Just 4 short years ago, one of our most active members of the Titi Conservation Alliance began another ambitious conservation project with similar aims: to protect and extend the habitat of the Ara macao, better known as the Scarlet Macaw! Gaia Hotel and Resort started its program to raise and release these magnificent birds, with the primary goal of connecting the large colony of macaws located around Carara National Park north of Manuel Antonio with the other major colony located in the Osa Peninsula of southern Costa Rica. The program, managed by wildlife veterinarian Msc. Ana Maria Torres, has gradually released 39 “lapas” to date with plans to continue releases during the coming years.
The Lapas and Titis have much in common and thus make a truly interesting Alliance! They inhabit and utilize similar trees found in the rain forest, such as the Gallinazo, the Espavel, and Mango trees. Both species are highly sociable and therefore are favorites with tourists who visit the area. Sadly both species have suffered greatly from habitat loss and illegal poaching, which we are trying to reverse through education programs and habitat reforestation.
While we do indeed enjoy seeing both the Macaws and Titi monkeys more and more, the wildlife experts do request one thing from us however: PLEASE DON’T FEED THELAPAS! As with Titi monkeys, many of the foods we give them are not the natural diet and can cause them severe health problems for the animal. Please, please enjoy them, take plenty of pictures but no feeding!
Join us in saluting the outstanding efforts of Gaia Hotel and Resort and the other member businesses of the Titi Conservation Alliance and the Ara Macao Association (ASOMACAO), who are working hard to protect the incredible biodiversity around us. For more info about these wonderful efforts, visit www.aramacaocostarica.org and www.monotiti.org.
I often serve this soup at the beginning of a dinner showcasing latín flavors, or in a big bowl and as a meal on its own. It can be vegan by omitting the chicken stock and meat. Other variations are beans and cheese; seafood lovers can replace the chicken with shrimp. For 6 to 8 servings.
Home made chicken stock
1 bone-in chicken breast
2 whole chicken wings
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
4 cloves of garlic
1 small onion
1/2 medium carrot (they’re so big down here!)
1 bay leaf
Cover all of these ingredients in a stock pot with 1 liter (about 1 and a half quarts) of water.
Simmer for 1 hour. Strain and reserve the chicken.
Discard all of the other solids.
Ideally, you should cool down the stock and skim the fat that rises to the surface.
For the tomato-based soup
1 liter of tomato puree (passata)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
Combine the tomato puree with the stock, adjust seasonings.
For the garnishes
6 to 8 fresh corn tortillas (plan on 1 per person)
Cubed cooked chicken meat from the stock
1 bunch of cilantro leaves
Cut the tortillas into thin ribbons and fry in oil until golden and crispy.
Follow the pictures by placing the tortilla strips into bowls, followed by the chicken (or other) and the avocado.
Pour the tomato soup into bowl and then garnish with (optional shredded cheese) cilantro and chives.
We live in a world today which is always striving to make the tasks of daily living faster and easier. Our physical, mental, and spiritual 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 fine 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, nowhere to be. For these people it is impossible to just “detach” as they are creatures of habit, robotic.
Many years ago on a Saturday afternoon, having gone to the police station in Matapalo for something or other, I found a hand cuffed, bare footed, blood covered man with a deep cut starting on his right shoulder and extending across his chest. There was blood on the floor, the chair he was sitting in, and even on the wall. Don Marcos, the policeman, was sitting at his desk writing up a report. “Machete fight,” he said in reply to my inquisitive look. “The other one’s on his way to the hospital. This one started it,” nodding toward the bloody prisoner.
To the average outsider visiting rural Costa Rica the big knife is simply a machete, but to the campesino, or rural resident, it is an absolute necessity of life. Machetes are used for everything: chopping weeds, cutting small trees, trimming hedges and bushes, pruning trees, peeling the bark off of poles, splitting kindling, peeling oranges, harvesting rice, corn, cacao, bananas, and other crops, cutting boards, shaving the edge of a board, scraping crud off of anything, unscrewing bolts, cutting lawns, digging in flower beds, killing snakes, and I’m sure there are more that can be added to the list. I have never seen anyone shave with one, but I don’t doubt that it has happened. As mentioned above it is, on rare occasions, used as a weapon. More about that later.
Some people have noticed that when it comes to talking about daily life in Costa Rica, I am not nearly the sardonic, sarcastic, overbearing, know-it-all, gringo wiseass I once was. Part of it is age—once I hit the second half century club, with over half my life now in the books, I began gravitating more toward thoughts and activities that make me feel good, and avoiding topics that make the choler rise inside.
But there is another reason. For the past few years, I have been in the business of selling Costa Rica. I bring people to Costa Rica, and like thousands of others here, I make a living doing so. Tourism is the golden egg, and Costa Rica has adapted to this reality nicely. When I first came here almost 30 years ago, tourism was not what it is now. Coffee and bananas were bigger money makers for the country. Sometime in the mid-1990s, this dynamic changed, and the natural beauty of the country itself became the meal ticket. The bandwagon is big, and I jumped on some years ago and never looked back. Read More…
This stunned and injured monkey was spotted in front of our house. KSTR to the rescue!
