Casa Orquideas, Golfo Dulce & Golfito
“Earth laughs in flowers.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
After sailing 60 nautical miles overnight, we awakened to another spectacular sunrise for our third day aboard National Geographic Sea Lion. Morning wake-and-shake exercises on the sun deck were set among a backdrop of the pale orange, pink, yellow and blue of the skies, the abundant green foliage of the coastline forest and the blue-green aquamarine of the surrounding waters. Welcome to Golfo Dulce, “Sweet Gulf”!
Anchored just off-shore in these deep waters, we took Zodiacs to one of my favorite places, Casa Orquideas. We were greeted by owners Ron and Trudy McAllister, U.S. expats who have lived on and developed this botanical wonderland for over 30 years, creating a vibrant yet peaceful oasis to meander, breathe deeply, and delight the senses. Naturalists led several groups around the stone-filled garden paths to explore the treasures. Orchids and many other tropical flowers, plants and fruit trees attract a variety of birds. Those birds we saw today included scarlet macaws, chestnut-mandibled toucans, parrots, golden-hooded and Cherrie’s tanagers, yellow-headed caracara, fiery-throated aracari. If indeed the earth laughs in flowers, I could hear the chuckles and giggles and loud guffaws in the profusion of dainty and hearty flowers at Casa Orquideas.
Though the gardens were well shaded, the heat and humidity of the tropical sun drove many back to the beach-front station to refill water bottles and sip juice. Once back on board, the captain gave permission for a refreshing swim off the fantail, and led a number of swimmers to shore and back, while others floated on “noodles” and splashed around cooling their noggins.
After lunch and siestas, National Geographic staff Taylor Edwards spoke about his work with turtles. In the late afternoon we disembarked to explore the estuary mangrove area of Golfito Bay via kayaks and Zodiac cruises. Wildlife seen: white ibis, great egret, green heron, ruddy turnstones, osprey, green iguana, white-faced capuchin and howler monkeys. Another amazing day in Costa Rica. Pura vida!