River Tubing in Costa Rica – A Fun Adventure Activity

about us

Hi! We’re Thomas (the German) and Sarah (the US-er).

We met in Virginia, moved to Germany, and now live in sunny Costa Rica.

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One of the best ways to enjoy the country’s beauty is by river tubing. Whether you’re a seasoned thrill seeker or a nature enthusiast looking for a unique way to explore, river tubing in Costa Rica has something for everyone. 

In this post, we will cover what river tubing is and how it works, popular tubing locations in Costa Rica, what to bring and wear on the river, and safety tips for your adventure. 

What is River Tubing?

River tubing is an exciting activity where participants float along rivers on large inner tubes. It’s a great way to cool off on hot days and explore nature up close. 

Depending on the location, you can expect to encounter calm waters and even some gentle rapids. 

We like this activity because it is great for most people of various ages who are in somewhat decent physical shape. In fact, a lot of rafting companies allow children over the age of five to even participate. 

Also, there are some companies in Costa Rica that offer this activity as a day tour that combines tubing with other fun and exciting activities.

Basically, this is a good alternative to white water rafting for those of you that want a lot bit of thrill, but not crazy levels of adventure. 

Tubing Locations in Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio

This tubing tour goes down the Savegre River. You will experience class I and II+ rapids as well as several calm spots. You will stop on a bank to view a waterfall and enjoy a snack of fresh fruit, cookies and juices. During your tour, you will also have the opportunity to swim in calm river pools. 

This trip includes:

– snacks (fruit)

– transportation from the Manuel Antonio / Quepos area

– five hours of enjoyment (with two hours on the water)

Arrange Your Manuel Antonio Tubing Adventure

La Fortuna

This tour includes:

-Transportation from your La Fortuna area hotel

– A visit to an indigenous tribe to learn about traditions and herbal medicine

– Hiking through the rainforest

– A relaxing float through the jungle with some more action-packed rapids along the way

Arrange Your La Fortuna Tubing Adventure

Rio Celeste

road near rio celeste

We think this tour is extra amazing because you get to float down the bright blue Rio Celeste waterways. This tour includes snacks and swimming. Just note that it does not include transportation from your hotel and it is only for adults.

Arrange Your Rio Celeste Tubing Adventure

Playa Flamingo/ Tamarindo

This tour will take you up to Hacienda Guachipelin in the Rincon de la Vieja volcano area to go tubing along Rio Colorado. We like this tour because it is a full-day adventure tour that combines several different activities. 

You will get to enjoy:

-Flying through the forest on a zip-line tour 

-Tubing down the Rio Colorado 

-Horseback riding

-A volcanic mud bath and a soak in natural hot springs 

This tour includes lunch and hotel pick-up and is suitable for all skill levels, but is limited to adults. 

Arrange Your Tubing Adventure

Playas del Coco / Playa Hermosa / Papagayo

This tour is the same as the tour from Playa Flamingo / Tamarindo. Just use the link below to book with transportation pick up from the Coco, Hermosa, and Papagayo areas. 

Arrange Your Tubing Adventure

What to Bring

Waterproof sunscreen (even if it is cloudy it is a good idea to have SPF 50)

A change of clothes (if you will do something else after)

A towel 

What to Wear

– Water shoes that are stable (we like ones made by Keen) 

– A long sleeve UV protecting shirt. The sun is strong so UV protection is definitely best.

Also, keep in mind that your arms will probably be rubbing a lot against the tube as you paddle somewhat with your hands. I had some really bad burn marks from this chafing action. Next time I go tubing I will definitely wear long sleeves.

But, it is best not to wear something that cost a lot of money. You never know if this rubbing will damage your shirt at all. 

– Shorts. We like lightweight breathable ones which dry quickly

– A glasses strap. I would hate for you to lose your glasses if you go over some rocks 

– Sunglasses. Because….sun 

– And your bathing suit underneath. 

There is no need to wear a sun hat because you will get a helmet to wear. 

Safety on the River

Always listen to your guide – They do these tours almost every day and know what they are talking about.

Trust your instincts – Although we have always had great experiences tubing, definitely trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel safe to you, you don’t have to participate.

Use sun protection – I know, it is easy to think “eh I’m on the water and it isn’t that hot out. I’ll be fine without strong sun protection.” The sun here is powerful.

-This activity is not recommended for people with back problems, heart problems, or pregnant people. And you should be in moderate physical condition. 

-Your rafting tube should have handles and protective bottoms, but there is always a chance you could fall out or get bruised going over rocks.

-Always wear a life jacket and make sure it is put on correctly for your river tubing adventure.

Our Experience Tubing 

We really like tubing because it is an activity that almost everyone can enjoy.

After our wedding we traveled with some family and friends throughout the country. In La Fortuna, we were looking for an activity everyone could do together, and we chose tubing. 

There were a few hiccups, but overall, everyone (even the typically crazy thrill seekers) had a great time. 

We have so many funny memories from that trip and I’m so happy we could all enjoy it together

So, are you ready to plan your tubing adventure in Costa Rica? If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask us in the comment section below. We are always happy to help you out!

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