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Shrimp in Tamarind Sauce (Goong ma kham)

Chef's Corner logoThe compressed fruit pulp of the tamarindus indica tree is available in any produce store. Ask for “tamarindo,” pronounced just like the beach town in Guanacaste, or look for the brown packet as shown in photo.

It is a popular ingredient in south Asian recipes; it has an incomparable blend of sweet and sour best described as a full flavored and complex lime juice. It is packed with anti-oxidants, digestive aids, and vitamins that cover the entire alphabet.

Locally, ticos turn these tasty fruits into refreshing drinks—fresco de tamarindo.

This sauce is excellent with shrimp, fish, or chicken. Crispy garlic and cilantro leaves add the finishing touch that is so popular in Thai dishes.

Tamarind pasteIngredients (4 servings)

  • 1 kilo of medium to large shrimp, peeled and veined (can be replaced by boneless fish or chicken)
  • 1 cup of cornstarch for dredging
  • 2 cups of vegetable oil for frying
  • Salt, pepper, to taste
  • 200 grams or ½ packet of solid tamarind pulp
  • ½ liter of hot water
  • 10 cloves of garlic
  • ½ medium size white onion
  • 2 green onions finely sliced
  • ½ small carrot cut into thin julienne strips
  • ½ small red bell pepper (chile dulce rojo) cut into thin julienne strips
  • 1 red hot pepper (optional)
  • ¼ cup of brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of fish sauce (nam pla)
  • Small amount of fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

Shrimp in Tamarind SauceDirections

  1. Mix tamarind pulp with hot water so that it becomes loose. Strain with fine sieve. You will need 1/3 cup of the thick liquid, free of seeds and fibers.
  2. Take 5 garlic cloves and thinly slice to deep fry.
  3. Finely chop the other 5 cloves or use a garlic press.
  4. Pour ½ cup of vegetable oil in a small frying pan and fry the garlic slices until they begin to brown. Quickly strain the oil into a larger frying pan with a metal strainer. Be careful because garlic can burn easily.
  5. Dry the shrimp, fish, or chicken before dredging into the cornstarch, salt, and pepper.
  6. Add the rest of the cooking oil to the strained garlic oil to pan fry the shrimp. Fry until golden and set aside on paper towels. Keep warm while making sauce.
  7. In a saucepan, heat a small amount of cooking oil, add the garlic, the carrots, the onions, the green onions, the bell peppers until the vegetables are fragrant. Add tamarind, sugar, and fish sauce.
  8. Pour sauce preparation over the crispy shrimp and garnish with crispy garlic and cilantro leaves. Serve with steamed jasmine rice.

Surfing Quepos – Manuel Antonio

If you are a surfer or want to learn to surf while you are here, then you should know a little about the surf breaks in the area. Here is a quick guide from north to south:

 

2 surfers

photo: Paul Gerace

Playa Bejuco

A beach break that has hollow waves and works best at two hours before high tide going up to high tide. It has strong rip currents and no lifeguards so it is only for advanced surfers. 

Isla Damas

Another beach break but you need a boat to get to it. It works best right around high tide, but at lower tides on bigger swells can produce heaving barrels—definitely an expert break when there is swell. 

Quepos River Mouth

The jetty from the marina blocks a lot of swell so when it’s too big everywhere else, this break can produce long lefts and some rights that go up into the river mouth. It works at low and mid tides, but at high tide it can be mushy and polluted at times from the outfall in town. Not a beginner break due to the rip currents produced by the river mouth, but it can be fun for long boarders.

SurferManuel Antonio (Playitas)

At the far north end of the beach this stretch of sand has better formed waves and is a foot or two bigger than the rest of the coast. It is best an hour before to an hour after high tide. Watch out for boulders that stick up in the shore break. It also is a favorite spot for locals, so respect them in the lineup. Intermediate or advanced only.

Manuel Antonio

The rest of the beach works well around high tide, and there are lifeguards at the southern end. There are lots of guys on the beach giving lessons and renting boards, . This is most often a beginner break, but if there is swell watch out for heavy rip currents.


