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Frequently Asked Questions


As you are booking your adventure tours in Costa Rica it is not unusual to have lots of questions and concerns. You are not alone. Over the years, we have collected a series of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about adventure in Costa Rica and have answered them to the best of our abilities. If we are missing anything, feel free to ask. We are here to help you create the most incredible Costa Rica vacation possible

FAQs about Canyoning in Costa Rica

FAQs for Canyoning in Costa Rica



Canyoneering, also known as canyoning, is a multi-sport activity which often includes rappelling, bouldering, jumping, hiking, river tracing, etc. in canyon, ravines or river beds. Canyoning is recommended for adults in good physical condition because all canyons and canyoning activities have some inherent risk.



No, you don't have to know how to swim if you want to do our Lost Canyon Adventures canyoning tour. The Lost Canyon is a really unique attraction because it has some of the tallest waterfalls in Costa Rica that you do guided rappels off of. It is a multi-sport activity with a lot of fun water features, but there is no swimming. There are other sections of this pristine rainforest canyon where you will down climb and do river tracing and hiking.



Gravity Falls Waterfall Jumping is a new tour we just launched and is considered Costa Rica's Most Extreme Tour. Gravity Falls is a very different kind of experience where you jump from the sides of waterfalls into deep pools. There are no fast currents or rapids in the floating sections, and you will be wearing life jackets and helmets. Knowing how to swim is important for this tour.

Gravity Falls is a very different canyoning experience than the Lost Canyon.

We hope you have an awesome and adventurous time in Costa Rica!



The Lost Canyon is a unique canyon near the Arenal Volcano where the waterfalls get gradually bigger and more challenging as you go along -- our largest and final waterfall is a guided-rappel over 50 meters high! The Lost Canyon requires that you use your hands and feet to down climb and river trace as you make your way down a thrilling and isolated, rainforest canyon. It's important to remember that canyoning is recommended for adults in good physical condition because all canyons and canyoning activities have some inherent risk.


Canyoning in Costa Rica is done in areas with some degree of difficulty for access for emergency services and there is also risk of falling rocks, branches and trees, flash floods, insects, snakes and other encounters with Costa Rican nature. Our safety manuals -- approved by the Costa Rican Tourism Board and Health Ministry -- do not recommend canyoning for small children or people with health concerns. Our recommended age limit is 13 to 65 years of age and we may allow children as young as 10 years of age to do the tour if accompanied by an additional guide in the Lost Canyon. Our recommended age limit for Gravity Falls is 15 to 55 years of age.



Gravity Falls Waterfall Jumping is definitely Costa Rica's MOST Extreme Tour and one of the coolest things you'll ever do in your life, but since it is a high-energy adventure tour, it also has it's inherent risks. Gravity Falls also requires you use your hands and feet to down climb large boulders and wall faces, jump from cliffs and from the top of waterfalls and river trace along some areas where there may be slippery rocks. Gravity Falls is recommended for adults ages 15 to 55 in good physical condition because this canyon is located in an isolated areas with some degree of difficulty for access for emergency services. There is also a risk of falling rocks, branches and trees, flash floods, insects, snakes and other encounters with Costa Rican nature. Our safety manuals -- approved by the Costa Rican Tourism Board and Health Ministry -- do not recommend canyoning for small children or people with health concerns.

Are any of Desafío's tours like rafting, canyoning, hiking & waterfall visits restricted due to weather conditions?

September and October tend to be the rainiest months in most of the country and also the less traveled. Most of the rainy season means there are occasional afternoon tropical showers, but since many of the activities you can enjoy in Costa Rica involve getting wet - like whitewater rafting, canyoneering, mountain biking and relaxing in hot springs - it's even more fun doing these activities in the warm tropical rain!! Of course, hiking can be a bit muddier during these months, but with the right gear, you should be fine (let us know if you need help with what to bring - check out our online store Expedition Gear Outfitters EGO.)

Overall, it's difficult to rely on weather forecasts in Costa Rica. Climate change is a reality in Costa Rica. We used to have much more rain in previous years during our defined wet season, but now it is more unpredictable and our dry seasons are more severe.

Our company philosophy is based on making sure our clients are not missing out on a fun and safe day in Costa Rica, so if the weather conditions are unsuitable for a certain tour, it is easy for us to rearrange your itinerary to better accommodate.

This is the information from our Waiver Form: Costa Rica's natural environment is filled with insects, snakes, crocodiles & other wildlife. In addition, landslides, falling rocks & sudden flash floods are possible. Desafio Adventure Company reserves the right to cancel any trip due to unsafe conditions and will only run a tour according to established company policies. Full refund is given if (on rare occasion) no tour is run. For reasons beyond our control (climate, river levels, etc.), we may change to a more-suitable tour with an equal or similar difficulty rating and adventure-appeal or offer other tour options so you don't miss out on a fun day in Costa Rica. Our Head Guide helps make the final decision.

