diane bair for the boston globe

In the small towns that fringe the rain forest of the Sarapiquí region of Costa Rica, Sunday morning is a quiet time. Sunday is a family day here. Shops and businesses are closed. The early risers head to Mass, but outside of church, the villages barely stir.

That makes it a perfect time to slip a kayak into the Río Cuarto at Cinco Ceibas Rainforest Reserve, and listen to Mother Nature’s vibrant soundtrack. The moist, tropical air is alive with a chorus of cheeping frogs and squawking parrots. As you maneuver through the riffles, you’ll enter a jungly world of giant ceiba (kapok) trees; thick, rope-like vines; and flashes of brilliant color, perhaps the bright yellow tail of a bird called montezumaoropendula, or the scarlet flowers of the heliconia. Suddenly, the air is punctuated with a terrifying roar — howler monkeys. In the canopy overhead, there’s a rustle of leaves and you see a half-dozen of them, pulling fruit from a fig tree and swinging from vine to vine. Sunday morning isn’t so quiet on the Río Cuarto. www.cincoceibas.com

Diane Bair and Pamela Wright

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DIANE BAIR AND PAMELA WRIGHT