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Where the Tapirs and Jaguars Once Roamed: Ever-Evolving Costa Rica

Book coverReviewed by Pat Cheek

After years of being entertained and educated by the wonderful stories of Jack Ewing, that have appeared in Quepolandia, it was with great pleasure that I read his new book. Here is a small glimpse into what awaits you.

Fascinating…never has a history lesson been so entertaining and informative. Jack’s interpretations and factual account of the formation of Costa Rica millions of years ago flows beautifully into the stories of everyday life. Glimpses of the early years of the south-central Pacific  coast and what was to become Hacienda Barú National Wildlife Refuge. Laced with his passion for the rainforest and its wildlife every story paints a vivid picture of how life was and where it is now. “Progress” for this area hasn’t been the building of high rise hotels with manicured lawns and not a monkey insight. Fortunately for us it has progressed with the reforestation of the rainforest and the return of abundant wildlife with a healthy eco system. I know that with Jack Ewing and people like him we will indeed see the return of the tapir and jaguar to this biological corridor. Keeping this part of Costa Rica the “rich coast” as it was meant to be. Where the Tapirs and Jaguars Once Roamed is a must read for those that love Costa Rica and  those  yet to discover this beautiful country.

Jack Ewing was born and educated in Colorado. In 1970 he and his wife Diane moved to the jungles of Costa Rica where they raised two children, Natalie and Chris. A newfound fascination with the rainforest was responsible for his transformation from cattle rancher into environmentalist and naturalist. His many years of living in the rainforest have rendered a multitude of personal experiences, many of which are recounted in his published collection of essays, Monkeys are Made of Chocolate: Exotic and Unseen Costa Rica. Jack and Diane live on and manage the Hacienda Barú National Wildlife Refuge, a well-known ecotourism destination near Dominical, Costa Rica.

His books are available on Amazon.com in paperback or e-book, at Jaime Peligro Books & Adventure in Quepos and at Hacienda Barú.

¿Qué Pasa en Quepos? – April 2015

April 2015 CoverBienvenidos/Welcome to Paradise…we turned on the heat for you! There’s  always a chance for a little rain in April especially since Semana Santa/Easter holiday is the 1st week…no worries it certainly won’t be enough to rain out any plans that you might have …you may even want to dance in the rain to cool off a little…………Semana Santa is a very busy time around our area & the best suggestion we can give is have patience …the traffic can be very  heavy and slow headed to the beach –honking horns doesn’t help it move … we want everyone to have a safe and exciting holiday. We have everything you need from all the best tours to all the best restaurants with easy access to Quepos  and Marina Pez Vela where you can take in a movie under the stars on Friday nights or just enjoy the view of all the beautiful yachts that pass our way…this month also brings to the Marina the Offshore World Championship with teams literally from all over the world competing for top honors…you can watch the boats come in starting around 4pm.April 11-17th..we would like to Welcome 10 US Marines from the Wounded Warrior Program visiting our area…thank you for your service and we hope you enjoy you trip… we have tons of top notch live music almost every night of the week so check the schedule on  pg 61 for what’s happening…we would like to thank the guides of Titi Canopy Tour for our adorable cover  photo of Titis on the cable(makes it a little hard to zipline!) we just never tire of these cute little guys. Just a reminder as to the power of the ocean – we at times have a pretty strong riptide so take care when swimming or body surfing  and  keep an on those little ones…enjoy our beautiful area , tell your friends about us and when you get home you can stay in touch at www.quepolandia.com or fb…we welcome your comments and hope to see you around….please mention to our advertisers that you found them in Quepolandia…ciao for now……P

