My first weekend trip from Heredia was to the Parque Nacional de Tortuguero on the north Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. It is marsh and jungle that is a major breeding ground for sea turtles, especially the Green Sea Turtle. On Saturday 31 August I and other students caught an early bus to a boat landing on the edge of the park. From there we proceeded by boat on the rivers, called canals for some reason, that are the only way to get around in most of the park. We arrived at the Eco Lodge around two in the afternoon. We settled in, visited the local Conservation Corps office/museum, then ate supper and went on a night time turtle hunt. It was raining and we had to travel in darkness since the turtles won't come on land and lay their eggs if they see lights. Since Green Sea Turtles are endangered interfering with their reproduction is a bad thing. The guide carried a red shaded flash light, which doesn't upset the turtles. We saw a total of four green sea turtles, including one laying her eggs. These were impressive turtles; about five feet long and three feet wide. Unfortunately I couldn't take pictures. Early the next morning we went on a jungle cruise, also in the rain, and got a very quick glimpse of an anteater climbing in a tree. I was not able to get a picture of it, but took some other pictures during the weekend, starting on the bus ride where we stopped while the guide pointed out some tree sloths, in the first three pictures, and a howler monkey in the last two:










Actually we saw the howler on the return trip, but the page flows better if I'm not strictly chronological. Anyway, we got to the Eco Lodge by boat, where I took pictures of some spoonbill herons, a typical boat taxi and a jungle shot:






At the Eco Lodge were some really cute blue jean frogs. These are one of the types of poison frogs natives once used to poison their arrows.  Supposedly they are safe to handle if you do not have any cuts or scrapes. I'm not dead so I suppose that's true:






These are called leaf-cutter ants, for obvious reasons. They are common in Costa Rica, very industrious, and leave distinct trails:




Also at the Eco Lodge were flowers that the guide called Labios de Puta. My apologies to the Spanish speakers:



I thought this was cool; the dark spots on this tree are bats, doing a good job of looking like bark. They are not so well disguised in this picture, which is the result of a high resolution zoom, but are almost invisible from the ground:



This is the closest I can come to photographing a green sea turtle; the trail left in the sand by a nesting turtle the night before:



Here are some pictures from the morning river tour, with pictures of the river, a Kingfisher, and an egret caught doing his courting dance for a female not in the picture. Next trip I promise to have a nicer camera and learn how to use the low light settings:






In the center of the first picture is a white-faced monkey. In the second picture is a nervous young white-faced monkey whose mother, in the upper left of the picture, is urging to jump over to her. What you can't see from the picture is the jump is from one tree to another and crosses the river. The baby monkey had some reservations about this but eventually made the jump. I promise; better camera next time:




In order, turtles under water, the head of a cayman, and a well camouflaged boa constrictor curled up in a tight ball deep in the bushes. Our guide guessed it was about six feet long, it is so good at blending in I had to stare at it for almost a minute before I saw it:






This is the dock of the Eco Lodge, some boats on the return trip on the river, and our weekend guide and boat Captain:






The front row of this group are the students from Intercultura, the back row were from somewhere else. From left to right on the front row are Jeff from California, me, Maria, an English teacher with Intercultura who I think is from Philadelphia, Marty from Japan but going to grad school in Washington state, and Jaclyn, a student from Switzerland:



After this it was back to Heredia until the next weekends trip.


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