“The ‘Eagle’ Has Landed!”

The only problem – he is not an eagle! On my first walk at Xandari for more than 2 hours up and down the hills through the jungle here I got a photo of the above bird perched on a dead tree and personally thought it was some kind of hawk. But when I got back an American woman and my Tico bellman both just knew it was an eagle. Well, there are 3 types of eagles in Costa Rica, all three rare and I quickly eliminated them with my bird book. An internet search got me to the right ID which I should have known, though all I’ve seen before now have been on big rivers. It is a Yellow-headed Caracara, (link to eBird description) a fairly common bird in Costa Rica and south through much of South America. See more of my photos of them in my gallery.  He is beautiful and you can see why non-birders would think him an eagle. A couple of shots from my hike today with more photos in the coming days. Too tired tonight!

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“Nature is the one song of praise that never stops singing.”

~Richard Rohr

Xandari Nature Resort

¡Pura Vida!

Sunrise Hike

This morning I did my birding hike at Macaw Lodge and kind of liked this photo of the sunrise along our trail. Thought I would share it in addition to the birds I photographed which will be in another blog post.

“There’s a sunrise and a sunset every single day, and they’re absolutely free. Don’t miss so many of them.” 
― Jo Walton

Macaw Lodge

¡Pura Vida!

Manuel Antonio National Park Tour

Yesterday, 23rd, was a full day with tour of the park and the night hike here at hotel wildlife refuge – thus I did not get photos all processed until today, the 24th, the anniversary of me living in Costa Rica four years now.

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I think I have said this before in the blog, but I will repeat that Manuel Antonio National Park is the most visited of all 28 or so national parks in Costa Rica and thus generally my least favorite because it is “loved to death” with too many people (think Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the states with the Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge mess). My last time here was in 2015 with Kevin Hunter and the park tour was different in that we saw some different animals and probably had a better guide who grew up in the area. We saw squirrel monkeys then which we did not this time nor the parrot snake I photographed on that visit, but otherwise similar. And this time we went to all three beaches in the park, while only going to the one main beach last time.

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If an animal is spotted by one group, all the other converge on that spot. Too many people!

And this time there are now more trails and a really nice series of bridges or elevated walkways through the mangrove swamp, handicap accessible with braille signs! Though behind the U.S. in handicap accessibility, Costa Rica is moving fast in that direction!

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I go mainly for the wildlife, so that is the main slideshow below, but many people come here for the three different beaches inside the park and pay the $16 admission just to spend the day on one of the beaches, so a shot of each of the three beaches is in the second slideshow. Overall, Manuel Antonio is just too “touristy” for me and I have no desire to return here. The hotel with its own wildlife refuge is nice and I love the views from the hillside, but it too is rather “touristy” and overpriced, so I don’t see myself returning here either. But glad I’ve had all these experiences! The Costa Rica tourists see.

Manuel Antonio Wildlife

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Beaches of Manuel Antonio

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“Adventure is worthwhile.”

-Aesop

 

See this TRIP GALLERY   2018 December Si Como No.

A Day in Corcovado National Park

These are the general or scenery photos. For the main events see my photo galleries on Corcovado  Birds   –   Other Wildlife   –   Los Patos Waterfall

 

The Lodge converted a farmer’s tractor & trailer for hikers/tourists 
This took us the 6 km from lodge to ranger station where others must hike along river
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

 

Rio Rincon or the Rincon River 
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

 

I was the old man traveling with two young couples from Europe
as here, we sometimes drove in the river bed.
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

 

And about 15-20 times we forded the river
When walking or riding a tractor, it is slow, even 6 km!
Plus we stopped for birds a few times, so an hour or so each way on tractor.
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

 

River is park border, thus one side is private property like this house above.
When I got back I was showing the waiter/bartender David Venegas these photos and
he said, “Oh! That is my grandfather’s house!” Small little world down here!
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

 

This young man couldn’t use his bike along river but was headed to the graded gravel road 
And note the machete strapped to his side, a basic tool all over Costa Rica!
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

 

We finally leave the river and enter the woods to the ranger station. 
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

 

At our hiking trail entrance near the ranger station 
After we registered and signed in at the station, we hike rest of the day.
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

 

“Velcro Plant” is what Jairo called it!
See next photo for why.
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

 

School children cut pieces of the “Velcro Plant” leaves and stick on their shirts to make lots of images!
 Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

 

We are quickly in a thick virgen forest.
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

 

There are still plants here not identified. 
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

 

More species in this park than in any other one place in the world! 
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

 

I want to photograph everything I see – but simply can’t! 
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

 

“Monkey  Brush” 
Jairo explains how monkeys use this fruit/seed of a tree to brush insects out of their fur.
Then one of our two girls demonstrated by brushing her hair. Incredibly good brush!
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

 

We stopped to see this “Stink Flower” 
which smelled awful! Like a dead animal!
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

 

And here Jairo collects some “Red Beans” 
He gave each of us 3 of the red beans or seeds and said
that tradition is they will bring us good luck if carried in pocket.
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

 

Meanwhile David is looking for birds & found many! 
See the trip Birds Gallery for some I photographed.
And the trip’s Other Wildlife Gallery for other animals
photographed both in the park and at the lodge nearby.
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

 

Passion Flower as one of many wildflowers seen 
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

 

About 4pm we were back to ranger station and on slow tractor drive back to lodge by around 5pm
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

This was just a brief overview of an all day hike that included the beautiful waterfall in a separate post yesterday and many birds and other animals shown earlier. Corcovado is truly an incredible place! See the bigger picture through my TRIP Gallery 2018 March 13-17 – Danta Corcovado.

