We started the day with an early wake up (not too hard as we weren’t adapted to the timezone yet) at 5am for coffee before an early morning boat tour leaving at 5:30 and taking us around the riverbanks and into the park spotting wildlife. The tour started with the local banks just up from the hotel where we started off with an Iguana lounging on a branch of a tree, just a little way up from a Tiger Heron (Tigrisoma fasciatum). José pointed out the different stages of coconuts growing along the side of the river as they go from green with mostly milk to brown with mostly flesh, we then saw a solitary howler monkey or ‘mono congo’ (Alouatta palliata).

After an overnight stay in San José, the next part of our travels began with a coach to the docks at La Pavona, followed by a boat from there to Laguna Lodge, as Tortuguero can only be accessed by boat or plane.

We set off from Hotel Presidente at 6:10 after a quick bite for breakfast. José, our guide, had met us at the hotel and took us to meet the bus with the others who were travelling to Tortuguero. After a couple more pickups we headed out of San José along the route 32 heading higher up as we left the city, passing alongside coffee plantations.