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Birds, Butterflies and Coffee of Costa Rica..... and those Potholes !


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Fantastic photos of the sloth! The only ones I've seen have all been high up in the trees. "He" looks like he's at relative eye-level, no?

Yes , "he" or may be "she" was the closest one we saw. He was not at proper eye level but about 10 feet above me , but that was still very close for me !

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After the exciting chance meeting with "Tony the sloth" my wife wanted to indulge in a liitle bit of luxury. I also wanted to have a break from the rainy Bijagua and we decided to proceed towards a resort called Rio Perdido, meaning Lost River. Nobody comes to CR and goes away without a bit of thermal spa and I also wanted to immerse myself in the thermal springs.

This is a wonderful resort. I know that lately this has become very popular with day trippers but still it does not feel too crowded. The staff are just fantastic. I had originally planned to stay here but they did not have cabins large enough to fit all four of us.

So, instead I opted for a day pass to hike around along with a lunch. They also have nice zip lining facility across the canyon and that actually looked more personal than the cattle herding of Selvatura, although the lines were not that long. I did not go for the lining.

They have four pools, gradually getting hotter, with lovely jungle canopy all over. The 4th pool was not that comfortable. They also keep volcanic mud next to the pools so we all indulged in body painting and then a dip in the pool to wash it away.

Did a bit of hiking. Saw some birds and lizards. Then had a leisurely delicious lunch with local speciality cocktail followed by rice pudding and sponge cake, while enjoying the beautiful lush green mountains ! Our waiter Luis turned out to be a great fan of my club Manchester United and I told him everything that I knew of Old Trafford from my days in Manchester.

I was so full that I had to rest a while before dreading the drive over the potholes again.

It was a beautiful sunny day with spectacular sunset and flecks of cloud sticking to the top of Tenorio. The drive reminded me of the American prairies or Grand Teton.

This was a restful day to rejuvenate us.


Hot springs of Rio Perdido




Ready for mud painting




The result : Clay Model




River bed




Swim up bar





Zip lining




The canyon




Relaxing on the hanging bridge





Green gecko




Lovely drive









Edited by Chakra
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That one day of pure relax is a must on every trip! The "clay model" looks like a totally relaxed and ultimately satisfied person!

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Thanks everyone.


The last full day at Finca Verde. What to do ? Why not go to the beach ? But nearest beach is good two hour plus drive !! So what ! Let's go to the beach and perhaps we can add a waterfall on the way ? Sure.

I have steadfastly refused to visit the Pacific coast full of hotels, all inclusive resorts, beach scene and hordes of tourists. But that does not mean the beaches are bad. I was just looking for a decent place without the crowd. I had already zeroed in on Playa Penca, a tiny beach sandwiched between two big places and difficult to access without a car and recommended by Lonely Planet. This was close to the more famous beach Pan de Azucar or Sugar beach and its five star resort. So I thought I'll check out the resort first, perhaps have a meal and then chill at Playa Penca.

Now here comes a very important info : do not trust Google all the time to do your route planning. The shortest route may not be the fastest. Google was suggesting a direct route between Playa del Coco and Playa Portero and I realised Uncle Google was trying to send me down one of the worst roads in CR, popularly known as Monkey Trail and notorious for shredding your nerves.

So I decided to opt for the longer but mostly tarred roads.

Pan de Azucar and the Hotel Sugar Beach were both disappointing. The hotel looked like any other beach side reosort, another high rise was being built next to it and the beach was pretty average with shingles and rocks. Playa Penca looked very inviting and the view from the hill overlooking little islands was lovely. We spent couple of hours just lazing, soaking the warmth, watching the fishing boats and enjoying the beach shack. The car could be brought pretty close to the beach without any difficulty. The sand was not powdery soft, actually small grains are ther but very decent and not many people around.

Thank you Lonely Planet for this little hidden jewel.


Playa Penca from hill


















Pan de azucar or Sugar Beach



Edited by Chakra
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"Last of the Mohicans" was a relativey unappealing movie apart from a haunting soundtrack and a few shots. One of the scenes which really intrigued me was where Daniel Day-Lewis reached the end of a tunnel behind a waterfall and then he jumped through the waterfalls.
Since then I have always wanted to get behind a waterfall and jump through that.

