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Costa Rica – Whitewater Rafting in La Fortuna

While in the La Fortuna Area, I convinced Rebecca to do a whitewater rafting tour with the condition that we do the slightly easier, Class II & III Rio Balsa Tour with Wave Expedition. Having gone whitewater rafting a couple times growing up, I knew we would be in for a treat and we were not disappointed.

Our Airbnb was 25 mins outside of town, so we were especially delighted to find out that they would pick us up from there! Our driver, who turned out to be our guide for the day, was a young and quite silly fellow: Jero. On the way there, he taught us Spanish words and pointed out toucans. He asked if we had seen any perezosos (sloths), which we were then determined to find during our trip.

There were about 20 other people on the tour, which most, if not all, were American. In retrospect, I find this very interesting comparing to the people we meet during our other activities (hiking Cerro Chato and kayaking to Isla Chora). I wonder if Americans are more accustomed to a tour-format, or if whitewater rafting is an American thing. Quite a few people were from California! It took about an hour for us to arrive to the launching area, put on life vests and helmets, and make our way down to the river bank.

The actual rafting was hilariously fun. We shrieked and squealed in our bright blue helmets and life vests whenever we were splashed by the chilly water or bumped around. It was drizzling that morning, so it was overcast and only slightly warm. The water carried a fair amount of sediment in its current, making it a muddy brown color. All of this didn’t matter, while we were furiously paddling and clinging to the raft as we navigated the rapids. 

Halfway through the rafting, all the boats pulled over onto a sandy bank for a break. The guides to cut up the most delicious pineapple and chatted with the guests. They placed leaves in our helmets like horns for a good laugh. Rejuvenated, we switched spots with the couple that shared our boat, so they could have the front of the raft. Every now and then, Jero would look for monkeys or birds in the trees along the river. All too soon, the rafting part of the tour was over and no sign of a perezoso.

We pulled over and headed to a small building that had changing rooms for men and women. I was happy to get out of that chilly wet swimmie! We drove to a lunch location, where we had a delicious buffet lunch with the best yucca side dish... and coffee!! Following lunch, there was a small presentation of how they make the Costa Rica version of moonshine, which we all had a sample. Although I couldn’t handle the intensity, some of others had multiple shots.

On the way back to our Airbnb, Jero pointed out a hidden little spot where the locals enjoy the hot springs for free. We also saw a few cars pulled over on the road ahead. We pulled over to see what they are looking at. Low and behold, it was a perezoso at the top of a tree!  Our life mission for the day was complete and Rebecca and I ready for the next class up of whitewater rafting.

Happy Travels,


At a Glance:

  • Rating: 3 Stars, would do it again, if I was in the area
  • Intensity: Swimsuit!
  • Duration: All day
  • Cost: $75/per person 
  • Location: La Fortuna Area
  • Restrooms: Yes – in the office, in the river, at the lunch location


  • Super fun!!
  • Delicious lunch
  • Access to a guide
  • Upper body workout

Recommended for this adventure:

  • Cute, yet stable swimmie
  • Cash for guide tip
  • Don’t feed or engage with wildlife
Wildlife near La Fortuna, Costa Rica
Can you tell it's a perezoso? Not really, LOL.

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