Costa Rica is famous for its wide offering of daring adventure activities. When it comes to rafting, Costa Rica is a world-class destination, ranking on the top ten whitewater rafting destinations lists for both Frommer’s and O.A.R.S.
The rivers in the tropical nation of Costa Rica offer breathtaking scenery, passing through rainforests, waterfalls, traditional “Tico” villages and rolling fields. Wildlife can be dense along the rivers as well, and one may even spot a variety of bird and monkey species. The warm water temperatures of Costa Rica are also a major draw.
As my recent rafting experience affirmed, Costa Rica’s rivers are also full of thrilling rapids that induce power shots of vein-pulsing adrenaline.
More than 20 rivers flow through Costa Rica, and it can be difficult to dertermine which river is best for whitewater rafting. Here’s a look at the top rivers for whitewater rafting and kayaking in Costa Rica:
Best Rivers for Whitewater Rafting in Costa Rica
The Pacuare River is Costa Rica’s big enchilada on the rafting scene. The narrow river flows from the mountains of Tamarindo to the Caribbean sea, passing dense jungle foliage home to monkeys, ocelots, and even the rare jaguar. Class II-IV rapids are here, lending way to some of the biggest thrills in Costa Rica.
The Sarapiquí River is home to Class II –III rapids. With colorful names such as “evil elbow” and “mamma mia,” the rapids provide a manageable rush for beginner paddlers. This river flows through lowlands tropical rainforest, passing many local farms, coffee and sugar cane plantations.
The Pejibaye River, with class I-II rapids, is the perfect river for beginner rafters, families and children. The river passes through a mixture of jungle scenery and farmlands. In some parts, the water in the river is crystal clear.
Top Rated Rafting Companies in Costa Rica
But of course, even if you know which river you would like to experience, rafting is an activity that most will need to do with a professional river guide. Here’s a list of the top rated raft outfitters in Costa Rica:
What: One to four day adventures on the Pacquare River.
What: Day adventures through the Class III-IV rapids of the Pacquare river.
Sarapiqui Outdoor Center
What: Day trips on class II-IV section of the Sarapiquí.
What: White water rafting trips on the Chirripo, Pacuare and Sarapiqui rivers.
What: Beginning and advanced excursions on the Sarapiqui river.
What: Family raft trips on the Pejibaye.
Costa Rican Resource
What: Class I and II run on the Pejibaye.
Where to Stay in Costa Rica
HotelsCombined offers the best rates on hotels world-wide. Find and book your hotels in Costa Rica here.
Have you been whitewater rafting in Costa Rica? Leave me a comment below!