Afternoon Boat Excursion into Tortuguero National Park with Norton
In the afternoon of my last day in Costa Rica I arranged for another boat tour in Tortuguero National Park. As luck would have it this tour ended up being a private one as there no other folks from Tortuga Lodge had expressed any interest. My guide this afternoon was Norton – a native of Nicaragua who now works for Tortuga Lodge. I knew from my morning walk with him that he had a good idea and knew a lot about the flora and fauna in the area. Apparently he grew up in Nicaragua surrounded by the same, if not more, plants and animals.
As with the previous day’s boat tour, even before entering the national park we came across some good sightings. The first was a Green Vine Snake wrapped around some branches of a tree that had fallen into the river recently. It was a beautiful emerald green with rain drops sparkling in the sun across its body.
Just behind this same tree was an American Crocodile. It has mostly submerged but its eyes, head, and part of its back were visible above the water. This crocodile sometimes crawls on to the Tortuga Lodge property every now and again, but I had not seen it until this afternoon.
The rest of the boat ride to the national park included a Three-Toed Sloth plethora of iguanas basking high in the tree tops – it was one of the sunnier afternoons yet and they were taking advantage of it.
Once in the park our pace slowed; part of the park’s regulations, but also to make sure we could spot the animals hiding amongst the greenery. Monkeys were everywhere and we quickly saw 3 of the 4 species in Costa Rica including the Mantled Howler, Spider, and White-Throated Capuchin Monkeys. All 4 species can sometimes be found in the same tree. Since they feed on different parts of the tree, they don’t fight for territory.
The iguanas were joined by male and female Emerald Basilisks along with numerous Jesus Christ Lizards.
And the birds were out in full force this afternoon. With the much improved weather along with Norton’s help we saw:
- Male and Female Anhingas
- Little Blue Herons
- Green Herons
- Yellow-Crowned Night-Herons
- Snowy Egrets
- Great Egrets
- Bare-Throated Tiger-Herons
- Northern Jacanas
- Black Vultures
- Turkey Vultures
- Kites (a small, fast type of falcon)
- Red-Lored Parrots
- Mealy Parrots
- Green Hermit Hummingbirds
- Collared Aracaris
- Woodcreepers (can’t remember the name, but the not streaked-headed variety that is commonly seen)
- Green Kingfishers
- Amazon Kingfishers
- White-Collared Manakins
- Common Tody-Flycatchers
- Great-Tailed Grackles
- Montezuma Oropendolas including their impressive hanging nests
- Bat Hawk
And what trip into the rainforest would be complete without a Blue Morpho, Julia, and Small Postman butterflies?
This boat excursion was the last activity for me in Costa Rica and sadly my vacation was nearing an end. It was just a small consolation that my trip was ending on such a high note. I will miss Costa Rica, but I am already thinking about my next trip which will hopefully bring me as equally close to nature.