Rio Negro Waterfalls & Hot Springs

I took the shuttle bus to Rio Negro yesterday morning for the 4 waterfalls and hot springs which I had alone, all 8 pools! I sat in one for about 25 minutes which is long enough for 40 degrees centigrade (104 F). As I was leaving a van of tourists from Spain came in from another hotel to soak in the hot springs.

The three birds are new ones for this trip. And these 3 were all photographed before breakfast in trees in front of my room!   🙂  The featured photo at top today is one of those, a White-fronted Parrot, a new bird or “lifer” for me!

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This approach view to #4 is similar to all 4 approaches from the dark forest.

4 Rio Negro Waterfalls

 

Rio Negro Hot Springs

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3 New Birds

 

“To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.”

-Aldous Huxley

Sunset by My Room Last Night — I leave this morning for Atenas via plane & taxis.

¡Pura Vida!

Hacienda Guachipelín

La Victoria Waterfall

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Santiago, left, & his dad Javier

One of the 5 waterfalls on the hotel property is where the whitewater tubing adventure begins but I did not want to do the tubing, so the adventure tours staff let me ride on the early guide’s bus (5-miles) to the falls and ride back on the return bus.

I just photographed the falls which included a short hike down the mountain to the falls with my guide Javier and his 8-year old son Santiago (asst. guide).  Fun guides that also took me to the butterfly garden and snake exhibit after the waterfall + birding along the way. A very good morning before it started raining! Bird, butterfly & snake photos will come later.

Quebrada Victoria (a small stream) forms the waterfall at the point where it flows into Rio Colorado and at that juncture is where the tour staff & participants depart on the whitewater tubing (in big tractor inner tubes) down the rocky Colorado River – see feature photo above. Easy enough for families with children to participate. I did that growing up in Arkansas as a kid and had a day-long tubing trip on a similar river when in college and decided it was not needed again!   🙂

The tours here also include a serious whitewater rafting trip down a bigger, wilder river with class 3 & 4 rapids, but I’ve also done that in TN and once was enough!   🙂

La Victoria Waterfall

It was not the prettiest but one more check off the list!

 

Javier insisted on making a photo of me with his son, who, like all Tico children and youth, was very respectful of age and very helpful, polite & friendly! A joy!

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Santiago & Charlie on the trail to Victoria Waterfall.

 

“Blessed are the curious for they shall have adventures.”

– Lovelle Drachman

This happened yesterday. Today I have another guide (Johnny) + Javier taking me birding here & then on a tour of the national park. Lots more photos!   🙂

¡Pura Vida!

Rio Sierpe Mangrove Tour

Wednesday of my visit to Uvita I took a taxi back close to the Palmar Sur Airport I flew into for the Mangrove Boat Tour on Rio Sierpe – my sixth place to do a Mangrove or River Tour in Costa Rica which always provides a lot of birds and other wildlife to photograph. This one did not disappoint! (Not my best, but very good!)

A Couple of Coincidences

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Carlos Gonzales

The big surprise for my solo boat tour with a captain and guide was that Carlos Gonzales was the guide – the same guide I had in Drake Bay at Aguila de Osa Hotel in 2017. He is one of the few “older” guides I’ve had in Costa Rica with the majority looking like they are fresh out of college. Carlos is 71.

Plus the funny coincidence was that the boat captain was also named Carlos and my name in Spanish is Carlos!   🙂   Tres Carloses!

Birds

 

Other Wildlife

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River Scenes

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“Oh, Eeyore, you are wet!” said Piglet, feeling him.
Eeyore shook himself, and asked somebody to explain to Piglet what happened when you had been inside a river for quite a long time.”
― A. A. Milne

🙂

¡Pura Vida!

 

Another Nature Adventure arranged by  Hotel Cristal Ballena!

