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Surrounding areas and white water rafting

costa rica
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Surrounding areas and white water rafting

Hi, Im staying at Arenal Paraiso for 4nts in which we will be doing the volcano, hot springs, la fortuna and all the activities etc , I know we are in the middle of a national park , but are there any villages nearby where we can venture out to for something to eat or is it a case of staying only at our hotel ?

Also I cant wait to do the white water rafting which I have not yet booked and never done before so am a little nervous!!!! But does anybody recommend any particular tour companies or any particular trip?


Sorrento, FL
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1. Re: Surrounding areas and white water rafting

There are lots of restaurants in Fortuna which is about 10 minutes away. La Choza de Laurel was the best meal we had in Costa Rica, its on the main drag in Fortuna. Heard several other people at out hotel talking about how great the food was there, also.

We went whitewater rafting at Sarapiqui river. At Pizza Luigi's in Fortuna is a tour booking operation that booked out zip line, white water rafting and fishing in Lake Arenal. We went with Arenal Mundo which are the zip lines that go over the waterfall. They say they have the longest cables, one is 1000 m. I do know it was one of the most thrilling things I have ever done.

The white water rafting was supposed to be class 3 & 4 rapids, but seemed pretty mild to me. I guess it's more intense when there is more water. During dry season it's a little low.

Arenal is a great area and you should have a good time no matter what you do. Just the volcano itself was enough to keep me fascinated for hours on end.

Tampa, FL
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for San Jose, Costa Rica
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2. Re: Surrounding areas and white water rafting

Arenal Paraiso is not really in the middle of a national park. It is along a road between the town of La Fortuna and Lake Arenal that passes north of Arenal Volcano and the actual park. There are many hotels, restaurants and other privately owned parcels strung out along that road. I don't mean to remotely suggest that it is thickly settled, but it is all definitely outside the national park.

In addition to the hotels, there are a few restaurants that are also along that road, of course much more so as you get closer and closer to Fortuna and then even more in the town itself. Lacking a car, the easiest thing is still to simply eat at your hotel and I'm sure Arenal Paraiso serves decent food. There are also other hotels with restaurants of their own within walking distance of Paraiso. But ultimately with 4 nights, you'll probably want greater variety, just to cehck it out if for no other reason. You could ask your front desk about catching the Tabacon shuttle as a means of getting around or pay a bit more for a cab into town.

As for whitewater: most tours out of the Fortuna area go to the Sarapiqui River. Nearer to its source off the slopes of Poas Volcano running past San Miguel to maybe as far as La Virgen, it can be a particularly wild and wooly river (at least during rainy season) and at those times and places arguably the toughest river in CR. However that stretch is relatively short and by the time you get to La Virgen and then Chilimate the river starts to mellow out considerably. By Puerto Viejo it is really nothing more than a float trip (class 2 at best).

Knowing your full itinerary and the fact that you won't have a car and plan to rely on buses may I suggest what I think may be a better alternative. Getting to the Sarapiqui from Fortuna can take up to a couple of hours each way. Its a similar story for getting to other rivers from the other places you plan to visit. So my suggestion is that, if you're going to spend a good part of your day traveling back and forth between your current hotel and whatever river you choose, why not use that drive time to also travel between those different locations. This does 2 things. First it turns what might otherwise be mostly just a travel day spent primarily waiting for and then riding on buses, into an adventure activity day of its own. Believe me you'll have other chances to ride the buses on the other parts of your trip. The second thing is that because it combines your "rafting day" with a travel day, it frees up what would have been your rafting ay at Fortuna for doing something else.

I believe Desafio has an option for rafting on the Sarapiqui between San Jose and Fortuna. If not, I know that Exploradores offers that option on the Pacuare. And, though I don't remember which outfitter does it, I also know that the Pacuare raft trip can be done between Puerto Viejo and San Jose (at least thats what I've been told by folks who have gone that route). The Pacuare and Reventazon will actually probably offer a longer and more reliable flow and for that reason are the most popular rivers in CR for w/w rafting.

The way it works is they pick you up at you hotel in one town, take you rafting and at the end of the day you get on another one of their vans that was taking people from the town where you are heading and returns you there instead of the town where you started out. In some cases you have to pay a small premium for this extra service (like $10/pp), though still cheaper than paying $29/pp for a shuttle the next day. In other cases they do it for no extra charge. I'm not sure how Exploradores handles it. Oh, and of course, you'll have to feel comfortable having all your luggage locked up in the van while you're out on the river.

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3. Re: Surrounding areas and white water rafting

Hi! We went reafting on the Pacuare with Exploradores and it was the best part of the trip. They picked us up in Arenol at 6:00 a.m. and we retunred that evening at 7:00 p.m. A long ride but well worth it! The scenery is amazing and the rapids are fun. I would have liked more intense rapids but if you are nervous about rafting you will enjoy it. There were two people who had been picked up in San Jose and returned to Arenol at the end. Yu would need to trust leaving your luggage on the bus for the day in order to do this as there was not any really station to leave it at. For us it was a piece of mind to do it as a ay trip from Arenol and am very glad we went to the Pacuare instead of the rivers closer by.

4. Re: Surrounding areas and white water rafting

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