Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do we end at the same point where we started?

All rafting trips have a “Put In” and “Take Out” points. We provide transportation to where the rafting trip starts (Put In) and it will pick you up downstream where it ends (Take Out). We will start and end our trip at the meeting place for your specific trip, shuttling to and from the river.


2. Do we have to paddle?

Indeed you do! Not really hard or too much, but with some rhythm and coordination.


3. How cold is the water, you get all wet?

Water in the tropics is at room temperature, but you will get totally wet. We go rafting in the rainforest on the Caribbean slopes of C.R., where humidity is high and weather usually warm, so water feels more than refreshing. Please check on the “What to Bring” list for details on your trip.


4. 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 all of them end in the water. On many trips there are wonderful calmer places on the river where guests choose to jump out of the rafts and take a refreshing swim.


5. 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, or are not paddling, or are feeling apprehensive about paddling. Our guides do their best but sometimes river rapids or lack of guests all paddling will put the boat in a place that the Guide did not intend to go.


6. Is Swimming or Rafting experience required?

No experience is required for any of our rafting or multi-day trips, though 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 of your 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.


7. What should I bring with me? How should I pack for my trip?

Comfortable clothing and quick drying fabrics are recommended. Strap on sandals or water shoes, straps for sun or prescription glasses, sun block, water bottle and waterproof camera. Bring an extra change of clothing and towel. Have some cash handy for optional drinks, souvenirs and tips for your guides if you enjoyed your trip!  Please see our detailed Recommended Gear List for everything you need on a one day or multi-day Rios Tropicales adventure trip.


8. How long in advance should I book my trip?

You can book anytime for your trip, but note that advance reservations (two or more weeks in advance for day trips, and 4 or more weeks in advance for multi-day trips) are the best guarantee of trip availability on your preferred dates. We do accept reservations the day before a trip, but we are often sold out of our most popular trips, so please be aware of that.


9. 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 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:  info@riostropicales.com requesting your trip with your details: name, number of participants, date and trip you want to book and 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 can give us a call to our toll free number (US Only) 1-866-PACUARE or in Costa Rica – (506) 2233-6455 and make your reservation on the phone, assisted by our friendly, bilingual reservations staff.
  • Or WhatsApp us to: +506 8399-1213


10. What if I have my own car?

You can drive on your own to our Rios Operations Center at El Cairo de Siquirres. The trip meeting time is at 8:00 a.m. Once there you will enjoy a wonderful Costa Rican breakfast, breakfast will be provided, get ready for the trip, change and get your gear. We will provide the transportation to and from the river; leaving your car safely parked at the Operations Center. When your rafting trip is over, we will bring you back to our OPS Center to enjoy a relaxing typical Costa Rican lunch with all your new friends.


11. Where is  the Rios Tropicales Lodge?

Our 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.


12. Can I get to the Rios Tropicales Lodge by car?

No. Our lodge is accessible only by rafting on the river or hiking through the rainforest from a remote town.  Our Lodge is located on a very remote area, partially accessible on a 4×4 transport to a trailhead. Then, you must hike 30 minutes or more on a nature trail in the rainforest along the Pacuare Gorge until you reach our suspension bridge at the Pacuare River that takes you safely across to our Lodge. The most common way to get to the lodge (and the most fun way!) is to paddle down in our rafts.


13. Will I have breakfast on the way to the river?

Yes, for Pacuare rafting trips, we will stop on our OPS Center in Cairo and you will enjoy a typical Costa Rican hot breakfast with abundant fresh fruit, coffee, juice, and more, surrounded by beautiful gardens. There you will change and prepare for your rafting trip.


14. Do you offer ground transportation to the lodge?

Can be coordinated in advance or be combined with river – ground access if is require due to special needs.


15. What is the weather like?

All depends when you visit us, if is our dry or rainy season. Keep in mind that we are located on the rain- humid forest, you should be prepare for unpredictable weather changes. Usually mornings are sunny and afternoons can be raining , what we call liquid sunshine or serious rain as well. Temperature can remain from 50 f up to 90 f. Our dry season goes from December until April, being our rainy season May to November.


