Welcome to the Rivers and Forests Alliance - RAFA!

Our mission is to preserve, protect, and regenerate Costa Rica’s Pacuare River basin, its forests, and biodiversity with our communities for a sustainable future.

The Rivers and Forests Alliance (RAFA) was created by Rafael Gallo, a prominent conservationist, environmental activist, and ecotourism and adventure tourism pioneer in Costa Rica, to ensure that his beloved Pacuare River would be protected and preserved for all time.

Flowing from high in Costa Rica’s Talamanca Mountains, past indigenous Cabecar communities, and through dense jungle populated with jaguars, the Pacuare River travels 85 miles to the Caribbean Sea. It is one of Costa Rica’s most acclaimed rivers for its scenic beauty and is revered by whitewater paddling enthusiasts.

For nearly four decades, Rafael, his family, staff, and partners of his renowned rafting and adventure travel company Rios Tropicales passionately worked to preserve and regenerate Costa Rica’s rivers and forests from the ravages of irresponsible development. From stopping dams, to planting nearly 31,000 trees, to rallying travel clients and community members to save the rainforest, Rafael and his followers have fought ardently to protect the Pacuare River watershed and other rivers in Costa Rica. 

Rafael (“Rafa”) passed away in March 2021, after a 14 month-long battle with cancer. In his final months, he worked hard to outline and communicate his conservation dreams of environmental stewardship and protection of his beloved Pacuare watershed region. His vision became RAFA – the Rivers and Forests Alliance. He planted the seed, and now his family and friends have united to honor his lifelong work and carry forward the Rivers and Forests Alliance (RAFA) mission.

We know many people would like to get involved in preserving the Pacuare River region and Rafael’s legacy and to contribute with financial support. While RAFA’s formation as a nonprofit entity is being finalized, we will send out regular updates via the RAFA email newsletter. Please feel free to sign up to get e-news alerts from the Rivers and Forests Alliance.  

We thank you for your support, love, and commitment to conservation and regenerative tourism on our planet, for the benefit of all.

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