ISSUE #651: March 19-25, 2017


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
Visit our website

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

13th Fl / East view
Available April 5


FOR SALE: Agent says this is a Bargain...

2700 sq ft house in best area Escazu
Owner finance at 8%
This is 3-4 bedroom house with garden and views with owner finance at 8% for balance of $200,000. 2 car garage with watchman directly in front of the house. Downpayment is $25,000

Market activity
sales & rentals

Sales: Los Jardines: Units #106A, #114, #123 and #125

Rentals: Paradisus: For Rent: 13th Fl / East view / furnished​ / Available April 5 / $1,400
Los Jardines: Unit #116 available for rent / $1,250 mo.

Residencias Los Jardines
property management, rentals & re-sales

Unit #106A: $ 165,000 / See Unit
Unit #114: $ 199,000 / See Unit
Unit #123: $ 199,500 / See Unit
Unit #125: $ 135,000 / See Unit

Unit #116: $ 1,250 mo 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 #114

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

This 2 bedroom/2bathroom,1,290 sf single floor end unit home includes a 150 sf front terrace plus parking for one car. This house is fully air conditioned and has recently been professionally decorated by international decorator Alcides Graffe and has undergone a complete renovation—new modern furniture, finishings, window coverings, and art work by Carlos Gambino. It is arguably the nicest furnished unit at Residencias Los Jardines and only steps from the pool

UNIT #123

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1516
Total area (Sq M): 140
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2.5
Floor(s): 2 story
Type: Detached
Furnished: Yes

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 #125

Total Area (Sq Ft): 662
Total area (Sq M): 61
Bedrooms: 1
Bathrooms: 1
Floor(s): 2 floor
Type: Semi-Detached
Furnished: Yes

This 662 sf, + parking for one car and 33sf locker is a one bedroom home on the 2nd floor overlooking the large pool. It is ideal for a single person or couple—or investment property.

For rent

UNIT #116
$1,250 mo.
Available 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 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.

Our Lives

Weather: normal windy weather, sunny - wonderful!!!!!!

A Death in Paradise: "Death": Reflections: Why didn't he look after his health? He was a smart guy and had to have known he was at risk of any number of smoking related illnesses. This is not rocket science any more -the risks are well known and medical tests are simple and not expensive... The question remains unanswered... but for those of us watching... it is a message for each.

Market Activity: virtually none... but fortunately, I do not have any vacancies. Fortunately, it appears I have snagged one short term client for a friend's unit at Paradisus but that is the only inquiry I've had for several weeks.

Friends & Social Life: At this stage in most people's lives, the quality of life is largely dependent on one's social life... friends and activities provided that health and $$ are adequate. Over the past 6 mo. or so, we have seen a significant decrease in our social circle... several years a very active couple who, after 10 yrs. in CR, returned to the US for health reasons; recently a 5 couples have or are returning for health insurance / medical care and / or for kids / grand-kids. For us, we go from a very active base to a very limited base all in a few months. Medical care in CR is no longer the bargain it used to be and Medicare / Medicad does not apply here... some private insurance companies are accepted here but as people age, private insurance becomes more expensive if available at all... and I was advised that two older guys I have known, one for 40 yrs and one for 13 years, are both in failing health... just age, no abuse or self induced problems.

INS Suit: This is still chugging along. INS counter sued the claimants and also included SUEGF (banking oversite organization) and the central bank... Their argument is that the lenders colluded to defraud INS of funds and that the banks and regulatory agency participated... INS accepts no responsibility... which is typical of a government / latino organization... remember, the culture here avoids responsibility... when something goes wrong, the first words are... "no es mi culpa" not my fault... but I haven't even told you what the problem is... makes no difference... "no es mi culpa!". I am advised that because it is an government organization, they will fight it all the way to the supreme court (Sala 1) but if they lose at this stage, they will have to deposit the funds into a trust account... some $20 million plus... while they appeal. We keep plugging along and racking up more legal fees...

News Items of the Week


1. Cars... look at the stats... incredible growth...

2. RECOPE one of the worst government organizations milking everyone here... their abuses are legendary... of course they want to keep their monopoly.

3. IHOP... maybe yes, maybe no but it would represent another international chain here in CR...

1. Cars, cars and more cars: Costa Rica's worsening love affair

I love talking to Costa Rican friends who live abroad and come back from time to time, because they bring a fresh perspective: they have become unaccustomed, and notice things that here we might think have been the same our whole lives.

When it comes to Costa Rica’s traffic problems, we know that the problem is one that exploded in 20th century Costa Rica, but various expatriate friends of mine tell me that they think it was in the past two years when it really reached apocalyptic levels.

They might be right. The years 2015 and 2016 saw the highest levels of new car registries in the history of the country. The year before last, the total exceeded 130,000 vehicles, and last year it was 178,700, according to my colleague Diego Arguedas in Ojo al Clima. He dared to compare car importation figures to the country’s birth rate and found that the number of chineados that consume fuel is beating out, by quite a lot, the number who consume milk. A friend tells me that maybe the problem is that we spend too much time driving and not enough having sex.

What do cars have to do with our birth rate? Plenty. For every 100 Costa Ricans in 1990, there were nine cars. Now there are 30, and we’ve got the same streets.