What is the minimum weight, height, and waist size?

Minimum: 65 cm, 45 kg, 1.4m Maximum: 120 cm largest size

Lifejacket sizes (For Gravity Falls)

Adult Small/Medium: Minimum 90 lbs (41kg) / Chest: 32-38 inches (81-97 cm)

Adult Large / Extra Large: Minimum 90 lbs (41kg) / Chest: 39-45 inches (99-144 cm).

FAQs for Stand Up Paddling

FAQs for Stand Up Paddling



We have our fun Desafío Explorer Adventure boat on Lake Arenal with all of the equipment ready to go. Depending on wind conditions and paddling abilities, we either start with the Stand Up Paddling lesson on the shores of the beautiful, pristine Lake Arenal or travel to a small bay on the boat and do the lesson there. Either way, you will always have the Desafío Explorer Adventure boat at your disposal if you get tired and want to take a break or for those who just want to come along for the ride.



Most of our tours require a 2-person minimum. If you are a solo-traveler, that's okay because we might have other clients already signed up and you can meet new friends in Costa Rica!


September and October tend to be the rainiest months in most of the country and also the less traveled. Most of the rainy season means there are occasional afternoon tropical showers, but since many of the activities you can enjoy in Costa Rica involve getting wet - like whitewater rafting, canyoneering, surfing and relaxing in hot springs - it's even more fun doing these activities in the warm tropical rain!! Of course, hiking can be a bit muddier during these months, but with the right gear, you should be fine (let us know if you need help with what to bring - check out our online store Expedition Gear Outfitters EGO.)

Overall, it's difficult to rely on weather forecasts in Costa Rica. Climate change is a reality in Costa Rica. We used to have much more rain in previous years during our defined wet season, but now it is much more unpredictable and our dry seasons are more severe.

Our company philosophy is based on making sure our clients are not missing out on a fun and safe day in Costa Rica, so if the weather conditions are unsuitable for a certain tour, it is easy for us to rearrange your itinerary to better accommodate.

This is the information from our Waiver Form: Costa Rica's natural environment is filled with insects, snakes, crocodiles & other wildlife. In addition, landslides, falling rocks & sudden flash floods are possible. Desafio Adventure Company reserves the right to cancel any trip due to unsafe conditions and will only run a tour according to established company policies. Full refund is given if (on rare occasion) no tour is run. For reasons beyond our control (climate, river levels, etc.), we may change to a more-suitable tour with an equal or similar difficulty rating and adventure-appeal or offer other tour options so you don't miss out on a fun day in Costa Rica. Our Head Guide helps make the final decision.

FAQs for Rafting in Costa Rica




Our rafting season runs year long. We receive the highest rainfall in Costa Rica here in the northern zone and it is not uncommon to get hot sun and rain in the same day. Our rivers are fed by volcanic mountain ranges and pristine watersheds and are dam-controlled, so we do not have low-water problems like other areas of Costa Rica during the dry season.

The dams release the water to produce electricity for San Jose and the release times work out perfectly for our raft trips.

We only cancel in extremely adverse conditions, but can easily offer to exchange rafting for another adventure option, such as our lost canyon adventures canyoneering tour. Rain or shine, we'll be running our adventure trips. Plus we have the most-flexible and client-friendly cancellation policy in the industry.


Overall, Costa Rica has excellent safety standards for the rafting industry. Our Desafio guides are certified by the Costa Rican government in swiftwater rescue, first aid and CPR techniques. Our trips have a senior head guide and safety kayaker. Most importantly, rafting in Costa Rica is year-round and our adventure guides are permanent full-time employees of Desafio Adventure Company. We are opposed to companies who pay their guides on a per trip basis, which often causes guides to make unwise decisions to run a river in high water or dangerous conditions because they know they will only get paid if they run the river that day.

Many of our guides have graduated from the government-certified Desafio Adventure Academy, where they learned to the importance of leadership and provide our clients with comprehensive information on nature, culture and history of Costa Rica and the rivers we run.

We are proud of our staff and we know you will enjoy your rafting excursion with this fine group of people.


We only have 2 rules at Desafio: 1) Be Safe! 2) Have Serious Fun! We have emergency plans, safety procedures and established helicopter landing areas for every river we run. We carry communication for use in select areas of the river.


Wildlife is abundant in Costa Rica. We do our rafting in deep canyon gorges with waterfalls and lush jungle where we often see sloths, monkeys and tropical birds, such as toucans and the Montezuma Oropendula. Your guide will do his best to spot some wild creatures for you along the way.


