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Tenorio River Whitewater Rafting

Tenorio River Whitewater Rafting

Destination: Samara


  • Scenic hike and swim at the bottom of a 65-foot waterfall
  • Riverbank-gallery forest landscape, wildlife watching
  • Exciting 12-foot rafting plunge


  • Hours : 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Price : $135; lunch and snacks included
  • Note : Transportation to and from hotel

Adrenaline pulsates as the Tenorio River's infamous class IV rapid yanks your raft between two boulders — launching you over its 12-foot plunge to splash into white water fizzing below. Smile, you're on camera!

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Rafting on the Tenorio leads adventurers through class I waters stirred with exhilarating class II-IV rapids. The rapids belong to a six-mile section of the river, originating at the base of the Tenorio Volcano extending 15 miles along transitional forest scattered with wildlife including howler monkeys, tiger herons and kingfishers.

Ready to Roll

A shuttle picks you up from your hotel in Guanacaste or Arenal and takes you to the tour operator's headquarters near the Tenorio River where you change clothes and store your belongings. Be sure to wear waterproof shoes, sandals with straps or old tennis shoes since there'll be a hike to a waterfall during the journey.

Hinting at the vibration you'll experience in the rapids, ride in 4x4 jeeps toward a private river entrance in Pozo Azul. At the riverside, strap on a helmet and lifejacket while listening to an introduction on the physics of your 12-foot PVC raft and what to do if it flips over — which is bound to happen.

Grab an oar and plop the raft into the rippling water, following the directions of a local guide on the back. Start paddling in synch with your four-person team; you're going to need their help throughout the day.

Rafting the Tenorio River

The first few class II and III rapids feel magnified in intensity, perhaps because you're still new to rumbling and rolling over boulders splashing warm water up at you. Stay composed as the guide navigates your group through the first few complex rapids, steadily paddling to avoid tipping or getting stuck.

You'll be rewarded after the first powerful rapids with class I flat waters streaming between banks where dark turquoise waters slosh against caramel brown woodlands. After a mile and a half on the river, you'll pause for a short scenic hike to the base of the 65-foot La Gata Waterfall.  Stretch your legs and jump into the plunge pool, relishing the natural scenery as you prepare mentally for the remaining four and a half miles.

The final test of teamwork comes just before the end of the journey, when that fateful 12-foot Cascabel Falls drops you down to where you'll exit the river. Fully soaked, step onshore to dry off as you enjoy an ice-cold beer, water, plantain chips and fresh fruit.

Pile into the bumpy jeep heading toward the headquarters where a casado (typical Costa Rican meal with choice of meat and multiple sides) of fish or chicken, rice, beans and salad awaits. As you eat, laugh at the day's pictures cycling on a TV screen before hopping in the shuttle back to your hotel — for what will feel like the smoothest ride of your life.

Departure & Return

  • Departure point : Tour departs from all major hotels in Guanacaste
  • Departure time : Hotel pickup is between 20 and 120 minutes before tour start time depending on hotel location
  • Return details : Tour returns to original departure point between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Tenorio River Whitewater Rafting in Pictures

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