Hello once again, my dear faithful readers! I’m here to report to you about what’s new with me and KSTR, as I am every month! This month has been particularly interesting, I must say. A lot of things have happened, and a lot of new things are coming for me and KSTR! For the last few months I’ve been studying the KSTR tour cheat sheet, to ready myself to give a tour. I am happy to say that soon, I will be ready!
My family and I also happened to find an injured monkey, hiding in our neighbor’s bushes. She had a head wound, and possibly a broken limb. We went down, and watched her while we waited for KSTR to arrive. Then KSTR arrived and retrieved her, to take her back to the sanctuary and check out her injuries. She looked like such a sweet girl, and I genuinely felt terrible for her. I hope that she gets better soon, and is able to be released back into the wild. Good luck, little monkey.
If you used to watch Frasier back in the day you will remember his impeccable sense of style.
“So what do you think of what I’ve done with the place?” Frasier asked his father, Martin, in the pilot episode. “You know, every item here was carefully selected. The lamp by Corbu, this chair by Eames, and this couch is an exact replica of the one Coco Chanel had in her Paris atelier.”
Well, as soon as his father moved in—with his grossly overstuffed and battered “Man Chair” I could feel his pain. For the 11 years that the show ran that hideous chair created an eyesore in the middle of his very elegant and tastefully decorated condo. He suffered greatly at the extreme ugliness of this monstrosity*.
However, the really painful part came in the series finale when Frasier’s father moves out and Frasier finally gets to put his beloved Eames recliner back in the living room. His father comes to visit, sits back in the Eames recliner and says “Hmmm … this is pretty comfortable. I would have been okay with this!”
Last month the president of Costa Rica, Luis Guillermo Solis, attended a celebration at a school in the Nicoya—an area, along with Guanacaste, that is somewhat known for the making and playing of marimbas. He was treated to some local students playing their marimbas, and then he designated November 30th the Day of the Marimba! Now maybe you don’t think that this is particularly big news, but I think this humble yet mighty instrument deserves a day of its own to be honored. It’s already the national instrument of Guatemala and of Nicaragua, so why shouldn’t CR get on the band wagon! The marimba has inspired political diatribes, survived governmental bans and modern updating, and it is still a unique and beautiful sounding traditional instrument that is very popular throughout Central America.
The summer is here, the marlin and tuna bite is on, and tourists are shopping, dining and soaking up the views. April is an incredibly busy month for everyone here in the area and the schedule at MPV is no exception. During the month of April the Marina will be hosting two international billftshing tournaments, weekly live radio shows from the Runaway Grill, free outdoor movie nights and Semana Santa specials for all of our guests and patrons. We are incredibly grateful to our local community, staff and visitors for all the support in helping to make this project so special and the team and family at Marina Pez Vela continue to renew their commitment to creating the most dynamic and unique facilities anywhere in Costa Rica.
FIRST ANNUAL MARINA PEZ VELA OPEN: April 19-21
In the days leading up to the Offshore World championships, (which will also be hosted at Marina Pez Vela) we are very proud to announce a unique opportunity for anglers from around Costa Rica to challenge themselves in a prize money tournament against the best teams from around the world. The MPV OPEN is open to everyone. There is still time to sign up and get your team the chance to have some fun, win some money and measure your skills against the best teams from around the globe. For more information: marinapezvelatournaments.com.
2017 OFFSHORE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: April 23-28
Marina Pez Vela and Costa Rica will once again play host to the most prestigious fishing tournament in the world, the Offshore World Championship. This is an invitation/qualification only event with teams from around the world converging on the Marina Pez Vela and the Manuel Antonio area to compete for what is equivalent to the gold medal in the Olympics of billfishing. There are daily activities and weigh-ins so whether you are an angler or not, make sure to mark the dates and come and share in the atmosphere at MPV during this iconic event.
RADIO DOS WITH EVAN LUCK
If you haven’t come to join in the fun at the Runaway Grill, you should start now! Every Thursday from 5-7 pm, Evan Luck, the iconic voice of the classic rock station 99.5 comes to broadcast his show live from Marina Pez Vela. The Runaway grill has a vibrant happy hour with great specials every day, and with the live broadcast there is always a great crowd. This month, with Semana Santa and all our tournaments, every Thursday is going to be loads of fun and is a great way to start winding down the work week, share some laughs and a magical sunset with friends or guests. You can listen live here in Costa Rica on 99.5 or tune in anywhere in the world at radiodos.com.
MOVIE NIGHTS UNDER THE STARS
April has one of our best outdoor movie lineups ever! This is a great way for tourists or locals to enjoy the public areas at the marina, take advantage of the weekly specials at any of our restaurants and just share in a stunning setting and a free night of entertainment. See this month’s schedule in Quepolandia or on our website at marinapezvela.com.
Click the PLAY button to listen to Letty, Lance, Niven & Ed.
