Puntarenas (Puerto Caldera) River Cruise & Scarlet Macaw Sanctuary Excursion Reviews

If you want your breath to be taken away by amazingly rare wildlife, you must put the River Cruise and Scarlet Macaw Sanctuary excursion in Puntarenas on your to-do list!
The Macaw Sanctuary was great.
The Macaw Sanctuary was great. The guide we had was potentially the best guide I have ever had on any tour ever. She was very well educated and informed. Loved her! The boat tour could be skipped. It is on a dirty waterway with very few ... Read More
The Macaw Sanctuary was great. The guide we had was potentially the best guide I have ever had on any tour ever. She was very well educated and informed. Loved her! The boat tour could be skipped. It is on a dirty waterway with very few birds to see. The highlight was a jumping stingray and a guy who showed us his fish catches when we applauded while he was catching a fish. Although there was nothing special about the birds; heron, crane, sandpiper etc. the staff did a great job trying to find something for us to see. Even plucking a crab out of the water so we could view it. They stated that in the heat of the day (we had the morning tour but it was already really hot) the wildlife is resting in the shade and not visible. I give a top rating to them and the bird sanctuary where we saw alot of free flighted red Macaws along with the sanctuary residents. Note to my fellow tour participants. Crossing the barrier to put your kid up against the Jaguar fence for a photo or to put your camera through the chain link fence is a really bad idea. Nothing happened because it was hot and the cats were sleeping but if one wanted to charge the fence they would move alot faster than you and chain link isn't going to hold back from flexing while they got their claws into you through the fence if they charge it with their full weight. Just sayin. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Shore Excursion Provider: Princess Cruises
Excellent tour - birds everywhere and a few crocodiles
Excellent tour - birds everywhere and a few crocodiles
Excellent tour - birds everywhere and a few crocodiles Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Shore Excursion Provider: Holland America Line
Got to experience both the canopy and river and saw coastline along the wzy
Got to experience both the canopy and river and saw coastline along the wzy
Got to experience both the canopy and river and saw coastline along the wzy Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Shore Excursion Provider: Holland America Line
Very pretty river (Tarcoles); lots of crocs and birds
Very pretty river (Tarcoles); lots of crocs and birds
Very pretty river (Tarcoles); lots of crocs and birds Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Shore Excursion Provider: Princess Cruises
New a/c tour bus - however tour gide refused to let passengers use toilet !
New a/c tour bus - however tour gide refused to let passengers use toilet ! as coach full of people aged 50+ not helpful - had to use "local" one instead. Rickety old train passing shanty type dwellings, outside loo's (minus
New a/c tour bus - however tour gide refused to let passengers use toilet ! as coach full of people aged 50+ not helpful - had to use "local" one instead. Rickety old train passing shanty type dwellings, outside loo's (minus doors) Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Shore Excursion Provider: Princess Cruises
Macaw Sanctuary/Boat Trip.
Macaw Sanctuary/Boat Trip. Bus didn’t seem to know how to get to the ‘Yacht Club’ and overshot the entrance several times. Did a u-turn on the highway that took several points and no one honked or seemed to mind (vs. Cartagena). ... Read More
Macaw Sanctuary/Boat Trip. Bus didn’t seem to know how to get to the ‘Yacht Club’ and overshot the entrance several times. Did a u-turn on the highway that took several points and no one honked or seemed to mind (vs. Cartagena). Wanted us to use the bathroom first because there wouldn’t be opportunity later. We just left the ship... Don’t need to go yet. Guide had to keep taking a head count and several efforts later, found everyone. Boat was a long skinny thing but held us all. ‘Captain’ ordered 2 people on the boat to switch to starboard to balance the boat and stop the leaning. We putted along the mangroves. Saw white ibis, sanderling, blue heron, cattle egret, black hawk, yellow belly, osprey, alligator. Back to dock/bus. Drive to Macaw Sanctuary, about 50 minutes. Up highway, loop exit, up hill. Turned L at dirt road barely 2 cars wide. Nice sanctuary, tons of macaws confiscated by police. Trying to rehab for release. Also monkeys. Great local fruit snack lunch. We wore long ‘jungle’ pants and good athletic shoes that could get wet. Noticed some people in shorts, flipflops, getting bit good. Again, the walkways were difficult if impaired. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Shore Excursion Provider: Princess Cruises
enjoyable what we saw, river cruise enjoyable
enjoyable what we saw, river cruise enjoyable
enjoyable what we saw, river cruise enjoyable Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Shore Excursion Provider: Princess Cruises
Our tour took us on the river cruise which was wonderful; however, the train journey was ...
