Green Orchid Bee

The Green Orchid Bee or Euglossa dilemma (Wikipedia) is a Central American Bee found only here naturally (and occasionally in my garden) though recently introduced into South Florida (an invasive species there). I like them for their iridiscente green color added to my garden from time to time. I do have a Bees Gallery for more photos of this and other bees here. Just one of the thousands of interesting insects in Costa Rica that I enjoy watching!   🙂   See also my Butterflies and More Insects Galleries for more bugs!

Green Orchid Bee

In my garden, Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica.

¡Pura Vida!

Another Strange Bug

This Longhorn Beetle was shot earlier this month on my terrace and I haven’t identified the exact type yet, but whatever he’s called, I like to share all the neat creatures we have here!    🙂

When birds burp, it must taste like bugs.    ~Bill Watterson

¡Pura Vida!

🙂

And remember, I have TWO INSECT GALLERIES:  Butterflies  (100+) and all other bugs in More Insects (66+).   Enjoy my bugs!   🙂

Tractor Centipede?

There are literally thousands of species of centipedes in Costa Rica, thus the name “Tractor” is dubious but the closest match I could find online for this centipede on my terrace today.

It is interesting to note that centipedes don’t have 100 legs or feet as the name implies and neither do millipedes have a thousand.   🙂    Centipedes have two pair of legs per body section and they stick out to the side like those in this photo, while a millipede looks more like a worm with his legs (one pair per section) barely showing and he is a slower mover than a centipede plus burrows into the ground. There are thousands of species of each here and I wonder if all the species even have names? Regardless, they are interesting to watch!

 The centipede was happy quite,

Until the toad in fun

Asked him which leg went after which,

Which drove him into such a pitch

He lay distracted in a ditch,

Considering how to run. 

~Author Unknown

¡Pura Vida!

See my photo collection of Millipedes in Costa Rica with this appearing to be my first centipede photo. Or if you really like funny-looking tiny creatures, check out my whole More Insects gallery which is separate from my butterflies gallery. Our world is full of so many interesting creatures!   🙂   And I love my constant exploration of nature in my retirement in Costa Rica!

Dragonfly & Squirrel

Dragonfly

This dragonfly and squirrel round out my photos of wildlife at Xandari, having already done posts on Birds and Butterflies. The latter giving me 4 new species! Dragonflies seem to interest everyone almost as if magical or “fairy-like” as butterflies, though the larger ones are easier to photograph than these tiny blue ones. See my separate photo galleries for Costa Rica Dragonflies and for Costa Rica Damselflies for more of this magic!

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Variegated Squirrel

IMG_9155-A-WEBAnd finally, every man’s pest, the squirrel, in this case the Variegated Squirrel, the most common in Costa Rica. But there are other species of squirrels and I have galleries on 3 of them:

 

An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language.

~Martin Buber

 

¡Pura Vida!

Xandari Costa Rica

Braulio Carrillo Gallery

I finally got all the photos sorted, filtered and labeled for a gallery called:

2019 December 22-28 — Tapirus Lodge, Braulio Carrillo   Click to see

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!   🙂

For more information check out the lodge website: Tapirus Lodge

Or the National Park Website:  Braulio Carrillo National Park

Happy CR Quote

¡Pura Vida!

 

2019 in Photos

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:

Airplane Shot

Flying in a small plane out of SJO to another adventure is joy! I flew on 5 of  my 12 trips in 2019. For longer distances it is usually quicker and cheaper than my hired driver and with fun photo-ops! See gallery of all my airplane shots since 2009! Costa Rica from above!   🙂

Amphibian

Red-webbed Tree Frog, Maquenque Eco Lodge & Reserve, Boca Tapada, January 2019. See my gallery on this frog (including one at another lodge) or my total Amphibians Gallery.

Art & Architecture

A worker arriving in the morning at Zephyr Palace,Villa Calletas Hotel, Jaco, July 2019 or maybe find other architecture in my Places & Things Gallery or more art in my People, Fiestas and Art Gallery

Bird

A Pale-billed Woodpecker building a home at Arenal Volcano National Park, Arenal Observatory Lodge, November 2019. See my Costa Rica Birds Gallery.

