Activities

Activities to up your adventure

EXPERIENCE THE RAINFOREST

Go big on adventure, or chill on the lounge deck watching toucans fly across the river. At Rios Lodge you can have it all, on your schedule. Vacations are a chance for adventure, rejuvenation, and relaxation. Our guided adventure activities all start at the lodge. From an hour-long zipline canopy experience, to lovely waterfall hikes and horseback riding to the Pacuare Butterfly Garden & tree-planting – get ready to immerse yourself in the vibrant Costa Rican rainforest. Want to relax in a natural spa waterfall pool? Check out our Lodge Amenities for two soaking pools only steps away.  Do you have a group or special event or request? Visit our groups page – we offer custom activities for groups large and small. Or contact us directly.

Conservation is the reason why Rios Lodge exists. You can make a difference on your vacation by joining us to plant native hardwood trees as part of our decades-long reforestation programs of secondary rainforest within our 2000 acre private reserve.  The longer you stay at Rios Lodge, the more you can experience that makes this part of the world so magical!

Guided activities can be added on to your lodge stay package at the time of booking online or can be added separately when you arrive at the lodge, subject to availability. Enjoy insider tips and insights from your expert guides, you’ll be amazed what you learn!

Guided Activities and Lodge amenities

Rafters rafting down the Pacuare River in Costa Rica

PACUARE RAFTING (to/from lodge)

Our award winning Lodge sits at the midpoint of the world famous Pacuare white water rafting experience. Raft the easy going upper section to the lodge in the morning, stay for 1 or more nights, and then raft out through the thrilling Pacuare Gorge. Book rafting through our Lodge Stay Packages.

Note: Families with kids under 12 or guests who are not keen to raft the lower, more intense Pacuare Gorge section, can raft into the lodge and hike out of the lodge. No problem! Simply select those options when you book your lodge stay online. 

Hikers enjoying the trails at the Rios Lodge in Costa Rica

Hiking (to/from lodge)

Guests arriving to Rios Lodge via land by hiking will meet in Turrialba. From there Rios Lodge staff will transport you to the beautiful Pacuare Butterfly Garden (Mariposas del Pacuare) in El Tigre, near Santa Marta, and high above the Pacuare River. There you’ll enjoy a tour of the Butterfly garden and a traditional Costa Rican lunch.  After that, you’ll shuttle to the Pacuare Ridge Trail trailhead for your hike into the lodge. This is a well-maintained nature trail that is an approximately 2.6 km (1.6 miles) long descent from the top of the ridge all the way down to the river. A suspension bridge takes you across the river and to the Rios Lodge. The hike down to the lodge is 35 – 50 minutes, depending on how often you stop to take pictures of the beautiful rainforest.

Hiking out of the lodge is along the 15-30 minute Pacuare River Trail (1.5 km or .09 miles) to the cable car crossing over the river. A shuttle there will take you back to the Pacuare Butterfly Garden.

Note: Guests can choose to only hike out of the lodge, instead of hiking both in and out. Families with kids under 12 or guests who are not keen to raft the lower, more intense Pacuare Gorge section, can raft into the lodge and hike out of the lodge. No problem! Simply select those options when you book your lodge stay online. 

A guest of the Rios Lodge enjoying waterfall climbing on the Pacuare River

Tubing & Rappelling Tour

Float through the moving water of the Pacuare River approximately ¾ mile downstream from the lodge on whitewater tubes to the base of a dramatic 150 foot waterfall. Adventurous guests can choose to rappel off the face of the waterfall in the cascading water as it plunges into the Pacuare. Hike back to the lodge.

  • Includes bilingual guides, white water specific river tube, PFD (personal flotation device) and all necessary rappelling gear.
  • The ropes and rappelling gear is consistently maintained for your safety.
  • There is no whitewater on this stretch, allowing you to relax and take in the flora, fauna and breathtaking scenery without having to navigate rapids!
  • Upon floating to the base of the waterfall, and after your rappel, you will explore the primary rainforest on our riverside trail back to the lodge (approximately 30 minute flat walk back)
  • The tubes are deflated and carried back by your guide

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: The water levels of the free-flowing Pacuare River can fluctuate significantly from day to day due to rainfall upstream (not just at the lodge).  Because of this, operating our Tubing & Rappelling Tour is always subject to water levels. If the water levels are too high, we will cancel or postpone this tour for safety reasons.

Guest on a canopy tour with Rios Lodge zipping over the Pacuare River

Zipline Canopy Tour

Our zipline canopy tour will be one of the highlights of your trips to the lodge. With 7 main lines crossing over the Pacuare River you get breathtaking views of the primary rainforest, the Pacuare River Gorge, and the jungle lodge.

