Text & Photos by Kimberly Cecchini
Over omelets spiced with gallo pinto at Rancho Colón in Querrada Amarilla, we planned our first adventures. Mateo, our young Tico tour guide, mapped out the first few days in Costa Rica on a napkin at the soda (open-air restaurant). Our first stop was going to be the Bijagual Cascadas in the remote town of Puriscil.
After we turned off the highway, I understood the value of Mateo’s 4×4 manual truck; the long, winding road leading up the mountain was pocked with huge pot holes. As Mateo put it, we were in the “real Costa Rica” and, apparently, their Department of Transportation had too much difficulty scaling the roads to fix them.
Perhaps the benefit of being too remote for the DOT was the beauty of the preserved rural area. We enjoyed glorious mountain views, lush foliage, rice paddies and cows and goats grazing on farms. People waved from their tiny homes as Mateo greeted them as we drove past them and fellow drivers beckoned us on when it was safe to pass through a curve.
We bumped and jostled along the road for over an hour before we approached the waterfall. The final stretch of road was flooded. Mateo jumped out of the truck to check the gully’s depth with his barefoot. Satisfied, he put the truck back into gear and we lurched over it. Mateo parks on the side of the road and before we were ready, he was scrambling up the cliff.
Mateo perched himself at the top of the cascading water before stretching over the edge and diving into the pool below. My husband joined him in swimming around the peaceful oasis while I skirted around the edges on the rocks.