Caño Negro, Costa Rica – About monkeys, sloths, and caimans

The National Park Caño Negro can only be accessed by boat. So we are playing tourist today and booked an excursion with microbus, boat, and informed tour guide. River Rio Frio passes through the nature preserve and is enclosed by dense jungle on both sides. The river banks are an ideal habitat for herons, cormorants, and Anhingas or snakebirds, how they are called as well. They keep their whole body underwater while swimming, only the long and bent neck and head stick out like a snake.

Bats and reptiles are numerous: Up to three metres long caimans sunbathe on tree-trunks, round carapaces of freshwater turtles poke out of the water; basilisks, a kind of iguana that can run on their hind legs over the water surface like Jesus thanks to air cushions under their feet, wait on branches jutting out of the water for fruits to fall from the trees. Basiliscus lizards can dive if they think that’s safer than running. The green iguana on the banks are already too big to have a lot of predators and usually don’t flee unless they are young. In the treetops spider and howling monkeys romp about. The slowest or non-moving tree residents are sloths and accordingly difficult to determine. A tarantula fell into the water and tries to rescue itself walking over the river.

The excursion to Caño Negro cost 55 US$ incl. transport, entrance fee, snack, lunch, drinks, and tour guide. That’s a standard price in the area of Fortuna. We were very happy with the organizer Canoa Aventura. There is another option to go to Los Chiles on your own and try to rent a boat. From there you’d also ride on the Rio Frio, but you won’t reach the national park. The fuel costs together with the likelihood to pay the boat alone due to a lack of other interested parties would make the individual trip more expensive.

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