Expectations were running high as we motored along the coast from our hotel in Manuel Antonio Park for a day of river rafting. Costa Rica’s roads have improved a lot in the last 15 years, but on this particular stretch, there’s no avoiding the one-lane trestle bridges that cross the country’s countless estuaries.
You know what they say about the best-laid plans. With little warning, we came to a dead stop. Word soon reached us that water damage to one of those very same bridges was responsible for the six-mile-long backup in which we now sat. While road crews struggled to make repairs, it was obvious that traffic was going nowhere fast, and we could sense our rafting trip getting shorter by the minute. As we stewed, our head guide, Jorge, sized up the situation. Suddenly, he leaped into action, whipped out his cell phone and dialed our rafting guides. Within minutes, they brainstormed a Plan B. The rafting company — colleagues of ours for more than a dozen years — loaded a Zodiac inflatable boat onto a truck, trundled our way, and launched it into the river near where we were stuck. Jumping out of our vehicle, we trekked 2 1/2 miles past all the disgruntled motorists and right down to the river. Our personal Zodiac then ferried us past the out-of-commission bridge to the opposite shore, where we hopped into the rafting guides’ vehicles and sped away.
For all we know those poor car-bound folks may have sat there for hours. Instead, we hit the Savagre River for a full day of rafting and returned to the hotel happy, if a tad sunburned, and undeniably content.
That’s just one story I could tell about Classic Journeys’ guides. As on all of our walking adventures, the guides on our Costa Rica walking tour are local…so they know each other and they know their way around. We always tell them to do what they need to do to make things work for our guests. And on this day, they turned what would have been a huge disappointment into an episode we’re still talking about now that we’re back home.
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