This past Saturday I went on a van with a group from the Art House Atenas to visit two art museums in San Jose (and there are many more!). The first was the National Museum of Costa Rican Art where all the exhibits are rotating except for the statue garden. Then after a lunch in the city, we visited the world-famous Jade Museum in San Jose which of course has a lot of jade carvings, but is more about Pre-Columbian Art and culture.
I have a gallery completed of photos of some of the art with my cell phone camera which is allowed in both museum as long as you don’t use a flash. The feature photo is from the “Dark Valley” exhibit by Costa Rican Adrián Arguedas Ruano, mostly of traditional uses of masks here in the earlier indigenous cultures, though my favorite CR exhibit was “Dream World” by Costa Rican Flora Sáenz Langlois with her nature paintings of what she calls her “Magical Forests”(one below). And my favorite things in the Jade were the pottery or ceramic work and the human indigenous panoramas of pre-Columbian life.
I’ve seen both museums in the past, but there is always something new and enjoyable about any museum visit! 🙂
It took longer after this trip to put the gallery together with a lengthy flurry of activities and first of year requirements, but my Christmas Trip of 2023 December 22-28 — San Gerardo de Dota, Hotel Savegre is ready to visit with all my birds, other wildlife, flowers and landscapes ready to view!
That’s right! I’m back to sharing photos from my Christmas Trip to Hotel Savegre in San Gerardo de Dota. I think I shared some shots of the grounds and a “broad look at the gardens” which are some of the best of any hotel in Costa Rica. Well now that I’m not as super-busy as I have been since Christmas, I’m going to finish the gallery for the Christmas Trip to Hotel Savegre! And this posts introduces the sub-gallery called: Savegre Individual Flowers where I just deposited 57 photos of individual flowers! And here is one of my favorite . . .
Local hikes this December-January 2023-24 with a birding friend from British Columbia . . . Here’s a linked small gallery for each, represented with one photo from each and the linked date & place headings (or the photo) to go to that gallery . . .
Google sent me this map showing everywhere I went in 2023 and that motivated me to make a little travel map for my planned 5 trips in 2024, which again is a slight decrease from the previous year as I slow down a little – but not too much! :-) I really need to get to different parts of Costa Rica to maintain a variety in my nature photos! Though all of these 5 lodges for 2024 are favorites I’ve visited before, they are all good and will yield a lot of photos! :-)
I make many of my reservations nearly a year in advance because of the popularity of most of these and they fill up fast! (Especially Christmas Week!) One example is that I tried to get in Selva Verde Lodge Sarapiqui in March and there was no vacancy! But I’m glad I will go back to Villa Lapas near me instead, while it is still locally operated, because in the next year or so it will become a Marriott and thus much more expensive and who knows if it will be better or worse? It is next door to Carara NP and the Tarcoles Crocodile Safari Boat tours that I like and they have now added a jungle tree top bridge and other activities, along with their pretty good birding reserve. We will see what happens in the future with Marriott. :-)
Including local obviously and the 4 points on the Caribbean side are one trip that include separate flags for 2 national parks, the airport & the hotel. And the 6 flags in the north represent 4 trips. :-)
2024 Planned Trips
Somehow I missed scheduling Corcovado, Osa Peninsula or the South Pacific this year, but that puts it at the top of the list for 2025! :-) And to see what my trips and places are like, visit my Costa Rica TRIPS Galleries. If you are planning on a trip to Costa Rica, you can tell a lot about some of these lodges and parks by the photos I post there for each trip.
No big surprise for those of us who live here, but Costa Rica was named as the #1 Travel Destination for 2024 by Travel & Leisure Magazine AND the International Living Magazine and organization simultaneously named Costa Rica as the #1 Best Place to Retire in 2024! Read about it inTravel & Leisure. Or on International Living website.
For someone who made what a few American friends back in Nashville thought was a radical or crazy decision to move here in 2014, these announcements confirm the good decision I made back then! :-)
And these rankings are a good celebration of my 9 years of living in Costa Rica (as of December 24, 2023 — 2+ weeks ago). And my survival of cancer a celebration of the excellent healthcare here! Plus there is no better place for a nature lover and nature photographer like me! Tell your nature-lover friends to follow my blog to see what it is like to be “Retired in Costa Rica!” :-)
Yesterday was the last morning birding hike with my friend from British Columbia and Walter took us to a new nature reserve for me, Reserva Madre Verde near Palmares which is north of Atenas, a 30 minute drive through beautiful mountains (or maybe hills). :-)
Our two hour hike up & down a hill had a 300 meter rise in altitude was good for us 80-somethings! We heard lots of birds but in a fairly thick forest we did not see as many as the other two birding hikes. I got photos of only 3 birds – BUT – I’m still happy because I got photos of 9 different species of butterflies, which took me all afternoon to identify and process the photos AND I got 3 new species for me! :-) So a very good 2-hour hike! Below is a gallery with one shot of each of the 9 butterflies after this one shot for the email version of post . . .
Just one photo that is linked to my Trip Gallery Grounds & Gardens Sub-Gallery with more photos and then in a few days I will share some really beautiful flowers, but this week has become overwhelming and I will be a few days later processing my flower photos with a guest from Canada here, medical lab work tomorrow at the National Hospital de Geriatria in San Jose, a trip to a new nature reserve for me Thursday with my Canadian friend and removing all my stuff from the Galería on Saturday. A really full week! But I see tranquility in next week! :-)
This is my last week (Jan. 8-13) in the Gallería Artenas! (At Plaza Calle 2 next to Linea Vital.) So if interested in any of my photos there or the Floral Accent Pillows, this week is your last opportunity to shop for them in person, in town, except the Photo Greeting Cards which starting next Sunday, January 14, will be available at Hotel Colinas del Sol, with everything else available only online through my Gallery, – – – Bookstore, or – – – CafePress Shop.
From now on I will consider my nature photography as my funand for this daily blog post, with any online sales and the Colinas del Sol greeting cards as “incidentals” to my fun hobby! No more gallerías, arts & crafts shows or physical selling for me! (Which, by the way, has always been tiring and at a financial loss for me.) Now I photograph only for fun! :-)
To me, every bird is a work of art and thus I try to make each photo of one a work of art, though I do have some ugly photos just to document seeing a species! :-) This common Rufous-collared Sparrow was seen a lot at Hotel Savegre this trip and I have a trip gallery of Rufous-collared Sparrows that will soon become a part of the Trip Gallery for this 2023 time at Savegre. And of course in my big birds gallery there’s a larger Rufous-collared Sparrow GALLERY with birds from this and other mountain lodges and even one at a hotel in San Jose and it includes my very first photo of this species from my 2009 trip to this same hotel (then a smaller mountain lodge) which is interesting, of a mother feeding her chick a worm, if you don’t consider that gross! :-) And you can read about this tropical bird on eBird. It is found only in Central and South America. The scientific name is Zonotrichia capensis.