Whitewater Rafting & Relaxing on the Pacuare River, Costa Rica

Greetings,

Let’s pick up where we left off, shall we? The white water rafting down the Pacuare River was good times and we battled through class II-III rapids, not that big a deal and a pretty easy breezy day. We also hiked to a waterfall which was alright, would have been better if I had shoes and not flip flops. It was a mass of random boulders and debris from what you can tell are serious floods, despite being in the rainy season the water levels were low and the climb was long but worth it.

We arrived at the waterfalls and they were pretty sweet, my friend “Rancheros” attempted a front flip off this ledge to mimic one of the guides. Sure enough he didn’t calculate that being 6”4 he needed more air and landed flat on his back, you could hear the SMACK from SPACE and couldn’t help but laugh uncontrollably.  To add insult to injury he also ripped his bathing suit in the crotch area. Perhaps I’ll process the video one day but for now I’m relaxing in paradise and let us continue this story I’ve started…

It began to pour torrential styles as we left the waterfall and you could see a thick mist emanating from the tree top canopy. What beauty, it is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. After the waterfall we cruised along the river as the bow crashed into rapids. I’ve been in a rainforest before but nothing like this, ever. It’s as though the sides of the river are sheer cliffs and the forest is guarded by an impenetrable layer of trees that tower over all making you realize just how small and insignificant you really are to the whole ecosystem we call earth.

There are several camps in the area that range from rustic to ridiculously awesome, luckily we’ve found ourselves in the latter which is sweet considering I came in blind as usual. To make matters even more magnificent, found out we’d be here for two nights. I’m at the Pacuare Lodge as I mentioned earlier and this is truly a unique place situated in a very remote and special part of a small and sublime country called Costa Rica. Staying in this type of accommodation has opened my eyes to the many alternatives besides traditional hostels, guesthouses and hotels. Perhaps it´s time to dig deeper and investigate timeshare rentals or a private villa in some remote locations?

The lodge was founded in 1993 with the original purchase of 12 hecatres of land. The purpose was to preserve this delicate and delightful rainforest while providing jobs for the local inhabitants. It was also meant to treasure and respect the local way of life and all the idiosyncrasies attached to it. Part of all the proceeds go towards purchasing further tracks of land in this off the beaten track location; as of 2008 they had managed to accumulate and protect 350 hecatres aka over 861 acres. In case you’re curious, 861 acres is a colossal chunk of land, behemoth or gigantic would also work.

The guides from the company Adventuras Natureles also work for the lodge and double as the wait staff. I’ve never received better service anywhere in my travels, the type of place where there is literally two staff for every soul lucky enough to be staying the night. The food is exquisite and so fresh I won’t even attempt at further describing it, I’m speechless and stuffed. The photo below is of this jungle tomato that turns into the lovely juice pictured. The dessert was part of lunch and naturally there were no leftovers, let alone anything left on the plate.

The rooms have no power and are built with care and filled with character. It vaguely reminds me of another lovely lodge I stayed in South Africa, only there are no deadly animals around so instead of thick glass it’s a small screen that separates you from the jungle. The only power is in the main lodge from a generator that is run part of the day and yes despite having no cell signal, they have wifi. I’m in a river view cottage and in front of me is a rainforest wall as tall as any skyscraper I’ve ever seen.

I used to think coral reefs were awesome and thought such abundance of life only existed in the sea. There are so many brilliant birds with techno like colors you’d think they were painted for some late 1990’s rave. If you let your mind go still you’ll be able to enter their world if only for a moment until a thought interrupts you and cuts the connection to the infinite. It’s seriously like a coral reef but instead of fish it’s small birds and insects that are no less significant to the whole than you or I.


Despite the fact that there are insects the size of a subway sandwich floating around, I’ve only been bitten once as though they are at peace in this sanctuary of sorts. Besides the whitewater rafting there are countless other activities and lots of guests tend to stay a week or so. I’m so relaxed sitting on the bed staring at the wall of vegetation across the river with a blank stare and a surreal smile that a week could quickly mutate into months here and I wouldn’t even notice or care.


I woke up early this morning (4:35) to make a time lapse that turned out terrible and managed to get all the work I had planned in the office; big thanks to Victoria who was kind enough to help me from Spain. I’m going to continue sinking into these sheets until dinner which should be divine as I’ve opted for the beef tenderloin which sounds terrific. Tomorrow a character known simply as “Rancheros” and I are out of here via class III-IV rapids and can’t say I’m ready but when is anyone ever ready to end a good thing?

