The first time I did Pacuare River rafting, my heart was pounding in excitement. I had done the Reventazón River before, but this time I was going to face the river of rivers, recognized by National Geographic as one of the top ten river trips in the World. And here I was, small as I am, wearing a helmet and a vest… Ready for the adventure, a bit scared but decided to feel the thrill of the famous rapids in the Caribbean lowlands.
As we arrived to the put in and our guides gave instructions, I have to be honest… I was listening but, on the other hand, I was in complete awe by the landscape. Green and ferocious, however, in this area the water seemed rather calmed as it runs amidst the forest. Not a human trace if it wasn’t for our own presence. One of our guides points a sloth up on a close-by tree top. The wilderness… so innocent, and yet, so fierce.
My other thought was for the cities… At this same time, millions of people in elegant outfits, suits and/or high heels are running for work, getting in elevators, crossing busy streets… And yet, I was there, in my swimsuit and tennis shoes and with my heart open to live this adventure. Life is definitely good! And I, simply gotta love this job!
As we started the rapids went one after the other. The rafting trip is so well planned that we start little by little. At first mild and easy to paddle rapids, and as we go on, some of them get a bit harder. As I am paddling following the instructions of the guide on the back, there is this part of me, serene in the inside, saying “You see you can do this!?… Isn’t it amazing!?”. It is like watching and clapping me in standing ovation, from somewhere in the inside, cheering me for doing this incredible thing… You gotta love getting out of the comfort zones! Really!
After doing some of the rather mild rapids in the upper part we stopped at a lodge to have a good sort of fresh fruits and snacks, relax a bit and stretch out the muscles, just to go on with the adventure.
The afternoon gets in the biggest rapids, like Upper and Lower Huacas, Cimarron and Dos Montañas, we passed by a gorgeous waterfall and the wilderness gave me the highlight of the day! There was this magical, and almost secretive moment when I could see a jaguarundi (A small black cat that lives in the Caribbean rainforests) on the edge of the water as we were passing fast through one of the tumultuous white waters. The black sleek creature hoped out for an instant to the edge of the water I saw it, and – I like to think- it saw me, and jumped back to the mystery of the jungle… But the flavor of this brief encounter with the wild was, like I say, an enchanted instant that will remain in me forever.
As we arrived to the last part, the staff was already waiting for us, with the microbus ready to take us for a good shower, a healthy typical lunch and tropical fruit juices.
On the way back, the bus was quite silent, we were already tired and satisfied and as I was looking at the window and watching the Braulio Carrillo National Park go by (The road from the Caribbean lowlands passes through this huge rainforest area) my mind traveled back in time to live and re-live the moments of glory I had that day.
Now, as I am writing this I am living them again… And I must say, as a re-cap, that there is nothing like living unplugged, you and yourself, you and the wilderness, you and Life (With a capital L) . Neither a popular cel phone, not the most beautiful pair of shoes or expensive perfume will ever give me the connection to my human Life as that day that I rafted the river of rivers, the Pacuare River!