I was that little girl.
You know, the one who asked a million questions. The one who challenged social norms. The one who couldn’t for the life of her, understand why the boys in her church group got to go whitewater rafting and rappelling while the girls had to stay put and make quilts for the homeless. I understand the charity aspect of it, and quilting is a good skill to have, but good lord, seriously?
I swear I’m not bitter.
I finally got to live out my dreams of being Adventure Girl in Banos, Ecuador with GeoTours, one of the premier, if not most popular tour companies in town. We were going rappelling/canyoning that day and I was more than stoked. Our guides for the day: the sarcastic and hilarious Tomas along with his trusty rappelling gear guru and porter, Jose. These guys honestly made the experience. They were freaking hilarious, knowledgeable, and downright fun.
As with all the water tours in Banos, we put on our full body wet suits. We’re still in the Andes and while it can be warm when the sun is out, the water pumping out of these mountains are freaking COLD. Like, nipples can cut glass cold. Not to mention, how can you not look super glamorous when walking around in all this gear? Seriously though, I felt like I was a fashion nightmare (not that I look great in old ratty backpacker clothes).
Next step: Go up.
Somehow I forgot about this concept. To come down you must go up. If anyone saw our video on the Santa Maria volcano, you know that I’m not a fan of this, even if I am in much better shape than 6 months ago. As much as I complain, I was giving serious props to Jose. He had to carry all the clips, rope, and all the heavy stuff. While I was wheezing and puffing, he was passing me at lightning speeds.
After a brief explanation and a small test to show that we are able to rappel down the waterfalls without falling to our deaths, we geared up to conquer our first one.
And you know what? I freaking rocked that thing. No fear. All into it. I win waterfall. I win. No fear of heights coming out to play today!
Shaun even gave me a standing ovation as I hopped down a flat wall like I had been rappelling for years.
A few brief tips on canyoning/rappelling:
- Don’t look down. I did that on our last waterfall that was 25m/80ft tall. Big mistake.
- Ask for gloves or expect your hands to be a bit roughed up.
- Remember that a lot of people have done it before you and came out fine.
- Enjoy every moment. I sure as hell did.
The guys over at Geotours were super fun and if you’re looking for adventure, I highly suggest checking them out. Just beware of Tomas… he is a little joker. We had to tackle him at the end due to his small (and safe) pranks he pulled on us.
Disclosure: We did receive a complimentary canyoning tour from GeoTours, however, all opinions are our own and for something so “extreme” I would never give a good review for a shady company. These guys are freaking amazing.