My name is Ed Hooven. For decades my late wife Maya (who died on Feb. 3rd, 2017) and I were good friends with Lance, Letty and Niven. Our friendship was in part based on our mutual interests in playing and listening to live music.
I write this with tears in my eyes as I am the last survivor of this group (born one month after Letty) and have recently been lost in my memories while listening to the hours of recordings we made in our Toronto music room and on gigs (many with Lance, Letty and Niven) since my wife’s recent death from a second bout with cancer.
But let me go back to the beginning: It all started in 1968 (as I learned from Maya) that a new Canadian named Lance Bennett arrived in Toronto’s Yorkville (the then hip area of the city). They immediately struck up a friendship with Maya hiring Lance to work at her club the “Penny Farthing” coffee house. While the club closed shortly after that Maya took Lance with her to the several other Yorkville venues she worked at in those years. They stayed in touch over the next 15 or so years while Lance traveled intermittently to places like South America and England.
Bienvenidos/ Welcome to the land of Pura Vida. We are here to help make this an unforgettable vacation. April is a very busy month here with Semana Santa being one of the biggest weeks of the year. So have patience, relax, and enjoy the celebration. April should also bring a little rain to help cool things down a little and provide some incredible sunsets. So get to one of our many restaurants such as El Sol or d’Tapas at the beach. Aqua Azul or El Lagarto on the mountain or Mira Olas at the Best Western in Quepos for spectacular sunset views and delicious cocktails. In Dominical check out the river view from Mono Congo. Bring your camera as we are always looking for great cover shots.
Marina Pez Vela will be in full swing this month hosting the Offshore World Championships with top team teams from around the world competing for the Championship. Thank you Keiber Cruz for the cover. Great shot of last year’s OWC start. Don’t forget Movie Night Under the Stars every Friday night, a great night for the entire family.
Be careful this time of year the rip tides can be strong, remember to swim sideways parallel with the shore & not into the currant, and don’t forget the SUNBLOCK.
We would like to welcome our new additions this month, Aurea Designs, Casa Moderna, Carlos Herreros at Coldwell Banker, and Manu Villas….. So please let our advertisers know we sent you.
We hope you enjoy the magazine and it helps guide you through this enchanting paradise we call home. You can always follow and share us here or on Facebook. We appreciate and welcome your comments.
Ideally, the master bedroom should be the sanctuary where you can retreat at the end of the day. A place to relax, enjoy, and encourage a good night’s sleep.
By Shelagh Duncan
It should be able to make you just feel good—it is not important whether it is a large master suite or a small bedroom—you should be able to feel the comfort and serenity in this space. It should be the place to make you feel special, and for you and your partner to nurture and enrich your relationship.
Here are some simple ways to create this space, and I promise the end result will be well worth the effort.
When it comes to design, first impressions count so decorate, clean and arrange your master bedroom accordingly. Keep the floors and night tables clutter free. Ask yourself what do you see when you first walk into the bedroom? What is the first thing you see when you open your eyes in the morning? For me, I see the big sky and the trees on the mountains in the distance. I love that feeling.
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 spottings 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.
March is the hottest month of the year here in Manuel Antonio, so for this issue we want to introduce you to several very cool people who have worked for the Titi Conservation Alliance almost since its inception 16 years ago. Their dedication and enthusiasm for our conservation projects is truly inspiring!
Wilberth Chacon (l) & Daniel Marin Carmona (r)
First is Sr. Wilberth Chacón. He has worked for our habitat reforestation program since 2003, performing tree planting, maintenance and other field tasks for the Naranjo River Biological Corridor. He’s as local as local can get. Born in Quepos county and having spent all his life in the area, Wilberth knows his way around nature as few people do here. Being a curious and hardworking man, Wilberth has taken courses related to Cacao Plantation Management and Exportation of Flowers. Over the years, he has been a key guide and assistant for the various monitoring studies performed by Titi Conservation Alliance and allies, helping with nursery set-up, GPS studies, follow-up of reforestation areas, etc. He´s also an active community leader and member of several different local development associations.
By Sam Trull, Sloth Director and Co-Founder of The Sloth Institute
After living in Costa Rica and working for The Sloth Institute for over a year and a half now there is nowhere else I would like to be. Even after living in a tent, braving the weather, the long hours and lack of sleep for this long I do not want to go back home just yet!
I graduated with my zoology degree in 2015 and was thankfully accepted to become a volunteer research technician with The Sloth Institute (TSI). I went into the job without any prior knowledge about sloths, but now I have completely fallen in love with them!! Throughout my time with TSI there have been many highs and lows, that unfortunately just comes hand in hand when working with animals. One of my most recent highs was when we successfully reunited a baby three fingered sloth back with its mother. After a local guide contacted us about the sloth we rushed over to help and after we made sure the baby was in no immediate danger we waited. We moved as far back from the baby as we could and were completely silent. The baby started to cry for its mother and after some time the mother appeared high up and started to move towards her baby. She climbed down the tree until finally she reached her baby and they were reunited. Moments like these are the main reasons why I am still out here in Costa Rica!!