Tag Archives: Volcano Arenal

Day 3: White-Water Rafting

Today was the day of our white-water rafting trip with Wave Expeditions. We had signed up for level 3/4: most difficult. (I don’t know why.) Shortly after 8am, we were on the bus with our swimsuits on and a nervous excitement about what was to come.


Our guide talked us through the safety before exiting the bus. Along the way- about a 45 minute drive, we learned fun facts about Costa Rica – like, how the fences are made by growing branches a certain length and sticking them in the ground; or, about the pineapple being second to tourism, the biggest economy in the country. They use every part: the pulp to feed the animals, the juice and then the top to grow more. Apparently they need a lot of water. Gavin and I decided that we are going to grow a pineapple when we get back home.

We made a stop on the way to get out of the bus to see a bunch of trees covered in iguanas (“chicken trees”.) They were huge. (No wonder my mom made me give my baby iguana, Romeo, away before it grew to full size.)


Our last stop was up the hill from the river. There were about twenty people on our tour which equaled four rafts, a kayak and a mini kayak. The kayaks were for an additional guide and a photographer. We had a long safety instruction, thankfully, prior to takeoff.

We all got into the rafts and, one at a time, each group left. There were five people in our raft, including our guide. Most rafts had seven. Talk about adrenaline rush. It was wild. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited/terrified in my entire life (including snowboarding, rock climbing, bungee jumping, or anything else I did that required a waiver and a helmet.)



Our guide was amazing though. I think he saved our lives several times.


There was one time in particular that I flew out of the boat. Luckily, everyone knew what to do from our safety instruction so that the entire boat didn’t flip. It wouldn’t have been so bad except that I was out of the raft for like 20-30 seconds (apparently 5 seconds is a lot) which put a lot of water in my face and dragged my right leg across a bunch of rocks. Once I was back in the boat, and Gavin regained color in his face, our guide led us to the side of the river and bandaged my leg up so it wouldn’t swell. It wasn’t cut but hurt like hell.


We continued down the river. I think the whole trip was about two hours or more. There was a pit stop for a snack – pineapple and watermelon on our “table”- an overturned raft.

Just before we ran out of strength (white water rafting is hard work!), it was time to park the boats on the side of the river again. On the bus, there were towels and Imperial beer waiting for us. We thanked our guide again for pulling me back in the boat and got on the bus.

About ten minutes later, we made a stop at a local restaurant for some comida típica. We had our choice of pescado, pollo or carne. It came with some really sweet fruit punch and was delicious.


Gavin and I stopped to get a second bandage (with the help of my really rudimentary español) and then went for some juice at a restaurant before we picked up take-out and headed back to our cabin by the volcano. I have hundreds of photos from driving around in the car.


By that time, my leg was hurting a lot. Gavin helped to prop me up on pillows and then handed me my quesadilla. (He got fried chicken.) I also had acetaminophen to help with the swelling and re-wrapped my leg after putting lots of tiger balm on it. (I believe this balm has magic powers and use it for anything from bug bites to back pain.)


We watched part of a film and I fell asleep really early.

More photos taken with underwater camera. (TBD = To Be Developed.)