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Osa Gold

Osa Gold HeaderIf you saw a small Irish man with a beard and bushy eyebrows who lives in the forest, loves the color green, and has a passion for gold you might think he was a “Leprechaun”. But if that forest happened to be on the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica, more than likely it would be my good friend Patrick J. O’Connell, commonly known as “The Goldwalker”. Unlike the Leprechaun he is not the keeper of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but he has lived the most extraordinary life of anyone I have ever known, walking from one end of the Osa to the other for 26 years buying gold.

Jack and Patrick

Jack and Patrick

In 1964 Patrick and three friends drove to Costa Rica in a 1958 Dodge panel truck. All were veterans of the Korean war and out for adventure. They came to Costa Rica for the hunting. For three years he stayed in the Talamanca mountain range in southern Costa Rica near a place called Potrero Grande. Then Patrick moved to the Osa Peninsula where the hunting was spectacular.

As it is today the Osa of the 1960s was one of the most biodiverse areas on the planet but that is where the similarity ends. At that time there was no national park, no tourism, no roads, and most of the residents were fugitives from the law. After the civil war of 1948 many of the soldiers from the losing side fled to the Osa to escape execution. Additionally criminals of all sorts took advantage of the remoteness of the peninsula and went there to escape punishment. It was a place of exile. No criminal act was terrible enough to bring the police to the peninsula. If someone was killed in a barroom brawl the others just dragged the body outside, and in the morning someone would bury it. The government didn’t care.
Hacienda Baru

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That’s Fishin’ – November 2017

That's Fishin' headerBy Benn Gilmour

November is one of the favourite months for fisherman here in Quepos. A month or two in the boat yard getting our boats ready to go again for high season is long enough for any Captain and we cannot wait to go fishing again come November 1st!

The rains disperse as the month progresses to make way for the clear blue skies and flat calm seas that the Central Pacific coast is famous for. November is a transitional month, where water temperatures start to rise, baitfish numbers increase and lots of predatory fish hot on their heels.

CaribSea from Marina Pez Vela


Yellow fin tuna

Yellow fin tuna

We typically don’t see the crazy Sailfish bite that we do during January-April but there should be good numbers of Sailfish around and couple this with the excellent variety of species we have in November, Anglers should be in for some awesome fishing. Right now is the peak time to catch Blue Marlin on day charters from Quepos and there were some epic Marlin days recorded this time last year. You can expect some big Yellow Fin Tuna schools 30+ miles Offshore as well as pretty much the TOP month of the year for Dorado! We have had some great Dorado fishing during September & October along the current lines off Quepos and this action should peak this month when good sized fish should be here in numbers. Often some of the best Dorado action can be found less than 10 miles from the Marina Pez Vela, an added bonus—less running time & more fishing!

Take your kids fishing!

Take your kids fishing!

Inshore Fishing trips are a great option for families or those worried about spending a full day Offshore. Half day Inshore trips will give you 5 hours on the water, take you along the stunning coastline where you can target Roosterfish, Snook, Snapper, Mackerel, Jacks & more. With the bulk of the rains out of the way, water clarity will improve as the month progresses, large shoals of sardines will gather inshore with the big guys not be far behind!

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The Blues

Sometimes we find ourselves down in the dumps. It may be a day, a week, or even a month but we as humans are susceptible to periods of depression. The last two months in Costa Rica can play into this malaise….a lack of sunshine, heavy rains, and a slow work schedule can often heighten restlessness. Waters run deep with depression and it can be hard to put a finger on exactly what is going on internally if we are in this rut. Common signs are: poor sleep habits, self-abuse through drugs, alcohol, and even food, irritability, loss of excitement over once enjoyable activities, sadness, angry outbursts, slowed thinking and movements, fatigue and physical pains to name just a few. Sometimes it is a challenge to take a good hard look at oneself and to admit that there is something wrong. Once we do we can turn the battle into our favor. Michael Jackson said it best in his song Man in the Mirror. The lyrics state, “I’m starting with the man in the mirror, I’m asking him to change his ways.”

