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Rio Pacuare a Costa Rican gem

Posted: 01.21.2012 by Andrew Holcombe

It's been a solid 10 days of kayaking here in Costa Rica the land of sunshine and amazing rivers. While there are numerous opportunities to paddle all over the country my favorite run so far has been the Rio Pacuare.

The Pacuare has  a long history of kayaking and rafting in Costa Rica with some of the first companies setting up operations in the early 80's.  After spending several days running all the sections I can see why.  First off the Pacuare has an amazing amount of whitewater that is very accessible (for Latin America anyways).  On top of that the variety is second to none.  From the Headwaters to the takeout of the Lower has got to be in the realm of 75-100 miles and there are 5 distinct different stretches that range from class III to fun Class V (as in not too terrifying).  It even has a great classic overnight option on the Lower complete with stays at various different Jungle Camps. 

I'm really drawn to rivers that have such long sections of whitewater that isn't crazy hard.  It gives folks a chance to really get that feeling of moving from source to sea or passing through really distinct sections of rivers.  On the Pacuare the higher up sections are continuous class III while the Upper and the Lower give way to great boulder garden rapids tucked into jungle canyons.  Top this off with some great surf waves and a river that runs year around (you do have to watch the high water in the rainy season) and you've got one amazing paddling zone.  I highly recommend this run to anyone that gets a chance to kayak in Costa Rica.  Enjoy some of the pictures y Pura Vida!

Following Emily into the biggest drop on the Upper Upper

Boofing through one of the endless boulder gardens on the Upper

Arnaldo and Anna leading the way on the Upper

The view looking upstream at the crux of the Upper

Stern squirting on the Upper Upper

One of the many surf spots on the Lower

The scenery ain't bad either.  Anna on the Lower