White Water Rafting in Costa Rica

Costa Rica Whitewater Rafting in Costa Rica

Rafting

Combine some very good friends, one or two Serendipity leaders for good measure, add a touch of adrenaline and lots of Class IV — and the teamwork really lets you fly!

Serendipity whitewater is expeditionary whitewater, not a packaged tour.

In Costa Rica, whitewater tourism is huge.

The normal outing includes bunches of rafts and hundreds of strangers of all sorts and varieties bussing to the rivers from San José.

Our style of whitewater rafting makes a big, big difference, which is why experienced rafting enthusiasts seek out Serendipity for their exploration of Costa Rica whitewater.

You’re really committed to something entirely different when your self-formed group chooses to confront whitewater with Serendipity.

Since you’ve hand-selected everyone on the boat, you’ll work as a team to tackle the river in ways you simply cannot do with a train of boats filled with strangers. With Serendipity, your whitewater expedition is a private trip, which allows you to share this extraordinary experience, and be part of the team, with your friends, family and guides.

Since our whitewater rafting trips are very “guide-intensive” and for your group only, we have tremendous flexibility on which rivers to run and what equipment is best suited for the water conditions and your expectations.

Some of our river choices require horses and hiking to get there; others require a minimum of 2-3 days to complete.

Our intimate multi-day trips afford time to look more closely at the unspoiled rainforest that surrounds you by combining your rafting trip with hikes in canyons that are more fun than Disney could create (see our page on Canyoning for more information).

You’ll learn to use ropes and harnesses, and you’ll have the best support group (your own friends plus our guides) with you.

Costa Rica whitewater rafting for all ages and abilities

Serendipity has accommodated a wide variety of people on Costa Rican rivers.

Our intimate group size and high guide to guest ratio enable us to be very inclusive on our trips, which means your group can probably be accommodated, whatever the restrictions.

Some guests are families with younger children who are nonetheless good with rough water sports, like water skiing.

Some guests are too high profile to be in a group tour. Some guests need special diets, or have medical restrictions requiring our certified guides and extensive first aid equipment.

Serendipity safety kayakers also enjoy just simply showing off. We'll encourage their child-like behavior if they promise to be there to rescue us, when we really need them.

Serendipity safety kayakers also enjoy just simply showing off. We’ll encourage their child-like behavior if they promise to be there to rescue us, when we really need them.

Some people need the expertise and stability of an oar boat for filming, or just want to be on the river for the sheer beauty of it, and to share it with their active family.

And at least one of our best paddlers in 2001 needed to take a seeing eye Dog along.

Some of our guests are experienced whitewater rafting freaks, with experience on rivers from Chile to Nepal, and want the extreme challenge only private whitewater rafting can provide.

For the group who has done rafting before, there’s the chance to learn whitewater skills, from whitewater swimming to reading river currents and guiding.

You are a lot more than a passenger: you are a full-fledged member of an expeditionary river crew.

This is a duckie, or inflatable kayak. In a duckie you can be your own guide or be guided (that's Moises in the back, grinning and guiding). We choose the river and watercraft depending on the water levels and your fitness so you face just the right amount of challenge.

This is a duckie, or inflatable kayak. In a duckie you can be your own guide or be guided (that’s Moises in the back, grinning and guiding). We choose the river and watercraft depending on the water levels and your fitness so you face just the right amount of challenge.

Regardless of your skill level, you’ll always be accompanied by a safety kayaker (specialist boaters who are there to rescue or retrieve you, or sometimes only to give loud instructions on how to rescue yourself), experienced Serendipity leaders, and all the equipment needed to try the more exciting approaches to the water.

White Water Duckies

For smaller, very technical rivers we have rubber duckies, also known as inflatable kayaks. Duckies turn a Class II ripple into a Class III struggle. And Class III rapids are awesome and look a lot like Niagara, when you are your own captain and navigator and you, yourself, are your only source of paddle power (of course your safety kayaker is right there, loudly giving advice).

PLEASE NOTE: Serendipity does NOT offer whitewater rafting tours where you can “sign up” for a day. We offer ONLY private trips, which are very guide intensive, and customized for your experience, enjoyment and needs. We select the right boats, special foods, and extra equipment depending on the water conditions and your expressed wishes.

You may start with little or no experience with what we’re doing, but we’re eagerly awaiting the chance to teach you everything you’ll need to know to make this adventure memorable for the rest of your life. We ask only one thing: approach this adventure with an open mind, and a willingness to learn.

Costa Rica Whitewater Rivers

Serendipity Costa Rica has a luxury campsite hidden along the banks of the Pacuare. The campsite has a covered social area, flush toilets, and elevated platforms for the tents.

Serendipity Costa Rica has a luxury campsite hidden along the banks of the Pacuare. The campsite has a covered social area, flush toilets, and elevated platforms for the tents.

We specialize in the Pacuare, Sarapiquí, and Pejibaye rivers. For those with the stamina to reach the top, we like the wild Top Pacuare (accessible only on horseback), and for those who are interested, there are a few really wild rivers accessible only by helicopter.

Our great love, and still always a great challenge, is the Pacuare, one of the five most beautiful rivers of the world (we haven’t seen the other four, so it’s hard to believe there is a better river).

If you haven’t been with Serendipity on this glorious river, you’ve missed the best thing in the world you can do when you are wet.

For guests on a multi-day trip down the Pacuare, our luxury campsite, which features a covered social area with hammocks, flush toilets, showers, and elevated platforms for your tents, is back dropped by the most spectacular of mountain rainforests, which we’ll also explore, on foot and with ropes and harnesses, as only an expeditionary group can do it.

This is canyoning - rappelling and rock climbing and natural water slides, all in real jungle. We are a small, cohesive team where everyone pitches in to help everyone else. And the teamwork really makes it all come together.

This is canyoning – rappelling and rock climbing and natural water slides, all in real jungle. We are a small, cohesive team where everyone pitches in to help everyone else. And the teamwork really makes it all come together.

While on the multi-day Pacuare there’s some great hiking, and some pretty interesting canyoning as well. Canyoning??? Take a look at our page on Costa Rica canyoning.
Serendipity has been active in the effort to save the Pacuare from the construction of a dam that would drown this beautiful river valley forever.

So, you see, whitewater with Serendipity is not a raft tour. It’s something only available — Serendipity style!

How much does Serendipity rafting cost?

When you have a self-formed group of 8-15 people, our per person charges are pretty much the same as with the big tour operators (about $100 per person round trip from San Jose). But since our rafting is all private, the per person costs are higher with smaller numbers.

Please note that whitewater rafting requires a minimum number for safety, so we may add paddlers on river trips to assure safety, but we do not combine groups of clients.

If you want to do rafting as a one day tour, we will transport you from your hotel the San José environs to the river in our private vehicle. We can return you to San José or we can drop you off down by Puerto Viejo or Manzanillo or one of those other unspoiled beautiful Caribbean beach areas.

We encourage you to spend additional time with us to enjoy our other challenges as well. Think about it… real unmolested places to hike, canyon, or mountain bike. By the time you’ve finished the river, you’ll definitely want to spend more time with your Serendipity guides just for the reward of teamwork….

Contact us for details and pricing of rafting the other rivers.

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