Since Costa Rica is open for local only tourism now (and I’m local!), I thought I would reschedule that April trip to San Gerardo de Dota for the next week or two. I’m ready to go photograph some new birds and without foreigners I’m less likely to encounter the virus! So I may not wait until the July trip, though so far I’m unable to contact the right person at the Savegre Lodge with their website and email down on Friday and the guy I got on the phone was obviously not a reservations employee and had trouble understanding my bad Spanish, so I will try again this week. Like much of the world, a lot of Costa Rica is simply shut down! I’ll just have to enjoy the clouds! 🙂 Maybe I’ll see a bird there!
“If you use your imagination, you can see lots of things in the cloud formations.“
Whether you are thinking of one of the ocean giants or a common river turtle, today is the day to remember the fragility of our decreasing turtle population and to do your part in the conservation of turtles! Read more about WORLD TURTLE DAY and consider getting involved. Https://www.worldturtleday.org/
The feature photo is a baby Olive Ridley Turtle I released Christmas 2017 in Tambor Bay. Read more about their program at Tambor Turtle Rescue. Costa Rica has the protected birthing beaches of thousands of ocean turtles every year. Did you know that . . .
Five species of sea turtles and eight species of freshwater turtles have been recorded in Costa Rica. All sea turtles are endangered and two of the freshwater species populations have been reduced, mainly due to poaching, being caught as pets, illegal trade, and the destruction and pollution of their habitats. ~Freshwater Turtles of Costa Rica & Sea Turtles of Costa Rica, an NHBS Field Guide available online.
Come join one of the guides at Selva Verde Lodge on a typical night hike in their Sarapiqui Private Reserve. Since people have not been able to visit them live, they put this”virtual night hike” on their YouTube Channel. One of the guides shows you the kinds of things I get to see live when I go on such night hikes at this and other lodges in Costa Rica. It is real and typical except for the short time of only 3 minutes! In real life there is more walking between the animals seen! 🙂
And here’s the same guide on a DAYTIME TOUR of Selva Verde, Just be aware that in an hour or more tour you see a lot more wildlife than in these little 3 minute videos! But both are a taste of what I regularly see and photograph in my retirement in Costa Rica:
The Health Ministry on Monday presented Costa Rica’s plan for a gradual reopening.
Beginning May 16, Costa Rica will further ease coronavirus restrictions and allow limited visitation at beaches and national parks. If the epidemiological curve permits, more measures will be lifted in June and beyond.
Here is Costa Rica’s timeline for reopening, as presented Monday by the Health Ministry.
May 16 to May 31
The following national parks can open at 50% capacity: Irazú Volcano, Poás Volcano, Guayabo, Braulio Carrillo, Carara, Corcovado, Manuel Antonio, Cahuita, Arenal, Rincón de la Vieja, Los Quetzales and Tapantí. Monteverde, a private reserve, can also open. Tickets must be pre-purchased.
Non-contact and individual recreational sports / athletic training are permitted.
High-level contact sports are permitted, without spectators.
Small hotels (maximum 20 rooms) can reopen at 50% capacity.
During the week, beaches can open from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m.
June 1 to June 20*
Remaining national parks reopen at 50% capacity.
All restaurants at 50% capacity.
Public parks at 50% capacity.
Museums at 50% capacity. (Prior ticket purchase is required.)
One of my nature loves in both Tennessee and Costa Rica is waterfalls (somewhere just after birds and butterflies!) 🙂 And as I have been updating my photo galleries with a new “Pre-Costa Rica TENNESSEE Photos” gallery I have loaded my photos of all 54 Tennessee state parks plus state natural areas and a few separate independent waterfalls with multiple shots of each waterfall. To bring them all together I created a Tennessee WATERFALLS gallery with just one shot of each of 36 waterfalls I photographed in that state with more shots of each falls in the place galleries.
And you may already be aware of my Costa Rica WATERFALLS gallery with shots of 38 waterfalls I’ve photographed here over the first five+ years. In some ways tropical waterfalls are different but in even more ways they are similar, being in the mountains with usually uphill trails to the falls and then downhill trails to the plunge pools. I guess the type of plants and animals around the falls are the biggest differences. I love waterfalls everywhere and when back to traveling again, Walter is going to take me north of Atenas to some places where I can photograph about 5 more waterfalls. So the gallery will continue to grow! Enjoy! ¡Disfruta!
