When? Rain stops? New airport?

The clear skies from my terrace on today, December 1 (feature photo above), hint at what the next 5 months could be like as the rainy season slows down and stops for no rain in the Central Valley Dec-Apr. But like weather everywhere, there are sometimes exceptions and as a gardener I happen to like rain!   🙂    Either way, I will adapt!

The above shot is a single shot on my cell phone.

Below is a composite shot on big camera yesterday with clouds.

Nov-30_Panorama1 copy

Plans for New Airport in Orotina, Costa Rica on Hold

This Article Title link is to an old newspaper article that still holds true today as the government here is not yet ready to spend billions of dollars on a new airport (25 minutes west of Atenas) which would be in a lower, flatter, larger valley of farm land for much greater expansion than the current international airport in Alajuela (45 minutes east of Atenas) which is basically land-locked with expensive developments, though closer to the capital of San Jose. The new one would be closer to the Pacific Coast beaches and resorts.

The debate will probably never end (seen in responses to above article) and it will never happen until both the president and the legislature make it a priority which they still have not done. I expect to die before it actually happens, if ever, and it really doesn’t matter that much to me. 45 minutes is close enough to a major airport!   🙂

New Airpor Artist's Renditiont
Artist rendering of new airport in Orotina.

And a “Profile” is on the CAPA Center for Aviation website.

Plus I’m happy with the new Domestic Terminal (my photo gallery) at the current airport, since my only flights now are short hops within Costa Rica on little local planes with Sansa Airlines. So if you’ve heard there will be a new San Jose Costa Rica International Airport, don’t expect it before 2030, if ever, unless you want to donate money to the government to build it and maybe get your name on it!   🙂

¡Pura Vida!



Perfect Weather Here & Horrible Politics There

WARNING: Please Don’t Read if Politics Offend You!


The header photo above is Bribri Watsi Waterfalls, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica where I was two weeks ago. Warmer there than Atenas.

El Mejor Clima del Mundo = The Best Weather in the World

That is the Chamber of Commerce slogan for the small farming town of Atenas, Costa Rica because some writer said that years ago in an article he wrote in National Geographic. Of course a claim like that will always be debatable, but it is basically true for me and I cannot say it better than a fellow expat retiree in Atenas wrote yesterday in one of our local Facebook groups:

Weather and our green season = another perfect day in Atenas. Nice hot, clear skies in the morning (82F inside our home) and now rain with brilliant colors of blue, grey and white in our clouds. Perfect!!!! Feeling = happy.       ~Mary Cook

Note that we locals call “Rainy Season” (May-Nov) “Green Season” here. And it is definitely my favorite time of year! Sunny mornings & rain in late afternoon or evening. More comfortable, greener, more beautiful and fewer northern tourists!  🙂

¡Pura Vida!


I love the rain. I want the feeling of it on my face.

~Katherine Mansfield


My Left-wing Take on the U.S. November 6 Election

For years I have watched the dangerous fascist rightward movement of my beloved country of birth. I watched a John Birch Society take over and nearly destroy a church I served in South Florida in the 1960’s. As a lifetime servant of the Southern Baptist Convention I watched immoral shenanigans of power-hungry despots increasingly gain control of the then largest non-Catholic denomination at annual meetings. During this time I watched fellow-Christians being seduced  by the obviously non-Christian “Tea Party” politics. Then as a 22-year employee of the Baptist Sunday School Board (LifeWay Christian Resources) I suffered the “takeover” by right-wing fascists who brought in bankers and businessmen who saw only a bottom line profit and created the collapse of one of the greatest publishing houses and ministries ever created for Christianity, while “downsizing” out experienced servants like myself. At times I thought my total world was collapsing with the added trauma of an unfriendly divorce, single-parenting, death of a child and both my parents right before losing my job only 3 years before retirement age.

