By Jim Bishop.
This is a continuation of our trip to Costa Rica in November 2019.
Read about the beginning of the trip here.
Read about Las Cruces Botanical station here
After a final look at the bird and bromeliads at the Las Cruces Botanical station and we packed our bags and were on our way to Talari Mountain Lodge.
Though we enjoyed the gardens and jungle, we were looking forward to a bit better food, drier weather, and better internet.
Scenes along the way and our lunch stop
In the morning we drove past the more agriculturally developed parts of Costa Rica. Lots of pineapple and sugar cane fields.
The restaurant was at the bottom of a steep hill. Our lunch stop, had many colorful birds.
They had fruit just outside the open air dining area where we were able to get a closeup view of the many colorful birds.
We spent most of the day on the bus crossing the highest point on the Pan American Highway at 12,000 feet. Earlier in October, I was in Peru and we frequently were on the Pan American Highway. We also crossed the Andes several times with summits over 15,000 feet. However, the highway in Peru mostly follows the coastline, so the highest elevations of the highway are much further north in Costa Rica.
During the construction of the Pan-American Highway during the 50s, many workers relocated into this area and stayed. Today small villages in the highlands are populated by descendants of the workers. The region has special importance for conservation as well as Eco-tourism.
Lots of colorful native plants were growing nearby the restaurant:
Talari Mountain Lodge
Turning off the Pan American highway we headed down a very narrow and windy road to Talari Mountain Lodge in San Isidro del General. The lodge and reserve protects a small patch of subtropical forest in an otherwise heavy agricultural area of south central Costa Rica. Cerro de la Muerte is considered a birdwatcher's paradise with the iconic resplendent Emerald toucanet and hummingbirds being fairly common sightings. We stayed in somewhat rustic cabin-like rooms that due to the elevation were quite chilly at night but set in a beautiful garden setting with a running stream. Here we say many wonderful and colorful birds.
To get to our cabin we had go walk through several gardens planted with exotic plants that wound past other cabins and crossed a small stream several times.
There were several very large Abyssinian Banana, Ensete ventricosum.
Hike in the old grown forest above the lodge
We rode 4-wheel drive open air vehicles to the high up in the forest and then walked back down through the dense forest to the lodge.
Recognizable as a Castilleja, but I don't know the species.
These are often semi-parasitic plants.
Hike along the River below the lodge
On our last day at the lodge, Scott and I ventured out and walked along the road and then a trail below the property to explore the running river and waterfalls. It also goes through part of the Parque Nacional Los Quetzales. We were also looking for the resplendent quetzal and Emerald toucanet, known to be in the area, but didn't spot any.
Streptosolen jamesonii (Marmalade Bush) - Native to South America.
The next morning we packed up to head back to San Jose, but before that we spent the day touring two of the most beautiful private gardens we visited on the tour . . . More to share at another time.