Gallery: in the garden, Costa Rican style
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
Great floral shots but the hummingbird photos won me over in this photo, Sarah!
Thanks Annie 😊 It took a lot of missed shots to get that one!
I love the colors you have captured of the tropical flora in Costa Rica. It reminds me that someday it will actually be spring here. 😉
Thank you 🙂 Yes, spring will come to all of us eventually. It seems to have arrived in London this week, we’re having a beautiful spell! When can you expect to see it?
I can go down to Denver (about 45 min drive) to visit the flowers coming out. Spring in the mountains tends to be our heaviest snow time. There should be some greening up by the end of the month, but there may still be some late snows.
I love mountains but I’d find it tough to wait so long for spring!
What a brilliant garden tour! It made me breathe deeper. Thanks for that. I can tell what a happy dance your lungs were doing.
That’s lovely Manja, I’m so glad you enjoyed your tour! Yes, my lungs, my eyes, my camera (of course!) …
I love all these tropical flowers, they are so rich and colourful. And the bird too🙂 and I guess the butterflies as well, as they have plenty of nectar!
Thanks Christie – yes, there were loads of butterflies but even harder to photograph than the hummingbirds! However I got some shots in a butterfly garden we visited, which will no doubt appear in a future post 🙂
Great collection of photos, Sarah…you caught the hummingbirds in a way that Michaela never quite managed!
Thanks so much 😊 As I said below, catching those hummingbirds took a lot of trying and failing! I have so many photos of a flower where a bird was moments before 😆 But I found that if I used the burst setting it increased my chances, although there were still far more misses than hits!
Where to start? This is a perfect post, Sarah between your words, quotes and obviously your amazing photos. I love the hummingbird photo, that must have been hard to get and I also share your love for hibiscus and bougainvilleas, they remind me of Portugal.
Thank you so much Sofia 😊 Your choice of theme came at a great time for me as I had all these photos from the hotel gardens that didn’t really fit with the various walks and tours in CR that I wanted to post – you gave me a great reason to share them!
I’d be wanting to dip my toes in those thermal pools. Gorgeous views and flowers!
We dipped more than our toes 😆 Glad you enjoyed both views and flowers.
the eternal traveller
All these photos are gorgeous, but the hummingbird images are simply stunning. Having seen hummingbirds in Vancouver and then again in Las Vegas, I know just how speedy they are. You did so well.
Thank you 😊 This is the first time I’ve managed to get half-decent photos of them but it took a lot of trying and failing!
Excellent photo Sarah, sorry no favourites as I like them all 🙂 🙂
Thank you Brian – there’s no rule that says you have to have a favourite 😆
Sometimes I do find a photo that makes me go wow though 🙂
I’ll have to try harder 😆
It’s just so green and lush over there… totally different to here after a long hot summer! Love the colours of the flowers!
Yes, green and lush really sums it up. Even in the places where we didn’t have rain (which was almost everywhere, we only had one morning of it!), they get a lot at other times of the year so it’s always green 🙂
Me too – it’s always a treat to see them when we travel as we don’t get them at home.
I recognise that Arenal view but that wasn’t the name of our hotel. I love that orange/pink flower and the beautiful feathery pink… Such colour!!
There seemed to be several hotels along that stretch of road and I expect they all had similar views, although this one claims to be the closest! How long ago were you there?
Your photos are wonderful.. we just had our phones .. that’s when I decided to get a camera…
Not so long ago then. And yes, I can imagine trying to take photos on a phone on CR would inspire anyone to consider getting a ‘real’ camera 😀
Imagine trying to capture a toucan or sloth on the top of a tree😩!
Birds and beautiful flowers. What’s not to like. 😊
I know you love gardens Jude – I’m glad you liked these ones 🙂
Flowers, birds – and those views. What us there not to enjoy? Thanks so much for sharing, once again.
And thank you for visiting and commenting Yvonne – always appreciated 😀
One garden lover taking a look 🙂 Gorgeous Sarah! But not only flowers here, lots of birds too! I do love hummingbirds, wish we had them here in Sweden. The Squirrel Cuckoo has such beautiful colours; I don’t think I ever spotted one of those. And I love the shot of the Rufous-collared Sparrow; the angle and foreground of the photo makes me feel I am entering into its little world and I am right there with it, giving me a feeling that I could almost touch it.
Thanks so much Simone 😊 Yes, I’d love to have hummingbirds here too, although maybe only seeing them on holiday makes them even more special? The sparrow was on a raised flower bed by a path so it was easy to photograph from his height!
Yes, you are probably right, they feel even more special as I can only see them on holidays 😊
I don’t have the same liking for tropical flowers as I have for those from the colder climes but I do love the birds they attract, and your Great Kisskadee and the Hummingbird are wonderful. I only once saw a hummingbird and it was an amazing experience watching it hovering in the air as it sucked the nectar from the flower. Your flowers are equally brilliant of course, just that I like birds better!
Thank you Mari, I’m happy you enjoyed the birds 🙂 I like almost all flowers but I do have a particular fondness for hibiscus and bougainvillea. I think it’s partly the association with holidays and warmer climes, but I’m also drawn to the colours I guess. And they’re a lot easier to photograph than birds, especially hummingbirds!