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Once a Beautiful River

By Jack Ewing

A few short years ago I wrote an article about the Barú River and the otters that could still be seen there at that time. (Read it HERE.) I proclaimed that the Barú was the most beautiful river on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, proudly stated that no other river bridge on the coastal highway could boast such a magnificent view, and expressed the hope that the community of Dominical would fight to keep it that way. At the time there were a number of companies trying to acquire permits to extract gravel from the river bed. The community of Dominical, having seen the destruction created by the mining of other rivers such as the Naranjo, went before the authorities, opposed the exploitation of the river for removing sand and gravel, and won. Everybody was happy, and the Barú retained its fame as the most beautiful river on the coastal highway. That was about four years ago.

Barú River before

One day in February of 2018 while driving from Hacienda Barú to Dominical I happened to glance up river while crossing the bridge. My God. It’s gone. What happened to that beautiful view? What on earth is that monstrosity running down the middle of the river? I couldn’t believe my eyes. That spectacular view from the bridge, a veritable treasure that distinguished the community of Dominical from so many others whose rivers had already been ruined, had disappeared. Almost overnight it changed from the photo above to this:

Barú River now

I am not an engineer, but I’m pretty good on common sense, and I can’t even imagine what that aberration of sand and gravel running down the middle of the river is supposed to accomplish. I suspect that it has something to do with protecting the property of people downstream who have chosen to build homes and businesses on the floodplain of a major river. As often happens when you try to alter nature it will most certainly bring some unexpected and unwelcome consequences which nobody can predict. I breathed a sigh of relief at the thought. Of course the new dike is only temporary. When Mother Nature decides that the time is right she will remove it and give us our view back.
Hacienda Baru

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Sesame Noodles with Chicken

Chef's Corner logoThis is a crowd-pleaser, and a creative way to serve leftover chicken (or other proteins). The rice vermicelli, shredded vegetables, sweet, sour, and spicy vinaigrette will make you want to finish the bowl.


  • 1/2 cup good quality soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil for sautéing
  • 2 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • A small amount of shredded ginger
  • 2 tablespoons of sesame oil
  • 1 package of rice vermicelli—the whole package
  • 1/2 cabbage
  • 1 big Costa Rican carrot, cut into matchsticks
  • 2 stalks of celery, thinly sliced
  • 2 stalks of scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 thinly sliced hot chili pepper (optional)
  • 1/2 kg of cooked chicken or other meat, sliced thinly.

Chicken noodlesDirections

  1. Boil water in a large pot for the vermicelli. When pour contents of the package into boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes until soft, strain, set aside.
  2. In a large pan or wok, preferably non-stick, fry the garlic, ginger, and scallions until fragrant in the vegetable oil.
  3. Add the shredded cabbage, and the celery and carrot.
  4. Stir fry the vegetables and then add meats, noodles, brown sugar, and liquid ingredients. Mix all very well and serve warm or cold.
  5. You can garnish with chopped nuts, cilantro, sesame seeds. Yum!

Memoirs of a Masseur – April 2018

Every day I ask people when they received their last massage. For me, it is a prerequisite question before I begin my work. I listen attentively and have come to the conclusion that very few people give back to themselves enough. For some reason guilt exists about maintaining our own bodies. There is no need to wait. No need to have a back out of whack, a tight neck, a migraine, today is the day to loosen up and get yourself a massage. Let experienced hands put you into a trance where the mind and body can heal, can change, can grow. Massage is no longer a relaxing luxury. Therapeutic massage is an effective healthcare approach. A combination of art and science that true professionals in the field have spent years combining technical and academic information along with developing subtleties of palpation and technique. My twenty years of massaging defines my life more so than just my job. Working in my chosen field you could say, has massaged me into a man that goes through life caring about the mental, physical, and spiritual direction of other humans.

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 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 worldwide. 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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Karma Saving the Rainforest – April 2018

KSTR logoBy Karma Casey

Hello Quepolandia readers! It’s Karma, the KSTR spokeskid again! This month I am going to be telling you about two memorable wildlife releases, and how to help animals like them.

Just recently, Kids Saving The Rainforest released two Titi monkeys. Titi’s are also known as Grey Crowned Squirrel Monkeys. These monkeys live in the Quepos/Manuel Antonio area, and nowhere else in the world! We are very lucky to have them. This is the animal species we save the most of at Kids Saving the Rainforest, along with sloths, anteaters, parrots, and more!

