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Ripe Plantain Empanadas

Chef's Corner logoRipe plantainLiving in paradise means you’re surrounded with exotic fruits such as the plantain. It is also a versatile cooking ingredient that is less sweet and more starchy then its cousin the banana. We know that they are loaded with brain-boosting nutritious benefits such as potassium, vitamins, magnesium, to name a few…

Here is a little a little snack that is both sweet and savory. I’ve adapted it from a Colombian recipe to be gluten free and possibly vegan if the cheese is substituted with beans. 

  1. Finished empanadasFirst you start with a medium ripe plantain.
  2. Peel and boil the plantain for about 20 minutes and allow it to cool.
  3. Drain and mash with a fork.
  4. Add, ¾ cup of corn flour (or masa rica found in stores) and ½ teaspoon of salt.
  5. Mix until you obtain a dry dough that doesn’t stick to your hands.Roll into 8 to 10 little golf ball sizes.
  6. Flatten into circles and place one pinch of shredded cheese (mozzarella is recommended) or one small dollop of refried beans for the vegan option.
  7. Fold over to create a half moon shape, and pinch around the edges to seal.
  8. Fry in cooking oil until golden brown and drain on paper towels.
  9. Sprinkle with a mixture of salt, sugar, and cinnamon and serve.Shaped empanada


by Shelagh Duncan

Design Wise logoSectional sofaBuilding or purchasing a house can be one the most exciting times in your life, especially if it is located in a beautiful coastal area in Costa Rica! Once you have your design, the building begins and then you need to find furniture. Choosing new furniture can be a surprisingly daunting task, so where do you begin…?

Many of us are often unsure about what to look for when it’s time to buy a new sofa. It may have been over a decade ago that we purchased the last one and typically our new home will look quite different from the ones we lived in back home. After all, this is the tropics!

There are many things to consider before you buy; what style do you want to incorporate into your new home, what colours, and how will you to arrange the furniture. One of the most important considerations is space. What is going to fit in your space while still giving you the maximum amount of seating, and the look and feel you want?

Another more specific consideration is the climate here. Everything seems to wear out and degrade much faster than back home, so durability is a big factor, and with any sofa ‘Comfort is King’.
Royal Palm Interiors

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That’s Fishin’- December 2018

That's Fishin header

Woman with fishWelcome to the December edition of That’s Fishin! We had some truly spectacular fishing during November with some of the best Marlin fishing that we have seen for some time. Lots of Blue Marlin have been showing 20-40 miles from Quepos and are targeted during full day Offshore trips. Many boats in the fleet had banner Marlin days raising 3-4 Marlin with some accounts of double digit Marlin raises in a single days fishing from several boats in the fleet which is just insane fishing, wherever you are in the world! Most of the Blue Marlin are in the 150-250lb range but some larger fish up to 400-500lb have been caught also. Striped Marlin made an early appearance this year and good numbers of Stripeys in the 60-150lb range were caught in November in addition to a few Black Marlin and increasing numbers of Sailfish as the month progressed. An IGFA grand slam of three different Billfish species in one day is certainly a real possibility at this time of year!

As December progresses, Sailfish numbers will continue to increase ready for the height of Sailfish season which is typically January to March. Double digit Sailfish releases should be recorded some days this month and if catching some good numbers of Billfish is on your bucket list we have some fantastic boats and captains that can put you right on top of the action. Check out my boat GOOD DAY, or Caribsea Sportfishing, Double Nickle Charters, Pacific Fly Sportfishing, or JP Sport Fishing. All are great options for an Offshore trip in search of Billfish and our other hard fighting Pelagic species.

December is an excellent time for Dorado/Mahi Mahi with most fish in the 15-40lb range and always the possibility of a really huge fish in the 50-70lb range. Yellow fin Tuna with a few Big Eye Tuna mixed in, will be abundant 25+ miles Offshore and can be located together with mega pods of Spinner dolphins which makes for some amazing scenes! If you have never seen this phenomenon before, I GUARANTEE you will be amazed!

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How to Stay Healthy on a Budget

A Healthier You headerYour health is always worth investing in – it’s true as they say, ‘health is wealth.’ However, you don’t need to be wealthy to be healthy. Here are some tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle while on a budget.

Two bowls of foodMeal Plan

Before grocery shopping, take the time to plan out the majority of your meals for the week. Think about how to incorporate protein, greens, carbs and a healthy source of fat (such as avocado, coconut, nuts) in each meal. Then, build your grocery list with the ingredients needed to make those meals, so that you only buy what you need for the week. This will make your grocery runs go further, last longer and overall be more cost efficient.

