Starting at $75 per night

Overview

Looking for some thrills, spills and all around good time on the river? If so, you will love whitewater rafting on the Rio Balsa!

The day starts off when you are picked up from your Arenal Volcano area hotel. After picking up fellow adventurers you will be brought to the river. The drive from La Fortuna takes about 30 minutes, passing through small rural villages, mountains, and forest. When you arrive at the river, you will be provided with a helmet and paddle. Your guide will explain the basics of rafting and safety techniques. Then you will be on your way to adventure!

The Rio Balsa is a class II and III river that is regulated by daily dam releases. It is one of the most reliable and popular whitewater rafting rivers in Costa Rica. The total river run is ten kilometers, which usually lasts between 1.5 to 2 hours depending on the time of the year.

As your guide navigates you down the river you will pass by well-known rapids such as the Dredges and Magnetic Rock. You will have the opportunity to take a swim in the river and enjoy all around wet and wild fun. Remember to ask your guide if you can ride the bull. This is always a thrill! Of course, it is not an actual bull. You will be riding the front of the rafting boat.

After the rafting tour a typical Costa Rican style lunch will be provided. It is currently offered at a local family owned farm that grows traditional coffee and sugarcane. It must be noted that the location of lunch is subject to change.

Including round trip transfer the tour is expected to last around 5.5 to 6 hours, though again this is subject to change. This fun filled adventure includes transportation, safety kayaker, guides, lunch, and equipment.

Highlights

  • Whitewater rafting one of the most popular rivers in Costa Rica
  • Enjoy an authentic Costa Rican style lunch

What to Bring

  • Clothes That Can Get Wet
  • Secure Shoes
  • Sun Block
  • Dry Clothes To Change Into

Location and Availability

The Whitewater Rafting Rio Balsa is available from Arenal, Arenal Zone 2, Arenal Zone 3, and Chachagua Rainforest Hotel

Tour Time

  • 10:30am

Tour Type

  • Rafting

Cancellation Policy

Cancellation Policy

Recommended Ages

8 - 75

Location

Latitude: N 10°18'27.72". Longitude: W 85°28'39"

Reviews

  • Overall 94.4% (559 Guest Ratings)
  • Experience: 94.2%
  • Expectations: 94.4%
  • Guides: 94.7%
  • Logistics: 94.2%
  • Value: 97.5%

04/15/2017

This was one of the best trips for WW Rafting. Really well organized and well run. Guide was great. Totally enjoyable! Lunch was great, demo was fun, everything was well planned.

03/26/2017

So well organized. The fruit stop with the goats was such a treat. Dinner was amazing and the sugar cane demonstration was an unexpected treat.

03/24/2017

The BEST tour on our vacation. They did an excellent job as guides and made it really fun.

02/28/2017

Same as Big 11 AMA comments. Was a great day and overall experience!

02/27/2017

This tour exceeded my expectations. Jose was a fabulous guide! He had a great sense of humor, and was very skilled with his raft. He was safety conscious...and we practiced reacting to his commands before we got on the river. The fruit that was served halfway through the trip was delicious. Then the dinner at the farm was excellent, and the demonstration of crushing the sugar cane stock and drinking the juice, and then the fermented juice, just topped off the entire experience! I would do this again in a heartbeat!!

02/26/2017

The rafting was great and well organized.

02/24/2017

Great guide, helpful to a woman with a bad knee!

02/22/2017

This was the highlight of the tour. The rafting was fantastic. The meal after rafting on the small coffee farm was a really nice touch. Top noche!

02/21/2017

Fun and exciting white water adventure. Went with two of our grand children, 10 and 11 years old. We loved the guides, the white water, and the delicious lunch and tour of coffee and sugar cane after. Great day!

02/18/2017

This was our first white water rafting, and I was scared. But Our Guide/boat pilot was very experienced and careful with us. I expected fewer, gentler rapids.

02/16/2017

Great tour great guides loved the organic farm

02/15/2017

By far best company! Felt safe, fun guides! The lunch was a treat and delicious. Amazing culture experience.

02/14/2017

Great tour, food, tour and experience.