And oh yes, the featured image is Greeter Falls in the South Cumberland State Park, Tennessee.
A list of facts on Costa Rica compiled from a number of sources:
Costa Rica hosts more than 5% of the world’s biodiversity even though its landmass only takes up .03% of the planets surface.
Costa Rica is officially the Republic of Costa Rica (Spanish: República de Costa Rica).
Costa Rica spends roughly 6.9% of its budget (2016) on education, compared to a global average of 4.4%.
Costa Rica was sparsely inhabited by indigenous people before coming under Spanish rule in the 16th century. It remained a peripheral colony of the empire until independence as part of the short-lived First Mexican Empire, formally declaring independence in 1847.
Costa Rica has remained among the most stable, prosperous, and progressive nations in Latin America.
Following the brief Costa Rican Civil War in 1948, it permanently abolished its army becoming one of only a few sovereign nations without a standing army.
Costa Rica also has progressive environmental policies. It is the only country to meet all five UNDP criteria established to measure environmental sustainability.
Costa Rica plans to become a carbon-neutral country by 2021. By 2016, 98.1% of its electricity was generated from green sources particularly hydroelectric, solar, geothermal and biomass.
The name la costa rica, meaning “rich coast” in the Spanish language, was in some accounts first applied by Christopher Columbus, who sailed to the eastern shores of Costa Rica during his final voyage in 1502.
During most of the colonial period, Costa Rica was the southernmost province of the Captaincy General of Guatemala, nominally part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain.
Like the rest of Central America, Costa Rica never fought for independence from Spain.
Coffee was first planted in Costa Rica in 1808. By the 1820s, it surpassed tobacco, sugar, and cacao as a primary export. Coffee production remained Costa Rica’s principal source of wealth well into the 20th century.
Costa Rica is located on the Central American isthmus, lying between latitudes 8° and 12°N, and longitudes 82° and 86°W. It borders the Caribbean Sea (to the east) and the Pacific Ocean (to the west), with a total of 1,290 kilometers (800 mi) of coastline.
Costa Rica also borders Nicaragua to the north (309 km of border) and Panama to the south-southeast (330 km of border).
Costa Rica comprises 51,100 square kilometres (19,700 sq mi) plus 589 square kilometres (227 sq mi) of territorial waters.
Costa Rica’s marine area reaches 580,000 square kilometers, approximately 10 times larger than its land area.
The highest point in the country is Cerro Chirripó, at 3,819 meters (12,530 ft); it is the fifth highest peak in Central America.
The highest volcano in the country is the Irazú Volcano (3,431 m or 11,257 ft) and the largest lake is Lake Arenal.
There are 14 known volcanoes in Costa Rica, and six of them have been active in the last 75 years.
The country has also experienced at least ten earthquakes of magnitude 5.7 or higher (3 of magnitude 7.0 or higher) in the last century.
Costa Rica also comprises several islands. The Isla del Coco or Cocos Island (24 square kilometers) stands out because of its distance from the continental landmass, 480 kilometers from Puntarenas, but Isla Calero is the largest island of the country (151.6 square kilometers).
Over 25% of Costa Rica’s national territory is protected by SINAC (the National System of Conservation Areas), which oversees all of the country’s protected areas, the largest percentage of protected areas in the world (developing world average 13%, developed world average 8%).
Costa Rica possesses the greatest density of species in the world.
Costa Rica’s climate is tropical year round. However, the country has many microclimates depending on elevation, rainfall, topography, and by the geography of each particular region.
Costa Rica’s seasons are defined by how much rain falls during a particular period. The year can be split into two periods, the dry season known to the residents as summer (verano), and the rainy season, known locally as winter (invierno).
The Caribbean slopes of the Cordillera Central mountains, has an annual rainfall of over 5,000 mm (196.9 inches or 16.4 feet)
Costa Rica stands as the most visited nation in the Central American region, with 2.9 million foreign visitors in 2016, up 10% from 2015.
By 2004, tourism was generating more revenue and foreign exchange than bananas and coffee combined.
The 2011 census counted a population of 4.3 million people distributed among the following groups: 83.6% whites or mestizos, 6.7% mulattoes, 2.4% Native American, 1.1% black or Afro-Caribbean; the census showed 1.1% as Other, 2.9% (141,304 people) as None, and 2.2% (107,196 people) as unspecified. By 2016, the UN estimation for the population was around 4.9 million.
