Caño Negro. The swamp land that I had the luck of seeing at high tide, just after a huge downpour. The area is the result of the black sedimentary runoff of dying grass in the highlands, flooding down through a series of canals into the swamplands that surround the Rìo Frio, a surprisingly warm, muddy coloured river that flows through Costa Rica, into Nicaragua. Pirate country! :-P
Throughout the year you can chance upon diverse species of turtles, crocodiles, fresh-water sharks, birds, monkeys, lizards, iguanas, the list goes on. It is advertised as a nature-lover’s dream. And I am not the most avid nature-lover (well, not yet!), and nowhere near the most knowledgeable, but I can definitely say this was one trip worth doing!
Aninga just after diving, drying feathers in the wind
Honestly, I am not one to promote “tourism”, or tour packages in any sense, but I truly think it is worth going into some of the eco-tours advertised and promoted in Costa Rica. Yes it’s more costly, and perhaps not the independent traveller’s choice, but I think it promotes an intelligent, nurturing industry that should be imitated in many similarly diverse and exotic countries (Philippines :-)). I couldn’t help but get drawn in and passionate about the things I saw here. The guides are so knowledgeable, and have so much belief in what they do (I’ve taken three tours so far, and all guides were alike in knowledge and enthusiasm).
Emerald Bassus “Jesus Christ” Lizard – walks on water
If you get the chance to promote eco-tourism, I say do it. So here are my two cents worth:
I went with Aventures Arenal for all my tours. They were a bit American-touristy catered, but the guides seemed to be the friendliest, most patriotic guides I’ve met so far, with an almost innate curiosity and wonder at all things natural.
El Capitan: Bernal, so soft-spoken, and eagle-eyed! Haha he reminded me of Egay, he was so shy but knowledgeable.
If you want to do things your own way, however, I advise just spending a day or two getting to know people around town. They are so friendly in La Fortuna and I feel like they really like having tourists in their town, and if you say straight out that you’d rather see things for yourself, people will direct you, let you know how much entrance will be, and probably point out a colourful bird or two for you to enjoy too!
Caimen, relative of the alligator
Family of long-nosed bats
Two-toed sloth hiding her face (rarer than three-toed sloths)
And for some more personal promotion, I loved eating at the sodas around town, particularly the one behind Hotel Jireh (forgot the name!). So friendly, sweet, and thoughtful, despite the language barrier. They kindly removed all dairy products from my shakes (many sign language motions later).
And also, My Coffee right in the square surrounding the church in town serves the best coffee in my opinion, and Andres the waiter kept me company through many a solitary blogging hour, expecting nothing in return but my exchange of enthusiasm for the town! :-)
And of course, Posada Inn! Best budget accommodation so far! Would stay in that place again and again without a doubt!
Well I’m no tour guide or anything, but that’s how I explored La Fortuna, and it was more than I thought I would get from a quick detour to the mountains while waiting to start at Samasati (YAYYYY!).
But don’t take my word for it. When you get the chance, see for yourselves!
Peace and love <3