Along a riveting river valley in the heart of Merizo, gentle bamboo groves sway in tandem with a tranquil water trickle, which lends life to the surroundings.
The Geus River is one of the island's most accessible, and is an exciting exploration from start to finish. Besides a few small freshwater falls and pools, the Geus gem is a couple of swimming holes upstream, home to a natural water slide and tall ledges available for a thrilling plunge.
A word of caution: This wet hike should not be done after heavy rainfall. While inland and away from seaside shores, the Geus River is a flash flood zone, and rain hampers the chance of safe hiking here. Proceed only on a dry, sunny day.
There are two optional trails to this hike:
First, the scenic route, is walking directly through the Geus River. This path is much more picturesque and serene, but it does come with hazards. While the murky river is mostly shallow, waist-deep at its worst, there are dozens of hidden dips. If you do choose the river route, there is a 50-50 chance you will fall, but for the stunning scenery, it's certainly worth it! Consider not bringing your camera or phone. Otherwise, prepare to get wet.
Second, the safer route, is walking on an old jungle trail along the Geus River. This path travels along the river, but is blocked off by about 10 to 20 feet of dense jungle, so you can only peer through the bamboo to see the river. Additionally, the jungle path is more often muddy and will require traversing fallen branches and green overgrowth. However, this trail is much safer with little to no chance of falling into murky depths. Also, it will lead you more than halfway to the final destination, but ends before you get there. Inevitably, you will have to walk a few minutes through the river to finish.
Whether you choose scenery or more safety, the hike is enjoyable all around. I recommend taking the river route on your way in, and the land route on your way back.
If you don't expect to get dirty outdoors, are you even hiking?
Maneuvering through the river valley
To begin, find the trail down to the river in front of the parking spot, to your left. Note that this leads to the river, and you'll need to do a few minutes of river walking before having the option of the land route.
Proceed upstream, to your right, walking across the shallow river's muddy bedrock. The first of a few dips comes up, about knee- to thigh deep.
Limbo under or climb over a few fallen bamboo trunks coming up, and look to your right for the path up to the land route if you so choose.
There is no defined trail to the land path, nor is the path itself defined. However, the weathered trail should be visible after passing the lone residence at the road's end, where you parked.
Climb up the trail and follow it all the way down through the jungle until it connects back to the river, about 20 minutes later, near the top of a man-made dam. As mentioned, the path is not regularly traveled or cleared, so there will be fallen branches and muddy dips to maneuver past.
If you choose to stay on the river, leave the land route behind and head upstream for the next 20 minutes.
Climbing a man-made wonder
There's no getting lost on a river, so maneuver past any fallen branches or bamboo on your way, and be wary of any hidden dips as you traverse the slick and slippery river rocks and surfaces. Feel free to take a refreshing, intentional dip along the way.
After dodging dips and hopping from boulder to boulder, you'll eventually near the base of a man-made dam sitting smack dab in the center of the river (where it should be).
Since you didn't take the land route, this is the price to pay for the superb scenery you've been treated to. You'll need to cross the front of the dam to climb up beside it.
To do this, tightly pack your belongings and get to the right-hand side of the river. Creep and crawl your way toward the dam, and scale the first couple of boulders beneath its flowing water.
Now comes the hard part. It will be tough to cross the base of the dam without submerging yourself, but it is possible. It's recommended that someone cross to the other side without anything in hand, then carefully toss any items along to that person.
Otherwise, safely utilize any submerged boulders as footholds and use the dam to help you get across. Once on the other side of the dam, climb up to your left and find a few foot- and handholds to help you get on top of the dam.
Here is where the land and river routes meet.
Leap to your heart's delight
The Geus Pools, a couple of swim holes, are just a little bit upstream, visible beneath the large boulders ahead. Walk along the sides of the stream for a couple of minutes to get there. Take note of a small babbling brook to your right. Pass it, and you've made it to the first swimming hole!
Settle your stuff, hop in and cool off for a while, enjoying the natural splendor of the wet wonder. If you can muster up the strength to utilize the two provided ropes (one on the wall to your left and the other descending the natural water slide), climb up to the second swim hole.
If the degree of the rope is too tiring, backtrack to the babbling brook you passed, and use the surrounding branches and ledges to climb up the wet rock face.
Continue your short ascent for a few seconds until you see a pipeline. Here, follow the pipe on an old, overgrown jungle trail as it wends left down a hillside, farther upstream. This leads to the ledges of the second swim hole, and the only way down from here is, well, down.
Creep up closer to the rushing falls and be reassured that jumping into the unfamiliar water below is safe. The pool is deep enough to jump in from the ledges, about 15 to 20 feet high.
Leap to your heart's delight up here, and when you're ready, leap one last time back down to the first swimming hole below and to your left, or take the natural waterfall slide.
When your thirst for adventure runs dry, pack your belongings; store your memories and head back to your car on the land route, which is on the left side at the top of the dam.