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Mute No More

I’ve been mute in New York City. Only for two days though. I was visiting in order to run a marathon and fortunately I was with a friend who was able to communicate, but I still felt strange, different. It was something I could do nothing about you see, for I had lost my voice due to a throat illness. I could not talk, I could not eat, and I was barely able to drink fluids. In a very short time I went from being an ex-pat massage/surf guy living in a Costa Rican rain forest, to a speechless Brooklyn bound tourist. How surreal. Without the help of my friend I would have been in a serious predicament. Almost overnight I had become something I had always feared. A man unable to be himself.

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Retiring – Dos Locos Doors Close September 15


Dos Locos logo 

Dos Locos exteriorI don’t know the exact date Dos Locos first opened in downtown Quepos, but the perfect location and atmosphere made it popular beyond belief—especially with gringos living in the area and visiting tourists. Dos Locos became the meeting place in Quepos…right in the middle of downtown and across from the bus station—and a place where you could enjoy some great food and refreshing libations. Possibly the main reason for its popularity was that lovely lady, Vera Jones who could almost always be seen sitting at the bar in the far right corner. She waved at folks in the buses as they were coming into town and she welcomed everyone with a big beautiful smile!

Vera She was also the person in the know…having the most information about everything going on and all the different places and activities in the area during a time when almost no information was available. And even after the advent of the internet, people would still go to her for information. She no doubt was very instrumental in helping me create the English language guide to the area, Quepolandia which just celebrated a 20 year anniversary in July.

While I’m happy that Vera will now have lots of free time for travel, tennis, family and friends’ visits, and many new adventures, I’m deeply saddened that there will no longer be that special place to meet old friends, make new friends, hear great local music and entertainment, eat some delicious Mexican food, have an ice cold beer, margarita or other drink and just enjoy the fellowship at the best meeting place in town… (and I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention, the best kitchen and wait staff). Adios Dos Locos…thanks for the wonderful memories that will be cherished forever!   Ana Lyons

Farewell Dos Locos—my “Cheers” bar where everyone knows your name, where friends became family. So many great times full of laughter, magical music moments, awesome Halloween parties and more…. too many times when we came together in great sadness at the loss of our friends. Always seeing Vera happy to welcome newcomers and tourists (wave at the bus as it passes!) alike and to offer help when needed. I will truly miss our chats at that bar but time moves on and change is always just a step behind so here’s to the new future! Enjoy yourself and keep hitting that tennis ball—no worries as I’ll still catch up with you to chat! Thanks for the memories dear friend.   Pat Cheek

Dos Locos—That cute little bar/restaurant on the corner in Quepos was our first and only hang out, for over 17 years. It was always the place to go. Friendly faces, Vera at her corner of the bar, large portioned plates, always cold beer, and the best location in town for people watching was the obvious draw. We met people, made great friends, played bridge on Tuesdays, celebrated holidays, and in time said too many goodbyes at memorials generously hosted by Vera and the girls.

I realized in time that the magic of Dos Locos was Vera. She fostered all of us as a new kind of family, building a community center that served food, beer, fun and interesting conversation.

Dos Locos was the heartbeat of Quepos. A hangout for fun loving people, without judgement.
All kinds of characters thrived in Dos Locos’ shade.

DL was also the best musical haunt around. That was no secret, or accident. Wednesday’s with Ben and the Howlers were always a rock’n’roll circus, and who doesn’t love a circus? Saturday’s with Lance, Letty, Jim and Niven, and so many others that came to be the Pura Vida Social Club was a family Saturday afternoon festival. Robbie, Ralph Simms, Ralph McDonald, Nancy, Jimmy C, Johnny Bench, Javier, Alvin, Terry, the player list goes on and on.

