Trips on the Micos and Santa Maria Rivers? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 12-02-2011   #1
Placerville, California
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 40
Trips on the Micos and Santa Maria Rivers?

The Micos and Santa Maria rivers in Mexico came up in another thread. Does anyone know if any outfitters are running trips on those rivers? I've heard no one's running them because it's too dangerous... Any info would be much appreciated!

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Old 12-02-2011   #2
Louisville, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
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A few years ago we rappelled Cascada Tamul, were picked up by a canoe on the Santa Maria, stopped and swam in a cave on the float down, then walked to the boatman's house were we served a delicious dinner made by his family. A van picked us up from there. This was atrip specially planned at our request by the folks at Rafting Rappel Excursiones en la Huasteca You may conatct them and ask them about conditions on the river, and what services they offer. They were great.
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Old 12-02-2011   #3
Haley Station, Ontario
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Try Grant Amaral (not sure of his website) but he used to have a base camp and runs trips at the takeout of the Micos and he helped us with a shuttle on the Santa Maria

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Old 12-02-2011   #4
ashland, Oregon
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Amarals site;
Agua Azul
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Old 12-02-2011   #5
Fort Collins, Colorado
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I met Alex Manzo at Confluence Kayaks in Denver. I understand that this is his company.


The security situation in Northern Mexico is poor, so you should fly, probably to Tampico and then bus to Ciudad Valles. Ciudad Valles is the center of the Huasteca area, where most of the whitewater is located.

I am a member of an email list of Mexican sea kayakers, but some of them run rivers also, so I have some access to additional information.

I have been wanting to get down to the Huasteca for years, but the security situation has discouraged me.

Open boater.
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Old 12-03-2011   #6
boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1975
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me and 2 friends ran th santa maria in the early 80s. we thought we were making th 2nd descent but several months after our return we found out that th US national kayak team had been a few weeks ahead of us. we've got th same photo of us running below th falls that appeared on th cover of Outdoor. we were experienced mexico cavers and were very familiar with North and Eastern Mexico. we had 2 vehicles and ran our own shuttle. th run took us 10 days (had planned on eight). we had read th account of th 1st descent in Nat. Geo. had saw that most of their problems were in taking too much gear. it's not a place for rafts and they had several. there are 2 mandatory portages th 1st 1 or 2 days and they are difficult. not dangerous but hard to figure out. we were in IKs that we rolled up and put in duffles for th portages. both of them took at least 1/2 day. and last but not least is running th bottom of th falls on day 9 or 10. thats ~100m falls into th S.M. where its maybe 30m wide. it's pretty harrowing. it generates 50 to 60 mph winds and th loudest roar ive ever experienced. and when we were there, there were 100s of logs backed up by th wind counter-balancing th current. it was a very dangerous situation. once you go over th drop just 100m before th falls th cliffs become almost vertical. at that point you are committed. i carried 20lbs of gear and 22lbs of food and was in an IK that we had designed and built just for this trip. 10' long, 10" tubes, double floor (SB). we took no tents. turned our boats upside down for sleeping. it was a fall trip and th water was low. overall it was a true bonding experience for th 3 of us. 2 of us spoke decent spanish and that was critical. most of th people we encountered and dealth with for information spoke no english. but that was 30 yrs ago. it might be different today. it's def a worthwhile adventure. i personally see no reason why you would need an outfitter.
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