If you are after a thrilling adventure in Costa Rica, then this three-day Pacuare River Rafting trip is for you. It combines the thrills of white-water rafting and other outdoor adventures with the comfort, service and natural beauty of one of the world’s top eco-lodges. It includes exposure to Costa Rica’s rainforests and indigenous heritage, exciting outdoor activities, and such unique experiences as a massage in a jungle spa and a meal in the canopy of a massive tropical tree.
The Pacuare Lodge blends with the surrounding environment, affecting minimal impact. The World Tourism Organization recognised it as one of the only 65 examples throughout the world of good practice in sustainability and ecotourism. The Lodge is a secluded property located amid the exotic rainforest outside of Turrialba, accessible only by 4×4 and raft. It boasts all-inclusive plans that provide transportation, activities, meals and lodging.
As their cabins are spaced out they have extra privacy, as well as breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys. Four lookout areas offer excellent vantage points for photos of the river and lush vegetation. Comfortable wicker sofa chairs, board games and plenty of colourful bromeliads make this a favourite area for guests. Enormous trees and rainforest inhabitants live in natural harmony alongside the Lodge itself. Getting to the lodge was once only via an exciting rafting trip through class III and IV rapids. While this is still a splendid way to experience the Pacuare Lodge and its surrounds, you can arrive by land and river transport.
Depart early for the Pacuare River, stopping for a traditional Costa Rican breakfast en route. After a safety briefing, you’re ready to begin your rafting adventure! Paddle for an hour and a half downriver through scenic canyons and lush jungle vegetation to arrive at Pacuare Lodge. Optional activities such as a guided hike are available in the afternoon.
The wake-up call is a symphony of bird songs, which means it’s time to get ready for a short hike to an ancient indigenous culture. Since time immemorial, the Cabecar Indians – Costa Rica’s largest tribe – have lived in harmony with the rainforest in the mountains near the Pacuare River. These indigenous people live in small family groups scattered across the jungle, which has helped them to maintain their customs and language. The Pacuare Lodge offers an opportunity to experience their way of life without invading their privacy. The lodge helped members of a clan in the nearby Nairi Awari Indigenous Reserve build a typical Cabecar Rancho (thatched house) a short hike from the lodge. The son of a local shaman will give you an introduction to his people’s culture and customs while you enjoy a delicious home-made breakfast. You’ll have the rest of the morning free to enjoy your suite and the lodge’s lush grounds.
During the afternoon you can choose from two outdoor adventures. The Canopy Adventure Tour, which takes you sliding along cables between treetop platforms for a dramatic, bird’s-eye view of the rainforest canopy; Or the Tropical Canyoning Tour, which includes an exhilarating rappel down a 30-meter (90-foot) rock wall in the lodge’s private rainforest reserve. You’ll be back in your suite with plenty of time to enjoy the colours and sounds of sunset, and get ready for another amazing dinner.
Spend the morning at leisure. In the afternoon, head back to the river for another exciting rafting adventure. Your guides will stop between the rapids for short hikes through the forest to pristine waterfalls. After lunch, you’ll board the minibus back to San Jose. (Rafting difficulty Class III-IV)