Elise with broken legOne of the Titi monkeys that were released was an adult female. We called her Elise. Once the KSTR veterinary team got the monkey to the clinic, they found out she had been electrocuted. She had really bad burns on her tail and her right leg, and damage to her head and brain.

They found out something else, too: she was lactating! Lactating means that she was producing milk! If she was producing milk, that means she had a little baby in the wild! I can’t even imagine being away from my baby!

While she was in the clinic, the KSTR staff & interns tried to make her as comfortable as possible, and helped her become well again. She lost her Achilles Tendon, and half of her tail was amputated. When Elise was ready for release, she was brought to the jungle where different troops were seen. She was released with high hopes that she would be reunited with her beloved baby.

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Luxury Bed Linens: The Big Exposé

Design Wise logoA Higher Thread Count Does Not Mean You Are Getting A Better Quality Sheet!

By Shelagh Duncan

Can this be true? After all the hype and marketing we see about luxury bed linens, are the high-end 1000 thread count sheet sets no better than the 200TC ones we can buy at MaxiPali? Of course not—nothing is that simple, but it helps to know the facts and understand what the differences are, and that allows us to make informed decisions when buying our sheets.

Luxury beddingThe original notion of luxury bed linens began with the designers for the Westin Hotel Group in the early 1990’s. Before that time hotels generally used coloured or patterned bedspreads because they were easier to keep clean. The people at Westin wanted to test the market to see how they could improve their guest experience as ‘sleeping well’ was the stated priority.

What they found is how the all white bed that we are so used to seeing now, came about. They discovered that just by changing the bedding colour to white, guests had the feeling that the rooms had been newly renovated, and also reported that they had enjoyed a good night’s sleep because they felt the white sheets identified with being clean and fresh.

The end result was that the guest felt the rooms with the all white bed, the” Heavenly Bed” as it was marketed, offered a more luxurious experience. And that was where it all began. However, startling enough, the Westin were doing their testing using sheets with a thread count of between 180 and 250, the same TC as you can get today at MaxiPali!

Royal Palm Interiors

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That’s Fishin’- April 2018

That's Fishin' headerWelcome to the April edition of That’s Fishin and a big hello to all our visitors from around the world! Thank you for visiting Costa Rica and we hope that your visit totally exceeds your expectations.

DolphinsIt has been an excellent high season so far with lots of visitors excited to get out on the water and experience our world class fishery for themselves. There has been a high demand for Sport Fishing this year and if you plan to go fishing you should book your boat as early as possible to secure the best boats. The fishing has not disappointed either and the story for me this season has been our excellent species variety. Offshore we have had good numbers of Sailfish with many charter boats releasing 2-5 Sailfish a day and some Anglers have been lucky enough to experience double digit Sailfish release days. There have been Blue, Black & Striped Marlin out there also, the Blues & Stripeys in the deeper water and the Black Marlin over our Offshore reefs. We expect a good Sailfish bite to keep us busy during April and put that with an excellent run of Tuna & Dorado (Mahi-Mahi), which are a welcome addition to any trip this, many boats have returned to the dock having caught Sailfish, Marlin, Tuna, & Dorado in the same day which is an awesome day’s fishing wherever you are in the world! There is the odd surprise species out there too—several nice Wahoo have been reeled in recently during Offshore trips out of the Marina Pez Vela!

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Let’s Talk About Birds

Blue Crowned Mot MotThis month’s bird is not only colorful, but also uniquely interesting in appearance and behavior.

The Lesson’s Mot Mot, formerly known as the Blue-Crowned Mot Mot, features a long tail with racquet-tipped feathers. The tail feathers are sometimes seen swinging from side to side in a pendulum-type of motion. This happens when the Mot Mot feels threatened. This is its way of communicating to the prey that, “I see you so don’t waste your time and energy in trying to attack me”

The definitive light blue crown features feathers that appear to be iridescent and is quite striking when seen in the sunlight. However, they prefer to stay in the shadows and may come down to the ground to feed on insects and lizards.

I have seen and photographed them in several locations throughout the Southern Zone, including my hometown area of Dominical.

Just one of the many types of colorful birds that you can find when visiting our amazing area.

Paul Gerace, photosofcostarica.com

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The Most Popular Attractions in Manuel Antonio and Their Low-Key Alternatives

Manuel Antonio Spanish School logoBy Anousha Al-Masud

Manuel Antonio is a popular destination for a reason; the diverse wildlife, incredible beaches, and adrenaline-filled adventures are hard to beat. With so much on offer, during high season the hottest spots can get a little overcrowded. Luckily, there are still plenty of hidden gems left to discover here. We recommend some of our favorite off-the-beaten-track alternatives to the most popular attractions.

