Whether you’re a first-time rafter or a world-class kayaker, Costa Rica’s got some fast water ready for you. Rivers rise and fall with the rain, but you can get wet here any time of year. Full-day rafting trips run between $75 and $110 per person.
The best whitewater rafting ride in Costa Rica is the Pacuare River, which some say is one of the best rafting rivers in the world. It’s clean and scenic, and it has heart-jolting Class IV rapids. There is also excellent rafting on the Savegre and the Sarapiquí, while the Reventazón has fallen on hard times because of hydroelectric dams. Some of the most challenging rafting in the country is at the El Chorro section of the Naranjo River, where Class V rapids rush through a narrow, steep canyon. Whitewater rafting operators can be found in almost every corner of Costa Rica, and they’re worth looking up.
Ríos Tropicales ★★ ((tel) 866/722-8273 in the U.S. and Canada, or 2233-6455 in Costa Rica; www.riostropicales.com), founded in 1985, is perhaps the oldest and most reliable rafting operator in Costa Rica, with tours on most of the country’s popular rivers. Accommodation options include a very comfortable lodge on the banks of the Río Pacuare for 2-day trips.
Aventuras Naturales ★★ ((tel) 888/680-9031 in the U.S., or 2224-0505 in Costa Rica) is a major rafting operator with daily trips on the most popular rivers in Costa Rica. Its Pacuare Lodge ★★★ is very plush, and a great place to spend the night on one of its 2-day rafting trips.
Exploradores Outdoors ★ ((tel) 646/205-0828 in the U.S. and Canada, or 2222-6262 in Costa Rica; www.exploradoresoutdoors.com) is another good company run by a longtime and well-respected river guide. They run the Pacuare and Reventazón rivers, and even combine a 1-day river trip with onward transportation to or from the Caribbean coast, or the Arenal Volcano area, for no extra cost.
Canoa Aventura ★ ((tel) 844/479-8200 in the U.S. and Canada, or 2479-8200 in Costa Rica; www.canoa-aventura.com) specializes in canoeing and kayaking. Based in the Arenal area, it offers tours of the Peñas Blancas River, Tres Amigos River, and Lake Arenal, along with other adventures.
Loco’s Tropical Tours ★ ((tel) 2556-6035; www.whiteh2o.com) is a small company based in Turrialba, a good option for hardcore kayakers or small custom group tours.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.