A Magnificent Flowering Tree

ISSUE #181: March 23-29, 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.


We are assessing the extent to which we want to combat the negative news in the US economy. We hear that great opportunities exist to buy in the sunbelt areas of the US and expect that some of our potential clients might do that. Those who do not want to live in the US and / or those who know the advantages of living in CR will still be in the market. We have reaffirmed our strategy to attract the attention of those people when they are in CR. For the most part, we will work on positioning our website, continue with successful, local advertising, and work up some targeted marketing. We will sit out the blood bath going on in the US real estate market. Based on current sales, we should be able to build out Phase 1 and 2 with the current exception of the Maya Tower. In a year, the bloodbath in the US will likely be through it's worst, we expect to pick up a few buyers who want live in CR, and once we start construction, we fully expect a number of Tico purchasers will become interested.

Yellow Tree: Actually we have two near buildings 11 A & B. Fortunately, both are located where they can be saved. I've always wanted one of these now I have two—the smaller one needs to have several encroaching trees cut away such that it can reach it's full potential. I'm not sure of the local name but according to a book I have and IF I've correctly matched the tree to the description, it is described as: One of the most beautiful diciduous trees in the world. It grows to 75ft., with a spreading crown of masses of bright yellow, bell-shaped flowers, which last for about 2 months, beginning in March. The only difference between that description and our tree is that the flowers only lasted for a week.

In addition to these two gems, we have a medium pink flowering tree (it will have to be moved to a different location), a number of different yellow flowering trees (not as spectacular), and several trees with small violet flowers. We will add some other flowering trees to round out our garden.

Client Review: We have a client in from the US who's bought a number of units sight unseen. He correctly conceived the development and the views from the units he purchased. There are no surprises; he's made good choices.

Bank Financing: While not a priority for us or our clients at this point in time, I had a 2nd. Conversation with a representative from a large European bank. They are really interested in 4 and 5 Star branded projects of $150M. We're n ot in that bracket and I didn't expect to hear from him again. However, he sounded out our level of interest if he were to cobble together a group of developers that would be independent of each other but when combined, would meet the banks threshhold. Since the terms and condions he outlined were consistent with what we want, I indicated that we would be interested. It's nice to kow that there are some entrepreneurial bankers. We'll see.


Realignment of duties and responsibilities: The contract with the architect is still being finalized—we may make it work or maybe not. He will be paid for work done to date (renderings, floor plans, and associated work). The next payment date will be when permits for each house are issued. He will be responsible for preparing all drawings except electrical and structural drawings on buildings over two stories and for applying for permits. When the permits are issued, he will be paid a substantial portion. The final payment would occur when the building is water tight and grey work is completed—according to regulatory authorities, a competent (architect / engineer) needs see that the construction follows the drawings.

Gaviones: What are gaviones? They are retaining walls made of rock held in a galvanised wire baskets about 1m high by 1m wide by 3m long. We've applied for permits to build 40 m. When this is done, we will apply for another 40 me. And so on. Why the 40m. limit? Because it is a faster approval as the Municipalidad issues the permits.

Office Building: Final changes to the drawings are now completed. We will be applying to the City for a permit in approximately 2 weeks. We do not plan on building this right away but having the permit in-hand will allow us flexibility when we are ready to build it.


Dogs: For the past several months this has become an increasingly aggravating issue. Dog owners here somehow think they don't have to comply with the various regulations commonly observed in N. Am. The most frequent irritants are: allowing their dog to run loose with no supervision, uncontrolled barking, no cleaning up after pooping, allowing the dog into the pool area or into the pool itself. The rules are very clearly stated; this is not a case of ignorance, it's more cases of "I don't give a damn, I'm doing it anyway" attitude… Well non-dog owners do give a damn and there in lies the battlegrounds.

For Lease:

Unit106C: Probably Leased

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 en-suite 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. April 15

Unit 123: Same as Unit 121 but furnished differently and a nicer view. This unit looks over the garden and small pool as well as it has a view of the southern mountains from the 2nd. Floor terrace. May 1

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 ??????? We sent notices again and will continue to do so on a weekly basis to about 150 RE agents this week.


March 28, 2008
Record Popularity
Halfway his second term as President of Costa Rica, and in comparison to the preceding four administrations, doctor Oscar Arias enjoys record support from the people, since 50 percent rank his performance as “good” to “very good”, while only 14 percent say it is “bad”.

