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Living in the jungle is an experience like no other, waking to the sounds of monkeys and exotic birds, surrounded by plush green jungle. But there are also some challenges living in a tropical environment. There’s no such thing as indestructible furniture, but there are steps to help your home and everything in it stand up to life in the jungle.

Design wise logoLiving room overlooking pool and oceanBy Shelagh Duncan

My guess is that none of us came to Costa Rica to live a high maintenance lifestyle in high maintenance homes. We’ve come here to slow down and smell the ylang-ylang in a relaxing, beautiful location. We want to enjoy our surroundings, including our tropical home and everything in it. Furniture, just like our home is an investment, and we carefully select exactly what we want and plan to enjoy it for many years to come.

However, living in the tropics has its challenges, and keeping one step ahead of what life and Mother Nature hands us is a constant battle. Furniture disintegration being one of them! It’s not even just furniture actually, almost everything here falls apart way sooner than it would back home.

Some products are very durable—steel, porcelain tile and granite for example. But who wants to sit on a granite sofa?
Royal Palm Interiors

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Kids Saving The Rainforest Wildlife Sanctuary Diet

KSTR LogoDaniFor this Quepolandia issue, our KSTR President, Jennifer, met with KSTR Spokeskid, Dani, and her parents in San Francisco, where they all live part time, to discuss Dani’s articles. Dani already had about 10 articles in her head, all of which her dad will type up while Dani dictates. Dani is all of 7 years old!

Take it away Dani!

Hi, my name is Dani, and I am the spokeskid for KSTR. Today I want to talk about what the animals eat, and why we feed them what we feed them.

Jennifer and DaniFirst, we have the monkeys. Usually, for the monkeys, in the morning, we give them a fruit salad with Watermelon, Papaya, and other good fruit. In the afternoon, we mix the same fruit salad, but add some vegetables—for example we add sweet potatoes, carrots, and green beans. We give them these foods because all the animals in our sanctuary were at one point in the wild, and the food we’re giving them is like the diet they would have had in the wild. In case you haven’t noticed, monkeys spend a lot of time jumping from tree to tree, across branches. One of the reasons they are doing that, is to look for food—many of the fruits in their diet at KSTR grow in trees in Costa Rica! At the sanctuary, we had 3 squirrel monkeys who needed medicine. They did NOT like the flavor of the medicine. So, we used a syringe to squirt the medicine into a marshmallow, which everybody knows monkeys love! (We normally try to only feed our animals natural food that comes from their habitats, but when we need to get medicine into them, we sometimes use small treats.)
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The American Arrival

Wonderful World of Hemp header
USS ConstitutionIt is hard to believe that there were times in history when hemp was such a significant economic crop that farmers were punished for NOT cultivating it. Its highly regarded status in England and Europe was a most influencing factor for its arrival into the Americas, along with its continued cultivation throughout Colonial America.

During the reign of England’s King Henry VIII in 1535, hemp cultivation was the law of the land and farmers had to set a portion of their acreage for hemp, otherwise, they would be fined. Henry mandated hemp cultivation to make rope, sails, nets and other naval equipment because it was the fiber of choice for maritime uses due to its natural decay and salt resistance and its adaptability to cultivation. Each warship and merchant vessel required miles of hemp line and tons of hemp canvas, which meant the Crown’s hunger for the commodity was great. Ship captains were ordered to disseminate hemp seed far and wide to provide fiber wherever repairs might be needed in distant lands.

At that time in history, England was a black sheep among European countries because of the Reformation – England’s split from the Catholic Church (the Brexit of today). To prevent another European kingdom from forcing England back into the fold, Henry assembled one of the world’s first professional navies.

The threat of invasion slowly became a reality under the reign of Henry’s daughter Elizabeth I, who faced war with Spain—the global superpower of the 16th century, so Elizabeth ordered even more hemp to be grown and made the penalties for breaking that law even stiffer. Henry’s and Elizabeth’s preparations paid off in 1588, when England’s hemp-outfitted ships destroyed the Spanish Armada. So, in an alternate history, Spanish might be the official language throughout North America if it were not for the hemp plant.

