Life Meets Hollywood; Torrid Rio Oro

ISSUE #190: May 26-31, 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 availability. 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.


Webdesign Work is still on-going. In addition to the search feature, we now have links to various groups--business, health care, shopping, etc. We will be adding to these groups over time.

Sales: We continue to discuss the sale of 5 additional units with an investor. We expect the completed contract of one other unit to be in-hand next week. Redesign of Bldgs.18 and 14 may yield an additional sale. We are waiting on the architect to advance that conversation. One of our potential purchasers interested in unit 19-B has not been able to formalize her contract as she is awaiting a bank to approve a mortgage of a person who had purchased her house in Escazu. She hopes to have that finalized this coming week in order to be able to proceed with the purchase of 19-B.

Trees:  We started to clear out 30 mostly small, insignificant trees in areas where roads and buildings are slated to go. This is being done under a MINAE approved cutting plan.

Fill: It's been too wet to add additional fill.



Office Building: We continue to wait for the permit.

El Dorado Site Plan

Click here to view high resolution site plan:

Fence: Not much got done because of 4 days of rain.

Use of the Well Water: Last week I wrote:  Getting the D1 didn't happen this week but we are assured it should happen by the middle of next week.  We'll see.  Well, it didn't happen.  We are now told that it was reviewed by the committee and is now expected to be signed by, i.e, approved by, the committee members by Tuesday/Wednesday. 

Note: There isn't much that happens in CR that is not a struggle. Any schedule you set you should probably double it and add 20%.

As per what I was told the D1 will be ready this coming week. (This would be the week of May 19)

As for the MINAE concession, we are looking at about 4-6 weeks, instead of an average of 6 months.

If this comes to pass, it is the best news I've heard in a long time. However, we must remember that this is CR and construction so while I am cautiously optimistic, I'm not yet dancing in the street.

Torrid Rio Oro: 
We developed a new respect for the stream. During the dry season, a person can step across the stream at virtually any place without much fear of getting wet. Over the past 4 days of virtually continuous rain, we had a good chance to see the effects on the stream--which grew into the Mississippi--almost. There were no surprises and none of our plans need to be changed but the volume and the flow rate confirmed our original plan--respect Mother Nature and the Natural Order of Things.




Website Upgrade / Marketing: Photos of  Residencias Los Jardines, the Santa Ana area and some of the houses are now available on line at

Life Meets Hollywood--Unfortunately: This story may not yet be over; for obvious reasons, I'm going to be somewhat vague and all names have been changed.

Background:  Jim and his wife came to CR at the request of Robert, to be the help me set up and manage a business he was starting.  Robert was like a brother to Jim even though they are not fraternal; Robert was virtually adopted by Jim's parents at a young age; they grew up together.  About 4 years ago Robert married his current wife whose family is loaded to the gills with ill gotten $$. A family member is currently in prison for appears to be fraud, SEC violations, and who knows what else.  It seems that his wealth bought  LOTS of land here in CR.  It may be that he's still pulling the strings from his jail cell.  Anyway, it seems that all this wealth justifies a private security force of slightly less than 20 who are really into paramilitary culture--guns, knives, jungle fatigues, etc.

Current Story It appears that about  10 days ago, a marital disbute between Robert and his wife happened.  She threw him out but not before she had several members of the inner security guard beat him up.  She told Jim this.  She also said she had Robert in some secure location about 2 1/2 hrs from San Jose.  Jim has not been able to get in touch with Robert--he's disappeared-- and doesn't know where he is.  Jim was subsequently advised by some of the outer circle of security guards that it was no longer safe for him here.  He's been followed; his actions monitored; his cell phone cancelled; He's obviously worried about Robert but he's also worried abou his own safety and that of his family.  As of now, he plans on putting his family on a plane to NY very soon  and he'll follow shortly thereafter.  I'm sure there is more to the story--and I don't every expect to know it all--and I suspect the story may not yet be over.

Rain and Drainage: 
We had a good chance to review the drainage.  One pump connection failed.  We now have a back up and will redesign the connection.  All in all, everything worked well. 

Sales: Paperwork is progressing. We have an expression of interest in leasing 120 and an offer on Unit 114. We'll see what develops on each of the latter two.

Units for Sale/Lease:

Unit 114 - For Sale

Total Area (Sq Ft):1290
Total area (Sq M):120
Floor(s):Single Floor
Type: Attached

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.

