Rafting on Pacuare river in Costa Rica
On the 3rd May 2012 I decided to try rafting for the first time in my life. To say that I was a bit scared is true. Not that I am scared of water, I love it (as you can see at my photos) but I do not like waves – bad experiences. But anyway, knowing your fears and still overcoming them is what makes you feel better.
I chose Exploradores Outdoors as I have heard they are the best agency for rafting in Costa Rica. They picked me up at 6.10 am in Totem Hotel Beach Resort in Puerto Viejo where I was staying. Then together with the other passengers we continued to their Exploration Center in Siquires.
During 1.5 hours in the car, Miguel, our guide, explained us a lot about what we were going to do during the tour, told us about Costa Rica and its production (bananas, coffee, pineapple, chocolate) and we learned about the geography of Costa Rica and its 3 mountain ranges, volcanoes and rivers. It was all important to understand better where we were 🙂 I am always glad to hear new information, especially when it is said in a funny and nice way, thanks Miguel!
Then I took a quick nap and woke up when we got to the center. We had a huge breakfast there which consisted of scrambled eggs, rice, beans, fruit, cereals, coffee and tea.
Meantime, another 2 groups of people came, one from San Jose and the other one from Arenal volcano La Fortuna. Exploradores Outdoors are the first travel agency I have ever seen that does this: they pick up the tourists from 3 different places (Caribbean beaches, San Jose and La Fortuna), they do rafting (or one of the other tours they offer, such as Tortuguero Expedition) and after the tour they take the passengers to any of the three directions again. It doesn’t have to be the same where they picked you up, so after the tour you can straight away continue your trip to a different place and it is included in the price. This is a huge plus to the agency!
When we were all ready, we put on the swim suit, clothes, shoes that won’t fall down, took the sunscreen, water and cameras and left the rest of our stuff in the lockers. The car took us another 30 minutes to the top of the river where we embarked. While driving, Miguel explained to us all the important information about rafting – the main commands, such as forward, backward, left back, right back etc, how not to fall down from the raft, what to do in case you do fall down, how to help someone to get back to the raft etc.
Then we divided into 2 groups as it was only 9 of us. So me and another 3 girls were together with our guide Esteban, the other 5 people (a family of three, Christopher – a Canadian guy and a another guy) with another guide. There was a photographer on a canoe and Miguel on another canoe taking care of us in case something happened.
We got to the rafts, put on the sunscreen (not on the back of the legs nor ass so we didn’t fall out of the raft, nor forehead so the helmet didn’t move), the life jackets, helmets and took a paddle. Everyone jumped on the raft and Esteban showed us all the commands and everything that Miguel explained us in the car so we knew how it worked in practice.
And the fun started! We did rafting in the best river in Costa Rica – PACUARE river which according to National Geographic is one of top 10 rafting rivers in the world. Yeah, the first rafting ever and already on one of the top world rivers? Of course I was a bit scared. But the fear left me after the first 5 rapids I think and I started loving it. It was the biggest fun I had in the last couple of weeks! 38 rapids of class III and IV (the maximum is the class VI) along 30 km (18 miles), yes, that took us almost 4 hours altogether.
I think we were a good team. We were laughing, enjoying every single second and screaming during every rapid, especially when we had to go down and sit in the raft. We were living the moment. And Esteban, our guide, was such a cutie! Such a charming, smiling and nice guy. I think we all fell in love with him, even though he was much younger than all 4 of us 😀
While rafting we saw a couple of tall waterfalls, butterflies flying around and crossed 2 canyons. Rio Pacuare is magical. The nature around will take your breathe away. When you don’t paddle, take time to enjoy it!
After almost 3 hours we stopped, got out of the rafts and the guides prepared us lunch. I was surprised how delicious it was! We got tortillas, beans, different kinds of vegetables, pineapple, nuts, and much more. So yummy! Deserved big lunch after losing so much energy in the water. In a tree we saw there this cute female bird.
After the lunch, we continued rafting for another hour. We swapped the sides and the first minutes it was very weird to get used to paddle with different arms. We survived some more rapids without falling down. Woo hoo! Then the rain came and we jumped into the water to enjoy it more! We all loved it! Very fast the end of our rafting came. Such a shame! I think that day I found a new sport I like!
We actually ended up in the Exploration Center again just next to Pacuare river, took showers, changed into dry clothes and picked up our bags. Guys enjoyed a beer. We could buy souvenirs, such as CDs with photos from the rafting or T-shirts. Then we said sad goodbye to our guides, everyone sat in the van heading off to one of the three directions around Costa Rica I already mentioned and took a nap in the van on the way there. I am sure that me, Justine, Ashley and Alaine, all 4 girls that spent half day with Esteban, left thinking of his cute smile and eyes!
I am really glad I did rafting with Exploradores Outdoors. It turned out that all the guides and the services the agency offers were amazing (they all speak perfect English) and I fell in love not only with our guide, but also with rafting itself. I can’t wait to do it again!
- bring sunscreen (preferably a natural cold pressed oil with SPF)
- bottled water
- T-shirt not from cotton
- sandals or shoes for water that won’t drop off
- clothes and shoes to change
- swim suit
My Pacuare rafting trip was done by Exploradores Outdoors. It was one of the best trips I’ve ever done! For more information, please visit Exploradores Outdoors website.