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By Donna Porter

Back in May of 2009, new Owner/Publisher of Quepolandia, Pat Cheek, asked me if I would be interested in writing articles about plants for the magazine. Being a Horticulturist, as well as one who is rarely at a loss for words—especially when it comes to teaching people about plants and gardening—I was honored by the invitation and jumped on the opportunity. And so, began my monthly article, It’s a Wonderful World of Plants, which continued until September of 2012. It was a commitment that I took seriously. This was before the days of easy information access via the internet. I relied on my knowledge gained from 4 ½ years of schooling while acquiring a B.S. in Horticulture, decades of hands-on experience (including tropical gardening) and my personal library. I commenced by getting up on my soapbox with this excerpt:

Plants are one of our most fascinating, precious and essential companions of our earth. They provide us with abundant benefits including: foods and beverages that sustain us, nourish us, elate us and tantalize our taste buds; medicines that soothe our aches and pains and cure our ailments and diseases; products that cleanse and beautify our bodies; materials for home construction, furniture and musical instruments; shade that cools us; filtered air to breathe; and an abundance of unsurpassed, never-ending beauty. They are a vital component of our earth’s magnificently intertwined biological system and without them humans and animals, simply, could not exist. So, celebrate, appreciate and cherish plants, because life as we know it could not continue on without them.

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¿Qué Pasa en Quepos? – August 2023

BIENVENIDOS… Welcome to our next 25 years here in the jungle. We have some plans on increasing our Conservation efforts and trying to help the causes that work so hard in their efforts to make the world a better place for all of us to enjoy.

We came together and Celebrated our 25th Anniversary on July 1. Thanks to everyone for coming in person or in SPIRIT and joining us on the beach and making it an unforgettable evening with family and friends like we have so many times in the past. Thanks Cory and his family who rocked the beach. Thanks Johnny and Tyrone for all their help. Thanks to everyone in Quepolandia Nation who made this achievement even possible. This Celebration was for all of us to reflect over our past 25 and look forward to our next 25 years. I look forward to them with hope and some goals for a better tomorrow

For those who couldn’t come and make a wish. We have recycled some of the wood. We are making match sticks for Hope so you can light your own cake with them and get a chance to have your wishes come true (mine did). I got another Pura Vida Sunset with my Mommy… priceless

August brings in the beginning of whale season here in the central pacific. This is when the humpback whales come to give birth and is the best time to view them. Marina Pez Vela has a fleet of boats ready and waiting for you. Book your whale watching tours with Brisa Elegante or Sunset Sails  and experience these majestic mammals and their calves frolicking in their natural environment.

We want to welcome our newest staff writer Ryan Meczkowski from Altura Wildlife Sanctuary. We also want to welcome our new advertisers Goldman Estates, Luna Llena, and Smash Shack who are the lifeline of making this publication possible, so please support our advertisers.

We hope you enjoyed our magazine over the last 25 years, and it helps guide you through this enchanting paradise we call home. You can always follow us here or on Facebook/Quepolandia.

Get ready for our Halloween Web-Site Launch Party. Yes we had so much fun at the party we want to do it again. Details to come but start thinking about your costume.

We appreciate and welcome your comments.

Peace and Enjoy…D

A Month at KSTR

Hi guys! My name is Coralie, but everybody calls me Coco, I am 20 years old, and I am from Montreal, in Canada. I am about to finish my last year of study to become a veterinary technician in Quebec and I volunteered as an intern at KSTR for a month in the sanctuary.

Going to Costa Rica was my first-time solo traveling. I didn’t know what to expect from this internship since I didn’t have much experience with wild animals such as the ones we have at Kids, but I was really excited to be able to work for a month with these species and learn about wildlife rehabilitation. Going from Montreal to Quepos was quite a long ride! I had to take two planes, then the bus to get to the volunteer center, where I would spend the next 4 weeks. As soon as I got there, I immediately felt amazed by the nature teeming with life: toucans flying over my head, mountains touching the sky, monkeys leaping from trees to trees… and what about the warm welcome I received upon my arrival! We were a few girls sleeping in the dormitory and each of them made sure that we were comfortable in what was going to be our home for the month. We got to know each other a little bit better over the next few days and I really enjoyed learning about everybody’s countries and experience at kids.

