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Surf CR – February 2020

Surf CR logoIt’s that time of year, when the South swells are micro but the weather is perfect. It’s sunny all day, there is a nice offshore breeze, and I am aching to be out on the water. Here are my favorite four options.
The first option would be to do some rafting. Towards the end of the dry season the Rio Naranjo and Rio Savegre get a little shallow, but the rest of the year if I want some adrenaline that I cannot find in the waves then I take it inland. The rapids are challenging and fun to ride. The views from the raft are spectacular, from far away cloud shrouded pinnacles, to up close and personal observations of monkeys, iguanas, and uncountable birds. I often end the day as exhausted as if I was surfing the whole time. 
Man paddleboardingA second idea would be to Stand up Paddleboard or kayak in the mangroves of Isla Damas or south towards Dominical. The silence of motor-less movement in the still high tide brackish water is meditative, and the leafy branches provide shade from the heat. This isn’t a workout for me since there are no waves to catch or current to battle. Instead it is a chance to be on the water and discover the monkeys, birds, crocs, fish, and flora of the mangroves.

If it’s just too hot and I need to be underwater, then I would go snorkeling. Small waves mean less sand disturbance on the bottom of the ocean, which equates to better visibility. Combine that with days when there are zero clouds in the sky and it appears like the reef 30 feet below is at arm’s reach. I love snorkeling the islands called Tres Hermanas to the south or taking a boat trip to Isla del Caño where we spotted a lot of turtles, fish, and healthy reef. 
And sometimes I just want to be afloat on the water. Surfers often dream of having a cold beverage in their hand while out in the lineup, so why not enjoy that dream by joining a sunset sailing expedition on one of the catamarans and sailboats leaving from Quepos. Find a few friends to celebrate the times between the swells, and nurse those injuries back to health with some rest and relaxation. 
If you have an interest in planning any of these ‘flat days’ activities, just send a note to travel@crsurf.com.

Spanish Sucks – February 2020


Manuel Antonio Spanish School logo


I have a particular habit. When I decide to do anything, I tend to do it as hard as I can. There is no time for messing around for me. No doubts. I may ponder a decision for days or even weeks, but once I decide there is no going back. My attitude is, and always has been to not take a nibble, take a big bite. Looking back at some decisions I have made in the past, they seem very irrational today. At the time I believed so adamantly that I simply had no choice. I moved here to Costa Rica twenty years ago with the intention of staying, however I had never been here before. The first time I trained for a marathon I went out and jogged fifteen miles, previously my longest run was six miles. I realize that this type of behavior can have serious consequences, yet surprisingly it has worked out for me.

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What Makes a Volunteer Volunteer?

KSTR LogoBy Mckenzie Wing, Volunteer Coordinator & Biologist

Since its foundation 21 years ago this month, by two 9-year-olds, Kids Saving the Rainforest has always tried to keep at least one nominal “Spokes-kid” around to continue the tradition of, well, kids saving the rainforest. However, with all the children of staff and volunteers growing up or moving away, such a role has just recently been passed to me, for reasons I still don’t fully understand. Am I the youngest? Not even close. The most childlike-at-heart? Not likely. The most immature? Not—Ok, well, possibly.

Volunteers cheeringBut when I am not filling the tiny shoes of all the Spokeskids before me, leading tours of the wildlife sanctuary, organizing sloth research, assisting with animal pickups (mostly because no one else on staff can drive our manual-transmission Wildlife Ambulance), or relocating wild snakes off the grounds, I find time to do my primary job, which is coordinating KSTR’s volunteer program.

I’m always interested in the reasons people choose to become volunteers, who consist of our largest workforce and one of our greatest sources of funding. Their stories impress and mystify me. Their backgrounds are as varied and diverse as the countries they call home.
Kids Saving the Rainforest header

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Pozole – Pork and Corn Soup

Chef's Corner logoThis Mexican stew usually calls for hominy, but I find that the kernels from our local elotes (corn) work just as well and are easier to find.

Stock for 8 to 10 servings

  • 1 kilo of pork shoulder
  • 500 grams of pork ribs with bones
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced
  • 10 cloves of garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Package of guajillo peppers

    These chili peppers are some of the greatest ingredients cultivated by the Aztecs and now available in our modern supermarkets.

  • 1 teaspoon of whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1 gallon or 3 liters of water
  • 6 whole dried Guajillo peppers (other peppers are also great such as Anaheim, Pasilla, California…)
  • Kernels from 4 ears of corn, previously cooked.


  • Chopped and seeded jalapenos
  • Avocado cubes
  • Sliced red onions
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Crumbled cheese (preferably queso fresco, cotija, or feta)
  • Sliced red radishes
  • Tortilla chips


  1. Make stock with pork shoulder (paleta de cerdo), ribs, and all ingredients except for the chilis and the corn.
  2. Simmer for at least 3 hours.
  3. Strain and let it cool completely.
  4. Cube the chunks of pork and set aside.
  5. For best results, the stock should sit overnight in fridge in order to skim the fat off the surface to achieve a rich and fat-free broth.
  6. Add the seeded chili peppers, allow to soak for about 20 minutes, and then blend in blender. The mixture should be thick and deep red. Season with salt and pepper, add pork cubes and corn, and serve piping hot with plenty of toppings listed above.