I feel like part of the family when I walk through those doors. It’s hard to imagine Quepos without Dos Locos, the heartbeat of Quepos. Love and miss you already.
Jack Wozniak

¿Qué Pasa en Quepos? – September/October 2018

Cover September/October 2018Bienvenidos… Welcome to the rain forest, green season has arrived. So enjoy the peace of it and the lushness it provides. Our mornings are normally beautiful and the rain comes later in the day so get moving early and maybe have an afternoon nap ( guilt free in the rain). Our restaurants and tour companies are in full swing to make your stay here unforgettable and, without the crowds, much more enjoyable. Marina Pez Vela offers outstanding restaurants and tours, great shopping, and most important this time of year—underground parking and shuttle service. We recommend calling ahead to our fine restaurants beforehand because some will be closing briefly for a quick holiday for themselves and their staff. Being from the US I always enjoy this time of year. I look forward to the start of the NFL season. Even more so this year…being from Philly. Catch all the games at Sancho’s or Jolly Roger on the Hill or Double Hook at the marina.

Costa Rica celebrates their 196th year of Independence on September 15th. Quepos will be having its annual parade with children in traditional dress, floats, and festive marching bands. So if you are in the area come celebrate with a country that truly appreciates their Independence…. Viva Costa Rica!!!

October 31 is Halloween so start thinking of a costume and get ready for fright night in the jungle. Marina Pez Vela will be having their Halloween Bash complete with trick or treating for the kids and haunted house, as well as many bars and restaurants in the area. Always a great time.

We would like to thank Paul Gerace for another spectacular cover. We welcome our new advertisers this month Vista Cola Ballena and SuperMarket Pura Vida.

September/ October is a double month issue so we will be back to guide you in November. 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. We appreciate and welcome your comments.

Happy Independence Day Costa Rica!!!
Peace and Enjoy…D

The Return of the Scarlet Macaws

Macaw pair header

Once upon a time there was a Bribri Indian chief named Pabru Presberi who was master of some big, exceptionally beautiful birds called “Pa”. Everywhere the chief went large groups of Pa flocked around him. Some were red and others green, and all were covered with stunning, bright colored plumage. One day some strange men with beards from a far-away place called Spain arrived on the shores of Costa Rica. Awed by the beauty of the Pa the Spaniards killed them for their feathers which they took to their homeland as gifts for the royalty. The word “la” in Spanish means “the” in English, so they referred to the birds as “la pa” which was later shortened to “lapa”. As time went on there were less and less lapas. The Spaniards had killed all but the large flock that followed chief Pabru everywhere he went. Eventually the chief led a revolution against the Spaniards, so they captured him and took him to Cartago where he was imprisoned. The lapas followed. Eventually the Spaniards executed the chief and the red lapas flew away to the Pacific coast and the green lapas to the Caribbean coast. To this day that is where they reside.

Of course, in English, the lapa roja (Ara macao) is the scarlet macaw, and the lapa verde (Ara ambigua) is the great green macaw. Their numbers have diminished drastically over the years to the point that the great green macaw is now listed on the IUCN red list as endangered. The scarlet macaws, which were once seen in large colorful flocks up and down the entire Pacific coast, have also diminished, but not to the extent of their green cousins. It is estimated that today there are about 600 scarlet macaws in the Osa Peninsula and 400 in Carara National Park. They disappeared from the area between Manuel Antonio and Uvita in the 1960s.

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Travel is the Answer

I feel sorry for people who have never washed their clothes in a sink or shower. To me that is a sign that you have never been on the road long enough. There is a sense of shared communion with wanderers in regards to week long jet lag, 24 hours of sitting on planes, of tramping around the world for the sake of it, because it is here to explore. In my thirty years of traveling I have never regretted a trip, nor have I ever been to a “resort.” Today it is easier, safer, and cheaper to go have an adventure. We can travel to get out of our comfort zones and let the days on the road simply unfold. I will go as far to say that my aspirations while moving about is to unlearn, I believe contrasts are the story of the world. The more challenges I can experience the better of a human I can be. My eyes can always see more, my soul can grow infinitely if I push it to do so. Stagnation has always been my enemy and when I travel I change, I grow.

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That’s Fishin’- August

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By Benn Gilmour

A warm welcome to the stunning Pacific Coast of Costa Rica & the August edition of That’s Fishing!

