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Discussion Starter #1
I am planning a trip to Central America this January to either Costa Rica and Panama or Guatemala and Belieze. I was wondering if anyone had any opinions or where to go and/or and suggestions about what rivers we should run while we are down there.
 

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Panama is amazing. Tons of boating all over the place. I did not like Costa Rica all that much. Guatemala and belieze are the only two countries in Central America that I have not paddled in. I have been to both and Guatemala is great. Belieze is far from great. The Panama Costa Rica trip would be twice as expensive but twice as easy to travel in if you are worried about that. If you choose to go there spend as much time in Panama as possible. You should check out Honduras. Rio Congrejal. wish i was headed back down there. have fun.
 

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A skinny white boy like you will never make it down there! You might want to take a trip to Canada first and see how that goes...
 

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I thought the same, but I am finding cheaper flights to Costa Rica than I am Guatemala. Thanks for the tip about Honduras, I will try and check that out. What time of year did you go down there?

Randal, that is why I am bringing a cute tan female along...problem solved. Are you heading down south for the winter at all?
 

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I thought the same, but I am finding cheaper flights to Costa Rica than I am Guatemala. Thanks for the tip about Honduras, I will try and check that out. What time of year did you go down there?

Randal, that is why I am bringing a cute tan female along...problem solved. Are you heading down south for the winter at all?
Templeton does not qualify as cute or female, nomatter how often you "wear the pants"! He is tan.

No, I'm sticking around the tropical paradise of Fort Fun for the winter...
Remind me and I'll set you up with my friends in Antigua...
 

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what kind've paddling?

I guess a lot of it depends on what kind've paddling you're looking at doing.

January is the first month of the dry season in Costa Rica. All the classic runs still go and some prefer to creek at the lower summer flows. I'm pretty sure the Chiriqui province of Panama will be the same season, although Honduras and Guatemala may be a bit different.

Guatemala has 4 or 5 rivers where there is some established rafting. The Cahabon being the most popular. In Honduras the Cangrehal has a lodge on its banks that offers rafting. Definately these destinations and Nicaragua will require more logistics work and it's probably best to bring your own equipment too.

Costa Rica has a lot of outfitters that will rent you gear and provide shuttles. If you're going to Panama you best contact John and Jim at Boquete Outdoor Adventures. I was just there week before last and they're the only game in town.

Good luck! Where ever you choose to visit one of the biggest keys to enjoying your travels in CA is the language. You've got 4 or 5 months to brush up I would recommend you take advantage of the time.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Matt-
I paddle a shredder and am looking for class III-V water. Mostly 1 & 2 day trips, maybe one 3 or 4 day since I will not be able to pack down my boat for many more days than that. Ideally I would like to get out on as many different rivers as I can, doesnt really matter big water, technical creeking, it is all a blast.
 

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I would agree with most of what has been said here. I have travelled/boated in Guatamala and Honduras in January. Cheaper to travel but harder to get around.

Costa Rica and Panama are much easier to get around but more expensive. They also have the added benefit of better water/food quality so there is less chance of getting sick simply from eating.

Specific to Panama, January is the early dry season. The bigger watersheds will still have water, but the creeks on the Pacific side are usually too low to paddle. All the easy access is on the Pacific side. If you are into remote/multi-day rivers, there are a bunch on the Carribean side that take at least 2 days to get to a put-in as well as some on the Pacific side. You can easily spend 4 days on the Chiriqui Viejo on the Pacific side, either as day trips or overnights (normally class 3/4 in the dry season).

If you are traveling by yourself and need paddling partners, Costa Rica probably is a better destination (Panama's rivers are VERY uncrowded).

Let me know if you need any more information on Panama.

John Miller, Boquete Outdoor Adventures
[email protected]
 

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I guess it depends on how much adventure you want

I'd say if your focus is more on culture and travel and less on paddling then maybe northern CA is a better option, but if you really want to get some paddling in probably CR and Panama would be your best choice. Let me know if you have any questions for me about CR. We don't really provide any commercial services for private boaters, but do try and help out if possible. If you decide to check the Shredder then I'll sell you a few raft paddles so you won't have to check another bag. My girlfriend and I are taking our Mini-Me to Peru and we're hoping to do the same thing. We're also taking a EZ-Pump if you haven't seen one you should check it out. You can get one at Down River but their website doesn't have a pic...

Cascade Outfitters Whitewater Rafting Equipment: EZ Pump - Top-Off Pump

Good luck with your planning!
 
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