This canoe tour at Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge is a wonderful choice for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts of all ages. The Refuge is considered one of the top three most important wetland regions in the world. As a key location for migratory birds stopping on their journey to northern countries, it is also one of Costa Rica’s most popular birdwatching sites.
You will be picked up from your hotel in the La Fortuna area, and driven to the refuge for your Cano Negro Canoe Tour. The drive can take up to 2 hours during which time you can enjoy the changing rural landscapes from mountainous rainforest to small sugar cane and pineapple farms found at lower elevations. The huge Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge sits on the boarder between Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
When you arrive, your guide will help you into your canoes and provide lifejackets. If you have never gone canoing before, you will be shown how to use the paddle to steer the boat effectively. The stillness of the river and lake is very forgiving for first time paddlers, so you can relax, taking your time to learn how to paddle with ease and grace.
You’ll be surrounded by a habitat that includes over 200 species of birds that have been spotted here along the river’s edge, wading in the swamps, flying overhead and nesting in trees. Your expert naturalist guide will help you find and identify many of the birds you will see on this tour. Some of the most commonly seen in the area are: Northern Jacanas, Ibises, Jabiru Storks, Anhingas, Cormorants, Toucans, Trogons and Roseate Spoonbills.
As you paddle along the Rio Frio and into Cano Negro Lake, you will see much more than just birds. This wetlands ecosystem displays beautiful flora as well as fauna. Lush vegetation, appearing in varying shades of green, surround the glittering bodies of water, as do flowers, vines and a mixture of tropical trees.
Some of the animal life living in the Refuge include: anteaters, iguanas, river turtles, caimans, jaguars, ocelots, pumas and lots of monkeys. Both Howler and Spider monkeys frequently make an appearance on this tour, and during certain times of the year, you may see caimans - a smaller and less fierce species of crocodile - lounging along the river banks. The nocturnal cats are rarely seen but have been spotted.
You will likely be impressed with the wealth of information shared by your naturalist guide who will be pointing out items of interest all along the way. Be sure to bring a camera and binoculars (a waterproof bag might be a good idea) to get a closer look as you enjoy the amazing abundance of wildlife around you.
You will find the weather here warmer than at higher elevations so it is recommended to wear lightweight clothing as well as a hat and sunglasses. During the tour, your guide will offer you something cold to drink and a light snack for refreshments.
After spending a couple of hours out on the water, you will come to shore then head over to a local restaurant for lunch. Have you ever had a casado? This is the traditional meal of Costa Rica typically consisting of a hearty combination of rice, beans, salad and choice of meat or vegetables.
When you’ve finished having lunch, you’ll be driven back to La Fortuna and delivered to your hotel. Transportation from the La Fortuna area, admission, bilingual naturalist guide, canoes and safety equipment, snack, drink, and lunch are all included in this impressive nature observation canoeing adventure. One way transport can take between 1.25 and 2 hours depending on where your hotel is located. Combined time of tour including round-trip transport is typically between 6 and 8 hours. Please bring hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, bug repellent, binoculars and camera.
The Cano Negro by Canoe Full Day is available from Arenal, Arenal Zone 2, Arenal Zone 3, Chachagua Rainforest Hotel, and Nuevo Arenal
5 and up
Latitude: N 10° 59' 24.23"
Longitude: W 84° 43' 31.92"
Amazing place, and the canoeing was definitely the right choice! Excellent wildlife viewing. We particularly appreciated that we could paddle for a full 2.5 hours downstream, and then we’re picked up by the riverboat to go back.
My son particularly liked this trip
and felt we saw a lot .
We all really enjoyed this tour. It was so quiet & peaceful to canoe the river. it was also easy, since we went downriver. This allowed us to get close to things we spotted & go at our own pace with freedom
I got sick after the ride to Cano Negro with an upset stomach and wasn't able to join for the boat ride, but the staff there were so helpful and took care of me until the activity was over and we made it back to the resort. On the drive back, the driver was careful of speed bumps and kept checking in on me as we went.
This activity was simply amazing. The pick up was right on time and the tour guide was extremely helpful and patient with instructing all of our group on how to canoe. The length of the tour was just right and it was very nice to have lunch afterwards. This was one of our favorite tours. Also, one of the persons in my group left their hat in the van after we were dropped off back at the hotel. We had the hotel call the tour group and they brought the hat back!
Excellent experience! Great guides! Great lunch! Exactly what we were hoping for.
Our hotel was a bit far from the location of this excursion.
The tour was amazing though the long drive to the location was a bit of a surprise - we should have done a bit more research about that - getting that info on the voucher would have helped us to set our expectations. Otherwise, it was a great side adventure.
The trip was fantastic. Our tour guides gave us history and background on aspects of Costa Rican culture as well as the security of keeping us safe. The bus stops for delicious food for lunch at an iguana cafe as well. We saw every bird and animal that we hoped to see.
this was amazing. The guide was very good and we had such nice expericience to do this tour by cano. We saw so many birds, monkeys.
Gabriel was our guide and he was excellent very knowledgeable. It was a serene beautiful day to learn and see many of the local animals in the natural habitat. Again we had beautiful sunny day. Really enjoyed this canoe trip. Ride was a bit long but it was worth it.
Perhaps our best tour guide and we saw lots of wildlife. We were really glad we did the canoe option versus the motorboat and we were pleasantly surprised that we didn't have to canoe back upriver. They loaded the canoes on the motorboat and we got to ride back. One of the best tours of our trip.
I enjoyed getting away from the crowds that were at the other places and we saw a lot of wildlife. Even though we had to get up very early, I am glad we did this trip