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Sighting Felines in the Wild


Cool Cats header

Experiencing the sight of a wild feline is about the most exciting thing that can happen to a nature enthusiast in Costa Rica. Most humans share a fascination with cats, whether it be the tiny Oncilla (Leopardus tigrinus) the smallest cat in Costa Rica at 2 kilos, or the enormous Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris), at 240 kg, the largest cat in the world. As they are naturally secretive and wary of humans, seeing a wild feline is not an everyday occurrence. We have five feline species at Hacienda Barú.

JaguarundiI have lived here for 47 years and have only seen one, the Jaguarundi (Herpailurus yagouaroundi), which I have seen on multiple occasions. One of those sightings was particularly memorable. A neighbor who lived close to the lodge bought some young chicks to fatten for meat for the dinner table. They grew quickly and soon the roosters among them began to crow. I know of no sound more irritating than the crowing of an adolescent rooster. It seemed like there was a competition among them, and each day they started a little earlier and crowed a little louder. Soon the racket began shortly after midnight. Of course our guests complained about it, but the neighbor, Ricardo, was uncooperative. One day I saw two jaguarundis cross the driveway heading toward his chicken coop. Word soon got out that they had killed a couple of chickens. Knowing that Ricardo would try to kill the cats, I called the wildlife department and asked if a game warden could come and have a talk with him. One happened to be in the area and stopped by that same afternoon. He told Ricardo that if anything happened to the pair of beautiful black cats they would know it was him, and that the fine would be enormous. Ricardo killed all the young roosters that same day, and put them in the freezer. I don’t think that these beautiful black cats are seen more frequently than other felines because they are more numerous, rather it is because they are diurnal, less wary of humans, and spend most of their time on the ground. At 5 kg the jaguarundi is the third largest of the five Hacienda Barú species.

Hacienda Baru

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Memoirs of a Masseur – December 2019

Every day I ask people when they received their last massage. For me, it is a prerequisite question before I begin my work. I listen attentively and have come to the conclusion that very few people give back to themselves enough. For some reason guilt exists about maintaining our own bodies. There is no need to wait. No need to have a back out of whack, a tight neck, a migraine, today is the day to loosen up and get yourself a massage. Let experienced hands put you into a trance where the mind and body can heal, can change, can grow. Massage is no longer a relaxing luxury. Therapeutic massage is an effective healthcare approach—a combination of art and science that true professionals in the field have spent years combining technical and academic information along with developing subtleties of palpation and technique. My twenty years of massaging defines my life more so than just my job. Working in my chosen field you could say, has massaged me into a man that goes through life caring about the mental, physical, and spiritual direction of other humans.

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Dudley and Smokey




Karen Moss sloths@kstr.org

Hello again from Kids Saving The Rainforest! As promised in the last issue, I would like to introduce you to two very special baby sloths. Dudley and Smokey are growing up together in our nursery. While their stories of how they got here are sad, they are both healthy and have each other to grow up with.

Dudley came to us on July 23rd, 2019 after KSTR received a rescue call at a local hotel. Dudley had fallen from her mother and she was unable to be reunited by hotel staff. Dudley was very weak and her coloring was off when KSTR wildlife personnel arrived. We had to make the tough choice of removing her and taking her to our clinic. We photographed her mother and noted her location.

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Drunken Noodles (Pad Kee Mao)

Chef's Corner logoThe odd name for this alcohol-free recipe must actually refer to that formidable craving for fiery-hot noodles while one is drinking.

This is a more caramelized, saucy, spicy and vegetable-packed version of Pad Thai that can still be enjoyed with a side of chopped peanuts, cilantro, and lime wedges.

