Costa Rica: Lower Rio Pacaure

Posted by Spalding Hurst

January 8, 2008

Spalding Hurst checked in with this trip report of the Rio Pacaure, a river he ran while on his honeymoon in Costa Rica.

Entering Dos Montañas Canyon

Hola! Costa Rica has been great. The scenery and the wildlife are amazing. On this trip, Jennifer and I have seen Howler Monkeys, Iguanas, Parrots, Toucans, Sloths and more exotic birds than I can count. The rivers are flowing from everywhere. From volcanoes and from mountains. My run on the class III-IV Lower Rio Pacaure was one I will never forget.

Jennifer and I rolled into town on Monday evening. We went to the first outfitter in the town of Turrialba. This was RainForrest World, an outfitter opened by West Virginian Phil Coleman. I told them I wanted to go kayaking, that I had my own gear, I just needed a paddle and a boat. They had me setup up for a trip the next day in about 3 minutes.


The next morning I came back to join 2 rafts, a cataraft and the chase boater, a local named Ryan, who would also be kayaking and showing me the lines. The section we ran was 16 miles long, so it was a full day. We stopped and had lunch half way through, close to where an indigenous tribal family lived on the river. We saw the local children playing at the river and running rapids on their homemade balsa wood poles.

The rapids were constant on the Pacaure, it was never a dull moment. The river was mostly class III and III+, but There were five class IV rapids mixed in. The first 2 being the hardest (Upper & Lower Huacas Falls), the last 3 being the most fun.

Big Class 4 on the Pascua

Half way down the run a kayaker from Colorado joined our group. It was good to have another kayker in the mix. The Cataraft had a couple from Reno guiding it down. They were doing research on the Rio Pacaure and the effect of the waterway on the indigenous people who live near it.

Finishing up Upper Huacas rapid

I paddled a very used Dagger Nomad 8.5 and this thing was huge. It made blasting through some holes much easier, but I did surf in it a little. Overall the boat performed well for me. I only missed one line on the hardest rapid, but I ended up where I wanted to be.

This trip made me realize why I love paddling. This trip makes me want to paddle more, explore more, see more and travel more. I can’t wait for my next day on the river, rather it be the Elkhorn in Frankfort, Kentucky or the Pacaure in Costa Rica!


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