¿Qué Pasa en Quepos? – March 2015

Cover March 2015Bienvenidos/Welcome to March in beautiful Quepos/Manuel Antonio…we hope you enjoy and love Costa Rica and particularly Quepolandia as much as we do! You have chosen the best part to visit… with our beautiful beach and our famous ManuelAntonio Nat’l Park just for starters! To help with your tours give 1st time advertiser, Nicolás of CR Naturalmente Verde Tours a call & please mention that you saw his ad in Quepolandia. We have every tour you can think of and the best operators that always put your safety first. We also have World Class Sportfishing with an awesome charter fleet just waiting to take you out for the catch of a lifetime! You can catch up on your favorite NCAA basketball teams during “March Madness” at the Double Hook Bar & Grill in Quepos or at the beach with Hawg ‘n’ Bill…no doubt there will be green beer or a St. Patrick’s Day party somewhere so keep an eye out – we seldom let an opportunity to party pass us by…whether you live here or just visiting if computer problems come along just drop by our friends at Tecsa Computers and they can help you out- see their ad for contact info…continuing with the business info…do stop by the brand new carneceria (butcher shop) Meat House for awesome selections of meat, seafood & more….we have also been paying close attention to the progress on the new home of Mini Price Store….it won’t be long now so stay tuned! This about wraps it up for this month…drive friendly, watch the riptide at the beach, keep an eye on your “stuff” and just go out have a great time…come see us again soon and follow us you can follow us on line here and on facebook.com/Quepolandia…we always welcome your comments just don’t be too hard on us! This issue marks the 6th Anniversary for me with Quepolandia and I couldn’t have done it without my great designer/layout expert Paul…….a huge thank you to all our advertisers, writers and loyal readers………..ciao for now…………P

¿Qué Pasa en Quepos? – February 2015

February 2015 coverBienvenidos/Welcome to Quepolandia and our beautiful area….we are happy you have chosen to visit Costa Rica!

There is much to do so get out and have a blast…you could start off with an awesome rafting trip with Unique Tours or Quepoa Expeditions or maybe a quiet trip kayaking thru the mangrove…check out Kayak-Lodge for a great day…..this is an incredible time of year for Quepos Sportfishing and this month brings the Billfish Cup taking place out of Marina Pez Vela….thanks to Sarah Munro for your great cover shot of a sailfish rising and be sure to read Sarah’s That’s Fishin’ on pg.12 …so welcome to all the anglers and have a great time…there is more than fishing around here with great tours of our beautiful rainforest, rivers, waterfalls and don’t forget the beach and MA National Park………did I mention our outstanding restaurants…we have plenty – you will find the best of the best within our pages..if you are planning on a nice evening with your Valentine look for the heart on our ads as they will most likely offer a special meal and be sure to call ahead…please let our advertisers know that you found them in Quepolandia…now that our weather is dry and the evenings beautiful check out Movie Night every Friday at Marina Pez Vela…fun for the family and FREE..complete schedule is on pg.17…we want you to enjoy your vacation so be careful driving as traffic is up and many people walk on the roads…slow down enjoy the scenery, watch out for the riptide at the beach, don’t leave valuables in your car and have FUN…….tell your friends about us and come back soon…you can follow us on line here and on facebook.com/Quepolandia…..we welcome your comments………..ciao for now……………….P

¿Qué Pasa en Quepos? – January 2015

Cover January 2015Bienvenidos/Welcome to 2015 in Paradise!

Happy New Year to everyone – we hope you are having a great time …you have come to a wonderful place to enjoy everything that Costa Rica has to offer-and more…we have the most exciting tours and the best restaurants so play hard and eat well……as first time advertisers try these new restaurants, entre peces Marisqueria, Maya’s Hot Dogs, & Mymosito’s Restaurante …We have the finest selection of awesome restaurants around and the best of the best advertise with Quepolandia so check out their ads and tell them that you found them in Quepolandia… everyone is invited to The IV Battle of the Bands  at Rancho Leon  Jan. 25th to benefit PAWS– it will be an incredible afternoon of live music –  our awesome cover  of the mother sloth with TWIN babies sent in by local Susan Jones Valverde of NGO restaurante – a great shot of a rare occurrence of twins – thanks Susan…  Go fishing with knowledgeable Capts and crew to provide you with an outstanding off shore or inshore fishing experience including Luna Tours, Makaira Sportfishing, Pez Rey or Reel Deal so get out there and make  some memories… …..you can also get wet with white water rafting with Quepoa Expeditions or renting your own boat with Tres Ninas or go for a wild ride with Manuel Antonio Jet Ski  or get some exercise while you enjoy the water on Paddle 9 Boards-you’ll find all their contact info within our pages..we hope you enjoy  our magazine and beautiful area – you can even follow us on line here and on facebook.com/Quepolandia… we welcome your comments.

