Pacuare River: Costa Rica’s Finest Whitewater Rafting Site
The first splash of the river after hitting that first monster wave inducts you to this wild river adventure. You’ve read the blogs, seen the reviews, but, as the cliché goes, nothing quite prepares you for that. One thing does comply with what you’ve Googled, and that is that the Pacuare River lives up to its prestige as one of the top whitewater rivers in the world as mentioned in National Geographic. As a part of Costa Rica adventure, it is a “must-do” during your Costa Rica vacation.
Venturing down the river, a cool 108 km stretch starting from the Cordillera de Talamanca and flowing out to the Caribbean, the scenery by the river is as you’ve seen in the movies: virgin rain forest with an occasional glimpse of wild animals going about the river banks. If you keep an eye out, it is not unusual to see toucans flying over ahead or anteaters and raccoons sipping by the river shore, and if you listen, you’ll hear the cries of howler monkeys from a not so distant tree.
The river path passes through the Braulio Carillo National Park, where lies an Indian reservation, you might get the chance to see the indigenous people from the Cabecar tribe fishing by the river. If you wave at them, they might wave back at you, if they didn’t happen to have their hands full from an earlier catch.
The beauty of the Pacuare River is that it is divided into sixteen parts, where some parts, as my previous river guides had described them to me before, were “plateaus” and the rest varies between Class III and IV level kind of waters. These plateaus, the calmer parts of the river, allow you to enjoy the river scenery and give the paddling a rest.
There are many whitewater rafting companies throughout the country, reputable ones include Rios Tropicales with its 25 years of experience in the industry, Aventuras Naturales in which provides lunch by the river’s edge for day trips, and Serendipity that offers a more luxurious and catered service such as personalized treatment and gourmet meals.
For most, the package tours are, in essence, the same. Variations are in the quality and presence of certain facilities and service. The usual package includes pick-up and drop-off transportation service, breakfast and lunch, free use of the rafting equipment, and places to change for One Day tour packages, and accommodations for overnight packages. The overnight packages, varying between two or more nights of stay, usually includes lodging by the river where guests are able to fish along the river or to take on trails along the rainforest. The lodging itself are an airy cabin looking structures that overlook the river, and they include the basic commodities such as bathroom, bed, and electricity.
Rios Tropicales and Aventuras Naturales’s Pacuare Lodge are just to name a few of the companies that provide this type of lodging. The adventure on the Pacuare River is a memorable experience and can be shared for those on a Costa Rica family vacation, provided that each family member meets the required conditions. It is also a treasured experience that can be done alone (they will include you in a group that needs more people in a raft) or in a group of your own.
From the first splash to the last, the ripples of Pacuare river journey will stay with you as far as you can remember. As you step off that raft at the end of the trip, wet and dripping, you couldn’t help feel some sort of triumph and accomplishment. As the river water dries off your clothes, only the memories will remain, and those memories will make a great story as part of the highlights in your Costa Rica adventure.