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“Highlight of our Trip”
Review of Rio San San

Rio San San
Attraction details
Reviewed 6 August 2017

We took our boys, 7 and 9, along with our niece and her friend age 17 to the San San. It was a rough start because it was raining so much, but by the time we got ready to see the manatees the rain had stopped. We saw four manatees before my son dropped his shoe in the water and scared them away! Ugh. We still got great pics and videos. The best part was seeing the turtle conservatory. Four sea turtles had just hatched and they taught the boys so much about sea turtles and protecting them. They allowed our kids and nieces to release the babies into the ocean. It was almost magical. We made a lifetime of memories here.

Thank AV_2006
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 20 July 2015

This is a nonprofit conservation group with a working turtle hatchery, with dedicated volunteers that nightly monitor the nests, count, weigh, and measure the hatchlings then take them to where they can find their way to the water. Were were privileged to see 3 nests hatch in one evening, there are plenty more waiting to hatch. The staff speak only Spanish so you will need to bring your interpreter. They frequently host student groups who help with the work. Food is good, the board is cheap and basic camp style. No electricity since their solar panels broke and no hot water. bring your own food or they will provide if you arrange in advance. bring bug repellant.
For us the manatee feeding (only one manatee that day, not really much to write home about) was not ideal as we were late getting there and morning feeding may be better. We also went on a great canoe ride to see wildlife and the wetlands.
We can't say enough about the hospitality and friendliness of the staff. This had to be the highlight of our Panama trip. When getting there I would suggest flying to Changuinola as it is only a short taxi drive from the airport. To Bocas is a longer taxi drive or bus ride, and a boat taxi which will take a couple of hours. I would recommend staying at least one day.

2  Thank rdmjr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 September 2014

Where do I begin to tell you how wonderful this place is?
Firstly, not only was seeing the manatees great, they also have a turtle conservation project that desperately needs volunteers (they are not government funded but run by local volunteers) and the people running AAMVECONA retreat are wonderful!
Contacted Elizabeth via e-mail (info@aamvecona.com), arranged arrival for 4PM. As far as I know you can also show up (not sure about weekends) and you will be attended to.
First a boat ride (40 min.) to the oceanfront retreat deep within the wetlands during which we saw about 15 sloths and many birds.
Then settled into a comfortable room for four (with mosquito nets). They also have running showers and western toilets.
A nest of baby turtles was sheduled for hatching that evening, so after writing down information on an excavated turtle nest (they count the hatched and undeveloped eggs, information in why they did not hatch, etc.) we had dinner (food was truly amazing - better than the restaurants we had eated at) and then went to count, weigh and measure baby turtles and let them find their way to the ocean. After that we went on a 3 km walk down te beach to check if any turtles are laying eggs. The season for the egg laying is March-July, hatching August-September. We saw 3 poachers during our walk. The poachers will kill a nesting turtle and get $75/kg for the shell and 0.50 cents for one egg plus they will enjoy eating the meat. It is a reality of this place and that is why AAMVECONA and what they do is so important!!!
Next day in the morning we went to see the manatees (saw them within first 20 min.) As others in this TA review have explained how it works, I will not go into more details. All I will say is that I wanted to go there to see the manatees and we planned to leave after that, but fell in love with the people and the baby turtles so ended up staying two more days!

This organization, this place and the people who run it have a genuine spirit. They truly care and believe in what they do. This is one of the very special places that has not been touched by the volunteering frenzy yet but they do need help! If you are in the area (only about 2h from Bocas del Torro and 1h from the Costa Ricca border), please stop by and lend a hand, or donate!
Thank you again to our amazing "guide" and overseer Jose, Don Alfredo, Elizabeth, Don Cano, Don Ramos and all the rest! :)

3  Thank Maderku
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 April 2014

We emailed Elizabeth a few days before we wanted to go which she replied quite promptly, but did try the contact box first and don't think it worked. Email direct.
Paid $75 for the boat, manatee tour, and twin room breakfast and dinner. Definetly good value for money.
We arrived around noon and Elizabeth showed us lots of info about the national park and how they are looking after the animals. After we headed out onto the boat to the accommodation and on the way we saw a sloth really close up!
Once we put our bags into our accommodation we were shown around the turtle volunteering station and given some fresh coconuts!
After we headed to the manatee platform and the manatees arrived after 5 minutes! We got to watch them for two hours which was just amazing to see in the wild!
We had some down time back at the accommodation before having a lovely dinner and then at around 8pm we headed out with a guide, Elizabeth and a masters student to go on a nighttime patrol of the beach looking out for leatherback turtles! We walked for about 45 minutes when we found one laying her egs too close to the water, we all helped collect the eggs to bury them back at the turtle station where they will have a much better chance of surviving.
To be part of that experience of watching the biggest species of turtle in the world lay her eggs and help try to save their species was truly a wonderful experience and we feel extremely lucky! Thank you Elizabeth!

4  Thank grainne91
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 1 March 2014

We did a day tour with aamvecona. Had a pick-up at Changuinola airport. After a short film about the area, we started with the tour. A nice one hour boat ride on the river to the Manatee look out. After a short time the first manatee arrived. 15 mins later a large Manatee showed up, and started eating the bananas. Nice to see the manatee grab a banana, disapear, and come back after a few mins for the next banana. We stayed at the look-out for almost 2 hours, and after we had lunch at the beach station. After lunch we did a boat tour through the mangroves, and saw a lot of birds, and animals. Thanks to the boatsman and guide Erick for the excellent tour.

2  Thank Cees N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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