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Argentina day 6 – Whitewater Rafting and Zip-lining above a river

Posted by on July 5, 2011

This was the day for adventuring and I couldn’t wait. The last time I did anything physically demanding was the mine tour back in Bolivia so it was time to get out and about! A very exciting time for me to get up in the morning and get all prepared for it only to wait for an hour and 15 minutes for my ride! Yes, Argentina is a good proponent of the time flexibility concept like in all Latin American countries. I could handle 30 minutes of waiting but over an hour? Dang, what a wait. I was worried that I even called the tourist agency office to see if they remembered me or not and found out that the ride was coming. It was coming and sure enough, it did come. Once I was on the vehicle, I felt more comfortable about it all and it took about 45 minutes to drive to the intended location which was way out of the city’s limits.

Mendoza, Argentina, fun center

Here it was - the start of all the fun to begin aka Fun H.Q.

I could see why we had to drive so far but I instantly knew why this place was chosen because it was perfect in my opinion. This place was right by the waters of Río Mendoza which was good for rafting and kayaking and even had nearby high hills for zip-lining, and close enough to go trekking up in the mountains to see great scenery and tourist attractions. It even had a restaurant on-site and plenty of knowledgeable guides. Plus, if you wanted photos or videos, it would be easy to get by request.

The first thing on my agenda was whitewater rafting and once I heard the announcement for all those signed up for the trip, I sprang to action to follow the guide. He got everyone together to get each of us fitted with wetsuits, jackets, booties, life-jackets, and helmets and we were allowed to use the lockers and changing room to get ready. And once everyone was geared up, we all got on a bus and drove in parallel with the river several kilometers upstream until it pulled off to the side near the water. This was going to be our starting point for the rafting trip. I had gone rafting before but I could see that these rapids were not that fast or murderous as this river was going to be a Class I and maybe at best at certain points Class II. Most of the rafting was going to be easy and calm. Oh well, I was going to have fun no matter so I was going to enjoy it.

Mendoza, Argentina, paragliding/parapente, Río Mendoza - calm for the time being for whitewater rafting

Río Mendoza - calm for the time being for whitewater rafting

Once we got a safety briefing and how-to-paddle instructions, we were on the water and it was off.

Mendoza, Argentina, Argentine whitewater rafting

Dragging the raft into the water to get started

Mendoza, Argentina, Argentine whitewater rafting

On the river finally!

Mendoza, Argentina, Argentine whitewater rafting, paddling

Just getting started with the paddling

Mendoza, Argentina, Argentine whitewater rafting

Finally going down river

The river initially was flat until it hit a couple points where it was rocky and the other guys (who were really there for wine tasting) were getting pounded wet with such force that they didn’t like it. Ha ha. Oh well, that was rafting for you – you were going to get wet!

Mendoza, Argentina, Argentine whitewater rafting, water splash

It can get kind of rough out there sometimes

Best part about the rafting were the really bumpy parts. They require some extra-power rowing and paddling to navigate through.

Mendoza, Argentina, Argentine whitewater rafting, rough waves/olas

Bumpy part of the river where everyone was guaranteed to get wet

Mendoza, Argentina, Argentine whitewater rafting, tourist/turista

If you can raise your hand while paddling, you got skills! Well, maybe... I just dumb enough to do it.

Mendoza, Argentina, Argentine whitewater rafting, river/río, flujo

Another bump in the river - we're off for awhile

Once we hit the end point, we loaded everything up back on the bus and got back to base camp to clean up, shower, and change clothes in preparation for the next event: zip-lining which they called canopying instead. Same thing, different words.

Mendoza, Argentina, Argentine zip-lining, mountains/montañas

Great view while walking to the zip-lining

Mendoza, Argentina, Argentine zip-lining, water/agua

View of the river that I was going to zip-line over

Mendoza, Argentina, Argentine zip-lining, hills, colina

Walking over in the hills to zip-line; I'm the one on the far left with a white shirt on

Again, I had done zip-lining in Honduras’ tropical forest/jungle so this was like a refresher course except there were no trees, only mountains, hills, and a river in-between sides. After lunch, with everything being ready in terms of gear, safety guidance, and how-to-do instructions, it was on. I mean all I was do was what they said and let go for the fun! Wheeee!

Mendoza, Argentina, Argentine zip-lining, gloves/guantes

First person perspective of what it looks like

Mendoza, Argentina, Argentine zip-lining, canopying

Third person perspective of what it looks like

Mendoza, Argentina, Argentine zip-lining

Side view

Just do what the guides tell you to do and you’re good as gold.

Mendoza, Argentina, Argentine zip-lining, riding/montando

I'm coming roaring in!

Mendoza, Argentina, Argentine zip-lining

And if you're good as me, you'll look around while going straight down and enjoy the view and even spot the cameraman!

Mendoza, Argentina, Argentine zip-lining, parar, stopping

Just make sure you stop at the end when the guide tells you to slow down

After we did several line trips on the hills for basically practice, we then went up to the next part, probably my favorite of all: going over the river! Not only was it cool just going across, the view was great, but it was long, very long. Still, it was amazing just gliding over the river.

Mendoza, Argentina, Argentine zip-lining over the river

Getting ready for the zip-line over the river

Mendoza, Argentina, Argentine zip-lining, over the river

Over the river - can you even see me?

Mendoza, Argentina, Argentine zip-lining

I'm somewhere over the river now; I did make it safely

But of course, the best for last. Once we got off the last one, we had to hike up this hill for several minutes which would be higher than the last one. This last zip lining was the one I really loved as it was long and it was basically go, go, go without braking at all. Once you start, you just sit there and admire the view once more.

Mendoza, Argentina, Argentine zip-lining

Getting ready for the last ride

Mendoza, Argentina, Argentine zip-lining, full speed

Cranking down the line at full speed over the water; I was told not to brake at any moment otherwise I'd get stuck

One funny thing that happened during this time was that this one German girl was with the group and she just couldn’t do it. She kept bugging me how I could do it so easily so I asked her what was so wrong about it and why she couldn’t do it? She said that it was just weird and that she felt she had no control. What? Everyone had total control. All you had to use was your hand to go fast or brake. It was that easy. Then I said something that really pissed her off as I was making fun of her, “You need total control? Well, you have it. Come to think of it, you’re from Germany so you’ve driven the Autobahn before, right? You’re going 200-300 kilometers an hour in a car and yet, here with zip lining, you’re only going maybe 15-20 kilometers an hour? And you need control??” She knew that I won that argument. I won! Ha ha.

And that was it for me. Two events put me to sleep on the ride back. I guess staying out in the sun and having fun does that to you. And what was great about it was that I had paragliding tomorrow! Couldn’t wait! But of course, I couldn’t sleep at night unless I had a full stomach and as I said before about Argentina that the night life doesn’t start until 10 PM so I went out again at that time to eat another big steak! Another good one as all the steaks out in Argentina are of excellent quality – I have never met a steak out of Argentina that I did not like. It’s funny to note that around 11:30 PM to 12:00 AM that all the tables on the streets were taken and the restaurants do not take reservations. First come, first served for all foods were just tasty!