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Down the river with the national team

Written on: Saturday October 6th, 2007

A journal entry from: The Americas

Action on my second day in Costa Rica: Thanks to Diego (a good friend of mine from my exchange in the US who lives here) I had the chance to go river rafting in one of the top 5 rivers in the world (number 1 to do rafting in Central America): Río Pacuare.

Actually Diego was supposed to come as well but because of an exam for university he got stuck studying. A lot of his friends were going too though so I didn't mind going alone. All in all we were a group of about 36 people.

The day started very early in the morning (way too early!) in San José. On the way the buses stopped at a restaurant for breakfast before arriving at the river somewhere close to Turrialba, about 2.5 hours from San José.

Then finally after grabbing a paddle and putting on the helmet and swim vest we were ready to hit the water. Well, almost. First we had to carefully listen to all the instructions given by the guides - members of the national team - and practice paddling synchronically.

Let the adrenalin loaded trip start! 6 boats, 6 teams, 6 guides and a river full of III and IV class rapids - at first a bit scary (it was my first time doing rafting) but then a lot of fun, especially as each team/boat developped a realy team spirit with cheers after the survived rapids and some good team work.

We stopped at a waterfall to take a refreshing shower and ate lunch at a lodge with a stunning view over the whole area and the river. With new strength we then continued the 4 hours long trip (about 28km) on the water through the beautiful nature (jungle, waterfalls, birds, canyons etc.). Unfortunately the sun decided to give up its spot for the clouds and soon it began to rain. Good thing that we were already soaking wet anyway. :-)

The tour ended in Siquirres (a small town in the province of Limón close to the Caribbean coast) where we all enjoyed a beer before heading back to San José. What a fun but also very exhausting day! I felt all the muscles in my left arm and the right side of my stomach (I was sitting on the right side of the boat)!

In the evening I went to Diego's house in Cartago (a city 23km from San José) because his younger brother was celebrating his 18th birthday. That was a lot of fun too.

I will put up pictures from rafting as soon as I get them (I didn't take any myself).