2023 – Slowing Down on Travel

As much as I love traveling around Costa Rica with my camera, I am slowing down a little this year for multiple reasons, mainly health and money! I’ve lived a long and exciting life already, mostly as a high-energy person, ready at all times for the next adventure! But with much less energy after cancer and having three pretty serious falls last year on trips, I must “start acting my age” in some respects.  🙂  Plus, my savings was cut back a good bit with all the cancer treatments and I’m beginning to feel the tightness of money more, so fewer trips and shorter trips is one part of my plan for this year with enough “wiggle room” to add a day trip at the last minute when I feel the need. 🙂  Meaning that the plans below might get a few tiny additions like the 2-night trip this week just added to nearby Xandari Resort . . .

Sidewalk from one of my cabins at Xandari Costa Rica and the Feature Photo is a Sunset view from one of my rooms at Xandari!

Here’s My 2023 Travel Plans

JANUARY

2 nights – Xandari Costa Rica Resort, Alajuela, my #1 best location for butterflies and one of the best for flowers! It’s this week! And you can see the results of 5 previous visits by browsing through my Costa Rica Trips Galleries,  2022, 2020 (twice), 2019 & 2018.  🙂  I will be giving them gifts of two copies of one of my newest photo books, Butterflies!
The Hidden Art of Xandari for them to add to the only complete library of all Charlie Doggett photo books.

FEBRUARY

4 nights – Tortuga Lodge & Gardens, Tortuguero National Park. This will be my 4th trip to Tortuguero but my first time to this Lodge which is a sister lodge to Monteverde Lodge & Gardens I visited in 2019 and considered a little nicer than the more rustic lodges I visited here before, Turtle Beach Lodge in 2019 and Laguna Lodge in 2016 with a friend from the states visiting here, the same lodge Caravan Tours used on my 2010 tour of CR. Tortuguero is often called “The Amazon of Costa Rica” with most nature hikes by boat.  🙂

APRIL

5 nights – Maquenque EcoLodge & Reserve, Boca Tapada. This is in some ways my favorite lodge because of the large number of birds and other wildlife I’ve photographed there and because they have treehouse rooms from which I’ve photographed both birds and monkeys in the nearby trees. But for the first time there I’m staying in a ground level cabin, one on the lake which may give me different wildlife photos from my room and I will be in less danger of falling down the 50 metal steps going up to the treehouse room. 🙂    You can see the results of my 3 previous visits there by browsing through my Costa Rica Trips Galleries,   2022,  2020,  &  2019.  🙂

JULY

5 Nights – Esquinas Rainforest Lodge which I’ve visited only one other time, also in the rainy season with one of my largest collections of bird photos in a 2018 visit when I was the only guest most of my days there. It is a small, quiet jungle retreat in the rainforests of Piedras Blancas National Park on the opposite side of the park from the more touristy Playa Cativo Lodge I visited last July, also for my birthday!  🙂 This is run by Austrians in conjunction with their rainforest research station there. Being the rainy season, it will definitely not be crowded and again I could be the only guest! That would be okay with me!  🙂

SEPTEMBER

6 nights – Hotel Banana Azul, Puerto Viejo, Limón, South Caribe. This is my annual Caribbean Beach vacation, staying always in “The Howler Suite” room overlooking the rainforest property and beach where I get great sunrise photos each morning plus lots of butterflies and birds and other wildlife including Sloths. It is my most relaxing place to visit and I have no pressure to do anything, plus the food is good and I can walk to most places, but they have their own tour company to take me further if I want and of course to and from the Limón Aeropuerto. I always fly there as I will also to Esquinas in July, near Golfito. My only 2 flying trips this year. Walter will drive me everywhere else I go this year.  You can see my photos of 5 previous visits to Banana Azul by browsing through my Costa Rica Trips Galleries,  2022, 2021, 2019, 2018, & 2017.

