Costa Rica? I thought you said 'Costco'! travel blog

Arenal - a cloud free day. Only the smoke from the volcano...

Iguana : It's what's for dinner!

Chicken of the tree

Finger lickin' good!

Cano Negro Nature Reserve



Jody - El Capitan

Proof of Boating skills

Sayrese, our guide

Aningha - Snake bird



Bald headed warbler. Often found talking but easily amused. Don't feed them...

Snowy white egret


Thar be dragons...

A dragon




More greyish than Snow White egret

Lady of the River





On the Rio Frio, into the heart of darkness

Howler monkey

The voice of T-Rex in the Jurrassic Park movies

Their howl can be heard 5 km. away

Theirs, too


Looking for lunch. Birds, frogs, stray husbands, whatever...



Spider monkey

Green basilisk


Capuchin monkey



Just hanging around





Botanist at work


Caiman bait

The surprise inside the shoot

Floral bouquet delivery

More fun Han a tree full of birds

The Bridge over the Rio Frio

..and the crocodile that waits below the bridge

Still ready for lunch

Tilapia - It's what's for dinner

The one that didn't get away

More fun than a tree full of monkeys...

Sayres is 25 years old and has two children - Alonso (4 yrs.) and Maya (2 yrs.). Her partner is a bus driver for a tour company. He's ten years older but shows no interest in getting married. Or maybe that's her choice? When you spend 4 hours on a bus with someone, you get to know a little bit about them.

For us, however, Sayres also played an important role as, together with Milton the bus driver and Jody (El Capitan of the boat) they made up the 3 Amigos from Canoa Tours that we spent the day with on a visit to the Rio Frio in the Cano Negro wildlife refuge near the border with Nicaragua.

Debbie got excited about this riverboat excursion the moment she heard that there were caimans in the river. I presume she saw the chance to finish off what she failed to accomplish 6 years ago in Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territories of Australia. Namely, gently nudge me off the boat and into a river full of reptilian teeth.

Given that she's honed her skills to a finely tuned killing machine over the past 6 years by watching a minimum of 3 husbands being murdered by their wives on Law & Order and other similar shows each day, you'll understand that I ate a good hearty breakfast at the buffet this morning, pretty certain it would be my last meal.

Luckily, I had Colleen & Miguel there to watch her every move and thwart her nefarious plan. Or so I thought. She & Colleen sat together behind me & Miguel on the bus to Cano Negro and it was pretty clear to me from their furtive conversation that the two of them had plotted a conspiracy. They were up to no good.

Miguel and I made a pact to watch each others back...... and then promptly made the tactical error of pretty much hanging over the precarious flimsy front bow railing for the entire boat trip. Caiman bait if ever there was!

Fortunately, Sayres would have none of it and was the one that actually watched out for us. And so, Miguel and I made the trip safe and sound. And, as a result, I'm able to report to you on the amazing monkey tree. Seriously, we saw a tree full of monkeys. Howler monkeys, to be exact.

Turns out that there are 4 species of monkey in Costa Rica and 3 are found in Cano Negro. The Howler monkey, Spider monkey, and White Throated Capuchin. We saw them all.

All of them are aptly named. The capuchin looks like a little monk. The spider monkeys swing along through the trees like Spiderman. And the Howler monkey? Well, it howls. And the sound it makes is..... loud! Apparently, the T-Rex roar in the Jurassic Park movies is actually a Howler monkey. Which makes sense, given that Jurassic Park is on an island off the coast of Costa Rica.

Now imagine an entire tree chock FULL of T-Rexes! And that's the sound we heard as we floated past. Hearing that, mostly you just want your mommy at that point.

But that wasn't all we saw. No sir, along with the monkeys and the caimans we saw a two-toed sloth, the Great Blue Heron, the Great White Heron, the Pretty Great (but could do better) Taupe Heron, and a whole bunch of other birds with names like stork, ibis, anhingas and cormorants.

In the surrounding jungle there are also cougar, jaguars, ocelots and triceratops, but we didn't see any of them from the river.

We saw a green basilisk. This is not the basilisk from the Harry Potter books but a pretty neat looking relative - a neon green lizard with a fin on it's back that looks like a tiny neon green sail. Now I happen to know my dinosaurs pretty good and it occurs to me that this little critter looks exactly like the dimetrodon that spit poisonous venom in the Jurassic Park movie before eating his prey (I think it was Newman from Seinfeld, if memory serves).

Anyway, given the Jurassic Park overtones all over the place you will understand that I was pretty relieved that we all made it out in one piece.

To celebrate, we had a lovely dinner at Restaurante Marinescas in La Fortuna. Fish for everyone! Colleen had an entire sea bass (fried) and I had an entire tilapia (fried). Typico Tico food. And finger lickin' good!

And speaking of chicken: On the way to Cano Negro we stopped at Las Iguanas Restaurante where there are entire trees filled with HUGE iguanas. The trees are just outside the open air windows of the Restaurante which has a daily chicken of the tree special on it's menu. Kind of like oranges, they just lean out the window and pluck a few off the tree for the daily special.

We've enjoyed some gorgeous weather the past 3 days here in La Fortuna and in Cano Negro. We hear that rain and thunderstorms are on the way. Time for us to make a move and head for our next stop.

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