02/13/2017

another fun day in Costa Rica This was a fun day

02/11/2017

Exceeded expectations. Lots of fun. Nice fresh fruit snack break. Great lunch and sugar cane demonstration.

02/04/2017

Our guide was wonderful and saved a couple of us from falling into the river. We really enjoyed Carlos and all the information he gave us regarding the wildlife, trees, etc.

02/02/2017

Dionis is the best!

01/24/2017

Really fun! Good rapids, not too hardcore (would have loved a difficulty 4 or 5), the guide was so skilled we were never off course or in any danger. The fruit stop was fun and delicious and the coffee plantation after was fun and tasty (nice intro to Guaro). The bus could have a little better seats (other buses were newer or had better cushioning) but it wasn't' too bad.

01/23/2017

This was suppose to be beginner Cat 2-3 and it was more 3-4. I was fine but my 2 friends had no previous experience and it was not as enjoyable as it could have been.

01/15/2017

First time rafting - wonderful experience! Rio Balsa scenery was beautiful. Enjoyed the fresh fruit during the break. Delicious lunch (and coffee!) on the return trip to the resort!

01/14/2017

Best tour in the LaFortuna area. Great fun and the lunch afterwards was very good too!

01/12/2017

Way beyond my expectations. I did not, however, realize how hard we would have to paddle. A few times I ran out of steam and did not feel I was carrying my weight with the work. I would highly, highly recommend this to anyone who wants an adventure, and never did this before.

01/03/2017

Was hoping for a longer rafting experience but the time spent on the raft was great.Nice lunch following.

12/31/2016

We loved the thrill and also the organic farm lunch

12/21/2016

Loved the tour, but the pick up on the way there, they had to wait for others at the location in town and we sat for about 1/2 hr -45mins. Then it was a long drive to the start. Should be noted, that you are going to be sitting in a van for 2 hrs before you even start.

12/20/2016

Next time would take the tour with more rapids.

12/03/2016

Wild wonderful magical exciting! 10

11/26/2016

The tour we originally booked had to be cancelled due to debris in the river from the hurricane. We were very happy with how easily rebooked we were on a different tour and really enjoyed the entire experience.

11/21/2016

It was a lot crazier than we expected, but Jairo was so great and he kept us safe. Lunch was really good at the sugar plantation and the owner gave a wonderful explanation of sugar cane and guaro.

11/11/2016

My favorite excursion of the entire trip. What an experience. The expertise of our raft guide, Carlos was amazing. Fantastic photographs of the experience available for a very nominal fee.

11/03/2016

Carlos was amazing! The top half is level 3 and a real rush, the bottom half less challenging but a relaxing ride. The refreshments on the rating trip were delicious, and the lunch at the local farm was wonderful.

10/01/2016

I felt safe and had a great time.

08/28/2016

This was our favorite tour- the guides were great and the lunch at the Costa Rican farm was wonderful.

08/25/2016

One of the best experiences on this trip. Was intense and fun.

08/10/2016

Awesome tour and guides! Pura Vida!

07/27/2016

Such a fun experience!!! We loved the local pineapple and watermelon at the snack stop and lunch afterwards was at a very local place so we got traditional Costa Rica food which was simple and delicious. We felt safe with our guides and rafting was SO fun!! Class 2 and Class 3 rapids meant it wasn't too scary and was perfect for our first time rafting, We just wish the whole thing was Class 3, as we found the Class 2 section to be more about taking in the scenery than the thrills on the water. Would do this tour again in flash, it was one of our trip highlights!!

07/21/2016

A great adventure. Kids had a superb guide (Orland), and ours (Didier) was also great.

07/17/2016

Awesome. Once again we had incredible guides who went out of their way to help our disabled son participate fully. Wonderful family fun day and the meal that was included was absolutely delicious!

07/10/2016

Fantastic day overall.

07/08/2016

The rafting was amazing and the staff was exceptional at this company. They all made sure we had fun!

07/03/2016

The guides were the best part of this trip. They were really fun people and I had a great time with everyone. The rafting was also awesome. The rapids were small enough to feel safe but big enough to have fun.

06/30/2016

Really loved this tour. Guides were amazing and the stop at the organic farm for lunch at the end was a great feature of the trip.