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An Ocean of Two Tails

An Ocean of Two Tails

Do you know what one of the most fun things about July in our area is? It’s the start of Humpback whale season. We are lucky enough to have 2 seasons a year here in this part of Costa Rica, with a small season earlier in the year and now starting this month, a second season running until the end of October.

Each group arrives in Costa Rica at the beginning of their respective winter and stays until spring comes to their home.

Photo: John Williamson

When winter comes to the south, June time, the Antarctic whales, who have built their blubber reserves in preparation for the longest migration in the animal kingdom, head north along the coasts of Chile and Ecuador to the tropical waters of Central America. And that’s why western spotting them in July.

The main theories about why humpbacks migrate to the tropics, are that the warmth allows the calves to grow more quickly, or that the waters are safer because of lower numbers of predators like orcas.

Whatever the motivation for wintering in the tropics it means, you can watch Humpback whales in Costa Rica nearly year-round because of the two seasons.

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Spanish Sucks – July 2023


That’s Fishin’ – July 2023

Welcome to the July edition of That’s Fishin’, we are so glad to have you with us and I hope that you get to experience some of our amazing Fishing and stunning coastline during your time here. The seasonal rains arrived a little late this year, due to the present El-Nino which has kept water temperatures unseasonably high but on the positive provided some stunning weather and an extended dry season, to enjoy more time on the water.


July is an excellent month to fish here in Quepos. Marlin, Sailfish, Wahoo, Tuna, Dorado, Grouper, & Snapper are the main Offshore targets right now. We catch primarily Blue Marlin at this time of year during Offshore day trips but some huge Black Marlin can be targeted by livebaiting Bonitos at the Offshore reefs.

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Memoirs of a Masseur – July 2023

Anniversaries, birthdays, and general celebrations are the fruits of living. They are the times to gather with friends and loved ones to relax and celebrate. Sometimes there is music and food, other times there are libations and dance, but always remains the vibrations of love, comradery, and playfulness. The fact that the Quepolandia magazine has existed for twenty-five years is an accomplishment worthy of celebration. It began as an infant of a black and white eight-page leaflet. It has turned into a full-grown adult with color, wit, humor, information, and inspiration. The Quepolandia still is many vacationers’ first introduction to our wonderful community of Quepos and Manuel Antonio. I believe it to be the bible of the central Pacific region as nothing can compare. It is the staple of every man and woman’s home and is often brought around the globe as a souvenir for many visitors’ “best week of their lives.” I have so much gratitude to all three of the past and present owners. Their energy and hard work deserve a hug and a pat on the back, writing and reading actual magazines seem to be a bit less appreciated for the youth of today. This magazine has stood the test of time and remains an unexpected and delightful surprise to visitors. It is a forum to get the word out, to advertise, and to educate.

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More Than 200 Nature Stories

I don’t remember when I wrote my first article for Quepolandia, but my first book, Monkeys Are Made of Chocolate, was a collection of 32 articles, most of which had been previously published in Quepolandia. The first edition of the book was published in Costa Rica in 2003. That means I probably began writing the articles in 1999 or 2000, and that I have written more than 200 articles for the magazine beginning with Ana Lyons as owner and publisher, followed by Pat Cheek, and now Dave Bolger, all of them first class editors and publishers. Graphic artist, Paul Rees, joined the magazine a couple of months before Ana sold it to Pat. He says that he got sold with the magazine every time it changed hands. Paul works his special magic on each issue and puts everything together for publishing. The owners’ jobs would have been much more difficult without him.

I believe it was Ana Lyons who first suggested that I publish a collection of articles. That idea grew and matured into my first book, Monkeys Are Made of Chocolate, published by PixyJack Press, 32 chapters, most having previously appeared in Quepolandia, each one a nature story and most from my own personal experience.

