Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Costa Rican Winter

Over winter vacation this year my family traveled to Costa Rica for some quality kayaking and tropical relaxation. Spending most of our time in Turrialba, Costa Rica we spent multiple days on the Rio Pacuare. The Pacuare is separated into 3 main sections: the lower (class III-IV where the raft trips take place), the upper (class IV-V), and the upper-upper (class II-III which requires a two hour hike with horses to the put-in). Early in the trip we took a couple trips down the beautiful lower Pacuare, my mom in a commercial raft, my dad in his NRS Bandit inflatable kayak, and my brother in me rental playboats. The rapids on the lower section of the Pacuare were pretty minor, but the amazing waterfalls cascading into the river and beautiful hikes along the way made the run entirely worth it.

In one of the gorges of the lower Pacuare

After time paddling the lower Pacuare and exploring different parts of Costa Rica, we returned to Turrialba to get ready for a trip on the Upper Upper Pacuare. My dad had paddled this section years before, and had a good relation with the Venegas family who has helped pack boats and gear to the put-in for a few other parties as well. So with some extra time on our hands we drove to the small town of Vereh a day before our trip and spent the afternoon playing soccer with the
locals. The game was more intense than one would think, and with rubber farm boots these guys killed.

A soccer game with the locals

Early the next morning we loaded our boats and gear on a few horses and began the two hour hike to the put-in. From the muddy trail were views of some of the most pristine jungles I'd ever seen. Before too long we reached the put-in and prepared to part from our helpful friends. The run was full of continuous class II-III rapids and again was surrounded by some of the most amazing scenery I'd ever seen. Paddling a run like this that gets run at most once a year by any private group was very special, and I look forward to doing it again.

On our way to the put-in
Brendan looking down towards the put-in

The Venegas family and our group at the put-in

One of the Venegas brothers and his nephew enjoying the ducky

Paddling one of the class III rapids of the run

My dad styling another one of the class IIIs

Repelling a waterfall in Turrialba with ExplorNatura
The mountains surrounding Turrialba

Costa Rica hosts some of the most beautiful whitewater rivers, genuine wilderness, and diverse wildlife in the world and is worthy of a vacation for any type of person. If your interested in paddling in Costa Rica I'd highly recommend staying in Turrialba and contacting ExplorNatura for help with boat rentals, guided river trips, or whatever other kind of adventure you hope to take.

Here's a slideshow of some of wildlife we saw along the way. Pura Vida.