Ingredients for up to 8 servings

  • 1 package of Pad Thai rice noodles
  • 1/3 cup of soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons of oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons of honey, maple syrup, or brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of sesame oil 
  • 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1lb of sliced chicken breast, and/or peeled raw shrimp (these proteins are optional)
  • 8 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1-2 seeded chopped hot chili peppers 
  • 4 green onions thinly sliced
  • 4 cups of sliced or julienned vegetables of your choice: carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, bell pepper, broccoli, baby corn
  • 1 cup of roughly chopped fresh basil (Thai or other)

Drunken NoodlesInstructions

  1. Soak rice noodles in hot water for 3 minutes and then drain in colander. 
  2. Combine the soy sauce, fish sauce, sweetener, and 1/3 cup of water.
  3. Heat oils in wok and add the chicken and shrimp if using. Add garlic, chili peppers, green onion slices and cook for about 3 minutes. Add sliced vegetables and cook for about 5 minutes until softened.
  4. Pour in sauce and mix well adding noodles and the basil.
  5. Serve immediately with some sides of chopped nuts, cilantro and lime wedges.

10 Tips to Help to Get Your Furniture Arrangement Right

Design Wise header

Design wise LogoHere are 10 basic layout rules to help you create a polished, pulled-together look in any room

Living room with family and dogLike a blank page or canvas, an empty room can be either an opportunity or a challenge. With so many ways to fill it, how do you know where to start?

Here are some of the basic rules of furniture arrangement that have been distilled into 10 simple tips. They’ll help you or your interior designer to determine where to put things, where not to put things and how to prioritize the choices you make.

Step 1. Think About How the Room Will Function

Consider how the room is used and how many people will use it during the day. Many of us have homes with a great room that includes not only the entry and living area but the kitchen and dining areas too, so there are many activities take place here.

As well as reading and relaxing, you may use it for entertaining small or large scale gatherings, for the kids’ homework or crafts and as a home office. These uses will help determine the type of furnishings you’ll need and the amount of seating required.

Royal Palm Interiors

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What’s Shaking at Marina Pez Vela – December 2019

What's Shaking headerDECEMBER IS HERE and MARINA PEZ VELA has a TON OF NEWS and EVENTS to report! The transition into both the dry season and the high season is in full swing and perhaps the first thing that comes to mind in this time of the year are the magical painted sunsets which we are marveling at nearly each evening from the Marina. The colors, boats, clouds, and at times, what seem to be fires in the sky are magical and bring locals and tourist alike out to marvel in the beauty and magic of Quepos and Manuel Antonio. With the change in weather and in overall tourism flow, we get back into the swing with some of our most iconic events here at the Marina and in our community, which we will outline here along with some BIG NEWS.


The closing even of the COPENAE Triathlon series is back to Quepos this year and is the first weekend of the month. This is a HUGE event for a host of reasons. First, the triathlon brings in over one thousand athletes to the community along with all their friends, family and support staff. This has become boom economically for the area during what is traditionally a very slow weekend in early December. We want to encourage the entire community to get out and support this event the days and evenings prior as well as the morning of the event. This is a great positive kind of tourism for our area, healthy athletes, role models, and families celebrating health, wellness, and a competitive athletic environment which is inspiring many in our local community to get involved in running, biking, swimming, and sports in general. The family at Marina Pez Vela also would like to remind and request that EVERYONE here work to coordinate to minimize traffic and for those who are driving to be VERY CAREFUL and respectful of the athletes. This is a great event for our community and our support as a project and community to insure a fun, safe and supportive environment is crucial.


HUGE NEWS and BIG CHANGES to BRIGHT LIGHTS THIS YEAR. 2019 will have our first BRIGHT LIGHTS PARADE ON THE MALECÓN INSTEAD OF INSIDE THE MARINA. This amazing community event has outgrown the marina and in past years we have had to close the doors for safety and security which leaves large parts of our community out of the event. BRIGHT LIGHTS was conceived and has always been about our community more than the marina and this 2019 we are working with the Municipality and the main stage, concerts, live circus, and parade of floats will take place on the Malecón. Special aquatic floats will be parading along the malecón in the water and we encourage and welcome EVERYONE to come out and make this year’s BRIGHT LIGHTS bigger and better than ever as it continues its natural path as a QUEPOS event. The Marina will remain open this day, our restaurants and shops will be providing services, specials and even a view of part of the fireworks at the close of the night. The floats which will be featured in the malecón will be on display ALL MONTH here at MPV so if you can’t make the big night, you can come by the marina anytime in December to enjoy in the holiday spirit.


