“Difficulty: Class IV rafting: Long, difficult rapids with constricted passages that often require precise maneuvering in very turbulent waters. Moderate to advanced.”

“Difficulty: Class IV rafting: Long, difficult rapids with constricted passages that often require precise maneuvering in very turbulent waters. Moderate to advanced.”

The intriguing difficulty level and open schedule made rafting with Costa Rica Rain Forest Tours in Guanacaste, Costa Rica too exciting to pass up.

Our meeting point at the Rincon Corobici Restaurnat in Canas, Guanacaste was the perfect backdrop for a day of rafting and sightseeing. The howler monkey noises from above the restaurant set the scene and the bumpy, long truck ride to the waters intensified the experience. It was official – we were in the middle of nowhere!

Our first “putt-in” began with a few practice strokes then we were off on our 2.5 hour white-water trip.  Just when I was starting to feel disappointed with the difficulty level, there was a tight passage with little room for error. By the end of that stretch, I was the only one who hadn’t fallen out of the raft. Although that may sound like a good thing, it most certainly was not! I became prime target number one.

Every turn and drop after that mysteriously hit the hardest on my side as our guide smirked and anxiously awaited my big fall. The one hour mark was our first rest stop and my thirst for extreme adventure had yet to be quenched. I egged on our guide with a challenge of getting me in and not upsetting our older guests.

We relaxed and enjoyed our snack of fruit, cookies and beverages on the river bank, but long and aggressive rapids were not far ahead and he guaranteed to give me the thrill I was seeking.

As we neared the end of the line, I wondered if he was going to live up to his promise, but I wasn’t aware of the 12 foot, class V drop that was going to conclude our journey. Due to the river’s topography, that part of the rapids can be skipped but my continued stupidity led our guide’s decision to take it head on.

“All in” is a rafting call that requires all participants to paddle in unison as hard and as fast as they can, but “all in” was taken literally when we reached the 12 foot drop. The back of the raft landed in the drop before the front of the raft, making me the first one out.

I knew I was under the drop and the raft was upside down. I knew I had to swim hard, away from the raft, and in one direction no matter what. What I didn’t realize was that Darren had fallen on top of me and I was pinned to the bottom of the river. Panic set in just before he was able to move and free me from the bottom; I frantically struggled to get out of the water and regain composure. Surfacing was a relief as I was able to get a breath but I still needed to swim hard and strong away from the falling water rushing down on top of me.

An instructor was guiding me by yelling and encouraging me to go in his direction. I finally reached him and he pulled me into a cave until the next raft completed the drop. The other riders in my raft, including my husband, were rather far up the river, comparatively. I joined the next raft until we could meet in an eddy and rejoin my group.

My worried husband anxiously looked at me with fear and his eyes and I said, “I still have my paddle”, which was a good sign that I was ok.

At the end of the tour, we took a 55 minute drive back to the Rincon Corobici Restaurant where we had a delicious lunch waiting for us. I thanked the guide for giving me my just desserts and I had a better view of the rafting in Guanacaste.

Advertisements

96 thoughts on ““Difficulty: Class IV rafting: Long, difficult rapids with constricted passages that often require precise maneuvering in very turbulent waters. Moderate to advanced.”

  1. Sounds like a great river. I willl have to try it the next time I am in Costa Rica. I have whitewater rafted 7 rivers (so far) in New Zealand, Chile, Canada, Alaska, Tennesse and twice in West Virgina. The best one so far was the New River in West Virgina. When we went the water levels were down so the rapids were more intense. We had two Class V that day. At one point the guide told us to paddle to the shore and when we asked why he said they wanted 2 guides in each raft as we go through this next series of rapids. When we hit the rapids it dropped off into a hole. I was in the front and was the first to make the drop. When the back of the raft followed, our raft was folded in half and when we popped out the the other side the rafted unfolded and tried to launch us out of it. Luckly I was wedged in tight and didn’t fall out. After we got through the full set the lady sitting behind me said she was glad I was wedged in so tight. I asked why, and she replied did you fell me grab you around the neck as I was falling out. Nope, it was so intense I had no idea. Falling out of the raft in a big drop is probably the most frightening thing that can happen. I glad you can out uninjured.

