• Brian D. Hinson

On a River in Costa Rica

Three-toed sloth. These guys can live 30-40 years. It's slow livin', but it's honest.

Costa Rica is the most advanced nation in Central America by approximately 700 miles. Yes, that’s how you measure these things. In 1948, this little country decided to abolish its military and pump the money into things that improve the lives of their citizens, like education and culture. I’ve been to every nation in the region except for Panama, so I’m an eyewitness to the amazing results.

Yes, this is the river I'm talking about, if anyone asks.

But this isn’t a dissertation on the making of an effective nation. But, incidentally, the UN ranked their universal healthcare system as one of the top twenty in the world. That’s right, in this tiny nation.

I you're into bird watching, there's 922 species here. I just looked that up for you.

But the success that I experienced is Costa Rica’s exquisite care of their national parks. At some point the leaders could have made themselves rich AF by giving in to the logging companies. But they didn’t. They preserved their natural wonders for the long-term gain of tourism. And it worked. Costa Rica is on tourism’s main map with a big gold star. No other Central American nation has that bragging right.

I feel compelled to put a caption on every photo.

I hooked up with G Adventures for the Costa Rica portion of this trip. After two weeks exploring both coasts, the cloud forests, San Jose, and the rivers, I skipped over to Nicaragua on my own for a week. These pics are from the river portion. Do I remember the name of this river? No. Did I see sloths and howler monkeys? Yes.

I don't know what kind of waterfowl this is. The guide told me, but I forgot.

There’s so much wildlife here the fauna line up and pose for the camera. It’s that good. Totally like an African safari, but in a completely different place with different plants and animals. More animals, even, but less big, and less mean.

Howler monkeys. They indeed howl.

The people of Costa Rica have every right to be proud of their nation. And they are. They’re still ranked as third world, but when you visit, it doesn’t feel that way.

This is the way bats hang out on a tree during the daytime.

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