Frequently Asked Questions
DO WE END AT THE SAME POINT WHERE WE STARTED?
All rafting trips have “put-in” and “take-out” points. We provide transportation to where the rafting trip starts (the “put-in”) and will pick you up downstream where it ends (the “take-out”).
DO WE HAVE TO PADDLE?
Indeed, you do! Not really hard or too much, but with rhythm and coordination with the rest of your team in the raft.
HOW COLD IS THE WATER? WILL I GET ALL WET?
Water in the tropics is not really cold. Yes, you will get totally wet! We go rafting in the rainforest on the Caribbean slope of Costa Rica, where humidity is high and the weather is usually hot, so the water feels wonderfully refreshing. Please check the “What to Bring” list for your trip.
HOW MANY PEOPLE FALL OUT FROM THE RAFT DURING YOUR TRIPS?
As a general rule, if you are active when it’s time to paddle, you have a much less chance of falling out of the raft. Some days we take down the river over 100 guests, and no one falls out. The next day, we might bring 5 people, and they all end up in the water. Some guests choose to jump out of the raft and take a refreshing swim (when possible) in beautiful, calm places in the river.
WHY DO PEOPLE FALL OUT OF RAFTS?
People can fall out of their raft when they don’t follow the guide’s commands, are not paying attention, are not paddling, or are apprehensive about paddling. Our guides do their best, but sometimes river rapids or lack of paddling coordination among guests will put the raft in a position that the guide did not intend.
IS SWIMMING OR RAFTING EXPERIENCE REQUIRED?
No experience is required for any of our rafting or multi-day trips, although we encourage you to feel comfortable in the water. You do not need to know how to swim because all rafting guests wear PFDs, but again, you want to be comfortable if you should find yourself out of the raft. While previous rafting experience is not required, we do want you to be ready to paddle with your fellow guests and be able to follow your guide’s commands.
WHAT SHOULD I BRING WITH ME? HOW SHOULD I PACK FOR MY TRIP?
Comfortable clothing and quick-drying fabrics are recommended. You should have strap-on sandals or water shoes, straps for sun or prescription glasses, sunblock, a water bottle, and a waterproof camera or waterproof holder for your cellphone if you want to take pictures. Bring an extra change of clothing and a towel for after rafting. Have some cash handy for optional drinks, souvenirs, and tips for your guides if you enjoyed your trip! Please see our detailed What to Bring list for everything you need on a one-day or multi-day Tropical Rivers adventure trip.
HOW FAR IN ADVANCE SHOULD I BOOK MY TRIP?
You can book anytime for your trip, but please note that advance reservations (two or more weeks in advance for day trips, and four or more weeks in advance for multi-day trips) are the best guarantee of trip availability on your preferred dates. We accept reservations the day before a trip, but we are often sold out for our most popular trips, so please be aware of that.
HOW DO I BOOK A TRIP?
We offer you different ways:
- You can request a trip online on our website, submitting your trip dates and the number of guests in your group. We will confirm availability and email or call you within 24 hours to book your trip.
- You can also send us an email to [email protected] requesting your trip with your details: name, number of participants, date, and trip you want to book. We will check availability and email you or call you back with the link to make a secure online payment to reserve your trip.
- You can also call us in Costa Rica at +506 8399-1213 and make your reservation over the phone, assisted by our friendly, bilingual reservations staff.
- Or message us on WhatsApp at +506 8399-1213.
WHAT IF I HAVE MY OWN CAR?
You can drive on your own to our breakfast place. The meeting time is at 8:00 a.m. Once there, you will enjoy an excellent Costa Rican breakfast (included) and get ready for the trip. We will provide the transportation from there to the river and back, leaving your car parked safely at the restaurant. When your rafting trip is over, we will bring you back to the restaurant to get your vehicle.
WHERE IS THE LODGE?
The lodge is located in the Caribbean region of Costa Rica, within the Pacuare Protected Zone, about 20 miles from the town of Siquirres, at an altitude of 770 ft. above sea level.
CAN I GET TO THE LODGE BY CAR?
No. The lodge is accessible only by rafting on the river or hiking through the rainforest from a remote town. The lodge is located in a remote area, partially accessible with a 4×4 vehicle to a trailhead. Then, you must hike 30 minutes or more on a nature trail in the rainforest down the side of the valley until you reach our suspension bridge at the Pacuare River that takes you safely across to the lodge. The most common way to get to the lodge (and the most fun way!) is to paddle downriver in our rafts.
WILL I HAVE BREAKFAST ON THE WAY TO THE RIVER?
Yes. For Pacuare rafting trips, we will stop at a restaurant where you will enjoy a typical Costa Rican hot breakfast with “gallo pinto,” abundant fresh fruit, coffee, juice, and more, surrounded by beautiful gardens. There you will change and prepare for your rafting trip.