That’s Fishin’ – February 2020

That's Fishin header

Man releasing a sailfishWelcome to the February installment of That’s Fishin’ and if you are visiting Quepos right now you have chosen an incredible time of year to visit and fish our world famous waters!

Right now is the time that large numbers of Big Pacific Sailfish which gather here and some of the best Sailfishing of the year traditionally happens between January and March. Most visitors are delighted to be in with a chance of catching 1 Billfish, however, when our fishery offers the chance of catching multiple fish in the same day, anglers come flocking from the world over to experience it for themselves.

Our Sailfish average in the 70-80 lb range with fish in excess of 100 lbs common and we use light 20-30 lb tackle to fish for them. In addition to the great Sailfishing that you can expect right now there will be Blue Marlin and Striped Marlin Offshore, as well as some monster Black Marlin which can be targeted over the Offshore Reefs. A slow trolled live Bonito is the number 1 tactic for targeting a Black Marlin.

The Dorado made a very welcome reappearance during January and providing some incredible fishing after all but disappearing in December. We have experienced some strange weather this year for sure and got way more rain in December and January than we usually would. This helped keep the Ocean temperatures down around 83-84 degrees which is where the Dorado like it to be.

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What to Do When the “Most Important Living Being on the Planet” Becomes an Obstacle to the Return of a Charismatic, Locally Extinct Species?

The dilemma of the bees and the scarlet macaws header

Beginning in January of 2014 scarlet macaws began visiting Hacienda Barú and the surrounding area on a regular basis after having been locally extinct for 50 years. The macaws’ behavior suggested that they might be scouting out nesting sites. We decided to put up nesting boxes in four trees that the big red birds frequented and see if we could help them out. Many types of boxes are described on Internet, but we chose a wooden one measuring 35 cm x 35 cm x 70 cm. All were mounted about 20 meters above the ground. We waited for the macaws to move in, but that never happened. The boxes just hung there, empty, we thought.

Hacienda Baru

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February is the Month of Sloth Love

sloth love poster

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How to Save Your Sanity During the Home Building Process

Design wise header

Model houseBuilding your new home is a unique experience filled with stories you will never forget. Especially when it is in a different country with a different climate, culture and language! It will be a challenge and it will be an adventure, and almost everyone who has built their home here in Costa Rica feels they could write a book about it, some even do.

Always keep in mind that you may one day want to sell your house, so Resale should always be considered when making decisions along the way. Stay away from current fads or trendy finishes; keep those for the furniture and décor, and remember to leave money in the budget for the pool, outdoor kitchen and other landscaping needs.

Hopefully these tips will help you keep your sanity and actually enjoy the creation of your new home in paradise!

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How Envision Has Evolved into the Most Important Festival in Latin America and Worldwide

Envision logoBy Manda and Meleah Manning of Sisters That Stray

Luigi Jiménez of Santos & Zurdo has been with Envision Festival since its inception 10 years ago. He manages all the music bookings and communications for the festival in Latin America.

He recalls how much the festival has grown not only in size, but also in impact, over the last 10 years.

“The first Envision was 700 people. Last year, more than 6,000 people attended from all over the world, making Envision one of the most important festivals not only in Costa Rica, but in Latin America and worldwide. No matter where you are in the world, there’s someone who knows about Envision.”

Volunteers preparing to plant treesJust like any project of its size, it’s been a learning process for everyone involved—the team, the crew, the family—who have formed to create this change in their community and on our planet.

“It was a journey for sure. There was no road. We made the road when we started walking,” says Luigi, looking back on the process.

“In the beginning, it started as a party. But it has evolved into something that gives you so much more than that. It’s more than an experience. It’s a place for people to come together and share thoughts and ideas of how we can live in a better place and learn from each other and be better people. It’s something really magical that not all festivals have. It gives you the opportunity to learn from the other people that come to contribute to this community. All together, we build an experience that each one of us can carry with us back to our homes.”

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A View from the Saddle

Book coverBy Jim Parisi

Over the past twenty years, there has been a cascade of memoirs written by people who have moved to Costa Rica to “live the dream”. The quality of these accounts runs the gamut from very informative and readable to dismally amateurish, and everything in-between.

In April of 2019, Linda Gray published her memoir, “Costa Rica: My View From the Saddle”. She had come to Costa Rica for the first time in 2004 on a visit from Gloucester, MA. Linda actually purchased a two hundred acre finca on that visit, returning to The States to begin closing out her former life, and moving into this new one, which included a horse ranch and horseback tours.

