Rafting in Costa Rica is when cold water droplets whip off the river and into your face. Your paddle hits a foaming whirlpool, and you pull against the furious current. Your river path is flowing toward a rushing drop and your guide is calling out directions, fast and frantic. The river is raging and the sun is shining.

You are grinning. This is exhilarating!

There’s nothing quite like Costa Rica’s whitewater rivers, world-renowned for their incredible rafting. From tame Class II-III rivers, to all-out Class V beasts, these tropic rapids weave through untouched gorges, through rainforests, and down spring-fed rivers, giving you a front-row seat to a Costa Rica unknown to landlubbers.

There’s a river for every skill level, but note that during the dry season (December-April), rivers tend to be tamer and the paddle more scenic; when rainy season hits (May-November), downpours flood the rivers and supercharge the challenge.

This-Not-That: If you’re after a tamer river adventure, try a safari float. Or, if you want to really up the adrenaline, pair your white-water rafting with waterfall rappelling.

arenal volcano la fortuna costa rica

La Fortuna & Arenal Volcano Travel Guide

La Fortuna, the beloved adventure capital of Costa Rica, sits at the base of the towering Arenal Volcano, proud owner to one of the world’s most perfect (and picture-perfect) volcanic cones. While the volcano’s once fiery activity has calmed significantly, Arenal is still one of the hottest destinations in Costa Rica, thanks to its relaxing hot springs, adventure activities, and stunning scenery.