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! 🙂
A quieter version.
Outside in courtyard.
At restaurant entrance.
In my room.
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.
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.
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!
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!
The book is finished with 4 new lifer birds for me and now I’m off to other creative activities. Remember – you can PREVIEW the book electronically (flip through the pages) for free at my bookstore by clicking on this link and then each page to turn a page. Fun! And best seen in full screen mode! 🙂
My trip gallery is finished with a lot of interesting photos I think including 24 species of birds four of which are “Lifers” for me! So a good trip for me and some of my most interesting airplane photos en route like the big waterfall from above! And that reminds me that I have also added 9 waterfalls to my collection on this trip. See the trip gallery at this link:
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.
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
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.
CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE
Sorry I failed to get photos of horseback-riders!
In foothills of mountains.
Vista from Hotel Mirador.
Crested Guan in the Park.
Vistas from all over hotel grounds.
My favorite farm road!
Working farm – Greenhouse for Tomatoes.
All national parks are well maintained here!
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.”
Yesterday I hired Walter to drive me to the three hotels within an hour and a half from my house to deliver the photo books I made about the three hotels: Jaco-Carara Birding Hotels. (Click to preview the book.)
I visited these 3 hotels in March, June and July this year and because they are all in the same area of Costa Rica near Jaco Beach and Carara National Park I decided to do one photo book instead of three, thus the title and combination of photos. A nice book if I do say so myself, with a large variety of coastal and forest birds and other wildlife plus the best sunset photos yet and an interesting sunrise photo I used for the front cover. Check out this book about Punta Leona Hotel, Villa Calletas Hotel and Macaw Lodge by clicking the above link. An electronic “Preview” is free!
Walter picked me up at 10 am and I was home by 3:30 pm which included a super lunch at Villa Calletas which the book notes as the best of the three for food (according to me)! 🙂
Why would I spend as much money on delivering 3 copies of the book as I did on printing them? Because I’ve had 2 hotels not receive their book through the mail and most of all I’m passionate about making nature photos and sharing them, especially with the people who helped me make them and love the nature of their surroundings as much as I. One young hotel employee was thrilled to see his work surroundings depicted in a photo book – his smile alone made the trip worthwhile! 🙂
“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” ― Mother Teresa
Sorry there were two posts yesterday, the old man gets flustered on the computer sometimes and makes mistakes! I intended for one of those today and this one for tomorrow, but here it is anyway! 🙂
I think this is one of my best books yet on travels around Costa Rica, this one about my week in Uvita on the southern Pacific Coast, whale-watching, many birds and other wildlife, sunsets, a river trip and visiting one of the most beautiful waterfalls I’ve seen yet in Costa Rica, Nauyaca Waterfall, my 27th waterfall to photograph here!
You may see or “Review” every page of the book electronically for free without having to order. Enjoy another one of my tropical adventures in Costa Rica! ~Charlie