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What’s Shaking @ Marina Pez Vela – July 2023

Quepolandia Magazine and Marina Pez Vela share a close relationship as they both contribute significantly to the promotion of Quepos, Costa Rica as a tourist destination.

Marina Pez Vela is a world-class marina located in Quepos that attracts sailors, yachters, and boating enthusiasts from all over the world. The marina offers a wide range of services, including boat rentals, fishing charters, and water sports, among others. Additionally, Marina Pez Vela has several restaurants, bars, and shops that offer a unique and enjoyable experience for visitors.

Quepolandia Magazine, on the other hand, is a popular magazine in Quepos that focuses on promoting tourism in the area. The magazine provides a wealth of information on the region’s attractions, activities, and events, making it an essential tool for both tourists and locals.

The close relationship between Quepolandia Magazine and Marina Pez Vela is evident in the magazine’s regular coverage of the marina and its activities. The magazine regularly features articles and advertisements about Marina Pez Vela’s services, events, and attractions. This helps to promote the marina to a wider audience and attract more visitors to the area.

Furthermore, Marina Pez Vela supports Quepolandia Magazine by advertising in the magazine and distributing it to visitors at the marina. This partnership helps to increase the magazine’s reach and promote the region, contributing to the growth of tourism in the area.

For a quarter of a century, this magazine has been a beacon of light, guiding locals and tourists alike to the best of Quepos. It has showcased the area’s beauty, history, and culture, making it a must-read publication for anyone looking to explore this magnificent part of Costa Rica.

Through its commitment to excellence and its unwavering dedication to the community, Quepolandia has become an integral part of the region’s identity. It has been a vital tool for businesses, a source of information for visitors, and a platform for community events.

So, let us raise a glass to Quepolandia, its staff, contributors, advertisers, and readers. Here’s to another 25 years of promoting the wonders of Quepos and all the beauty that it holds. Cheers!

25 Years Ago in Costa Rica

Surf CR logo25 Years Ago in Costa Rica – Greg Gordon

Happy 25th Birthday Quepolandia! Your magazine has been a part of my entire time living and visiting Dominical and has always been a bulletin of what was happening around Quepos and the entire southern zone.

I started my surf report in 1998, twenty five years ago. I had a tiny Canon printer and a chunky Toshiba laptop, and would print out the tides, a color model of the NOAA forecasts and text surf reports from friends around Costa Rica. I owned a cheap 50 mm telephoto lens and a worn Nikon for taking photos of the locals and tourists surfing. This was pre-digital, so I would have to take the bus to San Isidro, drop off the film at the photomat, and then take the trip again a few days later to pick up the prints.

Me, 25 years ago

I would get up predawn and be in the lineup at sunrise, hopefully with the rising tide as that is when Dominical has better shape. At low tide it can be sketchy—sand sucking death barrels, only ridden by the most experienced riders at the time like the Montoyas (Alan, Jose, Junior, Vinny on his boogieboard), Ronnie Obando, Brad Baron, or Mike McGuiness. After an hour or so I would paddle in to get some shots of these guys getting shacked or hucking spray.

It was hard to get out of town to surf, since most of the coastal highway was not paved. It would take up to two hours to get just from Dominical to Quepos. Every small bridge along the way was a life or death experience, with only some rusted train track leftovers used for the crossing. Sometimes it was easier to just drive across the riverbed. And from Quepos north it was a slalom course of potholes, where either lane could be the best one. My thoughts on each harrowing drive was, “The bus always wins”.

Ferry crossing

The drive south from Dominical to Uvita was only slightly better, and when you drove it at night you would witness thousands of purple and orange crabs race across the rutted road. When I headed to Pavones, it was easier to take the bus from San Isidro. It took about 7 hours, and you would have to take a very precarious two-car ferry across the Rio Coto, and then sometimes help the bus driver push the bus up the steeper muddy roads towards the end.

Site of the marina

Twenty-five years ago there was no marina, and no jetty, and although it does light up from time to time, it used to be more lined up at the Quepos Rivermouth. But who would want to surf it? That water used to look foul, from nearby cow and pig farms, plus gutters that were basically latrines. Now, even with more development, it appears to be less polluted.

