Named by National Geographic as one of the world’s greatest rafting rivers, the Pacuare is Costa Rica’s most phenomenal playground. Revered by adventure seekers in the know, the Pacuare River is indeed Costa Rica’s best adrenaline rush. A collection of exceptional rapids have made this the whitewater rafting, kayaking and river boarding capital of the country and the prized river has hosted no less than three World Rafting Championships in the last two decades. Yet the immense attraction of the Pacuare River isn’t found only in its raging rapids: flowing for more than 60 miles from its source in the Talamanca Mountains all the way to the Caribbean, the Pacuare River crosses some of the most spectacular and diverse wilderness in the entire country.
The Pacuare River is the true personification of ‘tropical paradise’, as it meanders through deeply carved gorges right in the heart of some of the most pristine and unspoilt rain forests on earth. Not only does the river offer warm waters in which to play but its surrounding landscapes hide a kaleidoscope of unique wildlife, including sloths, monkeys, raccoons, iguanas, an infinite array of exotic birds, as well as coatis, ocelots and – for the luckiest of visitors – even elusive jaguars.
An unforgettable ride on the Pacuare River isn’t just exhilarating and soul-reviving, it is also insanely scenic.
Eco-lodges embedded in the jungle – like the Pacuare Eco Lodge – make for fantastic base points and when you embark on an adventure-vacation in Costa Rica’s best rafting region you’ll get to experience no only the country’s pristine wilderness but also its indigenous culture. That’s what makes the Pacuare River so unmissable: it’s easy to get to yet still feels incredibly remote, and offers the best of the country’s nature and culture.
Rafting the Pacuare River is, perhaps surprisingly, suitable for anyone with an adventurous spirit. Although there are plenty of Class IV and V rapids, there are also a handful of sections suitable for beginners who visit on guided trips. Aside for the expert stretches which require a great deal of skill, the Pacuare is also renowned as a fantastic beginner rafter’s river. Unlike many other rafting rivers all over the world, moreover, the Pacuare offers year-round adventures so no matter what time of year you can manage a week off work and routine, you can always come over and enjoy a superlative adventure.
The Pacuare may travel unrestricted for its entire length yet this doesn’t mean that the landscape remains uniform. The Lower Section, for example, runs for more than 20 miles and drops over 1000 feet, offering Class III and IV rapids and breathtaking waterfalls as the river flows into the stunning Huacas Gorge. Hikes and other non-rafting activities (such as canopy tours, ziplining and mountain biking) are always on offer in this superb wonderland of nature and the proximity of the turquoise seas means you can easily add a day or two of snorkeling, surfing and SCUBA diving to your itinerary.
The best starting points for adventure vacations on the Pacuare River are only 80 kilometres east of San Jose which you means you can step off the plane and find yourself immersed in this pristine wilderness within just a few hours. Ease of access, short transfer times and, of course, the luxury of short flights from the US is what makes a week of adventure in Costa Rica such a popular vacation option. No long-haul flights, no jet lag, no tiredness and fabulous value for money are just a few of the reasons Costa Rica is one of the most popular destinations for US and Canadian residents, and when you choose an adventure vacation on the Pacuare River your rewards are tenfold.
Ready for the adventure of a lifetime on the Pacuare River? Then visit our Costa Rica Rios page and come discover how much fun, exhilaration and relaxation you have on one of the world’s most celebrated rivers.