Rafting Travel Programs

Back to Programs

A Guide to Rafting Adventures Abroad

Rafting IS adventure travel. You begin your journey excited, albeit a bit nervous, as you await the unexpected voyage ahead. Serene moments of breathless wonder are soon interrupted by bright white surges of adrenaline that will leave you in a booming laughter and a deep craving for more. From warm jungle waters to chilly mountain rapids, a quick trip down the river offers a lasting appreciation for the natural world and your own capabilities. Grab a paddle, take a deep breath, and don’t be afraid to get your feet wet. No time for hesitation, jump in and take a ride on rafting trips!


Rafting adventures are the *perfect* activity for any explorer, at any skill level, anywhere in the world. Plus, no two waterways are the same, which means each rafting experience will offer completely new sights and thrills. Here are a few pinpoints to put on your map for some of the world’s best white water rafting locales:  

Costa Rica. This coastal nation is a true paradise for adventure travel, as it offers so more than just beautiful beaches and stunning sunsets. With year-round warm waters and 14 major river systems, you won’t find a better way to careen from the volcanic mountaintops down to the rainforest floor than with outdoor adventures rafting. Costa Rica offers more biodiversity than Europe and the U.S. combined, so you’re bound to make some new friends both in and out of the water. Whether you want to gently cruise down a Class I rapid, survive “La Boca Del Diablo,” or try something in the middle, you can’t go wrong in Costa Rica!                   

Nepal. Nestled between India and China lies this Lonely Planet favorite. Nepal is home to eight of the 14 highest mountains in the world, including the one and only Mt. Everest. With snowmelt and monsoon rain constantly feeding the nation's abundant rivers, you’ll encounter a wide variety of difficult terrain and entirely new perspectives while rafting in Nepal. From the high peaks of the Himalayas all the way down to the country’s stunning plains, rafting adventures can last anywhere from one day to two weeks. Oh, and don’t be nervous about frigid waters! Depending on the season, many of these raft trips can be done in a T-shirt and shorts. Nepal is many worlds in one, and what better way to experience a few of those worlds than to raft through them?!        

The Oceania region is home to some of the most spectacular and diverse white water rafting excursions in the world. Traverse through Alpine National Park on the Mitta Mitta River in Australia, or head across the Tasman Sea to beat around “the bush” in New Zealand’s dense riverways. If deserts and forests aren’t what you’re looking for, then explore the many subtropical reserves and national parks of Fiji. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a friendly float or a white-knuckle water coaster, you’ll never be lost without a paddle when it comes to rafting trips in these South Pacific destinations.

Rafting Adventures

Now that you’re convinced to cozy into a stylish life jacket, it’s time to answer the call of the rapids. Outdoor adventures rafting will likely be conducted in large groups ranging anywhere from eight to 14 people per raft. Several expeditions will include multiple rafts — making it feel like one big party down the river.

Although you could book short-term reservations for shorter trips with rafting companies, book farther in advance in order to ensure that you get the duration, location, and weather you want. Most of these trips are scheduled through stand-alone rafting companies, although many trekking or volunteer programs include white water rafting. Equipment is almost always provided by the program provider, but be prepared to pack some synthetic or wool clothing too. 

You know how in Mulan, they sing, “We must be swift as a coursing river?” Turns out that’s easier said than done! You must pick the right kind of coursing river to follow. Rivers are graded via a class system: Class I is something you can take your grandparents on, Class II and III offer some greater thrills, Class IV and V require some grit, and Class VI is what Kuzco and Pacha zoomed down in “Emperor’s New Groove.” If you’re a newbie, stick to Class II and III, then make your way up to the more technical ones. Rafting is best through spring and early autumn when snowmelt and precipitation is at peak levels. Just be cautious of unseasonably wet or rainy spells, as water levels may turn novice routes to very difficult ones. 