Rainmaker suspended bridge

Rainmaker suspended bridge

Manuel Antonio National Park vs. Rainmaker

White sandy beaches and the chance to catch sight of a sloth or capuchin monkey amongst the tropical foliage of the national park attract crowds of wildlife lovers every day. A lesser-known option is the Rainmaker Conservation Project located in Parrita. Take your time to enjoy spectacular views of the cloud forest from hanging bridges, and take a dip in the naturally formed pools and waterfalls. Early morning bird watching tours and night tours are available for the die-hard nature enthusiasts. After your hike, you can grab a beer from Perro Vida, the on-site microbrewery.

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What’s Shaking at Marina Pez Vela – April 2018

What's Shaking headerWhile it’s almost impossible to imagine a month with more activity than this past March with our amazing Quepos Billfish Cup, Semana Santa and the completion of Costa Rica’s second and final round to elect our next president… APRIL is even MORE ACTION PACKED!!! While tournament fishing is definitely at the forefront of our April calendar, there are some other important events and opportunities to share with the our community and we invite and hope to see all of you here sharing in the energy and excitement this month!


We have teams from around Costa Rica and the World coming to Marina Pez Vela this month and have created a two leg tournament series to insure the most fun and competitive fishing environment on the planet for these anglers.

Marina Pez Vela Open, April 12-14
The actions starts with the MPV Open which is an open tournament where local anglers from Costa Rica and the world can register and compete in this three day event. Many participating in the OWC (offshore world championship) come early to “pre-fish” and the MPV Open provides an amazing platform for non-qualifying and participating teams to take part, warm up, win some money, and enjoy the world class waters of the area. marinapezvelatournaments.com/event/2018-marina-pez-vela-open/

Offshore World Championship, April 16 – April 20
The World Series, Super Bowl, Heavyweight Title fight and Olympic Gold medal round for the world of offshore fishing once again comes to Marina Pez Vela. This tournament brings teams from countries around the globe and requires participating teams to have won a tournament in the previous year’s qualifying circuit. Teams from as far as Australia and Brazil descend upon our community in a unique tournament where ALL teams are fishing on National Costa Rican Charter boats, with a rotation to a new boat each day to insure a level playing field. Daily dock socials, parties, weigh-ins for species which are not catch and release make for an incredible energy each morning and afternoon at the project and EVERYONE should come out to join in the activity and support their favorite teams from around the world. offshoreworldchampionship.com
Marina Pez Vela logo
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¿Qué Pasa en Quepos? – April 2018

April 2018 coverBienvenidos… Welcome to the land of Pura Vida. We are here to help you make this an unforgettable vacation. April is a very busy month. So have patience, relax, and enjoy. The action starts with the MPV Open (April 12-14) at Marina Pez Vela. Followed by the Offshore World Championship (April 16-20) with top teams from around the world competing for the Championship. Don’t forget Movie Night Under the Stars great night for the entire family.

April should also bring a little rain to help cool things down and provide some incredible sunsets. So get out to one of our many great restaurants such as Aqua Azul, Arbol, or Mogambo on the hill, Mira Olas in Quepos for spectacular sunset views and delicious cocktails. In Dominical check out the river views from Mono Congo or Fuego Brewery. Bring your camera as we are always looking for great covers.

Be careful this time year the rip tides can be very strong and sudden. Remember to swim sideways parallel with the shore and not into the current, and don’t forget the SUNBLOCK.

Earth Day is April 22nd and Selina’s and the Earth Day Network will be celebrating with workshops, art, and music designed for the entire family. The Earth is an incredibly complex and vibrant ecosystem, where living organisms interact with each other and their environment to create the ideal conditions for Life. So in the words of Bob Marley “Let’s get together and feel alright”.

We want to thank Cara Koch of La Vida in Life Photography for the fantastic cover shot. Welcome to our newest columnist Paul Gerace.

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

Peace and Enjoy…D

10 Simple Things to Make you Happier at Home

Happiness is always an inside jobBy Shelagh Duncan

I know, we tell ourselves “We live in paradise—what’s there not to be happy about? The resulting guilt because we don’t feel happy can just make things worse.

If you believe that our homes are an extension of who we are, we have somewhere to start. But if we are not happy in ourselves, how can we be happy at home? Perhaps we can change this up, and make our home a happier place to be so we, in turn will feel happier. Can this be possible?

