ISSUE #624: Aug 28 - Sept. 3, 2016



ISSUE #624: Aug 28 - Sept. 3, 2016

Toronto: (416) 461-2203 // (647) -498-4266
Costa Rica: Land line: (506) 2282-4142 Ext. 101 // Cell: (506) 8305-3965

Brian Timmons, Newsletter Author
Brian Timmons

Dear friends,

When I started Residencias Los Jardines, I started writing a weekly newsletter -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 re-sales and rental availability. Some readers may be interested in this information.

Brian Timmons
Developer / Property manager
Residencias Los Jardines


rentals & sales

Paradisus Condos / Rohrmoser
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Paradisus Condos - click to visit

Each of the units consists of two bedrooms / two bathrooms, and a large living/dining/kitchen area. The floor plan of each of these units has eliminated the optional "den / office" divider. The result is a larger area offering more flexible furniture arrangements while still maintaining the option of including an office area. At 105m2 plus two parking spots each and storage locker, they offer a great opportunity for someone seeking views, security, central location, and first class, all round living...

Semi furnished unit: For sale: $235,000
Fully furnished unit: For sale: $245,000
Floor 12 -west view

Since August 1st For rent $ 1,400 mo.

More Opportunities
rentals & sales

Condominio Santa Lucia, Tres Rios

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Price reduction: $490,000 $520,000 (Appraised: $800,000)
6 bedrooms
5 bathrooms
610 m2 (6,500 sf)
2 Story
2 Car garage

Market activity
sales & rentals

Sales: One offer conditional for unit #107 at Los Jardines.

Rentals: Paradisus: Unit available for rent, $ 1,400 mo.
Los Jardines: Units #112, #113, #106A and #126 are available for rent.

Residencias Los Jardines
property management, rentals & re-sales

Unit #106A: $ 165,000 / See Unit
Unit #107: $ 205,000 / Conditional offer / See Unit

Unit #106A: $ 1,200 mo. / Immediately / See Unit
Unit #112: $ 1,250 mo. / Immediately / See Unit
Unit #113: $ 1,250 mo. / Immediately / See Unit
Unit #126: $ 650 mo. / Immediately / See Unit

For sale

UNIT #106A

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1250
Total area (Sq M): 120
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Floor(s): 1
Type: Apartment
Furnished: Yes

This is a fully furnished 2-bedroom unit situated in a 2-story building, which has two units on the ground floor and two units on the 2nd. floor. Each unit is the same size (1,250sf) divided into 800 sf of interior space and 450 sf of covered front and back terraces. Units 106A and B are on the ground floor; Units 106 C and D are on the 2nd. Floor. The solid masonry demising wall (common wall) as well as the 5" concrete slab prevent sound transference.

UNIT #107
$205,000 / Conditional offer

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1716
Total area (Sq M): 158
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2.5
Floor(s): 2
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.

For rent

UNIT #106A
$1,200 mo. / Immediately

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1250
Total area (Sq M): 120
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Floor(s): 1
Type: Apartment
Furnished: Yes

This is a fully furnished 2-bedroom unit situated in a 2-story building, which has two units on the ground floor and two units on the 2nd. floor. Each unit is the same size (1,250sf) divided into 800 sf of interior space and 450 sf of covered front and back terraces. Units 106A and B are on the ground floor; Units 106 C and D are on the 2nd. Floor. The solid masonry demising wall (common wall) as well as the 5” concrete slab prevent sound transference.

UNIT #112
$1,250 mo. / Immediately

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1290
Total area (Sq M): 120
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Floor(s): 1 Story
Type: Attached
Furnished: Yes

This 1,290 sf single floor home includes a 300 sf front terrace plus parking for one car. It is attached on two sides by a 6 inch cement demising (common) wall, which prevents sound transfer.

UNIT #113
$1,250 mo. / Immediately

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1290
Total area (Sq M): 120
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Floor(s): 1
Type: Semi-Attached
Furnished: Yes

This 1,290 sf single floor home includes a 300 sf front terrace plus parking for one car. It is attached on one side by a 6 inch cement demising (common) wall, which prevents sound transfer. The three other sides allow light, ventilation and garden views.