Buy whole foods

Avoid the aisles of processed food in the grocery store, and instead shop the perimeter of the store where proteins and produce can be found. If you buy mostly proteins, vegetables and fruits, then that’s what you’ll reach for to eat when you are hungry or cooking a meal at home. Try to make an effort to go to La Feria on the weekends to buy your produce – it’s always cheaper than the grocery store, and you’re supporting local farmers. Tip: Avoid letting overripe fruits or vegetables go to waste by using them in a smoothie instead.

Two smoothiesGet a workout when & where you can

Consider trying home workouts instead of spending money on a gym membership or group workout classes. You can find any type of workout imaginable on YouTube that you can do from the comfort of your own home. Not to mention, we live in Costa Rica so why not take advantage of the beauty that surrounds us and find a way to get a workout in outside. This could be hiking to a waterfall, walking instead of driving, a run on the beach, swimming in the ocean or a pool – the possibilities are limitless right here in your backyard if you just get creative.

Kids Saving the Rainforest – December 2018

KSTR logoBuddy the slothby Karma Casey

Hello Quepolandia readers! Its Karma again, the spokes-kid for Kids Saving the Rainforest! Happy holidays from me and all the animals at KSTR! This time of year is a great time for getting together with our loved ones, and appreciating the things we have. It is also a time for reaching out and showing others how much we care about them. I love giving gifts to my friends and family!

Here at the Kids Saving the Rainforest wildlife sanctuary, home to more than 50 animals we like to show the residents of the sanctuary how much we care about them. We will be making special treats and preparing a big holiday feast with fun, interactive food in our animal kitchen!

Last year, I helped make popcorn and cranberry garlands for the parrots, and stuffed hollowed out coconuts full of healthy, nutritious goodies for some kinkajous and white-faced capuchin monkeys! Our sanctuary staff handed out all the yummy treats, and we all got to watch the animals have a great time enjoying their holiday feast! I can’t wait to do it again this year.

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¿Qué Pasa en Quepos? – December 2018

December 2018 coverBienvenidos/Welcome to paradise. We are glad you have arrived. The rains are slowing. The sun is shining, and the jungle is alive…so let the fun begin. Our pages are full of awesome restaurants of every flavor. Arbol, Victoria’s, and Z Gastro Bar just to mention a few. Want to catch all the games, try Sancho’s or Jolly Roger for all the action. We have Tour companies to take your adventure to the next level: Titi Canopy for zip lining, learn to surf with Dante’s Water Sports, whale watching and snorkeling with Sunset Sails, and much, much more. Transportation companies (Monkey Ride and the Marina Pez Vela shuttle) that will get you where you need to go. Not to mention great articles to enjoy while chillin’ at the beach or by the pool.

The fish are jumping and so will Marina Pez Vela this month. Movie night under the stars is back on Friday nights check out the movie schedule on page 55.The annual Bright Lights Boat parade will be held December at two locations this year. Bracelets for admission will be required so don’t forget to pick up yours beforehand. What a great way to kick off the holiday season for the entire family. Quepos will bring in the New Year with live performances at the sea wall and fireworks from Marina Pez Vela will light up the skies overhead. Make reservations at Mira Olas for great food and views of all the action. Great time to feel all the “Pura Vida” this country has to offer.

Our shops are great for your holiday shopping. Check out Mot Mot Gallery, The Captain’s Booty, or Modern Primitive Living for that one of kind gift idea. Also let’s not forget the Toys for Tots boxes in the area and help brighten someone’s holiday. 

We would like to welcome our new advertisers this month Dante’s Water Sports, Modern Primitive Living, and Nancy Buchan, Violinist.

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/Quepolandia. We appreciate and welcome your comments.

We at Quepolandia would like to wish all our advertisers, writers, staff, and readers a Wonderful Holiday Season and an Incredible 2019!!!

Peace on Earth and Enjoy…D

What a Crazy World We Sleep In!

Design Wise logoby Shelagh Duncan

If you ever wondered why the king sheets you brought down with you when you moved to Costa Rica never seemed to fit properly, then join the club! Most of us never think about things being too different in other countries. Weather, food, language for sure – but beds?

Most countries may call their beds King, Queen, Full or Twin, and some have a bunch of other in-between sizes like XL-Twin or California King. However – the big reveal is that each of these beds have different dimensions in almost every country in the world!

