Welcome to the Rivers and Forests Alliance (RAFA)

Pacuare River Costa Rica

The Rivers and Forests Alliance (RAFA) is a Costa Rican nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving, protecting, and regenerating Costa Rica’s Pacuare River Basin, its forests, and biodiversity together with our communities for a sustainable future.

The Pacuare River flows 136.39 km (85 miles) from high in Costa Rica's Talamanca Mountains, past indigenous Cabecar communities and through dense jungle populated with endangered species, to the Caribbean Sea. It is one of Costa Rica's last large, free-flowing rivers, acclaimed for its scenic beauty and whitewater paddling sports. The entire river basin spans 914.11 km2 (353 square miles), forming a crucial connection in the network of biological corridors between national parks and private protected areas, namely the Jaguar Corridor.

The Pacuare River still flows free, thanks to many committed individuals and groups. Among them is Rafael "Rafa" Gallo, a leading conservationist, environmental activist, and adventure and ecotourism pioneer in Costa Rica. Rafa passionately worked to preserve and regenerate the Pacuare River Basin for nearly four decades, from stopping dams to purchasing 2,500 acres of rainforest for protection, planting close to 31,000 trees, and rallying community members, national and international tourists, and paddling sports athletes to save the river and rainforest.

Rafa passed away in March 2021 after a 14-month-long battle with cancer. In his final months, he outlined his conservation dreams of environmental stewardship and protecting his beloved Pacuare River Basin. His vision became RAFA – the Rivers and Forests Alliance. He planted the seed, and his family and friends have united to honor his lifelong work and carry forward his dream.

If you would like to get involved in preserving the Pacuare River region and Rafael’s legacy, please contact us. You also can sign up to receive news from the Rivers and Forests Alliance.

We thank you for your support and commitment to conservation for our planet that will benefit us all.

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