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Wildlife in the Caño Negra refuge

Costa Rica day seven

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White Faced Capuchin Monkey

Today we had a pre-booked tour to the Caño Negro reserve near the border with Nicaragua. It was this tour that had caused all the confusion a few days previously, with the tour company first thinking that we were doing a volcano hike (as if I could!) and then, once we'd all agreed we were to do this tour as booked, calling again to change the pick-up time. It was that call that caused me to slip as I hurried to answer the phone! They informed me that they would pick us up not at 7.15 as we'd been told, but 7.50. However as they seemed so disorganised we decided not to trust that information so after an early breakfast were ready in the lobby for 7.15. As it turned out they came not at 7.15 nor at 7.50 but at 7.30. Go figure!

Anyway after that start the tour proceeded smoothly and was a great day out. After picking up around ten other people at hotels in and around La Fortuna (we’d been the first to be collected) we drove for about two hours to reach the reserve. Our guide Marcos was very talkative and lively (I would say he had a Tigger personality and all Tiggers bounce with enthusiasm) but we learned a lot from him about the crops in the surrounding fields (sugar cane, plantains, pineapples, beans and more)

Once we reached the reserve we had coffee and fruit at a simple restaurant on the bank of the Río Frío. We then boarded the boat which had ample space for our small group and was easy to move around.

Boats on the Caño Negra

This ride delivered more wildlife sightings in a few hours than anywhere else that we went; and gliding past almost silently on the boat ensured the birds and animals weren’t spooked by our presence. Maybe due to Covid, or maybe it’s always the case, but our boat was only about a third full, so we could all sit by the edge or get up and walk around to get the best viewings and photos.

Straight away we saw some Turtles, a Caiman and an Anhinga fishing.


Anhinga with fish

Anhinga with fish

Next came Howler Monkeys, including one with a melanin deficiency causing him to have ginger fur rather than the usual black.

Howler monkeys

The complete list of our sightings here:

Wood Storks
Mangrove Swallows
Jesus Christ Lizard aka Emerald Basilisk
Least Grebe
Little Blue Heron
Great Egret
Green Backed Heron
Boat Billed Heron
Grey Necked Wood Rail
Ringed Kingfisher
Amazon Kingfisher
Spider Monkeys
White Faced Capuchin Monkeys
Howler Monkeys
Long-nosed Bats
Green Iguanas (which surprisingly can be orange!)
Black River Turtles
Spectacled Caimans including some babies (two weeks old)

And probably more that I omitted to note at the time and have since forgotten! Here are some of my favourite shots from this special place.

Mangrove Swallows

Emerald Basilisk


Baby caiman


Spider monkey

White Faced Capuchin Monkeys

White Faced Capuchin Monkeys

Green Backed Heron

Little Blue Heron

Boat Billed Heron

Amazon Kingfisher

After about two hours on the water we returned to the restaurant for lunch. Once we'd eaten we were driven a short distance to what Marcos described as a corral, formerly used in cattle farming but now serving as a base for demonstrations of traditional sugar cane pressing, molasses making etc. After the demonstration we were served sugar cane sticks to chew, a shot of sugar cane rum (60% proof!), cocoa beans, traditionally made coffee etc. Both coffee and rum were especially good 😋

Our host at the corral

Sugar cane press

Sugar cane press, and traditional coffee making

The drive back dragged a little, although there was plenty to see along the way. We got back to our hotel about 4.30, having spent half an hour dropping off all the others, rather frustratingly given that we'd also 'toured' their hotels on the way out that morning. Why can't these companies use a more equitable system?!

Today's towel creation on the bed was a frog!

Frog towels

We had dinner in the huge main restaurant which was so quiet as to make rather a mockery of the hotel's claimed requirement for two separate sittings to manage the numbers in line with Covid restrictions! But the food was good, as was the wine and friendly, if slightly formal, service.

Brownie dessert - yum!

Posted by ToonSarah 15:17 Archived in Costa Rica Tagged animals birds monkeys food boat hotel costa_rica reptiles crocodiles

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I'm a big lizard fan, so I love the emerald basilisk and the iguana.

by irenevt

I loved them too, but the monkeys and birds were my favourites. Actually I loved everything - this was my favourite tour of all that we did there!

by ToonSarah

WOW. That'S a great nature tour, i would love that. Thanks Sarah. Stay Safe.

by alectrevor

Thanks Alec, yes it was a fabulous day out!

by ToonSarah

yep, you were right ... it might have been a hassle getting to this day, but seeing the pictures as well as the list of the birds, it must have been quite amazing and yep, like IreneVT I must admit, the basilisk is my favourite is well. Amazing capture!

by Ils1976

Thanks Ils - no hassle really, just slightly frustrating! We don't often do group tours so we're not used to the (relatively minor in this instance) inconveniences ;) And it was an amazing day and well worth joining the tour to experience!

by ToonSarah

The basilisk is my favorite! :)

by hennaonthetrek

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