The main reason I gave to people back in Tennessee when I moved to Costa Rica was that “I could not afford to travel and live in retirement in the United States where everything is too expensive, especially healthcare.”
And travel into nature was then already my favorite retirement activity. I’m the only one I knew then in Tennessee who had visited all 54 of the state parks there! 🙂 Yet my favorite place for nature had already become Central America and especially Costa Rica, though I did carefully check out Panama for retirement also. So after 4 trips to Costa Rica (+3 to Panama & 3 to Guatemala), I made the big decision and moved to Costa Rica! Never for a single moment have I regretted it! 🙂
Seeing All of Costa Rica
After settling into Atenas (a small coffee farming town in the Central Valley) I started branching out to the many “nature places” nearby and then across this little country the size of West Virginia. So my travels have been a little like someone really seeing his/her home state in the U.S. (like I did in TN). I have never owned a car here, though the first two years I used rental cars for some trips. Then I went through 3 years+ or so of traveling this little country in public buses and still do some, though now I use a private driver and/or have him take me to the airport, 45 minutes away, to fly in a little local plane. I’m convinced that I spend less money on transportation than people who own cars do on their vehicle! 🙂 And from the very beginning my goal was to see all of Costa Rica and I have traveled in every province already and visited a majority, though not all, national parks and wildlife refuges.
“New” versus “Repeat” Trips
This is where the “mixed” enters into the title of this post! At first I wanted to go somewhere “new” that I had not seen before and experience all of Costa Rica, and already I have seen more of Costa Rica than most of my Tico friends have seen of their own country. But in the last few years I have also begun to desire repeating favorite places that I really enjoyed. So that now I’m doing a little bit of both. Last year I went to two totally new places and about 4 repeats. This year all planned trips for the year are to repeat places other than the day trip to Santa Eulalia last month, though one is to a different lodge in a National Park that I’ve visited before. And that brings me to tomorrow . . .
Tomorrow’s Mixed Trip
I’ve been to Tortuguero National Park three times now in two different lodges and I’m about to try a third lodge. My first trip was in 2010 on the Caravan Tour of Costa Rica when we stayed 2 nights in Laguna Lodge, a simple, almost boy scout type camp cabins with no frills and I repeated that in 2016 when my friend Reagan came for a visit. It was good for 2 nights and I would have no problem using them again. But when I decided I needed Tortuguero again in 2019, and wanted longer than 2 nights, I decided to try a new lodge and went to Turtle Beach Lodge for 4 nights, whose cabins were not any fancier, but they offered more hiking and boating on their own private canals along with the park’s, so I liked it better than Laguna and got more photos, though the food was no better, with both kind of like camp food. I still would repeat but really ready for something else with better lodging & food.
Tomorrow I am going to Tortuguero for the 4th time where I generally see more birds and other wildlife than most other places in Costa Rica but I’m trying the only “upscale” lodge there, Tortuga Lodge and Gardens, that I recently learned about, that promises great food and luxury rooms and the best guides in Tortuguero! It is very expensive and I will decide afterwards if worth the higher cost. 🙂 Follow this blog for the next few days to see what you think! 🙂
I will probably continue my “mixed” approach of both new and repeat places as I try to see all of Costa Rica and photograph all of her beautiful nature during the final years of my life! I can’t imagine a better way to live out my life now! 🙂
4 Replies to “My Mixed Traveling Philosophies”
Charlie, as one of your Tennessee friends…Bruce and I appreciate how you have shared your ongoing vacation/ new home with all of us. We look forward to seeing nature as you see it.. what a great way to start our day. Thanks much for sharing. Bonnie
Thanks Bonnie! And what a privilege to have fine people like you following my blog, travels and nature photography! I’m so fortunate! 🙂
And you can expect quite a variety over the next week or so from this biologically diverse rainforest called Tortuguero !
Charlie, I agree with your reasons, especially health care, for moving to Costa Rica.
When we were still in Nashville I realized that I was working in my 70’s to stay afloat! Taxes were killing and travel outside of Tennessee was not possible for us anymore. We took the easy step and moved to Cookeville, my husband’s home town. We have never regretted a minute of it! It is a vibrant town with lots going on.
We love hearing from you every day!
Ellen and Charlie
Thanks for sharing that Ellen! And I’m so glad that you enjoy my blog! I enjoy doing it! It is my main creative outlet now and the main way I get to share my photos.
I’m also glad you guys enjoy Cookeville! It is important to live in a place you like during retirement! 🙂