Pacuare River Rafting Trip | Adventure Tours Costa Rica
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, Costa Rica

Pacuare Rafting
Whitewater Class IV & V

Full-Day Whitewater Trip on the Pacuare River

Experience one of the world’s best whitewater adventures with a river rafting trip down the mighty Rio Pacuare.

rafting on the Pacuare River in Costa Rica

While most of Costa Rica’s rafting excursions take you on brisk rides to the Pacific side, one of the country’s greatest rivers flows to the Caribbean Sea. The Pacuare is among the world’s 10 best rivers as named by National Geographic and a journey down the unique waterway tells you why. Descending from the rugged slopes of the Irazú Volcano, the majestic river rolls through stunning canyons, passes impressive waterfalls and an indigenous reserve, and traverses over fifty challenging rapids.

Your trip begins with a 6 am pick-up in San Jose. Enjoy picturesque views of Braulio Carrillo National Park as you cruise through wide-open countryside on your way to the river that borders the Talamanca Mountains. After a hearty breakfast, you reach the riverbank for safety instructions from an experienced guide and set off on the jade-green waters.

River Rafting on an Incredible Nature Excursion

Often compared to fictional Jurassic Park, the stunning landscape that emerges before your eyes fills you with a sense of awe and wonder. Thick vines twist around colossal trees, massive boulders defy the rushing river and towering waterfalls cascade to your left and right. Brightly colored toucans and brilliant blue morpho butterflies flutter overhead while monkeys, ocelots and white-tailed deer lay claim to lush expanses of virgin rainforest.

But your attention is drawn to the rapids! Along the river’s upper section you plow through intense Class IV and V whitewater, plunging down sudden drops and bouncing through bumpy narrows. In the Pacuare River Gorge, you take on famed rapids including the “Double Drop,” “Pinball” and “Terciopelo Snake” and gaze in amazement at the 150-foot-high Huacas Waterfall.

group on a rafting trip in Costa Rica

The river opens up in the Pacuare Valley where calmer currents give you the chance to absorb the scenery. Take note of tropical wildlife on shore and stop to refresh in a natural swimming pool. Enjoy a fresh-cooked lunch on the riverbank. You also paddle past the valley’s original inhabitants. The indigenous Cabecar people have called this spot home since pre-Columbian times and today live much in the same manner as their ancestors.

Along the final downstream stretch through the Huacas River Gorge, you encounter some of the river’s biggest rapids. Exhausted but exhilarated and fueled by pure adrenaline, you and your now-tested team bump and tumble through extreme whitewater challenges on the last tear down the formidable river.

On the relaxed ride back to town, you reflect on the amazing experience. At once exhilarating and inspirational, the whitewater rafting trip is a high point of your adventure travels on an exceptional Costa Rican vacation.

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Scott Stewart

Clinton, Prince Edward Island
The rafting experience was wonderful. Our guide Marcos was knowledgeable and good humoured, gave great instructions - definitely a 5 Star experience! The only issue was the return transportation. The journey out to the Pacuare River took about 2+ hours. The pick up was at 5:30am, on time, and was smooth to our destination. Breakfast was great with fresh fruit, eggs, beans and tea/coffee. Shortly after eating, we arrived at our starting point ready to go! The gear (rafts, helmets, life jackets) were all well-fitted and safety checked, and the instructions/lessons were clear and helpful. Again, the rafting experience was top-notch, with plenty of down time for discussing the local wildlife and culture. A good mix of exercise and relaxation. Halfway through our experience we were treated to a delicious lunch and then continued down the river to our final destination. I can't say enough about our guide Marcos as he was very professional and skilled - he made our family feel safe and valued during the experience. As we arrived at the end of our tour, there were places to shower and a small bar to grab a drink. We were also able to take a look at the pictures (for purchase) that were taken by one of the guides. There was no pressure to buy, if you were not interested. Finally we loaded up our van and headed back to our corresponding hotels. Be prepared for an excessively long journey back as ours was 5+ hours. After a long day on the water, the sun and the early morning pick up, the lengthy van ride was not expected. A heads up on the transportation times would have been fair warning as we were flying back to Canada early the next morning. If we had have known about the length of the return journey back to San Jose, we probably wouldn't have left the rafting to the last day of our vacation. Otherwise, thank you for the great experience and again, thank you Marcos for your care and expertise!

Melissa Ryan

Tamarindo, Guanacaste
Our family loved loved loved this river trip! The guides were fun and knowledgeable. The river is gorgeous and well worth the cost. Highly recommend!


St. Aug, FL
From the pickup, to the food, to the van, to the guide, to the photos, to the knowledge, to the everything, they did it right! I would definitely use this tour company over some of the other ones, even if a few extra dollars are needed, mainly because of the smaller group size and their desire to make it a day to remember, rather than just trying to make money. Do it! Yew

Anthony G


The rafting tour was pretty sick. the rapids were big and the trip was intense. It was very fun, and I would do it again in a heartbeat..

Holly m

San Bernardino,California

This was the most fun ever. Thanks Adventure Tours.

Debbie B

Santa Clara, California

My girlfriend took me rafting on the Pacuare River for my birthday. I was a bit nervous about it at first, but once we were going it was great. That was the best birthday gift ever. Maybe I will take her on a tour for her birthday now.