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Easy Morrocan Chicken with Lemon & Olives

Chef's corner headerWhen our local limes (limones messinos) turn yellow, preserving them in salt will deepen the flavors of this recipe. Just cut them in half lengthwise, rub with abundant sea salt and store in a jar in the fridge. You can also omit this step and use fresh, ripe limes and the results will be equally delicious.

Ingredients for 4-6 portions

  • 1½ kilos of boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 tbs paprika
  • 1 tbs garlic powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Peel of 3 preserved lemons or of 1 fresh one
  • 4 cloves of chopped garlic
  • 1 medium size yellow onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup of lime juice
  • ½ cup of chicken stock
  • Handful of pitted olives with a little brine
  • Fresh parsley or coriander for garnish
  • Toasted slivered almonds for garnish

Morrocan chicken with lemon and olivesDirections

  1. Marinate the thighs for a few hours in the paprika, garlic powder, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and ginger.
  2. In a large pan, brown the thighs in batches and set aside.
  3. Using the same pan, fry the garlic and onion.
  4. Cut the thighs into large chunks and return to pan with lemon peel and juice.
  5. Stir for a few minutes before adding the stock and the olives.
  6. Allow the gravy to thicken and garnish with parsley and slivered almonds.

    Good accompaniments are rice or couscous. In the photograph, I used Israeli couscous and braised fennel.

John Prine

John Prine Header

There are many reasons to hate what this pandemic has brought to our planet, but to me the cruelest blow to the music world was that we lost John Prine. Thousands of musicians have lost their incomes, their identity as creative artists and have been forced to find new ways to teach, play, or record music. Normally music would provide us with a unique way of looking at life and would help to soothe our souls. Everything about it has now changed, but the worst was that the voice of John Prine has been silenced. His humor and wisdom were unequaled and we shall not see his like again. Mr. Prine filled his songs with imagery we could all understand. I’ve always loved his music and respected his ability to construct such classic songs, but it has been astounding to me to realize how diverse his audience was and how much he was loved by so many people. He had the ability to say things that immediately clicked with people from all walks of life. If you do not already know his work, search it out and you will be rewarded. He understood the importance of a good belly laugh. His themes were often humorous, but John could cause us to feel loneliness and had an affinity with the sad folks who go through life wondering where the happiness has gone…

Violinist Available
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What’s Shaking @ Marina Pez Vela – April/May/June 2021

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Hard to believe we are already here in April and have just completed our second Semana Santa while dealing with the CoVid crisis and its impact on our community, our beloved Costa Rica and the world at large. While so much of the world has been focused on the countless obstacles and hardships which we have collectively endured, the team and family at Marina Pez Vela is incredibly proud to be a beacon of light, hope and resiliency as we cross over the year anniversary from the closing of our borders in 2020.

This April -and the months ahead- there is a lot to celebrate, highlight and share with our community and including the ongoing tournament series for 2021 and some new additions to our commercial plaza.

Emilio’s Cafe and Faxas Cuban Cigars are both open for business here at Marina Pez Vela!

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¿Qué Pasa en Quepos? – April/May/June 2021

April 2021 coverBienvenidos… Welcome to the land of Pura Vida. We are here to help you have a incredible vacation. April is a very busy month here in paradise with Semana Santa being one of the busiest weeks of the year. So have patience, relax, and enjoy the celebration.

April should bring a little rain to cool things off and provide some amazing sunsets. So get to one of our many restaurants such as Burû or Buena Vista on the beach, or Ronnie’s Place on the mountain and enjoy delicious food and cocktails with a spectacular views.

The fishing has been remarkable at Marina Pez Vela and so have the tournament’s. MPV will be hosting the Marina Pez Vela Open (April 9-10). Leading up to the Offshore World Championships (April 11-16) with teams from around the world competing for the championship. We want to thank writer Benn Gilmour (That’s Fishin’ pg. 26) for the awesome cover shot.