Our main office for rafting is located in downtown La Fortuna, at the base ofthe Arenal Volcano, right behind the central church in a three-story building with a big sign outside that says "Desafio Adventure Company." We provide free pick-ups from your hotel in the La Fortuna hotel zone (please ask for our pick-up times) or you can jump on our adventure connection to do rafting from San Jose on your way to the Arenal Volcano and many other places around the country. We also have a center of operation on the Tenorio River located on the Pan American highway near Cañas in the province of Guanacaste.


Bring comfortable, sports-style clothes to get wet in, secure shoes, waterproof suntan lotion and a change of clothes. We provide all of your rafting gear, professional, bilingual guides, safety kayaker, round-trip transport, delicious lunch and towel.


No previous rafting experience is required. even though knowing how to swim is recommended, it's not necessary as all of our guests are outfitted with extrasport Class-IV life jackets at all times on the water. Before anyone gets on the river our guides check everyone's personal flotation devices (PFDs) to make sure that they fit properly, are appropriate for their body weight, and are adjusted correctly.


We are an industry leader and carry a $1-million liability insurance policy. We are equipped to handle emergency first aid in case of illness or accident. We will provide aid and arrange evacuation when the Head Guide deems necessary or desirable. Costs of specialized means of evacuation, such as helicopters, and medical care beyond immediate first aid are the financial responsibility of the ill or injured person.


Your trip begins when you meet the trip leader at your designated rendezvous place and time. He or she will collect your receipts or vouchers. en route to the river, your guide will brief you about your trip and have you sign our Waiver Forms. Once we reach the "put in," you will receive your safety briefing - a vital 15 minute discussion about how to be safe on the water.

We will then carry our rafts to the river. You'll be assigned a boat and a boat captain and jump in! Our sturdy Star or 13-ft self-bailing rafts typically seat up to six people and a guide (depending upon theweight of the boat and paddling abilities. For safety concerns, please note we cannot guarantee that all members of your party will be on the same boat.)

Your boat captain will give you further instructions on how to paddle once you are afloat and give you time to practice following the commands. Then you'll head on down the river for about 2 hours, for your best day in Costa Rica!

We'll cut up some tropical fruit at the end at our private take out where you can change into your dry clothes and then head to our River House for an all-you-can-eat, delicious lunch with many vegetarian options. You will also be asked to fill out our Client Comment forms to provide valuable and important feedback to Desafio management.


Believe it or not, some people love falling out of the boat. It's exciting. But sometimes it can be disorienting and a little overwhelming. Many people have taken multiple trips and never fall out. It's all a part of rafting. We have a safety kayaker that goes down to help out, just in case! If you follow your guide's instructions, your "swim" could be the most exciting part of your trip and a great story to tell your friends afterwards!


We don't recommend bringing cameras on trips. We hire professional photographers to follow you on your rafting trip to get very personalized shots so that you can purchase a your photos after your trip.


We use top-of-the-line Star and Rocky Mountain Rafts 13-ft self-bailing rafts equipped with grab lines and foot stirrups for your safety, NRS helmets, extra sport life jackets and Carlisle paddles.


We have the advantage over most rafting companies because we have private entrances and exits for our river operations equipped with restrooms or changing rooms. Facilities are not available on the river. In this case, you will commune with nature in the purest form.


All of our employees are paid for their services, but if you feel your raft guide, cook, or driver has made your trip especially enjoyable, tipping is a nice way of expressing thanks and is certainly appreciated!

Rafting is thrilling, exciting, wet, wild and unbelievably fun! However, as with all adventure sports, there is inherent risk involved.That risk con- tributes to the excitement, and is one of the reasons people enjoy rafting so much. Our guides are trained to minimize and manage risks, and, statistically, you're safer in a raft than in a car in Costa Rica. The most common injury on most rafting trips is sun burn.



First-time rafters and families with younger children love our beautiful class 2-3 Rio Balsa. Rafters who are confident in the water, healthy, and feel adventurous, jump right into our Class 3-4 river without previous experience. Guides will make sure you are trained in safety and paddling instructions.


We have special family trips available, especially on the Rio Balsa recommended for ages 10-65. We can also offer the lower section of the Rio Balsa that has fewer rapids for a less-challenging class-2 rafting experience. In addition, we run a safari float class-1 trip on the Rio Penas Blancas for children as young as three years of age which offers great wildlife viewing and a slow easy-going pace for youngsters.


Yes, one of our friendly, professional, bilingual Desafío adventure guides goes on each raft to provide paddling instructions and point out wildlife on the river along the way!


