Sarapiqui Whitewater Rafting Tours | La Fortuna | Costa Rica
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La Fortuna, Costa Rica

La Fortuna Sarapiqui Rafting Tour
Whitewater Class III & IV

La Fortuna Sarapiqui Whitewater Rafting

Are you ready for a whitewater adventure that careens down 40 Class III and IV rapids on a nearly 14-mile-long rafting trip? Satisfying for experienced rafters and suitable for first-timers, the untamed Sarapiqui River awaits.

Prepare to Hit Rolling Rapids

Before the action begins, there's time to relax and take in the glorious surroundings as the included air-conditioned drive from your hotel takes you through some seriously scenic spots, and sloth sightings are common along the way. Enjoy a drive past vast expanses of lush countryside, through tiny villages, and the charming town of San Miguel.

You arrive at El Roble de Sarapiqui, a hamlet set alongside its namesake river. It's here you'll huddle with an experienced bilingual guide to go over some safety basics and suit up with pro gear: a life jacket and helmet.

Then you shove off, getting a bit of practice with your paddling as you ease through calm waters toward the thrilling whitewater that awaits. As an extra safety precaution, guides in kayaks bring up the rear and keep watch over the outing. Paddling through these tumbling waters is tricky enough, so best to strap on a GoPro if you want video of the trip as camera phones aren't practical. Don't worry if you don't have a GoPro, a professional photographer is along for the ride and a collection of shots of you in action are available for purchase after the run.

Wild Whitewater Comes Up Quickly

The first half of the trip is where you'll encounter some of the more intense Class IV rapids, taking on rolling whitewater that's earned names like "The Terminator" and "Dos Locos." As you go over more than three-dozen sections of whitewater, you'll have about a minute in between them before the bumpy ride begins again. But there are a few serene spots where you can settle into a leisurely paddle and take in the amazing rainforest terrain all around, spotting spider monkeys in the trees and keel-billed toucans in the air. A small waterfall tempts you to glide under its cascading waters.

A Fruit-Filled Break on the Riverbank

Ready for a breather? You've hit the half-way point and a smooth section of river that's perfect for a break on the shore. Your guide has brought along fresh tropical fruits such as mango, pineapple, and watermelon, sliced on the spot. It's a perfect chance to ease back and rest, or the more active of you may wish to go for a quick swim in the slow-moving current. It's also a good time to take in the nature all around you, with blue morpho butterflies fluttering through the air, while sloths are bound to be lazing somewhere nearby.

Then you're off again for the second leg of the adventure. While the rapids tend to run higher and faster during the Green Season, from May to November when there's more rain, you can almost always count on the Sarapiqui to offer wild rides.


As this can be a turbulent trip, some tips on attire are in order. You'll get soaked, so wear light clothing that can get doused, water shoes, and consider long pants if you want to avoid any sunburn on your legs. If you choose to wear sunglasses, a safety strap is recommended because one odd bounce and they'll be lost to the river. You'll be glad you brought a dry set of clothing to slip into after the run is over.

Speaking of, after you tumble through the last of the whitewater the trip glides to an end. Onshore, a guide greets you with a dry towel and a bag to carry any wet clothing you wish to free yourself of.

Finish with a Fine Meal

Back at home base, you may wish to shower off and slip on a fresh set of clothing in a changing room. Though you may not even take the time as a tempting buffet awaits at an open-air riverside restaurant, loaded with traditional Costa Rican cuisine that's sure to satisfy all. Choose entrees such as grilled chicken breast or go with vegetarian options including grilled vegetables, slow-cooked plantains, candied pumpkin, and sweet potato puree among the farm-fresh items. Top your garden salad with a choice of salsas that spans five intensity levels, from mild passion fruit to fiery pineapple chile salsa.

Enjoy the serene haven a bit, perhaps glide on the idyllic swing by the river to enjoy your last few moments in the tranquil haven. Then it's off for a ride back to your hotel, where you'll probably be torn between watching the scenery slip past and using the free WiFi to get your Dropbox pics to post online.

So if a whitewater challenge is on your must-do list during your trip to Costa Rica (as it should be!), this thrilling river expedition is an excellent choice.
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Jose Jimenez

Longmont, Colorado
WHAT A BLAST! We had a great time. This was a real adventure. The class IV's will make you pucker. :0

Don Samuels

Syracuse, New York
The was a great day. All the staff and guides were great. Our guide Alejandro was a total pro in the bigger rapids. He definitely put us all at ease. It was a thrill ride for sure.

Josie Wynn

Philadelphia, Penn
I've been rafting all over the US and this was a unique experience. The class IV rapids were really challenging. This was truly a day well spent.

John Beckman

Denver , Colorado

This rafting trip was an absolute blast! Don't miss it if you're in the Arenal or La Fortuna area.

Josh Taylor

Salt Lake City, Utah
Adrenaline rush for sure. The class IV's are a serious rush. Highly recommended.

April Sanford

Boston, Massachussets
We had an amazing time on this trip. Our guide was super knowledgable and excellent in the rapids. Great work!