I wandered around the grounds when I arrived but did not make it to the waterfall today. Had a beautiful, healthy salad for lunch when I met a lovely young couple from Germany who are thinking about moving to Costa Rica. He is a photographer. They are not staying the night in lodge, just day visitors.
I am the only overnight guest here now. It is off season or rainy season and the ride up the mountain from Tarcoles is a rough 45 minutes on a bad road which discourages some, but it is really isolated! That is one thing I love about it! It is also very “wild” with rainforest noises as dark arrives (mostly frogs). It rained much of afternoon so I will explore more tomorrow. Just a few shots for today:
Only by going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness. All other travel is mere dust and hotels and baggage and chatter. ~John Muir
Hard to prove it by me. They just keep welding pieces of metal on what will be the “Kiosk” or Bandshell and now they are trimming and taking out some trees, so that speaks to more of the garden renovation. We will see. It was originally going to be completed by the end of 2018 and now I think they will really have to speed up the work to get it done by the end of 2019! 🙂 I made these two photos yesterday, so up-to-date June 16, 2019!
The city has a Facebook Page presenting the remodeling with architect drawings of what they expect it to look like – The New Central Park Atenas. Click on one of their pictures to enlarge it and begin a manual slideshow of the new park.
Sometimes I think I’m the luckiest guy in the world! Being “Retired in Costa Rica” is simply perfect for me, even if I never left my little casita and garden in Atenas! But on top of that I get to continue exploring one of the most beautiful and ecologically diverse countries in the world! And next week it is to a place that not only have I not seen, but I am yet to meet anyone else who has been there! Even my driver will be going for his first time! 🙂
I urge you to watch their beautifully created introductory nature video to see part of what I will experience next week and also as an expression of why I love Costa Rica so much! Nature! 🙂
Just click the Macaw logo below to see it on YouTube. I’ll give you their website link further down.
This small eco lodge has only eight rooms and is recommended by National Geographic Society. I expect stellar service and food along with my full immersion in the wilderness! The video does not mention birding (I don’t do yoga), but they have birding guides and multiple options for birding with of course many trails I can explore on my own. And they will be my third lodge to visit that has installed Macaw Nesting Boxes, what may save a whole species from extinction!
My current approach to trips is to stay most of a week with birding in the mornings followed by relaxation and photo processing in the afternoon with a great evening meal and early to bed. Some places are more designed for my kind of schedule and I think this is going to be one of those! And may become one of my new favorites! Now explore their website by clicking the link below:
As with most good lodges, there’s a lot to explore on their website as well as on their grounds, like their secret gardens and birding trails, their own waterfall with plunge pool swimming hole, their farm where most food I’ll eat is raised, unlimited birds, insects and other nature to photograph and much more! Six nights there will give me time to explore and discover another great getaway to which I already expect I’ll return! I love new discoveries! 🙂
Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean. ~John Muir
While I was out for dinner between 5 & 6 at Parrillada Androvetto Atenas for my weekly steak at the the place in Atenas with the best meats in my opinion, my gardener Cristian came to do the little job I had requested and then sent me a WhatsApp cellphone photo of his work since I was not there. Ahhhh! The joys of being “Retired in Costa Rica!”
On the back side of my house the tile sidewalk continues alongside a concrete retainer wall with a narrow flower bed totally in the shade. Much of what was there had died out and I asked for a re-planting, just some interesting green plants that grow in the shade (sombra). The first photo below is the one Cristian sent me and the second one I took from the other direction after I got home about 6:15 when it is dark here. (Both sunrise and sunset year-around here is between 5:15 and 6:15, meaning 12 hour days and 12 hour nights year-around.) I did have my garden lights on which helped with the photo. 🙂 And he not only put a variety of green and colored leaves but also included two flowers, two Anthuriums! Now the one bare spot I had to see when I walk through my garden is again beautiful and will “fill out” or “fill in” as the plants grow. Another beautiful rainy season in Costa Rica! 🙂
“Flowers… are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty out values all the utilities in the world.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
I recently discovered on our limited Costa Rica Netflix a fun BBC gardening show call “Big Dreams Small Spaces” with the famous English gardener Monty Don helping people turn ugly little yards into beautiful gardens of their dreams. A fun diversion! Check it out! 🙂
For those who love birds and realize their importance in the future of planet earth, I hope you have already discovered The Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
It is from this institution or website that I have my best bird identifier, the free app available from your phone app store called: Merlin
The basic app is for North American birds, but includes for many countries, like Costa Rica, a download for free of your country-specific birds. The quickest, easiest and cheapest way of identifying birds you see or photograph.
And participate in the research and learning about birds plus create your own checklist of birds seen through their online base program eBird (also with a phone app):
I have also starting taking online classes on their website, the first of which is free and introduces you to eBird, your personal online record of birds seen.
