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Published: January 21st 2017
Striking a pose.
TORTUGERO NATIONAL PARK
Yesterday’s full day tour to Arenal Volcano and Tabacon Hot Springs was great but really exhausting. I didn’t get back to my hotel until past midnight. I was actually dreading another long day in a tour bus but I had booked a Tortugero River Cruise the next morning. When I awoke I had time for breakfast. Hooray! Thus fortified I was ready for the day. This bus was smaller and more comfortable and the trip was a little shorter. The guide was a real character. He sang the national anthem for each passenger’s home country as he introduced us.
After a couple of hours we stopped and had breakfast. I thought it was very good, with rice and beans, eggs, fruit, and juice. That’s right…I ate two breakfasts. It is my favorite meal of the day. Then we were back on the road. The bus pulled over and picked up a friend of the guide along the way. There were fields and fields of banana and pineapple plants. The bus pulled to the side of the road so we could get out and take photographs, and this friend gave us information
We saw many of these.
about the banana plantations and pineapple production.
We came to the National Park which is a system of canals, and boarded a tour boat. Thank goodness it sported a roof to protect us from the sun. We drifted up and down the canals for an hour or more. I am always a bit nervous when the water is brown and I can’t see what lurks below the surface, but we were busy looking for wildlife and I enjoyed the peaceful ride. Tortuguero is the largest green turtle nesting site in the western half of the Caribbean. Sometimes you can see the turtles just hatched making their way to the sea. Unfortunately it is the wrong season now. I did see one, a mid-sized river turtle on a rock, but it splashed into the water before I could snap a picture of it. There were herons and a caiman in the river. Also other birds and several iguana. Our boat captain eased our vessel into a secluded bend in the river. It was so serene, like a scene in a movie. There were lots of logs and debris that clung together in large clumps. While backing out of the lush
We only saw one caiman but I know there were many we didn't see.
undergrowth there was a seriously loud clanging sound. We had struck some submerged debris. It didn’t seem to affect the boat, however.
Soon we moored and stepped off the boat to walk through the small town of Tortuguero. The passengers from the bus parted company here. Some were going on a three day jungle trip and others were staying at a very nice resort. Tortuguero is a colorful little town and is known for its artisans. I snapped a few photos. We strolled through the center following the guide. He explained how very poor the people were. He bought a green coconut for each of us. Then he painted his face with saffron from a tree, rather like an American Indian in the old cowboy movies. He did not clean his face off and the locals looked at him like he was dangerous. We turned to the right and looked out over the Caribbean. I was surprised it was so close. After our tour we went back to the boat. The captain showed us what had happened to our prop. He replaced it while we were walking around the little settlement.
Once again on the water we went
to a small resort where we disembarked. There were beautifully carved benches on the dock. We sat in a pretty outdoor common room overlooking the canal until lunch was served (the guide cleaned off his face before sitting down to eat). The setting was lush and green with monkeys in the trees and frogs and lizards in the brush.
The two day trips I took highlight the diversity of Costa Rica. There is so much to see and do. After lunch we picked up several more passengers who were going back to San Jose with us. After a short trip on the water we arrived at our starting point and boarded the bus for the return trip.
I slept most of the way back. We arrived at our hotels in time for dinner.
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