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Fiddlin’ Around – November 2017

Fiddlin' Around headerThere’s a big ‘ole country music guy from Clover Bottom, Kentucky who nowadays owns and operates a fishing boat in Quepos and plays guitar and sings at a few venues around town. He’s got a quick and genuine smile, a beautiful and powerful voice and he’s written songs that literally millions of people have heard and love. He’s funny, been around a couple of blocks, is friends with country music legends and is respected by them in return. His name is Ralph Simms, though he went by ‘Buck Cody’ back in the early days of his career.

Ralph and NancyRalph came from a musical family—his Dad played dobro and had worked with the great Lester Flatt, and when Ralph was 17 he helped him sign with BMI Records in Nashville. His first song for them was called ‘Baby I’m Leaving’, and that’s what he did—moved to Nashville, put together a 5 piece band, and started playing wherever he could get gigs. Performing live was his main focus, and he spent years in the musical trenches, playing many hundreds of gigs from huge state fairs to seedy bars. He managed to find time to fulfill his BMI writing obligations and worked with fine producers like Larry Morton and with different notable publishing companies, including Prairie Dust Records. Ralph is one of those rare journeymen musicians who are at home on stage as a lead or rhythm guitarist, lead singer, background singer, arranger, and producer, and who also has successfully penned material recorded by other artists. He’s had several of his songs on the country charts, including The Fireman as done by Mac Vickery, and the huge hit version by George Strait of his song Amarillo By Morning. He’s played with many of the greats, like Jerry Lee Lewis, Hank Thompson, Conway Twitty, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Jerry Reed—just to drop a few bigshot names. He performed on the TV show Hee Haw, a cornball show about hillbillies which actually featured some great players and helped launch the careers of many still enduring musicians. Ralph was male vocalist of the year in 1984, his band won for best instrumentalists, and he’s had his share of fame and accolades—yet he says, “I’m happy to have made a living playing with great musicians who I admire and am moved by. I’m just a country boy from Kentucky who got lucky.”

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Organizing Your Kitchen

Design WiseBy Shelagh Duncan

We were back in Canada for our Thanksgiving this year and I was making the traditional turkey dinner for the family. I realized once I got started on the meal prep that I was very appreciative of the efficient way the kitchen was set up. It was a total no-brainer to find everything I needed, when I needed it.

Clean and modern designAn efficient kitchen does not happen by accident, but by design. It is more than just the traditional “Work Triangle”. It is a thoughtful process of what goes where and why, especially in a small kitchen. Every kitchen will be a little different and will depend on the personal cooking/cleaning-up style of the person(s) using it.

If you get frustrated searching for things or waste time having to rummage through messy drawers or cupboards to find what you need, here are some ideas to help you get your kitchen into shape.

Royal Palm Interiors

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The Story of the Wildlife Bridges

KSTR logoBy Jennifer Rice PhD, President of Kids Saving the Rainforest

How did wildlife bridges come to Costa Rica you might ask? We at Kids Saving The Rainforest have the story for you.

Squirrel (Titi) Monkey using our bridge in 2005

Squirrel (Titi) Monkey using our bridge in 2005

In the year 2000, a group called Amigos Del Monos came to Kids Saving the Rainforest (KSTR) and told us that they could not get ICE, (the Electric Company), to help them put up monkey bridges. They felt that KSTR could get their attention.

Luckily, we could do so and the KSTR Wildlife Bridge Program was started. In the beginning, KSTR had a team to put up the bridges as you can see in a picture of Lenin putting up a bridge in 2002.

Much later ICE started working hand in hand with KSTR. Since then KSTR gives presentations to ICE’s environmental workers from around the country about the bridges. We also taught their workers how to save wildlife up on the electrical wires.