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Unit 124 - For Rent

Total Area (Sq Ft):662
Total area (Sq M):61
Floor(s):2nd Floor

This 662 sf, + covered parking for one car, is a one bedroom home on the 2nd floor overlooking the large pool. It is ideal for a single person or couple.

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Unit #103 - For Sale/Leased

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1000
Total area (Sq M): 93
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Floor(s): 1
Type: Detached
Furnished: Yes

This 1,000 sq ft., (plus parking for one car) detached, single story fully furnished home, which features two bedrooms, two bathrooms (one is en-suite), living room, dining and kitchen area and a private backyard terrace. The vaulted, insulated ceilings in the living room and master bedroom offer fresh air and cool temperatures all the time.

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Unit #107 - For Sale

Total Area (Sq Ft):1716
Total area (Sq M):158
Floor(s):2 Story

This 1,716 sf. (plus parking for one car) two story, detached house, with three terraces, two bedrooms (one on each floor) and upstairs master suite is a beautiful home. This home consists of two VERY large bedrooms (one on each floor) with en-suite bathrooms and a powder room, each with large closets with extensive built-ins for personal organization. The vaulted living room and ground floor bedroom ceilings as well as the master bedroom on the 2nd floor, provide a feeling of grandeur while allowing the warmer air to rise and exit through the ceiling ventilating system. There are three TVs (one in each bedroom and one in the living room.) This is a beautiful home. There is a rough-in for a dishwasher in the kitchen area.

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Unit #120 - Available for Rent

Total Area (Sq Ft):1312
Total area (Sq M):122
Floor(s):1 Story

This 1,312 sf single floor home includes a 300 sf front terrace plus parking for one car. It is an end unit and therefore attached on only one side providing ample lighting and views. The 6 inch cement demising (common) wall prevents sound transfer. This is a very nicely furnished and accented home.

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The Alta Hotel

If you are looking for a premium boutique hotel in San Jose, Costa Rica …. you are at the right place. Small, special, intimate, The Alta Hotel consists of only 23 units: 16 double rooms, 6 suites, and 1 Master suite. The beautifully sculpted hotel cascades down the hill (Alto de Las Palomas) providing exquisite views of San Jose and the surrounding volcanoes and valley. The carved look melds different styles --- Spanish-Moorish medieval, countryside elegant --- into one graceful structure. The vaulted ceilings in the Paseo and wide stone stairway lead castle-like from the reclusive guest rooms to La Luz Restaurant. We want people to feel as if they have arrived at an extremely gentile hacienda. The setting is warm and elegant, but not pretentious. Go up to your room and relax, soon an exquisite feast will be served in La Luz. The rooms have an overall look of elegant austerity. The finishes are rustic because, in the words of the interior designer, "The grace of imperfection is more important than graceless perfection." Perhaps the finest features of the hotel are the large balconies that overlook the Valley of the Sun and bring the best of Costa Rica (the nature outside) into the room. Here is a great place to enjoy the fusion cuisine of La Luz in the rays of the departing sun…or admire the pond-like, cobalt blue-tiled elliptical swimming pool. The Alta Hotel, among the finest of Costa Rica's small boutique hotels, offers its exclusive guests a sublime combination of pampering services, understated luxury, and San Jose's finest cuisine. Here is the hotel to begin your journey into Costa Rica's natural splendor, to relax after a business meeting, to enjoy your wedding or honeymoon, or to indulge yourself after days in the wild before departing for the nearby international airport. Alta Hotel is your luxurious home away from home.

Phone: 2282-4160   
Fax: 2282-4162



Eligio was born in 1951 in Puriscal, a small village up in the mountains about one hour drive west from San Jose. He was born to a large family of eleven. His father dedicated himself to farming while his mother took care of the household.  Aside of his six sisters and two brothers, he quietly admitted that there were other siblings, brothers and sisters, that passed away at a very young age because they did not have access to adequate health care and medical facilities close to their home. At the age of 57, Eligio is single, never married, without children. Eligio was brought to the construction site of Hacienda El Dorado by Alejandro (interview with him was published in this newsletter last week), who is married to Eligio's sister Rosalina.

Eligio never completed his primary education. He barely finished the sixth grade when poverty forced him out to work. Although public education is free in Costa Rica, his family could not afford providing him with the necessary school supplies and needed him to help out support the rest of the family. At the age of 11, he made his way to San Jose to join his relatives and started seeking employment. He often worked multiple jobs on construction sites or as a security guard. When asked what he does in his free time, he responds by saying he usually finds some other work to do. He loves gardening so he helps out many people keep up their gardens, a job that pays some 3 dollars an hour.


