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Our Story

“For 35 years, Rios Tropicales has led Costa Rica adventure travel and ecotourism. We pioneered whitewater rafting in Costa Rica, advanced sustainability standards, and even saved the Pacuare River from a hydroelectric dam. All of us at Rios Tropicales are proud of our three-and-a-half decades of bringing joy and adventure to people from around the world while sharing the amazing beauty of Costa Rica’s rivers and rainforest. We are honored and grateful for the many national and international awards we have earned and for the thousands of friends, customers, and partnerships we have made along the way.

In my role as co-founder of the International Rafting Federation (IRF), I am proud to have achieved my goal to bring the highest river safety standards and guide training to Costa Rica and worldwide. Costa Rica has hosted four international rafting events – the Project RAFT Rainforest Festival in 1991, the Camel Challenge and first IRF World Rafting Championship in 1998, the 2011 IRF World Rafting Championship that was the world’s first carbon-neutral sporting event, and the first World Whitewater Rafting Summit in 2019. Also, we helped transform former FARC guerrillas into a national “rafting for peace” team that represented Colombia at the 2019 IRF World Rafting Championship in Australia.

Nevertheless, with a heavy heart, we regret to inform you that due to the economic crisis caused by the pandemic, we are permanently closing Rios Tropicales. As of Feb. 01, 2021, we officially ended our operations. This past year of major transition across the world and for us at home has prevented us from continuing our adventure travel goals.

Still, we are proud to pass along our legacy to trusted former Rios Tropicales guides, who are forming their own completely new and independent rafting company to keep fulfilling the dreams of Costa Rica whitewater rafting fans. Rios Tropicales has a long history of paying it forward in adventure tourism training and giving a hand to former raft guides to become ecopreneurs.

The newest company, Rios Adventure Travel, was founded by Johnny, Roy, Albert, Walter, and David Obando. These five brothers grew up in the Rios Tropicales family. They started working with me when they were just kids helping me reforest their family’s farm that I bought in 1990 to build the Rios Tropicales Lodge alongside the Pacuare River. They have spent their entire lives on and in the Pacuare, and their mother, Doña Dina, managed the lodge. Many of their sisters also worked at the lodge.

For decades, the Obando boys have been top rafting guides and boaters, seamlessly able to captain a raft, an oar boat, or a kayak. Johnny has competed in World Rafting Championships and managed a rafting company in Colombia. Roy is the highest level raft guide instructor for the International Rafting Federation, served as head of safety for the 2011 IRF World Rafting Championship in Costa Rica, and trained and certified the Colombia Rafting for Peace Team. For years, Albert was the Rios Tropicales guide operations manager and was one of my right hands in overall company operations. Walter has been a highly accomplished guide for more than 15 years, and David was our operations center manager at Cairo besides being a guide.

For 30 years, they have been mentored by me, my Rios Tropicales partners, and top raft guides in Costa Rica and internationally. The Obandos are energetic and eager to continue our traditions of impeccable safety, exhilarating adventures, and exemplary customer service in their new company, Rios Adventure Travel.

We are extremely proud to recommend them because they are not only capable professionals, but I also am certain they will continue to uphold our core values and beliefs in their own business.”

— “Forward Hard!” — Rafael Gallo, CEO of Rios Tropicales (RIP)

Team Rios Adventure Travel

Our Mission

Our mission is to provide you with a quality service, with the highest safety standards, to make your vacations unforgettable.

Our Vision

To be a leading company in safety and quality, that offers its customers an efficient product, committed to the environment, focusing the vision on minimizing our ecological footprint.

Why Choose Us

The dedication to fulfill our customer’s needs.

Instituto Costarricense de Turismo
International Rafting Federation

Our Staff

We are a staff with dedication and passion for the rafting industry in Costa Rica, we provide you with the highest standards of quality and safety. We are a family company of five brothers that has more than 25 years of experience, allowing us to provide you with an excellent service.

Chico 2


Operations Department
Rafting Guide
Chico 4


Operations Manager
Rafting Guide
Chico 5


General Manager
Rafting Guide
Chico 1


Operations Department
Rafting Guide
Chico 3


Accounting & Finance
Marketing & sales Rafting Guide