Sunday, May 31, 2009

Surfer on Playa Langosta

This surfer had finished his morning surfing and was walking back to wherever he lives or was staying in Playa Langosta.  

Why would I be showing this photo today?  It is to give equal time and thereby avoid or lessen the criticism that I might get, especially from my wife, for the photo that I will post tomorrow for the worldwide Daily Photo theme day.  I trust that this is a sufficient hint about the subject of tomorrow's photo.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The dog and the surfer's return

Continuing the photos and story from yesterday, here is the surfer's return to the beach and his dog's loyal greeting of his return.

You can see the excitement and delight in the dog's body language in the top photo.  In the second photo the dog and the surfer are content to walk off together.   There were several other surfers with dogs in the area who obviously enjoyed sharing their mutual love of the beach, surf and each other.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Langosta surfer's dog

Yesterday I showed this dog sitting on the beach like he owned the place, but I could see that he wasn't completely casual or care free.  He was focusing on watching something or someone in the surf.  

In a little while he bolted up and ran out to the surf, staring in anticipation.  One of the surfers was paddling in to shore across the mouth of the Langosta estuary.  The dog reminded me of dogs who anxiously await the return of their master at home.  The only differences were that in this case the dog's master was not returning from a long, hard day at work, but from a morning of surfing. 

The top photo shows the dog riveted on the sight of his master from a distance.  The bottom photo shows the dog continuing his concentration on his master's return, all the way to the shore.

Tomorrow I will post two more photos that will complete the scene of the dog and his master's return from the surf.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Dog on Langosta Beach

I have a soft spot for dogs on the beach.  I found several things about this dog enchanting.  The first is evident in this photo.  When I first saw this dog, but before I got my camera ready, he was digging a little hole in the sand.  He then sat down in the hole, as you can see here.

He apparently has learned that if he digs down a little, he will find cooler sand in which to sit.  He looks quite regal, like he is sitting in a little throne.  

He obviously is used to spending time at the beach.  What do you think he is looking at?  The answer is coming up tomorow and the next day.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Playa Langosta, looking south

This is the view to the south along Playa Langosta from the spot where our Langosta condo is located. It is the opposite view to the scene I showed yesterday.

It is possible to walk an enormous distance south along a pristine beach if you wade into the ocean to cross the mouth of the Langosta estuary. In the distance of this photo is a point of land. I like to walk around that point and another couple of hundred yards south, which is the location of the Hacienda Pinilla Golf Course. A little farther is the new J.W. Marriott Guanacaste Resort and Spa.

The iguanas that I showed in my two posts a few days ago were along the stretch of beach near the far point in the distance of this photo. In a a week from today I plan to show the creepy sight that I saw up in a tree when I ventured into the woods from that stretch of beach while I was following a group of howler monkeys.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Playa Langosta, looking north

This is a view of the beach in front of our Langosta condo, looking north towards Tamarindo. You can see why we like to walk to the main part of town along the beach. Why walk on along the road when you can walk with your feet in the warm sand with the waves lapping at your ankles.

This photo illustrates something else about our area: the weather. I took this photo last Friday. The weather forecast for that day was chance of showers. During the dry season from November through April, almost every day is clear and sunny. During the "green season," the official weather forecast almost always is chance of showers. Despite the official forecast, much of the time the weather is clear like last Friday or perhaps with a light cloud cover.

One thing this photo does not show is the homes behind the row of trees and bushes along the beach. This photo makes the area look deserted, but tucked behind the trees are some million dollar-plus homes.

Tomorrow I will show you the beach in the other direction.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Playa Flamingo

I have been showing some photos recently of dogs and iguanas on the beach, so I thought I should show a few more photos of the beaches in the area.  This is a view of Playa Flamingo, which is about 10-15 minutes by car north of Tamarindo.

While Tamarindo has a beautiful beach, there are also a lot of other nice beaches in the area.  Some people who stay in our condos do not rent a car and are happy to spend their entire vacation right in Tamarindo and Langosta, perhaps with a wildlife excursion, boat outing, or zip lines to add some excitement.  Other people like to drive around and explore many different beaches in the area. 