God’s provision for those 3 years was miraculous and wonderful, but the following 12 years of retirement in Tennessee continued to expose the dangerous political changes coming to America and my church and was one of my major, though unstated, reasons for moving my retirement to Costa Rica in 2014. And that was even before I knew anything about Trump.  Other reasons for moving here were listed in this 2014 post when I still feared alienating my conservative friends and blamed it mostly on high costs in the states. I think too much is at stake in America today to worry about alienating people now.

The dangerous fascism of many of my own Christian friends and many other factors led to the disastrous election of 2016, while I was enjoying retirement in my new home country of Costa Rica. Anyone who is not shocked by the immoral Donald Trump and his spineless Republican Congress has probably not continued reading this far. But I sincerely believe that NOW IS THE TIME TO BEGIN CHANGE! And I have yet to see it stated any better than an editorial in today’s Washington Post:

A reminder: America’s future is at stake in the 2018 midterms, an opinion article by Brian Klaas.

I hope you will be able to open and read it without being a subscriber. I’m not sure how that works. And I hope you will vote Democrat at every level this election! I already have in my absentee ballot. A blue wave is needed!

And now I hope to avoid politics for a long time in this blog. It is really about my retirement in wonderful Costa Rica! (But part of my heart is still in the states.) One week from tomorrow I will be reporting from a rainforest lodge near Golfito, Costa Rica:   Esquinas Lodge   Only positive stuff then!

¡Pura Vida!

Sleet or Hail – In Costa Rica !?

Sleet or Hail !
The fact that it was raining a second afternoon in a row is amazing in February!
But ICE is unheard of in the Central Valley of Costa Rica, at any time! (only at tops of a few high mountains)
I increased the contrast of photo a little – all the white spots are bits of ice – sleet or hail. (cell phone photo)
Ticos were trying to photograph something they had never seen before! It melted fast!
Atenas, Costa Rica

Okay, so you have had some strange weather in the states too! Weather seems to be out of the ordinary everywhere in the world now. And there are still people who don’t believe in climate change or global warming. Wow! Saturday and Sunday afternoon were the first two rains we have had in this calendar year, unusual even without the ice! It is Dry Season here! Shocked tourists?

I was eating a late lunch of fish at Colinas del Sol Hotel Restaurant near my house when it started raining with the first minute or so including ice. Above shot on concrete sidewalk outside restaurant.
¡Pura Vida!

5.2 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes Costa Rica This Monday Morning  This was way down south where I will be in two weeks, near Puerto Jimenez and Corcovado National Park. We did have a smaller tremor in Atenas Saturday which strangely I did not feel but “heard!” Mejor clima del mundo?  🙂

¿El mejor clima del mundo? InterNations Says So!

Recently, an international survey of expats found Costa Rica as having the best weather in the world. The organization InterNations asked the question about weather in its survey to expats in 195 countries. There were 14,000 respondents. InternNations stated, “If you move to Costa Rica, Cyprus or Greece, you can be sure to enjoy the outdoors almost every day of the year.”

The organization also went on to say that, “The most popular reasons for relocating to Costa Rica are for a better quality of life and a thirst for adventure.” “The country’s friendly people and great work-life balance are just some of the reasons why expats decide to move to this tropical paradise.”

My internet research also puts the Canary Islands up near the top of this list. Still a subjective opinion!   🙂    But I like being in the mix and most often at the top!  🙂

InterNations’ Best/Worst Weather Map

Weather was not my only reason for choosing to retire in Costa Rica, but a major factor. I literally live outdoors all the time in an alfresco style house with doors and windows always open all day and only window screens separating me from outside at night. I have no need for air-conditioning or heat at any time of the year and rarely use my ceiling fans on some warm afternoons.

The PR Slogan for my little farm town of Atenas (on the back of all our buses) is:
El mejor clima del mundo!   (vinculada al artículo en español)

The best weather of the world!   (linked to English article)

San Ramon, Costa Rica

This is the second post for today, Saturday, about the town separate from the healthcare tour.

San Ramon is higher in the mountains than Atenas, meaning
it gets much colder and rains more. It rained this morning & in 50’s.

San Ramon’s beautiful Catholic Church facing the Central Park,
like every town in Costa Rica.

