Posted tagged ‘fishing in quepos’

Sportfishing in Costa Rica…..Some Hints to Finding the Fish!

January 12, 2014

With well over 750 miles of coastline to explore, anglers coming to Costa Rica have a multitude of options to try their luck for both inshore and offshore sport fishing in this marine rich part of the world. It’s a big ocean out there, and if you don’t know what you are doing you can spend a whole day driving around burning expensive gas and finding absolutely nothing to put a bite on a hook! The main key to a successful day of offshore or inshore fishing is frankly knowing where and how to find the fish!

Naturally, there is no substitute for local expertise when it comes to finding fish, they live and breath the sport and no one

wants you to have a good fishing day more than your Captain and First Mate, so count on them for the best results! Every good captain knows where to find the fish, but if you are out for a day on your own, or if you are practicing to become the next best fishing captain for your next lifetime, you may find the following information helpful while exploring some new (or old) fishing grounds.
The first and foremost important tip for finding the fish is watch for Variation. Variation can come in several forms, some of them very obvious and others more subtle, so here are some helpful hints for you in case you are headed out for a day of great fishing action!

Los Corrientes (The currents)
The most tried and true method to finding gamefish in Costa Rica is fishing in “los corrientes”. These currents can be

spotted by a subtle change in color and in the temperature of the water. Baitfish and predators tend to be more plentiful in these currents, so an experienced captain will generally work the edges of “los corrientes” to see how the action is going before moving on to other options. When fishing from the areas of Quepos, Jaco, or Herradura, charters will find “los corrientes” about twenty-five to thirty miles offshore during peak billfish season and will generally head that direction to start their day. For that reason, it is almost always recommended to plan at least a 3/4 to Full Day of fishing to allow enough time to get into the really thick action!

Ocean Floor Geography
Invisible to the naked eye, the underwater geopgraphic structures such as canyons, reefs and other natural formations can increase

the flow of ocean currents, increasing the chance of good angling or even extreme angling in particular areas. The rapidly moving currents can trap bait fish allowing the large game fish to move in seeking an easy feeding session on the trapped bait. Similar to the seasonal currents, these fish rich currents are often found by looking for subtle changes in the water color or surface ocean temperatures. Professional and experienced Sport Fishing Charter Captains for the Costa Rican shores will always have one eye on the bottom (think GPS) and one eye on the surface looking for those subtle changes that are going to lead them to their prize.

Floating Debris
The rainy season in Costa Rica may not be the favored months for hooking the larger Gamefish (though they are prevelent year round,

so don’t let the rainy season scare you away!), but it is the hottest time of year for Dorado, including Bull Dorado which can often times come in weighing over fifty pounds! Since the heavy rains in the mountains of Costa Rica run out the local rivers located in the Quepos, Jaco and

Herradura areas, the experienced fisherman knows that fish love structure and obstacles, even temporary formations resulting from debris washing out to sea from the rain swollen rivers, so its always a good idea to head that way. Fishing deep around areas such as weed lines, floating pallets, or logs can yield a great Dorado hit, meaning a possible great dinner will be on the table that night! Other game fish can be found beneath the debris as well, so this is an area that is especially worth an anglers undivided attention!!

Underwater Structure
Wrecks and reefs provide structure or should we say a vacation home getaway for large bottom fish including Cubera Snapper and Grouper. This so called structure is also home to plankton and other small organisms that serve to attract baitfish which in turn attract the bigger game fish on the prowl for an easy meal. Keep in mind…..the main structure area may be overfished, while potential surrounding “satellite” sites around the structure can often be teaming with life as well, so keep your eyes and your fishing lines open. Larger Gamefish often hang out at these quieter satellite sites, so work that whole area for best results.

Slicks

Its a big ocean out there, but sometimes you can see obvious “slicks” on the surface, so keep your eye out for any and all oily slicks on the water’s surface since these can often be a good sign for hungry for action anglers. Big game fish such as Dorado, Tuna, Marlin and Sailfish when feeding are chasing bait fish to the surface which releases fish oils, resulting in the “slicks” that you may witness. If you are lucky, this very slick could hold the trophy catch you have been seeking!

Birds

Offshore birds are always fishing in Costa Rica, so it is always a good idea to keep an eye on the sky as well! Searching for bait pods, tuna feeding, or trolling Billfish, pay particular attention to the many Frigate Birds who are great spotters, especially those that are circling in one particular location. The experienced fishing guide knows that even a lone Frigate Bird can lead you to a trophy Tuna, Marlin or Sailfish.

