A Little Jewel

On one of my walks on the nearby “Country Lane,” I found this simple little tree covered in yellow blooms, like many Costa Rica trees now, and liked it!

The Feature Photo is the broad view of the landscape with the little solo tree, while below I include a closer view from another angle, all from behind a fence, and I never cross fences! 🙂

Country Lane Yellow Tree

“Nature is pleased with simplicity. And nature is no dummy.”

~Isaac Newton

¡Pura Vida!

Tonight or tomorrow I will begin reporting on the Cloud Forests of San Gerardo de Dota in Savegre Hotel. It is a lot different from my Central Valley coffee farming town of Atenas! 🙂

My Photo Wins Contest

Expats living in Atenas, Costa Rica (mostly retirees) have a Facebook Group Page where expats ask one another “how to” or “where to” kinds of questions and share important information. Each year the group has a photo contest for what will be the group’s page header that year. My shot or our town from a hill in Roca Verde one foggy morning is the winner this year! 🙂

I almost used this photo for my digital Christmas Card this year. Glad I didn’t so it will now be solely the identity of the group.

And my prize? Something yummy from Pat’s kitchen! 🙂

¡Pura Vida!

The full photo below lends itself well to the narrow crop for a page header:

Atenas, Alajuela, Costa Rica — Photo by Charlie Doggett

Illegal Buffet?

Sorry that you got a false email notice of this post two days ago! In short, this old man is sometimes technologically challenged! 🙂 I often schedule posts a day or so ahead and when the scheduling calendar popped up I clicked the 4th and entered. Whoops! I had just clicked the 4th of December! 🙂 I quickly changed it to the 4th of January, but alas, the auto email had already been sent out. 🙂

Since March and the first arrival of COVID19 in Costa Rica, the government Health Ministry prohibits buffet service in restaurants. But I guess that does not include ants eating a spec of food together on my terrace! 🙂

These tiny black ants are eating a tiny spec of something: food, fruit, flower, other insect or I’m not sure what on my terrace, right in front of my rocking chair. I just had to photograph them! 🙂

Ant Buffet on my terrace.

If all humans disappeared today ,the earth would start improving tomorrow. If all the ants disappeared today ,the earth would start dying tomorrow.

~David Suzuki



And more photos from Arenal & Caño Negro are coming! I’m still organizing photos! 🙂

¡Pura Vida!

January Yellow – Far and Wide!

Around the first of January every year in Costa Rica the skylines, forest tops and trees in every direction seem to be ablaze in yellow. In my yard it is what we call “Yellow Bells” in English, while many others here and throughout the country are the Yellow Cortez Tree and in other places the Brazilian Fire Tree. These shots are from recent short morning walks through my neighborhood. CLICK image to see larger . . .

“How lovely yellow is! It stands for the sun.”

– Vincent Van Gogh

¡Pura Vida!

My related Photo Galleries: Flora & Forest

And more photos from Arenal & Caño Negro are coming! I’m still organizing photos! 🙂

New Years Eve Traditions in Costa Rica

What I’ve Observed:

First, the most popular vacation week for families is the week between Christmas and New Years. Schools are out and many companies and business close this whole week, thus families are freer to travel. The beaches and lodges sometimes have more Ticos than tourists, especially this year with Covid19 reducing our number of tourists.

Second is fireworks at midnight is a big deal, both large organized shows including some Catholic Churches in conjunction with a Midnight Mass and families or individuals in their yards and streets.

Third is the Midnight Mass.

Fourth is the usual happiness and friendliness as everyone wishes you ¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

Fifth & Sixth are best described with part of a newspaper article:

Run around the block with your suitcase.

Though I haven’t seen it done, I have heard about this tradition for some Ticos which was reported in a Washington Post Article this month:

Put your 2021 travel ambitions into the universe by celebrating the new year like a Costa Rican. (The tradition is popular across Latin America.) At midnight, it’s tradition to grab a suitcase and run around the block in the hopes of traveling in the new year.

“The farther we run with our suitcases, my family always says, the farther we’ll travel in the new year,” writes Washington Post reporter, Samantha Schmidt, who has spent New Year’s Eve with her extended family in Costa Rica every year since she was born. “We all do it — from my toddler cousins to my eldest aunts in their high heels. Our neighbors always cheer us on, shouting ‘Feliz Año Nuevo!’ and sometimes join in, as fireworks shoot off in all directions.”

ARTICLE: 7 international New Year’s Eve traditions to try at home this year, by Washington Post

Eat 12 grapes

Also reported in that same newspaper article above is the tradition of Spain that is also done all over Latin America, including Costa Rica and I have seen and done this:

Perhaps the easiest tradition to carry out is eating grapes for good luck. The tradition began in Spain, but it is now practiced around the world, particularly in Central and South America.

Here’s how to do it yourself: Have 12 grapes, known as las doce uvas de la suerte, handy. When the clock starts chiming at midnight, eat one with each clang.

Bonus points if you’re wearing special New Year’s Eve underwear while eating your grapes. A pair of red underwear can bring you a new year of love, while yellow may bring joy and fortune.

ARTICLE: 7 international New Year’s Eve traditions to try at home this year, by Washington Post


¡Pura Vida!


¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

Riverside Pig

On the Caño Negro river trip Saturday we passed this sow or mother pig with one or more babies between her and the tree and her unique Cattle Egret guard! 🙂

And yes, there was probably a farm somewhere nearby and she just wanted “to get away from it all!” – Down by the riverside! 🙂

Mama Pig with Cattle Egret Guard! 🙂

“I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.”

~Winston Churchill


¡Pura Vida!

