We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Check the weather before you go” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Pacuare River Tours

Pacuare River Tours
San Jose, Costa Rica
Improve this listing
Chevy Chase, MD
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
15 attraction reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
“Check the weather before you go”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 14, 2011

When we got to the operation center for our rafting trip it was still raining. We were told that the water level was too high to raft into the lodge, but we could hike in. We agreed to do so...our first mistake. The van took us to a dirt road. We then changed to a pickup truck older than any of you. Peter and Dick rode in the back with the guides. Joan and I squeezed in next to the driver. We drove for about 20 minutes and were dropped...nowhere, where we began our hike. The first 20 minutes or so was on a washed out road with mud up to our calves. I was wearing tivas which stuck in the muck and slid off my feet. One of the guides took off his shoes and gave them to me. I gratefully accepted. We then found ourselves at the top of a path that led down, down, down to the river. 750 steps later with a rope bridge crossing and many ups and downs, we arrived at the lodge.

It was quite nice! Our private rooms overlooked the river and with a hot shower behind us we felt terrific. It was still raining. We had a good dinner, retired early and looked forward to the next day hiking to waterfalls, swimming in clear pools and generally enjoying the spectacular scenery. It was still raining.

The next morning the river was higher than the day before but we set out on the planned hike. Did I mention that we were the only people at this lodge that can accommodate over 100? (We later found out that all the other groups had been cancelled). Anyway, it had stopped raining and we set out. Thirty minutes into the walk it started raining again. Downpour, Buckets, Torrential. We continued on hoping to reach the waterfall, but the bridge was washed away and the feeder streams were overflowing, so we turned around arriving back at the lodge drenched, but still in good spirits. We were still hoping to raft the gorge the next day.

The afternoon passed playing bridge and talking. The Meisters are good sports and good company. Another evening passed with good food but we were still the only folks at the lodge.

Now the condensed version: Night fell. Rain increased. Trees fell. Paths washed away. More rain, More rain. Generator failed. No water. More rain. Tree fell. Limbs pierced side of cabin next to ours. Snakes fled their holes. We spent the night thinking we would be washed away in a mud slide or devoured by snakes fleeing the deluge.

Morning came. Obviously the river had risen so there was to be no rafting. The only way out was to hike back up the mountain, another 750 steps, long paths, downpour, mud. At the top of the trail, horses were waiting to take us to the paved road. Seems that the dirt road had washed away and the only way out was on horseback.

So the missed rafting this very beautiful river but would try again when we next return to Costa Rica.

Visited February 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

75 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Top Contributor
129 reviews 129 reviews
40 attraction reviews
Reviews in 72 cities Reviews in 72 cities
162 helpful votes 162 helpful votes
“Amazing Trip”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 26, 2011

Just took a trip down the Pacuare River and LOVED it! The scenery was just spectacular. We were there while the water level was low, so we were able to better take in the beauty that surrounded us throughout the trip. But there was plenty of adventure to be had, none the less. Can't help but to end up soaked within minutes of departure, which was much more welcomed as the trip progressed, since the water was a bit chilly.
We took a local group from Turrialba, Tico River Tours and were very pleased. Only one raft with a safety kayak trailing behind, just in case..... Our guide, Fabio, spoke great English and had us laughing and interested as we scurried down the river. We researched this excursion pretty extensively before leaving, and were pleased to know that they 18 miles of the Pacuare whereas many other operators do less. Lunch was very good, about the half way point of the trip.
Regardless of which company you choose, some advice for the novices out there.....
1. Wearing a ball cap under your helmet helps to keep sun off your face.
2. Put on waterproof sunblock at least on the tops of your legs and arms and neck areas.
3. Bring a waterproof camera if possible. One that takes videos is nice too. (I strapped mine to my lifevest for easy access)
4. For the most exciting ride imaginable, sit in the very front of the raft.
5. The point that you stop at for lunch actually has a toilet facility, but you have to hunt for it. It's hidden. Walk up the cliff to the large thatched hut, go through it, and continue on the trail for just a bit and you'll see a makeshift little hut just ahead. Peek inside and it has a toilet and a sink. (Not sure even our guide knew about it)

Enjoy your trip!

Visited February 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Baltimore, Maryland
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
“Incredible rafting experience, the quintessential Costa Rican Adventure.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2010

We did an overnight rafting trip with Rios Tropicales on the beautiful Pacuare river, and were extremely happy with every aspect of the trip. The people at Rios Tropicales were easy to deal with, the rafting guide was very skilled and personable, the lodge was amazing (in the most beautiful setting of any of the lodges on the river, with 2 natural waterfall pools to swim in) and the food was good. If anyone is trying to decide whether to do the overnight or the single day rafting trips, the overnight was a much better value. The first day was category 2 - 3 rapids, and we were able to stop to hike to waterfalls and for lunch along the way (which the single day trips don't have time to do). The lodge stay was a lot of fun, and included a canopy zip-line tour, which made it a great value. Then the second day of rafting was even more exciting than the first because there are category 3 and 4 rapids. I am basically a chicken and was going to hike out and not do the 2nd day rapids, but the guide was so good, that he convinced me to stick with the rafting, and I had a blast. We didn't flip, no one was thrown from the boat, and the big rapids were really fun. So our family of 4 strongly recommends this adventure, and we will be using Rios Tropicales for a trip to another part of Costa Rica in the near future. Also, if you want to go to a beautiful beach area in CR, we love Tamarindo - here's a great place to stay www.costaricacasademurales.info.

Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
“Highlight of Costa Rica Vacation”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 5, 2010

We booked on line with Rio Tropicales. They picked us up early in the morning at our San Jose hotel and took us on a nice bus to their operations center where we had a great Tico breakfast. Then on to the Pacuare River for our journey down river. Our guide "Jimmy" was great and there were only six of us in the raft including the guide. We did the 1 day trip which takes you down the entire river...takes about 3 hours or so...but we saw wonderful lodges owned by each of the rafting companies which looked great. We met some people that stayed one night and thought it was awesome. The views are truly spectacular along the river. The rapids were very exciting. Having rafted in California seveal times we really did not know what to expect. These were the most exciting rapids we had ever experienced....and top it off, when we got back we were transported to the operations center once again to enjoy a very nice and filling traditional Tico meal. I generally don't care for riding a bus but the views on the 2 hour trip were great, so the time flew. I would definitely recommend Rio Tropicales, however all the companies are basically doing the same trip, so just check on what's included in the pr ice. $98 seemed reasonable considereing the 2 meals, door to door transport and of course the spectacular and exciting trip down the river.

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
14 reviews 14 reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“White glove river rafting”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 2, 2010

My son and I took the "white glove" river rafting experience on the Pacuare River offered by Costa Rica Expeditions. It was $50 more than the run of the mill rafting trips and worth every penny of it. We had private hotel pick-up in San Jose and a direct run to and from the River. It included a gourmet lunch, a private raft with a great guide, a CD with photos of us taken along the 4 hour trip by a photographer that accompanied us by kayak, drinks after the tour, and our schedule was their schedule. All of the support crew was professional and well trained.
Next time the whole family of 5 will do this trip. It was a fabulous experience.

Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Pacuare River Tours also viewed

San Jose, San Jose Metro
Costa Rica, Central America
San Jose, San Jose Metro

Been to Pacuare River Tours? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Pacuare River Tours, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.