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Karma Saving the Rainforest

KSTR logoBy Karma Casey

Hello again! This is Karma from Kids Saving The Rainforest. This month I am going to talk a little bit about our beautiful oceans! Here at KSTR, we mostly spend our time rescuing local wildlife and planting trees, but we care about the ocean too! Recently, some of our volunteers pitched in helping a beach cleanup with another great local group, Operation Rich Coast. They organize lots of beach cleanups in lots of different areas, so if you would like to help them out on their next beach clean-up follow them on Facebook at facebook.com/operationrichcoast.

I am a very lucky person because I get to go to the Manuel Antonio beach almost every day! One day I was walking, and I found a piece of coral on the ground. It was white, and it still had a little bit of purple on it. I learned at my school, Life Project Education, that white coral is dead coral. I wondered, was this piece of coral being killed by something that humans had done?
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End Of Vacation

We live in a world today which is always striving to make the tasks of daily living easier and faster. Both our physical and mental health should be at an all-time high, compared to decades of the past. Modern innovations in this high-tech day and age should be leaving us with more time and money, if we play our cards right, to cultivate ourselves in whatever we choose….health, love, art, travel, amongst other finer things in life. I wonder why most people never feel like the weekend is long enough, why our favorite activities get less and less attention as we grow older, or quite possibly that the sense of stillness, or simply having time on our hands, may be subconsciously being avoided. I know many people who never feel freedom or embrace the notion of nothing to do, and nowhere to be. For these people it is impossible to just “detach” as we are creatures of habit.

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Fiddlin’ Around – March 2018

Rhythm and BoozeNowadays it’s not really politically correct to sing or write songs about drinking or getting drunk. And I get it — booze can wreck peoples’ lives, and it is at the root of many sad stories. But here’s the deal — even though people love to sing, most folks won’t sing outside of the shower without something to relax their inhibitions. A little shot of courage. So, after a few shots we join in on the chorus to Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down, or we torture the folks at the local karaoke bar with a weepy rendition of Scotch and Soda. But looking back, it all started when we were teenagers on the band bus facing our fears with 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall. Simple enough lyrics for teens or impaired adults to remember. Drunks do love to sing, and most often they love to sing songs about being drunk. It’s some kind of weird rule.

But there are some pretty great lyrics written either about drinking, or are written while drinking. It seems to be a universal impulse, as most countries have their favorite traditional drinking songs. Witness the Irish! They must have thousands of drinking songs, some of them going back centuries. And a sideways drunk Irishman has an amazing ability to actually remember all the words. The Star Spangled Banner, the U.S.A.’s national anthem, was adapted from an old English drinking song by John Stafford Smith! German drinking songs are called Trinklieder, and there are plenty of them. In Sweden there are specific drinking songs for Xmas, midsummer, and other national events. The Aussies love to swill and spill beer to their rowdy outback tales. Russians can’t do a shot of vodka without singing about it. The record of drinking songs dates to the 11th century, and they were probably around earlier than that. Folks like to sing with their pals, so every fraternity or sports club or ethnic group or tribe or bunch of pirates or sorority girls have their favorite songs. Broadway playwrights and country music singers and rock stars and folkies all sing about gettin’ drunk, and often these songs turn into anthems that everyone knows the words to.

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Life Before and After Janet

By Jack Ewing

When the paths of powerful storms take them near the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica the accompanying low pressure systems draw in the weather from every direction including across the country and out into the Pacific aOcean. As the clouds move toward the Atlantic storm they are halted by a formidable obstacle, the Talamanca mountain range. As the moisture laden air rises in an effort to clear the mountains it cools, condenses, and falls in torrents on the Pacific side of the country. One recent example, tropical storm Nate caused millions of dollars of damage, 11 deaths, and 11,700 people displaced from their homes. In the 46 years that I have lived on Hacienda Barú, we have on occasion experienced torrential rains caused by Atlantic hurricanes: Joan in 1988, Cesar in 1996, Mitch in 1998, Stan in 2005, Nate in 2017, and many lesser storms.

Hurricane Janet pathBut from what I have been able to learn from people who were living on the Pacific coast in 1955 all of these storms were mere thunder showers compared to Hurricane Janet. She slowly made her way across the Caribbean on a course similar to that of Nate with the difference that Janet was a category 4 hurricane, not a tropical storm. Those of you who experienced Nate can only imagine the fury of Janet. On her trek northwards along the coast of central America and into southern Mexico, she became the first category 5 hurricane in the history of the region and the first to cause over 1000 deaths (according to Wikipedia).

