History of Rafting in Costa Rica

History of Rafting in Costa Rica

This interview was held on May 11, 2018

He was born on December 11, 1942, in Manhattan New York, son of Julian and Clare Kaye, Mr. Michael is 76 years old. He tells us that he started practicing Rafting in 1969 in American Rivas California, he learned to Kayake before rafting in 1967. He realized from the beginning that it was good money with the service of the activities of Rio and the companies that produced Kayak de Mar and del Rio. This was in California West in the United States, all paddling with big oars in those times. In Costa Altos and in the year of 1969 he made some friends at the University of Peipant running east of the United States.

Your first kayak.

In his days of work he would go down rivers that were not spoken or knew in those times, and by chance in October, they had a trained team to do Rio in the West, and saw a company from Rio and got into paddles, and with people participating and young people, this excited him a lot. So he decided to start his own company of short rivers paying to row big in the West in groups of 5 or 7 people, going down the rivers carrying food, I had also seen it in California, with groups of 22 people where they left, and many more people They met at the river in Kayak. They went to offer services in the 1970s with a raft with 2 oars, and we distributed the company’s flyer to different companies and identities, offering the river tour packages in Kayak. In the first year they sold packages to 1,200 people, and worked 100% and got good dividends, the second year we sold the tour packages to 3,600 people. And for the third year to 10,000 people. The company sold it 50% to a partner in the year of 1974. In the beginning the Rivers were not regulated, the company and 7 other companies, all sold and the prices were higher than their company, it was more popular and people enjoyed it much more. After selling it in 1982 to 1983, some 109 more companies grew on the river, the government frozen the activity of the company, it could only be sold to people who came to the river, there was no rafting for a year in these rivers. Consolidate the company and your partner sold it to another company. With the money from the sale of the company, the expeditions to the rivers in Mexico and Guatemala began. In Guatemala, he found a route in the Usumacinta river, whose name translates as “place of monkeys”, it is a river that forms in the parts highlands of the Sierra Madre, specifically in the Department of Totonicapán, in Guatemala, and flows into the Gulf of Mexico. It started with many difficulties in the department of Alto de la Paz in Tennessee in lower Mexico, going down 400 km downstream into the river via nascent, at that time there were no roads, reaching 300 km down the river was entering Mexico there was no surveillance and then the remaining 100 km there was a very beautiful canyon, and it became a gentle river arriving flat. Then he sold the idea of working as a guide in the canyon, Mr. Michael was more of a marketer and more of a travel guide. He tells us that he was guiding National Geografic trips, and he sold the idea of paddling this river in Tennessee to Mexico, they were planned to reach a dam and it was very difficult to go down with the dam, because the rivers were not on the maps. The nights before leaving, they had started and found everything, and we found a place. On the other hand, there is another place that is easier to access and less dangerous. Many anecdotes in the Pacuare River, we arrived in Huacas in this to travel in one of the three most difficult rapids of the Rio to reach the middle it is much harder to walk, and in the middle stopped where the Huacas waterfall ended about 40 meters this was very exciting, there was a well of 30 meters descending at 4:30 pm to camp and knowing the waterfall of Rio Huacas. When the brother-in-law arrived without being able to leave, he found himself on the beach of Corcovado, they went to the Oro de San Pedrillo river, 5 days of backpacking on foot, knowing several rivers in that area, and a waterfall called the “llorona” arriving at high tide. a camp, dining and sleeping, and about 11 pm, he got up and packed everything, crossed the river and set up camp again and went to sleep again, because it was high tide. In the year 1980 with the service of the park and the naval base made a trip to Isla del Coco, and one of the sailors, paddling on my raft to a rock at the entrance of Wesber Bay to Chatham Bay, diving being the best It did, and the best 5 places in the world, the trip was in rented boats. I had planned from December to March where to surf, almost nobody surfed with Kayak in those times, arrived with three Kayak on December 27, and being there I rent a house to stay in this beach place. In December he returned to Surf with Kayak with bigger waves and there were only two surfers, there he met Yolanda Amaya from San Salvador, his wife on January 2, 1978, they started living together, she was a widow with 2 children, El Salvador was in a crisis of criminality, they entered at the end of April, they were moved and there was much danger. Buses were difficult in places in Latin America, Yolanda 5 years before we met, she had bought a TicaBus ticket and told her it was a good trip to go to Costa Rica. They left the children with Yolanda’s sister and returned to Costa Rica. They left and did not know if they could pass, 2 days carrying rafts loading them for 200 meters, and that night was the earthquake in Guatemala, the companies and the government of the United States, there 23 people died and the truck could not be reached, then He left in another truck for the Capital of San Salvador and gave food and first aid. Arriving in the capital of San Salvador, he saw a car with a surfboard and followed it to the bridge of freedom and to a beach called Sunset Sal with very good waves. I rent a board, it was a perfect wave for kayaking, and with an experienced friend in fiber kayak, this was at the end of March and the beginning of April, and then they had returned by the coast road to the United States. At the end of April 1978 there was a freighter and there were almost no hotels or lodging, and they stayed at the Hotel Capital, and did not want to stay in San José, and decided to return to the coast, they went to the Atlantic with the idea of going to Puerto Viejo, looking at the Reventazón River and the Pacuare River, they seemed too good, and they were traveling on the train, stopping between the train cars, to see the rivers better, then Yolanda told her not to go there. place of the train, and could only tell him; these rivers will feed us, and the next day they returned to San Jose. He went to the National Geographic Institute of Costa Rica to buy or get some maps. There were some large maps with numbers and rivers, I wrote all the numbers and went to ask for them to be given charging ₡ 17 colones each, here I confirm that Costa Rica was different. On May 1 he decided to meet the parade, at that time it was in the Morazán park with many people and he thought here in Costa Rica everything is harmony. Then he left for the United States passing through San Salvador, he was able to surf a little and then again to Costa Rica, on August 2, 1978 everything was closed for the celebration of the Virgin’s Day in the basilica of Cartago, being a Costa Rican tradition . In October of 1978 there were 10 groups doing the Rafting on the Reventazón River and the Pacuare River. In those tempos they began the process to open more companies in Costa Rica, and a friend took him to learn English at the language school “Gary Enst”. The first trip was to the company Fruit Company, and what they did was to travel to where the tour ended, leaving the cars and all the equipment at the Atira farm of the Rojas family at the time of Mario Rojas. They had to enter through the roads of the farm, Yolanda went in a taxi and when she left she got involved with a van or cargo truck, and she died in that accident, and they did not do it this way. Then he went on with the paperwork and the two went to the United States, selling and marketing the trips in Rio Rafting, in October and November of 1979, customers from the United States began to arrive to them, they used guides from the United States, until they arrived. , and Fernando Castañeda contract, and the other “Tico” was Oswaldo Trejos (qde p). Through Oswaldo who was a good friend of Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, and surfed several times with him. The name of Costa Rica Expedition occurred to him, with the evolution of the company in a trip in the East of the United States, selling and marketing arriving at “Chatura” which was a strange name, there was a celebration party because it was already beginning the season, there he met a great person, and told him; My name is Rafael Gallo and I’m from San Salvador, and my dream is to do rafting in Central America, I invite you to work with your company. With the growth of the company, it acquired two hotels, and today they have a company with more personalized trips and tours. When I explore a little more, I came to the conclusion that Costa Rica has more rivers than square KM because of the topography and because it is a country with two oceans. The Pacuare rivers have shorter seasons, and there are good rivers but the problem is the excursions, for example, the Chirripo River has to have locals who carry the implements and equipment to carry out the Rafting.

Mr. Kaye died on Thursday, July 12, 2018 in the early morning.