Arenal Volcano & Cano Negro

Published: February 28th 2012
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We arrived in Fortuna in the pouring rain, so the volcano was not visible. It rained all night, but cleared up the next day to allow us to enjoy another river cruise.

We drove north toward the border of Nicaragua to the town of Los Chiles. Then we borded a water taxi with another naturalist guide who took us up the Rio Frio to the Cano Negro wildlife refuge.

We saw lots of blue heron, cormorants, anhingas, white herons, lizards, iguanas and caimans (like crocodiles). We also saw more howler monkeys and white faced capuchin monkeys. We got a great video of an anhinga (like a great blue heron) who had caught a fish. First, they spear it with their beak. Then, while it is on their beak, they beat it on a rock or log until it is dead. They they throw it into the air and swallow it whole. We posted the video on Youtube and put the link here so you can see it (I can't view it from work - may have to see it from home).

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Families fish along this river, and kids swim and play in the water. The caimans don't seem to bother the kids, or else they just aren't afraid of them. I sure wouldn't be swimming in this water, but the kids seemed to be having a great time. Everyone seems friendly, and are ready with a smile and a wave.

Once we reached the border of Nicaragua, they docked the boat where we all got off. There is a swampy area with lots of varieties of birds, but they are so far away you would need a much bigger camera lens than ours to see them well. The really neat part of this stop was to see the border. It is nothing more than a barbed wire fence, which people slip under to have their picture taken standing in front of the sign that says "Buenvenidos a Nicaragua" or "Welcome to Nicaragua". So, we were illegal aliens for a few minutes.

The 2 hour river cruise passed quickly with so much to see. Then, after another long bus ride back, we were able to soak in the volcanic hot springs. Our hotel has multiple levels of pools, all heated with natural hot springs water, then cooled to different temperatures by adding cold water. Of course there is a swim up bar, which we had to take advantage of. It was wonderful! The hotel grounds are quite lovely, like a giant garden with paths and pools. Lots of flowers and birds. And once the clouds cleared away, a perfect view of the volcano right from our room. What a great trip this is!

Additional photos below
Photos: 19, Displayed: 19


Us at the Nicaraguan borderUs at the Nicaraguan border
Us at the Nicaraguan border

Sign says Welcome to Nicaragua
Sneaking back into Costa RicaSneaking back into Costa Rica
Sneaking back into Costa Rica

Simple barbed wire fence separates the border between Costa Rica and Nicaragua
Kids playing in the riverKids playing in the river
Kids playing in the river

Wait - there are crocodiles in that water!
Kapoc TreeKapoc Tree
Kapoc Tree

Also known as the tree of life, because of the many species of birds and animals that it suppots. These trees are huge.
Croc cooling off by opening his mouthCroc cooling off by opening his mouth
Croc cooling off by opening his mouth

similar to the way birds do on a hot day

This bird is similar to a cormorant and lives by fishing

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