DECEMBER

6 Nights – Hotel Savegre Lodge & Reserve, San Gerardo de Dota. And this year I will spend Christmas in another favorite lodge, in the most beautiful mountains with the 5th purest/cleanest river in the  entire world – Rio Savegre! And the best place in Costa Rica to photograph the Resplendent Quetzal birds along with many others! Plus terrific food, rooms and hiking trails! See my photos from there on my 2021 Visit, plus I was in the same hotel in 2009 (smaller then) and I have visited two other lodges in San Gerardo de Dota. 

So fewer trips this year, but each one comes at a time I will emotionally need it and all in places I’ve been before and really love! I’m the luckiest guy in the world to get to spend my final years living like this in the most beautiful nature places in the world! Nothing could be better!

¡Pura Vida!

Sunset from my room at Xandari one visit.

Last Saturday’s Birding Hike

A local friend who has connections with a private religious retreat center in the mountains of Santa Eulalia, Atenas Canton, took me and two other friends last Saturday morning for a really nice birding hike that included all nature!  🙂  You can see the photos at:

https://charliedoggett.smugmug.com/TRIPS/2022-January-21-Sermon-on-Mount-BIRDING

Or if I did it right just click this first page of the gallery . . .

¡Pura Vida!

Distant Mountains & Poas Volcano

If I look more to the right from my terrace at a North to a little Northeast I see more distant mountains toward Arenal and the closer Poas Volcano which I think may be under those clouds on the mid-right. I haven’t been to Poas in a long time, which now requires a reservation, and you must go early morning to avoid the cloud cover. When clear, it is the best volcano in Costa Rica to visit because only there can you look down into the bubbling cauldron and of course smell the sulphur. They recommend no more than 15 minutes at the rim for health reasons in breathing sulphur.

Distant mountains north of Atenas, Alajuela Province, Costa Rica.

¡Pura Vida!

 

Arenal 2022 GALLERY Finished

It seems to be taking me longer to complete my trip galleries – just a slow old man!  🙂

But one reason was that it is slow identifying 32 species of butterflies (several new to me), 29 species of birds (1 lifer), and 13 species of other wildlife with lots of nice frog shots this time! These trip galleries are my main photo galleries to which I link for photos in the bird, butterfly and other subject galleries. If you are considering different lodges in Costa Rica as a visitor or one who lives here and travels like me, these trip galleries are a good source of real information about what you can see in a particular place.  Enjoy!

Index Page of my Arenal 2022 TRIP GALLERY. — CLICK IMAGE TO VISIT GALLERY

Or click this linked address:  https://charliedoggett.smugmug.com/TRIPS/2022-December-22-28-Arenal-Observatory-Lodge

¡Pura Vida!

 

Cloudy Day Lake Vistas

Lake Arenal was the first first man-made lake built in Costa Rica to create electricity with a dam, famous for having covered the town of Arenal and its cemetery with water. The town’s residents moved to a “Nuevo Arenal” which is now called Castillo, where the Butterfly Conservancy is located. It is also a popular local fishing lake and is surrounded by tourist attractions, Arenal Volcano National Park (La Fortuna) on the east, Monteverde on the west and Tenorio National Park nearby along with Caño Negro and many lodges/hotels & hot springs. And yes, some expat retirees have built homes on the lake!  🙂

My earlier May trip to the Observatory Lodge was better for lake shots because the sun sets over the lake that time of year! No really good shots this time, but sort of what a lake looks like in cloudy and rainy weather.  🙂

Here’s 5 shots from this trip, two of which are multi-shot panoramas . . .

Lake Arenal, Costa Rica

 

Continue reading “Cloudy Day Lake Vistas”

Limited Volcano Views This Trip

Though I always go to the lodge that is closest to the volcano (and surrounded by the most forest!), this trip Christmas week was the first time the volcano was covered in clouds most of the time. The only clear day, all day, was Christmas Day, with clouds and rain all the rest of that week! But with all the photos I’ve been sharing, you can see that the rain or clouds didn’t dampen my spirits too much!  🙂 Here are four different views of the volcano from four different locations including the one sun-shiny day shot!  🙂

¡Pura Vida!