…Happy New Year…ciao for now… ….P

(Our small community suffered too many losses in Dec…our sympathy goes out to the friends and family or Roger Connor, Sue Christakos, Justin Gully, & Todd Flanders)

Quepos Open 2014

Quepos tennis tournament

Olivier Collins (semi-finalist), Gábriel Fonceca (winner), Daniel Auberon (director), Alexandro Monge (semi-finalist), Sauro Andráni (finalist)

4th Tournament at the Tennis Club Quepos was held November 01 – 09, 2014. It was a big success with 26 players. A nice crowd of enthusiastic tennis fans came to watch and enjoy lunch.

The Road to Brazil

Costa Rica Pro Rafting Team Brings Home the Bronze!

May-June 2014. The Pro Rafting team represented the city of Quepos Aguirre CR Rafting Championship, earning with just a month of training, the best record at the team level. Surpassing our expectations and those of many teams with much more experience than ours.
General Location 1 of 5 teams competing
In category Slalom Head to Head we were first in the competition. Secondly we won the categories of Downriver and Sprint. In this way, we as a team won the National Championship and qualified for Costa Rica World Rafting R4 to compete in Brazil for the World Rafting Championship held in October 2014.
Represent Costa Rica and Canton of Aguirre in competitive events in the best way. In the future, the process of preparation, training and competition is the first step for youth and children recreation sport combined.
Discipline • Commitment • Teamwork • Respect
Costa Rica Rafting teamTeam Members
• Felipe Cervilla. 28 years. Captain of the team. Rafting Guide. 12 years experience.
• Jonathan Mora. 26. Rafting guide, safety kayaker and Freestyle. 9 years experience. Representative national rodeo kayak. Nat Champion 2011 CR
• Roberto Mendoza. 26. Rafting guide and safety kayaker and Free Style. 11 years experience. CR 2012 Champion Nat.
• Ronny Mora. 31 years. Rafting guide and safety kayaker. 11 years experience.
• William Molina 29 years. Rafting guide and safety kayaker. 11 years experience.
• Juan Jose Molina 29 years. Rafting guide and safety kayaker. 11 years experience.

¿Qué Pasa en Quepos? – December 2014

December 2014 coverBienvendios/Welcome to Paradise in December 2014…we are rockin’ & rollin’ into High Season and so happy you have come to enjoy our beautiful area! Our rains are coming to an end but we are lush with greenery of every shade right next to the beautiful blue Pacific—you picked a great place to spend time…you will find everything you need right here in Quepolandia. Our pages are full of awesome restaurants of every flavor…new to us is Spicy Lemon offering sushi & fusion at the beach, or Buru Restaurant & Poolside Grill atop El Faro just before the Manuel Antonio National Park(a great tour)and you can grab a slice of tasty pizza at La Pasado…plus try the monthly specials at Hawg n’ Bill…oh and don’t forget to enjoy our beautiful beach….Port of Quepos is the place to FISH…check out our charter fleet with Luna Tours, Makaira Sportfishing, Pez Rey or Reel Deal – just to name a few and go catch that BIG one! You’ll find all the info in our pages plus great stories. If you are here for Christmas(need a gift..pick up a box of delicious chocolates from Tulemar!) and New Year’s then you are in for more fun….that special dinner will be available at several of our restaurants…check with Victoria’s, Z Seafood & Grill or Kapi Kapi and downtown Quepos will have a New Year’s Eve celebration in front of the seawall complete with fireworks at midnight and live music—my favorite party of the year! Dos Locos Restaurante has live music and party favors, too.  We will try to update the planned activities here online and on facebook.com/Quepolandia as they come in………we would like to thank Paul Gerace of Dominical again this year for our December cover, RedEyed Tree Frog Meets Hibiscus—made the perfect Christmas cover!  Enjoy all our tours whether it’s flying thru the air on a zipline with Titi Canopy or cruising the mangrove with Green Planet Tours…just get out there and have funbe safe..be aware. Seems the year has just zipped by… I would like to take a minute to thank this awesome community for its continued support of Quepolandia… without our advertisers and writers we would have no purpose. Muchisimas Gracias to all of you – Happy Holidays and see ya in 2015!……….P

