ISSUE #653: April 2-8, 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, #124 and #125

Rentals: Paradisus: For Rent: 13th Fl / East view / furnished​ / $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 #124: $ 135,000 / See Unit [new]
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 #124

Total Area (Sq Ft): 662
Total area (Sq M): 61
Bedrooms: 1
Bathrooms: 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.

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: winds have died, two good showers--rainy season is on it's way- wonderful!!!!!!

Chaos on the highways: Actually I don't really know what happened on the highways... I couldn't get there... I couldn't get onto the side street to get there... Friday is always bad traffic but the Friday of Semana Santa... ridiculous. The good thing is that for those of us to remain in the Central Valley this week, the roads will be quiet... quiet, quiet... but the country is basically closed down so there is no where to go.

Market Activity: virtually none... no interest in purchases and virtually no interest in rentals... friends who have a hotel in Jaco said their business was down noticeably this year over last... and they have great Trip Advisor ratings and are inexpensive... I am having to accept short term rentals-- 4 mo / 6 weeks -to help the owners out... I don't like it at all but... supposedly a client from Argentina is coming into a friend's Paradisus unit on Sunday -his short term clients moved on Tuesday, I turned it around -cleaning, repairs, inventory replacement- for these people...

The colon keeps depreciating... note the article below.

INS law suit: I made a deposition last week at the main court house... it is a complicated case with lots of moving parts that I don't know anything about... and right now, no one body seems to know the whole story... it will take another year at least to work itself out. Meanwhile, the legal fees continue... ca-ching, ca-ching!!

My Car: yes, the story continues... 6 weeks of more mtnc... roof rebuilt and re-painting, front end steering / suspension gizmos replaced and today to replace the spent airbags... I am only about $3,500 over the market value of the car... I made a great deal!!!!! wow!! my only solace is the car drives great and is really, really cheap on fuel... fortunately I have had a loner when mine was indisposed...

News Items of the Week


1. What else would one expect to hear from ICE? At least someone called a spade a spade.. I had a conversation with some one this past week who had installed solar panels expecting ICE to re-purchase the surplus isn't happening.... they are disconnecting the panels...

2. Glassfrogs: the title captured my attention. There is something here for everyone... cynic, tree hugger, biologist, economists.

3. Colon Exchange Rate: the colon is depreciating again. On Friday, the rate was 575 at Scotiabank.

4. CR's claim on Nic.: 890 pages of ???? Who is going to read all this? Now you can figure out how the $10,000 (?) damage is now $6.7 mil. and I wouldn't go cashing the check anytime soon...

1. Costa Rica's electricity institute cries foul
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad called some statements that apparently came from the Cámara Nacional de Industrias on March 5, 2017, total lies.

The event, before the VIII Congreso Nacional de Energía, took place at the Hotel Wyndham Herradura. It is organized by the Cámara whose president Enrique Egloff accused the institute of overpricing electricity. He also said that its business model doesn't work anymore and the high cost of electricity has caused many enterprises to shut down their operation.

“They create new projects so that their workforce in payroll has something to do,” he said, “They have also electrified the country based on hydropower only, and the costs keep increasing.”

According to a statement sent by the institute, any comment that implies the institution is getting behind its competitive index in regards to price, coverage, sustainability and innovation is all false.

“Since June 2014, the electricity prices have been kept steady and even decreasing. That's a commitment we have with the Costa Rican people until 2018. We have the cheapest electricity fares in whole Central America, despite the fact we are the only company not receiving state subsidies.” the document reads.

“The statement issued by the Cámara is irresponsible.” the document says.

In the past, electricity prices have sparked some serious debate in the country. On one side, some in the industrial sector claimed that electricity costs are too high and that hurts foreign investment and the economy. They have repeatedly called for more private energy as a way to solve the situation.

According to the Costa Rican law, private generators may only sell their electricity to the institute, which may buy up to 30 percent of the national electric production in a one-year period. Companies should have at least 35 percent of their stocks in the hands of Costa Rican citizens.

Back in 2000, mass protests sprouted across the country because of the Combo ICE, a series of bills seeking to privatize the electricity and telecommunications markets, which were a monopoly at the time.

2. Tropical glassfrogs discovered to be dedicated mothers and fathers
By the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute press staff

Glassfrogs may be somewhat see-through, but they have still managed to hide an important secret. They are dedicated mothers and fathers that invest time in brooding their eggs.

Smithsonian scientists documented previously unknown parental-care behavior using detailed observations of 40 species of glassfrogs in Central and South America. The frog family is diverse stretching up through all of Costa Rica towards México.

Their discovery rewrites assumptions about how care-giving evolved in this family of translucent, tree-dwelling frogs.

“These are relatively well-studied, charismatic frogs, yet we were fundamentally wrong about their reproductive behavior,” said Karen Warkentin, associate scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and professor at Boston University.

That is because the frogs mate during the night, laying their eggs from leaves that dangle over running water. Ms. Warkentin’s doctoral student, Jesse Delia, and research partner Laura Bravo-Valencia of the University of Los Andes, Colombia, had to adopt nighttime schedules to observe what the frogs were doing.

Crucially, Delia and Ms. Bravo-Valencia observed that female frogs will sit upon their eggs for up to five hours after laying them. The frogs’ translucent bellies absorb water from dew-covered leaves, which they then use to hydrate the jelly-coated eggs. Swelling up to four times its thickness, the jelly protects the developing embryos from egg predators and fungal infections.

Previously, only males of some species of glassfrogs had been observed brooding eggs, leading researchers to assume that parental care was rare in the glassfrog family. But in a new study published in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology, Delia and his collaborators found that every species they observed cared for its eggs.

