10 Apr Return to Costa Rica’s iconic Reventazon River rafting
Costa Rica’s leading whitewater outfitter Rios Tropicales once again offers Reventazon River rafting trips. Ideal for first-time rafters and families, the Reventazon is a thrilling one-day Costa Rica adventure tour.
Reventazon River rafting is back!
Always a favorite river trip in Costa Rica, leading whitewater outfitter Rios Tropicales is once again launching one-day rafting trips on the Reventazon River. After a hiatus of a few years while the most recent hydroelectric dam was built upriver, Rios Tropicales is returning to the iconic river the company has rafted commercially since 1985.
In fact, the Reventazon River was the first river ever to be commercially rafted in Costa Rica. New York immigrant Michael Kaye, the founder of Costa Rica Expeditions tour company, pioneered commercial whitewater rafting here in 1978, running the river section between Oriente and Angostura.
Throughout Costa Rica’s history, the Reventazon River has played a key role. Indigenous peoples lived along the river as far back as 12,000 years ago. Spanish explorers followed the wide river valley up from the Caribbean Coast to gain access to the country’s more temperate Central Valley. Decades later, it became the main channel for the railroad to funnel highland coffee to the Caribbean port of Limon. While the rail lines were destroyed in the huge 7.8-magnitude Limon earthquake on April 22,1991, you can still see some of the historic railroad tracks when rafting the river.
At 145 kilometers (90 miles), it is the longest river on the Caribbean side of the country. It starts at Mt. Chirripo, thundering through the Tapanti National Park as the Grande Orosi and then becomes the Reventazon when it passes through the river’s first hydroelectric dam at Cachi. Eventually it joins into the Parismina River before emptying into the Caribbean Sea.
Approximately 25% of the drinking water for Costa Rica’s largest metropolitan area around San Jose comes from the headwaters of the Reventazon. Beginning in the early 1970s, the river is also important for the country’s power generation. Three hydroelectric dams and reservoirs generate a significant share of Costa Rica’s electricity.
An Explosive River
Reventazon in English means “bursting, explosions” and for whitewater rafters and kayakers, the energetic river certainly has provided intense thrills. Several international whitewater rafting championships have been held on the Reventazon, including the Project RAFT Rainforest Festival in 1991 and the 1998 Camel Challenge.
The most recent hydroelectric dam began operating in August 2017, so nowadays the river water level is controlled. This means a steady stream of exciting class 2 and 3 rapids all year long for the one-day rafting trips.
Reventazon River Rafting with Rios Tropicales
The one-day Reventazon River rafting trip with Rios Tropicales runs 10 miles in what is called the Florida section. Rafting starts at the powerhouse where the last of the electricity is produced on the river and finishes at the banana plantation town of El Carmen de Siquirres. The wide river delivers continuous fun waves and lively rapids that are perfect for ages 8 to 98, first-time rafters and families.
You’ll travel through regenerated rainforest in an unpopulated section of the river valley out to the broad flood plain bordered by banana and sugarcane plantations. On a clear day, you can see beautiful vistas of the Turrialba Volcano up river. Toucans, kingfishers, herons, iguanas and emerald basilisks are all common to see along the river banks.
One of the nice aspects about the Reventazon River rafting is that it leaves later than most other one-day rafting trips, with pick-ups starting at 8:00 a.m. in San Jose. A generous hot lunch at the Rios Tropicales Operations Center near the river is included. There, you can take a shower and change clothes in spacious locker rooms, enjoy a cold drink in the bar, and souvenir shop in the gift store before returning to San Jose in the afternoon. Your internationally-certified, bilingual rafting guides round out the trip as one of the top things to do on vacation in Costa Rica.
Rios Tropicales rafting and adventure company in Costa Rica was named the No. 1 Outfitter in Costa Rica and one of the Best Adventure Outfitters on Earth by National Geographic. The Rios Tropicales Lodge on the Pacuare River also won the first-ever National Geographic Geotourism Award in 2008 for its sustainable tourism practices. A vanguard in adventures and conservation in Costa Rica for 34 years, Rios Tropicales operates multiple adventure trips all over Costa Rica.