Smithsonian Research to Hotel

The land this lodge is on has always been a family ranch and part still functions as such. After the big eruption in 1968 the Smithsonian Research teams started coming and camped on this family’s ranch. The family built a small hotel to better house them in 1987, along with a research “Observatory.” When the volcano became a national park this ranch became the only private property within the national park and as research diminished it became a public hotel that continued to expand. The only hotel in the park or within this much wilderness! Read the history of hotel on their website.

The last eruption (a small one) was in 2010, but before that visitors here could sometimes see the red lava flowing down to the rivers during the dark of night. Though still alive and producing nearby hot springs, it is not considered a danger now, though constantly monitored by scientists. And one of the optional hikes in the national park is across the lava fields.  Didn’t appeal to me.

The feature photo today is the research building they then called “the observatory” as the backside is all windows facing the volcano. A part of it is now a museum and there are about 8 guest rooms in that building which would be good for families since they are nearest the swimming pool AND has a big game room with ping pong, pool, table games, etc. And the gardens around it are very good for small birds as are all the gardens here!   🙂

Volcano Art

 

Research Museum

 

My last full day here was mostly rainy, but rain is nice.  🙂

Rain is grace; rain is the sky condescending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life.      

~John Updike

Arenal Observatory

¡Pura Vida!

 

Bienvenidos!

Welcome! is the translation for you English-only-speakers and one of the new Tico residents of Roca Verde decided that since he lives in the first house inside Roca Verde main gate he would contribute to the neighborhood with this nice welcome sign at 101 Roca Verde just across a little valley from my house at 105 (and he too overlooks the cow pasture). I can’t remember, but don’t think I have shown his welcome sign on the blog yet.

20191110_101600-a-WEB

Also inside the main gate (before his sign and at edge of the cow pasture) is the above lovely shaped tree that just lost its leaves and is renewing them now in our sort of a Spring. Walking to town this morning I walked by the tree that I have always liked the shape of and decided on a cell phone photo – above. Then I saw a Lineated Woodpecker in it that soon flew to two of the other trees as I tried to make a photo (below), but I need my big camera for birds! No good photo, but you can see what else is welcoming you inside the Roca Verde gate.    🙂    Bienvenidos!

20191110_101753-A-WEB
Lineated Woodpecker, Roca Verde Entrance
20191110_101656-A-WEB
Lineated Woodpecker, Roca Verde Entrance

“Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky.”
— Kahlil Gibran

Better photos tomorrow from Arenal Observatory!

🙂

¡Pura Vida!

Flowers Inside

A little bouquet from my garden and supplemented with some cheap fresh cut flowers from the supermarket as here. As much as I enjoy my garden, it’s nice to have flowers inside occasionally.   🙂

20191101_115500-WEB

“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.”  – Henri Matisse

¡Pura Vida!

cm by cm Progress

And you people in the states think I meant “Inch by Inch” as you forget that the rest of the whole world uses the metric system!   🙂   The renovation of Atenas Central Park slowly takes shape with the outer ring of two-level bench seats completed and the city workers focus on storm drains now with evidently a long way to go before new sidewalks, benches, picnic tables, playground, landscaping and artwork on the ceiling of the kiosko! But it will happen, poco a poco!    🙂   See my gallery Remodeling Central Park

¡Pura Vida!

 

And oh yes!   Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2020  includes Costa Rica — of course!    🙂   In fact, the waterfall they feature is on my to-do list for 2020!   🙂

Hacienda Guachipelín – THE BOOK

The book is finished with 4 new lifer birds for me and now I’m off to other creative activities. Remember – you can PREVIEW the book electronically (flip through the pages) for free at my bookstore by clicking on this link and then each page to turn a page. Fun! And best seen in full screen mode!   🙂

https://www.blurb.com/b/9712481-hacienda-guachapel-n

Or click the book cover image below to get there:

¡Pura Vida!

 

“…and then, I have nature and art and poetry, and if that is not enough, what is enough?”
― Vincent Willem van Gogh

 

 

 

 

 

Garden Remodel Yesterday

Yeah, I recently added the white caladium border and another little improvement, but this was a BIG change! With 2 hours of rain delaying some of the work, my gardeners spent most of the day on my flower garden yesterday including buying all the plants, soil & rocks. It was for a requested restructuring and elimination of some invasive plants.

