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That’s Fishin’- January 2019

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By Benn Gilmour

Man holding roosterfishA huge happy new year to you all, may all your fishing dreams come true in 2019! After some epic fishing during December, Quepos captains are hopeful for an even better January which is typically the start of our peak Sailfish season. Large numbers of big Pacific Sailfish averaging 70-80lbs gather just a short run from our coastline and Anglers flock from all around the world to experience our incredible fishing for themselves. Double digit Sailfish release days are not uncommon during full day Offshore charters out of Quepos when the bite is on. Blue, Black and Striped Marlin are all possible during January also and Anglers can expect some Dorado and Yellow Fin Tuna to be in the mix also. We enjoyed some spectacular Dorado fishing during November and December, numbers will likely reduce during January as water temperatures rise during the dry season but you should still expect to see a Dorado or two on most Offshore trips. Yellow Fin Tuna will be found with the Spinner Dolphin schools, we get lots of Tuna in the 30-40lb range with plenty over 80lbs and some real 100-200lb plus monsters also. There was a 245lb Tuna caught out of Zancudo lodge in southern Costa Rica during December, an amazing fish demonstrating the potential we have here.
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What’s Shaking at Marina Pez Vela – January 2019

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HIGH SEASON and LOW SEASON pattern is now very much a year round destination, with activities, tourism, dynamic events and a sense of community which seems to always evolve to a new level. December of 2018 was close to one of the busiest and most exciting years in the history of Marina Pez Vela. The Triathlon, 5th annual Bright Lights Parade, Manuel Antonio Vivo concert and holiday events were an amazing kick off to our 2018-2019 season, and January is going to be ON FIRE with some of the most fun events of the year.


That’s right, put the kids to bed early, cover your eyes and your ears as the ICONIC PELAGIC ROCKSTAR TOURNAMENT IS BACK AND BIGGER THAN EVER! This two-day tournament (three-day event), starting on January 11th is going to be the largest tournament in prize money and participation that the Marina has ever seen, with the 3rd annual edition of this amazing event. Teams from around the world converge on the Marina for some of the most competitive angling on the planet and for some of the most FUN you can imagine in any fishing event on the globe. Live music nightly in the plaza at the marina will be welcoming the teams with the live weigh-ins, parties and storytelling of each day’s epic battles. With 4 divisions to compete, Marlin, Sailfish, Dorado, and Tuna there will be big prize money and big ego on the line! If you are not already signed up, DO NOT MISS IT, and if you are not an angler, you will not want to miss the energy and fun each night in the plaza. Cash and prizes valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars will be on the line and nowhere in CR will there be more fun going on than at MPV!
Marina Pez Vela logo
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¿Qué Pasa en Quepos? – January 2019

January 2019 coverBienvenidos…Welcome 2019, we hope you had a wonderful holiday. High season is upon us here in Costa Rica and we are glad you are here to be part of it with us. Green season has provided us a beautiful backdrop to begin this New Year of adventure. Our magazine is filled with the best of the best this southern Pacific has to offer.

Try something new this year like sport fishing for a record Marlin with Marina Pez Vela. Either offshore or onshore the fishing season has arrived so get out there and catch your dream. Thank you to Paula RM at Caiman Photography for your spectacular cover photo this month. As you can see the fish (and mammals) are literally jumping out of the ocean. Want to party like a rock star than get to the marina for the Pelagic Rockstar Tournament Jan 11-13th. Try zip lining or exploring the canopy tree tops with Hacienda Barú or Titi Canopy. Paddling through the mangroves or down one of our incredible rivers with Tucanes Tours. Hiking through some of the most beautiful National Parks in the world. Take ATVs to explore a waterfall with Monkey Ride. Just chillin’ at the beach? Try parasailing or learn to surf with Aquas Azules. They will have you hanging ten in no time. So let the Pura Vida lifestyle set the pace for your 2019.

Life is short…GO LIVE IT!!!

Looking for great food, great drinks, and great NFL Football? Stop in at Byblos Casino or Sancho’s on the mountain or Kamuk Casino and Sports Bar in Quepos to catch all the sports action.