06/21/2016

We had a blast on this excursion. I am not certain I would choose to do the stop for lunch if I picked this a second time.

06/15/2016

Excellent guide and fun. Recommend it for any family.

06/12/2016

Very fun! Excellent experience and knowledgable guides. Great!

06/10/2016

One of the highlights of the trip. Great company and so much fun. Highly recommend for others!

06/01/2016

food very good

05/23/2016

Very awesome adventure. As very experienced white water adventurers, we will take the 3-4 class trip next time. Great day... Great Staff and very professional and experienced.

05/20/2016

Was one of our favorite activities. The fruit in the middle was a nice surprise and the food was nice at the restaurant so overall was a great day.

05/04/2016

EXCELLENT!!!!!!!!!!!

04/18/2016

Not only were the rapids and guides great, but the stop at the local farm for lunch was awesome!

04/12/2016

fantastic day, the guides were awesome and the lunch at the farm was charming and delicious

04/09/2016

This was one of the highlights of our tour. Our guide Didier was absolutely brilliant and great fun - I'm confident our raft was the most fun out of the whole group and he went a long way to making it so. The place we went for lunch afterwards had some of the best food we ate in Costa Rica during our entire stay - just incredible.

03/23/2016

Great tour! Very fun and felt safe. Enjoyed the lunch.

03/20/2016

Our guide Pablo was awesome. This was a great experience, and accurately described as moderately adventurous.

03/18/2016

One of the most fun times of the entire trip. It was great!

03/17/2016

Guides were great and the lunch on the farm at the end was awesome!!

03/13/2016

A very exciting time, guides were knowledgeable and helpful, would definitely do it again.

03/08/2016

Another fabulous tour with amazing guides. Highly recommend this tour company.

03/07/2016

enjoyed the tour. It was a big group so felt it lost a little due to the number of buses and the length of the last stop before hitting the river. Our guide made the ride a little rough as I don't think he was as experienced and hit rocks pretty hard along the way. The lunch event was fun and the sugar cane was cool. Enjoyed it but also thought it was pretty tame for what it was ranked. Probably would have done a smaller group and more exciting rapid.

03/03/2016

Terrific guide and raft company. Really enjoyed the additional indigenous farm/coffee/hooch tour, lunch was delicious-Outstanding!

02/29/2016

Loved it. Water is so warm compared to our whitewater in North America .

02/27/2016

Easily the best activity we did. An all time great.

02/24/2016

Brilliant! Guides were smart, funny, knowleagble and enthusiastic. Lunch was spectacularly tasty. Beer on the bus afterwards was brilliant. A great day.

02/20/2016

Rafting was much shorter than I thought it would be. Lunch was very good and the guides were very nice.

02/14/2016

Loved the lunch and coffee plantation tour!!

02/13/2016

Our tour guide was AWESOME!! He made a great trip even better. Our favorite excursion on our trip!

02/10/2016

Amazing experience, would do it again. Great guides, well prepared and so much fun.

02/09/2016

Guides were fantastic. This was a highlight of our trip. Wonderful experience.

02/05/2016

Fabio was a lot of fun and rafting was great. The lunch and sugar cane presentation was a nice plus.

02/02/2016

Great trip - grows rapids great guide, great food! We were in the same raft with friends we made the day before in the zip line tour!! Made even more friends rafting. Loved it!

02/01/2016

best activity in our stay at Arenal

01/29/2016

Excellent rafting company. Guides were extremely qualified. The luncheon at the farm was excellent. Everything exceeded expectations.

01/25/2016

want to do it again

01/20/2016

The only real negative was the river was low so it wasn't as exciting as I'd of hope but that isn't something the tour company could control

01/18/2016

This tour was our favorite and the guide, Fabio was awesome! We loved it! Plus there was lunch at a local coffee farm that we didn't know we'd be going to.

01/08/2016

Didier, our guide, was the best!

01/06/2016

amazing staff and awesome planning of the whole activity!

01/05/2016

Superb. Great guides and variety of white water. Wonderful lunch afterwards at an organic farm. Only logistical issue was horrible changing rooms. It would have been better if we all just changed under out towels at the landing site as the facility was very dirty and crowded. This outing was one of the highlights of the trip.

