Butterflies in Home Garden

“There’s no place like home” for garden and butterfly photos, well . . .  some of the time. 4 simple shots right out my door, one morning. Click to see larger.

See my Butterflies & Moths Photo Gallery for a lot more butterflies!

¡Pura Vida!

Retired in Costa Rica

Walking Over my “Jungle Hill” This Morning

I love walking by the gardens of my neighbors
Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica

Lots of flowers are always blooming, like this Bougainvillea
Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica 

This morning a toucan flew into that top tree
Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica

I got as close as I could and zoomed in with only my cell phone camera
Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica
Yellow-throated Toucan
I then cropped in further at home and mainly have just a silhouette, oh well.
My 300mm lens would have done better, but always hard as they usually stay high in the trees.
Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica

A view of central Atenas from above a different house than I’ve shown before (125).
Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica

And another neighbor house on top of hill I don’t think I’ve shown before.
Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica
Before I moved to Costa Rica, I said that I would never live in a rich gated community, so I need to be careful about using that word “never” since after 4 months of searching for a rental house I could afford that also met my needs, this is where I found it! And since most of these big mansions have “casitas” (“little houses” like mine) that they rent out or use for “mother-in-law cottages” or servants, I am certainly not alone living among the rich as a renter and 40% of the owners here are Ticos, so not just all foreigners. Plus it is the only really nice development like this within easy walking distance of Central Atenas; in fact most realtors say Roca Verde is in “Central Atenas” (loosely defined). 
With the Atenas public water system having many shutdown problems and unfulfilled promises from politicians, we are fortunate to have our own water system within Roca Verde that is almost never down, and if that is not enough, my landlord has his own private well and pump right here on our lot!  🙂  That is a bigger deal here than it may sound! I always have good water and good pressure. 
My landlord is one of the best and even though he has this property for sale, it hasn’t sold yet and that can take years here! A German man visited 2 days ago as a prospective buyer and assured me I could continue renting at the same price if he becomes my new landlord. I am not worried. My landlord, Jean-Luc, was also the developer of all of Roca Verde and with his partner in charge of the development maintenance, etc. until this year when a new homeowners’ association took over and they seem to be doing a good job so far and have even increased the security of the property. If you drive in the front gate to visit me, expect to show your ID and have your trunk inspected upon leaving and they may even call me to verify that you are really coming to see me. Interesting. 
I think I have already shared reasons for choosing the “Central Valley” as my place to live, like medical and shopping proximity, plus from here I can easily travel on my many adventures to parks and forests all over Costa Rica and further into Central America. And it will be easy to expand my travels into South America later. As “the next best place to heaven,” Costa Rica is the perfect place for me to live the final years of my life before the real heaven. ¡Perfecto!

¡Pura Vida!

Red Passion Flower

Red Passion Flower
This is same family as the more common purple passion flower which we
also have here in Costa Rica. Several neighbors have this red variety, 
and like the purple one is also a vine that can take over other plants.
Atenas, Costa Rica

See my photo gallery, FLORA & FOREST for many more tropical flowers here. 

Hillside Vista

On a walk over my hill today, not quite to the top, a different view.
Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica

Click image for larger view.

And see my photo gallery of Vistas in Costa Rica & neighboring countries.
¡Pura Vida!

Neighbor’s View of Atenas

Atenas as seen from higher up the hill from me in the morning fog.
This nice photo was made by Tom & Jessica, here for a couple of months on their trip around the world.
See their blog   http://www.worldwidewaftage.com/  Like most places you pay more for better view!
Of course they zoomed in on the church with camera – they aren’t this close!
Atenas, Costa Rica
Maybe call my view toward town “more natural” with more trees than even houses & no church.
I am barely on the side of a little hill while the other view is from twice as high & zoomed more!
Atenas, Costa Rica


I have now written more than 1,000 posts that have received more than 100.000 pageviews online from more than 20 countries. I guess there is a lot of random viewing of blogs by some people. 🙂


That Spot of Color is Joy!

Can you see it? In the fork of the guarumo tree on the distant hill. Red-orange.
It is a spot of color I see every time I walk out on my terrace and it brings a smile.
It is an African Tulip Tree I’m glad a neighbor planted!
Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica

It is a tree like this one by our front gate in Roca Verde, African Tulip Tree, native of Africa
and brought here as an ornamental tree for yards that adds new color to the many natural colors here.
Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica

And a little closer. 

The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love colour the most. 
John Ruskin

See my photo gallery:  Flora & Forest

New Neighbors & Normal Weather

The cow and her growing calf were removed (sold?) and these four brought into pasture in front of my house.
The fourth is a brown cow on right edge of photo. Sorry I couldn’t talk him/her into joining group.
The abundance of rain has given a bumper crop of grass!
Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica
There’s nothing like sitting back and talking to your cows. 
~Russell Crowe
And finally weather is back to “Normal” with clear skies in the morning!  
View from my terrace this morning at breakfast.
 Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica
What I call “normal” weather during the rainy season is sunshine and clear skies in the mornings and early afternoons with showers in the late afternoon or evening. Perfect! We’ll see if we get the showers today. For the last few weeks we have had tropical storms come in first from the Caribbean and then this week from the Pacific, meaning clouds and threat of rain day and night. Being inland we did not get the heavy rains both coasts got, though we got a landslide from Nate’s rains, just on the edge of Atenas. 

