Carmelina – An Angel in Disguise?

From my years in Nashville, TN USA I remember the unique “Bag Lady” she was often called as a seemingly homeless beggar living on the streets of downtown Nashville and always carrying one or more bags full of who knows what? I’m sorry I never got to know her or her story.

I was reminded of her when I first saw Carmelina in downtown Atenas, walking the streets barefoot in what appears to be a very simple and maybe dirty old dress  and sometimes carrying a plastic bag. I have often wondered about who she is, how needy, if anyone cares for her, etc. And I’ve always wanted to photograph her but too embarrassed to ask and not wanting to offend her.

Well, I just found this beautiful photo of her on a local Atenas Facebook Page in Spanish  (photo by Patricia Salazar) with lots of comments about Carmelina, mostly as an inspiration to people here for years. Check it out and if you don’t read Spanish, right click and then click “translate to English” to see about 80 different comments about Carmelina, one of the most unique persons in Atenas who in her poverty is always helping someone else, attending most services at the Catholic Church, attending all funerals with a little gift for the family, and many other acts of kindness. . .   Christlike?

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” 

 ~Matthew 5:3

¡Pura Vida!

¡En Atenas, la mejor pueblo en Costa Rica!


Manzanillo Beach

View from My Beach-side Hammock  (3-pix panorama)
Manzanillo Beach, Costa Rica


Looking to the Left
Manzanillo Beach, Costa Rica
Looking to the Right
Manzanillo Beach, Costa Rica
Dangerous Currents – No Swimming!
Manzanillo Beach, Costa Rica
Yeah! They had a sign in English too, but this one more interesting!  🙂


Maybe Dangerous, But Fun Waves for Many!
And many swim anyway and/or try to surf – “At Your Own Risk”
Manzanillo Beach, Costa Rica


Multiple Caution Signs Protect the Hotel
And are probably required by their Insurance Co.
And “No Life Guards” is indicated at check-in
Manzanillo Beach, Costa Rica
Barefoot Beach Futbol (Soccer)
Manzanillo Beach, Costa Rica
And by the way, ALL BEACHES ARE PUBLIC in Costa Rica! There are no private or hotel only beaches.


Local Boys – Not Tourists!
Manzanillo Beach, Costa Rica
Tourists Walk By, Watching the Soccer Game
Manzanillo Beach, Costa Rica
American, Canadian, European, South American? All nationalities here!
Though Asian visitors seem to be mostly on the Pacific side and inland. 
And Someone Kayaks By Our Beach
Manzanillo Beach, Costa Rica


Sundown Mist One Evening
Manzanillo Beach, Costa Rica
This beach was not positioned right for the
sometimes beautiful Caribbean sunrises

Like this one at Tortuguero
and on wrong side of country for sunsets! 🙂

I am not a “Beach Person” as some people call themselves, not liking to swim in the ocean at all! But I do love to visit and walk on the many beautiful beaches here. Some friends ask me to compare the Atlantic and Pacific beaches and that is difficult.

It is almost down to specific beach compared to specific beach. In general the Caribbean (or the Atlantic beaches) are less developed with more wildness and more natural things than much of the Pacific, though the Osa Peninsula or Corcovado National Park is a big exception on the Pacific side as are some other “South Pacific” beaches. In the north or Guanacaste there are a few pretty beaches but overall I think it is over-developed and I thought the famous Tamarindo Beach was ugly and overcrowded! Jaco is pretty but also overcrowded, especially on weekends as the closest beach to San Jose. South of there at Manual Antonio National Park there are two gorgeous beaches that are very crowded, both the one in the park and the one outside the park.

I still have a lot of exploring to do before I even think about ranking beaches. Then there is the important reason or purpose! Are you a surfer, swimmer, sunbather, fisher, or photographer? Each beach is different for each purpose. And there are a lot of choices! If you believe travel articles, here is one on “The Best Beaches” by “Costa Rica Experts.”  You will not find Manzanillo listed though it is one the nicer ones I have visited and least crowded! Then here’s an article on “Costa Rica’s 6 Most Stunning Beaches” by TicoTimes, the online English language Gringo newspaper. And travel sites like TripAdvisor rank the ones that hotels and resorts pay them to rank best, so don’t believe everything commercial sites say. For example Tamarindo is promoted as one of the best, but after my visit there, it is one of my least favorite, remembering that I do not like crowds, commercialism and a lack of nature. So maybe that is why I favor the Caribbean beaches more than most people.

See also my VISTA GALLERIES for Caribbean Beaches  and  Pacific Beaches