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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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GOING TO ENVISION FESTIVAL THIS YEAR?

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

WHAT’S INCLUDED IN THE RETREAT

  • 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.

FOR INFO & RATES

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.

FOLLOW US

www.sistersthatstray.com
IG: @SistersThatStray
FB: Sisters That Stray


Happiness

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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¿Qué Pasa en Quepos? – February 2020

Quepolandia February 2020 coverBienvenidos/Welcome to our little part of paradise. Shed those jackets and forget about the snow shovel and let your adventure begin. High season is here and February is the month of Love and Costa Rica will provide the Peace and Happiness. Kicking off the Happiness is the NFL Super Bowl, February 2. Jolly Roger will be throwing their 3rd Annual Tailgate Party in the parking lot of Byblos Casino, an all day event complete with bands, barbecue, and projection screens for all the action. Marina Pez Vela will be rocking the docks with the game on the BIG screen. Also on the big screen at the marina is Movie Night Under the Stars a fantastic Wednesday night for the entire family and it’s free.

For all you lovers, Valentine’s Day is upon us so don’t forget to make your special dinner reservations at our many exceptional restaurants Arbol, Victoria’s, or Pesca Seafood House just to mention a few. How about a family portrait with Sarah Yunker Photography? A day at Nauyaca Waterfall is always magical. Maybe a couple’s massage, or a day of pampering at Shanti Spa. Book it now.

The 10th Annual Envision Festival will be taking place February 17th-24th on the beach in Playa Hermosa. This event marks a decade of Envisioning filled with music, yoga, art, and educational workshops to help open your minds to making this a better planet for all. Spreading peace, love, and knowledge not footprints and waste. Envision is a 100% plastic free event. Thanks to Paul Gerace for capturing the wildlife of Envision 2019. Who says Costa Rica doesn’t have Zebras? Get your tickets now you won’t want to miss it, Envisionfestival.com.

MPV is continuing the festivities with the Pescadora fishing tournament, the Second annual women-only fishing tournament February 20th-22nd. It is not too late to register your team to compete with some of the best anglers around the world. So come join us and enjoy this tournament and show the women our support.

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


Mind, Body, and Soul Preparation for Envision 2020

Women posing on a beachBy Sisters That Stray

Buckle up, fam! Envision Festival is going all the way in this year with a full 7-day experience. This is not to be taken lightly. 7 days of music, yoga, dance, art, high vibe community, workshops, learning, waterfalls, sunsets and sunrises.

In order to fully appreciate and get the best experience out of these magical 7 days, we are providing you with some key tips on how to prepare your mind, body and soul so that you can bring the best YOU to the jungle.

Prepare Your Mind

Going into an event such as this with so many rich opportunities to learn and dive into new experiences, it’s beneficial to make sure you are bringing the right mindset so that you can fully absorb it all. How do I get my mindset in the best place, you might ask? MEDITATION. Commit to a meditation practice every day, even if it’s just for 5-10 minutes a day.

Prepare Your Body

We are going to be dancing until sunrise for a week straight, people. It’s time to start stretching and building our endurance NOW. Eat your greens, stay hydrated, move your body in a way that serves you every day. It’s a marathon, not a race. Pace yourselves.

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Surfing in Quepos and Manuel Antonio

Surf CR logoHere are my favorite two spots to surf around Quepos. There are other beach breaks and river mouth breaks, but they generally close out when it is big or if it is low tide. I will share the best tide and time of year to surf them, plus which swell angle works best.
 

Quepos River mouth

Quepos River mouth

In the center is the Quepos River mouth. At one time I feared paddling out there due to the runoff from the town, but now it seems to be better. That being said I like to paddle out at low tide when the outflow is minimal, and during the dry season months of March and April. I didn’t mention December to February since during those months it’s usually too small to surf. When it is on, there is a left that breaks close to the rocks and goes for about 150 meters, and another left on the north side of the river mouth that breaks 200-300 meters depending on the size and angle of the swell. It is best with a South-Southwest angle—too much West and the wave closes out, too much South and it passes by the end of the jetty from the marina. It needs to be 2 to 3 feet overhead at the beach breaks to make chest high waves at the river mouth. Luckily most of the time this wave is uncrowded, but if you see some locals out be sure to give them respect and they will return the favor. 
 
