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What’s Shaking @ Marina Pez Vela – April/May/June 2021

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Hard to believe we are already here in April and have just completed our second Semana Santa while dealing with the CoVid crisis and its impact on our community, our beloved Costa Rica and the world at large. While so much of the world has been focused on the countless obstacles and hardships which we have collectively endured, the team and family at Marina Pez Vela is incredibly proud to be a beacon of light, hope and resiliency as we cross over the year anniversary from the closing of our borders in 2020.

This April -and the months ahead- there is a lot to celebrate, highlight and share with our community and including the ongoing tournament series for 2021 and some new additions to our commercial plaza.

Emilio’s Cafe and Faxas Cuban Cigars are both open for business here at Marina Pez Vela!

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¿Qué Pasa en Quepos? – April/May/June 2021

April 2021 coverBienvenidos… Welcome to the land of Pura Vida. We are here to help you have a incredible vacation. April is a very busy month here in paradise with Semana Santa being one of the busiest weeks of the year. So have patience, relax, and enjoy the celebration.

April should bring a little rain to cool things off and provide some amazing sunsets. So get to one of our many restaurants such as Burû or Buena Vista on the beach, or Ronnie’s Place on the mountain and enjoy delicious food and cocktails with a spectacular views.

The fishing has been remarkable at Marina Pez Vela and so have the tournament’s. MPV will be hosting the Marina Pez Vela Open (April 9-10). Leading up to the Offshore World Championships (April 11-16) with teams from around the world competing for the championship. We want to thank writer Benn Gilmour (That’s Fishin’ pg. 26) for the awesome cover shot.

The Earth is an incredibly complex and vibrant ecosystem. Where living organisms interact with each other and their environment to create the ideal conditions for life. After the year we had this has never been more clear to respect her and to do what we can to make it a better world. Celebrate, Appreciate and Respect Earth Day April 22.

May and June bring the beginning of the green season and turtle season. MPV will host another exciting fishing tournament the Summer Solstice Shootout (June 19). World Ocean Day is June 8th so while enjoying our miles of beautiful coastline make a habit of bringing something in which to collect some trash and leave the beach better than when you arrived.

We want to wish everyone a wonderful Easter, Happy Mother’s Day and Fathers Day. And welcome to our newest advertiser, Costa Rica Dive & Surf.

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 Facebook/Quepolandia.

Peace and Enjoy…D

Happy 22 Years Strong from Kids Saving the Rainforest!

From KSTR’s very humble beginnings in 1999, when two 9 year old girls with a passion to save the rainforest, we have grown so much and become stronger – always finding new ways to help wildlife and the environments they call home.

We have evolved from selling painted rocks and trinkets to buy land to protect, to educational kids’ camps, to education campaigns like “11 Reasons Not to Feed the Monkeys”, to planting thousands of trees with our Reforestation program, to installing and maintaining Wildlife Bridges, and working with the Costa Rican electric company, ICE, to prioritize dangerous electric wires to be insulated, to providing a safe Sanctuary for wildlife that can’t survive on their own, to offering educational Tours and Volunteer and Internship programs, to Rescuing, treating, rehabilitating and releasing hundreds of animals!  Nobody said it would be easy, but we know it’s worth it – and there have certainly been many trials along the way – especially in this last year!
We continue to work hard and keep fighting to protect and improve the environment and make this world better for all the amazing animals within it!

Happy 22 Years Strong from Kids Saving the Rainforest!

Native Moments

Surf CR logoThere’s a formula for this type of book. A coming-of-age story about a young man leaving a sordid past and discovering himself while in an exotic place. He falls in love, finds himself, and decides to stay where his heart lies in a paradisiacal bliss. Well, this book breaks that mold and tells a story of wrong decisions, harsh realities, and fragile relationships in a setting that I am very familiar with, Tamarindo, Costa Rica, in the early 1990’s.

That is what kept me enraptured with the book. Thirty years ago, Tamarindo was a dirt-road town along a small pristine bay with waves at both ends of it (Grande and Langosta), plus multiple surf breaks in the middle. To get to other breaks like Avellanas and Playa Negra you had to cross streams which was a terror if it was your credit card paying for the car rental.

Native Moments book coverOne of the characters in the story is Pablo—an older longboarder—who did sell ‘Burgers as big as your head’, and at his cabinas I had played a lot of pool myself back in the 1990’s. Nic writes about the surf shops in the area, the local pros, the beautiful beaches, the wildlife, the lodging options, and all that brings back the nostalgia of many readers’ first surf trip.