We have plenty going on down here in Quepos & Manuel Antonio, the Offshore fishing has been great in recent weeks, there have been some HUGE Roosterfish & Snook caught inshore and at the time of writing, the Humpback Whales had just arrived in southern Costa Rica which are sure to provide some incredible scenes as they do each year, to those lucky enough to spend some time on the water.

Man with grouperOFFSHORE REPORT

June & July produced some great Offshore fishing and there was some great species variety caught by the Quepos fleet. Blue & Black Marlin, Sailfish, Tuna, Dorado, Wahoo, Snapper & Grouper made up most of the Offshore catches. There were periods of some great Sailfish action and during one Offshore day trip in June the 31’ GOOD DAY released 13 Sailfish with reports of 20+ Sailfish days by other boats during the month, simply incredible fishing for this time of year! August will continue to hold some good opportunities for Sailfish and Blue Marlin for those Anglers looking to check a Billfish off their bucket list.

There are still plenty of Dorado being caught during Offshore trips which are providing some great action and some nice eating for visiting Anglers. Simply take your catch along to any of the great restaurants in the area and they will be pleased to cook it up for you.

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The Best Way to Learn Spanish

Manuel Antonio Spanish School logoBy Anousha Al-Masud

To quote Ludwig Wittgenstein, ‘The limits of my language are the limits of my world’. Learning a new language is like finding a new key that can help unlock doors and open up your mind, introducing you to new adventures and people along the way. With over 400 million native speakers spread over four continents, Spanish is the second most widely natively spoken language in the world. Like English, Spanish has Latin roots and is therefore considered to be one of the easiest languages to master for an English speaker. But what is the best way to learn Spanish?

Of course, you have to start somewhere. In this post, we share how technology can be used as a great starting point whilst also revealing the best way to learn Spanish: immersing yourself in the country where that language is spoken. Intrigued? Read on.

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Fiddlin’ Around August 2018

Fiddlin'Around headerSunshine SupermanThere have been so many beautiful days here lately in our little corner of the planet that it’s prompted me to think about weather, and of course, how it relates to music. The sunsets are spectacular, the critters and birds are super active and the rains aren’t intimidating yet. When I started looking through my songbooks and searching my leaky memory, I noticed the words ‘sunny’ and ‘sunshine’ are in about as many songs as the word ‘love’. ‘Course some of these songs are about the lack of sunshine in our lives, or the absence of love. “You are my sunshine—my only sunshine—you make me happy when skies are grey!” No sunshine and no love is a double whammy and darned hard to recover from.

Then there’s the ‘Sunny side of the Street’, ‘Sunny Skies’ by James Taylor, ‘Sunny’, the band Cream singing ‘Sunshine of Your Love’, or Stevie Wonder’s beautiful song ‘You Are the Sunshine of My Life’. Jonathan Edwards sang ‘Sunshine’, Donovan penned ‘Sunshine Superman’, and we were all ‘Walkin’ On Sunshine’. John Denver’s love of the natural world and his song, ‘Sunshine on My Shoulder’ connected us to the elements. He described the fickleness of weather and life—both bring us happiness and tears. A guy named Terry Jacks had a #1 hit in the USA and the UK in 1974 with a haunting song called ‘Seasons in the Sun’. It was an unusual theme for the pop music world—a dying man fondly recalls his life and loves, knowing it’s all nearly over with. The Walker Brothers had a hit in 1966 with ‘The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore’. These guys had weather on their brains, because the next year they followed it up with ‘Walkin’ in the Rain’. Country music fans might remember Dottie West’s song ‘Country Sunshine’, a catchy upbeat song that was used to the point of annoyance in ads for Coca- Cola to help us feel that their product would make our lives happier. Well, when rum is added, I suppose it could work that way. At least for a while.

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Salon de Cacao

Salon de Cacao groupBy Julieta, Mamá Cacaomamacacaochocolate@gmail.com

On the 7th July, the Salon de Cacao took place at Cafe Milagro. In its second year, this free to attend, mini-festival sets out to raise the profile and celebrate our local cacao and artisanal chocolate-makers. 