The Earth is an incredibly complex and vibrant ecosystem. Where living organisms interact with each other and their environment to create the ideal conditions for life. After the year we had this has never been more clear to respect her and to do what we can to make it a better world. Celebrate, Appreciate and Respect Earth Day April 22.

May and June bring the beginning of the green season and turtle season. MPV will host another exciting fishing tournament the Summer Solstice Shootout (June 19). World Ocean Day is June 8th so while enjoying our miles of beautiful coastline make a habit of bringing something in which to collect some trash and leave the beach better than when you arrived.

We want to wish everyone a wonderful Easter, Happy Mother’s Day and Fathers Day. And welcome to our newest advertiser, Costa Rica Dive & Surf.

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

Happy 22 Years Strong from Kids Saving the Rainforest!

From KSTR’s very humble beginnings in 1999, when two 9 year old girls with a passion to save the rainforest, we have grown so much and become stronger – always finding new ways to help wildlife and the environments they call home.

We have evolved from selling painted rocks and trinkets to buy land to protect, to educational kids’ camps, to education campaigns like “11 Reasons Not to Feed the Monkeys”, to planting thousands of trees with our Reforestation program, to installing and maintaining Wildlife Bridges, and working with the Costa Rican electric company, ICE, to prioritize dangerous electric wires to be insulated, to providing a safe Sanctuary for wildlife that can’t survive on their own, to offering educational Tours and Volunteer and Internship programs, to Rescuing, treating, rehabilitating and releasing hundreds of animals!  Nobody said it would be easy, but we know it’s worth it – and there have certainly been many trials along the way – especially in this last year!
We continue to work hard and keep fighting to protect and improve the environment and make this world better for all the amazing animals within it!

Happy 22 Years Strong from Kids Saving the Rainforest!

Native Moments

Surf CR logoThere’s a formula for this type of book. A coming-of-age story about a young man leaving a sordid past and discovering himself while in an exotic place. He falls in love, finds himself, and decides to stay where his heart lies in a paradisiacal bliss. Well, this book breaks that mold and tells a story of wrong decisions, harsh realities, and fragile relationships in a setting that I am very familiar with, Tamarindo, Costa Rica, in the early 1990’s.

That is what kept me enraptured with the book. Thirty years ago, Tamarindo was a dirt-road town along a small pristine bay with waves at both ends of it (Grande and Langosta), plus multiple surf breaks in the middle. To get to other breaks like Avellanas and Playa Negra you had to cross streams which was a terror if it was your credit card paying for the car rental.

Native Moments book coverOne of the characters in the story is Pablo—an older longboarder—who did sell ‘Burgers as big as your head’, and at his cabinas I had played a lot of pool myself back in the 1990’s. Nic writes about the surf shops in the area, the local pros, the beautiful beaches, the wildlife, the lodging options, and all that brings back the nostalgia of many readers’ first surf trip.

The main characters, Sanch and Jake are the tragic heroes. I rooted for them to make the right calls, and sometimes they did, but at other times they were a train wreck. They heard some good wisdom throughout the book, philosophies that could easily apply to today’s social issues. I could relate to what they witnessed on their surf trip because the author brought up the dark side of Tamarindo, too—cocaine, prostitution, theft, localism, crowded shore breaks with beginners learning to surf – the worst.

The author did a great job writing like someone in their twenties going on their first surf trip. There’s a lot of cussing, there’s a lot of drinking, there’s fights and hookups, getting stuck, and getting sick. Do not expect to deepen your vocabulary or get an expansive history lesson of the area. But you will be transported to an earlier time of Costa Rica surf exploration, and Sanch and Jake’s adventures will keep you turning the pages until the surprising conclusion.

You can purchase this book at Bookstore of the Waves in Tamarindo or online through Amazon—Native Moments.

Homemade Queso Dip & the Easiest Epic Nachos

Chef's corner headerThe world of nachos is full of possibilities and shortcuts. However, the real game-changer is a homemade and creamy queso dip made with your best cheeses on hand.

