Yes, San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica is magical, if for no other reason, it is the best place to see and photograph the Resplendent Quetzal, the feature photo I made on my first trip to Costa Rica way back in 2009.
For next week I had plans for my “social distancing” of people in Atenas by being one of the few (or maybe only) tourist at the best hotel in San Gerardo de Dota, Hotel Savegre. I can find enough birds there to keep me and my camera happy by just walking around their grounds, plus their guide takes me away from the hotel some mornings as I photograph birds that can be found only in the cloud forest mountains adjacent to Quetzal National Park (park closed now for coronavirus safety). Yes, I was planning to buck the system and all the recommendations to stay home by going there next week! 🙂 But fate or “God’s intervention of the stupid” has caused me to . . .
Postpone Savegre Lodge to a Later Month
Monday morning’s visit back to the dentist informed me that my infected tooth needs another week of antibiotic treatment before he can do a root canal and that I should not leave home for the next two weeks, having his cell phone number to call if more pain or other problems. I’m grounded by a dentist! 🙂
I just emailed the hotel-lodge requesting that my reservation be moved up to August or October, two future months without trips planned (and hopefully Coronavirus is settled before then). I should know soon what my options are with the hotel, but I expect no problem getting another reservation. And life moves on!
The lodge gave me 13 months to reschedule and then I went ahead and cancelled my May trip which included a hotel night in San Jose and a long bus trip. So no more trips until July.
As usual, this park and lodge are different from all the others I have visited in the past – a very good experience indeed! Difficult to compare with not as many birds as many other places I’ve visited, but I got decent photos of the rare and hard to find White-tipped Sicklebill Hummingbird, a “Lifer” for me. Also first time shots of a wild Tapir! So those two alone were worth the trip! 🙂 The lodging and food was below what I’m becoming used to in the many nicer lodges around Costa Rica, but the real rainforest experience makes that minus worth the trip! I recommend it with the alert that it is not a luxury hotel! 🙂
Someone may remember that for “2018 in Review” I did a “Photo a Month” and decided then that it was not the best way to choose favorite photos – like it or not, the best or “favorite” photos are not evenly divided among 12 months. 🙂
So . . . this year I decided to try my personal favorite photo in each of several categories for 2019 – but yikes! This was not easy either and I really wanted more from the category of Birds, which is what I photograph the most – but this is what you get this year and since I used a different bird on my electronic “Christmas Card” earlier, you got that bird too! And now I’ve decided to include two photos from my December trip to the rainforest AND there’s another bird! 🙂
I kept adding categories to include more photo! Cheating? 🙂 Here’s my personal favorites (not necessarily best photographically) – photos that mean something special to me in each of 18 categories listed alphabetically:
Art & Architecture
Insect (not a butterfly)
And yes, I realize that I kind of stretched the landscape category with other “scapes” which I won’t do next year but maybe try for my top 12 favorite photos (17 here) which had I done this year would have been mostly birds. But hopefully these “favorites” will give you an idea of what it is like being Retired in Costa Rica! 🙂 And 2020 will have a lot of great new photos! 🙂 I’m sure!
“As long as I am breathing, in my eyes, I am just beginning.”
Wishing you the best through the holidays and a Pura Vida New Year!
I will be slowing down the next two weeks, but still posting some on the blog, as I prepare for Christmas Week at the Tapirus Lodge, in Braulio Carrillo National Park, one of our largest and wildest parks in Costa Rica. New adventures, new photos all the time! 🙂 Retired in Costa Rica!THANK YOU for following my blog! ~Charlie
Red-legged Honeycreeper, Maquenque Eco-lodge, Boca Tapada, Costa Rica, January 2019.
