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What I Love About Surfing

Surf CR logoToday I drove to the beach around noon. There was a storm on the horizon and the winds had already turned onshore, whipping the waves into a silvery soup. It didn’t look that appealing, but I paddled out anyways. I felt a need to wash away the dirt and sweat from a morning of hard work. My worries washed away as soon as my head ducked under the first wave.

The author surfingSurfing is my place to meditate. Sensing the wind, scanning where the next wave is going to break, watching the pelicans skimming over the swells—my vision expands to encompass all the beauty around me. There are no phones ringing, no sounds of traffic or construction. My breath slows down when I sit and stare out at the horizon, emptying my mind of all thoughts except the movements of the ocean around me.

The ocean is my gym. Often I am up at dawn, driving to my favorite break to catch while the tide is right and the winds are still offshore. I keep my body flexible through yoga and stretching, with the goal to make each ride longer with more powerful turns and the ability to contort into barrel sections. I run on the beach to expand my lung capacity for long hold-downs or three-hour surf sessions when the waves just keep getting better. And I paddle for miles, month after month, which has kept me in the best shape of my life.

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Fishing for the Next Generation

Group photo of participants
Having completed the 20th edition of the Offshore World Championship in May, and the 7th edition of this iconic event here at Marina Pez Vela, the opportunity to reflect on the impact of fishing on our local community and tourism in the area is upon us. While Manuel Antonio is firmly established as an eco-tourism destination, for so many of us, we forget that fishing has long been a way of life and subsistence for the local Quepos community and that early Sportfishing exploration was some of the first tourism to the area. The history and roots of the ocean and fishing are deeply rooted in this community and it would be easy to write a book, OR TWO, on the history of both artisanal fishing as well as the history of Sportfishing in the area along with its socio-economic impacts.

Instructor with childrenThat being said, I wanted to take a minute to share some thoughts and perspective on the sustainability of fishing in the area and the generational component which is visible now, more than ever. At Marina Pez Vela, there is a tremendous commitment to sustainability in all forms of the word. Our commitment to our community, its growth and wellbeing from a cultural and economic standing is unwavering and very much a part of our DNA at the project. In regards to fishing Costa Rica in general, led by agencies like FECOP and members of the private sector, has been a global leader in sustainability in the fishing world. One of the first countries to implement mandatory use of the circle hook in its Sportfishing practices and today even the practice of taking the live billfish out of the water before releasing for photographs has been banned.

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Killer Monkeys

Killer Monkeys header
Monkeys in the zoo are fun to watch, but observing them in the wild is almost like watching an entirely different species in a similar body. My first wild monkey sighting was a very emotional experience, and each subsequent encounter with white-throated capuchin monkeys (Cebus capucinus) nudged my curiosity a bit farther. Even today, 47 years after that first glimpse of a black and white primate scampering up a tree, they still fascinate me. Capuchins are always coming up with surprises and exhibiting never before seen behavior. Later I was to learn that they are the most intelligent of Costa Rica’s four monkey species.

In the 1970s and 80s written information about wildlife was almost non-existent. There were no bird or mammal books to be found, no internet, and not even any laminated information sheets with photos. For the next 18 years, until the first field guide, Neotropical Rainforest Mammals, was published, personal observation, as well as listening to campesino friends, neighbors, and workers provided the knowledge I so sought after.

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What’s Shaking at Marina Pez Vela – July 2019

What's Shaking headerJuly… SUMMER is here… or wait, WINTER is here… still can’t get used to this whole summer being winter, but unlike decades ago, when Quepos and Manuel Antonio truly went into a hibernation mode in the months after Semana Santa until Christmas, we now enjoy a robust mid-season here with travelers from around the world coming to Costa Rica. The increase in families, school summer trips, and other exploring the “green season” and all its magic have become something special, and here at Marina Pez Vela, while the fishing tournaments have ended, the ACTION IS JUST GETTING STARTED for another month full of reasons to come out to MPV!


Sure we are in Costa Rica, sure Independence Day here is in September, but this IS our local English speaking paper, this is a melting pot of locals and expats, and when have we ever been one to not embrace any excuse for an amazing party! As in all of our activities, July 4th at Marina Pez Vela is an all-day event and one for ALL of the family. There will be games, inflatables, and a host of activities for all the kids to enjoy around the plaza starting at 3pm, just as the heat of the day starts to fade. At 6pm, the party kicks up a notch with the insane music of Kin Rivera Jr who will jam away through the sunset and until the epic fireworks display closes out the night at 8pm. All the restaurants here will have specials, some featuring traditional bbq and summer eats, along with their regular menus and options. Marina Pez Vela is a melting pot and this is a party for ALL to enjoy. So whether you are an expat who ran from the USA, a local looking to experience a bit of US culture, or just someone looking for some cold drinks, great food, good fun and amazing music…DO NOT MISS JULY 4th at MPV.

