Monday, July 11, 2016

Expedition: Jardín de las Delicias

Thirteen years ago, I had the privilege of taking an aerial tour of Santa Cruz, during which I photographed a beautiful waterfall surrounded by jungle.  I haven't thought much about it since, but when some friends mentioned driving out to a waterfall west of us a couple months ago, my curiosity was piqued and I started researching it.  I think it's the same one, but unfortunately, the photo I took is a 35mm print buried in our storage in MT, so I can't be sure.

(Update:  a friend sent me photos!  See below!)

My nephew Michael was here the past three weeks and I figured this was the best option to get out of the city and give him a good look at the surrounding countryside.  We were hoping that Jilmer (an Etnos student) would come along to make the most of his English practicum, but it didn't work out.
One of many mandarin orchards we passed

The trip out to Jardín de las Delicias (Garden of Delights) took us about 3 hours, the first half of which was spent crossing and get out of the city.  Then, at the town of El Torno, we turned off the highway and crossed the Río Piraí.

That's where the adventure started.

I made the rookie mistake of following my map instead of asking locally about the river crossing.  It was a bit deeper than I was planning.  A Land Cruiser "taxi" stopped on the other bank to watch us cross!

Screenshot from the GoPro as we hit the middle of the river
The Patrol powered through it and we continued on our way.  We filmed the whole trip in with the GoPro stuck on the Patrol, but at 1.5 hours, it's a pretty long film.  So I cut it down to the most interesting bits, which is much easier to watch, under 15 minutes:

I titled it "Cruisers and Crossings" because the vehicle of choice back there is the Toyota Land Cruiser pickup, often with a tarp canopy as you can see in the video thumbnail, and the best part about the drive was the ~35 water crossings that we made (one way).  We're a few weeks out of rainy season, so they were all pretty low, but it was a good time.

(Click here if you want to see the full, 85 minute version)

Of course, once we got to Jardín de las Delicias, we had plenty to take photos of, as well.  The park has four waterfalls total, but due to the landscape, it takes an hour and a half to get to the second (tallest) one.  If would have been a fun hike, but we didn't have the time.  We contented ourselves with the first, which is 90 meters tall (295 feet) and just a 20 minute walk to the bottom.

Overlooking the 295-foot cascade

Overlooking the 295-foot cascade

The drastic break in the landscape requires some well-built stairs

First waterfall: 295 feet (try to spot Michael on the left)
I also made a couple of high megapixel, interactive panoramas so you can get "into" the photo.
(You may be prompted to install the Microsoft Silverlight browser extension)

Overlook from the top (120mp):
Waterfall from below (100mp):

The park has only been developed in the past 10 years or so and is run by a cooperative of 17 members of the community who take turns manning the station and guiding tours.  The installations were built with the help of an NGO a few years ago.  There are rooms to stay in,  a camping area, picnic shelter, BBQ, and kitchen that are very nicely done.

Welcome center
Picnic shelter, BBQ, and kitchen

On the way back out, we took more time to take photos of the scenery

A house in the neighborhood, with solar panel

Bright pink tajibo tree and Land Cruiser


I contacted the four others that were also on that flight 13 years ago, and my friend Alana sent me these photos!  The waterfall in the foreground is the lower falls, which we didn't see.  The one I photographed is the smaller one in the background.  I definitely want to go back and see the BIG one!

No comments:

Post a Comment