¿Qué Pasa en Quepos? – November 2014

Quepolandia cover for NovemberBienvenidos/Welcome to our slightly soggy Paradise…at this writing it has been raining on us for several days with little hints of sunshine…rain in the rainforest – go figure! We hope when you are reading this that the sun is shining on your vacation—if not, hang in there it will be back! We are happy that you chose our corner of Costa Rica for you travels…we have just about everything Costa Rica has to offer right here. Our restaurants are outstanding and open to serve you just about any type of delicious food you are looking for from gallo pinto to the freshest seafood around. The Manuel Antonio National Park has many new trails and bridges so enjoy a hike while checking out the wildlife. Or take any one of our wonderful tours from Parasailing with Aguas Azules on the beach to ziplining thru the jungle with Titi Canopy. We are World famous for our sportfishing with excellent Captains and boats available for just the type of trip that fits you…we would like to thank Francella Madriz for the awesome photo of a Pale-billed Woodpecker which is our cover shot…this woodpecker is the largest species of woodpecker found in Costa Rica..Francella was able to get this photo from her home in MA—nice job! Remember to send in your “best shot” and you too may make the cover of Quepolandia..those of you from the US may be looking for a turkey dinner this month – never fear – as many restaurants offer the full dinner with all the trimmings – so Happy Thanksgiving! Our community was once again saddened by the loss of our friend Bill Dwyer in September. Bill was a long time resident, husband to Paul and friend to many. He also wrote the Cooking Corner for Quepolandia and we will all miss Bill and his great recipes…we hope you enjoy your time with us – remember you can follow us here online and facebook.com/Quepolandia …………ciao for now………….P

¿Qué Pasa en Quepos? – September/October 2014

Sept/Oct coverBienvenidos/Welcome to the heart of Green season in our little slice of Paradise……..we like the rain as it feeds our rainforest and keeps us GREEN…we are still here to serve your vacation plans and know you will have a great time….please note that calling ahead to restaurants for hours of operation is a good idea as several close for short periods at this time of year to give their staff a little vacation, Kapi Kapi closes Sept 30th so get there before for a great meal.. Most are open to serve you some great food so enjoy! Tours are in full operation and our beautiful Manuel Antonio National Park is open with new trails for your exploring and lots of animal sightings along the way – our guides are the best! If you are lucky enough to be here on Sept 15th head to Quepos around 10:30am and find a spot to watch a wonderful parade to celebrate Costa Rica Independence Day…marching bands, floats and lots of national pride and FUN… Don’t forget Halloween on the 31st with lots of parties & costumes! The Quepos National Bodyboarding team will be holding many events the next 2 months in order to raise money for their trip to Chile for the ISA World Championship in December…These young people need our help to raise the much needed $3500 each –just the neoprene wet suit for the colder water of Chile is $250 – team members and associates will be passing thru Quepos every Thursday to ask for 1000cl ( Un Rojo)donation to help them on their way….check page 16 for more info … our awesome cover photo of “monotiti mango madness” was taken by Bethany Winsor of Dallas, Tx & Manuel Antonio—thanks Bethany for sending it in … Quepolandia will also be taking a short break with this double issue…so settle in- work a crossword and Sudoku, or read a great story in the Q…we will see you back here November 1st …please say hello to our advertisers and let them know you found them in the Quepolandia…oh one last thing..check out the ad for Mini Price Store with coupons for Sept. & Oct. discounts!… remember you can follow us here online and facebook.com/Quepolandia …………ciao for now………….P

