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Baby Sloth and Mom re-unite, a happy ending and beginning!

Mom sloth looking out for her baby

Mom sloth looking out for her baby

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

Whenever one year ends and another one begins we tend to reflect upon the past year’s achievements and make goals for the future. However, rather than go through a laundry list of our triumphs and failures from 2016, I would like to focus on the present and share a simple story. A few weeks ago we received a phone call from a nearby hotel, a mom and baby sloth had fallen and the mom shot back up the tree leaving her tiny baby behind! I asked them to please leave the baby where it was and stay with it to keep it safe until we arrived. Minutes later at the scene of the fall, we witnessed a TINY baby three-fingered sloth about half-way up a tree dangling from a thin branch. It would every once in a while utter a very soft and pitiful cry, but mom was nowhere in sight. At this point I asked to borrow a ladder and had it set up in the tree just in case we needed to grab the baby and then I asked everyone to please leave. This tree was already adjacent to a busy road and with all of the earlier commotion; if we were going to have any chance of reuniting mom and the baby sloth we needed there to be no audience.
The Sloth Institute logo

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Collared Peccary

Their Intelligence Rivals That of Monkeys

Collared PeccaryBy Jack Ewing

Although I have lived at Hacienda Barú since 1972, I had never seen a peccary in the wild until 1997. Volunteers had come here, stayed a week or two, helped on environmental projects, and during that short time many of them had the good luck of seeing the collared peccary (Pecari tajacu), called zahinos locally. Our guides had seen them on numerous occasions as had our guests. My brother Rex came for his first visit in 14 years. He and his wife LaVonne did an overnight jungle camping tour with a sharp-eyed local guide named Deiner. I volunteered to carry the food up to the camp that afternoon. There had been a lot of collared peccary sightings recently, and I figured I had a good chance of seeing one during my hike up to the camp. I saw tracks everywhere and even caught a whiff of their musky scent. The ground had been dug up in several places where they had routed around with their noses for invertebrates, roots and tubers, but no collared peccary. When I got to the camp with the food, Rex and LaVonne couldn’t wait to tell me about the group they had seen, five of them.

Hacienda Baru

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Spanish Sucks – February 2017

Spanish Sucks by Os¡Happy New Year!
¡Happy New 70 Verbs!
¡Happy New Flashcards!
Parte II

¡Hola amigos!  How did you feel filling the previous seven verbs:


Good luck with the next seven:


I chose those 70 verbs based on the frequency of use, the importance of complexity and the pattern of conjugation…  Every month I will give you seven flashcards to feel!  Go to my website and compare your fillings with mine!  http://www.oscostarica.com/printable-spanish-flashcards/

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The beginning of a new year is a time for reflection—on the past, on the future, on our goals, on our missteps and screw-ups. I am writing this in January and am trying valiantly to let go of the bad and mean-spirited crap of 2016 and move on. But I can’t seem to focus in on one topic, so I’m just gonna talk about whatever comes to my little brain and celebrate the diversity of our planet and of our music!

Let’s think about the many geographical and environmental and physical influences that people are subject to and which define our musical paths. Humans have always had to fashion instruments out of the available materials where they live. An Eskimo in a frozen land might make a drum out of seal skin, or a flute from fishbone. A rural farmer in Mexico discovered that a horse’s jaw bone can become a percussion instrument. An Aboriginal guy in Australia might make a didgeridoo out of a tree to communicate with others or to provide the bass line for an Outback jam session. Some Celtic guy figured out how to turn a sheep’s stomach into a bagpipe or how to make strings out of catgut. A Brazilian native may carve a flute out of soft stone or a drum out of a gourd. Instruments are often made to imitate the sounds of nature—bird songs or the sound of rain or thunder or migrating herds. We use our human voice to interpret natural sounds as well as to communicate, and we learn through trial and error and example how the different sounds can be woven together. Just as the people on this earth are diverse, so are our habitats and the materials they provide. Once people starting working with metal, things changed even more. Then we got horns and trumpets and kazoos and snare drums…

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Bulletproof Decorating, Or How to Survive Living in the Tropics

Unfortunately there’s no way yet to create indestructible furniture and homes. However, there are steps we can take that will help them stand up to life with kids, pets & the jungle.

By Shelagh Duncan

Design WiseMy guess is that none of us came here to live a high maintenance lifestyle in high maintenance homes. We know that living here has its challenges, and keeping one step ahead of what life hands us is a constant battle.

