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memoirs of a massuer headerManuel Antonio is not for everyone. It is a beach town that caters to the parts of us that are lazy and aloof. I see families, lovers, and friends arrive here salivating for change. We live with an alternative lifestyle to not enough hours in a day, the “realities” of life elsewhere seem so distant. I’ve heard from many that the over stimulation of nature….both jungle and ocean… make them feel so… free. It roots itself into the psyche because it is all around us, sleeping to jungle sounds make city dwellers feel like they are camping! In my 17 years here I have come to believe that Manuel Antonio operates on its own unique level. It is a place that can bewitch the most stringent, it can surprise the most mundane.

The level I am referring to is meditation. I believe Manuel Antonio forces us to be more aware of ourselves by changing the culture we are used to. Simply by alternating the repetition of day to day living, and the habits we are all used to, produces the opportunity for self-contemplation. This alone stimulates change. Change is something, I have grown to believe through my massage work, most people are willfully fearful of. Don’t be! Why would humans be afraid of change when everything around them is changing….plants, weather, ocean tides, and the sun and moon cycles (to name a few). Do we actually believe ourselves not to be one with our environment? Are we evolved beyond that? I think not. However, in order to pick the fruit from a tree we must first cultivate the roots and the trunk. That means we must work with fears, frustrations, disappointments, and irritations, the painful aspects of life. Then, if we are lucky, we might be able to pick the flowers from our beautiful gardens.

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Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Chef's Corner logoAfter we thank our Jamaican friends for Bob Marley, we should also thank them for this Jerk seasoning recipe which is the absolute king of marinades.

For 10 assorted bone-in chicken pieces.

Marinade Ingredients

  • 1 entire bunch of scallions(cebollino in Costa Rican) chopped to facilitate processing.
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 shot of dark rum
  • 1/3 cup of lime juice
  • 10 crushed or 1 tablespoon of allspice berries (called Jamaica in Costa Rica)*
  • 1 inch cube of ginger
  • 2 whole habanero peppers or to taste. Fiery habaneros or scotch bonnet peppers are recommended, but they can be lessened or eliminated if your guests have low heat tolerance.
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup oil (I like to use coconut, but any other is fine)
  • Salt and black pepper

*I like to dry fry the allspice berries for a few minutes to release the fragrance and then pound them with a mortar and pestle. The powdered kind is significantly weaker.

Jamaican Jerk ChickenDirections

  1. Mix all the marinade ingredients in a food processor.
  2. Marinade the chicken pieces in the refrigerator for at least four hours or overnight.
  3. Set the grill to a low temperature to avoid burning.
  4. Grill the chicken pieces, turning frequently, for 45 minutes and then finish in a 350 oven for 30 minutes ensuring that all pieces are done. Juices should run clear when a toothpick is inserted into the thickest part.

This marinade works well with pork chops too. Great served with rice and beans.

Contact Chef Desiree at costadezz@gmail.com.


Brew houseFuego Brew Co is a hidden jewel ready to be discovered by beer loving travelers and local Ticos alike. A craft brewery located on the southern pacific coast of Costa Rica in the tiny bohemian beach town of Dominical, just a quick 30 minute drive south of Quepos. Built using beautiful local and sustainable materials, Fuego is a sight to behold. A giant bamboo ramp leads up through the jungle to the second floor where beautiful breezes and views of the river, ocean and jungle await. A glass bottom floor looks down upon the brew house, where top-notch brewing equipment ensures the beer is always fresh and delicious. Toucans, Scarlett Macaws and a huge variety of other jungle creatures call the land surrounding Fuego home and are frequent visitors.

Fuego Brew Co interiorFuego’s resident brew master, Alan Struck, honed his brewing skills at San Francisco’s Anchor Steam Brewery and Maui Brew Co before bringing his knowledge and passion about craft beer to Costa Rica. The result? Fuego makes the best craft beer in Costa Rica, hands down. An ever-evolving menu chock full of organic vegetables, local chicken, house- made sauces and sustainably sourced seafood matches well with the 6 different varieties of house-made brews. Fuego’s most popular brew is the Guanbana Hefeweizen and should not be missed. Especially when paired with some home-made beer battered onion rings and seared tuna.

ExteriorSo take the adventure and experience Dominical and Fuego Brew Co for yourself. Look for it on the banks of the Barú River, a stone’s throw away from playa Dominical’s powerful waves. Across from the schoolhouse there’s a big wooden gate and believe us when we say once you’ve been to Fuego, you’ll never forget it.

