La Tovara is a spring inside a mangrove system near the town of San Blas. The spring is fresh water, and the river near the spring is crystal clear. There is a touristy boat trip that goes into the spring, and this is probably the easiest way to access the mangrove system.
My first trip into the spring started at the launch at the bridge in San Blas. It was the height of tourist season, and the boats basically drove as quickly as possible through a tangle of low-hanging mangrove. On the first part of the trip, there were a lot of crabs to be seen. The trip felt very rushed, however, and I would recommend to plan your trip outside of the peak Xmas/New Year holiday. I wanted to get a better look, and the next day I was able to rent a canoe for the day for about $10US. Going at a slower pace, I was able to get a great view of a Boat-billed Heron. In addition, it was fairly easy to spot American Redstarts.
Upon returning to La Tovara in 2008, I was prepared with the name of a boatman who is supposed to be good with birds. His name is Chencho, and with him at the helm, I was able to get some great close-up views of American Crocodiles, Anhinga, Boat-billed Herons, a Bare-throated Tiger Heron, Wood Stork, Limpkin, Green Iguanas, Green Herons, Yellow-crowned Night Herons, Grey Hawk, and Common Black Hawk. I waited until the day that the holiday season ended, and this turned out to be a good idea for a more relaxed trip into the spring. Chencho knew the names of the birds, and he was very skilled in getting his boat in the right position for good photographs. The wildlife that we saw seemed to be pretty accustomed to boats, and overall, it was a great photography trip.
1/7/2008: Boat trip with Chencho
Previous Visit (Playa de Los Reyes: 1/7/2008)
Next Visit (San Blas - Sewage Ponds: 1/7/2008)