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How many times should you expect to fall out of a raft?

Buffalo Grove...
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How many times should you expect to fall out of a raft?

Hi

Just back from our ten day adventure in Costa Rica.

We had an awesome trip - with one exception. I trusted my driver to pick out a rafting company instead of going with the recommendations on this board. He encourage me to give the little guys a chance and I agreed. We rafted the Rio Toro class 3-4. After the initial instructions, we set out with our guide and kayaker/ safety patrol/photographer. Once we were on the river, our guide told us that the river had been hit with a flash flood the night before and that "it was not the same river" they knew. There were many branches and trees down and the rapids were rough.

My husband fell out 3 times and my 20 year old son fell out 4 times. They are both big guys at 6' and 6'4" but not overweight. . When our guide yelled for us to get down, there was not enough space on the floor for both of them because the front of the raft tapered in like a canoe. Both are good swimmers and were back in the boat quickly. However, I felt that the raft was too small and that safety was not a priority.

I know the power of this board and do not want to hurt anyone's business. On the other hand, I want this company to pay more attention to safety, and I want all fellow travelers to enjoy a safe and exciting white water experience.

Question for our experts - Do I name the company???

On the bright side, we all survived and have unbelievable pictures (we bought the CD) and a great story.

Costa Rica
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1. Re: How many times should you expect to fall out of a raft?

You went on this rafting trip after the guide told you the river was flooding and the rapids were rough. So you have some responsibility in this thing. I would like some more information: why did your husband and your son end up in the water? You say there was not enough room for them to get down -- did branches knock them off? How was the guide as far as controlling the raft? Did all of you paddle or just the guide? How big was the raft and how many people? Why did you think that safety was not a priority - because they went ahead and took you even though conditions were rough or were there other things? Before I could recommend naming this company, I would like to have some more answers. Thanks.

Boston...
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2. Re: How many times should you expect to fall out of a raft?

"Once we were on the river, our guide told us that the river had been hit with a flash flood the night before and that "it was not the same river" they knew. There were many branches and trees down and the rapids were rough."

It sounds like your guides should have canceled the trip and should have never taken you down the river. They are suppose to be professionals and have the responsibility for the safety of their clients. You don't if a river that you've never been down is safe or not. Falling out more than once I feel is excessive.

San Jose, Costa Rica
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3. Re: How many times should you expect to fall out of a raft?

As a former river guide and outffiter...

1- The main reason to have a safety kayaker is to lead the raft guides...they will give the guide a line to go...another one is to scout the river after a big night of rain( flash flood) ...many times as you already mentioned...many branches, rocks move around and change the river flood and floor!

2- Some times and since I have no idea who the company you run the river was...some times some guides with not much experience in a particular river decided to run it ...just to make money...during the dry season is OK with high waters is not ok.

3- Different rivers different guides...no all the guides are good for high water...no many guides are good for low water...

4- I can said...that you are a very lucky family, with that many times with swimmers ... and nobody hurt or dead...very lucky ...I remember many times people were terrible mad at us because we cancelled the run during the high water days...my answer was...I rather have a mad passenger than a dead one...

5- Any river most of the time during high waters...have the CHICKEN RUN way...that means the guide will try to avoid any whirpool ...rock...etc...in that way they will protect the passengers to fall out of a raft...sounds to me that your guide did not know how to find the chicken run , or did not have enough space to do that...meaning the river was not safe to run...maybe for some expert crew...but not for regular passengers!

Just to finish...is not a question that you thanks God survived...the question is...the next family will?

Lets take irresponsables out of our rivers...please name the company!

roadadvisor

Costa Rica
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4. Re: How many times should you expect to fall out of a raft?

I, too, have worked as a guide and before naming the company, I would really like to read answers to the questions I posed. What can it hurt?

Brooklyn, New York
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for Sarapiqui
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5. Re: How many times should you expect to fall out of a raft?

It is not unusual on a class III-IV river to go for multiple swims, especially on high water. Whether it is the guides' fault or the rafter is impossible to tell. Sometimes it is just luck.

Our last trip on the Pacuare, we went the first day possible after floods, went for three involuntary swims, and had one of the best experiences of our life. And it was with perhaps the best rafting company in Central America.

Grecia, Costa Rica
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for Province of Alajuela
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6. Re: How many times should you expect to fall out of a raft?

Never been a guide but I am an avid rafter. IMO if you haven't fallen out a couple of times you aren't doing it right! Rafting is great fun but there is a certain amount of danger and you are going to get wet, i.e. falling out of the raft. You can name the company or not IMO but it sounds as though they were doing the job set to them.

Cheers and enjoy the memories

Inca

Buffalo Grove...
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7. Re: How many times should you expect to fall out of a raft?

Hattie -

We were already on the water by the time the guide told us about the flash flood the night before. We are adventurous people and know that a certain amount of danger is inherent in these type of activities.

The safety kayaker did lead the raft and signaled to our guide what he felt was the safest way. One time he tried to avoid the worst of the white water and ended up getting hung up on a big rock. At that point, he told my husband and son to get out of the raft ( he led them to another rock, put the raft back in motion and then had them jump back in. Our river guide was 21 and had been with Desafio. The kayaker/photographer was 23. I don't want to put anyone out of business but I do want to pass along a warning to all prospective rafters. Make sure everyone fits on the bottom of the boat in the

down position. If not, you will be in the water during the worst possible time.

Road Advisor - I agree we are very lucky. The last time my husband got pulled back into the raft he was so disoriented he asked "Where's the raft??? What happened to the raft?" Another word of advice to would be rafters, if the guide says they are cancelling, say THANK YOU for putting our safety first!

Buffalo Grove...
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8. Re: How many times should you expect to fall out of a raft?

Hattie -

Sorry I didn't answer all your questions. My husband and son fell out because the raft went vertical and they were on the sides of the raft. We were all paddling. There were 6 customers and 1 guide. At one point, 4 of the 6 customers were in the water. The raft was considerably smaller than the rafts that Desafio uses. They were also on the river that day. The shape of Desafio's raft is also different. It did not taper at the front and there seemed to be so much room at the front I think you could have put another person between the two front people. I felt that safety was not a priority because we were not even warned that the river was running rough until it was too late to back out.

Costa Rica
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9. Re: How many times should you expect to fall out of a raft?

I think the guide should have definitely told you about the river's condition before you started out - that's a minus. There was a safety kayaker leading - a plus. Perhaps the raft was too small for the amount of people. Perhaps a minus?

If it were me, I would post the name of the company and let people know that they have to ask some questions. It sounds like they are new and maybe a little inexperienced and may a little anxious to get started with their new business and didn't want to turn you away. If you happen to have an email address for them, you could email them and tell them what you are doing and give them a chance to answer.

Whew! Sounds like quite a ride! Glad everyone came out OK and it was thrilling rather than tragic.

I usually recommend asking locals for information but sometimes when someone recommends a certain company, it is because they are his wife's cousin's nephew or something similar, and they are trying to give him some help.

CA
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10. Re: How many times should you expect to fall out of a raft?

We are going rafting on the Pacuare & I would like to know the name of the company you used. Did I miss that answer ? I've already read a negative post about one company & two would probably change my plans. Thanks.

Katya