    Like

    • There is a great place in Maine called Penobscot River where the water is more extreme than anything I’ve experienced before. I went with a company called http://www.mainewhitewaterriversurfing.com/ and they are the nicest, most committed guides under an even better owner. (I think I have another blog about them and if I don’t, I’ll be sure to post it soon).

      It’s crazy how focused you are when your on the river. It’s like nothing else exists. I think that’s my favorite part about it.

      Where in Canada did you go? I’m from the east coast (Nova Scotia) and my husband is from New Brunswick.

      Thanks for your comment and I’ll be sure to check out your blog.

      🙂

      Like

  2. The Kicking Horse river near Golden, just west of Yoho National Park. We have friends that live in Calgary that we met several years ago when we were on the same trip to Italy and Sicily. We stayed in touch and have traveled together of few more times. In 2008 we went up and stayed their cabin that was located just outside of Yoho. They had done all kind of outdoor activities around Banff, Jasper and Yoho, but they had never attempted whitewater rafting. I talked them into going and a couple of their friends joined us. We stayed up late, drinking too much, the night before and had to get up early to make the short drive from her cabin to Golden. Only to have the rafting company drive us back up Highway 1 and put in right near the cabin. They have the river broken into three parts. The upper part is the family section and is for everyone with only mild rapids. The middle and lower sections are much more adventurous and you must be at least 16 to go down the lower section. Mariah was only 14 at the time, but she looked a little older and she proved herself to be a much stronger paddler than her mother. The guide didn’t even ask her age. After all the apprehension they had the night before they all loved it. A Class 4 is the most you will find (no 12 foot drops) but it is a fun river. I did post a couple of photos as my travel photo of the day on 6-13-11 on the Kicking Horse and on 8-18-11 for the Petrohue in Chile. If you go to my home page you can scroll back through all of the travel photos of the day. I try to mix them up to keep it interesting.
    Dan

    Like

    • Dan,

      You sound like a fun, interesting person with very similar interests. You said, “We stayed up late, drinking too much, the night before and had to get up early…” and it sounds like the story of my life.

      If you’re going to be on the west coast near southern California, you should let me know. My husband and I can show you around and see what adventure we can find.

      Lesley

      Like

  3. Sounds Good, but no plans in the near future to be in So Cal. One thing that I have wanted to do out west is a rafting trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. But it is hard to find people who want to do that. Maybe we can orginize a wordpress group to go one of these years.

    Like

  4. I’d love to conquer the Colorado River in a raft. Being two months pregnant may put a time restriction on that goal, but I’d assume this time next year, I’ll be itching for an extreme adventure.

    I don’t think finding others will be a problem so I’ll keep you in mind when the time comes.

    🙂

    Like

    • You should give it a try! It can be addictive. After my first time, I’ve been hooked. I love the feeling of controlling the raft and the water.

      I have a couple of other posts that include rafting in different spots around the world. Please feel free to check them out.

      Keep the comments coming; they are appreciated.

      Lesley

      Like

    • It was a little bit of both; that’s why I loved it so much.

      Have you been rafting before? It can be addictive. I can’t wait to get back on the water.

      I have a couple of other posts that include rafting in different spots around the world. Please feel free to check them out.

      Keep the comments coming; they are appreciated.

      Lesley
      🙂

      Like

    • Thanks!

      I have a couple of other posts that include rafting in different spots around the world. Please feel free to check them out.

      I’ll be sure to check out your blog; it sounds like something of interest.

      Keep the comments coming; they are appreciated.

      Lesley

      Like

    • I checked out your page and you offer intense experiences! WOW!

      I’ve always wanted to go to India, and with 34 countries visited, I have no intention of slowly down. If I make it there in the near future, I will be sure to contact you regarding an adventure. Just looking at your pictures makes me want to go now.

      🙂

      Like

    • Thanks! Most of the shots are taken by a guide/photographer outside of the raft.

      Have you ever been rafting before? It can be a very addictive sport.

      I have a couple of other posts that include rafting in different spots around the world. Please feel free to check them out.

      Lesley
      🙂

      Like

    • It can be dangerous, but so can driving on the 405 🙂 Admittedly, it is not for everyone, and I have seen people get seriously hurt.

