A Sense of Place

This final post on the Rincón de la Vieja trip shares some scenery and a little more about the hotel and park that I hope provides a “sense of place” concerning this unique national park and adjacent hotel.

Sense of place is the sixth sense, an internal compass and map made by memory and spatial perception together.
~Rebecca Solnit

In the northwestern corner of Costa Rica there are volcanoes and ranches.  Rincón de la Vieja is unique to all the volcano parks in this drier, western part of the country, reminding me of the southwestern U.S. with persons riding horses as common as bikes and wildness depicts the beauty and sense of place. Plus this hotel is a working ranch. Here’s two galleries and brief evaluations of both the hotel and the place.

Hotel Hacienda Guachipelín

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Hacienda Guachipelín is a large, old, ranch-style hotel on more than 2,000 hectors of land with more waterfalls than the park (8) and it is a working farm & ranch where you can actually be “a cowboy for a day” helping real cowhands or just take one of several horseback riding trips. And seasonally watch a rodeo!

All the typical adventure tours are also available like zip lines, white water rafting, tubing, rappelling, canyoneering, biking, ATV, hot springs & mud baths, a Spa, plus an on-property serpentarium, butterfly garden, Mirador (scenic overlook), and more trails than you will likely use!

My room was basic, comfortable and good for my purposes. It was a longer walk to the restaurant than some and if you need to be close, request that when making your reservation. They offered to move me but I need the walks!

The restaurant food is okay good, just not great, with the wait staff service also mediocre except for the separate bar which had great service! In high season or fuller capacity the restaurant is all buffet style and breakfast is buffet even in low season (now). I am not fond of buffets.   🙂   I ate my usual two meals a day here; a big breakfast from the buffet & omelette bar with an early, good dinner from the menu at outdoor Bar (one of above photos). Restaurant didn’t start dinner until 6:30.

The Scenery

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Sorry I failed to get photos of horseback-riders!

One or two trips to the park is enough to see most everything there. Had I gone a second time I would have done the 10-K walk to their largest waterfall, Cangreja Waterfall, but didn’t this time. Much of the rest is like a smaller Yellowstone park with lots of thermal activity from the volcano (hot springs, bubbling mud, steam or smoke, and yellow rocks from the sulfur).

There is actually more to see and do on the hotel property than in the park, especially for the adventurer or the bird-watcher. And though I saw birds in both places, you see more on hotel property because it is more open and walking the farm roads is the best way to see and photograph birds. I saw 25-30 species, photographing most and got four new birds, “Lifers,” here:   the Lesser Ground Cuckoo, White-fronted Parrot, Magpie Jay, and Western Wood Pewee. Very good for me! Plus I got two new butterfly species and some new snakes in their serpentarium.

“I like this place and could willingly waste my time in it.”     

– William Shakespeare

🙂

I am working on the “Trip Gallery” for this trip at:     2019-October-Hacienda Guachipelín, Rincón de la Vieja, Liberia   and when that is finished, a book!    🙂

¡Pura Vida!

Hacienda Guachipelín

Guachipelín Butterflies

Here’s some butterflies I photographed on the hotel property during my stay there. The only two that are new species to me (if labeled correctly) are the Felder’s White and the Blue & White Heliconian. Love them all!

“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”
~William Shakespeare

Guachipelín Butterflies

CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE.

 

The caterpillar among the photos appeared on my leg right at the hem of my shorts. The Hot Springs attendant took a flat rock and scooped him up then on to the flower on which I photographed him. He looked scary at first, thus today’s quote:

“Well, I must endure the presence of a few caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

¡Pura Vida!

Hacienda Guachipelín

And by the way, I’m home now for at least 3 weeks! I’ll wrap up these reports, a gallery and photo book soon on this interesting “wild west” vacation. Then prepare for a relaxing repeat visit to Arenal Observatory in November.

Chorreras Waterfall

20191017_095055-A-WEBJust a 4 km walk yesterday morning – to breakfast(0.5 km) and afterwards directly to the Chorreras Waterfall through parts of the Hotel farmland and other scenery (1.5 km), watching employees arrive by bus, bicycle, motorcycle and walking. A pleasant walk down a dirt farm road that became rocky and steep on the hill by the river and waterfall. Then the 2 km return with a friendly dog.

As the first one to the Falls that morning I was greeted by the barking dogs and very helpful security guard, Norman, a friendly young man from Nicaragua. (Costa Rica doesn’t chase its immigrants away or put them in cages.) And as in this case, immigrants help make life better for all of us here!   🙂    I love our immigrants!  (And of course I am one myself!)    🙂

Like most Latin Americans, Norman showed a great degree of respect for my age and seemed a little surprised I was hiking in the mountains and climbing down steps to the waterfall, offering to help me of course. Evidently not many 79 year-old people are as adventurous!    🙂

We talked about the difficulties of me learning to speak Spanish and him learning to speak English. Then he shared a quote with me in both English and Spanish to encourage me in my language learning (probably someone used to encourage him), which I include in both languages at the end of this post. Great advice from a young man that I will take to heart!  “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

Wow! I love living here! All the neat people! And places!

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My dog companion walking ahead of me here.

No rain the previous afternoon or night, thus the Falls not as full Norman said. After visiting with Norman awhile I walked back and one of the guard dogs decided to walk back with me, all the way to the Adventure Tours station, nearly 2 km, where they said he does that frequently with guests – every creature is friendly here!    🙂

Chorreras Waterfall

 

Birds on the Walk

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Hotel Grounds on the Walk

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Flowers on the Walk

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Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.

