Rafting To Our Hotel

Trip Start Oct 07, 2013
Trip End Jul 01, 2015

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Flag of Costa Rica  , Limón,
Friday, December 13, 2013

So how many times do you have to hop on a tractor in order to catch a raft in order to whitewater rapid your way to your hotel? After yet another GPS misadventure we found ourselves beside the Pacure River strapping on those o-so-flattering yellow helmets (not sure they would absorb any punishment but would probably make it easier to find the body), and life jackets that seemed a touch beyond their best-buy date. The Rio Pacure has been ranked by National Geographic as one of the top 10 river journeys in the world, and the rapids are consistently ranked as the 4th or 5th best in the world. Given that a proposal to dam the river for hydroelectric power was narrowly defeated in 2005, we thought we better blow up our boat and get this done before the powers-that-be change their minds (the nearby majestic Reventazón River was lost to a dam project so even eco-focused Costa Rica is not beyond messing with natures works of art).

The Pacuare River, or the Río Pacuare, flows approximately 108 km to the Caribbean but we would only be rafting about 23 miles of it (and dropping approximately 1200 feet). The river offers up an unending series of Class III and Class IV rapids which in layman's terms means you're going to get really wet. We chose to split the trip and at the halfway point we stayed at a jungle lodge for a couple of days. This gave us a chance to experience the Costa Rican rainforest in its full glory- we did a few walks, a couple of swimming holes, and we even tried out a mini version of zip lines- only 4 lines with a basic braking system (a gardening glove that you dragged on the cable) and a slightly imposing emergency brake (the tree). The lodge was surprisingly comfortable and the rafting dudes made for pretty good cooks.

The rafting was a blast with DH and Deb P perfecting an air paddle stroke that looked very much like the real thing. I suspect that we hit virtually all large rocks in the river and I fully expected to experience that cartoon result of a burst balloon that takes you careening off everything in the neighbourhood. The explosions of water in the bigger rapids had you debating the decision of just hanging on tight or paddling like crazy per the shouted instructions from the back. Good fun. 

Although it's early days, the challenge of rafting has also taught us a number of things about our newest travel companion:
1- she could probably use a little male companionship in the very near term. After a planned swim around the raft, she decided that she was going to pull me back into the raft on her own. Falling backward she successfully yanked me by the life-jacket face first into her lap. Given the weight difference this 'accident' was understandable- it was a little harder to understand why she held me there for the next 20-30 seconds with everyone shouting at her to let me go. In some countries this incident might have resulted in a forced marriage and immediate expulsion.
2- graceful and dainty doesn't quite describe it. After one particular shore walk, she dove back into the raft, sliding along the inflated slippery sides at significant speed before firing out the other side like a spitball leaving a straw. That wasn't in the manual.
3- these two former police officers aren't as quick to respond as they used to be. After a particularly rough collision with a rock in some shallow rapids, a couple of us were tossed in the drink (I still think DH might have given me a little push). While I was hanging onto the side and being bashed against the rocks, the girls took an inordinate amount of time deciding on a rescue technique that wouldn't mess hair or break nails. Granted, we were all trying to carefully position ourselves to avoid a repeat of Deb P's aforementioned erotic rescue.
4- a surprising naivety was displayed. Explaining her BFF loyalty to DH by suggesting something about me that included "even drunk", "wouldn't touch", "ten foot pole", and "last man on earth". Fair play but she later requested that I (the designated blog author) not mention certain embarrassing things (like catapult, butt-bouncing raft entries) in the blog and that certainly seemed more than a bit hopeful.

At the end of our soggy rafting adventure, we tried to quickly clean up and prepare for our first taste of night driving in Costa Rica.
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Elaine & Doug on

Great pics of your whitewater adventure! The photos themselves were enough to get OUR adrenalin pumping.

Feliz Navidad y Feliz Ano Nuevo to the three of you.

Carol C on

WOW is all I can say, amazing photos and looks like it was a tough few days! How come there were no photos of you Bic zip lining through the trees?!

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