I flew down to Costa Rica a few days ago from the USA with my son.  Sitting in the two seats next to me were two young pharmaceutical saleswomen from New York City on their first trip to Costa Rica.  They said that they had originally made plans to go to Acapulco, but decided because of the flu outbreak in Mexico to come to a beach in Costa Rica instead.  They had reservations at a resort in Playa Flamingo.  I was working on my lap top at the time and I had this photo on my desk top in line to be posted in a couple of days, so I was able to show them a photo of the place that they will be staying.  How's that for service by a person sitting next to someone on an airplane?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Iguana on the beach (2)

Two days ago I commented that iguanas along the beach are common in Costa Rica.  On a long walk south from Playa Langosta, I saw this iguana a little after the iguana I posted the day before yesterday.  This one looks more dinosaur-like than the iguana posted the day before yesterday.

Yesterday I walked along the beach from our Langosta condo into the main part of Tamarindo and cam across iguanas that looked like this one, plus a cute baby green iguana and out condo gate, and a gecko hanging from the ceiling of our balcony/patio.  Just a typical three-reptile day.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Yesterday's sunset

This is yesterday's sunset, just before the sun disappeared into the ocean.  I took this photo from the balcony of our condo on the beach in Playa Langosta, which I showed a few days ago.

My wife is supposed to be with me here in Tamarindo, but she had to cancel her trip because of a matter that arose at work that requires that she remain in Arizona. 

I am posting this photo so that she will see what she is missing by remaining in the USA to do work.   My sons and I will miss her, although we will use this occasion to go deep sea fishing, which she does not like to do. 

Friday, May 22, 2009

Iguana on the beach

If you walk along the beach in a wooded area, which is most of Costa Rica, this would be a familiar site.  An iguana out for a walk.  This iguana was on Playa Langosta.  Some iguanas are rather bold about walking near people in populated areas.  Others, such as this one, are shy.  He was ready to crawl down a hole or up a tree.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dogs on the beach

I was walking along the beach when I saw the two dogs in yesterday's photo intently staring with all the subtlety of two teen age boys watching a girl in a bikini walking by.  I of course turned around to see what the dogs were looking at.  They were gazing at this much smaller dog, staring back at them.  The chemistry between them was powerful.

The two bigger dogs yesterday were probably whispering to each other:  "Hey, Fido, check out the ears on that cutie."

"I see them, Rover.  A dog with ears that are shaped like a bat are a real turn-on.  Let's go over and try out a pick-up line on that dog."  

"OK, but wait a minute, Fido.  We are in Tamarindo, and this place is full of foreigners.  Do you think that cute dog speaks English or Spanish?"

"Rover, with ears like that, who cares about conversation?"

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Dogs, not crowds, on Tamarindo Beach

This is the southern half of Tamarindo beach, looking towards Playa Langosta, which is around a point that is not visible to the right of this photo.  The southern end of town is more residential, although there are some hotels and guest houses tucked behind the trees that line the beach.  

I chose this photo in part for the dogs, of course, but also because it illustrates two other things about Tamarindo.  Yesterday I discussed the building setbacks in Costa Rica that prohibit construction right on the beach.  You can see in this photo that even though Tamarindo has been described by Forbes Magazine as Costa Rica's most popular beach resort, the beach even in the main part of town is still quite lovely.  You don't have the crowding or construction right on the beach that you see in places like Hawaii or Florida.  
But, this photo also shows the pressure of development, as on the horizon are some construction cranes for condos being built.  

This photo also gives a perspective to a question I am sometimes asked about whether the beach is crowded.  The most popular part of the beach is the part behind me in this photo, as the waves are bigger there because the south end of the beach shown in this photo is sheltered from the ocean waves by the bay.  Nevertheless, this photo does show that the beach is not crowded.  In the USA there would be a lot more people than this on a beach.  In Costa Rica, however, there are only 4 million people in the entire country, most of them live in the central valleys hours from the beaches, and there are two coastlines that run the length of the country.  Crowds on the beach are simply not a problem.  

Now, what were these dogs staring at?  I will show you tomorrow. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Condo on the beach

Last Thursday I posted a photo from the beach looking up at my wife on our condo balcony getting ready for sunset. To my surprise, I got more hits on my site that day than any other post during the last few weeks. I have therefore decided to post this photo of the reverse scene, showing the ocean from the balcony in the late afternoon.

Our condo in Playa Langosta is as close to the ocean as a building can legally be built in Costa Rica -- 50 meters from the water line. As I explained in a comment in response to a question a few days ago, in Costa Rica today it is illegal to build within 200 meters of the ocean unless the property was recorded in a certain way on the real property records the law took effect in the 1970's that governed how close to the beach a person could build. The parcel of land where our condo is located was one of those parcels that had the pre-1970's right to be built so close to the ocean.