In the Arenal Volcano area, we use high-quality 13ft, Star or Rocky Mountain rafts that fit up to 6 passengers. And in Guanacaste, we use 11" Aire Puma rafts that fit 5 passengers. However, due to varying river conditions, weight of the boat and safety considerations, we may need to fill the boat with fewer people and cannot always guarantee that all members of your party can be in the same boat together.



Costa Rican rivers have nice, warm, tropical water. You will not need a wet suit. It's important to come prepared with sunscreen and a change of clothes for after the tour.


The duration of our rafting trips often depends on the quantity of clients on each trip and include the pick-ups at various hotels in the area, travel time to the river, safety speech, generally 2.5 hours on the river, fruit break, lunch and return time to your hotel. We call our class 3-4 rafting trips full-day tours (about 8 hours in total) an dclass 2-3 about 6 hours because it is a shorter distance to the river, but you still get about 2.5 hours on the river.

We do offer and in case you would like to have more express transport service to and from your hotel.,


Nowadays we recognize that more people are physically-fit well into their older ages. As a result, we have even convinced our national insurance carrier INS to extend our recommended ages for some of our adventure tours. However, the terrain and logistics in Costa Rica is very challenging and although many of our older clients are fit and very capable of doing our more intense tours, should an accident occur, our biggest concern is a timely and effective extraction.

There are limited access points to our class 3-4 rivers in deep isolated canyons and although we pride ourselves on excellent safety protocols and well-trained guides, we cannot guarantee you will not fall out of the raft.

Our class 2-3 river can also be a pretty wild ride, especially in the first few rapids because we now have a new hydroelectric dam that releases it's flow near our private entrance for an excellent flow of water all year round. We are confident that the main reason clients go rafting with us in Costa Rica is that they want to go home and talk about their fun, exciting and SAFE time in Costa Rica, but do keep in mind accidents can happen.


Suresh and Christine Krishnan have been working in the outdoors most of their adult lives. In 1992, Suresh was invited to become a raft guide in the Pacuare River and later moved to the Arenal Volcano area where he pioneered rafting by exploring rivers with his own kayak. We call the legendary Suresh the "Gangsta Kayaker." You'll still see him out there exploring new canyons and rivers and enjoying his surf kayak in the ocean waves from time to time. Christine met Suresh in 2001 when she was leading a group of tourists all the way through Central America from Mexico down to Costa Rica. Upon arriving to La Fortuna the group wanted to go rafting with Desafio and a year later, Suresh and Christine were married .

A: September and October tend to be the rainiest months in most of the country and also the less traveled. Most of the rainy season means there are occasional afternoon tropical showers, but since many of the activities you can enjoy in Costa Rica involve getting wet - like whitewater rafting, canyoneering, surfing and relaxing in hot springs - it's even more fun doing these activities in the warm tropical rain!! Of course, hiking can be a bit muddier during these months, but with the right gear, you should be fine (let us know if you need help with what to bring - check out our online store Expedition Gear Outfitters EGO.)

Overall, it's difficult to rely on weather forecasts in Costa Rica. Climate change is a reality in Costa Rica. We used to have much more rain in previous years during our defined wet season, but now it is much more unpredictable and our dry seasons are more severe.

Our company philosophy is based on making sure our clients are not missing out on a fun and safe day in Costa Rica, so if the weather conditions are unsuitable for a certain tour, it is easy for us to rearrange your itinerary to better accommodate.

This is the information from our Waiver Form: Costa Rica's natural environment is filled with insects, snakes, crocodiles & other wildlife. In addition, landslides, falling rocks & sudden flash floods are possible. Desafio Adventure Company reserves the right to cancel any trip due to unsafe conditions and will only run a tour according to established company policies. Full refund is given if (on rare occasion) no tour is run. For reasons beyond our control (climate, river levels, etc.), we may change to a more-suitable tour with an equal or similar difficulty rating and adventure-appeal or offer other tour options so you don't miss out on a fun day in Costa Rica. Our Head Guide helps make the final decision.

Minimum Weight: 45 kg

Minimum Height: 1.40 m (4.59 feet)

Child/Youth weight: 50 a 90 lbs (23-41KG) -- 10 years of age in class 2-3 rafting and minimum age 13 years in class 3-4

Adult Small/Medium: Minimum 90 lbs (41kg) / Chest: 32-38 inches (81-97 cm)

Adult Large/Extra Large: Minimum 90 lbs (41kg) / Chest: 39-45 inches (99-144 cm).



No significant waves. No obstacles.
Easy. Rapids with regular waves, clear passages and wide channels.
Moderately difficult. Irregular waves, often narrow channels.
Difficult. Complex channels with many significant obstacles to be avoided. Precise maneuvering is required.
Extremely difficult. Long violent rapids, often following each other almost without interruption. Not advisable to operate commercially.

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