PAWS is holding their 8th annual Battle of the Bands on January 27 at Ronnie’s Place in Manuel Antonio. So if you’re looking for great music, great food, great people, and a really GREAT cause, this is the place to be.

We would like to welcome our new advertisers this month: Abogados Leiva y Asociados, American Export, Costa Rica Escape Bus, CR Surf, Eden’s Nest, Fab Body, Islas of Manuel Antonio, Krisa Curtains and Blinds, and Outlier Legal.

We are always looking for great cover photos so please send us your best shots to info@quepolandia.com for future consideration to have your pictures make the 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 us here or Facebook/Quepolandia. We appreciate and welcome your comments. Have a Happy 2019!

Peace and Enjoy…D

The Sloth Institute in Costa Rica is leading the world in sloth research conservation

The Sloth InstituteThe Sloth Institute (TSI), based in Manuel Antonio, is leading the rest of the world in efforts to research the behavioral ecology of wild, rehabilitating and released sloths after rehabilitating two three-fingered sloths called Destiny and Pocahontas—two of the few three-fingered sloths in Costa Rica to be successfully rehabilitated from a very young age and returned into the wild.

TSI, which is a not-for-profit organization, aims to research captive, wild and recently released sloths, so that scientists and animal-lovers all over the world might better understand the internet’s favorite slowpokes, as well as ensuring the conservation of sloths and providing care for injured sloths so they can be released.
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Peruvian Aji de Gallina

Chef's Corner logoWe once had a quaint little Peruvian restaurant downtown Quepos where this became my favorite chicken dish.

It is creamy and spicy with an unusual mix of walnuts, Parmesan, and these orange “aji” peppers that can be found in produce markets from time to time. I have also found this “Ajinka” sauce that I highly recommend to anyone who, like me, enjoys collecting hot sauces.

Aji peppers and ajinka sauceFor 8 portions

  • 3 potatoes
  • 2 large whole boneless chicken breasts (4 halves)
  • 4 cups of chicken broth
  • 4 slices of stale baguette (about 1/2 inch slices) or a similar bread
  • 3 to 4 aji peppers, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons of walnuts
  • 2 eggs
  • 10 black olives, chopped (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 can or 1/2 cup of evaporated milk

Completed dishDirections

  1. Boil potatoes and eggs until cooked. Peel and set aside.
  2. Boil chicken breasts in chicken broth and strain when fully cooked while reserving the stock. Let cool before shredding all of the meat.
  3. Cook the aromatics: onions, garlic, aji peppers in the oilve oil until very fragrant, and then allow to cool. 
    Meanwhile, soak the bread slices in the evaporated milk.
  4. Place cooked aromatics, leftover stock, bread with milk, and walnuts in a food processor. Blend until smooth.
    Return to pan and bring to a slow boil. Stir in the shredded chicken; adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper (I prefer white).
  5. Aji de gallina is usually served with a couple wedges of boiled potatoes, a couple wedges of hard boiled eggs, steamed rice and black olives.

Let’s talk about the Resplendent Quetzal

QuetzalBy Paul Gerace

One of the most colorful birds found here in Costa Rica is also a personal favorite of mine. The Resplendent Quetzal has iridescent feathers that can show colors of green, cobalt blue, lime, yellow, and ultramarine. It’s body can appear green, gold, or blue-violet also depending on the light. The chest is a bright red and it’s bill is a bright yellow. To watch it in flight is an eye opening experience that one never forgets.

Only the male has tail feathers that can extend over 2 feet long during mating season.

They are found from southern Mexico down into Panama. But the best place to see them is right here in Costa Rica in our protected forests.

Resplendent Quetzals will eat small insects and an assortment of fruits but their main food is wild avocados.

My favorite place to see them is either in San Gerardo de Dota or Santa Maria de Dota. They are in the Trogon family and their large eyes have helped them adapt to the low light of the cloud forests.

Resplendent Quetzals are classified as near-threatened due to the loss of habitat but are flourishing in the above mentioned areas, as well as in the Monteverde cloud forest.