With prices high and time limited during a Costa Rica visit, when fishing offshore in our gamefish rich waters of Costa Rica, the

importance of local expertise cannot be overstated. Natural underwater geographic structures are consistent and well know and local Costa Rica Fishing Guides now have the ability to record the best fishing spots to GPS, giving them the edge when fishing for big game fish in these open waters…..something someone who does not live in the area is never going to know about. In addition, an experienced captain and mate will have developed keen eyes and experience, with some experienced Captains and First Mates able to spot schooling Tuna miles away just by looking for disturbed water and many of the other hints listed above.

So on your next Sportfish outing while fishing in Costa Rica (or wherever!), keep the above hints in mind for best results, and

be sure to find out more about Pacific fish species, fishing seasons, fishing reports, and the local weather conditions beforehand by checking out our link on fishing in the Quepos, Costa Rica area via your local Costa Rica Vacation House Rental or Costa Rica Hotel, where they are happy to steer you in the right direction for an unforgettable day of Game fishing in an area that still boasts some 17 IGFA World Records! You could be the next World Record Holder!! FISH ON!!!!

Author:
Kimberly Barron, originally from Malibu, California has lived in Parismina and Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica for 20 years. Starting as a certified tour guide, she spent 15 years managing fishing lodges on the Caribbean Coast and later 4* & 5* Hotels on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. Currently semi-retired, Kimberly still works as the Marketing Director for Byblos Resort & Casino and owns and operates her own Costa Rica Vacation Rental Home business at Manuel Antonio Rental Homes!

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Soursop (aka: “Guanabana”)…. a Sour name for a Sweet Cancer Fighting Costa Rican Fruit!

May 26, 2013

Circulating around the internet these days, this latest “favorite” tree has been making headlines everywhere touting it’s remarkable cancer curing properties discovered and actually being proven in scientific studies. In case you haven’t seen the articles, I’m referring to the Soursop Tree (Annona muricata), known in Spanish as the Guanabana (say that 3 times fast!). The Guanabana fruit is one of the most delicious and odd looking tropical fruits you will commonly find here in Costa Rica. Guanabana fruits are easily recognized in local farmers markets with their large heart-shaped form, rich green color, spiny skin and a white, creamy pulp peppered with elongated, black seeds. The pulp when eaten straight from the fruit is a bit sour to the taste buds…thus earning the name “Soursop”, but with a little added sweetener, this tropical gem blends into a creamy, fruity smoothie that rivals a fattening a much less healthy milkshake. It is also commonly used in ice creams, yogurts and other tasty delicacies.

The Soursop Tree is a really quite small considering the size of each fruit it produces. Growing up to 10 meters (a large specimen), this can make this non-descript tree ideal for a home garden orchard. The young branches, as well as the trunk of the tree eventually bear pale yellow, conical flowers which later turn into the large green fruits. The ovate, glossy leaves have a peculiar odor when rubbed and have proven to be valuable as a natural medicine in both ancient and now modern herbal remedies. In early times, the leaves of the Guanabana were used for tea to reduce swelling of the mucus membranes or to treat liver disease. The black seeds were often crushed and used as a vermifuge to help with parasite infestation. All parts of the tree were also ground and used as a sedative or as an anti-convulsant. The fruit was used to reduce joint pain, to treat heart conditions, as a sedative, to induce labor, or to reduce coughing or flu symptoms, just to name a few of its many benefits.

Thrifty home gardeners can start their own Guanabana trees simply by saving the seeds from a fruit you buy at the local market. Plant one oblong seed per planter filled with fertile soil and sit back and relax. Germination can take as much as 2 weeks or more,
so just be patient and keep the container watered several times a week. Once the seedlings begin to emerge when they are around 30cm, you will want to transplant them to a more permanent place in the yard. These trees do well on a wide range of soils, as long as good drainage is present. It takes a Guanabana tree some 5 years before it can begin to produce fruit, so you need to be in for the long haul when planting this unique tree. It’s important to protect the trees and fruits from disease and insect attacks, so it is not uncommon to see these fruits covered with loose recycled plastic bags as they mature to protect the fruits from fruit flies without the use of harmful insecticides, as well as in some cases, citric oil is rubbed on the bark of the trees to help protect them from other diseases.