Hacienda Baru

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That’s Fishin’- March 2018

TunaWe have had a blistering start to the Sportfishing year here in Quepos with some magical fishing experienced during January & February. At the start of the year, water temperatures remained cool due to the la niña weather cycle which made for some great fishing with fantastic species variety. There have been lots of Blue Marlin this year with boats getting multiple shots on Marlin during Offshore trips on many occasions. The Dorado bite continued with most boats in the fleet have been seeing a few Dorado each trip which makes for a fantastic addition when targeting the main event, Billfish. The Tuna bite has been strong with many 100lb plus Yellow Fin’s landed and a few supersized fish also, the kind of fish you spend your whole life wishing you could hook and once it has been on the line for 30 minutes, you kind of wished you had not hooked…but that’s fishin’ my friends!

In recent weeks water temperatures have risen dramatically and we expect the Dorado and Tuna bite to start to thin and the Sailfish numbers to peak during March. We have experienced some banner Sailfish days with boats raising more than 20 Sailfish but the bite has been a little up and down, great one day and a little slow the next but that keeps us on our toes and always searching for the best action.

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What’s Shaking at Marina Pez Vela – March 2018

What's Shaking headerMarch is one of the hottest months of the year both in temperatures and in important activities here at Marina Pez Vela and we are honored to share with our community all of the events and details to add to your calendars! The activities here are diverse and include two full weeks of tournaments, dance performances, live music, the iconic movie nights, Semana Santa, and will culminate with the April 1st elections for Costa Rica’s next president!  


March and April are the two busiest months here at MPV for tournaments, both open to the public as well as some private tournaments. Whether you are an active angler or are just looking for some fun times, the tournaments at the project bring energy, world class anglers and always some amazing fish to see at weigh-ins, stories being told at the bar (where fish magically grow in size and strength) and the energy is electric all over the project.  
Marina Pez Vela logo
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¿Qué Pasa en Quepos? – March 2018

March 2018 coverBienvenidos… Welcome to the tropics. We knew you were coming so we turned up the heat. So take off those layers and forget about those snow shovels and enjoy this Pura Vida weather. Whether you are here to relax at our many wonderful restaurants, explore our National parks, fish, surf our beaches, zip line through the sky, raft our cool rivers, or a nice sunset cocktail. This magazine can be your guide to the best this area has to offer.

Marina Pez Vela will be hosting the 7th Annual Quepos Billfish Cup (March 14-17). In addition to a fleet of boats, fantastic tours, spectacular restaurants, and air conditioned shopping, it is also home of Gelateria Amorosi so cool down with some of the area’s most delicious Italian Gelato and treats. Tell them we sent you, our advertisers love to hear it. Don’t miss Movie Night Under the Stars every Friday on the big screen ( schedule on Page 44) a wonderful night for the entire family.

March Madness is upon us. So you basketball fans can catch all the action and great food at Sancho’s or Jolly Roger on the mountain or Double Hook Sports Bar at the Marina. Semana Santa is one of the busiest weeks here at the beach so have patience, relax and enjoy the celebration… Happy Easter.

We want to thank Casper Homewood for the chillin’ at the beach cover (don’t forget your SUNBLOCK). We are always looking for great shots for the cover so please send your photos to info@quepolandia.com for future consideration.

We hope you enjoy our magazine and it helps guide you through this enchanting paradise we call home. You can always follow and share us here or facebook.com/quepolandia. We appreciate and welcome your comments.

Peace and Enjoy…D

Karma Saving the Rainforest – February 2018

KSTR logoBy Karma Casey

Hi! This is Karma, from Kids Saving The Rainforest again! Last month, I talked to you about how you can help collect leaves for hungry sloths and anteaters in our rescue center. Our friends at Hostel Plinio have offered to be a drop-off spot for all those yummy leaves you collect for us. Thanks guys! If you missed last month’s LEAF-let, you can contact my mom at volunteer@kstr.org to learn more.

Jeff Corwin and slothThis month, I am going to tell you about a very special visitor who came to Kids Saving the Rainforest. Jeff Corwin! Jeff is a biologist and conservationist who travels all over the world filming with wildlife! He visited us with his film crew for his show on ABC, called Ocean Treks with Jeff Corwin.

