rafting in costa rica

Whitewater rafting in Costa Rica is an adrenaline junky's dream. The entire country is crisscrossed with rivers that cut through spectacular gorges deep in the rain forest, through pastures and down mountains. Mix that with an intense rainy season, and you have whitewater contending for the best rapids in the world.

For beginners, the drier months of January, February and March are a good time for a "river float". For those seeking a more physical experience, July is when the rivers start to fill up. Many of these rafting adventures can be enjoyed on a day trip out of San Jose, or from other Nature Air destinations around the country.

white water rafting in costa rica

The following destinations offer day trips to the top whitewater rafting destinations in Costa Rica. For more information or to book your whitewater adventure or for help planning your entire vacation, contact a travel designer from Nature Vacations.

pacuare river

Costa Rica’s rafting claim to fame, the Pacuare River was listed as one of the top 5 most scenic rivers in the world by National Geographic. The river cuts through primary forests, taking you past verdant jungles, wildlife and even a waterfall or two. The entire river offers class IV rapids and can be done in a day trip or an overnight trip – and it’s the main source of transportation for visitors wishing to arrive to the Pacuare Lodge.

rio toro

Named after a raging bull, the Rio Toro offers class II to IV whitewater, which winds its way through canyons and thick forests. This rafting tour is usually booked out of Arenal, as the headwaters are located just an hour outside of town.

guabo river

Just outside of the beach town of Dominical, the Guabo River with have paddlers resting their oars in the ocean after completing this scenic, half day trip. Enjoy beautiful views as you pass through the mountains and a very memorable class IV rapid. Just be sure to check the water levels as this river is not apt for rafting year round.

sarapiqui river

As fun to say as it is to ride - the Sarapiqui River is a great option for families, offering mainly class II and III rapids, along with some class IV water in the upper region. The river flows past small towns as well as nature preserves, and can be reached on a day trip from either San Jose or Arenal.

rio reventazon

A turbulent class III river, prepare for speed and an adrenaline rush as you cross through beautiful scenery and sugar cane fields. This tour usually departs from San Jose, passing through the Braulio Carrillo National Park, and ends near the town of Turrialba.