A new photo book about Atenas, Costa Rica by U.S. photographer Charlie Doggett shows off the beautiful nature and happy life in his adopted hometown.
“I love nature and tranquility and you’ve got both in Costa Rica better than anywhere else I’ve ever been,” said Doggett. “I love it here. In the morning I wake up to the birds singing. Every day is a holiday for me.”
Doggett self-published his book, Atenas, Costa Rica: A Tranquil Coffee Farming Town, earlier this month on Blurb.com. It is “a 78-page book of photos of my adopted hometown of Atenas, Costa Rica with everything from birds and flowers to fiestas and buildings. Enjoy some of the peaceful and happy images I enjoy every day with 112 photos! Pura Vida!” reads the description.
“I threw that book together quickly and there are no words. My neighbor and good friend, Anthony, is moving back to the USA and I wanted him to have a memory of Atenas where he lived. So I went through all of my Atenas photos – the oxcart parades, Independence Day parades, the buildings and places – and created a photo scrapbook of sorts as a going away gift,” explained Doggett.
The photo book on Atenas is just one of 35 books Doggett has self-published, including his personal memoirs and the history of his family. He is currently working on a series of small books showing off the birds in different places of Costa Rica, titled the “Birding Lodges of Costa Rica”.
Doggett said he mostly publishes his books for himself. “In the olden days, I used to go to the drugstore and print out a bunch of photographs. Now I make these books to save the photographs I want,” said Doggett, who uses a Canon Rebel as the tool of his trade. “I do it for fun, not to make a living. The books are a little expensive so people don’t buy them very often. But I send a copy to all of the lodges I visit.”
On Blurb.com you can order Doggett’s books or look through them online. The soft cover version of the Atenas, Costa Rica book sells for $39.49 and the hard cover for $52.49.
A lover of nature and adventure since childhood, Doggett moved to Costa Rica from Tennessee to retire at the end of 2014. He had been traveling repeatedly to Costa Rica since 2009 when he took a bird watching tour. “Retirement costs in the U.S. are such that I could no longer afford to travel, so I just moved to where I like to travel!” he said.
Doggett’s love of photography, and also bird watching, comes from the three years he worked as a missionary in Gambia, West Africa from 1999 to 2002 – his last years of employment, he said. He retired the first time to Nashville, Tennessee, where he was a volunteer docent at the Nashville Zoo, a public school reading tutor, and volunteered in his church. He became an avid nature photographer and world traveler in arts and crafts fairs selling his nature photos.
Until he decided that living in a retirement village in the U.S. wasn’t for him. “It was wonderful, but depressing. I’d go in the dining hall and have to climb over wheelchairs and walkers. And I thought, ‘why am I here?’” he recalled.
He enjoys living in Atenas because it is a small, peaceful town yet close to the big hospitals in the city of San Jose.
For now, the 77-year-old plans to stay busy traveling, making nature photographs and publishing books. You can follow Charlie Doggett on his website, Smugmug Photos and Blurb.com. He also writes a blog about being retired in Costa Rica.
Article by Shannon Farley
Costa Rica Realtors Chamber
Tours in Costa Rica
Pure Life Development of Atenas is a full service tour company. We feature full vacation packages and day trips for the family. Our tour director Nelson Conejo is very experienced and provides a personal service and attention to detail second to none in Costa Rica. Please write Nelson or give him a call to arrange your next Costa Rican vacation at (506)2446-0447 or
Retirement Living in Atenas
Interview with Pure Life Development co-founder and certified realtor Dennis Easters, about Costa Rica ranked by AARP as "one of the best places to retire abroad".