Rio Cahabon, Guatemala - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 03-24-2008   #1
 
Matt J's Avatar
 
Leadvillian, Colorado
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Rio Cahabon, Guatemala

Anyone have any beta?

We're headed up to Tikal for a little sightseeing vacation and are thinking about heading down to Lanquin to paddle for a day or two. I noticed the commercial outfitters sell the trip for three days with one on the water, any ideas on how to improve this ratio would be appreciated. Outfitter recommendations would be great as well. Thanks.

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Old 03-24-2008   #2
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
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Originally Posted by Matt J View Post
Anyone have any beta?

We're headed up to Tikal for a little sightseeing vacation and are thinking about heading down to Lanquin to paddle for a day or two. I noticed the commercial outfitters sell the trip for three days with one on the water, any ideas on how to improve this ratio would be appreciated. Outfitter recommendations would be great as well. Thanks.
I didn't boat there, so take this with a grain of salt. The rio cahobon I believe is the one broken in two by Semuc Champey, one of the coolest places on earth with the travertine deposits and sweet waterfalls and swimming holes. A class 6+++ river right above dives below and creates a cave. When it comes out the other side, the water was calm, maybe class II.

From what I heard, there is class IV and V farther upstream and it mellows as you go down. An outfitter is the only way you will find a boat in Guate. The closest town of any note is Coban. It's about a day from Flores to Coban.
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Old 04-11-2008   #3
 
Denver, Colorado
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Guat paddling

Matt,
Sorry if this is too late havn't been on for a while.Lanquin is right on Rio Lanquin a tributary of the Cahabon,the Retiro in Lanquin is an awesome place to stay cheap and good food .Raft Guatemala operates out of it.Maarten has rafts and a kayak or two.Rio Lanquin is 2/3 for apx 4 k from the lodge to Wrong Way to Capetown V+?.Raft trips on the Cahabon usually start below it,it is 3 with some easy 4 to the confluence,the first section of the Cahabon has a few 4 ish rapids in succession you take out at Cahabon for a day run or you can continue two days with a portage at Chulac dam/falls,the bottom canyon ends at a road from the Polochic valley to El Estor.The bottom canyon 3 w/4? can be accessed from El Estor,there is also Rio Sauce 4/4+ near El Estor.The road leads back to the Polochic which has been recomended to me by a couple boaters more familiar with the area several runs 3/4 harder on it's tribs Matanza /Panima a lot of it is semi-roadside.
Between Tikal and Lanquin[alta verapaz] on the road from Rio Dulce to Fray Bartoome Las Casas check out Las Conchas ,sort of the Micos of Guatemala,travertine plop n drop with a thirty footer.

Try to visit Tikal at sunrise and /or sunset,at sunrise the the ruins are shrouded in mist yo can't see anything but fog from the top of Temple IV,but as the sun comes up the fog burns off exposing the other pyramids poking through the forest canopy, spectacular.

The section of the Cahabon BuLA is talking about is right above Semuc Champey is way gnarly super continuous V/V+ that goes right into the cave,there may be runs higher up.At the mouth of the cave is a 40-50 ft cliff jump into a pool just above a rapid I'd say is 3+,after that it looked pretty flat but there is a canyon full of hard drops and sieves downriver apparently.MadMax told me he spent a couple days just trying to figure out how to scout it back in the nineties,all this is above the Lanquin confluence.Semuc Champey may not be practical for boating but is well worth a visit,awesome place.

If you need boats that will be difficult to find[aside from Maarten] if you are taking boats,Tikal is close to the Belizean goods[2 hrs.apx]Pm me for more info and some contacts that know the runs and might have boats if interested.
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Old 04-12-2008   #4
 
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crested butte, Colorado
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....tikal and guat.....

.....contact JOSH ANTHONY if possible.....a great guy and boater...my mentor in the early nineties...he used to run and expedition service there.....the country was a mess when we went.......hurricane MITCH......can't remember much about the river beta....but what i do remember is.......tikal was a super rad place...especially at night.....i do NOT recommend eatin' acid....gettin' naked....and cruisin' the area with a zipka headtorch...snake huntin'.........it just wasn't bright enough(headlamp) try something with more candlelight power.....somebody knows how to get ahold of josh.....i think he may still have a shop in SALIDA....venetta? harvey?....jr ranGER420cB
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Old 04-18-2008   #5
 
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Leadvillian, Colorado
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Well...

You boys were a little late, we got back last night!

Thanks anyway for the help, maybe I should have posted a little earlier.

We ended up booking a commercial rafting trip despite my girlfriend and I both having a little experience in a raft. The company we booked with ended up just being a reseller and so when we finally got to the river we found that the actual rafting company is an association put together by a government agency to promote tourism development within the indigenous community (Rafting en el R*o Cahabón) - NRS had kicked in some gear (big props to them) and eight indigenous men underwent a 45 day training about a year ago. I had insisted on running the lower section of the Lanquin, above the Cahabon / Lanquin confluence, and they struggled a little with that section, but in the end we came back down and volunteered some time to help them a little which was really rewarding.

The entire area is so beautiful and I'm sure there's a lot of paddling to be done for someone with the initiative. I'd certainly like to go back someday and see more of the region.

Thanks again for those who contributed their ideas and info!
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