Costa Rica by Bus

Someone recently asked me about getting around the country by bus and I think I referred them to the Bus Schedule website which lists all of the option when you type in the “From” and “To” spaces on that website with all bus companies included.

Well, I forgot about an even better help beyond schedules, the Facebook Group Page Costa Rica by Bus on which you can post a question (may have to join group first) and some of the many people who travel by bus will share their experiences and advice. And of course they also recommend the bus schedule site above. And by the way, that bus in photo above is the one I took to Turrialba.

I plan to go to a birding lodge near San Isidro del General in May, so anticipate my report on that bus experience then. I use the bus almost weekly to go from Atenas to Alajuela for many different reasons and have gone to San Jose by bus many times. Some of my other bus adventures have been (with links to photo galleries):

All of this was to simply say that you can travel on a “shoestring budget” and see a lot of Costa Rica whether you live here or visiting. Buses are cheap here! That is the way most Ticos travel! And you can do it without the Spanish language, though much easier and a richer experience if you speak at least a little Spanish.

Now, as a retiree who has made seeing all of Costa Rica my main activity, I do not do everything the budget-way and love to go the longer distances on Sansa Airlines or to places less than 3 hours from Atenas by my favorite driver here in Atenas, but I do not have a car and have basically quit renting cars because of the high insurance cost, thus seeing Costa Rica by bus is one option I still use when I consider it the most practical way. The next bus report comes in May!   🙂

“Live with no excuses and travel with no regrets”    ~ Oscar Wilde

I just realized that I did a similar post in 2017, Seeing Costa Rica by Bus   🙂

¡Pura Vida!

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My Cabin & Lodge Facilities

I cannot explain why I never photographed the main building with dining room, etc. But I didn’t!

My “Cabin” or actually 1 of 4 rooms in this building with me alone.
Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge, Bocas del Toro, Panama

My Porch & Hammock   
   Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge, Bocas del Toro, Panama

Inside my Room   
   Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge, Bocas del Toro, Panama

Part of the 200 acres of forest behind my cabin to explore 
 Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge, Bocas del Toro, Panama

The Trail between my cabin and dining room & dock 
 Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge, Bocas del Toro, Panama

The Birding Tower – My Favorite Place Maybe 
 Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge, Bocas del Toro, Panama

Dining Room & Lobby
Featuring the Mike Smith family of Nashville, my old hometown! It’s a small world!
Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge, Bocas del Toro, Panama

Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Panama
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More Water Scenes from Bocas

You may remember my first post from this trip, Life on the Water – check it out again and then here are some more water scenes in addition to that post and the Bird Island & Soropta Canal photos! It is all about water at Bocas del Toro, Panama!

Our dock at
Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge, Bocas del Toro, Panama

A Little Island within swimming distance of our dock 
 This was the best area for snorkeling with colorful coral and fish!
Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge, Bocas del Toro, Panama
15 year old Scott, one of the owner’s sons and an excellent birding guide!
Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge, Bocas del Toro, Panama

Sunrises & Sunsets were mostly indirect for my times on the water
Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge, Bocas del Toro, Panama

A common view when we went away from the island
Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge, Bocas del Toro, Panama
I think this is a lodge or restaurant on one of the islands
Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Panama
And many people lived on the islands and thus on the water as here in Bocas Town
Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Panama
Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Panama
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Isla Popa for the Snowy Cotinga

One afternoon we had a 2 hour boat ride around a smaller island called Popa. 
This is the only island in the Boca del Toro Archipelago to have the Snowy Cotinga.
We searched for over an hour before we finally found one of these semi-rare birds.
Popa Island, Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Panama

For the birders among my readers, this is only my second time to see and photograph a Snowy Cotinga. The other time was Christmas before last at Selva Verde Lodge Sarapiquí.  


And everyone likes to see a toucan! This is now called the Yellow-throated Toucan
Popa is close enough to the mainland for toucans to fly to them.
Our island, Barsimanto, is not, thus no toucans!
Popa Island, Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Panama

Brown Pelican 
 Popa Island, Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Panama

Brown Pelican 
 Popa Island, Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Panama

Being in the Atlantic Ocean with lots of islands and mainland nearby is pretty!
Popa Island, Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Panama

I love the trees! 
 Popa Island, Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Panama

I love the trees! 
 Popa Island, Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Panama

I love the trees! 
 Popa Island, Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Panama

And the houses and tourist cabins are interesting too! 
 Popa Island, Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Panama
Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Panama
I am now back home in Atenas, Costa Rica after a very long day getting back with rain and heavy traffic making it a slower drive and not back home until about 8:30 or 9:00 PM Wednesday night. Today, Thursday, was busy with laundry, grocery shopping, bank visit, and lots of text messages and emails to deal with. Friday I meet a young friend for lunch who wants to practice his English and I will practice my Spanish. And Saturday morning I will go to Alajuela to pick up another photo book that has arrived. I probably will be sharing more photos from Panama for another week. It was a good trip! 