So, when we purchase furniture and other things for our home we want them to last. Furniture is an investment and we take time to carefully select exactly what we want and plan on enjoying it for many years to come.Royal Palm Interiors

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A Titi Valentine

Mother and baby titiHappy Valentine’s Day to all our Quepolandia readers! While we humans are celebrating the month of love, you may be surprised to know that the Titi or squirrel monkeys celebrate Valentines around the month of August! And so, February actually marks the first month of the birth season, which lasts approximately three months through April. It is always exciting to spot the new mothers with their newborn babies clinging to their backs as the troops travel through the forest canopy searching for fruits and insects. While it may be tempting to help them, please remember not to feed the monkeys as the monkeys are highly susceptible to receiving diseases from human hands.

school children volunteersFebruary also marks the return of classes for the Costa Rican schools. Unlike the US and Europe, the school year  here  runs from mid February to early December, with several national holidays interspersed throughout the year. Everyone also looks forward to the 2 week long midyear vacation break in early July! Students in public schools wear a standard uniform of white shirt or blouse, dark blue pants or skirt and black shoes. Once classes get rolling, the Alliance begins to contact the principals and teachers of the schools to coordinate the various activities such as planting tree nurseries, field trips and tree plantings to be held during the year. Over  the years, the Titi Conservation Alliance programs have grown to reach over 16 different schools located in the Naranjo River Biological Corridor!

Titi Conservation Alliance logoWeFinally, just a quick reminder to all that the summer or dry season is in full swing so please be vigilant for fires out in the countryside. Forest fires are always a major concern during these dry months, and a careless match or cigarette butt can cause major damage to the habitat we are working so hard to preserve for the monkeys and other wildlife in our beautiful area!

Envision Festival Costa Rica, Feb 23-26

Envision Festival logoBy Lane Undjhem

Envision Festival is a conscious festival dedicated to awakening human potential and re-establishing our fundamental connection with nature. Taking place February 23rd-26th 2017 in beautiful Uvita, Envision has grown to become one of the most progressive festivals in Latin America. In its seventh year, Envision continues to flip the traditional festival model on its head. Four days of yoga, surfing, performance, music, educational workshops, and community building will continue to elevate this gathering to one of the premiere festivals in the world.

Envision embodies the ethos of the most recognizable transformational festivals, while also taking huge steps in the direction of sustainability. Partnering with Costa Rican based non-profits like Community Carbon Trees, festival organizers have systematically reduced the carbon footprint of the event, working hard toward the ultimate goal of carbon neutrality. In 2016, more than 200 trees were planted on-site at Rancho La Merced by attendees and volunteers in an effort to offset the carbon footprint of international travel. Envision is also one of the only events on the globe that has created system to deal with human waste. Instead of continuing the portable toilet model used by most high-attendance events, the Envision green team has built and implemented over fifty semi-permanent compost toilets on site. The saves an estimated 28,000 gallons of water and generates enough compost to fertilize the plethora of fruit trees at Rancho La Merced for most of the year.

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Touching Humanity

memoirs of a massuer headerHigh season is well upon us and everyone reading this deserves to give themselves the gift of love. The best love I can think of is treating yourself to a session of bodywork. Even now, in this day and age, I meet people who have never had a massage, who don’t like to be touched, who still have the decades old philosophy that it is something sexual. Well, I’m here to talk some facts and to share some of my nineteen years of experience as a full time body worker. I write this article to educate the public and to bring further insight into a field that always seems to be a bit murky for some reason.

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Happy Valentine from Kids Saving the Rainforest

KSTR logoBy Spokeskid Lexi, 12 Years Old

Hello again! It’s me, your faithful writer Lexi, here with another article. I have great news! My new school schedule this year leaves room for helping the environment even more! Starting this month, I will begin to give tours at the KSTR sanctuary, and try to educate those who take them. I am both nervous and excited, but overall I am so glad to be given the chance to seize this opportunity. I am, of course, afraid that I may get something wrong, but if that does happen, I know it won’t be the end of the world! It will take some training and experience and I’ll just keep trying until I get it right. I want more than anything to help both the people and the animals. I’m so grateful that I have the ability to do this, and hope to find more ways to help the animals, the rainforest, and our community in the future.

Lexi at Kids Saving the RainforestFriendly reminder to not feed the monkeys! (We know, Lexi, you tell us every article!)