The Puntarenas Province and Southern Zones used to produce large amounts of cacao, mostly for export. Some sources cite that cacao was the number one export of Costa Rica before coffee and bananas took over. But cacao was hit hard by a fungal disease called monilia in the late 70’s. By 1983 Costa Rican cacao exports had declined by 96%. 

Salon de Cacao groupCacao is back and thriving. We are now making some seriously good chocolate here
12 regionally-based artisanal chocolate makers brought their products on Saturday. There were also cacao-inspired talks—educating us on the cultural and historical relevance of cacao and on healthy & environmentally-friendly growing practices.

If you are looking to grow cacao and need advice, are interested in sourcing great chocolate, or would like to attend a chocolate-making workshop, please contact me and I will point you in the right direction. 

If this inspires you to support the development of delicious chocolate forests here in CR with small farmers, please also consider sponsoring trees through Community Carbon Trees.


Meet Merlin: More Than a Pretty Face

Merlin the slothMerlin is a wild sloth that we have been tracking since February. Through the use of binoculars, we recently discovered that he had acquired a serious fungal infection. However, our team is actively treating him with special baths! He will lose a lot of hair in the process, but we know that with these treatments, he’s feeling a lot better already.

ADOPT MERLIN through TSI’s symbolic adoption program Adopt A Sloth on TheSlothInstituteCostaRica.org.

The Sloth InstituteFollow Merlin’s story on Facebook & Instagram @TheSlothInstitute #SlothDiaries.

The Sloth Institute (TSI)’s mission is to enhance the welfare and conservation of sloths through research and education. TSI is located in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica. For more information please email info@theslothinstitute.org.

If you see a sloth who needs help: ALL or WHATSAPP +506 87756847/87SLOTHS.

Fiery-Billed Aracari

Fiery-Billed AracariFiery-Billed Aracaris are members of the Toucan family. I think of them as their smaller cousins. They are one of two types of Aracaris found here in Costa Rica. The other is the less colorful Collared Aracari.

Fiery-Billed Aracaris have a very limited range of habitation and are found in the rainforests on the Pacific side of southern Costa Rica
and in western Panama. This one was photographed in the Dominical area.

I find them to be mischievous, goofy, proud, prehistoric looking, and very social in their behavior. Their brilliantly colored beaks and
bright feathers are a stark contrast to the green of the rainforest. They are not graceful flyers and can often be seen hopping from one branch to another.

You will have a better chance of seeing them when they are most active. That’s when the weather is a bit misty and not too hot. They can often be seen feeding in papaya trees when the fruit is ripe and also in Cecropia trees.

Korean Beef Bulgogi and Homemade Kimchi

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If you are able to find a perfect grill, preferably charcoal, don’t hesitate to try these classic Korean culinary delights. The bulgogi meat is sliced thinly and only needs a few hours to marinate. The kimchi is a fun science project to share with kids (and adults) and awaken our foodie curiosity.

Although soy sauce, sesame oil, gojujang paste, ginger and garlic, might not have been readily available in those times, I believe that Gengis Khan and his raiding mongols ate something similar… even the fermented pickled cabbage “kimchi” was essential to their diet. 

Homemade Kimchi

Jar of KimchiIngredients

  • 1 whole Chinese cabbage (mostaza China) washed, and sliced into 1 inch wedges
  • ½ cup sea salt (sal marina)
  • 4 to 5 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp of minced ginger
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • 3 tbsp of water
  • 2 tbsp of Gojujang paste OR 1 tbsp of red chili flakes mixed with 1 tbsp Asian fish sauce
  • 1 peeled small carrot and cut into matchsticks 
  • matchsticks of daikon radish (optional)
  • 3 whole scallions in ½ inch slices

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Karma Saving the Rainforest – August 2018

KSTR logoBy Karma Casey

Dead Hawksbill turtle

Dead Hawksbill turtle. Photo Jhonny Lopez

Hi again Quepolandia readers! It’s Karma, the spokeskid from Kids Saving the Rainforest!

This month I have a very important message to share with you, and that is about the importance of boating safety and protecting the very special marine animals that share this beautiful place in the world with all of us.

