Eco-Tourism is becoming more and more popular. Countries like Costa Rica are starting to take notice and make this a big part of their tourism industry. It is also becoming more and more a part of culture. They are establishing Green Zones for development as well. Having an opportunity to visit Palo Verde National Park provided a fantastic opportunity to visit some of the over 33 000 acres of preserved wetlands that provides a refuge for an abundance of wildlife.
Going with Xplore Costa Rica provided us not only with the transportation to the park but also provided us with a guide to explain the region as well as talk about the variety of wildlife we encountered. It is not far in distance from Tamarindo but the road is gravel and takes you through a region where Sugar Cane and Cantaloupe are harvested. The small communities are often made up of migrant workers from Nicaragua who leave in very basic homes that are often flooded in the wet season.
Having the opportunity to take a boat down the Tempisque River provided this Canadian an opportunity to see some wildlife in their natural habitat. I used my Sony a57 to take most of the shots using my 75-300 zoom lens. I was amazed at the quality of the photos. I have posted three photos to give you an example of the wildlife observed.
The photo of the White-Faced Monkey gives you an example of how close you come to nature. The monkeys are fearless. This is a result of tourists and locals feeding the monkeys. The White-Faced Monkey has now got the taste of protein which has changed their eating habits. This puts the monkey in jeopardy as the craving gets so bad at times it will go into the tourist boats or worse yet they will now eat meat. Locals have observed these monkeys now killing each other to get that taste of protein. So as great as it would be to see these beautiful animals on the boat eating out of your hand, ‘Don’t Feed the Animals.’
The tour promised an opportunity to see Macaws, crocodiles, monkeys, iguanas and an array of birds. It delivered on all counts. We were able to observe numerous Iguanas of different shapes and sizes.
We were also able to see countless crocodiles swimming in the murky waters of the Tempisque River that is lined with Mangrove trees. Our guide cast a net into the river retrieving the shrimp the crocodiles were dining on. We also were able to see the Nocturnal Boat-Billed Heron relaxing on a branch. This strange looking bird gets its name from the shape of the beak.
After the boat ride we went back to the small village of Ortega for a traditional lunch prepared for tourists like us who pass through everyday. The lunch was excellent from freshly made corn tortillas, to rice and beans, squash, an assortment of fruit and juices as well as a sampling of some chicken and beef. My favorite was the tortillas and the fresh jalapeno. The day ended watching a young man demonstrate the painstaking process of making a clay pot. This skill was passed on to him from his father.
It is fortunate to have the opportunity to see people and parts of the world as a child you only dream about. In all my travels be it in now Central America, to the Caribbean, to Australia and New Zealand to some of the small islands of the South Pacific it is not how different we all are but how similar we all are that strikes me. We often spend so much of our time thinking we all are so different when in the end our similarities are more prevalent. There are people who do good and bad things everywhere and that connects us as well. We are connected with each other and connected with nature.
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