 

I’m here with the Costa Rica “Gift of Happiness” and yes, it’s working!

Tips hat,

P.S: Check out yesterday’s update for a photo of the room.

P.P.S: Some photos from “Rancheros” with this waterproof fiji camera I’m buying off him.

18 Comments

  1. Jill

    September 23, 2012 at 7:44 am

    I’ve been white water rafting in NH, USA but after reading this I’m not sure I can still call it that. It sounds like you experienced quite an adventure!!

    • Rob

      September 23, 2012 at 8:54 am

      You definitely have, same thing just different backdrop. I think experience is the right word, it was more of an experience with whitewater rafting included type thing. This place makes a great get away if you ever wanted to “disconnect from it all for a few days.”

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Ryan Gargiulo

    September 23, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    Tell me you GoPro’d the river…

    • Rob

      September 26, 2012 at 2:04 pm

      of course!

  3. flips

    September 24, 2012 at 5:22 am

    WOW .. Looks amazing ! On a side note I have been looking for the perfect pair of shoes that would work in all terrain .. from wet to dry from climbing cliffs to jumping off sand dunes.. The only pair I found to be great in all these event are crocs !! … I dont want you to hurt your feet and miss out on some great walkabouts.. good luck friend

    • Rob

      September 26, 2012 at 2:05 pm

      lol, I’ll never wear those hideous plastic shoes unless I dress as a clown and wear parachute pants to match.

  4. Julie

    September 24, 2012 at 9:19 am

    Do you hear a continual symphony of bird songs throughout the day or is it intermittent? Is the scenery and ecosystem similar to Panama or are there many variations? It looks beyond tranquil there but are there any large lizards, etc., lurking around?

    • Rob

      September 26, 2012 at 2:06 pm

      You always hear the river which is nice but it’s more like random outburts from all over. It’s very unpredictable and sometimes it’s soothing, other times loud and in your face.

  5. Mandi Vanover

    September 25, 2012 at 8:33 am

    Well, it is confirmed. If I ever move out of the United States- that is where I am going! I feel like I just took a vacation without leaving my chair it’s so awesome!!

    • Rob

      September 26, 2012 at 2:07 pm

      Glad you feel that way, part of why I write this is to share the experience. It was cool and would definitely return but next time, would be for a romantic getaway. I saw lots of honeymooners who were just over the mooon there.

  6. Larissa

    September 26, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Believe it or not, there may be rafting of some sort in my near future. Not sure how I feel about it but who knows, maybe it will become my new jam. Hope there will at least be more stylish helmets on offer when the time comes. That lodge is seriously ridic.

    • Rob

      September 26, 2012 at 6:18 pm

      Make a video and I can’t see it becoming your new Jam but can see ya enjoying it. It’s good times and like floating down a river with friends if you have a cool boat only there are odd adrenaline rushes in the mix.

    • charlie

      October 2, 2012 at 2:24 pm

      Yes, the lodge seems off the hook! If you are thinking about rafting, I recommend going with the crazier raft guides. They always deliver the best river routes.

      • Rob

        October 3, 2012 at 10:28 am

        Agree with that advice and if you’re going to go, may as well go big.

  7. Misha

    September 28, 2012 at 9:50 am

    Thanks for this posting, Rob. Heading to Pacure Lodge in February and so enjoyed the details of your journey. Have never white water rafted and am a bit anxious about it as are other members of our group. Should we be? Are those “adrenaline rushes” dangerous and so over the top that we should find another place? So appreciate your sharing your experience!!!! Thanks.

    • Rob

      September 28, 2012 at 8:41 pm

      You are going to love it! Also it’s not that intense, just follow guides lead and when they say “forward” paddle with all you have. That said, I thought it would be rougher so don’t stress it and just enjoy it.

      I honestly loved that lodge, I hope you’re staying a few days and if you opt not to do day 2 aka day 1 was tough enough, you can opt not too. I saw a few people do that so no big deal. :]

  8. Misha

    September 29, 2012 at 7:07 am

    Glad I found your blog. I’m sold!! Gracias and Pura Vida, Rob. Peace to you on your journeys! : )

    • Rob

      September 29, 2012 at 8:02 am

      Thanks, enjoy your time there and let me know how it goes when you’re done?

      PURA VIDA and safe travels!

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Quick Trip from San Jose to Pacuare River, Costa Rica

Hello friends, I'm exhausted but in heaven and in 45 minutes the main generator gets turned off at this eco-lodge...

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