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When ever you guys travel to white water kayak or raft in places like South America, Africa, or some place like those do you have to worry about bad people like terrorists or drug cartels, or do they leave you alone. Cause one day I when I’m skilled enough I’d like to paddle the Zambezi before it gets dammed up and I’d like to do the futala fu in Chile.
 

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Some places are so bad, that when you get off the airplane they check you for guns and knives and if you don't have any, they issue you a couple. One place that comes to mind is Newark New Jersey, but they do have some of the best bagels in country.
 

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It depends on a lot of variables.Chile is pretty safe i believe.They are used to boaters on the Zambezi ,so besides hippos and crocs ,your main danger is pretty crime off the river.If you go somewhere like Somalia, or until recently Columbia,kidnapping is a potential problem.If you are running some remote river in a developing country the locals may suspect you of scouting for some mining or dam building company and apprehend you.This happened on Rio Copon Gt.a few years ago.Bandits were attacking rafters on Rio Usumascinta in the past.
I want to explore the upr.Chiquibul river in Guatemala near the border with Belize.The run has been done a couple times and is mostly 2-3 with some 4 and a couple portages.You have to carry in an hour or two.The river is a tributary of the Mopan,which I have run many times.I have followed the explorations of Rocky Contos for years.He will run a river from it's headwaters all the way to the sea,V to flatwater.This idea appeals to me ,and either the Chiquibul-Mopan-Belize River or the Chiyu-Gracias a Dios-SanPedro-Sarstun are basically the options i have narrowed it down to without getting in over my head whitewater wise.Both of these involve traversing Guat-BZ border areas where there are serious disputes.The Guats don't acknowledge/respect the border.They claim Bz is part of Guatemala.There is transborder:illegal gold mining,poaching plants and animals,looting archeological sites,peasant farmers squatting on the Belize side,and human and drug trafficking.Belize has too little law enforcement resources to do anything about it.The people who are doing this usually live in the villages just inside Guatemala,like the one you use to access the put in trail. for the Chuiquibul.I would hesitate to hike in here alone and come across these folks but if you hired some porters to guide you in and carry your stuff you would probably be fine once on the river.But it is dangerous.
I dreamed of exploring Michoacan in the past.Rocky did few rivers there.I googled one of the rivers he did for pics and a bunch of images of decapitated bodies came up.There are State Dept.warnings against travel in Michoacan,Guerrero,Sinaloa,and couple of other states.I saw where some guy on team Jackson bagged some 1D's in Michoacan a few years ago anyway.There are reports of tourists getting caught up in cartel violence,but it is rare.Compare a handful of incidents to the millions of people who visit Mexico annually.Outside of border areas and drug production areas you are still relatively safe.If tourism is an important part of the local economy all the better.
 

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Try to pass yourself off as Canadian by saying “eh” after each sentence or two. Or claim to be from the Uk, Norway, England etc...

Stay out of America and you should be fine.

Cayo2 gave great advice, I’m just clowning around, sort of...
 

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You could just go to a 'safe' country for boating


Canada
Costa Rica
New Zealand
Chile
France
Norway
Ecuador. ???
Iceland
Most of Europe

Usually there is less crime and friendlier people in small villages than big cities and tourist traps
 

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I want to explore the upr.Chiquibul river in Guatemala near the border with Belize.The run has been done a couple times and is mostly 2-3 with some 4 and a couple portages.You have to carry in an hour or two.The river is a tributary of the Mopan,which I have run many times.I have followed the explorations of Rocky Contos for years.He will run a river from it's headwaters all the way to the sea,V to flatwater.This idea appeals to me ,and either the Chiquibul-Mopan-Belize River or the Chiyu-Gracias a Dios-SanPedro-Sarstun are basically the options i have narrowed it down to without getting in over my head whitewater wise.Both of these involve traversing Guat-BZ border areas where there are serious disputes.The Guats don't acknowledge/respect the border.They claim Bz is part of Guatemala.There is transborder:illegal gold mining,poaching plants and animals,looting archeological sites,peasant farmers squatting on the Belize side,and human and drug trafficking.Belize has too little law enforcement resources to do anything about it.The people who are doing this usually live in the villages just inside Guatemala,like the one you use to access the put in trail. for the Chuiquibul.I would hesitate to hike in here alone and come across these folks but if you hired some porters to guide you in and carry your stuff you would probably be fine once on the river.But it is dangerous.
Sorry, this is a thread hijack...
I'm interested in this area. Do you know of any online info? When you've paddled the Mopan did you have your own boat? Do you know of any outfitters in that area? Do you know anything about Columbia Branch-Rio Grande in Belize or other source to sea stuff? Sorry for all the questions but not many folks have info on this area. Headed back to Belize for the third time this Feb.
 

