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" Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams." Ashley Smith

"Hi Fran and Modesto, Thank you so much for a wonderful trip to Tortuguero. It was the highlight of our time in Costa Rica. Tanecia, Esther, Severine and I are still on a high. Modesto, you really made the trip fun and meaningful. Your knowledge and passion was a blessing. Thanks again. We won't hesitate to recommend you in the future."
Casey Gibbons Oakland, CA

"Fran and Modesto, Thank you so much for the most amazing trip! We had a wonderful time and have so many great memories. You two are fantastic guides and we can tell you love your jobs. We all hope to be back soon. Thank you!"
Julie Osio, James Perry, Megan Warne and Seth Dixon

"Thank you, Fran and Modesto. No one could surpass the love and care you demonstrate in your lovely Riverboat Francesca tours".
Carolyn Underwood, GUIDE Magazine

"Jungle Canals Delight — Tortuguero Canals Hold Plethora of Wildlife — Birds Galore, Turtles Too!"
Article title featuring “The Riverboat Francesca, Tortuguero Tours” by Susan Liang, THE TICO TIMES

"We would like to thank you for such a wonderful experience in Tortuguero. You and Modesto are truly two unique and interesting people. We really enjoyed meeting you and spending the time that we had together".
Kathleen King

"Just a note to thank you both for looking after us so well on our adventure to Tortuguero. We would certainly recommend your services. A trip to Tortuguero is a visit to another world and the drive over the mountains is spectacular".
Norma Ogryzlo

"Fran and Modesto's "Francesca" boat tour is the Costa Rica tour you wish every visitor would take. Unlike some tours which give half of what they promise, the "Francesca" Tortuguero trip gives you all the wildlife, all the relaxation, all the discovery. Most important, Fran and Modesto are the quintessential tour guides.
Their private histories are fascinating, their concern for the environment is heartfelt, and their knowledge of the region is impeccable. And they're recognized by nearly everyone in the area as experts."
Tico Times article by Patrick Barta

"We wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed our trip with you to Tortuguero. Even after our remaining time in La Selva, La Fortuna, Monteverde and Quepos, all four of us agreed that Tortuguero remained our favorite. While the animals and the birds are the obvious attraction, your guiding was what brought the area to life and maximized the animals we saw. We have many pictures and many fond memories of our time on the canals".
Walter Rilkoff

"Riverboat Francesca Nature Tours, known for top-quality personalized tours, bilingual, knowledgeable naturalist guides".
Exploring Costa Rica


"To the pleasure of all who have witnessed the Riverboat Francesca and its star operators Modesto and Fran this tour is probably Costa Rica's best." Mr. Cartmel has been to the Central American region but once having visited Mexico several times and has been to Cuba, Asia and Europe as well as much of North America. He reports this tour could well be an example for others to learn from. Modesto and Fran have put together an entertainment spectacle which thoroughly engulfs the guest.
Publisher Phil Cartmel

"Modesto and Fran Watson are highly experienced guides. They know the canals intimately, and with their trained and knowledgeable eyes, the shy inhabitants of the jungle and canals become visible. Modesto’s eyes are a local legend — he will ease the boat into the river bank to get a better look at the monkeys he has spotted; or he will cut the engine in a particularly beautiful spot to allow you to appreciate the silence… This is a personal tour, conducted by affable people who know and love the jungle".
Insight Pocket Guide, Costa Rica


"Modesto Watson, a local Miskito Indian guide, is legendary for his bird and animal-spotting skills as well as his howler monkey imitations. The family’s Riverboat Francesca can take you up the canals for excursions to Tortuguero".
Fodor’s Costa Rica

snake Eyelash Pitviper

sea_turtle Green Sea Turtle

palm Palm Creek

ocelot Ocelot

monkey White-Faced Capuchin Monkey

more_monkeys White-faced Capuchin mother and baby

frog Strawberry Poison Dart Frog

lizard Male Basilisk Lizard

crocodile American Crocodile

bird Northern Jacana

"Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind." Seneca

"Nature tops the list of potent tranquilizers and stress reducers. The mere sound of moving water has been shown to lower blood pressure." Patch Adams

Photos courtesy of Casey Gibbons and Ed Harper