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Red-Lored Parrot

Red Lored ParrotThe Red-Lored Parrot is one of 17 species of parrots and parakeets found in Costa Rica. They are commonly seen from eastern Mexico and down south through Central America to Ecuador.

Red-Lored Parrots are distinguished by the bright red color on the surface on each side of its head between the eye and the upper base of the beak, known as the “lore”. You will almost always hear them before seeing them as they are very loud.

From afar they appear to be mostly green but upon closer inspection you can see beautiful lilac blue colored feathers on top and on the back of their heads. Their wings show red, yellow, black, and white while their tail feathers have shades of yellow, blue, & green.

They are monogomous for life and can be seen traveling in pairs or as part of a large flock. Red-Lored Parrots, like other parrots, are considered to be highly intelligent and can also live up to 75 years!

I took this image in the Dominical area. You can see more of my images at www.photosofcostarica.com


Gary Sancho Esquivel

Fiddlin'Around headerGary Sancho EsquivelA wonderful and inspiring young man told me recently that MUSIC had saved his life—and that he could not live without hearing and playing classical music. Wow. I thought that was quite a statement to make, especially once I learned a bit about his circumstances and how he has gotten to this realization and personal truth. His name is Gary Sancho Esquivel and I want to tell you folks about him, ‘cause he is going places!! Hopefully to Utah!! Yep—that’s what I said—Utah!

Gary grew up as the youngest of 6 kids, and though his father was an elementary school teacher everyone else was expected to work on the family farm near San Vito, a nice town of about 14,000 people in the pretty foothills of the Talamanca mountain range. Colonization of this area (ignoring the indigenous people already there), was organized by the Costa Rican government in 1952 with the goal of populating the area with foreign settlers, many of whom came over from Italy. The town is about 170 miles southeast of San Jose, close to the Panama border, and the people there mainly raise coffee and other crops, or cattle. A nice enough area, but not exactly full of academic or musical opportunities.

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King of the Jungle

King Vulture flyingRiding along the edge of the forest on horseback I caught a whiff of something rotten, and a moment later a big, beautiful, black and white bird with a multicolored head came into view. It was pecking away at the stinking carcass of a dead opossum. There was a bunch of black vultures hopping around nearby mostly just watching, but occasionally darting forward and snatching a morsel of the decomposing flesh and quickly withdrawing. All kept their distance from the magnificent creature which calmly ate its fill paying little attention to the others.

King Vulture on a branch“What is that beautiful white bird?” I asked Orlando. “The zopilotes sure give it plenty of space.”

“Of course they do,” replied Orlando, a slight smile on his face. “He’s the king. We call him El Rey de Zopilotes (King of the Vultures).”

“I never knew a vulture could be so beautiful?” I blurted out in amazement. “I can see why you call him the king.”

Hacienda Baru

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What’s Shaking at Marina Pez Vela – September/October 2018

What's Shaking headerMES DE LA PATRIA!!!
Like any good holiday in Costa Rica, and for some of us like our birthdays, September 15th is not about just a one day celebration but a MONTH LONG party for this amazing country we call home! That’s right, Faroles, Cimarronas, flags and patriotism is going to be the theme all month, but September has some other news in store for our Marina Pez Vela family and our community at large and we look forward to seeing the local community here at the marina soon.
Independence Day Activities
TYPICAL DANCE PRESENTATIONS BY SOME OF OUR LOCAL SCHOOLS
September 13
The events will start at 4pm and will feature several of our local escuelas doing presentations of typical Costa Rican Dance, folklore and dress. For many expats and tourist, who come to Costa Rica for its iconic beauty, the opportunity to learn a bit about the history, culture and pride which each Costa Rican has for this amazing nation is a WONDERFUL experience. There is something so special to see the families reliving the passing on the Independence Day traditions, lore, music and dance and do not miss this wonderful day to share and integrate with our international and local community at the Marina.
Marina Pez Vela logo
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Mute No More

I’ve been mute in New York City. Only for two days though. I was visiting in order to run a marathon and fortunately I was with a friend who was able to communicate, but I still felt strange, different. It was something I could do nothing about you see, for I had lost my voice due to a throat illness. I could not talk, I could not eat, and I was barely able to drink fluids. In a very short time I went from being an ex-pat massage/surf guy living in a Costa Rican rain forest, to a speechless Brooklyn bound tourist. How surreal. Without the help of my friend I would have been in a serious predicament. Almost overnight I had become something I had always feared. A man unable to be himself.

