The main advantage of Monterrey is that all around the city you find a wide range of outdoors activities. Climb, parachute jump, paraglider, High Mountain, rafting, speleology, caves, abseiling descent and a lot of others! For those who dislike nature, back off! Today I decided to talk to you about something that I tested: the canyon of Matacanes! This canyon is located besides the small city of Santiago at 45 minutes from Monterrey in the National Park Cumbres de Monterrey.
First of all, to do it, you absolutely need a guide who will provide you the necessary equipment. A lot of agencies propose packages for groups such as Emocion Extrema, Gaia Xtreme, Ibo or Aventureros Extremos. With this last one the cost was 1300 MXN per person (64€). It includes everything:
The trip by truck from the agency to the departure of the adventure
A quick breakfast and some snacks during the day
All the equipment: wetsuit, helmet, harness and snap hook
And an amazing adventure from 5 am to 7 pm!
I recommend going with a swimsuit (one-piece for women) because it’s practical under the wetsuit, and some climbing sneakers that you are not scared to put in the water.
The trip from the agency until the point of departure takes around 1 hour. It’s really early in the morning (5 am if I remember well) and it’s pretty cold because you go up and up to the mountains. But the sunrise itself worth the travel!
Then, after having put your equipment and listened carefully the safety instructions, let’s start the adventure!
Around 1 more hour walking in the forest until…the first jump! And yes, canyoning means moving between earth and water. This first small jump (around 3 meters) is considered as a test by the guides: if you are not able to do it, it means that you won’t be able to do the rest of the adventure. Of course I stupidly drank the cup so the guide was a bit septic about my capacity to continue. But let’s say that it was the apprehension of the beginning and a lack of coordination.
Afterwards, the circuit is made of numerous jumps of different heights, abseiling descents and walks. This is where I have to be honest with you. Can everybody do it? They will always tell you that yes. However, I think that it depends on a lot of parameters. Your resistance, you physical condition (are you used to do exercise?), your taste for nature (you should be crazy to go there if you don’t like nature) and your fears. Are you afraid of water? Don’t go. Are you afraid of high jumps (I think that the highest of Matacanes is about 12 meters)? Don’t go. Or do like me. Go with all your fears but be prepared to the fact that when we start, its impossible to stop. There’s absolutely no way to go back.
In my particular case I have to admit that I suffered, a lot. Why? Because they indicated me that I couldn’t keep my glasses at the beginning and without my glasses I am simply disabled. As I have a strong astigmatism associated to a hyperopia I cannot see anything and I cannot evaluate distances neither. I didn’t know where the stones were, how it was high and so on. And 15 hours like this, it is difficult.
Matacanes has to be done for its amazing landscapes but when we even cannot see…I had the impression to have become blind. At half-day I had a serious headache and the nausea. And I even don’t talk about the permanent temperatures changes between the water which is cold and the heat when you walk.
Ultimately, I wanted to stop many times: impossible. I badly heated my knees in the water. I cried a lot. I was so slow that I was not able to follow the rhythm of the group and that I needed a guide only for me. But at the end…I did it! And I did it in hard mode! With the extreme patience of guides, with the support of my fiancé, I did it! 2 abseiling descents, 20 jumps, 2 toboggans, 2 caves, climbing, swimming, walking…
My purpose is not to scare anybody in this article. If I write about things in this blog it’s because I consider that they have an interest. Many people do Matacanes, people of all ages, even kids, and enjoy it! Ant it definitely worth it! Landscapes are simply astonishing. But I think that we need to be prepared to what we are going to live there and in my case I cannot be deprived of glasses.
Some people will never be scared because they have the adventure in their blood. Some people are so scared that they never do the first jump and abandon. And some other people are freaking scared but do it, above their pain and above their tears. Those ones are the one who deserve some of the most credit. And they realized that it worth it.
So…I will do it again! I will do it until I don’t feel the fear anymore. And I will definitely buy some sport goggles adapted to my view!
And the next canyon: Chipitin! I heard that it counted way less jumps but way more abseiling descents!
Here the adventure...