Nothing screams adventure like bounding over choppy white rapids hurtling through a verdant jungle maze of tropical trees and singing wildlife. There’s a spirit of adventure to Costa Rica that has a way of turning even the timidest of souls into bold risk takers that leap from the heights of waterfalls with ease.
Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. Nevertheless, Costa Rica is one of the best places you can go if you’re looking for an adventure you’ll never forget. And as the wise Helen Keller once said, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” 😉
Your Guide To White Water Rafting In Southern Costa Rica
You either love it, or you hate it–white water rafting can be one of the most thrilling adventures you undertake…or the most terrifying. Either way, everything is worth trying at least once, especially when you’re in a country with some of the world’s best white water rafting.
There are numerous options for white water rafting in Costa Rica. You can take day trips, or multi-day excursions, all with varying intensities of rapids. Costa Rica has several different rivers flowing through the country’s terrain so you can pick your favorite based on the type of experience you hope to have. In the Southern Zone, three rivers, in particular, are known to harbor great rafting experiences.
The Savegre River
Among the ranks of best rivers for rafting in Costa Rica, The Savegre River stands as one of the best. This river is known to be one of the most pristine rivers in all of Central America, with curves and twists that take you past glistening paradises found only within the heart of these jungles. The Savegre River starts near the highest point of Costa Rica, between Cerro de los Muertos and Chirripo, and tumbles down picking up steam until it finally ends in the Manuel Antonio National Park.
The Savegre River has class II and III rapids, making it the perfect choice for beginners, or those that want to enjoy a little adrenaline without necessarily coming to face to face with death. However, the Savegre does offer class IV rapids if you’re bent on amping up the adventure.
The Naranjo River
The Savegre River’s next door neighbor, The Naranjo River, starts from the Talamanca Mountain Range and flows over 50 miles down to the coast just east of Quepos, near Manuel Antonio. This path is not for the faint of heart, but if you’re an experienced rafter or eager for a fresh challenge, this river’s narrow, steep pathway will keep the good times rollin’.
The Pacuare River
The Pacuare River originates near the Talamanca Mountain Range, but unlike its counterparts, flows north until it reaches the Caribbean sea. It’s named as one of the best spots for white water rafting in all of the world, as wildlife seems to be particularly abundant in this area. The Pacuare River has rapids ranging from class II to V, and jaw-dropping waterfalls to explore along the way. Most people find that a single day is simply not enough to experience all that there is along this river and opt for an overnight camping excursion.
Who To Go With
There are virtually limitless options when it comes to white water rafting tour guides in Costa Rica. It’s important to do your research and go with reliable tour guides as this is often the key determining factor in your enjoyment of the trip.
H2O Adventures is located in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica and offers rafting tours to both the Pacuare and the Savegre. They boast Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence with a whopping 5-star review.
Dominical Surf Adventures is a family owned business located in Dominical that also has a great track record of happy rafters who’ve successfully conquered the river and come back for more. They offer rafting tours along both the Savegre and the Upper Naranjo.
Autentico Adventures has been in the business of guiding adrenaline junkies down the Rio Savegre for over ten years. Their internationally certified instructors will make you feel right at ease! You can choose from both the Savegre and the Pacuare.
The Rafiki Safari Lodge is a luxury tent camp with a focus on “adventurous sustainable tourism.” If you’re an eco-friendly wanderer who’s up for adding a little African flare to your Costa Rican holiday, then the Rafiki Safari Lodge is for you. Enjoy staying in a beautiful resort-style camp while you take advantage of the Rafiki Safari Lodge’s many tour packages–including white water rafting trips along the Savegre.
Tips For A Great White Water Rafting Tour
-While you want to maintain high expectations for your trip guide and tour company, low expectations for the experience are always a good thing. Set your expectations low (don’t expect to see your favorite bird species fly right past your eyes) and anything that happens will thrill you. There’s never any guarantee with nature, so go in with eyes wide open and enjoy whatever Mother Nature wants to throw your way that day.
-Your guide is there for a reason. For the sake of the rest of the group, listen to your guide and don’t rock the boat–figuratively and literally. 😉
-Wear sunscreen and bring sunglasses (with straps.) Wouldn’t want the sun’s glare on the water to ruin your time.
-Wear water shoes & dress comfortably– the more choppy the water, the more thankful you’ll be that you wore athletic swimwear/clothes.
-Don’t be worried–be smart! If you’re acting wisely, and listening to your guide, you most likely won’t run into any dangerous situations. Check out these ten awesome safety tips to make sure all your bases are covered safety wise.
-Have FUN! That is the point after all, isn’t it?
Costa Rica is one of the best spots in the entire world for white water rafting. If you’ve got a knack for adventure and love the outdoors, you’ll love white water rafting in Southern Costa Rica.
Have you been white water rafting in Southern Costa Rica? What was your experience like? Share your thoughts in the comments below!