¿Qué Pasa en Quepos? – August 2014

August 2014 coverBienvenidos/Welcome to Quepolandia! We are glad to have you with us….our beautiful area has so much to offer…from awesome restaurants to World Class Sport fishing and great tours…you can’t help but have a wonderful time!….we have just survived the most intense, wonderful experience of Costa Rica making it to the quarter finals of the World Cup!…if you want to see enthusiasm, pride, humility and just plain great fun then you should have been in this little country last month….we went from the very high to the not so happy but proudest moments for the beloved “ La Sele” as they put Costa Rica on the map for World Class Soccer(aka fútbol)! Here at Quepolandia we wanted to share some of those moments with our visitors and friends to commemorate this awesome event, so we hope you enjoy the articles and pictures that will just give you a little taste of it all….watching the pleasure of the win to the sportsmanship in the loss, Ticos everywhere made a proud statement to the world and I am happy to have been here to see it….we congratulate Germany on their 4th World Cup victory and look out for Costa Rica in 4 years!…we hope you will stop and visit with our advertisers and tell them that you found them in Quepolandia…enjoy our beautiful beaches, cold drinks and tasty food of all favors & if you are at the beach try the new Nong Nong Yo Yo restaurant for great food on the beach with beach chairs availabe & a peaceful setting…if you enjoy live music we have that too! Just check out Niven’s Musical Notes for live music listings on page 20 and treat yourself to some great music…..enjoy yourselves and all this area has to offer (even the rain:)…if you don’t find what you are looking for just ask-people are friendly and helpful and don’t forget to celebrate Costa Rica Mother’s Day on August 15 … now get out there and have some fun, be safe and come see us again soon….you can follow us online here and  facebook.com/Quepolandia  …comments welcome ………..ciao for now…….P

¿Qué Pasa en Quepos? – July 2014

July 2014 CoverBienvenidos/Welcome to our beautiful slice of Paradise… we know you are going to have a great time! Quepos/Manuel Antonio may be a small area but we have everything Costa Rica has to offer in tours – except no volcano right here- zip line to your heart’s content, white water raft , horseback ride, waterfall tours, ATV’s –you won’t get bored – and we have beautiful beaches for sun tanning, surfing and just plain people watching… Speaking of the beach, we would like to thank Mark Thompson of Hamilton, Ontario for our great cover shot of the crashing surf. Mark and his family enjoyed 6 wks in the Quepos area in Dec/Jan—lucky them! Now…..did I mention all the great food- Italian, Asian, Mexican, Typical Costa Rican, Continental and everything in between available plus ice cold drinks! We hope you will spend a little time visiting with our advertisers and please tell them you found them in Quepolandia. Happy 4th of July to our USA folks and a Happy Guanacaste Day on the 25th to Costa Rica! Oops and Canada Day on the 1st. You may have noticed how green it is around here – Just Add Water –as in rain and wow we are GREEN again after a very dry, dry season. I for one am happy to have the lush green back in our rainforest – so enjoy the rain – it’s all part of the experience but be careful driving if it should come pouring down. During our May/June break I got to take a little time to enjoy a week of offshore fishing – we caught 28 blue marlin in 3 days!(1 was mine) and our That’s Fishin’ article this month tells you the thrill of catching a Blue Marlin – all catch and release plus we tagged each marlin and sailfish to see where they might be caught next—what an awesome adventure – you can see a few of my photos in the article on page 32 with Daniel’s fun story….You just might want to book the fishing trip you have always dreamed of!….guess that’s about it for this month. Enjoy your stay and follow us on facebook.com/Quepolandia  and check us out here online when you get back home… travel safe to your next destination and come back soon…… ciao………..P

