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Real Estate Newsletter #18

July 27th, 2006


The feeling, the animal sense, that somewhere, just somewhere, there is a better place than Costa Rica, raises its head and whispers to you from time to time.  One hears that voice in casual conversation, in letters to the editor, in oddly serious discourse on the nature of planetary politics. Hey, maybe…Spain, Portugal?  No, been there, done that…and who wants to fight off all of those Brits and Germans and god knows who else, who have
taken over everything there.  Argentina or Chile?  Nope, don’t think so. Just too far from everything. Nice, though, and cheap enough. But, what if you want to visit the kids or parents in Oregon? It’s just that it’s really like going to another planet.  Nicaragua?  Naw.  Still just too raw and rough and with too many unknowns.  You know, anything could happen there. Guatemala, Mexico?  No, no no. And who knows what the government there might do next year.  Panama?  Well, hmmm… you know, that’s interesting. I’ve been meaning to take a look and see what the buzz is all about, regarding the new Panama…  Maybe, just  maybe…

And so it goes.  At some level, one is always on the lookout for that “better place.” Knowing full well that it’s all in the mind, and that “better”, as a concept, is doomed.  That it’s really as Emerson said:  There is a universe in a grain of sand. Changing places doesn’t really change anything.  Better to just sit and breathe and watch that feeling of  “ maybe
its better somewhere else” just pass; just float on by.
Yet there are those around you who are always on the lookout for “the better place”.   And whenever something negative takes place in their environment – a robbery, rumors of shocking corruption, a new bit of unfathomable bureaucracy, encounters with the holes in the road - then the voice on one’s left shoulder starts jabbering.  “There has got to be a better place… “
And so we took the requisite trip to Panama.  Just to be sure.  I mean, one never knows.  
Well, well. The roads are magnificent; very First World. There are uniformed police around, and they are not so evil; in fact they’re actually helpful…and they smile. Incredibly humid along the beaches, but the highland areas of Boquete and El Valle are cool and clean. Renovations in the old town, the “casco antiguo” are sensational.  Prices for things seem
relatively low.  And the people seem decent enough. Rumors that all the men there have pencil moustaches and 226 gold chains around their necks appear to be ill-founded.   But, there is something…something about the Panamanians that sets them apart… I know you should never, never compare a people and their culture with another people.  But, still…. Hmmm.
Finally, J makes the observation.  “You know, that subtle difference between the Panamanians and the Ticos…that thing that screams at you and you can’t quite define. I just realized what it is. Panamanians have had recent experiences, within their lifetimes, of monster dictators, of military strongmen destroying the country and their lives.  Costa Ricans never have. Never.  There is this subtle caution, a wariness, to the Panamanians. Panama is that pretty young woman that’s been messed over by just too many guys.
Now she’s become a little hard…as a defense mechanism. But Costa Ricans…Ticos… no one has really done ‘em wrong.  They’re still so incredibly sweet and open and un-messed with.  Still.“
I smile, nod my head.  Yes, that’s it.  It’s that lack of sophistication that is intrinsically Costa Rican. Finally, the roads may be better there than here, but at what cost...
As I watched the incredibly large numbers of arrivals from the States, pouring out of planes, blinking, squinting into the hot Panamanian air, trying to figure it all out; looking for cues, hoping that this place will make them happy, hoping that this place will be the answer to the ills back home, I know that for many of them, it will be “better”.  Better in so many ways than what is happening in the States.  But these new arrivals from Atlanta, Denver, Dallas, L.A., have never, never, experienced that strangely wonderful thing of being in Costa Rica and chatting with a Tico and feeling transported back to the 1950s and sensing that somehow all is right with the world, and that there is hope, hope for the human condition, after all.


For those of you who insist.

One very nice Pacific coast beach area that is around an hour from the
capital city, Panama City, is the beach town of Santa Clara.  It is being
transformed from a sweet sleepy village to a place of new, luxurious, modern
development.  That means high rise condo towers.
Following are three of the best of such high rise developments, offering the
best prices at pre-construction rates.

Golf course condos

Two high buildings will be located at the west end of the development
overlooking the entire golf course and the ocean, in the distance. There are
two and three bedroom condos, all with terraces overlooking the course, and
open floor plans.  All condos will have outdoor terraces with ocean and
mountain views.  These will feature two penthouses and 2 three-bedroom condo
on the first floor,
When you purchase a condo in this development, you will automatically get a
20 year property tax exemption.
Amenities included:

-   Golf membership for two adult (couple) owners and children up to the age
    of 23.
-   Central air conditioning
-   Stainless steel stove and hood fan, refrigerator, dishwasher,
-   Gas water heater
-   Stacked washer/dryer
-   Green fees     
-   Gas           
-   Trash disposal
-   Use of the private beach club, meditation garden, golf clubhouse
-   Administration of the association
-   Maintenance of the common grounds, golf course and of the building

Projected completion date: March 2007

The Penthouses:

Master Penthouse  - $1,250,000
Total Area:      6228 sq ft

Jr Penthouses A & B    -   $750,000
Total Area:       4089 sq ft

Santa Clara Condos

Located an hour west of Panama City, these great condos are in an upscale
beach town on Panama’s Pacific Coast.

Each unit has 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, maid’s bedroom and bathroom, balcony
with beach view, laundry room, balcony in master bedroom, living room/dining
room, and kitchen.

The building has 24 hour security, spectacular beach views, a pool area,
elevators, visitor’s parking, horse stables, covered social areas and a
driving range.

The building is 9 stories high and has just two condo units per floor.
This development is just minutes from a 24-hour grocery store, clinics,
shopping, schools and the highway to Panama City. This is an ideal location
for anyone wanting to escape the city, yet be just a short drive away.
2,329 sq ft.

Coronado Bay Condos

Located a short 50 minute drive from Panama City, these condominiums are
located near all amenities. These condos are spacious 1 bedroom units with
hotel style amenities. There are 4 sizes of units available. Available units
are 995 sq feet, 1114 sq feet, 1130 sq feet and 1205 sq feet.

All units have balconies with excellent views of the Pacific, the master
bedroom features a walk in closet and full bathroom. There is also a guest
bathroom, a living room/dining room area, kitchen with natural gas hook up,
imported ceramic tiles and granite countertops, laundry room area, imported
ceramic floors and internet and cable hook ups.

The building features 24-hour security, three high speed passenger
elevators, full auxiliary power generator, and visitors parking area.
There is a large roof top social area with a swimming pool, covered terrace,
sun deck, 2 bars, exercise room and sauna.

This beach town has many restaurants, a major 24-hour supermarket,
drugstores, medical clinic, eye doctor, hardware stores, shops and an
18-hole championship golf course and equestrian center.
This condo is similar to a 5 star beach hotel. Residents have private access
to the beach, a swimming pool, complete beach services.

Starting at  $148,000

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