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.

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.

Checklist of Species
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

Howler monkey
Spider monkey

Green iguana
Emerald basilisk

Author: developer

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