Karma Saving the Rainforest

Karma Saving the Rainforest

By Karma Casey for Kids Saving The Rainforest, as published in Quepolandia.com, July 15, 2018

KSTR vets helping injured sloth
Kids Saving The Rainforest

Hello again Quepolandia readers. Happy 20th birthday to this amazing magazine, which is twice as old as me! Thanks for reading!

This is Karma Casey, the spokes-kid from Kids Saving the Rainforest. For those of you who don’t know who we are, KSTR is a wildlife rescue and sanctuary outside of Quepos, Costa Rica. We help two-toed and three-toed sloths, monkeys, coatimundis, kinkajous, porcupines, parrots, and more! We also plant trees, put up wildlife bridges, educate the public, and do lots of other things to help save the rainforest. If you find sick, injured, or orphaned wildlife, contact our veterinary staff via What’sApp at 88-ANIMAL (506-8826-4625) and we can help!

This month’s article is about probably one of your favorite animals: A sloth!

I have interviewed some of the lucky, hard-working members of our veterinary clinic team to tell you all about one super special and amazing two-toed sloth named Senor Dona.

Dona is an adult male two- toed sloth who was found over an hour away towards Jaco. Kids Saving the Rainforest was alerted by our friends at MINAE and SINAC (two government agencies that work hard to protect Costa Rica’s environment and wildlife) that a sloth had been hit by a car. The wildlife professionals at KSTR quickly came to the rescue, and Senor Dona was rushed to our veterinary clinic.

Injured sloth rushed to vet clinic
Kids Saving The Rainforest

Upon examination, developing burns were discovered on Dona’s body that were evidence of electrocution. Senor Dona was sadly electrocuted, fell, and then got hit by a car. That’s a lot for a sloth! Due to his injuries, he cannot move the lower half of his body.

Kids Saving the Rainforest is doing everything we can to help Senor Dona regain the use of his legs and get well again, including giving special daily sloth massages, and trying non-traditional forms of healing to help him on his way! Joining our efforts is Dr. Tania Zeledon, a veterinarian from San Jose. Dr. Zeledon specializes in alternative healing therapies for animals. She travels to Quepos once a week to give acupuncture to people’s pets, and she is donating part of her time to helping Senor Dona!

Acupuncture for injured sloth
Kids Saving The Rainforest

Dr. Zeledon performs acupuncture on Dona, inserting needles into his skin at special acupuncture points to stimulate healing. Don’t worry, the needles are tiny and she is helping him to get better! She also performs Ozone therapy and therapeutic massage. The clinic team has learned lots of new and different ways of looking at healing animals from Dr. Zeledon, which Kids Saving the Rainforest can use to help Senor Dona and other animals who come to us needing help!

Senor Dona has been progressing slowly with everyone’s help. He still cannot properly use his back legs, but he has been able to hang some and with time we hope he will keep getting better and better. He is a brave and courageous two-toed sloth who has been through a lot!

If you’d like to help support Senor Dona on his journey to recovery, visit our website at http://kidssavingtherainforest.org. And don’t forget! Slow down and watch out for wildlife as you are driving around Costa Rica! We share this beautiful country with many amazing creatures big and small, and they depend on us to treat with them with the respect they all deserve!

KSTR rehabilitation of wildlife
Kids Saving The Rainforest

A special thanks to Dr. Tania Zeledon. If you’d like to speak to her about acupuncture for your pets, you can reach her at (506)8854-8984.

To sign up for a guided tour of the Kids Saving the Rainforest wildlife sanctuary, please visit our website at http://kidssavingtherainforest.org or email

If you’d like to write to Karma, she can be reached at spokeskid@kstr.org.

Kids Saving The Rainforest logo
Kids Saving The Rainforest


Remodeling of Quepos Airstrip in Costa Rica Underway

Remodeling of Quepos Airstrip in Costa Rica Underway

By Laura Alvarado, February 17, 2018 Published in The Costa Rica Star, March 10, 2018

AirplaneThe Quepos airstrip is receiving an important investment of over US$9.5 million that will better the conditions and infrastructure with the purpose of strengthening local tourism.

The General Directorate of Civil Aviation explained that the runway will be built with hydraulic cement with a capacity of 50 thousand pounds of weight and will be extended from the current 13 meters (42.65 feet) in width to 23 meters (75.45 feet) and 1123 meters in length plus 200 meters of security zone.

Four parking spots for light aircraft, new paint for all areas, a perimeter wire mesh and new lighting. In addition, a new and modern domestic terminal with all basic services will be built, with adequate waiting rooms and food services as well as proper parking area for vehicles.

The new design and infrastructure complies with the norms established by the International Civil Aviation Organization for a 2B airdrome.

