Yesterday Molly and I visited the El Viejo Wetlands. The day trip was fantastic for both the birder (me) and non birder (Molly) alike! A family who own a large sugar cane plantation decided years ago to set aside 6,000 acres of wetlands adjacent to the River Tempisque. At the family’s Hacienda … 16k by bumpy dirt road from Filadelphia, one may take a river boat cruise and/or enjoy a nice luncheon at the open air Hacienda.
In our case we did both … cruise and lunch! Arriving by 8:15 am (90 minute drive from Las Catalinas) we were able to be the first people out on the water. Given tour buses often arrive later in the morning, an early arrival is advised. First, animals and birds are more active in the first few hours of the day, and second … you get the River almost to yourself. We had an excellent private guide named Kevin. Between him and our boat driver, Caesar, they spotted lots of wildlife I would never had noticed. Our cost was $73 per person plus well earned tips for our guide and boat driver. The money was well spent.
Finally, after lunch make certain you walk around the grounds below the Hacienda. Although many other people were present at lunch, only Molly and I explored the grounds. Big mistake. Yes it was a hot hike, but we found plenty of shade trees and more wildlife. While it may have been hot during our walk, it was very pleasant out on the river. The boats have a roof shade, and there was a nice breeze.
Here are just a few photos from El Viejo: (not pictured, but we also saw real cool sleeping bats, and two different species of monkeys … howler and white faced)
Bare-Throated Tiger Heron
Black-Necked Stilt With a Snack
Alligator Catching Breakfast
Turquoise-Bowed Mot Mot Excavating a Nest Hole
Flock of Snowy Egrets
Grooved-Billed Ani (type of Cuckoo)
Dino the Dinosaur (5 foot long Green Iguana)
Little Blue Heron (immature)
Scenes from the River Cruise