Corcovado National Park

So today was our last full day on the boat.  After breakfast we were split into our McCaw and Toucan groups for a trip up the Aguijtas River.  I was in the McCaw group and we were going out in the zodiacs after the Toucans.

Zodiac coming to the boat

By 9:45 we were loading in the zodiacs with Gabe, our guide for the trip, and heading towards shore where we made a left and entered the mouth of the Agujitas River.  And our luck with the weather continued.  The sun was shining and storm clouds were moving away from us so the no rain streak continued.

Black vulture
Common black hawk
Yellow crown night heron

Once we passed the mouth of the river, we spotted a black vulture in the trees sunning itself and nearby a common black hawk was on the lookout for a meal. As we motored along the river, we spotted two yellow crown night herons sunning themselves on a tree branch.  Now normally these birds fly off as you approach, but these two didn’t budge. They continued to just sit there watching us a we watched them.  Weird.  Now I know how they feel.

Find the iguana

We also spotted an iguana buried deep in a thicket of trees.  And when I say we, I mean Gabe.  It never ceases to amaze me how these naturalists, guides and zodiac drivers can spot birds and animals that I would never ever see.

Howler monkeys

And speaking of never seeing, Gabe spotted howler monkeys lazing high, high up in the trees.  Even the fabulous zoom on my camera was challenged in giving me a descent picture of the two on the highest branches of the tree, but I managed one anyway.

Agujitas River
Agujitas River.

As we motored along, the river became narrower and with the trees hanging overhead, the sun was partially blocked, which gave us a nice respite from the heat.  We passed under a hanging bridge and spotted a lizard on a tree branch as three different varieties of kingfisher flitted by.

Bare throated tiger heron
Looking for a snack

Just as we neared the end of the portion of the river we could access (not enough water to continue), we spotted a bare throated tiger heron high up on the branches of a tree hanging over the river looking for fish. At one point, we thought it was going to dive into the river as it stretch upside down, but then it straightened out and continued to look for fish.

By now we had been floating along for over an hour so we turned around and headed back under the hanging bridge and towards the boat.

Waterfall into the Agujitas River

Once back on the boat, we were given a choice of one of four different activities for the afternoon: a 3 mile forest hike; a 2 ½ mile oceanfront hike, a mile long hike on a ocean path or hang on the beach and do nothing.  I opted for the 2 ½ mile oceanfront hike.

We were called first to the zodiacs and by 2:00 we had set off for the beach.  Now up until this point in the trip, the waters had been very, very calm, but today there were some pretty big swells and we were being sprayed as we motored towards the beach.  Once we neared the beach, the challenge was to stabilize the zodiacs so that we could safely climb out.  Fortunately, these folks are pretty experienced and aside from getting pretty wet, we all made it safely to the beach.

Howler monkeys at Corcovado National Park
Howler monkey at Corcovado National Park

I changed into my hiking boots and was just about to wander around when one of the guides spotted howler monkeys in a tree near the beach.  And this time, I was able to get some pretty good pictures.  In fact, I stood and watched the monkeys for so long I almost missed the start of the hike.

Beach at Corcovado National Park
Beach at Corcovado National Park
Path in Corcovado National Park

Anyway, Ron corralled everyone and off we set.  Now I thought we were going to be walking along the beach, which is actually how it started out.  However,  as it turned out, we were walking along a path paralleling the beach, which took us up hills and through the forest, across little creeks and up more hills.  This was not what I had signed up for.  It was really, really hot, and I along with my fellow hikers were drenched in sweat.  It was brutal.

Crossing a creek in Corcovado National Park
Hiking through Corcovado National Park

Occasionally, we neared the beach and would receive some relief from the breeze off the ocean, but not enough to make a huge difference.  And just when I thought I couldn’t get any hotter, Ron lead us to a staircase and up we went dodging tree roots and grasping the railing for dear life before we reached a road.  And this road led to our reward … squirrel monkeys were hanging out in the tree.  Yay.

Squirrel monkey at Corcovado National Park
Squirrel Monkey at Corcovado National Park

We hung out for a few minutes watching the little monkeys jump from branch to branch before Ron started moving on again.  A couple minutes further down the road, we took a right and began a descent down a dirt path and then a series of stairs much like what we had already climbed.  My initial thought was oh no … because when you hike down, you will eventually have to hike back up.  At this point, I was so hot and so exhausted, I was not sure I was going to make it back.

Anyway, as we continued to climb down, I spotted a river and a hanging bridge … yup the same river we had cruised on in the morning and the same hanging bridge we had cruised under.  Unfortunately, there was no zodiac in sight so … we crossed the bridge, then reversed and then began the hike back up the stairs, up the hill and to the road.

Nearing the boat

At this point, I just wanted to sit down, but I plowed on back down the staircase, along the narrow path up hills and down hills, relishing ever little breeze when the path took us near the ocean.  And when our ship finally came into view, it was all I could do to get to a beach chair to pull off my hiking boots and douse myself with cold water.

The cruise was coming to an end and tomorrow I have a driver picking at the dock to take me up up 5,000 feet into the mountains to Montaverde.  I am certain I am going to enjoy the cooler air.

Author: lawyerchick92

I am a lawyer by trade, but long to be a full time traveller. My life changed for the better when my brother donated a kidney to me on October 14, 2002.

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