One of the fondest memories paddlers have after a week in Costa Rica with us is the time they spent withÂ our driver, Miguel.Â We have been working together for sixteen years. He is asÂ important a guide on the road as we are on the river. He has helped us with exploratories of every new river in Costa Rica, as well as a 1998 Panama trip.Â His Toyota Van is infamous in its âI know I canâ? attitude; getting paddlers to the river on roads that should be 4-wheel drive.
There have been times when the takeout was hard to distinguish for us from the river, but when we would come around the corner, Miguelâs tell-tale sign would be waiting for us: stacked rocks indicating we were there.Â And then we would see his gleaming spick-and-span clean vanÂ up at the top of the hill waiting for us–and it would be the end of another great day on the river.Â Miguel has shared his home with our guests (we outfit our boats there on the first morning), shared his family (each of his four children have spent time helping us out on those group first mornings), and his wife, Lucre has been the perfect host for newly arrived paddlers.Â
So it was with great anticipation that we finally had the pleasure of Miguel and Lucre visiting us here in North Carolina.Â Rafting down the Nantahala, visiting landmarks like Walmart and the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, and being the guest of numerous all American grill outs (enjoyable enough that they vowed to get a grill back to Costa Rica when they returned) were all part of his week with us.
The character of people in Costa Rica is one of theÂ absolute joys of visiting the country.Â They are warm, sincere, and embrace you as a friend and family.Â What a treat to be able to return the gesture!