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Costa Rica TR (long)

Discussion in 'Archives - Yahoo Canyons Group' started by Tim Hoover, Sep 11, 2007.

  1. Tim Hoover

    Tim Hoover Guest

    Just got back from a trip to Costa Rica organized by Rich Carlson. First off, a very big Thank You to Rich from all participants. Logistics and organization were superb. Rich also did a great job of combining canyoning with other activities to give everyone some variety.

    Cast of characters (sorry if I forgot anyone or butcher the spelling - still recovering from flight back): Nivalda, Galen, Dan, JR, Luca, Lauren, Scott Smith, Chris Brennan, me, Chuy (and later his wife, Gaby), Sonny Lawrence (for a day) too many local guides to remember individually, but they were a great bunch and included lots of guys who ran their own outdoor businesses of one sort or another.

    Now to the report...

    Flew in to San Jose Costa Rica the night of the 1st. Shuttle to Rancho Margot (near La Fortuna) took a fair amount of time (4 hours? 4 1/2 hours? seemed like forever crammed into a small van bouncing over the bombed out backroads of Costa Rica after an all day air trip). Arrived about 2:30AM or so local time. I could write a long report just about Rancho Margot but won't. Suffice it to say that it is a fascinating experimental reclamation of clear-cut rain forest by turning it into a self-sufficient resort/farm/learning center/I don't know what all, by a very dedicated ex-pat from Chili named Juan (sorry - never got his last name). Next day started with breakfast and a tour of the ranch by Juan. Very generous of him to take the time to show us his true life's work. Juan has about a hundred irons in the fire and yet he still took over 2 hours showing us around and explaining all the plans. It's always a treat to watch someone fulfilling their dream. Next, lunch and off to our first canyon.

    A bit of navigational difficulty had us dropping in to the canyon exit and continuing down canyon from there. Oops. Still, an interesting introduction to jungle canyoneering.

    Next day the group split up. Galen, Sonny, and I joined forces with a bunch of local guides and did a wild first descent. Wild in the sense that we spent maybe a 2 hour approach up a mountain that was impenetrable without hacking our way up with a machete. Next a tree-to-tree machete-aided rappel back down the other side and into the canyon. The machete work continued the whole length of the canyon. Like fun, only different. Very different. Did I mention it was a tad hot and humid out there IN THE JUNGLE? Galen and I very nearly drowned in our own sweat on the approach. A few moderate waterfall rappels finally ended (after the usual afternoon rain shower) at the best waterfall of the day - maybe 80ft? Very nice. Then the hike out and into the back of the open-bed truck just in time for the biggest thunderstorm of the whole trip. This time, we almost drowned in the rain.

    Our second group did two short, guided canyons in the same area. They had a great time but I don't have any of their details.

    Our nights at Rancho Margot were spent eating, drinking, soaking in the hot springs and watching the volcano eject giant glowing boulders that then proceeded to roll down the mountainside leaving a trail of glowing debris. Some fun.

    Next day, Tuesday, we pile into a bus and head to Turrialba. Another long trip (4 more hours?) and we end at a guided canyon late in the afternoon. The 'owner' of the canyon (I have no idea how much he actually owns and how much he just has exclusive rights to guide) was with us from La Fortuna. This one was all dessert. No approach. No real hiking even in the canyon. Just waterfall rappels followed by ziplining through the jungle. Rap 100ft or so down out of the trees at the end of the line to the next waterfall. Repeat. End day by walking maybe 300yds back to the company building for hot chocolate and snacks.

    Next day was the most scenic canyon of the trip. Named no-ne-quinto (yeah - that's my attempt at phoenetic spelling) it went through a beautiful and more open section of jungle. Nice clear water with several waterfall rappels. BTW - no wetsuits needed in Costa Rica water temps fine.

    Pack up the next morning and head off to a whitewater raft trip down the Pacuare River. Very nice. Fun. For some reason Chris Brennan refused to stay in his raft prefering instead to swim the more exciting rapids.

    Stopped to explore a couple jungle streams along the way. Spent the night at a 'jungle camp' complete with sinks, toilets, tents on platforms, etc.

    After the raft trip we drove to the Caribean town of Puerte Viejo (again, sorry for the spelling) for more eating, drinking and general debauchery. Galen and I managed to squeeze in one more canyon while others relaxed, went snorkeling, etc. In the afternoon most of the group then went on a fairly spectacular canopy tour in a thunderstorm. More fun.

    Well, that's the short version of a long trip. Plenty-o-fun and a new experience (for me) in canyoning.

    Tim





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  2. beadysee

    beadysee Guest

    --- In Yahoo Canyons Group, Tim Hoover <frisbeedog02@...> wrote: > Our nights at Rancho Margot were spent eating, > drinking, soaking in the hot springs and watching the > volcano eject giant glowing boulders that then > proceeded to roll down the mountainside leaving a > trail of glowing debris. Some fun.

    Arenal?

    > Well, that's the short version of a long trip. > Plenty-o-fun and a new experience (for me) in > canyoning.

    Sounds great. Thanks for the report!

    -Brian in SLC
  3. Rich Carlson

    Rich Carlson Guest

    Just a bit of clarification re the drive from San Jose to Rancho Margot. It's not normally that long. Our driver learned of a rock slide that blocked the normal route. We had a bit of a delay at the airport, so he decided to try it anyway, hoping it had cleared. Within 10 minutes of the airport, we encountered the traffic back-up. Turned around, passed the airport and tried route option #2. Bumper to bumper. Route option #3 got us through, but via winding mountain roads. The drive is normally 2.5 to 3 hours.

    Today is my last day in Turrialba. Finished a canyon leader exam an hour ago. Waiting for my ride back to Rancho Margot to teach a WFR course with Dave Black – who's flying from one paradise (Maui) to another.

    Had a blast with everyone during the rondy, although leading canyoneers around is a bit like herding cats.

    --- In Yahoo Canyons Group, "beadysee" <beadysee@...> wrote:
    --- In Yahoo Canyons Group, Tim Hoover <frisbeedog02@> wrote:
    Our nights at Rancho Margot were spent eating,
    drinking, soaking in the hot springs and watching the
    volcano eject giant glowing boulders that then
    proceeded to roll down the mountainside leaving a
    trail of glowing debris. Some fun.
    Arenal?
    > Well, that's the short version of a long trip.
    Plenty-o-fun and a new experience (for me) in
    canyoning.
    Sounds great. Thanks for the report!
    -Brian in SLC >
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