Tortuguero National Park Day 3

sunny.gifNot one single complaint nor about the temperatures nor about the weather. It is just gorgeous ! Still humid but no problem when travelling here and there in boats on canals !

Natures orchestra
Today I was woken up by the most amazing symphony of the nature. Howler monkeys howling and Capuchins screaming, Crickets doing their thing, Birds with all kinds of strange colours welcoming the morning with their song. It was marvelous. I have never heard such a fantastic orchestra right outside my door before.

Frog hunting
I woke up at 5 and it was still dark.
I was a little disoriented due to the early hour, but as soon as it got a little lighter I went out to go for a frog search just like yesterday morning. Mona (the hotel lady) borrowed me a torch and off I went. I was searching for the famous Strawberry poison-dart frog to see if I could get any good pictures. I saw about 4-5 of them hopping around on the grass until the whiteface monkeys got close.

White face monkeys or Capuchin monkeys, as their scientific name, are actually very agressive. The alpha male showed me clearly that he did not like me taking pictures of the members of his family and went up on 2 feet and showed me his teeth with a threathening grin. I distanced myself from the group at this time but it was a bit hard since they were everywhere; in the trees, on the ceiling and on the roofs of the houses. The hotels cat did not like the fact that the monkeys entered HER area so she started running after them and chasing them away. That was an awesome sight. Haha. You should have seen that !
I did get a lot of great shots of the monkeys and I had a wonderful time out in the early morning hour.

At 7am we (Paula, Jeanne (France) and I) had breakfast at Evergreen Lodge consisting of Pancakes, fruits and egg. Wonderful. I went to pack my luggage since we were checking out at 8am, to travel the canals again and then head back to San Jose, and got ready just in time for the boat to arrive. As we were waiting we called for Tosty – the domesticated Caiman at Monkeys Lodge. As the boat arrived we said our goodbyes to Mona.

tn_tortuguero1.gifOur driver, Justo from Nicaragua, and our guide Gilber, also popularly called Chito, had already picked up Thomas from Germany and we were set to go.

We stuffed our luggage in the back of the boat and set off to the Penetencia river where we watched animal life at its best. We passed Volcan Tortuguero, that is the only volcano in the caribbean side of CR but it has been dead for very many years and after about 30 minutes we drove in to Cano Palma, a smaller river in the canals. There we stopped to fish but we did not have our great luck and we had to return empty handed. Though we had a cool experience with the whiteface monkeys. We met two competing tribes. Each one on their side of the river that were pretty anxious to fight. hehe. Though the monkeys are smart enough to understand that it is not a good idea to jump into the water to swim over to the other side and actually start the fight – since monkey meat is one of the favourite dishes of the Caiman ! So they kept to each their side and screamed and yelled at each other from there.

As the smaller tour finished, we had to return up the creek and start heading down the Reventazon river to get to the meeting point where we were supposed to have lunch. We stopped at Tortuguero town to buy souvenirs and have a bathroom break before we started the more than One hour long trip back to the restuarant where we were gonna meet up with the day trippers and have lunch.

The south end of the park
We said goodbye to our guides at the restaurant and welcomed our new guide. The guides that had followed us these 3 days were going back into the jungle with the new groups that was going to stay over.
We had a wonderful chicken lunch before we set off for the last part of the official program before going back. A visit to the south end of the national park. Our new guide, Ethel, first took us up and down the canals to search for crocodiles. Which we found 5 of, oh no.. that is wrong. We actually found 7 including the 2 5 month old babies. One of the crocs was approximately around 3 meters long. EEEEK.

On the snake hunt
 Then we made a stop to go for a walk in the dryer forest close to the beach side. When Ethel asked if anyone wanted to watch snakes Thomas and I volunteered.

We started walking very slowly watching the tree branches and suddenly we had lost the rest of the group of 9. Not exactly.
We actually had one of them with us, Italian Massimo.
The poor thing had snake phobia and when he heard that we were going on a snake hunt and realized that his girlfriend had left the path ahead of us, and was nowhere to be seen, he found that it would be safer to stay inbetween me and the guide (that were searching the path on each side of the road).

The guide was equally bad as I was and we told him that there are not only snakes on the path or attacking from the branches. They also have one, the parrot snake, that attacks from above. He did not dare to go fwd nor bwd without us and Thomas searched in the front. Me and Ethel on each our side and we were both dissapointed when we did not find any snakes at the end of the path. Ethel told us that she would normally find up to 5-6 snakes in one day on the same path and we decided to go back the same way.

And suddenly Mr. Phobia attacks Ethel embrazing her hard and screaming purple purple and we made no sence and saw nothing so we could but laugh. Finally he told us he did see a snake and it was the wonderful OROPEL or in English: Eyelash pitViper. We took pictures and as we were running late we hurried back to the boat and got ready to go home. The boat drove with full speed to get to Cano Blanco in time.

Animals I have spotted during the day
Howler Monkeys, Caimans, lizards including the Jesus Christ Lizard, iguanas, Herons, turtles, basilisks, toucans, a yellow Eyelash pit viper and lots and lots of fish.

We reached Cano Blanco at 3:15 pm and had a minor bathroom break there before we borded the bus on our way back to San Jose. We also had a minor break in Guapiles to get some snack and toilet and I must admit I was incredibly tired and fell asleep. We reached San Jose as expected around 7pm. I am going to stay at Franciscos place tonight but he was still not home from Quepos so Thomas and I went for dinner. We went to Cafe Mundo and had delicious dinner before splitting up and going to each ours.

As I took the taxi home I called Fran and luckily he had reached the house if not I would have had to stop by his girlfriends house, Hazel, and had her open up for me. Fran and I chatted a little bit before I went to bed. I was dead tired. I just know I was sleeping before 10pm.

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