Announces Better Security Plans
(Costa Rica News) Some have criticized the government here in Costa Rica for being to lax when it comes to petty thieving and minor offenses in the community, but now the government wants to crack down harder on these types of crime and more as they aim to pass a new bill through the Legislative Assembly.

March 14, 2008
Effects of the U.S. Recession on Costa Rica Real Estate
(Costa Rica Pages) For those who have been in the country long enough, it is maybe a relief to see how the crazy pace of development and investment seems to have slowed down since the housing market in the United States collapsed.

March 14, 2008
A Faster World on the Horizon for Costa Rica
(Costa Rica Pages) Costa Rica has always lagged behind the major technological heavyweight countries of the modern world such as the United States, Japan and the majority of Europe, but recently, it has taken major steps to minimize the gap and become a more technology savvy nation.

March 14, 2008
Growth without Equality
(Latin America Press) Gap between rich and poor grows in the "Switzerland of Central America."

March 14, 2008
Orchid Exposition in Costa Rica this Weekend
(Costa Rica Pages) Costa Rica is the reigning “Orchid Champion” of the world, with an amazing 1,600 species taking root within her borders.

March 14, 2008
U.S. Drug Smuggler Caught As Swallowed Capsules Burst
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (Reuters) - An American in Costa Rica was caught smuggling nearly a pound of cocaine (0.4 kg) in his stomach after he went into convulsions on a plane bound for Miami, police said on Friday.

March 14, 2008
Rare Leatherback Turtles Gain Protection in Costa Rica
(National Geographic News) As dawn breaks on Playa Grande, the light reveals shallow sand pits where leatherback sea turtles laid their eggs the night before.

March 14, 2008
Costa Rica-Nicaragua Commission Takes on Ecotourism
(The Tico Times) GRANADA, Nicaragua -- Costa Rican and Nicaraguan tourism and environment officials sat down behind closed doors yesterday to lay the groundwork for opening up the border for ecotourists traveling between the countries and protecting binational ecological corridors.

March 14, 2008
Costa Rica Gets Mixed Grades in U.S. Human Rights Report
(The Tico Times) Costa Rica got a host of high marks on a human rights report card published recently by the United States.

March 14, 2008
Costa Rica: The Safest Country in Latin America
(La Nacion) According to the Index of Latin American Security, by FTI Consulting Ibero-America for Latin Business Chronicle, based in Miami, Florida, Costa Rica is the safest place for multi-national business and firms.

March 14, 2008
Costa Rica: Second in Tourism
(La Nacion) Costa Rica is the second best tourist destination in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to a survey by the World Economic Forum (WEF), which evaluated 130 nations.

March 14, 2008
Arias Criticizes the European Union
(La Nacion) The President of Costa Rica Dr. Oscar Arias criticized what he defined as the hypocrisy of the European Union, because it talks of free trade while subsidizing its farmers.

March 14, 2008
Another Volcano Discovered in Costa Rica
(La Nacion) In the virgin tropical forest in the vicinity of San Carlos –northern Costa Rica– scientists found a dormant volcano.

March 14, 2008
8-Digit Phones
(La Nacion) As of this March 20th, all telephones in Costa Rica will have eight digits.

March 10, 2008
Costa Rica, United States Settle Online Gambling Dispute
(The Tico Times) Costa Rica and the United States have reached a settlement on a trade dispute caused after the U.S. enacted laws designed to target online gambling.


This new section seeks to feature some of the testimonials and references we have received from purchasers at Residencias Los Jardines and Hacienda El Dorado. I knew of Brian as we both did similar real estate projects in Toronto and used some of the same trades. He had a good reputation both in his work and his relations with the trades. I visited him in CR along with one of these trades people, Phil Deckers of Deckers Electric. We were very impressed with what he did and was planning to do and decided to purchase a unit prior to it being built. We were so pleased with the first unit that we purchased a further four and sold the first at a very substantial profit. The key factor that made this project different is that it was done more on the North American level of development both in its construction and ongoing management. Brian did not cut corners as Tico developers are known to do and he delivered what he promised to do. My expectations were to be involved in a well built and well run development that I could enjoy using, sending my friends and family to and one that would appreciate in value. My expectations were more then met. I would most definitely recommend El Dorado because with the experience that Brian got in RLG the new project should be as good if not even better. If you have any further questions or comments, please feel free to contact me. Joseph Gottdenker Jgottdenker@aol.com


Weather: A number of overcast days and a couple of showers which is perfect since we really need rain. The rainy season is predicted to arrive several weeks early, ie. mid April, but this weeks weather was not part of that prediction.

Act of Kindness: A Canadian couple related to me this story: They were coming from Atenas to Santa Ana and got lost in Alejuela. They caught the attention of a girl jogger and explained their situation. The girl said that finding their way to Santa Ana from where they were would be too difficult. She offered to take them but explained that she had no money for a return bus ride. That wouldn't be a problem, said the Canadians and off they went. The Tica went way out of her way to help these lost people. They will remember Costa Rica and Ticos for that singular experience.

Monday, Hipermas: The hated-by-some entity of Wal-Mart had a 40% discount on Butterball turkeys as well as golf shirts for $4.50. I took advantage of both sales and picked up a turkey for Paul as well. The Tico Times did a price comparison amongst two other chain stores on 20 items and Hipermas came out the lowest overall but not substantially lower.

Relieved: We have now replaced all our missing and/or expired documents. Replacing documents has been a 14 mo. ordeal. Lita, who was most affected, is now relieved. We will celebrate this along with her birthday and our 24 year anniversary on Sunday. Saturday she wants to go trout fishing so guess I'll be baiting the hook.

Semana Santa: Holy Week has begun. It is the biggest holiday in the country and for the next week, the country will be virtually shut down.Traffic Friday night was ridiculous. The beaches will be filled to capacity. Our construction site is shut down as our workers go to Nicaragua.

Time Out Tavern-Escazu: Friday nights seems to have become the party night for casual dinning out. They have great food at reasonable prices and in addition to their Friday night fish and chips, they have a number of special dinners which have to date, always been great. Our group is growing to around 10 and we keep going back so …

The electricity was out all day Friday for the 2nd. time in two months. ICE was upgrading the power to supply the two developments to our east.

Brian, Lita, Hugo, irreverent Vicka, the pigeon toed parrot, and the newbies— Chico and Chica.

Previous reports