I donated to the Corcovado Foundation recently to plant trees in an area of the Osa Peninsula where earlier farmers or loggers had removed trees. I was surprised the other day to receive an email with photos of “my” trees including some of the little metal tags they attached to each with my name. 🙂 I was not expecting that! But thankful that my money was really used to plant real trees and I even got to see them! 🙂
I encourage you to help plant trees wherever you live or in other places in need of trees like by clicking the Corcovado link above. Planting trees is one of the best ways to fight Climate Change and prevent the future destruction of a planet God told us to care for! And you too could help Costa Rica continue to replace trees lost in earlier years as we become ONE OF if not THE greenest countries in the world! 26% of our land is now in protected reserves and national parks and growing! Plus we are now at 99+% renewable electricity in Costa Rica.
This morning it went from blue & yellow to gray & pink and then to a bright orange & yellow! All while talking to a new friend from North Carolina who is thinking about retirement in Costa Rica. 🙂 Nice morning!
I arrived later that usual, in the afternoon, and was personally greeted by the manager at my taxi and he carried my luggage in himself! 🙂 I gave him his gift photo book for this year and he treated me to a steak dinner tonight. Wow! Being nice pays off in more ways than one! 🙂
Caribe Fun Tours got their photo book gift also and have arranged a driver to the new Butterfly Garden in Cahuita (their first request) where I will be their first to report back on it, plus I will also take a walk in Cahuita National Park after the butterfly house, which is nearby. They are also finding me a guide for Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge which is wilder and less visited than Cahuita with more wildlife. The only other place I may visit is a nearby organic farm and botanical gardens for the butterflies I remember seeing last time I was there. Otherwise I stay around this friendly hotel and their rainforest beach road looking for things to photograph! I’ve already seen more birds than I’ve been having at home and I’m very relaxed, having gotten the best relaxation massage in Costa Rica! 🙂
Most years in September I make a week relaxation adventure in the “Caribe South” which refers to the southern half of the Atlantic coast of Costa Rica around Puerto Viejo de Talamanca and the smaller town of Manzanillo where I explore two national parks/refuges (Cahuita & Gandoca-Manzanillo) for birds, butterflies, monkeys, sloths and other nature, visit some of the Bribri indigenous villages, botanical gardens, and maybe this year a new butterfly garden (if my tour people say it is okay). 🙂
And not to ignore the northern Caribbean side of Costa Rica or Limón Province; that’s where the provincial capital and port city of Limón is located and then above that a favorite national park, Tortuguero, which I hope to return to in 2023! It’s “The Amazon of Costa Rica” or a river and beach based jungle rainforest full of incredible wildlife and other nature! I can’t wait to get back there! 🙂 So much to see and do here!
But this trip is mostly relaxing in the beachside Hotel Banana Azul, walking a forested beachside road (for sloths, birds, butterflies) and walks or just relaxation on the beach (I don’t swim or surf in the ocean anymore) and this is the only place I’ve found that gives a “Relaxation Massage” that is actually relaxing. 🙂 So it is my only get-a-way that is not totally inside a dense rain or cloud forest (though Cahuita & Gandoca-Manzanillo are dense rainforests), yet still nature-centered and very relaxing. I missed it in 2020 due to Covid and no flights there, but here’s a couple of photos from last year’s post-cancer retreat in the “Howler Suite” or Room #1. 🙂
And just one more of the many things I look forward to each year that I’m “Retired in Costa Rica,” from rainforest and cloud forest photo trips to cultural activities and enjoying my little flower garden in Atenas! I have achieved my idea of pure life in paradise! And this December I will celebrate 8 years of living here! 🙂
And that linked title takes you to this week’s Tico Times article about a community-wide band and dance team from Zarcero which will represent Costa Rica a second time in the Rose Parade, Pasadena, California.
Zarcero is a town (called pueblo here) that is a little smaller than Atenas and north of us. It is known for topiaries in their Central Park, cheese-making and this large and professional community band of all ages. If you are one of those Americans who always watch the Rose Parade on TV, be sure to watch for the Costa Rica band! 🙂
Yesterday, 15 September, was Costa Rica’s Independence Day Celebration nation-wide including here in Atenas. I worked into the night processing my many photos and selecting choice ones for my photo gallery titled in Spanish this time :
There is nothing in nature that I won’t photograph, though after birds, butterflies, flowers and trees it may be the leaves of plants that attract me the most. Here’s my collection from last week’s Xandari trip as another sub-gallery in that eventual trip gallery. 🙂
Over the years here my favorite flower gardens have been the ones at Xandari because of (1) the large variety of species, (2) their placement in forest settings with architecture that is colorful and complimentary to flowers and (3) the additional wild flowers you can find on the forest trails. Earlier this year I found their match on variety of flowers at Guayabo Lodge near Turrialba, Cartago, though not arranged or laid out in as beautiful a surroundings as Xandari. And for some reason, this year Xandari seemed to have fewer flowers, especially in that front garden trail along the entry road, but certainly enough for me to make a lot of “flower art!” 🙂
One photo for the email announcement and then a gallery of some of my favorites from this short two-night stay at Xandari Costa Rica. Enjoy . . .
With the fading of Covid and mask-wearing in Atenas comes the welcome sounds of the old “life as normal” with concerts and fiestas in the park and our first parade in more than 2 years scheduled for next week, 14 & 15 September, to celebrate Independence Day which is 15 September. Usually there is the parade of lanterns made by elementary school children on the night of 14th and then the big parade with all the bands + mid-day on the 15th. We will see, but you know something will happen because from the side of my hill I can hear three different schools practicing their drumming daily, which they always do a couple of weeks before a parade! 🙂 I’m still searching for a schedule of events and may have to go by the city hall for that. 🙂 Here’s some photos of previous years bands drumming before Covid . . . a single shot, then a gallery . . .
Well, it was just two nights away, one of my shortest overnight trips yet in Costa Rica, and I was planning on a blog post each night. But first it was Google Chrome, then MS Edge and finally Firefox browser that all refused to let me into my own website to post (and one other site) saying I was on an “unsafe connection (hotel Wifi) and that someone at my own website might steal by personal information including credit card numbers.” 🙂 Grrrrrrrrr.
So I just took a respite from the blog. No big deal. And here are the photos I was going to post that first night there (Wednesday) simply showing my room. The large rooms, or really spacious villas, plus the overall architecture is the highlight of Xandari Costa Rica for most guests, that and also the original art and statuary in every room and in the gardens. Then the first class restaurant and for nature lovers like me, a protected rainforest with 5 waterfalls and beautiful gardens around the buildings plus for other people, 3 pools and a Spa! It was a good respite and even though fewer birds this time (fewer all over Central Valley because of the strange weather this year), I photographed 5 or 6 birds plus more that 25 species (still counting) of butterflies with about 6 new or first-time seen species for me! Here’s one photo of one of the butterflies for the email version of the post, followed by a gallery of 6 shots from my room . . .
I read three things today that helped me realize again how fortunate I am to be living in such an amazing little country as Costa Rica! AND how much I have slowed down, calmed down, and embraced nature since I’ve been living here, eight years this coming December! Here’s links to the three inspirational articles I read today . . .