Today National Geographic Quest was awakened next to the famous Barra del Colorado Island run by the Smithsonian Institute in the Gatun Lake. Our guests had the opportunity to hike with local experts on the island research station, take Zodiac trips around the island’s perimeter or travel by panga and then by bus to the Rainforest Discovery Center where guests scaled the 100 foot observation tower for an opportunity to witness the different levels of the rainforest as well as observe several species of hummingbirds at the feeders. After lunch we completed the canal passage to the Caribbean at daytime, a perfect contrast to yesterday’s pacific nighttime passage.
National Geographic Quest
I love my country. I love its people and food and more than anything else, its natural resources. After 29 years as a guide for Central America, especially Costa Rica and Panama, traveling widely around the world with the work I do (I am also a tropical biologist), the Osa Peninsula is my uncontested favorite. Not a single time in my life have I come here and not be wowed by its lush forest, green waters, blue mountains and unmatched biodiversity. Our itinerary was split between two destinations: This morning we disembarked onto Caletas Bay, owned by our friend Banbam (Enrique), and in the afternoon we went to one of the Estacion San Pedrillo ranger station. Choices this morning: A wonderful horseback ride to Rio Claro, a two-mile hike to Agujitas River, a longer paced hike through the forested trails of Caletas Wildlife Refuge, or a casual tour of the wildlife refuge’s gardens. We loved all, coming back with unforgettable wildlife sightings, including a mother three-toed sloth with her baby, a bird eating snake straight from the trail, and a lot of bird sightings such as riverside wrens and black-hooded antshrikes. With the afternoon came the icing on the cake: Corcovado National Park. Again, more opportunities: walking the longer, more strenuous trail to the San Pedrillo Waterfall, and a waterhole to come with it or the Pargo River trail to explore the lowland forests. What a way to finish our trip! From army ants, to basilisks, to pale-billed woodpeckers, howler-, spider- and white-throated capuchin monkeys, to the very scarcely seen Central American Tapir. We could not have asked for a better last day in our trip, and an amazing way to say farewell to Central America, for the time being.