Arenal Observatory Lodge Website

Or for what the volcano looks like this very moment:

Arenal Volcano Live Web-Cam

And note that the camera is mounted on the side of the lodge building just above my room 29 or my room deck, so basically the same view I got from my room or would now if there.  🙂

My 2022 in Photos

From the top of a volcano to the mangroves at the ocean’s edge and even in the tiny garden behind my casita, I’ve daily photographed nature for 8 years here and called that photography “Nature as Art!” and shared it in this blog.  🙂 

I like this Collins Online Dictionary definition:

Nature is all the animals, plants, and other things in the world that are not made by people, and all the events and processes that are not caused by people. 

Thus in nature I worship God and find my peace & inspiration from Him, the creator of it all!

Each year I find it difficult to select only 12 photos from the year and I first tried to come up with 12 “categories” of nature to make sure I selected a variety, but that became as cumbersome as trying to have a “photo-a-month.” So I decided to just stick with “12 favorites,” even if more than 12 are favorites! 🙂

So, however labeled, here’s 12 photos I made in 2022!

Happy New Year and Pura vida! 🙂

This 1st of 12 is looking out at the Pacific Ocean from Playa Cativo Lodge, Golfo Dulce, Piedras Blancas NP and the 12th photo below is a shot  looking out over the Atlantic Ocean at sunrise from Hotel Banana Azul. Coast to coast nature photos!   🙂

To the nearly 500 email subscribers: I hope you read on for the other 11 favorite photos . . .

Continue reading “My 2022 in Photos”

Christmas Day Very Busy!

As I celebrated living in Costa Rica for 8 years, I had a very special Christmas Eve Dinner and this morning went to the Butterfly Conservancy in El Castillo on the lake, then hiked one of the trails here at Arenal Observatory and after another great dinner of baby back ribs, I’m going on a private Night Hike, just me and the guide! It was their suggestion since with the regular night hike of a group of 10 they knew I would find it difficult to make photos. Most of “my” lodges here really take care of this old man!  🙂 Photos from the night hike will come tomorrow.

And I haven’t had time to process photos of butterflies or anything else today, so here’s photos of the great sunny weather we had today and my first view this week of the volcano! The lake shot was at about sunset time, though the sun is not seen there this time of year, it’s still more pleasant with clear skies!  🙂  Much more to share tomorrow!

Every day so far this trip the volcano has been covered in clouds until . . .

. . . beautiful blue skies all day today – the first time to see Arenal Volcano from Arenal Observatory Lodge.

Arenal Lake at about sunset time today, Arenal Observatory Lodge.

 

 

 

 

¡Pura Vida!

Hilltop Clouds

Zooming in on just the tops of my nearby hills. 🙂

¡Pura Vida!

And my Vistas GALLERY!

And don’t forget that I will be one of 21 artists at the BIG ART SHOW this coming weekend at Hotel Colinas del Sol on 8th Avenue – See you there! 🙂 Read more about it on the JIT Atenas FB Page!

And “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas” as shown in this Tico Times online article about a neighborhood in San Jose. I’ll be showing my photos of Christmas decorations in Atenas after the Art Show is over!

Morning Vista . . .

. . . is one I never tire of and though the same, it is slightly different every morning with changing light, sky, clouds and foliage. I am so thankful to live retired in a tranquil little farming town in what might be the most nature-centered and ecology-minded little country in the world! We use 99% renewable electricity and are slowly but steadily moving towards electric cars and buses and have more than 25% of the country’s land set aside in reserves or national parks and we still plant trees! Pura vida!

View from my terrace every morning at breakfast + birds & butterflies! 🙂

¡Pura Vida!

View GALLERY: From My Roca Verde Terrace