Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Hotel Bougainvillea, Santo Domingo de Heredia, Costa Rica

     Whenever we travel, Miriam always likes to take pictures of our accommodation before I get into the room and mess it up. She generally follows up with numerous images of the exterior of the place, and any other interesting characteristics, while I am single-mindedly looking for birds.
     We have stayed at the beginning and at the end of two visits to Costa Rica at this fabulous place and I think it merits a blog post all of its own, using Miriam's pictures and without a single shot of a bird. Let me say up front that I have no financial interest in this hotel, nor do I have any reason for devoting a post to it, other than that I think it is truly exceptional and perhaps I can render a service to other birders looking for a haven on their first night in San José. The hotel is only about twenty minutes from the airport, but traffic gridlock may add to that.
     The people at the front desk are fully bilingual for those of you who don't speak Spanish and they are friendly and efficient in every way. Here is our lovely room. You can see the door off to a private balcony.

     And here is a shot of the rear of the hotel with its exquisite botanic gardens.

     It is the gardens that really make this hotel so exceptional. There is an incredible variety of tropical plants, flowers, trees, shrubs, water features, paths, benches, an observation tower, and for birders a diverse and interesting range of species.

     Orchids and Heliconias abound.

          On our first night, before turning in, Miriam took this shot of the lights of San José shimmering in the darkness, with the flag of Costa Rica limp on its pole, languid and peaceful, as is this nation that has no army. Pura Vida Costa Rica!

     I should mention the food at this hotel. It is first class and the service terrific (although we had one waiter who was a real klutz - but let me not be uncharitable). On the weekend many Ticos come to eat here and the dining room is crowded with happy, smiling diners.
     For residents there is an outdoor pool and Miriam and Marg Macdonald took full advantage of it.
     It is a joy to wake up and know that the gardens outside are beckoning to you. After a coffee in the room it is sheer delight to once again savour the pleasure of the flowers and breathe in the sweet fragrance of some of them.

     This Bird of Paradise flower is exquisite, not more so perhaps than other species, but more dramatic.

     What a burst of colour this bush provides. How could one ever not be moved by such a sight? This is the bougainvillea from which the hotel takes its name.

     We were left wondering what larvae had chewed this palm leaf in such a geometric fashion. I checked several times but was never able to find the culprit in action.

     There is beauty at every turn in the garden. Each time we strolled through we saw vegetation and flowers we had not seen before, to say nothing of the myriad birds and butterflies.

     It really does not get much better than the Bougainvillea. I have stayed at many fine places in many corners of the world. Other individual lodges or hotels may have had certain aspects that are superior, but taken overall, the Hotel Bougainvillea is clearly Number One. I hope that one day you will get a chance to experience all it has to offer.


  1. Tropical gardening is so much easier than other gardens and so beautiful. After 50 years in Africa my garden is one thing I really miss. The hotel looks wonderful and those flowers, yes well so tropical. Love it. Diane

    1. One of the most spectacular floral regions I have ever seen was the Fynbos area of South Africa - truly amazing.

  2. Wonderful post about this delightful hotel. We hope to go to Costa Rica one day and will definitely keep this in mind.

  3. Bonsoir cher ami,

    Wouaou ! je suis éblouie par cette belle végétation ! Il me plairait bien de devenir un petit oiseau... pour me retrouver dans un tel cadre.

    Magnifiques photos!
    Gros bisous ♡

  4. Beautiful flowers, I love them David.

  5. Not many hotels have a back yard like that!

  6. I enjoyed staying there too, but didn't have time to go into the gardens unfortunately. We even saw several birds while packing the vehicle, and that was after watching some through the windows at breakfast.

    1. That's too bad. You really missed the best part.

  7. Lovely room there. Your wife takes a lovely photo.
    The garden is gorgeous and i bet it was a surprise to have that in the grounds.

  8. Firstly my compliments, Miriam, I enjoyed the pictures very much. It is close to my interests, plants and flowers. The photos and the passionate texts by you David make it a great blog. Gr Jan W

  9. Very posh,lovely images Miriam,love the out door shots,very colourful.

  10. Looks a good place to start and end a trip! And I bet I could get a swag of life birds just in the garden!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

    1. If you have never been to Central America fifteen to twenty lifers at the Bougainvillea would be quite attainable during a one-day stay.

  11. Hello David, What a lovely garden with all those colourful flowers. The hotel seems just the place I would like to stay.

  12. The hoot is there anywhere nice David, which is good to stay there.
    Beautiful pictures and some beautiful flowers.
    Greetings Tinie

  13. Why do I have these images in my head? You lounging on that bed, field guide to " Birds of Costa Rica " in one hand, glass of scotch in the other?

    Meanwhile the grounds of your hotel are indeed colourful and beautiful.

    I am certain that your review will earn you a 10% discount for 2017 ( and any guests you invite along).

  14. Dearest David,
    There are but a few times that I have managed what Miriam did before the pristine look of such a room is broken in! You are right this looks like a very peaceful hotel with great tropical surroundings and due to its altitude, a great view as well.
    Colorful flora and fauna and that makes every nature lover happy!
    Sending you hugs,

  15. The flowers are stunning! I love the bright colours and the different shapes.