And check out my Photo Gallery if you haven’t recently – Its “My Costa Rica!” 🙂
Wow! Another great trip to one of my top 5 or 6 favorite places in Costa Rica, Arenal Observatory Lodge, with photos of 49 bird species , including the two new lifers for me! Plus 7 other animal species, a new birding trail (Bogarín), the waterfall, wonderful hiking trails and gardens to walk through, and the tallest birding tower in Costa Rica where this year I got lots of Honeycreepers in place of all the monkeys photographed last year, plus a repeat of my favorite room 29 and really good food! I have been so busy after the trip that it has been difficult to process all the photos, but finally done! Check them out at (or click image):
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
I finished it last week but was waiting for Blurb to offer one of their discounts before I ordered my copies since I have to buy at least one copy to offer it for sale. That’s business! 🙂 I usually get about 4 copies, sending one to my host lodge/hotel and one to the birding guide I used and I’m saving a copy for some local library here in Atenas but I haven’t found the right one yet. Long story.
By including some photos from my 2016 visit to Monteverde the book has 123 photos on 78 pages with about 45 species of birds plus other animals and nature. I’m pleased with this photo book available in my bookstore at:
Now I will start working on the photo book about Monteverde and making more photos around here as I report on things in Atenas like the progress on our central park remodeling and the climate fair here next week with our annual oxcart parade – always something happening! 🙂
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.
Now that I am wrapping up the photos from my week in Monteverde last week, I’m better realizing how good a trip it was! It was one of my best birding trips in recent years with useable photos of 44 different species of birds, 16 were first-time sightings for me or what birders call “Lifers.” See the 44 birds in the gallery:
The featured photo at top is of a Wilson’s Warbler. And I am now working on the other parts of my trip gallery like other wildlife, the hotel, flowers, etc. which will go much faster than my huge collection of bird photos! 🙂 It’s at 2019 April 7-13 — Monteverde, Costa Ricawhich the birds gallery is just one part of.
I am thankful that when the Quakers came from the states and founded the little mountain farming town of Monteverde they also had the foresight to start preserving the virgin forest around the town and that other ecologists came and continued the effort with some of the largest forest reserves in the world! Nature is the main attraction of Monteverde!
My wish is to stay always like this, living quietly in a corner of nature.
Just a few sample shots of the beautiful cloud forests of Monteverde, Costa Rica which I’m sorry I did not pay more attention to in my photography this past week. Every tree is a beautiful work of art and some are old growth or a part of an ancient virgin forest. I was particularly surprised to see how close we were to Arenal Volcano and what a beautiful view we had from the continental divide in Santa Elena Reserve shown above in the feature photo. I plan to go back to Arenal in November! So many beautiful places of nature here!
Monteverde Forests & Vistas
An Old Growth Ficus Tree in Monteverde Reserve
Selvatura Tree Tops Hanging Bridge
Looking Down on Forest from a Hanging Bridge, Selvatura
An Unusual Tree that Got My Attention in Curi Cancha
Another Vista from Santa Elena
Arenal Volcano Seen from Santa Elena
My Guide Rodiber Finding Tree Information
Forest Trail in Selvatura
Cloud forest is quite different from lowland tropical rain forest. The name comes from the observation that the forests are nearly always shrouded in clouds. These forests are situated at high altitude along the continental divide down the spine of Costa Rica. As the warm moist air from over the Pacific or Caribbean is pushed up the sides of the mountains, it cools, and the moisture begins to condense forming clouds. ~Costa Rica Guide, https://costa-rica-guide.com/nature/refuges/monteverde-cloud-forest-reserve/
I just realized that I have started to repeat some photos, so this will be all of my reports on a wonderful week in Monteverde. My “Trip Gallery” will be coming to my online photo gallery soon at 2019 April 7-13 — Monteverde Lodge & Gardens – just need a few more days for that and then “The Book,” my first on Monteverde even though I was there one other time. Watch my Bookstore for the Monteverde photo book! This trip alone yielded photos of 44 species of birds!
And check out some of my other trips in theCosta Rica TripsPhoto Gallery! Almost every location is as beautiful and exciting as this one.