Quepolandia logo

Monkeys are Made of Mangoes

Jack holding two big mangoes, header

Hacienda Barú, where I live, was roughly half rainforest and half cattle pasture when we first moved here in the early 1970s. Today it is much different, mostly rainforest and is a well-known destination for ecological tourists and biological researchers. Living with the transformation of the land from cattle ranch to nature reserve has given me a wealth fascinating experiences, one of which I will share with you here.

variegated squirrelIn 1979 we planted about 10 hectares of cacao, the stuff chocolate is made with. The uphill side of the plantation was adjacent to a rainforest and the lowland side bordered pasture and rice fields. After six years just when the plantation reached full production, the price of cacao plummeted to the point that cacao beans cost more to harvest than they were worth on the open market. We abandoned the cacao and the white-faced capuchin monkeys from the rainforest moved in and added cacao to their already hodgepodge of a diet. They don’t eat the cacao seeds, only the sweet-and-sour tasting syrup that coats them. That story is told in my first book, Monkeys Are Made of Chocolate.

Prior to the arrival of the monkeys, variegated squirrels were the only wild animals that ate our cacao. They didn’t eat much, so we didn’t worry about them. When the monkeys began frequenting the plantations on a regular basis, the squirrels disappeared. We could see them at the ecolodge and in an area that was planted with teak trees, but they were absent from the cacao plantations and forested areas.

Hacienda Baru

Read More…


What’s Shaking @ Marina Pez Vela – September/October 2021

What's Shaking headerWHALES ARE WHAT’S SHAKING!

The world’s longest mammal migration with humpback whales from both hemispheres coming to our pristine waters to have their young, teach them the art of survival, breaching and feeding, and begin the migration to the colder waters of both hemispheres. The Humpbacks are the main attraction and can be found just off the coast of Manuel Antonio and during these two months the whale watching tours are jaw dropping experiences with these majestic giants. Costa Rica has become so well known for “once in a lifetime experiences” and the experience of seeing these mammals up close, marveling when they breach with the dramatic background of Manuel Antonio is unforgettable. The Marina Pez Vela Guest Center has created opportunities for every budget and every style traveler so do NOT miss out on this opportunity to create memories with friends and family and also to support the local tour operators and economy during what are traditionally the most challenging months of the year.

 
COSTA RICAN INDEPENDENCE DAY, September 15th

While Costa Rica will not be 100% back to normal this year, the enormous advances with the vaccination program in the country is going to allow for some of the traditional celebrations of Costa Rican Independence Day to take place. IF there is one thing that the pandemic has taught all of us here in Costa Rica, it is that the pride, strength, and commitment for all of Costa Rica, but especially the smaller communities whose livelihood was almost entirely based on tourism, is unbreakable. At the time of publication, the specifics of this year’s celebration are yet to be determined as the health and security of our community will be at the forefront of all we and the community organize, but DEFINITELY come by the Marina as we will have some events, typical foods, some traditional folk dances and music popping up in and around the month-long celebration of our Independence.

HALLOWEEN, October 31st

What was once an expat holiday, hidden in the bars of the area, has become one of the most enjoyable family evenings and cultural fusion events of the entire year. The Marina, with its easy and safe trick or treating has become the PLACE to be for Halloween. Seeing both the expat and local families come together with their kids and extended families to celebrate everything that is so special but our community and this project is one of the highlights of the year. As the dates approach, stay tuned for restaurant specials and details on the schedule and security measures to insure a safe and enjoyable Halloween here at Marina Pez Vela. 

TOURNAMENTS ARE COMING

Get ready for the iconic Dorado Derby which is coming soon on November 13th. This is a super fun tournament, ideal for families, friends, first time anglers and anyone just looking to experience a day on the water, the fun of fishing at a great price in a great environment.  Inquire now at the Marina Pez Vela Guest Center for your reservation and more details.


