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):
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.
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!
“Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky.”
— Kahlil Gibran
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!
4 Rio Negro Waterfalls
Rio Negro Hot Springs
3 New Birds
“To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.”
Just a 4 km walk yesterday morning – to breakfast(0.5 km) and afterwards directly to the Chorreras Waterfall through parts of the Hotel farmland and other scenery (1.5 km), watching employees arrive by bus, bicycle, motorcycle and walking. A pleasant walk down a dirt farm road that became rocky and steep on the hill by the river and waterfall. Then the 2 km return with a friendly dog.
As the first one to the Falls that morning I was greeted by the barking dogs and very helpful security guard, Norman, a friendly young man from Nicaragua. (Costa Rica doesn’t chase its immigrants away or put them in cages.) And as in this case, immigrants help make life better for all of us here! 🙂 I love our immigrants! (And of course I am one myself!) 🙂
Like most Latin Americans, Norman showed a great degree of respect for my age and seemed a little surprised I was hiking in the mountains and climbing down steps to the waterfall, offering to help me of course. Evidently not many 79 year-old people are as adventurous! 🙂
We talked about the difficulties of me learning to speak Spanish and him learning to speak English. Then he shared a quote with me in both English and Spanish to encourage me in my language learning (probably someone used to encourage him), which I include in both languages at the end of this post. Great advice from a young man that I will take to heart! “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
Wow! I love living here! All the neat people! And places!
No rain the previous afternoon or night, thus the Falls not as full Norman said. After visiting with Norman awhile I walked back and one of the guard dogs decided to walk back with me, all the way to the Adventure Tours station, nearly 2 km, where they said he does that frequently with guests – every creature is friendly here! 🙂
Birds on the Walk
Hotel Grounds on the Walk
Flowers on the Walk
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
Vive como si murieras mañana. Aprende como si vivieras para siempre.
~Mahatma Gandhi – Given to me by Norman at Chorreras Waterfall to encourage me with my study of Spanish. 🙂
Johnny took me to the Rincón de la Vieja National Park today and we hiked 5 kilometers. My favorite part was the two waterfalls, one in the park and one outside near the entrance but on hotel property. Currently it is not safe to go look into the active volcano but we did see the smoke, hot water and bubbling mud which reminded me of Yellowstone. It is a tight forest so difficult to see birds but I did get some shots of a Crested Guan and some other wildlife.
Pailas Seasonal Waterfall
2 Hikers & the Park
And at the end of the day, your feet should be dirty, your hair messy and your eyes sparkling.
One of the 5 waterfalls on the hotel property is where the whitewater tubing adventure begins but I did not want to do the tubing, so the adventure tours staff let me ride on the early guide’s bus (5-miles) to the falls and ride back on the return bus.
I just photographed the falls which included a short hike down the mountain to the falls with my guide Javier and his 8-year old son Santiago (asst. guide). Fun guides that also took me to the butterfly garden and snake exhibit after the waterfall + birding along the way. A very good morning before it started raining! Bird, butterfly & snake photos will come later.
Quebrada Victoria (a small stream) forms the waterfall at the point where it flows into Rio Colorado and at that juncture is where the tour staff & participants depart on the whitewater tubing (in big tractor inner tubes) down the rocky Colorado River – see feature photo above. Easy enough for families with children to participate. I did that growing up in Arkansas as a kid and had a day-long tubing trip on a similar river when in college and decided it was not needed again! 🙂
The tours here also include a serious whitewater rafting trip down a bigger, wilder river with class 3 & 4 rapids, but I’ve also done that in TN and once was enough! 🙂
La Victoria Waterfall
It was not the prettiest but one more check off the list!
La Victoria Waterfall
La Victoria Waterfall
La Victoria Waterfall
La Victoria Waterfall
Where tubing begins.
Javier insisted on making a photo of me with his son, who, like all Tico children and youth, was very respectful of age and very helpful, polite & friendly! A joy!
“Blessed are the curious for they shall have adventures.”
– Lovelle Drachman
This happened yesterday. Today I have another guide (Johnny) + Javier taking me birding here & then on a tour of the national park. Lots more photos! 🙂
By the time I get to a place and settle in I usually have less than half a day there but seem to get as many or more photos as other days – the excitement of a new place I guess! And so it was yesterday at Hacienda Guachipelín! 🙂
So to spare you, I’m saving today’s birds and butterflies for another day and putting today’s other photos in slide shows so it won’t look like so much. 🙂
Hotel Mirador (Vista Point)
“Wherever you go, go with all your heart”–Confucius
Sorry there were two posts yesterday, the old man gets flustered on the computer sometimes and makes mistakes! I intended for one of those today and this one for tomorrow, but here it is anyway! 🙂
I think this is one of my best books yet on travels around Costa Rica, this one about my week in Uvita on the southern Pacific Coast, whale-watching, many birds and other wildlife, sunsets, a river trip and visiting one of the most beautiful waterfalls I’ve seen yet in Costa Rica, Nauyaca Waterfall, my 27th waterfall to photograph here!
You may see or “Review” every page of the book electronically for free without having to order. Enjoy another one of my tropical adventures in Costa Rica! ~Charlie
To maintain a vista from my terrace I have to top or prune off the top of both my Yellow Bells Tree and my Nance Tree about once a year.
I asked the gardener to write down the official name in Spanish which is “Arbole de vainillo” (Costa Rica only name – click for español description and other Spanish names by country). I just discovered that the Latin name Tecoma stans (click for English description) also has multiple English names listed in this order on Wikipedia: Yellow Trumpetbush, Yellow Bells (which I have been calling it because of the yellow bell-shaped flowers), Yellow Elder, and Ginger-Thomas. It is the official flower of the United States Virgin Islands and the floral emblem of The Bahamas, both using different names!
And is very popular all over Costa Rica as a garden tree bringing 2-4 months of yellow flowers every year. You can see more photos of my trees blooming in my photo gallery named: My Home Gardens.
“In joy or sadness, flowers are our constant friends.”
Coming in October: A visit to Rincón de la Vieja National Park & Hacienda Guachipelin, a volcano park lodge, this one in the north of Guanacaste, above Liberia (a new area for me) and another hotel that promises a great birding experience. I continue to try new places while occasionally repeating favorites like a redo of Arenal Observatory (another volcano birding lodge) coming in November. In Costa Rica – the adventures never end!