Costa Rica: N P & T F

Day 4 - Sunday, December 16, 2012 - San Carlos; Nature Walk; Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge; Cruise the Río Frío; Horseback Riding

The alarm went off at 5:15 so we could get ready for the Day-Break Bird Walk. It was very tempting to go back to sleep, but we were so happy we made the effort.

Before we had left the meeting point, Eddie had already spotted seven species of birds that were new to our record! All in all, the eleven of us who got up were rewarded with many more birds to add to our lists.

We hurried back to get ready for breakfast and then our overland journey to the country’s secluded northern border with Nicaragua. Eddie began our drive with a Spanish lesson for the day.

We reviewed Pura Vida, literally translated as Pure Life. The word is used in good wishes, as “you are welcome”, “that is good”, or anytime for a positive greeting.

The Learning portion of the day was a lesson in the “Immigration Issues” within Costa Rica and among the neighboring countries, especially Nicaragua. There is such a long history of complicating factors and many controversial players in the drama that it took over 70 miles for Eddie to explain. We were so intrigued we wanted to ask many more questions.

As we were passing through the small town of Muelle, we stopped at a bridge near the Restaurante Las Iguanas. The trees near the café are home to Green Iguanas basking in the sun.

We timed our visit to observe the large male iguanas wearing their bright orange colors to attract the females for mating season. The iguanas are literally close enough to reach out and touch. Remembering they are strictly herbivores we were not even tempted to pet these ancient dinosaur-like creatures.

Samy made a stop at the border town of Los Chiles to pick up our lunch and then proceeded directly to the dock. We boarded a large pontoon boat and in a few minutes our captain Rito, welcomed us aboard.

While Eddie described this Fen Habitat of reed beds and open water on the Rio Frio, Rito began searching the shores and trees for wildlife. We saw many species of egrets, herons and many anhinga (like a cormorant) also called a snake bird, and other water birds.

Rito spotted a very rare bird, a Potoo or stick bird. Extremely hard to recognize because of their protective coloration, we all wondered at our luck in actually seeing one.

We were thrilled to see two species of monkeys, white faced and howler in addition to long necked bats. The bats in Costa Rica pollinate almost 50% of the flowers and trees.

The temperature on the water was only 84° with 78% humidity, but the heat stress factor was 95. The sun was very hot but the canopy on the pontoon boat protected us from the intense heat.

Rito pulled under a bank of trees to provide shade for our lunch and Eddie, Rito, Vic, and Fred helped serve our lunch of salad, rice and chicken casserole, and fried tortilla chips with beans.

At 1:15 we headed back upstream and instead of stopping at the dock, the captain kept on going until we were several miles into Nicaragua. We saw crowded river taxis bringing and taking fifty passengers at a time back and forth over the border.

After we thanked our boat captain and stopping to drop off the coolers, we were on our way back to the resort. As soon as we could, we changed our clothes and then met Eddie and five others from our group for a horseback ride along the ridge of the property.

The barometric pressure was dropping and the clouds were getting black so we knew it would rain soon. On the ride we had a partial glimpse of the Arenal Volcano to the east of us. Eddie did point out two toucans, but the sky was getting so dark, there was not a lot to see.

Just as we were dismounting, saying good-bye to our horses, and thanking Carlos, the stable master, the skies let loose and it began to pour. We ran back to our cabin dodging raindrops. No one cares if we get wet, but it takes days for clothes to dry in this climate and we have to pack wet things and leave tomorrow morning.

We started to sort the over 500 photos from our excursion today. Writing the journal is a challenge, because we did so much and saw so many things, there would be ten pages to read. Not wanting to bore you, suffice it to say, this has been a phenomenal trip and we are only into Day 4!

After a shower and checking the Broncos’ score we had dinner with our group in the lodge. The other OAT group left this morning and the locals have gone back home after their weekend outing so we were the only ones in the dining room.

Accommodations: Termales del Bosque --- Meal: B, L, & D

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I am enjoying your trip so much....What Pros you both are in your adventures.

Norma   December 17, 2012 - 4:54pm

Broncos now #2 seed in AFC as Patriots lost!!! Got to win 2 more to have home field advantage and bye in 1st week round - Stay healthy, Payton.... Safe tours to you two....

craig & Cindie   December 17, 2012 - 7:14am

Fabulous pictures again - yes, this was one of our favorite trips too - so much to see and do! Loved seeing Eddie again! We rode horses through a coffee plantation so you are seeing some different things than we did! I still remember Eddie's tapas that he made for us - yummmm!

Cheryl Vieira   December 17, 2012 - 5:11am
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Green Iguanas, Male Mating Season Orange, Muelle, Costa Rica

Green Iguanas, Male Mating Season Orange, Muelle, Costa Rica (0:41)

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