Enio Cubillo, director of Civil Aviation stated “This is an area of high visitation for both national and foreign tourists, this project is a tool to attract more visitation and generate more business in the area for the local community”.

The Manuel Antonio National Park located in Quepos is the most visited National Park in the country, driving from San Jose to Quepos can take over three hours while a domestic flight takes only 20 minutes.

Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica Has New Universal Trail

Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica Has New Universal Trail

By Laura Alvarado, February 17, 2018 as appeared in The Costa Rica Star, March 9, 2018

Manuel Antonio National Park
Manuel Antonio National Park

The Manuel Antonio National Park in Quepos, Puntarenas, the most visited National park in Costa Rica, has a new universal trail sponsored by the Costa Rica Electricity Institute (ICE).

“El Manglar” (The Mangrove) is the name of the new elevated trail that has a length of 784 meters (2,572 feet) and is 2.4 meters wide (7.87 feet); it was built over a mangrove, hence the name, in an area of the park that wasn’t accessible to the tourists in the past and which leads to Espadilla Sur Beach and connects with other existing trails.

The new trail was built and donated by the Engineering and Construction department of ICE and it complies with Law 7600 (Equal Opportunities Law for People with Disabilities) and has 10 bays that have information in braille language that describes the characteristics and attractions of each area of the park.

In the past few months the Manuel Antonio National Park has received several improvements that aim to offer better conditions to the more than 440 thousand visitors it gets every year.



Release of Squirrel Monkeys at KSTR

Release of Squirrel Monkeys at KSTR

By KSTR Volunteer Margarita Samsonova, Kids Saving The Rainforest

Kids Saving The Rainforest
Kids Saving The Rainforest

Kids Saving the Rainforest is in the process of establishing a reintroduction program for squirrel monkeys. Central American squirrel monkeys, also known as Saimiri oerstedi, are nearly extinct in Panama and are threatened in Costa Rica. There are only 4,000 individuals living in the wild, mostly in Manuel Antonio and Corcovado National Parks, located on Pacific Coast of Costa Rica.

The low population of Central American squirrel monkeys makes reintroduction programs of these species very important to sustain the population and help reproduction. In order for the release to be successful, the monkey’s behavior and its predator responses are tested to see what chance the animal has to survive in the wild. The project requires sustained long term observations and research to ensure a successful reintroduction into the wild.

One of our volunteers, Margarita Samsonova, is dedicating her time to observing candidates for release and has been testing their ability to respond to predators. The predator experiments were set on the monkeys six times using the scents of predators who are also rehabilitating in the rescue center. Scents of animals who hunt squirrel monkeys in Costa Rica such as dogs, white- faced monkeys, kinkajous and hawks were used along with their recorded vocalizations to test predator response. Pieces of cloth were placed in the predators’ enclosures overnight and then placed with the vocal recordings in the squirrel monkey enclosure the next day.

A few of the squirrel monkeys had previously been kept as pets, so it is crucial to observe their reaction and behavior to get an idea of whether the release would be successful or not. It was observed that only four of the six candidates displayed “appropriate” behavior and reacted to the predator sound and smell the same as a squirrel monkey in the wild would. Two of those candidates didn’t approach the cloth with scent, meaning that they sensed the predators’ presence and didn’t want to risk danger. The other two squirrel monkeys, after some time observing the cloth, did get the food from it but retreated to eat it, which could mean that they saw no presence of predators and decided to quickly grab the food—a normal behavior of squirrel monkeys in the wild. The remaining two individuals came right to the cloth once it was put out; they didn’t react to any vocalizations and didn’t move from the cloth to eat the food, which could mean that those animals were domesticated and may have lost their natural instinct.

The testing of behavior will continue until the beginning of April and the planned release is in mid-April. It is believed that pre-release monitoring and experiments will help to determine an estimation of which of the candidates would have high survival rates during reintroduction.

Visit Manuel Antonio National Park

Visit Manuel Antonio National Park

Manuel Antonio National ParkManuel Antonio is the most visited national park in Costa Rica, attracting over 250,000 people each year to its sublime beaches. The park consists of mangrove swamps, primary rainforests and marshy woodlands and is bordered by the clear waters of the Pacific Ocean. It is a haven for over 100 mammal species including the highly endangered squirrel monkey.

Quick Facts

Location: Manuel Antonio; 110 miles from San Jose

Area: 1,700 land acres and 135,905 marine acres

Hours: 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed Mondays

Tel.: 2777-0644 or 2777-5185

Entrance Fee: $16.00


White-sand sand beaches are ideal for swimming, and forest trails snake along the coast to breathtaking lookout points. The area is one of the best places in the country for viewing wildlife. The local association of licensed tour guides is located just outside the park entrance. Visitors can hire a naturalist guide for around $20 per person to tour the national park – a great deal considering the guides are well-versed in native flora and fauna, and the income helps support the local economy.

