Bruce in kayak.

"We specialize in small group travel, which minimizes environmental impact, increases safety standards and allows for personalized, enriching and authentic experiences."

— Bruce Smith, founder and owner, Seascape Kayak Tours Inc.

Latest Post from the
Client Corner


Posts Tagged ‘Costa Rica’

COSTA RICA’S BEST KEPT SECRETSJanuary 20th, 2011

Feliz Año Nuevo.

We thought it was time to post a new blog entry, finally! I think we have definitely transitioned to Tico (Costa Rican) time.

I am very happy to introduce you to a new member of the Seascape team. Nick Hawkins, who hails from New Brunswick, will be working on an internship / assistant guide basis in Costa Rica for the next several months. Nick is a marine biologist, keen naturalist and wildlife photographer. His enthusiasm for facilitating connections between guests and the natural world is clearly evident. Look for Nick’s photos to appear with blogs and Facebook posts in the future. Bienvenidos, Nick.

We hope that you will join us for a warm water escape in Costa Rica this winter.

Bruce

Hello friends! My name is Nick Hawkins; I am a biologist and naturalist guide from Fredericton, New Brunswick. I first heard of Seascape last summer, when I lived in St. Andrews, NB, and worked as an interpreter aboard the whale watching boat the Quoddy Link. I contacted Bruce via e-mail and expressed my interest in guiding. We then met at his place on Deer Island, where we discovered that we shared a similar outlook on ecotourism, sustainability and what it means to be a nature guide. Before I knew it I was packing my bags for Costa Rica, booking a flight for the 7th of January.

After arriving in San José, I traveled west to the Nicoya Peninsula, to Tambor, Seascape’s Southern base. I was happy to leave the busy urban areas, thick with tourists, cars and construction. I watched it all disappear as I took the Paquera Ferry across the bay of Nicoya. Bruce met me on the other side and we drove along winding roads to Tambor Tropical. The resort is made up of small luxury suites built of exotic hardwood such as teak and bloodwood. They are nestled under a tranquil grove of large palm trees, directly adjacent to the ocean. The suites are spread out over the property, which is teeming with life. I unload my gear and talk with Bruce, trying to ignore the urge to seek out the sounds of the strange animals all around me. Bruce senses my anxiety and sends me for a walk up the estuary, the Rio Panica, which empties into the ocean next to the resort. I grab my binoculars and guidebooks and set-off up the river.

By this point I am well aware of the level of biodiversity in Costa Rica, but am yet to experience it. What I find on that thirty-minute walk will forever serve as a defining moment in my life, when I am introduced to the biologic potential of a tropical forest. I am greeting by a plethora of bird life…I count and record 26 new species in this short amount of time and miss dozens more. Flocks of Snowy Egrets glide over Tri-colored and Little Blue Herons, which run and lunge after small fish. Brown Pelicans and Royal Terns plunge into the surf in pursuit of small fish. A Ringed Kingfisher gazes down from his fishing perch; this species is the largest kingfisher in the Americas, twice the size of the familiar Belted Kingfisher. Small forest birds flutter through the tropical growth, their yellows, blues, and oranges mixing with the red blossoms of flamboyant trees. Hummingbirds zip in all directions, freezing in place momentarily to grab a sip of nectar. Scissortail Flycatchers and Tropical Kingbirds perch high up on the treetops, bursting from their resting place to snag flying insects, before returning to their perch in wait for the next suspended morsel. I am absolutely floored by the abundance of life, and I haven’t even left the resort yet. What awaits me in the depths of the protected habitat soon to be explored fills me with an excitement I haven’t felt since I was a young boy.

The next morning Bruce takes me to Curú Wildlife Refuge, from which most of the kayak trips depart. A 20-minute drive from Tambor, Curú contains Costa Rica’s first private National Wildlife Refuge. When we arrive at the center of Curú ,I hop out of the truck and gaze around at the tropical paradise that surrounds me. The only way to describe Curú is that it looks and feels just like you’re in Jurassic park, a real lost world. The forest floor is littered with coconuts, which cover the ground like the leaves we rake off our lawns in the fall. Hermit Crabs are nearly as abundant as they scurry throughout the undergrowth. Something catches my eye… I look down and watch as a Spider Monkey climbs onto the back of the truck and sits on the cab. She reaches out and holds my hand in a compassionate, human-like gesture. I am completely dumbstruck. Her name is “Trina,” a rescued spider monkey who now calls Curú home. White-faced Capuchin Monkeys leap from tree to tree in the canopy overhead, which shades the forest floor from the strong sun.

We carry the kayaks through a narrow corridor of palms, which opens up to a long beach surrounded on both sides by steep hills. There is no one on the beach, except the crabs throwing sand out of their burrows and a few sunbathing iguanas. The bay is full of Brown Pelicans and magnificent Frigate birds, all diving and swooping to catch the masses of sardines that have come into the shallows. We launch our kayaks directly into this swirling mass. The Frigate birds soar within feet of my head; they remind me of pterodactyls with their huge angular wingspans and relatively small bodies. They dive down and snag fish from the surface with impressive agility, never wetting a feather. The Pelicans have a different tactic, they plunge head-first into the shallow water, dozens at a time, bobbing to the surface to snap down their catch before taking off.

We paddle our way through crystal clear water, watching as flocks of birds fly against the steep backdrop of tropical forest, which bounces the many sounds across the bay. It is like being in a giant amphitheater set in the Cretaceous period, a place forgotten by time. Bruce leads me to a small secluded beach at a point of land called Quesera; palm trees lean over powder white sand and turquoise water. This is the beach where we will be setting up our base camp for the multi-day expeditions. From here we will do day trips to the surrounding Tortuga Islands, named after the sea turtles that lay eggs upon their beaches. Stingrays, Dolphins, Moray Eels, Flying Fish and giant Manta Rays also guard these islands.

We paddle back towards the undisturbed panorama of hills, valleys and beaches. Not a man-made structure is in sight. I begin to realize that Tambor and Curú may be Costa Rica’s best-kept secrets, amazing destinations away from the masses of tourists and busy urban centers where a private adventure in pristine habitat is still possible.


Meaningful MemoriesJanuary 27th, 2009

Having never set foot in a kayak before, I was prepared for a pleasant adventure and returned to Tambor Tropical’s sandy beach refreshed (even though it was the beginning of the day) and genuinely connected with the beauty of the bay. The bay’s resident pelicans are a joy as they dive for fish, yet I had never observed them from the water while they remained perched in the trees lining the bay. We had clear water so I could view both the swarms of young fish and local Costa Ricans fishing in water up to their waists. In his gentle manner, Bruce provided pertinent technical information about the birds, fish and monkeys (including Tanya the spider monkey who resides within the Curu Wildlife Reserve) that made memories of the trip more meaningful.

— Pamela Jones, Vancouver, Washington, USA, sunrise paddle, Bahia Ballena, Tambor


UnderstandingAugust 23rd, 2008

"Bruce has an exceptional understanding of the marine environment in general and local environment in particular and is able to impart that to his clients during the trip, teaching in a way that is low-key and focused. He paid close attention to group dynamics and facilitated cohesion and bonding within the group. He developed individual relationships with each of us on the trip and, through these individual relationships, was able to create special moments for each of us that stand out in our memories of this wonderful trip."

— Elizabeth Hertz, Maine, USA – Costa Rica multi-day family trip