We had made arrangements through Carol to take the combined Jaguar Rescue Centre and Tortuguero Canal Tour, and as arranged, met out guide Lorenzo (Carol's brother-in-law) outside the terminal.
We had an interesting ride through the countryside on our way to the Jaguar Rescue Centre, and arrived just before it opened at 9:30 a.m. The tour of the Rescue Centre was one of the highlights of our cruise to the Panama Canal. Lorenzo told us to take our time looking around the Centre, and that he would be waiting for us whenever we came out. That was really appreciated, since we got very involved looking at everything. More than 2 hours later, we emerged, to find Lorenzo patiently waiting for us. It was really great being in a small group (3 in total - all in our 60's), being able to determine for ourselves where we spent our time,
From the Rescue Centre, we travelled back through Puerto Limon, stopping briefly while Lorenzo bought us coconut water to try (very refreshing), and on to the Tortuguero Canal.
Oscar Brown Tours uses small boats for the Canal Tour, and our boat (much like a Boston Whaler) could hold about 8 comfortably with 4 rows of benches. Our Captain, Walter, and his grandson were a great team. Walter very ably steered the boat, and his 8-year old grandson, who had very keen eyesight, was terrific in finding all sorts of things for us to see. We saw a variety of herons (white, grey and blue), lots of sloths up in trees (I still don't know how he managed to find so many!), monkeys and iguanas. We had a very fruitful trip along the Canal, with lots of sightings thanks to our remarkable team of Walter and grandson!
Back on land, Lorenzo took us to a very nice open-air restaurant on Playa Bonita, where we enjoyed a delicious lunch (included in the price of the tour) washed down with a local beer. The setting was very pretty, and we would have enjoyed staying longer. However, when on a cruise ship, time is limited, so Walter brought us back into Puerto Limon, stopping briefly for us to purchase some Costa Rican coffee at a grocery store, and then returning us to our ship with time to spare.
A concern most cruisers have is the dependability of an independent tour operator getting clients back to the cruise ship in time for final boarding. We had no problems with Oscar Brown Tours. Lorenzo was very conscious of our time restraints and was excellent in accommodating our preferences. I thoroughly recommend Oscar Brown Tours. Try them - you'll have a wonderful day and a truly memorable experience!
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