On day two in Arenal / La Fortuna Laura and I went white water rafting for most of the day on the Rio de Toro Class III and IV rapids. We had both rafted before and enjoy it, so we were looking forward to taking on Costa Rica's rapids. Our day started at 8:30am with an hour van ride to the river.
All 30 of us who were rafting that day with this company then gathered around a rotund Costa Rican with an unwieldy beard who reviewed safety precautions.
10 minutes later five of us were in our own raft, each armed with one paddle, and a guide in the back who yelled out directions like "paddle forward," "paddle backward," "get down," etc.
The nature that lines either side of the river makes rafting in Costa Rica different from the States. Lush forest and weird-sounding birds and other assorted animals. At the halfway point, the guide got out, took a knife, went into the forest, cut off some pineapples, and gave us some pineapple pieces to eat as a snack. Where else other than Latin America?
The other rafters were a motley crew. A PhD candidate in geophysics from the University of Montana; an evangelical Christian; some weak-rafting Portuguese; a deaf kid (who had to have someone translate the commands into sign language, glad I wasn't in her boat).
After two hours on the generally manageable rapids (I fell out once) we were driven back to a delicious lunch spot with all the other rafters. Rice and beans, chips, some salad stuff.