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Not enough life preservers - Canoa Aventura tour

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Atlanta, Georgia
posts: 751
reviews: 77
Not enough life preservers - Canoa Aventura tour

On Sunday December 2, 2012 , my wife and I went on the Unique Cano Negro tour of the Canoa Aventura Company leaving on a bus from our hotel in La Fortuna. We got to a river about an hour or so from La Fortuna about mid morning on a bus of 27 people, and when leaving the dock for the 2 hour + river voyage I asked the Tour guide if they had enough life preservers, as the life preservers were visible under the boat's roof above the our heads.

There were only 10 preservers for 27 adults and one baby (about one year old).

When I complained to the tour guide , he came back to my wife and I, and leaned over, and said "Dont be afraid my friend, the boat will not sink".

I said "it is serious that you do not have enough life preservers" . A woman (not my wife) across the aisle said " I have a charter boat Captain's license, and I agree".

He then made a joke of it by asking everyone for a "show of hands" of who was over age 55. He then said " Well, we have enough life preservers for these people"

And he added " The water is only 8 meters deep" (!!!!)

My complaint is that boats of course do sink frequently , for a variety of reasons - engine fires, hit by other boats, metal hull (pontoon) sections fails, steering fails etc. I am in the over 55 crowd, but swim well and have owned some small boats since I was 16 years old. I was not "afraid", but think that a commercial business operating a boat should provide one life preserver (including proper sizes for teenagers and children) for each passenger.

This boat had only adult sizes.

That river has a good fast current and I don't think the mother of the small child , even if she could swim, could manage a child well if the child and mother were not in a life preserver. Many tourists these days are not in good physical condition for various physical or health reasons.

We had been on two other activities the two days before, with different CR La Fortuna companies - a big zip line, and then River rafting - where the companies really were very very safety conscious, so I was surprised at this situation.

Even if it is not a Costa Rica law or regulation, it seems it would be "good industry practice" to provide them.

If 28 people pay US$50 each 6 days a week that is a gross income of $8400 a week. Some should go to purchasing life preservers.

Most people expect life preservers- if you told them ahead of time that there would be no life preservers do you think they would book that tour?

San Jose, Costa Rica
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
posts: 39,679
1. Re: Not enough life preservers - Canoa Aventura tour

Just a little correction..It is aCostarican law that every vessel MOST have life jackets according with the lisence and according to health dpt. Safety protocols...

I.m 100 % with you ...but some people do not like to follow rules...here and almost any country you will find irresposable tour operators...sad of course...glad that nobody in your trip had any need of any life jacket...

Roadadvisor

Central Penna
posts: 147
reviews: 27
2. Re: Not enough life preservers - Canoa Aventura tour

Just a thought, you might contact Canoa Adventura directly. I used them a couple of years ago and they were very professional. It makes me wonder if they might have taken the reservation and sub-contracted it out to another company. that happens alot during the busy season. If thats what happened, Canoa may not be aware of any potential problem.

Slovenia
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
posts: 5,562
reviews: 54
3. Re: Not enough life preservers - Canoa Aventura tour

An extremely important remark you've made. IMO you should also write an official complaint to the company - and report back of their answer. Tripadvisor has many members and no company should underestimate the importance of safety issues. Also, for any future visitor, be prudent and if safety measures are not according to your standard or your expectations (law or no law) just don't go. No money is worth it.

La Fortuna de San...
Destination Expert
for La Fortuna de San Carlos
posts: 1,200
reviews: 7
4. Re: Not enough life preservers - Canoa Aventura tour

Thanks for posting. This is surprising as they are one of the more respected tour operators in town. Hopefully this negative publicity will open their eyes to the expectations of travelers.

Toronto
posts: 925
5. Re: Not enough life preservers - Canoa Aventura tour

Did you get off the boat and ask for a refund from Canoa? If not, why not?

Grecia, Costa Rica
Destination Expert
for Province of Alajuela
posts: 6,218
reviews: 36
6. Re: Not enough life preservers - Canoa Aventura tour

Interesting... I do not know the company but they should have the proper safety equipment. I respect explorinCA in his opinion that this is normally a spot on company. With any luck the company will respond here and correct the situation.

Cheers

Atlanta, Georgia
posts: 751
reviews: 77
7. Re: Not enough life preservers - Canoa Aventura tour

The two tour guides were wearing the canoa adventura uniforms .

the boat had left the dock - I thought that they had more life preservers in a locker .

usually in south and central america there are NO REFUNDS for any reason.

dont blame me , I didnt cause the problem

Slovenia
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
posts: 5,562
reviews: 54
8. Re: Not enough life preservers - Canoa Aventura tour

No blaming here, I appreciate that you post what is a very often overlooked - personal safety. Myself I have similar experience in Tortuguero, no life vest on a canoe, I knew it before embarking and still went for. I was safely back, but will not do it again.

Cahuita, Costa Rica
Destination Expert
for Cahuita
posts: 1,889
reviews: 7
9. Re: Not enough life preservers - Canoa Aventura tour

Thanks for posting. It is so important that others are aware of such dangers so they cna be avoided. I thought children had to be wearing preservers at all times while on a boat.

Atlanta, Georgia
posts: 751
reviews: 77
10. Re: Not enough life preservers - Canoa Aventura tour

good point about kids in lifepreservers- here its maybe under age 14 - I dont know what the CR rules are.