Jungle vines. Friend or foe?

Deep in the Chiapas jungle of Mexico lies the super remote, 84km Rio La Venta. So remote that a group of Italian canyoning experts claimed it's very first exploration in the 1990's. The most impressive of it's natural features isn't the thick jungle vegetation or the huge amounts of biodiversity that hosts several endemic species but the huge escarpments towering above the river below, some up to an incredible 500m.

The surrounding cliffs are as impressive as they are imposing. Dwarfing anything that dare compare to their grandeur.

Rio la Venta runs through the Reserva de biosphera Selva el Ocote in the eastern part of the state and sadly boasts one of the last (relatively) untouched parts of Mexico. Relative because despite the best efforts of the government to conserve and protect the area, local cattle farmers still herd their cattle to the river to drink and illegal tree lopping and coffee farming exists on it's southern banks. 

Thankfully, due to the northern part's inhospitable landscape it remains untouched and jaguars and spider monkeys are plentiful.

Our hike started a short and bumpy drive out of General Cardenas and like walking straight into your local gym's sauna, whack! The jungle heat hit me like a punch in the face.

Four kilometres of hiking wouldn't be a problem usually and easily covered in a little under an hour. It's remoteness comes with reason, as does the 1990's claim of first exploration. We battled rocky pathways and thick twisting jungle vegetation that would grab your feet as soon as you weren't paying attention. Rock mounds turned to steep faces and all of a sudden the vines turned from foe to friend as our group negotiated the safest path down seemingly impassable terrain.

Jungle fever didn't relent as sweat continued to pour. Seemingly as fast as the litres of water were ingested.

It was unbelievably hot.

7 hours of hiking was well worth it as we set up camp from a ledge that lay 40 metres above the Rio la Venta. The steep towering cliffs that enveloped us on both sides shrouded in a thick twisted mix of leaves, vines and spiked trunks.

The towering karst rock house ancient pyramids, burial sites and caves that feature historic rock paintings and historical artefacts. Some of these caves are found 150m above the river bed below. A boggling mind works overtime to comprehend how they made their way up a grade 10c cliffs without ropes or harnesses.

After a solid day hiking and the river water in chorus with the neighbouring waterfall it wasn't hard to fall straight asleep.

Tomorrow we would repel down the 40m of cascading water to the river below. Seriously pumped about this incredibly wild adventure.

Stay tuned for tomorrows post.

Know somewhere you think we would like to explore? Comment them below.