White water rafting question

Old Apr 5th, 2008, 09:54 PM
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White water rafting question

My fiance and I (in our mid-20's) want to experience an exciting rafting adventure in Costa Rica. From all that I have read, it sounds like the Pacuare offers the best rafting. I have a couple questions for those who have rafted in CR before:

1. Is the 2-day Pacuare trip superior to the 1-day version?

2. We weren't planning on spending numerous days at San Jose, is it possible to raft the Pacuare from Arenal?

3. Any other comparable rivers to raft or is Pacuare far and away the best?

Thanks!
tflanag1 is offline  
Old Apr 6th, 2008, 01:05 PM
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Pacuare is the best according the the river guides and guidebooks. When are you going? Water levels will make a big difference in your experience. October and November are good for the Pacuare, not sure what other months also have high water levels. The guides say those big river rocks become a challenge to go over without plenty of water. We've only done the one-day trip. It's approx. 18 miles and from what the river guides have told us, the two-day trip is a little longer but not that much, somthing like 5 miles more. From what I've read, the place(s) you stay over are rustic, but most people seem enjoy their stays. It is a very beautiful area. You can find detailed information about the trips and lodging by searching the internet. I would think Arenal would be too far away for rafting the Pacuare. The pickup time in downtown San Jose is around 5:30 a.m. to allow time for travel and breakfast. I believe there are a couple of other take off areas, but San Jose tends to be the primary one. Keep in mind, the rafting trips will continue to get booked even if water levels are down and clients are having to walk the rafts through the shallow sections. We learned the hard way to do some research before leaving home. The rivers that offer a good ride don't allow small kids so you can kind of tell from that too. If they will take kids under about 12 then you can expect things to be more on the tame side.
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Old Apr 6th, 2008, 03:47 PM
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I'm interested in this thread as well. We'll be in CR in late July. Does anyone know what the typical water level is like on the Pacuare then? Also, we're staying in Alajuela (Orquideas Inn) rather than SJ. Does anyone know if Pacuare trips pick up in that area?
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Old Apr 6th, 2008, 07:54 PM
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Alajuela is probably out of the normal pickup area but you could grab a cab and come into town. Your hotel will call a cab for you. Ask ahead since you'll need to leave very early. Who are you booking your trip through? They should be able to offer some options too. I believe one of the companies has a downtown office that is used as a pick up spot, but I don't recall which of the companies. It would be easy to research on-line, they all have websites. Clarion has a tour desk where you can book rafting trips. Maybe you could book through them and then get a cab to and from their location. Try not to pay more than $95/each. When I attempted to book our last trip from home, I was quoted $120/ea. but I knew the going rate was still $95. I waited until we got to the Clarion and it was no problem to go the next day and they charged $95.


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Old Apr 7th, 2008, 04:50 AM
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Rios Tropicales, www.riostropicales.com continues to get excellent reviews, this is the company we went with and were extrememly pleased. Our trip was in Feb 05 I believe and we stayed in town at the Hotel Brittania. We overnighted our arrival night in SJ, rafted the next day, then another overnight.

We have only done the 1 day tour. But my thinking is the 2 day tour is more about having the opportunity to stay overnight in the beauty of this area.

We have rafted one other river in CR the Coribici and my step daughter the Sarapiqui, which both turned out to be more floating than rafting, however with beautiful scenery and wildlife spotting. Other than that no other personal experience in CR. As to other comparable rivers, from all the reviews over the years the Pacuare always stands out. And alot depends on what time of year you plan to travel. There are a couple of rafting trips that can be taken from the Manuel Antonio area, which are sometimes very thrilling and others tame.