March 28, 2008
Confidence Index Peaks
The confidence index –0.0 to 3.0 range– for the Government increased from 2.36 in August 2007 to 2.55 in March 2008, the highest point since January 2003.

March 28, 2008
Public Debt Decreases
The public debt recorded a spectacular reduction over the last five years.

March 28, 2008
The Road to China
Decoration plants and coffee lead the trade that Costa Rica activated upon establishing diplomatic ties with China and the opening of a Foreign Trade Promoter (PROCOMER in Spanish) office in the world’s most populated nation.

March 28, 2008
$2.1 Billion in Fuels
Costa Ricans are burning fuels at a $6-million daily rate, for an overall $2.1 billion at the end of the year, $600 million over the $1.5 billion forecast by the Costa Rican Oil Refinery (RECOPE in Spanish).

March 28, 2008
1,600 Pounds of Cocaine
The police confiscated 740 kilos (1,600 pounds) of cocaine a in van driven by a Costa Rican, 28, identified only by the family name Valverde.

March 27, 2008
Costa Rican Island Prison To Become Tourist Destination
(Costa Rica News) The island of San Lucas, 40 minutes away from the Port City of Puntarenas, in the Gulf of Nicoya, is soon to become a popular tourist destination.

March 26, 2008
Costa Rican President: Dalai Lama Asks for Help Initiating Dialogue with China
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (The Associated Press): Costa Rican President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Oscar Arias said Tuesday that the Dalai Lama has asked him to help start talks with China over unrest in Tibet.

March 26, 2008
Costa Rican President's Popularity Reaches New High
(The Tico Times) President Oscar Arias is more popular now than at any other point during his term, according to the polling firm Unimer.

March 26, 2008
Foreign Drug 'Mules' Busted in Costa Rica
(The Tico Times) The number of drug-trafficking “mules” being foiled at the country's airports has spiked in recent months. A mule is slang for a person who trafficks drugs on their person, often in their stomachs or rectums, as they cross borders.

March 26, 2008
Dengue Fever Reduced in Costa Rica
San Jose, Mar 26 (Prensa Latina) Costa Rica showed a reduction on the index of dengue fever affected people Wednesday, according to the last record by the Costa Rica Public Health Ministry.

March 25, 2008
‘U.S. Crisis Will Affect Growth, Exports, Tourism’
SAN JOSÉ(IPS) - The possibility of a recession in the United States is already causing repercussions in Costa Rica, where exports and the value of real estate in tourist areas are expected to contract, according to the president of the country’s Central Bank, Francisco de Paula.

March 25, 2008
Guide to Property Investment in Costa Rica
(homemove.co.uk) Costa Rica is one of those areas dream holidays are made of, but also represents a very promising place for property investment due to its strong market.


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. We invite all purchasers both at Residencias Los Jardines and at Hacienda El Dorado to write to us to share their perspectives and opinions on why they decided to purchase and whether their expectations were met.

After retiring in Florida from Germany, I decided to leave Florida for various reasons. My pick for a new residence was Costa Rica. First there was a budget, I had to stick to - by searching the Internet, I found RLJ. Compared with the other properties in the area and price range, it seemed to me the most beautiful and desirable (landscape, property layout and construction).

The key factor for me was the landscape, layout of the property, the construction, the size of the houses and the prize/value ratio. Further very important in my decision making process were Brian's weekly reports, which looked genuine and not polished (also mentioning mishaps and delays along the way).

Since my first physical visit my expectations were not only all met, but exceeded up to this day I think it is an exciting place to come home to.

I certainly would recommend other people to buy into Brian's new project - for me he has the perfect vision to meet my comfort level - everything tastefully and well appointed, without going over board, but still staying within a budget

Based on my experience in RLJ, I am sure Hacienda El Dorado will be another master piece. I am leaving for Guanacaste only for personal reasons - I will still keep my two properties in RLJ, as an excellent investment and with the thought to use it for myself at a later time.

Martin Caunits



Weather: Heavy winds and dust storms from the construction next door have played havoc with our quality of life. There seems to be nothing we can do about getting the company to control the dust—no watering, no modification of earth moving techniques, etc. We'll have to suffer for another month or so until the rainy season begins.

Paul had a minor car accident about two weeks ago. He dented the door of a car which turned into his right-of-way. He's decided to fight the issue. So far, he's spent several days providing paper work and a preliminary hearing, several hundred dollars on a lawyer, and he's only beginning. I suggested the cheapest and easiest way to resolve this issue was to just pay to have the door fixed and move on. He's now beginning to wish he'd followed my suggestion.

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