Amazon Kindle had a special on the electronic Tarzan books, all 10 of the original stories by Edgar Rice Burroughs, for only 99¢ (1.08 with tax) and I grabbed them! 🙂 The early Tarzan movies had
a big effect on me as a child, while most of the later ones I did not consider as good and since books are almost always better than their movie counterparts, I decided for the first time in my life to read the original stories by the author. Glad I did!
I have finished the first three books and boy is it true that, in this case, the books are so much better than the old or new movies. It is hard to believe how cheesy some of those old movies were that I remember liking so much as a child! 🙂 You can watch most of the old Tarzan movies free online now. And the newer movies made up their own stories, ignoring the books!
Then last week I read a climate change article in The Washington Post that really “clicked” with me and merged with my book readings caused me to decide there was a definite “Tarzan Effect” on me in my childhood of Saturday matinee Tarzan movies and that motivated me to start writing again. I now have a new set of web pages under ABOUT on my website simply titled The Tarzan Effect. They share some of the ways I think Tarzan affected me for the better and at one point I even link to stories and essays on how he affected several other people including Jane Goodall who is reported to have said “I fell passionately in love with Tarzan — this glorious creature living out in the jungle doing all the things I wanted to do, and what did he do? He married the wrong Jane.”
It’s the layers of yellow, white and brown that identify this butterfly more than the spots and their locations which I tend to focus on first. 🙂 This butterfly photographed in my garden is the Mexican Yellow, Eurema mexicana. I’ve seen him before at Arenal Butterfly Conservatory and at Xandari Resort. See all those shots in my Mexican Yellow Gallery.
And it looks different from other angles or light . . .
My favorite hotel in Costa Rica’s Caribbean South is Banana Azul and I just completed a new book which I will take copies of on my next visit there in September for other patrons to enjoy in the lobby along with others of my photo books about the area that are already there.
This new book has photos of 28 species of butterflies photographed on the Banana Azul property or at nearby locations. Enjoy thumbing through it for free electronically at my bookstore by clicking the cover image below or just going to this web address:
I have kind of quit evaluating lodges and hotels on TripAdvisor like I used to do after every trip and in some ways I’m finding it more difficult to “rank” lodges, like I did earlier by just the number of birds I photograph there.
At more than 82 and 1/2 years old, I’m looking for comfort more than in earlier adventures and simply do not go camping anymore, not to mention backpacking. So a comfortable room and good food are more important to me now, even though photographing nature still comes first. 🙂
First, I Changed How I Get There & Back
Most of the lodges provide a free shuttle bus or van from any hotel in San Jose, including at the SJO Airport (where I have them pick me up at the Hampton Inn). Then van drives you to Guápiles for breakfast and then on to the La Pavona Boat Dock near Cariari, 22 kms (13.7 miles) north of Guápiles. Then you boat to your lodge in one of the lodge’s boats, an hour and a half to 2-hour boat trip which is a fun adventure the first time. I did that the first three times going twice to Laguna Lodgeand then once to Turtle Beach Lodge, though my return from Turtle Beach was much easier as I chose to fly back on Sansa from the tiny airport in Tortuguero. This time I chose to fly both ways at around $200 round-trip. Much faster and more relaxing plus I love the views and photo possibilities from the plane window! Plus small planes are their own kind of adventure! And it just happens that the lodge I chose this time is across the river from the “Airport” or little landing strip by the ocean.
I Chose For Better Room & Food This Time
The first two lodges I have visited in Tortuguero were just basic camp cabins (fine for me) and with average or maybe a little above average buffet-style food. But as I get older I want more comfort and better food.
So I chose the most expensive lodge there, Tortuga Lodge and Gardens, a BOENA Property with 4 upscale “wilderness lodges” in Costa Rica including Lapa Rio which used to be run by National Geographic and my favorite lodge in Monteverde (I’ve tried 3), the Monteverde Lodge and Gardens that I stayed in before it became BOENA. At over $400 a night including all 3 meals, this was my most expensive lodge yet, though I’ve been favoring other lodges more like it recently. 🙂
The room was the best yet in Tortuguero! So Tortuga Lodge won me over with the large, spacious room with private terrace overlooking the river and a back window looking into the rainforest. Very comfortable King Bed and large bathroom with huge rain shower. Strong WiFi capable of rapidly uploading my photos to the blog and even a nice desk for my laptop! So Tortuga Lodge & Gardens wins on room and excellent early maid service! In one or both of the other lodges I had to go to the lobby or restaurant for WiFi.