Lonely Planet Guidebook suggests if you see one waterfall in Costa Rica you must see Llanos des Cortez. I do not agree with that but it was the only one where I could go behind the waterfalls.
I did think about climbing a bit higher up and trying to jump through the curtain of water but after seeing the sharp rocks below I gave up that idea.
And unlike Daniel Day-Lewis I did not have any one to rescue from the evil Red Indians. So I left that to young lovers ! Hats off to them ! These two were enjoying their time sitting most dangerously on the precipice.

In UK Health and Safety would have blocked any entry to these section. In India people would have gone and stood there and then they would have a peeing or spitting competition from there, rather than enjoying or letting others enjoy a romantic time


The other problem was it was a Tico holiday, like a long weekend, and practically every romantic man had brought their sweetheart there !! And of course the families who were having a great time enjoying a picnic. But the atmosphere was very festive.,

Still, carefully negotiating the very slippery rocks and then having a shower with the water thundering from top, followed by a short swim was an exhilarating experince.

And combining that day with the sugary sands of Playa Penca of Pacific Ocean made a good day out, where for a change I did not chase birds and butterflies.


Llanos des Cortez waterfall.





Young hearts shouldn't be afraid : Cliff Richard




A little safe swimming hole in front of the falls




Behind the curtains




And a lovely little butterfly to round off my day





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Playa Penca is a beautiful beach, and so is Llanos des Cortez waterfall! What is the bright blue building in the middle of Playa Penca?

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Playa Penca is a beautiful beach, and so is Llanos des Cortez waterfall! What is the bright blue building in the middle of Playa Penca?


That is a restaurant/bar selling drinks and some quick fix food.

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I recognized that butterfly from Peru!


"sweat is something which rich and fat people suffer in gyms for their sins" Now that's funny!


You look marvelous in mud.


Did you choose the Richard Cliff quote because of the location? I believe I noticed your loved ones did not scale the waterfall up to the top. Wise move.


You are closing to playing Daniel Day Lewis than I've gotten, even if you did not summit the waterfall and jump off. But you did do a nice job of photographing them.

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I was going to say how much I enjoyed the photos of the hummingbird moths and Rio Celeste and...and then I came across the sloth that stole the show. Nothing could top that, LOL!

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You look marvelous in mud. : Thank you. I'm glad that you can see my irrestible charm even through 3 layers of volcanic mud !!


Did you choose the Richard Cliff quote because of the location? I believe I noticed your loved ones did not scale the waterfall up to the top. Wise move.


That is a line from one of Cliff Richard's most famous songs from 1960s : The Young Ones. I just felt that those two young lovers reflected Cliff's lyrics very well. Young romantics do foolish things like sitting on the verge of a waterffall, which we oldies frown upon.

Why don't have a listen ? I am a great fan of Sir Cliff, especially because of his India connection.




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I was going to say how much I enjoyed the photos of the hummingbird moths and Rio Celeste and...and then I came across the sloth that stole the show. Nothing could top that, LOL!

@@Livetowander thanks very much. The sloth will have very stiff competition soon with someone esle, that I promise you.

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I have not said anything about the beautiful surroundings of Finca Verde lodge yet, simply because I was enjoying it all the time round the clock. But on the last day I decided to have a proper look around. They also arrange tours and that is pretty popular. As I was a guest so they told me I needed not join any trips formally and could even get in and out of the butterfly garden and the rescue centre as I wished. I still joined a couple of trips just to learn more about the ecology and in both trips they invariably spotted a sloth. May not be as close as my Tony but still pretty close. I think viewing sloth is practically guaranteed here :) :)


So accompanied by Coco and Judy we went out for a last tour of the farm on the last day morning before leaving for Sarapiqui. Because of the rainy season the butterfly garden was not very active but I still saw plenty. And real up, close and personal. One sat on Sujata's head and she even managed to take a selfie !! I also loved the various flowers on display and once again we saw sloths, not one but two. One was a young one and he climbed pretty fast, whereas the other did not move for ten minutes. Sleeping Red eyed frogs, when you cannot see the red eye and several snakes in captivity, waiting to be released. Lots of birds including a Motmot.

