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Seven Ways Surfing is like Playing Poker

Surf CR logoI’ve had a good run of both surfing and poker in Costa Rica lately, and while watching the Pipe Masters online I had time to reflect on two of my favorite hobbies. Both I had learned to do at a young age and when I do either activity there is a connection to my dad. He was a Navy Diver so I grew up by the coast and we have sailed, snorkeled, or swam a large swath of the East Coast. He also had taught me poker and chess, and he still plays some online home games to keep his mind sharp (although my mom has been winning the tournaments lately). 

Surfer on a big waveBoth surfing and poker have histories going back over 500 years, but the poker I’m talking about is Texas No-Limit Holdem, not your play money, five card game where threes and one-eyed Jacks are wild. Here are seven ways they are similar to me. Maybe you can think of a few more? 

Surf breaks and players can both be categorized, but no two waves or hands dealt are exactly the same.

Some will pound you while others you know will let you off easy. Some are easy to read, you know what they are going to do every time. Both can be unpredictable. Waves and cards can start out easy and then turn murky at the river. You have to go into each with a plan of action, but be ready to change course with the cards dealt to you. And after each session you take what you’ve learned and apply it to the next one, remembering it is all part of the bigger picture. 

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What’s Shaking at Marina Pez Vela – May-June 2019

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SUMMER IS HERE… That feels incredible wrong to say after the hot dry months of March and April just ended, but as the North American Spring melts into Summer time, things here in Quepos, Manuel Antonio, and Marina Pez Vela also evolve into a whole new vibe of family travel, amazing events and activities. One of the beauties of this area is that what was once a definitive “on/off” switch after Semana Santa has visually disappeared. While there are certainly some slower times for tourism, both in the area and here at the marina, there is ALWAYS something going on to enjoy. The transition into our “green” season, while welcomed by virtually everyone for the lushness and cooling trends, is far from break, just a new season to take part in! Here are some of the highlights for May and June here at Marina Pez Vela.

Pelagic Pura Vida Inshore Classic Tournament, May 24 – 26

The enormous success of the Pelagic Rockstar tournament which has become an annual event here at MPV during February, has led to a new incarnation of the Pelagic Tournament Legendary Fun. This year on May 25th there will be a one day Pura Vida Inshore Classic. This tournament is solely focused on the bountiful inshore fishery here with cash and prizes for either the most Roosterfish Release Points (points managed by length of each fish released) as well as a slam division for the combined weight of 3 total fish weighed in at the Marina Pez Vela scale. Weighable fish include Snook, Snapper, Corvina, Tripletail, Amberjack, Sierra Mackerel, Grouper, and Jack Crevasse. There are a host of individual jackpots and is going to be a fun-filled shoot out of some the most enjoyable inshore angling on the planet.
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That’s Fishin’ – May/June 2019

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There was some truly world class fishing action in April here in Quepos with some great catches of Sailfish, Tuna, Marlin, Dorado, Roosterfish, Snook, and Cubera Snapper, making Angling dreams come true.

Man with large snapperOFFSHORE FISHING

The fleet enjoying some good Sailfish fishing throughout April with plenty of Sailfish caught but no one had a better day than the guys on Double Nickle who released 29 Sailfish on April 5th, what a day, congrats guys! Striped Marlin made an appearance during April with some nice Stripeys caught along with a few Blue & Black Marlin. The Blue Marlin bite on day charters should improve into May and June as water temperatures start to drop with the afternoon rains. If catching a Blue Marlin is high on your bucket list then you should seriously consider heading out to the FADS & Seamounts on an overnight trip. Caribsea, Double Nickle, Tranquilo, The Hooker, and Pescadora are all great Quepos boats to take you on the Marlin fishing trip of a lifetime. May to November is the peak time for overnight FAD fishing trips and when the bite is on you could be in with a chance of some truly insane Marlin fishing!
April provided some excellent Tuna fishing which should improve into May which is usually a great month for Tuna. There were some BIG Bull Dorado caught during April further Offshore and closer to shore some smaller Dorado started making an appearance. Expect numbers to increase into May and June.

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How to Maximize Your Great Room

It’s ‘Great’ because this is the place where everyone ends up! So, move over kitchen, the Great Room has become a favorite gathering place in the house.

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2-story great roomby Shelagh Duncan

Whatever you call it, it’s a multi-functional room that provides space to lounge on a comfy sofa in front of the TV, find solace with a good book, watch the kids play, and enjoy good conversation.

