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Discussion Starter #1
Anyone interested?
I'm brainstorming buying a car in the states, putting the kayak on top, and just driving south. No real plans other than to boat, travel, drive, etc. Should be fun.

I think this type of trip would be more fun with at least 1 other boater, so if anyone is interested feel free to chime in. Likewise, any friends you may know would be sweet.

That being stated, if anyone has any suggestions on must-hit rivers for any of the spots in Central America or South America that would be fantastic, though it's not my first time going down there.

Also, if anyone has done this drive (Cali to Chile or some such) I'm open to any pointers or thoughts. So far talking to a few ppl that did it, I've only had the suggestion to avoid Columbia.

Cheers,
Dave
 

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As you head down, some good places to stop and boat would be near Ciudad Valles and Veracruz, Mexico; Turrialba, Costa Rica; Boquete, Panama; and Pucon, Chile.
 

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I would buy your car down there and start in Costa Rica and just drive around from there then sell the car for a little less then you paid for it when you return to Costs. While in Boquete check out Boquete Outdoor Adventures. Ask for Jim Omer hes part owner and from Ridgway CO. They have great boats down there and are awesome people with lots of knowledge.

I think the website is : Boquete Outdoor Adventures » Specializing in Unique Custom Adventure Travel Vacations in Panama
 

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paddler mag did a 4 page articel a while back i there march/april 2006 issue all about boating guatemala, it includes the places to stay, rivers, and helpful travel hints. Check it out and please tell me how your trip was afterwords with any tips of your own, goodluck
 

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Well, I've done 2 trips with Boquete Outdoor Adventures, and I'd definately recommend them as well. They put together a great trip if you want guides on the river and shuttle and everything else, but it costs. You can also hire a guide and shuttle on a day to day basis, I think. The owner is John Miller, and I've never heard of Jim. Any guide John sets you up with will be worth the money, in my opinion. They all know the rivers well and are good folks. They can probably set you up with some very reasonable housing too. Keep in mind, they do not have a paddling community down there, and without a little help, you'll be missing a lot of stuff!
 

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Darien Gap

You can't actually drive all the way through Central America due to the Darien Gap in Panama. I've never done it but I think its pretty pricey to ship a car around it (in paddler economic terms) so you might want to just stick North or South of there. If South, definitely spend some time in Ecuador, its amazing. You may want to recruit a third party (non-paddler) and pay for their trip so they can be your shuttle monkey. Most of the paddling down there would be really difficult to arrange a shuttle and while you will generally be safe, an unattended car may not.
 

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When?I might be interested ,and know my way around BZ,Guat.,Honduras,and Chiapas pretty well,including some things to explore if you're into that.There are are a couple areas not far off the Pan American highway that need exploration in MX,E S, and Nic.

Driving all the way to Chile is going to be very expensive and time consuming,probably have to scale it down,just to Panama would be a helluva[n] adventure.One route you could take passes thru Valles,Veracruz,across the Isthmo de Tehuantepec to coastal Oaxaca[Copalita and Zimatan rivers] and down the Soconusco[explore] into Guatemala pac coast and down the Pan American.Or you could go to Agua Azul from Veracruz then across the base of the Yucatan to Belize[know where all the goods are] and into Guatemala and Honduras.Finish up in CR and Boquete.Very ambitious and again time and money consuming.Guatemala and Honduras are dirt cheap[except for gas] though.Keep us posted, please.
 

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I can give you the contact info for the guy who wrote the -Paddler- article,they edited the hell out of his beta.
 

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I spent a few months paddling in Ecuador. There is a small jungle town called Tena with 8 or 9 rivers flowing through and right around it. It's a paddler's heaven. I know a few Ecuadorians who live down there year-round and can put you in touch with them if you want. I guess you'll have all the equipment you need, but if you lose something along the way, you can borrow/rent stuff from them. Also, they know all the rivers really well. If you want to read about stuff ahead of time, there is a book out there called. The best time to go paddling down there is December, January, February...but there is still plenty to run earlier than that. Here is the link to Small World Adventures where you can purchase the book. Guidebook Ecuador River Kayaking self-guided trip I'm not sure if that link is visible to you...if not, go to their webpage and you'll find a link to the book there. Have fun. Oh, there is a ton of stuff to run (mostly creeks) in a different part of the country closer to Quito and higher up in the mountains. The name of the place is skipping my mind at the moment.
 

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we drove from here to panama with kayaking as the goal, we initially wanted to get into south america but didn't have money or time. the beta above is pretty acurate we went valles to veracruz to chiapas the just wandered all around guatemala, honduras, costa rica and panama. We paddled rivers in every country we went to except nicaragua, i'm sure there are rivers there but we couldn't find anything on them. the alseseca is a must hit. pm me if you have specific questions
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Lots of info!

Sweet! I'm getting way more feedback than originally anticipated. Thanks a bunch!

cayo- I don't have an exact schedule (to say the least). What works for you? When would you be up for going? And for that note, how much time have you already spent down there?

At this point I'm free from October till May.

I may hang out in the U.S. until early November, unless it fits someone's schedule to leave earlier/later.

I would love the contact info for the guy who wrote that paddler article. muchos gracias.

I'd also be up for meeting with different people for different parts of the trip if that suits anyone.

I've only heard back from one other- a buddy of mine who travels around the world working as a safety kayaker year-round, and is fluent in spanish.

Cheers!
Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I've only heard back from one other- a buddy of mine who travels around the world working as a safety kayaker year-round, and is fluent in spanish.
The more the merrier is what I meant by this- not to shy anyone else away from the idea of the trip. He may or may not come, and would certainly be a fantastic guy to paddle with.
 

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If you do come to Panama, we would be more than happy to set something up for you. And even if you don't do a trip with us, we can help you out with shuttles, river beta, and where to stay. Just for a teaser, check out this page on our website to get an idea of what we have to paddle:

Boquete Outdoor Adventures » Rivers in Panama’s Chiriqui Province: 35+ and Counting!

This is not even a complete list. Like I said, whether you are trying to do it on your own or you go through us, we will be happy to help you out. You can contact us ahead of time or stop by our office in Boquete (in the Los Establos building near the center of town).

By the way, Jim Omer is a partner in Boquete Outdoor Adventures (along with Jack Palmer). They joined us earlier this year and we are very happy to have them!

John Miller
Boquete Outdoor Adventures, S.A.
[email protected]
 

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I just drove to Panama and back from Utah from January to March. Get in touch with me for border crossing/logistical beta. I didn't do any river running, but wish I would have. I did a lot of fly fishing and surfing though, which was almost as good. Very little beats catching bigass sailfish on a fly rod.
 
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