  • Canopy tours are available daily, in the morning and afternoon.
  • The morning tour is the Dawn Patrol Zipline Canopy tour, and starts after coffee and before breakfast! The morning canopy tour is a great way to see the jungle waking up and experience firsthand the birds and mist flowing through the Gorge.
  • Our afternoon tour is a great opportunity to sneak views of the Howler monkeys roaming the tops of the trees.
  • All participants are led by certified bilingual canopy guides
  • The canopy course has been certified to ACCT standards and is monitored and maintained regularly.
  • All participants wear helmets, harnesses and receive a safety briefing on proper use of equipment.
  • You can book additional zipline canopy tours at the lodge, as well.
Carbon Neutral Adventure Travel World Summit 2016, Anchorage, Alaska - Rios Lodge Costa Rica

Conservation Reforestation Tour and Naturalist Hike

The Rios Lodge sits in the middle of a 2000 acre private reserve that includes primary rainforest and borders the indigenous lands of the Cabecar people. Plant a tree as part of our reforestation program. The immense biodiversity is a treasure trove for naturalists – discover flora and fauna unique to this part of Costa Rica.

  • Hydro Power Tour at the lodge
  • Expert, local bilingual naturalist guide knowledgeable in the flora and fauna within the Pacuare River area.
  • Plant trees on the reserve as part of our 3 decades-long ongoing reforestation program
A native species of butterfly on the Pacuare River

Horseback Riding & Pacuare Butterfly Garden

Enjoy horseback riding out of the Pacuare Gorge up to the Pacuare Butterfly Sanctuary in the community of El Tigre. Enjoy lunch, learn all about butterflies, and then hike back down to the lodge.

  • You’ll start out by hiking along the Pacuare River Trail from the lodge (approximately 15 minutes) with your guide and crossing the river on the cable car.
  • There you’ll saddle up on easy going horses (no prior riding experience required) with the help of your guide and get riding tips as you ride.
  • You’ll ride up the 4×4 river access road to the Pacuare Butterfly Sanctuary, where we’ll enjoy a traditional Costa Rican lunch.
  • At the Butterfly Sanctuary, learn about Costa Rica’s iconic blue morpho butterfly, and many others.
  • Before we depart back to the lodge, we’ll plant native hardwood tree species at a reforestation plot near the Butterfly Sanctuary.
  • Learn more about Mariposas del Pacuare here.
A group of horseback riders on a trailride with Rios Lodge

Horseback Riding Tour

Ready to ride horses through the rainforest? This is the activity for you! You’ll spend a couple hours riding from the Pacuare River up into the community of El Tigre and touring our conservation lands.

  • You’ll start out by hiking along the Pacuare River Trail from the lodge (approximately 15 minutes) with your guide and crossing the river on the cable car.
  • There you’ll saddle up on easy going horses (no prior riding experience required) with the help of your guide, and get riding tips as you ride.
  • You’ll ride up the 4×4 river access road to the community of El Tigre, and tour the private rainforest reserve and see reforestation conservation projects.
Natural waterslide located below the Rios Lodge on the Pacuare River

Lodge Hikes

Guests at the lodge have access to daily short hikes with Rios Lodge guides to various waterfalls and swimming holes close by the lodge. These short hikes are available daily, and are scheduled that day per the interests of guests. These lodge hikes are different from the longer Conservation and Naturalist Hikes. 

LODGE AMENITIES

Our lodge amenities include relaxing at the riverview pavilion in the hammocks, playing board games with friends, or reading a good book, perhaps from our small lodge library. Want to enjoy the natural spa effects of lovely waterfalls and soaking pools close to the lodge? We’ve got that, too!

Guests at the Rios Lodge enjoy yoga on the front porch overlooking the Pacuare River

Hammocks & Yoga Mats

Hammocks are available throughout common areas and private areas near rooms. Yoga mats are available for your practice or simply stretching. Take advantage of various board games and multilingual books at our lodge library, from fiction to Spanish phrase books and Costa Rica naturalist guide books.
Guests at the Rios Lodge enjoy a hike to a waterfall next to the Pacuare River in Costa Rica

Waterfalls & Swimming Holes

Rios Lodge is located right on the banks of the Pacuare River, at the base of a pretty steep canyon. As a result, there are abundant waterfalls from the canyon ridge that tumble down to the river. Several of these have fantastic swimming holes and places to sit under the waterfall for a natural spa effect. There are two waterfall pools close to the lodge that guests love to hang out in. These are the suspension bridge swimming hole, and the Terciopelo Creek waterfall and swimming hole right off the river view pavilion. Got little ones? They love it too!
A native toucan on the Pacuare River in Costa Rica

Birdwatching

You don’t have to be an experienced birdwatcher to revel in the birds of the Pacuare rainforest! Bring your binoculars and hang out on any of the decks and pavilions to watch the many species in our tropical playground. The toucans are abundant and easiest to spot. Take advantage of Costa Rica Bird Books in our lodge library, too!