Look Up! Thoughts on the Rio San Juan

“Have you noticed how nobody ever looks up? Nobody looks at chimneys, or trees against the sky, or the tops of buildings. Everybody just looks down at the pavement or their shoes. The whole world could pass them by and most people wouldn’t notice.”
― Julie Andrews Edwards, The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles

We just returned from a week’s trip down the Rio San Juan in Nicaragua. It is a 192.06 km river that flows east out of Lake Cocibolca into the Caribbean Sea. What a spectacular river it is! So full of life. But, you have to LOOK UP.

On the Rio Bartola, one of the thousand tributaries of the Rio San Juan, we met another boat. They are all pointing up at something. What could it be?
Are they admiring vines creeping upward into a canopy of delight?
IMG_6900Were they pointing at the Howler monkeys screeching in the treetops?
IMG_6929Or were they curious about these hanging nests gently swaying in the breeze?
IMG_7103Mama Oro Pendula yodels at her visitors below.
IMG_7170Maybe they spotted a scarlet macaw?
IMG_7192Or possibly the iguanas sunning themselves high in the jungle canopy?
IMG_6920IMG_7160Then again, maybe they saw a cormorant scouting for his breakfast…
IMG_6924or drying his wings after a dip into the Rio.
IMG_7089What IS everyone looking at?
IMG_7226“Is it me?” hummed the hummingbird.
IMG_7158“No,” replied the little guy that hitched a ride on the bow of our boat. “It’s beautiful, beautiful ME.”
IMG_7233And we all glided peacefully into the sunset on the Rio San Juan so full of life and wonder.
IMG_6678Look Up! The whole world could have passed us by on this incredible river journey and we never would have noticed if we hadn’t Looked Up.

22 thoughts on “Look Up! Thoughts on the Rio San Juan

    • Thanks, Anita and Richard. I can’t even begin to tell you how many photos I took trying to capture the Oropendola as she entered her nest. I had a hard time spotting her. I could hear her ‘yodel’, then beating of her wings as she flew to the nest, but most of my photos only caught tree trunks.

  1. Oh wow! What a wonderful trip, Debbie. I love the Ora Pendula. We saw them on the island of Trinidad on a bird watching tour many, many years ago. But, riding the river is so peaceful. Let’s hope it stays that way.

  2. Beautiful photos! Please share more details…like how long were you gone, hotels etc! We will be back in Nicaragua next summer and I am thinking this may be on our to do list!

    • Thanks, Mark. Our only arrangements were made for our flight from Ometepe Island to San Carlos. We had to wing it from there because we couldn’t find reliable information about boat schedules to El Castillo and the Solentiname Islands. Now, we understand why we can’t make hotel reservations..most of the places we visited don’t have wi-fi or even internet access. I plan to write several more posts with information about the boat schedules, hotel info, and other “how-to” facts about this amazing area.

  3. Years ago my friend Barb and I considered taking this trip after the 72-hour border trip.. I wanted to go down the river and meet a guide from Rio Colorado Lodge on the CR side.. only there was no where to stamp me into CR, so I backed out.. Would still love to do this, especially while the river is so serene and untainted.

    Great photos, amiga…


    • Lisa!!! I have been to the wild jungle and back! I have so much catching up to do on reading blogs. This was an amazing journey for us. We were in places where there were no cars, no motos, no internet, no cell phone service…only the whispers of the jungle and the life on the river. We went to the Solentiname Islands, too. I have over 1,000 photos. We just returned last night and now I’m sick with El Gripe. YUCK. It was great to hear from you mi amiga. All I can say about the Rio San Juan is go now…before it’s too late.

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