You can see more of my images at www.photosofcostarica.com


Amazing Diversity of Our Flying Mammals

By Jack Ewing

Bat flyingWhat looks like a mouse with wings and flitters around the house? Of course it’s a bat. The name for “bat” in old English was “flittermouse”, I imagine because they somewhat resemble a mouse, and their wings flutter or flitter. In middle English it was “bakke” which evolved into “bat” in modern English in the late 1500’s.

What comes to mind when someone mentions bats? Probably nothing good. They have been associated with everything from witchcraft, darkness and Halloween to vampires and death. Terms like dingbat and batty have been use to describe people who are foolish or silly or you might hear it said that a person who acts goofy has bats in their belfry. If there are any terms or sayings that show bats in a positive light I have never heard them. These sayings and ideas all come from a time when superstition ruled people’s lives and science was in its infancy. Today we have a wealth of scientific knowledge about bats, much of which is truly fascinating, yet it is virtually unknown to the general public. For example bats comprise over 20% of all mammal species on our planet, and are the only flying mammal. According to Wikipedia there are 5416 mammalian species on earth and over 1200 of them are bats. In Costa Rica, and I suspect in most tropical countries, over 50% of mammalian species are bats. The smallest mammal in the world is a bat, Kitti’s hog-nosed bat, also known as the bumblebee bat, which weighs a mere two grams (.07 oz.), about the same as two paper clips. The fastest mammal in the world is also a bat, the Mexican long-tailed bat, which has been clocked at 160 kph (99 mph), much faster than a cheetah which has a top speed of 120 kph (74.5 mph).
Hacienda Baru

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Fiddlin’ Around – December 2018

Fiddlin'Around headerSan Jose topeWelcome to all you travelers who have shown the good judgement and the necessary spirit of adventure to visit this beautiful and diverse part of the world! December, and the holiday season in general, is a fine time to be here. The rains will have subsided, everything is still green and lush, and the local musicians are waking up from their long naps and tuning up. If we can all manage to remember what Christmas is supposed to be about, maybe, just maybe, we can remember to be kind to each other! And laugh and sing together!

Last month my article was about music and horses being sources of emotional and physical therapy. For the un-initiated, there are horse gatherings and parades and exhibitions that go on all over Costa Rica this time of year, so if you hear about a Cabalgata or Tope happening somewhere, go see it! It is an amazing thing to witness dozens—sometimes hundreds—of magnificent animals and their riders all spiffed up and showing off their skills. There are excellent horsemen and women here, and often they are riding pretty spectacular looking South American and Spanish bred animals. It’s big fun to watch or participate in for everyone from Gramps to little kids, and they prepare for these events and look forward to them all year long. The granddaddy of them all is the Tope in San Jose during Christmas—literally hundreds of entrants parading through the streets. They broadcast it all day long on the TV, and it is big fun to watch or participate in, even if horses ain’t your thang…

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Memoirs of a Masseur – December 2018

My sister (who is 3 years older than me) and my nephew (who is 15) will be visiting Manuel Antonio in a few weeks. I sit contemplating what side of Manuel Antonio to show my nephew, and what life lessons I’ve learned, that may help him become a happy man down the road of life. It’s not easy for me as I have been living outside the United States for almost 20 years. I want him to know and to understand that planet Earth is his home and it is a world more united than ever despite what the evening news may tell us. My most memorable accomplishments came from soul searching and meditation, often times living alone in foreign countries, traveling, and not having a computer to turn to. I read, and wrote, and felt that every day I must cultivate my body, mind, and spirit. Somehow I had complete confidence that if I did those 3 things every day, all would work out in the end. Later I learned that there is no end, or if there is, it is solely death. How does anyone see the possibilities that are in front of them, with so much static and stress involved in the high pace life of today? To act against the norm is courageous, but more admirable is to nurture the unique joy within ourselves because we are doing what we want to do, and may we live well because of it. I often see cash-motivated lives justified by ”it’s a means to an end”, but I find that the easy way out. Easy ways out are usually unsatisfying.
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Surfing Quepos/Manuel Antonio – December 2018


