Casa Orquideas & Golfito

Feb 05, 2019 - National Geographic Quest


On this last day in beautiful Costa Rica, National Geographic Quest arrived very early morning to the Casa Orquideas, a phenomenal botanical garden built by Trudy and Ron McAllister, two American expats who made this very remote part of Costa Rica their home 35 years ago. The couple’s continuing passion for nature is at the heart of their cultivating the rich exhibit it has thus become, which includes an abundance of fruits, spices, and flowers.

We see all of this firsthand, enveloped by pristine Costa Rican forest surrounding the property and cheered with the company of macaws, yellow-throated toucans, charming hummingbirds, and scarlet-scarlet-jumped tanagers. Few places make such a mark.

Casa Orquideas is the kind of place that leaves with you the enduring sense of gratitude and awe for the natural world.

Tomorrow we wake to the beautiful beaches of Panama.

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About the Author

José Calvo

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Nicknamed “Indio” (Indian) because of his powers of observation and quiet nature, José has almost two decades of experience working as a naturalist and photography guide; as well as being recognized as an expert birder and nature photographer in Costa Rica. Costa Rica is rich in biodiversity — over 893 bird species have been recorded in the country. Since very young José spent all of his free time in the outdoors in the forest, where he soon fell in love with the birds. He particularly enjoys listening to their calls, and watching their behavior. Oddly enough, another one of Jose’s passions is science and technology, and because of this, he was among the first in Costa Rica to experiment with digital photography. As the technology quickly improved so did his love for it.  He truly believes that nature photography is the perfect combination of both of his passions.

About the Videographer

Matthew Ritenour

Video Chronicler

Matthew grew up on the Gulf of Mexico, where a love of geography, culture and history were instilled at a young age. He studied anthropology at California State University, Chico, and soon began working at the Advanced Laboratory for Visual Anthropology (ALVA), a documentary production studio that focuses on sharing the results of anthropological research with the public. As a cinematographer and editor at ALVA, he documented research on everything from the effects of drought in California, to looted petroglyphs in the Sierra Nevada high desert, and the global trade in emeralds.

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