A Travellerspoint blog

A mishap on the Rio Nosara

Costa Rica day thirteen

View Costa Rica 2022 on ToonSarah's travel map.

The moon from our terrace at Lagarta Lodge

There was no wind to keep us awake and I slept much better. But we were both awake around 5.00 AM to see the moon starting to set in the sea opposite. So naturally we got up, grabbed our cameras and went out onto the terrace to take photos. The flat wooden ledge of the balustrade made a perfect impromptu tripod for a series of delayed release shots, experimenting with different settings. But we took some time too simply to enjoy the sight.

Moon over the Pacific

Unfortunately the local insects were as appreciative of the feast I offered them as I was of the setting moon, and I ended up with a couple of itchy bites that prevented me from going back to sleep as I would have wanted to. So as soon as it got light, about half an hour or so later, I sat up to read and watch the egrets in the trees below start to wake up too.

After breakfast we secured a couple of loungers in a shady spot on one of the terraces near the two infinity pools and had a relaxing morning interspersed with a few swims. At one point a large lizard wandered past, as did a few leaf cutter ants.

Lizard by the pool

Leaf cutter ant

Boat ride on the Montana and Nosara

We had lunch a little early as we'd arranged to go on a boat tour of the rivers and mangroves below. This turned into a bit of a mini adventure!

It started simply enough, with a jeep ride down to the river bank. We had a guide, Victor, and a boat driver whose name I never caught. The boat was electric so almost silent - perfect for wildlife spotting.

Lagarta Lodge from below on the river

Mangroves line the river

We set off into the mangroves that line the Montana river, while Victor pointed out the differences between the white, red and black mangrove trees. The former are the smallest and the most able to grow in saline water so they are found near the river mouth. Further in are the red mangroves and further still the black ones which need fresh water to thrive.


Did you know that cormorants poop when scared? We didn’t, until Victor told us. And we saw it for ourselves when the boat driver manoeuvred close to this tree! Best not to go directly below such a tree as you could get hit with an unwelcome shower!

The Rio Nosara

We didn't find the crocodiles that sometimes bask on the banks here, but we saw lots of birds, some of which were new to me like the Tiger Heron and Roseate Spoonbill. These were mostly along the other river that reaches the sea at this point, the Nosara. Not all were easy to photograph. Our driver several times slowed and reversed the boat but never brought it to a complete stop. However I got more than enough photos to satisfy me and to share in this blog!

The complete list of our sightings was:

Great Egret
Ringed Kingfisher
Amazon Kingfishers
Pinnated Bittern

Little Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron
Tiger Heron
Roseate Spoonbill
Snowy Egret
Yellow Crowned Night Heron
Boat-billed Heron


Great Egret

Roseate Spoonbill

Yellow Crowned Night Heron

Pinnated Bittern, and Bare-throated Tiger Heron



Amazon Kingfisher (female)

Amazon Kingfisher (male)

At the furthest point that we travelled on the Nosara we saw a small troop of Howler Monkeys in a tree.

Our driver let us watch them for a while then turned to head back downstream. A couple of minutes later there was a slight knock underneath - we had scraped a log. No problem. But then it happened again and this time it seemed it was a problem. A blade of the propeller had snapped off. But again, no, not a problem, as the driver carried not one but two spares in his tool box and the spanner with which to fit one. The outboard motor was hauled into the boat, the damaged prop removed and the replacement lined up to be attached.

Ah but yes, a problem after all, as it was the wrong size, and so was its twin in the tool box. As Victor explained later, the motor had quite recently been replaced and these spares fitted the old motor but not, it turned out, this replacement.

Victor pulling the boat

So what to do? With very little help from the driver, who seemed to find the whole thing rather amusing, Victor managed to get us back with a combination of paddling (luckily they carried oars!) and wading in the thankfully shallow water, pulling us along. Of course it took far longer than it should have done, but Victor's hard work and willingness to get very wet ensured we made it back without getting wet ourselves! Only as we neared the end did he mention that he was rather worried about those crocodiles!

Needless to say, we tipped him well. But the boat driver? Not so well!

Time to unwind

It had been very hot on the boat even before the breakdown so when we finally got back to our room we freshened up and then spent the last part of the afternoon on our terrace, watching another troop of Howler Monkeys pass through at one point (easier to photograph than from a boat too!).

Howler Monkey

We watched the sunset from here then went to the bar for a pre-dinner drink and then dinner itself in the restaurant, where I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the Beyond Meat burger (there not being a meat version available!) Another new experience to chalk up!


Sunset from our terrace

Posted by ToonSarah 11:46 Archived in Costa Rica Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises birds boats lizards hotel river costa_rica

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents


Hoping the bites did not continue to be a problem but I think they would have been worth putting up with just to get those fantastic moonshots. What an amazing amount of wildlife you got to see and, although you could not catch them all on camera, you certainly got some really interesting shots. Delighted to read that you enjoyed your vegan burger. You can buy that brand over here, should you want to repeat that particular experience. (:

by Yvonne Dumsday

Thanks Yvonne - no, the bites didn't itch for very long at all, thankfully :) And I've seen Beyond Meat burgers on pub menus over here so I wouldn't rule out trying one again!

by ToonSarah

Your guide, Victor, sounds like a man devoted to his job. I've recently been seeing lots of egrets and some herons here. The sunsets and moon shots are beautiful.

by irenevt

Amazing photos! :)

by hennaonthetrek

Thanks Irene and Henna :) Yes, when we thanked Victor afterwards he said that was his job, to do whatever was needed to keep his guests safe and happy!

by ToonSarah

Lovely shots of the moon and that gorgeous spoonbill. ❤ What an adventure! Poor Victor, who was the hero of the day!

by Grete

Thanks Grete :) I was thrilled with the spoonbills and very pleased that Victor got us back safely. At one point I thought we might have to wade ourselves!

by ToonSarah

Absolutely gorgeous moon shots. Too bad about the insect bites. What amazing bird watching. Hard to imagine seeing all those different birds on one afternoon.

Hooray for Victor!

by Beausoleil

Thanks Sally - yes, hooray for Victor indeed :)

by ToonSarah

sad to hear about the bites, I most of the time have the same problem when insects are concerned. I must say that i am impressed with your bird knowledge! Quite impressive to say the least!:)

by Ils1976

Well we had a good guide who named most of them for us, and being on a slow moving boat meant I had time to take in the info, which isn't always the case! Then I just double-checked I had it right on my return :)

by ToonSarah

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.