Canal Boat Tour – Estacion Las Tortugas and Pacuare Reserve, Costa Rica

Along the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica there is a canal system that runs the entire length of the country from Panama to Nicaragua. Estacion Las Tortugas, a family-run sea turtle conservation project, is nestled between the canals and the beach. Pacuare Reserve also runs a turtle conservation project and is located just north of Estacion Las Tortugas.

We recently spent three nights at Estacion Las Tortugas with a group of students from American Academy. Our nights were filled with beach patrols in search of critically endangered leatherback sea turtles. Mid-May provides excellent opportunities to see nesting females as well as hatchlings.

endangered leatherback sea turtle Reefs to Rockies eco tour
Female leatherback sea turtle nesting near Estacion Las Tortugas on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica.

Our days were filled with hatchery volunteer work, a discussion on sea turtle ecology, hammock time and a guided boat tour in the canals. Here’s a checklist of the species encountered during our afternoon canal tour this past trip.

Reefs to Rockies Costa Rica guided eco tour
Great egret seen during the canal tour.

Checklist of Species
Birds
Anhinga
Snowy egret
Cattle egret
Great egret
Green heron
Least grebe
Turkey vulture
Black vulture
Groove-billed ani
Mangrove swallow
Green kingfisher
Collared aracari
Keel-billed toucan
Tropical kingbird
Great kiskadee
Great-tailed grackle
Montezuma oropendola

Mammals
Howler monkey
Spider monkey

Reptiles
Crocodile
Green iguana
Emerald basilisk

Reefs to Rockies Costa Rica guided eco tour
Young crocodile seen during our canal tour near Estacion Las Tortugas.