What’s Shaking at Marina Pez Vela – November 2018

What's Shaking headerSeptember and October were a wild ride for us all, with some of our first real intense rains and storms of the year, as well as a month of national strikes which made for some interesting experiences for both our local community and nation as a whole. November brings with it the final days of our green season and the annual rains, along with it the first big events and energy for the coming high season of 2018 and 2019. Marina Pez Vela, as usual, is doing things bigger and better than ever and November is when all the activities start to roll out in full force. It is such an amazing experience to see how MPV has become a part of our community with locals, expats and tourists alike making the project a home base for dining, shopping, services and special events and our team and family here have already begun full planning to insure that we have even more to share with you all in the coming months!

For November here are a few highlights of what we have to come!

Dorado Derby, November 17

This is our first annual Dorado Derby Fishing Tournament which has been designed to be the MOST FUN TOURNAMENT in all of Costa Rica. This one day event, scheduled for November 17th, is all about anglers of all abilities and experience, friends, families and businesses coming together to enjoy a day on the water, some good times, great laughs and fun way to participate in an fishing tournament at MPV. There are amazing packages here for $1,750 which includes the boat, tips, entry fee for the team and participation in the pool for biggest Dorados of the day and it is a great way to get your business, family or friends out on the water and experiencing one of the big draws and magical parts of our area. The day will culminate with a live weigh in for all the teams in the plaza, awesome DJ, and a fish fry part to celebrate the winners, the losers, new friends and old. There is still time to sign up and join the party of the first annual DORADO DERBY. Contact the team at IFish to make your reservation now!

Marina Pez Vela logo
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¿Qué Pasa en Quepos? – November 2018

November 2018 coverBienvenidos….Welcome to the Rain Forest—can’t say the brochure did not warn you. It will probably rain a little while you are here, but don’t let that stop you. Manuel Antonio National Park is in full bloom which attracts frogs, hummingbirds, and butterflies. It is also baby season here in the jungle so look closely as a lot of monkeys and sloths are carrying babies on their backs. The Humpback whales and their calves are still here so get to Marina Pez Vela for many options to view them, as well as world class sport fishing. The Marina will also be hosting the first Fishing Tournament of the season open to all ages. The Dorado Open will be held Nov 17 so get out and enjoy all the festivities. Don’t forget the 7th Annual Quepos Open Tennis Tournament being held November 3-4 with finals on Novemember 10-11 at the Tennis Club Quepos. Our rivers are also flowing so check out Quepoa Expeditions or Tucanes Tours for some thrilling rafting.

We want to wish the Costa Rica Rafting Team good luck and success in the World Rafting Championships being held in Argentina this November 4-10th. “Viva Costa Rica”

Our many fine restaurants are serving up your favorite culinary delights. It is a good idea to call ahead this time of year. We would like to wish everyone a wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving. La Colina will be hosting their annual Turkey dinner.

Toys for tots will have their collection boxes around the area. so let us help the children by dropping an unwrapped gift to help brighten someone’s holiday… Santa Clause can always use our support.

Thanks to Jack Ewing for the amazing Jaguar cover photo. 

We would like to welcome our new advertisers this month, Buena Vista Beach Villas & Uvita Law Firm.

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.

Peace and Enjoy…D 


That’s Fishin’ – September/October 2018

That's Fishin' headerWelcome to our Dorado special edition of That’s Fishin! Dorado, Mahi Mahi, Dolphin Fish, three names but yes guys, it really is just one type of fish! No matter what you choose to call it, this magical fish has been capturing the attention of Sports Fishing enthusiasts around the world for a long long time. In fact, Costa Rica is home to the International Game Fishing Association (IGFA) World Record Dorado, a huge fish measuring 69.5 inches and tipping the scales to 87lbs! The fish was caught in the Papagayo area of Guanacaste in northern Costa Rica back in September 1976! So we are no strangers to large Dorado here in Costa Rica and in fact in recent months there have been some pretty special Dorado landed by the Quepos fleet.

