Sunday, January 15, 2017

Day 1 - 2017 Costa Rica Journal

Way back in July Mark asked me what I wanted for my 60th birthday.  I told him I wanted to go to Costa Rica again.  Since July is not the best time, we decided to wait until January.  We could also combine the trip with our 34th anniversary.

This is our third trip to Costa Rica.  As in the previous 2 visits we stayed in 2 different areas.  We have never stayed at the same place twice and our main focus is birding, although we also look for butterflies and critters.

We drove into San Antonio the night before and met our friends Sharon and Rick at a hotel close to the airport.  Bright and early the next morning (4:15 a.m.!) we caught the shuttle to the airport.  Our flight didn’t leaving until 6:45 but for international flights we had to check in 2 1/2 hours early.

It was a very short flight from San Antonio to Houston with a 1 hour delay in Houston then on to our destination, San Jose, Costa Rica. 
Flying above the clouds. 
Costa Rica from a few thousand feet up.
Mark and I always make a bet during the flight as to what bird we will see first thing off the airplane.  This is a very serious bet as the loser has to buy Blizzards when we get back home.  Mark’s guess was a House Sparrow and my guess was a pigeon or dove.

Our flight landed a little late and apparently there wasn’t any place to put the plane.  We ended up on the tarmac where we boarded buses to take us the rest of the way. 
Leaving the plane. 
Buses ready to whisk us away! 
Standing room only.
It took a while to get unloaded and find our luggage.  Our driver was patiently waiting for us and we were on our way.  We’ve always had drivers on our trips and wouldn’t consider renting a car and trying to find our own way around.  Traffic in San Jose is crazy!  Imagine the worse traffic jam you’ve ever been in then add 100 motorcycles weaving in and out and driving down the middle of the road. Add in a few street people walking down the middle of the highway selling popsicles and other unidentified things ...  It’s nuts!

It was about a 3 1/2 hour drive to our first hotel.  Along the way we passed a beautiful waterfall and our driver pulled over so we could take some pictures. 
A little while later we stopped at a small outdoor food stand called Mirador de Cinchona for a break.  Our driver told us there were bird feeding tables and we could walk to the back and take pictures.  This place was incredible!  Our driver was not in any hurry and we were able to see some beautiful birds. We saw the following birds in the first couple of minutes.  Don't forget that you can click on the pictures for a larger version. It's worth it!!
Emerald Toucanet 
Red-headed Barbet male
Red-headed Barbet female

Silver-throated Tanager

Coppery-headed Emerald

Passerini's Tanager male

Next time:  A continuation of Day 1:  Our beautiful room, all about the wonderful area, and our bird list for the first day.

Guess who won the bet?  Me!  I’m looking forward to that DQ Blizzard.


  1. Incredible detail in those pictures! The new camera would appear to be a keeper.

    Enjoy your Blizzard anticipation Teri!

  2. Fantastic! We flew into San Jose once and Liberia once.. it's time to go again. 3.5 hrs out of San Jose? Am looking forward to the next installment so I can see where you're at. Such colorful birds!