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Retiring – Dos Locos Doors Close September 15

 

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Dos Locos exteriorI don’t know the exact date Dos Locos first opened in downtown Quepos, but the perfect location and atmosphere made it popular beyond belief—especially with gringos living in the area and visiting tourists. Dos Locos became the meeting place in Quepos…right in the middle of downtown and across from the bus station—and a place where you could enjoy some great food and refreshing libations. Possibly the main reason for its popularity was that lovely lady, Vera Jones who could almost always be seen sitting at the bar in the far right corner. She waved at folks in the buses as they were coming into town and she welcomed everyone with a big beautiful smile!

Vera She was also the person in the know…having the most information about everything going on and all the different places and activities in the area during a time when almost no information was available. And even after the advent of the internet, people would still go to her for information. She no doubt was very instrumental in helping me create the English language guide to the area, Quepolandia which just celebrated a 20 year anniversary in July.

While I’m happy that Vera will now have lots of free time for travel, tennis, family and friends’ visits, and many new adventures, I’m deeply saddened that there will no longer be that special place to meet old friends, make new friends, hear great local music and entertainment, eat some delicious Mexican food, have an ice cold beer, margarita or other drink and just enjoy the fellowship at the best meeting place in town… (and I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention, the best kitchen and wait staff). Adios Dos Locos…thanks for the wonderful memories that will be cherished forever!   Ana Lyons

Farewell Dos Locos—my “Cheers” bar where everyone knows your name, where friends became family. So many great times full of laughter, magical music moments, awesome Halloween parties and more…. too many times when we came together in great sadness at the loss of our friends. Always seeing Vera happy to welcome newcomers and tourists (wave at the bus as it passes!) alike and to offer help when needed. I will truly miss our chats at that bar but time moves on and change is always just a step behind so here’s to the new future! Enjoy yourself and keep hitting that tennis ball—no worries as I’ll still catch up with you to chat! Thanks for the memories dear friend.   Pat Cheek

Dos Locos—That cute little bar/restaurant on the corner in Quepos was our first and only hang out, for over 17 years. It was always the place to go. Friendly faces, Vera at her corner of the bar, large portioned plates, always cold beer, and the best location in town for people watching was the obvious draw. We met people, made great friends, played bridge on Tuesdays, celebrated holidays, and in time said too many goodbyes at memorials generously hosted by Vera and the girls.

I realized in time that the magic of Dos Locos was Vera. She fostered all of us as a new kind of family, building a community center that served food, beer, fun and interesting conversation.

Dos Locos was the heartbeat of Quepos. A hangout for fun loving people, without judgement.
All kinds of characters thrived in Dos Locos’ shade.

DL was also the best musical haunt around. That was no secret, or accident. Wednesday’s with Ben and the Howlers were always a rock’n’roll circus, and who doesn’t love a circus? Saturday’s with Lance, Letty, Jim and Niven, and so many others that came to be the Pura Vida Social Club was a family Saturday afternoon festival. Robbie, Ralph Simms, Ralph McDonald, Nancy, Jimmy C, Johnny Bench, Javier, Alvin, Terry, the player list goes on and on.

I feel like part of the family when I walk through those doors. It’s hard to imagine Quepos without Dos Locos, the heartbeat of Quepos. Love and miss you already.
Jack Wozniak


¿Qué Pasa en Quepos? – September/October 2018

Cover September/October 2018Bienvenidos… Welcome to the rain forest, green season has arrived. So enjoy the peace of it and the lushness it provides. Our mornings are normally beautiful and the rain comes later in the day so get moving early and maybe have an afternoon nap ( guilt free in the rain). Our restaurants and tour companies are in full swing to make your stay here unforgettable and, without the crowds, much more enjoyable. Marina Pez Vela offers outstanding restaurants and tours, great shopping, and most important this time of year—underground parking and shuttle service. We recommend calling ahead to our fine restaurants beforehand because some will be closing briefly for a quick holiday for themselves and their staff. Being from the US I always enjoy this time of year. I look forward to the start of the NFL season. Even more so this year…being from Philly. Catch all the games at Sancho’s or Jolly Roger on the Hill or Double Hook at the marina.

Costa Rica celebrates their 196th year of Independence on September 15th. Quepos will be having its annual parade with children in traditional dress, floats, and festive marching bands. So if you are in the area come celebrate with a country that truly appreciates their Independence…. Viva Costa Rica!!!

October 31 is Halloween so start thinking of a costume and get ready for fright night in the jungle. Marina Pez Vela will be having their Halloween Bash complete with trick or treating for the kids and haunted house, as well as many bars and restaurants in the area. Always a great time.

We would like to thank Paul Gerace for another spectacular cover. We welcome our new advertisers this month Vista Cola Ballena and SuperMarket Pura Vida.

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 on Facebook. We appreciate and welcome your comments.