While filming, Jeff focused on our wildlife rescue and relief work. He even met a very special animal from our nursery, Peanut the anteater! Jeff and his crew arrived on a very exciting day! They went with our veterinarian Dr. Sofia Bernal to release a Grey Crowned Squirrel Monkey, Cocorita.

Jeff Corwin and PeanutCoco came into Kids Saving the Rainforest showing possible signs of neurological damage. Our clinic staff worked hard to nurse Coco back to health. Jeff’s crew looked on as Coco had her final check, and was released back with her troop! Another animal back in the wild where they belong!

We invite you to come visit Kids Saving the Rainforest, too! We give tours at 9 am every day except for Tuesday. You might even see me there! Until next month, Quepolandia readers. Have a wonderful February!

That’s Fishin’- February 2018

That's Fishin'header

Sailfish By Benn Gilmour

February can only be described as a HOT HOT HOT time for Offshore fishing here in Quepos. It is perhaps the Number 1 month in the calendar for Sailfish and is why thousands of Anglers from around the world descend on Quepos to hook up with one of our great captains and experience our amazing fishery. If you have always dreamt of catching a Billfish then you have come to the right place and you could not have timed it better than coming here in February. Big Pacific Sailfish in the 70-140lb range will be available 20+ miles off our coastline. Blue, Black and Striped Marlin will be in the mix also, as well as Yellow Fin Tuna and Dorado. If you want to target the big Pelagic’s such as Sailfish & Marlin, a full day (8-9 hour) Offshore trip is the best option to give you adequate time on the water and increase your chances of landing a dream catch. Check out some of the photos of our happy Anglers from the past month or so releasing their trophy Marlin & Sailfish catches. They will not be forgetting their experience in a hurry!

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Big Ideas for Small Spaces

Decorating Tips to Maximize Small-Space Living

Design WiseBy Shelagh Duncan

Bigger is not always better. Lovely as they are, we know that large homes are more expensive to furnish and maintain, and as we spend so much of our time outdoors do we really need all that interior space?

Whatever size home you have the key is always to make the most appropriate choices for the space you are living in. This month we will be looking at maximizing small-space living. There are decorating challenges of course, but here are a few tips you can try to help your condo, house or room appear larger and more spacious.

Royal Palm Interiors

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Stuffed tofu bites

Chef's Corner logoI am often asked: what is tofu, and how is it used?

Tofu is a bland looking and bland tasting hunk of soy cheese that nobody should consider a pantry staple unless you’re vegetarian, vegan, or lactose intolerant. But let’s reconsider for a moment. Tofu is actually a magical ingredient that is a shape shifter, a rich protein, a product of coagulated soy milk that can embrace any sauce or flavor, sweet or savory, a vehicle for endless creations… Here is a surprisingly simple appetizer that makes everyone smile before they fall in love with tofu.

Fried TofuIngredients

  • 1 package of firm tofu
  • 1 handful of bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cup of shredded carrots
  • Coarsely chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup of roughly chopped peanuts
  • Soy sauce mixed with a little brown sugar for serving

Stuffed TofuDirections

  1. Place tofu on a few paper towels to air-dry for a couple hours so that the moisture doesn’t make the oil splatter.
  2. Quickly blanche the bean sprouts in boiling water in order to keep their white color. Drain and combine with carrots, cilantro, and peanuts.
  3. Cut tofu carefully into 6 rectangles and deep fry on all sides.
  4. Cut the cubes in half and scoop out a small amount of the soft middle.
  5. Stuff the halves with the bean sprout mixture.
  6. Serve with slightly sweetened soy sauce and you will have a fun appetizer for your vegetarian and vegan friends.

Mr. Green

Shambling through paradise headerI was caretaking the mansion of my friend Carlton while he accompanied his obscenely wealthy family on another jaunt around the world. The mansion was amazing — high on a mountaintop, with a view of the Pacific that stretched from the Whale’s tail in Uvita all the way north to Playa Herradura. There were enough bedrooms and bathrooms to house a soccer team and the kitchen looked like chef Gordon Ramsay’s wet dream.

