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! 🙂
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.
God’s artistry is different in each and every little blossom and so I continue to show photos of flowers from almost everywhere I visit. Enjoy the photos below as what I call “Nature As Art!” – the name of my short-lived photo business in the states.
Selva Verde Flowers
Considering a Move to Costa Rica?
If you are one of those readers considering living here or retiring here, I strongly encourage you to get acquainted with the ARCR, Association of Residents of Costa Rica, who will become your best help as you consider and then plan for a move here, with their two-day seminar an absolute necessity for your preparation. In the meantime you might want to consider joining now and receiving the bi-monthly digital magazine El Residente. Hoping that link gets you to the current edition without membership, so you can see all the interesting & helpful articles other expats here write every two months.
And by the way, for those keeping up with me I got back from Selva Verde Wednesday afternoon with a doctor appointment Thursday afternoon and back into life in Atenas when not on a trip. I’m also finishing up my reports on Selva Verde, a good hotel/lodge for nature lovers!
Arrival day at a lodge is often the most exciting and this one was pretty good! Walter drove me here at Selva Verde Lodge Sarapiqui with a stop at Cinchona and though it looked doubtful at first I got one of the two rooms on the river which got me a toucan shot (across river) and the excitement of two different whitewater rafting groups going by my room this afternoon, even though it rained much of the afternoon. I have 5 tours or hikes scheduled so far for the week, so ready to go! 🙂
Whitewater Rafters by My Room
Tomorrow morning at 5:20 AM I leave for birding at La Selva Research Station and tomorrow evening “Frogging” here at Selva Verde – a good day expected! 🙂
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.
I saw one really cool and new-to-me moth at Santa Elena Reserve, two butterflies at Selvatura Park and all the rest were at Monteverde Lodge & Gardens where they have a really nice small butterfly garden indoors. There is one dining table for up to 4 people that can be scheduled for a private Butterfly Dinner! 🙂 Kind of neat! And two of the moths I photographed on my little private room terrace/patio.
Selvatura claims to have the largest butterfly garden in Central America and the huge dome looks like it but this trip it was horrible with only two (2) species of butterflies. There is a Monteverde Butterfly Garden operated by a couple of nature lovers but I did not go this time. Three years ago it was great! There were a lot of butterflies, especially blue morpho, flying around in all four reserves, but difficult to photograph there.
Butterflies & Moths
Unknown Moth at Lodge
Owl’s Eye at Selvatura
Blue Morpho at Lodge
Blue Morpho at Lodge
Heliconia at Lodge
Unknown Moth at Lodge
2 Blue Morphos at Lodge (open-wings & closed-wings)
Selvatura Parkis (or was) a great combination Nature Park next door to the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve AND an Adventure Park (which part is now taking over). It was a super place when I visited 3 years ago with the biggest and most impressive Butterfly Garden I had ever seen and they claimed it to be the largest in Central America. Well this time the butterfly garden had only two species of butterflies – my hotel has more in their tiny butterfly garden! Their Hummingbird Garden is flowers & feeders attracting wild hummingbirds, so what seemed like fewer this year may just be what is happening in the wild (or what they are feeding them and fewer butterfly-attracting plants). I refused to pay extra for the serpentarium or insect exhibit, expecting they had gone down like the butterfly garden.
The hanging bridges seemed to be about the same and like before I saw one Bellbird and one Quetzal. So they are more about the forest than birds and I enjoyed the bridges the most, but I do not recommend spending the high amusement park prices if you just want a nature visit. The adventure business of zip lines, tram ride, a new “Superman” zip and other such has taken over here. For nature lovers and birders I recommend sticking with the four nature reserves in Monteverde. Here’s 4 slide shows of what I saw there which was still nice as I hope the photos show.
One of the better lodges I have visited yet in Costa Rica even though older. The service is superb with all the staff knowing my name and calling me “Charlie” everytime they see me. Food is some of the best yet in Costa Rica and the grounds are a part of the Cloud Forest both their gardens and their forest trails with lots of birds and other wildlife to photograph when not out in one of the official reserves. A great place for a nature lover to stay. See their Website for more information. And below is my little slide show of first day shots I did not have time to post yesterday:
Monteverde Lodge Slideshow
This morning I had a guide for birding in the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve and hope to report on it by this evening. Note that the 4 birds I photographed here on hotel property yesterday afternoon were posted last night and two were “lifers” for me. A good place ! 🙂
And you history buffs will be interested in how Monteverde was started and settled by Quakers from the states in the 1940’s. See The History of Monteverde.There is no other place in the world like Monteverde!
The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science
— Albert Einstein
I felt the wind move across my face and arm, knowing nature’s way of showing its power and sensitivity would soon end – then a Yigüirro (Clay-colored Thrush) sang its beautiful song that Costa Rica custom says calls in April and May rains that will replace the wind and dryness of our summer. I look forward to the “Green Season” and the freshness my explorations will bring – experiencing the mysterious in Costa Rica.