After the brown rivers of San Gil and the surrounding area the team decided what we needed was some cleaner water. So from Bogota we headed out on another bus journey, only four and a half hours this time, to Villavicencio in the department of Meta.
From our American friend Mark we had acquired the number of a contact near Villavicencio, a french chap called Theo Rivaud who runs a small rafting company. Theo very kindly picked us up from the bus station and gave us a lift to a hostel, complete with swimming pool, near to his base on the Rio Guayuriba. He had a raft trip going out the next day on the lower section of the Rio Guayuriba and so we tagged along – the perfect way to check out the local run.
The lower section started out with a very chilled out forty-five minutes of grade 2/3 before the river narrowed and canyon walls closed in for a short section of 3/4. After this blast of excitement the river mellowed again and there was a chance for the rafters to try out some kayaks and for the safety kayaker Emilio to try our new boats!
The following day we were up for more of a challenge so we decided to paddle the upper section of the Guayuriba, and for economys sake, the lower section as well, in all five hours on the water! The upper section was 20km of grade 4/4+ in a stunning steep sided gorge, with some steep technical rapids and some fantastic read-and-run. Theo and Emilio came along too to speed up the trip with their local knowledge and add some gallic flair!
The next day we had a rest from paddling while we sorted the logistics for the river next on our list- the Rio Ariari. We checked out the local town of Acacias, had some typical colombian cuisine of fruit salad with icecream and …..grated cheese!?- before hiking into the jungle to go for a swim in one of the small side creeks which flow into the Rio Guayuriba. Along the way we bumped into some prisoners and their guards returning from their days’ labour.
Next up our adventure on the Rio Ariari!…..