My Xandari Villa

My third time to visit one of the most expensive hotels that I like in Costa Rica gives me a third different and bigger room/villa. I rarely show this many photos of a room, but because it is unique, I decided to this time along with the Art in My Villa, yesterday’s post.

This “room”  is called a “King Junior Suite” meaning just one king size bed in multiple rooms or spaces, a large suite or villa. They call all their rooms villas because most are in separate buildings and all are large.

From the lobby and restaurant main building, you walk through the gardens on a beautiful winding, paved path to the entrance of #5 in this case:

Private Entrance Compound

Kitchenette by front Terrace

 

Living Room

 

Valley-View Terrace

 

Bedroom

 

Bathroom

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Shower behind blue wall overlooking private garden. Toilet in separate room behind me.

This exceptional hotel is just 20 minutes from the San Jose Airport, thus a starting and ending location for many international tourists coming here, like the people I visited with this time from England, Germany, France, Canada and the U.S.

Yet they are immersed in a tropical rainforest with hiking trails, 5 waterfalls on the river, wildlife, both wild and cultivated flowers, a small farm for the kitchen, a wonderful Spa and restaurant. Some things are worth paying more for!   🙂   I do this occasionally here while other times I “rough it” in the wilderness to be closer to nature. I like both experiences! And the way Xandari combines both luxury AND nature! Plus now they house the Charlie Doggett Photography Library!   🙂   That alone makes the visit worthwhile!   🙂

Luxury is attention to detail, originality, exclusivity and above all quality.
~Angelo Bonati

¡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!

 

 

 

Seeing Green

A few shots made my first day at Tapirus Lodge, enjoying the many “green things” walking around the lodge. And its a pre-made post for while I am getting settled back in at home in Atenas.

Rainforest Green

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Tapirus Lodge

Costa Rica

¡Pura Vida!

Rainforest Birds +

My second time to ride the canopy tram here and first time in the sunshine! It was better with a few more birds this morning after breakfast, but still difficult to photograph moving birds from a moving gondola! Sorry for not better photos, especially of the tiny Tawny-capped Euphonia!

I also walked around the campus again and down to the river and got two more Sunbittern – the featured photo –  a rare and elusive bird that all birders desire! It was not from the tram!   🙂

I leave tomorrow morning from my different and good rainforest experience. Though difficult to rate, I will try to do so in another post and on TripAdvisor. And . . . oh yeah, of course it is raining again as I type this!  🙂

Today’s Birds

 

Nature from the Tram

 

Tapirus Lodge

¡Pura Vida!

Birds & a Tapir – Perfect Christmas!

On Christmas Eve, yesterday, my 5 year anniversary of living in Costa Rica I had a birding guide and got one “Lifer” (first time seen) bird, the rare White-tipped Sicklebill, plus a lifer mammal if you please! A Wild Tapir came right up to the restaurant building eating from the flower beds!   🙂   Though not new for me, I also got some more photos of a very rare Sunbittern! And all of the below photos from yesterday were made in the rain. It has not stopped raining for two days and nights now in this RAINforest.   🙂

Birds

 

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Tapir on entrance walkway for Gift Shop & Restaurant

Forest Walk

 

 

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The mother Tapir eating various kinds of leaves. She seldom brings her baby.

I also got some interesting photos on the canopy tram ride which I will share in another post the next two days or whenever I return to the entrance for Wifi.

¡Pura Vida!

 

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A White-nosed Coati – Quite common raccoon-sized animal all over Costa Rica.

Vacant Lot Flowers

“There is poetry among the wildflowers’.”
― Rachel Irene Stevenson

Sure! I look for nature everywhere! And noticed yesterday morning when I left the Coffee Shop that the vacant lot across the street had this mass of yellow swished across it. Wildflowers!

Beauty is where you find it!  And those trees are kind of nice too!   🙂

“Wildflowers are the stuff of my heart!”
― Lady Bird Johnson

¡Pura Vida!

 

Arenal Trip Photo Gallery

Wow! Another great trip to one of my top 5 or 6 favorite places in Costa Rica, Arenal Observatory Lodge, with photos of 49 bird species , including the two new lifers for me! Plus 7 other animal species, a new birding trail (Bogarín), the waterfall, wonderful hiking trails and gardens to walk through, and the tallest birding tower in Costa Rica where this year I got lots of Honeycreepers in place of all the monkeys photographed last year, plus a repeat of my favorite room 29 and really good food! I have been so busy after the trip that it has been difficult to process all the photos, but finally done! Check them out at (or click image):

https://charliedoggett.smugmug.com/TRIPS/2019-November-11-17-Arenal-Observatory

 

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Leave the road, take the trails.

~Pythagoras

Arenal Observatory Lodge, Costa Rica

¡Pura Vida!

Bienvenidos!

Welcome! is the translation for you English-only-speakers and one of the new Tico residents of Roca Verde decided that since he lives in the first house inside Roca Verde main gate he would contribute to the neighborhood with this nice welcome sign at 101 Roca Verde just across a little valley from my house at 105 (and he too overlooks the cow pasture). I can’t remember, but don’t think I have shown his welcome sign on the blog yet.

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Also inside the main gate (before his sign and at edge of the cow pasture) is the above lovely shaped tree that just lost its leaves and is renewing them now in our sort of a Spring. Walking to town this morning I walked by the tree that I have always liked the shape of and decided on a cell phone photo – above. Then I saw a Lineated Woodpecker in it that soon flew to two of the other trees as I tried to make a photo (below), but I need my big camera for birds! No good photo, but you can see what else is welcoming you inside the Roca Verde gate.    🙂    Bienvenidos!

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Lineated Woodpecker, Roca Verde Entrance
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Lineated Woodpecker, Roca Verde Entrance

“Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky.”
— Kahlil Gibran

Better photos tomorrow from Arenal Observatory!

🙂

¡Pura Vida!

Rio Negro Waterfalls & Hot Springs

I took the shuttle bus to Rio Negro yesterday morning for the 4 waterfalls and hot springs which I had alone, all 8 pools! I sat in one for about 25 minutes which is long enough for 40 degrees centigrade (104 F). As I was leaving a van of tourists from Spain came in from another hotel to soak in the hot springs.

The three birds are new ones for this trip. And these 3 were all photographed before breakfast in trees in front of my room!   🙂  The featured photo at top today is one of those, a White-fronted Parrot, a new bird or “lifer” for me!

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This approach view to #4 is similar to all 4 approaches from the dark forest.

4 Rio Negro Waterfalls

 

Rio Negro Hot Springs

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3 New Birds

 

“To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.”

-Aldous Huxley

Sunset by My Room Last Night — I leave this morning for Atenas via plane & taxis.

¡Pura Vida!

Hacienda Guachipelín