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Whitewater Kayaking 

Whitewater Kayaking in Costa Rica

If you are a real adrenalin junkie and whitewater rafting doesn’t quite ‘do it’ for you, then chances are that going through the same rapids and down the same rivers in a kayak will be more your thing. This is certainly not a sport for the feint-hearted, that’s for sure. However, thanks to the diversity of the rivers in Costa Rica, and rapids graded from I – V, whitewater kayaking doesn’t have to mean ‘white knuckle’ kayaking, especially if you are a beginner.

Whitewater kayaking on the Pacuare River

If the Pacuare River (Rio Pacuare) has been voted as number two in the world’s Top 5 whitewater rafting rivers, then it seems logical to assume that it is also pretty impressive for whitewater kayaking! Covering over 15 miles and including 52 sets of rapids, the river will take approximately four hours to successfully navigate down its reaches.

There are several organizations which can provide guides, kayaks and all the necessary equipment for kayaking in the Pacuare River. However, here at Costa Rica Rios we specialize in providing whitewater kayaking experiences, including a beginner’s introduction to kayaking on the Pacuare River, both of which are included as part of our 8-day Adventure Tour. Whitewater kayaking can also be included in any bespoke adventure vacation package we specifically create for you.

Other great Costa Rica Rivers for whitewater kayaking

Whitewater kayaking certainly isn’t limited to the Pacuare River and, as a rule of thumb, wherever there are whitewater rafting facilities, there will be kayaks available too. What is often one of the safest ways to enjoy a whitewater kayaking experience is to combine with a group of whitewater rafters, which means that you will have the added safety of company as you make your way through sets of rapids. However, self-guided whitewater kayaking tours are a popular option, though advisable only if going as a pair or in a group.

  • Sarapiqui River (Rio Sarapiqui) – another whitewater kayaking hotspot, mainly because of the river’s length. Located on the eastern side of Costa Rica and with numerous class III and IV rapids, this is well worth a two-day outing.
  • Balsa River (Rio Balsa) – located in the Arenal / La Fortuna area, this is a great river for whitewater kayaking, especially for beginners, with class II and class III rapids. Surrounding forest packed full of wildlife to marvel at between sets of rapids.
  • Savegre River (Rio Savegre) – another family favorite and again great for young kids, with class II and class III rapids. Take time to stop off at one of the many beautiful swimming spots as you make your way down the river, and enjoy a picnic when you do.
  • Tenorio River (Rio Tenorio) – a fast-flowing river close to the Tenorio volcano. Mainly class III and Class IV rapids, so not suitable for beginners or younger children. The 15-mile stretch will take you the best part of four hours to negotiate. A great journey stop-off if you are travelling from Arenal / La Fortuna to the Guanacaste region.

Specializing in adventure vacations in Costa Rica, here at Costa Rica Rios, aside from our 8-day Adventure Tour and Honeymoon Adventure Package, we can create individual, bespoke adventure packages to concentrate on your favored activities.

It is hard to resist the allure of Costa Rica if you like exploring and are looking for the adventure of a lifetime, so take advantage of our local knowledge and give us a call. We’ll be glad to talk you through all you can expect from a vacation in Costa Rica, and happily answer any questions you may have.


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