“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

TravelHaven Journal – Costa Rica Adventure 4

Tortuguero, the Second Day

Because Laguna Lodge is a rain forest ecotourism lodge, the scheduled activities are centered on the lush environment and abundant wildlife in the vicinity. Available packages include tours of the Tortuguero National Park canals, the village of Tortuguero and the Turtle Museum of the Caribbean Conservation Corporation. Kayaking is available so you can explore some of the canals on your own. We thought a canal tour would be great.

The usual options for boat tours are group trips, one at 6:00 a.m. and one at 10:00 a.m. However, our wonderful guide, Eddie, arranged for us to have a private boat tour at 8:30! It was awesome! We saw caimans so close we could have easily touched them — not six inches from one that was about 2½ feet long. Incredible! There were green iguanas and a blue jeans frog – very small and also very poisonous. We spotted a purple gallinule that birdwatchers are always looking for but very rarely see. Other birds we saw were jacana, green-backed herons, and boat billed herons. We saw spider monkeys, white faced monkeys, and saw (and heard!) howler monkeys. Our driver, Primo (whose name means cousin or buddy) was fantastic! He is in his early 40’s and has lived in Costa Rica all his life. His brother is a senior at Old Miss and Primo is taking care of the family property, which is about 4 miles from the town of Tortuguero.

After the boat ride, we get lunch at the Lodge. Then the more adventurous in our group go hiking with Eddie. A boat delivered us to a dock near town and then we walked through the jungle for a couple of hours, seeing lots of beautiful plants, a laughing falcon, a zone-tailed hawk, a golden-orbed spider, an anteater, and a baby rattlesnake, along with a train of ants carrying leaves and other things that were five to ten times their size. Very industrious!

On the way back to the Lodge, it started raining, so we popped into the neighborhood bar and had a couple of beers with the locals of Tortuguero. Then we headed back to have dinner and get ready to go on our Turtle Watch at 8:00 that night.