To the south in Manuel Antonio is Playitas. This is the section of beach that starts about a half kilometer north of the national park, and is located in front of the Hotel Karahe. The winding drive down to the break is hard to find (look for the Barba Roja Restaurant), but if you do then you can park right on the sand or if crowded on the side of the road. If you can’t find it, then park at the south end of the beach and walk north until you pass a small island just off the beach, and then another two meter rock sticking out from the surf about 50 meters out into the lineup. You can paddle out there or all the way to the point, and the waves break both left and right.
 
It takes a South to Southwest swell, but the shape can be imperfect due to the refractions of swell off the bigger islands off the coast. As a beach break, it works better right around high tide, and this is good since that also covers up some of the boulder sized rocks that sit right offshore in the middle of the break. This wave is very crowded at times since it generally is 1-2 feet bigger than other parts of Manuel Antonio, and the rocks provide a more hollow takeoff and some barreling sections. The best months are April to June when consistent Southern Hemisphere swells push up from Peru and across from Australia. I would not surf there as a beginner since collisions can happen with an aggressive lineup and broken boards are expensive.
 
There are fun spots to surf around the country, no matter your level of experience on a board. Please visit our website CRsurf.com and send us a note to help you find the best waves for your adventure. 


Spanish Sucks – January 2020

January 2020 Spanish Sucks

CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE

Manuel Antonio Spanish School logo


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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KIds Saving the Rainforest – January 2020

KSTR LogoThank you sponsors, runners, and volunteersHello from Kids Saving the Rainforest Animal Rescue and Sanctuary & Reforestation project. Is it really 2020 already? 2019 was a great year for KSTR as we planted 10,000 on our reforestation property and treated many kinds of birds, sloths, kinkajous, monkeys, anteaters, coatis, porcupines, and other wild animals at our onsite vet clinic. We also celebrated our 20th year anniversary in 2019.

We want to bring the New Year in right by thanking all of our donors, sponsors, and supporters of 2019.

Thanks to you all, our first 5K Rainforest Run was a huge success! So many people asked us to do it again next year, that it is now a tradition!! So save the date for November 22, 2020!

Kids Saving the Rainforest header

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Let’s Talk About the Costa Rican Pygmy Owl

Costa Rican Pygmy OwlBy Paul Gerace

Costa Rican Pygmy Owls hunt from a low perch in dense forest. They wait for small prey, usually birds, lizards, or large insects, and then strikes in swift flight. If the target is missed, the bird returns to perch rather than pursuing. Like other pygmy owls, they swish their tails from side to side when agitated.

The owls call mainly in early morning, late afternoon and at night with a long, slow song of randomly spaced, clear toots. Sometimes the sounds appear to come in groups of two or three. When excited, the owls give a faster, higher series of five toots.

This species prefers canopy and edges of highland forests and adjacent habitat, and sometimes even enters pastures and plains with scattered trees.

See more bird photos HERE


The Best Oatmeal Cookie Recipe

Chef's Corner logoFollow these easy steps and you’ll have a chewy, moist, wholesome snack that is full of character. By adding your choice of nuts, dried fruit or chocolate chips, this soft cookie will eclipse all others.

Makes about 2 dozen

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (optional but really adds depth)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup or 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup of raisins (try soaking them in a little rum) or craisins
  • Optional additions of chocolate chips, walnuts, coarse sea salt sprinkled on top before baking or other.

Oatmeal cookiesDirections

  1. Mix the flour, cinnamon and nutmeg, baking soda, and salt into a bowl and set aside.
  2. Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugars together.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla.
  4. Using a spatula or a fork, fold in the dry ingredients until you obtain a thick dough. Do not over mix.
  5. I like to add craisins, semi-sweet and white chocolate chips, chopped toasted walnuts, but you can use other ingredients that you may have on hand.
  6. Chill the dough in fridge for 30 minutes and place by spoonful on ungreased baking tray (cookies will not stick to tray if removed immediately with spatula once baked).
  7. Bake for approximately 12 minutes in a preheated 350 F oven (190 Celsius). The soft and chewy texture is obtained if you under bake them a little.