The Great Room was a big fad beginning in the 1980s with all the new home builders back home, and was usually in addition to the basement rec-room or rumpus room. It grew as an extension to the kitchen, where Mom could keep an eye on the kids (and the soaps perhaps), while preparing family meals.

For us here, with our more casual lifestyle, it has almost completely replaced the more formal living room. Now it can encompass all of the above, plus casual dining and work and study areas.

Royal Palm Interiors

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¿Qué Pasa en Quepos? – May/June 2019

May/June 2019 coverBienvenidos, Welcome and Thank you for coming. The southern Pacific has so much to offer we are sure you will not be disappointed. Whether you are exploring our many National Parks, fishing for a record Marlin, trying one of the many adventure tours, or just chillin’ at the beach, this is the place to Do It. Remember this is your vacation get out there and Enjoy It. We want to wish everyone a wonderful Mother’s and Father’s Day. Don’t forget to make reservations with one of our many fine restaurants Arbol, Mira Olas, or Victoria’s just to recommend a few and how about booking Mom a massage. How about a fishing charter for Dad….he probably would not mind a massage either.

May/June brings the beginning of green season and turtle season. So get to beautiful secluded Playa Biesanz and get with Jet-Ski Boys and check out a dramatic coast line, hidden coves and beaches, snorkeling, and hopefully spot some turtles and whales (mention Quepolandia for a 10% discount). We want to thank and am honored to have our incredible cover shot by Brian Moghari, comforttheory.com, of the Tiger Heron waiting for the rain. Brian and Filipe Deandrade have been in Costa Rica shooting their nature documentary Untamed for National Geographic. You can also check out Jaguar Beach also shot in Costa Rica. They are currently shooting a three part docu-series Costa Rica, The Rise of Nature. June 8th is World Ocean’s Day so while enjoying our beaches make a habit of bringing something in which to collect some trash and leave the beach better than when you arrived.

We want to welcome and thank our new advertisers A.P. Renovations, Coldwell Banker, and Rafa.

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.

Peace and Enjoy…D

Spanish Sucks – April 2019

Spanish Sucks click to enlarge

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Finding Freedom: A New Comic Series About Sloth Education and Conservation

The Sloth Institute

“Finding Freedom” is a brand new sloth conservation comic series based on true stories from The Sloth Institute. The story stars a young Sam Trull, TSI’s Co-Founder & Sloth Director, doodled by illustrator Vivian Nguyen. Click to enlarge.

Finding freedom comic strip

Click to enlarge.

Follow the continuing story of “Finding Freedom” on Instagram @findingfreedom_aslothstory


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 visit TheSlothInstitute.org or email us: info@theslothinstitute.org. If you see a sloth who needs help: CALL or WHATSAPP +506 87SLOTHS 7 5 6 8 4 7.

My Favorite Waves – The Quepos River Mouth

Surf CR logoAnother great surf break near Manuel Antonio is right in the heart of Quepos, the river mouth. If you are headed to the Marina Pez Vela it is just to the north of the jetty and can break well out past the rocks. 

This wave does not appear very often as it needs a considerable size swell and a swell direction from the Southwest. It starts working when other beach breaks are two feet overhead or bigger. The wave bowls up on the north side of the river mouth and then extends for 200-400 meters depending on how big it is, the tide, and the direction.

Quepos river mouthIt is great for Stand-up Paddlers who want to catch it way outside, and for long-boarders who can snatch some walls from the shoulder. Once past the steep section on the drop, the wall towards the inside is fairly crumbly. The break should not, however, be surfed by beginners unless you are with more experienced surfers, and if it is over waist high can have very dangerous rip currents for the inexperienced surfer.

The jetty and the steep hill behind the break block the winds a little so here may be glassier than other spots. The best time to surf it would be around an hour after low tide. At mid-tide coming in it tends to swamp out and the wave disappears. Also, there is more water flow from the Quepos river during high tide, which pushes out more pollutants from inland.

You can park right in front of the river mouth in a small lot, and there is a park with benches and lots of shade. Be sure to secure your vehicle and leave nothing inside. Then you can walk to the left towards the jetty and there is a path down over some rocks to the beach. At low tide there’s lots of sand and you can paddle across the river (20-40 meters) and walk out on the sand bar or let the current pull you out to the break.