Photo Paul Gerace, photosofcostarica.com

By Greg Gordon,  CR Surf Travel Company
www.CRsurf.com   @crsurf

If you are a surfer or want to learn to surf while you are here, then you should know a little about the surf breaks in the area. Here is a quick guide from north to south:


Not the point break at the tip of the Osa Peninsula, this is a quiet town about 20 minutes drive south of Quepos. The beach is soft sand and the waves generally are mellow and work best at two hours before high tide to an hour after. There are occasionally lifeguards about 1/2 kilometer north of the first beach entrance, but otherwise you may be the only surfer in the water. On smaller days it is a lot of fun for beginners, and on bigger days an empty break for more advanced surfers. 


Bordered on the north end by the Baru River which creates rocky sandbars down the beach, this break has very powerful waves on the outside while the reform can be perfect for beginners at lower tides. There are lifeguards posted who will show newcomers where to paddle out and where to avoid. Generally when it’s head high or bigger the higher tide works better and when it’s under head high it can produce hollow barrels at lower tides. This is the most consistent wave in the country so there will always be something to surf, and there are five excellent surf schools in town (Sunset Surf, CR Surf School, Monkey Surf School, Dominical Waverider, and Dominical Surf Lessons) 


Just south of Dominical, this bay has small boulders in the shore break that are exposed at low tide but covered at high tide. At the south end it’s best for beginners starting at about an hour before high tide until an hour after. Right in front of the beach entrance has a decent high tide wave for intermediate surfers. No lifeguards here and the rips can get strong, but generally it’s a couple of feet smaller than Dominical.


Ripe Plantain Empanadas

Chef's Corner logoRipe plantainLiving in paradise means you’re surrounded with exotic fruits such as the plantain. It is also a versatile cooking ingredient that is less sweet and more starchy then its cousin the banana. We know that they are loaded with brain-boosting nutritious benefits such as potassium, vitamins, magnesium, to name a few…

Here is a little a little snack that is both sweet and savory. I’ve adapted it from a Colombian recipe to be gluten free and possibly vegan if the cheese is substituted with beans. 

  1. Finished empanadasFirst you start with a medium ripe plantain.
  2. Peel and boil the plantain for about 20 minutes and allow it to cool.
  3. Drain and mash with a fork.
  4. Add, ¾ cup of corn flour (or masa rica found in stores) and ½ teaspoon of salt.
  5. Mix until you obtain a dry dough that doesn’t stick to your hands.Roll into 8 to 10 little golf ball sizes.
  6. Flatten into circles and place one pinch of shredded cheese (mozzarella is recommended) or one small dollop of refried beans for the vegan option.
  7. Fold over to create a half moon shape, and pinch around the edges to seal.
  8. Fry in cooking oil until golden brown and drain on paper towels.
  9. Sprinkle with a mixture of salt, sugar, and cinnamon and serve.Shaped empanada


by Shelagh Duncan

Design Wise logoSectional sofaBuilding or purchasing a house can be one the most exciting times in your life, especially if it is located in a beautiful coastal area in Costa Rica! Once you have your design, the building begins and then you need to find furniture. Choosing new furniture can be a surprisingly daunting task, so where do you begin…?

Many of us are often unsure about what to look for when it’s time to buy a new sofa. It may have been over a decade ago that we purchased the last one and typically our new home will look quite different from the ones we lived in back home. After all, this is the tropics!

There are many things to consider before you buy; what style do you want to incorporate into your new home, what colours, and how will you to arrange the furniture. One of the most important considerations is space. What is going to fit in your space while still giving you the maximum amount of seating, and the look and feel you want?

