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“Canyoning & Rio Toro were the best”

Desafio Adventure Company
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Canyoning in the Lost Canyon
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Desafio Adventure Company is considered the pioneering tour outfitter in Costa Rica's Epicenter of Adventure near the Arenal Volcano since 1992. Desafio offers high-quality rafting, canyoning, biking, hiking, birdwatching, kayaking, stand up paddling, unique cultural experiences, transfer with tour services, incentive programs, volunteer opportunities and much more. We only have two rules: 1) Be Safe! and 2) Have Serious Fun! Look for Desafio in Downtown La Fortuna near the Arenal Volcano or take the Desafio Adventure Connections to the Monteverde, Guanacaste, San Jose, Manuel Antonio, Playa Samara and now Leon, Nicaragua! Desafio is family-owned and operated and your "one-stop-shop" for adventure travel in Costa Rica and beyond!
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Food available for purchase, Wheelchair access, Activities for young children, Lockers / storage, Activities for older children
Reviewed April 4, 2010

We did both the canyoning and Rio Toro class 3 & 4 rafting trips with Desafio. My family includes my husband and I and my 16 year old son and 13 year old daughter. Both activities were outstanding with canyoning rating the best by our entire family. The canyoning was a 1/2 day trip (about 30 minutes drive each way) which consisted of 2 small rapels and 2 large rapels. You hiked through a steam and along rocks to get to the various rapels. My family enjoyed the hiking almost as much as the rapels. The guides were terrific. Safety was always their top concern, but they wanted to be sure the experience was fun. I have a small fear of heights, but had no problems doing any of the rapels. They take excellent pictures and we were able to buy a CD for $35 which contained over 50 photos of my family.

We also did the all day class 3 & 4 raft trip. They also offer a 1/2 day class 2 & 3. (We talked to someone who did the 1/2 day they said it was fun, but fairly tame.) I'm glad we chose the Rio Toro. It did take about an hour and 20 minutes to get to the rafting spot. The rafting itself was a blast. After spending 15 minutes reviewing rafting safety, we set off in 4- 6 person rafts for 2 1/2 hours of rafting. The rapids were almost continous. Expect to get very wet. We stopped part way for a swim break. We went rafting once before on the Snake River in Wyoming and we found this to be alot more fun. CD for great pictures was $25.

After both trips you receive a similar lunch of rice, black beans, tomatoes and costa rican style stew.

I would highly recommend both tours and the Desafio company.

I booked both trips before I left the US. After communicating with them through e-mail, they told me if I faxed my form I could receive a small discount. (I think it was about $7 pp per activity). Booking directly through the internet, they were not able to offer the reduced fee.

1  Thank ILMomof2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed April 2, 2010

We had a great time traveling with Desafio. We booked our entire trip through them after reading the great reviews on here. The vacation was hassle free, with each of the drivers and activities always running on schedule. The staff was very friendly and very accommodating. Except for one hotel they booked us in that we weren't crazy about, the rest of the trip was amazing. We highly recommend the canyoneering, white water rafting (rio toro) and Sky Zip Lining. A great adventure!

Thank Wellington31
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 31, 2010

I booked with Desafio for their Mambo Combo. That consisted of canyoneering in the morning with white water rafting in the afternoon. I'll admit it was costly, but DEFINITELY worth the price! I was warned by someone that it was a full day and I would be dead tired but it was quite the opposite. My day was so exciting I had energy to spare!

My canyoneering guides were Hernan and Victor and they made the experience memorable. They splashed us all with water and expertly led us through the path. Now, I'm not afraid of heights but seeing the first platform is quite scary. I have a fear of falling but I love the fact that canyoneering allows me to go at my own pace, meaning I could go down as fast or as slow as I wanted. Rather than look behind at how far I had to drop, I chose to look up and enjoy the natural beauty of the trees and birds around me. I've never felt so at peace in my life! That strategy worked as the final rappel is more than 200 feet to the ground. WARNING: canyoneering is NOT for people with knee or ankle problems! Yes, there are rappels, but the majority of the tour consists of hiking up and down slippery large rocks with water rushing around and over you. After the last rappel it's quite a strenuous hike back up to the base camp. No one talked because the last fifteen minutes will definitely test your cardio ability. Once we got upstairs there was a home cooked meal prepared for us - a typical Tico meal of chicken, casava (yuca for you Americans), cabbage, and rice. After eating, the Jungle Limo took us to the bottom of the road where I was picked up for my white water rafting portion.

I had never been white water rafting and quite honestly didn't know what to expect. The ride to the Rio Balsa was 45 minutes long and the head guide Ariel talked everyone through the safety instructions. He successfully scared me within the span of five minutes with talk of falling in the river and leading with our feet so our heads won't crash into the rocks. I secretly wished I could call it quits but followed through. I'm glad that I did because white water rafting was both exciting and peaceful. Exciting because there were moments where we had to duck into the raft so we wouldn't capsize and peaceful when the river got calm and we had an opportunity to glide and take in the beautiful trees around us. We stopped about halfway (one hour in) and pulled off to the side for some fresh pineapple and bananas before we took off for our final hour. After the tour was over we got a hot, homemade Tico meal (my second for the day) before everyone was driven back to La Fortuna and dropped off to their hotel. I'll admit it was a long day but I would recommend it to anyone who can take it. There's nothing like experiencing two new things in your life in the span of nine hours. I felt like I was in good hands all day long.

2  Thank appetite4trvl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 31, 2010

I Booked Travel From San Jose to La Fortuna with Desafio. they picked us up at our hotel in the morning and drove us to a meeting place where we went white water rafting. the rafting trip was excellent and the guides were a lot of fun. After the rafting they gave us lunch and the drove us to our hotel. the rafting broke up the long trip between cities and was very exciting. also our driver stopped a few times when he spotted something in a tree by the side of the road so we got an up close look at a sloth and some toucans on our way to La Fortuna.

Thank liamall
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 30, 2010

My son and his girl friend did Desafio's rappelling in la fortuna last year, they loved so much! So we just went in March 2010, and it was TRUE! we love adventures, like rafting, skiing, but first time rappelling in the rainforest. The scenery rainforest is so green and beautiful, the rappelling is fun, the hike in the canyon was fun. One place we sat between 2 rocks, the waterfall just pouring on us, the loud sound, it was just crazy! We had such good time, highly recommend it.

Thank bobolee55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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