Queso dip: 8-10 portions

  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 finely sliced green onion with some of the green slices reserved for garnish
  • 1 finely chopped whole jalapeño or to taste
  • 1 small cubed roma tomato
  • 1 can of 315 g or 11/3 cups of evaporated milk
  • 225 grams of shredded cheddar (or any melting cheese such as Monterey Jack, gouda, or our local Monte Rico)
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1 tbs cornstarch 
  • ½ tsp powdered cumin
  • ½ tsp cayenne
  • Chopped cilantro leaves for garnish (optional)

Cheese dipInstructions

  1. In a thick bottomed pan, melt butter, sweat the onions, the garlic, the green onions, the chopped jalapeños, the tomatoes, the cumin, the cayenne, and allow to boil.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the cornstarch into the evaporated milk until fully dissolved and then pour into the hot pan to combine the entire mixture thoroughly for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Turn down heat and let thicken while stirring gently.


  1. Find a sturdy tortilla chip, I recommend a local brand such as “Rafaelitas.”
  2. Layer the tortillas with some queso dip, shredded cheese, cooked beans and/or shredded meat.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes until chips are golden and cheese is melted.
  4. Top with any of these options: pico de gallo, salsa, guacamole or avocado cubes, cilantro leaves, a dollop of sour cream. Great for entertaining on the fly!

Kids Saving the Rainforest – March 2021


Hello Quepolandia! This is Dani 🙂

This month, I am going to tell you some stories about the animals in our sanctuary. I hope you enjoy them!

Coati eating coconut

Photo by Janine Licare Photography
(Janine is also Co-founder of KSTR)

We are taking care of a Cotamundi who was born blind. In her living area, there are a bunch of obstacles, trees, jumps and ramps—and I think it’s really cool how she can navigate around the enclosure using just her nose. We use the obstacles to make sure she gets enough exercise, and to have more fun!

In the sanctuary, a lot of the animals don’t like just eating out of a bowl every day—so sometimes we do a different method of feeding. Sometimes, we put the food in a coconut, sometimes we put the food in jars, sometimes we use toilet paper tubes! 

And for the holidays, we even made them Christmas goodies! This makes it so that when the animals eat, it’s not so boring and it brings them some extra happiness.

Display of foodAt KSTR, there’s a Capuchin monkey named Moncho, and he’s brown, instead of Black and White—but he’s still a Capuchin monkey! He sometimes gets mistaken for a baby, because he’s smaller than a normal monkey. One time, we were gathering spiders to feed the monkeys. (Monkeys love eating spiders, and catching and eating a live bug helps remind them how to be in the wild!). When we put the jar with 4 spiders in front of the enclosure, we saw Moncho eat 2 spiders—but when we took the jar to move it to another enclosure, it turns out there was only 1 spider left! Moncho snuck an extra spider! Fun fact: monkeys are very smart and can be very sneaky.

Sloth eating hibiscusIn the sanctuary, we also have a Green Parrot, and on his neck he has no feathers—because he used to be a pet, and his owners had a dog. One day, he got loose from his cage, and the dog found him and attacked him. After that, the owners called KSTR, and we took him in with happiness and joy.  

KSTR is a great place and we try our very best to make sure the animals in our sanctuary are happy, entertained and well taken care of! If you live in the Quepos/Manuel Antonio area, I bet you’re not too far from KSTR. Go take a trip there and volunteer. You can meet lots of incredible animals, each with their own special story. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!

10 Reasons to Burn Incense & the Benefits

10 Reasons header

We all know that scents, aromas, fragrances (however you describe them) can be used to trigger specific responses. For instance; to encourage relaxation, aid sleep, promote concentration, stimulate creativity, increase motivation and intensify those romantic evenings. In addition, there’s also a whole raft of religious, aesthetic and practical reasons for using fragrances.
Below, we explore these attributes and uses for some of the fragrances that are available in incense, highlight their various benefits and suggest fragrances for specific occasions and purposes.

