“The Howler Suite” at Banana Azul Hotel I wanted this room last September but not available – very popular! So I now have it reserved for 5 nights this coming September! Planning ahead sometimes pays off! 🙂 Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica
Also on the Caribbean side, across the border in Panama is the popular tourist area of Bocas del Toro. I now have a full week or 7 nights in June at Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge:
KAYAKS available at all times for bay & rivers + miles of HIKING TRAILS for more birds! It’s the kind of place with plenty for me to do just on the hotel grounds. Great anticipation! Tranquilo Bay, Bocas del Toro, Panama
And keep reading this blog RETIRED IN COSTA RICA as the adventures just keep getting bigger and better. I will truly never be bored here and never run out of something to do or photograph! I don’t understand why everyone doesn’t retire here! I’m sure having fun! And seldom repeat a place!
Kind of funny: The other day some new students of Spanish at Su Espacio were in class and saw one of my photo books there. One student said “I know him. I read his blog about Costa Rica!” So David enjoyed telling me that I am now famous! 🙂 This blog has only 80 subscribers plus drop-in visitors vary from 50 to 300 a day, so really not that big, but I’m glad that some considering retirement here are reading it plus others and hope it is helpful in your “Costa Rica decision process.”
OOPS! I found this old post never posted. It was the least important of all the photos I made on my September trip to the South Caribbean, Hotel Banana Azul, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. The day I walked into town by way of the beach, I found many colorful signs in Puerto Viejo and put together this little collection. Remember, all businesses in Puerto Viejo are locally owned “Mom & Pop” business with no chain hotels or restaurants there. Signs in no particular order. Last one best! 🙂 The simple tourism on the Caribbean coast reminds me of going to Panama City Florida in the early 1950’s.
Downtown Map located most businesses
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica
If you haven’t figured it out yet, Imperial is the main beer company
in Costa Rica and thus makes many of the business signs!
All Over Costa Rica
The Trip Galleryfor this trip a few weeks ago has more interesting photos than these! 🙂
And yes, they were underfoot on the trail through the Cahuita Park. Since I wasn’t seeing many birds, I started noticing the different kinds of fallen leaves and even one flower which I have since learned is called a “Beach Hibiscus.” So that flower and this collection of leaves are a part of my memories of Cahuita National Park on the Caribbean Sea in Costa Rica!
Beach HibiscusCahuita National Park, Caribe, Costa Rica
For my last morning’s sunrise I watch fishermen go out. And . . . Below are four categories of my photos not shown yet all linked to sub-galleries inthis trip gallery with more bikes, birds, nature and culture photos.
Caribe Bicycles The Major Mode of Transportation Puerto Viejo, Caribe, Costa Rica
Masked Tityra Samasati Reserve Actually we walked down a rural road in front of the reserve. Near Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica
These all represent things I found interesting in the Costa Rica Caribe and made a lot of photos of each. The linked title takes you to a sub-gallery on that subject with most birds in the Samasati gallery. Or to just thumb through my whole Caribe Trip, go to the trip gallery:
I think it is officially called “Puerto Viejo de Talamanca” because it is at the foot of the Talamanca Mountains and nearest town to some of the Indian reservations. It is also called “Puerto Viejo de Limon” because it is in the Limon Province and near the larger port city of Limon, also a symbol of the Caribbean for Costa Rica and where they have the Caribbean and Reggae festivals and big parades like Mardi Gras. Another reason for the extension on the name is there is another town called Puerto Viejo which I have also visited on the Caribbean slope, but inland next to the mountains. It is called “Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui. It is on the Sarapiqui River. Well, a few shots of buildings in the Caribe Puerto Viejo which you could call “Rasta Town” or a hangout for some American youth who see themselves as new hippies or rasta or whatever labels are used today. Colorful but not highly appealing to me.
I arrived early yesterday before my room was ready and so I decided to walk to the Caribbean town of Puerto Viejo from the hotel by way of the beach and back. My odometer showed it to be nearly 6 miles round trip, counting a walk around town. The next post will be about the interesting town. But here’s a few shots from the beach walk:
I walked from those blue hills around the bay to this town beach. Puerto Viejo, Caribe, Costa Rica
The bend in the bay before getting to the town. Puerto Viejo, Caribe, Costa Rica
I get to cross this stream coming into the bay and see the one-lane bridge on the road running parallel with beach. Puerto Viejo, Caribe, Costa Rica
Approaching town there are runners & this abandoned barge. Puerto Viejo, Caribe, Costa Rica
Near every hotel is this standard sign warning of undertow. Puerto Viejo, Caribe, Costa Rica
A faster way to get to town? 🙂 Puerto Viejo, Caribe, Costa Rica
Great Kiskadee One of six species of birds seen along the beach walk. Puerto Viejo, Caribe, Costa Rica
Semipalmated Plover For birders, yes, similar to Wilson’s Plover except this one has orange legs & orange on base of bill (click to enlarge) Puerto Viejo, Caribe, Costa Rica
Non-breeding Western Sandpiper Puerto Viejo, Caribe, Costa Rica
Breeding Western Sandpiper Puerto Viejo, Caribe, Costa Rica
Whimbrel Puerto Viejo, Caribe, Costa Rica
Brown Pelican Puerto Viejo, Caribe, Costa Rica
Great-tailed Grackle male Puerto Viejo, Caribe, Costa Rica
I was high-energy yesterday and did more than I should probably, but doing very little today to make up for it! Thus I have a lot of photos still from yesterday to share and may do another post tonight. Every new place is an adventure and full of photo-ops!
“I tried to discover, in the rumor of forests and waves, words that other men could not hear, and I pricked up my ears to listen to the revelation of their harmony.”
Two summers ago on my first visit to the southern Caribbean in Costa Rica with the photo club, I got to spend three nights in the indigenous people Bribri Yorkin Community. I just now completed a Yorkin Trip gallery for that trip. Check it out! especially the forest! This is near where I’m going next week, even though I will not be roughing it this time while in a nice hotel on the beach! But when I saw this photo for the gallery, I couldn’t find that I had shared it before, so here it is! Soon I will have all of my Trip Galleries finished and will announce it here. But you can start looking now if you like with more than two years of trips in Costa Rica already completed. Most recent trips are at the top.
And most of you know that means I have trips planned for the rest of the year with other serendipities like holidays and local experiences being “extra” joys! But for those who particularly like my trips or the birds I photograph on them, here’s my coast to coast plans for the next 4 months, leaving specific dates off for security reasons: SEPTEMBER is my trek back to the Caribe with 4 nights in a very popular hotel I could not get in on another trip, Hotel Banana Azul, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.It is one of the very few actually on the beach, like walk out of your cabin right onto the beach. (Most are across the highway.) I do not care for swimming in the ocean for many reasons, nor sunbathing, but absolutely love walking on the beach which I will do a lot of this trip. It is also “Adult Only,” simply meaning no children. I love kids, but they tend to dominate a resort at every point and can be quite disruptive from sleeping & meals to activities & pool. So my first time to try one of these! I’ll let you know what I think. Plus I plan on two new reserves for birding and otherwise hiking in nature with local guides; one is a national park and one a private reserve which they claim is the best. And of course the beautiful forested grounds of the hotel and even the beach will have birds! And I will experience a little caribbean culture & food in Puerto Viejo. See
this info page and welcome video About Puerto Viejo. There’s also links there to why visit the Caribe, difference in caribbean and pacific coasts, etc. I may come home singing reggae! 🙂 But mainly hope to relax and get more bird photos! Here’s more on Caribbean Local Activities beyond the music and food or my favorite, Caribbean Jungle, Nature & Wildlife. And the Hotel Banana Azul Photo Gallery. It will be both similar and different from my safari tent hotel in Manzanillo last year. See that Manzanillo Trip Photo Gallery for comparison. I still don’t have a strong preference for caribbean or pacific coast yet, though I tend to favor the “underdog” or least popular which would be the Caribe. It is quieter, cheaper, more natural, smaller & locally owned hotels, and less crowded. If you like big Marriotts or Hiltons, go to the Pacific side and spend more money! I’m doing that in December but not in a big chain hotel.
NOVEMBER is in the cloud forests not far from Atenas, just outside San Ramon where I stay in my second Greentique Hotel, associated with the Aquila de Osa Hotel I was in at Drake Bay. (One of my favorite!) But this one is only an hour or so away by bus through Palmares to San Ramon where the hotel picks me up at the bus station. It is called Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel & Nature Reserve.
Typical birding hike.
Of course I already have birding treks scheduled with local guides and may get to see their cloud forest research center. Plus they have trails on their own property I can visit on my own and all three hotels have jacuzzis which I hope to use and who knows? Maybe even a relaxing back massage! I view retirement as an almost continuous vacation! 🙂 It’s great! And this one’s close to home!
Another tropical paradise where you have both
a pool and the beach, plus forest for birds!
And hopefully great food! 🙂
CHRISTMAS WEEK is when I decided to try the southern end of the Nicoya Peninsula and Guanacaste on the Pacific Coast. And my Google search showed Tambor Bay the best area of the southern peninsula for birding, according to a local birding club on the peninsula. So we will see! I have reservations at the Tambor Tropical Hotel right on the beach AND on a river with hiking trails following it inland for lots of do-it-yourself birding. Plus there are two reserves nearby that I hope to see with a guide. And this is another “Adults Only” hotel. Wow! New for me.
Puntarenas is almost due west of Atenas, slightly southwest. To drive or go on bus includes a long ferry ride, making a long trip. Thus I have elected to fly a small plane to the little airport at Tambor Bay. Hotel picks me up at airport.
Not having family, I have found that Christmas is more enjoyable while on a trip and I always end up with new friends as well as new experiences! So I’m looking forward to this Christmas when I celebrate living in Costa Rica for three years!¡Pura Vida!
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.