Costa Rica has become extreme sports heaven, and whitewater rafting and rock climbing are just two of the adrenaline boosting offerings in paradise. Adventurers and novices alike will find whitewater rafting and rock climbing expeditions tailor-made for memories and return visits.
Beginners will want to stick with Class II and Class III rivers for their initial Costa Rica whitewater rafting experiences. Rivers like the Reventazon, Sarapiqui, Penas Blancas, and Savegre take it a bit easier on folks who are still getting used to remembering which end of the paddle goes in the water and which stays inside the raft. Learn at your own pace and enjoy the scenery.
Once you feel confident on white water, or if you are a seasoned at whitewater rafting already, you’ll find plenty of class IV and V whitewater rafting rivers to keep your wits sharp and your shirt wet.
The hands down best white water rafting trip in Costa Rica (or possibly anywhere) is a ride down the scenic Pacuare River. Although the government would like to build a hydroelectric dam on the Pacuare, thereby ruining it for whitewater rafting, it hasn’t happened yet and multiple protests so far have kept the possibility at bay—all the more reason to choose whitewater rafting down the Pacuare now over any other adventure if you possibly can.
Adventures Naturales (www.toenjoynature.com) runs two-day whitewater rafting excursions down the Pacuare with an overnight at its lush Pacuare Jungle Lodge. They can also set up whitewater rafting excursions on almost any of the major rivers in Costa Rica set to the abilities of the rafting party: easy, moderate, or advanced.
Another great resource, Costa Rica Whitewater (www.costaricaexpeditions.com), is one of the first outfitting pioneers to guide whitewater rafting tours down Costa Rica’s scenic rivers. It remains one of the best rafting operations in the country.
Whitewater rafting pros and addicts would also do well to invest in a copy of Lee Eudy’s Chasing Jaguars: The Complete Guide to Costa Rican Whitewater. Packed with photos, technical advice, and whitewater rafting routes on almost all the major rivers in Costa Rica, Eudy’s guide has set the reference standard for Costa Rica whitewater.
Dried off and ready to rumble? Check out the relatively new sport of Costa Rica rock climbing for desert. You’ll find a number of interesting rock formations just outside of San Jose along the Cerra de la Muerte, as well as great rocking climbing on Mount Chirripo.
Since Costa Rica rock climbing is still in its infancy as a sport, outfitters are few, but you can set up a respectable still climbing adventure at Tropical Bungee (www.bungee.co.cr), or Mundo Adventura (www.maventura.com).