2023 – Slowing Down on Travel

As much as I love traveling around Costa Rica with my camera, I am slowing down a little this year for multiple reasons, mainly health and money!  🙂  I’ve lived a long and exciting life already, mostly as a high-energy person, ready at all times for the next adventure! But with much less energy after cancer radiation treatments and having three pretty serious falls last year on trips, I must “start acting my age” in some respects.  🙂

Plus, my savings have been cut back a good bit with all the cancer treatments and I’m beginning to feel the tightness of money more, so fewer trips and shorter trips is part of my plan for this year with enough “wiggle room” to add a day trip at the last minute when I feel the need. 🙂  Like the 2-night trip this week just added to nearby Xandari Resort . . .

Sidewalk from one of my past cabins at Xandari Costa Rica, plus the Feature Photo is a Sunset view from one of my earlier rooms at Xandari!

Here’s My 2023 Travel Plans

JANUARY

2 nights – Xandari Costa Rica Resort, Alajuela, my #1 best location for butterflies and one of the best for flowers! It’s this week! And you can see photos from 5 previous visits by browsing through my Costa Rica Trips Galleries,  2022, 2020 (twice), 2019 & 2018.  🙂  I will be giving the resort gifts of two copies of one of my newest photo books, Butterflies!
The Hidden Art of Xandari  for them to add to the only complete library of all Charlie Doggett photo books!

FEBRUARY

4 nights – Tortuga Lodge & Gardens, Tortuguero National Park. This will be my 4th trip to Tortuguero NP but my first time to this Lodge which is a sister lodge to the Monteverde Lodge and Gardens I visited in  2019 and considered a little nicer than the more rustic lodges I’ve visited here before, Turtle Beach Lodge in 2019 and Laguna Lodge in 2016 and with Caravan Tours in 2010. Tortuguero is often called “The Amazon of Costa Rica” with most nature hikes by boat and an amazing amount of wildlife from an occasional Jaguar to almost every tropical bird!  🙂

APRIL

5 nights – Maquenque EcoLodge & Reserve, Boca Tapada. I sometimes call this my favorite lodge because of the large number of birds and other wildlife I’ve photographed there in the past and because they have treehouse rooms from which I’ve photographed both birds and monkeys in the nearby trees. But for the first time there I’m staying in a ground level cabin, one on the lake which may give me different wildlife photos from my room and I will be in less danger of falling down the 50 metal steps going up to the treehouse room. 🙂    You can see the photos of my 3 previous visits there by browsing through my Costa Rica Trips Galleries, or directly to  2022,  2020,  &  2019.  🙂

JULY

5 Nights – Esquinas Rainforest Lodge which I’ve visited only one other time, also in the rainy season with one of my largest collections of bird photos in a 2018 visit when I was the only guest most of my days there. It is a small, quiet jungle retreat in the rainforests of Piedras Blancas National Park on the opposite side of that park from the more touristy Playa Cativo Lodge I visited last July, also for my birthday! This year is will be my 83rd birthday!  🙂 This is run by Austrians in conjunction with their university-related rainforest research station there. Being the rainy season, it will definitely not be crowded and I could be the only guest again! That would be okay with me!  🙂

SEPTEMBER

6 nights – Hotel Banana Azul, Puerto Viejo, Limón, South Caribe. This is my annual Caribbean Beach vacation, staying always in “The Howler Suite” room overlooking the rainforest property and beach where I get great sunrise photos each morning plus lots of butterflies and birds and other wildlife including Sloths. It is my most relaxing place to visit and I have no pressure to do anything, plus the food is good and I can walk to most places, though they have their own tour company to take me further if I want explore afar and of course to and from the Limón Aeropuerto. I always fly there as I will also to Esquinas in July, near Golfito. My only 2 flying trips this year. Walter will drive me everywhere else I go this year.  You can see my photos of 5 previous visits to Banana Azul by browsing through my Costa Rica Trips Galleries, or go directly to  2022, 2021, 2019, 2018, & 2017.

