White Water Rafting And Fly Your Freak Flag
Trip Start Sep 29, 2007
215Trip End Dec 20, 2010
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The Exploradores company picked us up early and we met our paparazzi photographer, Elberth who is a champion kayaker and expert on all things river. Elberth showed us some footage on his ipod and photos he had taken of elusive Costa Rican wildlife...... impressive. We arrived at the headquarters of the exploration centre and locked our backpacks in storage because the company had agreed to take us further on to Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean. We met people coming from all over Costa Rica to raft this river and formed two rafting teams. For a river of these grades of difficulty you would normally need some experience so we felt lucky to be able to do it
We were given helmets, a life vest and paddle and took off for the action. There were four in our raft and one of the women screamed the whole time like a cowgirl. The river was clean and beautiful. We passed waterfalls flowing from high rock walls and floated in the river gorge flanked by steep green Walls, passing indigenous indian settlements. The river had dense jungle. Some of the indians have never left their settlements and i wonder if the children think all outsiders wear red rafting vests and helmets all the time as these are all they see of life outside the village. There are no roads or bridges out to the community. There is a zip line pulley system in place that has a basket and enough room for a person to zip across the river with supplies. The people are poor and the guides take them supplies, food and clothing and the left overs from our lunch. The Costa Rican electricity company had planned to ruin the river with the building of a dam. This would have ruined Eco tourism ventures and displaced the tribe who live on the banks. An earthquake measuring 7.5 on the rictor scale happened making the river banks prone to landslides and the company pulled out thankfully as this would have ruined the most perfect river in the world
The rapids slowly built up to being bigger and better thrills. We really enjoyed the paddling and the adrenalin after we all made it down another rapid and had time to re-position and grip our feet in. The rapids had names like The Pinballa and The Double Drop. At one point we ran our raft into another raft and bodies flew everywhere like popcorn. Elberth and another guide kayaked around us for safety. We couldnīt get the grins off our faces and the action photos the photographer took show it. We tried to put on our best rafting faces whenever we saw the photographer around and managed to get some funny photos. We were able to get out of the boat and float on the river swimming and went under a waterfall in the raft. Fun, fun, fun. Loved every minute of the four hour journey.
The lunch was a site on its own. The guides seemed to take an endless supply of fruit, salads, cold meats and bread out of the water tight barrels they use for transporting gear. The lads, all muscular and tanned then went about slicing and cutting and presenting the lunch and carrying trays around. They even had what i think was home made lemonade. The tour cost $95 and worth every penny. The guys are adrenalin junkies and drove us at speed to Puerto Viejo De Talamanca where we checked into Rocking Jīs Hostel, happy with our accomplishment and well exhausted
Puerto Viejo holds firmly to its Caribbean roots and is influenced by Bribri indigenous culture and Americans and Europeans. Rocking Js is an experience all of its own. Jīs has a hammock Hotel which is an open air structure housing dozens of hammocks and stoned backpackers. There are also undercover tents that have mattresses and sheets and a tree house that has a removable roof for stargazing and tanning in your bed. We took a loft room for some privacy. This place is one huge creative space and guests are encouraged to make a mosaic and use paints. I am after some paints and hope to have time to leave some of my work there at Jīs. The whole place is covered in elaborate mosaics. There is a little garden with cute gates and sloths apparently. There are good tunes, mainly reggaeton, of course this is the Caribbean. The stereotypical travelling scene exists here with the dread locked, tattooed surfie types sauntering around and cooking potatoes and beans. There is a sign at Jīs that says īdonīt smoke marijuana here, go down the beach and smokeī.Not sure anyone staying here read it. There are also walls filled with other life epiphany statements and murals of anything and everything. Some people are a little too cool for school here and its a young crowd but we love the space and ideas brought here. There are large concrete sculptures of turtles and lizards draped all over the place
I found a red, clown nose which may just be a sign. We are on the Carribean beach and itīs raining again, the sun will come out tomorrow. We came to see the sloths at a sanctuary north of Cahuita Beach.