- For Sarapiqui River we start at 8:30 am.
- For Balsa River we start at 9:30 am depending on your hotel location the time can change.
- Depending on your hotel location we may have to pick you up 30 minutes before, take a look at the pick up time list according to your hotel or call to +50689342626 the get more accurate information: https://arenalrafting.com/hotel-pick-up-times-for-rafting-tours/
- All tours finish after lunch at the operations base around 2:45, plus the time driving back to your hotel.
- Bring a bathing suit, specially for ladies, leggings or yoga pants are the best option,(bikinis are not always appropriate, –you may spend more time adjusting the bathing suit than using the paddle!). Water temperatures may vary during the year, however we go rafting on tropical rivers so we never get to use wetsuits. The way you dress must focus more on protecting from sunlight than cold water.
- Bring secure shoes; regular hiking shoes, sneakers, tennis shoes, diving boots, and any type of shoe that covers your toes and is well tied and closed around your ankle.
- Sunblock, please note: Do not apply on your forehead or the back of your legs, before doing the tour. It may come down to your eyes and cause eye irritation. Behind your legs it can make the material of the raft slippery.
- Extra clothes, bring an extra outfit, you can change your wet clothes at the end of the tour and enjoy lunch more comfortably with your dry clothes.
- Feel free and safe to leave all the stuff that you don’t want to risk in the river, inside the bus with our driver, make sure you leave; phones, backpacks and extra clothes.
These are the age limits we recommend according to our safety measures, level of rapids and equipment.
Sarapiqui River +11 years old
Balsa II III +6 years old
Balsa III IV +8 years
Both rivers have different sections we raft according to the chosen level of rapids, also both rivers are dam controlled to produce hydroelectric energy, it means the water level changes during the day according to energy production.
The rapids on Balsa River are more predictable and easier to maneuver for the guide, making this section an universal rafting section, it means we can take everybody, and the guide is more comfortable to adjust the level of action according to passenger’s skills, experience and paddle reactions. At this river we offer the next levels: rafting class III & IV, and rafting class II & III. In the other hand at the Sarapiqui River we just run the section with rapids class IV, making this section more recommendable for adults, in good physical shape, because we must paddle harder compare to Balsa River, due to the gradient of the Sarapiqui River and the type of obstacles, this section is the most challenging. NOT recommended for seniors, kids or people with low mobility or overweight.
The classification of rapids is based on the level of difficulty and risk they pose to rafters, and other whitewater enthusiasts. This classification takes into account, the river geography, gradient, volume of water, level of risk, difficulty of maneuver among other factors.
The classes range from I to VI, with class I being the easiest and class VI called impossible, being class V, the most challenging and dangerous. In Arenal Rafting we are extremely demanding on safety, and have a well earned record of 100% survivors, so we rather not do tours on class V rapids. We only offer class II & III tagged as “Family Friendly”, and the class III & IV, as “Adventure Tours” or “Adrenaline Junkies”. So basically class IV means paddle harder and more chances of falling out the raft, a situation that is quite fast to be controlled by our professional guides and kayakers. In less than 5 seconds the team will pick you up, laugh about it and keep going, -that easy!
The river is a natural environment, so we do not have lockers at the put in of the river, however you can leave your backpack, phones and stuff inside the van, where our driver will keep the van locked and take care of your stuff. In case of bringing over $500 or expensive stuff, we rather give this stuff directly to the driver.
If you are familiar with online bookings and payments, booking by the website is the easiest way. For a more customized service, you can book by whatsapp, email, phone call, or live chat, with one of our tour experts, they will ask for basic data like, tour name, tour date, amount of participants, name, phone and email, after making this pre-booking the agent will send a payment link that you can pay using your credit card, once the payment is done, don’t forget to report the agent by the same channel, so the agent will verify the payment and complete your booking. Please note: Bookings with pending payment are considered “Not Completed or in process” so we can not guarantee your space on the trip, until the payment is done.
You can take a look at the list we have on our website https://arenalrafting.com/hotel-pick-up-times-for-rafting-tours/ , if you don’t find your hotel you can feel free to call or whatsapp by +50689342626 to provide you more accurate information.