And in between all the other things I will be back onto building my new website and maybe transferring this blog to it. 
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Golden-collared Manakin

Golden-collared Manakin
Tranquilo Bay Eco Lodge, Bocas del Toro, Panama

I walk into the forest behind my cabin, across two small meadows sparkling with butterflies and wild tropical flowers, down a little hill to the beginning of a narrow trail into the dark forest where I hear a clicking or popping sound, kind of like popcorn popping. Into the thick forest I find these beautiful little birds, the male Golden-collared Manakin. I saw only one female, much more reclusive and she was a solid olive-drab green color like the male’s lower breast/tummy and back. I was unable to get a photo of a female. Even at 3 pm the forest is dark, thick, and thus not conducive for photographs, though it is the males who come into the openings and who are purposefully showing off to attract the females. Yet when the dance starts, they are too fast to capture activity – see last 2 photos.

Golden-collared Manakin
Tranquilo Bay Eco Lodge, Bocas del Toro, Panama

In the forest I found 3 of these little clearings, called Manakin Leks
where the male has removed all leaves for his big dance show every afternoon.
Tranquilo Bay Eco Lodge, Bocas del Toro, Panama

Golden-collared Manakin
Tranquilo Bay Eco Lodge, Bocas del Toro, Panama

Golden-collared Manakin 
The male starts his dance by perching sideways on a vertical young tree.
Tranquilo Bay Eco Lodge, Bocas del Toro, Panama

Faster than I can capture on my camera he pops like popcorn from stem to limb back and forth
across and around the little clearing with the clicking or popping sounds that together with
the color and fast movement are intended to attract a female Golden-collared Manakin. Incredible!

In Corcovado National Park Costa Rica I saw the Red-capped Manakin male do his “Michael Jackson Dance” to likewise attract females, but this one was even more kinetic with several males in several clearings doing their dances at the same time and the forest reverberating with the popcorn sounds. Cool! And not 50 yards behind my cabin at Tranquilo Bay Eco Lodge. Then I later discovered I had photographed an Orange-collared Manakin at Carara National Park in Costa Rica which looks almost like the above fellow with the orange color added to his neck. Interesting! 
Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Panama
Unfortunately tonight is the 7th and last night here! Tomorrow I start early on the combination boat and bus trips back home in Costa Rica – an all day trek! So no post tomorrow, then I will continue my reports on this fantastic nature place in nearby Northern Panama. AND in the next week I may be transferring my blog from Blogger to WordPress, so get ready for a slight change in the look and feel of the blog which will then be a part of my new web page at charliedoggett.net 
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Natural Bird Bath in the Creek

Only Hummingbirds, like this Wood Nymph, bathe in this creek. 
First he/she waits in a nearby tree (above) for his turn. 
Tranquilo Bay Lodge, Bocas del Toro, Panama

Then it is a quick dip in the creek and . . .

They shake the water off above before flying back to a tree.

Tranquilo Bay Lodge, Bocas del Toro, Panama
Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Panama
We were gone 12 hours to the mainland yesterday (Saturday) for some fantastic birding in both the lowlands and the mountain! Then around here today including a visit to the Manakin Lek with beautiful dancing male Orange Collared Manakins attracting their females, and tomorrow we go on a boat trip up an old banana boat canal for many more birds. Fantastic eco lodge! And it will take many days to catch up on my reports in the blog!  🙂   ¡Pura Vida!

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Early Birds 2

Blue Dacnis Female
Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge, Bocas del Toro, Panama

Passerini’s Tanager
Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge, Bocas del Toro, Panama

Palm Tanager
Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge, Bocas del Toro, Panama

Kiskadee
Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge, Bocas del Toro, Panama

Green-breasted Mango Hummingbird
Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge, Bocas del Toro, Panama

Tropical Kingbird
Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge, Bocas del Toro, Panama

Plain-colored Tanager
Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge, Bocas del Toro, Panama
Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Panama

And my photo gallery:  Panama Birds
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