The leaves, roots and bark of the Soursop have also been studied extensively by some of the more prestigious institutions known for their cancer research departments. These institutions such as the Health Sciences Institute, Journal of Natural Products, Catholic University of South Korea, Purdue University, National Cancer Institute, Cancer Research UK have definitively concluded that the Guanabana contains special organic compounds called “annonaceous acetogenins”, which effectively target and kill malignant cells in 12 types of cancer, including colon, breast, prostate, lung and pancreatic cancer. These acetogenins are inhibitors of enzyme processes that are only found in the membranes of cancerous tumor cells, and have no toxicity to healthy cells. These means they not only attack the bad cells and leave the good ones to do their work, but the natural compounds in Guanabana lessen the side effects like nausea, hair and weight loss during the treatment. The tree compounds have proven to be up to 10,000 times stronger in slowing the growth of cancer cells than Adriamycin, a commonly used chemotherapeutic drug, which is pretty impressive stuff!

These studies have confirmed the anti-tumor, anti-parasitic, insecticidal, and anti-microbial activities of Soursop, which indigenous people discovered centuries ago and yet, the US government seems to dispute the documented findings!

As rapidly as excitement had skyrocketed about the Soursop, skeptics rushed to denounce the “cancer cure” as a fraud and scam afflicting the needy, the desperate, and the gullible. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) swooped in to fine and close various businesses that had unwisely reported an ability to cure cancer. And in September 2008, Medical News Today publicized the FTC’s actions, quoting its director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection, Lydia Parkes, as saying: “There is no credible scientific evidence that any of the products marketed by these companies can prevent, cure, or treat cancer of any kind”.
Is this a Big Pharma conspiracy or what? We need to focus on not just enjoying this delicious fruit, but helping people with cancer as well!! So when if Costa Rica, if you see this fruit at your Costa Rica hotel, or have the chance to buy “Guanabana”, “Soursop”, “Graviola”, “Pawpaw” or whatever it may be called in
that part of the world at a local market, jump on the opportunity! Not only will you get a sweet tasty surprise, but you may end up eventually helping the world come up with a natural remedy that could lead to lessen the suffering cancer patients currently must endure! Now that is Pura Vida!

On a lighter note…….

Cancer fighting qualities aside, next time you find the opportunity to taste Guanabana, I can personally recommend its sweet pleasures! Be it fresh, yogurt, ice cream, natural juice or a delicious smoothie, its unique tropical flavors will win you over immediately!

Watch this video for more information on how to prepare the fruit, as well as for the sheer entertainment!
“RasKitchen”, the Rasta Mon of cooking and the benefits of Soursop. He speaks English, but we still needed the subtitles! “Good for your dick mon!” I love at the very end when the gringo really does not want to take a sip of the Guanabana juice, as I think he just watched Rasta Mon prepare it in less than sanitary conditions. It’s all good “mon”, “Good for the Dick”!! Now that is Pura Vida at its best!!

CLICK FOR VIDEO HERE!

Author:
Kimberly Barron, originally from Malibu, California has lived in Parismina and Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica for 20 years. Starting as a certified tour guide, she spent 15 years managing fishing lodges on the Caribbean Coast and later 4* & 5* Hotels on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. Currently semi-retired, Kimberly still works as the Marketing Director for Byblos Resort & Casino and Hotel Makanda by the Sea.

Sources:
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/side-effects/201107/fighting-cancer-science-and-nature
http://www.christopherlane.org
http://degraviola.com/guanabana
http://www.blackherbals.com/graviola.htm

Quepos, Costa Rica….once home to the fierce Quepoa Indians!

May 14, 2013

Quepos acquired its name from the Quepoa Indians, which derived from the Boruca tribes that migrated northward from Columbia towards the end of the first millinium. The great conquistador, Juan Vasquez de Coronado, declared the Quepoa Indians as the ¨most beautiful people seen in these indies¨.
The Quepoa Indians were well respected as fierce fighters, and are said to have pilaged great quantities of gold from the Caribbean tribes of this country in their reign as relentless warriors. It is said that these tribes lived the majority of the year near the foothills of the Naranjo and Savegre Rivers for the purpose of more productive farming, while in the rainiest months they inhabited the coastal hills of Manuel Antonio, concentrating around Quepos Point.
The earliest recorded European presence in Manuel Antonio dates back to around 5 years after the famous Spanish explorer Balboa discovered the Pacific Ocean in the early 1500´s. Explorer Juan Ponce de Leon, who would later be credited with discovering Florida in his quest to find the fountain of youth, arrived to the shores of Costa Rica, and more specifically the Manuel Antonio area in the year 1519. Upon his arrival to our shores, his flotella encountered a large presence of fearsome taunting Quepoa Indian Warriors lining the beach, and wisely declined to make landfall.