U.S and Costa Rica bed sizesThe reason is that the Western names have been given to the popular sizes in that country to follow Western culture. The sizes however, are usually specified by the Institute of Standards in each of these countries. The first of these organizations came into being around the time of the Industrial Revolution and set out guidelines to ensure that standards for all kinds of things as well as furniture are understood and followed. A “Standard” is just a protocol which is widely accepted, and these guidelines also incorporate such issues as strength, durability and safety for manufacturers to reference. There are many internationally recognized standards that we take for granted, such as musical notes, chemical and math symbols, and the clock, the calendar and mapping to name just a few. But it is not that simple for beds and mattresses.

Royal Palm Interiors

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Kids Saving the Rainforest – November 2018

KSTR logoTiti monkey using a bridgeby Karma Casey

Hello again Quepolandia readers! I’m Karma, the spokes-kid for Kids Saving the Rainforest. This month I’m going to tell you a little bit about our wildlife bridges. In this area, many animals are sadly electrocuted or hit by cars. To help give these animals a safe way to move around this rainforest home we share with them, Kids Saving the Rainforest works together with ICE, the electric company of Costa Rica, to put up wildlife bridges. These bridges are ropes going over the roads, giving many animals such as monkeys and sloths a safe way to cross the road without going on the dangerous power lines.

We now have put up well over 100 wildlife bridges in the Manuel Antonio and Quepos area! We originally called them monkey bridges and put them up for the very special Grey Crowned Squirrel Monkeys, a species that only lives in this area. Through camera traps, we have now learned many types of animals are able to use our bridges, meaning we are helping all sorts of wildlife with this project, and not just monkeys! Sometimes it is sloths on the bottom and monkeys on the top like a two-lane highway!

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Fiddlin’ Around -November 2018

Fiddlin'Around headerWoman on a horseHorses and music have been the two most consistently wonderful and important and therapeutic things in my life. When I was a kid my parents scrimped to pay for violin lessons and the expenses for the beautiful mare my Dad indulgently bought me, but they wouldn’t let me gallop away until I had practiced the violin. In my case the apple didn’t fall too far from the parental tree—my Dad was a classical and jazz violinist and a bit of a clown, and he was also a member of the U.S. Horse Calvary and was a fine rider. I used to think I was Annie Oakley reincarnated….

It is well documented by scientists, health care providers, shrinks and educators that music has healing powers on many levels. Folks with physical or mental challenges can be positively affected by either playing music or listening to it. I’ve talked about this before—lower blood pressure, better diabetic numbers, pain management, increased attention and memory. There are many reasons why music is beneficial to us humans, besides the obvious facts that it is fun and communal and makes us think and feel deep emotions and get up and dance.

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You Don’t Have To Be an Expert to Be a Sloth Warrior

The Sloth Instituteby Sam Trull, Co-Founder and Sloth Director of The Sloth Institute

Abusing sloths for selfie tourism is one of the conservation issues that The Sloth Institute (TSI) is very passionate about correcting, but it is one that we often thought would never happen in our “backyard”. Most of the online evidence (photos and videos) of sloths being abused for hugs and photos from tourists originates in other countries, countries that are more ‘well known’ for their wildlife trafficking. But the truth is that these kinds of wildlife crimes DO happen in Costa Rica, even if they are better disguised.

Someone may tell you they “rescued” this sloth but now it’s so used to humans that it cannot be released back into the wild. This is a lie. Someone may tell you that the sloth is happy you are giving it a hug, because look…it is smiling! This is a lie. Someone may tell you that wild sloths don’t mind living in captivity because they are lazy anyways and don’t move much. This is a lie. The people who commit these crimes are getting savvy. They know their audience is trying to pay attention, but even a caring tourist can get fooled.

The bottom line: Never participate in tourism that encourages you to pet, feed or take photos with wildlife (especially sloths).



Esperanza is a young juvenile three-fingered sloth that was rescued here in Costa Rica by the government from this selfish tourism scheme. After a thorough health check by myself and our vet friends at Toucan Rescue Ranch, we released her into the jungle.

Luckily, she is now wild and free and being tracked daily by our expert TSI sloth trackers. Since being set free into the jungle where she belongs, she has gained 1 kilogram (nearly doubling her original weight) in just 6 months. This is a testament to sloths being healthier and happier in the wild with the freedom to make their own choices about their own lives. We can stop this industry together.

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

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.

That’s Fishin’ – November 2018


By Ben Glimour

November is one of my favourite months of the year to Fish out of the Marina Pez Vela, here in Quepolandia. After the rains of the past few months, our afternoon rains should start to subside as the month progresses, water temperatures will start to warm back up again and the volume of baitfish in the area increases both Offshore & Inshore bringing the hungry predators with them.

