To Tortuguero National Park

Trip Start Aug 07, 2009
Trip End Jul 14, 2010

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Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Limon,
Saturday, January 9, 2010

So we set off for the coast, and stopped on the way at a banana plantation to see the processing of bananas at a Del Monte place. We couldn't go inside but we could take photos from outside, and could see the process – I found it interesting at least!

We got to the river port and boarded a river boat so head out to the lodge in Tortuguero National Park. The trip was hit by a little bit of rain, disappointing we thought as were traveling. Arriving at the lodge, we dashed for cover and enjoyed the welcome cocktail (well, who wouldn’t?) and then went to our rooms…. It was quite a walk and we got wet. Little did we know, this was to be the first wet day of many.

We had a full day of tours planned, but the rain put paid to that. There was to be a bird walk at 0515 but we woke and heard the rain… so went back to sleep. The rains were very heavy, so we spent the morning around the hotel, and for me, using the internet was handy. At lunch, the rain stopped and we were hopeful, so we planned to take the canoe trip followed by a motor trip afterwards. Well, we got into the canoes…. And the heavens opened…. However, we still went (mad dogs and Englishmen and all that) and I was surprised at how much wildlife we actually did see. We saw cappachins, 2 basilisks, river otter (very rare), and many birds such as eagrets and toucans. Still raining, we transferred to the motor boat and went further up river, seeing more birds, and a caiman. Despite the fact I got wet and cold, it was a good afternoon. Dinner (like all the meals) was a nice hot buffet, with a nice hot cup of tea!! A cocktail in the bar nicely rounded off the evening, before an early night.

Up again at 6am and then boarded the boat to head upriver towards Arenal…. Still raining, but at least it was light and we could have the sides of the boat rolled up, so we could see the views. On the way, we had to stop at the border crossing with Nicaragua (Nicaragua has control of the river, which runs between the 2 countries) and then stopped at a small plantation for lunch. It was a lovely place, right on the river, and the added bonus were the howler monkeys feeding in the garden! I spent quite a while, practicing my camera there. We had a nice lunch, and then got back into the boat….. to find that the motor wouldn’t work. So, we waited an hour for another boat to come and rescue us, they mended the motor and we chugged onwards to the port. The best bit of this journey was the wildlife viewings – we saw the American crocodile and a three toed sloth! 2 new species for me. Julio (our driver) was waiting with the little coach, and we drove to La Fortuna, the base for our next section of the trip.

Now, these rains are not normal, and there are depressions in the Gulf of Mexico, hence all these rains. The rains continued throughout the next few days, with a brief respite!
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