White Water Rafting and Kayaking
White Water Rafting and Kayaking have become an eco-friendly activity all over the world and in because of Costa Rica's incredible rivers and breathtaking natural beauty, has become one of it's major tourist activities. The native american "Eskimos" of North America traveled North American waters in wood-framed, skin covered kayaks and took on white-water long before Columbus, and Europeans, "discovered" the North American continent.
Rafts made of several logs, planks, or reeds tied together were one of the earliest important forms of transportation. It gave people a way to travel, transport goods for trade, and to explore. The U.S. Army's John Fremont , in 1842, recorded his adventures rafting on one of the earliest modern rafts while exploring the Platt River utilizing a raft. In all probability he used a raft that was designed by Horace. H. Day. Day was a producer of rubber goods (He competed with Charles Goodyear , the inventor of vulcanized rubber, with whom he was embroiled in a patent battle during the 1840's) and his rafts were constructed from four separate rubber cloth tubes, joined by a wrap around floor. Inflatable rafts soon became important as life boats, and were used by the armed forces for beach assaults.
Inflatable rafts became firmly established as a means of water transport during the 1960's during which time places like the Grand Canyon were navigated and explored and the sport, and business model was born. The 1970's brought major improvements to the sport in equipment, tools, techniques, and safety and was included in the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. As the sport of White Water Rafting became more and more sophisticated rivers all over the world were being run and conquered. In 1992 and 1996 White Water Rafting was again included in the Olympic Games and in 1997 the International Federation of Rafting was founded. The first international championships were held in 1999.
The beginnings of rafting in Costa Rica goes back to 1979 when a Polish expedition made a run down the Reventazon and Paquare with kayaks and rafts. Their reports of the excellent rafting and incredible beauty of Costa Rica sparked the interest of paddlers from around the world in Costa Rica.
In 1980 Costa Rica Expeditions was founded by Michael Kaye from the United States and Costa rica saw the birth of a new eco-friendly tourist activity. A short time later Rios Tropicales was founded by Fernando Esquivel and Rafael Gallo. Rios Tropicales is the largest of the San Jose based river outfitters. The third outfitter to join the team of Costa Rica's rafting companies was Adventures Naturales in 1988 and since various new river outfitters have put their rafts and kayaks in the water to give visitors to Costa Rica a thrill of a lifetime and a way to see the fantastic natural splendor that is Costa Rica.
In 1996 the Atlanta Olympics saw a Costa Rican competing for the first time in kayaking events. Roger Madrigal, from Turrialba, had worked as a river guide and training himself, qualified for and competed in the Olympic events. His achievements have influenced Costa Rica's government to recognize White Water Kayaking and Rafting as a sport and Roger trains young people in the sport (he requires that they maintain a B or better average in school). Roger and his parents are also responsible for forming a kayak association in Costa Rica.
Costa Rica Rios
Sarapiqui Outdoor Center
Quepoa Expeditions Costa Rica
Selva White Water
Desafio Adventure Company
Amigos del Rio
Aventuras del Sarapiqui
Costa Rica Descents Rafting
Costa Sol Rafting