Spanish Sucks – April 2017

Spanish Sucks by Os¡Happy New 70 Verbs!
¡Happy New Flashcards!
Parte IV

¡Hola amigos!  How did you do filling the previous seven verbs?:


Good luck with the next seven!:


Remember that I chose those 70 verbs based on the frequency of use, the importance of complexity and the pattern of conjugation…  Every month I will give you seven flashcards to feel!  Go to my website and compare your fillings with mine!  http://www.oscostarica.com/

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¿Qué Pasa en Quepos? – May/June 2017

Cover May-June 2017Bienvenidos…Welcome and thank you coming. The southern Pacific has so much to offer we are sure you will not be disappointed. Whether you are exploring our many National parks, fishing for a record marlin, enjoying our spectacular beaches, or one of the many tours. This is the place to DO IT. After a day of adventure don’t forget to pamper yourself. Book a massage or Reiki. Get a mani/pedi and a facial. How about a private chef preparing your meals. Remember it is your vacation….Enjoy it

May/June brings the beginning of “green” season and turtle season. We would like to thank the Matapalo Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Project for all the work they do in protecting the endangered sea turtles that come to our beaches to nest and lay their eggs. Also to Gunnar Ebbesson for the great cover. Don’t miss the PAWS 6th Annual Elegant Evening of Fun at the Runaway Grill on June 17. It is an outstanding event at an outstanding location for an outstanding cause.

We would like to thank our new advertisers to this magazine…..Carlos Herreros/Coldwell Banker Relocation Services, Fuego Brew Co., Hidden Bay Marina View Properties, Marina Pez Vela Commercial Plaza, Marina Pez Vela Villas, Quepos Yacht Sales, & Waterfalls Manuel Antonio. And new our contributor Danni Coyote.

We hope you enjoy are magazine and it helps guide you through this enchanting paradise we call home. You can always follow and share us here or on facebook.com/quepolandia. We appreciate and welcome your comments and photos.

Peace and Enjoy…D

Lapas and Titis Form Alliance!!

TCA logoJust 4 short years ago, one of our most active members of the Titi Conservation Alliance began another ambitious conservation project with similar aims: to  protect and extend the habitat of the Ara macao, better known as the Scarlet Macaw! Gaia Hotel and Resort started its program to raise and release these magnificent birds, with the primary goal of connecting the large colony of macaws located around Carara National Park north of Manuel Antonio with the other major colony located in the Osa Peninsula of southern Costa Rica. The program, managed by wildlife veterinarian Msc. Ana Maria Torres, has gradually released 39 “lapas” to date with plans to continue releases during the coming years.

Scarlet macaw flyingThe Lapas and Titis have much in common and thus make a truly interesting Alliance! They inhabit and utilize similar trees found in the rain forest, such as the Gallinazo, the Espavel, and Mango trees. Both species are highly sociable and therefore are favorites with tourists who visit the area. Sadly both species have suffered greatly from habitat loss and illegal poaching, which we are trying to reverse through education programs and habitat reforestation.

While we do indeed enjoy seeing both the Macaws and Titi monkeys more and more, the wildlife experts do request one thing from us however: PLEASE DON’T FEED THE LAPAS! As with Titi monkeys, many of the foods we give them are not the natural diet and can cause them severe health problems for the animal. Please, please enjoy them, take plenty of pictures but no feeding!

Scarlet macaw pairJoin us in saluting the outstanding efforts of Gaia Hotel and Resort and the other member businesses of the Titi Conservation Alliance and the Ara Macao Association (ASOMACAO),   who are working hard to protect the incredible biodiversity around us. For more info about these wonderful efforts, visit www.aramacaocostarica.org and www.monotiti.org.

A Simple & Satisfying Tortilla Soup

I often serve this soup at the beginning of a dinner showcasing latín flavors, or in a big bowl and as a meal on its own. It can be vegan by omitting the chicken stock and meat. Other variations are beans and cheese; seafood lovers can replace the chicken with shrimp. For 6 to 8 servings.

Home made chicken stock

  • 1 bone-in chicken breast
  • 2 whole chicken wings
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/2 medium carrot (they’re so big down here!)
  • 1 bay leaf
  1. Cover all of these ingredients in a stock pot with 1 liter (about 1 and a half quarts) of water.
  2. Simmer for 1 hour. Strain and reserve the chicken.
  3. Discard all of the other solids.
  4. Ideally, you should cool down the stock and skim the fat that rises to the surface. 

For the tomato-based soup

  • 1 liter of tomato puree (passata)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar

Combine the tomato puree with the stock, adjust seasonings.

