Today we went on our trip to the Canó Negro Wildlife Reserve which is near a town called Los Chiles, close to the border with Nicaragua. We booked our trip through Red Lava Tours which I mentioned in my previous post. The cost of the tour was $65 each, and like I said in my previous post much cheaper than trying to do it on our own.
We were picked up from our hotel at 08:15 and we took the two hour journey to the reserve. Along with some other traveler’s. On the way our guide Joshua pointed out the various things growing in the fields ie sugar cane, pineapples etc. along the journey we had to cross a bridge whereby Joshua pointed out some very large iguanas lounging in the sun on the tree branches. They are cold blooded animals and need the warmth like us. We arrived at the reserve and had 15 minutes to grab a drink and use the toilet. We boarded the boat, and as there was only eight of us everyone had an outside seat. We had just left the dock and got to the other river bank when Joshua pointed out a Howler Monkey who unfortunately have a disease making them turn light brown or almost blond (they are normally black). Research has show that the monkeys have a difference in the type of melanin, which is the pigment that colours hair and skin in mammals. Scientists have concluded that this is due to the high levels of pesticides used in Costa Rica. For a interesting article about the subject Click Here.
On our journey along the river we managed to see quite a lot of wildlife. Plenty of bird species, we even saw apparently a rare American Pygmy Kingfisher “I have to say I am no ornithologist”. It was so tiny and so beautifully coloured. We also saw some very tiny cute bats lined up on a tree branch, plus Caimans (a smaller version of an alligator) turtles White faced capuchin monkeys, plenty of different types of kingfisher
I have to tell you about the lucky escape that one iguana had. Now some Primates are omnivores (they eat both vegetation and also meat). We had just stopped the boat because Joshua was pointing out some white faced capuchin Monkeys in a tree, when one of them lurched towards the unsuspecting iguana. But fortunately for him or her he jumped out of the tree he was lounging in and landed on a fallen tree in the river right in front of us. You could almost see the look of “Phew that was close on his face”
We cruised along the river for a couple of hours, our guide Joshua was brilliant, so informative. When we docked we had a very nice lunch, (all included in the price) after which we moved on just down the road for a display on how they extract the liquid sugar from the cane and then to turn it into the solid form. Also the process in making coffee from the beans and the chocolate from the cacao plant. So interesting. We even got to try the Vesou or Rhum agricole which is made from fermenting the sugar cane juice. The result is 70° proof illegal to sell in the shops as the highest poof of the spirits they can sell is 45°. Like the stupid Englishmen I am, I downed it in one go. After coughing and spluttering, and to the amusement of others I lived to tell this tale. I swear I could run my car on the stuff. A truly fantastic day.