Episode Four: WildSide Costa Rica: Tortuguero National Park

Michael Kay, a mysterious and passionate environmental entrepreneur, invites us to an Amazonian watery maze on the eastern coast of Costa Rica. This is the home of countless species, many endangered or threatened. Bull sharks and crocs also call this home. We do not swim here.

Nick is emotionally moved by Michael’s remote school where English is taught to children so they may have the opportunity to work in the country where the word “ecotourism” was born and is now more relevant than ever.

Ever present reptiles from massive crocs to stunning emerald Jesus Christ lizards to a cute, colorful and deadly eyelash viper join exquisite birds and menacing monkeys in this biological diversity dream come true. Even the diminutive poison dart frogs greet us in full red and blue attire. While kayaking through the lowland rainforest, our guide Luis is moved to tears by a sighting of the rare and endangered Emerald Macaw.

As Nick witnesses an intriguing dog, chicken, cat and kids chase, he learns from the locals that this is a two-season community; the rainy season and the less rainy season; seasons that scientists agree could be experiencing alterations.

Nick’s fascination with large reptiles almost ends in disaster as a giant “sculpture” comes to life.

Is tourism a plus for the jobs it offers or a minus for the environmental damage? We speak to the expert, the man who coined the phrase, “Eco-Tourism”.