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Costa Rica Whitewater – for Non-Paddlers

Headed to Costa Rica with a paddler? You have options and can have a great week. Here is what to expect on your trip.

I’m not a paddler. So what is in a week of rivers for me?

So, someone you love to travel with is trying to get you to come to Costa Rica with them while they go on a week of rivers.  But you don’t even paddle!!  Is it even worth it for you to come?

Yes! It will be your Dream Adventure Week!

We know that this is a discussion in many homes and we feel that we have created an itinerary that will not only appeal to everyone, but become a favorite by non paddling family and friends!

First of all, you will have a great mix of activities with the group as well as on your own while they are in the river.  

With the group you will be able to ducky or raft the first river of the week and raft the Pacuare into everyone’s favorite Jungle Camp where you’ll get to experience the guides gourmet cooking and the quiet luxury of the camp.

You will get to eat all of your breakfasts and dinners with your paddling companion and you will stay in the same lodging each night.


You will also get to have amazing activities on your own depending on which week of rivers you attend:

For the Caribbean week of rivers you’ll get to go on the Tirimbina hike, explore the Botanical Gardens, and a wildlife boat tour.

For the Pacific week of rivers you’ll get to see a waterfall, surf, and go on the La Marta hike

All of your activities will have a guide, meals, and transportation.  The activities will be an incredible experience!

Here's how the week will go:

We talk about the non-paddler activities, but how will the week go for you?  Here’s what you can expect:

  • You’ll be picked up from the airport and transferred with the entire group.  You will also have dinner with the group.
  • Each morning that you have an alternate activity you will head to that activity after breakfast and meet up with the paddlers for dinner.  Lunches will be during your alternate activities.
  • You will transfer with the paddlers when they move locations and you will stay in the same hotels.
  • On the days that you will be on the river with them you will be in a Ducky or raft.
  • At the end of the week, you will be taken back to the airport with the rest of the group.

More Information about the Non-Paddler Activities

Tirimbina Hike: 

Come and journey through the trails of Tirimbina.  Explore the trails and hanging bridges of the reserve with an expert guide.   Your guide will point out the abundant flora, fauna, and wildlife in the rainforest of the Sarapiqui area.  You will discover amazing aspects of the unique rainforest vegetation and your guide will point out sightings of different species of wildlife.  Immerse yourself in this spectacular world.

Wildlife Boat Tour: 

Today enjoy two hours on a comfortable boat as you glide down the Sarapiqui River.  You will experience majestic and historic views of the abundant flora and fauna that are typical of the river.   There will be opportunities to view wildlife such as monkeys, iguanas, crocodiles, otters, and caymans in their natural habitat.  This tour will be an unforgettable pleasure.

Botanical Gardens: 

Today you’ll visit CATIE (Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center).  CATIE is an international research and graduate educational institution focusing on the agricultural sciences and natural resources.  Their botanical garden houses close to 4,400 plants that represent more than 400 species from all corners of the globe.  

An important facet of the CATIE is its efforts to preserve species of plants from all over the world, not just in Latin America.  One current project is the accumulation of East Asian endangered plant species.  You are sure to enjoy this unique and informative center.

One of the main attractions in this region of Costa Rica, the Nauyaca Waterfalls are known not only for their beauty but for their collection of other activities, swimming, rainforest, and more.  The idea combination of peace, nature, excitement, and adventure!

Nauyaca Waterfall:

Hike through a farm bordering two impressive waterfalls, swim in natural pools, and of course, take beautiful pictures of this tropical paradise!


Depending on waves, tide, and currents for the day, you’ll be taken to a great surfing spot to learn. It may even be right on the beach where your hotel is. 

Take your first surf lesson in a fun, energetic, and friendly atmosphere. Don’t worry if you are a slow learner, an athlete, or somewhere in between. The lessons will be paced to your group’s ability level. Your instructor will help you to enjoy the learning experience. 

First, your instructor will take you down to the beach and give you a brief, but important safety explanation. We want you to get as comfortable as possible with popping up from the board and your stance before we hit the water. A solid base will help you improve quicker.

Then your lesson moves into the water. This is the best part! During your first wave, you’ll learn how to control your surfboard safely. Your instructor will teach you how to paddle the surfboard, catch waves and stand up. You’ll also learn which waves are most suitable for you to surf on. Your instructor will be there to give you individual attention, personalized coaching and feedback. By the end of the lesson, you will understand what you need to look for when you start a surf session and how to stay safe here or in any other location in the world.

La Marta Hike:

La Marta has an area of over 3700 acres (1518 hectares) of protected land and is the first private wildlife refuge in Costa Rica with 60% primary forest and 40% secondary forest.  It forms part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and La Amistad International Park (in both Costa Rica and Panama).

There are some remains of an old gold mine and a rail system.  The rail system was used by donkeys to move things around.  After the mine failed and no gold was found it was turned into a coffee farm.  Unfortunately, it did not have the right weather for farming, so, it has now been turned into a wildlife refuge.

La Marta offers picturesque view points, different walking and hiking trails from easy to moderate, and 2 rivers that can be traveled or just enjoyed to relax for the day.

There is an extra cost associated with the non-paddler activities.

This is due to the fact that you will need separate transportation from the group to your activities and the cost of the activities and guides are not split among the whole group.  Some of the non-paddler activities have a 2 person minimum.  If there is only one non paddler on the week, we will reach out to them to schedule alternate activities without the requirement.

If you would like to spend the week with the group in a ducky or a raft – and do not choose to do separate activities while the group is on the river, you will be considered a paddler for pricing.

If you have any questions about non paddler options, please feel free to reach out to us trips@amazingvacationscostarica.com, 801-997-8907, or through WhatsApp.

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