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White Water Rafting Pacuare River

Pacuare River

The Pacuare is the quintessential tropical river. Along its course lie several densely vegetated gorges which shelter jaguars, ocelots, monkeys, sloths, and an incredible variety of birds. Also found within these gorges is some of the best whitewater in all of Central America, ranging up to Class V in difficulty. The Pacuare is the only river in Costa Rica which contains these amenities, including virgin rain forest, while also being quite accessible. The lowland tropical forest here is remarkable for its luxuriant variety and the amazing abundance and diversity of wildlife found within it.

Pacuare River

It is not difficult to paddle the entire lower Pacuare in a day, but overnight trips are much more relaxed. With a two-day trip it is possible to hike up two or three side canyons; a three day trip allows time to explore the jungle by way of the numerous trails that have been used by the local Indians and Campesinos for years.

Waterfall on Pacuare River
"Wake Up Falls" - just what the doctor ordered after a night of partying

One of the most memorable aspects of the Pacuare trip has always been the put-in. For several years, one outfitter used the original river access plan, wherein local campesinos shuttle rafts, kayaks, equipment, and food down a dirt path on an oxcart. The road to the river was wiped out by a flood, so the oxcart method of transport had to be abandoned. Although the old road/trail through San Martin has recently been upgraded and improved, most trips now begin at a drive-in access point two miles downstream.

From the put-in to the beginning of the inner gorge, the river drops through numerous Class II-III boulder gardens and simple drops as it becomes sequestered in the ever more verdant rain forest.  Among the more interesting residents of the lowland forest are ocelots and jaguars.  Although the big cats are rarely seen, somehow you just know that they are watching you warily from the dark shadows of the enclosing jungle.

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The Pacuare River is rated one of the top rivers in the world for a host of reasons. You’ll get to explore the intimate nature of the rainforest from the river perspective. The warm water, cascading waterfalls, and opulently lush rainforest with its brilliantly colored plants, animals, and birds make this trip exquisite for your senses. Add in the exciting Class III -IV whitewater rapids and you have a tropical adventure packed with rich experiences that last long after you’ve returned home.

Professional bilingual guides, round trip transportation from San Jose area hotels, rafting equipment, breakfast, hot lunch at Operations Center with comfortable open dining area and spacious changing rooms and showers. Difficulty: Moderate. Class III rafting: Rapids with high irregular waves; narrow passages that often require complex maneuvering. Class IV rafting: Long, difficult rapids with constricted passages that often require precise maneuvering in very turbulent waters. Rafting Distance: 14 miles River time: From 3-1/2 to 5 hours - depending on water level. Who Can Go?: Anyone in normal healthy physical condition. Swimming experience is required. Min. age: 14-years-old.

For reservations use our Secure Booking Form or for further information about
Pacuare River - Class III - IV Click Here

Pacuare River Map

DAY 1 - Class III Rafting to the Lodge
Early morning pick up at your hotel (the exact pick up time will be given at the time of the reservation), traveling east towards the Caribbean and crossing the amazing Braulio Carrillo National Park. After a 2 1/2 hour drive, you will arrive at the Operations Center for a hearty "Tico" traditional Costa Rica breakfast, and with time to change into clothing for rafting, and shop for any last minute needs in the handy outfitter's store. You'll then depart for the put-in on the Pacuare River in San Martin. There your professional guides will load your gear into dry bags, prepare all the rafting equipment, and give you complete safety and paddle instructions. The first day's Class III rapids welcome you to the Pacuare gorge's charm as you raft deep in the heart of primary rainforest. While your guides prepare a hearty picnic lunch on the riverbank, you'll enjoy a walk through the jungle to an enchanting waterfall and pool for a refreshing dip.

Before you know it, you'll arrive at the unique riverside lodge where you can spend the afternoon relaxing, hiking, enjoying an incredible Zipline course through the forest Canopy, or soaking in our waterfall and pools. Nestled in the jungle in a 1,500-acre private reserve, the Lodge offers you all the comforts you need in "Cabecar Indian" style bungalows. Private single and double rooms are spacious and completely provided with fresh linens and comfortable pillows and beds. Don't worry about bathrooms - the Lodge enjoys modern, clean bathrooms and hot water showers, thanks to the self-sufficient mini-hydro-plant that generates the electricity. The Lodge was built as a sustainable "Eco-Lodge", including the building materials, waste management system, recycling practices, and the clean, renewable energy that powers the entire facility. You'll get the chance to settle into your rooms, then come down to the open air dining area, where your guides prepare fresh appetizers and guest-acclaimed "famous jungle punch". As the sun dips behind the hills and the twilight fades, you will be treated to a delicious freshly prepared dinner with candlelight and wine, adventure vacationing at its best!. (B,L,D)

DAY 2 - Whitewater Action! Class IV Rafting on Lower Pacuare
After yet another serving of Costa Rica's tastiest coffee and a hearty breakfast, you will pack up and load the rafts in preparation for paddling down the Pacuare gorge past gushing waterfalls, serene pools and pounding rapids. A snack stop by the riverside lets you explore more waterfalls and natural waterslides. An adrenaline-packed afternoon running rapids like Upper and Lower Huacas, Cimarron, Dos Montañas and many more, will have you cheering ecstatically. Transportation will be waiting for you at the take-out in the town of Siquirres, where you will be whisked away to the Operations Center just a few miles up the road. There you will have a hearty hot lunch waiting. Showers, changing rooms, cold and hot drinks, snacks, a bar, and souvenirs are all available. On the return drive to San Jose you'll enjoy remarkable views of Braulio Carrillo National Park and Irazu Volcano. (B,L)

Who Can Go?:

• Minimum age:14-years-old. Please contact us directly for options for younger kids.
• Participants should be in normal health and physical condition.
• Some rafting experience is recommended.

Recommended Gear:

This list represents what you will need on the river. Space on the raft is limited so it is important not to bring anything extra. Equipment - The Ríos Tropicales Lodge offers all the sleeping comfort you will need, private rooms, mattresses, sheets, pillows and blankets are provided. River Wear Rubber soled shoes (tennis or similar), Shorts, T-Shirt or a Swimsuit Windbreaker (Optional), Sunscreen Lotion (Optional), Sun Hat or Bandana (Optional), Personal Toothpaste and toothbrush, Personal medications, Long light pants, Shoes (2 pairs, one to get wet and one dry), Long sleeved shirt Sweater or Sweat shirt, Towel, Socks (1 pair), Insect repellent.


1. You can always leave your extra gear in the bus or at your hotel.
2. Please advise us if you have your own dry bags

Room Type Single Double Triple
DELUXE ROOM WITH PRIVATE BATHROOM  $310.00 $295.00 $280.00
SHARE BATHROOMS AND BUNK BEDS  $250.00 Additional day: $70.00


Rates are per person and includes;

  • Professional bilingual guides
  • Round trip ground transportation from all the major hotels in San Jose
  • Rafting equipment (paddle, helmet, PFD)
  • Meals two days except dinner on the last day
  • Breakfast pre-trip and hot lunch post-trip at Operations Center
  • Spacious, spotlessly clean changing rooms with hot showers
  • Private room lodging at Rios Tropicales Lodge
  • Canopy Tours on zip lines
  • Guided Hikes

For reservations use our Secure Booking Form or for further information about
Pacuare River - 2 days 1 night Click Here

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