Life Meets Hollywood; Torrid Rio Oro

ISSUE #192: June 7-14, 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: Jan continues to add content and links to the website.

Sales: Jan was in Granada, Nicaragua, this past week so not much new. He sent a couple of pictures, which we publish in the OUR LIVES section. 


Office Building: We continue to wait for the permit.


Fence: This moves slowly along. The cement block work is nearly done; parging is underway.

Use of the Well Water: The D1 has been issued although we don't have it "in hand". We have to make a physical exchange of a sworn affidavit saying we are who we are and then we will get the actual document. This is suppose to happen Monday or Tuesday. Once we have the document, we will apply for the Concession, i.e. the right to use the water. What does the D1 say? Basically, that there are no environmental concerns relating to the well. The time table for the issuance of this was the week of May 19. Three weeks later, we have it. The "4-6 weeks" time line for the MINAE concession was someone's hallucinogenic dream. In light of what we now believe to be the procedure, we are trying to determine the time line.

Gaviones: We plug along at these--see pictures. They are rock retaining walls which will allow us to level building lots 14-17.


Redesign Buildings 14 and 18: Both of these buildings saw site plan changes which really required a redesign of the buildings. On Friday I sat with the architect and we hammered these out. I'll review them and hopefully, we'll be able to move ahead.


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

"Mac" Our German Sheppard guard dog was relocated to a new home in Ciudad Colon. It was a sad day for some of us but it was a business decision we had to make. He was just too enthusiastic in doing his job and got confused some times.

Sales: We have an accepted offer on 103. The vendor is distracted for personal issues and hasn't been able to advance his end of the paperwork. We wait.

Rentals: We leased 120. Unit 112 is now available.

Units for Sale/Lease:

Unit 123 - For Rent
Total Area (Sq Ft):1516
Total area (Sq M):140
Floor(s):2 Story

This two story, detached 1,423 sf home + parking for one car has two bedrooms, 2 ½ bathrooms and a 2nd floor covered terrace.

The open railed wrought iron cement stair case leads to the 2nd level where the master bedroom with en-suite master bathroom as well as 2nd bedroom and en-suite bathroom are located. Also accessed from the 2nd floor hallway is the covered terrace.

This is a very nicely furnished home with a good floor plan for those wanting two floors.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More


El Novillo Alegre Restaurante

For authentic Argentinian cuisine you must try EL NOVILLO ALEGRE. Owned and operated by Argentinians, this restaurant offers the highest quality cuts of beef including the famous Bife de Chorizo also known as New York Steak, and many other specialties like grilled provolone cheese, empanadas and brochettes. Also available are many chicken and veal dishes, as are salads and so many Argentine specialties, a wide selection of Argentine specialties and a wide selection of Argentinian and International wines.
Phone: 2203-4753



Alonso is probably one of the youngest guys -- if not THE youngest -- working on the construction site of Hacienda El Dorado. He is only 16. He is Costa Rican and lives just a couple of blocks away from the job site, although he was born in Perez Zeledon, a city on the Inter American Highway about two hours drive south from San Jose. His uncle Roberto, our security guard, recommended Alonso to our foreman Sylias.

Since his parents separated last year, he, his mom and his siblings moved to Santa Ana where all the extended family from his mom's side resides. When asked why he was not in school, he responded without the need to think twice, "I don't like studying." He much more prefers hanging out with friends and riding his motorcycle. (His older brother did not finish high school either.) He does not have a girlfriend and is not currently interested in looking for one. He says he does not like the serious relationship stuff.

Alonso comes from a large family of ten. four sisters -- Estefani (26 yrs), Andrea (23 years), Katrin (19 yrs) and Alex (18 yrs), and three brothers -- Francis (18), Douglas (11) and Edward (9). His two eldest sisters are married and do not work. Katrin took up a job as a house maid back home in Perez Zeledon. Alex is still in high school. Francis took up a job in the recently inaugurated Mas X Menos supermarket in Santa Ana. His two youngest brothers Douglas and Edward are still in primary school.

Alonso now earns 41,700 colones per week, which translates into approximately $320 a month. He is happy about that although he says he does not like rain since when it rains, the workers are sent home earlier which translates into fewer hours worked and lower salary.

He has many relatives and friends in the United States who moved there to work as house maids or on construction sites. Alonso would like to one day make his way up north to get to know the United States, but he acknowledges that he would need to take some English classes first as he does not speak any English. He might take some basic English course at some point this or next year.


If your browser does not support the hyperlinks below, you can view the COSTA RICA NEWS section on our website from the following URL:


There are also new articles posted in Spanish on the following URL:


June 13, 2008
Trade Balance Deficit
(La Nacion) The gap between imports and exports of goods and services –the trade balance deficit– has widened in 2008.

June 13, 2008
Services and Production
(La Nacion) The growth in the service sector helps the continued growth of the production of Costa Rica, which has slowed down in the last two years.