To this day, there continues a legend that a hidden treasure of some seven hundred tons of gold, silver, pearls, emeralds and other jewels exists somewhere in the territories that the Quepoa Indians occupied. Though this has never been confirmed, and obviously the treasure has never been discovered, infamous English privateer John Clipperton spent a good part of the late 1600´s exploring the area and befriending the Quepoa Tribes in his attempts to claim this immense fortune. Upon his death in 1722, Clipperton still believed the largest world treasure existed in our area, but was unsuccessful in his quest to claim it.
In the year 1746, after many years of Spanish rebellions, disease brought on by the European settlers, and warfare between rivaling Indian Groups, the Quepoa tribe was forced into extinction. The whereabouts of the legendary treasure, estimated to be worth billions of dollars at today’s currency still remains a mystery!

The actual town of Quepos first came to modern prominence as a busy shipping port for exporting bananas for the United Fruit
Company. After years of devastating disease devastating the banana industry, this crop was scrapped and the agriculture fields were converted to the 40,000 plus hectares of African Palm trees that you see today. Prized for the diverse properties the oil produces,
African Palm oil is now used as bio-fuel, in creams & cosmetics, soaps, margarines, as well as cooking and industrial oils. Although this crop continues to be a major economic force in our area, it helped fuel the decline of Quepos as a major shipping port, as the smaller fruit is much easier to transport and refine locally.

Surprisingly, even as late as the 1950´s basic communication between Quepos and the rest of the country was a challenge. Roads were
almost non-existent, and passage by mule, donkey, horse or oxen cart was for many years the norm for the locals that lived in the area. In the 1940´s the president of Costa Rica, Rafael Angel Calderon declared Quepos and Parrita districts of Puntarenas, and it was at that time that they started work on a major road to San Jose, but that took many years to complete. There was a small railroad between Quepos and Parrita, but it was not widely used for the public and more often at low tide airplanes would land on the beach in front of the main street in front of what now stands as our sea wall. This is how they accommodated the first tourists, which arrived mostly during the dry months of January, February and March, and whom at that time were almost exclusively Costa Rican. It was not until the 70´s that the African Palm industry prospered enough that highways became an absolute necessity, and the first telephone arrived to the Quepos area.

Quepos, home to numerous hotels, restaurants and other tourist operations, it serves as the gateway to Manuel Antonio National Park and it’s even wider variety of hotels, is now better known for it´s World Class Sportfishing, claiming some 17 IGFA records!

Author:
Kimberly Barron, originally from Malibu, California has lived in Parismina and Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica for 20 years. Starting as a certified tour guide, she spent 15 years managing fishing lodges on the Caribbean Coast and later 4* & 5* Hotels on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. Currently semi-retired, Kimberly still works as the Marketing Director for Byblos Resort & Casino and Hotel Makanda by the Sea.

Shoe Tossing, Shoefiti….Why do those shoes hang from Costa Rica Power Lines?

November 11, 2012

Next time you are traveling in Latin America, or practically any country nowadays for that matter, as you pass through some of the small towns or find yourself in the inner cities, take a good look up. Chances are you will see a pair or pairs of the famous “hanging shoes” drapped over the power lines high above you.

What do they mean? How do they get up there? Good questions that curious people have been asking for many years. Let’s explore some of the history and folklore behind the obiquitous “hanging shoes” and we’ll let you draw your own conclusions in the end.

Shoe tossing or “shoefiti” as it has come to be known in many International circles, is the worldwide phenomenon of throwing shoes whose laces have been tied together so that they hang from overhead power lines or telephone cables (and sometimes trees or other objects!).

In some neighborhoods, shoes tied together and hanging from these power lines signify

that someone has passed on and the shoes belong to the dead person. Legend has it that the reason they are hanging is so that when the dead person’s spirit returns, it will walk high above the ground, meaning they will be that much closer to heaven. Another superstition holds that the tossing of shoes over the power lines outside of a person’s house is a way to keep the home safe from ghosts. Some countries also believe that it signals someone is leaving the neighborhood and moving on to better opportunities.

There are a number of more sinister explanations for this shoe tossing practice. Some

claim that shoes hanging from the wires advertise a locale where drugs are sold, while others claim that the shoes mark gang turf. These explanations may have developed over the years as inner city crime increased, but fail to explain why the practice occurs more often along relatively remote stretches of rural highways or throughout most Third World countries that are for the most part unlikely scenes for gang murders and drug dens.

Other random shoe tossing explanations include shoes that are flung to commemorate the end of a school year, or an upcoming marriage, or some claim it even signifies the loss of one’s virginity. It has also been suggested that the shoe tossing custom may have originated with members of the military who are said to have thrown military boots over wires as a rite of passage upon completing basic training or upon leaving the service.

