On the morning of Day 7 we left Arenal for La Ensenada, which is located on the upper eastern shore of the Gulf of Nicoya. On the way, we passed through the town of Tilaran.
Our first outing was a boat ride a short distance to the north, into the mangrove estuary that fringed the shoreline
We next visited the salt pans.
In the late afternoon, we were taken on a ride through the wetlands that surround the lodge, on a wagon pulled by a tractor.
The tractor tour finished, at sunset, with a climb to the top of a nearby hill. The local version of a sunset rum cruise, we were treated to cold beers and pop.
On the grounds of the lodge.
In the open air dining area, white-chested magpie-jays had discovered a new eco-niche. They would take, from either the tables or a glass container, packets of sugar. See such a packet in the photo below.
The jays were, of course, very habituated to people, and would allow a close approach or approach us closely. This was, for me, a great pleasure, since they are such handsome birds!
We left La Ensenada on the morning of Day 9, and would be returned to San Jose that afternoon. But birding was not over! We saw this Stripe-headed sparrow on the drive out to the coastal road, onto which we turned south.
Our destination was the Rio Tarcoles area, where we hoped to see scarlet macaws. This area was the first stop on our last year’s southern trip, at which we did see those birds. But not this time.
Our last sighting was this Black-bellied whistling duck, after which we had lunch and headed uphill to San Jose.
Kathy and I stayed an additional day, during which we visited the Jade Museum. While this museum did indeed exhibit jade artifacts, most exhibits had to do with the aboriginal inhabitants of Costa Rica.
Then, on our flight north over Nicaragua, we were treated to the sight of Lakes Nicaragua and Managua, along with a number of active volcanoes.
The first volcano we sighted was Masaya.
We’re back (sigh).