Road Trip to Puerto Viejo

ISSUE #207: Sep 22-27, 2008


Road Trip to Puerto Viejo


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: The person we had been working with to modify the design of a Balboa has dropped out due to the financial chaos in the US.  


Permit Applications: All proposals were accepted by the regulatory authorities pending final approval once all the engineering drawings are ready. Core drilling has been done on the Maya Tower area; we are awaiting the results to determine the best option.

Sick Tree....It's still times past, this tree leafed out in two weeks. We're three weeks into this now and it has a long way yet to go. It's still stressed.  We'll see if it survives.

Landscaping:  A week ago, I took possession of some seedlings of flowering trees. The neighbor had a tree common  here which has crimson flowers and another which has brilliant yellow flowers. He also included some trees with light and dark pink flowers.  We have replanted them so they can continue to grow. In addition, we took some of the excess plants and plant cuttings from Los Jardines and are propagating them. The bamboo I had planted along the roadway chain link fence has shoots over four feet long.  In a couple years, it will have filled in completely and provide a visual barrier as well as enhance the security.

Chain Link Fence: This is progressing. We still have pieces to fill in all along the way before the site is secure. We will be landscaping this with something--vines, bamboo, etc--to block out our neighbors and to enhance the security.

Note:  It's continued to be financially tortuous turmoil in the US. This is long from over but let's continue to hope that the future looks brighter in April. 



Website Upgrade / Marketing: Photos of Residencias Los Jardines, the Santa Ana area and some of the houses are available on line at:
I noticed that some of the pictures popping up on the opening page are very dated;  this will be changed.

Drainage System: No heavy rains yet to test it out.

Kirebe: We have no feedback from the consultant re. his meeting with the City official. I don't even know if it happened. I'll follow up this week.

VOIP Phones: This continues to be a problem. Buying the provider's service is not an option since it doesn't have a service. 

Accounting System: Paul is assessing the tenders. We have a preferred solution which modifies an existing program. There's really no need to re-invent the wheel here.

Satellite TV: The new 3m dish is suppose to be installed this Tuesday, Sept. 30.

Units for Sale/Lease:

Residencia Los Jardines Site Plan
Note:  For the past 18 months, we have been anticipating the sale of units 108 and 120.  We have now been instructed to sell both.  See below:

Unit #107 - For Sale

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

Unit #120 - For Sale

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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Unit #108 - Leased/For Sale

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

This 1,716 sf. (plus parking space for one car) two storey, detached house, with two terraces, two bedrooms (one on each floor) and an upstairs master suite is a beautiful home.

This home consists of two VERY large bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms (one on each floor) and a powder room each with 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.

Read More


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September 26, 2008
Finance Minister Zúñiga to Run for Costa Rican President
(The Tico Times) Finance Minister Guillermo Zúñiga has said he will run for president in 2010, joining a crowded field of aspirants from the National Liberation Party (PLN).

September 26, 2008
Costa Rica Most Democratic Latin American Nation
(Costa Rica Pages) The annual Latin American Index of Democratic Development has found that Costa Rica holds its number one spot for democratic nations. The private study collaborated with and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation to conduct its research, and results were released yesterday, September 25, in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

September 25, 2008
Costa Rica President Attends Free-Trade Summit with Bush
(The Tico Times) President Oscar Arias attended a forum on free trade yesterday with U.S. President George Bush, weeks after a Supreme Court decision threatened Costa Rica's entry into the Central American Free-Trade Agreement (CAFTA).

September 25, 2008
US and Central America Grants Costa Rica TLC Extension
(Inside Costa Rica) The United States extended the October 1, 2008, deadline for Costa Rica to ratify the Tratado de Libre Comercio (TLC) - free trade agreement with the US - to November 6, 2008. A US delegation is expected to visit Costa Rica on September 30 to inspect the approval process.

September 25, 2008
Costa Rica’s María José Could be Next Latin American Idol
(Costa Rica Pages) Latin American Idol, modeled after Pop Idol and American Idol, has taken Latin America by storm. Its third and current season has welcomed the talent of twelve sweet-voiced finalists, including María José Castillo, the contest’s first Costa Rican finalist who has held on to the round of four singers.


Weather: Fairly light rain; mostly beautiful weather--many sunny, clear mornings with some afternoon cloud cover.

Time Out Tavern: Continues to delight and all who go, enjoy. In addition to their fish and chips, their hamburgers are also fantastic.

Trip to Puerto Viejo: Lita had never been there and I had been about 2 1/2 years ago.  We started on Sunday with a lot of fanfare but after about an hour's drive, notices that our left front break was smoking badly and the break pedal was spongy.  We turn around, had the breaks looked at on Monday, and set out on Tuesday. 

Not much seems to have changed in PV except that the road south from Limon to PV is paved except for about 3 mi. before hitting PV. There is some new construction under way (a small mall in the town itself) and a number of small additions and remodelings  A number of dump trucks seemed busy hauling gravel south towards Manzanillo but I never saw the destination.  From
Santa Ana to PV is about 4--4 1/2 hrs. A lot has been written about crime but we had no difficulties. 

The tourists were easily distinguished from the locals by their clean clothes and clean shaven faces. PV attracts a lot of European and some N. Am. tourists including a fair number of "travelers" who settle in for a whle  and backpackers.  While there were a fair number of tourists, many of the hotels were virtually empty, including ours.  PV has a Caribbean flare--some funky buildings many with vibrant and unusual  color schemes, eg. our hotel room had yellow walls, white ceiling and blue, red, tangerine and orange accents----it worked.  Some of the buildings were never well planned nor well executed nor maintained.  We had some great meals--great, wood fired pizza, and a wonderful whole, grilled fish and beef tenderloin.  All well cooked and with nice side dishes.  We had one lousy meal at the hotel and the only reason we ate there was that I was tired of driving.

Internet is a bit of a problem at many hotels. They advertise that they have it but when you try to use it, it seems to be temporaily out of service. The hotel we stayed at for $80 was nice but had no TV.  Another one we looked at was $110 and had no AC or TV.  Friends stayed at a nice place which had TV for $110;  while the swimming pool was out of service, the hotel (Las Palmas) was right on a beautiful beach.

The first two days were cloudy which provided a nice temperature.  The last day was clear and hot.  This is the dry season there and we had no rain nor had their been any for some time since the roads were dusty and the jungle along the roadway was covered in dust.  The ocean was clear as usual and virtually no waves.  We met up for a brief visit with some residents of Los Jardines who were vacationing there for a week.  They had a really nice place at Las Palmas quite a ways south of PV. 

I had forgotten what an important port Limon is.  I was re-impressed with the number of trucks and shipping containers which move through that area.  Limon and the highway connecting Limon with SJ is a tremendous life line for CR for both imports and exports.  This doesn't make for a great place to live but I don't think any container port is a nice place to live if you have a choice.

Chocolate:  We happened on a street vendor selling a number of things, including cacao, the makings of chocolate.  Lita bought a couple and now we have to figure out what to do with them.  

Lita's Observation:  After negotiating our way through traffic in San Jose for the second time with several near misses and witness to others, Lita made the comment that the drivers here are suicidal (few would disagree with her).  She went on to say that perhaps that is the real reason CR decided not to have a military.  I had to laugh and wonder if there's some truth to that.

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

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