The main characters, Sanch and Jake are the tragic heroes. I rooted for them to make the right calls, and sometimes they did, but at other times they were a train wreck. They heard some good wisdom throughout the book, philosophies that could easily apply to today’s social issues. I could relate to what they witnessed on their surf trip because the author brought up the dark side of Tamarindo, too—cocaine, prostitution, theft, localism, crowded shore breaks with beginners learning to surf – the worst.

The author did a great job writing like someone in their twenties going on their first surf trip. There’s a lot of cussing, there’s a lot of drinking, there’s fights and hookups, getting stuck, and getting sick. Do not expect to deepen your vocabulary or get an expansive history lesson of the area. But you will be transported to an earlier time of Costa Rica surf exploration, and Sanch and Jake’s adventures will keep you turning the pages until the surprising conclusion.

You can purchase this book at Bookstore of the Waves in Tamarindo or online through Amazon—Native Moments.

Homemade Queso Dip & the Easiest Epic Nachos

Chef's corner headerThe world of nachos is full of possibilities and shortcuts. However, the real game-changer is a homemade and creamy queso dip made with your best cheeses on hand.

Queso dip: 8-10 portions

  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 finely sliced green onion with some of the green slices reserved for garnish
  • 1 finely chopped whole jalapeño or to taste
  • 1 small cubed roma tomato
  • 1 can of 315 g or 11/3 cups of evaporated milk
  • 225 grams of shredded cheddar (or any melting cheese such as Monterey Jack, gouda, or our local Monte Rico)
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1 tbs cornstarch 
  • ½ tsp powdered cumin
  • ½ tsp cayenne
  • Chopped cilantro leaves for garnish (optional)

Cheese dipInstructions

  1. In a thick bottomed pan, melt butter, sweat the onions, the garlic, the green onions, the chopped jalapeños, the tomatoes, the cumin, the cayenne, and allow to boil.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the cornstarch into the evaporated milk until fully dissolved and then pour into the hot pan to combine the entire mixture thoroughly for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Turn down heat and let thicken while stirring gently.


  1. Find a sturdy tortilla chip, I recommend a local brand such as “Rafaelitas.”
  2. Layer the tortillas with some queso dip, shredded cheese, cooked beans and/or shredded meat.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes until chips are golden and cheese is melted.
  4. Top with any of these options: pico de gallo, salsa, guacamole or avocado cubes, cilantro leaves, a dollop of sour cream. Great for entertaining on the fly!

Kids Saving the Rainforest – March 2021


Hello Quepolandia! This is Dani 🙂

This month, I am going to tell you some stories about the animals in our sanctuary. I hope you enjoy them!

Coati eating coconut

Photo by Janine Licare Photography
(Janine is also Co-founder of KSTR)

We are taking care of a Cotamundi who was born blind. In her living area, there are a bunch of obstacles, trees, jumps and ramps—and I think it’s really cool how she can navigate around the enclosure using just her nose. We use the obstacles to make sure she gets enough exercise, and to have more fun!

In the sanctuary, a lot of the animals don’t like just eating out of a bowl every day—so sometimes we do a different method of feeding. Sometimes, we put the food in a coconut, sometimes we put the food in jars, sometimes we use toilet paper tubes! 

And for the holidays, we even made them Christmas goodies! This makes it so that when the animals eat, it’s not so boring and it brings them some extra happiness.

Display of foodAt KSTR, there’s a Capuchin monkey named Moncho, and he’s brown, instead of Black and White—but he’s still a Capuchin monkey! He sometimes gets mistaken for a baby, because he’s smaller than a normal monkey. One time, we were gathering spiders to feed the monkeys. (Monkeys love eating spiders, and catching and eating a live bug helps remind them how to be in the wild!). When we put the jar with 4 spiders in front of the enclosure, we saw Moncho eat 2 spiders—but when we took the jar to move it to another enclosure, it turns out there was only 1 spider left! Moncho snuck an extra spider! Fun fact: monkeys are very smart and can be very sneaky.

Sloth eating hibiscusIn the sanctuary, we also have a Green Parrot, and on his neck he has no feathers—because he used to be a pet, and his owners had a dog. One day, he got loose from his cage, and the dog found him and attacked him. After that, the owners called KSTR, and we took him in with happiness and joy.  

KSTR is a great place and we try our very best to make sure the animals in our sanctuary are happy, entertained and well taken care of! If you live in the Quepos/Manuel Antonio area, I bet you’re not too far from KSTR. Go take a trip there and volunteer. You can meet lots of incredible animals, each with their own special story. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!