Tips & Advice for Rafting

If you’re considering an adventure rafting trip, you need to be an excellent swimmer and be able to “just keep swimming” if needed. Now, here’s a few tips to make sure you have the best experience possible with rafting companies:

  • First, you should always listen to your guide and follow the safety instructions. Although it might feel like your favorite rollercoaster, it’s important to realize that hands and feet may not always remain in the raft and you’re equally responsible for getting the ride back on course. 
  • Second, sun safety is an important and often overlooked, so bring sunscreen and sunglasses as the water will reflect those rays right onto your smiling face. 
  • Third, bring a waterproof camera, like a GoPro, that you can safely secure to your body, especially during multi-day trips. You’ll find yourself in some remarkable environments that may not be accessible by foot so make sure to capture those moments in between paddling.  

Benefits & Challenges

To be fully drenched in nature offers adventurers the chance to succumb to the power of rapids then rise again with your fellow man. Too dramatic? Anyway, white water rafting is a phenomenal exercise. Because rafting is physically demanding, you’ll get in some quality cardio. Take that, treadmills! Plus, heavy paddling is a wonderful strength-builder for those upper-body muscles. Being in the outdoors and secluding yourself from modern stresses is also great for mental health, as the reduced stress and focus will be very therapeutic.

One of the more unique things about rafting trips is that it is a 100 percent group activity, which may be challenging for some. You cannot make it downstream alone, and fundamentals such as communication, discipline, and teamwork are necessary to the success of your raft. You’ll learn about each other’s strengths and weaknesses while watching out for one another. It’s like all the benefits of a group project with none of the horrors. At the end of your journey, you’ll all feel an immense sense of accomplishment and a wonderful new talking point about teamwork for that interview. 

By now, you know that adventure travel should always be meaningful, but meaningful travel isn’t always quiet, introspective, or peaceful. Sometimes it’s roaring, transcendent, and leaves you a bit waterlogged. Take the plunge and add rafting to that waterproof itinerary!

Read More

written by:

A Guide To
Rafting Adventures Abroad


 Choose Your Rafting Adventure Abroad


This listing has been saved 3 times

South America Explorer with Gapforce

Start your adventure in South America with intensive Spanish lessons before heading to an animal sanctuary for a volunteer opportunity you will never forget. For your second project, you will spend three weeks at a coastal lodge completing vital conservation work. Weekends will be spent exploring the vast natural beauty of Ecuador. The famous South American nightlife, surfing, white water raf...


This listing has been saved 17 times

Dog and Cat Rescue in Kathmandu!

There are more than 20,000 street dogs in Kathmandu - some say, the number is closer to 30,000. There isn’t enough money or manpower or even will to take care of all of them or to dramatically control their population. That’s why the unusual dog rescue ELI partners with on the outskirts of Kathmandu is so important. It’s an effective, humane place that needs the help of volunteers and offers a...


This listing has been saved 86 times

Adventure Guide Internship - New Zealand

The Adventure Guide Internship was constructed as a stepping stone into the adventure tourism industry, but also is the perfect semester abroad option - offering adventure, qualifications and a job offer all in one . Over 12 weeks of adventure and travel, you’ll find yourself on the top of the highest peaks, meandering down enormous glacier-driven river valleys, exploring new golden sand beac...


This listing has been saved 10 times

South East Asia Ethical Adventure Trail

Travel with us to the ancient Kingdoms of Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam in Southeast Asia, famously popular destinations for gap year travellers and it isn't hard to see why. The countries provide a world of unimaginable beauty offering the perfect setting for an adventure that will take you everywhere – from buzzing night bazaars full of jewel-bright lanterns, to pearl-white sand beaches ...


This listing has been saved 41 times

Broadreach Summer Adventures for Students

Broadreach offers experiential summer adventures for middle school, high school and college students, including scuba, sailing, STEM, animal science, marine biology, language learning and photography and multimedia programs that span the globe. Over the years, we've taken thousands of teenagers to some of the world's most incredible destinations -- the islands of the Caribbean, Australia, Fiji,...


