Kayaking on the Savegre with Rafiki Safari – Activity Guide

As we paddled along the channel that we were one, it got smaller and smaller, and as I was starting to feel a bit like Alice in Wonderland at this point, it got curiouser and curiouser.


Over the course of 9 months in 2017, my partner and I sold all of our possessions, including 2 vehicles, and a house full of stuff. In order to sell the house for its maximum value, we also completed 3 months of renovations that had been lingering for over 3 years. We wrapped up 2 businesses and left a town and tight knit community that we both cherished. We did all of this in order to seek out a life of freedom, away from the hustle and bustle of the 9-5 life, but most importantly, we did it so that we could travel. This is our story…….


Last week we had the good fortune to go kayaking with one of the local tour operators here in Matapalo, Rafiki Adventure Tours.

We started out early, leaving the beach in Matapalo at 7:30am by vehicle and arriving on the lower section of the Savegre River around 8:00.  We were told by our guides that the Savegre is one of the cleanest rivers in Costa Rica, and possibly all of Central America.  Apparently there is very little in the way of settlements along its banks, which gives it this distinction.

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We got all loaded up and then pushed off into the river.  The river is very slow moving in this section, and it’s a great spot to just drift downstream while taking in all of the early morning bird life along the banks.

We saw many types of birds including the Great Blue Heron, Tiger Heron, Green Backed Heron, Black Necked Stilt, Cormorant plus the usual suspects, Vultures and Pelicans.  There were many other small ones tucked into the grasses along the shore lines, and quite often the guide would be telling us there was something there, but I coulnd’t see what it was no matter how hard I tried.

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Sights such as this were common as we drifted by.  This is a Cormorant.
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This is the beginning part, just after putting in.  It was the fastest moving section of water we were on, and really wasn’t too fast at all.

 

We eventually drifted down to the mouth of the river, but because of the way it turned before hitting the beach, we weren’t caught up in a rush of water that was pouring out into the ocean, like one would expect.  Instead, we lazily drifted over to a beach section that had a small shelter erected on it.  Apparenlty this is a good spot for a snack, and also, we were told, camping.  Many families come and camp in this spot, enjoying the river and the ocean, in close proximity.

As we came to this spot, we could see the waves breaking in the ocean, just over the crest of a sand bank that was blocking the water from coming into where we were.

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A look at the waves hitting the protective sand bar.
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The little shelter that has been erected for campers and kayakers to take a break.
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If you look closely, you can see the waves breaking in the distance, but not coming into where we were drifting, plus the little shelter that we were heading to is on the left.

After asking the guide if there was a worry about Crocodiles in the area, I went for a quick swim in the fresh water.  It was much cooler than the ocean, and was very refreshing as it was already brutally hot out.  It wasn’t until after I got out that he told us that in the winter, the crocodiles are a common sighting on the surface, however, with it now being summer, and the river is busier with traffic, they usually hide down below the surface and aren’t seen as much.  So I guess I didn’t really hear his response when I went for the swim!  However, crocodiles aren’t usually interested in eating people, but I wouldn’t want to push my luck with that!  It was a quick swim either way!

After having a few snacks, we set out on a side tributary of the river that wound it’s way along the shoreline, but was encased in thick mangroves.  As we paddled along, the channel that we were on, got smaller and smaller, and as I was starting to feel like a bit like Alice in Wonderland at this point, it got curiouser and curiouser.

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Still in a fairly wide section.
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Starting to wonder where we were going.
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Ended up in this tiny mangrove channel for about an hour!

As you can imagine, trying to paddle in the tight mangrove channel was quite interesting.  More than once I got my paddle caught on a root on one side, and then caught on the other at the same time, and my progress would come to a screeching halt as my chest hit my paddle and stopped me dead.  There was a lot of splashing and paddles clanking tree roots from the whole crew as we slowly snaked our way through this section.  At one point I decided that I was going to separate my paddle and only use one side, but trying to maneuver a kayak like that , with one paddle, turned out to be more difficult than getting my paddle caught on the roots.  I admitted defeat pretty quickly, and went back to clanking mangrove roots with my paddle instead.  The whole process was a bit of a test of patience, but at the same time, a really cool experience.

