Upon a recent visit to CR, we receive a recommendation for Canoa Aventura's "Arenal Combo Tour" and their "Caño Negro Tour." We took advantage of both of these adventure activities and thoroughly enjoyed every minute! The company ran on time, the staff was incredibly friendly, and all tours included pick up/drop off from our hotel. (Skip below for Caño Negro review)
Arenal Combo Tour: This day began at 8:10am with a pickup from our hotel. We gathered a few others and headed to the Arenal Hanging Bridges park, which is supported by money given by the UN. We walked through the "really humid rainforest" and learned about various flora/fauna and kept our eyes out for animals. The beauty of having a guide as fantastico as Alfredo was that he seemed to see EVERYTHING!! We first saw wild pigs, he later found a viper snake for us, a 2-toed sloth, howler monkeys, lizards... This first hike lasted appx 2hrs and included several (10?) hanging bridges of various lengths and heights with beautiful views of waterfalls and the canopy. The next segment of the tour was a one hour trip to La Fortuna Waterfall. We hiked down very steep stairs to the pool at the base of the waterfall and there was an option for a cool dip (such a tiring walk back up! Not recommended for those with any medical concerns!). Then came lunch at Hotel Manoa, for which we had approximately 5-6 options (casadas, lasagna, milenesa, etc.) and pre-selected by telling Alfredo prior to our arrival. The lunch was nice and filling, with a bit of flan for dessert. After lunch, there was an unusual but so well appreciated "break" where we were given the option of going back to our hotel for appx 1hr or staying in the town of La Fortuna. We opted to return to the hotel and, as they were in the morning, Alfredo y Jorge arrived promptly at their stated time to retrieve us. The next activity was a hike around the base area of Volcan Arenal (appx 1.5-2hrs). We saw more wild life and learned about the history of the volcano and how it has affected the rainforest in that area. My favorite was the sleeper plant that appears to play dead when swiftly touched!! The last stop of this day was at a hot springs and we had the choice of The Springs Resort, Tabacon, or Ecotermales (maybe one other?). We chose Tabacon and would not have changed it for anything! The facility was fabulous with tons of hot springs connected by walkways lined with beautiful tropical plants. Some areas were very private, some more populated. There were waterfalls, a waterside, a swim-up bar, and very nice locker facilities. We were recommended to walk the property before settling in so that we could see it all before dark, and told to swim before we enjoyed the buffet dinner. Dinner was at a set time established upon entry. We were offered a "Mexican buffet" with several options and good quality food. Our guide and driver ended up deciding to join us for dinner after dropping the other groups at their chosen hot springs, so we assumed we had picked the prime option, even though it wasn't the highest price tag!
Bottom Line: This tour offered a taste of most everything that the La Fortuna area has to offer. The crew was knowledgable and amazingly friendly. Good people, great tour, highly recommended.
Caño Negro Tour: The first stop on this tour (which started from our hotel about 7:20am) was at Iguanas Cafe, which was near a plot of trees in which dozens of iguanas were sunbathing within 10-12 feet of the standing area! We snapped pictures of tons of iguanas of all sizes and then continued on the nearly 2hr drive to El Rio Frio. Along the way, when our guide, Edson, spotted two and three-toed sloths we pulled over to get out and have a look. We saw caymans and turtles and all sorts of birds on the drive in to the river, before the cruise even began! But the cruise was the truly magical part. The atmosphere was so serene and pure. We had the pleasure of spotting all three monkey species (howler, white faced, and spider), cayman, birds birds birds, sloths, and we even saw the super cool "Jesus Christ Lizard" walk on the water!! The guides were again amazing at spotting the wildlife and Jorge was fantastic at manning the boat and keeping us floating in the right areas to capture all of our great photos of the animals. He even helped us take some photos through his binoculars, which turned out really spectacular. The highlight of the day was when Edson spotted an albino (no pigment) howler monkey, which was all orange!! Jorge pulled the boat over, they told us to get out and we walked through the trees to get a better look!! It turned out there were two of them together and they were truly amazing. Such a unique experience made possible by our decision to travel to CR during the rainy season (low tourists) and the fact that it was only us and one other couple on the 30person boat that day!!
Bottom Line: Caño Negro is NOT to be missed! We saw all of the wildlife species we hoped for in one day, enjoyed the company of two very knowledgable guides, and ate deliciously prepared comidas tipicas at the river launch point!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.