White Water Rafting

Costa Rica Rafting is a Feat to be Conquered

Free Travel Guide

There’s a term thrown around loosely about Costa Rica having the highest river density in the world. That makes for great white water rafting in Costa Rica. It’s difficult to find the data to back up such a broad statement. But if you’ve been on a road trip here, the bridges and waterways crossed prove infinite.

With so many lushly forested canyons made rich and green by rain year tropical rains, it’s no wonder Costa Rica is a top destination for whitewater rafting. The tall mountains from the continental divide gather rain clouds that enrich Costa Rica with burgeoning rushing rivers for whitewater adventures that are an exciting adventure and a pleasure because they are not even cold!

There’s incredible added value white water in rafting Costa Rica because of the beautiful natural scenery and diverse wildlife. Rivers in CR have countless stone canyon walls with majestic waterfalls showering rafters as they pass underneath. The amount of local and migratory bird sightings are also a treasure for nature lovers. Monkey and sloth sightings are common, and a thrilling bonus!

White Water Rafting in Costa Rica, Only the Best

Pacuare River Class III & IV
The Pacuare River is the complete package. Most likely the best river for White Water Rafting in Costa Rica and one of the finest rafting venues in the world, the Pacuare River has two distinctions that set it above the rest. First, it boasts three, four or more hours of non-stop rapid action; in fact, the Pacuare has enough non-stop whitewater rapids for two full rafting days, which is why some rafters choose overnight lodging in one of the river’s cozy rafting lodges.  The other distinction is the sheer beauty of its surroundings, which has made the Pacuare famous for being one of the top 10 most scenic rivers on the planet.

Whitewater Rafting in Costa Rica near Arenal Volcano

Northern Costa Rican rivers offer some of the finest rafting to visitors in and around La Fortuna.

Sarapiqui River and Toro River Class III & IV
Sarapiqui River and Toro River are not too far from apart and serve each other as a Plan B river solution. These two beautiful Class III and IV rivers are born on elevated green volcanic slopes and drift their way into the Caribbean not without first offering its beautiful scenery and powerful 3 and 4 class whitewater rapids to those Costa Rica adrenaline seekers.

Lower Balsa River Class II & III
Lower Balsa River caters to whitewater rafting beginners that are looking for lots of adventure but feel safer in class II and III rivers. Balsa River’s proximity to the tourist hub of La Fortuna and the Arenal Volcano in northern Costa Rica makes rafting Balsa River a very practical choice.

Upper Balsa River Class 4+
Upper Balsa offers 4+ white water rafting in Costa Rica for adrenaline junkies that are in the river for more than friendly high
fives. Class 4+ whitewater rafting is full of thrills but also requires concentration and a bit of discipline. It’s a blast! If you’ve never rafted before and you start at a 4+, you will quickly learn the many ways of staying on the raft.

White Water Rafting in Costa Rica, Guanacaste

Tenorio River Class III & IV
Guanacaste is more than beaches and volcanoes. Class III and IV whitewater rafting the Tenorio River is another attraction in this corner of Costa Rica. Tenorio whitewater rafting only a travel day to or from La Fortuna or Monteverde to the beaches of Guanacaste. Nature lovers should also think about visiting Rio Celeste. The only setback with rafting Tenorio would be during the dry season when this river is not very deep.

Pristine Whitewater Rafting near the Manuel Antonio National Park

The Central Pacific coastline of Costa Rica is surprisingly growing in popularity when it comes to whitewater rafting.

Naranjo Class III
Naranjo River class III and IV rapids offer joyful whitewater mornings for visitors staying in the area.

Savegre Class II & III
Savegre River is the cleanest, most pristine river in Central America. Its beauty can be appreciated rafting down its class II and III rapids.

El Chorro Class 4+
El Chorro, Costa Rican slang for a high volumetric flow of water in a reduced area, like the strong force of water coming out of a hose. Its name says it all. Class 4+ whitewater rapids with steep falls and narrow canyons, this river is truly and adrenalin delight. It only runs during the dry season.

White Water Rafting in Costa Rica Southern Pacific 

Along with Guanacaste, this corner of Costa Rica is not known for its rafting, but for the lack of water. Water is in abundance here.

Coto Brus River Class III & IV
Coto Brus River has some powerful class III and IV whitewater rapids. This river invites rafters from the area of Dominical Beach to tame its waters. Also, the Coto Brus River does not attract as many rafters as other whitewater rivers in Costa Rica. This makes it ideal for people looking for a smaller number of rafts tagging along.

Guabo River Class II & III
This river also is great for those staying in and around the area of Dominical Beach. Guabo has class II and III rapids for a fun nature day in the water.

El General River Class III & IV
El General III and IV rapids usually run in September to November, in the rainy season. Due to its remoteness, camping three or four-day whitewater rafting tours are only available.

White Water Rafting in Costa Rica Basics

White Water Rafting in Costa Rica and elsewhere has different categories. Firstly, with the easier classes, usually II and III rivers. Secondly, intermediate rivers offering classes III and IV, and then there’s the expert class known as 4+.

