December 22, 2012
We left Hotel Aranjuez very early this morning to get a jump start on our day of white water rafting. We booked with Exploradores Outdoors, based on the recommendations of Pura Vida! Eh? and their safety record. Having had a scary (but still fun) rafting experience in Uganda, I was a little nervous. Jeff was pumped, having never been rafting before so there was a nice mix of fear and excitement between the two of us.
A shuttle picked us up from our hotel and it took us to the Exploradores head office where we had the chance to change into our “wet” clothes, meet the other rafters and have a little breakfast. It was a very large group that day and about 15 rafts launched into the river. The morning went by beautifully, with the sun shining and the rapids challenging enough to be fun, but nothing death defying. We stopped for lunch about halfway through the run and had some really great food provided by the guides. We had to scramble our way up out of the river over some super slippery/sharp rocks, but once at the top the view was more than worth it. The Pacuare river is known for it’s beautiful views and is considered one of the 5 nicest rivers to raft.
In the late afternoon it started to drizzle a bit, but we were soaking wet anyways so it hardly mattered. There was a point where the river was calm and we were able to hop out and float along beside the raft, which gave everyone a nice break, until you had to haul yourself back in! Overall, it was a great day, everyone worked as a team and our raft didn’t flip once (which is a far better track record than Uganda). By the time we reached the landing site our arms and legs were aching and as we settled into the shuttle that took us to our hostel in Arenal I drifted off for a well deserved nap.
A few hours later we arrived at Arenal Backpackers, our home base for the next 3 nights.
I had booked a tent, partly because I had a great time in a similar tent in Nairobi and partly because it was cheaper than a room. The tents were made of heavy canvas on wooden slat bases. They had a light, power bar for charging and a bed, simple but totally adequate. There were a dozen of these tents and though they were full every night we barely heard a peep from any of our neighbours. After a day on the river we had just enough energy for a quick shower and a cold beer before passing out for the night.
Breakfast: scrambled eggs, gallo pinto, fruit salad, toast and coffee (provided by white water rafting company)
Lunch: wraps with refried beans, lettuce, cheese, mayo, peppers, cucumber, tortilla with salsa, pineapple
Dinner: chicken wings and burger with fries