A few days ago I posted a link to a great birding video made in the nearby South American country of Columbia which claims to have more birds than Costa Rica (maybe).
Also a year or two ago I told about a neighbor who moved her retirement home from Atenas, Costa Rica to Medellin, Columbia. Because of the lower cost of living there, many Americans and Canadians are considering it as an excellent tropical retirement home. Thus I did a similar post in Jan. 2018. If still considering your retirement plans, Columbia is worth looking into.
I’ve discussed earlier here that I seriously considered retiring in Panama before choosing Costa Rica and after a blip of enthusiasm from other retirees and organizations over Ecuador and Columbia and even Nicaragua, I am still happy with my choice of Costa Rica and anticipate staying with it for the long haul! 🙂 And it is easy for me to travel to these other nearby countries when I think it worth the trip.
Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else. —Fred Rogers
One section of my photo gallery was recently added as Pre-Costa Rica Travel. I am slowly adding one trip at a time until it is finished, starting with my Latin American travels since that is where I live now. 🙂
But one couple living in snowy New Hampshire just left their winter visit to Atenas to return home until their trip next January which will be longer or two months next year. They are not sure yet about retiring here, but wrote to say that my blog keeps them looking forward to their annual trek here.
Well, their message reminded me of my only trip to New Hampshire which was a fall color photography trip in 2004. including lots of vistas and 22 covered bridges along with many of my other interests! So I just got motivated (by new friends) and added this photo gallery ahead of schedule with some of my favorite fall color shots. See this “New” old travel gallery now included here – CLICK Linked Title Below:
A part of the joy of being “Retired in Costa Rica” is occasionally remembering old times and places which is something my photography and Gallery provide, along with the personal pages of my Blog/Website on the top menu above (still being developed). And of course I continue my regular reports on Costa Rica! 🙂 My first love now!
“What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.”
― Karl Lagerfeld
I’m not doing a photo book on this trip yet but plan on a book of the area after two more trips there, giving a broader picture of the Jaco-Carara Mid-Pacific Costa Rica. I have trips to that area in both June and July, so a book in August maybe? And it will include my earlier trips to Carara, Tarcoles and Jaco – so maybe a larger-format book. Change is good.
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
For more than 4 years I have been trying and hoping to get a good photo of aFiery-billed Aracari (Neotropical Birds Link for description), one of the unique and more rare smaller toucans found only on the Pacific slope of southern Costa Rica and western Panama. I really expected to photo one at Punta Leona last week but the only one seen was at a great distance up a mountain and impossible to photograph.
In 2016 I got one shot of a Fiery-billed in a high tree at Los Campesinos Ecolodge, Quebrada Arroyo, Naranjito, Costa Rica, up the mountain from Quepos on the Pacific (Not a very good photo.). I also got one shot of an injured Fiery-billed at the ZooAve in La Garita, but it is wild birds I want!
Thus I was surprised and thrilled Tuesday morning when on my terrace for breakfast around 7, five young Fiery Billed Aracaris flitted between my Strangler Fig Tree and my Guarumo or Cecropia Tree. They were socializing and eating what appeared to be leaves on the fig tree. Here’s 20 of nearly 200 photos I quickly snapped before they left. As Alice said, “There’s no place like home!”and though our part of Central Valley is on the Pacific Slope, it is mid-Pacific and not southern Pacific where they say these aracaris are. So I consider myself quite fortunate! I think they are juveniles and probably siblings or one might be the parent.
The development is so large and much of it private that I cannot begin to show all that is there, but here’s some shots of the public or hotel guest available areas with two shots up two private residential streets. It is an old development that has a lot!
General Grounds Shots
Private Residences Street
Spa where I had 2 massages
Entrance to Service Areas
Everywhere is a forest
In front of Reception
Sidewalk to Butterfly Garden
“If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.”
Punta Leona is big and hotel rooms are in different clusters – mine in Selvamar, Haiti Sidewalk (Between Cuba & Jamaica Sidewalks) where each group of little cabins is named after a Latin American country. So I was Selvamar, Haiti 852. It seems newer than some other areas of hotel rooms and has its own restaurant called Carabelas which is suppose to be Peruvian food, all three meals served buffet style. That is typical of a place that caters to tour buses of which there were a few here. And how Peruvian is debatable, though almost everything was good. I ate at the Mantas Beach restaurant Marinos twice and the Playa Blanca Restaurant once a la carte. Both featuring fast casual food. I don’t rate Punta Leona very high for food, but okay. The room was very nice and by putting the little sign on my doorknob “clean now” it was clean after breakfast every morning! Nice!
Like all of the many buildings at Punta Leona, they have tried to save the old big trees with these cabins nestled in among old trees and new trees and other plants added. Nature is central here which I appreciate.
Restaurant & Pool
All we need, really, is a change from a near frigid to a tropical attitude of mind. ~Marjory Stoneman Douglas
I did not get as many photos as in some places, but “other wildlife” was not my goal. There were lots of squirrels and iguanas which I mainly ignored. And of course the birds and butterflies were in separate posts! Click an image to enlarge or start a manual slideshow:
“A forest’s beauty lies with its inhabitants.”
― Anthony T. Hincks
Playa Mantas (1st slideshow) is the beach closest to my room with two pools (adult & kids), separate bar and restaurant, discoteque, party room, game room, lots of organized recreation and extras like yoga on the beach. It is a light brown sand beach with palm trees along the edge and an easy walk for most of the hotel rooms.
Playa Blanca (2nd slideshow) is a strenuous 3+ km walk over a steep hill, though a shuttle bus comes and goes about every 30 minutes until 5 PM for those who need white sand. It likewise has a restaurant and bar plus a huge area of concrete picnic tables if you want to bring your own food and drinks (while Mantas has only restaurant & bar for food). I was not aware of any organized recreation activities at Playa Blanca and no swimming pool. This “just a beach” closes at 5:00 PM.
I made the hard walk over the mountain to Playa Blanca but after a burger lunch I took the shuttle bus back! 🙂 No particular preference for me except that Mantas is closer and has more services/activities, though both have lifeguards. Both have the same shore birds for me. 🙂 And I guess you know that the word “playa” is Spanish for “beach.” I don’t swim in the ocean or surfboard, but I love walking on beaches and photographing them and their birds, especially at sunset or sunrise.
The hotel secured an outside guide to take me to nearby Carara National Park birding at 7:30 AM which should have been at 5:30 but they do that to fit their 7 AM Breakfast. If I had it to do over I would have asked for a “box breakfast” and a 5:30 departure! We would have seen more birds. This is my third guided walk in the park and equal to or better than my second one on the number of birds. We saw more than 20 species easily though I only have here the halfway decent photos of 13 species.
About half of these photos were made on a fruiting tree in the rainforest called huevos de caballo or “horse’s balls” which look in these photos like a pair of little hamburgers or egg mcmuffins. 🙂 These two fruits were cracked open from the heat or dryness and lots of different birds were picking the little red seeds out of the center of the fruit. You will see the seeds in some photos.
Explanation of the two Trogon photo IDs: The one labeled Black-headed is based on the wings which are showing in that image. The one labeled Black-throated is based mainly on the type of stripes on the tail, which though not showing as well, could cause me to label the other one black-throated too. These are the only two trogons with yellow breasts that also have light blue eye-rings and are very similar. But the black-headed male is the only one with green on shoulder, thus that label. ID of birds is not always easy. These two IDs were made with the aide of my guide in the park.
The Ovenbird (featured photo)is one lifer on this hike and it is similar to the Northern Waterthrush from my first hotel birding hike which is another “lifer” or first time seen bird. Also on this trip I saw for the first time the Gray-chested Dove, another “lifer.”
Click an image to enlarge or start a manual slide show: