The family that does “Two Weeks in Costa Rica” blog/newsletter has an article about what Ticos do during the holidays which is also “Summer Vacation” from school for all ages with graduations the middle of December and the start of new school year in February. Thus lots of “family vacations” during this time, especially the week between Christmas and New Years when many businesses and factories, etc are closed. The beaches and mountain lodges are full of Ticos that week! Everything is already festive by December 1 with many decorations up and special meal preparations started. Read about it in the Two Weeks guy’s article:
2020 Monkeying Around on Christmas Eve at Arenal Observatory where I will be again next Christmas or 2022. Good lodges like this one are booked solid for Christmas a year ahead. I just made my ’22 reservations.
Well – the ones I have taken the time to photograph in my normal activities of the last week or two. I failed to photograph a big one at the Alajuela Hospital and did not go to the Juan Santamaria Park for Alajuela’s biggest outdoor tree this year and the Atenas City Hall does not have a tree out front this year, though I included their ugly one in Central Park. But these photos give you an idea of the fact that Christmas is the biggest holiday of the year here in Costa Rica with decorations going up around Halloween (which is not celebrated here).
Of course the trees in the little country town of Atenas don’t match the huge ones in Alajuela’s big City Mall – but it is all in the spirit of the biggest fiesta of the year. And the funny thing to me is that the Ticos who can afford it here go to the beach Christmas Week! Pretty much everything except supermarkets and pharmacies are closed Christmas Week – and I too travel, but not the beach this year! 🙂 Stay tuned for my “Christmas Mountain Forest Adventures” coming 21-27 December! Retired in Costa Rica Five Years as of this Christmas Eve!
Christmas Trees 2019
La Coope Supermercado, Atenas
Escuela Central, Atenas Daytime
Escuela Central Atenas at Night
Ugly Tree Atenas Central Park
City Mall Alajuela
City Mall Alajuela (Kolbi Telephone Tree)
Libreria Internacional, Biggest Bookstore, City Mall Alajuela
“City sidewalks Busy sidewalks Dressed in holiday style In the air There’s a feeling Of Christmas…”
Christmas is a really big deal here in Costa Rica! And the week between Christmas is like a week-long holiday with most businesses closed and many Ticos on vacation at the beach. ¡Feliz Navidad!
Feliz Navidad de Supermercado La Coope
Income Idea for My Fellow-Retirees
Someone just wrote me asking that I share this link with you in case you are interested in renting out a room in your house while at home or renting out your whole house while traveling or otherwise away, using AirbNB. It might be a good idea for you wherever you live as tourists visit all parts of the world now. (NOTE that I am not doing this nor recommending it.) Here’s how:
Alajuela City Christmas Tree in Juan Santamaria Park – BIG! And yes, overcast, windy, and cold for us in the 60’s! Alajuela, Costa Rica
Alajuela, Costa Rica
Variegated Squirrel, Central Park Alajuela, Costa Rica
Cathedral of Alajuela with staff working on incomplete Christmas decorations The manger scene parts were outside and not assembled yet. Alajuela, Costa Rica
The touristy look of my photos today is because I was showing Alajuela to a newcomer to Atenas and he learned how to ride the bus to Alajuela today and saw downtown for first time. And we had lunch at Jalapenos Central Restaurant where a British friend in Atenas walked in and joined us. Fun! My other reason for going was to return a Timex Watch to the Alajuela Walmart where they said they would send it to be repaired within 15 work days or by first of next year. If not repaired satisfactorily they will refund my money. Fair enough (cheap watch). With a cell phone I don’t have to have a watch, but got it for the quicker convenience of seeing the time. If not repaired, I will not replace it.
There are more than these two trees at City Mall Alajuela, but these are a sample of how into Christmas people are here. Every store is of course decorated better than the others and people are starting to decorate their homes. Christmas is in the air and Christmas Carols playing everywhere, more in English than in Spanish! In Atenas our Christmas Art Festival is 14-16 December with the Festival of Lights Parade the evening of 16th. It’s really a big deal!
The 6 AM Bird Walk had a different guide, Ronald, and a lot more birds today! Of course most photos are on my SLR camera, but the guide used my phone on his spotting scope for the next three photos below. I have some better ones on my real camera. All the guides here are provided by the Selva Verde Lodge, at a reasonable extra cost or in my case as part of a “Birding Package.”
Snowy Cotinga (A first sighting for me) By Nature Guide Ronald on my phone through his spotting scope Selva Verde Lodge, Sarapiqui, Costa Rica
Yellow-throated Toucan (formerly Chestnut or Black-mandibled Toucan) By Nature Guide Ronald on my phone through his spotting scope Selva Verde Lodge, Sarapiqui, Costa Rica
Mantled Howler Monkey By Nature Guide Ronald on my phone through his spotting scope Selva Verde Lodge, Sarapiqui, Costa Rica And I haven’t mentioned that I hear them often in the forest here.
Nature Guide Ronald at the front entrance to Selva Verde before we cross the road for birds in a botanical garden.
Then, late morning I got out of our lodge reserve to visit Dave & Dave’s Nature Pavilion which several people had recommended. It is basically a lot of different kinds of feeders on the edge of a thick secondary rainforest with a lot of birds. It provided me with some good close-ups and of a few new birds. So it was worth the 10 km drive down the highway. The father-son project has a great story behind it but I will let you read about it on their website at Dave & Dave’s.
More hummingbirds than I’ve seen almost anywhere else. Some eating out of that heliconia flower. Dave & Dave’s Nature Pavilion, Sarapiqui, Costa Rica
There was a group of German photographers there with their big lenses. Dave & Dave’s Nature Pavilion, Sarapiqui, Costa Rica
Dave Senior putting out more fruit for the birds. Dave & Dave’s Nature Pavilion, Sarapiqui, Costa Rica
Tonight I am going on the “Night Hike” and hope to get another good shot of a red-eyed tree frog. We will see. Animals are unpredictable. The restaurant has had this Christmas tree up since I’ve been here and they play Christmas music.
Christmas Tree Selva Verde Lodge Restaurant #1 Sarapiqui, Costa Rica
Tomorrow I’ve scheduled an early morning boat trip, Guide Evan is going with me. And oh yes, in the rainforest there are still afternoon showers, even in the Dry Season. A shot from my room this afternoon during the short shower to keep everything watered! 🙂
Rain seen from Riverside Room 45, Selva Verde Lodge, Sarapiqui, Costa Rica
LITTLE THEATER EXPERIENCE For you guys back in the states who think I just live with the birds and have no social outlets, you couldn’t be more wrong! Sometimes I have too much going on to live the slow, simple life I’m here for. One group I belong to is expats that take charter bus trips to San Jose for cultural activities plus some local recreational activities. Last week we went to the San Jose Little Theatre Group for a very interesting little play titled The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time. It was about a teen boy with Asperger’s syndrome that was a little emotional to me since that was one of Juli’s problems. But I enjoyed it and our group of 40 filled the theater which we had to ourselves. It was a late afternoon private performance and then we went to an Argentina Steak House for a very good dinner before returning to Atenas. Thanks to Tony Phillips who puts these trips together!
My “Little Christmas Tree” or Arbolitos de Navidad is actually a “Little Tree of Birds” or Arbolitos de Pajaros. Here is a so-so cell-phone photo of the tree now that I have received the additional bird ornaments I ordered from Guatemala and Peru. I earlier showed you 4 of the ornaments I got here in Costa Rica and called them Animales Fantasticos. Click to see them again. Today I will show some of the ornaments made of gourds from both Guatemala and Peru. More close-ups later.