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Spicy Korean Chicken Wings

Korean gochujang paste is my new obsession: think of a blend of sweet and spicy miso paste. I’ve seen it once at the mini price store (some years ago sighhh), but it does exist in San Jose. If you find it, grab it and share it with your loved ones. A small amount goes a long way.

Spicy Korean chicken wingsIngredients for the fried chicken wings

  • 1 kilo of whole chicken wings
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 pinch of black or white pepper
  • 1/2 cup of cornstarch (maizena)
  • oil for deep frying


  1. Split the wings into drumettes and wingettes, discard the tips (good for making stock).
  2. Pat dry with paper towels and let sit for a few hours in salt and pepper.
  3. Pat dry again before tossing in cornstarch to coat evenly.
  4. Heat oil until it spatters and cook wings in several batches until well done.
  5. This should take at least 1/2 hour depending on size of wings. Check for doneness.

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What’s Shaking at Marina Pez Vela? – November 2017

We would like to send out a very special thank you to all of the men and women of Quepos and especially to our extended Marina Pez Vela family who worked tirelessly over the last month, cleaning out neighbors’ homes, hiking food and water into cut off communities, cooking hot meals and lending a hug and a hand where needed.   October was not an easy month and we are proud that our Municipality, the private sector and countless volunteers from the community came together in this time of need.   Let us all continue to help those who are rebuilding their homes and we pray and hope for a successful high season to lift everyone’s spirits

Now, here are a few things we can all look forward to in the months ahead.

Thanksgiving Dinner

Looking for turkey, cranberry sauce and some of mama’s pumpkin pie…..look no further. The Marina restaurants will be serving up traditional Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, November 23rd to satisfy the cravings of the hundreds of nostalgic tourists and locals alike.

Marina Pez Vela logo
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Proposed Osa Marine Reserve

By Jim Chambers
Marine Biologist

Osa Marine Reserve BoundaryMany independent studies have confirmed that the area of the proposed Reserva Marina Álvaro Ugalde Víquez is essential habitat for a great variety of both resident and migratory marine species. This includes charismatic species such as whales, dolphins, and sea turtles as well as other species which together have high biological, commercial, recreational and economic value. They are being threatened by indiscriminate and unsustainable commercial fishing – specifically shrimp bottom trawls, purse seines, gillnets and longlines. Recovery of this important area will generate significantly increased marine productivity that is especially important to both pelagic (billfishes, tuna, dolphin) and demersal (e.g., snapper, grouper) fish populations along this coast which make this part of Costa Rica a world-famous sport fishing destination.

The proposed Bill is supported by many independent studies including that contracted by the Tropical Science Center, which provided justification for the decision to propose creation of this new protected area. The Bill, No. 20.333, for the creation of the Marine Reserve is now before the Congress’s Environment Commission prior to its submission to the full Congress for a vote. It is now requesting public comment to be received prior to mid-November. Eco-tourism is permitted since it is very important to the country and ecologically benign. Sport and artisanal fishing is also to be permitted, especially catch-and-release, for the same reason. The main goal is to provide protection from damaging activities and to promote those that are relatively harmless.

As the Reserve matures, bottom habitats will quickly recover allowing young fish and invertebrates to hide from predators; they are now being fully exposed by shrimp bottom trawls that are effectively “clear-cutting” bottom habitats that should look like a miniature forest. This will produce an explosion of all forms of marine life. Sport fishing will benefit tremendously and that will draw many more resident and traveling sport fishermen to Costa Rica’s Pacific coast thus benefitting the hotels, restaurants, bars, tourist activities, etc. surrounding each marina community as well as the rest of the coast.