One of our most enjoyable traditions here during the starry nights of the dry season is free movie night at MPV. The tradition continues this year with an important change. MOVIE NIGHTS are going to be each WEDNESDAY in December. It is a great way to celebrate “hump day” for a happy hour and meal here at the project and a beautiful night at the best movie theatre in Costa Rica! Stay tuned to our facebook page and website for the list of this month’s movies or check the schedule on page 62 and remember, ITS FREE AND FUN!


We are very proud to announce that we have a BRAND NEW restaurant at the marina, PESCA SEAFOOD HOUSE. PESCA is located in the heart of the plaza and is offering an amazing selection of fresh seafood, executive lunch specials, cold drinks and warm hospitality. PESCA is totally new concept, focused on becoming a part of what makes Quepos and the Marina so popular. Great seafood, casual environment, great value, and a local team of owners and operators who work to make every client feel at home. If you have not had the chance to try it yet, make plans to come down, marvel at a sunset, and enjoy some amazing new food at PESCA. You can check them out on facebook or any of the social media sites and read all the RAVE reviews

¿Qué Pasa en Quepos? – December 2019

December 2019 coverBienvenidos…Welcome to Paradise. We are glad you have arrived. The rains are slowing. The sun is shining. The jungle is alive….so let the fun begin. Our pages are full awesome restaurants of every flavor. Arbol, Burû, Victoria’s, and Agua Azul just to mention a few. Want to catch all the games or some delicious wings try Jolly Roger for all the action. We have tour companies that will take your adventures here to the next level. Zip line with Titi Canopy. Go rafting or horseback riding with Tucanes Tours. Parasail with Aguas Azules. Snorkeling and Whale watching with Sunset Sails not to mention an incredible coastline. Transportation companies (Monkey Ride, and Marina Pez Vela’s free shuttle) that will get you where you need go. Not to mention great articles to enjoy while chillin’ at the beach or by the pool, and much much more. So please enjoy the great weather, beautiful beaches, world class sport fishing and all the awesomeness Costa Rica has to offer.

The fish are jumping and so will be Marina Pez Vela this December. Movie Night Under the Stars is back and has moved to Wednesday nights. The annual Bright Lights Boat Parade will be held December 7th this year on the Malecón instead of inside the marina. What a great way to kick off the holiday season for the entire family. Quepos and Marina Pez Vela will be rocking in the New Year with live performances and fireworks lighting up the sky overhead at midnight. Great time for all to feel the Pura Vida this country has to offer and welcome in the New Year.

Our shops are great for all your holiday shopping. Check out Modern Primitive Living, Mot Mot Gallery, or Royal Palm Interiors for that one of a kind gift. Don’t forget the Toys for Tots boxes in the area and help brighten someone’s holiday.

We would like to welcome our new advertisers Casa Mogambo, Consultoría y Constucción, John Williamson Photography Services, and Rio Mono. And thanks to Carolina Lera for this month’s cover shot of the Brigitte Bardot, one of the Sea Sheppard’s Conservation Society’s Rescue Boats. Also thanks to Ice for letting us aboard to capture the shot.

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 at 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 2020.

Peace on Earth and Enjoy…D

Let’s Talk About the Bare-Throated Tiger Heron

Bare-throated tiger heron

By Paul Gerace

The Bare-Throated Tiger Heron is one of 12 different types of “herons” in Costa Rica.

This one is identified by its bare yellow throat skin and its black cap. They are widespread coastal birds and can be seen in our area around marshes, lagoons, swamps, and mangroves. Their range is from Mexico down through Central America and northern South America.

They can be seen patiently waiting and wading in the water in a position with their heads stretched out and pointed down, ready to pierce a fish with their long bills.

Thankfully, it’s not a threatened species.

