December 2020 Arenal Gallery

Just in time! The night before I leave on another trip I finished my photos from the Christmas 2020 trip to Arenal Observatory Lodge with more than 50 species of birds! And 5 are lifers for me! Plus a whole lot of other photos from this favorite lodge. For now the birds are presented alphabetically by their English Common Name. Later I will make time to arrange by species families according to my birding guide book. Overall I’m pleased with this collection of photos and moving on to the next collection! 🙂 To see gallery CLICK above link or the image below:

¡Pura Vida!

Other Wildlife at Arenal

Wednesday I shared my photos of “Other Wildlife at Caño Negro” which was a different wetland world on a day trip away from Arenal and the 3 Monkey species seen there were shown in two separate posts. Now sometimes there are more monkeys and other animals in Arenal Observatory, but this trip I photographed 10 species and I’m sharing just 8 of the “other animals” (not birds or butterflies). All were seen on the grounds of Arenal Observatory Lodge, one of my favorite places. Later I will have my trip galleries completed and will summarize here all the amazing wildlife and other nature seen and photographed on this Christmas week trip. CLICK an image below to see it larger:

“Real freedom lies in wildness, not in civilization.” 

– Charles Lindbergh

See my photo galleries OTHER WILDLIFE.

¡Pura Vida!

The Butterfly Conservatory

Yesterday’s butterfly post was all photographed at The Butterfly Conservatory, El Castillo – Arenal, Costa Rica. I highly recommend it if you are at or near Arenal Volcano or La Fortuna. I always stay at Arenal Observatory Lodge which is less than a 10 minute drive to the butterflies while from La Fortuna would be about 30 minutes. It’s on Lake Arenal.

See yesterday’s post for the butterflies I photographed. Below are some shots of the facilities, the hiking trails, and flowers. There is a so-so insect museum with dead insects of many species stuck to boards, but not labeled. This competes with if not better than the Monteverde Butterfly Gardens for just the butterflies, my other favorite and both are better than the very commercial Selvatura Adventure Park in Monteverde. And another one surprisingly good on my 3 visits there is the small Restaurant Selva Tropical Butterfly Garden, Guapiles, Costa Rica and sometimes the butterfly garden at La Paz Waterfall Gardens has a good collection. All are up and down with many butterflies only living a day or two and thus a lot of work to keep hatching new butterflies! 🙂

The Facilities & Vistas

Hiking Trails & Forest


And then there’s my Butterflies of CR Gallery!

130+ Species!

¡Pura Vida!

Costa Rica Ranks #1 (Again!) Place to Retire

The International Living Magazine again ranks Costa Rica the #1 Place in the world to Retire. I’m not a fan of the magazine because I found them too commercial, with too many ways to take my money, but they do have interesting articles and if you are considering retirement in any other country, read these short articles on the top 10 places to retire.

Arenal Butterflies

Here’s my photos of just 10 of the many I saw at The Butterfly Conservatory, El Castillo-Arenal, on Christmas Day no less! 🙂 Tomorrow I will do a post on the facility which is a little-known nature gem in Costa Rica. It equals if not excels both butterfly gardens in Monteverde.

My guide there identified a some of these with all other identities found in my usual source, A Swift Guide to Butterflies of Mexico and Central America, Second Edition by Jeffrey Glassberg and all were verified with this book.

If you really like the butterflies of Costa Rica, check out my Butterflies of CR Gallery, at about 130 species now! 🙂 I have the largest Costa Rica Butterfly Gallery on the internet.

CLICK image below to see larger:

“Adventures are forever!”

¡Pura Vida!

Banded Peacock

This Banded Peacock Butterfly was just one more colorful thing in nature I photographed on yesterday’s morning walk. I don’t carry my big camera on all walks because I photograph too much! 🙂 And tomorrow I will share the flowers I photographed on yesterday’s walk!

¡Pura Vida!

Enjoying a “Thank You”

I do a little 7 X7 inch photo book on almost every lodge I visit in Costa Rica and send a copy to the hotel and/or the guides. After my September trip to El Silencio Lodge & Reserve I sent two such books to the hotel along with a copy of my CR Birds Book & one of my CR Butterflies Book for their guests to enjoy.