They also have a boyero or oxcart driver monument like Atenas.
I like our Atenas metal one better. This one is on church grounds.
Like every town’s Central Park, you will find children playing, old people talking,
teens texting, talking or smooching, and a generally happy, tranquil place.
There is a band-shell for musical programs.

San Ramon is quite a bit larger than Atenas with more businesses and traffic, something in-between Atenas and Alajuela. I do not like it as well as Atenas because of the weather (colder and wetter) and the more crowded conditions. They do have a University campus which is a plus and a couple of museums we don’t have, but I think I will stick with my more walkable small town. Both are very “Costa Rica” in nature with wonderfully friendly people. They have a few hundred expats living there where we have over a thousand in and around Atenas.

The other post today about healthcare tour has more photos of San Ramon and yesterday’s short post has photo of tour group in front of Mural on La Posada Hotel where I stayed.

Very Windy Now!

See how the big Cecropia or Guarumo Tree leaves are blown hard to the left? Hard to photograph wind!
This is from one my rocking chairs on the terrace. It is not constant wind, but gusts and occasional periods of light wind.

Same shot seconds later with little or no wind. 

December and January are very windy, and though the constant sunshine ensures comfortable weather, these can be the coolest months of the year. – See more at: http://costarica.com/travel/dry-season-vs-green-season/#sthash.zyxlTX2x.dpuf

All my googling gives me no good reason for the usual December-January wind though Angelfire calls it the “trade winds” from the east (the same thing that brings rain in May-Oct.):

“The warm moist air driven westward by the trade winds loses its moisture as it crosses the cordilleras and the resulting dry air gusts down the Pacific slopes drying out everything in its path. With such low moisture content, few clouds form to block the sunshine and the prevailing winds keep Pacific breezes from bringing moisture onshore, thus, further promoting the dryness.”  -Angelfire

Or see the Wind Forecast Map of Costa Rica  (used mainly by windsurfers, kite-surfers)


Although Costa Rica is a small country in terms of area, there is a lot going on here in terms of weather in Costa Rica. With a climate that is diverse and varied, Costa Rica can be divided into several climatic zones, each of which are distinct and individual. Though generally classified as a tropical country because of its close proximity to the equator, Costa Rica has no real winter period, and the sun shines here throughout the year. In general the weather can be classified as a dry or high season and a wet or green season. With over 12 hours of sunshine a day, the sun rises at about 5:45 am and sets at about 5:45 pm consistently throughout the year.
    The main reason for the diversity in Costa Rica lies in the fact that Costa Rica has an ocean and a sea relatively close to each other, the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Of course elevation does also take part in the diversity of weather as well. For example Guanacaste which is next to the Pacific Ocean has a dry climate where there are many tropical dry forests, while Tortuguero which is on the Caribbean Ocean that is only about 130 miles or 210 km away (as the crow flies) has very humid and wet weather with rain throughout much of the year.
    The Central Valley with San Jose (ATENAS) enjoys the best climate in the country as the weather here has an average of 22 degrees Celsius or 72 degrees Fahrenheit and is tempered with a cool coastal breeze. In the highlands the temperature averages 13 degree Celsius, while in the lowlands or at sea level the temperature stays at around 26 degrees Celsius or 79 degrees Fahrenheit, with hot days and sultry evenings.
    In Costa Rica the average annual temperature is around 21 to 27 degrees Celsius or 70 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit and the coolest months of the year are November, December and January. The months March through May are the hottest months of the year, so make sure you protect yourself from the sun.
    There is no real summer or winter in Costa Rica and the rainy season here lasts from May to November, with the months of December through April having little to no rain and September and October being the heaviest rain period. While the average rainfall in the country is around 100 inches, some mountainous areas get as much as 25 feet of rainfall on a yearly basis. Also remember to keep in mind as we mentioned before that Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast is rather unique and has its own microclimate. With tradewinds keeping the weather hot and humid most of the year, there is no real dry season out here and it rains very often.

Or a more succinct discussion of Costa Rica Weather at Keys to Costa Rica

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.

