Retire Here on Less Than $30,000 a year!

One of the regular blogs I read is Christopher Howard’s Live in Costa Rica (he also does the best relocation tour) and his latest blog post quoted International Living Magazine on Costa Rica being one of the best places in the world to retire on less than $30,000 a year. Read his post or go to the online version of International Living and maybe find it there. And bear in mind that it is still true even with Costa Rica having the highest cost of living in Central America, but right now I don’t think you want to retire in any of the other Central American countries! (Panama being a sometimes exception.) I chose to retire in luxury in Costa Rica over sliding into retirement poverty in the U.S.

Description of 5 Locations in Costa Rica that Retirees Love in an International Living article.

Today’s photo is of a Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, the most common in my garden and possibly all over Costa Rica or at least in many of the places I have visited. They are aggressive and chase other species of Hummingbirds away from feeders and even “their” garden sometimes. Thus I have mixed feelings about them!   🙂    ¡Pura Vida!

Isla Popa for the Snowy Cotinga

One afternoon we had a 2 hour boat ride around a smaller island called Popa. 
This is the only island in the Boca del Toro Archipelago to have the Snowy Cotinga.
We searched for over an hour before we finally found one of these semi-rare birds.
Popa Island, Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Panama

For the birders among my readers, this is only my second time to see and photograph a Snowy Cotinga. The other time was Christmas before last at Selva Verde Lodge Sarapiquí.  


And everyone likes to see a toucan! This is now called the Yellow-throated Toucan
Popa is close enough to the mainland for toucans to fly to them.
Our island, Barsimanto, is not, thus no toucans!
Popa Island, Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Panama

Brown Pelican 
 Popa Island, Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Panama

Brown Pelican 
 Popa Island, Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Panama

Being in the Atlantic Ocean with lots of islands and mainland nearby is pretty!
Popa Island, Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Panama

I love the trees! 
 Popa Island, Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Panama

I love the trees! 
 Popa Island, Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Panama

I love the trees! 
 Popa Island, Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Panama

And the houses and tourist cabins are interesting too! 
 Popa Island, Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Panama
Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Panama
I am now back home in Atenas, Costa Rica after a very long day getting back with rain and heavy traffic making it a slower drive and not back home until about 8:30 or 9:00 PM Wednesday night. Today, Thursday, was busy with laundry, grocery shopping, bank visit, and lots of text messages and emails to deal with. Friday I meet a young friend for lunch who wants to practice his English and I will practice my Spanish. And Saturday morning I will go to Alajuela to pick up another photo book that has arrived. I probably will be sharing more photos from Panama for another week. It was a good trip! 

And in between all the other things I will be back onto building my new website and maybe transferring this blog to it. 

Early Birds 2

Blue Dacnis Female
Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge, Bocas del Toro, Panama

Passerini’s Tanager
Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge, Bocas del Toro, Panama

Palm Tanager
Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge, Bocas del Toro, Panama

Kiskadee
Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge, Bocas del Toro, Panama

Green-breasted Mango Hummingbird
Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge, Bocas del Toro, Panama

Tropical Kingbird
Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge, Bocas del Toro, Panama

Plain-colored Tanager
Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge, Bocas del Toro, Panama
Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Panama

And my photo gallery:  Panama Birds

Early Birds 1

I was going to do one post with the first or early birds photographed here on the lodge grounds, but with 14 already I’m dividing it into two posts of 7 each. Then we go to another island today and the mainland tomorrow for many more birds I hope! But with slow internet, 7 is enough for one post!

Red-lored Parrot
Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge, Bocas del Toro, Panama

Red-lored Parrot
Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge, Bocas del Toro, Panama

There are also Mealy Parrots and Blue-headed Parrots here, but I have no photos of them yet. 

Lineated Woodpecker
Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge, Bocas del Toro, Panama

Black-cheeked Woodpecker
Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge, Bocas del Toro, Panama

Boat-billed Flycatcher
Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge, Bocas del Toro, Panama

There is a slight difference between this flycatcher and the Kiskadee which I will show one of tomorrow. They are easy to confuse!

White-lined Tanager
Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge, Bocas del Toro, Panama

The “white line” is on his shoulder and only seen when in flight. 

Blue-gray Tanager
Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge, Bocas del Toro, Panama

Living slow in the jungles on an island in the Western Atlantic or Western Caribbean Sea. It is very hot and humid and you tire easily but it is a great place with lots of wildness, This afternoon we go to another island for a particular bird found only there, the Snowy Cotinga. Tomorrow we do the first of three trips to the mainland for birds. The two families running the lodge are very accomodating of us and our needs/desires. Cabins are very nice and the food is very good. We are experiencing a Panama version of pura vida!

TTranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge 

Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Panama

The flowers have to be sisters of the birds..!!

My favorite birding group here now is a Tico Facebook group called:  Asociacion Ornitologica de Costa Rica

The one photo I posted there from my Arenal trip was this Keel-billed Toucan that I also used on the cover of the book about Arenal Observatory.

Several comments were made but the most interesting was from Diego who said,

Las flores han de ser hermanas de las aves..!!

