• Caitlin McAninch

Sarapiquí River Boat Tour

I am all about the animals. Always. I love zoos, and I love seeing animals up close. That’s why I was beyond excited when we booked a River Boat Tour. The description said see lots of animals, up close, on a boat. Yes, please!

This is a hard blog to write because mainly I just have a LOAD of photos to share of all the animals we saw on this excursion. So. I have decided I’m just really going to lay out my day in order. Starting right now.

We were picked up at 8:30 am we got picked up at our hotel in this:

This truck showed up at our nice hotel and the guide hopped out and had his “Sarapiqui River Tour” tshirt on – more like cutoff shirt because he turned it into a tank – and came right up to us and asked if we were ready. Well shit! I guess so!

I was trying so hard not to laugh. I mean. Look at that truck. And when we got into truck? This machete was lying in front of our feet…

And then we drove through town. The town we didn’t actually know existed up until this point… But that’s a different story. And our driver and tour guide were just yelling out the windows at everyone. Whistling at girls… Just waving. Honking at people they knew. It was sort of hysterical.

Then we arrived to the dock on the river. And, this would be our skipper boat (I get skipper from Disneyland – you know what I’m talking about, right):

Our driver left, and it was just the tour guide, the boat driver, and us.

But the tour guide informed us that another family was on their way, so we had to wait a bit. No worries, I just sort of paced around taking pics of the river, UNTIL. The boat driver pointed out this little guy:

Look at him! Just sleeping in the tree! So cute. He was stretching, scratching his face, just being as cute as can be! I was DYING. I mean, only 30 minutes into our day and I already had seen a sloth. It was going to be a good day.

Then! There was movement by my feet! I saw this little guy:

He was the only one we saw like this on the whole trip! Isn’t he cool!? As I was staring at the frog and sloth, the guide yelled it was time to go. Apparently the other family wasn’t coming! It would be another private tour for us!

So we got on the boat, and sort of let it take us down stream for a second. The skipper didn’t even have the boat on, but we weren’t seeing anything. So we took off up river, past the dock, and just kept going. And this is when all of Mother Nature’s wild animals came out to greet us. We seriously saw SO many animals on this boat tour. And now, I am just going to list them off, in order. Names of animals will be under the photos, and if I have any extra info about the animal, I will include that, too! It was neat because our guide had a book called Traveler’s Wildlife Guide of Costa Rica, so he was able to give us the exact names of everything we saw! Let’s gooooooo!

Sand Piper

Little Blue Heron

Amazon Kingfisher, female

Iguana. Once was known as Chicken of Wood. Locals used to eat iguanas, but they don’t anymore. This one is a Male!

Iguanas will dive into the water from that high to escape predators such as snakes. Then they will swim away. Cool, right?!

Female Iguana

Caiman, these are small relatives of the alligator. They do not live in packs like crocodiles. The cover photo of this blog is also a caiman.

Amazon Kingfisher, male. Isn’t he just gorgeous?

Goat, on a farm. Not wild. Haha!

Black turtle! These guys are only found in the rivers. Unfortunately, caimans like them…

Howler Monkey family! This group had about 10! They were mostly sleeping, but the alpha male was being quite loud at us!

So this was interesting. We saw about 10+ Great Egrets, which are the white birds, all perched on the fallen tree in the water. And then the bird with its wings outstretched is an Anhinga, aka an American Darter. He is drying off his wings because he dives straight into the river to catch fish! Isn’t that neat?!

Sloth! I think that’s a three-toed…

Second Howler Monkey family. This is the alpha male. You can tell because he has um… big balls…hahahaha. But really, he was mean-muggin us so hard! And his little family… Also sleeping!

Big male iguana! He was actually right underneath the howler monkey!

More turtles!!!

I just really liked this tree… It sort of reminds me of my tattoo!

Another sloth! Sleeping, can you see him?!

Iguana! There are SO many, right?!

This beautiful bird is a Green Ibis, just gorgeous! I loved its coloring.


This is just a shot of the river. It amazed me how calm it was. They told us the river is normally green, but it was so brown from the recent rainstorms in the mountains. Locals take good care of their river, no littering! It is important to the area. But, they did tell us that pollution such as pesticides from plantations and plastic companies, have negatively affected the rivers, killing many of the fish.

So this was exciting. We came across an active Howler Family! All eating!!! So many cuties!

This is the female Anhinga. Remember? The diving bird!

And then. We came across the winner of the day! The Collared Aracari. These beautiful birds are apart of the toucan family. In Costa Rica, they have six different species of toucans. This type travels in families, anywhere between 3 and 9! This was a group of three, and I was just blown away by their beauty. Seriously, one of my favorite experiences from the trip was watching these little guys play in the tree. Fun fact: toucans are found eating eggs of other birds, small baby birds, and even smaller birds than them; which is very unlike other tropical birds that mainly eat fruit.

Horse. On a farm… He should seriously be careful though, because a caiman wasn’t too far away from this spot!!

And back to the beginning. The sloth from the beginning was in the exact same spot. Never moved. Still cute as can be!

The riverboat tour was seriously such a cool experience. I mean, look at all these animals. And! Because we were actually going up stream, we saw almost every single one of these animals twice. Most hadn’t moved by the time we went to the end and came around.

But really, this is why I keep saying visiting Costa Rica is like living in a zoo. So many animals everywhere, all the time. As long as you have someone to spot them!

Check out more of the animals we saw on different tours throughout Costa Rica here:

Costa Rica

Distance: 3,844 miles

Driving Time: 76 hours

#Activities #CostaRica #Abroad