In 2011, there were over 104,000 Native American or indigenous inhabitants, representing 2.4% of the population. Most of them live in secluded reservations, distributed among eight ethnic groups: Quitirrisí (in the Central Valley), Matambú or Chorotega (Guanacaste), Maleku (northern Alajuela), Bribri (southern Atlantic), Cabécar (Cordillera de Talamanca), Boruca (southern Costa Rica) and Térraba (southern Costa Rica).
The 2011 census classified 83.6% of the population as white or Mestizo; the latter are persons of combined European and Amerindian descent. The Mulatto segment (mix of white and black) represented 6.7% and indigenous people made up 2.4% of the population.
Costa Rica hosts many refugees, mainly from Colombia and Nicaragua. As a result of that and illegal immigration, an estimated 10–15% (400,000–600,000) of the Costa Rican population is made up of Nicaraguans.
Costa Rica’s largest cities (by population) are: San Jose (333,980), Puerto Limon (55.667), Alajuela (42.889), Heredia (40,840), Tibas (36.627), Desamparados (36,437), Liberia (34.469) and Puntarenas (32,460).
Christianity is Costa Rica’s predominant religion, with Roman Catholicism being the official state religion according to the 1949 Constitution.
Costa Rica’s Constitution guarantees freedom of religion.
According to the most recent nationwide survey of religion, conducted in 2007 by the University of Costa Rica, 70.5% of Costa Ricans are Roman Catholics (44.9% practicing Catholics), 13.8% are Evangelical Protestants (almost all are practicing), 11.3% report that they do not have a religion, and 4.3% belong to another religion.
The primary language spoken in Costa Rica is Spanish, which features characteristics distinct to the country, a form of Central American Spanish.
Costa Rica is a linguistically diverse country and home to at least five living local indigenous languages spoken by the descendants of pre-Columbian peoples: Maléku, Cabécar, Bribri, Guaymí, and Buglere.
In November 2017, National Geographic magazine named Costa Rica as the happiest country in the world.
Futbol (soccer) is the most popular sport in Costa Rica. The national team has played in four FIFA World Cup tournaments and reached the quarter-finals for the first time in 2014. The national team has qualified for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
According to the UNDP, in 2010 the life expectancy at birth for Costa Ricans was 79.3 years.
The Nicoya Peninsula is considered one of the Blue Zones in the world, where people commonly live active lives past the age of 100 years.
Costa Rica has been cited in various journals as Central America’s great health success story. Its healthcare system is ranked higher than that of the United States.
Costa Rica is among the Latin America countries that have become popular destinations for medical tourism.
Since 2012, Costa Rica has some of the most restrictive regulations on smoking in the world.
The staples of the Costa Rican diet are rice and black beans, along with bread, chicken or meat, vegetables, salads, and fruits. Rice and beans mixed together for breakfast is called ‘gallo pinto‘.
The average wage laborer is about $529 a month, the highest in Central America.
Costa Ricans refer to themselves as “Ticos” (males) and “Ticas” (females).
Though Costa Rica has its own currency (the Colon), the US dollar is commonly used in retail stores, rents, and prices of vehicles, for example.
There are about 52 species of hummingbirds in Costa Rica, making Costa Rica a true hummingbird capital.
Monkeys are one of the most common mammals in Costa Rica – next to bats.
Bug-phobics look out! There are about 750,000 species of insects that live in Costa Rica, including about 20,000 different types of spiders! Also, more than 10% of the world’s butterflies live here.
The Costa Rican government is democratic, with presidential elections every 4 years.
The average Costa Rican household size is 3.5 people per household.
Costa Ricans claim that Dr. Clodomiro “Clorito” Picado discovered the properties of penicillin before Dr. Alexander Fleming, based on a paper Dr. Picado had published in 1927.
Costa Rica has a 96% literacy rate.
Costa Rican women do not take their husbands’ last name when they get married. They keep their maiden name for life along with their mother’s maiden name.
Called the grano de oro (grain of gold), coffee was Costa Rica’s foremost export for 150 years until tourism surpassed it in 1991. More than 247,104 acres of coffee is planted in Costa Rica, making it the 13th largest coffee exporter in the world.
In Costa Rica, a soda is a small, informal restaurant that serves chicken, beans, rice, and salad for ¢2,000 to ¢3,000 colones a plate.
Instead of saying “my other half,” Costa Ricans refer to their significant others as their “media naranja,” or “the other half of the orange”.