Perhaps the most likely reason for the practice of shoe tossing, at least in most rural areas, is simply the act of bullying, or as a practical joke played on your “amigos”. Lastly, others simply say that shoe tossing is a fun way to get rid of shoes that are no longer wanted and pose great challenge and fun while attempting to get them in place on the high wires.

Naturally, only each individual “shoe-tosser” knows why his/her pair of shoes are hanging from the wires, but the practice has become a common one throughout Costa Rica and now just serves as another display of modern art or to many a form of environmental pollution, all depending on your own perspective or sense of humor!

Author: Kimberly Barron, originally from Malibu, California has lived in Parismina and Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica for 20 years. Starting as a certified tour guide, she spent 15 years managing fishing lodges on the Caribbean Coast and later 4* & 5* Hotels on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. Currently semi-retired, Kimberly still works as the Marketing Director for Byblos Resort & Casino and Hotel Makanda by the Sea.

Thank You from “Kids Saving the Rainforest”! Let’s Hope your Great Support doesn’t Stop Here!

October 29, 2012

Hotel Byblos Resort in conjunction with Kids Saving the Rainforest held a community fundraiser to collect funds and supplies to enable the continued care and operation of the only locally government sanctioned wild animal rescue center located near Costa Rica’s world famous Manuel Antonio National Park last month. Thanks to all of you and the great support from our community, the event raised almost $5000!! Thank you! Thank you!!

Kids Saving The Rainforest, a not for profit Costa Rican organization and US non profit 501 C 3, was founded 13 years ago with the Monkey Bridge Program, and later expanded by an overwhelming community need to include an Animal Rescue Center for the Quepos and Manuel Antonio area.


Founded by two young girls who recognized the need to help the local wildlife as tourism developments began to effect their natural habitat, this will be Kids Saving the Rainforest first fundraiser since it was founded. Accustomed to bringing in enough proceeds for the Rescue Center through their own souvenir shop, with the downturn in the economy, this badly needed facility would have been forced to close it’s doors if they couldn’t raise enough money to cover their monthly expenses. Now granted, the $5000 raised is only a temporary solution, but is gave KSTR some temporary breathing room to brainstorm more ways to help make the center self sustaining. Along with that, the added exposure of the Center’s needs, has resulted in a substantial interest in participating in their volunteer programs, as well as increasing the number of paying visitor to their daily animal feeding tours.

As mentioned in our last KSTR post on this blog, “A full time resident vet, animal caretaker, volunteers and a guard
all live on the property helping to rehab the many injured or confiscated animals. Unfortunately, this comes with a certain fixed cost, not to mention the food, maintenance, vet supplies and numerous other items required to care for a variety of exotic animals.”, laments rescue center coordinator Jennifer Rice. “The rescue center is the only legal facility in the Central Pacific area, and is a very necessary part of our community.” adds Ms. Rice.

All injured wild animals are brought by the community or by MINAET, the government entity in charge of overseeing the National Park system. At present there are some 55 different animals being treated to include exotic birds, 4 species of monkeys, 2 species of sloths, armadillos, agoutis, coati mundis, marmesets, timirins, and other exotic wildlife. Most are eventually re-released in the wild, though some are beyond rehabilitation and must stay permanently at the rescue facility.

“Saving injured wildlife is an integral part of living in this area.” says Kimberly
Barron, Director of Marketing at Hotel Byblos. “This was not just a feel good fundraiser; these beautiful animals are one of the main attractions for tourism in our area. Local Manuel Antonio hotels and tourism operations that depend on National and International visitors cannot afford to ignore the need for a full service animal rescue center, and we are impressed that the community stepped up for the occasion. With the increase in awareness tours of the facility to area visitors, the rescue center’s continued operation is a win win for all concerned and we are very excited about it’s future if we can continue to keep the word out there.” adds Ms. Barron.

This fundraiser was just one step in the overall animal rescue plan for the Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica area, and with ongoing corporate and social responsibility programs of tourism operations

like www.bybloshotelcostarica.com, not only will the local wildlife benefit, but the local tourist economy as well. If you would like to help, it’s easy by shopping at the Kids Saving the Rainforest souvenir store located at Hotel Mono Azul. All proceeds go directly to saving the rainforest and the endangered animals of our area. For more information about how you can make a donation please call 506-2777-2592 or you can donate directly by clicking on the Kids Saving the Rainforest donation page.