Butterfly

A Dina Yellow Butterfly at Villa Calletas, Jaco, July 2019. See my CR Butterflies Gallery.

Flower

Orchid at Maquenque Eco Lodge, Boca Tapada, January 2019. And my Flowers Gallery.

Forest Sunrise

Sunrise at Macaw Lodge near Carara National Park, June 2019. See also my Sunrise/Sunset Galleries.

Insect (not a butterfly)

Dragonfly at Macaw Lodge near Carara National Park, June 2019. And my More Insects Gallery.

Jungle Sunset

Cristal Ballena Hotel, Uvita, September 2019. Or see other Sunset galleries.

Monkey

Mantled Howler Monkey, Maquenque Eco Lodge & Reserve, Boca Tapada, January 2019 and shot from my Tree House Room!   🙂   See my CR Howler Monkey Gallery.

Mountainscape

The tip of Arenal Volcano seen From the Continental Divide, Santa Elena Reserve, Monteverde, April 2019 or check out my Vistas Gallery.

Oceanscape

Pacific Coast Mountains near Uvita & Dominical, September 2019 or check out my Vistas Gallery.

Ocean Sunrise

At Banana Azul Hotel, Puerto Viejo, Caribe Sur, August 2019. Or see other Sunrise/Sunset galleries.

Ocean Sunset

Villa Caletas, Jaco, July 2019. Or see other Sunset galleries.

Rainbow

Arenal Observatory Lodge, Arenal Volcano National Park, November 2019 or check out my Vistas Gallery.

Rainforest Animal

Tapir at Tapirus Lodge Costa Rica. See also my Other Wildlife galleries.

 

 

 

 

Rainforest Bird

Sunbittern at Tapirus Lodge, Braulio Carrillo National Park, Costa Rica.  See my other photos from earlier in my Sunbittern gallery.

Sloth

Sloth Rescue Center, Cahuita, Caribe Sur, August 2019. Or see my Three-toed Sloth Gallery.

 

Waterfall

Nauyaca Waterfall near Dominical, September 2019 with my Portuguese friends in the photo. See all my Costa Rica Waterfalls Gallery.

 

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.”

~Criss Jami

 

Happy New Year’s Eve!

¡Pura Vida!

 

 

 

Evaluating Rainforest Adventures Lodge

Yes, it is called “Tapirus Lodge” but is owned & operated by “Rainforest Adventures” and even the lodge employees wear Rainforest Adventures shirts and do other jobs within the bigger operation. It is 10 rooms available inside a huge outdoor, nature-oriented rainforest amusement park on the border of Braulio Carrillo National Park, with a second, smaller facility near Jaco Beach on the Pacific side. Most of their business is day visits from nearby hotels including in San Jose plus from cruise ships in Limon on the Atlantic.

Someone responded to one of my blog posts this week with a comment that she was coming to Tapirus Lodge in the next three months and my posts helped her to choose her “tours” or activities but asked for more info. I am copying what I told her earlier today (Sunday) and will then present several slideshows to illustrate what I am saying:

If you love nature you will probably like it very much! Be aware of a few things that are different from what is implied in their lodge website:

(1) It is a tiny room, very basic with non-reliable hot water in the shower. And I had to ask for fresh towels each day the first 2 days until they learned I wanted them daily. So humid that a used towel never dries! There are 10 rooms in 5 buildings (like duplexes).
(2) It rained constantly for the 6 days I was there, day and night, with maybe 3 hours of sunshine one morning. You can still see and do a lot in the rain, but expect it any time of year there. It’s a rainforest!
(3) The food in the restaurant is basic with limited choices, the “tipico” (Costa Rican) breakfast being my favorite. Lunch is a buffet with lots of day visitors not in the lodge including from cruise ships some days. I avoided that and it did not look that appetizing. For dinner there is a choice of chicken, fish or beef with a couple of preparation options. The staff is wonderful! Super nice young waiter (just the one)! No bar, but beers & wines available.
(4) They have one of the longest zip-lines in the country and the longest canopy tram ride which this old man preferred and rode twice! I don’t zip in the rain! 🙂 All of this gives the place the feel of an amusement park, though deeply immersed in nature! Their “Birding Tour” was super good and worth the cost! The room comes with free morning & night nature walks of about an hour each. Great! Don’t miss those!
(5) Their butterfly garden had only one species my week (blue morpho), but the frog and snake exhibits were extensive and the orchid garden limited but nice. Some hiking trails are open for residents and a few require a guide.
(6) The National Park is just 5 km away if you have a car. I did not and the lodge took me in their shuttle bus. Two very nice trails that are easy to hike, even in the rain! 🙂 But I did not see many birds or other wildlife except for one wet sloth. A lady ranger was very helpful there, but you are own your own hiking.

