Rafting tour Pacuare

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Rafting tour on the Pacuare River in the middle of the green jungle.

When you hear San José, you might first think of California and Silicon Valley. But wrong thinking, we are talking about the capital of Costa Rica. The city was founded in the 18th century and has been attracting people from all over the world ever since. Nestled in the Central Valley, surrounded by majestic volcanoes and vast plains, the region reflects the natural wealth of the country. Costa Rica consists of a quarter of protected rainforests, the most biodiverse habitats in the world.

After a flight of about 18 hours, we landed in the capital in the evening and only had to do the typical tourist stuff. Visa, luggage and the obligatory cab ride, to finally fall exhausted but happy into our bed. Our first adventure was already booked and therefore we knew that it would be a short night. We had decided in advance to go on a two-day rafting trip on the Pacuare. Accordingly, we were picked up the next morning at about 05:00 by a driver and brought to the base station of the organizers, just outside San José.

Once there, we had a typical Tico meal and first instructions for the upcoming tour. Afterwards we drove another hour by bus, past the cloud forests and the lush nature of Costa Rica. Once we arrived at the starting point, we first had to put on our life jackets and helmets and climb into the boat. We had decided to spend a night in a lodge on the riverbank in the middle of the jungle. Since we were the only ones on today's tour who would be spending the night in the jungle, we were accordingly assigned to a boat that would contain only us and our guide. On the whole, the two-day tour included about 25 kilometers on the Pacuare River and category III - IV rapids. It should be noted here that V is the most difficult category on the scale and the rafting trip was accordingly challenging. After a few final instructions, the trip started, our guide explained to us the necessary commands and incidentally the colorful flora and fauna. Each successfully mastered rapids were celebrated with upraised paddles and a loud "Pura Vida". After 5 kilometers and 1.5 hours we reached the lodge. We got out of the boat and pulled it ashore. Of course, we were not spared a short but huge tropical rain shower.

After lunch and moving into our room, we went on foot with our guide to explore the rainforest. Along the narrow paths through the dense greenery Raynald, whom we had already come to appreciate and love, explained the lush flora and fauna to us. Passing natural pools that invited us to swim, the trail led us deeper and deeper into the wilderness. After another heavy downpour we reached our accommodation soaked. Meanwhile, the part of the luggage that we took with us on the tour was without exception soaking wet. We had locked the bulk of it in spindles at base camp. After the day's exertions, we cooked together in the kitchen with the guides in a boisterous mood and ate by candlelight and interesting conversations. During the conversations, you could literally feel the enthusiasm of the locals in their work and their deep connection to nature.

After a restful night accompanied by the sound of the river, the next morning we discovered the surrounding rainforest on our own. During a small hike, which led over a suspension bridge, the path on the other side of the river meandered through the green thicket to a small hidden waterfall. However, since this was the first march alone through the rainforest for us, on the one hand it was quite impressive, but on the other hand the fear of being attacked by a wild animal accompanied us at every turn. And this fear was not unfounded, because our guide told us that his colleague had recently seen a jaguar. Afterwards we had lunch and then we had to go back to the river.

Suspension bridge over a river in the middle of the jungle.

On the second day, the longer and more strenuous tour was on the agenda. Today, six of us went in the boat about 20 kilometers on the river further in the direction of San José. We had to master 4 rapids of category IV, which were really a bit difficult in some places. And so it was almost preprogrammed that someone should fall out of the boat. And of course it hit Lui, who always seems to magically attract such situations. At the most difficult spot she was catapulted out of the boat and immediately pushed under water. After a few seconds she surfaced far away and was pushed even further away from us. Then, after another person went overboard, even the usually calm guide got a little hectic. But since they had also explained such situations to us, it was a matter of keeping calm and pulling Lui back into the boat after the rapid. And no panic, all participants survived unharmed. We will still tell about this experience in 50 years. After the short excitement we reached a canyon, where we could jump out of the boat and just float in the cool water. 3.5 hours later we reached the exit and were then taken back to the base camp. During dinner we could marvel at the pictures that the photographer in charge had taken.

At the end of the day, we took the bus back to our hotel for another 1.5 hours. Exhausted, but totally overwhelmed by the first impressions in Costa Rica, we fell into bed. The next day we picked up our rental car, we were drawn further into the National Park Los Quetzales, where nature should be the focus again.

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