Bus to Turrialba & Afternoon of Nature

An hour to San Jose & 2 hours on this to Turrialba, deboarding here
Transtusa Bus Station, Turrialba, Costa Rica

The nicests bus station I’ve been in yet
Turrialba, Costa Rica
My Cabin  #6 at Rancho Naturalista
Near Turrialba, Costa Rica
A pair of Blue-crowned Mot Mots behind the dining room
Rancho Naturalista, Costa Rica
A juvenile Snow-capped Hummingbird
Rancho Naturalista, Costa Rica

White-necked Jacobin
Rancho Naturalista, Costa Rica
Rufous-capped Warbler bathing
Rancho Naturalista, Costa Rica

I have a beautiful Tico young lady named Mercedes as my guide this week and we start with my checklist of wanted birds at 5:30 tomorrow morning. I expect to grow my collection of CR bird species photos this week from my current 223.  Two of the above from this afternoon are new for me, the Snowcap Hummingbird and the Rufous-capped Warbler.

A great day again in beautiful Costa Rica! Enjoying retirement!

Today’s Bus Trip

Return trip was on a Double-Decker, air-conditioned bus, painted cool!

Going and returning we stopped about halfway at Baranca, a little village
near Puntarenas, at this super-bus-station, restaurant, stores, huge bathrooms,
for our needed potty break and snacks! 20 minutes!
Our tourist van stopped here on all the Visa Runs to Nicaragua my1st year.
And John & I stopped here on our trip to Tamarindo.

On the return trip I got off the bus in Alajuela (before San Jose) to speed up my

return to Atenas by more than an hour, maybe two! At the bus stop in Bijagua were three young adults from North Carolina on their adventure trip (2 girls & 1 guy) and I enjoyed visiting with them. They had been all over the country by bus from coast to coast for 16 days! Ahhhhhh! Youth!  Yet I probably have as much adventure as an old man, just at a much slower pace in little short trips! What a life! 

By Bus to Bijagua

I road my familiar bus to San Jose Coca Cola Station and then
a taxi to Pulmitan Station where I waited for the bus to Upala with everything
indoors at this station, including the boarding of the buses. I nice terminal.

And if I had not eaten breakfast at home, I could have eaten here.
I did have coffee of course and read a little of a Spanish language
newspaper and the latest book on my Kindle while waiting. 

It was the same bus all the way to Bijagua with many brief stops picking up people. Yes, it was a “collectivo” stopping anywhere someone was at a stop and went into Alajuela Central to pick up a lot of people there. It was definitely best that I went to San Jose and got my favorite seat, the front right seat looking out the windshield all the way up! It was most of the way on Highway 1 and from Baranca on a very familiar route to me which we used on our “Visa Runs” that first year. And the Baranca bus station is also a restaurant with shops and big restrooms that I have stopped at many times, so quite familiar. We had a 20 minute break there. All other stops were along the road including my stop in Bijagua in front of a Soda. I found an unmarked taxi that took me to the lodge.

After arriving at Celeste Mountain Lodge I wandered around with my camera for a few birds in the garden and a bird-less hike on a rainforest trail which I will try again in the morning. The room is basic and nice but the food is fantastic gourmet food! At least dinner was tonight! 3 more dinners plus the other meals. It will be amazing if they keep up the quality of food we had tonight. It is one menu for everyone each night with something new everyday. We started with the best 3-cheese quesadilla appetizer with homemade peccadillo that I could have made a meal of! Then sliced chicken breast with this scrumptious sauce accompanied by three local fresh vegetables all cooked differently, with their own sauces. My Planter’s Punch went great with this and it was topped off with a delicious chocolate layer cake. Wow! Beats bus stop food!  🙂
I have a lot of pictures from this afternoon here, but will save them for sharing tomorrow. Tired and sleepy now! And it is cool tonight! Down to 17c or 62f.   ¡Buenos noches!

My Spanish line is ready for the San Jose bus station in the morning.

Necesito el bus a Upala, saliendo en Bijagua. Favor de por entrada de adulto mayor.

I need the bus to Upala, exiting in Bijagua. A ticket for one senior adult please.

It pays to be over 65 here (adulto mayor), giving me discounts on all buses and national parks, museums and theaters, etc. 

I emailed my self the Spanish line so I can open it on my phone and read it if needed. Or more likely I will wing it! The first sentence is easy now, and the second can be shortened to “para un adulto mayor” as I hand him/her my cedula and gold card.

The bus trip is part of the adventure!  🙂

Seeing Costa Rica by Public Bus

Looking out my bus’ front window at others waiting for different buses.
Coca Cola Bus Station, San Jose, Costa Rica

For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.

Robert Louis Stevenson

I’ve already mentioned that I am traveling to my next adventure destination by public bus. For fellow travelers here or you in other countries planning to travel here on a budget, let me share one more help for this kind of travel. It is a Facebook Group Costa Rica by Bus. It is a free, public group but you have to join to be notified of postings. 

The Robert Lous Stevenson quote above in on that group’s heading and possibly typical of the many young adults who like to travel all over Costa Rica. 

