Flowers are restful to look at. They have neither emotions nor conflicts.Sigmund Freud
We stayed in some wonderful hotels in Costa Rica, and all of them had gorgeous gardens. The planting was true to the environment, with native trees and bushes and a real forest vibe. When we weren’t out exploring the national parks and reserves I spent much of my time photographing the colourful flowers, remarkable trees and beautiful birds.
Sofia’s choice of In the Garden for her theme as guest host of the Friendly Friday challenge gives me the perfect excuse to share some of them. I think we all need the calming effect of a lovely garden or two right now.
You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming.Pablo Neruda
The first hotel we stayed in was the Hotel Bougainvillea near San Jose. I think this is a Cortez tree (Tabebuia ochracea), striking because the blooms appear on otherwise bare branches.
We only stayed here one night at the Hotel Bougainvillea, but had a spare hour before flying down to the Osa Peninsula so were able to explore the extensive gardens; here’s a delicately-hued hibiscus I especially loved.
In the garden of our second hotel, the Aguila de Osa Inn on the shores of the Pacific near the Corcovado National Park (my feature photo was also taken here).
Two more from the garden of the Aguila de Osa Inn: a beautiful hibiscus and my favourite, bougainvillea.
The garden of the Aguila de Osa Inn is planted with bushes that attract birds and butterflies, especially in front of the bedrooms, so that all the guests have good wildlife-spotting opportunities. This is a Great Kiskadee in the bush opposite our terrace.
And here’s a hummingbird in the same bush, a Samanea saman or rain tree I believe.
Our next hotel was the Arenal Korio, which had a more open garden but still with lots of tropical flowers, bushes and trees. This is the view from our room with Volcan Arenal half-hidden by cloud beyond.
Tucked away in one part of the garden of the Arenal Korio is a series of small thermal pools, heated of course by the volcano that looms over the property. A gorgeous spot in which to unwind after a morning’s explorations!
The Arenal Korio gardens attracted lots of birds but this is the only one I managed to get a decent photograph of! A Florida-based friend tells me it’s a Rufous-collared Sparrow – a common bird but a cute one nevertheless.
Our hotel in Sant Elena was the Senda Monteverde; this is the view of the lush garden from our bungalow’s terrace, right at the top of the property!
And here is that bungalow, half hidden among the trees and bushes; it was a steep climb up but rewarded with great views (more here).
As at the Aguila de Osa, the garden at the Senda Monteverde is carefully planted with bushes that attract the birds.
On now to our last hotel, Lagarta Lodge, perched high above the Pacific on the Nicoya Peninsula. Another lot of steep steps to our room, and another jungle-like environment.. Like all the other hotels, the garden at Lagarta Lodge attracted lots of birds; here, a Grackle and a Squirrel Cuckoo.
And excitingly, we several times saw Howler Monkeys in the trees planted on and around the property. They were very hard to photograph but of course I had to try!
I visited Costa Rica in February 2022