It’s a Jungle out There and our Jungle Friends Need Us Now!

Author: Kimberly Barron, originally from Malibu, California has lived in Parismina and Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica for 20 years. Starting as a certified tour guide, she spent 15 years managing fishing lodges on the Caribbean Coast and later 4* & 5* Hotels on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. Currently semi-retired, Kimberly still works as the Marketing Director for Byblos Resort & Casino and Hotel Makanda by the Sea.

“Mamon Chino”, A Healthy Sweet Costa Rican Treat!

September 26, 2012


The “Mamon Chino”, also known as “Rambutan”, is a colorful and interesting exotic fruit found on medium-sized tropical trees producing one of the most popular convenience snacks found in Costa Rica. Thought to be native to Malaysia, this fruit is also commonly found in Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. The Mamo Chino is closely related to several other edible tropical fruits including the Lychee, Longan, and Mamoncillo. The name rambutan came from the Malay word rambut, whose literal translation means hairy, logical when you see the distinctive “hair” that covers the skin of this small fruit.

Description:
A hearty tree growing to an average height of 30-60 feet, the flowers are small and emit a faintly sweet pleasant scent. Mature trees in fruition brim with oval shaped fruit bunches that grow in a loose hanging clusters of around 10-20 specimens. The rather thick and clean peeling skin is generally reddish, orange or yellow in color and is covered with a thick hairy texture, making this fruit easy to identify. The coveted flesh of the fruit is translucent, whitish or a very pale pink, with a sweet, slightly acidic flavor, similar to that of grapes, but with it’s own uniquely tropical flavor. Be careful not to ingest the large single seed found buried within the sweet fleshy part, as it can be mildly poisonous when raw, but can be eaten when cooked properly. (I have personally never tried that, so anyone who has, feel free to chime in on how that works!) The seed is also said to be high in certain fats and oils valuable for industrial uses, as well as the oils are used to manufacture soap products. Beyond that, the roots of the Rambutan tree, as well as the bark and leaves are touted to have various medicinal uses and have been used in the production of certain dyes and coloring compounds.

What to do with the fruit:
A mainstay at Farmer’s Markets countrywide, roadside fruit stands are another great place to find the freshest Mamon Chino. Traditionally eaten by easily peeling the fruit with your fingers (it practically peels itself into two pieces) or you can often see locals open them with a quick flick of their teeth, popping the fruit directly into their mouth. The sweet creamy pulp of the fruit is easily enjoyed by putting the whole fruit inside the mouth and sucking on the pulp, remembering not to swallow the large seed. Disposing of the seed takes a practiced spitting launch, or better educated friends discreetly discard it into their hand or the bag the fruits came in. Despite the light color of the fruit’s flesh, remember to be careful, as the juice will stain a dark brown color, the reason indigenous Indians used to use Rambutan to dye cloth. Though most commonly eaten fresh in Costa Rica, you can find Mamon Chino jams and jellies, and it is now even canned in some locations. It would be important for me to mention……when using the common Costa Rican name (Mamon Chino), its important to know that the word “mamón” in some Spanish-speaking countries can be slang for a “person who sucks”, or more commonly it can refer to a “large breast”. Just giving a fair warning to my friends before you go to the Farmers Market yelling “I want Mamones”!

Production:
When CAFTA (Central American Free Trade Agreement) was in negotiations throughout the region, Costa Rica noted that this new agreement presented an excellent opportunity to expand the production of this little known fruit to International markets. Costa Rica, having little actual data on the production of this fruit within the country had the government entity known as “MAG” (Ministerio de Agricultura), launch a nationwide in-depth study to find out more about the cultivators of this crop, with the hope of bringing them the economic benefits that would result from expansion to an International marketplace. The results of this extensive study, primarily conducted in Costa Rica’s “Brunca and Atlantic Región”, was the first stage of a strategic crop development plan conducted by Ingienero Leonte Llach Cordero for the National Program of Tropical Fruits, a division of MAG. The initial results are listed below:

Results of Study (Dec 2003)
• Total Cultivators 354
• Estimated Hectares in Production-720
• Approximate Total Production per year-5.5 millon kilos
• Number of Adult Trees (over 4 yrs)-46,365
• Number of Trees under 4 yrs-49,839
• Amount of Cultivators with less than 20 Hectars-350
• Amount of Cultivators with more than 20 Hectars-4
• Most productive season-July to September
• Percentage of Local Market Production-+90%
• Estimated number of trees per Hectar-100 trees

The results of this study were extremely helpful in furthering the development of this tropical fruit to be competitive in an international market. As the Ministerio de Agricultura (MAG) began a program to distribute some 40,000 tree starts to farmers, their enthusiasm, pioneer attitude and excellent farming practices, helped to dramatically increase overall production by a whopping 20% in only 6 yrs. This impressive number converted Costa Rica to be the top producer of Mamon Chino in all of Central America. Costa Rica now exports an incredible 1800 tons of this delicious fruit yearly.