If you don’t think that comparison is useful, let’s look at fuel consumption, because we don’t buy cars to leave them in a parking lot. The consumption of hydrocarbons for vehicles increase by 7% in 2015 and again in 2016. This increase is double our economic growth, and that’s the problem: as a society, we’re burning more fuel – and time, and patience, and mental peace – in an unproductive way, without seeing the results anywhere.

Of course, there are those who see results. Besides the great business this gives to agencies that import cars, the tax revenue that the Tax Administration receives, and the permanent benefit to banks that finance car purchases, there are others who win, too.

That’s what my friends from abroad have noticed. “Mae, there’s a car wash on every corner,” they say, and it seems to be true. Battery shops, gas stations, tire stores, car decoration stores. If we look a little more carefully, we can see all those who have decided to take advantage of our special relationship with vehicles.

And there are others: street salesmen. One of them told me last year that his “boss” (provider of fried plantains and coconut sweets) used to use Waze to figure out where the worst traffic jams where and take one of his salesmen there on a motorcycle. That reminded me of the methods of a group of guachimanes, those who watch over parked cars on the street for a fee: they would check the paper for obituaries to figure out where funerals of wealthy people were taking place, knowing that those who attende would be willing to give more than a coin or two.

Others who win out are the organizers of car fairs. We had Expomóvil this month, and one news story announced that it was still going to take place despite the traffic jams caused by the repairs to “La Platina” bridge on the General Cañas Highway. These are the ironies of our times: the number of cars on the street proves bothersome to a fair whose objective is to increase the number of cars on the street, but don’t worry, that won’t stop anyone! Let’s not be surprised if 2017 breaks records once again for car registries.

2. RECOPE opposes referendum that could break its fuel market monopoly

Officials of the state-owned Costa Rican Oil Refinery (RECOPE) said breaking the fuel market monopoly would not result in lower prices and, on the contrary, would endanger fuel supply across the country.

RECOPE Executive President Sara Salazar said at a news conference on Monday morning that – as one might expect – the organization opposes a referendum promoted by the citizen group “Ya no más RECOPE” (“No more RECOPE”) that would allow citizens to vote on whether to lift RECOPE’s monopoly.

The group submitted a request to the Supreme Elections Tribunal (TSE) last year to hold a national referendum in which citizens would weigh in on the issue. In addition, the group has staged public demonstrations asking for the approval of a bill to open the fuel market. That bill is currently at a stalemate at the Legislative Assembly.

Salazar said that an analysis on the referendum request conducted by RECOPE’s legal department found that opening the market does not guarantee that fuel prices will drop.

“It would actually leave us in a state of vulnerability,” she said, adding that “it would be impossible for us to fulfill our obligation to ensure uninterrupted supply of fuel, all over the country, and at an affordable price.”

The citizen group claims that breaking the state monopoly would result in lower fuel prices and would eliminate extra salary benefits from RECOPE workers, which they consider excessive.

RECOPE’s news release refutes that statement and said salary perks included in collective bargaining agreements “represent less than 1 percent of the retail prices of fuels.”

Not RECOPE’s fault

Salazar said the promise of lower prices is a piece of fiction, because the Public Services Regulatory Agency (ARESEP), and not RECOPE, regulates fuel prices.

“On the contrary, RECOPE has consolidated a process that guarantees the purchase of fuels with the best import prices,” she said. “We sell at prices set by ARESEP, and we don’t have any control over the methodology they use to set prices.”

However, RECOPE sparked an angry response from citizens’ groups earlier this year when it asked ARESEP for three consecutive rate hikes during the first two months of this year.

In order to get TSE’s approval for the referendum, the “Ya no más RECOPE” group will have nine months to get the signatures of just over 160,000 citizens, representing 5 percent of registered voters.

The group is currently working to fulfill TSE requirements for the approval of the forms for collecting the signatures.

3. IHOP looking for investors to open in Costa Rica

The U.S. restaurant chain International House of Pancakes (IHOP) is looking for investors to move forward with the company’s plan to open ten restaurants in Costa Rica.

Jorge Lizan, a New York-based consultant in charge of negotiations with local investors, confirmed to The Tico Times in a written response that chain owner DineEquity is focusing on growth in Costa Rica as part of its expansion in Latin America.

Daniel del Olmo, president international of DineEquity said they see Latin America as an important growth opportunity for IHOP, and Costa Rica as fertile ground because of economic stability that is “encouraging entrepreneurs to seek new opportunities and consumers to enjoy more meals out.”

In addition, Costa Ricans have shown a specific affinity for casual dining brands from the U.S. — especially those offering all-day breakfast, del Olmo said.

The company has also noted that shopping center development is on the rise in Costa Rica, and the abundance of qualified franchise operators is a positive sign.

“Our company has experienced significant success with IHOP’s recent entry into nearby Panama for some of these same reasons, leading the brand to set its sights on Costa Rica,” del Olmo said.


Dan Lecocq, IHOP’s executive director of international development, visited Costa Rica this week to hold meetings with possible franchisees.

He said that beyond the business experience requirements, they are also looking for qualified franchisees that align with their brand identity.

“They have to embody an entrepreneurial spirit and a high level of commitment to guest service. But most of all, they need to have a passion for the IHOP brand,” he said.

The company is currently looking for local investors willing to invest at least $5 million. That figure would allow them to open at least five IHOP locations.

Those interested in operating an IHOP franchise here should have multi-unit restaurant experience, real estate development acumen, extensive market knowledge and the ability to recruit and retain strong and passionate management teams, the company stated.


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


Previous reports