Rain forest, river and bamboo ~ Puerto Rico (Part 2)

When we marvel at the large and beautiful clumps of bamboo dotted in the Puerto Rican landscape, Brook (see part 1) tells us she has a surprise for us…..! She decides to switch things up a bit from our daily beach-centric focus.

After a week of glorious beach combing, we are now heading inland to the mountains. To the bamboo rich rain forests of Puerto Rico.

Bamboo is, you might say, now part of our DNA….

Having spent over 6 years of our lives developing a bamboo industry in Nicaragua, interacting with bambuseros around the world, it is a treat to discover that Puerto Rico was, in the 1930’s, a mecca for bamboo knowledge, bamboo plantation development and a vibrant bamboo-related agro-industrial economy. Sadly, this golden era of Puerto Rican bamboo is a distant memory.

Another highlight of visiting Puerto Rico is that our friend and fellow bambusero Pablo Acevedo has emerged as a leading authority on bamboo on the island. A forward thinking civil engineer who worked with us at CO2 Bambu in Nicaragua when we launched a bamboo housing project for the World Bank, Pablo had been clear then and still is now, that his vision was and is to put Puerto Rico “back on the global bamboo map.”

 

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Pablo took us to the University of Mayaguez where he has been conducting research on bamboo technical attributes as a construction material. He has also launched a large bamboo plantation on his family farm. He is bubbling with bamboo centric projects and it is a sweet reunion indeed!

The surprise spot that Brook is taking us to is the retreat home for the yoga teacher trainings   she offers, in a lush and spectacular rain forest mountain location.

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The walk from our bungalow up to the yoga space winds gently past clumps of bamboo soaring into the sky and lush tropical foliage. It is simply gorgeous.

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Once a bamboo girl, ALWAYS a bamboo girl!

 

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A bamboo forest is something truly spectacular. Bamboo is a grass which is super strong and flexible, creating dynamic natural architecture and design. One of the beauties of a bamboo forest is the sound which bamboo makes when the wind transforms it into a giant percussion instrument.

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Breathing in the forest air. Tadasana/ “mountain pose” is de rigeur.

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A couple of simple, rustic wooden cabins house guests on the edge of the forest which is filled with the sounds of nature.

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IMG_5226 IMG_9112Gorgeous tropical flowers abound. Visual feast!

IMG_5229The 30 acre mountainous property has a magnificent river running through it. The boulders are large and smooth, the water is clear and fresh.

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Small water falls of white froth cascade into pools of all sizes and shapes.

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A unique feature to this river location is that there is a purple soft rock which when crushed and mixed with river water, creates a detoxifying mud.

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The purple mud naturally nourishes hair and draws out the toxins from our largest organ of all, our skin. As the mud starts to dry it takes on a different lighter hue, creating strange and fun body designs.

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Perfect setting for some acro yoga on the boulders flanking the river.

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Once the mud is fully dry, we jump off the boulders into the invigorating cool waters of the river! We swim through a gorge nestled between cliffs of boulders on both sides. The BEST river swim EVER! I will dream of this for a long time to come.

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The mesmerizing sound of Brook’s flute adds to the meditative quality of the rushing river waters.

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20 thoughts on “Rain forest, river and bamboo ~ Puerto Rico (Part 2)

  1. Charles

    My god, these posts are getting more edgy! 🙂
    I’ve always wanted to visit Puerto Rico. It seems you’ve found the perfect guide.
    I’m looking forward to more about this lovely island and it’s beautiful inhabitants.
    Charles

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Ha ha Charles. (This is the very censored version you see actually.) Puerto Rico surprised us with its natural beauty. The river and rainforest were such an incredible unexpected delight and pleasure, in addition to spectacular beaches. We will definitely be going back!

      Its funny because before our friend Brook lived there, Puerto Rico was not on my list of places I wanted to go to. We went primarily to see her and spend time together. Of course the fact she lives in such a stunning environment doesn’t hurt!

      I think you would love Puerto Rico! (Retreats can be arranged at the river rainforest location. )

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      It IS paradise! Tranquil and lush and restorative. The most beautiful river I have ever experienced.

      I know, I had to touch that flower to believe it…The color is so intense and beautiful!

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Sue, defintely a great combination. Add to that gorgeous beaches, an epic friendship…. Amazing life adventure indeed.

  2. Helen McF

    Funny we tend to think of bamboo as a pest as it runs wild in my garden and comes up through the floor of the shed. But then thinking about the Bellavista lodge in Ecuador built out of bamboo because it doesn’t rot in the cloud forest climate like timber does and thinking about the magnificent forests in Japan and Japanese culture made me think again. Stimulating article.

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Helen, the big misconception around bamboo as an invasive species stems from the fact that the many different types of bamboos fall into two broad categories:

      “Clumpers”and “Runners”. Sounds like the problems you have encountered are from a bamboo spevies that is a runner. You are correct about the ability to weather rain forest climates but beyond that, bamboo is revered throughout Asia because of the extraordinary range of applications amd of course its extremely high rate of growth. Unlike timber, which once cut, is gone, bamboo is a regenerative grass and the more you cut it the more it grows and the healthier it is!

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      This river was probably the most beautiful one I have ever been in. Swimminng through the gorge was surreal, like a blissful dream for me.

      The mud bath added to the overall sensory experience. And boy our skin and hair were so soft afterwards….

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