Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Ethereal Beauty of the Gozalandia Waterfall in San Sebastian, Puerto Rico

My favorite stop on my recent Puerto Rican vacation was our final one, Gozalandia Waterfall in San Sebastian. Puerto Rico is home to dozens of enchanting waterfalls and I've swam in the pool of one before, but not one of this size.

Seeing and enjoying it in person was one of my favorite life experiences, it's little wonder it's been featured in movies- with the lush tropical foliage enveloping you it's like something from a fantasy. (Recently in, "The Perfect Getaway." - which this is) Last time I swam in smaller waterfall in the El Yunce tropical rainforest was the same day as a family reunion, I'd already gotten my hair done for the family photos and couldn't fully submerge so it was a pleasure to get as wet as I wanted in this beast!

Towering 50 feet, the basin was clean, clear, and deep. Brave souls leapt from rocks on the front and sides and even from the top of the waterfall!

Getting down to the waterfall was perilous, you descend a few flights of the muddiest, slipperiest, steepest stairs...

And the final steps have to be done via rope! No one warned us of this until we got there, this places is certainly not handicap-safe! What if you came alone and didn't have someone to hold that rope for you on the other end?!

I love how she said "bump this" and nearly crab-walked down, I almost did this but made it down pretty safely with my brother holding the other end of the rope.

Behind the waterfall you could follow the stream down for further exploring. I also read after-the-fact that there's a little underwater cave to the right of the waterfall you can swim into! There's supposedly an air pocket where you can surface and breathe. Sounds dangerous to attempt but who wouldn't want to reenact this magical scene from Ferngully: The Last Rainforest?!

I couldn't take you with me so I took a really bad video for you. Sorry, moving it too fast and I tilted it at the end there thinking I was taking a static shot, ha! I love how you can see a jumper!

My cousin's in the blue shirt about to slide down the waterfall. Yep, you could slide down this magnificent thing like a slide at a water park!

My brother (waving) climbed up the side of the waterfall via a rope and jumped in! He said it hurt his leg. I ran out of time to try that one and was too wary to try the "slide." (I don't like the ones at waterparks, either.)

Instead I climbed up the left side of the waterfall to reach a little circular enclosure (a "cave" of sorts) behind it. It was slippery and especially tricky to get down, my brother and mom where on the shore shouting for me to "bring my crazy ass" back down but I couldn't hear them over the roar of the waterfall. The spray of the water was transcendent; world's best shower. It was definitely a bucket list dream to 1) feel the spray of a waterfall over my head and 2) go behind a waterfall. My heart breaks leaving this beauty behind, every time we visit Puerto Rico we seriously consider moving there.

Lookin' tired as hell, but so happy. I'm still catching up on sleep from this trip. Barely slept for 6 days straight. zzzz.

My heart seriously breaks leaving this beauty behind, every time we visit Puerto Rico we seriously consider moving there. There is such a wealth of resources and a daunting list of things to see on this gem of an island.

If you choose to visit while you're in Puerto Rico (which you should!) pack water shoes because the rocks are pointy and slippery. Come with friends. You may want a wet suit because the water is cold. (But not as ice-box cold as springs I visit her in Florida!) It's quite a ways into the mountains so drive carefully, take the "long route" if you want to avoid the winding mountains roads (post on that little adventures to come!) because they are narrow and terrifying! You may get lost along the way so brush up on your Spanish, our GPS led us to an out-of-order road and we had to stop to ask directions a couple of times. You won't need much sunblock under the lush tree canopy. (Nature's indoor pool!)

For a couple days after I got back home I closed my eyes are dreamed of this waterfall. I could hear it, smell it, and see it. So beautiful. (And I was also back on the terrifying mountain roads, more on that later! It's gotten better but I have a slight height phobia.)

We'll be back for you, Gozalandia!
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