~John Ruskin

Sailor’s Delight?

“Red sky at night, Sailor’s delight. Red sky in morning, sailor’s warning.”
Last nigh’t sky from west end of my balcony through the trees.


Last night’s sky from the driveway above my roof a few minutes later.

Well, sure enough, it did not rain yesterday and has not so far today and it is after 4:00! I have to go water the new plants! I was enjoying the rainy season shower every afternoon! But regardless, I’ll keep my new trees and flowers alive with hose water!  🙂  And then look at this beautiful image:


And looking northwest toward Central Atenas a gorgeous pink & blue!
I love seeing what God creates!
The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.   ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Starting New House with a Bang!

Blue-tailed Hummingbird

I was concerned that with not as many old growth trees next to my house there would not be as many birds, but not so! Shot this hummingbird from my balcony on my neighbor’s Powderpuff or Mimosa Tree (9 varieties of Powderpuff & 22 varieties of Mimosas in Costa Rica!) Two Kiskadees landed on my balcony railing yesterday but I didn’t have my camera ready! And today I was up the hill talking with my wonderful landlord when two Chestnut Mandibled Toucans landed in a neighbor’s tree and me again without a camera! I should have tried the cell phone but didn’t. 
Moved in Thursday morning. That afternoon a rep from Cable Tica came out and did the contract for internet & TV package. Today the techs came out and connected it and have it operating! That was quick for Costa Rica! I was expecting to wait a week or longer. I think I may like this company better that the bigger one used at the apartments and if my 8 mg of internet is not enough, I can pay to get even faster. So far so good. 
Woodcraft Paper Towel Holder
From Atenas Climate Fair
Last week I missed the horse show in Atenas and was determined to see at least part of the Climate Fair in downtown Atenas this weekend for Earth Week and the Annual Recognition of the historic Boyeros, oxcart drivers. Only walked through the vendors and arts and crafts yesterday (Friday). Today I spent a couple of hours there with minimum entertainment, but I had been looking for two days for a paper towel rack I could install under a kitchen cabinet and could not find one anywhere in town. Well, one of the craft booths had this cute cow paper towel holder which looks pretty good on my granite counter! 
The good music and big bands are all tonight downtown, but I’m just too tired to go back, but I can hear it since all my windows are open! And it is a big party with lots of music, dancing, and noise! Ticos know how to party and make music! All I got during the day was the usual Marimba music which is big among the older adults here and children dancing from a local dance studio. But I do have my cow paper towel holder and watched a lot of interesting people including the family with a pet pig. Here are a few of my cell phone photos from this afternoon: 
Central Park is a Fair this Weekend with rides, food, ice cream, artists & music
Like fairs back home, they attract young families here with even bouncy things.
Both children and youth represented a local dance studio. 
A disk jockey provided dance music for all.
And the ever-present Marimba Music for the older crowd! 
Family with a pet pig watching the children dance.

Tomorrow is the big day for daytime activities with Musica Cimarrona where dancers wear masks as an old traditional celebration which will be followed by the annual Oxcart Parade with oxcarts from all over the country parading through Atenas, home of the National Oxcart Driver Monument. I expect to get a lot of photographs!

Praying Mantis Sends Me Upstairs

Praying Mantis on my downstairs apartment tile floor this morning.
I had a lot more insects downstairs with no screens and close to the ground.

As I finished breakfast this morning, ready to move into Apartment 3, I looked down at my living room floor and found this lovely Praying Mantis praying for me as I make the move up to my “penthouse” apartment on the third floor. As you can see, now that I’m living a simpler life, it doesn’t take much to thrill me! Last week it was a walking leaf and today a walking twig. Tomorrow will surely have another serendipity!  🙂  And I’ll try to photograph my new view tonight or tomorrow morning. Right now is the hot afternoon and we face west. And yes I prefer the 80’s over Nashville’s single digit temperatures! It is nice to live in shorts and T-shirt! But then tonight I will sleep with windows open and maybe use a blanket.   -Charlie