Rio La Balsa comes from the cloud forest mountains of San Ramon & Zarcero, not far from a small village called “La Balsa” three small creeks called Rio Cataratas, San Luis & Espino merge into one river, and not far another tributary called Tapesco River blend into one making the beautiful canyon of La Balsa, with lush vegetation and huge walls, this canyon is part of the limit between Central Mountain Range and Tilaran Mountain Range, all this amount of water is stored in two dams to produce hydroelectric energy ”Daniel Gutierres” and “Balsa Inferior”. Having this control on the release of water every day, rafting companies communicate constantly with the dam operators to get info about river conditions and volume of water, this allows us to operate safe rafting tours, wherein the case of last-minute changes at the upper section of the river, head guides, and dam operators can rapidly organize evacuations and get full control over any emergency.
The commercial section of rapids classes 2, 3, and 4 is one of the most continuous sections of rapids in Central America, allowing to get over 30 big rapids in less than 8 miles. Some of then with
half a mile of big splashing waves, small drops, and different types of obstacles. One of these long rapids is called “Dragas” which is the name for the excavators that work often at the place picking rocks for the stone crusher plants. These machines change the rapids often so there is always a new surprise, however, all companies send professional kayakers to scout the rapids before running them.
The river is surrounded by tropical rain forest, which allows observing a great diversity of wildlife such as; monkeys, sloths, iguanas, toucans, river birds, poro trees, colorful frogs, among many others. The river crosses the towns of Bajo Rodrigues, Santa Clara, and Javillos where is easy to observe the production of ornamental plants, cattle farms, and stone crushers.
After the 3 hours section of commercial rapids, the river becomes flat and merges with the Peñas Blancas river forming, The San Carlos River, which flows north down to Nicaragua to become a big tributary of the San Juan River ending later at the Caribean Sea.
Video – Rafting Rio La Balsa