One of the guides sent me a What’s App message “Thank You” yesterday afternoon with the above photo of my two El Silencio guides, Daniel & Bryan, holding a copy of the El Silencio Book. Nice to be appreciated! 🙂 Thanks guys!

¡Pura Vida!

Rusty-tipped Page Butterfly

The Rusty-tipped Page, Siproeta epaphus, is found from Peru northward through Central America. I have seen him once before in my garden and now inside my house on a window screen – and yes, I let him out after the photo! I’ve also seen him in two other locations: Si Como No Hotel in Manual Antonio National Park and at Tapirus Lodge in Braulio Carrillo National Park with much better photos in my Rusty-tipped Page Gallery which is a part of my bigger Butterfly Gallery.

Note that I also now have a Costa Rica butterfly book, Pura Vida Butterflies with photos of 120+ different species of butterflies and moths, including this one, with a free preview at the link.

¡Pura Vida!


I’ve shared this kind of photo from Atenas before and it continues as one by one a traditional house with front porch, front and back yards (called gardens or terraces here), and all the signs of having raised one or more families over the year – boom! The house is torn down and occasionally modern apartments or more often now a business is built in its place. Since Diacsa is a construction company here, I assume that this will be their offices with what looks like a drive-through and place to park construction equipment behind it?

On either side of this attractive modern office building still stand traditional, spanish-influenced single-family houses that will of course never be the same now. The price of progress? Maybe. Or just the modern world we live in wherever it may be world-wide. I can’t help but remember similar progress during those years in Serekunda, The Gambia and yes, even in Nashville, Tennessee where I for a while lived in a modern row house where old traditional houses used to stand. World-wide!

This new building here is on Calle 3, just two blocks from Central Park and already this old residential street has many businesses and offices of all kinds, so it is likely to continue to become more commercial while our little farming town of what was not long ago around 5,000 people now has more than 8,000 and is becoming a distant suburb of the big cities of Alajuela & San Jose (where some residents work) + a magnet for foreign retirees (like me) with its claim of “The best weather in the world!” (¡El Mejor clima del mundo!).

Even little, natural Costa Rica succumbs to progress and with mixed emotions for some of us. But yes, I’m glad I live in a modern house with all the modern conveniences in a very nice development on the edge of downtown Atenas (because I can still walk to town!). 🙂 But I also cherish being close to nature and away from the big city of San Jose (an hour+ away). And best of all for my retirement lifestyle, living in the center of the country means I can easily travel to nature reserves and national parks all over Costa Rica. Plus my garden and neighborhood still have a lot of nature, birds, butterflies, etc. And it is close enough to town that I walk and do not own a car! Doing my little part in fighting climate change! The best of both worlds for me! 🙂 I love it here, progress or not! 🙂

POSTSCRIPT: See the conversation with the building owner below in the COMMENTS. And how I now see that this “house replacement” building truly is progress as told by one who grew up as a child in that house! I jumped to conclusions on thinking about progress as negative and truly such changes can be very good.

My Atenas Galleries

¡Pura Vida!

Unnamed Skipper

And I continue to be frustrated by the difficulty of identifying many of the Skipper Butterflies. this one is patterned similar to 3 or 4 of the longtails but does not have a long tail! The white pattern is similar to some of the Poans, but none of them have the dark brown or black pattern. If anyone knows for sure the ID, I would love to label him! 🙂 Just click CONTACT on the menu to message me with the name. ¡Muchas gracias!

My Butterfly Gallery

¡Pura Vida!

Pura Vida Butterflies: The Book

Earlier I released a coffee table book titled Pura Vida Birds as a celebration of coming up on my 6 year anniversary of being “Retired in Costa Rica” (December 24, 2020).

Then I started thinking about my second nature love of butterflies and just couldn’t resist doing a similar book with my photo collection of butterflies and moths, even though not as big as my birds collection. So here it is! More than 120 butterflies in brilliant colors in a 10×8 in, 25×20 cm book, hardcover or paperback book. It is titled Pura Vida Butterflies from the Retired in Costa Rica Blog. Check it out and thumb through the pages electronically in the free Preview available online. Just one more incredible thing about Costa Rica! 🙂

¡Pura Vida!