If you’re looking for the “Goldilocks zone” between the terror of extreme adventure and the boredom of staying in your room all day in Arenal, a safari float on the Río Peñas Blancas may be the perfect tonic.
You won’t crash into rocks and go flying into rushing water in Class 5 rapids. In fact, you don’t even need a helmet — and you can bring your 3-year-old with you.
Canoa Aventuras, a top tour operator in La Fortuna, offers tours of this lazy river by raft, canoe or kayak, with ample opportunities to see exotic wildlife, and with a stop at a traditional old finca for refreshments, a history lesson and a tour of a home built in the 1940s.
The worst that has ever happened on this tour is that howler monkeys have pooped on tourists, said Fabricio Artavia, 35, a funny, articulate and bilingual naturalist guide. Oh, sure, and a few rookie kayakers and canoers have turned over and gotten wet — the better to write home about.
But all in all, this is among the safest and most interesting ways for anyone, including a family with small children, to explore a fascinating river environment in one of Costa Rica’s most biodiverse places.
Among the animals commonly sighted are howler monkeys, white-faced monkeys, otters, sloths, crocodiles, turtles, iguanas and basilisks — known as “Jesus Christ lizards” because they can run on water.