No matter how we tried to juggle our travel schedule there was a gap. A 5-day stay at La Paloma Lodge in Drake Bay, Costa Rica included 2 excursions. One was a snorkeling trip in the open ocean that we thought would be beyond the capabilities of our two grandsons, ages 10 and 11. So what excursion could we go on in its place? The person we spoke with at La Paloma was upbeat. “The mangrove tour is very good, and people see a lot of wildlife on that tour.” Really? We had our doubts. We didn’t see another good option for us, so off we went on the mangrove tour, leaving at 6:30AM.
The boat sped north across Drake Bay with our grandsons, ages 10 and 11, sitting right in front. All of a sudden, the guide and boat pilot called out to us when bottlenose dolphins came in sight.
The boat sped by small rocky islands dotted with brown boobies and pelicans, also the magnificent frigatebirds, a very nice sighting for us bird lovers. Were the boys impressed? We couldn’t tell. Soon we were back out over the open water.
Another sloth was seen nearby. Did we miss the sloths mating? The boys were now paying close attention to everything Randall, our guide, said.
Moments later, we weren’t disappointed. Draped over a broken tree stump he spied a potoo, an unusual bird so well camouflaged, it’s hard to spot. This bird had a chick in its breast feathers, barely visible. How would we ever have seen this without Randall’s help?
Capuchin monkeys are only found in Central and South American forests. We watched as they scampered through the trees in search of the next meal.
Before the tour was over, we spotted not one, but two, boa constrictors in the branches of a tree just over the water. We’d seen crocodiles; a Jesus Christ lizard that “walks” on water; squirrel monkeys and howler monkeys, too. We spotted many birds – including caracara, macaws, purple gallinule, jacanas, and orange-chinned parakeets.
We looked back to see the mangrove trees, but they were now too far away. We hadn’t known what to expect from this visit. Our expectations had been modest at best. Now we knew that we’d been lucky to choose the mangrove tour, to have Randall as our guide, and to have experienced what we’d been told: “people see a lot of wildlife on that tour.” Yes, we did.