2023 – Slowing Down on Travel

As much as I love traveling around Costa Rica with my camera, I am slowing down a little this year for multiple reasons, mainly health and money!  🙂  I’ve lived a long and exciting life already, mostly as a high-energy person, ready at all times for the next adventure! But with much less energy after cancer radiation treatments and having three pretty serious falls last year on trips, I must “start acting my age” in some respects.  🙂

Plus, my savings have been cut back a good bit with all the cancer treatments and I’m beginning to feel the tightness of money more, so fewer trips and shorter trips is part of my plan for this year with enough “wiggle room” to add a day trip at the last minute when I feel the need. 🙂  Like the 2-night trip this week just added to nearby Xandari Resort . . .

Sidewalk from one of my past cabins at Xandari Costa Rica, plus the Feature Photo is a Sunset view from one of my earlier rooms at Xandari!

Here’s My 2023 Travel Plans

JANUARY

2 nights – Xandari Costa Rica Resort, Alajuela, my #1 best location for butterflies and one of the best for flowers! It’s this week! And you can see photos from 5 previous visits by browsing through my Costa Rica Trips Galleries,  2022, 2020 (twice), 2019 & 2018.  🙂  I will be giving the resort gifts of two copies of one of my newest photo books, Butterflies!
The Hidden Art of Xandari  for them to add to the only complete library of all Charlie Doggett photo books!

FEBRUARY

4 nights – Tortuga Lodge & Gardens, Tortuguero National Park. This will be my 4th trip to Tortuguero NP but my first time to this Lodge which is a sister lodge to the Monteverde Lodge and Gardens I visited in  2019 and considered a little nicer than the more rustic lodges I’ve visited here before, Turtle Beach Lodge in 2019 and Laguna Lodge in 2016 and with Caravan Tours in 2010. Tortuguero is often called “The Amazon of Costa Rica” with most nature hikes by boat and an amazing amount of wildlife from an occasional Jaguar to almost every tropical bird!  🙂

APRIL

5 nights – Maquenque EcoLodge & Reserve, Boca Tapada. I sometimes call this my favorite lodge because of the large number of birds and other wildlife I’ve photographed there in the past and because they have treehouse rooms from which I’ve photographed both birds and monkeys in the nearby trees. But for the first time there I’m staying in a ground level cabin, one on the lake which may give me different wildlife photos from my room and I will be in less danger of falling down the 50 metal steps going up to the treehouse room. 🙂    You can see the photos of my 3 previous visits there by browsing through my Costa Rica Trips Galleries, or directly to  2022,  2020,  &  2019.  🙂

JULY

5 Nights – Esquinas Rainforest Lodge which I’ve visited only one other time, also in the rainy season with one of my largest collections of bird photos in a 2018 visit when I was the only guest most of my days there. It is a small, quiet jungle retreat in the rainforests of Piedras Blancas National Park on the opposite side of that park from the more touristy Playa Cativo Lodge I visited last July, also for my birthday! This year is will be my 83rd birthday!  🙂 This is run by Austrians in conjunction with their university-related rainforest research station there. Being the rainy season, it will definitely not be crowded and I could be the only guest again! That would be okay with me!  🙂

SEPTEMBER

6 nights – Hotel Banana Azul, Puerto Viejo, Limón, South Caribe. This is my annual Caribbean Beach vacation, staying always in “The Howler Suite” room overlooking the rainforest property and beach where I get great sunrise photos each morning plus lots of butterflies and birds and other wildlife including Sloths. It is my most relaxing place to visit and I have no pressure to do anything, plus the food is good and I can walk to most places, though they have their own tour company to take me further if I want explore afar and of course to and from the Limón Aeropuerto. I always fly there as I will also to Esquinas in July, near Golfito. My only 2 flying trips this year. Walter will drive me everywhere else I go this year.  You can see my photos of 5 previous visits to Banana Azul by browsing through my Costa Rica Trips Galleries, or go directly to  2022, 2021, 2019, 2018, & 2017.

DECEMBER

6 Nights – Hotel Savegre Lodge & Reserve, San Gerardo de Dota. And this year I will spend Christmas in another favorite lodge, in the most beautiful mountains with the 5th purest/cleanest river in the  entire world – Rio Savegre! And the best place in Costa Rica to photograph the Resplendent Quetzal birds along with many others! Plus terrific food, rooms and hiking trails! See my photos from there on my 2021 Visit, plus I was in the same hotel in 2009 (smaller then) and I have visited two other lodges in San Gerardo de Dota. Mariam’s Quetzales Cabins in 2015 and Trogon Lodge in 2014, all good experiences!

So fewer trips this year, but each one comes at a time I will emotionally need it and all in places I’ve been before and really love! I’m the luckiest guy in the world to get to spend my final years living like this in the most beautiful nature places in the world! Nothing could be better for my 83rd year of life!

¡Pura Vida!

Sunset from my room at Xandari one visit.

