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“Paddle hard!”  

“Hold on!”  

“Take a break!”

Ah, the commands shouted by your friendly, experienced river guides while aboard a wild rafting expedition on Costa Rica’s Río Pacuare.

Nestled deep in the Costa Rican tropical rainforest, the Río Pacuare is a whitewater enthusiast’s dream, paddling down one of the world’s most rugged rivers, maneuvering through the turbulent waters, deep in the heart of densely forested gorges, cascading waterfalls, narrow passages and pounding rapids.

Far removed from civilization, the Río Pacuare descends from the Talamanca Mountain Range, pouring onto the lowland plains near the town of Siquirres, then curving its way eastward toward the Caribbean. High annual rainfall generates great volume of runoff, creating consistent opportunities for white water rafting trips year round. However, the best time to battle the rapids is during the rainy season—May to November.

Profiling the more wild side of the country’s eco-adventures, the Río Pacuare has been named an official Wild and Scenic River by the Costa Rican government, the first waterway in Central America to hold that honor. This renowned river plunges through an unexplored jungle of primary and secondary rainforest. The protected region is still inhabited by the indigenous Cabécar Indians. In a wilderness of dense vegetation, the thick undergrowth also provides an isolated sanctuary for jaguars, monkeys, sloths and many other animals and birds.

The Pacuare has some of the world’s most challenging white water. With the majority of the rapids recorded as Class III and IV (white water with irregular, long, difficult rapids), paddlers enjoy stretches of white knuckle rapids interspersed with relaxing floats that allow them to catch their breath and soak up the beauty around them. Free-spirited adventurers are rewarded with a thrilling action-packed ride of twists and turns, foaming water, huge waves and breathtaking scenery.

Each rafting excursion begins early in the morning, as rafters are collected at their hotels in San José. Enjoy a scenic drive along the foothills of the Irazú and Turrialba volcanoes on the way to the river “put in.” Professional bilingual tour operators and guides will take care of you through the entire adventure. Safety and paddling instructions will be explained before hitting the water. Protective safety gear is always worn while on the river. A safety kayak accompanies the rafts during the voyage down the raging river.

Rafting the Río Pacuare is an excellent choice for an adventurous ride filled with stunning natural beauty and breathtaking rapids. Whether you’re an expert or beginner, nature lover or thrill seeker, rafting the Río Pacuare will be an action-packed, unforgettable experience.

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