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Rafting the Pacuare River in Costa Rica

Wild Costa Rica

Nicuesa - Example 8 Day Tour
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We start our Costa Rica adventure with a two-day rafting trip on the Pacuare river. This river is as famous for its wild waters as it is for its beauty! Next we'll fly to the tropical landscape of Playa Nicuesa where we will explore one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems on earth. Sample unusual native fruits. Horseback ride along secluded beaches or discover exotic tropical flowers, birds, monkeys, iguanas, three-toed sloths, and multi-colored butterflies. At Playa Nicuesa there is plenty to see and do, and a wonderful combination of optional "structured" activities and free time to wander on your own lets you create your own itinerary at your own pace.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Arrive San Jose
Days 2-3 : Pacuare Whitewater
Days 4-6 : Playa Nicuesa
Day 7 : Return San Jose
Day 8 : Return home


  • Take an exhilarating two day raft trip down the Pacuare River
  • Overnight at a rustic lodge along the river
  • Follow a naturalist guide through the jungle learning about the flora
  • Take a night walk to see crabs, Kinkajous and bullfrog fishing bats

Places Visited


Trip Type

  • Independent

Activity Level

Easy Active

Trip Snapshots

Rafting the Pacuare River in Costa Rica Pair of toucans in a tree at Pacuare Bring on the river! Put in point day 1. Taking a swim break while rafting the Pacuare River Agami Heron at nesting site in Pacuare Reserve Lunch time with a raft serving as our table Exquisite flowers A view from your room

Day 1 Arrive San Jose


Day 2-3 Pacuare Whitewater

  • Hotels
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 1 Dinner
This morning you head east towards the Caribbean and the Class III-IV whitewater of the Pacuare River for two days of whitewater rapids, jungle-clad canyons, and spectacular waterfalls. One of Costa Rica's most exciting whitewater vacations, you'll camp along the river tonight. You explore some of Costa Rica's remote rainforest in Braulle National Park, and, of course, plunge through the exhilarating rapids of the Pacaure River. It's back to San Jose at the end of Day 3 in time for dinner on your own and a relaxing evening before tomorrow's flight to the wild Playa Nicuesa area.

Day 4-6 Playa Nicuesa

  • Hotels
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
This morning you fly from San Jose to Playa Nicuesa. Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge offers nature lovers an outstanding opportunity to experience the amazing diversity of life in a lowland tropical rainforest. Located in the quiet southwest corner of Costa Rica. Playa Nicuesa is a nature lodge and biological reserve hosting an abundance of wildlife on its 800 acres. Nicuesa's property includes mostly primary rainforest, smaller sections of secondary rainforest, and open orchards. A naturalist guide and an extensive trail system enable visitors to explore these forests and experience their fascinating sights and sounds first hand.

Take a guided walk through the 300-acre primary rainforest, containing huge trees draped with massive woody vines, diverse bird and wildlife species. Stroll on the wilderness beach that stretches for miles. During their nesting season from late July to November, the sand is decorated with turtle tracks. At low tide, tiny creatures may be spotted in the tide pools. Ride a horse on the beach or in the forest, or take a short walk to the rustic seaside village of Punta Banco and visit the Guaymi Indigenous Crafts shop, which sells handmade items made by Guaymis from the nearby reservation. Take a night walk and discover Costa Rica's wild nightlife! Colorful scarlet and black land crabs emerge from burrows to feed on half-eaten fruits dropped by monkeys during the day. Kinkajous, nocturnal and arboreal cousins of the raccoon, forage for fruits in trees, while bulldog fishing bats may be skimming the stream surface for freshwater shrimp behind the lodge. Or simply relax in a hammock and listen to the soothing sounds of the ocean surf below and the forest's peaceful night chorus outside.

Day 7 Return San Jose

This morning you'll say good-bye to beautiful Playa Nicuesa and fly back to San Jose to complete your Costa Rica travels. Don't forget to watch the almond trees carefully for scarlet macaws. Upon your return to San Jose, you're on your own to explore the city, take a coffee tour, or just relax in your charming hotel. Pura vida!

Day 8 Return home

  • 1 Breakfast
Catch your flight home or to your continued adventure.

Osa Peninsula - Golfo Dulce - Hotels

Pacuare River - Hotels

San Jose - Hotels

Per person starting at


During peak season dates, rates include an extra night at Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge


  • 7 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 4 Dinners
  • 7 Nights Accommodations
    • 2 Nights Hotel
    • 5 Nights Lodge
  • 5 Days Locally Hosted Guide Service


  • Internal Flights
    • $370 San Jose - Nicuesa - San Jose
    • Flight cost is subject to change
  • Both International Arrival and Departure Transfers are excluded.
  • International Flights

Recommended Budgeting

  • $60 Meals not Included
  • $27 Airport Departure Tax
  • $90 Optional Excursions
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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Mary C

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Everything was amazing! The planning with Adventure Life went smoothly. The actual trip was fantastic! One of the best trips I have experienced. The cruise staff members were knowledgeable and attentive. I will be writing more about this on the blog!
Justin Chappelle

When to Go

Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.
Chance for unpredictable weather but with fewer visitors.

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