Just another one of the beautiful bird species found here in Costa Rica. See more bird photos HERE

Mindful Eating: Ditch the Diet for Good

A Healthier You headerWhat if we told you that you could ditch the diet FOR GOOD, and still get the results you want? ⁣

We teach our clients that eating should roll with your life — sometimes it goes smoothly, and other times not so much. There’s no need to try to overcompensate when it goes wrong, because this is normal! Eating mindfully is all about going inward and tuning into your body to listen to what it really needs to feel nourished.

Mindful eating is being able to eat when you are hungry and continue eating until you are satisfied.

Mindful eating is being able to choose food you like and eat it and truly get enough of it – not just stop eating because you think you should. ⁣

Mindful eating is being able to use some moderate restraint on your food selection to get the right food, but not being so restrictive that you miss out on pleasurable foods. ⁣

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Fiddlin' Around header

Calvin comic enjoying the rainYahoo it’s rainy season here again! Of course some folks feel the need to move on to drier and safer pastures, but many of us rejoice in the growth and beauty and messiness the rains inspire. And just in case we need a reminder that we are mere grains of sand on this beach called Life, Mother Nature will re-establish her dominance and toss us around like the soggy children that we are. Manuel Antonio and Quepos can get 16.5 feet of rain annually, and averages 17 inches in June. It gets very elemental here. Sometimes scary and dangerous. Exhilarating and humbling. And the strings on your guitar will rust.

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My Theory on Waves and the Moon when it Comes to Surfing Beach Breaks

Surf CR logoMany people would think that surfers worship the sun, but in fact it is the moon that makes all the difference in surfing. The phrase “you should have been here an hour ago” is common in surfing because it is the tide that can determine how the swell interacts with the shoreline. If it is too low tide or too high tide then the waves just are not the same. 

The moon controls the tides daily, and high tide gets about 50 minutes later each day. In general, beach breaks are better during high tide because the slope of the beach is at a better angle for waves to break evenly. Sometimes though, at dead high tide there is a lull or the ocean is so deep at the takeoff spot that it becomes mushy or just doesn’t break at all. This is why it is important to check the tide charts daily and when planning a trip, try to get high tide in the morning when the chance is better for offshore winds. 

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slothBandaged sloth with 2 doctorsPrince Eric is a young adult male three-fingered sloth that came into our care at the beginning of August. We received a call from a local business that a sloth had fallen onto a bridge in the forest that surrounds their property. Sloths are actually very good at falling because of their sturdy skeleton (and they fall pretty regularly in a normal lifetime) but because the bridge that he fell onto wasn’t the soft forest floor he broke his arm.

X-rays determined that he would need orthopedic surgery to correct his fracture. Surgeons Dr Daniel Chavarría and Dr. Janet Sandi Carmiol have given Prince Eric a hopeful prognosis, despite the fact that three-fingered sloths don’t always do well with pins in their
bones. (Sloths tend to have allergic reactions to the metal, and therefore need longer healing time compared to similarly sized mammals.)

Prince Eric has been a sweet patient. TSI and his doctors are hoping for full recovery, but we need your support!

The Sloth InstituteRead updates on all of the sloths in care at TSI at TheSlothInstitute.org.

Kids Saving the Rainforest – November 2019

KSTR LogoBy Karen Moss

Capuchin monkeys crossing a monkey bridgeGreetings from Kids Saving The Rainforest! Our spokes kid, Karma Casey, moved back to the US and we would like to thank her for the wonderful job she did writing the Quepolandia articles. I will be filling her shoes this month and although I’m not a kid, at least not on my driver’s license, I’m excited to share the latest information about KSTR with everyone.

Did you know Kids Saving the Rainforest can respond to pick up injured wildlife? You can reach KSTR by WhatsApp at 88 ANIMAL (8826 1625). Once the call comes in, the staff is notified and gets to work immediately. Our wildlife ambulance personnel respond to retrieve the animal while the clinic staff prepares for the animal’s arrival. If we are unable to respond, we have a trained taxi driver closer to respond who can come pick up the animal. Everyone is communicating with each other so we can provide that animal the fastest and most efficient treatment possible.