10 Reasons to Burn Incense & the Benefits

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We all know that scents, aromas, fragrances (however you describe them) can be used to trigger specific responses. For instance; to encourage relaxation, aid sleep, promote concentration, stimulate creativity, increase motivation and intensify those romantic evenings. In addition, there’s also a whole raft of religious, aesthetic and practical reasons for using fragrances.
Below, we explore these attributes and uses for some of the fragrances that are available in incense, highlight their various benefits and suggest fragrances for specific occasions and purposes.

1. Meditation

Incense is used widely in many religious practices to deepen attention, heighten senses and uplift one’s own spirit when practicing meditation. Sandalwoods and Lotus are used most frequently for meditation as well as Agarwood, Musk and Cedar. Choose what suits you best, one that transports you to the place you need to be, without taking over your thoughts.

2. Relax and unwind

Soft fragrances will further enhance this time, allowing you to give yourself time and space away from the hassles of everyday living. Frankincense, Sandalwood and Cedarwood are all ‘calming fragrances’, and work well for general relaxation.

Royal Palm Interiors

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An Ember for Tomorrow

Has anyone recently reminded you that life is supposed to be lived passionately and led by the heart? Too much practical thinking and uninspired months then years will make even the best of us sink into the depths of depression, thoughtless routine, and boredom. I was reminded of this by the entire world’s new friend Mr. Covid. No need to rehash what happened in 2020 but that year has come and gone and now it is time to change, to become excited again. Finances is not what I am talking about this month, obviously some of us will continue to live a bit more frugally during these changing realities. With more time on our hands, we must invest in ourselves and walk our own mind through the maze of our past. Fear, resentment, and anger are all emotions that will age us and tear us up internally on more than just a mental level. What in your past keeps you from your future? Is there anything you can start doing today that will lead to more happiness tomorrow? Life needs a purpose and today’s can be as simple as reaffirming old beliefs, picking up a new book, or forcing oneself to do twenty minutes of yoga, four sets of pushups, or anything new. No need to change the world, just ourselves. Lord knows the questions we ask ourselves today are the ones which will become our foundation tomorrow.

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Hemp Origins, Evolution & History

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Map showing origins It is nearly impossible to write about the origins of hemp without referencing its psychoactive cousin marijuana, because they originated as one, as Cannabis, and their histories are as intertwined as they are separable. Its origins and evolution are as complex and compelling of a subject as its multifaceted utilization and intricate composition. Initially, distinctions between hemp and marijuana were based on the route it took during its evolution, its adaptation and then later by its narcotic effect. Its history has been laced with the confusion of, is it one in the same or are they different and how? But it was not until the last couple of centuries that a scientific analysis of the percentage of one chemical component, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), became the one distinguishing (and demonizing) factor that separated and characterized the two.

There is still so much that scientists need to uncover to fully comprehend the ancient history of Cannabis, and there are conflicting theories, but most researchers agree that its origins were in Central & South Asia. To this day, the flowering herb grows wild across vast grassland regions of Eurasia that spans western China and Mongolia through Kazakhstan and south toward India and the Middle East. But this does not explain how this one plant evolved so distinctly into either industrial hemp or the psychoactive marijuana. A much greater force than man could have been responsible—the force of nature.

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The Bat Guys header

“Would this be a good place to put the net?” I asked Otto. “You said you wanted an open path through the jungle.” I stepped into the shallow water of the narrow stream. “I can take one end of the net to the other side and hold it while you secure this end. Then you can join me.”

Otto hesitated. “Is there anything in this water that will hurt you,” he asked in heavily accented English.

“There are caimans and crocodiles” I replied, “but with all the noise we’ve been making they’re probably all gone by now.”

“No, no,” he exclaimed, “I mean little animals that live in the water.”

“Not that I know of. We walk through this water all the time and have never had any problems.”

Bat caught in a netFinally, he agreed to string the mist net across the stream, but was extremely careful not to get water inside of his rubber boots. The natural corridor formed by the stream was a good choice. Over the next hour we captured five different species of bats in the net, including one bulldog bat.

One evening several days earlier I was returning to Hacienda Barú from San Isidro just before dark and noticed three men at the side of the gravel road near Tinamastes extending some very fine nets. I wonder what they’re doing, I thought. They look like foreigners.

Two days later a familiar looking rental 4WD drove up to my house at Hacienda Barú. Three men got out of the car, and I recognized them as the men at the side of the road with the nets. The older man introduced himself as Otto. The other two were Fabio and Gunther. They were chiropterologists he explained from Erlangen University in Germany.

“What on earth is a chiropterologist?” I asked.