What we do within the space we call home—both inside and out—shapes our mood, affects our productivity, and influences our outlook on life. The colours we paint our walls, the textures of the fabric we use and even the artwork on our walls can all influence how we feel. But without redoing our interior design and buying all new furniture what other options are there?

Royal Palm Interiors

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Vegetarian Tom Ka Gai

Chef's Corner logo


  • 6 lbs of raw, seeded, and unpeeled pumpkin
  • 3 stalks of lemongrass (just the bottom white part)
  • 2 cubic inch knob of ginger
  • 2 cubic inch knob of galangal if available
  • 10 cloves of garlic
  • 10 kaffir lime leaves if available
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice
  • ½ C Nam Pla or Thai fish sauce (vegan version might be available or use light soy sauce)
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • Finely chopped scallion and cilantro
  • Siracha or homemade scallion oil (blend the green parts of scallions with good quality, flavorless oil)

Vegetarian Tom Ka Gai


  1. Put the first 6 ingredients in a pot with approximately 2 quarts of water, and boil for one hour until the pumpkin is very soft.
  2. Drain the solids while saving the stock.
  3. Remove and discard lemongrass, ginger galangal, and kaffir lime leaves.
  4. Scoop out the pumpkin flesh from the outer peel and place in blender. Add the cooked garlic cloves and puree with the cooking liquid. The mixture should be smooth.
  5. Now add the lime juice, Nam Pla, brown sugar, and coconut milk. Amounts can be adjusted to taste.
  6. Garnish with a small amount of finely sliced scallion, chopped cilantro, Siracha drops or scallion oil.

7 Ways to be a Responsible Sloth Tourist

The Sloth InstituteBy Deanna Fisher, TSI Marketing Director

Travelers from all over the world visit Costa Rica for it’s amazing scenery and vast wildlife. Spotting a variety of species is a highlight for anyone’s vacation with many people planning their trip around the opportunity to see one of earth’s most fascinating creatures up close, the sloth. Besides taking a tour of the National park or visiting a responsible animal rescue center, we know that people will come across sloths (and other wildlife) spontaneously. This is often the most exciting way to see a wild animal but there are a few things you need to remember to keep your vacation responsible and guilt free.


Being touched by humans causes sloths extreme stress! Never pay to touch, feed, or take a photo with a sloth. Sloths are wild animals! They can bite, scratch, and transmit diseases.


Loud noises are very stressful to sloths! Keep your voices low when around them and try not to make sudden movements or loud noises, including music and machinery.


Once you’ve had a good view of the sloth, please move along so the sloth can also get going. Sloths freeze when they are stressed. If you are too close to them, they will become unable to move and go about their business.


Bright lights are blinding to sloths, especially at night. Please only take photos WITHOUT flash.


Sloths have very sensitive lungs! Pesticides, bug sprays and smoke pollute the air. If you must use bug spray or smoke, walk away from all sloths so that they don’t breathe in the toxic fumes.


Sloths will cross roads to get to the other side, but they are no match for your vehicle. They need a lot of time to cross! Help sloths cross safely by stopping traffic & keeping people away.


Sloths need trees, clean water, and a healthy, connected forest to survive. Anything you do to protect the planet, helps protect sloths.


www.TheSlothInstituteCostaRica.org The mission of The Sloth Institute Costa Rica is to protect and enhance the welfare and conservation of sloths through research, education, and conservation programs. TSI is located in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica. For more information please email info@theslothinstitute.org. To donate visit tsi.charity.org. Let’s be social @TheSlothInstitute.

Karma Saving the Rainforest

KSTR logoBy Karma Casey

Hello again! This is Karma from Kids Saving The Rainforest. This month I am going to talk a little bit about our beautiful oceans! Here at KSTR, we mostly spend our time rescuing local wildlife and planting trees, but we care about the ocean too! Recently, some of our volunteers pitched in helping a beach cleanup with another great local group, Operation Rich Coast. They organize lots of beach cleanups in lots of different areas, so if you would like to help them out on their next beach clean-up follow them on Facebook at facebook.com/operationrichcoast.

I am a very lucky person because I get to go to the Manuel Antonio beach almost every day! One day I was walking, and I found a piece of coral on the ground. It was white, and it still had a little bit of purple on it. I learned at my school, Life Project Education, that white coral is dead coral. I wondered, was this piece of coral being killed by something that humans had done?
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