Remember the above stated cautions before deciding to go tubing on your own. People have gotten stuck under trees and drown. Be careful.
Getting a Tube
There are two ways to get one. You can find them at some gas stations (You’ll want a tube size of no less than 16 or 17). Save money and ask for a used one first. Option #2 is pool toys. I hope to one day organize a fleet of Shamus and Dragons and take to the river. Celina’s sells tubes for $6-9bz. I recommend the 9bz as they are a bit “sturdier”. If you want to go with style, A&R in Santa Elena has all shapes and sizes of floating bits of wonder. Two things with the pool toys: one, make sure they don’t leak before you get out in the middle of nowhere. If they leak, take them back; two, don’t go over super shallow spots where they might scratch the rocks. Now you are armed with a lobster or whatever your floating device looks like, you need to find a river.
Finding a River
The best run I’ve seen is in Bullet Tree. You can take a cab or a collectivo. A regular taxi is 12bz whereas a collectivo is 3bz. The benefit of a taxi is that they will drive you directly to where you wish to put in whereas a collectivo will simply drop you off at the main bus stop. You want to go to Paslo Falls road, which is a dirt road on the left before the main bridge in Bullet Tree. Go down a mile or two and get in. One of the nicer places to put in is at a little gazebo type thing on the right. On the left is a house with a gate and on the right is a little path to the water that goes by the gazebo (it’s actually a massage platform). In the water there are nibbler fish, they nibble. Nothing bites and nothing stings. Now you’re in the water, so where do you get out?
Deciding Where to Get Out
You have two choices of where to get out. The first place is going to be back at the big bridge in Bullet Tree. That should take around 3 hrs or so, depending on the level of the river. From here, you can simply catch a collectivo back into San Ignacio. The other place is the Hammock Bridge (see below). It’s an extra 1-2 hrs. to the Hammock Bridge From there it’s a mile walk back into town. It’s a nice walk, but don’t expect to do it barefooted.