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Costa Rican Whitewater Rafting Adventure

Rio Tropicales Adventures on the Pacuare River

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Whitewater Rafting in Costa Rica

The best whitewater rafting in Costa Rica can be found on the Pacuare River, which runs through the densely-forested Talamanca mountain range.

Rio Tropicales

If your idea of a vacation is experiencing a true adrenaline rush, then look no further than white water rafting on Costa Rica’s Pacuare River. Unlike the more popularized ziplining tours, where gravity and a fixed line make the experience rather predictable. On the river, anything is possible.

Here’s what to expect for a whitewater rafting package with the longstanding adventure tour company: Rio Tropicales.

The Tour

Splashing down 14-miles of Class III and IV rapids, the tour takes adventure-lovers past dense rainforest teeming with wildlife.

Tours leave San José hotels at 6 a.m. where passengers climb aboard a small bus to take them to the river head. Bilingual guides offer a brief history of Costa Rica along the way. A traditional breakfast of gallo pinto and eggs is served at the Cairo Operations Center before participants are given safety instructions and change into rafting gear.

The tour winds through gorges of dense primary forests, past waterfalls and through land that still belongs to the native Cabecar people.

The time on the river is anywhere between 3.5 and 5 hours, depending on the water level.

Before heading back to San José, guests are offered a hot shower and a traditional lunch and have time to peruse a small gift store with local crafts. 

What to Bring

Whitewater Rafting in Costa Rica

Whitewater rafting is an easy, one-day tour from San José. If you are looking for more time on the river, 2-, 3- and 4-day tours are possible.

Rio Tropicales

Guides suggest wearing rubber-soled shoes that can get wet (Tevas, sneakers or booties), a swimsuit, shirt and quick-dry shorts. You should also bring sunscreen, a hat or bandana and clothing to change into (or a towel) after the tour.

Is it safe?

With more than 25 years conducting adventure tours in Costa Rica, Rio Tropicales has an excellent safety record. Each passenger is equipped with a paddle, a helmet and a lifejacket and is given a safety talk prior to climbing in the boat. The river is rated moderate with Class III and Class IV rapids.

Multiple-Day Tours

For those for whom one day on the river simply isn’t enough, Rio Tropicales offers 2-, 3- and 4-day tours. These tours allow guests to spend more time exploring the river and the opportunity to spend the night in an untouched, very isolated section of the river. Multiple-day tours include nature hikes, a canopy tour, community service, rafting and all food and lodging. 

Rates and Reservations
The rate for the one-day tour is $99 per person. Call ahead for group or student discounts.

Tours with Rios Tropicales can be booked online or by calling 866-722-8273 (United States) or 2233-6455 (Costa Rica.)

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