Palo Verde Parque Nacional Part II: Water

The boat ride from Palo Verde was amazing.  The best $50 we ever spent.  The muddy water hid all kinds of treasures and ferocious creatures.  The vegetation along the Tempisque River was home to monkeys, iguanas, and  numerous kinds of birds.

Great Green-Faced Egret
Great Green-Faced Egret

Our guides came from humble beginnings–they were not your average tour company, showing up in dirty clothes and flip flops.  They pointed out their village as we winded past it.

Palo Verde Boat Ride
Our Guide’s Village

More than once they turned the boat around to show us something that they hadn’t seen before we passed it.  For over two hours we tried to decipher between English and Spanish as we glided down the river in awe of all the wildlife the muddy waters could draw.

Water Hyacinth Costa Rica
Water Hyacinth

We had no idea where the boat was taking us–we didn’t know there was a destination in mind, that is.  Glowing with pride, as though it was his personal island, the captain turned to us and said this is Bird Island.

Bird Island Costa Rica
Bird Island

I wish I could play for you the sounds that we heard.  The chirping, clattering, and clicking that emanated from the trees.  It is the island where birds  from all over Costa Rica come to nest.  There must have been thousands of them.

Bird Island Costa Rica
Bird Island

Our guides were patient as we took turns taking pictures and videos or just watching the baby birds cry for their mothers.  It wasn’t until we were good and ready, which was awhile, that he turned the boat around and we headed back towards the National Park.

Baby Great Egret
Baby Great Egret

On the ride back we were promised a crocodile sighting.  I expected to see a croc in the water or along the bank but I was wrong.  Over the years the river has dug a trench into the earth, and the crocodile that we saw had actually crawled up a very steep muddy hill to claim a space in the sun.  I was shocked to see it there because before the boat ride those were the places we had been walking, knowing that a crocodile couldn’t climb such a steep embankment.  Shivers.

Costa Rica Crocodile
Crocodile

We also had the pleasure of seeing Scarlet Macaws in the wild.  Our guides even seemed quite stunned by this sighting and again stopped the boat as we all arched our necking trying to get pictures.  What a gorgeous and colorful creature.  We have all seen these beauties caged but to see them flying across the brilliant blue sky is something else.

Scarlet Macaw
Scarlet Macaw

Monkeys hooped and hollered and clambered through the trees taunting our boat.

Howler Monkey
Howler Monkey

We were all sad to see the tour come to an end, but it was an amazing experience.  If you ever make your way to Guanacaste I highly recommend visiting Palo Verde National Park and, take the boat ride.  Even if there aren’t enough people and it’s expensive, it’s so worth it.

Boat on Tempisque River

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