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June 02, 2008
Living in Costa Rica’s Santa Ana, a San Jose Suburb
(Costa Rica Pages) The best thing that has happened to me in Costa Rica was to start living in Santa Ana. I did not know it so well then, but I had some friends living there and always really liked the place, if only for its warmer and drier climate.

May 31, 2008
Ticos Survive TACA Airline Crash
(Inside Costa Rica) Airline officials confirm that 24 Costa Ricans were among the survivors of the TACA airplane that crashed in Honduras on Friday.

May 30, 2008
Only 500 Wardens
(La Nacion) Twenty-six percent of the territory of Costa Rica is protected, but there are only 500 wardens for the prevention of deforestation, poaching –particularly of endangered species–, and the misuse of wilderness areas.

May 30, 2008
(La Nacion) As part of the efforts to be less dependent on oil, starting next October, only gasoline with ethanol and diesel with bio-diesel will be available at Costa Rican gas stations.

May 30, 2008
Costa Rica Living in the Central Valley: Santa Ana Is Home for Me.
( This is the second in a series of three articles on desirable towns west of San Jose. When I was still living in Florida, preparing to make Costa Rica my home, I decided I wanted to live in Santa Ana. My online research and a two-week visit to the Central Valley clinched the decision for me.

May 30, 2008
Dole Standard Fruit Company of Costa Rica Honored with Prestigious Industry Excellence Award
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dole Food Company announced today that for the second time in its history, Dole Standard Fruit Company de Costa Rica S.A. has been presented the “2007 Overall Excellence Award” bestowed by the Costa Rican Industry Association. This is the most prestigious honor that a company can obtain in Costa Rica. Standard Fruit also won the award in 2000.

May 30, 2008
Costa Rica May Soon See a Mega-Marina in Limon
(Costa Rica Pages) SolerPazos Group has announced that it will go ahead with plans to build a marina in Moin, Limon on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. Isla Moin, as it will be called, will become the first mega marina in Costa Rica and will include a luxury hotel, 600 condominiums, 100 homes and 100 ocean view villas amid its 113 hectares and 2.5 kilometers of beach front land. The marina itself will have 500 spaces for the yachts and “mega-yachts”.

May 30, 2008
900 Trapped In Cerro de la Muerte Rescued
(Inside Costa Rica) Some 900 people had to endure the cold, rain and mud for almost 40 hours after being trapped since Thursday in the area known as Cerro de la Muerte, on the Intermaricana Sur highway between San José and Perez Zeledon, due to some 15 mudslides that blocked and closed off some 10 kilometres of the highway.

May 29, 2008
Tropical Storm Alma Lashes Central America
MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) — Tropical Storm Alma lashed the coast of Central America with heavy rains and high winds on Thursday after becoming the first such storm of the eastern Pacific season.

May 29, 2008
Tropical Storm Alma Dumping Down on Costa Rica
(The Tico Times) The National Emergency Commission (CNE) has issued a red alert, its highest alert, for Guanacaste and the Central Pacific as the unrelenting rains from tropical storm Alma flood the coast.

May 28, 2008
Real Intercontinental to Invest $40M in Costa Rica Tower
(Costa Rica Pages) In the Escazú Guachipelín neighborhood, you’ll find beautiful homes, intimate neighborhoods, friendly neighbors and now, one more addition: the Hotel Real Intercontinental has begun construction of a tower worth $40 million.

May 27, 2008
Embattled President of Costa Rica's Olympic Committee Agrees to Leave Post
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (Associated Press) The embattled president of Costa Rica's Olympic Committee has finally agreed to step down.



Weather: We had 4 days of continuous rain as the Pacific based tropical storm developed into a low grade hurricane over Nicaragua. We got lots of rain but virtually no wind.


What to do in the Rain? Do the stuff you hate doing--filing, cleaning, organizing, etc.


Surrounding Construction: We are surrounded by construction: Kirebe, a large CR developer, continues to build to our east. Two different sites, each having about 85 doors. Two small Tico type lots appear to being readied for construction. One corner lot at the beginning of our street is also under construction with what I'm told will be a three story office building.......I hope the parking will nr underneath on the ground level because there is no other place to park.  However, not having parking never stopped an building permit from being issued.

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