The chatter of birds and frogs set the atmosphere as I feel and hear the gentle breeze through deep green foliage. Our boat glides smoothly up the Tortuguero River, headed for this two-night stay in the Costa Rica jungles I’ve come to love. My simple camera with only a 300mm lens is ready around my neck for the next bird, monkey or other bit of color and excitement.
Along the river shore on a sandy beach, a black-necked stilt struts along on his long pink legs in a tuxedo-like dress. Leaning as our boat comes around a sharp bend in the river a flock of snowy egrets is spoofed into the treetops with a thunderous swoop. The yellow feet at the base of black legs make me sure they are snowy and not great egrets. At the same time a large green iguana stares at us from a tree limb above our boat as if to ask what we are doing here. Before I can answer my camera focuses on a brilliant blue, white and orange Amazon Kingfisher. My how wonderful this is! Have I already gone to heaven?
With the smell of fish in the water we are approaching our camp, but not before seeing the silent two-toed sloth hanging high above us and the much noisier white-faced capuchin monkeys jumping from limb to limb near the water. Always hoping to see a toucan, we see two! A chestnut-mandible toucan too high to photograph, but best of all a closer keel-billed toucan looking like he flew right off a Fruit Loops box to the palm tree just for us. Click, click, click!
Being surrounded by animal noises in the thick jungle while eating tropical fruit or hunting for colorful frogs with flash lights makes a night in the rainforest too memorable to ever forget. As were visits to other lodges like one looking out on an active volcano or another on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean with scarlet macaws feeding on nut trees below while monkeys and hummingbirds come right up to our little rooms surrounded by tropical flowers. The cloud forest is just a rainforest in the mountains and where I got my coveted photos of the resplendent quetzal. Two trips, coast to coast and hundreds of photos help make the rainforests of Costa Rica one of my favorite places in the world to visit. It is a wonderful immersion in nature and wildlife! Pura vida! (Pure Life!)
Unknown to me then on the Caravan.com tour of Costa Rica, in four years, December 2014, I would be moving to Costa Rica to make “Rainforest Immersion” my way of life in retirement, possibly for the rest of my life. And Tortuguero became one of my favorite places!
Written August 12, 2013