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.