This n’ that

This morning we have several things to accomplish. Things that fall under the “can we live here?” banner.  After a quick breakfast of sharing my leftovers from yesterday’s gringo breakfast, our first priority is housing and to that end, we go to see the long-term rentals we were told about yesterday at breakfast.

This small development “La Puerta del Cielo” (translates to “Door to Heaven) is comprised of 5 completed (2 more planned) 2 bedrooms, one bath cabins in a gorgeous 8 acre pastoral setting. Freddy, the caretaker, has left the security gate open for us and we drive down (steep!) to Cabin #3.  OMG! This place is wonderful!!  It is small but the furniture and stuff like the kitchen appliances and decor are great. It is a secure neighborhood and the house has an alarm system. It is rented fully furnished and the rent of $950/month includes all the utilities, (trash, water, electricity, gardener, cable, and internet) except propane. The neighborhood has its own cell tower so there is excellent Internet connectivity. However, no ocean view and no monkeys.  Now what??  We both like it a lot, the price is perfect, and it is available; but that is actually serious drawback –  it is available now.

Freddy tells us that Cabin #1 is also available and we walk up, up, up to see that one. This cabin is a little different from the other. For example, you have to go outside to get to the laundry room – a definite drawback during the rainy season. In addition, it is RIGHT ON the road, and it’s a busy road. I look at Jeff and simply say ‘no.’  But the other cabin…we need to think about that one.  Before we leave the neighborhood, we walk down the (steeper) drive to Susan and Ben’s cabin and pop in on them. They are delighted that we are looking at the cabin and we chat for a few minutes before going on our way. (Susan and Ben said their propane runs about $40/month.) We wave to Dale who is sitting out on his patio as we drive back up the mountain.
You can see photos/videos of this little neighborhood here.  These photos are of Cabin #3.  The photos at the end that look like paintings are the utility boxes.
We have more stops to make today.

La Puerta del Cielo is close to downtown San Ramon which is where we are heading. It is a straight shot on a good paved road into town. Parking in San Ramon is a nightmare, but Jeff finally finds a spot only a couple of blocks from the farmacia (pharmacy).  I take  several prescription medicines and I need to know if I can get them here. The farmacia we are going to has a reputation for being very helpful and some of the staff speak English. We walk in, take a number and wait our turn. As the English-speaking clerk helps me, I dump my bottles on the counter and she checks them one by one. Of the five, only ONE requires a prescription!! One is not available in Costa Rica (which isn’t a problem) and all the others are available over the counter. I can’t believe it! Then she helps me figure out the monthly costs – without any insurance my costs will be about $60 U.S. That’s amazing and I am sooo excited!

We go back to the car and head for the feria agricultura where we pick up a few things: half a watermelon, lettuce (23 cents/head), a large tomato (45 cents), cucumber (40 cents), onion, 2 potatoes and some broccoli. We pay less than $5 U.S for our fresh produce.

We need to hurry home to meet Pedro for our tour. He wants to show us around; I think it doesn’t register with him that we’ve been here at least four times. Let me explain Pedro a bit. He is famous (or maybe infamous) in this area because he is the big developer. He has developed a couple of the high-end neighborhoods and knows everyone, and everyone knows him. Pedro is Cuban but has lived here in Costa Rica for the last 12 years. Before that he lived in the States where he worked, quite successfully, on Wall Street and then retired to Lake Tahoe. Tiring of that lifestyle he landed in San Ramon. He says now he is working harder than ever. LOL

Anyway, he is not only the developer, but also has part interest in several of the luxury homes in Magallenes (the neighborhood that Jeff and I fell in love with a couple of years ago) and in Casa Mostaza.  These homes do not rent long-term; in fact, they don’t rent at all because the owners want to sell them and can afford to just let them sit empty. But Pedro and our friends, Joe and Debra, said they would make an exception for Jeff and I because “everyone knows us.” Pretty funny.

We head off to see Joe and Debra’s 2nd house which is empty and for sale. We have been thinking about seeing if they would rent this to us. And apparently, they are willing to do that, though it would still be for sale. (We would have right of first refusal and if we didn’t want it, 90 days in which to move.)  The house is gorgeous and in the right neighborhood.  Jeff is mainly interested in the view and as we look out toward Puntarenas (the coastal town on the Pacific), we notice that the ocean view is obstructed by some trees. Hmmm.  Also, there are a bunch of power lines and a streetlight on that side of the house.  I feel like I’m in a ‘too close’ neighborhood; I would like more space around me.

After seeing that house, Pedro insists on taking us to other places; we don’t get out of the car, but ride around while he describes different lots; who has built what where and stuff like that. It is fun but exhausting because he talks almost constantly and very loudly. I feel badly for Jeff who is in the front seat.  Pedro talks to us about the booming real estate market and the fact that houses here are selling very quickly and prices are going up. Well, we’ve been watching this market/area for around three years now and know that isn’t true. On top of that we have no interest in buying and are sure as heck not going to build a house!  But it is interesting to hear Pedro describe the different options. What we do know from our years of research is that homes for sale stay on the market a long time; but rentals (long-term especially) get snapped up very, very quickly. We end our tour stopping by Andy and Nancy’s hacienda – Jeff and I stayed in their casita in January and it is nice to see them again. We are with Pedro for just over 2 hours and my ears are tired when we get home.

Pokey & Gumby at home

We say good-bye to Pedro, tell him we’ll think about  Debra and Joe’s house and go inside.  Jeff takes a short nap while I do Sudoku puzzles. It is dark out now, and Jeff asks if I’d like to walk back up to Deborah and Joe’s house and check out the night-time view. So, we do.  You remember the steepness of our hill, right? Geez Louise. We got a workout.  And the view was not better in the dark. Too bad as Jeff has his heart set on an ocean view.


It has been a full day.

Back home we eat our beans and rice with tortillas while we talk about the pros and cons of the cabin. Afterwards, Jeff plays around with our Chromecast to see what all we can do with it in Costa Rica and it works great. We watch a disaster movie that he had downloaded to his IPad and it casts to the television just fine.

Tomorrow we have some errands to run; more stuff to check off our ‘relocation’ list. Want to join us?

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