There are several islands within the park’s boundaries that serve as important nesting grounds for the brown booby, frigate bird and anhinga. The shores are also occasional nesting grounds for Olive Ridley and Pacific green turtles. The park is accessed by turning left at Marlin’s Restaurant and following the signs.


Bird and wildlife watching and hiking are the park’s main attractions. Visitors can sunbathe or swim in the warm waters of the three secluded beaches. Camping is not permitted in the park.


There is an administration office located within the park where environmental research projects are headquartered. Along the shore are picnic tables, restrooms, showers, potable water and a pay phone.


Take your pick from five short trails that meander through the park, passing scenic overlooks and pristine beaches. The most popular trail is the small loop that circles around Punta Cathedral and ends with a wonderful view of the Pacific. All trails have good signs and are well-maintained.

The 1.3 mile Main trail is a flat, sandy path that links several beaches. It is an easy trail and the most popular with visitors.  Most of the guided hikes slowly make their way along this trail, which passes by mangrove swamps on its way to the beaches.

The Punta Catedral trail branches off to the right of the main trail and circumnavigates Cathedral Point (an outcropping of land that used to be an island but is now joined to the mainland). There are several lookout points from here. The trail is steep in some sections and can be muddy and slippery in the rainy season.

The Trampa trail is a short path that links the beginning and end of the Punta Catedral trail, making a loop. The one-mile Playa Gemelas/Punto Escondido trail leads to two other beaches of the same name, and the Mirador trail is a more difficult .85 mile climb to a beautiful lookout point.

Flora and Fauna:

Manuel Antonio National Park is home to myriad wildlife, including the endangered squirrel monkey. Only a few troops of these primates are left in Costa Rica. White-faced monkeys, sloths, coatimundis and howler monkeys are all frequently sighted. Central American whiptail and brown basilisk lizards hide in the fallen debris, and many species of birds conceal themselves in the variety of vegetation. The park has 12 rocky islands harboring pelagic birds such as the brown booby, frigate bird and pelican.

There are warning signs about the manzanillo tree near the park entrance. Its fruit, leaves and bark are toxic and the sap is a skin irritant. The black spiny iguana is the only animal immune to the manzanillo’s toxin, and the fruit makes up a large part of the iguana’s diet.


The park contains three stretches of beautiful beaches, each shaded by enormous coconut palms and almond trees.

Playa Espadilla Sur is the first and longest beach in Manuel Antonio National Park. It is the long, wide beach off to the right of the main trail.  It is often less crowded than the other beaches and is perfect for strolling at low tide.  The surf can be strong at times, and swimming should be done with caution.

Playa Manuel Antonio is a popular beach among tourists and locals.  Many families and school children visit this stretch of beach as it offers restrooms, picnic tables, drinking water and showers. The coastal almond trees provide plenty of shade, and gentle currents make this sheltered shore a favored swimming spot.

Playa Gemelas is reached by hiking the short Playa Gemelas trail from the gravel road. This beach is typically uncrowded. The strong currents and hidden rocks beneath the surface make swimming difficult, if not dangerous. There is a more secluded section of this beach accessible at low tide by walking around a small rock outcropping.

The trail to Playa Puerto Escondido is closed. Playa Playitas is farther away and reachable only by boat.


1. If hiking solely on the main sandy trail, flip flops or other light footwear is adequate.  If hiking on the other trails, more sturdy footwear like boots or walking shoes are needed, as the paths are sometimes steep and slippery.

2. Keep in mind that curious animals like monkeys and raccoons are watching your backpack in hopes of a treat; please do not feed the wildlife as it leads to aggressive behavior and an unhealthy dependence on humans.

3. If you want the park’s glorious beaches all to yourself, go early. The park opens at 7 a.m. and most visitors go with a local guide between 8:30 and 9:00 a.m.

4. A bandana, towel and bathing suit are highly recommended: the water is irresistible.  It is hot and humid in the area, so bring plenty of drinking water.

Reprinted from Costa Rica.com 

Marina Pez Vela: A Marina like You’ve Never Seen Before

Marina Pez Vela: A Marina like You’ve Never Seen Before

Marina Pez Vela
Marina Pez Vela

The world’s finest sportfishing destination should naturally have facilities to match. Marina Pez Vela, when fully completed, will offer services rivaling those of any first-class, five-star marina resort. Our full-service marina facility, the largest in all of Central America, will create a major destination for anyone looking to base their boat on a long-term or short-term basis in Costa Rica. Boating and fishing enthusiasts alike will love Marina Pez Vela.