It is therefore real important for people buying property near the beach to have a good lawyer to know how close to the ocean they can have a house or condo. There have been a few homes that the government has torn down because the homes were built illegally too close to the ocean.

Unlike our condo, most other condos in Tamarindo are located 200 meters or more back from the ocean. In order to provide a view of the ocean, which of course commands a higher price, some developers during the real estate boom of the last 5 years have built condo buildings as high as 7 to 10 stories. The federal government has now restricted the height and density of buildings near the ocean. One way to compare a condo right on the ocean with a condo set back about 100 meters from the ocean but located on the 4th floor to have a view of the beach and ocean is to click on the sponsor links to our two condos at the top left of this website.

Because of the set back requirements, there is no way a property owner can block the beach and there is abundant and easy access to the beach. All beaches in Costa Rica are public, so we and others can walk up and down the beach as far as we want.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Squirrel, up close and personal

This is the same squirrel that I showed yesterday.  My wife, two sons and I had stopped to watch him and the squirrel seemed as curious about us as we were of him.  As one son and I were taking photos, he jumped around to take a better look at us.

I mentioned yesterday that there were only 5 species of squirrels in Costa Rica.  When most people think of mammals in Costa Rica, they think of monkeys, sloths, jaguars, olingos, coatis, and other exotic tropical animals, not squirrels.  

As rodents, squirrels are members of the most prolific type of mammals.  43% of the 4,050 known species of mammals are rodents, and there are more rodents alive than all other mammals combined.  There are rodents on all continents except Antarctica and Australia.

Unlike some other mammals, male squirrels are not territorial.  They will forage for food in the same area that other squirrels seek food.  Squirrels are also not particularly territorial when it comes to mating.  According to my Costa Rican wildlife book, 4 or more males will chase a female for several hours  until the female selects her mate.  Sounds like a bad scene from a sports bar.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


There are 5 species of squirrels in Costa Rica.  My Costa Rican wildlife book shows three of them, but not this one, unfortunately.  I can tell you that this is not a red-tailed squirrel, nor a variegated squirrel, nor a Central American dwarf squirrel, but I don't know what type it is.  I like his coloration, though.

We saw him in a tree in Playa Langosta about a block or so from our condo.  My wife did not like him.  He is, after all, a rodent, and she has lived her entire life in Arizona, where there are not many squirrels.   I have lived in the U.S. Midwest and East Coast where we are used to seeing squirrels frolicking around, but I have never seen a squirrel with the combination of red and grey of this colorful creature.

When I was in high school in St. Louis County, Missouri, we had an albino squirrel in our back yard, and he would run across the electrical wires behind our house at the same time each morning.  I would know that it was time to go catch the school bus when he would go prancing by my window. 

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Four Seasons Papagayo golf course restaurant

This is my mother-in-law at the Caracol restaurant at the Four Seasons Papagayo golf course. I showed a photo of her next to a monkey not long ago, so I thought I would show her in a more elegant setting. She is a retired elementary school teacher and plays a lot of golf, as she lives in Arizona where golf is a religion. My wife was supposed to fly down the following day, but something arose at work so she cancelled her vacation. I spent a week hosting my mother-in-law, just the two of us, without my wife. (I was actually a very pleasant time, but I just like to act like a martyr about it.)

I previously posted a series of photos of the Four Seasons Papagayo, but did not show this photo of our lunch. We had to call ahead to make reservations, otherwise we would not have been allowed to drive past the gate at the entrance to the Papagayo peninsula.

Even with reservations at the restaurant, we would not have been allowed access to the hotel if we had not called ahead and made a reservation to see the hotel. Visitors are not allowed to drive to the hotel without a reservation. Even with a reservation to see the hotel, they have a staff person escort you around on a little tour, and then it is time for you to leave. This is not a place where you can say that you are going to have a drink in the lobby bar and walk into the hotel to check out the lobby and other amenities. My previous photos of the hotel and golf course can be found under the "Hotel and Resorts" tab on the index.

Just to reach the hotel, you drive on a private road that is 7 km (4 miles) past the entrance gate, and the road is made of "paver bricks" the whole way. The Four Seasons Papagayo is one of a series of hotel developments around the Gulf of Papagayo, which is about a half hour north of Tamarindo. The Papagayo project is somewhat controversial because it has brought such large developments to what was a pristine area.