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Yeah Phil, happy to answer. Online there is Mayanwhitewater.com. but the write ups are only partial since Greg's book "Mayan Whitewater:Chiapas&Belize" came out.I'm not sure if you can get it on Amazon. CKS? The Mopan is not that exciting,Greg says II. I'd say it is a little better than that,some 2+/3- at strong medium flows.Mostly it is just reliable and convenient to the San Ignacio area.There are 3 (or 1 longass) runs in Belize
P 1) Benque to Clarrissa Falls-put in along the Western Highway somewhere to your liking between Benque and SuccotzTake out at Clarrissa Falls Resort.No hassles.1st half of fun has all the rapids except Clarrissa 3-..Cable on car ferry to Xunantunich ruins to limbo or portage.Ruins are 15 minute hike.5k?

2)Arenal to Benque-starts where river enters Belize runs down to the first run ,is slightly better whitewater and more scenic 10k? but the river crosses back into Guatemala ,through the town of Melchor, and right by the border stations.I have done it twice like 15 years ago.Do not know how the tensions between countries might affect hassle free passage.

3)Clarrissa to Branch Mouth- last 19 km to confluence with Macal and beginning of the Belize river...not much to recommend this section...torturously slow at low water...jungle and remote in parts..ranchland elsewhere...rapid on approach to Bullet Tree Falls...have not run the last 4km...think the actual Bullet Tree Falls Rapid is just downstream of road/takeout...possible playspot by resort at takeout I


The runs on the Mopan in Guat. below the Chiquibul confluence and several sections of the Chiquibul between that and the upr.run are somewhat better whitewater .....you can also run at least 15km? Above the confluence on the Guat.Mopan..man adding up this mileage+175 miles from SI Ito the Caribbean is a marathon..I would be breaking it up and just starting the next section from where I left off , not camping the whole way like Rocky.

Yeah I had my own boat...none to rent back then....There is a guy who used to guide for Slickrock who lives in Succotz and has some kayaks he may sometimes rent.his name is Neri Chi..his number is in the guidebook somewhere ...I'll find it for you.

The other option Chahal-Chiyu-GAD-SP-Sarstoon is much better whitewater and considerably shorter...you could start o on one of 3 sections of the Chahal ,the upr.has a little V?- mid II- lwr. IV or on the Upr.Chiyu III then easier water to Las Conchas ( upstream of the Chahal confluence)..Las Conchas is sort of the Cascadas Micos of Guatemala, a set of concentrated travertine drops including a 30 footer that has been run,the same ledge has other lines that are not as tall and less volume ,so relatively easy waterfalls...then you have a good 3 run with some decent sized ledges down to a lodge ,Oasis Las Conchas ,that is supposed to be awesome and reasonably priced.....below here are more spaced out drops with some wood issues ..you can take out before or continue into the Gracias a Dios river which is 3+/4- travertine semi roadside i think in parts...then this river gets funky mid way thru G A D it divides into channels and becomes essentially two separate rivers around a big ( 20km? ) island.the San Pedro Branch is also 3+...after this I am pretty sure it is flat to the sea...The 2 branches come back together again after the highway takeout and form the Sarstun River ,the southern border of Belize...this part is serious nature float and world class fishery.......
 

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i.e.Don't know much about the Columbia and Rio Grande except that they are more tuber kind of rivers.The Upr.Bladden seems likely to have some whitewater but is an off limits protected area with little access and you get into the sketchy areas if you get close to Guatemala.I always wondered if you can run the Central Branch since it is the boundary of the Bladden Reserve if you camped on the unprotected side..might be one of few remaining 1 D's in
Bz...The other end is bounded by the Swasey Branch which has a lot of 2+ and some 3 and is a good wilderness run if you carry in 15 miles (km?) or are outfitted , but you can access a couple of lower sections by car that are semi wild and the breeding/nesting grounds for scarlet macaws...You could continue to the sea on the Monkey River=great nature float with town on coast.

South Stann sounds pretty good with relatively easy logistics.Greg says almost III with good flow and goes through Cockscomb Basin Jaguar Preserve.

The jewell of southern Belize whitewater and a candidate for a source to sea run is the Moho3++ ! 60 travertine ledge drops up to 18 ft,mostly 2 to 6 ftrs. through beautiful jungle in one of the least developed corners of CA ok.Put in is near the confluence of two creeks coming out of Guatemala in the border village of San Benito Poite.The normal take out is the Jordan Bridge on the road between Blue Creek village and Sta.Theresa.This the put in for the Jordan run,a nature float i think has a minor ledge of two...not sure where they take out but you have to be within a days paddle from the Caribbean.You would have to figure out how to get to Punta Gorda, not many towns down there..Barranco?could be a long sea paddle....you might be able to put in higher, just inside Guatemala(the locals cross freely here no border station) googl e earth shows some drops ...might be too small
 

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More great stuff. I have to admit the only tubing I've ever done was on the South Stann in Cockscomb. Totally awesome afternoon. My real focus has been on the cayes and especially Glovers Reef. Spent 3 nights in San Ignacio last year on the way to Guat and Honduras. I'm ready for 3 or so days of self support in the jungle, source to sea.
 