UNIT #126
$650 mo. / Immediately

Total Area (Sq Ft): 530
Total area (Sq M): 50
Bedrooms: 1
Bathrooms: 1
Floor(s): 1
Type: detached
Furnished: Yes

A small one bedroom with outside covered terrace with top of the line finishes (granite, stainless steel appliances, fine crafted wood cabinetry, +, +, +), with lots of well thought out storage...

Our Lives

Weather: Actually, we have not had much rain in the Santa Ana area... in Heredia and elsewhere yes... we need to water... and I can't remember when I last needed an umbrella...

Driving: While bypassing a number of accidents and broken down trucks cars... I did pas one exceptional one... again... motorcyclist and a car... the moto-man was laid out on the roadway with a red tarp over him.... the used to use white sheets... now, they use was appear to be red plastic tarps... my guess it is a cost saving measure since they are reusable...!! go figure... It never ends well for the moto-man... the accident rate is up significantly this year and I believe I read that of these, half do not have licenses...

Slow Market: August has been very slow for rentals... few inquiries and of those, just lots of time wasters... I did lease on Paradisus unit for 5 mo. to a Swedish student here on an internship with some government agency... I don't understand why one would come from Sweden to study one of the most dysfunctional systems in the world... but... maybe I will do a debriefing and find the answer...

The conditional offer on 107 died... The would be purchasers could not get the financing they wanted. I do have another client interested... we'll see...

Massive Public Employee Protest: It was scheduled for Thursday... schools were closed... I never read anything about the protest... either I missed it, it didn't happen, or wasn't reported on... mmmmmmm... strange.

News Items of the Weeknews


1. Internet Speed: CR... 94 out of 95 countries... beats Afghanistan!!!!!! Impressive...

2. Rain Fall: August was dry in Santa Ana... elsewhere... eg. Heredia, got it's normal rainfall...

3. Gas prices: Down again less than the last rise... but good optics...

4. Public Employee Protest: Schools were closed but any excuse can be used for that. I never heard anything about the "massive public employee protest"... mmmmmm... did it happen? It rained that day so ???

5. Geo thermal power expansion: Interesting... a loan to CR for 40 years?????

6. Promises, Promises: Years and years of promises... no action... the government is at it again... me thinks... Look at the drop in cruise ships arrivals at Limon... look at the facilities... now does one need to do a "study" to figure out the answer...? Actually, Lita and I will be departing from LImon via a cruise in November... only because it avoids a flight someplace... and is more convenient...

1. CR has slowest internet — almost

A study by Open Signal shows that Costa Rica ranks 94th out of 95 countries as having the slowest internet in the world. CR’s average internet speed is 2.5 Mbps. The world average is 8.5 Mbps. Only Afghanistan has slower internet than Costa Rica at 2.1 Mbps.

2. Low rainfall in Central Valley, northern regions; La Niña still a no-show

An increase in rainfall levels expected for August due to the pending influence of a La Niña weather phenomenon did not occur, the National Meteorological Institute (IMN) confirmed.

Earlier this year, the IMN predicted that precipitation levels would return to normal after a dry 2015 rainy season. But, rainfall has been lower than expected this year and lower than the monthly average in various regions.

During August, the Central Valley, Northern Zone and central Caribbean have received 37 to 72 percent less rain than normal, IMN’s Meteorologist Luis Fernando Alvarado said. The driest places were the capital San José, the northwestern province of Guanacaste and the northern Alajuela cantons of Upala, Los Chiles and Guatuso.

Accumulated rainfall in all other regions of the country was within the expected ranges, Alvarado said.

An IMN report in June predicted that La Niña would likely cause an increase in rains starting in July, by some 30 percent overall and up to 70 percent in Guanacaste, with above-average rainfall along the Pacific coast and in the Central Valley.

Now, forecasters think La Niña will develop and strengthen in the coming months, though the weather phenomenon will likely be shorter and less intense than expected.

3. Gas prices in Costa Rica to drop this week

Prices of premium and regular unleaded gasoline will drop by ¢24 and ¢22 per liter respectively this week, thanks to a new fuel price setting approved by the Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP).