1. Meditation

Incense is used widely in many religious practices to deepen attention, heighten senses and uplift one’s own spirit when practicing meditation. Sandalwoods and Lotus are used most frequently for meditation as well as Agarwood, Musk and Cedar. Choose what suits you best, one that transports you to the place you need to be, without taking over your thoughts.

2. Relax and unwind

Soft fragrances will further enhance this time, allowing you to give yourself time and space away from the hassles of everyday living. Frankincense, Sandalwood and Cedarwood are all ‘calming fragrances’, and work well for general relaxation.

Royal Palm Interiors

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An Ember for Tomorrow

Has anyone recently reminded you that life is supposed to be lived passionately and led by the heart? Too much practical thinking and uninspired months then years will make even the best of us sink into the depths of depression, thoughtless routine, and boredom. I was reminded of this by the entire world’s new friend Mr. Covid. No need to rehash what happened in 2020 but that year has come and gone and now it is time to change, to become excited again. Finances is not what I am talking about this month, obviously some of us will continue to live a bit more frugally during these changing realities. With more time on our hands, we must invest in ourselves and walk our own mind through the maze of our past. Fear, resentment, and anger are all emotions that will age us and tear us up internally on more than just a mental level. What in your past keeps you from your future? Is there anything you can start doing today that will lead to more happiness tomorrow? Life needs a purpose and today’s can be as simple as reaffirming old beliefs, picking up a new book, or forcing oneself to do twenty minutes of yoga, four sets of pushups, or anything new. No need to change the world, just ourselves. Lord knows the questions we ask ourselves today are the ones which will become our foundation tomorrow.

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Hemp Origins, Evolution & History

Wonderful World of Hemp header
Map showing origins It is nearly impossible to write about the origins of hemp without referencing its psychoactive cousin marijuana, because they originated as one, as Cannabis, and their histories are as intertwined as they are separable. Its origins and evolution are as complex and compelling of a subject as its multifaceted utilization and intricate composition. Initially, distinctions between hemp and marijuana were based on the route it took during its evolution, its adaptation and then later by its narcotic effect. Its history has been laced with the confusion of, is it one in the same or are they different and how? But it was not until the last couple of centuries that a scientific analysis of the percentage of one chemical component, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), became the one distinguishing (and demonizing) factor that separated and characterized the two.

There is still so much that scientists need to uncover to fully comprehend the ancient history of Cannabis, and there are conflicting theories, but most researchers agree that its origins were in Central & South Asia. To this day, the flowering herb grows wild across vast grassland regions of Eurasia that spans western China and Mongolia through Kazakhstan and south toward India and the Middle East. But this does not explain how this one plant evolved so distinctly into either industrial hemp or the psychoactive marijuana. A much greater force than man could have been responsible—the force of nature.

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The Bat Guys header

“Would this be a good place to put the net?” I asked Otto. “You said you wanted an open path through the jungle.” I stepped into the shallow water of the narrow stream. “I can take one end of the net to the other side and hold it while you secure this end. Then you can join me.”

Otto hesitated. “Is there anything in this water that will hurt you,” he asked in heavily accented English.

“There are caimans and crocodiles” I replied, “but with all the noise we’ve been making they’re probably all gone by now.”

“No, no,” he exclaimed, “I mean little animals that live in the water.”

“Not that I know of. We walk through this water all the time and have never had any problems.”

Bat caught in a netFinally, he agreed to string the mist net across the stream, but was extremely careful not to get water inside of his rubber boots. The natural corridor formed by the stream was a good choice. Over the next hour we captured five different species of bats in the net, including one bulldog bat.

One evening several days earlier I was returning to Hacienda Barú from San Isidro just before dark and noticed three men at the side of the gravel road near Tinamastes extending some very fine nets. I wonder what they’re doing, I thought. They look like foreigners.

Two days later a familiar looking rental 4WD drove up to my house at Hacienda Barú. Three men got out of the car, and I recognized them as the men at the side of the road with the nets. The older man introduced himself as Otto. The other two were Fabio and Gunther. They were chiropterologists he explained from Erlangen University in Germany.

“What on earth is a chiropterologist?” I asked.

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