Smithsonian Research to Hotel

The land this lodge is on has always been a family ranch and part still functions as such. After the big eruption in 1968 the Smithsonian Research teams started coming and camped on this family’s ranch. The family built a small hotel to better house them in 1987, along with a research “Observatory.” When the volcano became a national park this ranch became the only private property within the national park and as research diminished it became a public hotel that continued to expand. The only hotel in the park or within this much wilderness! Read the history of hotel on their website.

The last eruption (a small one) was in 2010, but before that visitors here could sometimes see the red lava flowing down to the rivers during the dark of night. Though still alive and producing nearby hot springs, it is not considered a danger now, though constantly monitored by scientists. And one of the optional hikes in the national park is across the lava fields.  Didn’t appeal to me.

The feature photo today is the research building they then called “the observatory” as the backside is all windows facing the volcano. A part of it is now a museum and there are about 8 guest rooms in that building which would be good for families since they are nearest the swimming pool AND has a big game room with ping pong, pool, table games, etc. And the gardens around it are very good for small birds as are all the gardens here!   🙂

Volcano Art

 

Research Museum

 

My last full day here was mostly rainy, but rain is nice.  🙂

Rain is grace; rain is the sky condescending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life.      

~John Updike

Arenal Observatory

¡Pura Vida!

 

Waterfall & Tower Hikes

Today I had a morning hike to the Danta Waterfall and afternoon hike to the Observatory Tower they call “The Nest.” Both were good, see photos below. And though still rainy today (I had to leave tower before most toucans arrived), there was almost a sunset tonight or the nearest we’ve had this rainy week and of course what little I got was mostly behind the clouds.   🙂

Waterfall Hike

 

Tower Shots

 

An Almost Sunset

 

Arenal Observatory

¡Pura Vida!

Bogarin Trail

It did rain this afternoon, just a light shower, but enough to keep me from climbing the tower in the rain – so I processed the Bogarin Birds! If you are ever in La Fortuna, Costa Rica, I recommend the place as a good for many, many birds! Saw 40 species! 21 here in photos.

It is a protected reserve right in town – a town I don’t care for but love their Bogarin Trail! La Fortuna is too touristy for me like Manual Antonio and Jaco, packed with competing hotels, restaurants and T-shirt shops!   🙂  Check out the trail website at:   Bogarin Trail  (or their Facebook Page).

My “lifer” or first time bird today is in the featured photo above, White-throated Crake. The name link is to the article on Cornell Neotropical Birds.

Bogarin Trail Birds

Click an Image to Enlarge.

 

Arenal Observatory

¡Pura Vida!

Unclouded Volcano

Today was the first time we’ve had enough sunshine for the Arenal Volcano to be totally visible or almost! A beautiful day and my guide Nestor, whom I also had a year and a half ago when here before, took me to Bogarin Trail  (or their Facebook Page)  where we saw about 40 species of birds and I got usable photos of about 21. If it doesn’t rain, I’m going back up on the tower this afternoon, meaning I won’t have time to post my Bogarin Bird Bonanza, including my second lifer this week, a White-throated Crake. Another good day! And the blog posts pile up!   🙂

Arenal Observatory

¡Pura Vida!

More Volcano Birds

The morning was dry with my first view of an unclouded volcano (above) since I’ve been here! And from my room at that!   🙂   And no rain for a before-breakfast guided walk nor the after-breakfast solo trip to the tower for the honeycreepers!   🙂  Two birding hikes today and the one from yesterday together gives this colorful collection with one new “lifer” bird, the Rufous-winged Tanager! And I worked on the photos after the rain started about 1:15 pm.

More Arenal Birds

CLICK an image to enlarge or pass cursor over for name.

Click for manual slide show – best way to see the photos!

 

Arenal Observatory

¡Pura Vida!

First Morning’s Birds

Even with lots of rain all day today, I got these birds before and after breakfast and it doesn’t count some different birds on an afternoon bird walk that was nearly rained out. Rain or shine, there are always a lot of birds at Arenal Observatory! Click image to enlarge and pass cursor over image for name of bird.

Birds First Morning

 

Arenal Observatory

¡Pura Vida!

Oh, the Places I’ll Go!

Monday I’m off to Arenal Observatory Lodge in Arenal Volcano National Park with my choice room reserved again – #27 – where my deck looks up at the volcano and out past the bird feeders to Lake Arenal over which the suns sets each evening in brilliant colors!

I was there a year and a half ago and you can see why I like it in my trip photo gallery: 2018-May 4-9 – Arenal Observatory Lodge.  It is truly one of my favorite places and I’m beginning to return to such more often now, where there are more birds than I will every photograph! (An “official” birding hot spot.) Plus waterfalls, trails, horses, a farm, beautiful scenery, good food, and a comfortable room with more places nearby to visit. And I will probably relax more this time without the rush of trying to see and do everything the first time!   ¡Tranquilo!

“You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So… get on your way!”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

¡Pura Vida!

My Room at Arenal Observatory

This view from my room is the most memorable part of the lodge room. See More Volcano Shots
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica
I had to be laying down on the bed to have the view inside, but outside is “in your face”
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica
My one selfie was with the volcano, here on the dining room deck
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica
The two side windows looked out on the Restaurant Deck and the lake 
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica

This side view was also beautiful and where I caught the sunsets. (link to sunset photos)
 Arenal Observatory Lodge, Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica

Also where other hotel guests assembled before meals & for volcano & lake photos + bird feeders
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica

At about 5 pm each day one or two of the La Fortuna Expedition buses brought a crowd
of mainly young adult backpackers for volcano, lake & sunset photos before their group dinner here
and then return to their less expensive lodging after a day of whitewater, rappelling, zip lining, etc.
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica
The first two days the maids left towel animals on my bed
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica

See My Room Gallery for more photos of the room.
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica
AND the bird feeders were also next to my room’s deck!

Great Curassow male at fruit feeder by my room deck   
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica

Great Curassow female at fruit feeder by my room deck  
 Arenal Observatory Lodge, Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica

Montezuma Oropendola at fruit feeder by my room deck  
 Arenal Observatory Lodge, Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica


COSTA RICA NEWS:

Women elected to 5 of 6 leadership roles in Costa Rica’s new legislature
An online article in Tico Times.