My November trip was going to be a repeat to another favorite birding location, Rancho Humo on the Tempisque River at Palo Verde National Park with the nearest town 30+ minutes away, Nicoya. It is a quiet, peaceful rural retreat with luxury rooms and meals on a ranch that still had 800 head of cattle the last time I was there. Featured photo is a White-faced Capuchin Monkey is from my one visit there. It’s a great retreat for couples, families, or anyone wanting peace and quiet in nature, plus the real draw is birds for me, with one of the heavier concentration of birds in the country, especially inland water birds and one of only 2 places here where you might see the rare Jabiru Stork. I saw just one my last visit there.
A month ago they told me they planned to reopen November 1 when our borders are open to all countries for the first time since March. The entry requirements no longer include a negative Covid19 test, but still require sufficient medical insurance, masks, social distancing, etc. But tourists aren’t storming our borders and to make it worse, the U.S. Embassy recommends not traveling here because there is a new wave of the virus here like almost everywhere else. Gloomy – especially for the tourism businesses!
Thus Rancho Humo decided to not open and I had to cancel my reservation which fortunately was not pre-paid like some hotels are requiring now. But I’m still disappointed.
I will keep busy locally with walks and photography and continue my website & photo gallery building, so still a happy retiree in Costa Rica! 🙂 And I may even have Walter (my driver) take me on a couple of Water Fall Day Trips. We will see.
I’m still booked for Arenal Observatoryfor Christmas and they are open now, so I don’t anticipate any problem there. It is listed as one of the “Birding Hot Spots” of Costa Rica and is one of my top 5 favorite lodges, so I know that Christmas will be good and in the wilderness again! 🙂 And by the way, lodges like this take extra precautions because of the pandemic to keep everything sanitized and people masked and socially distanced, plus I spend most of my time solo hiking in the wilderness, so little chance of getting the virus. And just look at what I see from my sanitized room there:
Today I received the final edition of the “Retire for Less in Costa Rica” Newsletter. This wonderful couple, Paul & Gloria, are really retiring themselves now and it is about time! I have recommended them many times and they are keeping their website up for awhile, so check it out now if you haven’t before. They give the most practical advice of anyone on retiring in Costa Rica and they will be greatly missed, though maybe I will get to see them again for other reasons or socially. I hope so. They will be dividing their time between Costa Rica and Mexico which is an unusual way to retire, but very interesting.
In their last newsletter they included a summary of their philosophy over these 12 years that has not changed. I will try to copy it here:
What is the Retire for Less Philosophy?
Sometimes we tell people that we live the “retire for less lifestyle,” or perhaps we notice that others are also living in a similar way. So what exactly is it?
Conserve, simplify, enjoy. These three words sum up the Retire for Less Philosophy or lifestyle. We believe one can:
Enjoy the simple things in life
Discard some old beliefs regarding retirement
Count your cash, get your Social Security, and go where it’s cheaper
Reinvent yourself and begin a whole new, adventurous phase of your life
Look at your life differently, embrace the new culture, and try not to be ethnocentric
Scale down, live within your means, and learn to have fun, fun, fun!
Conserve energy, go green, and live without air-conditioners, heaters, dehumidifiers, and cars, as much as possible
Live without debt, reduce expenses, and reduce expectations
Save money, spend less, use less, and be satisfied with less –less is more
They will be missed and have certainly helped a lot of people retire here and elsewhere. Now I will just continue my very simple life in Costa Rica, not owning anything including a car. Zero debt. Walking almost daily. Enjoying the simple things of life in a simple country that puts people and nature above industry and money. Where nature is king and we will be carbon neutral in a year or so! (99% of electricity now.)
My last three years of working full time were in The Gambia, with visits to other West African countries like Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire. Plus I made three two-week long trips to Kenya & Tanzania that included two safaris in The Masai Mara, meaning I have a lot of Africa photos! 🙂
Thus I self-curated 139 photos for a beautiful little 7X7 inch photo book titled Magical AFRICA in 102 pages with the hardcover edition including premium lustre photo paper. This is my first book of Africa photos in my Blurb Bookstore and is a general “Portfolio” book.
Click the above linked title or cover image and as always, you can thumb through the book electronically by clicking on REVIEW and pages to turn them.
Another COVID19 benefit of being limited from much travel during the pandemic! 🙂
“One cannot resist the lure of Africa.” – Rudyard Kipling
Only people my age remember Paul Harvey and his feature news stories he called “The Rest of the Story.” And just like then, sometimes there is more to a story than what you first read . . . including my stories and blog posts.
On October 9 I had a post titled Progress? (my second time to use that title I realized later.) And the premise both times was that big business is coming into our quaint little farming town, tearing down family houses to build modern, commercial buildings, ruining the character of our little town. Well . . . I deep down know better than to make assumptions like that when I don’t know all the facts, but trying to be idealistic I did it anyway and was wrong.
WHAT I DID WRONG: I posted my photo of the nice new modern office building between two family houses and declared that the house that had been there probably raised several families and now that family thing is gone and made more difficult for the two houses left on either side of the big new modern office building. Much of that I just implied.
