La Gamba Field Station

I earlier promised a blog post on this unique place adjacent to Esquinas Rainforest Lodge and then I will lay off posts from that area for awhile. 🙂 And begin again tomorrow doing blog posts from my garden and the community of Atenas, Alajuela, Costa Rica! 🙂

Normally the station is full of students and other researchers as in this photo from their website, but the week I was there, they were in between research projects and I talked with only two students.

The University of Vienna in Austria does an exceptional amount of tropical and rainforest research with not only their professors and students, but with many guest researchers from other parts of Europe and from the USA and Latin America. Read more about this important research station on their English-language website: while being aware that the primary language there is German. 🙂 Austrians speak an Austrian dialect of German.

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Smithsonian Research to Hotel

The land this lodge is on has always been a family ranch and part still functions as such. After the big eruption in 1968 the Smithsonian Research teams started coming and camped on this family’s ranch. The family built a small hotel to better house them in 1987, along with a research “Observatory.” When the volcano became a national park this ranch became the only private property within the national park and as research diminished it became a public hotel that continued to expand. The only hotel in the park or within this much wilderness! Read the history of hotel on their website.

The last eruption (a small one) was in 2010, but before that visitors here could sometimes see the red lava flowing down to the rivers during the dark of night. Though still alive and producing nearby hot springs, it is not considered a danger now, though constantly monitored by scientists. And one of the optional hikes in the national park is across the lava fields.  Didn’t appeal to me.

The feature photo today is the research building they then called “the observatory” as the backside is all windows facing the volcano. A part of it is now a museum and there are about 8 guest rooms in that building which would be good for families since they are nearest the swimming pool AND has a big game room with ping pong, pool, table games, etc. And the gardens around it are very good for small birds as are all the gardens here!   🙂

Volcano Art


Research Museum


My last full day here was mostly rainy, but rain is nice.  🙂

Rain is grace; rain is the sky condescending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life.      

~John Updike

Arenal Observatory

¡Pura Vida!