Limited Volcano Views This Trip

Though I always go to the lodge that is closest to the volcano (and surrounded by the most forest!), this trip Christmas week was the first time the volcano was covered in clouds most of the time. The only clear day, all day, was Christmas Day, with clouds and rain all the rest of that week! But with all the photos I’ve been sharing, you can see that the rain or clouds didn’t dampen my spirits too much!  🙂 Here are four different views of the volcano from four different locations including the one sun-shiny day shot!  🙂

¡Pura Vida!

Arenal Observatory Lodge Website

Or for what the volcano looks like this very moment:

Arenal Volcano Live Web-Cam

And note that the camera is mounted on the side of the lodge building just above my room 29 or my room deck, so basically the same view I got from my room or would now if there.  🙂

Two Volcanoes Today!

Volcanoes Irazú and Turrialba are almost twin volcanoes with a road connecting the near tops of both in the rural vegetable farming mountains just northwest of the lodge. The rich volcanic soil is great for growing vegetables and many are shipped to other countries including the states.

Turrialba is active right now, so we saw it from outside that park, but I have photos below of both. My one disclaimer is that there is not as much to see at these two as the Poas Volcano north of where I live and I do have past posts and photo galleries on my two visits there, plus a gallery on my visit to Rincón de la Vieja northeast of Liberia which is more like a miniature Yellowstone with lots of bubbling mud pots, hot springs and fissures. And Tenorio is similar. But my favorite is Arenal Volcano National Park for birding! You only see the volcano from outside. They are all interesting! And Stijn was an excellent guide again today! He made photos of me on his phone which I don’t have to share yet. And later I may do a post on the many interesting flowers and a couple of insects I photographed at Irazú.

The principle crater at Irazú can still be active.

Below are separate galleries on Irazú & Turrialba with 5 shots from each . . .

Continue reading “Two Volcanoes Today!”

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!


Rincón de la Vieja National Park

Johnny took me to the Rincón de la Vieja National Park today and we hiked 5 kilometers. My favorite part was the two waterfalls, one in the park and one outside near the entrance but on hotel property. Currently it is not safe to go look into the active volcano but we did see the smoke, hot water and bubbling mud which reminded me of Yellowstone. It is a tight forest so difficult to see birds but I did get some shots of a Crested Guan and some other wildlife.



2 Hikers & the Park

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Volcanic Activity

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And at the end of the day, your feet should be dirty, your hair messy and your eyes sparkling.

– Shanti

¡Pura Vida!

Hacienda Guachipelín

Old Woman’s Corner

What? — Well . . . that’s where I’m going next week.  🙂  One of Costa Rica’s largest and most active volcanoes is named “Rincón de la Vieja” which translated to English is “Corner of the Old Woman.” There is a long and involved forbidden love story among the indigenous people of Northern Guanacaste where the volcano national park is located. Fortunately the website of my hotel there, Hacienda Guachipelín, has a short version of the legend:

The Legend of Rincón de la Vieja Volcano

Rincon de la Vieja means “Corner of the Old Woman.” An indigenous legend tells about Princess Curubandá, daughter of the Curubandé tribe chieftain, who fell in love with Prince Mixcoac, the son of an enemy tribe chief. Curubandá’s father ended her forbidden lover’s life by throwing him into the live volcano crater.

Devastated, Curubandá became a recluse, living the rest of her life high on the volcano’s slope. She learned natural medicines from the volcano and developed healing powers. People seeking medicinal cures were told to go to “the corner of the old woman” by the volcano. And thus, the Rincón de la Vieja Volcano received its name.

The featured photo is of a Maleku Indigenous People Group close to Rincón de la Vieja and copied from the internet to represent the above legend.

The “Yellowstone of Costa Rica”

With hot springs, bubbling mud pots, two large volcano craters, rivers, mountains, and lots of wildlife this national park is like a smaller version of the U.S. Yellowstone National Park. I’m really looking forward to my visit there!

Its Also a Great Birding Place!

The park and my chosen hotel are listed as a “Birding Hot Spot.” Meaning I will be out on the many trails of the hotel’s large property each morning along with one or two trips into the park. And since it is a totally new area of Costa Rica for me I expect maybe some new and different birds along with the migrants now coming down from the north.

And Six Waterfalls!

Which is another fun, colorful and exciting thing to photograph in Costa Rica! I’m told that there is a large and beautiful falls inside the park and five on the hotel property! Wow! After birds and butterflies, it may be waterfalls for me and I already have photos of 27 in Costa Rica in my Waterfalls Gallery!

It is great to live and travel in “The Land of Nature” – Costa Rica!

