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Outdoor Adventure Travel; Rafting on the Cetina River Croatia
#Whitewaterrafting in the #CetinaRiver of #Croatia is perfect for a first timer like me. With straightforward rapids and a #rockdiving opportunity towards the end, it was a unique way to enjoy the beauty of #Croatia
Cetina River, Croatia
It’s nothing, Mr. Chasing the Donkey promised. I did not believe him and kept fighting back the urge to bring up the krafne I ate for breakfast.
Croatia is well known for it’s pebble-lined beaches its 1,000 islands, inlets and isles dotted across the turquoise waters of the Adriatic. What few people know is that Croatia also has options for those seeking outdoor adventure travel; like zip lining or white water rafting on the Cetina in Central Dalmatia.
Croatia also has options for those seeking outdoor adventure travel; like zip lining or white water rafting
Rivers like the Cetina are graded one through to six for their level of difficulty. With a grade one being classified as a fast moving river with small rapids and few obstructions to the death-defying grade six rivers which are tsunami’s being forced through giant boulders. Let’s just say a grade 6 is for an expert with many years experiences. Fortunately for us the Cetina is a grade 2-3 depending on the state of the river and is safe for a novice.
We’d enjoyed a day at the beach the day prior, but having left the baby donkey at home for this trip, we had booked onto a white water rafting adventure to take advantage of not having to lug about the toddler, his pram & accessories.
As the 25-minute bus ride comes to a halt, I realize that I’m still dizzy from fear. Our guide welcomes us to the river bank and invites us to enjoy some pre-rafting snacks. I breathe a sigh of relief; food always makes me feel better, and in this case it also gives me more time to formulate my escape plan.
White Water Rafting
White water rafting on the Cetina River is not for those seeking an extreme rafting experience. The Cetina River is not far from the medieval pirate town of Omiš & provides a grade one-to-two experience. I was told it was perfect for someone like me; a virgin rafter. The rapids are straightforward and the river is wide, while some manoeuvring is required, your captain steers the ship and you provide the horsepower. All you have to do is listen to his calls indicating when to paddle or BOMBA (take cover).
Rafting in Croatia
Flyboarding in Croatia
Zipline Adrenaline Adventure in Omis
Coffee drunk, snacks consumed, and team members greeted, it was time to suit up. What size are you? Do you have your own shoes? Try this on, asks our organiser. GULP. I had forgotten about my escape plan.
I look towards the flowing Centina and can see that the raft is bobbing in the water. Ante, our captain, greets us and tells us everyone calls him Bacho. We’re ushered into the raft one-by-one. Our safety and training talk is given as I hold my paddle with one hand and cling dearly to my life jacket with my other. I look at Bacho, wondering if he can save me when I fall…..
Paddle, Shouts Captain Bacho
With our Captain Bacho, at the stern, we were never in any danger. He shouted left and right. Faster, faster and my favourite, BOMBA in plenty of time for us to all swing (rather paddle) into action. Bomba is the Croatian call for bomb, which when rafting means; sit on the bottom of the raft and hold your paddle to the side. The bomba command is used when things are unsteady and your chances of falling overboard are likely.
Gliding easily along the first few kilometres of the 11 kilometres of the Cetina River was glorious that morning.
Gliding easily along the first few kilometres of the 11 kilometres of the Cetina River was glorious that morning
The crystal-green river twinkled and I saw multiple iridescent blue dragonflies. I have never in my life seen so many in one place or any quite so blue. I wished I had a camera with me so I could share what I saw with you. Thankfully a local photographer had some I could share although none of those pretty blue dragonflies.
Rafting along the 11 kilometres takes around three hours and on the day we were there the water temperature was a chilly 19°C. We paddled our way through 50 rapids, many of them small. There were six, seven, maybe eight standouts. I can’t be sure; who can keep count while having so much fun?
At the halfway point, we reached the Devils Pass; the deepest part of the Cetina River. It’s at this stage that I gave myself a pat on the back. I was proud of myself for getting on that raft that morning since the nerves and butterflies almost got the better of me. Blood was pumping at warp speed through my veins by the time we reached the Devils Pass. Perhaps this is why, when it was suggested we stop, tie up, and climb up a five-metre rock with the purpose to dive off, I agreed.
As we flowed along the last few metres of the river, my jaw hurt from smiling so much. The second-half of the River Cetina was the most entertaining, and our captain told us we were now so experienced that we could go through one of the rapids backwards. Weeeee what fun! I think next time I’ll need to step it up a grade to ones like these in Costa Rica.
The second-half of the River Cetina was the most entertaining
We reach the end at Radmanove Mlinice, which translates to the Radman family Mills. Once a mill, powered by the river it is now a restaurant which serves up specialties like eels, frogs and trout overlooking the arresting sites of the Cetina River.
I was dripping wet from head-to-toe, I wanted to stand at the bow and shout I’m the king of the world, just as Leonardo DiCaprio did. Lucky for my crew I refrained, and instead just bounded out of the raft and found a towel.
Want to Have Some fun?
Do you want to how you can enjoy this too, Right? We stayed in Brela, a beachside town in the Makarska Riviera, just 50 kilometres from Split in Central Dalmatia. Brela much like Starigrad Paklenica is blessed with both the Adriatic Sea and mountains in close proximity.The town of Brela is dwarfed by the Biokovo mountain, which happens to be the highest mountain in all of Croatia.
Accommodation in Brela
We enjoyed several nights at Bluesun Hotel Berulia, where we met some of the friendliest hotel staff ever. Our room overlooked the beach and had a generous sized balcony. The hotel is a 10-minute walk along a footpath that runs parallel to the sea into the town of Brela. Brela’s beaches are lined with pine trees and pebble beaches and make for an ideal spot for both a romantic kid-free stay or a family vacation.
Brela’s beaches are lined with pine trees and pebble beaches
Bluesun Hotel Berulia
Flyboarding in Croatia
Zipline Adrenaline Adventure in Omis
Book a Rafting Adventure on the Cetina River
If you stay with Bluesun Hotel Berulia (and we suggest you do) they’ll make all of the booking arrangements for you, which includes transportation through VIR Rafting.
Along with your captain, raft and paddle, you’ll be provided with:
Drinks and Snacks. Pre and post rafting VIR Rafting provide home-made cakes, fritte, Croatian brandy and other yummy treats.
Westsuit. I’d recommend you wear this, as it provides a thermal insulation to the cold water; sometimes 17°C and it helps to hold in your wiggly jiggly belly (or is that just me?).
Water shoes. You can wear your own if you have them.
Life jacket & Helmet
Tips When Rafting on the Cetina River
Even though it lasts just three hours, be sure to eat breakfast and get sleep as you’ll need your energy.
Pack a change of clothes and a towel
Wear your swimmers to save time changing.
Don’t bother wearing sunglasses, they’ll likely be lost. If you need to wear glasses you’ll need to bring a strap with you.
No need to bring any cameras or mobile phones with you, they will be soggy at the end. VIR Rafting have a professional photographer who kayaks ahead of you to capture your magical moments. You can purchase the CD at the end of ride for 120 kunas.
VIR Rafting have a professional photographer who kayaks ahead of you
You’ll need to leave all your belongings in the bus, which will pick you up at the finish point, so don’t pack any valuables.
Where is the Cetina River?
Known as the Rijeka Cetina in Croatia, the river is just 50 kilometres east of Split, 25 kilometres west of Makarska and the river flows into the sea in Omiš.