Some shots from this delightful place. Thank you very much for giving me the chance to enjoy nature literally at my doorstep.

I was genuinely sad to leave this place, even if the room was tiny and we were cramped and getting on each other's nerves. And I must tell that fore some reason my camera started playing up, evveything was getting underexposed. I read the manual ten times. Tried two button reset several times and even e-mailed xelas. Till this date I do not what was wrong. I supect it was something to do with ISO settings.



Beautifully intricate woven structure




Ginger flower




The "Owl" butterfly




Not One , But Seven eyes to fool the predators. Agent 007 !!!




Selfie with a butterfly




Happiness is like a butterfly. The more you chase it, the more it eludes you. But if you stop chasing it and start enjoying life, it will come and sit on you silently like a butterfly.










Datura flower











The Curvy beauty















Ten minutes I waited for him/her to turn around and he/she did not move !! A proper sloth





This one was a fast climber !






Attacked by a predator perhaps with bits of wings missing.





Are these two the same bird ? Kiskadee I reckon ?











A megasized bug






Is this the National bird of Costa rica ?




A shadowy Motmot




And it'll be a disgrace not to praise their delicious veggie burgers, mouth watring enchiladas and wonderful dips






Edited by Chakra
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Are these two the same bird ? Kiskadee I reckon ? - Greater Kiskadee is the bottom one, while the upper one is a Bananaquit. Both very common birds in Costa Rica, and Bananaquit all over Caribbeans.


Is this the National bird of Costa rica ? - Yes, that is a Clay-colored Thrush.


A shadowy Motmot - No, this one is a Blue-crowned Motmot ;)

Edited by xelas
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Are these two the same bird ? Kiskadee I reckon ? - Greater Kiskadee is the bottom one, while the upper one is a Bananaquit. Both very common birds in Costa Rica, and Bananaquit all over Caribbeans. Thanks


Is this the National bird of Costa rica ? - Yes, that is a Clay-colored Thrush. For once I'm correct :o


A shadowy Motmot - No, this one is a Blue-crowned Motmot ;) Ha ha. I was referring to the fact that the Motmot was sitting in shadow :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

Edited by Chakra
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Ha ha. I was referring to the fact that the Motmot was sitting in shadow :rolleyes: :rolleyes::rolleyes: - ;) ;) ;)

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Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui or Old Port of Sarapiqui : two things will forever stay with me in relation to this once famous place, now struggling to recapture the tourists.

The elusive Blue Jeans Frog and the Mosquitoes !! I was applyig TREK100 DEET every 4 hours without fail but somehow that seemed to attract those bloodsuckers even more.

Blue Jeans came into my life when I was about 12 years old. Through posters of exotic Hollywood movies which used to adorn the walls of the cinema hall in my small town, Blue Jeans clad characters of Tintin comics and occasional issues of the magazine SPAN ( which was a joint venture between US embassy and India ) showing women in hip-hugging jeans walking down 5th Avenue, looking at me seductively.
But jeans was not easily available in a small town in 70's India and was not something I could convince my parents worth spending cash on. But slowly it started making its way into my wealthier friends' circle, mostly imported from Calcutta, the regional capital.
Eventually after my unexpected success in school leaving exam ( which surprised everyone including me) my dad took pity and took me to the only Jeans shop in Calcutta: "The Jeans Centre" , under the clock tower of British built New Market where I became the proud owner of my first pair of Jeans.
I was later berated by my future wife for rolling up the legs of a Jeans, as this was not the proper way to wear Jeans. She also took pity on me and bought me a pair ( which was priced more than half of my the then salary of 900 rupees per month). The first thing I did in UK after getting me first salary was to buy a pair of genuine Wranglers and didn't atke them off for 72 hours !!
So where is this going ?

You can see I had to struggle hard to get Blue Jeans and I was extremely irritated to learn that there was a frog who was born with a pair of Blue Jeans, not depending on his parents or his girlfriend to get him one.

He is also known as "Strawberry" Frog : again an expensive exotic fruit which I had never tasted till I moved to UK. He is indeed The Prince and I was the Pauper.

