Adventure Awaits

Published: August 14th 2012
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Wow…I don’t even know where to begin. The past couple of days have been very eventful. I finally got to see the Costa Rica I have always imagined.

My dad and I have been having an amazing time. Yesterday we went white water rafting! Yeah, I know…crazy. The Pacuare River (Río Pacuare) is a gorgeous, completely natural, and constantly changing river. It is located on the east side of the country where its Atlantic slope begins in the Talamanca mountain range and runs approximately 108km into the Caribbean Sea. Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures because everything gets soaked. The river and everything surrounding it was incredibly beautiful. There are waterfalls on both sides of the Pacuare spewing crystal clear, fresh water from around 30 feet above us. We would pass under the occasional rickety old bridge above us at around 30+ feet as well. These bridges are narrow and almost consumed in vines. It was amazing like the kind of views you can only imagine in movies such as Jurassic Park; which, coincidentally enough, part of the first Jurassic Park movie was filmed in Braulio Carrillo National Park (the same park we drove through to get to the river). The trees along the river banks were extremely tall with Tarzan looking vines hanging down, touching the surface of the water. We even spotted a poisonous snake; the bushwhacker is one of the more poisonous snakes out there.

The rapids were class 3 and 4, which was thrilling to say the least. Our guide was awesome though which helped a lot and luckily no one fell out of the boat, except for when it was calm enough to jump in and go swimming. I couldn’t say the same for the other boats in our group though, flipping over and needing multiple rescues. White water rafting is unreal, so much fun and I recommend everyone try it whenever they have the opportunity. And if you find yourself in Costa Rica, Río Pacuare is definitely the place to do it.

Today my dad and I went on another tour, through the canopy this time. We took a bus through the Braulio Carrillo National Park again, complete with views of luscious vegetation on either side and cloud capped volcanoes in the distance. Our bus took us all the way to Puerto Viejo which is on the Caribbean coast of the country. The bus stopped and we hopped on a safari-looking tour boat. On the ride we spotted many local, wild animals. First was the two-toed sloth (el perezoso). He was a very lucky find as sloths spend the majority of everyday high up in the tree tops, only coming down once to “use the restroom.” 😉 After that we saw a couple of iguanas, perfectly camouflaged into their surroundings. (Tour guides are great; otherwise I would have missed all the good stuff.) Then we saw some local species of birds and black Howler monkeys hanging from their tails high up in the trees. The best was saved for the last. When the river we started at connected with the Río Sucio (“Dirty River” named for its brown coloring, not because it is dirty, but because that river is a vein that comes from the nearest volcano, filling the water with sulfur and other minerals) we were able to start looking out for crocodiles. We saw three fair sized crocodiles (thanks to the good eyes of our guides) soaking up the sun on the banks of the river.

When the boat made it to our destination, we arrived at an incredible open air dining area surrounded by hammocks, chickens, horses and fruit trees. After getting suited up, we were ready for our canopy tour! But, even better, we had to take horses to get to the first zip line platform. This tour was filled surprises, but I loved every one of them. Zip lining was really exciting. I was definitely nervous before I stepped off each increasingly taller platform, but once I let go, flying through the canopy was an incredible feeling. I didn’t even mind looking down. Some of the platforms, ladders, and bridges were really wobbly and kind of sketchy, but in the end, I think it added to the thrill of it all.

I love this country so far. Everything is so green once we got out of the city. If people were out of the picture, I bet it would only take a couple of weeks for nature to reclaim this country, swallowing up every bit of concrete jungle that has been added.

It’s getting late, so I’m going to call it a night. Until next time.

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