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A Costa Rican Rarity: Las Duenas Coffee Finca

Owners: Ana, Dina & IsabelBy Gary Garrett

One thing for certain about Costa Rica’s coffee industry is that it is dominated by men. So what would cause three Portuguese women to move to Costa Rica, buy a remote coffee farm, and run it independently from the many cooperatives in the country?

“As young girls, we grew up on a coffee farm in Angola. When Angola became dangerous during their civil war, we moved with our parents to their birthplace of Portugal. We always had this dream of returning to our roots and owning our own coffee farm. When thinking about moving to Costa Rica we researched the possibilities for many months before finding a non-working finca at the optimum altitude and with the right volcanic soil and climate for sale” remarked Ana Gomes Da Silva, one of the 3 owners of Finca Las Duenas (Duenas is Spanish for female owner). They knew it would take a tremendous amount of work to even get to the point of producing coffee trees but it became their passion.

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John and dogsThe time has come for me to begin a new chapter in my ‘Book of Life’. In January I will be returning to the US permanently due to family needs.

In 2011 PAWS Board members Valerie Phillips, Jan Blackwell, Pat Cheek, Holly Myers and Sandy Franz asked me, ‘Would you consider becoming a member of the PAWS Board of Directors?’

‘Sure, I’d be honored to join the PAWS Board’, I said. It didn’t take too much thought. I am an ardent animal lover and had been volunteering with the group. I always want to give back to the community in which I live and being retired I’ve had plenty of time to do so.

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Diary of a Sloth Nanny

The Sloth InstituteHello, this is Jill (the sloth nanny), reporting from the sloth nursery at KSTR where The Sloth Institute is working in collaboration with KSTR to raise its baby-orphaned sloths. I’ve been volunteering here for about a month, working night and day to take care of the eleven sloths currently in rehab. Sloths have seen a popularity explosion thanks to some viral internet videos, but few people realize that it takes a tremendous amount of time and dedication to raise and release them back to the wild.

My daily routine starts at 7 am with hand-feeding all of the baby sloths. Eight of the eleven sloths are less than a year old and need frequent feedings and monitoring. Most things are slow with sloths, including their ability to drink the milk from the syringes. The feedings take patience, as hand-feeding all of the babies can be an almost two hour event. All together, there are four milk feedings per day, with one of those being overnight. This changes if we receive an infant sloth. They need feedings every two hours, around the clock. Between the late nursery feedings, I leave to take care of the two adult sloths, Ellen and Kermie, that are to be released this year. They are nocturnal two-toed sloths so each evening we hang fresh leaves and vegetables around their enclosure for them to find.

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There’s More to Panama

Colonial church in AntónBy Rebecca Reiber info@VillaAstoria.org

Need to make a residency run to Panama or just want a change of scenery?  There’s much more to Panama than the towns that border Costa Rica, David and Bocas.  Why not take a leisurely ride along the inter-american highway to the town of Antón and experience more of Panama?  Just past Penonome, Antón is situated in the plains just minutes from mountains and beaches, about five hours from Paso Canoas.

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R/V Martin Sheen Sea Shepherd at Marina Pez Vela

sea shephard logoBy Maria Angelica Sancho

The sailing research vessel the R/V Martin Sheen has arrived in Costa Rica, where Sea Shepherd has begun an ocean research and public awareness campaign. On August 8th, they held an ”open house” on the Martin Sheen at Marina Pez Vela. The mission of the vessel is: Defend, Conserve, Protect our ocean.

R/V Martin Sheen Sea Shephard

R/V Martin Sheen Sea Shephard

This was a unique opportunity to meet the Sea Shepherd volunteer crew members and understand what life is like out at sea. The crew was friendly and attentive, and visitors took great pictures and listened to amazing stories. Live music started at 4pm with Nativo, a band from San Jose. Also, local artist Carlos Hiller showed his live art paintings.

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A Fond Farewell to Our Friend Karyn O’Bryan

Those we love, don’t go away,
they walk beside us, every day.
Unseen, unheard, but always here,
still loved, still missed, still very dear.

