After boarding the ship and sailing south during the night, a paradisiac tropical environment welcomed us at sunrise. It was just breathtaking to open our eyes and witness how the forest meets the ocean.

The first outing of our expedition was a Zodiac cruise through the pristine Agujitas River. The river is named after the needlefish that inhabit its waters. We started in Drake’s Bay. The bay is named for Sir Francis Drake, who transited the area.

Yellow-crowned night herons and green iguanas got us started on our journey. The birds and lizards posed for photos as naturalists shared about the natural history of the species and the ecosystem. Then we spotted a boat-billed night heron (another crepuscular bird), a common black hawk, green kingfishers, and spotted sandpipers. We experienced a parade of wildlife while navigating the river’s emerald waters. To end our Zodiac cruise, we spotted a Jesus Christ lizard with elegant crests on its head, back, and tail, and a red-capped manakin showed off its colors.  

In the afternoon, we visited Las Caletas, a beautiful, privately-owned rainforest that acts as a buffer zone to reduce the effects of human activity on Corcovado National Park, a natural sanctuary considered by National Geographic as “the most biologically intense place on Earth.” A black-throated trogon welcomed us, showing off its magnificent yellow and green plumage and inviting us to explore its home. Some guests took a coastal hike to enjoy the beauty of the volcanic shoreline and the hidden beaches. Other guests hiked in the forest or explored Las Caletas. They encountered wildlife including scarlet macaws, the whiskered puffbird, and another red-capped manakin. Our farewell came from a three-toed sloth. The light was perfect for photography. We could see this mammal’s hair. Through a microscope, a sloth’s hair shows perpendicular crevices that allow it to hold humidity. This provides the conditions needed for green algae to grow, giving the sloth camouflage and protection from predators.

Our day finished with social hour in the lounge. During our first session of recaps, a Lindblad tradition, the staff shared knowledge from different fields with our guests. After dinner, we enjoyed a lecture about phone photography.