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Once to be a hydro-electric project, rafting saved it as it became a national park

One day Rio Pacuare Whitewater Rafting

Minimum Age: 12 years

The Rio Pacuare whitewater rafting is world renowned, yet perfect for the average tourist. The warm Pacuare is my favorite river. They pick you up early in the morning from the Adventure Inn and have you back around dinner. A nice buffet breakfast is set out for you before rafting, and a lunch is set out at the river's edge.

You are given about 15 minutes of instructions. You learn to all work as a team, listening for your guide/captain calling out paddling orders. You'll never forget the experience. The Pacuare River flows quickly along the 30 kilometer rafting course, starting at a place in the jungle just below the last big waterfalls cascading down the Cuerici and Chirripo Mountains.

Class II rapids are a cake-walk, Class III are fun and not very difficult. The exhilarating Class IV are a challenge but manageable. These rivers are for tourists, not professionals, and thousands of rafts go down them every year. You are provided with a helmet, a lifejacket and a paddle. Wear something like tennis shoes, and bring a change of clothes. You will soon be totally soaked by the warm waters of the Pacuare.

Steven Spielberg was so impressed with this beautiful original-growth rainforest gorge and the scenic Pacuare River that he filmed the movie "Congo" here. Thanks to whitewater rafting, the Pacuare River basin is now a protected rainforest reserve preventing very threatening plans to flood the entire area with a hydroelectric dam.