Happy Independence Day Costa Rica!!!
Peace and Enjoy…D


The Return of the Scarlet Macaws

Macaw pair header

Once upon a time there was a Bribri Indian chief named Pabru Presberi who was master of some big, exceptionally beautiful birds called “Pa”. Everywhere the chief went large groups of Pa flocked around him. Some were red and others green, and all were covered with stunning, bright colored plumage. One day some strange men with beards from a far-away place called Spain arrived on the shores of Costa Rica. Awed by the beauty of the Pa the Spaniards killed them for their feathers which they took to their homeland as gifts for the royalty. The word “la” in Spanish means “the” in English, so they referred to the birds as “la pa” which was later shortened to “lapa”. As time went on there were less and less lapas. The Spaniards had killed all but the large flock that followed chief Pabru everywhere he went. Eventually the chief led a revolution against the Spaniards, so they captured him and took him to Cartago where he was imprisoned. The lapas followed. Eventually the Spaniards executed the chief and the red lapas flew away to the Pacific coast and the green lapas to the Caribbean coast. To this day that is where they reside.

Of course, in English, the lapa roja (Ara macao) is the scarlet macaw, and the lapa verde (Ara ambigua) is the great green macaw. Their numbers have diminished drastically over the years to the point that the great green macaw is now listed on the IUCN red list as endangered. The scarlet macaws, which were once seen in large colorful flocks up and down the entire Pacific coast, have also diminished, but not to the extent of their green cousins. It is estimated that today there are about 600 scarlet macaws in the Osa Peninsula and 400 in Carara National Park. They disappeared from the area between Manuel Antonio and Uvita in the 1960s.

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Travel is the Answer

I feel sorry for people who have never washed their clothes in a sink or shower. To me that is a sign that you have never been on the road long enough. There is a sense of shared communion with wanderers in regards to week long jet lag, 24 hours of sitting on planes, of tramping around the world for the sake of it, because it is here to explore. In my thirty years of traveling I have never regretted a trip, nor have I ever been to a “resort.” Today it is easier, safer, and cheaper to go have an adventure. We can travel to get out of our comfort zones and let the days on the road simply unfold. I will go as far to say that my aspirations while moving about is to unlearn, I believe contrasts are the story of the world. The more challenges I can experience the better of a human I can be. My eyes can always see more, my soul can grow infinitely if I push it to do so. Stagnation has always been my enemy and when I travel I change, I grow.

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That’s Fishin’- August

That's Fishin' logo
By Benn Gilmour

A warm welcome to the stunning Pacific Coast of Costa Rica & the August edition of That’s Fishing!

We have plenty going on down here in Quepos & Manuel Antonio, the Offshore fishing has been great in recent weeks, there have been some HUGE Roosterfish & Snook caught inshore and at the time of writing, the Humpback Whales had just arrived in southern Costa Rica which are sure to provide some incredible scenes as they do each year, to those lucky enough to spend some time on the water.

Man with grouperOFFSHORE REPORT

June & July produced some great Offshore fishing and there was some great species variety caught by the Quepos fleet. Blue & Black Marlin, Sailfish, Tuna, Dorado, Wahoo, Snapper & Grouper made up most of the Offshore catches. There were periods of some great Sailfish action and during one Offshore day trip in June the 31’ GOOD DAY released 13 Sailfish with reports of 20+ Sailfish days by other boats during the month, simply incredible fishing for this time of year! August will continue to hold some good opportunities for Sailfish and Blue Marlin for those Anglers looking to check a Billfish off their bucket list.

There are still plenty of Dorado being caught during Offshore trips which are providing some great action and some nice eating for visiting Anglers. Simply take your catch along to any of the great restaurants in the area and they will be pleased to cook it up for you.

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The Best Way to Learn Spanish

Manuel Antonio Spanish School logoBy Anousha Al-Masud

To quote Ludwig Wittgenstein, ‘The limits of my language are the limits of my world’. Learning a new language is like finding a new key that can help unlock doors and open up your mind, introducing you to new adventures and people along the way. With over 400 million native speakers spread over four continents, Spanish is the second most widely natively spoken language in the world. Like English, Spanish has Latin roots and is therefore considered to be one of the easiest languages to master for an English speaker. But what is the best way to learn Spanish?

Of course, you have to start somewhere. In this post, we share how technology can be used as a great starting point whilst also revealing the best way to learn Spanish: immersing yourself in the country where that language is spoken. Intrigued? Read on.