One of their latest award-winning documentary videos is is worth seeing just the free 2 minute preview: Bird of Prey about the rarest eagle in the world in the Philippines.
If you love and appreciate birds, I hope you will learn about and connect with
For anyone considering retirement or otherwise living in Costa Rica, be forewarned that you must learn to live with the 300,000+ species of insects here on this land bridge between North and South America (with insects from both continents!). The featured image at top is of two “Jewel Bugs” or “Metallic Shield Bugs” I photographed in Corcovado National Park. Below photo I made this morning of a “Leafcutter Ant” on my terrace carrying a flower petal (bougainvillea) instead of a piece of leaf, which is common.
Many of the insects that pester me seem to come in waves; like just before rainy season the little long-winged fliers that dropped or left their long beige wings all over my bathroom, or the first two weeks of rain was the invasion of houseflies (which Deep Woods OFF doesn’t seem to affect!), and right now there are hundreds of tiny little black & green beetles on the walls, around the lights and all over me! I even got one going down my ear the other night – ugh! They don’t bite, but a bother! Too small to photograph.
My biggest deterrent to the many kinds of bugs are the Geckos that live in literally every room of my house and I think eat most types of insects. From my first day here I have tried to photograph the larger insects (some are just too tiny) and you can see my collection in the gallery named INSECTS CRunder OTHER WILDLIFE in the main gallery. There are more than 100 species of insects in my gallery and especially interesting or unusual are those in the sub-gallery Other Insects, like the above Jewel Bugs, many of which I have not been able to identify. And all of which serve a purpose in the cycles of life. Of course the most popular sub-gallery is Butterfly & Moth (81+ Species).
A Break From Blogging
For regular readers, I assume you have noticed several days without a post. Sometimes I just doesn’t feel like writing and/or in this case got focused on my old photos again as I am slowly adding them to my galleries, particularly the Pre-Costa Rica TRAVELgalleries. It is a slow and labor-intensive process that eventually I will complete. I uploaded all of my international trips first and now working on USA trips from the most recent going back. Then comes the most, Tennessee travels. And most of these are after my retirement began at the end of 2002. I have been blessed to have seen so much of the world and get to know so many cool people!
Sunday afternoon I was a part of the Board of Directors meeting for the local children’s home, Hogar de Vida. The rest of the board seemed surprised and appreciative that I am the first person to include the children’s home in my will. But I am not a very good board member because I am not fluent in Spanish, in which all business is carried on! 🙂
Otherwise I am “Living Slow” as my sloth T-shirt says!
A fast approach tends to be a superficial one, but when you slow down you begin to engage more deeply with whatever it is you’re doing. You’re also forced to confront what’s happening inside you – which is one of the reasons why I think we find it so hard to slow down. Speed becomes a form of denial. It’s a way of running away from those more deeper, tangled problems. Instead of focusing on questions like who am I, and what is my role here, it all becomes a superficial to-do list.
Yesterday morning as I started to walk to town it was raining, thus I took a taxi. So I had to walk back from town since that is my only exercise here! With only a tiny sprinkle occasionally, I enjoyed these wet “3 little things” along the way and here are my shots of one day’s “eye candy” in little Atenas, Alajuela, Costa Rica.
May is the beginning of “Rainy Season” in the Central Valley of Costa Rica including Atenas and this year there has been more rain and clouds than I remember having my previous four Mays and most agree, while the real “oldtimers” say this is just the old normal for the first month of rainy season. So . . . whatever! Things are fresh and green all over Costa Rica right now and it is my favorite time of year and though locals call it “Winter,” most also prefer this time of year too. And less gringos too! 🙂 Just a shower every afternoon and some early mornings or at night which I like for sleeping! 🙂
The top photo is a panorama of 4 shots with my 600mm telephoto lens and below is the less-focused snap of Atenas Central on my cell phone, both from my terrace at breakfast this morning.
This morning I received a WhatsApp Voice Message with the above photo from Rodiber, my guide at Monteverde last month. He was thanking me profusely for the autographed copy of my Monteverde photo book for himself, Costa Rica Expeditions (who service this hotel) and the hotel Monteverde Lodge & Gardens. The girl in photo is one of the several front desk persons who were all very helpful to me during my stay. I sent two copies of book, one for my guide and one for the hotel to use at front desk, in lobby or in their little loaner-library of books for guests.
Since I make a book for most of my trips or the first trip to a lodge, I usually send two books like this. I just concluded my second trip to Selva Verde Lodge and right now not planning a second book. Their two guides on my first visit plus the front desk got copies of my 2016 Selva Verde trip book.
I really enjoy surprising my hosts in thanks for a good experience with the little photo books – not something they expect nor receive from other guests. This is the first one to send me a photo with their thank-you note. A surprise for me now! My response was the typical Costa Rican response to a “Thank You!” which is ¡Con mucho gusto!“With much pleasure!” Ticos are such beautiful people! 🙂