Of the Marvelous – Trip Book

Sorry there were two posts yesterday, the old man gets flustered on the computer sometimes and makes mistakes! I intended for one of those today and this one for tomorrow, but here it is anyway! 🙂

I think this is one of my best books yet on travels around Costa Rica, this one about my week in Uvita on the southern Pacific Coast, whale-watching, many birds and other wildlife, sunsets, a river trip and visiting one of the most beautiful waterfalls I’ve seen yet in Costa Rica, Nauyaca Waterfall, my 27th waterfall to photograph here!

You may see or “Review” every page of the book electronically for free without having to order. Enjoy another one of my tropical adventures in Costa Rica!     ~Charlie

The book:     https://www.blurb.com/b/9678019-of-the-marvelous

Or click the book cover image:

Click to PREVIEW this book online for free

“In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.”

And for even more photos see my “Trip Gallery” 2019 Cristal Ballena, Uvita

¡Pura Vida!

Four Links to help you Explore Costa Rica

Los Patos Waterfall, Corcovado National Park

First, as shared on Facebook, here is the link to my most recent TRIP Gallery

2018 March – Danta Corcovado
It was one of my best trips yet and I do recommend the lodge.

NOTE: This gallery is in the TRIPS folder of galleries where you can check out every trip I have ever made in Costa Rica with photos of the lodges, birds and other sights in each place (56). Trips are listed chronologically with most recent at the top. OR for a focus on just the lodges or hotels, I have an evaluation/review of every one I have visited here at:   Costa Rica Lodges & Hotels (35) listed alphabetically by name.

Tico Times Suggests
 Explore the best of Costa Rica with this two-week itinerary

Arenal Volcano

It might not be exactly how I would plan a two-week tour of Costa Rica, but it is a very good plan and includes a variety of sights and locations. And it includes both Tortuguero and Drake Bay, two of my very favorite places in Costa Rica! It would be a good choice, so consider it! 
If you only have 9 days to tour Costa Rica, I recommend Caravan.com tour of Costa Rica. It has some of the same places as 14-day tour without Tortuguero or Drake Bay, so of course the two week tour is better!  🙂  But Caravan gives you more for your money than any tour company here, period! The all-inclusive price is a real bargain!

And if you are considering moving here or retiring here like me, I consider it essential to take Christopher Howard’s Live in Costa Rica Tour.   It is one week (8-10 days) with a 3-day tour of the Pacific Coast, a 2-day ARCR Seminar in San Jose to answer every possible question, and then a 3 day tour of the Central Valley (where I live). And he had an optional tack-on tour of Guanacaste when I took it. Check his schedules on his website, there seem to be different lengths of tours.

And however you see Costa Rica, I hope you find our
¡Pura Vida!

Charlie Doggett, Retired in Costa Rica!

Little Theater in San Jose

Frank Z had better photos than me, so I’m leading with his!
I know! I’m always talking! And usually on the front row!
Frank capture part of the group very well.
There is another smaller wing of seating.
Little Theater, San Jose

For more photos, see my Little Theater photo gallery.
The play this time was actually 4 monologues titled “True Reflections” written by British Playwright Alan Bennett and acted by 4 professional actresses from England living here. They covered 4 serious subjects about aging with both seriousness and that subtle British humor. Very well done as they dealt with alzheimer’s, death of spouse, change in living situation, and a sort of an affair. 
This was my 3rd time to see one of the Little Theater plays and all have been exceptionally well done or very professional. It is one of the regular “trips” for our Atenas expat’s group. 
Retired in Costa Rica
¡Pura Vida!

Back Home Buses

Orosi Scouts in Cartago (through a dirty bus window)
These five teens are Scouts from Orosi who rode the bus with me to Cartago, for an event I imagine.
Girls and boys are all in the same Scout program here, wearing bright blue shirts & navy pants + scout neckerchiefs.
But note the two girls and one of boys have on jackets because it was in the 60’s farenheit this morning.
And yeah, that is very cold here! And they got off the bus earlier than me is why the bus window shot.
Cartago, Costa Rica

“Coca Cola” Bus Station in San Jose
It is on the site of an old Coca Cola bottling plant and thus the name.
I waited only about 10 minutes for this bus to load and no wait in Cartago!
But the bus from Cartago went to the Lumaca Station and I took a taxi to here
which was another 10 minutes!  Note the row of pay phones, a disappearing sight, even here.
San Jose, Costa Rica
Most working people in Costa Rica travel by bus rather than by car (only rich people have cars) and thus it is a good way to get to know people and culture here, not to mention the language! I used my rough Spanish a lot this week since not too many in Orosi cater to English-only North Americans. 
It has been a good week and both bus trips were good and fairly easy. My biggest learning experience on this trip was that I will try to avoid B&B’s in the future. First because I prefer to have a “built-in” restaurant and/or close to good restaurants. Second, she had 3 big dogs and 2 cats and thus almost no birds and the animals hovered a lot when I was out of my cabin, wanting my attention. Plus she did not mop the bathroom the whole 4 nights I was there and provided only one hand towel and the one knife in the kitchen was not sharp enough to cut the peeling on all the fruit she provided for my breakfasts. Not my favorite lodging in Costa Rica, but the birding and local tours were great and I have a lot of photos! The Orosi area is a beautiful and great place to explore AND bird!
¡Pura Vida!

