“Where are we going? Come on, tell me please,” I begged like an impatient child. The night before, Mario told me we were going to a surprise location the following afternoon. As we drove towards an expanse of green fields and hills, he continued to keep his mouth shut. My pestering didn’t provoke him to spoil the surprise. I knew the context of our mysterious activity (being that I’d been told to wear a swimsuit and athletic shorts before we left) but in terms of the place, I hadn’t the faintest idea.
The road ascended into the hills. We were driving further away from city scenery and entering an endless expanse of green. Green hills, green farms, green trees. The longer we drove the more beautiful the views became. Entering a tiny, rustic town of one story buildings and dirt roads, Mario started slowing down and checking signs. I new we were close. We crossed a river and came to a dramatic dam surrounded by forest and steep cliffs. From there we followed a haphazard road up into the backwoods. It felt as though we were trespassing on people’s property.
Eventually we arrived at the surprise destination: Laguna Azul. Situated on the river cutting through the town of Calera, less than an hour drive from Nueva Córdoba, structures had been built to accommodate a wakeboarding business. The place was entirely hidden up in the hills. Without prior research and good directions, you’d never know it existed. Coming in, we had to pass a number of gates. Each one was guarded by a man who asked us where we were going and checked to make sure we had a reservation. The whole thing was quite secretive. Mario told me that on the weekends Laguna Azul often threw wild parties. With a bar/snack shack, artistic wood structures (which reminded me of Burning Man photos), and such a remote location, I could imagine many ragers taking place.
Laguna Azul does not offer typical wakeboarding. There is no boat. Wakeboarding isn’t even a legitimate title for it because there is no actual wake. At this establishment there is a small lake, fed by the river, with a long cable extending across it. To wakeboard you simply hold onto a rope that is attached to the cable, and it pulls you through the water. The speed and timing is controlled by a man with a remote control observing from above. It is similar to zip lining, but the rider gets the thrill of cutting through the water on a board.
Mario made me go first. I suited up with a helmet and life jacket, strapped my feet onto the board, then awkwardly scooted off the dock into the water. The day was hot and the water felt fantastic on my dusty, dry skin. The wakeboarding itself came fairly natural to me, although it took me a few runs to get the balance just right. I was really enjoying myself, boarding back and forth for nearly a half hour. The wind, water and adrenaline were the perfect mix for a warm day.
Mario and I switched places and he, too, seemed to greatly enjoy the experience. It was his first time coming to Laguna Azul, so we were both rookies. He’d heard about he place from friends then found the company on Facebook.
When we’d exhausted our reserved hour of water time, we thanked the operator and headed out. We were both very tired and hungry. We finished our trip with a hearty meal of Argentina’s typical pizza in the town of Calera. I was very happy with the surprise; well worth the wait and anticipation.