Sidelined, Floods & Squatters

ISSUE #199: July 28 - August 2, 2008


Sidelined, Floods & Squatters


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.


Sales: Still working on two custom designs and thinking about the building for lot 14. 


Squatters and Encroachment: Last week I wrote: Personally, I doubt we will agree either in principle or on a price. Unfortunately, I was right.  We're assessing the changes we need to make.

Looking north...

Looking south...

Pointing to the lot line...

Quandary: The tree still hasn't given us an indication of which direction it wants to go.

Permitting Applications:  I was told there are actually 74 different pieces of legislation that need to be taken into consideration in this process.  Wow!!!  We are now told that a number of these applications can proceed in parallel;  we've been advised differently so many times that I've filled up my hardrive with different versions of "advice".  The consultant says he believes it is possible for us to have all permits in place for construction to begin in March 2009.  We'll be happy if this happens.  While we won't like building in the rainy season, we won't have the neighbors complaining about dust.

Site Plan Approval Application:  We have hired an environmental consultant to assist in both the INVU and SETENA applications.  His first job will be to sooth some ruffled feathers and then to guide us through the minefield. He will be responsible for completing the non-engineering information and  for expediting the applications. He will work with the engineers and the lawyer and add the archeological study, environmental impact declaration, and hydrological study. He will be meeting August 11 with representatives from the Municipality of Santa Ana and MINAE and will outline the project to them in terms of environmental concerns we have factored into the development and social impact. At this point in time, there is some concern that we cut some trees we weren't supposed to;  our before pictures indicate a different reality that they claim and we have a permit which allowed us to cut some trees and it may be that one of the organizations has forgotten the permit they issued us. Covering the quebrada (sewer) is an issue which they are upset about. We tried to talk with people at the time but no one seemed interested.  When they see for themselves that it was/is a sewer, we think the nature of the conversation will change. This is an important meeting but we feel we have the right person in place to handle it. We have to deal with these issues tactfully. I won't be there. The consultant said that these guys were tree huggers and socialists--it's best a Gringo face read a book at home. Personally, I find it difficult to be too humble when what we have addressed has been allowed to exist for years and our end product is certainly a substantial improvement over the status quo.  We simply have to convince them that this is the case. We pointed out to the consultant that we have built into our program not only social payback with the $70,000 we have committed El Dorado purchasers to invest in the immediate community (more investment than it has seen for a long time) and that with our re-cycling of cleansed back water for irrigation purposes,we are also ecologically friendly and have tried to minimize the movement of earth by retaining the natural topography and build to it.

Well Concession:  this permit has been applied for. We have laid the groundwork for advertising the application in the government newspaper to make it a public record. The permit has to be advertised for three weeks and then there is a waiting period to see if there are challenges.The consultant is saying this should be issued in two months. This target is at least 6 months sooner than we were lead to believe and the time frame we were looking for.



Located in the beautiful town of Santa Ana, Casa 76 combines Italian Cuisine with tropical gardens. Enjoy a delicious meal, our menu includes traditional  pizzas, pastas, salads and a variety of meats, in a peaceful ambiance. Tel 22 82 86 19


Website Upgrade / Marketing: Photos of Residencias Los Jardines, the Santa Ana area and some of the houses are available on line at:
Wild, Wild Storm:  Thursday afternoon we experienced the wildest storm I've ever seen. Wind from every direction of the compass and sheets and sheets of rain. Our drainage system failed;  it can handle "heavy" rain but not what we had. In addition to the rain, Kirebe on our east side continues to dump water on us which doesn't help. A 50' section of the neighbor's block wall behind 110 and 111 collapsed. We'll have to make some immediate adjustments there. I have conceived a drainage system which should survive this type of storm.  I'm getting some prices on it now.

Sewer Blockage: One of our units experienced a back up. We investigated and found:  two dish clothes, feminine hygiene products caught up in grease. No matter how many times and ways we tell people that septic systems can't handle this material, we still get people who just can't remember.....