Linda’s new home was in the Diamante Valley, near Dominical, in the Southern Zone, at the edge of the province of San Jose. She immediately began transforming her property into a ranch for horses and, eventually, a horseback tour business, appropriately named Rancho Tranquilo. Linda’s story is a familiar one; a mixture of setbacks and then reminders of why one “takes the plunge”. Her relationship with her horse, Ares, is particularly touching and her accounts of entering the world of “horse people” is inspiring and quite amusing.

For anyone who has lived here, Linda’s descriptions of the hurdles she faced are familiar, something we can all laugh about and relate to. For people considering moving to Costa Rica, her information is invaluable, from both bureaucratic and cultural aspects.

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A Healthier You headerJoin us on a retreat in Teva Eco Retreat, Manuel Antonio on FEBRUARY 15-17, the weekend before Envision, with the intention to harmonize our mind, body, and spirit before we collectively and intentionally enter the magical experience that is Envision Festival 2020.

  • Spend an entire weekend immersed in the magic of the jungle, and witness the magic that unfolds when we reconnect to our roots and reclaim our power within.
  • Wake up to the sunrise and tropical wildlife outside your door.
  • Practice yoga and meditation to align with your intentions.
  • Enjoy organic, locally-sourced plant-based meals.⁣
  • Jump into a waterfall, and then jump into a transformational workshop.
  • Partake in an Indigenous Costa Rican Cacao ceremony & drum circle to connect with your creative life force.⁣
  • Dance around a bonfire on the beach at sunset with your tribe!

2 women in a waterfall


  • ALL your meals! Organic, locally-sourced and plant-based.
  • An Indigenous Costa Rican Cacao Ceremony & Drum Circle.
  • Daily Yoga and Meditation.
  • Heart Opening Cacao Circle with Mama Cacao Chocolate.
  • Beach Sunset Bonfire and Mandala.
  • Plant-based Cooking Demo.
  • Ecstatic Dance and Live Music.
  • Transformational Workshops Connecting to Your Creative Life Force.


Email us at Hello@sistersthatstray.com or visit sistersthatstray.com/awakening.⁣
For our LOCALS, we are offering a special DISCOUNT! Send us an email or find us online below for the discount code.


IG: @SistersThatStray
FB: Sisters That Stray


Happy baby with headphones

Most of us are just looking for some happiness. ‘Course we don’t always know what happiness is or maybe even notice when we find it, but I think happiness comes to us in small ways that sometimes seem unimportant. We need to teach ourselves to enjoy our happiness—relax in the moment—take pride in achieving happiness, no matter how small a thing it might seem. A psychologist would define happiness as “The experience of joy, contentment, and positive well-being combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.” For some of us happiness comes from sitting on a log at the beach watching a spectacular sunset. Or, from being surrounded by family or friends who you love. Maybe it comes when you achieve a personal goal you’ve been working towards, like learning a new language or conquering an old fear. Or maybe it is as simple as a good meal prepared by loving hands or hearing someone singing from their heart and soul.

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Let’s Talk About Trogons

Lattice Tailed Trogon

Lattice Tailed Trogon

The fossil record of the Trogons dates back 49 million years to the Early Eocene. They are closely related to Mousebirds and Owls. The word trogon is Greek for “nibbling” and refers to the fact that these birds gnaw holes in trees to make their nests.

Trogons are residents of tropical forests worldwide. The greatest diversity is in the Neotropics. They feed on insects and fruit, and their broad bills and weak legs reflect their diet and arboreal habits. Although their flight is fast, they are reluctant to fly any distance. Trogons are generally not migratory, although some species undertake partial local movements. Trogons have soft, often colourful, feathers with distinctive male and female plumage. They are the only type of animal with a heterodactyl toe arrangement (inner toes face front, outer toes face back). They nest in holes dug into trees or termite nests, laying 2–4 white or pastel-coloured eggs.

What’s Shaking at Marina Pez Vela – February 2020

What's Shaking header2020 is off to a BLAZING start here at Marina Pez Vela and February is going to be BIGGER and BETTER than ever before with a few of our largest and most exciting events! February might be the shortest month of the year, but is PACKED with activities and events which bring our community together to celebrate and share. This focus on community, on inclusion and on creating a space for EVERYONE to enjoy is at the core of what Marina Pez Vela stands for and it is our great honor to share the insight to our February events calendar with our Quepolandia family.

Costa Rica’s BIGGEST SUPER BOWL PARTY!! Sunday, February 2

Central America’s largest open air screen, 6 restaurants, ENGLISH broadcast, ALL THE COMMERCIALS, a stunning sunset, star filled night and the opportunity to watch the glory of victory and the agony of defeat. Do we really need to ask you to come??? WELL, WE ARE!! Do NOT MISS the Super Bowl party at MPV on Sunday December 2nd. There will be all kinds of food and drinks specials at our restaurants and whether you are dialed into every play or not, there is no better place to enjoy what has become the largest sporting event in the world. Forget about cleaning up your house, spilled beer on the couch, or what the non-football watching fans in your family and friends are going to do—they can eat ice cream while you scream at the screen here along with a few thousand of your closest friends! 
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