Walking Among Miracles!

“To walk in nature is to witness a thousand miracles.” – Mary Davis

Just a few shots of walking around El Silencio Lodge & Reserve, Bajos del Toro Amarillo, Costa Rica.

By discovering nature, you discover yourself. ~Maxime Lagacé

¡Pura Vida!

See my other Costa Rica Vistas and/or my 2020 El Silencio Trip Gallery.

Hummingbird Garden

The El Silencio Hummingbird Garden is like mine, no feeders, just flowers. And also like mine, there is a dominant hummingbird species that chases many of the others away from the garden and they just go to other flowers on the grounds. I only found three species in the official Hummingbird Garden, though I saw, but did not photograph, others around the grounds. Their dominant bird here is the Purple-throated Mountain Gem, but the tiny Scintillant and the Black-bellied Hummingbirds seem to hang in there with the Mountain Gems! And I photographed bees here! 🙂

CLICK an image to see larger:

I still have 10 other bird species I photographed and hope to post soon. See also my CR Birds photo gallery for all I have photographed here in 5.5 years. The Black-bellied Hummingbird and Scintillant are “lifers” for me and I got 2 other lifers in the next batch of 10 birds I will post soon. 4 lifers in one trip is very good now with my CR count up to 349! 🙂

Or see THIS TRIP GALLERY: 2020 El Silencio Lodge & Reserve.

¡Pura Vida!

El Silencio Lodge Waterfalls

I finally got to seeing the waterfalls here on the hotel property and they fabulous! There is a “Waterfall Trail” which including the walk from my villa is 6 km round trip and thus I kept putting it off until my last full day here. For those considering a stay here, it is an uphill walk on the gravel road to the trail head but they will take you that far in one of the golf carts.

The waterfall trail is fairly easy with some hills except for Catarata La Promesa (The Promise Waterfall) which is an uphill climb from the main trail on its own side trail that includes steps, maybe 30 or 40, I didn’t count. BUT it is worth it! It is maybe the tallest and some would say the most beautiful and it is out in the open more than the other two, meaning easier to see and photograph without climbing over rocks. And there are two picnic tables there to make it your rest stop or picnic lunch before returning back to the hotel. And possibly a swim there!

The main trail goes over a bridge in front of Catarata La Melodía (The Melody Waterfall) which is the first one you come to. You can see and photograph it from the bridge or to get closer you climb over some rocks and get right to the bottom of the falls. Then just a short way past that first falls is a Y in the trail with two dead ends, one to Catarata El Silencio (The Silence Waterfall) straight ahead and up the steps and hill to La Promesa. They are all three beautiful and full of water during the rainy season. Not sure I have a favorite.

I will say that many of the lodges I’ve visited all over Costa Rica have one or more waterfall on their property, but few as beautiful as these. Well . . . the one falls at Arenal Observatory is as big or bigger and as beautiful, but there are 3 such beauties here at El Silencio Lodge! And then Hacienda Guachipelín at Rincón de la Vieja National Park has 3 falls as beautiful on their property, so I’m backing down a little on their brag! 🙂 And another favorite hotel, Xandari Alajuela has 3 waterfalls but they aren’t as big or as beautiful as these.

Actually there are technically 7 falls at El Silencio with 4 “lesser water” waterfalls used only for those who rappel down the falls and that is the only way to see them, but one of the guides said I’m not missing much. 🙂 That is one of the many optional activities here and you rappel down all four of those! But not me! 🙂

For more Costa Rica waterfalls, see my CR Waterfalls Gallery.

Or see THIS TRIP GALLERY: 2020 El Silencio Lodge & Reserve.

¡Pura Vida!

Bajos del Toro Waterfall

This was my waterfall for today and the biggest of the week. If you go to their website Catarata del Toro you can tell that it is commercial and on private property with all of their “biggest and best” claims. The same people own the property that yesterday’s Las Gemelas Waterfall is own. So of course you pay admission to each.

Bajos del Toro sits in the shadow of Poas Volcano, next to the Poas Volcano National Park, Juan Castro Blanco National Park, and the Bosque de Paz Rain/Cloud Forest Biological Reserve. Outdoor activities abound with rugged trail systems to explore the forest’s flora and fauna.

This is beautiful wilderness area and today’s guide, Daniel, another great new friend and excellent guide has done a cross country hike with friends over this trail-less wilderness using machetes to blaze their way through. There are plans to build trails connecting the two national parks and Bajos del Toro.

There were two of us from El Silencio Lodge to go with Daniel on this waterfall hike. I chose not to walk the 400 steep steps down to the bottom of falls, but the Tica young lady guest did walk down while I walked through the hummingbird garden. I do most of the things younger people do, but not all now! 🙂

For you history enthusiasts, the full name of the town and the waterfall is Bajos del Toro Amarillo, translated literally as “Low place (valley) of the Yellow Bull” and the story is that when the first settlers came it they saw a yellow bull that later historians say was actually a bison that did populate parts of Central America in the early 1800’s. It is always fun to get the history behind some of these place names. 🙂

I did my guided bird hike before breakfast this morning also with Daniel but have barely started sorting bird pictures. But with this morning hike + my solo hike in the Hummingbird Garden here + a noon-time experience I will be recording 3 lifer birds or 3 that are new to me. Not bad! 🙂

Today’s waterfall hike slide show:

And this is one more added to my CR Waterfalls Gallery.

Or see THIS TRIP GALLERY: 2020 El Silencio Lodge & Reserve.

¡Pura Vida!

Las Gemelas Waterfall

Okay, for you Spanish readers, yes, that says “The Twins” Waterfall and thus you may ask, “Where is the second one?” Well . . . sometimes my better judgement overrules my sense of adventure. We had already hiked about 4 km and waded across the ice cold, rock-strewn river with Bryan, my personal guide, helping me wade across the slippery rocks just to get this photo of the biggest of the twins. To see the other one we would have had to wade up a separate stream of slippery rocks to the left of the bottom of this falls maybe 50 meters. Bryan had already said “I can’t believe I’m helping an 80 year old do this hike!” He was doubting the wisdom of going further and after nearly slipping down more than once. I did too! But I was thankful that I could make the hike solo with my excellent young masked guide who was perfect for me in every way! Most of the holiday weekend crowd have gone. We have a max of 9 guests the rest of the week, so very tranquilo! Which I prefer! 🙂 And yes, I love this place! Already another favorite and I have so many favorites in Costa Rica. Here’s just a few shots of the Las Gemelas Falls Hike and notice that weird V-shaped bridge over one of the streams, like none I’ve seen before:

See my Waterfalls Gallery for more Costa Rica Waterfalls.

Or see THIS TRIP GALLERY: 2020 El Silencio Lodge & Reserve.

¡Pura Vida!

On the trail to the waterfall this sign was laying on the ground. My guide said that the biggest danger is sudden flash floods when there is a rainstorm in the mountains above.

Morning Fog

A fog — Covering — My hills

In nature, everything has a job. The job of the fog is to beautify further the existing beauties! ~Mehmet Murat Ildan

These photos were made on an early morning walk yesterday above my house looking for birds but finding a different beauty. I leave at noon today for Bajos del Toro, checking in at about 1:30 this afternoon. I hope for another post this evening and at least one a day from there this week.

See my Vistas Galleries

¡Pura Viida!

Xandari GALLERY #4 Published

The “4” can mean my 4th trip to Xandari or the 4th Gallery on Xandari or the fact that I was there for 4 days this time! 🙂 The featured photo is on my walk to the restaurant from my villa.

It is a magical getaway every visit and I tend to photograph many new things or the same things in different ways each time, like this time I didn’t even hike to the waterfalls but spent more time with flowers & butterflies and a feature on the bamboo forest. So if considering a visit to Xandari, check out each of my photo galleries from 4 different trips there with 4 different perspectives:

  • 2020 August 21-24 – A Weekend Retreat during a World Pandemic with masks & solo activities in nature. Most butterflies & flowers this time.
  • 2020 January 12-16 – Five days when I installed my photo books library and photographed all kinds of nature with more birds than above.
  • 2019 July 1-6 – My birthday week with them providing a cake and great celebration and me making another different set of nature photos all over. A very good week! Or see the Photo Book, Brilliant! My Birthday Week at Xandari!
  • 2018 July 14-18 – My first trip to Xandari and maybe my most photos as I was thrilled with the discovery in every way! Or see the Photo Book, Xandari – Enchanted by Nature

¡Pura Vida!

Central Valley Vista

Xandari is on a hill overlooking the great central valley of Costa Rica between the mountain in all four directions. My last morning here had maybe the clearest sky of the weekend and thus this expansive view of our Central Valley. Atenas is located somewhere in the right side of the photo or west of Xandari which is pretty much in the center of the valley.

Central Valley of Costa Rica from Room #4 at Xandari Resort, Alajuela. Atenas is somewhere on the right side of photo.

¡Pura Vida!

For more Costa Rica vistas see my gallery with a long name:

Vistas, Beaches, Sunrises, Sunsets Costa Rica

Adding to the Charlie Doggett Library

This weekend I go to Xandari Nature Resort near Alajuela, which is the only place in Costa Rica that you can see all of my Costa Rica Photo Books, other than at my house. I installed the library of photo books in January there for the benefit of their guests and this weekend I will be adding two more books, the only ones made since January for all of Costa Rica. (I also did a photo book on my Roca Verde neighborhood birds, but figure that is too narrow a focus, but may decide to take one of those too.)

Two new books for the Charlie Doggett Photo Library at Xandari Resort.

¡Pura Vida!