White Water Rafting in Arenal.
Another day, another adventure! Today, we set out for one of my favorite adventure activities -- white water rafting. With it being rainy season currently, I was more excited than ever to enjoy the river.
As with almost every tour in La Fortuna, the excursion begins when a bus picks you up from your hostel or hotel. You quickly pick up other participants, then head out on your way.
On the 45-minute bus ride to the Balsa River, a guide gives all necessary safety and equipment instruction. They teach you how to paddle, lean in, get down into the raft, and what to do if someone falls out. Even if it’s your first time rafting, by the time you arrive at the river, you’ll have a very good idea of how to raft safely.
Once the group is split into teams of 5-6 people, and everyone is suited up in equipment, the adventure begins!
My favorite part came at the start: about one hour of constant rapids. Some were smooth and easy, while others were bumpy and tougher to manage (these harder ones were my favorite). Because our team had asked for lots of action, we tried some different tricks and maneuvers, a couple of which had people falling out of the raft. However, everyone managed to get back safely, and the adventure continued. Rainy season definitely made the rafting more fun!
There was even one point where we were able to jump out of the raft and float calmly down the river. We enjoyed the sun and refreshing water before popping to the side of the river for some delicious fresh watermelon, pineapple, and mango prepared by the guides.
The second half of the journey was much more relaxed -- the rapids were smaller and easier to manage, and we spent a good deal of time learning about the wildlife lining the river. We even spotted two sloths -- something surprisingly hard to do in Costa Rica, that most people have to pay extra for. Besides sloths, we also saw vultures, toucans, and a variety of other birds.
We arrived at the end point another hour or so later, where some guides were waiting with cold water, beer, and fresh towels. We piled onto the bus for a quick 5 minute ride to a local restaurant, where we enjoyed a typical Costa Rican casado dish (rice, beans, veggies, plantain, and your choice of meat). We were able to view the rafting photos here (I was very impressed with the quality) and chat with the other tour members/guides.
After that, we made our way back to La Fortuna. The tour began at 9am, and we were back in town and at our hostel by 2:30pm, leaving plenty of time for other activities in the afternoon.
Overall, the day was everything I had hoped for and more! The rapids were incredibly fun, and I loved getting exercise in such a fun way. The river and surrounding forest were both beautiful, and seeing a variety of animals made the tour even better. The sun was shining, the weather was perfect, and, as always, the guides were a blast to hang out with.