      After my first time, I’ve been hooked. I love the feeling of controlling the raft and the water.

      Thanks for commenting and keep them coming,

      Lesley
      🙂

      Like

    • Most of the shots were taken by a guide/photographer on land, but they certainly make the experience last a lifetime.

      Although I spend most of my life in the water, I wasn’t sure how I would do rafting. I loved every second of it and it has encouraged me to get back in the raft as much as possible since then. If you have the opportunity, you should give it a try. It really is addictive!

      Do you live in an area that offers white-water rafting?

      Thanks for commenting,

      Lesley
      🙂

      Like

    • I’ve been hooked ever since! I grew up spending more time in the water than out of it so rafting just seemed like a natural progressing.

      Have you ever been rafting before? It can certainly be addictive!

      Thanks for commenting and keep them coming,

      Lesley
      🙂

      Like

  5. I went rafting for the first time a couple years ago. I think there were a couple class 4, but mostly 3. Everyone in our raft was fine, but our guide was the one who got ejected and slammed her head on a rock. She tried to act ok, but then admitted she was going to the hospital when we got back!!

    Like

    • WOW! It’s a good thing that everyone in the boat didn’t panic when it happened. It’s amazing how people can pull together in difficult situations.

      I hope that didn’t discourage you or anyone else in the raft, including the guide, from rafting again. The waters can be unpredictable, but so is everything else in life.

      Thanks for posting and keep the comments coming.

      Lesley

      Like

    • I take a lot of my own photos but some of these were shot by a local guide/photographer.

      Have you ever been rafting before? It’s an amazing experience. I’m hooked and go regularly. (I need to hold off for a few months now since I’m pregnant, but I’ll be back in the water a few weeks after the baby is born)

      Thanks for commenting,

      Lesley

      Like

    • It was an adventurous experience and it got me hooked on rafting. It was just last summer, but I’ve been rafting four times since Costa Rica.

      Have you ever been?

      Thank you for your comment. Keep ’em coming 🙂

      Like

    • Wow! I guess the water can be unpredictable sometimes. Luckily, I’ve never been hurt seriously, but I have taken a swim in class V rapids and it was one of the scariest moments of my life.

      Did she ever go rafting again?

      Thanks for your comment,

      Lesley

      Like

  6. I did the Kicking Horse River in BC this summer — and I have to say the last thing I wanted was to be dumped out of the raft — it was dangerous with so much deadfall and rocks in the water. I got a thrill ride despite our raft not dumping — don’t know that I’d want to take on a class V at all! Glad you had a great time and congrats on being FP’d.

    Like

    • I had someone else comment that gave the Kicking Horse River a try and they thoroughly enjoyed the experience as well. Being dumped into the rapids, especially class V can be a terrifying experience and some people never get back in a raft again after something like that. I took a bad spill in Maine a few years ago and I considered giving up on rafting, but I’m so glad that I didn’t! It has become addictive and I can’t wait to get back out on the water.

      What is the name of the company you went with in BC? Maybe I’ll give them a try.

      I have a few other rafting posts from different places around the world. Please feel free to check them out.

      Keep the comments coming; they are appreciated.

      Lesley

      Like

    • Thank you. My blog is filled with other similar experiences such as sky-diving and paragliding. Please feel free to check them out.

      I’ll have a look at your blog in search for my next adventure filled idea.

      Keep the comments coming; they are appreciated.

      Lesley

      Like

  7. i would love to go white water rafting! my best friend and i keep planning to head to colorado and do just that, but haven’t made any official agenda quite yet. sooner than later. thanks for sharing!

    Like

    • It is a worthwhile venture that I don’t think you’ll regret. It can quickly become addictive.

      Have you tried other water sports like boogie boarding, river boarding, surfing, kite boarding, canoeing, or kayaking? I spent as much of my life in the water as out of it so rafting seemed like the next step.

      I have a few other rafting posts from different places around the world. Please feel free to check them out.

      Keep the comments coming; they are appreciated.

      Lesley

      Like

    • It is a worthwhile venture that I don’t think you’ll regret. It can quickly become addictive.

