The runoff from the rain and cloud forests of Costa Rica feeds impressive rivers, many of which flow out of the jungles onto level plains where they spread, creating swamps and marshes.  These wetlands are important breeding and wintering grounds for millions of birds.

 

great egret cano negro
Great Egret, Casmerodius albus (Spanish-Garceta Grande). The largest all-white member of the heron family. Many of the Great Egrets at Caño Negro are permenant residents. (© Ray Krueger Koplin)
 

 

 

These swamps and marshes are also one of the best places for travelers to see other wildlife.  Small boats piolted by trained guides ply the rivers, canals and lake edges giving glimpses into the bordering gallery forests.  

 

specatacled caiman
Spectacled Caiman, Caiman crocodilus (Spanish-Lagarto, Cuajipalo or Guajipal). Lurking in the vegetation along the banks of the Río Frío in Caño Negro Wildlife refuge. (© Ray Krueger Koplin)