Wow! Another great trip to one of my top 5 or 6 favorite places in Costa Rica, Arenal Observatory Lodge, with photos of 49 bird species , including the two new lifers for me! Plus 7 other animal species, a new birding trail (Bogarín), the waterfall, wonderful hiking trails and gardens to walk through, and the tallest birding tower in Costa Rica where this year I got lots of Honeycreepers in place of all the monkeys photographed last year, plus a repeat of my favorite room 29 and really good food! I have been so busy after the trip that it has been difficult to process all the photos, but finally done! Check them out at (or click image):
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! 🙂
Outside in courtyard.
In my room.
At restaurant entrance.
A quieter version.
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!
My first of 6 different Cloud Forest Reserves this week (where trees, wildlife, water and air is protected) was this morning at Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve(right click on page for English translation). It is beautiful and less crowded than the one I will visit tomorrow. The above featured cell phone photo is from the highest point in the reserve looking East/Northeast at Arenal Volcano which I visited last year at Arenal Observatory and going again in November. The photo at bottom is looking the other direction at the mountains and clouds you are above in a Cloud Forest.
I had a wonderful guide through the hotel’s tour service, Costa Rica Expeditions, Rodiberi, and we saw 14 species of birds, several new to me. Here are my photos of 9 of those species, two of which are lifers for me:
Birds at Santa Elena Today
Cool birds huh? Most live only in the cloud forest.
Other wildlife will be a separate post for the whole week.
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”
― John Muir
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 Galleryfor 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