It was raining every night at El Silencio Lodge, so waiting would not have helped! 🙂 But I enjoy night hikes that are provided in most Costa Rica wilderness lodges and you do see thing not normally seen in the day time. We saw less on this one because of the rain and that also made photography with only a cell phone not super good, but here’s 6 shots that are samples of even more we would have seen if not raining. Daniel was my guide on this hike and he included two miradors (vistas) which were interesting at night and sorry I did not try to photograph the views, though again the rain made it more difficult with less moonlight and no stars. CLICK image to enlarge . . .
“Between every two pines there is a doorway to a new world.” ~John Muir
You might also like my Amphibians Gallery, most of which were photographed on Night Hikes all over Costa Rica! 🙂
The first wife of a 3-time president of Costa Rica, José Figueres Ferrer, Henrietta Boggs, died this week of the dreaded Coronavirus in Alabama at the age of 102. She had a bigger Costa Rica Adventure than me, becoming the First Lady of Costa Rica and a primary leader to get voting privileges for both women and blacks in Costa Rica. Read about this remarkable woman in this New York Times Article. And thanks to Larry for sharing it with me!
I got photos of only 5 species of butterflies during my week at El Silencio Lodge and Reserve, all new to me and difficult to identify – with 2 still unidentified! I also saw a lot of Blue Morphos and Yellows but simply too fast-moving – never stopping for a photo! CLICK an image to see it larger.
Here’s 12 birds I photographed at El Silencio Lodge and Reserve in addition to the 3 hummingbirds shared yesterday. Of the 15 I photographed, 4 are lifers or first-time I’ve seen that species. Then there were others not photographed like the red-tailed hawk flying overhead and a Black and White Warbler. And my main reason for coming here was the waterfalls! 🙂 So it has been a very good week and I go home tomorrow morning (Saturday) to continue my lesser adventures in Atenas, but will continue sharing photos from this excellent trip.
And the lifers? They are the Chestnut-capped Brushfinch, Blackburnian Warbler, Scintillant Hummingbird, and the Black-bellied Hummingbird. I showed the two hummingbirds in a post yesterday. And the reason the Brushfinch is in a girl’s hand, he had just flown into one of the lodge office’s plate-glass windows and was still in shock. He eventually flew off.
I highly recommend El Silencio Lodge & Reserve and though it is expensive, it is well-worth what they charge! And I am not finished sharing photos from this trip, so expect more for the next few days! 🙂
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! 🙂
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.
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! 🙂
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: