Life, Travel

Costa Rica White Water Rafting

So, you know how I was freaked out about riding ATVs? And How I redeemed myself by not freaking out at all while ziplining? Yea… I was SO freaked out about White Water Rafting. More than the ATVs. When it came to rafting we were at the total mercy of mother nature. I couldn’t control the gas pedal or feel safe in my harness. I was sitting on the edge of an inflatable raft with my foot tucked under a simple strap to “keep me in” …. uhhhhh what?!

Rewind…. We got picked up to go rafting, brought to the local office to fill out paperwork (aka – sign your life away) and then we were told it was going to be an hour plus drive to our destination. I was SO not mentally prepared for that. I was tired, scared, and a bit sunburnt from our adventures on the catamaran the day before (I’ll write about that later). Anyway, we all pile into this van with our rafts strapped down to the top. And we were off!


We learned a lot about the area as one of our guides told us all about the history of that area. There are lots of huge Palm Tree plantations. They use them to grow and harvest the fruit of the palm tree that has the palm oil in it. It is, apparently, a pretty lucrative business to be in. Good to know. After driving a little ways on actual roads we turned off into a gravel path that we would travel on until we got to the part of the river we were going to start at. It was beautiful. So lush and green! We stopped at a tiny rural store/market where we saw the ugliest animal I’ve ever seen.


After a few scary twists, turns, and hills we finally made it to the place we were going to start. They gave us our vests and helmets. The guides seemed overly excited because the rain brought the river up a couple inches higher than normal. Yay? Again… I am telling you these helmets look good on no one.


This was our “proof” that we started, you know… in case we didn’t finish. haha. Once we were all geared up it was time for the instructions. They told us the basic row forward and backward motions. They talked about using your whole body, leaning into it and rowing long and hard instead of short strokes. Sound like CrossFit much? Functional Fitness! Then they spent a long time explaining to us what we should do if we fall out of the raft. Uhhh I didn’t plan on falling out! But it was good to know that trying to stand up was the worst thing you could do. We were taught the white water survival position. Good to know!


(that’s my “We are going to WHAT?” face. ha.)

And then just like that… we were off! It was exhilarating and terrifying. They split us between two rafts, I was with the husband and his Uncle and our guide Scotty. I was in the middle of the boat, scotty at the back, and Chris and Kevin at the front. I was thankful that our guide was so laid back, but so in control. He never made me feel like he was panicking. The people at Quepoa Expeditions are really good.


“Oh look here comes a rapid”


Just going down the rapid…



yes, that is us. under the water. in our raft.

About half way down the river we stopped to have a snack (pineapple!) and check out a waterfall. With all the rain the waterfall was rushing, so we couldn’t get too close to it. One of the guides said that the creeks around the waterfall were the highest that he’d seen them. It was fun to get out of the boat for a minute, mostly to let my hands regain circulation because I’d been hanging on to my oar so tightly.


After we crossed the creek to get to where the waterfall was we attempted a group shot. I’d say this pretty much sums up our group:


uhhh yea. apparently we ride the short bus. let’s try this again.


much better.

We hopped back on the river and I was actually feeling way more calm and starting to enjoy myself.
I still had my death grip on my paddle though!

I was so impressed at how incredibly well these guides knew the river. We got to one rapid where our guide noticed a broken tree limb/log hanging in one of the rapids. like in the middle of it. They knew the way the water flowed and had to figure a way to go around it. There was just enough room to the right for the raft to fit before hitting the huge rock wall. We had to navigate just right to be able to squeeze through. I was convinced we were going to smash into the wall and die flip the boat. We made it. barely. Our guide said that was something they do on Class 5 rafting trips. Talk about adrenaline rush!


I was ready to hit some more big rapids… and then I realized we were at the end. Sad day! I have to go rafting again now that I’m not deathly terrified.

So we pack everything up and climb into the truck to head to dinner. There was another car in front of us carrying a family that had gone down the river with us. Apparently they had to drive separate because the woman got carsick. Still not sure how they made it down the river without her getting sick, but whatever. Anyway, it had rained the whole time we were going down the river and coming back down the roads there was a creek that we had crossed over that had risen quite a bit. There was a bridge there, but it was broken so you had to literally drive across the creek. Well the people in this car, a rental Toyota Corolla (who drives that into the jungle? I have no idea), decided to try to drive across this creek. And of course… they didn’t make it. Good thing we were behind them with a van full of muscular men!


They hopped out and had to push the car out of waist high water.

The girls were still over on the other side of the river with our huge van. We knew the van would have to drive across too so I asked the driver if we should get back inside, he said yea… so Caren and I hopped in. I was like I guess I should close the door? She said she would shut the window… and we were off… SPLASH!


The van had plenty of power, but ended up getting stuck on a big rock under water.


You can see Caren in the back, I was one row up. We were like “WHY DID WE THINK THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA?”

Luckily the men came to our rescue!


And meanwhile the view inside the van:

P1010077 P1010078

Oh man. What a trip!

And that is why we CrossFit. Functional fitness at it’s finest!

I would highly recommend Quepoa Expeditions if you are in the Manuel Antonio/Quepos Area of Costa Rica. And I certainly plan on trying white water rafting again, since I’m not quite as terrified!

Have you been rafting? Scary, fun, or Both?




3 thoughts on “Costa Rica White Water Rafting”

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