Children and folks that aren’t in the best physical condition might want to calm down rafting classes II and III.

Beginners in better shape can also have a blast rafting Costa Rica’s class III and IV rivers. It is best to have had some rafting experience before trying 4+.

Costa Rica Class V Rafting: Intensity to the Limit

Costa Rica class V rafting is for whitewater rafters with a strong appeal towards adrenaline that is looking for more than hive fives and jolly frolicking in the river.

Teamwork and close attention to your river guide become critical in class V rafting Costa Rica. Above all it’s a serious adventure where participants must stay focused and brave against the mighty whitewater rapids ahead of them.

Costa Rica Rafting Adventure

White Water Rafting Rio Balsa Arenal

Arenal. Excursion Guide, Snack, Meal, Transfer, Equipment.
From: $50 - $75
Pacuare River Rafting

Pacuare River Rafting Adventure

Pacuare, Puerto Viejo. Adventure, Nature Guide, Drinks, Snack, Meal, Transfer, Equipment.
From: $75 - $100
Sarapiqui River Rafting Waterfall

Sarapiqui River Rafting

Sarapiqui. Adventure, Nature Guide, Drinks, Snack, Meal, Transfer, Equipment.
From: $75 - $100
Pacuare River Rafting

Whitewater Rafting on Pacuare River with Exploradores Outdoors

San Jose, Pacuare. Adventure

Pacuare River Rafting Adventure: Class III – IV with Exploradores Outdoors

Pacuare. Adventure
Rafting Rio Tenorio

River Rafting on Rio Tenorio with RCR Rafting

Cañas. Adventure
desafio adventure company Rafting fun

River Rafting on Rio Tenorio with Desafio

Tenorio & Rio Celeste. Adventure
Sarapiqui Rafting

Whitewater Rafting on Sarapiqui River with Desafio

Sarapiqui. Adventure
rafting adrenaline

Adrenaline Combo with Jacamar

Alajuela, Arenal. Adventure
Balsa River

Balsa River

Arenal. Adventure
White Water Rafting Costa Rica Savegre River

Savegre River White Water Rafting with Tucanes Tours

Manuel Antonio, Savegre. Adventure

The Lesser Classes (Class II, III and IV Rafting)

Rafting down whitewaters has become a world class adventure activity in Costa Rica; class II and clwhite water rafting costa ricaass III whitewater rafting has plenty of enjoyment and intensity intended for beginners looking to have an excellent wet day in the outdoors and time to sight-see Costa Rica’s riparian wildlife.

Class II and III rapids are the option for families with children or adult participants that aren’t in great physical condition. When class II and III rapids leave more to wish for, class IV turns up the intensity notch and becomes and excellent option for rafters looking for a bit more adventure and excitement down Costa Rica’s best rapids.

The majority of whitewater rafting rivers in Costa Rica carry III and IV class rapids. Although the Pacuare River is known to have class V rapids, it’s considered the best III and IV whitewater rafting river in Costa Rica and one of the best in the world.

Class II, III, and IV rapids in Costa Rica are loaded with energetic fun and nature, but those classes do not come close to the intensity of Costa Rica class V rafting.

Insane Costa Rica Class V Rafting

white water rafting costa ricaNot many outfits carry class V rafting, the demand is not as much as the lower class rivers, however there’s no other thrill in whitewater rafting than owning or being owned by the best in Costa Rica class V rapids.

Class V requires better professional equipment and better prepared rafting guides; communication is vital once the raft is let loose down the impending whitewaters of Costa Rica’s most powerful rivers.

Costa Rica class V rapids are usually found upstream down a mountain canyon where the water is most deep and abundant for an exquisite whitewater rafting experience. The country’s finest class V whitewater venues are near La Fortuna and Manuel Antonio, Quepos.

Costa Rica Class V Rafting in La Fortuna

white water rafting costa ricaIt’s no surprise that the adventure capital of Costa Rica, La Fortuna and the Arenal Volcano, comes with class V rafting.

The river with the Costa Rica class V rapids near La Fortuna is called Balsa River, in honor of all the Balsa Wood (Ochroma pyramidale) trees along its banks.

The Balsa River is divided into the Lower Balsa section and the Upper Balsa section. Lower Bals

a is a favorite II and III whitewater location.

Upper Balsa is home to some of the finest Costa Rica class V rafting, with narrow rock canyons that will have your raft bouncing off the walls in no time.

Costa Rica Class V Rafting near Manuel Antonio

white water rafting costa ricaCosta Rica class V rafting on the central pacific part of the country, near Manuel Antonio, is down a three mile stretch in a narrow gorge carved into the rocks by a massive flow of water known as El Chorro.

El Chorro is a class V section of the Naranjo River with stronger currents through a labyrinth of tight rocks up in the mountains of Costa Rica that propel rafters on an adrenaline packed feat down an alluring rocky riparian canyon.

The class V rafting rivers mentioned here are conveniently close from their main tourist hubs: La Fortuna and Manuel Antonio.

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