Travel Lust Fulfilled: Palo Verde Boat Tour, Costa Rica

Seeing animals in the wild, whether it's a bunny in the backyard or a monkey in the jungle, is one of my favorite things. That's why the Palo Verde boat tour on the Tempisque River in Guanacasta, Costa Rica was my favorite part of the trip (see the rest of it here).

All the girls put on their big, floppy sun hats and we climb into the covered (thankfully) boat. Less ten feet from the dock, we come to a stop and our vision is directed to the branches of a large tree. There, lying lazily, is a group of howler monkeys. Our tour guide informs us they wont move for much but be careful not to make them mad- you might end up needing a shower!
Howler monkey mom and baby
We take off again down the muddy-water river and the driver turns the boat toward some large reeds on the bank. We begin to look around for a creature but it isn't until he points out the small, muddy crocodile that we see what we've stopped for. How does this guy see this stuff? Amazing!
Can you find the animal in this picture?
I spy...
There, on the middle of that tree, is a group of wide-nosed bats. He tells us that they will move in formation like a snake to ward off predators. He splashes water at them and we watch them fly away.
Wide-nosed bats
We come to an intersection leading to a wider part of the river and suddenly someone starts pointing and yelling. Flying across the sky are five scarlet macaws dressed in brilliant colors. The guide tells us how rare it is to see them, let alone so many of them. I get goosebumps. 
Scarlet macaws flying across the sky
The tour only gets better from here. We pull next to the bank to find a group of white-faced monkeys who are checking us out just as much as we're checking out them. We watch them jump from branch to branch to sneak a closer look.
And then, one jumps onto the boat! Once he sees we have no bananas, he was done with us and moves on. This tour is just getting better and better!
We take off down the river, our hands holding down our floppy hats, and pull up to a sandy bank. There, basking in the sun, are over 15 iguanas of all different sizes and colors. 
Like the monkeys, they, too, want to know if we have food and like the monkeys we let them down. Next time!
And now for D's favorite part of the trip. We pull up to a bank where the crocodiles are supposed to hang out and the guide stands up and hollers. Just like that, a big croc comes moseying towards the boat. Apparently, they're friends. 
Since we lack any chicken or snacks (kicking myself!), the guide dangles a plastic bag from a stick to see if he will bite. The croc considers it for a while, but wasn't falling for it. That was a shame because he let D hold the stick!
I cannot not get over all of the amazing things we saw in such a short time. If you ever have an opportunity to go on this tour, or one like it, take it! And don't forget the food- animals like to eat! Speaking of food, the tour was topped off with a traditional Costa Rican lunch- homemade and fabulous!


michele said...

It looks like an advertureous tour. Amazing.

Christine said...

Nice! :)

Nick Bonomo said...

It's a good thing you didn't have any food for the wildlife. Feeding wild animals is generally not good for them in the long run. And why the guide felt the need to splash the bats and make them fly goes to show he lacks respect for the nature he was showing you. Is there a particular tour company they were associated with, so I know who not to give business to when I visit the Palo Verde region?

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