Blogs from Central America Caribbean


Well, we made tearful goodbyes to Dona Rita and Wendy and Samuel the toddler. Heard that Wendy’s dad only died 7 months ago, blood clot complication of hip surgery. What a shock to the family. After extolling the benefits of attending a Marriage Encounter Weekend and reading Dr. Chapmans Five Love Languages book, we packed up and left our wonderful simple life. It was amusing – the little dog Dorie had faithfully been sitting outside the front door, but of course it is often left open for the breeze. Jean was out on the deck waiting for the breakfast, and who should appear but Dorie – having walked through the house. Very naughty dog. She got in troube with Mama. We considered stopping at some places for birding on the way, but the traffic was so ... read more

We didn’t have to wake at the crack of dawn but still had time for a walk with Dorie down the road before breakfast.t On that walk we found THREE new lifers – a type of martin and 2 pigeons!! We were back to eat Dona Rita’s lovely breakfast, this time fruit (mango, watermelon, papaya, kiwi) and watermelon juice, omelettes with cheese and canned tuna (very tasty), and coffee from the Tico Keurig (see photo). Then we were off to La Tirimbina Lodge, where you can buy a day pass without a guide. Right away we saw a sloth and one howler monkey. We decided to do the longest trail, and that turned out to be the only one we did – it got incredibly hot even tho we started before 9. Didn’t see many birds ... read more
1 Early walk with Dorie
1 Our house sign
2 La Tirimbina Lodge Ox Cart

Another early morning. Mama brought our breakfast in at 6:30 (photos) so we could head out to La Selva Biological Research Station for a tour. The tour started slow – the group was too large: 11 Spanish speakers and 5 English: us, another man who teaches such things, and a Japanese couple on their honeymoon. Also, it was a general tour so everyone kindly was shown every lizard and frog and a few things through the scope when we did manage to spot a bird. We spent a long time learning about the center, and that were are 12 different “life zones” based on altitude, temperature, and humidity in Costa Rica. La Selva is connected to almost all of these thanks to the fact that there is a clear “corridor” from this lowland to the heights. ... read more
1 Our lovely chef
2 La Selva bridge
2 La Selva guide

We are on vacation, so what do we do? We get up at 4:45!! We had our left-over fruit for breakfast and drove Puerta Viejo, about 30 minutes “further” along this road, to see birds by boat. Salamon our captain and Daniel, about 23, our guide, were wonderful, and we were the only ones on the tour that Wendy arranged (friends). First things first – there was a sloth slowly climbing along a wire!! On the water we saw a crocodile and NEW Mangrove Swallows, and NEW Buff-rumped warblers and THREE NEW Bare-throated Tiger Herons. Even some Long-nose bats hanging onto one of the many large logs in the river. Evidently the country has had a dry spell so the river was low – Daniel said that the rain could make the river rise up to ... read more
1 Our boat experience
1 Sarapiqui River
2 Sloth at boat

Well we managed quite well to sleep under the mosquito netting. We actually used a light blanket because of the fan. Never did see a mosquito either. Up at 5:15 but David heard the howler monkeys while dozing before that – thought it was wind kicking up! I forgot to mention that yesterday it did thunder around us at 4ish but must have jumped over this mountain – it never rained then. Yet the weather forecasts always say it’s raining, every day. Just coffee and ½ nutrition bar before meeting Wendy at 6, though she also brought us 2 bananas. Hiked just down the road and across into the neighbor’s area, slowly and listening the entire way. The dogs came with us. We learned a lot from Wendy. She explained that they only spot birds in ... read more
Chili peppers
David with canine escorts

Up with the birds again and enjoyed some free time even before the breakfast miraculously appeared. It’s going to be scorcher today! The first photos hardly need explaining – banana trees, our deck with breakfast, flowers nearby, a lovely tree we dubbed the RAINBOW TREE, amazing bougainvilleas of all colors. The second set of mine include the natural fences that are everywhere. The soil must be so fertile – some take and grow into trees, some just stay dead sticks. We saw in the neighborhood a plot coffee plants. We drove about 2 hours north to our place #2 – the “ecolodge.” We went up up up, like the Road to Hana but with hills and no ocean. Sometimes there was only 1 lane, even though this is “national road # 126.” We were surprised to ... read more

May 22: Up at 4:30! Good thing the electricity was off only a few hours last night and we had packed up already. We left the house early in the AM to drive to Columbus for our 10 am or so flight to C.R. We caught a shuttle, driven by very friendly man recently emigrated from Afghanistan. Flew to Hobby, Houston. Uneventful, but disappointing that the Pappadeaux Restaurant there had closed! But we did get to enjoy at least an hour of a stringed quartet playing in the concourse. We lucked out on that leg, keeping the seat in the middle free. Boy it was cold – must remember a jacket next time! Compared to the first leg, the second one WAS eventful – lots of lightning and actually going around the ash from recent erupting ... read more
A Our first place
B birding at 6 am
B first light

While I was in the capital, my friend Carolyn was in Tikal, and then we continued our journey together to Antigua. This is a lovely old town, Unesco World Heritage site, and for a reason. There are so many beautiful buildings from 16th to 19th century with distinct architectural features, which our tour guide explained in detail (highly recommend Nelson from Guruwalk!). It used to be the capital, but after a major earthquake in 1773, the capital was moved to today's site. And when you look around, you'll see at least 3 volcanoes, one of which was very active, with smoke blowing up every day (but far enough from the city). We spent three days enjoying many, many lovely cafes, restaurants, various museums, including Museo de Cacao (ok, it's touristy, but it was a fun hour ... read more
Plaza Mayor

Road to Panajachel is not for the faint of heart, or those suffering from motion sickness. After surviving 3 hours of winding roads in a mini-bus, the gorgeous lake Atitlan presented itself. Panajachel (or Pana - tourists' way to pronounce it) is a pit-stop for everyone traveling to other villages around the lake. It is a touristy stop-over with a few streets and lakeshore lined up with restaurants and market stalls selling anything that, even remotely, tourists can think is "made in Guatemala", though much is not. Nevertheless, we had a nice (Regis) hotel with stone hot tubs in a lush garden, which, along with a relaxing massage, rejuvenated us completely. One thing stood out and that was our dinner at an Uruguayan restaurant, Guajimbo - I highly recommend it: delicious churrasco stake, good wine, and ... read more
Lake Atitlan from boat
From the boat
From the boat

What a lovely village! It's the only place where they won't sell land to outsiders, which makes it very authentic. It's an artsy place, which you notice as soon as you're off the boat, walking uphill on a narrow street with colourful stuff hanging above you. There are many murals, art galleries and art stores, and local handmade products such as traditional medicines, cosmetics, clothing, chocolates, etc. We visited a women's weaving co-op (Asociacion De Mujeres En Colores Botanico)where local women use old-style backstrap weaving techniques and natural colours to make traditional huipils (shirts) and other clothing, tablecloths, pillowcases (got one!), hair ribbon band (Carolyn got one!), and more. Then we had a nice (big) lunch at Alma De Colores, which is a project (including restaurant) that supports and hires people with disabilities. And finally, we ... read more
Umbrella street
Coffee shop

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