The agency passed the cut in fuel prices after taking into account recent changes in the international price of oil.

The price calculation also resulted in lower prices for diesel, though the per-liter price will go down by only ¢5.

New fuel prices will come into effect the day after their publication in the official newspaper La Gaceta, which is expected to occur later this week.

Approved cuts mean a liter of premium, commonly known as “Super,” will go from ¢590 to ¢566 ($1.60-1.01). A liter of regular, known as “Plus,” will drop from ¢563 to ¢541 ($1.01-0.97), and a liter of diesel will slip from ¢448 to ¢443 ($0.80-0.79).

This is the third cut in gas prices approved this year. ARESEP in late July approved a ¢13 cut in the per-liter prices of Super and Plus gasoline, as well as a ¢4 reduction for a liter of diesel.

The National Oil Refinery said growing inventories recorded between July 28 and Aug. 11 translated into lower costs for finished fuels acquired this month.

4. Public employees gearing up for a major protest over salaries Thursday
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Public employees are calling is general strike Thursday, but the event really is a protest gathering outside the legislature building on Avenida Primera.

There is a last-ditch effort to halt the gathering this morning when some union leaders meet with legislators.

At issue is a bill, No. 12.506, that would change the way salaries are computed. The unions have said in press statements that they are well aware of the country’s deficit but they also say they are not responsible. They fear that the bill will be passed in the legislature this week.

The protest seems to have the support of most of the country’s public employee unions. The major ones are are the Asociación Nacional de Empleados Públicos y Privados, Unión Nacional de Empleados de la Caja y la Seguridad Social, Bloque Unitario Sindical, the Union Medica Nacional and the Asociación Nacional de Educadores.

The gathering is supposed to be between 10 a.m. and noon Thursday. At least 20 unions are involved. Lawmakers usually meet in general session at 2 p.m.

The government is trying to standardize public employee salaries and eliminate lavish bonuses, called pluses.

The Asociación Nacional de Empleados Públicos said that these salaries are the result of long years of negotiating and fighting. There also is an anti-capitalist tone in which the protesters are opposing what they call neo-liberalism.

Union leaders will be meeting today with Marta Arauz of the Partido Liberación Nacional who is one of the supporters of the bill in the legislature. They said they would advise her of the consequences of passage.

Although streets will not be blocked all over the Central Valley Thursday, it the strike takes place, residents probably will not be able to send their children to public school and the pubic health system will be on emergency mode.

5. Costa Rica, Japan move forward with geothermal energy project

Japan has agreed to loan Costa Rica $224 million to finance part of the construction of a geothermal project in Liberia, Guanacaste.

Representatives of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) and the Finance Ministry signed the agreement last week, ICE reported.

The agencies will meet again in February to sign the loan agreement after Japanese officials conduct an inspection in December.

The accord followed a two-week visit to Costa Rica of a JICA mission headed by Takeharu Nakagawa, director for Central America and the Caribbean.

During this visit, JICA representatives and ICE officials agreed on the construction, investment and procurement plans, as well as technical, legal, environmental and financial aspects of the project.

ICE’s executive director, Carlos Obregón, said he is confident the project will be successfully completed.

Obregón said he believes that Japan in the future will offer more support to Costa Rica for developing clean energy projects.

JICA granted the loan under favorable conditions for ICE, including a 40-year term with a 10-year grace period at 0.6 percent interest.

The geothermal project

The project consists of building three geothermal power plants – Pailas II and Borinquen I and II – in an area near Rincón de la Vieja Volcano National Park. These plants will harness the power of the high-temperature magma that is abundant underground in this area.

The plants are expected to generate 55 megawatts each. Estimated costs are approximately $234 million for Borinquen I, $167 million for Las Pailas II and $157 million for Borinquen II.

ICE will cover the remainder of the costs with its own funds and a $70 million loan from the European Investment Bank, approved in 2014.

ICE is already working on the Las Pailas II project, which is about 40 percent complete, the agency reported last Friday. The plant is scheduled to launch operations in 2019.