Orosi Valley Tomorrow

Orosi Valley

Note to those who get this blog by email (about 50 of you) that each post is emailed out at about 2AM in the morning automatically by a computer after the day I post it. So I am doing this for Monday posting and you receiving Tuesday morning while I am traveling by bus from Atenas through San Jose and Cartago to the little village of Orosi in the Orosi Valley next to Tapanti National Park. Here is the link to my Google Search on

Of course I plan on photographing birds in the Tapanti National Park and at the B&B grounds plus maybe other locations like El Copal depending on transportation options. Then there are the ruins of the oldest colonial church in Costa Rica there plus the current Orosi Church is the oldest still-functioning church in Costa Rica. There are supposedly good restaurants in Orosi, a botanical gardens, waterfalls, and other sites that will be surprises for me when I get there!  🙂   So the next few days should have posts of what I am seeing daily there, assuming I have internet connection. This is a whole new area of Costa Rica for me to explore and I understand another popular place for retirement.
¡Pura Vida!
Retired in Costa Rica

A Bonus Note:
And if anyone noticed that we had our presidential election (1st round) Sunday past, Two of the many candidates made it to the runoff election which will be on Easter Sunday this year, meaning no special events beyond mass and worship services allowed like the usual Catholic Processional Parade through town. No competition to voting, yet even with that only about 60% actually voted. Democracy is difficult to make work everywhere, but I think 60% is probably much higher than the U.S. voter turnout. 
And those two winners? Well the older and most “conservative” is Fabricio Alvarado, an evangelist and gospel singer who is a non-politician and surprise winner because he is rabidly anti-gay during a time that most Latin-American countries are starting to legalize gay marriage. This mostly Roman Catholic country is generally homophobic and that is the only reason this unqualified Trump-like jerk was selected. Amusingly, the other candidate in the runoff is also named Alvarado, Carlos Alvarado, a young man who will accept gay marriage and some other liberal ideas. This morning’s newspaper headline was something like “Two Alvarados in Runoff!”

And here’s today’s article in one of our online English Language Newspapers titled:
Evangelical Candidate Leads, Country Heads to a Second Round  This is really a big deal in a majority catholic country! 

It will be interesting to see what happens. (If I were a gambling man, I would say homophobia wins here and thus the unqualified evangelical.) But if much of the younger generation, like my Spanish teachers, get their young friends out to vote, it could go the other way, plus some catholics will have trouble voting for a non-catholic. No one really needs a singing evangelist as their president even if you don’t like gay marriage – that could be almost as bad as having Donald Trump! (Though thank God there is no racism here! But homophobia is alive and well!)
Why can’t I vote? I’m a legal resident but not a citizen which is a much more complicated process and at my age – not a goal! And “Not my problem!” is another way I stay sane and tranquil!   🙂

By Bus to Bijagua

I road my familiar bus to San Jose Coca Cola Station and then
a taxi to Pulmitan Station where I waited for the bus to Upala with everything
indoors at this station, including the boarding of the buses. I nice terminal.

And if I had not eaten breakfast at home, I could have eaten here.
I did have coffee of course and read a little of a Spanish language
newspaper and the latest book on my Kindle while waiting. 

It was the same bus all the way to Bijagua with many brief stops picking up people. Yes, it was a “collectivo” stopping anywhere someone was at a stop and went into Alajuela Central to pick up a lot of people there. It was definitely best that I went to San Jose and got my favorite seat, the front right seat looking out the windshield all the way up! It was most of the way on Highway 1 and from Baranca on a very familiar route to me which we used on our “Visa Runs” that first year. And the Baranca bus station is also a restaurant with shops and big restrooms that I have stopped at many times, so quite familiar. We had a 20 minute break there. All other stops were along the road including my stop in Bijagua in front of a Soda. I found an unmarked taxi that took me to the lodge.

After arriving at Celeste Mountain Lodge I wandered around with my camera for a few birds in the garden and a bird-less hike on a rainforest trail which I will try again in the morning. The room is basic and nice but the food is fantastic gourmet food! At least dinner was tonight! 3 more dinners plus the other meals. It will be amazing if they keep up the quality of food we had tonight. It is one menu for everyone each night with something new everyday. We started with the best 3-cheese quesadilla appetizer with homemade peccadillo that I could have made a meal of! Then sliced chicken breast with this scrumptious sauce accompanied by three local fresh vegetables all cooked differently, with their own sauces. My Planter’s Punch went great with this and it was topped off with a delicious chocolate layer cake. Wow! Beats bus stop food!  🙂
I have a lot of pictures from this afternoon here, but will save them for sharing tomorrow. Tired and sleepy now! And it is cool tonight! Down to 17c or 62f.   ¡Buenos noches!