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Did you go to Glovers with Slickrock? Only been to Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye would like to sea kayak down south.We're you driving the Peten or on a tour of some sort eg Tikal--Flores Copan all great places especially Tikal.


The more I think about it the Chiquibul to sea run is just too far..maybe just headwaters to confluence with Macal....The Macal Gorge was one the best runs anywhere before the damn dams...only got to run /swim most of it once and the end Black Rock section that is not buried a few times and the flat water jungle float to town a few times...If you have a vehicle go up to Black Rock you have to carry up river about half an hour or so to Vaca...Vaca has multiple lines ranging from IV to VI,then there is a III and some play waves if high enough and Black Rock rapid and play spot then one last rapid before it goes flat......The Lodge is very nice and not too pricey...over by Five Sisters( called Gaia now?) and fancy schmantsy Blancaneaux lodge is Privassion Creek with a Big Rock Falls, the Insanity Slide, Five Sisters Falls,and the run from there to the Macal we first D'd..Greg's book says you have to get permission from the daom operators (pain in the ass) to take out at their access,but I know another access point if interested..The run is manky 4- at likely flows,possibly significantly harder ,at least in spots ,with strong flows.You have some portages including a four tier 150 ft falls.Super slippery rocks are treacherous.There is also a falls that was 60 to 80 ft .tall,but now the reservoir is backed up all the way to there and the falls are much shorter,maybe even runnable.
 

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No. I stay at Northeast Caye on Glovers. Cheap and wonderful. Watched 2 ospreys fledge from the nest on my cabana's palapa roof last year. World class snorkeling. Then I get met by a little launch on the way in and spend time on Tobacco Caye. Not as wild and remote but still budget and nice. I have a week after that and am researching caye to caye self support sea kayaking or perhaps a river adventure. I had planned to stay 5ish weeks but have to cut it short to come home for a Grand trip. :)

When I was in San Ignacio I rented a motorbike and drove out to Black Rock. Gorgeous and real nice lodge. Wish I discovered that area before the dam. I'm 68 now with a shoulder and a knee that are every bit that old so when I travel I'm not paddling class 4. A quick water jungle float works as does class 2 and 3.

Yeah, I went to Tikal (loved it!!!), Flores, Copan, Quetzal Biotope, Lago de Atitlan and then Oaxaca and met family and friends in Puerto Escondido for a couple weeks. 3 weeks solo backpacking, public transportation, in the middle of it. Trip of a lifetime like all good trips are.
 

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Sweet Phil ! I have been on a gazillion chicken buses and once a collectivo with something like 19 adults and a few babies in a mini van !...have been to all of those mainland destinations except Biotopo Quetzal.Yeah Belize has a lot of easy rivers for nature stuff. The Moho is really low consequence plop and drop, just some big drops .There are tons of pics of commercial trips usually at super low.February is kind of shoulder seasoni could be low could be good.SeaKunga had a video of it being run kind of high .Looked really good..
Packrafts should have been around back then! Ideal for that type of travel.
 

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Sorry for the thread hijack. For the original poster... I've traveled a fair amount and have kayaked on 4 continents. I do homework before any trip, which I enjoy, so I have a good idea of where I'm going and what's going on socially and politically. I try to avoid known dangerous spots but sometimes they can't be avoided and then I rely on street sense and avoiding traveling at night. Mostly though, if you are moving among the boating community you're among friends. Even in first world countries, experiencing a country through its Rios and boating community is a pretty awesome way to travel. I'm embarrassed to admit I'm from the US now so I tell people I'm from Colorado instead. I'd like to say I'm Canadian but... I'm not. One last thing I'll offer is, genuinely engage people, treat everyone with respect, be curious, and understand you are incredibly lucky to be able to travel.
 

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I just cover up the “FUCK ISIS” sticker on my pink Yeti with a “I 💖 ISIS” sticker for the trip and it seems to work well enough.

YMMV so don’t blame me if you end up on YouTube with some taliban kids using your head as a soccer ball.
 

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You guys are keeping me busy looking up acronyms this morning..Colo Dave sorry to ramble on,didn't mean to waste your valuable time that could have been spent reading about coolers on State Bridge...I have a few days off and someone actually took interest in something I have been harping on for years.I guess I am half a Samer-have plenty of real world experience on some of that stuff..it's all good

OP avoid drunks ,especially in Latin America.Often they are all friendly at first then later want to fight over who knows what...even had some dude in France pull that shit...
 
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