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White water rafting in August

Amsterdam, The...
Level Contributor
20 posts
68 reviews
White water rafting in August

Is it safe to go white water rafting on the Sarapiqui river in August? Or should we choose a different river? We are two families with four children (age 10-16). It will be our first time.

6 replies to this topic
Chicago, Illinois
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
Level Contributor
11,085 posts
23 reviews
1. Re: White water rafting in August

Safe is not a term associated with whitewater rafting. The odds are real that you may fall out of the raft and need to float through a rapid on your own until the raft can pick you up. If that idea is too frightening, then you simply should pass on whitewater rafting and consider a float trip with some wildlife viewing.

With that said, I consider the Sarapiqui rafting trip as one of the tamer ones. We even turned around the raft and tried to paddle up a rapids in order to get great photos of waves breaking over the front of the raft. The river is a "pool and drop" type with short rapids followed by a stretch of quiet water for recovery and swimming options. Even though you'll all be wearing lifevests, I would not take children unless they're comfortable in water over their heads and can follow instructions under stress.

Edited: 30 March 2017, 10:52
Texas
Destination Expert
for Arenal Volcano National Park, La Fortuna de San Carlos
Level Contributor
7,782 posts
266 reviews
2. Re: White water rafting in August

We did the Sarapiqui with Rios Tropicales and got tossed out of the boat twice. They gave us good safety instructions, just to float, and they'll grab you and pull you back into the boat. I agree with crfan - depends on how you think your kids will respond if that happens. We loved it.

Amsterdam, The...
Level Contributor
20 posts
68 reviews
3. Re: White water rafting in August

Thanks for the reply. We are actually looking for a Class 2-3 half day tour. My concern is more related to the fact that it''s the rainy season and water levels might be higher and water flow stronger than usual. Is it better to do -for example- Rio Balsa instead of Sarapiqui?

Chicago, Illinois
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
Level Contributor
11,085 posts
23 reviews
4. Re: White water rafting in August

That's a call that can't be made this far in advance. It is far wiser to wait until you are there and discuss options with your rafting company as the situation can change from day to day. Rios Tropicales and Desafio Adventures are both respected outfitters. We have switched rivers in other years based on their advice and current conditions.

Grecia, Costa Rica
Destination Expert
for Province of Alajuela
Level Contributor
8,254 posts
44 reviews
5. Re: White water rafting in August

you have good advice already. Rainfall prediction is not something that can be done with any measure of accuracy. If you are going to be in the Arenal area at all you might check out the Balsa river. This is a class 2-3 river, fun but tame. Getting tossed out of a raft is always a possibility. Like others, I find this to be part of the fun, but you need to decide your comfort level.

Canada
Level Contributor
104 posts
209 reviews
6. Re: White water rafting in August

We did a class 2-3 on the Naranjo outside Quepos in September. We had a heavy rain prior to rafting and the river was an animal - but manageable. Low season too, so only 4 in our raft plus 2 spotters. Pretty good river. I did get ejected, but the raft was stuck in an eddy, so was close by. We used H2O Adventures. A great crew!

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