man with dorado

In July 2018 a 70lb Dorado was caught aboard the 31’ GOOD DAY by Charlie Rogers from ‘Against the Grain Charters’ (check them out!) in Key Largo Florida, whilst vacationing in Costa Rica. This was the largest Dorado caught aboard GOOD DAY for some years. Just 2 weeks later on August 8th, Jordan Gilchrist from Texas caught another HUGE Bull (male) Dorado measuring 65 inches which also tipped the scales to 70lbs! Jordan had also caught a 50lb Cow (female) Dorado the day earlier! These are just huge fish by Dorado standards. Many of the Quepos captains have caught 50lb plus Dorado in recent weeks which is just fantastic fishing.

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Thai-Style Tomato and Cucumber Salad with Mint, Basil, and Cilantro

Chef's Corner logo
This is a refreshing salad with contrasting colors and textures. Try adding cooked meats, seafood, or roasted veggies for a perfect lunch bowl, or serve it alongside a composed meal.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium cucumbers, partially peeled (little spaces between the peeled strips), sliced lengthwise and then crosswise into little half moons
  • 2 medium tomatoes cut into large chunks
  • 1 thinly sliced red hot pepper (optional)
  • A few thin slices of red onion, not too much
  • 1 cup of roughly chopped fresh herbs such as cilantro, basil, and mint
  • 1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons of white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of Thai fish sauce (soy sauce for vegan)
  • 1 clove of finely minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped peanuts
Thai-Style Tomato and Cucumber Salad with Mint, Basil, and Cilantro

Phot0: Sarah Yunker

Directions

  1. Make dressing by mixing lime juice, sugar, fish sauce, and garlic.
  2. Place cucumber and tomato slices in a bowl, toss with dressing and herbs. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and serve.

The Sloth Institute – September/October 2018

Sloth Institute headerSad Face icon1. Depression

Wild sloths held in captivity become stressed and unhappy.

Leaf icon2. Destruction of Forests

Forests need sloths to be healthy and balanced.

Medical icon3. Diseases

Sloths may host different parasites, viruses, and infections that can pass to humans with one touch!

Graph icon4. Depletion

The wild sloth population suffers with each sloth taken from the wild.

X icon5. Death

Many captive sloths die due to the stress of transport and an improper diet.

Don’t Be Selfi(e)sh … #SayNOtoSlothSelfies


Pura Vida From a Day-Volunteer

KSTR logoBy Maddie Abene

KinkajouSoothing sounds, beautiful views, diverse wildlife, and only a week to take it all in? Costa Rica is unlike any place I’ve ever been. Upon my arrival, my mind was racing with ideas of how I was going to get the very most out of my trip. As an Environmental Studies Major at University of California Santa Cruz, I’m typically curious about different ecosystems and eager to interact with wildlife wherever I am in the world. The two-hour drive from San Jose Airport gave me plenty of time to take in the scenery of the mountainous jungle and ask my driver Oscar any and all questions I had about Costa Rica. I learned everything from the economic/environmental effects of Costa Rica’s biggest industry (Palm Oil) to what species of tree leaves I should use to make henna-like face paint (Teak).

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Electronic Invoices Are Now an Obligation in Costa Rica for Individuals and Companies

Tecsa AdThe electronic invoice will be mandatory for all taxpayers in November 2018. This is established by a resolution of Costa Rican Treasury (Ministerio de Hacienda). The electronic invoice is automatically send to Ministerio de Hacienda and to your email, so every electronic invoice will contain a PDF document and XML file that is used for the computers to read the information.

All individuals or companies that have a card ending in 1, 2, or 3 are required to submit electronic invoices as of September 1, those that end in 4, 5, and 6 enter on October 1, and 7, 8, 9, and 0 begin on November 1.

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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.
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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

 

Dos Locos logo 

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