¿Qué Pasa en Quepos? – September/October 2021

September/October coverBienvenidos…Welcome to the rain forest. Green season has arrived, so enjoy the peace and all the lushness it provides. Our mornings are normally beautiful and the rain normally rolls in late in the afternoon, so get moving early and enjoy your adventures. Maybe an afternoon nap (quilt free in the rain). Our restaurants and tour companies are in full swing to make your time here an unforgettable one. Without the crowds and with cooler weather it’s a perfect time to hike one of our beautiful National Parks that Costa Rica has to offer. We recommend calling ahead to our fine restaurants beforehand because some will be closing briefly this time of year for a quick vacation for themselves and their staff. Being from the US I look forward to this time of year and the start of the NFL season. You can catch all the action at Jolly Roger on the hill or Best Western Hotel and Casino in Quepos.

Marina Pez Vela offers outstanding restaurants, tours, great shopping and most importantly this time of year underground parking and shuttle service. September and October are great months for whale watching here in Manuel Antonio so make sure to book your tours with Marina Pez Vela and enjoy the spectacular humpback whales frolicking just offshore. October 31 is Halloween so start thinking about your costume and get ready for fright night in the jungle. It’s BACK this year… Always a great time for the entire family. MPV’s annual Halloween Bash complete with trick or treating for the kids and specials in their restaurants. Costa Rica celebrates its 199th year of Independence on September 15th. So, if you’re in the area come celebrate with a country that truly appreciate their Independence. Viva Costa Rica!!!

Welcome to our newest advertisers M. Glenn Baxter and Tucanes Restaurant.

We want to thank Paul Gerace (photosofcostarica.com) for another spectacular cover shot. Hummingbirds at play, shows 2 Rufous-tailed and a Mango-breasted hummingbird taken in the Turrialba area of Costa Rica.

September/October is a double month issue so we will be back to guide you in November. 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/Quepolandia.. We appreciate and welcome your comments.

Peace and Enjoy…D


Quite the Contrary

I expand my possibilities by cultivating the opposite in myself. When I was young, I did not have much choice. As an adult I do, so I use my free will to be the antagonist from within. I understand that no matter how correct I think my decisions are, or how black and white a situation seems, there are always shades of grey or layers of circumstance that I may be unaware of. This requires humility beyond the four decades of lessons I have learned. A set frame of mind can be my own worst enemy. Cultivating the opposite moves my life towards the pursuit of liberation. Freedom from all lesser pursuits (that often revolve around money, food, sex, and power) can be greatly empowering. The value of seeking change and enlightenment enriches my days beyond what I have previously dreamed.


Read More…


Spanish Sucks – July/August 2021

Spanish Sucks

CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE


That’s Fishin’ – July/August 2021

That's Fishin header

By Benn Gilmour

Simply blessed! What an incredible year it has been so far. After the turbulence of last year, it has been great to see some kind of normalcy return to the tourism scene here in Quepos/Manuel Antonio and our Charter Boats have thankfully had a busy season with lots of visitors from the states just crying out for some time on the water. Thank you to each and every one of you that have fished with one of our Quepos boats and helped us continue to do what we love. The fishing has not disappointed and our lucky Anglers have enjoyed some simply world class Fishing over these past few months.

Read More…


Indian Red Lentils (dal)

Chef's corner headerIndian spices and coconut milk jazz up these little legumes superbly. In less than 15 minutes you can make a flavorful plant-based bowl of comfort packed with protein and nutrients. Any lentils can be used for this recipe, although the red ones become naturally creamy, nutty, and quick to cook.

