Four different species of mangrove are found in this area—a group of unrelated woody plants that grow in protected tropical coasts. The mangrove is also a great habitat for many endemic birds such as the mangrove cuckoo, mangrove hummingbirds, mangrove vireo, Panama flycatcher and many herons and egrets. as well a such reptiles as iguanas and crocodiles.
Eco Tropical Mangrove River Cruise
The bus ride to the river was enjoyable, although very bumpy, and we had an excellent guide to show us sights along the way. And once we got to the river, there were more pleasant surprises. We were offered a lovely tasting of fresh pineapple and watermelon and among the drinks offered (water, ice tea and beer) was the best ice tea I think I’ve ever had. It was really a fruit tea of some sort; just delicious and so refreshing. Then we walked down a paved pathway to the boat landing where there was another surprise: everyone would be getting an individual molded, padded bucket-style seat, fastened two to a platform, with wide aisles to make moving around easy. We knew from the photo that the boat was covered, but usually the seats on a boat aren’t all that comfortable. The entry onto the boat was simple too; no steps to climb; just a ramp from the walkway onto the boat. Almost anyone would be able to do it.
We had our guide and a boat driver, both excellent spotters of wildlife. We’d hardly left the dock before one of them spotted our first crocodile, and the guide used his laser pointer to make sure everyone could see the animal as it was well-camouflaged in the sandy shoreline. Then the boat was turned around so that those on the opposite side got a good look too. Seconds later a pair of macaws were spotted up in the trees and again the laser pointer was used to help spot them, and the boat turned so everyone could see. All that activity probably spooked them, but as they flew away I think almost everyone got a great shot of their flight away from the stresses of a boatload of people. The trip produced sightings of many crocodiles, birds, termite nests, crabs, and many species of trees and shore plants.
Once back on land I decided to purchase a couple of wooden mats I’d seen on the way down to the boat; they are made of small rectangles of polished wood and actually fold up into a manageable size to transport, although the mats are a bit larger than a standard placemat. It’s rare that I buy anything when we travel, but these were really beautiful.
No biting insects!
In this climate, along a river, I expected (despite liberal applications of DEET) that every form of biting insect would find me. They usually do. But nothing today! Very pleasant.
HAL Shore Excursions
We were going to plan something on our own, but the combination of a train ride through banana fields and the river excursion won out. With only one day here, this plan seemed the most efficient. The train seemed to be fairly infrequent, running only when chartered, so this may have been our only option for this double-excursion.
Blog Content & Website Design: Marney Wilde • Photographs by George Wilde