We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open. – Jawaharial Nehru
Standing in an unfinished room of the Hotel Acropolis that is without walls, a roof, or any safety precautions from the three-story drop below, we agree to a full day excursion with Rudy, which is the only way he would depart our presence annoyingly enough. The morning begins with an absent breakfast that is promised the day before, and at 7:30am Rudy already has an irritable van of passengers. Easily enough, we enjoy breakfast burritos on the other side of the river, complete with homemade tortillas made right in front of us from the street cart of a tiny two-person operation.
We are guided through an hour-long hike, the immense humidity begins to rise with the heat of the day where shade is only felt between the larger leaves that cool the jungle floor. Exhausted and slightly dehydrated upon reaching the entrance to the Twin Cave, which is far less impressive at first glance, and then we realize we would be venturing 125 feet below the surface of the earth, in utter darkness. One by one, we begin walking, crawling, and eventually squeezing through crevices between rocks until our sense of direction is discombobulated. At one point we humorously ask if any of us know the way back out if something were to happen. I’m sure this comment came with a small amount of truth, and a small amount of fear. Winding back to a familiar formation, any tension of wandering around in the dark for countless days is brought with a sigh of relief. Emerging back into the daylight, covered in mud, dirt, and massive amounts of bat droppings, it is time to cool off in the Rio Pools.
The resurgence of ham and cheese sandwiches gives us the energy we need for a nice cool swim among a series of large rocks that poke above the waterline, where a gushing waterfall is the central focus of this swimming hole. After feeling the enormous pressure of gallons upon gallons of water rushing over your body by the second, we are once again told to follow Rudy downstream. Jumping from one rock to another, the waterfall behind us grows smaller and smaller in the distance, and the view in front of us becomes more and more beautiful. Large hills covered in blankets of green foliage with continuous channels of water snaking its way between the various rocks past narrow waterfalls with steep drop-offs, the river continues beyond the point of where we stop in awe of the scenery around us. Rock jumping and swimming our way back upstream, we are on our way to the last stop of the afternoon, Big Rock Falls, certainly the most impressive of the two swimming locations.