Tortuguero is best known for its miles of turtle-breeding coastline. We were picked up by our guide from the Turtle Beach Lodge in San Jose and headed out for a half-day drive and boat ride that would take us into the park. Although we didn’t see any turtles (July–October are the best months), there was no shortage of interesting animals. Without leaving the property, the boys saw Jesus Christ Lizards, the ones you’ve seen running on water on those wildlife shows, tent bats, howler monkeys and those adorable red-eye tree frogs which have become the “poster-animal” for Costa Rica and rain forests in general.
But the action got really exciting when we cruised through the forest’s backwaters and canals. Taking advantage of the fact that we had two pre-teen boys in tow, our guide Josh recruited them to help count crocodiles along the stretch of river that abuts the research station. This fact-finding mission turned out to be quite entertaining. Not only did we collect GPS data on the dozen or so specimens we sighted, he reached in and pulled out a few to show the kids. Before we finished, Josh even found and grabbed an annulated boa snake which he had been looking for since he arrived five months earlier—another crowd-pleaser for sure.