Sarapiqui River is definitely our most challenging option, that’s why we decide to tagged as “extreme”, however there is a big difference on extreme sport and extreme tours, our tours are designed to guarantee safety so we don’t risk your life, we keep in touch with the operators of the hydroelectric dam at the upper section of the river, they inform us every morning about the water level, weather and the river conditions, with this information we know where is the best point to start or which rapids we must skip, the main difference on this tour besides the level of rapids is some extra activities to increase the level of challenge, it includes swimming a rapid, cliff jumping, among other activities. Due to the gradient of this river and the type of obstacles, this section is the most challenging. NOT recommended for seniors, kids or people with low mobility or overweight.
Falling out of the raft is an inherent risk of any rafting tour all over the word when going rapids over levels class II. However our expert guides will give you a full safety speech to first avoid or minimize this risk and second get to know what to do in case it happens and how to deal successfully and safely with this situation. There is so many ways to rescue a swimmer in case of falling out the raft; the rest of the passengers or the guide can pick you up, the raft has a rescue rope hanging 360 degree around, the guide also have throw ropes, there is kayakers and also more rafts ahead or behind our boat who also can pick you up. The swimmers are normally in the water just for 5 seconds, our well trained guides will pick you up, get back in normal position and keep enjoying. – that easy!
Children occupy a place in the boat and bus the same as adults, on the other hand the security measures in boats with children are increased, for this reason and for the tour to maintain the best quality and safety, there is no difference in price between children and adults.
Rafting can be a challenging activity, but it is possible to do it with a prosthesis, depending on the individual’s specific circumstances and the level of their abilities. It’s important to consider the type of prosthesis being used, as some may be better suited for water activities than others. You must know that safety instructions while sailing the rapids may involve taking positions like crouching or squatting to avoid falling out, so as soon as you can perform this movement the tour remains safe for you.
A waterproof or water-resistant prosthesis may be necessary to prevent damage to the device and to ensure it functions properly in a wet environment. Additionally, the individual’s level of mobility and balance will be important factors in determining their ability to participate in rafting. It’s important to consult with a medical professional or physical therapist who can assess the individual’s capabilities and provide guidance on appropriate safety measures and techniques to help them successfully participate in the activity. Overall, with the right prosthesis and proper guidance and precautions, rafting can be a fun and exciting activity for people with prosthetics
You are allow to bring your cameras and video device under your own risk, you must know that rafting involves a lot of friction between your body and the raft, and safety gear, so whatever is attached to you body may get stock with a rope, paddle or river obstacles risking your safety and running the risk of losing your personal objects. The bottom of the rivers where we go for rafting have a big collection of treasures like camaras, go pros, sunglasses, jewelry, phones and watches. Both of your hands will be busy using the paddle so there are not many chances of using your hands for taking photos or videos. In case of bringing the go pro the best way to tie it up is on your helmet with an extra string attached to the straps, however full configuration and attachment must be done directly by the customers, guides are not allowed to attach cameras due to safety policies to protect them in case of losing stuff.
To answer this question we need to go back to geography classes, remember rivers come from the mountain and finish at the ocean, so rivers don’t make circles. The point at the river where we start is totally different from where we finish so the only way to make this possible is having a driver for your car who follows our bus all the time without participating in the activity. In case of requiring the service of a driver you can book for a price of $50 with our operator calling or whatsapp by +50689342626.
You are allow to bring your phone under your own risk, you must know that rafting involves a lot of friction between your body and the raft, and safety gear, so whatever is attached to you body may get stock with a rope, paddle or river obstacles risking your safety and running the risk of losing your personal objects. The bottom of the rivers where we go for rafting have a big collection of treasures like camaras, go pros, sunglasses, jewelry, phones and watches. Both of your hands will be busy using the paddle so there are not many chances of using your hands for taking photos or videos. In case of bringing your phone in a dry bag, the best way to tie it up is under your PDF(personal flotation device) with an extra string attached to the straps, however full configuration and attachment must be done directly by the customers, guides are not allowed to attach cameras due to safety policies to protect them in case of losing stuff. Hard boxes or cases are not recommended since it may cause bumps and injuries to passengers.