June 13, 2008
Climate Change
(La Nacion) Great Britain will donate $2.3 million to fund a study of the economic impact of climate change in Central America, the British ambassador to Costa Rica Thomas John Kennedy disclosed.

June 13, 2008
(La Nacion) Ashes, lava, and gases made up the materials of an avalanche on the slopes of Arenal Volcano, which in the coming weeks reaches 40 years of continuous activity.

June 13, 2008
Donation for Victims
(La Nacion) The Inter American Development Bank donated $200,000 to the National Emergency Commission (NEC) to ease at least part of the suffering of the victims of tropical storm Alma.

June 13, 2008
Pan American Highway
(La Nacion) Even though the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation re-opened traffic on the southern Pan American Highway, the number of vehicles was much smaller than on any regular day, authorities report.

June 13, 2008
Costa Rica's San José Airport Called "Special"
(Inside Costa Rica) Costa Rica's Juan Santamaría (San José) airport is a "special" airport, special not for being "of a distinct or particular kind or character", but rather for it being one of the more dangerous airports in the region.

June 13, 2008
Costa Rica Cost of Living in Escazu & Santa Ana
( What's the cost of living like in Costa Rica?

June 10, 2008
Upward Growth in Store for Costa Rica's Capital
(Costa Rica Pages) Despite being considered the most cosmopolitan city in Central America, Costa Rica's capital city of San Jose is all but void of skyscrapers and modern building facades.

June 10, 2008
Costa Rica Hosts Meeting of UN's International Task Force on Sustainable Tourism Development
NewswireToday - San Jose, Costa Rica, 06/09/2008 - Members of the Marrakech Process meet to discuss regional and national initiatives to accelerate the shift towards sustainable consumption and production.

June 10, 2008
Fresh Tourism Initiatives in Costa Rica Presented at Expotur 2008
NewswireToday - San José, Costa Rica, 06/10/2008 - EXPOTUR 2008, Costa Rica Travel Mart and Central America's prominent travel trade show, closed on a positive note in San José with the participation of hundreds of national and international buyers and sellers.

June 09, 2008
Fresh Del Monte Buys Costa Rican Firms
(The Miami Herald) Coral Gables-based Fresh Del Monte Produce has purchased Desarollo Agroindustrial de Frutales, a producer of bananas in Costa Rica; Frutas de Exportacion, a provider of gold pineapples in Costa Rica; and an affiliated sales and marketing company, Caribana.


Weather: We had normal weather for this season.

Cycling Accident: Paul convalesces. He's bruised and battered after taking a backward summersalt over a car and landing on his butt in the road. He's very lucky that is all that happened. He was immediately attended to by a paramedic and a doctor--both passing motorists. The ambulance was there and he was in CIMA hospital in about 15 min. At CIMA he had a thorough exam--ultrasound, MRI, poked and proded by docs--and treated for abrasions, kept one night for observation, and sent home where he's been recovering all week. He's sworn off road cycling!

Reporting An Accident: I had to report my accident to the authorities. The procedure here is that when an accident occurs, the vehicles are not to be moved. A Transit Police attends the scene and completes his report. All parties get a copy of the report which really only records what the Transit cop sees. This report is then to be taken to the MOPT office having geographical authority and a statement of what happened is made. My accident occurred in the Pavas regional office. After going to the Santa Ana office and getting redirected, we set off. The office had moved twice and finding it was a struggle. After 45 min. and several wrong directions we did find it. I now wait approximately 15 Tico days to determine what happens next. In the meantime, I'm having the damage repaired. This was clearly the other guys fault as I was rear ended. We'll see.

Friends Leave: Again friends leave. Just as we were coming to know this couple, their life here fell apart when his job and life long friendship with his boss suddenly took a turn for the worse due to what appears to be a marital issue. We will miss them and they will miss Costa Rica. Now we have their unit to lease.

Granada: With an estimated population of about 116,000 (2005), is Nicaragua's fourth most populous city. It is the oldest city founded by Europeans in Central America. This is after several cities in Mexico were priorly settled by Spanish, i.e. Veracruz and Mexico City, among others. It is historically one of Nicaragua's most important cities. It is situated on the northwestern shore of Lake Cocibolca and was founded by Francisco Hernández de Córdoba on December 8, 1524. It has a rich colonial heritage, seen in its architecture and layout. Granada is commonly nicknamed the "Gran Sultana del Gran Lago" - the Great Sultan of the Great Lake. Click here to read more.

The Central Square in Granada

Hotel Alhambra: Contact Jan to get a special discounted rate if you wish to stay at one of the oldest and finest hotels located right in the historic center of the city.

The Spanish government has provided financial cooperation for the refurbishment of the city, one of the projects which currently are transforming Calle La Calzada into Peatonal (foot traffic only) Street.

Hotel Dario: Located on Calle La Calzada offers another great accommodation option in Granada. Downstairs, there is a Chocolaterie and a 4 star restaurant where a full fledged dinner for two with drinks included won't cost you more than $50.

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