We are now into Day 2 of our stay in Costa Rica. We are up early for a 6am departure to go to the Cano Negro Wildlife Reserve. Our driver Ronnie and guide Alonso picked us up at the Nayara Springs entrance. Alonso explained it would be about a 2 hour drive to Cano Negro. We would be going to a small village that has an agreement with only Nayara Springs and one other resort to allow access to the docks. This means there are far fewer crowds attempting to access the river. 

Along the way, Ronnie would continually point at semi trucks carrying large loads. He would speak, in Spanish, to Alonso about them. After a few times, Alonso told us that Ronnie was pointing out the new all electric semi truck transporting sugar cane throughout the country. 

Two hours made me think the distance covered would be significant, however I was wrong. The roads are single lanes, with many speed bumps, and a lot of semi trucks carrying heavy loads. This really reduces the speed you can travel. Also, the last couple miles were on unpaved, VERY bumpy roads. Alonso called the experience a Costa Rican massage. After our “massage”, we arrived at the docks ready to explore.

We hopped aboard our pontoon boat and started down the river. At this point, we were only a few miles from the Nicaraguan border. As we set off, Alonso and Ronnie setup a small table and chairs and provided us breakfast, coffee, cookies, and fruits.

The weather was drizzly for the most part, but it was off and on, so the trip was still enjoyable and not very hot.


As we ate, Alonso pointed out all of the various wildlife. The first thing we came across was a dead tree full of Great Egrets.

Next we came across a Great Potoo. As you can see, it blends into the tree incredibly well. The Potoo is a nocturnal bird that was once thought to belong to the Owl family. However, more recently it has been associated with the Nightjar. Alonso told us the boat captain navigates these waters daily and is very good at spotting hard to see animals. The photo below is zoomed in greatly, I don't think I would have ever had a chance to see this Potoo without the local experts.

After the rare Potoo, we came across a rare Howler Monkey. They named him Ceaser, and he is a one of a kind Howler Monkey in Costa Rica. The captain pulled the boat up onto the shore and we got off. We navigated around all the cow poop from the local farm, and got a closer look at Ceasar.

Alonso explained Ceasar has a different gene in his DNA that prevented him from turning black. While not an Albino, he is very rare. He just sat there in the drizzle, sleeping contently as observed him.

Besides the rare sightings, there were plenty of standard monkeys to see. We saw Howler Monkeys, Capuchin Monkeys running through the trees, and Spider monkeys hanging from their tails.


After the monkeys we cruised down the river a bit more. The captain started approaching a log in the water. My wife and I couldn't spot anything until Alonso pointed out the small bats under the log!

After our tour concluded, we started the journey back. Just after leaving the Wildlife center, we came across a roadside hawk sitting in the rain.

Then we spotted a Laughing Falcon!

After driving about 20 minutes or so, Alonso gave us a menu to look over so we could pre order a lunch on the way back. About an hour later we were back in Fortuna and stopped at D’Balu, a locally owned restaurant. It was only about 20 minutes away from Nayara Springs. We had the most delicious Pineapple frozen smooth with our lunch.

We saw so many other interesting things on our Cano Negro tour, I decided to split those into dedicated posts at a later time. Be on the lookout for the other posts.