For the garnishes

  • 6 to 8 fresh corn tortillas (plan on 1 per person)
  • Cubed cooked chicken meat from the stock
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 bunch of cilantro leaves 
  • chopped chives
  1. Cut the tortillas into thin ribbons and fry in oil until golden and crispy.  
  2. Follow the pictures by placing the tortilla strips into bowls, followed by the chicken (or other) and the avocado.
  3. Pour the tomato soup into bowl and then garnish with (optional shredded cheese) cilantro and chives.
  4. Serve immediately.

End of Vacation

memoirs of a massuer headerWe live in a world today which is always striving to make the tasks of daily living faster and easier. Our physical, mental, and spiritual health should be at an all-time high compared to decades of the past. Modern innovations in this high-tech day and age should be leaving us with more time and money, if we play our cards right, to cultivate ourselves in whatever we choose….health, love, art, travel, amongst other fine things in life. I wonder why most people never feel like the weekend is long enough, why our favorite activities get less and less attention as we grow older, or quite possibly that the sense of stillness, or simply having time on our hands, may be subconsciously being avoided. I know many people who never feel freedom or embrace the notion of nothing to do, nowhere to be. For these people it is impossible to just “detach” as they are creatures of habit, robotic.

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Machete by Jack EwingMany years ago on a Saturday afternoon, having gone to the police station in Matapalo for something or other, I found a hand cuffed, bare footed, blood covered man with a deep cut starting on his right shoulder and extending across his chest. There was blood on the floor, the chair he was sitting in, and even on the wall. Don Marcos, the policeman, was sitting at his desk writing up a report. “Machete fight,” he said in reply to my inquisitive look. “The other one’s on his way to the hospital. This one started it,” nodding toward the bloody prisoner.

Assorted machetes.

Assorted machetes.

To the average outsider visiting rural Costa Rica the big knife is simply a machete, but to the campesino, or rural resident, it is an absolute necessity of life. Machetes are used for everything: chopping weeds, cutting small trees, trimming hedges and bushes, pruning trees, peeling the bark off of poles, splitting kindling, peeling oranges, harvesting rice, corn, cacao, bananas, and other crops, cutting boards, shaving the edge of a board, scraping crud off of anything, unscrewing bolts, cutting lawns, digging in flower beds, killing snakes, and I’m sure there are more that can be added to the list. I have never seen anyone shave with one, but I don’t doubt that it has happened. As mentioned above it is, on rare occasions, used as a weapon. More about that later.

Hacienda Baru

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Not as I do

shambling through paradiseSome people have noticed that when it comes to talking about daily life in Costa Rica, I am not nearly the sardonic, sarcastic, overbearing, know-it-all, gringo wiseass I once was. Part of it is age—once I hit the second half century club, with over half my life now in the books, I began gravitating more toward thoughts and activities that make me feel good, and avoiding topics that make the choler rise inside.

But there is another reason. For the past few years, I have been in the business of selling Costa Rica. I bring people to Costa Rica, and like thousands of others here, I make a living doing so. Tourism is the golden egg, and Costa Rica has adapted to this reality nicely. When I first came here almost 30 years ago, tourism was not what it is now. Coffee and bananas were bigger money makers for the country. Sometime in the mid-1990s, this dynamic changed, and the natural beauty of the country itself became the meal ticket. The bandwagon is big, and I jumped on some years ago and never looked back.
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Kids Saving the Rainforest – April 2017

This stunned and injured monkey was spotted in front of our house. KSTR to the rescue!

This stunned and injured monkey was spotted in front of our house. KSTR to the rescue!

Hello once again, my dear faithful readers! I’m here to report to you about what’s new with me and KSTR, as I am every month! This month has been particularly interesting, I must say. A lot of things have happened, and a lot of new things are coming for me and KSTR! For the last few months I’ve been studying the KSTR tour cheat sheet, to ready myself to give a tour. I am happy to say that soon, I will be ready!

My family and I also happened to find an injured monkey, hiding in our neighbor’s bushes. She had a head wound, and possibly a broken limb. We went down, and watched her while we waited for KSTR to arrive. Then KSTR arrived and retrieved her, to take her back to the sanctuary and check out her injuries. She looked like such a sweet girl, and I genuinely felt terrible for her. I hope that she gets better soon, and is able to be released back into the wild. Good luck, little monkey.

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The “Man-Chair” and the top 10 features for chairs with Man Appeal

Design Wise
By Shelagh Duncan

If you used to watch Frasier back in the day you will remember his impeccable sense of style.

“So what do you think of what I’ve done with the place?” Frasier asked his father, Martin, in the pilot episode. “You know, every item here was carefully selected. The lamp by Corbu, this chair by Eames, and this couch is an exact replica of the one Coco Chanel had in her Paris atelier.” 

