Author: Jack Ewing

When you’re walking through the rainforest and surprise an animal that goes bouncing through the undergrowth emitting panicked, bark-like grunts with every bounce, you’ve certainly startled a Central American Agouti (Dasysyprocta punctata). After 20 years of living here, I finally saw one standing still. Once the hunting was under control on Hacienda Barú National Wildlife Refuge, their fear of humans diminished considerably.

Some say that agoutis look like rabbits with short ears. For me, their shape, habits, and mannerisms are more like those of large (3 kg), tailless squirrels. Like squirrels, during times of plenty, they bury seeds. Though rainforests produce an abundance of seeds and fruits, there is always a time of scarcity, and these hoarded seeds can mean the difference between survival and starvation. 

Agoutis have figured out that white-fronted capuchin monkeys are very wasteful and dribble lots of goodies on the ground, so they often follow along underneath a foraging troop of monkeys salvage the edible refuse.


Baby agoutis are the only newborn mammals I know of that select their den site, separate from their mother the day after their birth. Their den is so small that the mother agouti can’t get inside and has to call them to come outside and nurse. At about three weeks, the infants start following mom around and learn what they need to know to face the world alone. Once the mother agouti determines that they are ready to fend for themselves, she chases them away.

Mother Nature applies the law of the jungle to these youngsters unmercifully; only the fittest and luckiest survive, a mere 30%. Their two main challenges are avoiding starvation and predation by coatis, ocelots, pumas, and others. You’ve got to be tough to be an agouti.

In 2015 one female agouti got brave enough to leave the protection of the forest at dusk, scamper across a driveway to Hacienda Barú Lodge, grab a fallen mango, and hurry back to the jungle. Each day she made her jaunt a little earlier, without incident. She soon lost all inhibitions and could be seen in broad daylight sitting under the tree pigging out on mangoes. Her offspring learned from a young age that there was nothing to fear from humans and got in the habit of wandering around in the gardens.

Feeding them is prohibited at the lodge, but they have learned where all fruit trees are located, and check them out regularly. This has been going on for about a dozen generations. If for some reason, these semi-tame agoutis were forced to return to the forest and make an honest living, like wild agoutis, they wouldn’t stand a chance of survival.

Ballena Tales Comprehensive Magazine #79

Comprehensive Magazine #79, South Pacific Costa Rica

Ballena Tales is an essential guide and digital comprehensive magazine for travelers, residents, and investors covering Costa Ballena in the Canton of Osa in the South Pacific region of Costa Rica. It is a fully bilingual, bi-monthly, and full-color digital magazine. 

The magazine introduces the reader to the life of the local community, with interviews of pioneers, writers, and artists, as well as extensive information on restaurants, hotels, experiences, natural attractions, and wildlife of the South Pacific of Costa Rica.

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Mora & Valdez Dentistry


The road to defining that vision was long, but they finally succeeded. Mora & Valdez Dentistry, located in Vita Plaza, is the result of a new dental clinic. The feeling of being in a place intimately connected with nature that your eyes can appreciate leaves you speechless, and this experience makes us different.

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Ballena Tales Magazine


The implementation of Ballena Tales Magazine strategy, which includes the digital and printed expression of the magazine, has achieved positioning in search engines such as Google. Keywords are restaurants, hotels, real estate, yoga, car rental, catering. weddings, doctors, dentists, ophthalmologists, schools, lawyers, accountants, welfare, and others.

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Costarrican Banknotes are Beautiful 1

Costarrican Banknotes are Beautiful

Continuing with our series of Costarrican banknotes, the blue 2,000 colones features Mauro Fernández Acuña. On the reverse side are contributions from the Coral Reef: the Bull shark, Red Cushion Sea Star, and the Slimy Sea Plume! The 2,000 colones note is slightly larger than the 1,000.

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Guide to Healthy Living in Costa Rica 3

Guide to Healthy Living in Costa Rica

I do care a lot about my health and my family’s health. It is important to me that we all feel our best to manifest our best attitude and ability. Living in Costa Rica, I am surrounded by people who naturally want to feel better, too. We each have our ideas on how we can feel like the best version of ourselves, but they mostly revolve around the following precepts of everyday life in Costa Rica: Growing food, Daily exercise,
Skipping the stress, Raising children in Costa Rica in a simpler way

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KURA^DENKA, the Footprint of the Jaguar 5

KURA^DENKA, the Footprint of the Jaguar

Melvin González Rojas (Kamel), alias KURA^DENKA, is a member of the Boruca community and the Commission for the Heritage of these indigenous peoples. He is a notable artist who stands out for his masterful carvings and his expressive and colorful paintings. He is a Boruca Major’s son who was a prominent educator, painter, and mask sculptor. Kamel has participated in different exhibitions, including the Art and Theater Festivals, the Festival de las Spheres, the National Theater, the Costa Rican Art Museum, and the Expotural in Madrid, Spain.

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