La Tovara Jungle and Swamp

After breakfast, on our second day in San Blas, we headed just out of town for a La Tovara Jungle boat trip.  Here we hopped on a boat with two other couples for a three hour tour through the mangrove jungle and swamp.  Mangroves (generally) are trees and shrubs that grow in saline coastal habitats in the tropics and subtropics.

The first leg of our journey took us about 10 miles through the jungle and swampy plains.  This place is amazing, but I wouldn’t want to be out here at night.  As the boat moved along, we followed a channel that, at some points, was quite narrow.  We hoped that there were no huge snakes hanging in the trees waiting for us.  We spotted crocodiles, turtles, iguana, and numerous bird species.  San Blas is well known as one of the world’s great places to spot exotic birds.

We saw several birds holding their wings open to regulate their internal thermometer.


A trio of turtles enjoying the sun.


And some enjoyed watching us.


Then there were the crocodiles.  Back in this bunch of trees was a 15-footer.  It’s a little hard to see, but it is in the clearing in the center.


We saw dozens of specimens in all sizes.  From little, about a foot long, to this one that is about 3-feet long.


Then we had larger ones like this 12-footer.  One about this size jumped off a log into the water right next to the boat.  Sorry, I didn’t get a shot of that one, I was too busy checking my shorts.


Our first stop was a crocodile farm where, for some crazy reason, they breed them so they can add more back into the wild.  The adults are kept paired in cages.  How’s this for a lovey-dovey pair.


The eggs are taken and hatched away from the parents.  The babies are returned to pens after birth with others their size.  Apparently they learn early to be sun worshipers. 


This guy took a dislike to me and charged out of the water, with mouth wide open and in my direction, at amazing speed. Once again, your fearless reporter didn’t get the shot because he was running in the opposite direction.


We also had the opportunity to feed some really hungry fish.  We tossed some pellets into the water and they came swarming.


We left the crocodile farm and went to a restaurant/swimming hole that was somewhere else in the park.  People were swinging out into the water on a trapeze.  The waterway was fenced to keep the crocodiles out. (I didn’t trust them.)  We had a late breakfast before we left the hotel, so we had a couple of beers and some chips.  From what we saw, the food looked really good, as it is most everywhere.


On our return to the starting point, we spotted these huts that were erected as part of a movie set.  This is one place that I wouldn’t sign up to be an extra or double.


Several trees had colorful, palm-like, parasitic growths about half way up the trunk.  We were generally moving to quickly to get a decent picture before they went out of sight or because the sun was in the wrong position.


There are several other tours in the San Blas area, including some ruins, but be sure not t miss the jungle tour. (Take some insect repellent along.)

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