White water rafting is an adventurous activity that uses inflatable rafts to pass through the river, which is practiced on white water or different degrees of rough water, producing excitement and adrenaline on the passengers. This activity is called a leisure sport, and nowadays important events are being held all around the world in order to promote it and increase the professional practice. This extreme sport became popular in the mid-1970s.

The white water rafting sport is divided in six grades of difficulty, based in the danger that could potentially cause to its participants and its skill levels. On grade 1 and 2, the rough areas are small with some rocks, usually for people with basic skills. Grades 3 and 4 might require some experience on white water, it will have small to medium waves, some rocks, possibly drop and significant maneuvering will be needed. Finally on grade 5, everything gets harder, with large waves and volume, large rocks and drop, it will require precise maneuvering and advanced experience on whitewater. The six grade is too dangerous to be navigable on a safe basis.

As I mentioned before, rafting is been practiced in different places around the world, not only as adventure sport but as a tourism activity. In fact, many of the users are not experienced and practice it because of the adrenaline rush and adventure that causes in them. However, it is always important to highlight that adequate equipment and safety procedures need to be followed for the practice of this activity.

Costa Rica is a perfect destination for people looking for adventure and real contact with nature, and rivers are one of the specialties. Rafting activity is very well developed by tour operators in the country.

Pacuare River is one of the most popular to practice this outdoor activity, as it was named as one of the top ten rivers in the world to white water raft. Actually, rafting tours and its activities have become really popular in the towns near Pacuare River; like Turrialba, which is the ideal starting point for rafting tours, also helping on the development of similar adventure tours in the area.

The popularity of this extreme sport in Turrialba has helped to engage the community in different activities and events, promoting the area as a touristic destination and bringing business opportunities to locals.

A good example is the World Rafting Championship 2011 which will be held in the month of October, and it’s being organized by associations in Turrialba in collaboration with some tour operators, for example, Explornatura which will be sponsoring the activity and will also have some of its collaborators helping thru all the organization process.

The championship will bring 50 teams coming from over 30 countries, which makes around 700 people. This event has been categorized by the government as of public interest and it been sponsored by the ICT (Instituto Costarricense de Turismo).

The event will help to promote and position the area within many countries in the world, letting people know what Turrialba has to offer as an ecotourism-adventure destination with its outstanding natural richness.

As you can see, nowadays, the rafting activity has gained a spot within adventure and extreme sports and has become very popular in places all over the world!! Check out this rafting video, during the Preworld Championship that took place in February.

Preworld Rafting Champs Pacuare River from Explornatura on Vimeo.

By Maricel/Explornatura

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