Twenty-five years and over 1000 surf reports later, I am still amazed at how beautiful this country is, and how relatively uncrowded our corner of the country is. I can surf at beaches near Quepos and not see another surfer for miles. So Shhhhh. Let’s appreciate what we have for the next 25 years.


Cool down on a hot day with some aguachile and a pitcher of Margaritas. Here is a refreshing and flavorful dish where the hot peppers are tempered by a splash of coconut milk.

Ingredients for 4 portions

  • 1/2 kilo or 1 lb of raw medium sized shrimp, peeled, deveined and butterflied
  • 8 to 10 juicy limes
  • 1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 10 stems of cilantro with leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 or 2 whole jalapeno peppers
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Optional garnishes

  • Thinly sliced cucumbers, radishes, and jalapenos
  • Small avocado cubes
  • Small pineapple cubes
  • Cilantro leaves


  1. Prepare and clean the shrimp thoroughly and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Squeeze the limes and strain the juice.
  3. Pour half of the lime juice over the shrimp to cover entirely and place in the fridge for 1/2 hour.
  4. Blend the remaining lime juice in a blender or food processor with cilantro, jalapenos, garlic clove, and coconut milk.
  5. Once the shrimp are opaque, mix everything together and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.
  6. Add the sliced red onions and optional garnishes to taste.
  7. Serve with tortilla chips or fried corn tortillas.

Congratulations QUEPOLANDIA! by Pat Cheek

25 years of amazing publications!

The sustainability of such just blows me away! Starting with Ana, followed by me and now with Dave at the helm with Paul as always putting it all together in beautiful form. Dave has expanded the Quepolandia from Uvita to Jaco bringing in new advertisers, readers and ideas!

Paul has the longest tenure of any of us! It was the best job I ever had and as a relative newcomer to the area it truly opened the door to this fabulous community for me to be a part of for eight great years. I knew not the first thing about putting a magazine together but I learned and Paul was the best teacher and coworker I could have asked for. Thanks to Ana for bringing us together. In spite of the times he’d have gladly shot me to get me to shut up—we formed a lasting friendship!

This community has been the constant in the success of Quepolandia! From the advertisers, the gang of volunteer writers, to those that dream of having their prized photo make the cover, to every tourist who has been helped to locate something, or laughed at the jokes, it is this amazing community that has showed their support by trying to get their hands on each copy come the first of the month without fail. We weathered the storm of COVID, the loss of tourists and a terrible economy that followed, but we as a community have made it back to what was always there, Pura Vida and the QUEPOLANDIA!

I am forever grateful to have been a part of Quepolandia…HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

The Birth of Quepolandia by Ana Lyons


Before deciding to move to Costa Rica, I had already retired from the “rat race” and was working a few different jobs while living on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. One of the last jobs there was with a publishing company, although my job was accounting and personnel—not publishing. But I suppose all those ideas flowing around the office must have found a place tucked away into my mind’s data bank.

I had known for a long time that I would love to live in a tropical environment after visiting Puerto Rico, Haiti, Barbados and Jamaica. My boyfriend at the time felt the same way, and since he was a surfer, we finally decided Costa Rica should be our next home. Fortunately, my 20 years “rat race” career allowed me to have a small financial advantage which provided the means for the move.

The first Costa Rican adventure was a small bar, restaurant, and cabins—el Oasis Americano—on the beautiful Playa Matapalo, a few kilometers south of Quepos. It didn’t take long to realize this was not my Costa Rican dream job.

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¿Qué Pasa en Quepos? – July 2023

Bienvenidos y GRACIAS… Welcome and THANK YOU!!!

Ana founded Quepolandia magazine 25 years ago on July 1 1998. Her first word in the first issue was Bienvienidos… This issue starts the same but we want to add Thank you. This is a special issue to us and all our loyal readers. July we will still hit newsstands near you. This issue is a new beginning of service for tourists, ex-pats, and the local community to get helpful and useful information. I would like to ask our Staff (Paul Rees), our writers, and advertisers to take a BOW. What an accomplishment 25 years, I cannot thank you enough, it is and always will be all you that make it happen I am just distribution.