12/30/2015

Our guide was amazing, the fruit break was much needed. The one thing that wasn't as awesome- it came with lunch... at 2:30pm... would have been nice to know have a big snack right before so you don't stave

12/24/2015

Wonderful trip. Our guide, Jerald, was great! He made sure everyone, including our 8 yr old, had an awesome time. Lunch at the farm was also a great bonus!

12/20/2015

The best outing, great team, the lunch and farm tour after rafting was so unexpected. We enjoyed wave Expedition . So much energy and give you great history of the balsa River from the crew team.

12/02/2015

Tour guide, Fabio, did a superb job. He was a great team leader.

11/26/2015

It was exciting, safe, organized and a lot of fun!

11/18/2015

soooo fun! even for someone as non-athletic like me. i fell in and felt safe the whole time. i also LOVED our lunch and cultural learning stopover. and the fruits and beer after rafting. definitely my favourite excursion.

11/09/2015

Best Activity of the whole trip!!!!

11/06/2015

Fantastic experience.

10/16/2015

This was another activity to remember. The tour guides, one in particular, were wonderful and we had a ball. The rafting was exciting! It was nice that lunch was provided and we had a bit of time to learn about Costa Rican culture at the coffee/sugar cane farm. This was another great day!

10/07/2015

My second favorite tour of the trip! Guides were knowledgeable and awesome!

10/05/2015

Great tour guide, he made the trip better!

09/10/2015

CARLOS WAS THE BOMB!!
GREAT JOB

09/04/2015

Really had a good time. great guides. They had a lunch break for us. and then a real lunch that was fantastic.

08/20/2015

Fabio was a great guide!

08/14/2015

Again, guides and travel were great. We just wish that we had more options in terms of choosing the difficulty. We have both done Class III-V rapids in parts of the US so this was a little disappointing. Additionally, because it was Class III, some parents thought it was appropriate to bring their young children, which negatively impacted our experience. Overall, it was still fun, but I would maybe do things differently, perhaps the Class IV river.

08/04/2015

Fantastic rafting.

07/31/2015

Pickup from hotel timely. Guides were friendly and informative. the visit to the fruit stand/rest stop before the trip was perfectly timed. The visit to the organic farm/restaurant and sugar cane demonstration were an unexpected and welcome bonus. Jairo was the BEST river guide!

07/27/2015

We really enjoyed ride and guide. Lunch at the organic plantation was nice.

07/16/2015

Carlos was great. Loved everything about the tour

07/05/2015

Fabio did a great job as our guide

07/03/2015

EXCELLENT experience

06/28/2015

This tour was a real hi light. The guide Favio was excellent. So much fun.

06/24/2015

Scared the crap out of me; but it was good.

06/21/2015

Carlos was a great tour and raft guide. everyone made it a fun experience.

06/20/2015

That activity was the best and I had the most fun on that day!

06/18/2015

Shuold rent GoPro cameras.

06/17/2015

Probabaly the best tour for overall experience, with a fantastic lunch and extras such as towels, beer, etc provided that made the tour great

06/14/2015

We have been on lots of whitewater adventures, so we have some experience to compare with this group. Our guides were excellent in their water and safety skills. They "read the river" really well to make the most of every wave! We enjoyed the fresh fruit snacks along the river side. The lunch at the end of our trip was absolutely delicious and was served on banana leaves. Local special brewed coffee and the sugar cane liquor toast really made for a complete local experience. Everyone was friendly and engaging! We had the time of our lives!

06/13/2015

Very nice and fun experience, friendly guides!

06/11/2015

This was a great tour and was even more expansive than expected. The white water rafting was so fun! After rafting we were treated to a delicious home made lunch at an organic farm where they shared their coffee making and sugar cane production history with us. We got more than we expected here and enjoyed very much so!

06/10/2015

Great tour and guides. Great treat and surprise at the lunch spot they stopped at afterwards.

06/07/2015

The tour went above my expectations. I expected rating and some kind of minimal box lunch. A fun experience, fresh fruit, good lunch, sugar cane demo--- awesome day!

06/04/2015

Totally fun trip and probably our best activity on the whole trip.

06/02/2015

Over met expectations.. Love it. guides were great.. nice ending with sugarcane demo.. etc .. highly recommend.

