The rivers in Costa Rica are as diverse as the terrain of mountains, volcanoes, rainforest valleys and lowland jungle through which they flow.
A trip down one of Costa Rica’s rivers, either by raft, canoe, kayak or small boat, is an excellent way to see some of the country’s extraordinary wildlife. Trees that line most river banks may hold troops of monkeys, lounging iguanas and boas, and birds such as egrets, herons, ibis, ospreys, and colorful kingfishers. Crocodiles and caimans like to sun themselves on muddy banks, or may be cleverly disguised as that “log” you see floating in the water. You may even catch sight of playful river otters or sunning river turtles.
In the Northern Plains of Costa Rica, the San Carlos River flows 148 kilometers from near Volcano Arenal to where it joins the San Juan River on the northern border with Nicaragua. On the banks of the San Carlos River, Maquenque Eco-Lodge opens the door for travelers to experience the remarkable rainforest of the Maquenque National Wildlife Refuge. Maquenque is an important region for birds in Costa Rica, and is on the migratory path for many bird species between North and South America.
Maquenque Eco-Lodge is one of the top bird-watching hotels in Costa Rica, with more than 410 species identified in the area. When a guest, be sure to go on a guided bird-watching tour through their gardens, wetlands and forest paths.
Trips on the San Carlos River, nearby Tres Amigos River, and on the lagoon at the Costa Rica eco-lodge are excellent for bird-watching and wildlife viewing.
This trip explores downstream on the San Carlos River by boat. Wildlife you might see include crocodiles, river turtles, bats, herons, kingfishers, king vultures, and much more. Close to the Nicaragua border, the boat stops to visit the small village of Boca Tapada San Carlos.
Paddling a raft down the serene waters of the remote Tres Amigos River, through rainforest with overhanging trees and vines, is one of the most tranquil ways to discover Costa Rica’s great beauty. Crystal clear water harbors river otters, crocodiles and river turtles, and the surrounding forest is home to Great Green Macaws, Scarlet Macaws, toucans, aquatic birds, iguanas, and several species of monkeys.
Early morning is the best time to float softly on the water of the lagoon at Maquenque Eco-Lodge. Listen to the rainforest wake up with all of its amazing sights and sounds.
Visit Maquenque Eco-Lodge
Accommodations at the eco-lodge are simple and comfortable in 14 bungalows, each having private bathrooms with hot water, and balconies overlooking the lagoon. Eight kilometers of trails wind through the Costa Rica rainforest lodge’s 68-acre property.
Maquenque Eco Lodge produces 70% of their fruits and vegetables for their restaurant in a large garden and fruit orchard.
Article by Shannon Farley