So my friends, the next time you see these hairy little fruits at your Costa Rica Hotel, the local Farmer’s Market, local “Pulperia” (market), or a roadside fruit stand…… Stop! Buy!! Eat!! Don’t be afraid of them!!! Not only are these tropical delights delicious and convenient to snack on, but they also have specific nutritional qualities, as well as ancient medicinal uses that might come in handy one day. Just please remember no yelling “I want Mamones!” while in Costa Rica when you go shopping, or you might end up with a black eye!!

Author: Kimberly Barron, originally from Malibu, California has lived in Parismina and Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica for 20 years. Starting as a certified tour guide, she spent 15 years managing fishing lodges on the Caribbean Coast and later 4* & 5* Hotels on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. Currently semi-retired, Kimberly still works as the Marketing Director for Byblos Resort & Casino and Hotel Makanda by the Sea.

Sources:
http://www.mag.go.cr/biblioteca_virtual_economia_desarr_sociolog/rambutan_censo.pdf
http://www.simas.org.ni/revistaenlace/articulo/1091
http://costaricahoy.info
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rambutan
http://nal.usda.gov

What is the most Common Tour Associated with Costa Rica? Canopy Zipline…of Course!

February 14, 2012

Imagine yourself streaking along a canopy zip line high above the rainforest – the thrill, the adrenalin, the extraordinary views! This, along with an exciting tour through a butterfly garden and serpentarium, is what you’ll experience on a trip to the Canopy Safari. Located approximately 45 minutes from Manuel Antonio, in the Peso Real area, Canopy Safari is a true experience in adventure and excitement.

can•o•py-noun \ˈka-nə-pē\ plural-can•o•pies
Definition of Canopy-a: a cloth covering suspended over a bed b: a cover (as of cloth) fixed or carried above a person of high rank or a sacred object : baldachin c: a protective covering: as (1): the uppermost spreading branchy layer of a forest

sa•fa•ri-noun \sə-ˈfär-ē, -ˈfa-rē\
Definition of Safari-the caravan and equipment of a hunting expedition especially in eastern Africa; also: such a hunting expedition. 2: journey, expedition

Zip Lines-What the heck?
Sail high above the rainforest canopy and experience Manuel Antonio’s most popular adventure sport: the canopy zip line. This exhilarating tour was actually invented in Costa Rica, and has since been featured on the Discovery Channel. This is an adventure for people of all ages and interests, and is certainly one of the highlights of Costa Rica.

What are we about?
Canopy Safari provides tourists a unique activity and ecological experience, and almost anyone of any age can participate! Young children can be carried by the guides. You do not need to be in great physical condition and it is not strenuous. This tour offers an adventurous tourist the opportunity to ascend into the forest canopy and see jungle life from a perspective available previously to only a select few researchers and photographers.

And the Point is?
Canopy Safari’s objective is to provide tourists a unique activity and ecological experience while at the same time helping to aid in the preservation of the world’s endangered rainforest through direct financial support to conservation, education, and reforestation efforts. The canopy course is constructed so that there is very little impact on the sensitive ecological balance that exists in the rainforest.

Is this safe?
The platforms, pulleys and cables are made of non-corrosive steel and safety is our staffs top priority. We perform safety checks daily on all equipment including anchors, cables, and connections. Our harnesses, carabineers, and other equipment pass all standards set by the international association the ACCT, and approved by ICT (Costa Rican Tourist Board)

About us at Canopy Safari:
Canopy Safari is the pioneering canopy tour operator in the Southern area of Costa Rica. The company built its first canopy course in 1997 with the help of a team of experts who build high ropes courses in the United States and in Europe. Our tour begins with an amazing drive through the rainforest out to our canopy site located in the outskirts of Quepos. During the ride there are many stops for everyone to learn about the unique flora and fauna of the area. Our local bilingual guides have a vast knowledge of the area and love to share the many secrets that the rainforest holds with our clients. The canopy site is located approximately forty-five minutes from Manuel Antonio Park, in an area called Paso Real. Here we have a brand new ranch house with full facilities, located next to a pristine river, this is where we serve a full breakfast or lunch (depending on tour time) made from typical Costa Rican ingredients. A spectacular river is the backdrop for these meals as well as the platforms that have been carefully built unobtrusively into the canopy of the rainforest in Costa Rica. Clients are able to traverse from tree to tree and platform to platform using pulleys on horizontal traverse cables, as they sail through the treetops of the tropical rainforest canopy, and over the trails far below at exhilarating speeds. This tour has become a worldwide phoenomena, found in many other countries now!