Sjoerd, Shirin & Stijn – The Netherlands

Karyn O'BrienKaryn O’Bryan was special. Someone told me they had known Karyn only a short time but it seemed like they had been friends for many years. I understood what she meant because the first time I met Karyn she made me feel so at ease that it was like talking to a long lost friend, even though I knew nothing about her at the time.

I judge a person more by what I see than what I hear. What I saw in Karyn was a person who exuded charm and charisma whether she was in a social setting with many people, or just talking with you one on one. She had a great sense of humor and was just fun to hang out with. In Quepos we are a family and Karyn was an important part of that family and I as well as everyone in this town who knew her feel a deep loss. She was usually my teammate when we played trivia on Thursday nights and I will probably think of her every time I play in the future.

It is a shame but it seems like the good ones are always the first to go and Karyn O’Bryan was truly one of the good ones. I will miss you mi amiga. Charles Stark – Quepos
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Jan (Juanita) Page

Friends remember Jan (Juanita) Page

Juanita“Jan loved her little town of Quepos. Jan will be missed and remembered by those who knew her and loved her in their own way. She attended  Kansas State University obtaining a degree in Spanish, go figure. After a few years working Jan received a master degree in business from Avala University Kansas City Missouri.  In en la paz mi Hermana” Steve Richards (brother)

“In my 17 seasons  in Quepos/Manuel Antonio I have known Juanita in many roles—first as proprietor of the laundry, then as a drinking buddy at Tio Fernando’s bar — she would arrive first after the laundry closed at five, talk to Carlos the bartender–then Pierre would come, then the rest of our gang—lots of joyous evenings that cemented friendships. For many years  we played cards together—Hand and Foot at Randy and Klaus’ on Sunday afternoon, bridge at Dos Locos on Tuesday. I came to admire Juanita’s courage—courage in coming to Costa Rica as a middle aged woman alone and establishing  a life for herself, a life she enjoyed and  lived according to her own standards. She certainly showed great courage in the way she dealt with serious illness these past two or three years. I’ll  particularly miss her at Dos Locos on Tuesday at noon!” Ira Hayes

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Let’s Save Our Rivers

(en Español)

By Susan Jones Valverde

I have vivid memories of what rivers symbolized as a child growing up in San Carlos.  They were more than a flowing body of water, they were an adventurous Saturday or Sunday morning. They represented family outings lasting hours in the water before being convinced we absolutely had to go home.  Sometimes we had inflatable tubes, sometimes fishing poles, and sometimes we just walked along the river bed upstream to float downstream.  On very special occasions we would take trips to Lake Arenal to meet up with family and friends.  Although Lake Arenal trips were very few and far in between, they left a lasting impact on what La Fortuna means to me.  Even though I now live in my native country, and can visit the very same rivers that I have a very strong connection to, times have changed.

Rio Platanar – Above the dam it runs free. Photo: Bruce B. Jones

Rio Platanar – Above the dam it runs free.
Photo: Bruce B. Jones

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Salvemos Nuestros Ríos

(in English)

Por Susan Jones Valverde

Tengo recuerdos vividos de lo que simbolizaron los ríos como una niña que creció en San Carlos. Eran más que un cuerpo que fluye del agua, eran una aventura sábado o domingo por la mañana. Representaban salidas familiares, horas en el agua antes de ser convencidos de que absolutamente teníamos que volver a casa. A veces teníamos neumáticos inflables, a veces pescábamos con caña y otras veces entrábamos a lo largo del cauce del río, aguas arriba, sólo para flotar río abajo. En ocasiones muy especiales hacíamos un viaje al Lago Arenal, también para reunirnos con los amigos y familia. Aunque los viajes al Lago Arenal eran muy pocos y distantes entre ellos, dejaron un impacto duradero en lo que significa La Fortuna de Arenal para mí. Pero los tiempos han cambiado y aunque ahora vivo en mi país natal y se pueden visitar los mismos ríos con los cuales tengo una conexión muy fuerte, estos han sido cambiados.

Rio Platanar – Por encima de la presa se ejecuta libre. Foto: Bruce B. Jones

Rio Platanar – Por encima de la presa se ejecuta libre. Foto: Bruce B. Jones


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This article was oLos numero uno del Mundo! federacion de Surf de Costa Ricariginally published June 7, 2015 on isawsg.com. Photos: ISA/Nelly

The final day of competition at the 2015 Nicaragua Unica… Original ISA World Surfing Games presented by Lafise and Claro ended with an international celebration for the sport of surfing. Twenty-seven National Teams flooded the sands of Playa Popoyo, Nicaragua alongside thousands of spectators to cheer on the action.

