Adventures on the Tanama River| Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico has a beautiful rainforest interior with caves, rivers, and opportunities for repelling, hiking, and tubing. I found a tour company called Tanama River Adventures, and decided to go with them because of their “option 5” tour, which includes a 250ft repel (!!), river trekking, a tarzan swing, and cave tubing. Basically, it was the best inclusive experience I could find for a reasonable price.

We started out early, arriving at headquarters around 8AM. Once we got fitted for gear and grabbed helmets (go pro helmets were available, yesss!), we loaded into the van and drove to the destination. The drive itself was pretty scenic- Utuado is a lush area. Once we reached the drop off, we got out and began the hike up into the forest where we reached a cave.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0170.JPGInside the cave we got to see and hear some bats clinging to the ceiling and learned how locals harvest the bat guano for a source of income!

Continuing on, we reached the top of La Cueva del Arco (Arch Cave), where we repelled 250 feet down alongside of the cave. This was the HIGHLIGHT of the tour! We wanted to try a long repel, and what better way than in the middle of a jungle, over a river and alongside a cave?!

We descended down along the side of the cliff, being able to use our feet to push off of the wall, and then it opened up and was a free descent down with stunning views!

GOPR0172-2GOPR0174-2DCIM100GOPROGOPR0187.JPGAt the bottom, we got to tarzan swing in front of the cave entrance and then began trekking in the chilly Tanama River.

GOPR0189-1GOPR0186GOPR0192-1GOPR0194GOPR0195_MomentDCIM100GOPROThe Tanama river was pretty chilly and filled with rounded rocks (nothing sharp, but definitely balance-checking!). A few people fell over, Scott, a fellow traveler fell more than once! LOL

GOPR1317_MomentGOPR1317_Moment(2)After trekking down the river for a bit we were back on dry land to have a snack (which you must bring- more on that later), and left our bags for some CAVE TUBING!

We jumped in our tubes and paddled to the cave entrance. We all linked up and used our hands to push ourselves through the cave. It’s over 330meters long, and of course quite dark. Our helmets had headlamps that let us see around us. It was a very cool experience hand-walking our way through this long dark tunnel.

GOPR0200GOPR0200_MomentAt the other end, we came out to some beautiful scenery and Derek, our lead guide, showed us more plant life and told us about flash floods which are known to happen in the area. Looking up into the side of the canyon we saw a plastic jug lodged WAYYY up high, showing how high flash floods can get.

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White plastic jug lodged between canyon walls from a previous flash flood

Our guide, Derek, was great to point out the surrounding environment, including info on the water (how it’s filtered through the rocks and is drinkable), the plant life we passed, and stories of him growing up in Utuado. We felt entirely safe and enjoyed the stories and information he shared.

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With some rain on the horizon, we made our way back through the cave in time for some cliff jumping, and then began the hike back to the van.

 

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Back at headquarters, we were able to change into dry clothes and enjoy a delicious home cooked meal.

What to bring with you: Snacks for the trip, a bag, a camera. You will not get completely wet so it’s safe to bring a bag and camera…when you do the cliff jumps and tubing your bags can be left on land. River trekking, just hold bag up high. Drones weren’t allowed (unfortunately, but I don’t see why not). They will email you a list of what to take as well.

I would highly recommend doing the full day adventure because of all the different activities you are able to do. If you haven’t repelled before, this may be a bit scary for you, but if you just take the plunge and trust the rope, you will have an amazing experience!! Otherwise, you are able to book just the cave tubing or other tours.

 

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