Later I will have a photo gallery posted of my trip and will announce it on the blog.

¡Buen viaje!

 

In short, I prefer more “creature comforts” and gourmet food than I got here, and less rain, but overall it is a great place to experience nature in a rainforest – including the rain!   🙂

 

10 Rooms in 5 Cabins

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Grounds Around the Rooms

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Tourist Attractions

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Birds I Got

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Other Wildlife

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Tapirus Lodge

¡Pura Vida!

And tomorrow will be my annual Photo Review of the Year – 2019 this time!

Rainforest Adventure

That is also the name of the company that operates this little lodge of only 10 rooms — RAINFOREST ADVENTURE. And that is what I am having! I’m almost at the bottom of the mountains of Braulio Carrillo National Park, though we are on the side of a hill or mountain, on the “Caribbean Slope” just barely across the province line into Limon Province, about a 25 minute drive to Guapiles for those who know the area. And in a real rainforest. It rained part of yesterday afternoon and has rained all day today so far. I skipped the morning nature walk that comes with the room because of rain (my camera doesn’t like) but made the night hike last night for lots of frogs and snakes!  🙂

There is no wifi in the lodge-restaurant area and so I took the shuttle bus up to the front gate on the highway (4 km) which is the only place with wifi. Thus I will not be doing a post every day. Today is my personal explore day, tomorrow an all day birding tour on my 5 year anniversary of living in Costa Rica, and Christmas Day I do the “Canopy Tour” or zip-lining. The birding tour includes a round trip ride on the tram through the tree tops. The 26th I tour the National Park and 27th rest before returning to Atenas the 28th.

That is it and I may or may not have another post from here – a little bit of trouble. The place is geared more to young adult adventures, but is a great rainforest to stay in. The room is small but okay though I must drink only bottled water here. Food is okay, not great. One of the guides here is Moises who was one of my guides at Turtle Beach Lodge in Tortuguero (the younger ones move around some). So, in spite of a lot of rain here I’m having a great time! Here’s the first afternoon/evening photos in three categories:

Frogs

Snakes

Insects

Forest-Lodge Area

One Bird

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Yellow-throated Toucan

 

Tapirus Lodge

¡Pura Vida!

 

 

Golden Orb Spider

She was in my garden today and the first time I have ever seen a web by one of these Golden Orb Spiders that was actually gold in color, though hard to see in the photo. I assume that is how they got their name, but most of the webs I’ve seen in the past with them looked no different from other spider webs, dirty white. Nice to see a “golden” one!   🙂

“The spider’s web: She finds an innocuous corner in which to spin her web. The longer the web takes, the more fabulous its construction. She has no need to chase. She sits quietly, her patience a consummate force; she waits for her prey to come to her on their own, and then she ensnares them, injects them with venom, rendering them unable to escape. Spiders – so needed and yet so misunderstood.”
― Donna Lynn Hope

Check out my More Insects CR (65+ species) for more interesting bugs in Costa Rica!  🙂

¡Pura Vida!

Rincón de la Vieja National Park

Johnny took me to the Rincón de la Vieja National Park today and we hiked 5 kilometers. My favorite part was the two waterfalls, one in the park and one outside near the entrance but on hotel property. Currently it is not safe to go look into the active volcano but we did see the smoke, hot water and bubbling mud which reminded me of Yellowstone. It is a tight forest so difficult to see birds but I did get some shots of a Crested Guan and some other wildlife.

Waterfalls

 

2 Hikers & the Park

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Volcanic Activity

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Wildlife

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And at the end of the day, your feet should be dirty, your hair messy and your eyes sparkling.

– Shanti

¡Pura Vida!

Hacienda Guachipelín