Another Expat Trip to San Jose

Yeh! It is kind of like the senior adult trips we had at both First Baptist & McKendree Village when in Nashville. And a lot of fun! Focus this time was indigenous people art work that we were not suppose to photograph. I honored their rule (though some did not). Bought nothing!:

NAMU is the Bri Bri indigenous language for Jaguar and name of shop.
Not allowed to make photos inside. Lots of masks, baskets, carvings, etc.

Afterwards we stop at “Porky’s”
for a choice of 50+ hamburgers & 100’s of beers.

This was my second trip with this group, the other being a Central American Art show I shared about in one blog post. July 31 I’m going with the music lovers of this group of expats to San Jose for a performance of the opera La Boheme. That should be interesting since I have not generally cared for most operas, but think I will like this one. I’m reading the English translation of the script now thanks to Kindle! The men get together for dart tournaments but that has not interested me yet.

The Shock of a Robbery

Today I took a last minute trip with the Atenas Community Band (Banda) to Puntarenas, the port city on the Pacific side. They were celebrating a local political hero with a parade that had bands from all over the country. I road with the band on the charter bus (and paid my share of bus cost), then watched them get ready and watched most of the parade with many bands, most made up of almost all drums. I’ve been told that is because most schools can’t afford to hire teachers to teach how to play other instruments, nor afford the instruments. All the drums belong to the schools or community bands, not the kids. Anyway, it was a nice parade even if not as colorful as 15th of September Parade. I made lots of photos that I no longer have.

At least Nicole enjoyed his
“Churchill,” a slushy with ice cream!
Can you imagine that?

A group of 6 of us went to eat at a beach-side cafe where I absent-mindedly laid my camera bag (backpack) on the concrete floor behind my chair next to the sidewalk. We ate, visited, and had a good time together. As we got up to leave I realized my backpack was gone, easily grabbed by someone walking by. I should know better! As someone suggested, I paid my “Gringo Tax” or more accurately my “Stupid Tax.” I did feel stupid, but also a little empty, violated, hurt, and helpless. We told a foot patrol
 policia  who just told us we had to go down to headquarters to file a report and the bus was leaving in 15 minutes. Nothing else to do.

With no cameras beyond my cell phone, I cancelled my Monzanillo Bird Watching trip (which I had thought about doing anyway with my busy schedule and expenses) and will use the money saved to help buy a single new camera and a better lens that I have been wanting anyway. But it will cost a whole lot more here, whether purchased locally or on internet with import taxes. Maybe the duty free shop in Nicaragua will have a good deal tomorrow, but I doubt it. And in the mean time I honestly feel sorry for the thief, who must live a hard life. Does he give any thought to the person he robs? He can’t think very well of himself!      

Tomorrow early I leave for Nicaragua border to renew my visa. G’night!

He who is a partner with a thief hates his own life . . .     Proverbs 29:24

Trip to the Mountains Tomorrow

My shot from the top of one of the mountains in Talamanca range in 2014.

My general plan was to get settled in a home, explore locally,  then travel, maybe as much as a week or weekend ever month to continue my exploration of this amazing Costa Rica. I’m now into the travel stage beyond some short trips earlier. Joining the Birding Club of Costa Rica came with a built-in trip every month, though eventually I will skip some of those and do my own thing. But for this month and next I’m doing the birding club trips and adding my own exploring days while in that part of the country.

Today (Tuesday) I take bus to Alajuela, pick up some mail, go to airport and get a rental car. Tomorrow after Spanish Class, I drive south 2-3 hours into the Talamanca Mountains where I have been two other times (09 & 14) but love it enough to go again with the club. I’m going early to explore a different part of the mountains, Mount Chirripo, the tallest mountain in Costa Rica. I’m not climbing it! But staying at a yoga retreat center lodge near the base, next to a national forest and the national park, Rio Chirripo Retreat. On Thursday I have scheduled a birding guide to take me out for some good photos of birds other than quetzals. Then Friday I move to Miriam’s Quetzals to join the club for more birds including the Resplendent Quetzal. There I’ll share a little cabin with some other guys there without spouses. Birding is all we do for two days. So get ready for some more bird photos!  🙂 And oh yes, it gets cold up there! I’m taking 2 weights of jackets plus long pants!

And if you don’t remember what a Resplendent Quetzal looks like, here’s my earlier shots of some.


Just in: Guava Leaves are Good for You! As much as the powerhouse Costa Rica fruit Guava. My favorite is Guava Marmalade, but good in fruit punch or just a guava fresca or guava ice cream! But I still prefer guanabana as first choice to drink! My cancer prevention fruit!  🙂

A good article:  7 Things to Consider Before Retiring Abroad   And it is not just about Costa Rica. For what it is worth, I seriously considered Panama as my second choice and the cost of living is lower there than in Costa Rica but more nature here won out for me. Wherever you consider moving, check out these 7 things as a minimum and then visit the country multiple times and study it before moving there. Then you almost always want to rent at first to make sure the area or neighborhood is where you want to settle before you buy. It is easier to buy than sell! Me? I will only rent. Freedom! (And lack of money!) You too can have a stress-free life in paradise without American politics, crimes and wars!  Pura Vida!