Rafting Costa Rica’s Pacuare River!

If you can only do one thing in Costa Rica…

With so many unique, adventure activity choices in Costa Rica, it is very easy to find something for everyone. While it doesn’t happen often, travelers passing through the country can have limited time or resources and are faced with the problem of not enough time in Costa Rica. Fortunately, most people that visit Costa Rica take about one week to explore this country, but for those with only one night – we have the answer and know you will not be disappointed!

Believe it or not this is an easier question to answer than one might think…

Rio Pacuare (River): Costa Rica White Water Rafting
No vacation is complete without a white water rafting adventure on Costa Rica’s famous Pacuare River!

Rafting the Mighty Rio Pacuare

“Rio Pacuare!” members of the Costa Rica Escapes team will collectively & enthusiastically answer! Travelers that want to take full advantage of their limited time in this country must experience white-water rafting the Pacuare (Pah-KWAH-ree) River. Overall, this paddle-sport adventure leaves people in awe and provides an absolutely unforgettable white-water experience.

Pacuare river rafting is a one-of-a-kind and offers visitors an incredible and genuine look into the primary rainforest of Costa Rica. Naturally, and as Mother Nature intended, is the way that paddlers will experience this world-renowned river.

Kayaking or rafting Costa Rica’s Rio Pacuare is ideally spent as an overnight trip, to enhance the visitor’s adventure. The overnight trip breaks the rafting into 2 portions and allows paddlers the chance to sleep at one of the river’s eco-lodges and riverside campsites. With this experience travelers get a million-star experience as they truly feel what it is like to sleep in the rainforest.

Pacuare River Camping Conditions

These eco-lodges and campsites are an oasis in the jungle. All accommodations have running water, full kitchens and dry, clean sleeping quarters. Some of these accommodations are nicer than others and they range from luxurious cabins with queen size beds, a private balcony & wading pool to large tents with plush mattresses placed on raised wooden platforms.

Accessing the Pacuare River

The Pacuare River (or Rio Pacuare), both a class III & IV river, runs through West to East through the Talamanca Mountains and ultimately ends in the Caribbean Ocean. This river is most easily accessed from the Costa Rican adventure capital of the East – Turrialba. Turrialba has numerous commercial outfitters that have been running this river for years.

The Pacuare River has numerous put-in points. While the river is accessible from the capital city of San Jose and other population and tourism hubs around the country, the easiest way to take a guided trip on this river is out of Turrialba.

The most often used put-in is located in a town just outside of Turrialba, called Tres Equis. Commercial outfitters use numerous put-in spots further up-river from Tres Equis, but these are normally reserved for special paddling trips or kayak tours.

A Rafting Journey Down the Pacuare

From Tres Equis to the standard take-out location of Siquirres, the Pacuare River stretches about 18 scenic miles through a Biological Indigenous Reserve, where the native Cabecar Indians continue to exist as they have for hundreds of years. The river drops an astonishing 1,014 feet from Tres Equis to Siquirres and provides for some absolutely incredible & adrenaline-pumping moments! With rapids named “Bienvenidos,” “Cimarrones,” “Dos Montañas,” “Huacas Arriba & Huacas Abajo,” this river has a lot of character with many stories. We encourage those visiting to make sure they take the time to explore this beautifully intense river.

Protecting the Pacuare River

For years, government agencies, power companies and others within Costa Rica have sought to create capital gains by way of hydroelectric dams on the Pacuare River. These petitions and bids to dam the Pacuare have been overwhelmingly denied time and time again. This is a constant battle. Stay tuned for more information on these failed attempts and find out in future blogs how you can support this cause.


Interested in a Costa Rica white water rafting trip on the Pacuare River? Let us plan a trip for your next adventure!