Eames chairWell, as soon as his father moved in—with his grossly overstuffed and battered “Man Chair” I could feel his pain. For the 11 years that the show ran that hideous chair created an eyesore in the middle of his very elegant and tastefully decorated condo. He suffered greatly at the extreme ugliness of this monstrosity*.
However, the really painful part came in the series finale when Frasier’s father moves out and Frasier finally gets to put his beloved Eames recliner back in the living room. His father comes to visit, sits back in the Eames recliner and says “Hmmm … this is pretty comfortable. I would have been okay with this!”

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Marimba headerBy Nancy Buchan

Last month the president of Costa Rica, Luis Guillermo Solis, attended a celebration at a school in the Nicoya—an area, along with Guanacaste, that is somewhat known for the making and playing of marimbas. He was treated to some local students playing their marimbas, and then he designated November 30th the Day of the Marimba! Now maybe you don’t think that this is particularly big news, but I think this humble yet mighty instrument deserves a day of its own to be honored. It’s already the national instrument of Guatemala and of Nicaragua, so why shouldn’t CR get on the band wagon! The marimba has inspired political diatribes, survived governmental bans and modern updating, and it is still a unique and beautiful sounding traditional instrument that is very popular throughout Central America.

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

The summer is here, the marlin and tuna bite is on, and tourists are shopping, dining and soaking up the views. April is an incredibly busy month for everyone here in the area and the schedule at MPV is no exception. During the month of April the Marina will be hosting two international billfishing tournaments, weekly live radio shows from the Runaway Grill, free outdoor movie nights and Semana Santa specials for all of our guests and patrons. We are incredibly grateful to our local community, staff and visitors for all the support in helping to make this project so special and the team and family at Marina Pez Vela continue to renew their commitment to creating the most dynamic and unique facilities anywhere in Costa Rica.


In the days leading up to the Offshore World championships, (which will also be hosted at Marina Pez Vela) we are very proud to announce a unique opportunity for anglers from around Costa Rica to challenge themselves in a prize money tournament against the best teams from around the world. The MPV OPEN is open to everyone. There is still time to sign up and get your team the chance to have some fun, win some money and measure your skills against the best teams from around the globe. For more information: marinapezvelatournaments.com.


Marina Pez Vela and Costa Rica will once again play host to the most prestigious fishing tournament in the world, the Offshore World Championship. This is an invitation/qualification only event with teams from around the world converging on the Marina Pez Vela and the Manuel Antonio area to compete for what is equivalent to the gold medal in the Olympics of billfishing. There are daily activities and weigh-ins so whether you are an angler or not, make sure to mark the dates and come and share in the atmosphere at MPV during this iconic event.


If you haven’t come to join in the fun at the Runaway Grill, you should start now! Every Thursday from 5-7 pm, Evan Luck, the iconic voice of the classic rock station 99.5 comes to broadcast his show live from Marina Pez Vela. The Runaway grill has a vibrant happy hour with great specials every day, and with the live broadcast there is always a great crowd. This month, with Semana Santa and all our tournaments, every Thursday is going to be loads of fun and is a great way to start winding down the work week, share some laughs and a magical sunset with friends or guests. You can listen live here in Costa Rica on 99.5 or tune in anywhere in the world at radiodos.com.


April has one of our best outdoor movie lineups ever! This is a great way for tourists or locals to enjoy the public areas at the marina, take advantage of the weekly specials at any of our restaurants and just share in a stunning setting and a free night of entertainment. See this month’s schedule in Quepolandia or on our website at marinapezvela.com.

Marina Pez Vela logo

Lance, Letty & Niven: the Rest of the Story: UPDATED

Lance, Niven, & Letty at Dos Locos

Lance, Niven, & Letty at Dos Locos

Click the PLAY button to listen to Letty, Lance, Niven & Ed.

My name is Ed Hooven. For decades my late wife Maya (who died on Feb. 3rd, 2017) and I were good friends with Lance, Letty and Niven. Our friendship was in part based on our mutual interests in playing and listening to live music.

I write this with tears in my eyes as I am the last survivor of this group (born one month after Letty) and have recently been lost in my memories while listening to the hours of recordings we made in our Toronto music room and on gigs (many with Lance, Letty and Niven) since my wife’s recent death from a second bout with cancer.

But let me go back to the beginning: It all started in 1968 (as I learned from Maya) that a new Canadian named Lance Bennett arrived in Toronto’s Yorkville (the then hip area of the city). They immediately struck up a friendship with Maya hiring Lance to work at her club the “Penny Farthing” coffee house. While the club closed shortly after that Maya took Lance with her to the several other Yorkville venues she worked at in those years. They stayed in touch over the next 15 or so years while Lance traveled intermittently to places like South America and England.

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