The Best Rafting and Fishing (or so our guests tell us)

On the Pacuare River
On the Pacuare River
Pacuare river jump
Other ways to spend the day on the jungle river
rios tropicales river rafting lodge costa rica
Your Rios Lodge at the end of a day on the river


. . .  is Rios Tropicales our recommendation. Not because we know anything about rafting but because so many of our guests have come back bedraggled and happy, happy after a day on the Pacuare.

And we try not to argue with guests about what they like.  The best months are in the rainy season starting in April but there is rafting all year long in Costa Rica.  What can compare to a jungle raft down a canyon in Costa Rica?  The trips leave near the Pura Vida Hotel early in the morning around 5:30am at the Rosti Pollos restaurant not far from us.  Just let us know and we will pack a breakfast to go.


  • You can raft as a day trip and Rios Tropicales will bring you back to Alajuela near SJO (Rosti Pollos) at the end of a long day (be prepared).  You will be back by around 6pm.  Stay that night at the Pura Vida. Note: minimum age for the Pacuare is 14 years.

  • Pickup in Alajuela near SJO, stay overnight on the river and come back the next day to Alajuela.  Stay the night at the Pura Vida and head on to your next stop by rentacar or private van.  

  • Pickup in Alajuela, day of rafting on overnight trip staying on the river, then Rios will take you on to your next destination if it is in Arenal/La Fortuna.  No extra cost to drop off in Arenal (min 2 persons).  What a deal!  We can also have rentacars delivered to the La Fortuna area the next morning if you like. You can drop the car back here at the Pura Vida at the end of the trip.  


The Pacuare is the most spectacular rafting in the country but if you or your family want to raft elsewhere let us or Rios Tropicales know and they can organize it for you - in particular in the two most visited areas of Costa Rica - Arenal and Manuel Antonio.  You can contact Rios Tropicales directly or ask us to hook you up by emailing the Pura Vida Hotel (click here).  Just let us know the date you want to go (leave here around 5:15am) and if you want a day rafting or an overnight.


  • Rubber-soled shoes that can get wet (Tevas, tennis shoes, booties or similar).
  • Swimsuit / swim trunks.
  • T-shirt and shorts of a quick-drying material. Long sleeve t-shirts are very useful if you get cold easily on the water or want more sun protection.
  • Water-resistant sunscreen lotion (SPF 15 or higher).
  • Sun hat or bandana.
  • Bug Repellent.
  • Croakies or straps to secure glasses.
  • Change of clothes, including shoes, for after your tour.
  • Towel for changing/showers after the trip.
  • Any prescription medications necessary during your tour.


 . . . do we recommend Captain Jim?  Well not that we know anything about fishing but people who take his trips come back happy!

Jim says "I am a retired marine biologist and international authority on all the big fish and I love to fish myself.   So, I organize and lead trips about every week using charter boats primarily out of Pez Vela Marina in Quepos as well as offshore in Drake Bay and the Sierpe River (for snook and tarpon).

Offshore we target sailfish, yellowfin tuna, mahi mahi (dorado), wahoo  as well as blue, black and striped marlin. Inshore we target roosterfish, snook, snapper and grouper. Billfishing (sailfish and marlin) off the Ballena coast has been rated No. 1 in the world for the past 3 years.  I try to use only the best boats so we normally do very well. We leave the dock at 7 and return about 4:30. Only the heavy rains of October and November disrupt our fishing out of Quepos (muddy water extends way offshore driving the big fish elsewhere). But Drake Bay and the Sierpe River are fine then (much smaller watershed).

You will likely have the trip of your lifetime, perhaps catching their first sailfish. Help me by starting the search as early as possible."  For more info pleas contact the Pura Vida Hotel.


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