I learned this lesson from a graceful animal called the sea turtle! Let me tell you how it happened. Recently, my amazing mama and I were walking on the beach when we came across two lifeguards carrying something large out of the water. We went over to see what it was, and we realized it was a large Hawksbill sea turtle!

There were three big gashes cut into the shell. We hoped at first that we could call one of the groups in the area that work with sea turtles to help rescue it. Unfortunately, this poor turtle was already dead and it was too late to help her. We asked one of the lifeguards named Jhonny Lopez, what had happened.

Jhonny teaches surfing lessons, and he also volunteers his time as a lifeguard helping to keep everyone safe on the beach. He explained to us that the turtle had been sliced by the propeller of a boat and had washed up on shore. Some people were not showing any respect to the body, bothering it a lot, and he and the other lifeguard had moved it to safety while the turtle was reported to MINAE, the government agency who helps wildlife. My mama had their number in her phone, so she sent a message right away!

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¿Qué Pasa en Quepos? – August 2018

August 2018 coBienvenidos…Welcome to our piece of paradise. We are sure you will have a great time. There are so many wonderful things Costa Rica has to offer and we have them right here. Amazing beaches to surf, stroll or just tranquilo. For an over the top view of Manuel Antonio National Park (National Parks Day Aug. 24th) try parasailing with Aguas Azules. World class sport fishing and a fleet of boats to get you there are waiting for you at Marina Pez Vela. We have tours from skydiving with Skydive Costa Rica to scuba diving and everything in between. Whether you want to relax and enjoy our nature in the mangroves or for a little more adrenaline try white water rafting with Tucanes Tours. Our mangroves and rivers are as magical as our coastline. To experience the jungle canopy there is nothing like ziplining (Titi Canopy Tours). Or the first of it’s kind EcoTram at Hacienda Barú (tell Jack we sent you). August is whale season so while you are enjoying your cocktail at our many fine restaurants with a view, pay attention to the coast you never know when a family of Humpback Whales will go swimming past.

We would like to wish all you mothers a very happy Mother’s Day (August 15th). We would not be here if not for you. So do not make mom cook; take advantage of our incredible selection of fine restaurants. She probably would not mind a massage either.

Need more reason to celebrate? August 3rd is International Beer Day, so try one of the many microbrews at Fuego in Dominical. Also, International Rum Day is August 16….”cheers, salud”.

We would also like to welcome our new advertisers Flutterby House, MiniPrice Store, and Sea of Green Designs. Thanks to Rodolfo Guzman for the Helmet Headed Basilisk cover.

We hope you enjoy our magazine and it helps guide you through this enchanting paradise we call home. You can always follow and share here or on Facebook. We appreciate and welcome your comments.

Peace and Enjoy……D

Today’s Tears Bring Tomorrow’s Rain

We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our own. Staff writer Os passed away from a long hard fight with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Os starting writing for us in November 2011 and instantly become part of our family. He always had a smile and something nice to say, even at his worst. He is already deeply missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Elizabeth and his family. It’s going to rain…

Leave No Trace For Wildlife This Season

The Sloth InstituteBy Deanna Fisher, TSI Marketing Director

It’s no wonder why folks from around the world are rushing to Costa Rica for their vacation destination. With sprawling coastlines, lush rainforests, and many natural waterfalls, Manuel Antonio offers a unique slice of heaven for every vacation goer. The chance to observe wildlife around every corner provides a fantastic experience many seek while in the area. With these opportunities however come the responsibility to treat wildlife with the respect they deserve and need. Here are 5 ways you can leave no trace during your time in Costa Rica:


Single use plastics are a growing problem world-wide. It is estimated that by 2030 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. Do your part to use less by utilizing reusable shopping bags and/or refilling water bottles when out and about. Avoid using straws in beverages and be sure to throw them away in proper receptacles not leave them on the beach or alongside trails.


Do not touch, get close to, or pick up wild
animals for a “better look”. It is stressful to the animal and is possible that the animal may
harbor diseases. Additionally, we can transmit bacteria that is harmful to them. Sick or wounded animals can bite, peck or scratch, sending you to the hospital. Instead, observe wildlife from a distance so they are not scared or forced to flee.

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