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.