Another more specific consideration is the climate here. Everything seems to wear out and degrade much faster than back home, so durability is a big factor, and with any sofa ‘Comfort is King’.
Royal Palm Interiors

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That’s Fishin’- December 2018

That's Fishin header

Woman with fishWelcome to the December edition of That’s Fishin! We had some truly spectacular fishing during November with some of the best Marlin fishing that we have seen for some time. Lots of Blue Marlin have been showing 20-40 miles from Quepos and are targeted during full day Offshore trips. Many boats in the fleet had banner Marlin days raising 3-4 Marlin with some accounts of double digit Marlin raises in a single days fishing from several boats in the fleet which is just insane fishing, wherever you are in the world! Most of the Blue Marlin are in the 150-250lb range but some larger fish up to 400-500lb have been caught also. Striped Marlin made an early appearance this year and good numbers of Stripeys in the 60-150lb range were caught in November in addition to a few Black Marlin and increasing numbers of Sailfish as the month progressed. An IGFA grand slam of three different Billfish species in one day is certainly a real possibility at this time of year!

As December progresses, Sailfish numbers will continue to increase ready for the height of Sailfish season which is typically January to March. Double digit Sailfish releases should be recorded some days this month and if catching some good numbers of Billfish is on your bucket list we have some fantastic boats and captains that can put you right on top of the action. Check out my boat GOOD DAY, or Caribsea Sportfishing, Double Nickle Charters, Pacific Fly Sportfishing, or JP Sport Fishing. All are great options for an Offshore trip in search of Billfish and our other hard fighting Pelagic species.

December is an excellent time for Dorado/Mahi Mahi with most fish in the 15-40lb range and always the possibility of a really huge fish in the 50-70lb range. Yellow fin Tuna with a few Big Eye Tuna mixed in, will be abundant 25+ miles Offshore and can be located together with mega pods of Spinner dolphins which makes for some amazing scenes! If you have never seen this phenomenon before, I GUARANTEE you will be amazed!

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How to Stay Healthy on a Budget

A Healthier You headerYour health is always worth investing in – it’s true as they say, ‘health is wealth.’ However, you don’t need to be wealthy to be healthy. Here are some tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle while on a budget.

Two bowls of foodMeal Plan

Before grocery shopping, take the time to plan out the majority of your meals for the week. Think about how to incorporate protein, greens, carbs and a healthy source of fat (such as avocado, coconut, nuts) in each meal. Then, build your grocery list with the ingredients needed to make those meals, so that you only buy what you need for the week. This will make your grocery runs go further, last longer and overall be more cost efficient.

Buy whole foods

Avoid the aisles of processed food in the grocery store, and instead shop the perimeter of the store where proteins and produce can be found. If you buy mostly proteins, vegetables and fruits, then that’s what you’ll reach for to eat when you are hungry or cooking a meal at home. Try to make an effort to go to La Feria on the weekends to buy your produce – it’s always cheaper than the grocery store, and you’re supporting local farmers. Tip: Avoid letting overripe fruits or vegetables go to waste by using them in a smoothie instead.

Two smoothiesGet a workout when & where you can

Consider trying home workouts instead of spending money on a gym membership or group workout classes. You can find any type of workout imaginable on YouTube that you can do from the comfort of your own home. Not to mention, we live in Costa Rica so why not take advantage of the beauty that surrounds us and find a way to get a workout in outside. This could be hiking to a waterfall, walking instead of driving, a run on the beach, swimming in the ocean or a pool – the possibilities are limitless right here in your backyard if you just get creative.

Kids Saving the Rainforest – December 2018

KSTR logoBuddy the slothby Karma Casey

Hello Quepolandia readers! Its Karma again, the spokes-kid for Kids Saving the Rainforest! Happy holidays from me and all the animals at KSTR! This time of year is a great time for getting together with our loved ones, and appreciating the things we have. It is also a time for reaching out and showing others how much we care about them. I love giving gifts to my friends and family!

Here at the Kids Saving the Rainforest wildlife sanctuary, home to more than 50 animals we like to show the residents of the sanctuary how much we care about them. We will be making special treats and preparing a big holiday feast with fun, interactive food in our animal kitchen!

Last year, I helped make popcorn and cranberry garlands for the parrots, and stuffed hollowed out coconuts full of healthy, nutritious goodies for some kinkajous and white-faced capuchin monkeys! Our sanctuary staff handed out all the yummy treats, and we all got to watch the animals have a great time enjoying their holiday feast! I can’t wait to do it again this year.

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