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Jungle Cruise | Spot the Toucan | Moonshine anyone?

I'm feeling a touch like a kid in a candy store right now. There's so much to do here in La Fortuna that I just want to dive in and do everything! As a result, we've had a rather busy few days which means we've taken the decision to have a rest day today (which for me means I can catch up on the blog - I have an interesting view of 'resting').

One of our recent adventures was our very own 'Jungle Cruise'. Luckily this was nothing like the recent Emily Blunt / Dwayne Johnson film (though that is very much a fun film and I recommended you watch!). Instead it was quite possibly the most relaxing few hours that I've spent in...well, in a very long time.

You get about six of you in an inflatable boat with the requirement to paddle occasionally but otherwise sit there taking in the beautiful scenery and looking out for wildlife. Our guide spoke more Spanish than English so we could just let the lovely sounds of the language wash over us (and actually understand some of it) instead of having to deal with a chatty tour guide spoiling the peace.

Note: I have a thing about not using tour guides if you don't need to. This trip was an exception. It's kinda difficult to source your own inflatable and know where to get in and where to get off the river :-D

Here's Esme on the boat. A few minutes earlier we were both feeling slightly trepidatious about setting foot in a what is basically a wobbly bit of plastic and air, but she soon settled into the ride, even demanding her own paddle so she could take part in the rowing!

Along the way we were lucky enough to spot lots of different wildlife. Extra lucky in fact as we were the lead boat and I'm pretty sure we ended up scaring off some of the wildlife so the other boats weren't quite so 'lucky'.

Top tip if you want to see any wildlife - always be up front, or go it alone, if you want a chance of actually seeing things.

We ended up seeing a whole family of Howler Monkeys (easy to spot now that we know to listen out for something that sounds like a dog with a sore throat), a crocodile (which I managed to get one single shot of before it quickly disappeared!), plenty of iguanas and basilisks and even some toucans!

Note - please remember I was on a boat, on a river, going up and down and also balancing a paddle, so these are not the best shots but there are a couple of nice ones in there!

We also saw lots of birds of different ilks (but waaaaay too fast to get any good shots of) including a kingfisher that looked like something from Predator. See what I mean?

We also saw the slightly less common type of toucan called the Collared Aracari. A lot more difficult to spot as doesn't have such colourful markings as the Keel billed one (see pic above) or the Yellow Throated Toucan (with the red bum that was showing off to us the other day).

Here's a fun game - see if you can spot the toucan in the pic below!

If you can't see it (you'd have to be a master of Where's Wally, so congrats if you did!) here's a close up crop of it.

Note 2 - I love my camera! For anyone interested, all shots on this blog are taken with a Canon M50 Mark II with it's impressive 18-150mm lens. This is a mirrorless camera, so that means I actually get the equivalent of about 240mm lens but at half the size. And it's 24Mps for each shot so you can zoom in on a zoomed in shot in a photo editor. Ok geeky section over.

I have to say that I was truly disappointed when, after a couple of hours, the river cruise came to an end. We finished the day with a snack, fresh coffee, our first taste of Agua Dulce (basically hot sugar cane water, which I'm pretty convinced cures all ills, or at least boosts your dopamine so much you just don't care any more!) and some moonshine. We thought he was joking about the moonshine but apparently not. We all got a shot of what tasted like rough guaro (a spirit made from, you guessed it, sugar cane!).

What a fab way to end the day!

Pura Vida everybody!

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