DO YOU OFFER LAND TRANSPORTATION TO THE LODGE?
Land transportation can be coordinated in advance or be combined with river/land access if required due to special needs.
WHAT IS THE WEATHER LIKE?
It all depends on when you visit us and if it is our dry or rainy season. Keep in mind that we are located in the rainforest, and you should be prepared for unpredictable weather changes. Usually, mornings are sunny, and afternoons might be rainy, ranging from liquid sunshine to severe rain. Temperatures most often range from 50 F up to 90 F. Our dry season goes from December through April, and our rainy season is from May to November.
WHAT HAPPENS WITH OUR LUGGAGE – CAN I BRING IT ON THE TRIP?
We have some lockers available for you to store any excess luggage safely and securely while you are on the Pacuare River rafting trip.
WHAT IS THE MINIMUM AGE TO GO ON A TRIP? WHAT HAPPENS WHEN SOMEBODY IS UNDER THE MINIMUM AGE?
The minimum age varies by trip. Please see the specific trip for what minimum age we have stated. For your safety and that of all our guests, we adhere to important height/weight requirements for every person on our rafting trips. We assess each situation individually. Please note that water levels and weather conditions are changing during the year, and we do our utmost to ensure all our clients’ safety.
WHAT IS THE MAXIMUM AGE TO GO ON A TRIP?
We don’t have a maximum age for our trips. The most essential point for joining our active adventure trips is to be in reasonably good health and physical condition. It is recommended to come without any injuries or recent surgeries. If you are pregnant, you will not be permitted to go rafting. Check with your doctor if you are unsure of your physical condition or your ability to enjoy our trips.
HOW DOES TRANSPORTATION WORK?
Tropical Rivers provides round-trip transportation from the main San Jose area hotels. Whether you are staying in a San Jose-based hotel or at a friend or family member’s house, we can arrange to pick you up at the nearest hotel to our route.
Pick up times according to your location (the time can change according to the route):
- 5:30 a.m. Airport area / Escazu or Santa Ana
- 5:45 a.m. Cariari area
- 6:00 a.m. San Jose west – Sabana and Paseo Colon
- 6:10 a.m. San Jose downtown
- 6:15 a.m. San Jose east – San Pedro, Los Yoses, and La California
- 6:20 a.m. San Jose north – Tournon and Amon areas
- 6:30 a.m. Route #32
HOTELS OUT OF THE SAN JOSE AREA:
- 5:00 a.m. Arenal / Fortuna – extra fee per person per way
- 5:30 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. Caribbean area (Puerto Viejo, Cahuita, Manzanillo, or Limón) – extra fee per person per way
- 7:00 a.m. Guapiles area
- 8:00 a.m. Siquirres area
- 8:45 a.m. Turrialba – extra fee per person per way
* Minimum 2 people for transport to be included. If there is just one person and we don’t have others to transfer to your destination, you have to pay the price for two people.
WHERE ARE YOUR TRIP LOCATIONS, AND HOW DO I GET THERE?
A Tropical Rivers bus or van will pick you up at your hotel or lodging in the San Jose area and transport you to your trip location. You don’t need to worry about driving to get there. If you prefer to drive, we will coordinate with you the directions.
WHAT DOES THE CLASSIFICATION OF WHITEWATER RAFTING MEAN?
From American Whitewater’s Classification System:
Class I = EASY
Class II = MODERATE
Class III = ADVENTURE
Class IV = ADVENTURE
Class V = HIGH ADVENTURE
Class I Rapids
Fast-moving water with riffles and small waves. Few obstructions, all obvious and easily missed.
Class II Rapids: Novice
Straightforward rapids with wide, clear channels that are evident without scouting. Occasional maneuvering may be required, but rocks and medium-sized waves are easily missed by trained paddlers.
Class III: Intermediate
Rapids with moderate, irregular waves. Complex maneuvers in fast currents are often required; large waves or strainers may be present but are easily avoided. Strong eddies and powerful current effects can be found, particularly on large-volume rivers. Injuries while swimming are rare; self-rescue is usually easy, but assistance may be required to avoid long swims.
Class IV: Advanced
Intense, powerful, but predictable rapids requiring precise boat handling in turbulent water. Depending on the river’s character, it may feature large, unavoidable waves and holes or constricted passages demanding fast maneuvers under pressure. Scouting may be necessary. The risk of injury to swimmers is moderate to high, and water conditions may make self-rescue difficult. Assistance for rescue is often essential and requires practiced skills.
Class V: Expert
Extremely long, obstructed, or very violent rapids expose a paddler to added risk. Drops may contain large, unavoidable waves and holes or steep, congested chutes with complex, demanding routes. Rapids may continue for long distances between pools, requiring a high level of fitness. What eddies exist may be small, turbulent, or difficult to reach. Scouting is recommended but may be difficult. Swims are dangerous, and rescue is often difficult, even for experts.