Carlton and I had met over drinks — we were sitting next to each other in a Quepos bar, watching college basketball, and we bonded because we both had a bet going on the same game. One thing that for me set the international community of Costa Rica apart from say, anywhere I had ever lived in the United States, was the absence of economic class distinctions. Working stiffs like myself rubbed elbows with rich kids like Carlton on a regular basis. In the states the only way I would have met someone like him would have been serving him drinks while I was bartending at some exclusive catered function. Here I might hang out with Carlton over beers, and then pay a night time visit to one of my gringo friends here on the other end of the economic spectrum — for example Vinny, who was camping on the beach in a tent, living on coconut water, bananas, and whatever he could pull in while shore fishing with his homemade line spooler.
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Stronger Together

Dory taste tastingBy Sam Trull, Wildlife/Sloth Director The Sloth Institute Costa Rica

Protecting wild animals and wild spaces is a battle. In some corners of the world it is an actual war zone, and I cannot adequately express how much I respect and admire everyone on the front lines of those conflicts. But even in less personally life threatening scenarios, we struggle to make sense of how this world can sometimes be so cruel. From actual disregard for the environment and animal life, to genuine accidents that highlight the tragic consequences associated with human encroachment on wild environments; every day presents a new challenge. Regardless of what battle you enter into…it’s always better to lock arms with an ally and fight together to accomplish bigger and better goals. In the fight to save sloths and return them to their jungle homes, we have decided to lock arms with the amazing staff at Toucan Rescue Ranch. Hearing the name…you may wonder what a toucan center and a sloth center have in common? But don’t let the name fool you! Toucan Rescue Ranch started with Toucans, but has actually been working with sloths for over 15 years. We work together, every day, to rescue, rehabilitate and release sloths that have been negatively affected by devastation to their environment. We make a great team combing excellent medical care, scientific research, field work and unwavering dedication to saving these animals and getting them back where they belong. Our partnership means that every sloth we care for receives the very best rehabilitation team and the very best scientific team to heal them and get them back to the wild where they belong. In addition we are able to learn from each patient and add to our ever growing data base on sloth behavioral ecology which ultimately helps entire populations survive in this ever changing world. As the next year begins, it is important that we all focus on what we can do to make this world a better place. By working together to save sloths and assure their conservation, we predict 2018 will be a very productive year!
The Sloth Institute logo

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Elusive Wildlife

Elusive Wildlife header

By Jack Ewing

The tropical rainforest contains more biodiversity and more biomass than any other habitat on our planet. The amount of life in the forest is overwhelming. The rainforests of the southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica are home to many animals that are seldom observed by humans. We are going to have a brief look at 12 of these species. All of them have either been captured by trail cameras or seen on rare occasions by Hacienda Barú guests, guides, park rangers, and researchers. I first came to Hacienda Barú in February of 1972. During the 46 years from then until today I have never seen a puma, ocelot, margay cat, or false vampire bat, and have sighted each of the other 8 species less than 10 times.


Puma (Puma concolor) The first sighting on Hacienda Barú was in the year 2010 by two of our guests. Since that time there have been about a half dozen sightings per year and many photos and videos taken by trail cameras. The fact that the ecosystem is robust enough to sustain a large predator speaks highly of the biological health of the region. This photo of a young puma was taken by a trail camera.


Ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) – These are the second largest feline in the area, with mature adults weighing about 15 kg (33 pounds). I have never seen a live one in the wild, but my wife Diane has seen two during the time we have lived here. One of the workers at Hacienda Barú killed one in the early 1970s because it was eating his wife’s chickens. The sight of the dead body of the magnificent spotted cat affected me deeply, and set me on a path that led away from cattle ranching and toward the restoration and protection of natural habitat and the wildlife that it harbors. This photo was taken with a trail camera.
Hacienda Baru

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Planting Yourself

I spend a lot of time outside. Particularly in my garden around plants and trees. Although I have no formal training I had landscaping jobs as a teen and into my twenty’s; in college my work study job was in the university greenhouse, growing plants for science experiments and observations. I’ve always enjoyed herbs and find the cycle of life very rewarding…even the year when I lost 4 mature coconut trees to a nasty beetle. I was emotional about that for months. Toucans and parrots of all sorts frequent the tallest of trees on my property and wake me most mornings. Once my land was a barren dirt hill that used to be cow pasture, now I am surrounded by five fruit trees, lipstick palms, and plants and flowers of all kinds. Wildlife spotting’s occur almost daily and I never knew I would become a bird watcher, professional sunrise/sunset observer, and can identify our slight change of seasons with the best of them.

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