The results will look better in a week or two, but we needed to get it done now because the rainy season will end in mid to late November and new plants need rain. I am so fortunate to have such a good crew to do work that is much more difficult for me now.

I’ll update the blog from time to time on the garden, but tell you now that they added a new “feature plant” at the corner by my door called in English an “Elephant Foot” plant which you can see in one photo with the “Elephant Ears” behind it!   🙂    It will grow and bigger ones are beautiful! Much of the other is for color without competing plants and providing a little more cohesive, flowing look to the garden with mounds of new dirt adding to the flow. In a few weeks it will be great! And the Elephant in a year or two!   🙂

Garden Crew Working

 

The New Garden

Please click an image & do manual slide show.

Life begins the day you start a garden.     – Chinese proverb

¡Pura Vida!

 

 

Oktoberfest

“Willkommen zum Oktoberfest.”

Yesterday a bus of load of about 30 persons “Retired in Costa Rica” boarded a charter bus in Atenas for a German Restaurant in downtown San Jose, Paulaner München, for a great German meal including roast chicken, knockwurst, kraut and my favorite – apple strudel! We were also entertained by a Latin-flavored Costa Rican “German Band” complete with fake leder hosen!   🙂   And many of our group of retirees danced with the band, especially one couple who really know how to dance as shown in the feature photo. She even tried to teach the group to dance the polka with moderate success!   🙂    And who says old people don’t have fun?

Oktoberfest Costa Rica

 

oktoberfest
. . . .   AND the beer for many in our gang! 🙂

¡Pura Vida!

Joys of Flight

Not only does flying save me time and tiredness but I nearly always get at least one surprise photo on the little 30 to 40 minutes flights over Costa Rica. This latest flight to Liberia and back gave me many photos, but just two special ones today: The above photo of a very tall  unknown waterfall with no roads around it! — My main prize! Saw it just south of Liberia and hope to find out its name, though I think it is isolated from tourists!

And again we fly over Atenas and I get a good photo showing much in Central Atenas (Central Park, church, schools) plus the roof of my house in the upper left corner to left of the little roundish cow pasture. The string of houses over the hill is Phase 1 of Roca Verde where I live near the bottom of the hill by cow pasture.   🙂

Flying over Atenas, Alajuela, Costa Rica.

 

“There is no sport equal to that which aviators enjoy while being carried through the air on great white wings.”
~Wilbur Wright, 1905

¡Pura Vida!

Arrival Day Photo Overload

By the time I get to a place and settle in I usually have less than half a day there but seem to get as many or more photos as other days – the excitement of a new place I guess!   And so it was yesterday at Hacienda Guachipelín!   🙂

So to spare you, I’m saving today’s birds and butterflies for another day and putting today’s other photos in slide shows so it won’t look like so much.   🙂

Airplane Shots

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Hotel Grounds

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Hotel Mirador (Vista Point)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Hotel Flowers

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

“Wherever you go, go with all your heart”    –Confucius

 

¡Pura Vida!

The Craziness of My Passion

Yesterday I hired Walter to drive me to the three hotels within an hour and a half from my house to deliver the photo books I made about the three hotels:  Jaco-Carara Birding Hotels.  (Click to preview the book.)

I visited these 3 hotels in March, June and July this year and because they are all in the same area of Costa Rica near Jaco Beach and Carara National Park I decided to do one photo book instead of three, thus the title and combination of photos. A nice book if I do say so myself, with a large variety of coastal and forest birds and other wildlife plus the best sunset photos yet and an interesting sunrise photo I used for the front cover. Check out this book about Punta Leona Hotel, Villa Calletas Hotel and Macaw Lodge by clicking the above link. An electronic “Preview” is free!

Walter picked me up at 10 am and I was home by 3:30 pm which included a super lunch at Villa Calletas which the book notes as the best of the three for food (according to me)!   🙂

Why would I spend as much money on delivering 3 copies of the book as I did on printing them? Because I’ve had 2 hotels not receive their book through the mail and most of all I’m passionate about making nature photos and sharing them, especially with the people who helped me make them and love the nature of their surroundings as much as I. One young hotel employee was thrilled to see his work surroundings depicted in a photo book – his smile alone made the trip worthwhile!   🙂

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”       ― Mother Teresa

Visit my Bookstore  for other such books.

¡Pura Vida!