The entire day was full of fantastic surfing in overhead to double overhead waves.

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PAWS FUNDRAISER at Marina Pez Vela

Paws Fundraiser at Marina Pez Vela

What’s common between the United Fruit Co. & ancient Costa Rican stone spheres?

Stone spheresBy Donielle Fish
Costa Rica First Class Villas

The United Fruit Company was a large American corporation formed in 1899 that traded in tropical fruit (primarily bananas), grown on Central and South American plantations, and exported to the United States and Europe.

The company had a great influence on economic and political development of a number of Latin American countries, including Costa Rica. People have accused the company of operational neocolonialism and this can be a sore spot in the memories of older generations in Costa Rica. United Fruit was a typical example of the influence of transnational corporations on the internal politics of the so-called “banana republics”.
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Jane Goodall at the Osa Field Institute: The Woman Who Redefined Man

Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall

By Evelyn Gallardo

Kudos go to the Osa Field Institute (OFI) for its standing room only grand opening in Uvita and for bringing Dr. Jane Goodall in as its keynote speaker.

Executive Director, Dr. Julie Reyes, made a brief opening statement under a rancho setting about OFI being established as a field school where students, faculty, tourists and life long learners could team up to experience Costa Rica and conduct research together in the heart of a primary rain forest. She then introduced her hero, Dr. Jane Goodall, who was greeted with a standing ovation. She stood on a step stool throughout her talk explaining that she wanted to see each of the 200 attendees.

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Costa Rica powered with 100% renewable energy for 75 straight days And it’s mostly thanks to heavy rains and geothermal energy.

Geothermal plant in foothills of Volcan Rincon de la Vieja

Geothermal plant in foothills of Volcan Rincon de la Vieja

By Myles Gough

(Originally published on www.sciencealert.com March 20, 2015)

Well done Costa Rica, well done.

The Central American country has achieved a major clean energy milestone, meeting 100 percent of its power demand with renewable energy for 75 straight days.

“The year 2015 has been one of electricity totally friendly to the environment for Costa Rica,” the state-owned power supplier Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) said in a press release.

The ICE says the country’s zero-emission milestone was enabled thanks to heavy rainfalls at four hydroelectric power facilities in the first quarter of 2015. These downpours have meant that, for the months of January, February and so far March, there has been no need to burn fossil fuels to generate electricity.

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ALBERT OPPEL  (1944-2015)

AlbertNació en Alemania en 1944. En su natal país fue marino y conductor de trens, llegó a su segunda patria Costa Rica en 1991, hombre afable, noble, amable, educado, filántropo, todo un caballero y amigo de todos. Vino a Quepos en busca de un clima que le asentara a su salud, e hizo de este pueblo su hogar, se resistía a aprender el español y fue feliz cuando un año antes de su partida obtuvo la residencia costarricense. Gastrónomo y excelente cocinero, amante de las comida alemana y fue en su última navidad cuando probó y le gustaron los tamales ticos. En sus buenos años fue un bohemio empedernido, disfrutaba de sus jornadas de tertulia con sus amigos en los bares, a los cuales era asido visitante, Wacky Wanda’s y Dos Locos. Hombre emprendedor, en busca siempre de algún negocio para llevar adelante. Celebraba con ahínco los constantes  triunfos del equipo de sus amores el Bayer Múnich, como celebró la campeonización de su selección y los triunfos de Costa Rica en la mundial. Aquejado por graves dolencias desde hace dos años estaba al cuidado de su esposa Yiniser, aunque no perdonaba las visitas de los sábados a Dos Locos, las cuales realizó aún en los momentos más difíciles de su enfermedad. El descanso eterno le llegó el pasada 25 de marzo, al lado de su familia tica, y siempre con el apoyo de su amigo Marcel Rodhe. Su cuerpo descansa en el cementario loca, conforme su voluntad.  Le sobrevive aquí su hijo Albert. Alerohiti. Cu-cu.

Descanse en paz Papi.