Vive como si murieras mañana. Aprende como si vivieras para siempre.

~Mahatma Gandhi     –     Given to me by Norman at Chorreras Waterfall to encourage me with my study of Spanish.     🙂

¡Pura Vida!

Hacienda Guachipelín

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

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Hotel Grounds

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Hotel Mirador (Vista Point)

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Hotel Flowers

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

 

¡Pura Vida!

Couple of Skippers

Possibly the most common broad category of butterflies  in Costa Rica is the Skippers and there are 3,500+ species of Skippers!

Though I may have seen both of these before, I don’t believe I have previously named them or shared photos of either.

DISCLAIMER: Uniquely colored butterflies are easier to identify than the thousands of brown Skippers which are very difficult to identify, even if in the book or online (and all are not). Thus no guarantee of the accuracy of these identities!   🙂

Skipper – Gold Costa

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Gold Costa Skipper

 

Skipper – Common Brown

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Common Brown Skipper

 

“Just living is not enough, said the butterfly, one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower.”    – Hans Christian Anderson

¡Pura Vida!

 

See my Butterflies & Moths of Costa Rica Photo Gallery – 85+ species!

For most identities I use the book A Swift Guide to Butterflies of Mexico and Central America: Second Edition

Another joy of being Retired in Costa Rica!

🙂

New Butterflies

Two butterflies scurrying around my garden the other day captured my attention much because of how fast they traveled and thus difficult to photograph. The one with red & pink is a Transandean Cattleheart (Parides iphidamas), while the one with turquoise is a Short-tailed Flasher (Astraptes brevicauda). These are both identifications using A Swift Guide to Butterflies of Mexico and Central America, Second Edition. On the Cattleheart especially, I trust the book more than the internet where the many different types of Cattleheart butterflies do not have their photos as finely separated as in the book.

The unknown yellow butterfly was on the parking lot by gym at Colegio Liceo (college-prep high school) – must have been pretty when alive but can’t find him in the book. CLICK images to see larger.

Transandean Cattleheart

 

Short-Tailed Flasher

 

Unidentified Butterfly

 

So we’ll live, And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh at gilded butterflies.     ~William Shakespeare

🙂

¡Pura Vida!

 

And check out my Butterflies & Moths of Costa Rica photo gallery! I have not found another online Costa Rica Butterfly gallery yet with as many labeled butterfly photos, more than 80 with names!

Pruned My Yellow Bells Again

To maintain a vista from my terrace I have to top or prune off the top of both my Yellow Bells Tree and my Nance Tree about once a year.

I asked the gardener to write down the official name in Spanish which is “Arbole de vainillo” (Costa Rica only name – click for español description and other Spanish names by country). I just discovered that the Latin name Tecoma stans  (click for English description) also has multiple English names listed in this order on Wikipedia: Yellow Trumpetbush, Yellow Bells (which I have been calling it because of the yellow bell-shaped flowers), Yellow Elder, and Ginger-Thomas. It is the official flower of the United States Virgin Islands and the floral emblem of The Bahamas, both using different names!

Topped the Yellow Bell & Nance Trees to preserve my vista.   🙂

And is very popular all over Costa Rica as a garden tree bringing 2-4 months of yellow flowers every year. You can see more photos of my trees blooming in my photo gallery named:  My Home Gardens.

 

“In joy or sadness, flowers are our constant friends.”
~Okakura Kakuzo
¡Pura Vida!
See my photo galleries  Flora & Forest  and  Vistas for more of life here!

Trip Gallery

And the trip gallery is finished for my week-ago trip at:

October & November Adventures

Coming in October: A visit to Rincón de la Vieja National Park & Hacienda Guachipelin, a volcano park lodge, this one in the north of Guanacaste, above Liberia (a new area for me)  and another hotel that promises a great birding experience. I continue to try new places while occasionally repeating favorites like a redo of Arenal Observatory (another volcano birding lodge) coming in November. In Costa Rica – the adventures never end!
¡Pura Vida!

Fruits & Flowers

Just a few of the beautiful fruits and flowers blooming all over the hotel grounds at Cristal Ballena Hotel with 2 shots made on the river trip in same area.

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“Almost every person, from childhood, has been touched by the untamed beauty of wildflowers.”    ~Lady Bird Johnson

¡Pura Vida!

For more area photos, see my Trip Gallery:

2019-September 13-21–Cristal Ballena, Uvita

OR for more Costa Rica Flowers see my gallery:

FLORA & FOREST COSTA RICA

Through-the-Fence Beauty

One advantage of walking everywhere (I still do not have a car) is you see more! Walking to town I noticed this orchid through a metal bars fence and used my cell phone to snap between black bars this shot of unanticipated beauty!

“If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.”

~Vincent Van Gogh

¡Pura Vida!

Tranquilo Banana Azul

The latest trip book is completed, a short & simple photo book of 36 pages for only $19 which is low price for a photo book + order by 10 September and get 40% off with discount code:   SEPTEMBER4T

Banana Azul is maybe my most relaxing hotel in Costa Rica or certainly the Caribbean, thus I focused on the tranquility of nature there with several sunrise photos along with birds and other nature!   🙂   Click this link or the cover image below to see a FREE PREVIEW electronically of all pages of the book. As always, full screen mode is better for photos!   🙂

https://www.blurb.com/b/9637630-tranquilo-banana-azul

Tranquilo Banana Azul

 

“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.”   ~ Henry David Thoreau

¡Pura Vida!