This trip gallery:  2019-September 13-21–Cristal Ballena, Uvita

Turtle Beach Lodge

After two visits to Tortuguero at the Laguna Lodge (2010 & 2016), I felt I needed a change or to at least see what one of the other lodges is like. After an internet search I chose Turtle Beach Lodge. Two out of a total of about 12 to 15 is not the total picture but I at least can compare these two and I like them both. Laguna is larger, housing about 300 people while Turtle Beach houses about 150, depending on how many persons to a room of course, but that is the dining room sizes. Larger is not always better.   🙂

Its been 3 years since at Laguna, but I vaguely remember their food being better or at least a lot more choices beyond the typical Tico food buffet at Turtle Beach where you get rice & beans at every meal plus “mixed vegetables” (boiled cabbage & a few other veggies) along with a change in meat from fish, chicken, pork and beef in rotation for both lunch and dinner and one little meatless pasta. Turtle’s salad bar is skimpier than Laguna’s and had more flies. So overall I remember Laguna having better food.

Housing is very similar in both with basic screened-in cabins, camp-like firm beds, and a ceiling fan plus basic bathroom. Both have a swimming pool and beach access, while Turtle also has a pool table in the bar and most of the buildings seemed newer or more modern. Both have WiFi only in the public areas (dining room, lobby, bar, etc.) They are about the same with the same tours, nature and wildlife offerings and jungle living experience. Though Turtle Beach excels on the canoe or kayak option with their private canal.

I would be hard pressed to recommend one over the other though I lean toward my most recent experience with Turtle Beach, being smaller where you get to know the staff better and I easily got a private birding tour that included the guide paddling me in a canoe while I photographed. I did not ask for that at Laguna but it is probable there too. I also like Turtle Beach’s private canal better than Laguna being on the main river. And I stayed 3 nights at Turtle Beach which really makes a difference over the one night or two night stays before! To get the most out of a place you need more time there and that is my approach everywhere now, with 6 nights more common at other lodges.

Bottom line is that Turtle Beach edges out Laguna Lodge in all but the food which was better at Laguna. Now here are a lot of shots from Turtle Beach Lodge in four slideshows by my categories:

My Room

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Lodge Facilities

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Private Canal & Boat Dock

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Art on the Grounds

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The wilderness is healing, a therapy for the soul.   

~Nicholas Kristof

 

See my 2019 Tortuguero Turtle Beach Lodge Visit Gallery for more on this exciting rainforest trip!

Or the Turtle Beach Lodge hotel website

Or my photo book on 3 visits to TORTUGUERO, The Amazon of Costa Rica

EXTRA NEWS ON WILDLIFE OF COSTA RICA:

A Chat with Nat Geo’s “Untamed Costa Rica” Producer

“Costa Rica has one of the few places in the world where a wild ocean and a wild forest can converge simultaneously with one another.”          ~Filipe DeAndrade

¡Pura Vida!

River Roads

Getting to and from anywhere in Tortuguero is only by boat with outsiders able to use the Tortuguero Landing Strip to fly here by small plane. All week I have been traveling around this rainforest park by boat including my private birding trip in a canoe this afternoon with Ricardo doing the paddling and me making photos!  🙂   One photo below is from that canoe trip. It is a different world, a water world! Tomorrow the lodge takes me by boat to the Tortuguero Landing Strip for my flight out which is a relief since the gravel roads between Guapiles and the boat dock are in bad condition right now. It is only the second time I’ve gone to an airport by boat with the other being at Drake Bay.

River Scene Shots

 

Wilderness is a necessity there must be places for human beings to satisfy their souls.

~John Muir

 

See my 2019 Tortuguero Turtle Beach Lodge Visit Gallery for more on this exciting rainforest trip!

Or the Turtle Beach Lodge hotel website

Or my photo book on 3 visits to TORTUGUERO, The Amazon of Costa Rica

 

¡Pura Vida!

Maquenque Smaller Water Birds

Water birds are impressive and numerous all over Costa Rica with most of these found in all lowland waters on both the Pacific and Caribbean sides. I never tire of river trips or wetland visits because the surroundings are always changing and even though I see some of the same birds every time, they are never the same! At Maquenque I had both a river trip and lived for 5 days on lagoons that attract the same birds in these wetlands (el humedal en español) of the Caribbean Slopes of northern Costa Rica. A birding paradise!

Click Image to Enlarge

¡Pura Vida!

You may also enjoy my Costa Rica Birds Gallery 

and my 2019 Maquenque Lodge Trip Gallery

See the lodge website:  Maquenque Ecolodge

Maquenque Bigger Water Birds

Yeah, when I did the “Big Birds” post I failed to mention that some of the water birds are pretty big too, especially some of the Herons and the Anhinga. And here they are:

Click Image to Enlarge

¡Pura Vida!

