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“Explor Natura was the Best” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Pacuare River Tours

Pacuare River Tours
San Jose, Costa Rica
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Ranked #11 of 79 Activities in San Jose
Attraction details
Washington DC
18 reviews 18 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
“Explor Natura was the Best”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2012

I highly recommend a white water rafting trip on the Pacuare river. I can even more highly recommend Explor Natura as a guide. We had a very good experience with them. Our booking guide Massi made everything very easy. He even answered our frantic call when we got lost on the way to our hotel the night before. We had lost our luggage on the flight and he helped us stop by a store to get some clothes. The guy was a saint!

As for the rafting, it is a great experience. Amazing views and a lot of fun for the family. However, you need to be prepared to get wet and paddle hard. Also, if you do not like risky activities, either request slower rapids in advance (Class 2 and 3), or skip this adventure altogether. If you do the class 3 and 4 rapid trip, you need to pay attention and be prepared to row, hang on, jump, etc. I would not ride Class 5 rapids if you have no experience. This is not just a ride down the river, it is a sport.

Also, weather can play a big factor so check reviews before you leave, be prepared for cancellations (esp. in wet season), and make sure you use a reputable operator that knows where/when it is and is not safe to ride the river. Again, highly recommend Explor Natura.

Visited December 2011
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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69 reviews from our community

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English first
Top Contributor
88 reviews 88 reviews
8 attraction reviews
Reviews in 52 cities Reviews in 52 cities
65 helpful votes 65 helpful votes
“great day out”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 9, 2011

As I had rafted in New Zealand, Iceland, and UK I went alone on this rafting trip because my wife thought it would be too demanding. She need not have worried as, it being independence day, most of those in the 10 rafts (six people in each + guide) were young Ticos with zero experience of rafting. Getting to the river takes some time and the last part is quite hairy (photo), but once you are in the water it is wonderful. The guide was able to assess abilities very quickly and use us to the best so that we were safe and still had loads of fun. The scenery is magnificent and you pass by various discreet eco-lodges where those on overnight trips stay. Between rapids we saw a number of bird species and swam in the water. The river is rated III-IV, but there was not a lot of water in it when I went and I'd say it was a steady III. Conditions will vary according to season and rainfall, but this is nevertheless an accessible adventure that most reasonably fit people would find manageable and exhilarating. It's a long day with an early start from San Jose, but great fun - breakfast and lunch (late afternoon) are provided, but you need to bring your own water on the raft. Finally, all the operators say you just need shorts and a T-shirt (and a change of clothes at the end). I was the only person on the trip who had a wetsuit: people seemed amused at first, but nobody was laughing by the end as the water is quite cool.

Visited September 2011
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Barbara, California
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Amazing Adventure”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2011

My wife and I went and had an amazing time. The river was especially high because of the level of rain. Our guide had serious faith in our ability and took us down very good lines in the river, which led to a couple sketchy moments, but even in those sketchy moments we felt like everything was under control.

We went with the group associated to the pacuare river lodge. They had a number of safety procedures which were appreciated, kayakers for aiding anyone who came out of the boat and the option to airlift anyone who were to get injured. Another group included many rafts which were overfilled with middle schoolers. Three of their rafts went down simultaneously and collided, leading to some serious injuries. We were worried for them, but it certainly made me more appreciative of the things put in place for us.

Visited July 2011
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Chevy Chase, MD
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
12 attraction reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
25 helpful votes 25 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
122 reviews 122 reviews
37 attraction reviews
Reviews in 67 cities Reviews in 67 cities
152 helpful votes 152 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.

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