Costa Rica is the second largest exporter of bananas in the world after Ecuador.
In Costa Rica, a discoteca is a nightclub, and a nightclub is actually a strip club.
In Costa Rica, speed bumps are called topes or muertos (dead persons).
Costa Rica’s Escazú is famous for witchcraft where, historically, people took to mountain caves to secretly practice their religious and magical rituals.
Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel Treasure Island is thought to be modeled on Costa Rica’s Isla del Coco.
Costa Rica’s Oscar Arias Sanchez, president from 1986–1990 and again from 2006–2010, is a 1987 Nobel Peace Prize winner for his work in trying to end the crisis in Central America.
Costa Rica’s largest body of freshwater is the manmade Lake Arenal.
Arenal Volcano is the most active volcano in Costa Rica and one of the most active in the world. In 1968, Arenal erupted and destroyed the town of Tabacón. It last erupted in 2010.
Drake Bay in southern Costa Rica is named for Sir Francis Drake, the first English navigator to sail around the world, who landed there in 1579.
The sun rises and sets in Costa Rica at the same time every day (5 am and 6 pm) all year round, due to its close proximity to the equator.
The single largest factor affecting Costa Rica’s economy is its national debt. In 1981, the country was the first in the world to default on its loans.
Costa Rica’s Diquís Delta stone spheres are one of Central America’s most intriguing archaeological phenomena. Believed to be around 2,000 years old, thousands of stone spheres, from 4 inches (10 cm) to 8 feet (2.5 m) in diameter, were uncovered in the 1940s.
The Costa Rican National Post Office was built in 1914.
Costa Rica’s Teatro Nacional (National Theater) was built in 1897.
Costa Rica’s national musical instrument is the marimba.
Franklin R. Chang-Diaz is Costa Rica’s only astronaut, as well as the first Latin-American to be chosen by NASA and to go into space.
Geovanny Escalante, a Costa Rican saxophonist for the band Marfil, broke Kenny G’s world record for holding a single saxophone note in 1998. He held the note for 90 minutes and 45 seconds, nearly doubling Kenny G’s time.
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,
but by the moments that take our breath away.
And with the extra “down time” I’ve had, thanks to Coronavirus, and the inability to travel around Costa Rica, I’ve been able to organize more of my past photos which represent “the moments that have taken my breath away!” And I hope to start collecting more new “moments” by restarting my Costa Rica travels in July – I will have to wait and see if lodges are open and that can happen! 🙂 So for now it’s Tennessee & other travels! 🙂
When not busy with all the daily necessities of life, Spanish lessons, other reading, or writing one of these blog posts, I am usually working on organizing thousands of past photos, mostly made between 1999 & 2014. They will soon all be in one place, in my public photo gallery hosted by Smugmug.com and seamlessly looking like a part of my WordPress website/blog page, charliedoggett.net, where you are reading this right now. Just click “gallery” at top of the page to see the photo galleries. Or for the new ones . . .
International & Non-TN Travel Moments
All of my travel photos outside Tennessee have been organized into travel galleries collectively called Pre-Costa-Rica TRAVEL Gallery (trips before Dec. 2014) found below all my Costa Rica galleries in the Big Gallery with many breath-taking moments from the Amazon to Africa + Yellowstone to Grand Canyon! In addition I have started TRAVEL pages on my website where I will continue to add stories and other information beyond these photos, including travel-related pages from my journals over the years. As always, this site is a creative work in progress!
I call my big gallery “Charlie Doggett’s COSTA RICA” and it is pretty much up to date in every sub-galleries about Costa Rica, especially the Costa Rica TRIPS gallery which is mainly what this post is about.! 🙂 Or my biggest collections are my BIRDS galleries.
My life has been blessed with many “breath-taking moments” and I’ve recorded a whole lot of them in photos. Check ’em out! 🙂
“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.”
That perches in the soul, And sings the tune without the words, And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard; And sore must be the storm That could abash the little bird That kept so many warm.
I’ve heard it in the chillest land, And on the strangest sea; Yet, never, in extremity, It asked a crumb of me.
~Emily Dickinson – 1830-1886
Featured photo is a Red-legged Honeycreeper I photographed at Maquenque Lodge in Boca Tapada, Costa Rica where I hope to be again in July if re-opened. 🙂 See more in my Red-legged Honeycreeper Gallery or also my bigger BIRDS Photo Gallery for many more birds. Pura vida!