MY HAND WAS CALLED: A few days later I received a friendly but firm correction to my story from a lady whose husband was in the second generation of children to grow up in that house they just tore down to build an office building for the business she and her husband started when they were married. She explained that the house was old and riddled with termites and was going to have to be torn down anyway, plus (as I did say in my story) that whole street is rapidly becoming commercial anyway. She went on to say that if the grandparents were still living they would be very pleased with what their grandchildren decided to do with the old house they had built and keep the property in the family.
After I apologized, she gave another very kind response to my response. But the best way to see is read the comments at the end of the post Progress?
Me and my big mouth! Maybe I will be more careful in the future, at least for awhile! 🙂
On today’s walk I decided that the above view of my “Country Road” from a few days ago is a much more pleasing view, and I also discovered a red Canna that captivated me . . .
And you may have noticed that I returned to my earlier efforts of writing Haiku Poetry – the Americanized 2-3-2 syllable version rather than the original Japanese 5-7-5 syllables for two reasons: (1) You can describe more in fewer syllables in English than Japanese and (2) It is easier for this old man! 🙂 But I do stay with the Japanese original purpose of simply describing nature, as I also try to do in my photography. It is a FUN part of my retirement and keeps my elderly brain alert! 🙂 Though it will not always be possible to also make them into alliterations as I did today! 🙂
Of course he pushes Costa Rica because his relocation tours here are his business, but it is a fair look at the popular retirement destinations in Latin America and the costs of living in each with many or most having a cheaper cost of living than Costa Rica. I hope it will be helpful for those considering retirement “South of the Border!” 🙂
My personal advice is to visit each of the countries that interest you first for a general comparison, then visit the country you zero in on at least 3 or 4 times before actually moving there, plus doing all the relocation detail studies concerning housing, healthcare, insurance, language, etc. And for Costa Rica the ARCR is probably your best help on details.
The Featured Photo is one of mine of a sunrise on the Caribbean or Atlantic Coast at Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Hotel Banana Azul. That side of Costa Rica is probably the most affordable or lowest cost of living and rent because it is the least developed. For example, living on or near a Pacific Coast beach could cost you twice as much as on the Atlantic, while the Central Valley where I live costs somewhere in-between. And remember that both beaches are hotter and more humid than the hills in-between. 🙂
Gravel & dirt roads with chickens, cows, and other animals – its universal in all countries and is romanticized, sung about, or just remembered from childhood maybe. But in a developing country like Costa Rica it’s very common everywhere and yesterday morning I walked again on this one that is so near, yet not a regular part of my walks yet. When you leave our paved-road gated community, most people turn left on paved Avenida 8 which takes you to Calle 3 or Calle 1 for a direct shot downtown, to supermarkets, pharmacies, the bank, etc. and it’s the way I walk most often (and share photos from) when not walking around in the housing development, and we have our own “country road here,” Calle Nueva, that I’ve shared about several times and that link is to a gallery.
So . . . if you leave our gate and turn right, the pavement ends in the equivalent of 3 blocks and becomes a gravel road (my “country road” yesterday) and it curves up and over a hill and back down to “The Radial 27,” the connector between downtown Atenas and our nearest controlled access highway, Highway 27 that runs between San Jose and the Jaco Beach & Puntarenas Port area of our Pacific Coast, and is always congested. But I digress! 🙂
Avenida 8 in front of Roca Verde development turns into a dirt and gravel road with chickens, cows, an orchard, barbed wire fences, and over the little hill it runs right into Radial 27 directly in front of the entrance to our Farmers’ Market Pavilion, serving the area with fresh produce every Friday morning. It is a nice walk to the Farmers’ Market and for me yesterday I walked on into town on the highway making a big circle for a longer day’s walk with a nice image of “country roads” on my mind, thinking I was John Denver. Just one more joy of living “Retired in Costa Rica.” CLICK an image to enlarge it:
Country roads, take me home, to the place I belong.
Maybe because of the big leaves, or their fast growth or even because they attract toucans and sloths – I’m not sure why – but I’ve always liked the Cecropia or Guarumo it is called here. And when their leaves dry up and fall off they become works of art in my opinion!
To find out, SEE my Cecropia-Guarumo GALLERY with several shots over the years from my garden and other places and I will in the future work on adding more photos for it. 🙂 Or if it is ALL TREES you like, I have also recently created a TREES GALLERY which you might like with tree shots from all of my Costa Rica travels – a lot! 🙂
Yep! That’s how many different kinds of ants we have in Costa Rica and I have no idea which species this one is, but not sure I’ve noticed him around my house before. The leaf-cutters are the most identifiable, always carrying a piece of leaf or flower, and I’ve shown them on the blog multiple times. This little guy was on the railing of my terrace two mornings ago. They are all interesting! Until they come in the house, I leave them alone and they leave me alone. 🙂
In October or November every year my Strangler Fig Tree or Ficus Tree locally looses all of its leaves in a week or two and immediately, before the last leaf falls, starts the replacement with new leaves, making beautiful picture of rebirth. The last time I blogged about it was in November 2015, called FALL? The Interesting Strangler Fig.
This year I decided to just focus on the growth of new leaves, the literal “Unfolding of Nature!” In Spanish the word for growth is crecimiento, which just sounds like what this tree is doing. 🙂