Purchaser Survey, Aged Beef, New Restaurant

ISSUE #230: March 2-7, 2009


Purchaser Survey, Aged Beef, New Restaurant



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.


Purchaser Survey: On Friday, we initiated a survey of our purchasers. We want to determine the extent to which the financial chaos of the past 6 mo. has affected their decision to buy at El Dorado. We've asked them three questions: to proceed as per the original schedule, to delay and reevaluate the schedule at a later date, or if they want to resell their unit. We'll see.......


Permit Applications: Waiting--SETENA--D1--we wait. I followed up on this with the consultant and he said that all was in order and that we should have this approval on time.

Construction: The governmental body has not met on this so it is still pending. After their approval, it will have to go the the City. We wait but are not in a hurry. It now seems they want some more information and may be doing an on-site inspection.

Site Plan Drawings:  Engineering drawings for the larger site plan are completed. We'll review them on Tuesday before submission to the College of Architects and Engineers which is the receiving body from where they are disbursed. At present, there is a question as to whether the drawings will be accepted without the water permit.......we'll see.

Water: The consultant has not yet met with the AyA representative. He's still trying to get the appointment.


Software Tracking & Reporting System:  Another meeting, another half inch closer. Supposedly the new system will be installed on Wednesday evening. Then the fun begins. We'll recapture the activities since October and see how the system performs. We expect some bugs. 

Rentals: We've leased 124 for a short term to a friend of residents living here and have had lots of viewings of 116.

Sales: We've also had lots of viewings for people who say they are interested in purchasing. Some are and some are wishful but the common denominator is that they are all looking for distressed sales.  

Units for Sale/Lease:

Residencia Los Jardines Site Plan

Unit #107 - For Sale/ REDUCED PRICE $239,000 / Leased for $1,650 mo. to Jan. 2010.--OWNER FINANCING AVAILABLE

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--$185K /Leased  at $1,450mo.

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.

Read More

Unit #108 --For Sale-$245,000; Leased at $1,600 mo. to March '10

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

Unit 124 - Available for Rent FURNISHED (May 25 thru Nov 30, 2009)

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 116 - Available For Rent FURNISHED Starting April 1, 2009

Total Area (Sq Ft):1290
Total area (Sq M):120

This 1,290 sf single floor home includes a 300 sf front terrace plus parking for one car and a separate, secure storage locker. It is and end unit and therefore attached on only one side by a 6 inch cement demising (common) wall, which prevents sound transfer.

Read More

Unit #109 --For Sale $214,900 -  FURNISHED (Leased until August 1, 2009 - $1,550 pr month)

Total Area (Sq Ft):1506
Total area (Sq M):140
Floor(s):1 Story

This single story home (1506 sf. + parking for one car) is detached, has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, home office, living room wall / entertainment center along with a built in office and a semi-private terrace. In addition, it has a vaulted ceiling in the “great” room and two skylights. The covered entrance way is suitable for two chairs located next to a covered garden area. Once through the impressive front door, you enter the “great room” which houses the kitchen, dining room, office and living room. Upon entering, there is a built in wooden hutch surfaced with granite—it matches all the built-in furniture in the great room. There is a clothes washer and dryer off the 2nd bedroom. It may also be used for storage.

Read More


March 07, 2009
Costa Rica's Minister Resigns Amid Reports of Illegal Mining Concession
SAN JOSE (Latin American Herald Tribune) – Costa Rica’s minister of the environment, energy and telecommunications, Roberto Dobles, has resigned amid reports he illegally granted a mining concession in late 2006 to a company owned by his relatives.

March 06, 2009
HSBC Begins Selling Quick Pass For San Jose -Caldera Highway
(Inside Costa Rica) Travelling on the autopista Próspero Fernández between Escazú and Santa Ana and to Caldera will go high tech as the Ministerio Obras Públicas y Transportes (MOPT) announced a new electronic pay toll system that will be in place once the expansion of the highway is complete in May.

March 06, 2009
China to Strengthen Friendly Ties with Costa Rica
(Inside Costa Rica) China is willing to continuously push forward its friendly relations with Costa Rica, a senior official of the Communist Party of China (CPC) said Thursday. Wang Jiarui, head of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee, made the remarks while meeting with Costa Rican President Oscar Arias.

March 06, 2009
Nicaragua Claims Full Sovereignty Over San Juan River
(Inside Costa Rica) Earlier this week Costa Rica made its oral presentations before the justices of the International Court of Justice (World Court) at the Hague over the dispute with Nicaragua over the navigational rights of the San Juan river. Yesterday, it was Nicaragua's turn to present its arguments.

March 06, 2009
Corruption Trial May Derails Calderón's Presidential Aspirations
(Inside Costa Rica) Former president Rafael Angel Calderón is not hiding the fact that he aspires to become elected once again president and has been making visits throughout the country looking for votes. There is one little problem, however, his corruption trial is moving at a slow pace.

March 06, 2009
2.500 Jobs Up For Grabs At Expoempleo This Weekend
(Inside Costa Rica) Some 48 companies looking to fill some 2.500 jobs will be taking part in Expoempleo that kicks off today at the Ramada Plaza Herradura hotel.

March 06, 2009
Two Nicoya Bridges Are Seeing Improvements
(InfoWebPress) – The Ministry of Transportation and Public Infrastructure (MOPT) announced that it will invest close to $1.1 billion colones (around $2 million) to fix four bridges in various parts of the country, as part of an ongoing program to improve road infrastructure by the ministry’s Public Works Division.

