We don’t know what we don’t know

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.

There were at least 6 dolphins coming so close to the boat we could have reached out and touched them.

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.

When finally we neared land, the guide spotted a black iguana, then a three-toed sloth up in a tree.

Another sloth was seen nearby.  Did we miss the sloths mating?  The boys were now paying close attention to everything Randall, our guide, said.

Randall sliced open the brown fruit of what we believe was a red mangrove fruit.  Inside was the green embryo (baby) of the plant. There was a sort of “umbilical cord” that continued to nourish the baby plant.

The boat slowed down in the narrow channel lined with mangroves.

The boys were at full alert for whatever Randall, our guide, spotted next.

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?

Our favorite sighting was a group of capuchin monkeys.  They are named for the friars with long brown robes.

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.

Our grandchildren settled in for the long boat ride back to the lodge.

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.


January 2020

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
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3 Responses to We don’t know what we don’t know

  1. Sometimes things work out just how they’re meant to! You really did see plenty of wildlife.

  2. plaidcamper says:

    What a wonderful tour! I’d have gone just to see a capuchin monkey – delightful! A great treat for your grandchildren. And you!

    • The monkeys spotted a big lizard on a tree branch. They went after the lizard, but to our surprise, the lizard escaped. There were so many monkeys and so much going on, this tour was clearly not long enough! You are so right: it WAS a great treat.

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