Whitewater rafting along the Pacuare River in Costa Rica is a fun and challenging experience. The river is rated in world’s top five for rafting.
By Mark Chesnut
The first thing I need to declare is that I’m a wimp. Even though I traverse the Americas as a travel writer and I am a scuba diver that loves the diving in Costa Rica, I’m not the type of person that you normally see enjoying the most exotic and breathtaking forms of adventure travel. So I was naturally hesitant about going whitewater rafting in Costa Rica, where the Pacuare River offers a variety of challenging experiences.
Still, during my most recent visit I couldn’t resist the opportunity (or the peer pressure) to join in one of the adventure travel experiences that has helped to make this Central American nation famous.
Good news: Whitewater rafting was amazingly fun. I loved the experience. I’d been worried that we’d be paddling furiously for four straight hours during our four-hour excursion, but we paddled only intermittently, enjoying lush scenery, dramatic canyons, lovely waterfalls as the current carried us.
The trip was punctuated by bubbling rapids that sometimes soaked us. It semed like it would be easy to fall over the side of the raft, but none of us did. Once, during a stretch of level 4 rapids, with two “get down” commands, I did very skillfully smack myself in the face with my oar, bite my lip and hurl my oar out of the boat (a replacement was in the raft so I could get back to paddling quickly). Other than my brief lack of coordination, I made the trip with flying colors.
Overall, it was bouncing excitement, physical exercise with postcard-perfect natural scenery and tranquility, followed by a deep sense of accomplishment.
The experience also gave me a chance to put together a few of my own 7 tips for whitewater rafting in Costa Rica. Here they are:
1. Wear clothes that can get wet. (I was soaked from head to toe — but it felt great, since the air was nice and hot.)
2. Don’t bring anything that’s not waterproof — or that you wouldn’t mind losing overboard.
3. Wear water-friendly shoes. I wore sneakers and they got completely wet, which was fine — but you may want to wear more appropriate shoes. Cotton or neoprene gloves are great if you have tender hands.
4. If you bring a camera, make sure it’s waterproof and secure. Several people on my excursion had those easy-to-use Go Pro cameras, and I wished I had one too.
5. Don’t bother with a hat. You’ll be wearing a helmet.
6. Be clear regarding levels of difficulty. Inexperienced or fearful rafters should stick with lower levels — I did levels III through IV and survived.
7. Use lots of water-resistant sunblock, everywhere you can think of (my knees got sunburned).
SPECIAL NOTE: We offer overnights in Pacuare River Jungle Lodge on the river bank. SEE ALL ABOUT IT
Bill Beard’s offers several rivers for rafting & tubing and will be happy to set you up with the perfect river for you.
Have you seen our new DVD on scuba diving, fishing & adventure in Costa Rica? If not: GO HERE
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Sublimely beautiful Costa Rica has something for everyone. The treats range from exciting adventure to leisurely relaxation, and everything in between that we can add to your vacation package. Furthermore, tourists can sample the laid-back national lifestyle that ticos (the name the Costa Ricans call themselves) refer to as ‘Pura Vida’ – ‘pure life’: no stress, no hassle. All this, combined with unsurpassed natural beauty and a developed and accommodating tourist industry, makes Costa Rica a wonderful place to visit and vacation.
Our agents can set up the all inclusive or al a carte vacation package and itinerary you want throughout the country. There is no charge for our service and we’ll save you money and lots of time and you’ll get the vacation you want.
To see a short video by our rafting provider: CLICK HERE
*We have a wonderful NEW DVD, it is 23 minutes: LEARN MORE
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Whitewater River Rafting In Costa Rica