March 05, 2009
Costa Rica Leads Tourism in Region and Latin America
(Inside Costa Rica) Switzerland, Austria and Germany have the most attractive environments for developing the travel and tourism industry, according to the third annual Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report, published by the World Economic Forum. Costa Rica ranked 42nd, the highest ranking of any Latin American country in the report.


Weather: The wind has been ferocious this past week. We can't begin to keep up with the dust and spend a 1/2 hr. each day picking up the empty bags of cement and debris blown over from the Kirebe construction next door.

Celestial Beauty:  A week ago Friday night we entertained on the terrace. I looked into the sky and saw an incredible sight: In a crystal clear, cloudless night sky, there was the sliver of moon with the penumbra showing and Venus right next to it..  It was amazing—so simple and so awe inspiring.

Comparisons: We leased unit 112 to a retired person previously living in Florida. He said the annual taxes on his condo were $32,000 and his monthly common element fee was around $1,800……. We just paid the annual taxes on the entire Los Jardines –all 29 houses-- including garbage pick up twice a week--$4,950 (average $170 per house). The monthly common element fee for the unit he leased--$250. Here he doesn’t have insurance and his associated expenses (Internet, phone, gas, electricity, and Cable TV will be less than $100—I doubt that Florida can match that. While the unit he’s leasing may not be as extravagant as his condo it’s certainly very comfortable… In my mind, it sure makes one think about what is really important.

Villalobos / “The Brothers” Case:  It’s gone silent again. I’ve responded to the government appointed agent responsible for trying to get agreement amongst the beneficiaries of the court award. Guess I’ll just have to wait it out.

Underpass disaster—in the making!: On the back road linking Pozos and Santa Ana, the one way underpass has been replaced with an additional tunnel allowing two way traffic. The one lane underpass has been a snafu for years and more so recently with the additional traffic from Forum II and elsewhere. The company building this additional underpass is the same company building the San Jose – Caldera roadway and which is actively widening the autopista between San Jose and the beginning of this new roadway. Back to the underpass: the new underpass is at least a meter lower than the existing one (for reasons which escape me) and on either end of this tunnel, the roadway has a steep decent from the south. I cannot find ONE drain in the new underpass. When the first rain comes, this depression will become a foot deep lake and will be impassable.  Pumps will have to be brought in to pump it out and new construction to figure out the drains.  I hope I’m wrong but ………..

Aged beef: Terry and I discovered what may be one of the best kept secrets in CR—even kept from the Ticos (our accountant had never heard of this place)…..a butcher shop which sells truly aged beef. Aside from CR beef not being the same stock nor finished the same as in N. Am., the additional and significant problem is that it is never aged long enough. Even Don Fernandos beef seems to be aged only 8 days.  This new find ages it for 13-14 days—they say—and the product on display supports that. The meat is dark red and dry. We tried a sirloin roast, New York steaks, and the lomito (tenderloin). The sirloin, never the most tender cut in N. Am. was delicious and tender even though we over cooked it—we wanted medium rare but got medium well. It was still tender and delicious. The price? Substantially less than Don Fernandos and AutoMercado. Prime Rib—bone in—Don Fernandos (aged 8 days) $8,000 kilo/ $8 USD per pound – USDA “Choice”  from Belca Purveyors--$12 lb. At our new butcher – C5,000 kilo / $5 lb / aged 13-14 days. Lomito and New York steaks  were around C4,000 kl / $4 USD lb.  We saw  4 butchers behind the counter plus a cashier and 8-10 Ticos being served. Name and location: In Escazu, one block up the hill past Time Out Tavern, on the right with slightly off street parking.  The name includes “….. Hermanos …….” And it seems to be known as “Hermanos”.  They had mostly beef—we didn’t see any pork or chicken but that’s fine since both can be readily available elsewhere.

Note: Terry tried the Delmonico steaks and  was disappointed—so perhaps they are not good on all cuts……

“KARMA”:  A new restaurant (Santa Ana).  When returning from Hermanos, we happened on a new restaurant—it had been open only 2 weeks and they were still putting the finishing touches on the parking area. We decided to give it a try. We ordered calamari—a good test for a restaurant. It was the best that either Terry or I could ever remember having!!!!!!!  Absolutely delicious. Served piping hot, it was lightly  battered, crispy, melt in your mouth tender, and served with what seemed to be a tzetsigy sauce and lime for the asking.  Karma’s has a small bar, indoor seating as well as an outdoor terrace overlooking Santa Ana—beautiful at night. The main waiter speaks a bit of English.  The menu is not all that explanatory and it will take some experimentation to understand what each offering is but it all seems to be casual food.  The calamari portion was small but so good we re-ordered and we weren’t even hungry. Location:  on the upper hill side of the old road linking Santa Ana and Escazu. If traveling east  towards Escazu, it is past Rock and Roll Pollo and Hacienda el Estribos  and on the same side of the street as Estribos. Look for a vinyl sign above the roadway—the entrance is sudden and a 90 degree right turn. If traveling west from Escazu, it is past Cebolla Verde and on the opposite side the road. The entrance is a bit sudden and requires a 90 degree left;  the road is rough (surprise, surprise) but there is parking on the upper level near the restaurant. A group is returning for happy hour Saturday afternoon / evening..... we'll sample some more offerings.

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

Jan Kozak, Marketing Manager
Hacienda El Dorado
Rio Oro, Santa Ana
Costa Rica

Web: www.eldoradocostarica.com
E-mail: info@eldoradocostarica.com
MSN: jan.kozak.jr@hotmail.com
Skype: jan.kozak.jr

Tel (US) (+1) 647-477-5825
Cell: (+506) 8345 8018

Previous reports