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Homemade Instruments

Homemade Instruments

Pacay shaker

Pacay Shaker

We have all been deprived of being able to listen to live music this past year—and even worse, we haven’t been able to play with other musicians. Myself, and most of my musician friends, have been sitting at home on Friday nights instead of playing LIVE MUSIC for you folks to sing along to, or to dance to. The kids at the school in San Isidro where I teach have had to rely on cell phones to receive their virtual lessons, instead of being able to play in an orchestra or to play duets with their pals. It just sucks, and there is no polite way to say that. Of course, we all hope things get back to ‘normal’, but that word may have already become meaningless. I totally admire the teachers of the world who are trying to use whatever means they can to help aspiring musicians continue to play and to get more proficient and to enjoy themselves.

Learning to use and value the natural resources around us is a practical and respectful way to approach living here. As musicians, we have to find ways for folks who would like to participate in music sessions to be able to do so. Ways to expose kids (and adults) to rhythms and sounds without having to be in a scholastic or technical or purely electronic setting. I firmly believe we have to get behind the spirit of this concept. Just look around you, listen to the natural sounds here, take guidance from the ancestors—and start making your own instruments! GET CREATIVE!

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That’s Fishin’- March 2021

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Welcome to the March instalment of That’s Fishin! I hope the big fish and smiling faces in the photos inspire you to take a trip for yourself!

Marlin in the waterOFFSHORE FISHING

March is an excellent time to fish Offshore here in Quepos. Blue skies and flat calm seas are the norm and large numbers of Big Pacific Sailfish are the main target. This is an excellent time of year to get in on a serious billfish bite. Releasing double digit Sailfish in a day’s fishing is not uncommon here during March. A recent guest aboard my boat GOOD DAY could not quite believe it when he reeled in 6 Sailfish back-to-back…he said that if he caught 1, he would have been delighted but never in his wildest dreams did he expect to catch 6 Sailfish in one day! Welcome to Costa Rica guys!

In addition to Sailfish the Tuna fishing should remain excellent during March. If you have never witnessed a megapod of Spinner Dolphins which travel together with the Tuna schools you are going to be in for a real treat. There have been some excellent marine life sightings over the past month with Humpback Whales, Pilot Whales, Killer Whales, even a rare Curviers Beaked Whale on one recent trip in addition to the four dolphin species we encounter regularly and daily sightings of Turtles, Manta Rays, and all manner of other species. National Geographic worthy scenes are a daily occurrence during offshore trips out of Quepos and I hope that you get to experience it for yourself. Blue, Black, and Striped Marlin should all make an appearance during March, plus the odd Dorado and maybe even a Wahoo.

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¿Qué Pasa en Quepos? – March 2021

March CoverBienvenidos/Welcome to Quepolandia, we are here to make sure that you have an unforgettable adventure. The weather is perfect, so get out of those winter clothes and forget those snow shovels and enjoy being away from those freezing temperatures. Whether you are hiking one of our incredible National Parks or just chillin on the beach don’t forget to drink lots of water (not cervezas) and keep hydrated and sunblock, sunblock, and more SUNBLOCK.

In addition to the fleet of boats waiting to take you sport fishing or sightseeing, Marina Pez Vela offers air conditioned shopping, great restaurants, fantastic tours, and some of the most delicious Italian gelato Costa Rica has to offer at Gelateria Amorosi. The fishing has been remarkable and so have the tournaments. MPV will be hosting two fun filled tournaments in March for the entire family. The 10th Annual Billfish Cup March 12-13 and the new Sailfish Slam March 27.

March Madness is upon us so all you college basketball fans can catch all the action at Jolly Roger and enjoy the big screens and delicious food and drink. The sunsets are beautiful here this time of year and the best places to view them are the Marina in Quepos, Aqua Azul on the top of the mountain in MA, or Bûru right on the beach which offers live music every Saturday night.

Welcome to our new advertiser Go Tulemar.

We would like to thank Greg Gordon for the cover shot of Malonga Chatel at Playa Cocles

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 Facebook/Quepolandia.

We appreciate and welcome your comments.

Peace And Enjoy…D

Spanish Sucks – February 2021

Spanish Sucks, February 2021


The Story of Land and Sea in Costa Rica

The Story of Land and Sea in Costa Rica header

Costa Rica is best known for its lush tropical environment and conservation ethic: monkeys, sloths, toucans, peccary, iguanas and agoutis all in a rainforest setting, in addition to whales, dolphins, and underwater wonders. This is what the visitor to Costa Rica will see and tell about. This is ecotourism at its best.

Those of us who live here love seeing the flora and fauna, both terrestrial and marine, but by virtue of being here all of the time we have the opportunity to see a deeper picture of our environment. We are able to see the environmental gains and losses, problems and solutions. Let’s have a closer look.

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