A Sense of Place

This final post on the Rincón de la Vieja trip shares some scenery and a little more about the hotel and park that I hope provides a “sense of place” concerning this unique national park and adjacent hotel.

Sense of place is the sixth sense, an internal compass and map made by memory and spatial perception together.
~Rebecca Solnit

In the northwestern corner of Costa Rica there are volcanoes and ranches.  Rincón de la Vieja is unique to all the volcano parks in this drier, western part of the country, reminding me of the southwestern U.S. with persons riding horses as common as bikes and wildness depicts the beauty and sense of place. Plus this hotel is a working ranch. Here’s two galleries and brief evaluations of both the hotel and the place.

Hotel Hacienda Guachipelín

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Hacienda Guachipelín is a large, old, ranch-style hotel on more than 2,000 hectors of land with more waterfalls than the park (8) and it is a working farm & ranch where you can actually be “a cowboy for a day” helping real cowhands or just take one of several horseback riding trips. And seasonally watch a rodeo!

All the typical adventure tours are also available like zip lines, white water rafting, tubing, rappelling, canyoneering, biking, ATV, hot springs & mud baths, a Spa, plus an on-property serpentarium, butterfly garden, Mirador (scenic overlook), and more trails than you will likely use!

My room was basic, comfortable and good for my purposes. It was a longer walk to the restaurant than some and if you need to be close, request that when making your reservation. They offered to move me but I need the walks!

The restaurant food is okay good, just not great, with the wait staff service also mediocre except for the separate bar which had great service! In high season or fuller capacity the restaurant is all buffet style and breakfast is buffet even in low season (now). I am not fond of buffets.   🙂   I ate my usual two meals a day here; a big breakfast from the buffet & omelette bar with an early, good dinner from the menu at outdoor Bar (one of above photos). Restaurant didn’t start dinner until 6:30.

The Scenery

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Sorry I failed to get photos of horseback-riders!

One or two trips to the park is enough to see most everything there. Had I gone a second time I would have done the 10-K walk to their largest waterfall, Cangreja Waterfall, but didn’t this time. Much of the rest is like a smaller Yellowstone park with lots of thermal activity from the volcano (hot springs, bubbling mud, steam or smoke, and yellow rocks from the sulfur).

There is actually more to see and do on the hotel property than in the park, especially for the adventurer or the bird-watcher. And though I saw birds in both places, you see more on hotel property because it is more open and walking the farm roads is the best way to see and photograph birds. I saw 25-30 species, photographing most and got four new birds, “Lifers,” here:   the Lesser Ground Cuckoo, White-fronted Parrot, Magpie Jay, and Western Wood Pewee. Very good for me! Plus I got two new butterfly species and some new snakes in their serpentarium.

“I like this place and could willingly waste my time in it.”     

– William Shakespeare

🙂

I am working on the “Trip Gallery” for this trip at:     2019-October-Hacienda Guachipelín, Rincón de la Vieja, Liberia   and when that is finished, a book!    🙂

¡Pura Vida!

Hacienda Guachipelín

Guachipelín Butterflies

Here’s some butterflies I photographed on the hotel property during my stay there. The only two that are new species to me (if labeled correctly) are the Felder’s White and the Blue & White Heliconian. Love them all!

“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”
~William Shakespeare

Guachipelín Butterflies

CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE.

 

The caterpillar among the photos appeared on my leg right at the hem of my shorts. The Hot Springs attendant took a flat rock and scooped him up then on to the flower on which I photographed him. He looked scary at first, thus today’s quote:

“Well, I must endure the presence of a few caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

¡Pura Vida!

Hacienda Guachipelín

And by the way, I’m home now for at least 3 weeks! I’ll wrap up these reports, a gallery and photo book soon on this interesting “wild west” vacation. Then prepare for a relaxing repeat visit to Arenal Observatory in November.

Rio Negro Waterfalls & Hot Springs

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!

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This approach view to #4 is similar to all 4 approaches from the dark forest.

4 Rio Negro Waterfalls

 

Rio Negro Hot Springs

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3 New Birds

 

“To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.”

-Aldous Huxley

Sunset by My Room Last Night — I leave this morning for Atenas via plane & taxis.

¡Pura Vida!

Hacienda Guachipelín

Chorreras Waterfall

20191017_095055-A-WEBJust 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!

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My dog companion walking ahead of me here.

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!    🙂

Chorreras Waterfall

 

Birds on the Walk

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Hotel Grounds on the Walk

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Flowers on the Walk

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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.     🙂

¡Pura Vida!

Hacienda Guachipelín

Rincón de la Vieja National Park

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.

Waterfalls

 

2 Hikers & the Park

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Volcanic Activity

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Wildlife

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And at the end of the day, your feet should be dirty, your hair messy and your eyes sparkling.

– Shanti

¡Pura Vida!

Hacienda Guachipelín

Birds!

Yesterday was my guided bird watching hike and business is so slow in this low season (few tourists in rainy season) that I was given two guides for my solo birding hike. Great and very productive! We saw more than 25 or 30 species but not that many photos!

Below are the ones I got usable photos of with 2 of these as “lifers” or first time photographed for me: Lesser Ground Cuckoo (also the featured photo) and the Magpie Jay. Plus a third lifer without a very good photo – Western Wood-Pewee. A very good morning!    🙂

Guachipelín Birds!

