As one of the oldest cities and first capital of Costa Rica, the city of Cartago
makes for a fantastic launching point for white water rafting. Many beautiful old churches can be spotted throughout the region, tucked alongside the gardens, farms, national parks and reserves. While many people often visit Cartago for its placid beauty, others come here to enjoy some adrenaline-pumping rafting along its two rivers.The Reventazon and Pacuare cut through the city, stirring up exhilarating adventures for the whole family.
Reventazon (Class III to V)
Flowing from Lake Cachi all the way to the Caribbean, Reventazon is one of Costa Rica's most heart-pounding rivers. It curves along steep slopes, offering a total of 65 kilometers of rapids. Although the water levels of other rivers start to get low during the late dry season (March and April), the Reventazon maintains great white water sections. If you're considering a rafting trip during this time of year, this river is the one for you. It is split into two sections: Pascua and Florida. In Cartago, you'll be setting sail along mid and upper basin of the Florida section, boasting 16 kilometers of Class III rapids. Some of the strongest rapids include "Mar del Norte," "Mente Sucia" and "El Abismo." Keep an eye out for wildlife, including monkeys, sloths and plenty of birds.
If you are in Turrialba
, a quiet town in the Cartago province
, you will find a number of rafting options. The rapids here range from Class II to Class IV, providing stunning scenery as you navigate along the rapids. At the end of your trip, the guide will provide changing rooms and transportation back to your hotel.
Pacuare (Class II to IV)
Running alongside the Reventazon River to the east, the Pacuare packs some of the best rafting in Costa Rica. In fact, this rio was even ranked one of the best destinations in the world for white water rafting. Take a ride down its waters that weave along the Atlantic slope, which feature dozens of bursting rapids. The surrounding rainforests provide a refuge to ocelots, birds, monkey and even jaguars. Your safety-conscious guide will show you the ropes on a two-day tour along the roaring river. Stop and eat a provided lunch on a riverbank and later, you can relax by swimming in a calm pool. Dipping under waterfalls might even be the best part of your trip. Notably, because of the remoteness of the Pacuare, two-day trips are recommended.
Map of Cartago
Whichever river you decide to brave, be sure to wear a swimsuit, rubber-soled shoes that can get wet, waterproof sunscreen, straps to secure glasses and a change of clothes.
Most white water rafting companies offer lunch as well as free pick-up and drop services to your hotel. Plan a day trip, or if you're feeling ambitious, a multi-day tour.