Under construction are 300 concrete floating dock slips that will accommodate boats up to 200 feet. The first 100 slips open as of June 1 will surround the perimeter of the basin and will offer complete amenities you would expect to find in a first class marina such as this. If you’re wanting to also visit other first class marinas take a look at Van Isle Marina for a luxurious time spent away, as well as beautiful yacht cruises.

Our marina slips are available for sale (with revenue sharing when rented out) or available for short and long-term renting. From 35′ up to 200′, Marina Pez Vela has opened up a new opportunity for boaters to explore the finest waters in all of Central America. Once you arrive here, you will not want to leave!

Reprinted from marinapezvela.com



Downtown Quepos
Downtown Quepos

Quepos is a short 10-minute drive or bus ride from our Manuel Antonio vacation rental. It has a population of 7000 although you’d never know it by walking the village center. Downtown Quepos covers a six-block square of restaurants, gift shops, banks, bakeries, bars, hotels, and art galleries. Nightlife in Quepos can be enjoyed at several bars, a casino and at Arco Iris – the local disco that gets going around midnight. It has a modern hospital and a domestic airport. The international airport in San Jose is a short 20-minute flight away.

A must-do is the Farmer’s Market known locally as “La Feria”, where local growers set up their booths on the breakwater at the edge of town late Friday afternoon and close down early Saturday afternoon. Here you’ll find tropical fruits, organic vegetables, chicken, fish, home baked goods, freshly squeezed sugar cane and orange juice. Be sure and seek out vendors with large coolers containing “pipas”, coconuts filled with their nutritious water. The vendor will open it up with his machete for you right on the spot.

An interesting aspect of Quepos is that it has an eclectic characteristic to it, attracting people from all over the world. It’s commonplace to meet people in both Quepos and Manuel Antonio who first came to visit, fell in love with the area, and decided to stay.

Village of Manuel Antonio

Village of Manuel Antonio

Manuel Antonio
Manuel Antonio

Manuel Antonio is one of the most beautiful vacation rental areas in all of Costa Rica with spectacular ocean views. It also has an abundance of quality restaurants, wildlife, activities and services. Located on the Pacific coastline it’s a scenic 2½-hour drive or a 20-minute domestic flight from San Jose.

Technically Manuel Antonio is part of the town of Quepos. It spans the distance between Quepos and Manuel Antonio National Park. Many hilltop vacation villas have superb views of Espadilla Beach and its bay dotted with 7 picturesque islands. The Discovery Beach House is one of only four beachfront homes in the area and a wonderful location for a Costa Rica beach vacation.

The town of Quepos is a 10-minute drive from Manuel Antonio and convenient for shopping for groceries and souvenirs. There’s also a full facility hospital and airport located just 20 minutes from the Discovery Beach House.



Playa Espadilla
Espadilla Beach toward Manuel Antonio National Park

One of Manuel Antonio’s best features is its abundance of beautiful beaches making it perfect for your Costa Rica beach vacation. The water is always warm and the sunsets are spectacular.

Espadilla Beach is the main public beach in Manuel Antonio and can be accessed by walking right outside the front gate at our Discovery Beach House vacation rental home. This gorgeous bay is dotted with several islands, which make it one of the most beautiful views in the world.

At the northwest end of Espadilla Beach is Playitas, the favored Manuel Antonio surf spot. Just walk north along Espadilla Beach to find it. You’ll know you’ve arrived when you see a huge rock on the shoreline. Climb the rock for a great vantage point for photos.

Espadilla Beach steps from Discovery Beach House
Espadilla Beach steps from Discovery Beach House

Manuel Antonio National Park boasts 3 beaches of its own. Cathedral Point, once an island, is now connected to the Pacific coastline by a narrow strip of land. This link separates Playa Espadilla Sur and Playa Manuel Antonio. The beach facing south is Playa Manuel Antonio with its gorgeous white sand crescent shape and the other side is Playa Espadilla Sur, a private, secluded cove.

Playa Puerto Escondido is farthest from the park entrance and although littered with driftwood it’s worth the hike.

biesanz beach
Biesanz Beach

Biesanz Beach is found along the road to the Parador Hotel. It’s a local Tico beach in a calm bay suitable for families with children of all ages. This is the beach to visit on weekends when you feel like a taste of the local flavor.

Award Winning Manuel Antonio Beach

Our very own Manuel Antonio Beach won TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice #1 Best Beach in Central America 2013 & #2 in 2016. Woo-hoo!

Read the reviews here.

Manuel Antonio Beach
Manuel Antonio Beach