      Have you tried other water sports like boogie boarding, river boarding, surfing, kite boarding, canoeing, or kayaking? I spent as much of my life in the water as out of it so rafting seemed like the next step.

      I have a few other rafting posts from different places around the world. Please feel free to check them out.

      Keep the comments coming; they are appreciated.

      Lesley

      Like

  8. It does not take much to change the course of our lives as far as quality of life. Ten years ago I took a 15 fall from a tree, while trimming. Today, I suffer each day from two disks that are fused together from that fall. Doing things like this, is for those that the thrill of the moment means more to ones’ quality of life, then the pain they may endure in the future. It will never be one of my life experiences, like jumping out of an airplane, and really not caring if the chute opens or not.

    Like

    • I think that accidents can happen anywhere and your life can change in the blink of an eye. I’m sorry to hear about your fall and I wish you happiness and health. I’m grateful every day of my life for the experiences that I’ve had and the opportunities that have been presented to me. Maybe my view of extreme adventures will change when my baby is born, but I wouldn’t change any of the adventures that I’ve had to date.

      I truly love white-water rafting and the feeling I get when I’m on the river. I hope that I never have to give that up.

      Thank you for reading and posting; all comments are welcome and appreciated.

      Lesley

      Like

    • It can be addictive! After my first time, I was hooked. I love the feeling of controlling the raft and the water. You must love being a guide; the responsibilities are high but so are the rewards.

      I have a couple of other posts that include rafting in different spots around the world. Please feel free to check them out.

      Keep the comments coming; they are appreciated.

      Lesley

      Like

    • Kali bk
      I have done the New River twice. The first time the water level was down and the “Double Z” rapid was awsome. We knew something was up when our guide had us paddle to the shore so they could put 2 guides in each raft before we attacked the “Z”. The second time the water level was up and mellowed out the rapids. It was the first river I rafted. I was in school at Ohio State. A group of us drove down on a Friday night, stayed up late drinking (Lesley are you noticing a pattern here) and hit the river early that morning. We were all rookies and no idea what to expect but we loved it.

      Like

      • Love it!! What is it about Double Z! Everyone has a story about “we were going through double Z and….” You should try the Gauley River too! Or have you? I bet you are not a rookie now!!

        Like

    • While that certainly is a great way to have your water, I love being on the river. I spent more time in the water than out during my life so rafting just seemed like the next logical step.

      You may enjoy my Guinness Tour post a little more based on your comment. 🙂

      Thanks for your response; it is appreciated.

      Lesley

      Like

  9. some co-workers and i (most for our first time) did a level 2 few weeks ago.. fun times! 🙂 ..but all along the paddle i kept on, and on.. about how i’m ready for a level 3/4 and then maybe a 5.. certainly the level 2 was not enough excitement and danger as i had planned for!~ but after viewing this, i think i’ll have to re-consider! (LOL).. although not thinking of doing it in Costa Rica (although i have no objections if the opportunity arises), this still looks and sounds(reads) like it is super crazy!?!?… :-/

    Like

    • My Costa Rica experience was exciting with enough rapids to give me a thrill, but the Penobscot River in Maine was non-stop, in-you-face action with a heart-pumping ending that I will not soon forget. It was my rafting adventure in Maine that truly made me consider rafting an extreme adventure.

      You may enjoy some of my other posts about extreme adventures. Keep reading 🙂

      Thanks for your comment; it is appreciated.

      Lesley

      Like

    • It can be addictive! After my first time, I was hooked. I love the feeling of controlling the raft and the water. What company did you go with in Costa Rica? What other adventures did you have while there? It is the place for new experiences.

      I have a couple of other posts that include rafting in different spots around the world. Please feel free to check them out.

      Keep the comments coming; they are appreciated.

      Lesley

      Like

    • Costa Rica itself was one of the best weeks of my life, and my rafting journey just added to the thrill and adventure.

      Have you ever been rafting before? It can be addictive.

      Keep the comments coming; they are appreciated.

      Lesley

      Like

  10. Coucou j’ai déjà fait du rafting à nombreuses reprises, c’est vraiment un sport super ou toute l’équipe est utile. Le frisson à l’approche des rapides, la sensation des cailloux sous nos pieds. Ma meilleure expérience sportive pour le moment 🙂

    Like

    • Are you Canadian? I’m from Nova Scotia. There is an amazing place in Maine called the Penobscot River. It has some of the best rafting that I’ve ever experienced.