I just posted a statement of how I changed my plan for this week, learned from Juan, my new helper at the bus station here in Atenas. Here it is  in case you don’t see it there: 

I learned a new trick today to make my bus traveling maybe a little easier, thanks to Juan at the Atenas Bus Station. I’m going to Tenorio Volcano National Park, closest town Bijagua. The online scheduler had me going from Atenas to Orotina, then on to Baranca where I catch the pass-through bus to Upala after a layover. Juan suggested that even though “back-tracking,” it would be easier, maybe quicker, and surer to go to San Jose where the Upala Bus starts. When I’m on that bus (seat guaranteed if early) I never have to get off or worry about missing a connection or waiting for a bus or having a seat. Since the Atenas & Upala stations in San Jose are close, I’m going to try that this trip. Any comments or suggestions? Or something I or Juan didn’t think of? 

And I think I already shared the site where you can plan a schedule in English online:
 http://thebusschedule.com/EN/cr/   To have it show my revised schedule above, I just add in the box “By way of” the words San Jose. And we will see if anyone comments on paragraph above. You can learn a lot from fellow-travelers! 

There are many bus companies in Costa Rica and we have one in Atenas:  http://www.coopetransatenas.com/

Most Atenas buses are nice modern vehicles like this Mercedes-Benz
But most are not air-conditioned which really isn’t needed here.
This one is German-made, others Korean or Chinese – all imported.
Buses to very rural areas are sometimes old school buses.

And if you want something else to ride a bus to, try San Jose’s Fiesta de Gallo Pinto

The Last Cell Phone Post & Home Again

I’m glad to be home but good photos not processed yet, so here’s more cell phone shots:

White-water rafters seen from the terrace of my cabin in cell phone.
Selva Verde Lodge, Chilamate, Sarapiquí, Costa Rica
on the Sarapiquí River 

Rafters zoomed-in and cropped from cell phone pix.
Selva Verde Lodge, Chilamate, Sarapiquí, Costa Rica
on the Sarapiquí River 

Yellow-throated Toucan cell phone shot cropped to 1/4 size to enlarge.
Behind dining room, Selva Verde Lodge, Chilamate, Sarapiquí, Costa Rica.
Good photos of this bird coming in next few days. Saw him everywhere! 

Lower Falls at La Paz Gardens
Seen from highway enroute to and from
Selva Verde Lodge Costa Rica this trip.
You don’t see this on your paid visit
inside the park!  🙂

I drove a rent car through the mountains above Alajuela to avoid going through the nerve-wracking traffic of San Jose, but not sure how much better with all the hairpin curves! It is a tiring drive of less than 60 miles that takes 3 hours. (Yep! I averaged 20 mph!) And rent cars with full insurance are expensive! So next trip will be on public transportation even though I am still not fluent in Spanish. With friendly Ticos I can struggle through the language with less stress than comes with driving through city traffic or mountain curves AND it will be a whole lot less expensive! And slower is part of the adventure. ¡Pura Vida! I was told at Selva Verde that the bus from San Jose was the equivalent of $4, but of course mine will be discounted with my senior adult card.  🙂

I’ll try to start posting Sarapiqui bird photos tomorrow and over the next few days or probably a week since I made over 3,000 photos. And I promise that most will be much better than these cell phone shots I’ve been forced to share since I forgot my USB cord on this trip. 
I drove straight to the airport with one stop for snack and baño. The bus to Atenas and cab home. A suitcase is no problem on bus since there is storage underneath the bus. Then a taxi home. The Selva Verde buffet restaurant was all Tico food and the sit-down restaurant with waiters was pasta and pizza, so I took Anthony to Donde Bocha for a hamburguesa tonight. Nice change!

La Bohéme Opera Sunday Night

Teatro Nacional Stage seen from Balcony
They asked us to not take photos during the performance.
Note the screen for subtitles. Opera was in Italian and subtitles in Spanish!
(What did you expect in a Spanish-language country?) I understood maybe 30%.
Thanks to Amazon Kindle I had read it in English before the performance
AND watched it on YouTube with English Subtitles, so I was ready!  🙂
Our Atenas Group in the Balcony of Teatro Nacional

Atenas Expat Retirees on Bus to San Jose

Opera Program Book
And oh yeah, it was a fabulous performance! Perfect in every way!
The arts are very important here and done well in every medium.
And I’m interested in something other than just birds!  🙂

Outside Teatro Nacional
(Photo made earlier than today’s visit.)

Inside Lobby of Teatro Nacional
(Earlier shot. It was packed full tonight!)
There is a great little restaurant off the lobby but packed tonight,
so Anthony and I ate burgers at McDonald’s across the street. Shameful!

We went to a 5:00 PM performance and our bus was back in Atenas by 8:30 PM. Nice!

Tortuguero Miscellaneous Photos

Okay. I’ll try to make this the last post from Tortuguero, then back to Atenas posts tomorrow!  🙂

Bus window view of Chiquita Banana Plantation, Costa Rica
Modern buses like this is how many tourists get around inside Costa Rica.
All the dozen or so lodges have boats making the 1.5 hours trip into park.

Our group on one of the Laguna Lodge boats enroute to lodge.
Robert Umaña, our guide, listening for a bird or other animal.

Robert using sand drawings to tell us about the life cycles of
the green sea turtles that lay their eggs on this beach and each
baby that makes it goes to ocean and returns years later to lay their own eggs.
One of the many river channels and canals we traveled looking for wildlife.

Another lodge’s guide pointing out a bird, monkey or other animal.

Unidentified butterflies/moths in our Laguna Lodge garden.
Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica
Pura Vida!

This trip significantly improved some of my photo collections in the PBase Galleries:
Later I will be adding a trip gallery in the travel section of my galleries, but not enough time yet!