 

With My 2 Guides

And Javier really likes to get group photos, securing another employee to snap this on both our phones. Johnny on the left was technically the main guide who is more experienced and been around here awhile, but Javier (my guide the day before also) was the “Eagle-eye” –  really good at spotting hard-to-see birds.

Johnny will be my guide today into the national park, which won’t be as many birds with the volcano, hot springs, mud pots, etc. like visiting Yellowstone!

“I WOULD RATHER OWN LITTLE AND SEE THE WORLD THAN OWN THE WORLD AND SEE LITTLE OF IT.” 

¡Pura Vida!

Hacienda Guachipelín

La Victoria Waterfall

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Santiago, left, & his dad Javier

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!

 

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!

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Santiago & Charlie on the trail to Victoria Waterfall.

 

“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!   🙂

¡Pura Vida!

Arrival Day Photo Overload

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.   🙂

Airplane Shots

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Hotel Grounds

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Hotel Mirador (Vista Point)

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Hotel Flowers

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“Wherever you go, go with all your heart”    –Confucius

 

¡Pura Vida!

Yesterday’s Sidewalk Encounter

On my 4 km walk to town yesterday, on the one steep hill, I came across this sidewalk grasshopper in the featured photo above.  (Actually a Cricket – See Comments below. I stand corrected!)     🙂

Sorry I can’t identify him – but that’s not expected here since we have 11,000 species of grasshoppers and crickets in Costa Rica as part of our more than 500,000 total insect species!  —  More bugs than the U.S. & Canada combined!   🙂   And oh so much fun! See my Insects Gallery or just my Grasshoppers Gallery to stay with today’s theme. I only have photos of 13 of the eleven thousand, so a ways to go in that collection!   🙂

Here’s a fun, educational YouTube Video about our grasshoppers with jokes about how some people in the world eat them, though not Ticos! They do not eat them here like some in Mexico and of course my past home of West Africa. I’ll just stick with photographing them!   🙂

Just another of the many daily encounters with nature while being retired in Costa Rica!  Love it!   🙂

“Crowds of bees are giddy with clover
Crowds of grasshoppers skip at our feet,
Crowds of larks at their matins hang over,
Thanking the Lord for a life so sweet.”

~Jean Ingelow

¡Pura Vida!

 

P.S.

I arrive at Hacienda Guachipelín in Rincón de la Vieja National Park mid-day today and may start posting at odd times as things happen on this new and exciting adventure! Or I may try to keep the discipline of one-a-day posted for release at 5 am, which I kind of like. Keep reading the blog for totally new photos and scenery this week. Pura vida!

An Extra Article for Those Moving Here

How to retire as cheaply as possible in Costa Rica

Click the linked article for one of the most practical list of how to live cheap in Costa Rica – in short it is all about the life-style you choose and I can testify that living without a car not only saves lots of money but is easy and fun here! The article is by Christopher Howard in his “Live In Costa Rica” blog & website – the one who also does a great relocation tour coupled with the ARCR Seminar. Panama may be cheaper, but Costa Rica is a whole lot better!   🙂

Old Woman’s Corner

What? — Well . . . that’s where I’m going next week.  🙂  One of Costa Rica’s largest and most active volcanoes is named “Rincón de la Vieja” which translated to English is “Corner of the Old Woman.” There is a long and involved forbidden love story among the indigenous people of Northern Guanacaste where the volcano national park is located. Fortunately the website of my hotel there, Hacienda Guachipelín, has a short version of the legend:

The Legend of Rincón de la Vieja Volcano

Rincon de la Vieja means “Corner of the Old Woman.” An indigenous legend tells about Princess Curubandá, daughter of the Curubandé tribe chieftain, who fell in love with Prince Mixcoac, the son of an enemy tribe chief. Curubandá’s father ended her forbidden lover’s life by throwing him into the live volcano crater.

Devastated, Curubandá became a recluse, living the rest of her life high on the volcano’s slope. She learned natural medicines from the volcano and developed healing powers. People seeking medicinal cures were told to go to “the corner of the old woman” by the volcano. And thus, the Rincón de la Vieja Volcano received its name.

The featured photo is of a Maleku Indigenous People Group close to Rincón de la Vieja and copied from the internet to represent the above legend.

The “Yellowstone of Costa Rica”

With hot springs, bubbling mud pots, two large volcano craters, rivers, mountains, and lots of wildlife this national park is like a smaller version of the U.S. Yellowstone National Park. I’m really looking forward to my visit there!

Its Also a Great Birding Place!

The park and my chosen hotel are listed as a “Birding Hot Spot.” Meaning I will be out on the many trails of the hotel’s large property each morning along with one or two trips into the park. And since it is a totally new area of Costa Rica for me I expect maybe some new and different birds along with the migrants now coming down from the north.

And Six Waterfalls!

Which is another fun, colorful and exciting thing to photograph in Costa Rica! I’m told that there is a large and beautiful falls inside the park and five on the hotel property! Wow! After birds and butterflies, it may be waterfalls for me and I already have photos of 27 in Costa Rica in my Waterfalls Gallery!

It is great to live and travel in “The Land of Nature” – Costa Rica!

“Man’s heart away from nature becomes hard.”     ~Standing Bear

¡Pura Vida!