Ingredients for 6 to 10 bowls

  • 2 tbs coconut oil
  • 2 medium white onions, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 tsp of freshly grated ginger
  • 1 chili pepper without seeds and finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 ½ cups of red lentils
  • 3 cups of water or stock
  • 1 tsp powdered turmeric
  • 1 tsp powdered cumin
  • 1 tsp powdered coriander
  • 1 tsp garam masala or a curry powder of your choice
  • 1 can (400 ml) of coconut milk
  • 500 grams of tomato puree (passata)
  • Juice of one lime or to taste
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Indian Red LentilsTo serve

  • Cooked rice (basmati is ideal)
  • Yogurt (or vegan version)
  • Chopped cilantro or mint
  • Toasted sesame seeds, slivered almonds or chopped pistachios
  • Lime wedges
  • Bread (ideally naan or pita, but baguette is nice too)

Directions

  1. Heat the coconut oil and fry onions until translucent.
  2. Add the garlic, ginger, chili pepper and fry for one minute before adding the lentils, water, spices, and tomato puree. Make sure to stir often scraping the bottom of the pan to avoid burning.
  3. After about 5 minutes, when the stew is nice and thick, add the coconut milk, lime juice, then adjust the seasonings.
  4. Add more water or stock if necessary, since lentils tend to absorb great amounts of liquid.
  5. Ladle into bowls and serve with the accompaniments listed above.

KSTR – July/August 2021

KSTR LogoDaniHola Quepolandia Readers! It’s Dani, the spokeskid for KSTR. This month, I want to talk about how KTSR helps animals by preventing accidents.

Some of the animals came to KTSR because they got hurt in traffic. My mom told me a story about the first time I came to Costa Rica when I was 9 months old. Here is a picture of me on Manuel Antonio Beach from that trip—now I know why I love Costa Rica so much! She said that we watched a big family of squirrel monkeys run across the street and almost get hit by a car. That’s how my family first learned about KSTR.  

Titi monkeys crossing bridgeHave you ever seen those thick blue ropes hanging in the trees above the roads? Kids Saving the Rainforest builds wildlife bridges with ICE that cross above the roads in Manuel Antonio. That way, the animals don’t have to risk running across the street and getting hit. So, after seeing that close call with the monkey family on the main road to the beach, my parents donated a wildlife bridge in Valle Pura Vida (where the old KSTR wildlife rescue center used to be!) My mom says it is the best souvenir she has ever got.

Dani and her momThe bridges are also great for another reason. Have you ever seen the monkeys run on the power lines? Well, that can also be very dangerous for them, as they can get shocked by high-voltage wires. If you ever see a loose wire- or hear it crackling when it rains, please call ICE so they can fix it! The KSTR blue ropes also help keep our little friends from being electrocuted.

If you want to sponsor building a wildlife bridge of your own, please email jennifer@kstr.org or go to donate at kstr.org. We would love to hear from you. On my last trip to Costa Rica a few months ago, we saw a Howler Monkey (my favorite monkey—they are crazy and loud, and I love their beautiful faces!) on a wildlife bridge in Valle Pura Vida. It is such a wonderful thing to see monkeys safe up in the sky and trees.


Bad Plant, Good Plant

Wonderful World of Hemp header

One of the main reasons that many people are apprehensive or flatly opposed to trying a hemp-derived product—such as a CBD sublingual oil—is because they are worried that it will get them “high”, and for one reason or another this is an effect they do not desire. Most of the time their reluctance is based on fear of the unknown or fear from antiquated misinformation.

Americans, along with citizens of other countries that take their lead from the U.S., can pin-the-tail on the “ass” by the name of Henry Anslinger, the first commissioner of the U.S Federal Bureau of Narcotics who served in this position under six presidential administrations beginning in the 30’s. His string of lies regarding cannabis resulted in misinformation that has lingered in the minds of Americans for decades. Anslinger used racial prejudice as his number one platform, along with his own professional ambitions, to make cannabis a newly-discovered threat to (white) America. In the world according to Anslinger, and with no substantiated evidence, cannabis was a deadly, addictive drug. He enthusiastically instilled baseless fear into the minds of the American public by demonizing the plant and in 1938 released Reefer Madness, a ludicrous propaganda film. His ignorance was so profound that that he never made a distinction between the ancient, multi-use, utilitarian, industrial hemp and the recreational marijuana. It was all lumped together as one evil plant.

Differences between hemp and marijuana

Through decades of fictitious narratives, the one fact remains—that NO ONE has ever died from a marijuana overdose. But people love to hate this plant and continue to wage a war on an incredibly friendly, misconstrued, green neighbor of our planet. Cannabis has now finally been differentiated into either hemp or marijuana, has triumphantly emerged from the dungeons of shame and has proven to possess more benefit to humankind and our planet than anyone can ever imagine.

Nevertheless, it remains a challenge for those of us in the freshly, re-emerged hemp industry to get people to comprehend the major differences between Hemp—the serious, hard-working, innocent bystander—and its fun-loving cousin with its blemished reputation—Marijuana—who has now turned academic. Since both plants are scientifically classified as species of Cannabis—Cannabis sativa, C. indica or hybrids of the two—they inevitably possess numerous genetic similarities as well.

HelloHemp! is here to offer CR some of the best hemp-derived products from the U.S. market, and more importantly, to help heighten the appreciation, increase public knowledge and remove the stigma surrounding cannabis through the sharing of current news, information and research.

Donna is a Horticulturist and Hemp advocate. She transplanted her business HelloHemp! to Quepos, which offers top-quality, full-lab tested CBD products.
For more info: hellohempar.com, follow us on hellohempar.com, donnaporter@hellohempar.com or call/text/WhatsApp 6007-7779.


Liberación de Tortugas

Header
Carrying turtles to the surfTortugas de Isla Damas is a turtle conservation project near Quepos. Isla Damas, a small island of beach and mangroves, is where one of the seven species of sea turtles comes up to nest… the Olive Ridley turtle. Turtles nest nearly year-round here and the hatching is truly a beautiful event to witness. However, the turtle nests are at risk to egg poachers and other threats if left unprotected outside the nursery.

Here are some fascinating facts and current statistics on sea turtles.

  • Sea turtles are ancient species, having been around since the time of the dinosaurs – about 110 million years!
  • It takes 20-30 years for a sea turtle to reach sexual maturity. When a female is ready to lay eggs, she returns to the nesting beach where she was born even if she has not been there for 30 years! Some females nest every year until the age of 80.
  • On the beach, hatchlings must avoid natural predators like birds, crabs, raccoons, etc. to make it to the sea. Once in the water, hatchlings can be consumed by seabirds and fish or subjected to things such as drift nets. Few survive to adulthood, with estimates ranging from one in 1000 to one in 10,000.
  • Sea turtles’ natural lifespan is estimated to be 50-100 years.

Releasing the turtlesThe Tortugas de Isla Damas is a registered non-profit in Costa Rica, their mission is to conserve the turtle population through educating the public about these gentle creatures and acting as a hatchery for the turtle eggs.

Turtles heading toward surfThroughout the year, the turtles return to the beach to lay their eggs. This is when the eggs are collected to protect and incubate them in the hatchery, therefore raising their chances of survival. When the eggs hatch, the baby turtles are then released back into the sea

Contact FB @tortugasdeisladamas, 506 8777 8880.

Turtles reaching surf


Three Surfers from Costa Rica Qualify for the Olympics in Tokyo

Surf CR logoLet’s do the math. There are 7.6 billion people on the planet and 35 million of them are surfers. Out of everyone who surfs, out of thousands that surf at the competitive level, only 40 surfers will be invited for the first time to the 2021 Olympic Summer Games in Tokyo, Japan. And three of those surfers are from Costa Rica! That’s 7.5% of the field from a country that only has 0.07% of the world’s population. It’s amazing!

Brisa Hennessy

BRISA HENNESSY photo: Pablo Jimenez

So, who are these three soon-to-be superstars? The first is the most ‘famous’—Brisa Hennessy. Brisa is currently ranked #16 on Women’s World Championship Tour (WCT), the most elite group of surfers on the planet. Due to her ranking, she had qualified for the Olympics first. Her surfing skills came from growing up near the tropical right hand point breaks of Matapalo, on Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula. When she was 9 her family moved to Hawaii and later travelled to Fiji often to surf some of the most beautiful and dangerous waves on the planet.
 

Leilani McGonagle

LEILANI MCGONAGLE photo: Sean Evans

The second athlete is Leilani McGonagle. Her path to the Olympics was different. In order to qualify, she had to earn a 7th place or better in the ISA World Surfing Games, held this June in El Salvador. 121 women were competing in this event, some of them already qualified through their WCT status. With her powerful frontside attack, honed sharp by years of growing up surfing Pavones, she passed through the first heats easily. But each round had tougher competitors, and with little sleep each night and running only on desire and determination, she battled through to the final rounds of the event—earning her ticket to Tokyo.
 

Leon Glatzer

LEON GLATZER photo: Pablo Jimenez

Our third surfer from Costa Rica is Leon Glatzer. He also grew up in Pavones, surfing the long, left hand point break to perfection. And his path would be the same—he would have to qualify through the ISA World Surfing Games by placing in one of the top five positions. Five spots for 136 surfers, some of them already competing on the elite level, but not guaranteed a spot unless they had a good result here. Since Leon’s family is from Germany he was accepted on to their national team and received the best preparation possible for an Olympic athlete. He trained relentlessly for three years and it showed as he wowed the judges with huge airs and powerful carves in El Salvador. He barely lost an early heat, but then powered through the repechage heats all the way to the semifinals. With his 5th place finish, he earned one of the final coveted spots and will represent Team Germany (and ‘Pavones, Costa Rica’) in the Olympics.   
 
This will be the first time ever that surfing is in the Olympics. It was a dream started by an Olympic swimmer from Hawaii, the Godfather of surfing, Duke Kahanamoku. And now three surfers from Costa Rica will be able to live out that dream. Vamos Ticos!


What’s Shaking @ Marina Pez Vela – July/August 2021

What's Shaking header
WE ARE BACK!!! Not that we ever really went anywhere but this July and August are a real celebration of a lot more than just US Independence Day. It is amazing to be welcoming all the families, US and global travelers who are coming back to discover or rediscovery this amazing destination. For so many of us who live and work in the tourism industry, the past 14-15 months felt desolate and eerily quiet. The Summer of 2021 will be remembered as our official COMEBACK season and it is something to celebrate. The joy in those fortunate to be visiting this Costa Rica, this magical area and our installations at the marina is matched only by the warmth, enthusiasm and gratitude in which the hotels, restaurants, tour operators and community in general are extending to the returning tourists and investors alike. Costa Rica has always been the land of Pura Vida, but now, more than ever, the family at Marina Pez Vela and this nation as a whole is ready to roll out the red carpet!
 

July 4th

This years July 4th Celebration here at Marina Pez Vela is going to be about a celebration of the return of visitors from the USA and all the demand for the rest of the year. While we will not have any large special events, out of respect and caution to insure we are respectful and responsible in our leadership to curb any potential contagion of the Covid virus, our restaurants, tour operators, and staff will be providing specials and promotions to make everyone feel at home and have a taste of a traditional 4th of July. Come by for a burger, bbq ribs, a hot dog, and some smiles as we celebrate another 4th in paradise.
 

August 15th, Mothers Day

This is one of the most special holidays in Costa Rica and it is a national holiday here for all the right reasons. Never has a celebration of our beloved mothers, grandmothers, great grandmothers been more important than on the tailwinds of the stress the past year has inflicted on all corners of the globe and our society. Marina Pez Vela will be offering mothers day specials and a safe and warm environment from which to celebrate those amazing women who are the backbone of our lives, families and communities. Can’t hurt that we also get to celebrate our MOM’s surrounding by the breathtaking beauty of Mother Earth in all her glory here in Manuel Antonio.
 

Get ready for the Whales

Reminder that August is actually the official start of our whale watching season. While the bulk of this majestic migration is during September and October, we are already seeing the first of the Whales in August and the team at the Marina has a bigger and better offering than every before to allow anyone and everyone to experience this majestic creature. Reserve your visit now and have your camera ready,
marinapezvela.com/tours-and-activities/.


