Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge Feb 2019

Today we got up early for our day trip to Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge which is about an hour and 45 minutes drive from La Fortuna to the village of Los Chiles where we boarded our boat.  Cano Negro is located in northern Costa Rica, very close to the border of Nicaragua and often called the everglades of Costa Rica.  The area leading to the wildlife refuge along Rio Frio has the best wildlife viewing.  The Pacific monsoonal climate mixed with the Caribbean coastal humid climate resulted in the immense variety of flora and fauna found here.  It is one of the most ecologically diverse places in Costa Rica and is considered to be the third most important wetland in the world.  Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge sits on almost 25,000 acres of rainforest and wetlands and is home to sloths, monkeys, caimans, lizards, bats, etc. as well as indigenous plants and insects.  It is one of the best places in the Americas for bird watching as it is on a key migratory route for birds from the north.  Here you can find the rare Nicaraguan Grackle bird though we did not see it.  It also provides habitat for many rare fish such as the Areactosteus Tropicus fish.  The boat ride or what they call the floating safari lasted about 2 hours and we saw all kinds of animals.  Breathing in the fresh air and cruising along the waterway among the swampy wetlands and seeing animals peer at you from the trees is an absolutely wonderful experience.  We opted for a private tour which takes place earlier than the group tours as they use the same boats.  We were told that there is a higher chance of seeing animals earlier in the day before it gets too hot.  I think it is worth paying extra for the private tour not just for better animal viewing, but also to be away from boisterous rowdy groups of people.  The group tours can get quite large, up to 40 people or more per boat.  That completely ruins the serene experience floating along the river.

DSCF4067This is the kind of boat for the “floating safari”

DSCF4066Just ourselves and our guide on the boat with his trusy telescope set up in the front


DSCF4795Many caimans in the water


DSCF4849This caiman has a fish in its mouth

DSCF4850Baby caimans

DSCF4799Bats sleeping on the branch

DSCF4802Mangrove swallow

IMG_20190212_171605_179 (1)One of the most famous residents here at Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge is this albino or golden howler monkey.  Howler monkeys are normally black in color with the exception of this one.  The guide said that in the beginning he was completely alone for almost a year but now he has two females with him.


DSCF4812Howler monkey



DSCF4826Iguana sunbathing


DSCF4845Jesus Christ lizard so named because they can run on water.  Unfortunately, I didn’t see one in action…

DSCF4903Jesus Christ lizard

DSCF4920Jesus Christ lizard


DSCF4874Capuchin or white-faced monkey are some of the most intelligent monkeys and are often used in movies.



DSCF4907An anhinga drying its wings.  It is also known as the snake bird because when it swims it keeps its neck out of the water looking like there is a snake in the water.



DSCF4905Howler monkey are so called because of the loud call they make

DSCF4922Amazon kingfisher


DSCF4918Spider monkey


Next post will be on the Bogarin Trail and the sloths I met in Costa Rica.  Stay tuned!

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