I had wanted to go Canyoning for a long time and as Marc & Sue run an adventure activities business from Pequeno Paraiso we decided that this would be a great opportunity to give it a try – and at a really good price of only $50 as well!
The minimum group number is 4 so we had to wait for some other interested parties but when the Dragoman truck turned up we ended up with a party of 8.
First we had to get kitted out with a wetsuit, lifejacket, helmet and a climbing harness. I always feel a little ridiculous at this stage ! The equipment was all top notch.
To get to the canyoning site was a 15 minute ride in a pickup and then we only had a short walk until we were at the edge of the canyon.
Only a few meters in we came to the first obstacle – a small waterfall about a metre in height. The guides, Daniel and Marco, wanted us to turn around and fall backward into the pool below the fall. Easy enough but a shock when we hit the water as it was pretty cold.
The next obstacle was only a few metres further and was a much bigger waterfall at 3m. The only way down this is to jump and we were told to bomb it because it wasn’t very deep. 3m isn’t so big and everyone did this without problem. I hit the bottom gently on the way down but no problem.
After this we moved down the canyon through the river until we reached the biggest jump of the day, a 5m waterfall. There was the option to abseil round this which half the group took leaving only four of us to jump. Two girls did the jump and emerged from the water with no problem, then it was my turn.
I’m always a little nervous of big jumps but I plucked up the courage and jumped. On hitting the water I plunged down and then tried to swim up and away from the waterfall. I was caught in a backflowing current taking me back towards the waterfall and back under the water. I managed to surface but was pinned by the current to a wall by the waterfall. One more attempt to swim out got me nowhere and back under the water. I was running out of air and time, so I dove down and under the waterfall heading for the other side of the canyon. I popped up at the other canyon wall where the water was pushing me away from the waterfall – I was out.
I was told after, that the guide had been throwing me a line trying to pull me out. I just couldn’t see anything while I was under the waterfall and knew that I had to rescue myself.
After all this drama there was one person left to jump and after a couple of minutes at the top he decided he’d prefer to abseil. Later he told me that after seeing what happened to me he lost his nerve.
At this stage we were only half way down a two part waterfall and the guides set up a zipline which we rode to the bottom.
By this stage everyone was beginning to feel a bit cold as we waded through the fast flowing river, clambering over rocks and through small waterfalls. Next up though was an abseil down a big waterfall.
This was pretty easy although the route down took you straight through the falling water making it difficult to keep your eyes open. This was the biggest abseil we would do.
Another big abseil down a waterfall allowed us to move down the slick rock wall but out of the water. However the abseil did not get you to the bottom and there was a slide about 2m down into the water and a strong current taking you away from the waterfall.
After this the trip was almost done, only a slide down a 1m waterfall to go and the canyon opened up and the river quietened down.
All in all the trip was incredibly exciting, pushing everyone to face their fears and presenting real adventure. Even though I got in a bit of trouble I would do this trip again in a heartbeat and I have no doubt that the guides, who are well trained, would have got me out if I hadn’t saved myself. No trip like this is 100% risk free but that is what makes the whole experience an adrenaline rush and worth doing !