Day 7: To Arenal

Being the only guest in a lodge certainly has its advantages, as breakfast is served whenever we feel like it. Today, it was around 07:30.
Right after this, we embarked on a small boat for yet another boat safari on the river system.

Caño Negro is a swampy area right next to a lagune which almost completely drains during the dry season. Right now, we are in the wet season and the entire area is flooded with about one metre of water.
This naturally attracts many species of birds, reptiles and amphibians, and that is the main reason why we’re there.

The guide took us around the area in about two hours, along rivers, small waterways and on the lagune. The amount of birds in this area is simply staggering! Hundreds of cormorants, Anhinga’s, Egrets, Herons and Kingfishers have passed our lenses, many of which played nice and posed for us.
Many cayman also call this place home, as do quite a lot of Jesus Christ Lizards and Green Iguana. It is a marvellous place!

The only downside of it is, that it sits in the middle of a 50km dirt road, of the worst kind imaginable. The drive there is quite an adventure, but with our new and trusty 4×4 Rav4, everything is fine!

From Caño Negro to La Fortuna (the village right next to the Arenal volcano) is about 120kms and the drive is great! The first 30km is dirt road, but after that everything is tarred and just fine. It is not Dutch quality, but we managed just great. After about 100 km the majestic volcano is visible as it stands way taller than anything around it.

We booked a frog watching tour through the hotel garden the moment we arrived, and have seen around 10 species of frogs! Including the very Costa Rican Red Eyes Frog. Great frog, and very picturesque at that.

Tomorrow we’ll walk the Arenal National Park, to get some more scenic views of the grand mountain.


Day 6: To Caño Negro

We start the day in Sarapiquí like many others before this one in Costa Rica, with a big breakfast. I have started each and every one with a good sized portion of Gallo Pinto, the local rice and beans recipe, and today was not different. I can get used to breakfasts like these! Fresh fruit, Gallo Pinto, freshly pressed juice, Costa Rican Café Negro and scrambled eggs: a good way to start the day.

We start off by driving to the main docking area of Porto Viejo De Sarapiquí to get on a boat (again) for a river tour to see whatever wants to be seen.
Today it is Kingfishers, Flycatchers, Cayman, Herons, Egrets, Swallows, and much more.
And rain. A lot of it. It started after about an hour, and basically didn’t stop until around 3pm. Luckily the boat has a closed top!

After yesterday’s and this morning’s rain, today is a much nicer temperature at around 25 degrees and with a little bit of fresh wind it is not searingly hot. A good day for some driving!
We will travel from Sarapiquí to Caño Negro, specifically to Hotel De Campo. At around 160kms it will take us the better part of 4 hours as the maximum speed is around 60km/h and the route is straight through many small towns where the speed limit is much less. Also, we need to have lunch somewhere!

The drive takes us through many pineapple and banana plantations, and really showcases Costa Rica’s agricultural history.
The last leg of the journey takes us through swamps and wetland and over an unpaved road for about 20km’s. I hope all parts of the car are still in their correct order, that was one bumpy ride!

We are the only guests at the hotel, and with it having around 40 cabañas, it feels really empty. Tomorrow, we’ll be the only guests when the owner of the facility takes us on a boat to see the wetlands!