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!

Manuel Antonio National Park Tour

Yesterday, 23rd, was a full day with tour of the park and the night hike here at hotel wildlife refuge – thus I did not get photos all processed until today, the 24th, the anniversary of me living in Costa Rica four years now.

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I think I have said this before in the blog, but I will repeat that Manuel Antonio National Park is the most visited of all 28 or so national parks in Costa Rica and thus generally my least favorite because it is “loved to death” with too many people (think Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the states with the Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge mess). My last time here was in 2015 with Kevin Hunter and the park tour was different in that we saw some different animals and probably had a better guide who grew up in the area. We saw squirrel monkeys then which we did not this time nor the parrot snake I photographed on that visit, but otherwise similar. And this time we went to all three beaches in the park, while only going to the one main beach last time.

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If an animal is spotted by one group, all the other converge on that spot. Too many people!

And this time there are now more trails and a really nice series of bridges or elevated walkways through the mangrove swamp, handicap accessible with braille signs! Though behind the U.S. in handicap accessibility, Costa Rica is moving fast in that direction!

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I go mainly for the wildlife, so that is the main slideshow below, but many people come here for the three different beaches inside the park and pay the $16 admission just to spend the day on one of the beaches, so a shot of each of the three beaches is in the second slideshow. Overall, Manuel Antonio is just too “touristy” for me and I have no desire to return here. The hotel with its own wildlife refuge is nice and I love the views from the hillside, but it too is rather “touristy” and overpriced, so I don’t see myself returning here either. But glad I’ve had all these experiences! The Costa Rica tourists see.

Manuel Antonio Wildlife

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Beaches of Manuel Antonio

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“Adventure is worthwhile.”

-Aesop

 

See this TRIP GALLERY   2018 December Si Como No.