My own view is that environmentally sensitive development is good for the local economy, provides tax revenue and jobs for Costa Ricans, and helps develop infrastructure for the area, including those of us who own or stay in condos rather than in hotels. For example, a new airport terminal will soon be built at the international airport in nearby Liberia, and that probably would not be happening if it were not for the many hotels and resorts that have been built up and down the coast from Tamarindo.

Friday, May 15, 2009


This is a white-nosed coati. It is a relative of the raccoon. As is apparent from this photo, coatis are active during the day, whereas raccoons and olingos are nocturnal. Coatis are 45 to 70 cm (18 to 27 in.) long, plus their long tails. They can be found both on the ground, as seen here, or in trees.

They live in both wet and dry forests throughout Costa Rica, although we see more olingos than coatis. Sometimes we can see them from the balcony/patio of our condo, shown in yesterday's photo, as they walk in the grassy lawn between the condo and the beach.

The white-nosed coati has the scientific name nasua narica, and is known locally as a pizote.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Looking from the condo on the beach

Yesterday I posted a photo of a flower and there was a building that was out of focus in the background. One of the readers, Bratcatt of Brattleboro, Vermont Daily Photo (who often makes great comments about details in photos), asked what the building was in the background.

I therefore decided to show today the building in the background of yesterday's photo. It is our condo on the beach in Playa Langosta. This photo was taken from the beach. My wife is visible on the balcony. She is on the phone, which is not unusual.

We have an internet phone in Costa Rica, which means that we can make and receive phone calls to the USA and Canada for free. With wireless internet, we can be working on our laptops, making and receiving phone calls, and we can do a substantial amount of work from our two condos in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. That is what my wife is doing here. Me? I was walking on the beach.

It is late afternoon in this photo. My wife was out on the balcony to check the sun and try to surmise what type of a sunset it was going to be. She is probably talking to her secretary back at her office in Arizona. After all, if she had to take care of some work by phone, why not do so while gazing at the beach, catching a breeze off the ocean, and having the background sound of the surf while working? Oh yes, and it looks like she has a glass of wine in her hand. If she is getting ready for sunset, it was about time for me to finish my walk on the beach and go back to the condo to join her for sunset, and the wine.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Purple flower

Like yesterday's photo, this is another flower in the gardens of our condo in the Playa Langosta area of Tamarindo.  Unlike yesterday, I am sure that I cannot identify this one.  Perhaps a reader will be able to help.

After initially posting this photo, I received a comment/question about the building in the background.  Although I cannot identify the flower, I can identify the building.  It is our condo.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"Popcorn" Heliconia?

This is one of the flowering plants that surround our condo in the Playa Langosta area of Tamarindo. The center of the flower looks to me a little like popcorn.  I think it is a type of heliconia, but I have to admit that I am not very good at identification of different types of plant species.  Furthermore, there are more than 10,000 different plant species in Costa Rica that have been documented, but obviously that is too many to be shown in my reference book on Costa Rican plants.  

Another excuse for my limited knowledge (besides the fact that my three university degrees included only one class in biology) is that in dividing my time between Costa RIca and the USA, I have lived most of my adult life in Arizona.  We primarily have desert plants in Arizona, and of course the plants in Costa Rica are tropical,  Thus, much of the vegetation is quite different, which is part of the allure of Costa Rica.    

Monday, May 11, 2009

Surfer pedestrians

My post on Saturday showing surfboards and bicycles parked outside a store generated a couple of comments about Tamarindo being a surfing town.  I therefore decided to show another street scene photo that reflects the character of Tamarindo's surfing culture.  

This photo is typical of pedestrians in Tamarindo -- surfers walking through town on their way to the beach.  Surfers often stay at less expensive places that are a couple of blocks from the beach, so it is common to see them strolling through town with their boards.

Tamarindo is a mixture of older places that cater to young people on a budget who are enjoying the surfing lifestyle, and both medium priced and upscale hotels, condos, and guest houses that cater to vacationing couples and families.

Some surfing hostels have accommodations for as little as $10 per night, and of course in resorts and condos the accommodations can be 20 to 30 times that amount, or more.  In fact, a new, luxurious J.W. Marriott Guanacaste Resort has been built just south of Tamarindo.  You can buy a condo in Tamarindo for less than $100,000 or for more that $1 million USD.  

My wife and I enjoy the mixture and diversity in the community.  One of our condos is on the beach in Playa Langosta, which is an upscale residential area, and our other condo is on the grounds of the Tamarindo Diria Resort, right in the heart of town and the middle of Tamarindo Beach.  Some foreigners prefer to have their condos or houses located in gated, master planned developments outside of town, and those are lovely, but we like being where we can walk to lunch and dinner and feel more a part of the community.  

Some people ask me about security.  Both of our condos have have full time guards and gates, which provides peace of mind because we are not there all the time, and it is also a reassurance for the visitors who rent our condos when we are gone.   We have never felt unsafe while walking around town.  Costa Ricans are a warm and friendly people, and tourism is the number one industry in the country.  Like any place else in the world, if you are careless or leave stuff in an unlocked car,  someone might succumb to temptation.  We don't hang out in dark alleys at 3:00 a.m., but otherwise we feel very safe in Tamarindo.  And as you saw in Saturday's photo, some people feel safe in leaving bicycles and surfboards unattended in the middle of town.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Today is Mother's Day in the USA, and because most of the readers of this blog are, like me, Americans, I will wish them a Happy Mother's Day.

This Costa Rican cake with Mother's Day wishes was in the window at one of the two Paris Bakeries in Tamarindo last August.  In Costa Rica, Mother's Day is in August and it is a national holiday.  It is on a weekday and most businesses are closed so that families can devote a full day to celebrating Mother's Day.

My wife and I celebrated Mother's Day yesterday by taking her mother and grandmother to high tea at the Phoenician Resort in Arizona.  

My own mother passed away nine years ago from melanoma.  She was the daughter of Swedish immigrants who settled in Worcester, Massachusetts.  She met my father while attending the University of Michigan just before World War II.  She earned a B.A., two Master's Degrees and, later in life, a Ph.D.  She subordinated her career to my father's, as he served in the Navy for 20 years, so she had to move every couple of years, and at times he was absent, particularly when they were younger, as my father was in the South Pacific during World War II and served on an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean after the war.   My mother worked as as social worker in adoptive services and later taught at the University of Missouri.  Thank you for indulging my Mother's Day remembrance of her.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Parking for your bike and board

This is a parking area in front of some shops that contain a convenience market and a laundromat.  This little street scene reflects that Tamarindo is a popular town for surfing.  At the little bicycle rack in front of the shops people have parked not only their bicycles, but their surfboards as well.

It is not unusual to see surfboards in Tamarindo, as there are a lot of people who walk around town with their surfboards on their way to and from the beach.  If a store wants to get drop in traffic from surfers, why not provide a little parking area for surfers, bicycles, and surfers on bicycles?  

It must be a little tricky to ride a bicycle while carrying a surfboard, however.  When I was in junior high school in St. Louis County, Missouri, I used to ride to school on my bicycle while carrying a trombone in its case in one arm.  A surfboard is a lot bigger than a trombone case, however, and it does not have a handle.  But, I guess if someone is agile enough to surf and ride the waves, they have the coordination to be able to ride a bicycle while carrying a surfboard.    

Friday, May 8, 2009

Las Baulas Restaurant

It has been a while since I have posted a photo of a restaurant, so here is a photo of Las Baulas, which serves our favorite pizza in town.   

These photos show the open air nature of most restaurants in Tamarindo.  As I have mentioned previously, my wife is a "foodie" and an important factor in our decision to buy a condo in Tamarindo was the fact that there are about 50 restaurants.  We like the variety of choices, with international chefs who combine elements of different culinary traditions.    

When staying at our condo on the beach in Langosta, we typically like to share a bottle of wine while waiting for and watching the sun set over the ocean, then walk along the beach to a restaurant in the middle of Tamarindo while there is still some light, then walk back along the road after dinner.  We feel safe walking at night, and on the walk back to our condo we might pause to watch the fire flies and listen to the croaking frogs. 

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Skateboarders and angels in polka dot swim suits

These are the last two photos of my little series about the children's park in Tamarindo.  The skateboard area is shown in the top photo.  This appeals to older children than the swing sets and other playground equipment shown in yesterday's photo.  The sakateboard area is important because Tamarindo does not have a lot of paved streets so that there are not a lot of other areas for skateboarders.    

The second photo shows the sign for the park.  Someone took the trouble to carve an original wooden sign.  It is an interesting design, with two angels wearing polka dot swimming suits.  I don't think I have seen that motif before.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Children's park

This is the children's park that I mentioned in yesterday's post in which I showed photos of some of the painted butterflies at the park.  After some of the comments people left yesterday I decided to show photos of the park itself.  