This break can be very localized so show respect and space yourself so you don’t crowd the peak. Often there’s a set that swings wide and you will actually be in a better spot to catch the wave. Most of the time though there are only 3-4 other surfers out so there will be plenty of waves for everyone. For more advice on where to surf on your vacation, just visit CRsurf.com.

That’s Fishin’ – April 2019

That's fishing headerMan releasing billfishThe bite has been HOT HOT HOT this past couple of months here in Quepos. There has been some truly world-class Sailfish fishing with some very impressive catch numbers posted with lots of boats experiencing double digit Sailfish release days during February and March…and an awful lot more fish some days!

There have been some stunning Blue, Black and Striped Marlin caught making lots of dreams come true. Dominical resident Jerry Wells has landed two stunning Marlin this season during trips aboard GOOD DAY—his latest fish a beautiful 300 pounder!

Man holding a tunaWICKED TUNA!

The Tuna fishing has been on fire also with some fantastic Tuna caught by the Quepos Charter boats recently, with several boats landing Tuna in the 150-200lb range, fish-of-a-lifetime stuff for sure! The big Tuna are typically caught on Bonito or Blue Runner live baits, however, often equally as effective are the Fat Daddy Squids from SQUIDNATION. Trolled slowly but jerked aggressively just 20-40 foot behind your boat, when the Tuna are in the mood for them they promise to give you some of the most visual bites you are likely to encounter in your fishing career! Think 100 lb plus Tuna jumping clean out of the water just 20 feet from your boat with a big fake squid in his mouth! There are also plenty of smaller Tuna in the 20-80lb range that will take live baits or various styles of Jigs, dark coloured Bassworms have been a particular favourite this season. Encountering a group of feeding Tuna off the coast of Costa Rica is a sight in itself as they gather with mega-pods of hundreds of Spinner Dolphins which put on a spectacular show as they work together to herd up the bait fish, all of this going on right here in our backyard!

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The Bush Dog

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By Jack Ewing

3 bush dogs in jungleRarely is a new mammal discovered anywhere on the planet. Insects, yes. In fact so many new insect species are being discovered every day that it is not even newsworthy. Species of reptiles and amphibians new to Costa Rica are found at least once a year, birds occasionally, but 2016 was the first time a new mammal species has been confirmed in Costa Rica during the 48 years that I have lived here. I am referring to the Bush Dog (Speothos venaticus), a member of the canidae family sometimes called the Savannah Dog or the Vinegar Dog. A video of a pair of them was captured on a trail camera by biologist Jan Shipper in the Talamanca region at 1493 meters (4900 feet) above sea level. Prior to that time there had been several unconfirmed sightings in the Osa Peninsula, but no photos. It was believed that Shipper’s video was taken at the highest elevation where bush dog presence had been detected anywhere throughout its range. A couple of years later Dr. Mike Mooring, of the Talamanca Large Mammal Survey, captured photos of several groups of these canids at an elevation of 2086 mt (6844 feet). Prior to Jan Shipper’s video the species was not known to exist north of Panama.

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Fiddlin’ Around – April 2019

Fiddlin'Around headerWhen people can’t communicate with each other verbally, when age or physical differences keep us apart, when we share no common history or experiences—there is always music to bring us together! OK, so this is not exactly earth-shattering news, but I am writing this on Fat Tuesday, where in my beloved town of New Orleans people are going crazy right now and are dancing in the streets to all kinds of different music and rhythms. Mardi Gras music is its own category and lingo and everybody knows the songs—from little kids tap dancing to ‘Hey Pocky Way’ to Little Queenie singing ‘My Darlin’ New Orleans’ to Dr. John growling about ‘Going Back to New Orleans’. Tomorrow, Ash Wednesday, the folks there will put away their costumes, donate all those beads that they were diving on the filthy ground to retrieve to a charity and trying new hangover remedies.

Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras

But also as I write this, the folks from the Envision Festival are cleaning up the area and the beach after days of relentless partying to techno and dj and live music. They will be donating money and effort to local charities and everyone’s consciousness will have been raised. Well, in theory anyway. They’ll be slamming down fruit juice and smoothies and doing their yoga stretches and exchanging phone info with the other survivors. Up the road by Quepos the cowboys who participated in the local rodeo are sore from dancing to Cumbia music and battling bulls and are probably drinking shots of chili guaro to get them through their day. We are all feeling a bit beat up and weary, but most of us will be back at it next year, ‘cause the impulse and the drive to dance and sing is the same no matter where you are or where you’re from!