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¿Qué Pasa en Quepos? – July 2019

July 2019 cover

Bienvenidos…Welcome to our piece of paradise, it is sure to please. We have almost everything Costa Rica has to offer. zip lining, white water rafting, ATVs, horseback riding, world class sportfishing, parasailing, waterfalls, ocean and mangrove tours just to mention a few. We have amazing restaurants for every taste and don’t forget the ice cold drinks. So pop into one of our many fantastic advertisers and let them know we sent you…you won’t be disappointed.

The summer rains have brought the greenness so no complaining, get out early and enjoy the beautiful days. Rain normally rolls in in the late afternoon. Don’t let it stop you, it is a Rain Forest.

Have great Canada Day (July 1) for all you Canadians. Feliz Día de Guanacaste ( July 25). Marina Pez Vela will be celebrating US Independence Day on July 4th starting at 3 pm and going till the firework extravaganza at 8 pm, with plenty for the entire family. So whether you’re expat or Tico, come and celebrate with great music, games, food, and fireworks. Remember these Holidays commemorate freedom and peace that so many people fought and died for, so we can have these qualities of life we all enjoy every day. It’s not all about just fireworks and fiestas…they are just what make it fun……Cheers.

We want to welcome our new advertisers this month, Centro de Pinturas, Heart Forward Yoga and Wellness, Plaza Ventana, and Pool Clean CR. We also want to thank MA National Park guide Manuel Cabalceta Méndez for the cover photo.

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 and photos.
Peace and Enjoy…D

Kids Saving the Rainforest

KSTR LogoReforestation is vital to solve the climate crisisBy Karma Imagine Casey

Hello fellow Quepolandia readers! This is Karma Casey, the Kids Saving The Rainforest spokeskid! If you are new to my articles, Kids Saving The Rainforest is a wildlife rescue rehabilitate, and release program. We also plant trees, put up wildlife bridges, and educate the public about how to respect our rainforest home.

We also have a sanctuary that is home to about 50 amazing animals including sloths, five species of monkeys, parrots, kinkajous, toucan, and more! If you’d like to come visit us, we offer tours every day except for Tuesday at 9 am. Go to kstr.org to make your reservation!

This month I am going to tell you a little bit about a VERY special holiday that has just passed. Can you guess what it is? Earth Day!! I hope you did something great to celebrate. At Kids Saving The Rainforest, Earth Day is very special because we are all about helping the earth, as you know.

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Long Hot Summer

Long Hot Summer headerDealing with the Dry Season

It wasn’t supposed to rain, but we all know that the weather bureau doesn’t necessarily get it right. At the sound of the first drops on the roof I went outside and stood there, my shoulders thrown back and my face to the heavens. The cool water washed over me, and soaked my clothes, but I didn’t care. It had been a long time, and it felt wonderful. The last rain had been on December 16, and it was now April 4. We had endured 109 days of drought. It was so bad that many places in Costa Rica had to ration water. I know of several nearby communities where the water flowed through the pipes to people’s homes only two hours each day. During the other 22 hours the sparse stream of water from the local spring flowed into reserve tanks from which the two hours of daily water were supplied. Most people used that two hours to fill buckets, jugs, pots, pans, and other recipients, and if any was left, they bathed quickly hoping it wouldn’t stop flowing just after soaping up. Hopefully by the time you read this, it be raining regularly and the crisis will be over.

This year the flow of the Barú River diminished to the point that the wave action on the beach was able to create a sand dam across the river mouth. The small amount of water coming downstream, unable to flow out into the ocean, has backed up more than a kilometer and converted the Barú River into a lake. Fresh water from that lake flows into the mangrove estuary flooding the dry, cracked bottom. Fish, caimans, crocodiles, and loads of amphibians are happy with this new found water, but animals that live farther from the river are not so lucky. In fact we have found dead sloths whose deaths are presumably related to the drought. The leaves they feed on are so dry that the water they contain isn’t enough to sustain the sloths.