¿Qué Pasa en Quepos? – May/June 2014

May/June 2014 coverBienvenidos/Welcome to Quepos-Manuel Antonio we are happy to have you visit….we know you will have a great time…May & June begin our “green” or rainy season and we are looking forward to getting green…it has been one hot hot hot dry season….First we would like to wish a very Happy 92nd Birthday to Virginia Utley on May 20th but we  hope she will be celebrating all month long! We have so many great things for you to do from zip lines to off shore fishing and everything in between…just check our advertisers and sign up for a fun time ….you can tour the Manuel Antonio National Park with our cover shot guide Manuel Cabalceta..he captured this great shot of the capuchin monkey family on a tour in April…great shot Manuel…you can book a tour at [email protected]…..this issue covers 2 months so we will have extra articles for your reading enjoyment and puzzles – just in case we get that much wanted rain! Travelers not to worry it won’t be enough to wash away your fun….so get out there have a great time – enjoy our awesome restaurants – sip a cold one on our beautiful beach and don’t forget the sunblock even if its cloudy….please mention to our advertisers that you found them in Quepolandia ……we hope you will come back and visit us again but do tell your friends about our happy little Paradise and follow us on facebook.com/Quepolandia  and check us out here online when you get back home… travel safe to your next destination and come back soon…… ciao………..P



It was a beautiful morning in Paradise: I got to have breakfast with 20 scarlet macaws!

scarlet macawBy Pat Cheek

The temporary guests of Gaia Hotel and Nature Preserve are learning how to adapt to our area before being released.  This reintroduction project began with the construction of a huge cage that is large enough to allow the birds to fly as some did not know how on arrival. The Scarlet Macaw has been sighted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) which lists endangered species regardless of their location, as warranting protection and recommends they be added to the Endangered Species List as well as 3 other species of macaws. There is a fine of $13,000 for keeping a Scarlet Macaw in captivity in Costa Rica.

Read More…

¿Qué Pasa en Quepos? – April 2014

Quepolandia April 2014 coverBienvenidos/Welcome to our beautiful area , in our minds the best of Costa Rica! We know you will have a great time whether you are on Spring Break or just a getaway vacation, honeymoon or seeing the World, you have come to the right place…we have it all. This month brings the IGFA Offshore  World  Championship back to Marina Pez Vela for the second year…if you didn’t know – we have the best fishing around so charter a boat and go catch that big one… or fly thru the jungle on a zip line, white water rafting, tour our famous National Park or just relax sipping a cold one at the beach. We also are lucky enough to have the best restaurants with the freshest ingredients to tempt any palate – we know you won’t go hungry! Please tell our advertisers that you found them in Quepolandia.  Not to bring down the vacation atmosphere but we are a tight little community and once again we have suffered the loss of two of our own, Jan Blackwell a founding member of our local animal rescue group PAWS, and Erin Little a successful wedding planner, they will both be missed and we extend our sympathy to their families. We would like to thank Crystal Campbell of Tavernier, Florida for the great cover shot she titled Lapas of Finca Tranquila..it arrived as we were doing the article about our own scarlet macaw program so it was perfect- thanks Crystal – we can’t wait for the day we see macaws hanging out in the trees of Manuel Antonio once again……….well here it is April and its been very dry… we will welcome the return of our afternoon showers and will begin to see more green – it is also time for Semana Santa (Easter Week) so hang on to your patience  when driving as the roads to the beach and around will be busy…slow down, enjoy the scenery and get to wherever you go safely…we hope you will come back and visit us again but do tell your friends about our happy little Paradise and follow us on fb and at www.quepolandia.com…..ciao for now…P 

On a personal note I would like to say thank you and hurry back to Paul Rees, my graphic designer for the past 5 years – he will be heading to Canada for a few months –come back feeling great and ready to go back to work!