I crossed at Las Champas/La Mesilla in 2007, and it was one of the less hectic border crossings of the trip. The only difficult part that I can remember was Guatemala's requirement of an original vehicle title to enter, which I was without, but was able to pass with a small bribe.
Sounds like a cool paddling trip. I crossed at Las Champas/La Mesilla in '05 with no problems and felt plenty safe. I had no vehicle, so I walked across. If you change money with the money changers (and there are plenty) it is convenient, but you will of course get a bad exchange rate and make sure the bills are legit. You will have some small visa fees to pay, so you will need a small amount of cash. I would recommend keeping your passport in your sight at all times. At many border crossings I came to in Central America, the immigration building was unmarked and the officials were not dressed in any clothing that distinguished them from anyone else. Their preferred method is to take your passport into some back room with your visa fee and return with it stamped. Decide for yourself how you feel about this, but they didn't find it rude if I asked politely to accompany my passport. I see this as being very difficult if you don't speak Spanish. The place is very disorienting, so do your homework and find out what is required for what you are doing (vehicle, boats, etc.). Have a plan for when you arrive to the border so you don't waste time and have to deal with all the distractions. After you're all done, get the heck out of there!
Paddle in Chiapas, stay in San Cristobal (epic place) then head south and cross through to Guat. Can't remember the border crossing's name but it was really chill. Plus there's sick kayaking just on the other side of the border.
Though the crossings mentioned are good, if you are on the Pan American or in west central Chiapas, the other respondants overlooked the obvious, Cancun is very far from there.I agree an awesome route would be through San Cristobal via Palenque ( great ruins and town close to the Tulija. SALTO DE AGUA nd AGUA AZUL) ( sorry for caps can 't use foreign words otherwise on this device), then on to Guatemala with side trip to at least see if not run the spectacularly scenic whitewater and falls of the Santos Domingo, where accessible.There are indeed many runs on the Guatemala side, but the Pacific coast stuff in both Chiapas and Guatemala is mostly dried up by November.Not sure on the exact seasons for the highlands of Guatemala.The eastern drainages of Chiapas and Guatemala run later, some year round.
What or where is your objective in Guatemala? If Tikal is on your agenda, then going via Belize is best.Tikal is far from the Guatemalan whitewater, but to get there you pass through San Ignacio, a very friendly tourist town 8 miles from the border and gateway to Belizean whitewater.You can go up to the Privassion Creek to see if it is runnable.
Continued...If Privassion is runnable you will.be one of only a handfull of paddlers to experience this gem.This is a small steep creek with photogenic park and Huck slides and large waterfalls plus many manky III /IV drops on the committing run below it ( all day class V adventure with class IV boating with portages or EXTREME drops) .You drive to a fancy jungle lodge ( 5 Sisters) or to a large unrunnable falls (Big Rock) popular with tours.The slides are by the lodge.Between Big Rock and the Lodge is a huge slide (V /V plus) that has been run, sort of.Another class 5 resides by another high end lodge, Blancaeaux, up river a little from Big Rock.The run has one 5 minus in addition to the hair and you have to. paddle out on the MACAL (III -V with portages or hair) and deal with a new dam below the confluence.The Mullins River is also not too far and is another class V all day hike in adventure with 3/4 and one committing 4 plus section, has been run only twice as of a few years ago.You can drive up to yet another fancy jungle lodge, Black Rock, hike up river a mile or so, portage up Lower Vaca Falls to run it (IV plus or hair) and some rapids just above it 3/4 or 4/5 depending on flow ( see Jes Karper's youtube? video MACAL Madness) he calls these drops the Wall Complex and Horseshoe.From Vaca falls to the lodge is 2/3 with good play in front of the lodge at high water.See Mayan White Water
Flows are hard to catch in Belize, but Oct /Nov can be good.Even if not boating Belize this route gets you to the Cahabon /Lanquin /Polochic /Sauce /La's Conchas and other eastern Guatemala runs faster, not to.mention Honduras where there is also mucho kick ass boating.The Belize /Guatemala and Guatemala /Corinto Honduras crossings are easy, research the particulars thoroughly for the Mexico /Belize crossing with vehicles.
The link you posted works for on foot/public transportation and sometimes motorcycles, but is not a car ferry.There is a similar way to take a boat from Tenosique /La Palma, Tabasco (near Palenque) to Naranjo, Guatemala, then a road to Flores (sort of near Tikal, on the way to the highlands) . I would be leery of traveling much in Guatemala by vehicle without the proper papers.They are pretty much looking for an excuse to bust you or more likely 'earn ' a bribe.Talk about the middle of nowhere if you break down.Would be a cool way to go without a car.
There were some recent changes to Mayan White Water. 's write up of the Macal : much of the Mollejon dam to Black Rock run (previous write up) is now flooded by the new lower dam.Greg now divides the Macal into two runs 1) whats left below the lower dam ( the run by Black Rock I referred to) as well as the long nature float to town or a lodge take out.I think you you should still be able to get at the rapids just above Vaca as well, unless dam property extends down that far. 2) a run above Mollejon that few if anybody had done since the early explorations :from Guacamallo Bridge to Mollejon reservoir,has several 3/4 rapids and one big V,plus added attractions ( see good pic and write up).The bridge is on the way to Caracol,a huge Mayan city /ruins in remote jungle.Brittish Rambos do/did their jungle training around here.
The new reservoir apparently floods all the way up to and part way up the Rio On, so impacts the logistics on the Privassiion ower run too.
I guess we were among the last to get to run the middle Macal Gorge 's now drowned rapids and only ones to ever run the ones on lower Rio On /lowest Privassion. BUMMER! ...The new run sounds cool though.
A forum community dedicated to whitewater kayaking, boating, and rafting enthusiasts. Come join the discussion about safety, routes, gear, models, styles, gear swaps, reviews, accessories, classifieds, and more!