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Signaling Intentions

I’ve been driving in Costa Rica since 2002, legally. My first wife at that time owned a red Hyundai Excel. It is still a popular model of the “pirate” taxis on our streets today. If you ask an older local, that car (nicknamed the Red Rocket) has legendary status. I can’t remember most of the stories but that’s not what this month’s article is about. This month we explore the mythical subject of the turning signal (which comes standard and free in every vehicle these days). Yes indeed the infamous “blinker.” That little bar conveniently engineered under the steering wheel and slightly to the left. Ah yes…you remember! You see, nobody uses that in Costa Rica except for me. I will admit I am a bit obsessed because I literally signal every time I turn left or right. If I’m doing something funky I know where the hazard lights are too. I’ve studied driving for over 30 years now. However my new attitude is to not care anymore…everything seems to be smooth without using it. Probably another useless invention. In fact, I’m going to stop using the signal all together because I want to be like the taxi drivers. It’s all about standards. Drive like the pro’s do. My research shows that as early as 1925 an invention was patented that allowed the driver to actually signal their intention to other drivers and pedestrians. To literally say, by the proper use of the directional, if the driver is turning left, right, or is making a move. Downright amazing if you ask me, but what do I know? At the time the big car manufacturers weren’t interested, and I’m not interested now, who needs it? From there the history is irrelevant, do your own google search, my point being, why should anyone ever indicate the direction they honestly intend to go to in this life. Whether it is actually on the road, in everyday life, or personally…who knows? Shit happens. I have the right to change my mind is another logical excuse. Why signal, who can even multi-task like that anymore? Life is hard enough. Certainly texting while driving has priority.

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Rythm headerOne year, during a particularly dismal rainy season here, several of my lady friends organized aerobic and dance and step classes so they could get their exercise fix. Being the nice, inclusive types that they are, they invited me join in their sessions, which started at some ungodly early part of the day, like 8:00 am. Frankly, I prefer to indulge myself in being grumpy in the morning, but I eventually lighten up and surface into niceness behind a couple of cups of strong coffee, a cigarette or two, and some loud music. By then it’s more like brunch time, so needless to say, I never actually made it to a class. But one of my friends told me that exercising to music and a strong beat made her feel rhythmic, and it was clearly some kind of personal breakthrough. People often argue with me when I say everyone has music inside of them, but it is true. It is also true that we all have rhythm inside of us.

Carlos SantanaHello, how about that ever-present heartbeat? It marches along with very little influence from us and permeates our entire body. Respiration—we breathe in, we breathe out, we breathe in, we breathe out. Most of the time these things happen without our even noticing them and it takes doctors with high tech machines to determine deviations in our silent but ever present body rhythms. Brain waves, nerve impulses, glandular releases, and even our throbbing pain sites. Synapses’ firing, adrenaline being released, cells multiplying, hair growing—geez we’re probably just a cacophony of wacko sounds if we could just hear it all. All of these body functions respond to outside stimulus as well, whether it’s exercise, coffee, discomfort, temperature, fear, joy, or listening to Carlos Santana. And until we’re pushing up daisies they just keep on playing their own part in the rhythm section.

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Let’s talk about the Emerald Toucanet

Emerald ToucanetBy Paul Gerace

The Emerald Toucanet is the smallest of the 6 toucan species found here in Costa Rica. It also has the shortest bill.

It’s a very colorful bird with shades of green including emerald, grass, and olive. Other colors displayed are red, blues, chestnut, yellow, & white.

The green body easily blends into the rainforest so it is sometimes hard to see.

The Costa Rican Emerald Toucanet is different from those found in Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, and South America because of it’s blue throat.

They can be found in the mountainous cloud forests here in Costa Rica. I took this photo at Bosque del Tolomuco Lodge which is about 20 minutes outside of San Isidro.

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

An Introduction to the 7 Chakras

A Healthier You header
Woman doing yoga on a platformThe entire universe is made of energy, and your body is no exception. Balancing your chakras can help you live a healthy and harmonious life. Blocked energy in our seven chakras can lead to illness, so it’s important to understand what each chakra represents and what we can do to keep energy flowing freely.

Root Chakra is located at the base of the spine in the tailbone area. This chakra’s role is to connect all of your energy with the earth. It is your grounding chakra.
When in balance: You will feel a sense of accomplishment and peace when you think of things like money, safety, and shelter.
When out of balance: You may experience anxiety and jitteriness.
Bring into balance: Connect to the earth.

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Spanish Sucks – May-June 2019

Spanish Sucks lesson

Manuel Antonio Spanish School logo

Bo Bun

Chef's Corner logoThis is my version of a popular take-out salad found only outside of Vietnam (like the chicken chow mein that you’ll never find in China). 

A bowl of rice noodles is topped with strips of grilled beef, lettuce, peanuts, chili peppers, and served with a sweet and tangy fish sauce dressing. This recipe yields 4 to 5 large bowls, the spiciness adjusted to taste and best enjoyed with chopsticks.

For the beef

  • 1 pound or 1/2 kilo of lomito. I recommend using lomito or tenderloin since other cuts might be tough.
  • 5 large cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of finely sliced lemongrass, white part only (optional but so good)
  • 1 small red onion finely chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil

Marinate the beef for at least 4 hours or overnight. Grill the whole piece on all sides so that the center stays medium rare. Allow to cool and thinly slice.

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Adopt a Sloth!

Adopt a Sloth flyer

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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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