“Man’s heart away from nature becomes hard.”     ~Standing Bear

¡Pura Vida!

Poas Volcano National Park in Costa Rica Will Open Doors to Visitors Again This Friday, Aug.31

Read all the details at:

This is one of the oldest and most visited national parks in Costa Rica and has been greatly missed for nearly a year now after some serious eruptions. Safety is always the first concern and you can be confident that it is safe to visit again now. Some say that it is the best or one of the best volcano parks in the world to visit. It is the only one here where you can look down inside the cone. Plus it is a beautiful cloud forest and nature reserve! I highly recommend seeing it when in Costa Rica and always best early in the morning since clouds often move in to hide the volcano by or before 10:00 AM!

The photo above is one of many made on a trip to Poas in 2015 with Kevin Hunter. See the TRIP Gallery Poas Volcano 2015.

First Half Day Hallelujah!

Yellow-throated Toucan Eating a Lizard
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Costa Rica

Male & Female Great Curassow 
 Arenal Observatory Lodge, Costa Rica

Lineated Woodpecker 
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Costa Rica

Rufous-tailed Hummingbird 
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Costa Rica

Montezuma Oropendola 
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Costa Rica

Red-legged Honeycreeper, female & male 
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Costa Rica

Palm Tanager 
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Costa Rica

Blue-gray Tanager 
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Costa Rica

White-nosed Coati 
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Costa Rica

Arenal Observatory Lodge, Costa Rica

Arenal Observatory Lodge, Costa Rica

Arenal Volcano from my Lodge Room 
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Costa Rica

Sunset from my Room Deck 
Arenal Observatory Lodge, Costa Rica

What can I say? The photos are worth a thousand words and this was just after getting here at noon today and eating lunch first. It is a totally amazing place and instantly one of my favorites! And with another 4 and 1/2 days yet to go!

¡Pura Vida!

And My Photo Gallery for this Trip is being added to daily while on the trip! A longer more leisurely trip makes this possible and my galleries are my main trip reports. Enjoy!

Poas Volcano Erupting

Official photo

For some of my visitors whom I took to see the closest volcano to Atenas, Poas, you might like to know that it is now erupting and no visitors allowed. It is still not giving us the dust that Turrialba still gives occasionally, but it is an hour+ drive away and is closed as a park and for 5 km around it.

Read more in this Tico Times Article  and see rocks, etc. thrown around the area. We have had no visible effects in Atenas but best to keep our distance for now. A few people living on the northern slopes claim they could see the eruption from their houses.

Video of Eruption 5 days ago on YouTube  (close up view)

Facts About Costa Rica Volcanoes, with some 200 vestiges of volcanoes, only 100 have any kind of activity and today only 2 or 3, Poas, Turrialba, and Arenal significantly, but others could.


this crater at Poas on a safe, clear morning that tourist often see when no clouds cover it:

My photo made in 2015

         . . . and the other Poas crater that is inactive as a Crater Lake:

My photo made in 2015 of the non-active cone or “Crater Lake”
Me in front of Arenal Volcano in 2010 on the Tour


Summer Flowers

My Breakfast View this Morning
It is summer here, school is out for summer break & more flowers are blooming.
Jan-Feb are also the windy months, but at least the volcano has slowed issuing ash.


What Our Costa Rica President Says about Immigration, an article in Tico Times today.

You guys in the U.S. feel free to share this article with your new president-elect. The quick summary is “If you want to get through a border, you’ll be able to sooner or later.”    🙂    And read about how CR deals with the flow of Cubans en-route to the U.S. through Costa Rica and the Nicaraguans and Colombians who come here to stay. Personal Disclosure: My maid is a Nica and my haircuts are at a Colombino peluquería and nobody seems to have a problem with that here. Everyone is welcome in Costa Rica, even arrogant Americans. Though there’s already enough in Atenas, so I’m not issuing an invitation!  🙂

Scenery Shots from Lost Canyon Nature Reserve

My favorite view from the mountain trail in Lost Canyon Nature Reserve. There are volcanoes way over there!

The new reserve’s nice, small sign at the farm house where we ate lunch.
Like most private reserves it is operated by a foreigner.
Our van driver finds the hammock at Lost Canyon!

From the reserve and enroute there we saw several volcanoes.

One volcano from the van window.
Yep, I had a whole van! Me, a driver and my guide.
That is the transportation for all tours with Tours Nicaragua.
By the way, I highly recommend them if going to Nicaragua for any reason!

And don’t miss my Nicaragua Birds photo gallery for 98 different species!
And remember that both my trips to Nicaragua were provided by Tours Nicaragua!  Check out what they offer! I’m happy with them!

Pura Vida!