As I mentioned yesterday, Tamarindo is a very small town, but it is worthwhile that it has a children's park, as modest as it is.  After all, there are times that children want to play on regular land, rather than always playing on the beach and in the ocean, even if it is a world-class beach.  

These photos also give a glimpse of the lush vegetation in Tamarindo.  This park is in the heart of central Tamarindo, yet there are lots of trees.  It is a challenge, of course, to preserve the vegetation as additional condos and businesses are built.

Last year, the President of Costa Rica, Nobel Peace Prize winner Oscar Arias, executed an Executive Order to restrict the density of buildings in the Northwest Pacific coast of the country.  The Order requires that about half of all land be left in grass and trees when new condos or other development projects are built.  It also restricted the height of buildings near the ocean.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Painted butterflies

I recently ran a series of photos of signs around Tamarindo. The photos today are not technically signs, but I decided to show them nevertheless. They are painted butterflies in a small children's park.

I know this is a rather modest bit of decoration, but I think it is nice that someone took the time and initiative to paint butterflies on a trash can and on the wall of the building that forms one boundary of the park. The decoration adds to the festiveness of what otherwise would be an unattractive trash can and a very plain wall.

The children's park has a skateboard area, a basketball court, and some swings. It is not fancy, but please keep in mind that Tamarindo is a small town, with no traffic lights, only one paved road, no gas stations, and the local government is a half hour away in Santa Cruz. Costa Rica has many needs and priorities, and building a fancy park in a town filled with tourists and international residents is not as high a priority as other civic needs.

Sometimes when public works expenditures are needed, the local community takes up a collection, often supported by donations from the hotels and resorts in town, to contribute part of the money to stretch the use of tax dollars for infrastructure improvements.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Plants at night

I have shown photos before looking out at the ocean or sunset from the balcony of our condo on the beach at Playa Langosta.  Here is a view from our balcony at night looking straight down on the tropical gardens that surround the building.   

Sometimes we like to relax at night on the balcony listening to the surf, seeing the moonlight reflecting in the breaking waves, and watching for olingos and raccoons to walk by the garden.

My wife and I are taking a night sky photography class next Friday night at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona, so hopefully in the future I will be able to take and post some photos of the moon over the ocean, rather than night photos of the plants under the balcony.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Iguana in tree

In Costa Rica, if you look up in the trees at almost any time you will never know what you might see.  Birds, monkeys, sloths, squirrels, olingos, raccoons, or . . . .  an iguana.  Do you see the iguana in this photo?

Iguanas spend most of their time in trees.  A lizard this large looks like it should be lumbering along the ground, and iguanas are often seen on the ground.  In fact, in Tamarindo I have seen iguanas walking along beside the sidewalk right in the middle of town.  

There are 38 species of iguanas in Costa Rica.  This is a green iguana, also called a common iguana.  In Spanish it is a garrobo, and its scientific name is the redundant iguana iguana.  

Green iguanas reach 2 meters (6.5 feet) in length and they will climb as high as 20 m. (65 ft.) in trees.  As adults, they eat leaves, twigs and fruit, but adolescent iguanas prefer insects.  They walk very slowly, but if they are threatened and they are on a branch above a river, they can drop down into the river and swim away underwater.   

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Pass the Corona, please

This is a scene that has the look of a Corona beer advertisement, with the beach, the horizon, a solitary figure.  All that is missing is the sounding effects of the waves, a few chirps from tropical birds, and, of course, a Corona.  

This is my older son, who lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  Costa Rica provides a nice place for family get-togethers, as my younger son can fly down from Scottsdale, Arizona, and my older son flies up from Argentina.

With tropical beaches on which to relax, lush forests, scenic mountains, a pleasant climate and a stable democracy, is it any wonder that an international poll reported in yesterday's newspaper found that Costa Ricans are the third happiest people on earth.  (The happiest nation is Vanatu, a South Pacific Island.)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Palm tree shadows on Tamarindo beach

The first-of-the-month world-wide Daily Photo theme for May 1 is "shadows."  No shadows say "Tamarindo" as much as these shadows of palm trees on Tamarindo beach, looking across the bay to Cabo Velas.  These shadows also express that "You're not in Kansas, anymore."

The palm trees casting these shadows are on the grounds of the Tamarindo Diria Resort in the heart of Tamarindo beach.  The trees shade the beach only in the morning sun.  In mid-day and the afternoon, the palm trees shade tourists staying at the Diria hotel or condos who like to relax in lounge chairs in a grassy area under trees, overlooking the beach.

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