This listing has been saved 1 time

Social Travel: North India 1.0 [Starting from USD 135]

Join us for 2 to 6 weeks in this program, which combines travel and volunteering in North India! Explore diverse places in the region, spending 2 weeks each in Delhi, Rishikesh and Jaipur. You will work for different organizations, schools or institutions, as well as take part in The Tarzan Way's cultural excursions. The project covers 12 cities in North India, including Delhi, Agra, Himacha...


This listing has been saved 74 times

Internship in the Sacred Valley, PERU!

Intern abroad with Linguistic Horizons in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, located between Cusco & Machu Picchu! This program is ideal for people who want to go off the beaten path and have a truly immersive experience. You'll improve your Spanish, learn about the local culture of the people in Urubamba, and the indigenous Andean communities in the surrounding areas. Participants will inte...


This listing has been saved 364 times


Maximo Nivel work-study-travel programs in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru. We have been a leading educational travel and study abroad provider since 2003. - Volunteer Abroad - International Internships - TEFL Certification & Paid Teaching work - Native Spanish Program - and more... VOLUNTEER ABROAD and get involved! Volunteer projects include Working with Kids, Construction, ...


This listing has been saved 5 times

Volunteer to Teach English in Costa Rica

Nestled between the Caribbean Ocean and a tropical rainforest, volunteers have the option to spend a weekend or two exploring this wonderful location and enjoy its many attractions and activities - including stunning beaches, rainforest, canopy tours and white water rafting. Volunteers plan and run lessons and assist with English language education for the community members. The local commun...


This listing has been saved 13 times

Tourism Internship Program

The New Zealand Internships Tourism Program allows candidates the unique opportunity to achieve work experience in the fun and vibrant Tourism sector in New Zealand. It is a large and important industry as a result of the countries international reputation for natural beauty and as a place to engage in a range of exciting activities ...and you will be part of it! All positions are remunerate...


This listing has been saved 3 times

Outward Bound Costa Rica: Girl Scout Destinations

Experience an unforgettable adventure with fellow Girl Scouts from across the United States! Our four GSUSA Destinations courses in Costa Rica and Panama will give you an opportunity to visit remote rainforest villages with family homestays, serve local indigenous communities, scuba dive among the colorful coral reefs of the Caribbean Ocean, protect the region’s fragile ecosystem, catch waves o...


This listing has been saved 13 times

Short term Study Tours in New Zealand & South Pacific

Join our short term study abroad tours during your vacations and be back home in time for your studies. Great themes and tours with some travelling across three Island nations or through NZ. Fun, adventure, memorable and life changing learning experiences - as well as optional community service. With other like minded students, register for these experiential study tours in some of the ...


This listing has been saved 5 times

Costa Rica: Surf, Service, Soccer, Language & Leadership

Global Works offers different programs varying in duration, dates, language learning, adventures and service opportunities. Travel adventures include hiking peaks, lush cloud forests, rafting the Pacuare, volcano tours, environmental projects, rain forest excursions, and surfing at pristine beach locations. Valuable community service alongside villagers improves language skills and cultural exc...


This listing has been saved 3 times

Traveling Soccer and Service Team

Get ready to travel, work, and play your heart out on this intensive two-week soccer and service project through the heart of Costa Rica. Using the game you love as a medium, you’ll develop relationships with tico locals throughout this beautiful country, and give back to your host communities through thoughtfully designed service initiatives. In your downtime you’ll take advantage of the best ...


This listing has been saved 59 times

Work and Travel in Australia

Explore the best of Australia open-endedly. You'll have the ability to choose where you live, travel and work, with support in the background during your adventure! Earn money to fund your travels, make a million friends and memories, and maybe take a side trip or two (Fiji anyone?). This program is geared towards travelers who want to do their own thing, but with a leg up in the job search....