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On our last day in Mendoza we set off to go rafting. Sean had heard the rapids were a class 3 or 4, and thus he was excited.
We booked for a full day at our hostel and were picked up at 930am…ish (Latin American time). The drive took roughly 2 hours as we had to pick other people up from their hostels. However once we got to the river we were in the water in no time, once gathering our life vests, helmets and “neoprene”.
I found it strange they referred to wetsuits as neoprene. It would be like me referring to a t-shirt as wearing my cotton. Nonetheless the water was said to be or 10 degrees so I was happy to have it whatever the name was.
We drove up stream 23km and walked down to the river. We were given a safety lecture and a quick guide on how to raft. “When I say paddle forward, paddle forward. If I say back paddle, then paddle backwards”. We got it.
Our guide was a guy called Nick from Canada, and although the majority of instructions we got throughout the day were quite simple, he was extremely happy to have a group of fluent english speakers on board for the more technical parts of the river.
After a few more instructions on how to rescue each other/ how to get a lift from our rescue kayaker, we were off. Our rafting guides were super excited today as this was the highest the river had been in the last 12 months. This was due to the recent hot weather increasing the melt run-off of the glaciers on upstream Aconcagua - The tallest mountain in the Americas. However, although the water was nearly double the average level, we were constantly reassured that the Rio Mendoza was a river with some tricky sections but very very few dangerous consequences.
We ended up spending about 3 hours on the water with a break at the half way point for some water and fruit. The rafting was so much fun and amazingly no one fell out despite our raft getting half eaten by a “hole” at one point, and Nick trying to yank out our new Danish friend Anne at a safe spot on the river. The 3 hours felt like less than 1 as we raced along an amazing valley filled with Condors, Vicuñas and a creepy old wrecked train line.
We got back to the base and were welcomed with a tasty pizza lunch, and got to lounge around by a pool next to the river for a while waiting for the other groups to finish up so we could jump on the bus back to the hostel. Despite the muddy shoes and our awkward sunburnt thighs, rafting the Rio Mendoza was an awesome day out!
Next stop - Salta!