If you don't want it to get wet then you probably don't want to bring it. If you don't want to lose it then it might be another item you don't want to bring. Jewelry and anything that can get caught on hooks or straps are not recommended when rafting.

Valuables that you feel you can not live without are better off staying back in the bus. There are no immigration officers in the middle of the rafting trip asking to see your passports so you do not need to bring those. Also there are no shops to buy things, so ladies don't plan on going shoe shopping in an Indian reservation because most of the Indians don't even wear shoes. Well, that is what you don't need but you will enjoy your rafting trip quite a bit more if you find out what you do need. Take a look at the list and the explanation of why you need these items.

Sunscreen - when you visit Costa Rica and you are not use to living in the tropics you need to realize that you will be just nine degrees above the equator and receiving a much higher level of UV rays than you might not get at home. We tell people to apply sunscreen that is waterproof. It is very important that you get your shoulders and thighs covered with sunscreen if they will be exposed. We have had cases when people apply sunscreen while standing up and then when they sit down on the raft their shorts rise up a little bit and leave an area of the leg exposed during the peak hours of sun from 10:30am - 2pm. This type of burn can cause the rest of your trip in Costa Rica to be a living hell. It is simple to avoid this, just apply sunscreen that is waterproof on areas that might possibly be exposed during the adventure. Keep in mind the back of y our legs are not exposed and if you apply an oily sunscreen to the back of your legs and then sit on a rubber raft, it just makes it easier to slide into the river (which is not what you want to do).

Water shoes - water shoes can really be of any type. If you spend just a few dollars chances are they might not last through your week in Costa Rica but they probably will get you through the river. We actually suggest a water shoe that is a bit more durable than the cheapest of the cheap. Water shoes are made to be worn without socks and even more so in the river where you want as little soaking wet cotton apparel as possible. We make this suggestion because the real reason for a water shoe in the river is not for your time rafting down the rapids. It is actually an emergency precaution. For whatever reason we feel the need to operate a walk-out evacuation, you will be hiking through rough terrain and only a water shoe that has durable soles will make the hike comfortable. The hiking evacuation is not a very common situation and is only done in extreme cases of heavy rains. There are a number of solid a dventure shoes on the market today some of them including Keens,Chaco, Soloman, Columbia, NRS, and many others. Most of these shoes will run around $80 and hopefully you can get much more use out of them than just rafting as they can serve as everyday casual wear too. When looking for a water shoe you want to make sure that the water can run out, that they have a backstrap and will not fall off, and that they will not smell after getting them wet. Many shoes sell themselves as watershoes but end up smelling after getting wet. Do the bus you will be traveling in a favor and get the shoes that don't smell or bring a plasti c bag. Thanks!

Rafting Clothes - Your whitewater rafting apparel is very simple. You want to be wearing a bathing suit but ladies need to have clothing on top of their bathing suit. Shorts over your suit that are light, somewhat like gym shorts or running shorts along with a light dry-fit shirt. The clothing that is dry-fit or made to sweat in are the best for the river, They are light and many of them even now come with UV protection. Cotton clothes can be heavy in the river and make for uncomfortable moving when in the river. The guys who are rafting will simply wear a bathing suit and light shirt that is preferably dry-fit. Evey client will be wearing a lifevest that is the form of a tank top and easy to put on over a short sleeve or long sleeve shirt. A long sleeve shirt is recommended on overcast days but can be a bit hot if the sun comes out.

Cameras - If requested we have camera men in kayaks that can go down and get some professional shots of you running some of the larger rapids. If you want to bring your own camera that is fine also. It is better if the camera is waterproof. We do have dry bags and boxes where we can store cameras but we never say anything is 100% dry. There are many hand held waterproof cameras on the market that run around $100\'s. There is also the GoPro which probably is the best camera for most adventures. This camera is waterproof and you can wear it on your helmet. One of the best things about the GoPro is that it stabilizes very well so when you watch your HD video, even though you were bouncing all about in the raft your head is one of the most stable parts of your body and with the GoPro stabilizer it makes for quite the steady video.

Bug Spray - when doing a one-day rafting trip the bugs are never too bad but it does not hurt to lather up with some bug spray. Some of you are a bit more tasty than others to the bugs of the tropics and I am sure the bites are a Costa Rica souvenir you can do without. Assuming you have environmental friendly bug spray it might not hurt to have a bottle that is waterproof sunscreen and bug spray all in one. The bug spray is more necessary on the overnight camping trip on the Pacuare. The bugs are not as bad as you might think but again it does not hurt to have the bug spray when doing the 2-day Pacuare raf ting trip.

Change of Clothes - Everyone needs a change of clothes for when they get out of the river. It works best if your change of clothes are already taken out of your suitcase and in a little bag waiting in the bus or the transportation that is at the end of the river with your things. When you take your dry change of clothes out you can put your wet clothes in the bag and you are all set. You want to remember dry shoes also. As much as you might enjoy your new adventure water shoes, it is always nice to have dry feet after a long day of rafting.

Cash for Tips - If you plan on leaving a tip for your safety kayaker or river guide you should plan on having that cash with your dry clothes. There have been cases when clients have not had cash on hand and have regretted not being able to tip their river guide after taking them down some of Costa Rica´s best whitewater rapids.

Medications - It is very important that you inform your guide and our office that you will be taking medication with you on the raft. We should know of the medication and the condition you have. The Costa Rica rafting trips are very commercial and run for clients of all ages. It should be stated that there is always a possibility of being in a remote area and taking part in adventure activities that things do not go exactly as planned. This can result in evacuations that can take up to a few hours longer than the original take out. All travelers should pack enough medication for two days and inform the rafting company and guides of any medical conditions. Some of the most important ones when dealing with rafting are heart conditions and back conditions.

Written by Tom Ranieri

Written by: Tom Ranieri, 11 year experienced Costa Rica River Guide, Naturalist Guide, Swift-Water Rescue Technician, Vertical Rescue Technician, WEMT, Environmentalist.