Motion Episodes

Rafting the Pacuare River in Costa Rica

Greg and two guest-hikers travel to the dense jungles of Costa Rica and discover a rarely seen tropical paradise. Two national parks are explored by river through some of the thickest jungles in Central America.
Costa Rica has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Millions flock to see its lush jungles and abundant wildlife. But, Greg Aiello and Motion guest hikers Melissa and Matt found a way to escape the crowds that took them from a dusty room to white water rapids and deep into the jungle for a one-of-a-kind adventure that was way off the beaten path.

Costa Rica is a small Central American country that is bordered by Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south. Most of the country is rare, wild and preserved in a network of first rate national parks.

One of Costa Rica's most popular parks is Tortuguero. The park shows the country's signs of the nearly $2.5 billion dollar a year tourism industry with crowded tour boats packed with visitors eager to see one of the most accessible jungles on earth. But if you are looking for a more intimate Costa Rican experience and aren't afraid of a little excitement, Greg has the trip for you.

The Southern Yosemite Mountain Guides and Rio Tropicales put together a unique rafting trip on the Pacuare River, which runs right through the heart of the rain forest. The river is ranked as the fifth best white water river in the world.

Melissa and Matt joined Greg on this Costa Rican adventure. They are farmers from Vineland, New Jersey.

"I'm in Costa Rica with my husband and the amazing crew of Motion and we are on this bus passing pineapple fields and all the sudden it goes to a dirt road and we start to wonder, 'Where are we going?' It was so exciting," said Melissa.

"The scenery was spectacular. I mean, with the rolling hills and the farmlands and cattle grazing and then you turn the corner and it turns back into a dense jungle," said Matt.

They paddled about two hours down river to the Rio Tropicales Lodge Resort, which is nestled in the rain forest right along the river. It is totally isolated and off the grid. In fact, the only way to get to the lodge is by raft hitting a series of class three and four rapids along the way.

"When we hit our first rapid, I remember holding on and having just an abundance of fear and excitement. The best part was seeing my husband laughing and having a great time was the best for me," said Melissa.

The river offers regular intervals of flat water paddling mixed with the intense white water rapids at times. This gives you a chance to enjoy your surroundings and the wildlife that lives in the rainforest.

After a night of rest at the Rio Tropicales Lodge Resort, the Motion crew hit the zip line! The first leg on the four leg course was giant -- it's about 800 feet long and over 800 feet above the jungle floor. Zip lining is a unique way to view the jungle.

"I had to catch my breath and get a hold of fear," said Melissa.

Then, Greg and the guest hikers explores a trail that the Rios Tropicales Lodge built. It was a mile-and-a-half hike to a specular waterfall.

Along the way, Greg spotted some beautiful looking plants but their guide warned him not to eat anything because it may be dangerous.

"One of the rules in the rainforest is if it is beautiful and colorful, don't eat it because it might be dangerous," said Walter "El Guapo", Rios Tropicales Guide.

The hike was an example of the kind of specialized experience you can have when Southern Yosemite Mountain Guides teams up with their friends Rio Tropicales in Costa Rica. Both of these companies understand the need for their customers to go beyond the tour buses and eco drive-by that most visitors get when they come here. Both SYMG and Rio Tropicales know how to get you close and in the action so you can get the true experience of what these places are really like.

It was a tough steep hike but the extra work paid off in the end with views of the surrounding rainforest and the Pacuare River below.

When the crew's stay at the lodge comes to an end, they head out for a heart-pounding paddle down river.

"If you want to come and have truly blissful, pure, life experience, definitely plan a trip to Costa Rica. My husband and I would say that this adventure with Rios Tropicales and staying at the lodge is definitely a top three, so look at the opportunity to come with someone you love or find a group to come with because you will not regret it," said Melissa.

For more information:
Rios Tropicales
Southern Yosemite Mountain Guides
Costa Rica General Info
Costa Rica Travel Tips

Segment 1
Heading to Pacuare River in Costa Rica
Heading to Pacuare River in Costa Rica
Greg Aiello meets up with two guest-hikers -- Melissa and Matt -- to explore the jungles of Costa Rica. They are headed for their first adventure -- a white water rafting trip down the Pacuare River.
Related Photos Watch Segment
Segment 2
Remote Costa Rican Rainforest Hike
Remote Costa Rican Rainforest Hike
Cut into the steep banks of the Pacuare River is a jungle trail that offers some stunning views and allows Greg, Melissa, and Matt to explore the rainforest on foot.
Related Photos Watch Segment
Segment 3
Motion Crew Hits Pacuare Rivers White Water Rapids One Last Time
Motion Crew Hits Pacuare River's White Water Rapids One Last Time
As day three breaks, it's time to leave the Rio Tropicales Lodge Resort. However, that doesn't mean this adventure is over. As the Motion crew discovers, there's only one way to leave this amazing lodge -- by white water rafting down the Pacuare River.
Related Photos Watch Segment
Segment 4
Behind-the-Scenes Look: Motion Crews Costa Rica Trip
Behind-the-Scenes Look: Motion Crew's Costa Rica Trip
Greg and two guest-hikers travel to the dense jungles of Costa Rica and discover a rarely seen tropical paradise. Get a behind-the-scenes look at their adventure trip!
Related Photos Watch Segment
Photo Gallery
Behind-the-Scenes Photos: Costa Rica Rafting Trip
Check out the beautiful photos Greg Aiello and the Motion crew took while exploring Costa Rica.
See Photo Gallery

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