Terrific Trees Tortuguero

After saying last night’s post was the last from Tortuguero, I found the tree photos and just have to add one more Tortuguero post!   🙂

I did not focus on trees nor photograph all the neat and big ones seen in Tortuguero but here is a sample of the great variety of trees there and all over Costa Rica. Click image to enlarge:

 

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

 

For more tree and flower photos see my galleries called FLORA & FOREST

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

¡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

 

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!

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.

The Gringo’s Hawk

Excellent first person account of living in the earlier, wilder Costa Rica as a twenty-something, then adapting and growing older here. Especially good for nature-lovers like me as a “Retired in Costa Rica” senior adult blogging about it at charliedoggett dot net. ¡Pura Vida!

—      Goodreads Review by Charlie Doggett

And I read the real book on paper! It is not available digitally for my Kindle. Thanks to a friend here in Atenas who loaned the book!

Spring in the Tropics!

Yes, it’s “Spring” here (la primavera) and almost the beginning of “Summer” (el verano) or Dry Season which starts in December. There are some trees and flowers that bloom this time of year while other bloom at the end of dry season and I can’t explain why because I don’t know.  🙂

I call these my “Yellow Bell Trees” because the flowers are bell-shaped, but that is not the name of them and I can’t seem to get an agreement here on what their English name is. I recently lost two of these trees, so less yellow this year in my garden, but it calls for a Haiku anyway:

¡Pura Vida!

Colorful Neighbors

African Tulip Tree on hill above my house.

On the hill above my little casita are blooming some brilliant orange African Tulip Trees (an immigrant or invasive species?) and above those the ever-present pink-to-purple bougainvillea which I see here through the limbs of my Guarumo or Cecropia tree. Having “colorful neighbors” can be a plus! And colorful flowers add to my happiness!    🙂

Just living is not enough…

one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.

~Hans Christian Andersen

Flowers help boost happiness and I was just introduced to a new website that you might want to check out:    Garden & Happy     for a little boost in your happiness, try gardening!   🙂

¡Pura Vida!

Back to My Garden Birds

Montezuma Oropendola in my garden

Another busy day today with Spanish Class here and minor surgery in Alajuela, but always time to photo a bird in my garden!  🙂   The above photo is of a Montezuma Oropendola sitting in my Guarumo or Cecropia Tree – my favorite place to watch birds, but unfortunately the light (for photos) is not good there, especially in the morning. They nest in our neighborhood visiting occasionally. And the bird below in my Yellow Bell Tree is a Melodious Blackbird.  And I saw a squirrel cuckoo this morning, but didn’t get a shot. 

Minor surgery? My dermatologist just went a little deeper on a growth removal for a biopsy. Only two stitches. If it turns out to be cancer, he will go even deeper next time to make sure he gets it all. An almost routine thing for us older people!  🙂  Otherwise I’m very healthy after a great week in a rainforest.

Tomorrow I have breakfast with the niece of David & Lynne Wells (Nashville friends) and her husband, child & nanny. They’ve rented a gorgeous house with an infinity pool for a week here in Atenas and using my driver, Walter, to take them to a few sights (volcano, waterfalls, beach & fishing) on top of resting here with possibly the best vista in Atenas. A great vacation plan!   🙂

Melodious Blackbird in my garden

 

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. ~Marcus Tullius Cicero

¡Pura Vida!

More Than Birds This Morning!

The slideshow photos are in no particular order, just shots from my walk around the campus this morning with no rain! And almost no birds! There were a lot more birds on the rainy days! And now at about 3 in the afternoon the rain is starting for the first time today, so maybe the birds will return. Ahhhh! I just saw two Euphonias but not where I could photograph. Tonight is my last night here and near the end of the most wonderful food that someone else prepares for me. Its been a great week!

Morning Walk Photo Slideshow

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“The forest is a peculiar organism of unlimited kindness and benevolence that makes no demands for its sustenance and extends generously the products of its life and activity; it affords protection to all beings.”
~Buddhist Sutra

 

And I am just now starting the “trip gallery” for this trip at 2018 Esquinas Rainforest Lodge  —  but soon that will be the place to see all my best photos from this week. I have gotten 10 new “lifers” or first-time seen birds this week! That is incredible! Possibly more than on any other trip at least recently.

Will Costa Rica Become the only Chocolate Grower?

Will Costa Rica become the only source of chocolate by 2050?

Roasting cocoa seeds

The above link is a really interesting article in one of our online English newspapers. Chocolate comes from the cacao tree which will only grow 20 ° north or south of the equator and in the correct amount of humidity. Central America and particularly Costa Rica are perfect for that. West Africa has been good for cocoa, but global warming, higher temperatures and the desertification of West Africa along with some plant diseases there may someday, possibly by 2050, eliminate all cocoa farming in West Africa. They are experimenting with hybrid plants there says this month’s National Geographic magazine, but already people are saying the resulting chocolate is not as good.

Cacao is grown all over Costa Rica as small family farm businesses and by some of the indigenous peoples as I described in my recent visit to the Bribri Watsi village and earlier from my visit to Bribri Yorkin as we watched their children suck the sweet white stuff from around the cacao beans and we tried it ourselves.

If you ever visit Costa Rica there are many chocolate tours you can take to learn the complicated process for making one of the world’s favorite sweets.

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” 
― Charles M. Schulz

¡Pura Vida!