Pacific Coast in Costa Rica

Our hotel complex Tamarindo Diria Beach Resort in Guanacaste on the Pacific coast was huge with buildings and gorgeous landscape on both sides of the main road.  A traffic guard stopped traffic when any guests needed to cross.

CostaRIn fact, all guests wore wrist bands, like hospital ids, as proof they could access the property.  The bands could not be removed and passed to someone else.  So they were cut off as we boarded the bus to leave.

CostaR1All of the Mayan looking statutes seemed strange to me.  According to our very knowledgeable guide, there were only about 50,000 natives in the whole country area when the Spanish landed in what is today southern Costa Rica.   Among the natives were 27 different languages, ethnicities, and ruling orders.  They have been almost completely absorbed by the Spanish.

The flowers above are Ixora.

CostaR7If you have been to a resort area in Mexico, this had the same feel about it.

CostaR2The way this soil and grass is built up around the trunk of this palm is the exact opposite of what tree arborists instruct here.

CostaR9Lovely  beach.

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CostaRfI love these small flat topped trees.  They make a great shade.

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CostaRhThis iguana ran under my lawn chair.

CostaRiHe was only about 18″ long.

CostaReHow these Crotons (Codiaeum variegatum) survive in direct sun is a mystery.  Recommended growing conditions are bright indirect light, humid air, and cooler temperatures.

The weather was all over the place on this trip.  This was a really hot spot with full tropical sunlight.  In the afternoon it was definitely uncomfortable to be outside.

CostaRkUnknown to me, like most of the tropical plants, but beautiful.

CostaRoThis Strangler Fig provided the shade for one of the hotel’s dining areas right by the beach.  These trees in the Ficus family grow up around another tree and eventually kill it.  This most often happens in forests where the competition for light is fierce.

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CostaRpA hatched cabana similar to many seen on Caribbean islands.

We ate our meals in the dining room behind this cabana.

IMG_3506At all of our hotels except one, the restaurants were open aired.  One morning this bird joined us.  He hopped boldly on tables and chairs.

This picture and the following two were provided by Diane Atchison.  She was in our group and very generously shared her pictures and gave permission for me to post them.

IMG_3489From my internet search, this is a Costa Rica Bluebird.  Very cute.

IMG_3520Perfect shot.  Thanks, Diane.

CostaRdThe sidewalks through the “village” of hotel buildings had lovely leaf impressions.  Manpower must be cheap.

CostaRrMangoes growing by the balcony near our room.

CostaRmAlthough I’m not a real beach person, the scenes were lovely and peaceful.

CostaR8The sun is low and many were enjoying water activities.

CostaR3All these following shots is my attempt to show the sun setting over the Pacific.

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CostaRcThe hotel swimming pool in the cool of the evening.

This was probably the only truly relaxed part on our trip.  Most days we were on the move with early morning departures to travel or to visit sights.

“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”  William James

On the Road in Costa Rica

On the way to the western coast of Costa Rica, we stopped at a restaurant just off the highway for lunch.

CR2Behind the restaurant was this landscaped hill.

CR3“Pura Vida” literally means pure life.  But in Costa Rica, it is used as an answer to a greeting, as a farewell, and as a way to express gratitude.   It defines the people and their positive attitude about life.  It’s like saying “All is well” or “Life is good” no matter what the circumstance.

CR4Beside the clock is a toucan image.

CR5There were cages containing some birds.  The tail feathers look like those of a pheasant.

CR6Don’t have a clue what this fowl is.

It is illegal to hunt anything, anywhere in Costa Rica.  So all food animals and birds must be raised.

CR7Beside the restaurant was a tourist souvenir shop, which had some hand painted items.  There were actually more locals eating at the restaurant than there were foreigners.

An aside about food in  Costa Rica.  We ate the traditional lunch of white rice and black beans.  We had some white fish with it.  Women usually cook one large meal a day.  It’s at lunch time.  With the rice and beans, there could be some fruit or vegetables like tomatoes.  Sometimes there is also fish or chicken.  Rarely is there beef.  Then at suppertime, the beans and rice are combined with some onion and other seasonings.  This same dish is served at breakfast.

For the most part, they do not snack in between meals and eat little fast food.  We did not see any obese natives, so they must be doing something right.

Plus, the whole, entire country is hilly.  There doesn’t seem to be any level ground.  So walking, which they do a lot of, provides great exercise.

CR8Another painting outside the shop.

CRcAfter we left that area and continued driving, the bus driver spotted this Howler monkey in the trees along the road.

CRdIf you look closely, with some imagination, the monkey has turned its back towards us.

black-howler-monkey_467_600x450This picture came from the internet.  Although we heard Howlers several times on the trip, we were never close enough to get a good view.

“Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.”  Abigail Adams

Lush Costa Rica

While the ice and snow were falling here, we were enjoying the weather of the tropics.  Of course, we had to face the music when we landed at DFW.  After an extra long bus trip to Abilene, we were iced in and had to spend two nights in a motel there.

We traveled to Costa Rica with Bilbrey Tours from Abilene, so our starting and ending points were there.

costarica1The grounds of our first hotel in San Jose, the capital, exhibited the lushness of a warm climate with plenty of rainfall.  I could not resist taking pictures of the beautiful landscaping.  We only over nighted here, so these were taken in early morning conditions.  Even so, the sunlight was strong and the shadows of the buildings, deep.

costarica2Begonias were used in many beds.

costarica3The tropical Ixora thrives here and certainly doesn’t need to be confined to a pot, like mine in Texas.

costarica4It was surprising to see so much Lantana because it survives so well here in dry Texas.  This is probably the New Gold Lantana.

costarica5Here Lil Miss Lantana is mixed in with another flower.  The red blooms may be another Lantana.  I’m not sure.

Many of the beds were in raised concrete that were tiled.  So pretty.

costarica7Not sure what these flowers are.

costarica6I think I should know but don’t.

costarica8Another type of lantana, maybe Lantana Camara, edged with what looks like Alyssum. costaricab

costaricacDeep red Begonias.

costaricaeThis may be Ginger?

costaricafAn open corridor leading from guest rooms to the reception area.

costaricagAgain the white looks like Alyssum and the one with the pink flowers could be Mexican Heather.

costaricahThere were lots of different species of Coleus.

costaricaiWouldn’t it nice to have gardeners who keep everything so trimmed and neat?

costaricajLove Plumbago, although it has to be grown in a container here and carried in for the winter.

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costaricalThis might be la parola del giorno Lantanta..

costaricanPalm trees with clusters of orchids growing on them.  There are 1,500 different species of orchids in Costa Rica.

costaricamEven though these orchids are growing on a tree, they are not parasites.  They are epiphytes which derives its moisture from the air, rain, and sometimes from debris around it. It does not harm the host at all.

During the trip, we saw many different examples of these.  Epiphytes can be found in the temperate zone.  Examples are mosses, liverworts, lichens, and algae.  They also live in the tropics, like Costa Rica’s environment..  These include ferns, cacti, orchids, and bromeliads.

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costaricaqI don’t know if these small branches are part of the palm tree or are epiphytes.

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costaricatSo delicate and lovely.

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costaricavA skylight in the reception area.

costaricawThe counter is made of onyx.  Although it looks solid, these are slabs on top of wooden cabinets.  Very nice hotel.

costaricaxAs one would expect, gorgeous arrangements of tropical plants decorate the hotel.

There will be several posts about Costa Rica in the coming days.

“Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art.”  Eleanor Roosevelt