 
 
Note that this trip was on the northeast side of park labeled “Los Patos.”
My trip last year was in northwest corner labeled “San Pedrillo” near Drake Bay.
And in 2009 I visited the south side of park at “La Leona.”
 
 
 
¡Pura Vida!

Los Patos Waterfall

Our hiking lunch break was at this beautiful waterfall!
Los Patos Waterfall
Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

David and I Ate Our Sack Lunches Immediately! 
 Los Patos Waterfall, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

While this Swiss couple were anxious to get into the water!
 
Los Patos Waterfall, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

Actually the German guy was first to dive into the water, while his girlfriend ate first.
 
Los Patos Waterfall, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

And here is my guide David Vargas diving in off the big rock (a belly buster!)
 
Los Patos Waterfall, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

First one girl and the other in next photo diving in
 
Los Patos Waterfall, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

Sorry I didn’t get the names of the two couples, the German couple here
 
Los Patos Waterfall, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

And before we knew it, time to dress and head back up the steep trail!

I had to make a portrait of my excellent birding guide David Vargas first!
 
Los Patos Waterfall, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

And I think Jairo made this shot on David’s cell phone camera which he posted on Facebook. 
Since I’m a birder and the two Euro couples are not, Jairo assigned David to me as the birding guide.
 Los Patos Waterfall, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica
I have hiked into Corcovado National Park three times now and this was the best! Both Jairo and David made it so as well as it being an excellent wilderness with fewer visitors. It was more difficult to hike with lots of steep hills or ups and downs which they say is the meaning of the Spanish word “Corcovado,”  –  “up and down”  though my online dictionary just translated it “hunchbacked” which is maybe a harsher version of the same thing?  🙂  My other two visits to this park were both on flat land near the ocean, La Leona and San Pedrillo and with different trees, plants and animals, though I saw more here – giving credit to Jairo and David. See the three locations on the map below.
I made a lot of other photos on this one all day hike, so check out the different category sub-galleries like birds, other wildlife and general Corcovado folder in my TRIP Gallery: 2018 March 13-17 – Danta Corcovado for a lot of fun images from this great wilderness.
Only one more Ranger Station I can visit – Sirena.  It is illegal to enter at any other point.
And Sirena requires a very long & difficult hike or boat or seaplane trip. Maybe someday!
Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica
¡Pura Vida!
I love this place!

Too Tired to Report on Biggest Adventure

Tractor Cart takes 5 of us and two guides into one of the wildest of parks.
It was all day with two “lifer” birds and swimming at a waterfall.
Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

Possibly my best park visit yet and with two of my favorite guides and two lovely couples, one from Switzerland and one from Germany. And all six young people doted on this old man. But I just finished dinner and too tired to sort and label nearly 1,000 photos, so the report might get spread over the next few days. I’m exhausted and off to bed at 8:00! And tomorrow I return to Atenas, so it could take awhile. 

¡Wow!   ¡This place is great!

Sunrise at Drake Bay

Sunrise from my cabin at Aguila Inn
Drake Bay, Costa Rica
You generally awake early here with 5 am sunrise, birds singing and today howler monkeys! Three of us guests had a 5:30 am two-hour birding walk down the bay to town of Drake Bay, up in the hills, and back to lodge for 8 am breakfast. A good morning, seeing a lot of birds, though my only camera is the cellphone, which means not as many photos. My camera has been in a bag of rice for two days, and still doesn’t work, so it may not be humidity. Just don’t know. 
Relaxing around the lodge the rest of today with maybe a walk through forest. I’m posting this in the morning today, Friday, my last full day here. Tomorrow a relaxed morning here and a 2 pm flight back to San Jose and home by 4!
I highly recommend Aguila de Osa Inn! Relaxing place, fantastic food, great tours and other possible activities.

My TRIPS Photo Gallery on this Drake Bay Trip

About Corcovado National Park (Wikipedia)  and  About Drake Bay (Wikipedia)

El Camino de Costa Rica HIKE

Earth Day 2017

Today I joined a group of supporters of the new coast to coast trail called
El Camino de Costa Rica
Hiking an 11 km section, with 8 km uphill! Very difficult.

One of many vistas along the trail
El Camino de Costa Rica

It was all on roads, mostly gravel
El Camino de Costa Rica

One of the many very steep uphill climbs (2 dropped out early)
El Camino de Costa Rica

We cossed and followed several streams
El Camino de Costa Rica

Passed a continous flow of small, poor farm houses
El Camino de Costa Rica

Had breakfast in a little rural Soda
El Camino de Costa Rica

And our after-hike lunch at a rural trout farm restaurant
El Camino de Costa Rica

Enough participated to fill a tourist bus!
El Camino de Costa Rica

One more vista, this near end of the hike
El Camino de Costa Rica

We did just one small section of a 263 or so km trail coast to coast and as the project proposes, walked through small farms in rural Costa Rica, this one in the Talamanca Mountains west of Cartago, but going through no town. See the video introducing the trail which uses some of my bird photos:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7euE5oQPC8


And if you would like to donate to the development of this trail through “crowd sourcing,” go to the website: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/el-camino-de-costa-rica–3#/
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