With that being said, I’ve been away for a month. I went to the US to see friends and family for the holidays. I missed my old friends and was so happy to spend time with them, but while I was there I missed being able to care for—and even just see—the wildlife here in Costa Rica. Although there were, and are, many things I miss about the US, caring for our environment is my passion and I can do so much more here to directly impact its future. As a result, I am glad to be back and ready to find different ways to make this world a better place!
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What’s Shaking at Marina Pez Vela? – February 2017

SUMMER IS BACK AND MARINA PEZ VELA IS THE PLACE TO BE!!! February is one of our busiest months so go ahead and start marking your calendars to share in some of these great events.

QUEPOS BILLFISH CUP: February 2-4, 2017

The Quepos Billfish Cup or (QBC as we call it) is our signature fishing tournament and promises to be bigger than ever this year. The expansion of our slips and growth of the marina’s reputation around the world has some of the top angling teams from Costa Rica and around the world lining up to participate and we are one of the featured tournaments in the Amateur Fishing Club series for Costa Rica this year as well. This year’s tournament kicks off 3 days of fishing on February 2nd and each night we will be welcoming the anglers back to the marina with dock socials, entertainment and the always exciting weigh in for non-release species. If you are an angler, there is still time to sign up your team and join the fun, and if not, do not miss the opportunity to come and share in the energy as the leaderboards unfold each day. For more information: marinapezvelatournaments.com

SUPER BOWL PARTY: Sunday, February 5, 2017

IT’S BACK!! Costa Rica’s largest Super Bowl party is at our doorstep and we hope everyone makes plans to come out and share in one of the largest sporting events in the world! Whether you are a football fan, commercial junky or people watcher, this is a fantastic event and the largest screen in Costa Rica will be streaming the live feed with the original English broadcast from start to finish. That’s right…amazing football game, check…6 restaurants to choose from, check…New DOUBLE HOOK SPORTS BAR, check…spectacular sunset, check…Super Bowl under the stars, check. If there is a better place to watch the game and share with family and friends, we invite you to go find it!  

OUTDOOR MOVIE NIGHTS: Every Friday @ 7pm

Marina Pez Vela is more than just a place to come and fish or shop, as our family here is focused on making sure that our community of locals and tourists takes an ownership and can take pride in having a world class facility that welcomes all families. We are continuing our FREE MOVIE NIGHT, every Friday @ 7pm. If you haven’t come to take part, it is a very magical setting that starts with one of the daily auburn sunsets over the Pacific and as Mother Nature dims here lights, the feature presentation starts. All of our restaurants here, Runaway Grill, Z Gastro Bar, Falafel Bar, Mercato del Porto, Gabriellas, Sunrice and the Double Hook are open and ready to serve you, and the kids will line up for the best Gelato in Costa Rica at Gelateria Amorosi, before, during and after the show!

RADIO DOS LIVE: Every Thursday 5 – 7 pm

EVAN LUCK and the rest of the team here are broadcasting live again from the Runaway Grill every Thursday night from 5-7pm. Runaway has an awesome and lively happy hour and the live broadcast around Costa Rica and the world on radiodos.com combines some great classic rock music with some entertaining guests, fishing reports and laughs with the local gang. Come down and share with friends and family, enjoy some amazing food and drink, and share in PARTY WITH EVAN, SCOTT, JERRY AND CREW! Also, if there are special or community events going on that you want to share with the world, you can email Scott or our team at the marina to see if we can get you on the air!
Marina Pez Vela logo

¿Qué Pasa en Quepos? – February 2017

Cover February 2017Bienvenidos. Welcome to Quepolandia, we are here to make sure you have an unforgettable trip. So get out and enjoy being away from those freeeezing temperatures. Whether hiking a national parks or sitting on our wonderful beaches don’t forget to hydrate ( NOT cervezas) and sunblock, sunblock, sunblock…

A lot is happening here in February. For all you rafters the class 5 Chorro is now open so have Quepoa Expeditions guide you to a spectacular adventure. Our rivers are as magical as the beaches and should not be missed. Catch the Super Bowl, Feb 5th, at Hawg n Bill on the beach, Sanchos on the mountain and Marina Pez Vela will have it on the BIG screen in Quepos. Don’t forget movie night under the stars at the marina. A great night out for the whole family and it is free. Also at the Marina…check out the Quepos Billfish Cup, Feb 2-4.

Time to start thinking of that “special” person, Valentine’s Day is almost here. So make your reservations at one of our fantastic restaurants Arbol, Gabriella’s, La Mansion, Mira Olas, or Victoria’s…just to mention a few.  We also want to welcome back the seventh annual Envision Festival on the 23rd to 26th in Uvita. Four days of music, yoga, artists, and workshops to help open our minds to making this a better planet…. TOGETHER. Spreading peace, love and knowledge not footprints and waste.