CANOPY COURSE CONSISTS OF:
18 platforms
10 “zip lines”
2 rappel lines
1 suspension bridge
1 ” Tarzan Swing”
A butterfly farm
A serpentarium
Our expert guides assist the clients in this exciting journey through the different layers of virgin and secondary rainforest. They point out and explain the many different types of flora and fauna; from poison dart frogs, to the “walking palm tree”. As a result; at the end of the tour our clients are able to walk away with a newfound knowledge of Costa Rican wildlife and the wonders that Costa Rica has to offer travelers.

What to Bring:
Sturdy shoes, shorts, camera, insect repellent, change of clothes in rainy season.

Tour Includes:
A five hour door to door adventure, an exciting ride through the tropical rainforest, typical style breakfast or lunch, ACCT & ICT professionally trained bilingual guides, all equipment, professional photographer (rates do not include pictures), pick up and drop off at your hotel in our air conditioned vans, tour of the butterfly farm and reptile exhibit.

Safety:
At Canopy Safari, safety is the top priority. We perform safety checks daily on all our equipment including anchors, cables, and connections. Our harnesses, carabiners, and other equipment pass all standards set by the international association ACCT. We are proud to announce that Canopy Safari is one of only few canopy tours in the country approved by ICT (the Costa Rican Tourist Board). To receive this certification our company has undergone extensive and constant training regarding the safety and construction of our entire tour. All Canopy Safari guides are individually certified by ICT as canopy tour guides, and have taken numerous courses on safety, rescue and first aid. We also hold extensive insurance policies for our vehicles and for our clients, in case of emergency.

Sustainable Community Mission:
Canopy Safari is very proud to start a new Sustainability Project for Eco-Tourism. This new initiative from our Group SAFARI TOURS is our way to help and improve in the conservation of our world for our next generations.
Recently this company worked closely with Los Delfines Educational Center to start this new stage on their goal to Eco Tourism. A group of second graders from this elementary school took a ride to our Canopy site where they learned about the very important part humans play on the conservation of nature. The kids also helped us to plant new trees in a large part of our farm. The kids also had the opportunity to visit our butterfly garden and serpentarium, where our experts shared with them a little about their knowledge about the life cycles of these animals. They visited our lab to take a closer look at the different stages of their development. It was an amazing experience for both the kids and the staff. During the next following weeks the experience will be repeated with other schools of the beautiful Canton of Aguirre, to further share the wonders of Costa Rica with the next generation.

Butterfly Garden:
This is one of the newest additions to the Canopy Safari zip line tour in Costa Rica and is quickly becoming a favorite attraction for all family members. When you finish the exciting canopy course our guides will take you into our butterfly farm where you can enjoy a wide variety of native species that can be found all around our country.
Some of the butterfly species that you will find in our garden, and are featured above, are:
Alinote ozomene nox, Appias drusilla, Ascia monuste,Caligo brasiliensis sulanus, Chlosyne janais janais, Danaus plexippus plexippus, Greta morgane oto, heleconius erato petiverana, heliconius cydno galanthus, heraclides anchisiades idaeus, heraclides androgeus epidarus, heraclides thoas nealces, mechanitis polymnia isthmia, morpho helenor marinita, papilio polyxenes stabilis, phoebis philea, plexippus-plexippus, siproeta stelenes biplagiata, all excellent choices for picture taking….that is if you can get them to stop long enough to snap the photo!

Serpentarium:
One of the new attractions to this already interesting and exciting tour, is the walk through our serpentarium to see the many different species of snakes, both poisonous and non poisonous. For some people it is a little scary, for others just impressive. (The snakes are all behind glass, don’t panic.) Come and experience some of these incredible creatures and get a rare chance to see them close up!

Experience a little of the Canopy Safari Zipline Tour Video:

Author:
Kimberly Barron, originally from Malibu, California has lived in Parismina and Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica for 20 years. Starting as a certified tour guide, she spent 15 years managing fishing lodges on the Caribbean Coast and later 4* & 5* Hotels on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. Currently semi-retired, Kimberly still works as the Marketing Director for Byblos Resort & Casino and Hotel Makanda by the Sea.