Three men with a tunaOFFSHORE FISHING

We have enjoyed some incredible fishing over the past few months. Blue Marlin, Sailfish, Dorado and Tuna have all been getting caught in good numbers with some weeks producing excellent fishing and opportunities to catch all of these species just 20 miles or so from the Marina.

We have had an awesome Dorado bite this year which should peak during November, just in time for the Dorado Derby here at the Marina Pez Vela on November 17th! This tournament really is open to all, tourists, locals, expats, professionals, novices, ladies, kids— all are welcome! It’s still not too late to get your entry in to what is the most accessible Sport Fishing Tournament in Costa Rica with a team entry fee of just $250. It is going to be one epic weekend as competitors battle it out in the search of the largest Dorado. If recent catches are anything to go by, Anglers could be in for a real treat, as there have been some HUGE Dorado caught these past few months with several Quepos boats catching 70lb plus Dorado, which is just huge for this species.

At this time of year we often get some great Dorado fishing less than 10 miles from the marina and when the fishing is like this it is perfect for a half day Offshore family trip with the kids.

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Let’s talk about the Montezuma Oropendula

By Paul Gerace

One of the more interesting birds found in our area is the Montezuma Oropendola. When you hear its call there will be no doubt about what it is. The sound is a very strange kind of gurgling.

This class of bird is aptly named for the golden (oro) yellow color of its tail feathers and for the pendulum (pendola) type of movement that it makes when courting. It actually swings by its feet, dips down, and then back up again in repeated sequences.

It has chestnut colored body feathers and an orange cone shaped bill. I think that shaped bill gives it an aerodynamic advantage during flight which is evidenced by the smooth sound it makes when flying overhead.

They nest in colonies. The nests look like hanging baskets and hang delicately from very tall tress as protection from predators.

Montezuma Oropedula

The Montezuma Oropendolas are one of 3 types of Oropendolas found here in Costa Rica. The others are the Chestnut-Headed and the much less common Crested Oropendolas.

You can see more of my images at www.photosofcostarica.com

Land of the Fat Cats

But There Aren’t Any Sloths

By Jack Ewing

I have always wanted to see a jaguar in its natural habitat, but had resigned myself to the reality that it wasn’t going to happen in Costa Rica. From the moment I heard of the Pantanal, the best jaguar viewing location in the world, it became number one on my bucket list, and it finally came to be.


With an area of 355,000 square kilometers, a little over seven times the land area of Costa Rica, the Pantanal is the largest wetland in the world. Parts of it are found in Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, and the largest portion in Brazil. In August of 2018 my daughter Natalie, and I spent eight days in the Pantanal National Park. It was definitely the most incredible eight days of my entire life. Our main reason for going was to see jaguars, but we also had giant anteaters, giant river otters, tapirs, and capybaras on our wish list. We saw more than we had ever imagined: fifteen jaguars, two giant anteaters, nine families of giant river otters, five tapirs, approximately 200 capybaras, 3000 to 5000 black caimans, and 128 species of birds including about 200 jabiru storks.
Hacienda Baru

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Enjoy Your Retirement: How to Find an Affordable Vacation Home

Deck chairs facing beachBy Jim McKinley

You worked hard much of your life and now you are ready to kick back and enjoy your retirement. Perhaps a vacation home sounds like just the ticket, but how do you find an affordable property? And are you really ready to make the investment?

Finding an affordable property

You need to weigh several factors to find an affordable vacation home, including:

Establishing a budget

Decide what you can afford and determine the additional costs involved with purchasing a second home. Include property taxes, travel to and from the location, utilities, maintenance and repairs, and the costs involved if you hire a property management service.

Getting funding

Unless you can purchase the property outright, you will need a mortgage for your vacation spot. Consider reaching out to smaller, regional lenders for financing. Another option is to seek investment from family members and friends, or splitting a purchase into shares.

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Transformation in Barrio San Francisco

By Len Homan

A mural being painted in Manuel Antonio by local artist Juan Calderon is energizing the residents of barrio San Francisco. The mural and the newly paved road surrounding the U shaped neighborhood are inspiring the residents to remodel and beautify their own properties.

Artist Juan with the mural

Wall before the muralArtist Juan is donating his time and talent after park guide Dagoberto and the staff of Peace of Paradise converted the close-by concrete utility wall left standing by the road crew into a smooth, inviting artist canvas. “There is so much hidden talent in this neighborhood” said Len Homan, retired educator and partner at Peace of Paradise. Local volunteers for preparing the wall and painting the mural are bringing those talents to the surface.”

Dagoberto secured support and endorsement from the municipality for supplies and to encourage the face-lift and progress of San Francisco. Plans for more projects are spreading around the neighborhood.

Community working together