¿Qué Pasa en Quepos? – November 2017

November 2017 coverBienvenidos….Welcome to the “Rain Forest”, can’t say the brochure did not warn you. It will probably rain, but don’t let that stop you. Manuel Antonio National Park is in full bloom which attracts frogs, hummingbirds, and butterflies. It is also baby season here in the jungle so look closely; a lot of monkeys and sloths are carrying babies on their backs. The Humpback whales and their calves are still here so get to Marina Pez Vela for many options to view them as well as world class sport fishing. Our rivers are also flowing so check out Quepoa Expeditions or Tucanes Tours for some thrilling rafting. Don’t forget the 7th Annual Quepos Open Tennis Tournament being held Nov 11-12 and finals 18-19 at the Tennis Club Quepos.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those effected by Hurricane Nate. It truly showed the strength of Pura Vida. So many people helping each other and lending a hand, even when one was needed. Find out how you help the recovery HERE. VIVA COSTA RICA

Our many fine restaurants are serving up your favorite culinary delights. It is a good idea to call ahead this time of year. (Telephone Directory is on Page 72) We would like to wish everyone a Wonderful Thanksgiving.

Toys for tots will have their collection boxes around the area. so let us help the children by dropping an unwrapped gift to help brighten someone’s holiday… Santa Clause cannot do it all himself.

We would like to welcome our new advertisers this month: Costa Rica Real Estate Services, Jolly Roger, Ocho Tejas, Osa Thyme, and Vista Bellena.

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 and at facebook.com/quepolandia. We appreciate and welcome your comments.


Strange Partners

When You Quit Chopping the Weeds the Jungle Returns With a Vengeance

macaws return
By Jack Ewing
Environmentalists and people in the real estate business don’t usually like each other very much. The former tend to blame the latter of environmental destruction while the latter accuse the former of obstructing development and progress. In spite of this, on a strip of coastal land in southern Costa Rica 80 kilometers long and 15 kilometers wide, nothing short of an environmental miracle has been accomplished by these two actors working separately and each doing their own thing. The area is called the Path of the Tapir Biological Corridor (PTBC), and its landscape has been transformed from one of pastures and farm land to lush tropical forest replete with wildlife. It is one of the few places on our planet where biodiversity is increasing and has been for the last 35 years.
Hacienda Baru

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The Unsellable Curvito

Shambling through paradise headerMy first car in Costa Rica was a ‘77 Jeep Curvito. Like most of the seven cars I have bought since, it was a teenager. It had a removable soft top, no radio and was a dull purplish gray—the color of a bad bruise. It also had an extended back end. In my years of owning it, I never saw another Jeep anywhere on the road that had an extended back end. The body of the Jeep had been manufactured in Costa Rica, in the mid-70s—there was a metal stamp on the inner hood that said so. I had never heard of a Curvito, didn’t know what the word ‘Curvito’ meant. With time I decided it meant either, “Jeep that makes mechanic shake his head in dismay’’ or “Jeep that’s replacement parts are nonexistent”.

I had arrived in CR as half of a couple, but in 2 short years we had become a family of 4 and it was time to go back north to make enough money to return. I took on the task of selling the Curvito. It was the early 1990s in Costa Rica—no cell phones, no internet. We lived about a 20 minute drive from the nearest pay phone. A retired alcoholic American I knew had a house with a landline phone in San Isidro del General. He loaned me his phone number so I could place an ad in La Nacion. I spent the weekend at his house, fielding inquiries and trying not to drink too much. But I had a half dozen calls that expressed interest, including a wealthy Texan who assured me that he was ready to buy it sight unseen, and that, aw shucks, if he didn’t buy it, he had an off street parking area where I could store it until I did find a buyer.

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Donate to Hurricane Nate Recovery

Hurricane Nate floodingThe recent flooding of the communities surrounding Manuel Antonio and Quepos has been devastating for many people and families. The flood relief effort has been hugely successful, with many individuals and business owners helping out directly to bring food, supplies and basic needs to those who were hit the hardest. Yet there is still a desperate need for aid out there, and many families who lost most of their humble possessions—or who lost their homes completely.