To the poster staying at Orchideas, I would contact both your rafting company and Orchideas for your answer. Even if your rafting company does not pick up there. I am sure you can arrange for a driver from Wady Tours or a cab to take you, very reasonably, to where ever is needed
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Old May 20th, 2008, 04:45 AM
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My wife and I just expereienced two wonderful rafting trips with WAVE Expiditions, based in LaFortuna at the base of the Arenal Volcano. The first was a 1/2 day trip on the Class 2-3 Balsa/San Carlos river system; the second was full day trip on the class 3-4 El Toro river, with about 4 hours of that time on the river. On both trips, the staff was young, energetic, extremely capable and knowledgeable, and gave us two great days of fun. However, it was nice to return to a comfortable bed at Hotel Regina at the end of the day.
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Old May 20th, 2008, 10:47 AM
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FINALLY, we'll be doing the 2 night Pacuare trip with Rios Tropicales, end of July. We have put this off for a long time and finally decided that since we will be in the Turrialba area anyway and had a couple of nights to fill, why not?

Really looking forward to it--and the time at the lodge. Two nights gives us one full day to hang out and relax.

It isn't cheap, that's for sure. Aventuras Naturales is even more expensive, but has the nicer lodge. On their website, the photos look beautiful. Rio Tropicales doesn't show photos of the interior of the lodging, so I requested some. It looks clean, neat, but not luxe by any means. We're going with Rios. . .
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Old May 21st, 2008, 03:55 PM
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We're doing the overnight trip in July with Rios Tropicales too (the 23-24th). I'm hoping the water level is high enough but not crazy fast! Looking forward to it.
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Old May 21st, 2008, 09:23 PM
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Me too! Wish we were at the same time. . .

White water rafting is one of those activities that scares the heck out of me. I'm always very nervous beforehand (the death talks), but enjoy the thrill of doing it, and am VERY thankful when it is all over!
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Old May 27th, 2008, 05:50 PM
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White water rafting on the Pacuare is great! We've gone in Pittsburgh, Colorado, Maine, Montreal and Massachusetts before, but the Pacuare was by FAR, the best. We had such a good time, we have gone twice! Both times, we have gone with Aventuras Naturales. They are extremely professional, fun and safety conscious. We did the overnight both times with the zip lines the first day. The new bungalows and main lodge this past summer were certainly luxurious, but we did miss the more rustic atmosphere from the first time. Both times we stayed at the Don Carlos in San Jose the night before and after.
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Old May 28th, 2008, 10:56 AM
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I love rafting the Pacuare! I have done it several times both as single days and a couple of overnighters. I have also rafted the Reventazon.

The overnighters are pretty much the one day split in two. Fun things to do at the lodges. Great food. Rios Tropicales lodge is really nice, do bring a flashlight. Costa Rica Expeditions camp wasn't very good. Food was great and the guides a load of fun but the camp itself wasn't all that nice. There have been lots of very good recs for Aventuras Naturales.

Do keep in mind that during very rainy periods the trips can be cancelled due to the water being too high. The last time we rafted, the river had been closed the week before but the water was still pretty high by the time we got there. It was a wild ride. Very fast. When the water is lower it seems a little more technical to me because you have to work harder to get around the boulders. The guides are all great and will explain everything before you head out. Do not miss that part. It is important that you listen to what they are saying both before and during the trip. There are kayaks that follow along to help you should you get flipped out. I have never been flipped but my husband was once and our guide was on the Reventazon. Keep in mind that you have a greater chance of flipping when in the back with the guide.

It is wonderful rafting under waterfalls and stopping to play in other waterfalls. The canyon where you can get out and float is just beautiful.

The first half of the Pacuare isn't too bad. A few exciting rapids for sure but the second half is where the real excitement is.

After your first rapid or two you will be begging for more.
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Old May 28th, 2008, 02:30 PM
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chrissyj and shillmac -- Looking forward to hearing about your rafting experience. I'm strongly considering the 2 day during my trip next year so I'm comparing the different guides and prices as well. Looking more for professional guides than lux accomodations.

Be sure to post back!
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Old May 28th, 2008, 03:50 PM
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tflanag
There is a company that will pick you up from San Jose and deliver you to the Caribbean side or to Arenal after. Exploradores Outdoors is the name.
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Old May 31st, 2008, 12:19 PM
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I'm wondering if anyone has rafted the Pacuare in March. It's the end of the dry season and I'm assuming the water will be at its lowest levels. Would $200 be better spent elsewhere?
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