ENGLISH TRANSLATION: 
The flowers have to be sisters of the birds..!!

It is possibly and old saying or even a quote from some writer (though my Google search did not find an author), but I thought it so interesting and true especially with some of the many colorful birds here in Costa Rica and I appreciate Diego’s comment! 

Toucans are difficult to photograph even with the tower at Arenal putting me up on their level! But they certainly are a lot like flying flowers!   🙂


If I had to choose, I would rather have birds than airplanes. 
~Charles Lindbergh

Last Day in this Paradise – Arenal Observatory

A sign in the lodge property that is my motto for travels all over Costa Rica.
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica

Variable Seedeater male
 
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica

Rufous-tailed Hummingbird Arenal Observatory Lodge, Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica

I tried again this morning and will again this afternoon and tomorrow morning, but have not found

my two target bird, Bare-necked Umbrella Bird and Yellow-eared Toucanet which I have a lousy dark photo of from Tenorio National Park, but I really want a good photo of one! Both birds are supposed to be here but you can never guarantee a find! As of Tuesday afternoon I do have photos of 27 different species of birds and 5 of those are new photo-finds for me! So not bad! They are:

4. Gray-capped Flycatcher  (with a fly in his mouth)
5. Piratic Flycatcher

Links are to my photo of that bird on this trip. 

And the big treat for today was monkeys! I went back to “The Nest” or observation tower at 4:00 PM and it was surrounded by both Howler Monkeys and a few Spider Monkeys, but I have 300 photos to go through and pick just a few for you in tomorrow’s post. So Expect monkeys tomorrow!   🙂
And now for tonight’s last sunset at Arenal for me: 
Sunset over Lake Arenal at Arenal Observatory Lodge, Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica
¡Pura Vida!

And My Photo Gallery for this Trip is being added to daily while on the trip! 
There you can see all the birds together, etc. plus photos not on the blog.


Tomorrow morning at 11 AM I reluctantly leave Arenal for my return to Atenas. 
This is definitely one of my favorite getaway places, but then I have so many! 

Sample Photos from Today’s Adventure

Red-eyed Tree Frog 
And yes, this one is orange and I can’t explain why. Usually bright red!
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Arenal National Park, Costa Rica

Semiplumbeous Hawk 
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Arenal National Park, Costa Rica

Gray-capped Flycatcher with insect in his mouth! 
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Arenal National Park, Costa Rica

House Wren Singing 
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Arenal National Park, Costa Rica

Buff-rumped Warbler 
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Arenal National Park, Costa Rica

Variable Seedeater 
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Arenal National Park, Costa Rica

I took so many photos of so many birds and other animals that the above is just a sample from my guided bird walk this morning before breakfast. For more, see Trip Gallery Arenal Observatory

The Broader “Pre-Sunset”Look behind the Restaurant Deck (shot from my room)
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Arenal National Park, Costa Rica

And the other extreme, zooming in on the sun behind the clouds tonight.
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Arenal National Park, Costa Rica
¡Pura Vida!

And My Photo Gallery for this Trip is being added to daily while on the trip! 
There you can see all the birds together, etc. plus photos not on the blog.

Waterfall & Bird Count Day

Danta Waterfall
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica

Crested Guan
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica

Great Curassow
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica

Montezuma Oropendola
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica

Green Honeycreeper female
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica

Mantled Howler Monkey
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica

Emerald Basilisk
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica

One of the Lillies
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica

Hibiscus
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica
Tonight’s Sunset Over Lake Arenal
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica

And today was eBird’s “Global Big Day” of bird counting. Here is a link to my eBird List of 11 species seen here at Arenal Observatory Lodge. All of the birding guides here were out counting today which is why I could not have a guided bird hike today. I have one tomorrow.

¡Pura Vida!

And My Photo Gallery for this Trip is being added to daily while on the trip! A longer more leisurely trip makes this possible and my galleries are my main trip reports. Enjoy!

First Half Day Hallelujah!

Yellow-throated Toucan Eating a Lizard
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Costa Rica

Male & Female Great Curassow 
 Arenal Observatory Lodge, Costa Rica

Lineated Woodpecker 
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Costa Rica

Rufous-tailed Hummingbird 
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Costa Rica

Montezuma Oropendola 
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Costa Rica

Red-legged Honeycreeper, female & male 
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Costa Rica

Palm Tanager 
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Costa Rica

Blue-gray Tanager 
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Costa Rica

White-nosed Coati 
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Costa Rica

Arenal Observatory Lodge, Costa Rica

Arenal Observatory Lodge, Costa Rica

Arenal Volcano from my Lodge Room 
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Costa Rica

Sunset from my Room Deck 
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Costa Rica

What can I say? The photos are worth a thousand words and this was just after getting here at noon today and eating lunch first. It is a totally amazing place and instantly one of my favorites! And with another 4 and 1/2 days yet to go!

¡Pura Vida!

And My Photo Gallery for this Trip is being added to daily while on the trip! A longer more leisurely trip makes this possible and my galleries are my main trip reports. Enjoy!