DECEMBER

6 Nights – Hotel Savegre Lodge & Reserve, San Gerardo de Dota. And this year I will spend Christmas in another favorite lodge, in the most beautiful mountains with the 5th purest/cleanest river in the  entire world – Rio Savegre! And the best place in Costa Rica to photograph the Resplendent Quetzal birds along with many others! Plus terrific food, rooms and hiking trails! See my photos from there on my 2021 Visit, plus I was in the same hotel in 2009 (smaller then) and I have visited two other lodges in San Gerardo de Dota. Mariam’s Quetzales Cabins in 2015 and Trogon Lodge in 2014, all good experiences!

So fewer trips this year, but each one comes at a time I will emotionally need it and all in places I’ve been before and really love! I’m the luckiest guy in the world to get to spend my final years living like this in the most beautiful nature places in the world! Nothing could be better for my 83rd year of life!

¡Pura Vida!

Sunset from my room at Xandari one visit.

Last Saturday’s Birding Hike

A local friend who has connections with a private religious retreat center in the mountains of Santa Eulalia, Atenas Canton, took me and two other friends last Saturday morning for a really nice birding hike that included all nature!  🙂  You can see the photos at:

https://charliedoggett.smugmug.com/TRIPS/2022-January-21-Sermon-on-Mount-BIRDING

Or if I did it right just click this first page of the gallery . . .

¡Pura Vida!

White-winged Dove

The White-winged Dove (eBird) is one of my faithful regularly seen birds in my garden. Here is in a Yellow Bell Tree behind my house. I also have quite a few photos in my White-winged Dove GALLERY, including what I think was my first bird to photograph here the hour I arrived for a birding tour in 2009.  🙂

White-winged Dove, Atenas, Alajuela, Costa Rica

¡Pura Vida!

Arenal 2022 GALLERY Finished

It seems to be taking me longer to complete my trip galleries – just a slow old man!  🙂

But one reason was that it is slow identifying 32 species of butterflies (several new to me), 29 species of birds (1 lifer), and 13 species of other wildlife with lots of nice frog shots this time! These trip galleries are my main photo galleries to which I link for photos in the bird, butterfly and other subject galleries. If you are considering different lodges in Costa Rica as a visitor or one who lives here and travels like me, these trip galleries are a good source of real information about what you can see in a particular place.  Enjoy!

Index Page of my Arenal 2022 TRIP GALLERY. — CLICK IMAGE TO VISIT GALLERY

Or click this linked address:  https://charliedoggett.smugmug.com/TRIPS/2022-December-22-28-Arenal-Observatory-Lodge

¡Pura Vida!

 

4 “Smaller” Birds at Arenal

With 4 birds in today’s post and 4 more tomorrow I will have shared all that I got useable photos of on the Christmas trip. And no, I got no “lifers” or first-time seen birds on this trip, but that is expected when you have photos of more than 359 species of birds in Costa Rica!  It’s getting harder to find a new species!  🙂

Chestnut-sided Warbler, Arenal Observatory Lodge, Costa Rica

Continue reading “4 “Smaller” Birds at Arenal”

Toucan’s Sunset Visit Today

Yes, I’m still working on all my photos from Arenal, but with so few Toucans in my Guarumo Tree this year, I had to share this afternoon’s rapid stop by two Keel-billed Toucans to snack on some Cecropia Flowers before flying off to wherever they spend the night!  🙂

Keel-billed Toucan, Atenas, Costa Rica
Keel-billed Toucan, Atenas, Costa Rica
Keel-billed Toucan, Atenas, Costa Rica
Keel-billed Toucan, Atenas, Costa Rica

¡Pura Vida!

And you might enjoy my Keel-billed Toucan GALLERY.

The 5 BIG BIRDS this trip

Yes, you can sometimes see a hawk at Arenal Observatory, but I did not this time nor the two larger toucans, Keel-billed and Yellow-throated, which I have every other visit. But these 5 are still impressive birds and there’s six photos because the male and female of the Great Curassow are so different. I debated about putting the Collared Aracari here, since he’s the smaller toucan, but he seemed too big for the “medium birds” post that’s next.  🙂  And despite their bad reputations, both vultures are beautiful (when flying) and so important to the ecology of our lands!

As usual, one photo for the emailed notice with the others in the online post . . .

Crested Guan, Arenal Observatory Lodge, Costa Rica

Continue reading “The 5 BIG BIRDS this trip”