But Prince and his friends are not easy to find. And even when I found them photography was even more difficult. These frogs live in dense undergrowth, next to streams and slippery stones and poorly lit conditions.
The head lamp can help but you really need helper to shine lights on them. I had two reluctant teenage helpers, who just after a few minutes would complain that their hands were hurting.

But in Corcovado and also in Sarapiqui I found two very enthusiastic helpers : Alex Martinez, the owner of the B&B Posada Andrea Kristina in Sarapiqui and Nito, the amazing guide who took me through the rainforest.
When I told them I was more interested in frogs and insects, their eyes lit up. For three days Nito stopped at every opportunity to spot insects and frogs. To the total annoyance of my family he took us through hot, humid, dense undergrowth in search of the famed Dendrobates Granuliferous , the Granulated Poison dart frog of Corcovado.

Alex Martinez did not ahve to work that hard. He just walked around his garden.
Poison dart frogs are amazing creatures : one of them "Phylobates terribilis " : has the most toxic venom known to man and one small frog has enough to kill ten men.
But their colours are so striking it is truly mind blowing and they display it abundantly as warning signs to predators.
Costa Rica is possibly the best place to see frogs and I have got to return one day.
I did not manage to see the most popular Green Black one. Nito told me to go to a place called La Tarde where they were abundant and I did go and I could hear them but did not manage to spot them. On the way back my car got stuck in mudslide and in my haste I reversed into a tree and made a dent which cost me $ 300 to repair !!
I had also never seen so many tadpoles in one place. It was funny to stand on top of them and move my hands and to see their reaction as they scattered in fear !

Alex Martinez is a wonderful man who was a poacher in his previous life and now moved to conservation. He was genuinely warm towards us, perhaps a little scatterbrain, but not intentionally. He took the trouble of finding some mangoes for us and asked us about the recipe of his favourite Indian Curry. Alex tried his best to show me the green macaws but sadly it was not my day.

We stayed in a treehouse which was slightly shaken by a storm the night before, so on both nights a little water leaked down. But with strategically placed buckets we were fine. He also quickly booked the La Selva biological station tour and teh Tirimbina Chocolate factory tours for us. I'd strongly recommend thsi treehouse for no-frills travellers, who can have a great time watching birds and iguanas right from the balcony and then go looking for some Red Eye frogs in the evening and then have a fantastic breakfast with birds.

These photos are all taken within or just outside the property. I am no birder and honestly my knowledge stops at Tanagers. I have looked up some of the birds, but feeling too lazy to ID all of them !! As Shakespear said, What's in a name !!

The Denizen of Rain Forest, the Icon of Costa Rica : The Red Eyed Green tree frog. Oh, Those mesmerising Red Eyes !!


The Prince needs a good wash to get rid of all the dirt from his belly


Look at my Six Packs



Two is Company


? A female


No Clue. Must be some sort of Tanager :wacko: :wacko:


Honeycreeper ???













Count Dracula watching me very intently


Lots of Count Draculas



Early morning grooming




The Hulk watching me !!



Explosion of Colours


Once a year blossomimng Orchid, just for one evening !!! Lucky Me :wub: :wub: :wub:


Bug looking like green leaf



The gracious and charming host Alex Martinez



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Ahhh, lovely to see that mi toca Alex is still doing well! And the smiling faces are telling the story loud and clear :) .


It looks like Sarapiqui's mosquitos loved you as much as they loved me :P .


Some bird's ID, top to bottom (but not all)


1. Green Honeycreeper female

2. Red-legged Honeycreeper

3. Green Honeycreeper male

4. Blue-grey Tanager

5. Red-legged Honeycreeper

6. Passerini's Tanager male

7. Cherrie's Tanager

8. ??

9. Passerini's Tanager female


The two parrots belongs to Red-lorred Parrot.

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Cute blue jean story and excellent frog photo! You were lucky with more than just the orchid!

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@@Chakra, just love the Frog, and the "Hulk" is a great photo. Hummingbirds are on my bucket list too. You are really selling Costa Rica as a colourful and diverse place to visit.

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Cute blue jean story and excellent frog photo! You were lucky with more than just the orchid!


Thanks. Yes I did feel very lucky in CR. Proof to follow soon.