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In Memoriam of Monty

By Karma Casey

Monty headerHello fellow Quepolandia readers! Its Karma Casey, the spokes kid from Kids Saving The Rainforest, a wildlife rescue and sanctuary in Quepos, Costa Rica. This month I am dedicating my article to a kind-hearted, sweet-souled, three-toed sloth named Monty. I am very sad to report he passed away after spending nine months in Kids Saving The Rainforest’s wildlife nursery and making a huge place in the hearts of everyone who knew him.

About nine months ago, Monty was seen falling from a tree in Manuel Antonio National Park. The Kids Saving the Rainforest professional wildlife rescue team rushed to save him, and he was brought in to the KSTR veterinary clinic where he was examined by the vet, Dr. Carmen Soto. Dr. Soto was unable to find any visible injuries, and he was held for a few days under observation to ensure he would not start developing any new signs of injury or illness. At the time he fell, Monty was about six to seven months old.

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Sadness, Love, Openness

I woke up and cried this morning. It really wasn’t more than my eyes watering, perhaps a tear or two escaped. When I wake I often take ten minutes to set my intentions for the day, to reflect, to simply enjoy sunrise (my favorite time of day). I open the glass slider door onto my porch, I am fortunate to live among nature, and stretch out while slowly waking to a new day. I sometimes water the garden, sometimes not, I try to let the day unravel itself, for some will be more challenging than others. Then I, like most people, turn my attention to the computer. On this particular day I went straight for YouTube and typed in “motivational speeches.” I sat down on an outdoor rocking chair and listened. That’s when my eyes teared up. The man speaking to me through the computer lectured on the power of dreaming big, of bounty in the universe, and of the power of passion. He told a tale about life and it being, in its truest sense, feeling like a dream when everything is aligned. That is what made me cry. The feeling of gratitude as strong as the sun’s rays soon to come. My witty wife walked by me thirty seconds later with a “no shit Sherlock,” referring to the last statement the voice lectured on. “If you wake up angry you affect the people around you.” I turned to her and explained that I was just crying from the happiness I have for this moment, for today, for the love in our lives. We had a big laugh and an awesome hug and I put the coffee on. I was prepping for a 5 hour massage day and had to get ready to go and spread some more love. It was great and positive morning.

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Let’s talk about the Yellow-Throated Toucan

Yellow throated toucanBy Paul Gerace

I can’t think of another bird that I was more excited to see during my first trip to Costa Rica than the Yellow-Throated Toucan.

It is one of 6 different types of toucan species found throughout Costa Rica and one of two that can be found in our area. The other is the Fiery-Billed Aracari.

The Yellow-Throated Toucan is the largest of the 6 and are they are easy to locate. Often you will hear them first with their high pitched calls. They are not graceful fliers and can be seen moving about the trees hopping from one branch to another.

You will often find them up above eating ripe papayas in papaya trees and the fruity growths in cecropia trees. Besides eating fruits I have seen them raid other bird’s nests and pick out the eggs and even the young chicks! Their long bills help them reach the fruit and they actually function as a thermoregulator. This action helps cool off the toucan’s body temperature as heat dissipates through it’s large bill.

Just another one of the colorful and amazing birds that can be found throughout Quepolandia. See more bird photos HERE

6 Incredibly Easy Ways to Maximize your Kitchen Island

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Uncluttered counterby Shelagh Duncan

The hardworking kitchen island can be a very functional and beautiful centerpiece of a kitchen design. It is one of the most popular features in a modern kitchen. However, in some spaces a built-in island can feel more cumbersome than useful, or becomes cluttered with ‘stuff’ so we lose the benefit of all that extra working space. If you are feeling that you need to rethink your island, to make it more functional and maybe add a feature two – read on. Let’s think about some other options that can be smart space-savers and at the same time, cool design solutions.

Reduce clutter on top of your island

It is oh-so-convenient to use the island surface as a catch-all space, but try to move things off the top and keep it clear of everything that is not beautiful. Says William Morris “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful”. A simple bowl of fruit or floral arrangement on your island may be all that is needed to make your kitchen look like something out of a magazine. Make sure you have adequate lighting: use a striking pendant light that is low enough and bright enough to illuminate this principal work area. Remove non-essential items and as the island is usually the focal point of the kitchen – play it up!
Royal Palm Interiors

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