Video: Jan is outlining what we want and then we will confirm pricing.

Rentals / Sales: Unit 119 was leased. We have move-ins in both 123 and 115.   We have an accepted offer on 114.

Units for Sale/Lease:

Unit 114 - SOLD

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.

Read More

Unit 124 - For Rent

Total Area (Sq Ft): 662
Total area (Sq M): 61
Bedrooms: 1
Floor(s): 2nd Floor
Type: Semi-Detached
Furnished: Yes
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 #121 - For Rent

Total Area (Sq Ft):1423
Total Area (Sq M):131
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.

Unit #107 - For Sale/Rent

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1716
Total area (Sq M): 158
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2.5
Floor(s): 2 Story
Type: Detached
Furnished: Yes



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


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August 01, 2008
Do you speak English? Maybe not if you teach it in Costa Rica
SAN JOSE (AFP) — Less than 10 percent of English teachers in Costa Rica's public schools and colleges have a good command of the language, according to the Ministry of Public Education, citing its own study Wednesday.

August 01, 2008
Brazil, Costa Rica call for Latin American unity to face global crises
BRASILIA, July 30 (Xinhua) -- Brazil and Costa Rica have urged Latin American countries to unite in the face of the global financial and food crisis.

August 01, 2008
Brazil’s Lula Promises Support to Costa Rica Biofuels Program
(Costa Rica Pages) Thirty years after a Brazil-Costa Rican biofuel partnership was interrupted, President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva — commonly referred to as Lula — has pledged technical and technological help for Costa Rica’s biofuel program. Famous for its reliance on ethanol and biofuels, Brazil has promised to send Edison Lobao, Minister of Energy and Mining, to evaluate and develop Costa Rica’s bio-combustible options.

July 30, 2008
Costa Rica Jails 3 Iraqis in Fake Passport Case
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (The Associated Press): Authorities say three Iraqi men have been jailed in Costa Rica on suspicion of using false passports.

July 30, 2008
Costa Rica, South Africa Make List of Top 10 'Ethical Destinations'
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — In an effort to get travelers off the beaten path and support destinations in developing countries, a group called Ethical Traveler has published a list of the "10 best ethical destinations."


Weather:  Normal rainy season weather with periodic furious storms. The one on Thursday was horrific.

Sidelined with a Blood Clot:  For year's I've been afflicted with wonky blood. If I don't take the blood thinner coumedin my blood clots.  Coumedin has been available in CR at every pharmacy for the past 4+ years. I ran out only to find there isn't any in the country. I tried an alternative blood thinner until Paul was in Canada and could send me some coumedin. Well I didn't get it in time. Sunday CIMA told me what I knew. I was prescribed some fast acting injections, stayed on my back between bed, the hammock, and the recliner for the week. Wednesday the coumedin arrived by FedEx and the two medicines have done their job--I'm walking again. I'll give up the injections and now rely on the coumedin. 

Sale of 114: I stick handled an offer on Paul's house which was accepted. He'll now pick up the task of completing the paperwork from the drafts the corporate lawyer and I put together for the previous sales. Paul will now begin to look for a larger home in the area which he will lease until El Dorado is finished.

Friday night's fish and chips: at the Time Out Tavern in Escazu continues to be a weekly feature. While their consistency varies a bit, the fish and chips as well as the other Friday specialties continues to please. Sunday afternoon will see us exploring a very old farm bar in Ciudad Colon. Two staple bars in Santa Ana--Rock and Roll Pollo and Tex-Mex have both changed hands recently and each new other is promising some changes--new menus, more consistent quality and better service. We'll hope;  time will tell.

Granada Here We Come: 
It's been too long as far as I'm concerned.  We will soon be making plans to go to Granada especially now that I can travel. We may go earlier than we have to in order that one of our friends here can accompany us before he has to leave CR on a contract on the Queen Mary II. We'll see. He's 6'4" or more and the seats are pretty close together for him for an 8 hr. trip but we'll see.
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