Arrival at Macaw Lodge

Lunch Today

I wandered around the grounds when I arrived but did not make it to the waterfall today. Had a beautiful, healthy salad for lunch when I met a lovely young couple from Germany who are thinking about moving to Costa Rica. He is a photographer. They are not staying the night in lodge, just day visitors.

I am the only overnight guest here now. It is off season or rainy season and the ride up the mountain from Tarcoles is a rough 45 minutes on a bad road which discourages some, but it is really isolated! That is one thing I love about it! It is also very “wild” with rainforest noises as dark arrives (mostly frogs). It rained much of afternoon so I will explore more tomorrow. Just a few shots for today:

 

Birds Today

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Other Wildlife

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Grounds Shots

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My Cabin

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Only by going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness. All other travel is mere dust and hotels and baggage and chatter.      ~John Muir

Macaw Lodge

¡Pura Vida!

Evening Gardening

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!”

red.anthurium.flowers-450x540On 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!   🙂

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The photo Cristian sent me of his plantings
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My photo from other direction in the dark with lights on.

“Flowers… are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty out values all the utilities in the world.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

¡Pura Vida!

 

P.S.

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!   🙂

Little Lichens

Walking in a rainforest always includes some lichens and other moldy things! 🙂 I did not try to photograph them all and some I tried did not take in the dark forest, but here’s a few from Selva Verde Lodge Sarapiqui:

 

“There is a low mist in the woods—
It is a good day to study lichens.” 
― Henry David Thoreau

🙂

¡Pura Vida!

Monteverde Lodge & Gardens

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

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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!

¡Pura Vida!

The Mysterious

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.

¡Pura Vida!

Experience more of the mysterious in my gallery: Charlie Doggett’s COSTA RICA

BUTTERFLIES – Punta Leona

Butterflies always fascinate and dazzle me with their colors and rapid movements. Here’s a sample of what I saw in the Butterfly Garden at Hotel Punta Leona.

 

Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.                                  -Nathaniel Hawthorne

 

See my Costa Rica Butterfly Gallery with 81+ species

See my Punta Leona Trip Gallery

And visit the Hotel Punta Leona Website for more about this nature place!

Tortuguero – THE BOOK

The book is now finished with photos from 3 different trips to Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica and I think it is pretty interesting. You can go to the book online and Preview it electronically free! And of course best seen at fullscreen since it is all photos. Click this link or the book image below for the preview:

http://www.blurb.com/b/9315463-tortuguero

Tortuguero

 

“A brave heart and a courteous tongue. They shall carry thee far through the jungle, manling.”
~Rudyard Kipling

 

See my 2019 Tortuguero Turtle Beach Lodge Visit Gallery for more on this exciting rainforest trip!

Or the Turtle Beach Lodge website or Laguna Lodge of my previous visits.

¡Pura Vida!

 

Turtle Beach Lodge

After two visits to Tortuguero at the Laguna Lodge (2010 & 2016), I felt I needed a change or to at least see what one of the other lodges is like. After an internet search I chose Turtle Beach Lodge. Two out of a total of about 12 to 15 is not the total picture but I at least can compare these two and I like them both. Laguna is larger, housing about 300 people while Turtle Beach houses about 150, depending on how many persons to a room of course, but that is the dining room sizes. Larger is not always better.   🙂

Its been 3 years since at Laguna, but I vaguely remember their food being better or at least a lot more choices beyond the typical Tico food buffet at Turtle Beach where you get rice & beans at every meal plus “mixed vegetables” (boiled cabbage & a few other veggies) along with a change in meat from fish, chicken, pork and beef in rotation for both lunch and dinner and one little meatless pasta. Turtle’s salad bar is skimpier than Laguna’s and had more flies. So overall I remember Laguna having better food.

Housing is very similar in both with basic screened-in cabins, camp-like firm beds, and a ceiling fan plus basic bathroom. Both have a swimming pool and beach access, while Turtle also has a pool table in the bar and most of the buildings seemed newer or more modern. Both have WiFi only in the public areas (dining room, lobby, bar, etc.) They are about the same with the same tours, nature and wildlife offerings and jungle living experience. Though Turtle Beach excels on the canoe or kayak option with their private canal.

I would be hard pressed to recommend one over the other though I lean toward my most recent experience with Turtle Beach, being smaller where you get to know the staff better and I easily got a private birding tour that included the guide paddling me in a canoe while I photographed. I did not ask for that at Laguna but it is probable there too. I also like Turtle Beach’s private canal better than Laguna being on the main river. And I stayed 3 nights at Turtle Beach which really makes a difference over the one night or two night stays before! To get the most out of a place you need more time there and that is my approach everywhere now, with 6 nights more common at other lodges.

Bottom line is that Turtle Beach edges out Laguna Lodge in all but the food which was better at Laguna. Now here are a lot of shots from Turtle Beach Lodge in four slideshows by my categories:

My Room

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Lodge Facilities

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Private Canal & Boat Dock

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Art on the Grounds

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The wilderness is healing, a therapy for the soul.   

~Nicholas Kristof

 

See my 2019 Tortuguero Turtle Beach Lodge Visit Gallery for more on this exciting rainforest trip!

Or the Turtle Beach Lodge hotel website

Or my photo book on 3 visits to TORTUGUERO, The Amazon of Costa Rica

EXTRA NEWS ON WILDLIFE OF COSTA RICA:

A Chat with Nat Geo’s “Untamed Costa Rica” Producer

“Costa Rica has one of the few places in the world where a wild ocean and a wild forest can converge simultaneously with one another.”          ~Filipe DeAndrade

¡Pura Vida!

Cariari – Colorful Travel Stop

When the lodge in Tortuguero tells me their van they will pick me up at any hotel in San Jose at around 5am and I live at an hour+ away, getting up at 3am to get there is not appealing, thus when I go to Tortuguero (my 3rd time now) I usually use my Hilton Honor points from an American Express Card to spend the night at Hampton Inn Airport. Well, Hampton Inn was full this time for the night I needed and thus the next closest Hilton Hotel was DoubleTree Cariari, at the Cariari Country Club, also called an airport hotel (5 miles). But it used to be an independent, locally owned unique Costa Rican Hotel Cariari. And I’m glad I couldn’t get in the “cookie cutter” Hampton Inn which is an identical building/room as all Hampton Inns in the U.S. Nothing unique or Costa Rican about it except the coffee and staff!   🙂   And the Cariari is the favorite hotel of my new friends from Durango, Colorado.

My favorite transportation from Atenas, Walter’s Taxis & Tours, brought me here midday and I’m enjoying the exploration of a new hotel to me. Here are a few my cell phone photos made here:

ART

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GARDEN

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HOTEL

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Tomorrow morning at 5:30 AM I leave for Tortuguero National Park on the North Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica.

 

¡Pura Vida!