The National Park of Tortuguero

Since already arriving in Tortuguero was quite spectacular, I had high hopes for my visit to the national park. After buying a ticket for the Cuatro Esquinas Sector online, I was more than ready for my booked canoe tour. Wearing my new blue rain poncho I set over the channel with the shuttle I had booked the previous day. The tour was supposed to start at 8:30 and with my ingrained punctuality I was right on time. Not so the guide. He waited for two more guest who arrived an hour later. But who cares as long as you have a book with you. It’s vacation after all and time is of no essence.

waiting for the canoe tour to start @Tortuguero

We eventually started with the tour and exactly at the same time rain started pouring again. At least it was warm and I had I thought of bringing my stuff in a waterproof bag. The guide really did a great job with explaining the basics about the park and its animals. Thanks to him I was able to see different birds, monkeys, lizards, a green basilisk, a green snake wrapped around a tree and therefore basically invisible, as well as a caiman. Especially the sighting of the snake was unique. Apparently it’s rather unusual to see one in the park. Without the guide I probably would have only seen some obvious birds, and maybe even not them. I’ve not such a good eye for spotting animals in the wild.

two brown birds in foreground @Tortuguero

beautiful and lush flora @Tortuguero

wide waterways to meander through @Tortuguero

After two and a half hours on the water, sometimes in pouring rain, I had enough of all the nature. Not sure if I wanted to go back in the national park myself for a walk, I settled on eating lunch first and making a decision later. Right after lunch it stared to rain again. But since I already had a ticket for the day, I concluded that no time was better than the present. With my bright blue poncho I started trudging through the mud. Sometimes I was ankle deep in the mud, but that was all part of the fun.

beach ahead @Tortuguero

endless beach @Tortuguero

As was to be expected, on my own I did a lot worse in regards to animal spotting. I managed to spot some monkeys because the leaves overhead moved in unduly fashion. These leaves also obscured the view. So I couldn’t take a picture. I saw other monkeys because people were already gazing up, some birds which made a raucous noise while flying overhead, and two other larger birds because they crossed my paths. Not even sure if the were real birds from the national park. They did look a bit like turkeys. Another guide later told me that they are called guan.

walking by myself through the national park @Tortuguero

Only upon leaving the park did I see the big poster on how to behave when you meet a jaguar. In my case there was no need to worry about that. I probably would have seen the cat only if it pounced on me.

how to behave when confronted with a jaguar @Tortguero

I loved the guided tour in the park. So worthwhile to pay someone to point out animals and other interesting things in a national park. Also the guide was the one who did the paddling. Without him it would have felt more like one of my regular walks in a park. Yours, Pollybert

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