We saw monkeys jumping through the mangroves and once in a while one would come to the edge and poke it’s head out to see what we were up to.  I kept a careful look out for crocodiles, feeling like if I was a crocodile, I would definitely want to hang out there.  But thank fully we didn’t see any as it would have been quite close quarters!  We didn’t really see any other wildlife in this section, as the massive tangle of mangrove roots would make it quite hard for most animals to navigate I would think.

Eventually after much paddle clanking, we emerged from our tiny Chanel and found ourselves on a different river, the Portalon River.

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Emerging on the Portalon River
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This is a different type of Mangrove Tree, there were a few different types that we saw.
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Our guide up ahead.
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We had to navigate under a few trees, this one was a breeze but others were more of a limbo.
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Like this one!  This photo was taken by another guest on the tour, Viola Kerner.

The end of our journey turned out to be the most entertaining part of all!  As we approached the pull out, there were two troops of monkeys that started having a bit of a yelling match at each other.  It turned out that we were right in the middle of them all, and as we stood there, the jungle erupted in screeches and yells, and monkeys baring their teeth at each other.  When it first began, I thought they were mad at us for being there!  Seeing the monkeys bare their teeth like that, suddenly felt very scary, and my immediate thought was that they were going to attack us!  But the guide said that they were fighting with each other, and as we stood there, it became apparent that they weren’t really paying attention to us at all, but were in fact screeching at each other.

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Monkeys on one side of our pull out
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Monkeys on the other side. You can see how close the one was to our kayak! They actually were running and jumping across it.
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This is another image by Viola Kerner.  As you can see, the normally playful and curious monkeys were NOT happy!

After watching the monkeys for about 5 minutes, and finally hearing their screeches and yelling fade off into the jungle, we all laughed in disbelief.  Our guide told us that that was certainly NOT a normal occurrence, and even he was shaking his head with the hilariousness of it all.

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There couldn’t be a more perfect vehicle to finish the day off with!

We loaded up the old rusty Rafiki Safari jungle mobile, and after jokes from our guide about possibly needing to push it to get started, it fired up without hesitation.  We headed off back to Matapalo bouncing along a tiny dirt road that indeed felt like it was straight out of an African safari, matching the feeling of the vehicle that we were riding in.  One almost expected to see giraffe heads poking up above the foliage, but the only animal we did see on the way back, was a tiny baby sloth, curled up in a ball high up in a tree.  With the amount of close encounters with sloths that we have had already this year, this was certainly not our highlight of the trip!

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The bumpy road back to Matapalo.

All in all, it was a great day.  We arrived back to Matapalo by lunch time, and were able to enjoy the rest of the day.

I would highly recommend this trip to anyone who is visiting this part of Costa Rica.  Our guide was knowledgeable and friendly, and the trip was certainly a great experience!

Thank you Rafiki for such a great time!


To book this trip you can contact Rafiki in the following ways:

Website: www.rafikisafari.com

Email: rafikisafari@gmail.com

Phone: 506-2777-2250 or 506-8470-1642

PLEASE NOTE:  There is no kayaking experience needed for this trip!  However, it is a little bit of a workout towards the end as we paddled upstream in the slow moving Portalon River for about 10 minutes, so being in reasonable shape is a bonus!


Thanks for reading! Please know that above all else, I aim to inspire others to just get out and see the world. Traveling is such an enriching experience, and I can’t even comprehend how much it has shaped me as an individual. If you have ANY questions, or need travel advice of ANY kind, PLEASE don’t hesitate to email me at the address below! I will do my very best to help you in any way I can!

Xoxoxo Happy Travels!


Current Location: We are managing a Cabina on the beach at Playa Matapalo, between Quepos and Dominical, in Costa Rica. If you are travelling in the area, please get in touch! We would love to connect with fellow travellers!

To head back to the beginning of our journey, and the moment we decided to sell all of our posessions to trave the world, click here.

To see more photos from this trip and more, and to follow our progress on Facebook, please follow our Facebook page Just Some Wandering.

Please follow my Instagram Page Just Some Wandering by clicking on the bottom right hand corner of this feed.

To learn about where I have previously traveled, visit my Countries Page.

To see all of my blog post headings on one page, head over to my Blog Post Menu.

To email me directly, please do so anytime at jillamatt@me.com.