Arenal 2022 GALLERY Finished

It seems to be taking me longer to complete my trip galleries – just a slow old man!  🙂

But one reason was that it is slow identifying 32 species of butterflies (several new to me), 29 species of birds (1 lifer), and 13 species of other wildlife with lots of nice frog shots this time! These trip galleries are my main photo galleries to which I link for photos in the bird, butterfly and other subject galleries. If you are considering different lodges in Costa Rica as a visitor or one who lives here and travels like me, these trip galleries are a good source of real information about what you can see in a particular place.  Enjoy!

Index Page of my Arenal 2022 TRIP GALLERY. — CLICK IMAGE TO VISIT GALLERY

Or click this linked address:  https://charliedoggett.smugmug.com/TRIPS/2022-December-22-28-Arenal-Observatory-Lodge

¡Pura Vida!

 

Designed by Nature at Arenal

And this will be the last of my Arenal posts for a while, realizing I’ve done more than 3 weeks worth! And this final post will be considered the weirdest one by some or what I used to call “Leaves and Nature Things” and now refer to as “Designed by Nature” or “Nature as Art” which is also my photography brand.  I debated about naming each photo and then decided to let your imagination flow!  🙂  I will give physical identities to most items when I get them in my gallery – but for now, watch the slide show as a fairy tale!  But first an image for the email!  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading “Designed by Nature at Arenal”

The Unique Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees

I just can’t quit talking about all the neat things you can see and photograph at Arenal Observatory Lodge! And another one are trees, all of their trees, but maybe the most unique are their Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees that were a part of their early development reforestation program which you can read about in an article on their website: The Rainbow Trees of Arenal, Costa Rica by Shannon Farley, my friend and fellow Atenas resident!  🙂  You will be amazed as you read the article and probably want to visit this favorite lodge of mine too! Where I could spend months hiking their 7+ miles of well-maintained hiking trails and never be bored!  🙂

Well, just 2 photos this time, then I encourage you to read my longer post of 2 years ago on all the trees of Arenal that I love!

And read my blog post on Arenal Trees I wrote two years ago titled:   Enamored by Trees!

¡Pura Vida!

Arenal Observatory Lodge WEBSITE

Cloudy Day Lake Vistas

Lake Arenal was the first first man-made lake built in Costa Rica to create electricity with a dam, famous for having covered the town of Arenal and its cemetery with water. The town’s residents moved to a “Nuevo Arenal” which is now called Castillo, where the Butterfly Conservancy is located. It is also a popular local fishing lake and is surrounded by tourist attractions, Arenal Volcano National Park (La Fortuna) on the east, Monteverde on the west and Tenorio National Park nearby along with Caño Negro and many lodges/hotels & hot springs. And yes, some expat retirees have built homes on the lake!  🙂

My earlier May trip to the Observatory Lodge was better for lake shots because the sun sets over the lake that time of year! No really good shots this time, but sort of what a lake looks like in cloudy and rainy weather.  🙂

Here’s 5 shots from this trip, two of which are multi-shot panoramas . . .

Lake Arenal, Costa Rica

 

Continue reading “Cloudy Day Lake Vistas”

Limited Volcano Views This Trip

Though I always go to the lodge that is closest to the volcano (and surrounded by the most forest!), this trip Christmas week was the first time the volcano was covered in clouds most of the time. The only clear day, all day, was Christmas Day, with clouds and rain all the rest of that week! But with all the photos I’ve been sharing, you can see that the rain or clouds didn’t dampen my spirits too much!  🙂 Here are four different views of the volcano from four different locations including the one sun-shiny day shot!  🙂

¡Pura Vida!

Arenal Observatory Lodge Website

Or for what the volcano looks like this very moment:

Arenal Volcano Live Web-Cam

And note that the camera is mounted on the side of the lodge building just above my room 29 or my room deck, so basically the same view I got from my room or would now if there.  🙂

Conservancy Butterflies

The Butterfly Conservancy in the village of Castillo on Lake Arenal near Arenal Observatory Lodge is very good with multiple greenhouses for the different butterfly habitats plus outside natural butterflies with all being native to Costa Rica. And for the history-lovers, this is the little town that was once called Nuevo Arenal after the lake was flooded to make electricity and covered the original town of Arenal.  🙂

I only got useable photos of 14 species with 15 photos here because the White-spotted Prepona is so different with folded wings and open wings. 🙂 And I will just start with him as the first two photos followed by 13 more:

Archaeoprepona amphimachus (above)

Continue reading “Conservancy Butterflies”

Arenal Butterflies 2

Today I’ll just share 5 butterflies that I have only one view of and then even though I have another dozen or so from the lodge, they are not identified yet and and I’m behind on that ID work! So tomorrow I will start on the identified butterflies from the Costa Rica Butterfly Conservancy in Castillo on Lake Arenal, not far from the lodge and where a lot of lodge employees live.

¡Pura Vida!

And my Photo Galleries for these five species . . .

Arenal Observatory Lodge Website