In most species, mothers tended to their eggs in the immediate hours after laying them. In fewer species, fathers cared for eggs. For 13 of the species, they monitored parental behavior from egg laying to tadpole hatching every night for weeks, observing how fathers cared for much longer periods than did mothers, continuing to brood their clutches even after the tadpoles started hatching.

Delia and Ms. Bravo-Valencia spent six rainy seasons at 22 streamside sites in México, Panamá, Colombia, Ecuador and Perú to learn how the frogs looked after their young. They trekked up and down streams in warm lowland forests as well as steep mountain streams in the Andes where, Delia notes, “In many sites there are cascades of freezing cold water.”

Their hard work paid off, because their field data helped make sense of the evolution of parental behavior in glassfrogs.

Reasoning that first-night brooding by mothers was likely an ancestral trait common to glassfrogs, the researchers demonstrated that it was much more likely that male brooding evolved out of this behavior, rather than from an ancestor with no parental care.

“It seems that fathers not only took over the job when mothers were already doing it, but they also greatly elaborated the amount of care,” Ms. Warkentin said.

Apart from their field observations, experimental work in Panamá on two species of glassfrogs revealed that brooding greatly increases the embryos’ chances of survival. Eggs whose mothers were removed before first-night brooding did not have swollen jelly coats, making them much easier for predators like katydids.

And mothers were dedicated to their task. They would resist pokes and pinches and even being pushed off their egg clutches by the researchers, climbing back onto the eggs to continue their work.

“Glassfrogs are but one small branch on the tree of life,” said Delia of their new observations. “But the way we had underestimated the diversity of parental behavior stresses the importance of getting out to the field and watching animals behave.”

Lead funding for this study came from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, the Fulbright Scholar Program and the National Science Foundation.

The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, headquartered in Panamá City, Panamá, is a part of the Smithsonian Institution.

The Institute furthers the understanding of tropical nature and its importance to human welfare, trains students to conduct research in the tropics and promotes conservation by increasing public awareness of the beauty and importance of tropical ecosystems.

3. Dollar exchange rate maintains slight upward trend this year

The exchange rate of the Costa Rican colón against the dollar increased by ₡6 during the first four months of this year, according to official data from the Central Bank of Costa Rica.

Luis Diego Herrera, an economist with Grupo Financiero Acobo, said in a news release that “despite variations in the past few days that point to a downward trend, the exchange rate actually maintains an upward trend this year.”

Herrera attributes the fluctuations to seasonal factors during this period, particularly an increase in transactions from businesses that exchange dollar investments into colones to pay taxes, he said.

On Jan. 1 the Central Bank set a sale price of ₡561, while the official price on Wednesday was of ₡567 for a dollar, a figure that continued to rise slightly since March 31.

The price remains below the ₡568.78 reached on Feb. 17, its peak against the dollar so far this year.

Annual comparison

Taking a longer view shows a different trend: Herrera pointed out that overall, the exchange rate has depreciated over the past 12 months. This has “boosted investments in dollars… and discouraged loans in that currency,” he said.

Herrera said that the result of these variations is a volatility of the exchange rate that, so far this year, has been higher than in previous years.

Last month the bank had to intervene in the domestic money market, or MONEX, to curb sharp fluctuations. During the last week of March, the bank sold $33 million to stabilize the exchange rate.

A few days before that, on March 23, the bank sold $30.9 million, the highest transaction conducted in a single day in 2017. The Central Bank reported that the exchange rate depreciated by 3.4 percent in 2016, and that the figure for this year could be very similar.

4. Costa Rica submits arguments against Nicaragua in $6.7 million environmental damage complaint

Costa Rica submitted a document on Monday to the International Court of Justice at The Hague that lay out the arguments underpinning the $6.7 million bill the country sent to Nicaragua.

The hefty payment is meant to compensate Costa Rica for environmental damage caused to a small protected wetland along its border area.

Foreign Minister Manuel González Sánz said in a news release that the 890-page document includes extensive evidence and technical information about damage: among them, an environmental damage assessment conducted by the San José-based Fundación Neotrópica, a non-governmental conservation organization.

“This is the result of extremely serious and rigorous work to properly document all damage caused by Nicaragua’s military occupation of our territory,” González said.

Costa Rican Ambassador to the Netherlands Sergio Ugalde said the country complied with the April 3 deadline set by the court for Costa Rica to present its damage report of the protected wetland, known here as Isla Calero.

Compensation process

The Hague court ruled in favor of Costa Rica in December 2015 in a legal dispute for a 2.5-square-kilometer territory that both countries claimed as their own.

Justices ruled that Nicaragua had violated Costa Rica’s sovereignty when it dredged artificial canals through Isla Calero and destroyed primary forests. The ruling also gave the countries one year to agree on a compensation figure.

Costa Rica presented its calculation, $6.7 million, in June 2016. Nicaragua did not respond, and the court’s deadline expired in December. The administration of President Luis Guillermo Solís then gave Nicaragua an additional month to respond, but Managua never did so.

“Nicaragua did not respond, so we interpret that silence as a negative response, despite recent statements by the president of that country saying he intended to pay,” Minister González said in January.

Managua has since contested the $6.7 million figure, saying is exaggerated. This prompted Costa Rica to submit yesterday’s detailed technical explanation of the amount requested.

Nicaragua will have until June 2 to submit a response. Justices then will issue a final ruling on the compensation figure and on a deadline to make the payment.

Both countries had previously agreed to abide by the court’s decisions.


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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