The Borinquen I plant is expected to be operational in 2023, while Borinquen II is expected to enter into operations in 2025.

ICE estimates that Costa Rica’s total installed geothermal capacity, once all three plants are fully operational, will be some 372 megawatts.

Earlier this year the agency reported that Costa Rica generated 99 percent of its electricity from renewable sources in 2015, using hydroelectric, geothermal, wind, biomass and solar power.

In July ICE reported that 96.4 percent of its energy generation for the first half of this year came from renewable sources.

The agency projects to end the year with 97 percent of electricity obtained from clean sources.

Last year Costa Rica made headlines worldwide with two clean energy streaks. In March, the country ended 75 days of running the grid on 100 percent renewable sources, and in August it broke that record by running 94 days on renewable energy.

6. On Afro-Caribbean Day, government promises new cruise ship terminal in Limón

The Caribbean province of Limón will have a new cruise ship terminal thanks to a ¢93 million ($166,000) government investment, President Luis Guillermo Solís said.

That’s one of the commitments Solís made during a three-day trip to the province, which culminated in the celebration of Afro-Caribbean Day on Wednesday.

Funds for the project will come from a joint contribution from the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) and the Atlantic Port Authority (JAPDEVA), the president reported.

The new cruise ship terminal is part of the government’s efforts to promote economic and social development in the province, Solís said.

Other projects announced during the president’s Limón trip include improvements to public schools, public roads and aqueducts. He also allocated financial resources for public security, agriculture and aid to indigenous communities.

Cruise ship market

Tourism Minister Mauricio Ventura said Tuesday that one of the government’s goals is to improve Limón’s infrastructure to attract more tourism, specially from the cruise ship sector.

Ventura said the cruise ship business has always been good for the country and particularly for the Caribbean region, but has declined in recent years.

According to ICT data, 147 cruise ships arrived in Limón during the 2009-2010 season. The figure dropped to 65 during the 2014-2015 season.

Ventura said the government is evaluating the reasons behind the decline. “We need to assess whether it was caused by a lack of promotion, infrastructure problems or higher costs,” he said.

The 2015-2016 season, however, showed improvement with 107 cruise ship arrivals from October to March, JAPDEVA reported.

The government’s cruise terminal plan includes a strategy to boost Limón’s international image as a tourist destination.

Rebuilding Liberty Hall

The good news for Limón on Wednesday included the presentation of plans to rebuild the province’s historic Liberty Hall. Most commonly known as the Black Star Line building, it was considered the most representative example of Caribbean architecture in Limón before a fire destroyed most of its structure in April.

Private firm Zürcher Arquitectos presented Solís with the draft of the project for the reconstruction of the new building, in its same location. The company donated the final blueprints and budget for the project.

Construction is scheduled to start in early 2017.

William Monge, director of the Culture Ministry’s Heritage Conservation Center, said the new Liberty Hall will look just like it did when it opened in 1922. He also said initial plans estimate the construction will take approximately six months.

The ministry allocated ¢150 million ($268,000) for the project but officials also expect to get additional funds through donations from private companies and other public agencies.

The Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT) also announced plans to break ground on a new road to Limón’s future container terminal.

The four-lane road is key to the operation of the new terminal under construction in Moín. It will connect the cargo port with Route 32, the main highway between Limón and the country’s Central Valley.

Private contractor Consorcio del Atlántico, formed by companies Meco and Puentes y Calzadas, won the public bid for the $71 million project.

The plan is to complete the 2.1 kilometer road in two stages over the next 15 months.

MOPT officials estimate that the first two lanes should be completed by July, before the terminal’s first berth begins to operate in September 2017.

The other two lanes should be ready in November, ahead of the second berth’s inauguration in 2018.

Construction of the Moín container port is expected to create an estimated 700 jobs, many of which are to be filled by Limón residents.

More than eighty percent of Costa Rica’s exports pass through Limón ports, according to the Foreign Trade Ministry.


Brian C. Timmons
Property Manager RLJ and Newsletter Author

Costa Rica:
Cell: (+ 506) 8305-3965
Land line: (+506) 2282-4142 Ext. 101

VOIP: (+416) 461-2203


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