Kicking the Landcruiser into four-wheel drive jolted the Toyota into weight bearing mode. There were eleven of us canyoneering that day. Not to mention the driver and three guides hanging off the side of the vehicle dodging foliage and bracing themselves to a fifty degree angle as the Landcruiser tilted among the enormous ruts in the dirt and gravel road. Our intent was to rappel down a couple waterfalls and jump from a series of heights to plunge into the depths of the refreshingly cool gushing waters of the gorge.
Geared up from the feet up, I impatiently waited for my opportunity to seize the canyon depths. Harness, check. Helmet, check. Gloves, check. Life jacket, check! David (our guide) laced me up in the harness as I was preparing to descend into the gorge down a 150 foot drop. The sign next to me stating “No fear!” “Jump Master”. Desafio’s Gravity Falls tour was what they considered the “most extreme” tour for adventurists they offered. Of course I had to sign up. Considering it was the beginning of rainy season and Costa Rica had experienced their worst drought in the last 75 years in 2015, the water levels weren’t completely near their peak. Let me tell you! It is definitely the extreme adrenaline seeking adventure I chase! But what was to come after my rappel? A seven series of cliff jumps! Costa Rica’s version of cliff diving. But you aren’t just cliff diving into a mass amount of water. You are cliff diving into a canyon. Next to waterfalls. Sold!
I bounced my way down the rock side next to a waterfall. The water was approaching rapidly as I was eager to experience the rush. Having been familiar with rappelling I was down the 150 foot waterfall drop off fairly quickly, enjoying the excitement and views along the way. Those that once looked like ants waiting at the bottom of the water pool were now gaining in size. Nearing the bottom I jumped off the cliff side and into the water. The water was cool and completely refreshing. A perfect temperature to pair with the warm air. The guide unhooked me from the rope and swam my way to the outreaches of the waterfall.
Eagerly ready for the rock jumps to come, I scaled the river line to arrive at our first jump. I figured it would be appropriate to start off these series of jumps with a front flip. Might as well start it off right! Considering it was only about ten to twelve feet I felt it was definitely the way to go! After this plunge into the water we made our way down the rainforest depths to one waterfall after another. Each waterfall gaining in size. One jump was a “technical” jump, consisting of finding the correct placement of breaking the chaotic waters in-between the rocks and the riptide of the waterfall. I managed to hit the sweet spot perfectly. I swam to my next adventure. First, rock climbing up a water stream to just rappel back down to the river again five yards away from the initial climb up. Traversing among the river banks we approached our final jump of the seven series cliff dive excursion. Thirty feet into beautiful clear waters of a canyon pool.
After all this rappelling, river tracing, rock traversing, and canyon water plunging I’d say this has been one of the most memorable experiences I have ever had. Fulfilling my adrenaline and my love for water I was completely satisfied with this amazing, once in a lifetime experience. There is no where else that you can rappel down waterfalls and cliff dive into a series of secret swimming holes creating the most unique Costa Rican experience.