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Old 12-24-2015   #1
Düsseldorf, Nordrhein-Westfalen
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 2
Needing advice for choosing the right river


I'm from Europe and need some advice from the rafting pros on this board . From mid to late march 2016, me and my wife are going to be in Mexico. We plan to go rafting at the beginning of april, however - right now - I am struggling to choose the right river.

We want to have a really intense experience (class III-V rapids, nice drops) and we want to get to the destination from Mexico without breaking the bank. Some obvious choices are the U.S. or Costa Rica. I'm not sure when the rafting season starts... it seems to be different everywhere (may for Toulumne, CA; march (?) for Chattooga, GA/SC).

To summarize, I need to choose a (commercially run) river which meets the following criteria:

1) The rafting season should already have begun at the end of march
2) There should be a big airport nearby, in an acceptable driving distance
3) Getting to it via low cost flights from Mexico would be great
4) It should be an intense river and the trip should take max. 3 days (1-2 days would be better)

The Pacuare River seems to be my favorite thus far.
Futaleufu intrigues me most... but getting there is expensive...

What would you recommend me?

Thank you very much for your time and help,


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Old 12-24-2015   #2
mowgli's Avatar
seattle, Washington
Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 118
Futaleufu!! Awesome!!! Make it happen even if a little spendy.

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Old 12-25-2015   #3
Düsseldorf, Nordrhein-Westfalen
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 2
I know it's awesome , but it's too far away... 5000 miles...

I need to pick something else: U.S., Costa Rica, Ecuador, maybe Peru...
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Old 12-25-2015   #4
Louisville, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 520
The Salt.

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Old 12-29-2015   #5
CaptBiggler's Avatar
Arvada, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 31
I can't give much advice on anything outside of the U.S., but in the U.S. about your only option is the Salt River in Arizona. It is a great ride and a reasonable distance from Phoenix. The best Rapids are on the multi day section, which is 5 days. You will hit some decent Class 3's if you do the day section. The problem with the salt is there has to be a good winter for the river to even run. The last couple years the snowmelt runoff hasn't even been big enough to run the river.

Your best option for April would be the Grand Canyon, but you would need 7 days min for that. You could also do Westwater Canyon in 2 days, but that is a 5hr drive from Salt Lake City.

Unfortunately April is early for most of the good rafting in the U.S.

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Old 12-29-2015   #6
NIMBY, Oregon
Paddling Since: Womb
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 97
Look into an outfitter that runs the Cal Salmon. It is about a 4.5 hour drive north of San Fran and will not disappoint. Should be a decent season if these storms keep it up.

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