05/25/2015

This was by far our favorite excursion on the trip. The shuttle guide was fantastic and funny and so much fun. Our boat guy Mauricio was very experienced and trained us well on how to navigate our boat down the river. They were all soo much fun and made the experience a joy for all the rafters. They were quick to lend assistance when anyone fell out of the boats. The meal was AMAZING. The coffee demonstration very interesting. The sugar cane demonstration was a treat as well. We got 3 adventures in one. Everything was perfect.

05/18/2015

The rafting was the highlight of the trip. Our guide, Carlos, was wonderful. He was very attentive, knowledgeable and professional. He truly made the trip safe, fun and completely enjoyable. As a non-swimmer and bringing my senior citizen mom with me, I was a little nervous but Carlos was so attentive my nervousness quickly resolved and we both had a wonderful time.

05/13/2015

The farm/restaurant where we had lunch had the best food we had the entire trip! We were very impressed. We would have liked more time to eat as we were rushed to leave to see a sugar cane demonstration.

05/12/2015

The rapids were pretty lame, not class 3 rapids.

05/07/2015

Awesome!!!! The river was so much fun. The lunch after was excellent and all the guides were extermely nice and helpful.

05/05/2015

Excellent!

05/04/2015

Want to do this over and over again. Great time. Guides were fantastic and knowledgeable. Did I say I want to do this over and over again. Best thing I did while in Costa Rica.

04/28/2015

Again, the guides were top notch. Helpful, friendly, and very professional. The fresh fruit at the break was a special treat also! An amazing time was had by all of us.

04/27/2015

Freaking awesome and super fun fun! Highly recommended! SO MUCH FUN! Loved the staff!

04/12/2015

Mauricio was our guide and all the guys working the river were friendly and fun. Definitely felt safe and taken care of. An amazing experience! Lunch afterwards was delicious.

04/07/2015

Overall very good rafting, very appropriate given my younger daughter's age (10). The group was very large but we had fun. the food and sugar cane experience afterward was a nice touch, but food quality was just okay.

03/30/2015

too many people, it was really crowded

03/29/2015

Absolutely fantastic! Gerald (Flaco) was the BEST instructor ever. Fabio on the bus was hilarious and really set the tone of the day. Not only were the rapids beyond fun, but I loved the fruit break midway through. Lunch afterwards was one of the best meals we had in Costa Rica...and the sugar cane demonstration were incredible as well!

03/27/2015

Favorite!

03/24/2015

It was a lot of fun!! We left safe and the staff were super friendly.

03/21/2015

The rapids were claimed to be level 2-3. The first section of the adventure the water was extremely rough (more comparable to level 4-5 from my experience). Enjoyed the adventure overall especially the lunch break.

03/20/2015

Only issue was that we had to wait for about 1.5 hours for the dam to release water - most of the time was spent sitting uncomfortably in our raft for the ride to begin due to low water.

03/18/2015

Great tour, great staff, great time!

03/09/2015

This was an amazing experience. Our guide was so much fun and took such good care of us. We saw a lot of wildlife on the river including sloths. The rapids were challenging without being terrifying. This was our favorite activity as a family on our trip.

02/26/2015

guides made it a lot of fun!!

02/24/2015

Loved the whole tour!

02/18/2015

Above and beyond meeting expectations. All guides were great. Lunch was delicious and the added coffee treat and sugarcane exhibit was phenomenal! Also the beers at the end of the rafting was a delightful touch!

02/09/2015

The guide didn't like our group, it was obvious.

01/14/2015

Our guide was awesome. Wish I remembered his name. I think this was our best excursion and I would encourage everyone to do it. (Gave it a great review on Tripadvisor). The organic lunch was the best meal we had while we were in Costa Rica. Wonderful tour!!!!

12/31/2014

our guides were excellent. wonderful experience.

12/18/2014

This was the second-highest highlight of the vacation, only to zip-lining. Lots of fun, great guides. The only downside is that they offered to sell us photos of ourselves, but I never found the photos on their website and they never returned my emails. I would have bought at least one.

12/13/2014

Had a wonderful time on the river and the added lunch and talk about coffee and sugar cane was a plus