Our tour took us on the river cruise which was wonderful; however, the train journey was disappointing in that most of the views were of people's backyards, which were not that great.
Our tour took us on the river cruise which was wonderful; however, the train journey was disappointing in that most of the views were of people's backyards, which were not that great. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Shore Excursion Provider: Princess Cruises
Another we really enjoyed after the drive out there.
Another we really enjoyed after the drive out there. The time on the river was excellent and the guide very knowledgeable. Lots of animals and birds seen. Very nice buffet at the end.
Another we really enjoyed after the drive out there. The time on the river was excellent and the guide very knowledgeable. Lots of animals and birds seen. Very nice buffet at the end. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Shore Excursion Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line
Over an hour drive each way to for a 1-2 hour river cruise; saw many birds from a far and a few ...
Over an hour drive each way to for a 1-2 hour river cruise; saw many birds from a far and a few crocodiles up close. The tour guide was very informative but the sights were not worth the money and time
Over an hour drive each way to for a 1-2 hour river cruise; saw many birds from a far and a few crocodiles up close. The tour guide was very informative but the sights were not worth the money and time Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
Shore Excursion Provider: Princess Cruises
I saw just a few crocodiles.
I saw just a few crocodiles. And very briefly. The boat was fine and guide seemed knowledgeable. I have seen better crocodiles elsewhere. Scarlet Macaw Sanctuary was not in our itenary
I saw just a few crocodiles. And very briefly. The boat was fine and guide seemed knowledgeable. I have seen better crocodiles elsewhere. Scarlet Macaw Sanctuary was not in our itenary Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Shore Excursion Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line
I enjoyed seeing the city, taking the train ride and the boat on the river--I am an amateur birder, ...
I enjoyed seeing the city, taking the train ride and the boat on the river--I am an amateur birder, and we saw close to 40 birds I had never seen before.
I enjoyed seeing the city, taking the train ride and the boat on the river--I am an amateur birder, and we saw close to 40 birds I had never seen before. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Shore Excursion Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line
Horrible snafu involving demonstration at port forced us to cancel our prearranged tour and go with ...
Horrible snafu involving demonstration at port forced us to cancel our prearranged tour and go with the cab driver. Turned out fine. Went on the "Crocodile Man" tour and enjoyed the half-corny, half-frightening spectacle of crocs ... Read More
Horrible snafu involving demonstration at port forced us to cancel our prearranged tour and go with the cab driver. Turned out fine. Went on the "Crocodile Man" tour and enjoyed the half-corny, half-frightening spectacle of crocs being fed. Beautiful peaceful river. Saw one macaw, which was fine because I didn't think we'd see any at all. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Shore Excursion Provider: Princess Cruises
Actually the bus, boat and river excursion.
Actually the bus, boat and river excursion. The river part of it was definitely the best. Got close to crocodiles and a lot of birds. We saw 7 crocodiles in one glance.
Actually the bus, boat and river excursion. The river part of it was definitely the best. Got close to crocodiles and a lot of birds. We saw 7 crocodiles in one glance. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Shore Excursion Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line
We visited the Scarlet Macaw Sanctuary El Manantial as part of a cruise tour.
