We took another tour with Aventuras Arenal today to explore the Caño Negro River area. We were on La hora Tico (appointment times are more of a ballpark suggestion of when to meet than anything definite) for this trip unfortunately There was some confusion about whether we had booked a canoe or a boat trip resulting in us being picked up half an hour late. The drive to Caño Negro takes around 1 hour and 45 minutes to the rustic village of Los Chiles where you board a covered boat for a two hour leisurely cruise.
The animals seemed to come out in pairs today – two by two – it was a veritable Noah’s ark at Caño Negro -Frio River!
Extensive deforestation of the Caño Negro began in the 1970s in response to increased population density. In 1991, logging was stopped, but illegal logging and poaching have continued around the perimeter of the park and wildlife has suffered. Ocelots, sharks, manatees and macaws have all vanished. Residents have formed a number of organisations aimed at controlling development in the northern lowlands. As I read in one of the beautiful coffee table books at the lodge this morning: “Only after the last tree has been cut down. Only after the last river has been poisoned. Only after the last fish has been caught. Only then will you find that you can’t eat money.”
River turtles were historically part of the Maleku diet. Prior to a hunt, the Maleku would appease the turtle god Javara by fasting and abstaining from sex. If the hunt was successful, they would later celebrate by feasting on smoked turtle meat and consuming large quantities of chichi (a spirit derived from maize). They probably indulged themselves in other ways afterwards too?!
Photo I wished I had taken:
Blue Morpho Butterflies. We saw lots of them, but they were a bit too far away to get a good photo from the boat.