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Old 03-07-2007   #1
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 11
Paddling in Panama?

hey, i was just wondering if anyone had done any paddling down in panama and if you could share some info. all i know right now is that there seems to be some decent stuff down by david, but i am really not sure the best time to be there or what type of whitewater to expect. thanks!

Every wave and crease and current dissolves and is reformed moment to moment, in a journey toward complete undifferentiation. How can you conquer something that only seeks to disappear?
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Old 03-07-2007   #2
Matt J's Avatar
Leadvillian, Colorado
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 381
I was down there a few months ago, but unfortunately our car broke down before we put on the Chiriqui.

Check out

The owner's name is Hector and he's a super nice guy. He speaks English (went to school in Greeley) and hosts paddlers at his farm quite often. He might rent you a boat and let you tag on to one of his trips.

The Chiriqui is evidently epic. It runs parallel to the border and is long and moderately steep. 20+ miles of class III-IV is the way I've heard it described. Other than that and some other more moderate runs you're probably on your own.

Good luck.

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Old 03-10-2007   #3
Ft Collins, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 198
Paddling in Panama

Panama has some great whitewater in the north. John Miller runs trips of various difficulties. You can peg the fun meter as far into the red as you want, or do some very beautiful floats in the tropical forests. He's got all the gear, a great driver, and the local knowledge that is really critical.

email John at:

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Old 03-16-2007   #4
Boquete, Panama
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 15
Panama paddling

I just noticed this post today and wanted to let everyone know that there is indeed a good way to go paddling in Panama, Boquete Outdoor Adventures. Our website should be up in a few weeks. The business is new but we have been kayaking in Panama for ten years and do around 40 runs. Email me at for more information.

John Miller
Boquete Outdoor Adventures
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Old 03-16-2007   #5
Evergreen, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 316
Is there any boating to be done in the central region of Panama? Perhaps near the city?

I am taking a group of 15 teenagers down there to build houses and such (a church mission trip). I may go down next month and scout things out a bit for the mission trip. I have thought about trying to fit some paddling in but may not have the time to make it up to the north.

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Old 03-17-2007   #6
Boquete, Panama
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 15

There is some paddling in the central part of Panama and around Panama City, but most (and the best) is in the western part near to Costa Rica. Also, if you are thinking next month, it is still the dry season and there won't be much running, especially in the central and Panama City area. There are some runs in the western part of the country that are good to do in the dry season. Of course, it can rain anytime and there could be something running. In addition, if you are in Panama City, you are only a five hour bus ride (or 45 minute plane ride) from the western end. It is easy to get around.

We won't be in Panama full time until the end of the summer, so I won't be around when you are there. Just to let you know, we are doing more than kayaking. We are also doing multi-sport custom trips and kids groups (camps, schools, etc.). We started doing that last summer. If you go down in the future with a mission trip and want to include other activities (rafting, hiking, kayaking, etc.), we would be happy to work with you and set things up.

In addition, we are offering service projects with our trips and can definitely organize and run a trip dedicated to service oriented projects. Some of the things we are looking to do are maintenance in the national parks, reforestation, clean ups, working in indigenous areas, and possibly some home building. We are planning on working with established non-profit groups already working in Panama to do these sorts of things.

Feel free to email me if you have more questions.

John Miller
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Old 03-17-2007   #7
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 405
I'll give John and BOA a 2 thumbs up. I went with his crew 2 years ago, and can say we were well taken care of on all points: food, lodging, boats, transportation, and of course river safety and selection. Trust me, it's not worth trying to figure your way around the country. If you have the money, contact John, otherwise stick to the states. Oct and Nov. are the best times for Panama, as I a recall.


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