      I have a few other posts about rafting that might interest you. Please feel free to check them out.

      Thanks for your reply; it is appreciated.

      Keep them coming.

      Like

  11. That sounds like a lot of fun (minus the getting pinned part)! Also cool that so many pics were able to be taken. I’ve been white water rafting before but on a lower class. Still, just scenery wise you’d have me beat. I’d love to go again.

    Like

    • It certainly can be addictive! I’ve gone 7 times now at various levels and each experience offered something new. Did you go in the US?

      I have a few other posts about rafting that might interest you. Please feel free to check them out.

      Thanks for your reply; it is appreciated.

      Keep them coming.

      Like

  12. I am absolutely in awe! White water rafting is so fun. I have only done it once in my life but it I’d definitely want to do it again. I really enjoyed your photos as well. Thanks for sharing!

    Like

    • It certainly can be addictive! Did you try it in the US?

      Costa Rica was a great place to raft because even during the down time on the river, you are surrounded by beauty and new experiences.

      I have a few other posts about rafting that might interest you. Please feel free to check them out.

      Thanks for your reply; it is appreciated.

      Keep them coming.

      Like

    • We had a week of adventure in Costa Rica including zip-lining, surfing, volcano touring, swimming, and white-water rafting but the rafting was the most memorable venture.

      Have you ever tried it before?

      I have a few other posts about rafting that might interest you. Please feel free to check them out.

      Thanks for your reply; it is appreciated.

      Keep them coming.

      🙂

      Like

    • Is this your first time in Costa Rica? l have some other posts on the area that I think you’ll enjoy; please feel free to check them out, especially the Canopy Tour (A World Above). We also went surfing in Tamarindo and it was unbelievable. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. Costa Rica was one of the most adventurous weeks of my life.

      Thanks for your reply; it is appreciated.

      Keep them coming,

      Lesley

      Like

    • It was a unique experience. Even when we weren’t braving the intense rapids, the scenery was spectacular. Have you ever been white-water rafting before?

      Thanks for your reply; it is appreciated.

      Keep them coming,

      Lesley

      Like

    • Rafting can be addictive and I’ve never heard someone say that they didn’t love it after giving it a try, unless they got dumped into class V rapids.

      What was the Nile River like for rafting? Which place had better rapids?

      The best thing about Costa Rica rafting was that even during the down time in the water, the surroundings were spectacular.

      Thanks for your reply; it is appreciated.

      Keep them coming,

      Lesley

      Like

    • It was an amazing trip. Even when the water wasn’t rushing in your face or you weren’t paddling your heart out, the surroundings were spectacular.

      I have a few other posts about rafting that might interest you. Please feel free to check them out.

      You really should give it a try. I’ve never heard someone say that they didn’t love it after trying it, unless they got dumped into class V rapids.

      Thanks for your reply; it’s appreciated.

      Keep them coming,

      Lesley

      Like

    • If it’s your first time, I would recommend class IIV and IV rapids. It is a wonderful experience, and once you try it, I bet you’ll be begging to go back again.

      It is such an amazing feeling to have some control over the water and the rapids. I tried it in a few places and there are some other posts on my blog relating to rafting and water sports. Please feel free to check them out under “Adventure”.

      Do you like other water activities such as boogie boarding, surfing, kite boarding, or swimming?

      Thanks for the comments and please keep them coming; they are appreciated.

      Lesley

      Like

    • Which part of Costa Rica will you be staying?

      There are countless things to do in Costa Rica, but I really enjoyed the Canopy Tour (Zip-lining), white-water rafting, surfing in Tamarindo, and the bus tour to Nicaragua.

      We rented a car for the day for next to nothing and drove along the coast to Tamarindo for some cheap surf lessons. It was my favorite day!

      The zip-lining is some of the best in the world and you can do a waterfall rappel on the same trip.

      Let me know where you’ll be staying and I’ll be more specific.

      🙂

      Like

  13. Pingback: 2012 Bucket List – Adventure Awaits! | Indulge – Travel, Adventure, & New Experiences

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s