¿Qué Pasa en Quepos? – July/August 2021

July coverBienvenidos, Welcome to our piece of paradise, we are sure your going to enjoy it. There are so many wonderful things Costa Rica has to offer and we are here to guide you to your best vacation possible. The summer rains have brought the greenness. The rain normally rolls in late in the afternoon so get out early and enjoy the beautiful day.

Have a great Canada Day on July 1st for all you Canadians and a wonderful Independence Day on July 4th. Costa Rica celebrates Guanacaste Day on the July 24th, remember these holidays commemorate freedom and peace that so many people fought for. It is not all about fireworks and fiestas…they are just what make it fun. In Costa Rica, Mothers Day is August 15 so don’t forget to make those dinner reservations for that special woman. Moms should not have to cook. She probably would not mind a massage either.

Whale season begins this time of year and Marina Pez Vela has many options to take advantage of it. Check out Sunset Tours for a great time and a chance to get close to the whales along with snorkeling and incredible sunsets. So while enjoying a drink at one of our many restaurants with a view (Aqua Azul, Buena Vista Restaurant, or Ronnie’s Place) keep a watch out for whales swimming past.

We want to thank Frank Schulz for the cover shot. We also want to welcome our new advertisers Palma Tica and Ojala’.

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/Quepolandia.

Peace and enjoy…D


Strange Creeper Cats

Strange Creeper Cats header

When I first laid eyes on the two black “kittens” a quote from a Robert Heinlein novel popped into my mind. It has been so many years ago since I read it that I can’t even remember which of his novels it was, but I remember the quote. In referring to a complex subject Heinlein said that making sense of it was, “… like searching in a dark cellar at midnight on a moonless night for a black cat that isn’t there.” These two kittens were that black without a hint of any other color. Even their eyes were black. In addition to their extreme blackness there was always an air of mysteriousness about them. They didn’t walk like ordinary cats, rather they walked all crouched down, more of a creep than a walk, like they were constantly stalking something. They never made any noises other than purring; they never clawed the furniture; they were never underfoot, and never got into trouble of any kind. There was always something strange about them. We named them Hocus and Pocus.

Hacienda Baru

Read More…


Where to Surf Around Manuel Antonio and Quepos

Surf CR logoIf you are reading this, I hope you are already at your hotel in Quepos or Manuel Antonio and wondering where to find the best waves for your level of surfing. For April, May, and June, these months are some of the best of the year for swells and quality wave conditions. The reason is the Southern Hemisphere is going towards their winter, when powerful South and Southwest swells plow across the Pacific and send big long period swells to the Costa Rica coastline. Meanwhile it is still ‘summer’ here, when the winds are offshore for a longer part of the day and the rains are limited to the afternoons or evenings.

Ocean surfAbout two thirds of the time the waves will be big, so where do you go? If you are a beginner or intermediate surfer, you should check out the Quepos river mouth, a long left breaking wave that works best at lower tides. Also, you could drive about 80 minutes north to Boca Barranca, another long left that works at low tide. Or you can drive an hour south past Dominical to Dominicalito, which has a protected bay and the waves are smaller. This break works at lower tide.

If you want the bigger waves, then the closest spot is Playitas, at the north end of the beach in Manuel Antonio. This wave breaks best at high tide and has rights and lefts. Or, another great high tide break is Dominical, which has some great sand bars near its river mouth. And Isla Damas ten minutes north of Quepos is known to have an amazing barreling left, but takes a boat or jetski to get there. One of my favorite spots is Esterillos Oeste 40 minutes north, which has big, more slopey waves that can break up to a half mile from shore. This spot is amazing for SUPs and longboarders who want big surf, and works at both high and low tide. And it does offer a more hollow inside break for shortboarders at high tide when there is some size.

There are a few secret spots, too, and of course other perfect peaks that take longer than an hour to reach. But to find quality waves when it is either big or small, you don’t have to travel that far. Check CRsurf.com for the latest forecasts and tide charts for the whole year.