We would like to welcome our new and returning advertisers that help make this magazine possible……Castillo del Sol, Comida de Vida, Los Amigos Sushi, Mono Azul Golf Cart, Reel Deal, Riding Adventures, Seguros Largaespada, Shana Hotel, Sonia Reiki and White Eagle.

We hope you enjoy our magazine and it helps guide you thru 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

Sloth Lover Tips on Being a Responsible Sloth Tourist

Never pay to touch, feed or take a phot with a sloth

Never pay to touch, feed or take a photo with a sloth

By Sam Trull, Co-Founder/Sloth Director at The Sloth Institute Costa Rica

It’s that time of the year when we experience the height of tourist season who come from all over the world visit Costa Rica for it’s amazing scenery (beaches, volcanoes, cloud forests) and for it’s amazing wildlife. The variety of gorgeous mammal species are usually a highlight for anyone’s to do list; but both species of Costa Rican sloths are almost always at the very top and many times people will plan their trip around the opportunity to see one of earth’s most fascinating creatures up close. We often get questions on the best way to see sloths while in Costa Rica. Besides taking a guided tour through a National park or visiting a responsible animal rescue center, we also know that people will come across sloths (and other wildlife) spontaneously. This is often the most exciting way to see a wild animal but there are a few things you need to remember to keep your vacation responsible and guilt free. Here are 7 tips on how to be a responsible sloth tourist.

The Sloth Institute logo

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A Man They Call “The Post Office”

39 Years as a Rural Letter Carrier

Pablo and Guardian

Pablo and Guardian

By Jack Ewing

Marvin and Carmen Espinosa were the first pioneers to settle the area around Hatillo. Originally from northern Panama they came to the area in the late 1920s. Working together they took possession of all of the land between Hacienda Barú and the Hatillo Viejo River, about 1000 hectares (2470 acres). Their nephew, Pablo, was born in Naranjito de Quepos in 1929 to their sister Magdalena and Euclides Zuñiga. Pablo was 12 years old when the family moved to Hatillo. His older brother, Gustavo, had acquired some property from his uncles, and Pablo worked with him cutting down rainforest and converting the land into pasture and farm land and tending to the livestock and crops.

War had been brewing for some time, but the incident that triggered the eruption of violence was alleged election fraud in the elections of 1948. The people who lived in Hatillo knew that there was an election, but didn’t know who was running, much less worry about the outcome. The government barely knew that Hatillo existed, so the people weren’t concerned with who ran the government. Likewise the war wasn’t of any special importance to them. It wasn’t their war. For that reason, when word arrived that the soldiers from San Isidro were coming, Marvin Espinosa called a family meeting. The men decided to hide out deep into the rainforest until the soldiers went elsewhere. Otherwise they would all be forced into fighting. The women were worried, but Marvin told them to calm down. “You have nothing to worry about. They’re not gonna take you to the war. When the soldiers come looking for us tell them we went with the soldiers from Quepos. They’ll believe that and can’t check on it. We’ll be back in about a week.” The men all headed for a heavily forested area called Dos Bocas.

Hacienda Baru

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Vietnamese Shaking Beef (Bo Luc Lac)

Vietnamese shaking beef (bo luc lac)By Desiree Brassert

The cuisine of my mother’s country will never cease to amaze me with it’s unlikely marriage of clean-and-crisp with depth AND simplicity– a culinary menage-a-quatre! LOL! This recipe is very easy, all you need is to concentrate on the timing since it is best served immediately.
4 servings

  • 1 kilo or 2 lbs of beef tenderloin cut into 1/2 inch or 2 cubic centimeter cubes
  • 8 med-sized garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup of oyster sauce
  • 4 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 3 teaspoons of sesame oil
  • 4 tablespoons of brown sugar

Mix all this together and rest for 4 to 8 hours.

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Fiddlin'AroundTo the locals who love this place and live here all year long and to the travelers passing through, welcome to a new year in this beautiful and inspiring little part of the planet! Personally I’m glad to be done with 2016, ‘cause I think it sucked, and I found myself singing or playing the Blues way too often. It’s easy to fall into a rain-induced funk, and between the normal messy rainy season stuff and Otto, there was plenty of damaging and isolating weather here. And earthquakes. And volcanos erupting. The political crap of 2016 was alienating, divisive and chock full of lies, and the resulting anger and frustration throughout the planet over our problems was and is scary. We also lost a lot of great musicians last year and we will miss their emotional and spiritual guidance. I guess we need to snap out of our funk and quit drowning ourselves in the Blues…

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