Like Costa Rica’s emblematic Sloth, the people here are always smiling and prepared for come what may – even Coronavirus! Feature photois by the Sloth Rescue Ranch, not me, and from Tico Times. Read on to see how better prepared little Costa Rica is than the big ol’ USA and thus we will get over it quicker too! 🙂
Thursday’s Tico Timesedition reminded us of how better prepared we are than a lot of bigger countries for the pandemic, like our great university is already making emergency respirators for when/if needed at only $140 each! (You think the U.S. would ever do that?) People are ready to sacrifice financially for the 25 days we are closed to all outside tourists (and it will be much longer before tourism is back to normal–like by next winter we hope). Here are the specific articles this week in Tico Times about the pandemic’s affects on Costa Rica:
Though we have fewer cases of the Coronavirus here in Costa Rica, our government has done a better job than many countries of educating people and keeping the number of cases low and thus as an “older person” I am staying in my house now (as recommended) except for these limited people contacts:
Supermarket – And I finally wised up to going when they are not crowded, like early morning.
Bank to pay 2 monthly bills and get cash at ATM (avoid Monday, Friday, & 1st)
Maid comes once a week and we keep our distance
Neighbor delivered Carrot Cake to several of us live-alone singles 🙂
And what keeps me from having “cabin fever” or boredom staying at home all the time? Well, that is easy to answer! I keep doing what I’ve always done since I retired in Costa Rica (minus the travel now):
What I Do Without Other People
(1) Birding that I can still do early mornings right here in my own neighborhood or even walk to other parts of Atenas away from the crowds solo as I prefer anyway.
(2) Blogging started becoming a regular thing for me back in 2014 before I even moved here as I focused then on the decision-making of such a move and now it is my replacement of many failed attempts at journaling, plus I actually have regular followers now and enjoy helping others who are considering retiring in Costa Rica, plus it is still a report to family and friends back in the states who want to keep up. Its a fun and creative outlet! 🙂
(3) Life History Recording (very slowly in the background) as it becomes much of the undated portion of my blog/website, the way WordPress blogs/websites have been organized from the beginning (dated blog & undated “static” pages). And in some ways a part of this history is my . . .
(4) Photo Gallery which was originally going to be pages of this WordPress website, but because of the future potential problem of using too much memory and slowing down access, and me not liking their gallery templates that well, I chose to use a photo gallery specialist at a separate address with a link from my site menu where I can put the full-size photo files (WP wants me to “web-size” photos). Though it is only a click away from my website/blog Home Page, it is actually located on a different server where I have a plan with unlimited space, thus putting all of my important photos, both historical and current on it. And I’m still working on the historical part! 🙂 Hey! I have thousands of photos made just since 2000 and still picking through them for the best to put in the gallery. And oh yes, I chose SmugMug.com as the best looking and easiest to use of the many options today! (Having tried Flickr & Pbase.) And from my gallery you can even order prints or wall art of any of my photos! 🙂
(5) Spanish Lessons Online now! No people contact there! 🙂
(6) The heaviest people contact I’ve had in the past was in almost monthly trips to lodges all over Costa Rica. I postponed two trips, one next week to San Gerardo de Dota and my May trip to San Isidro del General, which had included going on public bus (not healthy now). After that I’ve planned a July birthday trip to Manquenque Lodge in a tree house room as I turn 80 and things will have to get pretty bad for me to miss that! 🙂 I’m using my personal driver to get there and its in “the middle of nowhere” jungles where there should not be any virus. But I wait and see! 🙂
“At this point, it is believed many of the world has come in contact with the virus. And for that reason, we all have to experience social distancing and self-quarantine at various levels.”
RAIN — RAIN — a real rain with a lot of water yesterday afternoon, not the little sprinkle we had on the 24th. This is good news! The gardens and trees will love it and maybe the rainy season is starting early this year – we will see. But at least I don’t have to water for a few days now! 🙂
I still find it hard to show rain in a photo, so I won’t share my effort. But this is a big deal because there has been no rain since early December and we sometimes have to wait until May! I am not living in a rainforest, even though nearby. The Central Valley is in between the cool/wet cloud forests and the hot/wet/humid rainforests, thus our claim of “the best weather in the world” needing no a/c or heat ever here! But we do have rainy and dry seasons and it is still considered “tropical.” 🙂