Along with dozens of other community members, we’ve banded together in an effort to organize and bolster the flood relief and aid these families are receiving.

Julie from Castillo de la Riviera has created a Facebook page called ‘Costa Rica Unidos’ specifically for the effort, facebook.com/groups/122005531812843/.

Matty Ruggs, from Paddle 9, has also created a GoFundMe campaign which people can use to make online donations, gofundme.com/costa-rica-disaster-relief.

We also have a community Google sheet which we’re using to keep track of the affected communities, families, what they’ve lost, what they’ve received, and what they still need. Through donations from home owners, businesses, and past visitors to Manuel Antonio, we’re raised a fund of over $25,000, and worked through wholesalers and manufacturers to get the best prices for mattresses, bedding, towels, and other domestic supplies.

But more is needed! There were literally thousands of homes and families affected, and those who were hit the worst were those who could least afford a disaster. We still need help in raising funds, distributing supplies, and gathering information—so if you would like to get involved, please contact Adrienne Pellizzari at Adrienne@CafeMilagro.com.

Lastly, Marina Pez Vela has been gracious in providing a center for storage and distribution for the donated supplies. If you have a donation you would simply like to drop off, please contact the Pez Vela reception at 2774-9000 or Arlene Alfaro at 8842-4942 to coordinate.

A huge thank you to everyone who has been involved—from those in the light to those in the shadows! It is great to be a part of a community that shines with compassion when needed! Go Manuel Antonio!

Kent Thompson

Fiddlin’ Around – September/October 2017

Fiddlin'AroundIn the music world, funny is good. Funny is important. Funny is probably more useful and definitely more interesting than profound. I love songwriters who can make us laugh at our paltry little problems, or who can bring perspective to what we think are huge issues, or who can describe a piece of life in a way that brings us comfort and smiles instead of alienation and angst. My Dad, another musician, always told me not to take myself too seriously. He was right, and luckily for us, there are a couple of skillful songwriters around here who write about the humorous side of life and love, not just the so-called important stuff! John Prine, Randy Newman, Joni Mitchell, Johnny Cash, Lyle Lovett, Steve Goodman, Charlie Daniels, Robert Earl Keen, Kinky Freidman, Jimmy Buffett, Roger Miller, Ray Stevens, Arlo Guthrie and even sometimes Bob Dylan—they all know the value of laughter—and so do a couple of our local guys, Ben Orton and Ken Nickell.


Ben Jammin’

Ben Orton is an excellent and generous vocalist and guitarist—I’ve been playing with him for several years now, and appreciate all of his songwriting, including his lighter and more whimsical songs. He’s got a song called Sell Your Stuff, which is of course a re-occurring theme and impulse for many of the first timers who find this beautiful area. The first lines of the song are,

Some say that it’s paradise—at the very least it’s very nice—and if you’ve got the nerve to make it real—sell your stuff and move to Costa Rica! Read More…

Macadamia Nut Pie

Chef's Corner logoThis is a remake of the classic pecan pie with macadamias as the star ingredient. Serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and your guests will rave about about this awesome tropical dessert!

For an 8 inch pie dish.


crust Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 1/2 ts salt
  • 3 tbs manteca (shortening) chilled
  • 4 tablespoons of butter (preferably unsalted) chilled
  • 4 to 6 tbs water
  • 1/2 shot vodka


  1. Work the dough by hand combining fats and flour into a crumbly mix.
  2. Moisten with water and vodka until you can form a ball.
  3. Let rest for 2 hours.
  4. Roll out and line pie dish. 




  • 2 cups of coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
  • 1 cup of light corn syrup
  • 3/4 cups of white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 1 egg yolk



  1. Preheat oven to 3500F (1980C).
  2. Cream eggs, sugar, corn syrup, and vanilla together until well blended.
  3. Add nuts and pour into prepared pie shell.
  4. Bake for about one hour or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. 
  5. Let rest for at least ½ hour before serving.