A few favorite sun and sky photos

While recently sorting through some old vacation photos, I came across an abundance of snapshots of skies and sunsets. Several dozen photos of the same scene make up hundreds of files, taking up precious space on disks, thumb drives and memory sticks. Before these get buried back into the depths of storage, I wanted to publish just a few of the most recent photos:

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Sunset view from Princeville Resort, on Kauai’s north shore.

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Late afternoon sky at The Windmill Winery, near Florence, Ariz.

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Sunset over a choppy Sea of Cortez near San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico.

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Dusk at Ashurst Lake near Flagstaff

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Setting sun near San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico

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Sun peaks through huge cottonwood tree at San Pedro House near Sierra Vista

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Nightfall on the Pacific Ocean near Jaco, Costa Rica

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Brilliant sun prepares to sink over Isla Venado near San Carlos.

 

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Cure winter blues with tropical vacation memories

Recent freezing mornings in Arizona prompted me to recall a January trip to Costa Rica. Just revisiting my photos from the trip brought back great memories and helped thaw out some winter blues. Here are some reasons we’ll be anxious to return:

Los Suenos Resort's gardens
Los Suenos Resort’s gardens

 

Views of the marina, Herradura Bay and Los Suenos Resort from The Hook Up Restaurant and Bar
Views of the marina, Herradura Bay and Los Suenos Resort from The Hook Up Restaurant and Bar

 

Many species of birds like this egret are common sights at Los Suenos
Many species of birds like this egret are common sights at Los Suenos

 

Manicured gardens and covered walkways in the Los Suenos Resort/Herradura area.
Manicured gardens and covered walkways in the Los Suenos Resort/Herradura area.

Spend a day or two at Marriott Los Suenos Resort

While the others in our vacation group we’re out on the La Iguana Golf Course, the rest of us enjoyed exploring the resort — its beautiful gardens, arbor-covered walkways, creeks and canals, expansive pool area and marina. Tip: It’s an easy stroll to the marina village. Consider a leisurely lunch at the nearby sports pub, The Hook Up, overlooking the Herradura Bay and marina. This luxurious resort has all the finest points of superior lodging. But for the room rates, we’d expect to be on a nicer beach property. Nearby to Jaco, and other Costa Rica resort towns, the resort makes a nice option for a fine dinner, spa treatment or shopping venue.

One of the best Costa Rica vacation memories -- the wonderful coffee
One of the best Costa Rica vacation memories — the wonderful coffee

Visit Cafe Milagro in Manuel Antonio

While in Costa Rica, we enjoyed Cafe Britt coffee also, as that seemed to be found everywhere, and we brought some of it back with us. But we had a special memory of eating a delicious breakfast and sipping some the best coffee I’ve ever tasted at the Cafe Milagro restaurant on the morning before our trip to the Manuel Antonio National Park. Once back in Arizona we were pleased to know it was easy to order this coffee online — both brands. There’s no better way to bring back tropical vacation trip memories and fend off chilly Arizona mornings than a cup of great Costa Rica coffee.

Warm waters throughout the winter -- Manuel Antonio beach
Warm waters throughout the winter — Manuel Antonio beach

Water temperature = 83 degrees

While my swimming pool is probably 40 degrees or so, I can’t help but think about the warm waters in Costa Rica. Checking online for water temperature reports I found a great surfing info website. It gives me a great sense of warmth just knowing that somewhere there’s a destination within a five-hour flight with beautiful beaches — a lush tropical paradise with a seemingly endless amount of activities stretching across one’s imagination of vacation dreams. Sorting through Costa Rica vacation photos is great way to cure the winter doldrums — even in sunny Arizona.

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10 favorite images of Costa Rica

Of all things to see in Costa Rica, we’ve chosen 10 favorites. These are only ten images out of hundreds we photographed while vacationing in Jaco, Quepos and La Fortuna. These ten photos prompt the most memorable experiences from this beautiful, tropical Central American country. And we can’t wait to go back for more…

1. Black Ctenosaur explores the gardens at Casa de Mariposas, Jaco

2. Infinity pool, gardens and view of Arenal Volcano at Arenal Lodge, La Fortuna

3. Blue and Yellow Macaws near Arenal Lodge, La Fortuna

4. Crested Guan outside our suite at Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort, La Fortuna

5. La Paz Waterfall Gardens

6. Blue morpho butterfly feasts on bananas at La Paz Waterfall Gardens

7. American crocodiles bask in the sun at Rio Tarcoles Bridge

8. Dark sand on Jaco Beach, near Club del Mar Resort

9.White, fine sand beach at Manuel Antonio National Park near Quepos

10. Red ginger blossoms at Tabacon Resort

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Costa Rica vacation home: Casa de Mariposas

 

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Casa de Mariposas' spacious front porch welcomes visitors

In one sense, Costa Rica seems so distant, so remote. Yet at times it seems comfortably close to home – especially if you stay at Casa de Mariposas.

Casa de Mariposas, located just on the outskirts of Jaco, is a vacation home at the point where the rainforest meets the beach, and where ‘town meets country.’ Even when you pull up to the house, you’ll have this feeling that you could be in the middle of a jungle. The sound of exotic bird calls greets you, as does the warm friendly charm of the front porch. It’s like you were meant to be here. When you step inside, you get that feeling you’ve come home, almost as though you never left the city, but then you smell those wonderful flowers and plants that could only come from the Costa Rica rainforest.

 

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Jaco's beach is only a two-minute walk from Casa de Mariposas

 

You could call it luxury with a fringe of the wild side. I mean, all the resort amenities are there in the home: spacious living room with flat screen TVs, luxurious beds and huge walk-in showers of tile and glass, but the views from the second floor through the green canopy to Pacific Ocean beyond the beach, make you feel like you might be in a tree house or on a deserted island. Then you hear the faint sounds of Latin music and laughter coming from the boutique resort, Club del Mar, located across the street, where you, as a Casa de Mariposas guest, have complimentary use of most facilities.

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Club del Mar is just across the street from Casa de Mariposas

 

Imagine both ends of the spectrum: that of a remote, private little world in the rainforest or on an unspoiled beach, then the images of a comfortable, familiar, welcoming vacation home. After spending nearly two weeks here, I concluded it really does have the best of both worlds, one of uncivilized: adventure, excitement and intense natural beauty, coupled together with another world of civilization with its full rewards — lounging around the pool, feasting on fresh seafood, enjoying a massage at a spa or golfing at the nearby Los Suenos Marriott.

 

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Manuel Antonio's sandy white beaches are less than an hour's drive

A visit to the owner’s website is the best way to get more clear idea of region’s beauty plus you can be impressed by all the fine details of the home and also obtain additional information about the huge amount of local attractions and activities. On the website, you may conjure up an itinerary of deep sea fishing, surfing, Scuba diving and snorkeling, zip-lining and rafting, beach sports, beautiful wildlife parks and nature preserves filled with the most amazing flowers, plants, and some of the most fascinating creatures you never knew existed. After you consider the “uncivilized,” think about the “civilized” – Jaco and neighboring towns have it all: casinos, great restaurants, nightclubs, big box stores, a yacht marina, fine golf courses. And right in the heart of it all is Casa de Mariposas.  It really does have the best of both worlds.

 

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Jaco Beach at dusk