Good Morning World

Squirrel Cuckoo
My Garden, Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica

Two mornings in a row for breakfast and he gave me a better pose this morning. Plus in only one shot did all 5 tail feathers show like this, so I’m particularly pleased with this one! It happened just as the fog lifted on a beautiful morning in Atenas!

And on my walk downtown today I got a shot of the church I’m pleased with, but I’m holding it for another day. It is so enjoyable to just walk through this tranquil little town every day! And I often stop in a little shop for a cup of coffee and a rollito de canela (cinnamon roll). This is living!
Breaking News:
Atenas is one of the safest cantons (counties) in Costa Rica according to statistics!  
How encouraging to someone who lives here!  (right click to change article to English)

From Behind the Big Rock: African Tulip Tree!

From behind the big rock at Roca Verde entrance
you see the red-orange flowers of our African Tulip Tree.
Atenas, Costa Rica

African Tulip Tree
Zooming in on another tropical tree that blooms for about one month.
Atenas, Costa Rica

I walk about half a mile up a steep hill to Chef Dan’s house 2 or 3 times a week for one of his gourmet meals for dinner. Monday I had Shrimp Alfredo with side salad and Italian bread. Tonight I walked up the hill for Curry Chicken Salad Wrap with side salad and mango chutney. I eat pretty well most of the time to be living in the rainforests of Central America!  🙂

I begin my ascent at this big rock near the front gate and of course come back by it on my way home for this view. The front side of the rock is often covered in moss, thus the name “green rock” (roca verde).
This big tropical flowering tree is by the guard house at the front gate but you see it better from behind the big rock! It is a native to Africa but planted in many tropical areas including Costa Rica as an ornamental tree. The scientific name is Spathodea campanulata or commonly called African Tulip Tree. What’s really neat about all the tropical trees with beautiful blooms here is that they nearly all bloom in different months, so that we almost always have some tree blooming somewhere in Costa Rica! What will I see next week in the Caribe?

For other blooming trees in Atenas, see my Walking Atenas photo gallery

Or for the whole country, see my larger Flora & Forest photo gallery

Rainy Season, el invierno, winter, or “Green Season” is at its peak in Central Valley in September and October when we get the most rain, typically 6-8 hours a day, mostly in late afternoon and evening. Great for sleeping! November is the “shoulder” month or when it tapers off and by December no rain for 6 months! Sad to me. I prefer the rainy season! Not only is it greener and cooler, but fewer American tourists!  ¡Tranquilo!   🙂

Another interesting phenomenon in rainy season is that while Sep-Oct are the heaviest rains in Central Valley, it is also the time when the Caribbean gets the least amount of rain! Thus I always plan my trips there in Sep-Oct!  🙂   Also note that both coasts are coastal rainforests which get rain year around, even when it is not rainy season here. I would like living there for that but not for the always hot and humid condition of the beaches. (Though the NW corner called Guanacaste is the desert area and pretty dry year around.) So I think the Central Valley is the best place to live with easy access to the whole country and the best overall weather! In fact the PR slogan of Atenas is “el mejor clima del mundo” or “the best weather in the world.”

One realtor’s take on it: 
And the Canary Islands also claim the best weather in this interesting video:
But that is the other side of the world! Different continent!

Orange-chinned Parakeets

Orange-chinned Parakeets
Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica

Orange-chinned Parakeets
Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica
Fly-away Orange-chinned Parakeets
Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica

Orange-chinned Parakeets
Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica

These parakeets and some red-lored parrots fly over my house every afternoon going up the mountain, but seldom stop at my house. The Orange-chinned Parakeets did stop briefly today in a tree in my yard and a dead tree across the street. They were in the tops of the trees and very difficult to photograph with little good light. So this is my feeble attempt to capture them.

The orange chin is seldom seen unless in very good light, but I am sure of the ID because of the prominent brown shoulders and the little yellow dash below the shoulder in the bottom photo. Bird ID in bad photos is real detective work!  🙂
My BIRDS Photo Galleries

“A prayer for the wild at heart kept in cages.” 

― Tennessee WilliamsStairs to the Roof


Anyone considering a move to Costa Rica should read this article by someone who decided it was not for them. Why We are Leaving Costa Rica.  As I have said before, living here is not for everyone and this is only one example. There are many other reasons people try it and decide it is not for them, like impatience with the slow culture, language, lack of infrastructure, “its not the way we do it back home,” missing family, and many more. But this article relates to something else I have always believed, that life is not about being happy but about having purpose and meaning in life. Only you can determine that and whether living in Costa Rica would help fulfill it. And certainly several long visits here before you make a move would help you find your place, both here and in life!