Visiting the Pacuare River
The Pacuare River offers a full day of Class III/IV rafting in some of the most beautiful scenery and countryside that Costa Rica has to offer! This full day adventure includes breakfast and lunch and transportation to and from some of Costa Rica’s major destinations. Located on the Atlantic slope of the country, the Pacuare borders the Talamanca Mountains.
Rafting Adventure of a Lifetime
Depending on when you visit, the rapids can range from moderately difficult to the extreme. In fact, the 16-mile “upper” stretch – the section most commonly rafted – is known for its steady Class II to IV rapids. More expert rafters may prefer the more technically demanding 10-mile upper stretch. Safety is critical in any river rafting tour, and reputable tour companies only use seasoned river guides. Keep in mind that the river levels may be higher than usual during the peak rainy season months (September and October).
Rest assured, you don’t need to be a pro to enjoy the fun of rafting on the Pacuare. Expert river guides have been leading trips for nearly two decades. This ensures guests receive proper instruction, safety gear and are fully prepared for the adventure of a lifetime. Most trips last anywhere from five to seven hours, and rafters are encouraged to wear their swimsuits and quick-dry clothing. And most tour operators provide their professional photographer, who will take plenty of action-packed photos that make excellent souvenirs.
The Pacuare’s pristine rainforest and various micro-climates are hosts to an impressive selection of wildlife. Because most of the river canyon has not been developed, visitors may notice a dense population of animals that are rarely observed in other parts of Costa Rica. Some of the more elusive species include river otters, jaguars, and ocelots. More common sightings are of howler monkeys, capuchin monkeys, sloths, iguanas, coatis, and raccoons. Birders will get a chance to spot chestnut mandible toucans, macaws, motmots, egrets, kingfishers, and herons making daily appearances.
Wear clothes that can get wet : A bathing suit and short pants would be ideal. You will be provided with a life jacket. Also wear waterproof shoes!Bring your waterproof Camera or GoPro: Attach it on your helmet for some awesome action shots. 6.
Inform yourself about the water levels: if you are inexperienced, stick to the lower levels before moving up. Consult your touring agency for specifics. The rapids are faster and more challenging between the months of June of October. Do not go rafting when the water levels are dangerously high or dangerously low. Most touring companies would cancel the trips if this happens, but inform yourself regardless.
Bring water-resistant sunblock: The sun can get pretty intense and you don’t want your sunblock washing off with every splash.
The Pacuare river is located about 125 kilometers east of San Jose on Costa Rica’s Caribbean side. You can rent a car to get here but most of your trips will be arranged through a touring agency that will include transportation as well as meals.
You will, of course, not be able to find any restaurants by the river. It is best to take advantage of the services offered at the lodge or travel to the nearby town of Turrialba. Adriano’s Restaurante will offer you local cuisine with a dash of style. Make sure to try the Gallo Pinto for breakfast and Casado for lunch. For an artsy setting and friendly service, pay a visit to Valle Verde Arte y Café. Here you can enjoy Costa Rican and Venezuelan cuisine as well as some Latin American favorites.
Where to stay
If you’re ready to immerse yourself in nature entirely, consider a single or multi-day whitewater rafting package with one of Pacuare’s leading eco lodges. Both Rios Tropicales and the Pacuare River Lodge feature two to four-day rafting trips. These trips are complete with transport, meals, bilingual guides and comfortable accommodations. Whether you’re looking for a romantic escape or an adventurous family getaway you’ll never forget, the Pacuare River offers something for everyone. When you’re not rafting or simply enjoying the scenery, your lodge can arrange indigenous village excursions or even a zip-line canopy tour.