Float trip down the River Penas Blancas

La Fortuna Travel Blog

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Mister crocodile sunning himself by the side of the Penas Blancas.

Hello all,

Today I slept in until about 10am for a good twelve hours of sleep.  It felt great!  I contemplated doing laundry in the sink, and they even have a clothesline in the bathroom.  But then I remembered that I saw a laundry sign just across the street.  I took everything over there, and they said it would be about three hours.  Excellent.

I checked with the front desk as to what other tours he would recomend, and he was pushing something with a waterfall, and horseback ride for $50.  I like horseback riding, but something about sitting on an overheated animal at 90 plus degrees fahrenheit didn't seem too comfy to me.  I walked down the main street and talked to a few tour operators, and settled on a float tour on a nearby river for 2pm.

I went to get some lunch, and I settled on the same place I had gone the night before, Don Rufino on the main street.

Howler monkey picture #1. I couldn't believe they were so photogenic.
  A women I had met at the bar the night before recomended the Filet Mignon from a special appetizer menu called 'Bocas'.  It was a 7oz. Filet for just under $5, and it was spectacular!  It made me break my rule too try different restaurants whenever I travel.

The tour van picked me up about 10 minutes late, and as it turned out I was the only person on the tour that was not a part of the Davis family from the Atlanta area.  They were all very nice, and welcomed me to their group.  Our guide Santos was very nice, and I enjoyed the 20 minute drive through the countryside to get to the River Penas Blancas (white cliffs).

As soon as we got there one of the guides called us over to see a Two-Toed Sloth lazing on a tree branch along the side of the river.  We were not even in the boats yet, not bad.

Howler monkey picture #2. Note the adorable baby monkey!
  The 13 of us piled into two rafts, and away we went.  I was in the front of the raft with the two grandparents, and the mother and father were in the middle, with the two teenage daughters manning (womaning?) the oars.  I'm not sure how that happened, but I was happy to take the mellow ride without any work involved.  Santos took the back seat and was steering the raft.

Not too long after leaving we saw a huge 7 foot Crocodile sunning itself by the riverside.  It was just sitting there soaking up the sun and didn't move a lick.  The other raft came within about 15 feet of it with no response.  We saw a large bird very similar to an owl, a bare-faced heron, and many other bird species as we continued.

We started to hear the distinctive call of some howler monkeys, so we knew they were around.

Howler monkey picture #3. This is the river jumping, defecating one. :)
  About 10 minutes later we found a troupe of about 12 of the monkeys on both sides of the river.  They were very vocal, active, and photogenic.  One of the vocal males jumped from the right side of the river to the left through some flimsy branches.  He was now right above us, and Santos pointed out what monkeys do to unwanted guests (poo flinging).  After a few minutes said male defecated rather rudely within about 6 feet of the boat and we decided it was time to go.

The rest of the float was very nice, with not alot of wildlife, and we beached the rafts on the shore at a pre-arranged cattle farm.  The distant cracks of thunder told us that we had timed it perfectly again.  Six days of rain so far, and I have not yet been 'caught-out'.  Keep 'em crossed kids.  We finished of the day with some fresh pineapple and watermelon at the farm.  A huge rooster prowled the area, eyeing up the 4 or 5 year old Davis family youngster like he wanted to fight.  The pineapple and watermelon were unbelievably juicy, and I have a nice red stain on my shirt to prove it.  The other tour guide from Pura Vida Tours sat next to me on the ride back to La Fortuna, and we chatted about good ways to move on to Nicaragua from here.  He had some great tips!

I think I will stay here for one more day, and then move on.  I'll let you guys know.

Later, Phil

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Mister crocodile sunning himself b…
Mister crocodile sunning himself …
Howler monkey picture #1.  I could…
Howler monkey picture #1. I coul…
Howler monkey picture #2.  Note th…
Howler monkey picture #2. Note t…
Howler monkey picture #3.  This is…
Howler monkey picture #3. This i…
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