You may also enjoy my Costa Rica Birds Gallery 

and my 2019 Maquenque Lodge Trip Gallery   

See the lodge website:  Maquenque Ecolodge

 

And a BONUS article in Tico Times for you who are more adventurous, like my 82 year-old friend Jorge who completed The 280 Kilometers, 16 Day, Coast to Coast Hike    on  el Camino de Costa Rica.

Pura vida for mountain hikers! I did one day on this trail and the almost constant uphill climbs was too much for me, though of course the whole trail is not uphill!   🙂

 

Tapanti Park & Scenery

Tapanti National Park
It is one of the larger parks including most of the Mountain of Death
Tapanti National Park, Costa Rica

Rio Macho 
Tapanti National Park, Costa Rica

A Bridge we crossed before entering the park 
Tapanti National Park, Costa Rica

A Huge Exotic Forest of Color and Contrast 
Tapanti National Park, Costa Rica

Great Forest for Birding 
Tapanti National Park, Costa Rica

Ferns 
Tapanti National Park, Costa Rica

Nest of the Red-faced Spinetail Bird (see bird in my birds post yesterday)
Tapanti National Park, Costa Rica

One of several Trails We Hiked 
Tapanti National Park, Costa Rica

Green! 
Tapanti National Park, Costa Rica

Balance in Nature! 
Tapanti National Park, Costa Rica
Balance is not something you find, 
it’s something you create.
Jana Kingsford

¡Pura Vida!


This exact same set of photos in my TRIPS photo gallery:  Tapanti Park & Scenery

And related is the gallery Tapanti Birds in this same TRIPS gallery below
Or see all of my Orosi Trip photos in the TRIP Gallery: 2018-February 6-10–Orosi/Tapanti


                                                                             -o-


Sometimes I share an interesting English Language Newspaper article, but today they all look interesting!  🙂

Updates from

Costa Rica Star News

Costa Rica News

In the 02/12/2018 edition:


Tambor Tropical Friday to Wednesday

Tambor Bay, Nicoya Peninsula, Pacific Coast
Where I will be for 5 nights this Christmas, 22-27 Dec.
Tambor Tropical Resort
A small boutique luxury hotel on beach of the calmer water bay of the Pacific Ocean
on southern end of the Nicoya Peninsula (Guanacaste) west of Puntarenas.
Catering to birders, nature lovers, adventurers and yoga people.
Tambor Bay, Costa rica
Not only is the hotel on the beach, but adjacent to a river with multiple birding/hiking trails.
This is my kind of place! I can hardly wait to get there! Birding guides to 2 reserves plus
maybe a boat trip to Tortuga Island along with the ever-present river tails above! And beach!
Plus most reviews rank the food and other services very high. A great vacation!
Tambor Bay, Costa Rica
Birding tours and bird photography tours they advertise on their site have package trips here for 3  to 4 k. (Paying for 2 or 3 leader’s ways usually) I will have pretty much the same experience with my own private guide for a small fraction of that cost. And more time to relax and enjoy the beach and resort. 5 nights will make it a perfect trip!
And so you may think it is weird to go birding Christmas (like I did last Christmas) well, here is a cell phone snapshot of my living room Christmas Tree, a leafless tree limb loaded with artisan birds from all over Latin America and a backdrop of bird photos. It’s a perfect Christmas for me! And another cool way to spend my son’s inheritance!  🙂   Enjoying Retirement in Costa Rica!

 

Bird Christmas Tree  (Click for close-ups of some of the birds.)
The leafless tree in the corner is sprayed with gold paint and has hanging on it 33 hand-made art birds from
every country in Central America made of wood, cloth, pottery, beads, gourds, etc.
I like it so much I have kept it up since last Christmas and probably will again all this year.
Charlie’s Living Room
Atenas, Costa Rica

I expect to give daily reports of my adventures at Tambor Tropical on this blog, so keep reading for my idea of a Merry Christmas and Feliz Navidad! Birding in Costa Rica!   🙂

My trip gallery for this trip: 2017 Christmas Week Tambor Bay 

And the hotel website:  Tambor Tropical Resort

-o-
 



Expats in Costa Rica most often feel safer than in the U.S.  Article in Live in Costa Rica Blog