@@Chakra, just love the Frog, and the "Hulk" is a great photo. Hummingbirds are on my bucket list too. You are really selling Costa Rica as a colourful and diverse place to visit.


Glad, that you are impressed. I'd say this should be on everyone's wish list, before it becomes too gringo-fied like the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico.

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I have heard many superlative stories about La Selva biological station with its amazing biodiversity and contribution towards research and conservation. I hugely regret not going for a private tour here. The attitude of the guide and employees was far from welcoming. The guide could have shown us a lot more in the allocated time and towards the end he was hurrying us up and I saw his big smile as soon as he left us outside and went inside his air conditioned office. There were ten of us and another guy who was staying at La Selva but clearly had not paid for this trip, but just latched on to us after 20 minutes, which we all found annoying.

I did not have any problems with the fellow guests, in fact two young girls spotted more birds , including toucans, than the guide did. But the problem was that once a creature was spotted everyone had the right to see through the scope and that delayed the whole process. We found the fruit eating bats curled inside banana leaf and it was difficult to access. So on an average each person took 2 minutes to crawl down, lift the leaf, have a good look and then crawl back again. So 2 times 10 = 20 minutes spent for the bats. With a private tour I could have coverd a lot more. Also he spent about 15 minutes telling us about La Selva, which was clearly available to us in the big posters in front of us.

But I'm willing to forgive him just for one reason : he spotted the Blue Jeans frog for me. But I did not tip him.

In the morning when I was looking for the ticket office I approached an employee and politely asked him , " Habla Ingles , Senor ?" He just looked through me and ignored me totally. I felt like I was back home in India dealing with government employees who demanded salary just for turning up and for any proper work demanded Overtime payment !!

Despite a not very enthusiastic guide we still managed to see quite a few. On the way out I saw one of the largest and most handsome iguanas I've ever seen, busy munching on a papaya. Some shots from La Selva. Photographing the Blue Jeans frog was a challenging job. They are tiny and live in dense undergrowth with little light.





The Dragon of Westeros waiting for Queen Danerys Targeryon to come and conquer the land riding on him






Munh Munch munch !! Messy eater





Frogs in making




Tadpole Soup. It was fun watching them react to the shadows of my arms and diving for cover en-masse. Felt like a conductor of an orchestra.














Aracari before bath and Aracari after bath




















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In the afternoon it was a trip to Tirimbina Chocolate factory. As expected it was a slightly artificial experince and I was surprised to learn that they did not even grow their cocoa and bought from others. But the tour itself was quite informative and of course it was nice to make your own drink and taste it. On the way back we experinced the mother of all thunderstorms and it was scary to cross the very long hanging bridge and looking down at the raging Sarapiqui river. I had planned to do a bit of hiking but the thunderstorm quickly made me change my mind. Some shots from Tirimbina.




The long Rickety Bridge




The fruit




Various stages of ripening




Ready now




The oldet known description




The inside




Sarapiqui river







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A shadowy Motmot - No, this one is a Blue-crowned Motmot ;) Ha ha. I was referring to the fact that the Motmot was sitting in shadow :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

What are ya, a bunch of comedians?


That large and handsome iguana certainly is both. You even got him sticking out his tongue. Much less reptilian than I would have guessed. Nice aracari action.


Your photos look like you are using the correct exposure to me, but ISO could be the culprit. And you still got many, even though a good deal of time was devoted to the bat crawl one-by-one.

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Not a bunch, @@Atravelynn , just the two of us :rolleyes:, with some previous history in that department ;) ! But I will refrain from being funny in the future, and will stick to adding useful info and less useful trivia :P .


The rodent-like animal is a rodent, a Common Agouti. Native to Central America it can be found all over Costa Rica, but in lowlands.

Aracari is a Collared Aracari (there are two species of this bird found in Costa Rica).

Cocoa trees were almost completely wiped out by a nasty monilia fungus in late 70ies, however it looks like the cocoa bean is fighting its way back into Costa Rica: http://www.ticotimes.net/2014/01/27/costa-ricas-chocolate-comeback

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Fantastic photography, such detail. Really enjoyed reading this far. Pen

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