16. What happens with our luggage can I bring it on the trip?

Yes, in our Operations Center in Cairo we have some lockers available for your use to store your personal items safely and securely while you are on the Pacaure river.


17. Which is the minimum age to go on a trip? What happens when somebody is under the minimum age?

The minimum age varies by trip type. Please see the specific trip for what minimum age we have stated.  The minimum age to paddle down the Pacuare River is 14 years old during the rainy season (June – November) and 12 years old during the dry season (December – May.). We assess each situation and when the difference in less than 1 or 2 years we have the option to check the height and weight of the person. If our River Operations manager says the person is able to run the trip then she or he can come. For your safety and that of all our guests, we adhere to important age/weight requirements. no problem, otherwise they don’t have the option and we prefer not to expose our clients in any kind of risk. Please note the water levels and weather conditions are changing during all the year and we do our utmost to ensure all our clients safety.


18. What is the maximum age to run the trip?

We don´t have a maximum age for these kind of trips, the most important point in being able  to join our  trips is to be in reasonable health and physical condition.  It is recommended to come without any injuries or recent surgeries. Check with your doctor is you are unsure of your physical condition or your ability to enjoy our trips.


19. How does transportation work?

Rios Tropicales provides round trip transportation from the main San Jose office and nearby 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 (Pick up time can change according the route).

5:30am Airport area / Escazu or Santa Ana.
5:45am Cariari area.
6:00am San Jose West > Sabana and Paseo Colon.
6:10am San Jose Downtown
6:15am San Jose East > San Pedro, Los Yoses and La California.
6:15am San Jose North > Tournon and Amon areas.
6:30am Route #32.


*Hotels out of San Jose area.

5:00am Arenal / Fortuna > (Extra fee per person per way depending of the hotel location)
5:30am to 6:00am CariBbean area  (Puerto Viejo, Cahuita, Manzanillo or Limón) Extra fee
7:00am Guapiles area.
8:00am Siquirres area.
8:45am Turrialba Extra fee

*Minimum 2 people. In case there is just 1 person and we don´t have others transfer to your destination you have to pay per 2 people.


20. Where are Your Trip Locations and How do I get there?

Usually a Rios Tropicales bus or van will pickup you up at your hotel or lodging location in the San Jose area, and transport you to and from your trip location. You don’t need to worry about driving in the country. If you prefer to drive, here are the locations, addresses and GPS coordinates for our locations.

San José Trips

Main Office &
Reservations Center


Paseo Colon, St 38 Av 3rd and 5th or from the Northwest corner of Centro Colon 50 mts north.


GSP Coordinates
DMS:  9°56’15.1″N 84°05’46.5″W

Central Caribe
& North Caribe Trips

Rios Tropicales
Cairo Operations Center


This is the  Pacuare Rafting Meeting Place and Operations Center for all Central Caribe Adventures.


GSP Coordinates
DMS:  10°6’12”N 83°32’53”W

Manuel Antonio
& South Pacifico Trips

Quepos Office with
Rios Tropicales partner

H2O Adventures


From the Quepos Catholic Church 75 mts to the west. H2O Adventures Quepos


GSP Coordinates
DMS:  9°25’40’’ N 84°9’30’’ W

Guanacaste Trips

Canas Operations Center with
Rios Tropicales partner

Rincon Corobici


Cañas, Guanacaste next to Corobici river Bridge over the Route # 1


GSP Coordinates
DMS:  10°27’10.4976”N 85°7’47.0928”W

22. What does the Classification of White Water Rafting mean?


Class I = EASY

From American Whitewater’s Classifications System


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 which 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 current 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 character of the river, it may feature large, unavoidable waves and holes or constricted passages demanding fast maneuvers under pressure. Scouting may be necessary. 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 which 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, demanding 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.

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