The food was also by far the best yet in Tortuguero! Though I had one complaint about the dry chicken and fish and tough, rubbery large shrimp at some dinners, everything else was absolutely delicious and well-prepared with a lot of choices for all three meals, including a variety of appetizers, salads, soups and desserts! It was generally the kind of fine, gourmet food you expect at their high prices.
Guides and Tours About Equal
Their Guides & Tours were as good as the other two lodges. Every guide I’ve had at all three lodges have been excellent as were their tours! So this reason for going would not make either of the three lodges a big winner exactly, though both Laguna and Turtle Beach are literally on the beach which is a big plus for me and would be more so in turtle season. Plus both are more back in the jungle than Tortuga AND Turtle Beach has its own private canals and a bigger property which is another advantage they have and I saw more wildlife there. In fact one of my tours this time was in Laguna 4 which is next to Turtle Beach Lodge and was this guide’s favorite place to go. Hmmm. If Turtle Beach had the higher quality rooms and food, I would probably prefer them.
I think Tortuga Lodge and Gardens is overpriced, but I enjoyed my 4 nights there and would consider it again for the comfort as I would consider the other two for the wildlife tours and I might even try a different place next time, like Mawamba Lodge which I’ve heard good things about, if I even get to go back to Tortuguero. 🙂
Column by E.J. Dionne, Jr. in yesterday’s Washington Post, March 12, 2023. It helps describe who I am and why I think most “liberals” (as either an adjective or a noun) are more like Jesus than most “conservatives” (as either an adjective or a noun). What I believe spiritually and politically is based on me being a “follower of Jesus” first and foremost and why I can no longer identify as a Southern Baptist or Evangelical (my former life) and even more certainly not as a Republican in the states.
I see them everywhere I go in Costa Rica, even occasionally in my yard, but I still continue to be amazed by the prehistoric looking, dinosaur-like creature! On the Caribbean Coast, where Tortuguero is located, you find only the Green Iguana; while on the Pacific slope you can find both the Green and the Common Spiny-tailed Iguana, and that includes Atenas where I live,s which is on the Pacific Slope. All four of these photos are Green Iguanas and if you don’t already know, the orange colors come to only the males during mating season, which supposedly attracts the females more than the green or brown colors. 🙂 I shared a face-shot of the all-orange one in an earlier blog post.
I usually get more frog photos in wet places like Tortuguero, but most frogs are nocturnal and it was very dark & cloudy on our night hike in deep mud (wearing required high boots they provide) and thus I was doing good to just keep up, not to mention trying to make photos, of which I got few! 🙂
We did see a lot more frogs than this, just no photos! Our guide on that hike was a very good spotter named Elvis! 🙂 I can’t use my 600 mm zoom lens in the dark successfully, but did try an older camera with a “normal” lens, but it was no better than the cellphone camera at night, which is what most of my good frog photos have been made on in the past.
See my galleries of Costa Rica Frogs with more than 40 species, though the “unidentified” sub-gallery is the largest. 🙂 I got a new CR Amphibians field guide, but they are still difficult for me to identify. 🙂 But still, I’m proud of my large set of frog photos, especially several great shots of the Red-eyed Tree Frog over the years! He is one of several unofficial symbols or mascots of Costa Rica like the below shot at Danta Corcovado Lodge. 🙂
In case you thought there are only water birds at Tortuguero (Wetlands) National Park, remember the three species of toucans I’ve already posted and here are 5 species of small land birds I managed to catch, mostly at the lodge, and tomorrow I will share 4 more larger land birds including the endangered Green Macaw to finish out the 33 species of birds I photographed at Tortuguero, a really good birding spot! And there are several birds I photographed on other trips there that I did not get this time, plus much other wildlife like the River Otter on two other trips but not this time. Next to Corcovado NP, Tortuguero may have the highest concentration of wildlife of any other national park in Costa Rica (except maybe that inaccessible park that straddles the Panama border) with no public roads into it. You just have to work at getting photos of mostly elusive wildlife! A few lucky people have even seen a Jaguar there! 🙂