Books I Read in 2020

Thanks to Goodreads that provided me with the above images and the list of books I reported to them as having read during 2020, most with a book review. I thought that by the time this blog post was scheduled, I would have finished my current book by Barack Obama, A Promised Land, that is not among the above images, but I was too busy at Arenal to read as much as I expected, meaning it will go down as a January book. And then there are others I’m “working on.” 🙂

I’m not a heavy reader because I tend to be a “doer” of adventures more a reader of adventures, plus I have a sometimes uncontrollable urges to “to create,” mainly with my photos. But I still love to read and no longer go to movies or watch TV. I currently have Netflix Costa Rica mainly for the documentaries and occasionally an old movie, though not as many titles available here as in the states, thus watch just occasionally. I no longer subscribe to any cable TV. So, when not photographing or creating something with my photos, I like to read Agatha Christie mysteries and select non-fiction books such as the Obama book.

Here’s a slide show of the book covers followed by a list of titles and authors. And note that in 2021 I plan to finish the entire series of Hercule Poirot mysteries with just 2 more to go! 🙂

My 12 Books This Year

Assuming I finish the Obama book which I’m sure I will. These are not in any particular order and I don’t remember exactly what order I read them, but most were good books. The sitting kills book was weak I thought and I was disappointed in the book on knowing God. The other 10 I recommend! The first 6 are non-fiction and the last 6 fiction – half and half! 🙂

  1. The Adventurer’s Son by Roman Dial
  2. How the South Won the Civil War by Heather Cox Richardson
  3. The Future We Choose – Surviving the Climate Crises, Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac
  4. A Promised Land by Barack Obama
  5. Sitting Kills – Moving Heals by Joan Vernikos
  6. Knowing God by J. I. Packer
  7. Heaven Adjacent by Catherine Ryan Hyde
  8. Hickory Dickory Dock by Agatha Christie
  9. Dead Man’s Folly by Agatha Christie
  10. The Clocks by Agatha Christie
  11. Third Girl by Agatha Christie
  12. Cat Among the Pigeons by Agatha Christie

Numbers 3 & 4 are my two favorite books this year with #7 my favorite fiction.

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one.”

– George R.R. Martin

¡Pura Vida!

La Fortuna Waterfall with Friends

I use Walter’s Transportation for all my surface trips with Walter driving sometimes and other times one of his drivers, Cristian, takes me. Because Walter had shoulder surgery Cristian took me last Monday and brought me back today (Sunday). He asked my permission to bring his wife and daughter with him on the return trip and I was delighted to have them! A child makes going to a waterfall even more fun! 🙂 And I know . . . I’m actually a child too! 🙂

The Feature Photo is my driver Cristian and his family at the middle overlook. The gallery below has different views of the falls and the stream below the plunge pool which is safer for families with children to swim, while teens & young adults go into the plunge pool. Both too cold for me! 🙂 But many of the young seem to enjoy it, including Cristian’s daughter who is wading in last photo below. CLICK image to enlarge or start a manual slideshow:

This makes Waterfall Number 43 that I have photographed so far in Costa Rica and I will be adding it to my “Arenal Volcano Area Waterfalls” sub-gallery of my Waterfalls CR Gallery.

I have serval more “significant” falls I want to add to my collection before I publish a Costa Rica Waterfalls book, but maybe in the next year or two! 🙂

“Playing together in nature is as much about us as it is about the child. Children get to celebrate and be themselves, while we are reminded of our inner child – the essence of who we are.”

~Nicolette Sowder

¡Pura Vida!

Monkeying Around Christmas Eve

December 24 was a beautiful, sunshiny day! And my 6 year anniversary of living Retired in Costa Rica! I arrived on Christmas Eve 2014 and haven’t stopped exploring this tropical paradise a single day and I’m still blogging about it! Except for the first two Christmases getting “settled in” as a Costa Rica Resident, I have traveled every Christmas week since, to a National Park or other nature preserve.

The 23rd (day before yesterday) was when I scheduled Néstor, my birding guide here, and it was totally cloudy and raining all day. With nothing planned the 24th, it was a bright blue sky, sunny day! So I went hiking on my own, figuring maybe I could see some of the same birds in better light for better photos. Nada! Nothing! Almost no birds! Maybe they were in the tree tops “sunning?” 🙂 But . . .

On the other hand, on the first three rainy days I saw no monkeys and yesterday on the trail looking for birds I saw this troop or family of Mantled Howler Monkeys (my gallery link). They were way high in the Cecropia trees eating leaves, but I managed to get a few distant shots of these common monkeys here:

“We’ve just barely stopped being monkeys.”

~Duncan Trussell


¡Pura Vida!

Christmas Day’s main event was a visit to the nearby Butterfly Conservatory this morning, but it may be a few days before I get to those photos! 🙂 A Merry Weekend to you! And tomorrow, Saturday, I go to Caño Negro Reserve for birding – always a good place for birds.

Arenal Observatory Lodge, Arenal Volcano National Park

¡Pura Vida!

Bicolored Antbird – Another “Lifer”

For most people it would be a horrible day with almost constant rain, but my all morning birding hike with breakfast break was good for me including this one “Lifer” or first-time seen bird.

I still don’t have a count of how many birds I photographed in the terrible light, but I will report on that tomorrow. Nestor says he saw or heard 82 species and I’m sure I didn’t see half that number, but will tell tomorrow. The selfie here is me with Nestor, my guide.

This Bicolored Antbird is my first to see or photograph and my second Lifer on this trip. Learn more about him at the eBird Description. CLICK below images to enlarge:

See all my birds in my CR Birds Gallery.

“Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience.”

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

¡Pura Vida!