Speaking of Wildlife ambulance calls, September was a difficult month for the wildlife in the Villa Lirio area. There were a total of four electrocuted monkeys in less than a week. KSTR received a call about an electrocuted Howler Monkey (Mono Congo) from a neighbor near Canyon Verde. The howler had crawled off and we were unable to locate it. KSTR immediately notified ICE (the power company) who came out to install a wildlife bridge the following day. Another howler was then electrocuted in front of ICE while they were there installing the wildlife bridge the next day. KSTR personnel responded and the howler decided to go up a fence and into the trees as our ambulance personnel was preparing to capture it.

Kids Saving the Rainforest header

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Tasty Chicken Kabobs

Chef's Corner logoThese tender and juicy kabobs are a party appetizer superstar. The key to this succulent chicken recipe is to use boneless thigh fillets (muslos deshuesados) immersed overnight in a sweet, spicy, and lemongrassy marinade.

For 10-12 kabobs

  • 1 kilo of boneless chicken thighs trimmed and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 plump lemongrass stalk, white part only
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper or to taste
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable oil

Chicken grilled on skewers

  1. Place the chicken pieces in a large ziploc bag and blend the remaining ingredients until a smooth paste is formed.
  2. Pour the paste into the bag and mix around to cover entirely.
  3. Place in refrigerator for several hours or preferably overnight.
  4. Thread the morsels on soaked bamboo skewers and grill over low heat turning kabobs regularly to prevent burning.
  5. I usually finish them on a baking sheet in the oven to keep them warm while I prepare the peanut sauce.

For the sauce

  • 1 cup of creamy peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 small stalk of lemongrass, white part only, thinly sliced
  • 1 small red chili pepper, seeds removed, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/3 cup of soy sauce
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  1. In a small saucepan fry the garlic, lemongrass, and red pepper in the vegetable oil until fragrant.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a slow boil until a smooth sauce is obtained.
  3. Adjust the flavors to your taste with more sugar, salt, pepper, or coconut milk.
  4. Garnish with some chopped peanuts and red pepper.

Extinction in Costa Rica

Never to be seen again header with a Harpy Eagle

I love Costa Rica and its wildlife, and I sometimes envy the pioneers who lived here in the early 1900s and were able to know and appreciate some of the wildlife that are no longer with us. I am thinking of one mammal and one bird in particular, the Giant Anteater and the Harpy Eagle. Both of these truly magnificent species once lived in Costa Rica. Today the former is almost certainly gone forever, and there still may be a few of the latter in several remote locations in the country. Though it is not yet extinct, I will also mention the Jabiru Stork. Let’s have a closer look.

Giant Anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla)

Giant anteater showing its long tongueThis large mammal is similar in many respects to the anteater many of us know today as the Tamandua (Tamandua mexicana): long curved nose, long curved claws that tuck completely under like a fist and obliges them to walk on their knuckles, and both eat ants and termites. The biggest difference is the size. A large tamandua can weigh up to 5 kilos and is about 60 cm long, and the giant anteater, sometimes called the “ant bear”, weighs eight times as much, and is more than double the length. In Costa Rica they are called Oso Caballo in Spanish, which literally translates to “Bear Horse”, presumably because of its large size and big, round, furry appearance. I had the good fortune to see two giant anteaters on my once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Pantanal in Brazil. Both were at night, and neither would let me get close enough to take a photo. Our guide told us that they eat mostly ants, first digging an opening into the ant hill, inserting the long narrow snout as far as possible, and then inserting the sticky, snake-like tongue, which is as long as a man’s arm, deep into the nest to retrieve the ants. He said that the anteater can flick its tongue in and out at the awesome rate of about twice per second. After a very short time it moves on to another nest. This may be because the soldier ants that guard the nest from intruders quickly come out in force. With their long powerful pinchers they may be able to penetrate the thick hairy hide that protects the animal from ordinary ants.

Hacienda Baru

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