If you like my writing, and want to follow along on our journey, please put your email address in the right hand column to subscribe.  That way all of my posts will go straight to your email inbox:)

The Threat of Stagnancy

“You either change, or you stagnate. You either leap forward, or you fall backward. You cannot stay where you are today.”


Over the course of 9 months in 2017, my partner and I sold all of our possessions, including 2 vehicles, and a house full of stuff. In order to sell the house for its maximum value, we also completed 3 months of renovations that had been lingering for over 3 years. We wrapped up 2 businesses and left a town and tight knit community that we both cherished. We did all of this in order to seek out a life of freedom, away from the hustle and bustle of the 9-5 life, but most importantly, we did it so that we could travel. This is our story…….


My partner and I have officially been living on the same beach in Costa Rica for 3 months now.  While that may not seem like a long time to most people, it is a bit of a bench mark number for me.  In the past, when my ex husband and I would travel for long lengths of time (back in our 20’s before “real life” kicked into gear), we would always start to get itchy to go home around the 3 month mark.  Granted, that usually meant that it would take us another month or so to get back home, but the intention was usually laid around the 3 month mark, and the plan would be set.

This time is different though, this time we aren’t going home.  This time there is no home to go back to!

In the last couple of weeks I have started to feel the pang of boredom, that feeling of “spinning my wheels”, a feeling of not really getting anywhere.  That yearning to see and do more has crept in, and I go through feelings of a bit of anxiousness as I wrestle with it all. After all, we are supposed to be travelling right?  (Accent on the “ing” part!)

However, and this is a HUGE HOWEVER, we are sitting in the absolute most perfect spot right now.  We are making a little bit of money, our accomodation is paid for, and we are parked on one of the most undiscovered, and picturesque beaches in all of Costa Rica.

So what really IS the problem??

I have been contemplating this for about a week now, and I think the answer is that stagnancy has crept in, and with that a certain laziness.  Suddenly we have a routine, suddenly we are comfortable, suddenly we have a community, suddenly nothing is new anymore, things aren’t as exciting as they were when we arrived, and we have started to become complacent.

My Dad, John Amatt, has a quote that he uses in his motivational presentations:

You either change, or you stagnate. You either leap forward, or you fall backward. You cannot stay where you are today.”

When I look at this quote, and I think about my reasons for wanting to go on this traveling journey, I realize that it is the need and the want to see and experience different things, that really gets me excited.  That is what travelling is all about after all, seeing new things, experiencing new experiences, trying different food, finding out about what is around every corner. As we have new experiences in life, we grow, we change, and we become better people all round.

This past few weeks I haven’t posted many new photos on my social media pages, I have been finding it hard to write blog posts (therefore already dashing my goal of one per week in 2018!), and I haven’t really felt like doing much at all in general.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been doing lots of artwork, and continue to upload images to my various online pages (clickShops here to see more of this), which is always a lot of work, but that’s all I have really felt motivated to do.  And I do realize that this all sounds like a very “Poor Me” post, but it’s not.  It’s simply just real.  It’s simply my human experience, and that is all.


We just had a friend visiting us for about 12 days from Canada, which really felt nice, having our routine broken up for a bit.  He fell in love with this place, and proclaimed that he could stay here for a really long time.  When I told him that I am starting to get itchy to go somewhere else, he stated that I was crazy.  Why would I want to leave such a perfect spot?  We have friends here, we have community here, we have a routine, we have created a new life.

It might seem bizarre to people that these are the exact reasons that I want to start a new, go somewhere else, experience something else, but I guess that is just how I am built.  I feel like when I do the same thing for too long, have the same scenery over and over for too long, I become bored, I become disinterested in doing much, I become lazy, and worst of all I become stagnant.

When we lived in Canada, it was an easy fix.  We would just jump in the car and go exploring, go for a hike, go on a road trip, go see something new.  And looking back, I think that is pretty much what we did every so often.  But here, we have no car and we have 3 dogs to take care of, which makes it difficult to even leave at all.

But, as I said before, it really is the perfect scenario, so I will just sit with it, I will continue to appreciate my surroundings, and I will continue to be thankful that we are so fortunate to be here.  After all, we worked very hard to get ourselves here, it would be a shame to not enjoy it!

