Coastal Tranquility: Eight Great Sea Kayaking Spots

Costa Rica: Paddling to the Ocean

Costa Rica is Central America's natural wonderland, a unique showcase of scenery and wildlife. Anything you can imagine—volcanoes, cloud forests, raging whitewater, idyllic beach resorts—you name it, Costa Rica has it. This ecological diversity makes Costa Rica a great paddling destination. This "Eden of the Americas" boasts a network of exciting rivers, lush jungle parks, and beautiful beaches on both Atlantic and Pacific coasts. And because most of the rivers are relatively short and situated close to the coast, it is even possible to paddle from the highlands to the sea in a single trip.
After arriving in San Jose, journey to the secluded Playa Quesera beach just outside the Curu National Wildlife Refuge and let this quiet refuge serve as your base camp. From there, explore the coastline by kayak on day trips, with opportunities to swim, snorkel, fish, and practice surf kayaking. For those ready for some whitewater adventure, starts on the class-III Rio Reventazon, which passes through verdant riparian scenery full of wildlife. After running the Reventazon, enjoy hot meals and traditional hospitality at a comfortable riverside lodge. Then spend the next two days on the class III-IV Rio Pacuare, a classic jungle river renowned for its many waterfalls and natural waterslides. Strong paddlers can kayak the river in whitewater boats, and relax after a hard day of river-running with hot meals, cold cerveza, and overnight accommodations in rustic, riverside bungalows.

Practically Speaking
Costa Rica offers a welcome and inexpensive variety of local outfitters who can set you in a sea kayak right on the coastline. For those interested in package trips, costs are inexpensive: an eight-day, nine-night trip runs around $1,400 and includes food, equipment, guides, lodging, and transport in Costa Rica.


Paul McMenamin is the author, editor, and photo director of the original Ultimate Adventure Sourcebook.

Published: 31 Jan 2001 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

Best Hotels in Costa Rica

$83
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Volcano Lodge and Springs
$193
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Costa Rica Marriott Hotel San Jose
$196
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The Westin Golf Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal
$83
Average/night*
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Pumilio Mountain and Ocean Hotel

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