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Fiddlin’ Around August 2018

Fiddlin'Around headerSunshine SupermanThere have been so many beautiful days here lately in our little corner of the planet that it’s prompted me to think about weather, and of course, how it relates to music. The sunsets are spectacular, the critters and birds are super active and the rains aren’t intimidating yet. When I started looking through my songbooks and searching my leaky memory, I noticed the words ‘sunny’ and ‘sunshine’ are in about as many songs as the word ‘love’. ‘Course some of these songs are about the lack of sunshine in our lives, or the absence of love. “You are my sunshine—my only sunshine—you make me happy when skies are grey!” No sunshine and no love is a double whammy and darned hard to recover from.

Then there’s the ‘Sunny side of the Street’, ‘Sunny Skies’ by James Taylor, ‘Sunny’, the band Cream singing ‘Sunshine of Your Love’, or Stevie Wonder’s beautiful song ‘You Are the Sunshine of My Life’. Jonathan Edwards sang ‘Sunshine’, Donovan penned ‘Sunshine Superman’, and we were all ‘Walkin’ On Sunshine’. John Denver’s love of the natural world and his song, ‘Sunshine on My Shoulder’ connected us to the elements. He described the fickleness of weather and life—both bring us happiness and tears. A guy named Terry Jacks had a #1 hit in the USA and the UK in 1974 with a haunting song called ‘Seasons in the Sun’. It was an unusual theme for the pop music world—a dying man fondly recalls his life and loves, knowing it’s all nearly over with. The Walker Brothers had a hit in 1966 with ‘The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore’. These guys had weather on their brains, because the next year they followed it up with ‘Walkin’ in the Rain’. Country music fans might remember Dottie West’s song ‘Country Sunshine’, a catchy upbeat song that was used to the point of annoyance in ads for Coca- Cola to help us feel that their product would make our lives happier. Well, when rum is added, I suppose it could work that way. At least for a while.

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Salon de Cacao

Salon de Cacao groupBy Julieta, Mamá Cacaomamacacaochocolate@gmail.com

On the 7th July, the Salon de Cacao took place at Cafe Milagro. In its second year, this free to attend, mini-festival sets out to raise the profile and celebrate our local cacao and artisanal chocolate-makers. 

The Puntarenas Province and Southern Zones used to produce large amounts of cacao, mostly for export. Some sources cite that cacao was the number one export of Costa Rica before coffee and bananas took over. But cacao was hit hard by a fungal disease called monilia in the late 70’s. By 1983 Costa Rican cacao exports had declined by 96%. 

Salon de Cacao groupCacao is back and thriving. We are now making some seriously good chocolate here
12 regionally-based artisanal chocolate makers brought their products on Saturday. There were also cacao-inspired talks—educating us on the cultural and historical relevance of cacao and on healthy & environmentally-friendly growing practices.

If you are looking to grow cacao and need advice, are interested in sourcing great chocolate, or would like to attend a chocolate-making workshop, please contact me and I will point you in the right direction. 

If this inspires you to support the development of delicious chocolate forests here in CR with small farmers, please also consider sponsoring trees through Community Carbon Trees.
communitycarbontrees.org/plant-a-tree

 


Meet Merlin: More Than a Pretty Face

Merlin the slothMerlin is a wild sloth that we have been tracking since February. Through the use of binoculars, we recently discovered that he had acquired a serious fungal infection. However, our team is actively treating him with special baths! He will lose a lot of hair in the process, but we know that with these treatments, he’s feeling a lot better already.

ADOPT MERLIN through TSI’s symbolic adoption program Adopt A Sloth on TheSlothInstituteCostaRica.org.

The Sloth InstituteFollow Merlin’s story on Facebook & Instagram @TheSlothInstitute #SlothDiaries.

The Sloth Institute (TSI)’s mission is to enhance the welfare and conservation of sloths through research and education. TSI is located in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica. For more information please email info@theslothinstitute.org.

If you see a sloth who needs help: ALL or WHATSAPP +506 87756847/87SLOTHS.


Fiery-Billed Aracari

Fiery-Billed AracariFiery-Billed Aracaris are members of the Toucan family. I think of them as their smaller cousins. They are one of two types of Aracaris found here in Costa Rica. The other is the less colorful Collared Aracari.

Fiery-Billed Aracaris have a very limited range of habitation and are found in the rainforests on the Pacific side of southern Costa Rica
and in western Panama. This one was photographed in the Dominical area.

I find them to be mischievous, goofy, proud, prehistoric looking, and very social in their behavior. Their brilliantly colored beaks and
bright feathers are a stark contrast to the green of the rainforest. They are not graceful flyers and can often be seen hopping from one branch to another.

You will have a better chance of seeing them when they are most active. That’s when the weather is a bit misty and not too hot. They can often be seen feeding in papaya trees when the fruit is ripe and also in Cecropia trees.