Not too mention, no matter what I am thinking, and no matter how anxious I get, we are here for as long as we need to be.  The owner of the place we are managing is not sure when he is coming back, so it’s necessary to stay and take care of his dogs and manage his business until he returns.  But it doesn’t mean that I’m not going to be thinking about our next moves!  I have a growing list of places we want to visit after we leave here!

Maybe this is the lesson I need, to be able to learn to be patient.  Maybe I just need to breathe in one spot for a while.  Maybe THIS is the universe trying to tell ME something!


I have to say though, it hasn’t been all being lazy on the beach this past month, and while our friend was here, we did have a couple of adventures, and had some exciting experiences!

#1, We went Ziplining!

I really can’t even remember the last time that I went ziplining, it has to be at least 20 years I think!  We went to  Hacienda Baru, a 330 Hectare Wildlife Reserve that is located just down the road from here.  We flew through the canopy with reckless abandon on 8 different zip lines! It was exhilarating!

#2, We went camping!

We spent one night up at our friends farm in El Silencio, located 30 minutes away, in the mountains behind us. It was his 60th Birthday celebration, and we arranged for the dogs to be cared for while we enjoyed a night with friends around the fire.  He also took us on a pretty awesome tour of his property and a few of us marched through the dense jungle to reach a lookout high above his house, that looked out all the way to the ocean!

#3, We got Accepted to Volunteer!

We learned that we have been accepted to Volunteer at Envision Fesitval about 3 weeks from now.  Click here to find out about more from this amazing festival.  We can’t wait to be involved in the creativity and meet incredible artists from around the world!

#4, We saw Whales!

Yes, we had a pod of about 5 humpback whales swim past our beach, very close to shore. We saw them spouting and breaching and could really see just how big they actually are!  Quite a spectacle!  Unfortunately I started videoing JUST as they finished breaching right in front of us, so I have nothing to share in that regard.


Another thing that I have worked on recently is a small crowd funding campaign that I have launched.  Chris and I have made a friend here in Costa Rica, and she is going through a rough time right now.  She is only 21 years old, has a 4 year old daughter and is going through a divorce.  I can’t imagine having to take all of that on at such a young age!

She works as hard as she can, and as much as she can, to try and make ends meet.  While I know that money doesn’t solve the worlds problems, I feel that a small boost for her in the short term, would get her through her current rough patch, and would maybe take away a feeling of hoplessness, and a scary outlook as she navigates parenthood alone.  She is so young, and just starting out, and life can be a long and difficult road.

One of my goals when we set out on our journey, was to try and make a difference in the world.  This is one way that I feel like I can maybe give back a little bit.  We are so fortunate to have the lives that we do in North America.  The fact that we can afford to do most things that we want to, even those of us that are seemingly scraping by, means that we are already in the top percentages of the wealthy people in the world.

In Costa Rica the wages are incredibly low in comparison to the cost of living.  We have noticed that much of the food, gasoline, electricity and other common bills, are comparible prices to those found in Canada.  At a standard rate of roughly $3 per hour, I can’t even imagine how hard it must be for some people to get by.

If you have even $5 to spare, it would mean a lot to me if you were able to contribute to the Go Fund Me Campaign that I have set up.  Help me to help others, but making a small difference in one persons life.

Thanks for reading!  Pura Vida to all!

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Thanks for reading! Please know that above all else, I aim to inspire others to just get out and see the world. Traveling is such an enriching experience, and I can’t even comprehend how much it has shaped me as an individual. If you have ANY questions, or need travel advice of ANY kind, PLEASE don’t hesitate to email me at the address below! I will do my very best to help you in any way I can!

Xoxoxo Happy Travels!


Current Location: We are managing a Cabina on the beach at Playa Matapalo, between Quepos and Dominical, in Costa Rica. If you are travelling in the area, please get in touch! We would love to connect with fellow travellers!

To head back to the beginning of our journey, and the moment we decided to do this, click here.

To see more photos, and to follow our progress on Facebook, please follow our Facebook page Just Some Wandering.

Please follow my Instagram Page Just Some Wandering by clicking on the bottom right hand corner of this feed.

To learn about where I have previously traveled, visit my Countries Page.

To see all of my blog post headings on one page, head over to my Blog Post Menu.

To email me directly, please do so anytime at jillamatt@me.com.

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