Extremely lovely brothers Juan and Manuel took turns guiding us, in our two days in el Castillo. Juan told us there are 25 Juans in El Castillo (population 2000). Many have distinguishing nicknames – charming Juan, Naughty Juan, Healer Juan. He was Squirrel Juan (short straw!), because of his (formerly) bushy hair.
We named Mila after Naughty Juan – Mila Bandida.
We packed in a lot of stuff – two fishing trips + swimming in the river upstream + a canoe trip + a guided hike through the Indio-Maiz rain forest reserve + nighttime boat trip to try (and fail) to find caimans (smallish crocodiles). It rained a lot in between and during.
None of us had walked in a rain forest before. We saw two extraordinary birds – a manakin and a two grey necked wood rails – as well as tiny poisonous frogs. Manuel broke into a small Assassin Ant nest – quel hombre! and told us that one bite will make you very sick, two may even kill you. We felt small and squelchy in the mud. Mila’s boots (rented) had holes in them. Manuel commented that our girls are very strong.