We visited the Scarlet Macaw Sanctuary El Manantial as part of a cruise tour. Located fairly near to Puntarenas, the journey, which required an early start, was a mixture of good roads followed by what one would call county lanes back in ... Read More
We visited the Scarlet Macaw Sanctuary El Manantial as part of a cruise tour. Located fairly near to Puntarenas, the journey, which required an early start, was a mixture of good roads followed by what one would call county lanes back in the UK. The coach stopped on route and we had the pleasure of seeing and hearing a wild howler monkey. On entering the sanctuary we received a warm welcome from the staff and a briefing of the 'don't dos' During the walk around the site in the pleasant, green gardens we encountered scores of free flying Scarlet Macaws, butterflies and other interesting bugs. Within the cages, most of which were fairly large, one could also view other macaws and parrots including the beautiful Hyacinths. However, you were forbidden from interacting with the birds although several were keen to 'catch your eye' and interact, perhaps because they had been rescued from human homes. Therefore if you enjoy that experience with birds, this will not be your ideal venue. The focus of the sanctuary is to release the Scarlet Macaws back into the wild in Costa Rica, but many of the released birds remained free flying at the sanctuary. As part of the tour we each received a complimentary bottle of water and some local fruit. There is a small shop where one can buy souvenirs but please note that these items are much more expensive than the beach market at Puntarenas. The second part of the tour was a boat trip on the swampy coastal rivers but on way the coach driver and tour guide managed to get us lost in the thick mangrove growth and we had to reverse most of the way out but as a consequence we did get to view a lot of Costa Rican countryside! We even drove on the Pan American Highway during this section of our travels. The actual boat ride was fun with an interesting commentary from the pilot. We saw plenty of birdlife including pelicans and egrets as well as a few crocodiles and some locals in their canoes. Following the tour we went back to the Coral Princess and then had a good look around the market and beach at Puntarenas, which was more interesting than we had found in Mexico and Nicaragua. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Shore Excursion Provider: Princess Cruises
Not too bad, but the guide was not very good at the birds.
Not too bad, but the guide was not very good at the birds. The Macaw Sanctuary was better, but the guide was too busy running the standard tour for the passengers to help me much.
Not too bad, but the guide was not very good at the birds. The Macaw Sanctuary was better, but the guide was too busy running the standard tour for the passengers to help me much. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
Shore Excursion Provider: Princess Cruises
WE enjoyed the Macaw sanctuary despite the extreme heat and humidity....which is normal for there.
WE enjoyed the Macaw sanctuary despite the extreme heat and humidity....which is normal for there. The Mangrove river cruise was just so so. We have been on other river cruises in Costa Rica that were much better and saw a lot more ... Read More
WE enjoyed the Macaw sanctuary despite the extreme heat and humidity....which is normal for there. The Mangrove river cruise was just so so. We have been on other river cruises in Costa Rica that were much better and saw a lot more wildlife than this one. Our guide was very proud of her country...very knowledgeable and spoke very good English. WAY too much $$$$$ for what was offered. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Shore Excursion Provider: Princess Cruises
We decided to go ahead with an excursion this time - I wanted to MAKE SURE we saw crocs!
We decided to go ahead with an excursion this time - I wanted to MAKE SURE we saw crocs! (And we did!) We booked the mangrove river cruise and scarlet macaw sanctuary excursion through Princess at $99/pp. We did see crocs and rare birds in ... Read More
We decided to go ahead with an excursion this time - I wanted to MAKE SURE we saw crocs! (And we did!) We booked the mangrove river cruise and scarlet macaw sanctuary excursion through Princess at $99/pp. We did see crocs and rare birds in the wild. We heard monkeys, but didn't see them. Next we went to the Macaw Sanctuary, which was wonderful. It truly was amazing. Never seen so many macaws and toucans at once in my life. Had some local fruit and bottled water provided by them. We would do it again. Talked to a couple that did the train ride excursion, and they weren't pleased. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
Shore Excursion Provider: Princess Cruises