Costa Rica’s mountainous topography and copious rainfall are both responsible for one of the best white water rafting river choices in the world.
Experienced rafting outfitters regularly run about half a dozen of rambunctious rivers, and those river trips not only provide plenty of excitement, but also allow enjoying gorgeous scenery. Not only do white water rafting enthusiasts flock Costa Rica, including several Olympic kayaking teams, but every year tens of thousands of visitors experience here the thrill of rafting for the first time.
Costa Rica is the perfect place for a first white water rafting trip experience, since it has several rivers that offer a combination of reasonable rapids and beautiful floats. There are even rivers that are great for family excursions and bird watching, since they lack big rapids and flow through forests full of birds and other animals. In fact almost all river trips offer chances to see a bit of the country’s wildlife, such as iguanas, blue morpho butterflies, parrots, otters, king fishers, and herons.
The river routes available to rafters range from the turbulent waters of the lower Reventazon, where you hardly have enough time to catch your breath between rapids, to the meandering curves of the Corobici, where you spend more time watching wildlife than paddling. The most popular Costa Rica white water rafting trip offer a good combination of challenging rapids and calmer stretches where you can sit back and enjoy the passing scenery. If you’ve done a bit of rafting up north, you’ll find the comfortably cool water of Costa Rica’s rivers a nice switch from the chilly water of the northern rivers. All white water rafting trips can also be done in kayaks, but kayakers must be experienced.
A wide selection of outfitters run trips down the country’s most accessible rivers using trained river guides and modern equipment — all rafters are provided life vests and helmets — ensuring safe but exciting excursions. Costa Rica white water rafting trip one-day include transportation to and from the river, breakfast and a picnic lunch on the riverbank. Overnight trips often include lodging riverside cabins and all meals.
Following are a few of the most convenient rivers for Costa Rica white water rafting trip:
Reventazon: The Tucurrique section (Class III) is easy enough for first-timers. The Pascua section (Class IV-V) is very wild, and requires previous rafting experience. Can be run year round
Pacuare: The country’s longest and most spectacular river trip (Class III-IV) can be run from mid May through mid March. Two-day trip recommended.
Sarapiqui: Beautiful river (Class II-III), good trip for beginners. Can be run out of San Jose or the Arenal area, from mid May through mid March.
Savegre: Another beautiful river (Class II-III) excellent for first timers. River trips leave from Manuel Antonio and Quepos, May through January.
Naranjo: A wild river (Class III-IV) near Quepos that requires some rafting experience. Run from June through November.
El General: A popular three-day kayaking or rafting trip (class III-IV) best during the height of the rainy season, September to November.