La Georgina and the Hummingbirds at 10,000 feet in Costa Rica

road sign
Villa Mills. Blink and you'll miss it. 

It is not much more than a broad spot in the road. Harder to miss, just beyond the blue sign, is a crisp-looking red and white restaurant, which may have several cars and a bus parked in front depending on the time of day. That's La Georgina, founded in 1947, just a year before the 44-day Costa Rican civil war that sparked the abolition of their army and instigated several social reforms that carry on today. Must've been interesting times for this spot, since a lot of the fighting occurred up here on Cerro de La Muerte.

La Georgina restaurant
 I have doubts whether this place was ever in any danger of being obliterated by that war, but in any case we're certainly glad that it's still in operation. It's a spacious place and has restrooms built for no-waiting. The food is the usual Tico buffet, not bad, but not terribly creative either. The main attraction for us is in the back.


There, the entire length of the back wall is filled with large windows and a continuous built-in table with chairs. Just inches on the other side of those windows hang about six or eight hummingbird feeders and rare is the time they are not quite busy with several species of hummers slurping up the sugar nectar from the upside-down soda bottles. Hummingbirds are called colibrí in Spanish, though their traditional name in Costa Rica is gurrión.

hummingbird feeder
This was actually a slow day for the birds compared to other times we've been there when as many as a dozen hummers are vying for the 4 slurping ports at once at each feeder. When it's crowded like that there are often aerial fights that cause the combatants to go into tail spins towards the ground. 

This day, there being fewer birds, was much more peaceful and organized. 
blue colibrí in costa rica

The only thing "wrong" with La Georgina for us is that the location is not the most convenient when we're making a run up to San José and back. It's just about 35 Km. from our entrance to the Pan-American highway, meaning it's about 45 minutes along the trip up north and 2 hours 15 mins. on the way back. 

The natural halfway point for a rest stop is on top of the Cerro in Macho Gaft or El Empalme at one of the roadside restaurants. 

When we make the stop at La Georina, however, it's always a treat. The coffee's fresh and hot and it's nice to spread out in this very ample cafetería and watch the hummers. They also have a very good display of souvenirs that is not the usual stuff, a cut above, and not expensive. 


If you ever get a chance to drive the Pan-American highway in Costa Rica, down towards San Isidro de El General, make it a point to stop in at La Georgina for a rest stop. You won't regret it. 

map from san jose to villa mills

4 comments:

  1. Great video.... Love the interplay of slomo and real time.... I would love to see a map included... I live in Atenas and would like to get my bearings to make the trip.. Great work, thanks so much....Stephen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Stephen,

      Thanks for the comment. The Slo-mo was not intentional, but because of the low light the camera must've reduced the frame rate, which just happened to sync with their wing-beats.

      I've added a map to the article at the end.

      Pura vida

      Delete
  2. What a wonderful blog! It’s a perfect post about the life you live there. I hope it’s as idyllic as it looks. And, I’m sure you are a bird-watcher! Keep writing more about your life there. Thanks.

    Regards,
    Robert Cragin
    from Costa Rica Real Estate

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Robert, thanks for stopping by. Life here has its ups and downs but overall it is about as idyllic as it comes. :) I'm very much an amateur bird-watcher, but we do try to identify what we see and record it. Had several different species visit the feeders this year that we'd never seen before. Pura vida!

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Thanks so much for your comment! - Casey

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