Change should be good it stimulates the mind.

July will mark a new continuation not a new start. We are already rolling. The cover is getting a facelift (let us know what you think of the logo). We will be launching a new QUEPOLANDIA.com that just reached a 1,000,000 views.

So they say a goal achieved no longer motivates… 25 years in print, done. Website hits a million views, yup did that ✌️. What can you we do next? Find out in our up-coming issues for the details. We have a goal. By the end of the year we hope to have a new look, a new website, and most importantly a new way to HELP MOTHER EARTH. She has always needed us, and now more than ever. We all owe her enough to just care.

This issue is to look back and Thank all the people involved and to look forward to our next 25 years.

To Ana who started QUEPOLANDIA as basically a pamphlet and a dream. To Pat who took on the dream and made it brighter. To Paul the one well who really deserves the most credit, he is our Wizard of Oz, our man behind the scenes. He creates every issue with love, professionalism, and best of all PRIDE.

To all of our writers like Jack and Todd who for the better part of 25 years each month sent us a fantastic article to share, educate and stimulate us. Or you who wrote one piece in one issue. You all made turning our pages interesting every month.

We have seen a lot of change over the years. Thanks to Marina Pez Vela and all the hard-working fleet that has made Quepos a World Class Sportfishing BUCKET LIST destination bringing guests from around the world. Not just great fishing but sunset tours, shopping, restaurants and family friendly events throughout the year.

We are blessed with the staff and the guides of one of the Top 10 National Parks in the world. We Thank and support all the conservationists, the volunteers, and the contributors to helping protect this fragile ecosystem in an ever-changing environment. (KSTR pg. 42, PAWS pg. 16, Marine Conservation pg. 40 )

To all of our advertisers, we never would have been able to reach this goal without your advertising. You are the very reason we were able to do this. Ronnies was one of the first businesses in Quepolandia and still one of the best places to enjoy a sunset and sangria in Manuel Antonio or Costa Rica. Covid hurt this part of Quepolandia the hardest, with advertising being the life line to circulation.

To every business, coffee tables of all the rental houses, hotel lobbies, tour companies, car rental locations, restaurants, mini supers, everywhere you have let us put a stack of magazines to be picked up and enjoyed. To all of our readers. First-timers, loyal readers, or like me, a collector. I have almost every issue ever printed.

Because there are really to many people to thank.

This goes out to Everyone who has ever touched a Quepolandia magazine over 25 years.

Gracias…Thank you.

Peace and Enjoy…D

Kids Saving The Rainforest – Solo Mundo Abroad

KSTR is a 20 year old wildlife conservation project based near Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica. Our organization provides wildlife rescue, rehabilitation and release to all species of wildlife native to Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast including squirrel monkeys, howler monkeys, capuchins, sea turtles, dolphins, shorebirds, reptiles, and more. KSTR’s 52 acre property houses a study abroad campus that allows science students to access the surrounding beaches and jungles while having comfortable accommodations.

Current major projects include a wildlife bridge program and construction of a new world-class wildlife hospital and sanctuary.

What we do

We are a study abroad provider with university and conservation organization partners from around the world. Our courses are for highschool, college and university students interested in the fields of biology, ecology, zoology, marine science and veterinary medicine.

Solo Mundo Abroad offers Spring, Summer and Winter study abroad courses in Costa Rica, where students will learn in a tropical environment, in a country rich in biodiversity and natural wealth.

Through this course students will be able to experience the best of Costa Rica while learning through hands-on experiences in places with paradisiacal beaches, protected wilderness areas of tropical forest and ocean, mangrove swamps and marine environments, where species of flora and fauna that are in danger of extinction coexist.

We provide unforgettable hands-on experiences with wildlife, immersed in conservation efforts, that will truly impact the life of the students at a personal and professional level. Students will be able to embrace the opportunity to face real and exciting challenges and be open to experiences that expand their assumptions and perspectives.

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