After spending all morning and afternoon in the hot and humid weather of the jungle, it’s safe to say that the team was more than ready to take a dip in the river. We parked near the bridge that overlooked the flowing river below. We walked (some slid) down a steep hill to the riverbed, where we had our first photo opportunity at the river. I, myself was more concerned with getting in the water than taking pictures next to it.
So with my water shoes on and my camera put away, I made my way into the cool waters. Our guides, Jenny and Marcos, checked for snakes and gave the clear for us to head toward the deeper part of the river. With every step I felt my body temperature drop and my energy levels sky rocket. The water seemed to cleanse my body as well as my spirit as I felt revived from the sweltering heat which had left me fatigue. I joined Jillian at the deep end where we waded in the waters, hollering at the rest of the group to come and join us. One by one, the team trekked over slippery rocks toward the swimmable part of the river. Within minutes, mostly everyone was in the water laughing and swimming. Some of us found our inner salmon and tried swimming against the unwavering current. After photos here and there and everyone taking their turn at being a salmon, I took a moment to lie on a rock and look up at the jungle’s canopy above. The view was tremendous and I found peace within that moment. When the time at the river was over I was feeling refreshed and a little sad to leave it but little did I know that we would be back.
Several days later during the trip, we returned to the river but at a different part. After a decent hike through the jungle where we saw leaf-cutter ants and wild chickens, we made it to a riverbed with a cliff that we took turns jumping from into the revitalizing waters below. Again, we were immersed in the waters from La Cangreja National Park that seemed to bring everyone back to life after a tiring day of touring the chocolate farm, Iguanas Chocolate. After several cannonballs, some participants found a part of the river where the rapids joined into a single current where we all had a blast being push out from like riding a water slide. Of course, cameras found the way into people’s hands as we took photos with big smiles and lifted spirits. There were leaves in hair and paint made from rocks on faces as we posed for photographs in and out of the water. From river fairy portraits to cannonball action shots, the photographs from the river captured an energy that I had never seen before during the experience. Whether it’s something in the water or just the refreshment it provides, the river was my favorite place that I encountered during this Costa Rican adventure.
Written by Tyler Valdes